Friday, July 29, 2011

5 minutes: still

Today I'm linking up to Lisa-Jo, aka gypsy mama, who chooses a topic every Friday and writes for five minutes.

Only five minutes.

And the rule is that whatever she writes about in that five minutes is what she posts. No editing her thoughts.

Today, her topic choice is "Still…"

So I'm going to set the timer, write some thoughts, and then I'm going to stop.

Ready? Set. Go.


Sometimes it amazes me the parallels these words Lisa Jo chooses can have on my life. And how much duality the words can have in their meaning for me.

Because for about an hour or so last night I was filled with stillness and antsy-ness all at the same time. I was on a conference call with most of my fellow (in)courage writers, and I was forced into stillness because I can't breathe and that makes my voice inaudible. And if you know me, not talking while on the phone is my own personal form of torture. :)

And while my breathing was still and my voice was gone, my body was anything but. So it silently screamed on the outside while the pain raged loudly in my ears. My limbs jerked and fingers ached, which only allowed me to type a sentence or two in our corresponding skype chat.

Which means I was only able to say hi and offer a tiny bit of encouragement in a room full of people I wanted to say so much to. I had to be still because my body was anything but.

This morning, however, as I opened up Lisa-Jo's page and saw "still" as the word of choice, the first thing that came to mind was this:

Be still and know that I am God.

And I wondered what He really meant by that for me. Because the "know that I am God" part totally changes the "be still" part for me.

I think in my world He's not telling me to slow down. I'm already at a standstill. I think He's telling me to let go. To let go of trying to be something I can't be. To let go of the idea that I can do anything about any of this.

I think He's telling me it's ok to be still in these situations because I'm not Him.

He's God and I'm not and so my job, while I hate the stillness and fight the stillness that is created because the pain in my body is anything but still, is simply to let it go.

To be still and let God be God and go with the flow.

Because he's God and I'm not.

What do you think He's saying to you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I'm running a little below empty in the energy department these days, but it leaves me with so much time on my hands in the quiet. So I want to put that time to good use and do a little rewinding to an old post today and take the time once again to pray for each other.

Will you join in?

The Good and The Beautiful

Sometimes, when life gets crazy or redundant or just too much, I have to remind myself that I get to shift my perspective.

Even when circumstances can't be changed, how we look at them can be. Always.

Because I think we humans tend to look at life as black or white. Good or bad. Beautiful or ugly.

We all love to share the beautiful parts. We all love celebrating with each other and announcing our good news from the rooftops, but it's harder to look at the hard things, the seemingly ugly things, and shout those to everyone around us.

It's harder because we feel like we're burdening people with our burdens. We feel like our problems are probably small next to theirs, and it's not fun to look at the ugly things, and it's not easy to ask for prayer because we feel self-centered and selfish over the bad and the ugly.

I was online with some friends the other night when someone asked for prayer requests and within moments they were flooding in. Everyone felt safe with each other in that community, and I realized how blessed I was when everyone stated their needs without hesitation. And I wondered why we don't do that more often.

Why we don't just say what we need.

Because when we do, our burden is lightened. Our perspective can change. We know we're not going through this life alone.

Life is meant to be shared. The good, the bad and the ugly... which I think is really just the good and the beautiful to Him, you know. Things are hard for us, bad for us, ugly to us, but to Him it’s all just the pattern of life that brings us closer to Him. And there is beauty in that.

The good, the bad and the ugly... God can see ahead to the beauty that comes from the ugly. He's knows the beauty in the ugly pain that we can’t yet see. Our perspective shifts when we trust that He will bring beauty from our pain. That He will carry us as we carry our burdens.

And we can be Christ to each other as we help each other carry those burdens.

So I want to offer that to you today. A place where you can say what you need from us and we can pray for each other. Write your request in the comment, and pray for the person who commented before you.

Let's take the perspective of the good and the beautiful today in everything that's in front of us, let's make it beautiful by sharing it together.

How can we pray for you?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gitz Bits: week 29

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Monday, July 18, 2011


I love his nose.

He does this cute thing when he wants me to pet him… he'll just bump his nose on my hand. Or, if I'm walking and he wants me, he'll gently bump his nose on my leg so I stop. Given that I walk at a snail's pace, it's not too hard for him to get me to pause for him.

Of course, if he bumps his nose on my hand and I don't respond, he'll just move his whole head under my hand to make it very clear that's what needs to happen. I swear he'd move his head back and forth to make me pet him if I was ornery enough not to give in. :)

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011


It was grossly hot in Iowa last week. I, of course, had it much easier than most being here in the air conditioned condo, but it was warmer in here than my lungs prefer just because the a/c couldn't keep up.

I knew it was hot when I looked outside and realized that one of my bird feeders that comes as a block of seed had melted all over the patio below it.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


And this? Not yuck. Yum.

Candy was a sweetheart and dropped by to see me Wednesday night bearing supper in hand. She loves me so much she actually cooked meat, which is just shy of being against her religion. She kept saying something about veins and arteries and such.

But I taught her how to make milk gravy {using my almond milk} and even got her to try a bit on the potatoes.

Yes, you read that right. *I* taught *her* how to cook something. Without a recipe. I did like my mom and told her to keep adding things "until it looked right."

I can guarantee that will only happen once in my lifetime, so I have it written here for posterity.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011


I didn't so much take this to show you my hosta {but aren't my hosta huge?} as much as I took this to show you the eerie yellow color that existed outside my window after the rainstorm. There is something about stormy weather and the eerie feeling it sometimes leaves in the air that I just love.

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Friday, July 22, 2011


Friday night my friends Amie, Mandy and Ellyn all tried out the new Google+ hangout feature with me so we could meet Ellyn's newest little man, Coen. That's his biggest sister, Ava, in the background keeping a good eye on him.

It was one of those moments during video chatting when I wanted to reach through the screen and grab him out of her hands. He's so dang precious. 

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Saturday, July 23, 2011


Even though I am happy as a clam to be out of the old bedroom and relocated to the living room, Riley is still in transition. Every time I get up to go to the bathroom, I walk out to see him perched on the old bed like this, waiting to see if I've changed my mind and want to hang out in there with him again.

He's definitely a creature of habit. 

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Sunday, July 24, 2011


These are the cars of Battle Force 5, which I am now very well versed about. The big thing behind the cars? It's called the Mobi Command Center and it's very cool.

I know this because my Jonboy came over to have a date with me on Sunday afternoon, and we curled up under the covers watching Season 1 of Battle Force 5 together. He showed me all the cars and features and gave me lessons in all the characters.

He was thrilled when I told him how much I loved it, and that I see many more movie dates in our future.

Best date I ever had. :)

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Who Needs a Bow?

I was looking over my week, which happens to be filled with birthdays of people I love, when I thought about my friend Kelly's daughter Megan turning 17 on Wednesday. I first had a heart attack that such a thing is even possible because she was just 12 yesterday, and then remembered that in the commotion of all the emotional things happening last July I forgot to tell you all about her 16th birthday!

Why would you care? Mostly because I got to be involved in the celebration and took lots of pictures. Which means I have a story that I've yet to tell you. :)

It was just a few days after Dad died and Kelly was at my house helping to keep me occupied, when she told me the big news that they had gotten Miss Megan a car for her 16th birthday. She also told me they were planning on having it in the driveway on her birthday with a big red bow.

And for the first time since I got the call about Dad's death, this news jolted me wide awake.

Not because they were giving her a car, but because they were just giving it to her. Without hoopla.

If you were to know Megan, you would know that hoopla must be involved because she takes embarrassing other people on their birthdays very seriously. So I told Kelly that unless there was a treasure hunt and embarrassment planned, they could not give her the car.


The first step was to make the signs. So I got out markers and paper and we started strategizing who would be involved and where.

It started with her mom at home giving her the first clue, after making her dress in ugly clothes.

Because ugly clothes are always a good first step.


The clue sent her on a chase to find her grandma {on the left} at our favorite Pretzel Maker in the mall. And Grandma Mary Jo did not disappoint as she gave her a ridiculous hat to wear and asked every single cute young man in the mall if they wanted to sing Happy Birthday to Megan.

After traipsing her all around, she gave the next clue to find her Great Aunt Karen {on the right} at our typical birthday dinner restaurant, Tokyo. Karen gave her the ridiculous sunglasses and sent her to find her dad, who added a lei and gave her the clue to get to my house.


And she showed up looking like this. :)

I gave her the final clue, which told her that Riley held the key to her future.


Needless to say, when she found this strapped around his collar, she about lost her mind.


And when we told her she walked right by her new car on the way into my condo…


she took off like a shot…


ran to the car…


got inside…


and promptly left us.


Seriously. The stinker just drove off and left us!


But she had the good sense to drive herself right back…


to hug her dad…


and thank her mom…


and give Riley the love he so richly deserved.


And despite the fact that she had called me that morning to declare her excitement over passing the test and getting her license, she didn't have the good sense to bring her purse with her on the treasure hunt, so her dad had to drive her and her new car home.

It was such a great day for me to get to be a part of it and see her face, and I am happy to report she's made it through a whole year of driving in one piece.


Riley's just happy to report that he survived the craziness of the day with {most} of his sanity intact.

Beats a big red bow in the driveway, don't you think?

Friday, July 22, 2011

5 minutes: full

Today I'm linking up to Lisa-Jo, aka gypsy mama, who chooses a topic every Friday and writes for five minutes.

Only five minutes.

And the rule is that whatever she writes about in that five minutes is what she posts. No editing her thoughts.

Today, her topic choice is "Full…"

So I'm going to set the timer, write some thoughts, and then I'm going to stop.

Ready? Set. Go.


I was watching television the other day when a commercial for the Iowa Lottery came on. They showed people receiving these boxes at their homes that glowed with a bright white light and said, "DREAM" across the side.

The actors would jump and scream and run in the house yelling, "Honey! I got my dream!" and it was fun and exciting and it got me thinking…

What would be my dream?

And I realized, I don't have one. I don't have a tangible, money-driven dream that the Iowa Lottery would be able to deliver for me.

And I realized it's because I'm full.

I sat here for the longest time and tried to think of something I really needed. Or even something I wanted really badly. And I'm not saying this to be all holier-than-thou, but I really have everything I need. Even before I was gifted this bed for my birthday, the one thing I needed to be comfortable every day, I'm not sure I would have thought of it as a wish.

Because I just feel full.

I woke up this morning and Riley was waiting for my eyes to open so he could lay his head on my stomach and I could pet him until I could move. It was a moment of being truly full because I was needed and wanted and not alone.

I have a safe home and a comfortable place to lay my bones all day. I have friends who call and email. I have a community of people here who really see me. I have family members who love me and check in on me and I am full.

I have everything I need.

I worried about it for a minute… because we live in a world of goals and dreams and five year plans. But as much as I would like for some things to be different in my life, I think I like the lesson I've learned in the way my life turned out.

That God has given me everything I needed as I've needed it. And I am full.

Oops :)

Hey, friends ~

I was going to write the weekly 5 Minute Friday that I usually do, but Lisa-Jo didn't have the prompt up by the time I usually have it published, so I'll be posting sometime after I get up and moving in the morning. Or, if she's skipping this week because of her Africa travels and I didn't realize it, I'll try to come up with something witty to replace it. :)

I just didn't want to not put something up and have you all worry about me!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gitz Bits: week 28

gitz bits 2011 2

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Monday, July 11, 2011


No, I'm not a lush. ;)

My friends Kelly and Kathy came over for supper on Monday night, and since neither of them wanted their picture taken {I tried to convince them after my makeup-less, bedhead photo, but to no avail!} I took this photo to represent them.

You gotta work with what's available.

Kathy is my friend that calls me for questions of all things Catholic, which got interesting this past Lent when she wanted to know if it was breaking the rules if she just gave up wine Monday through Thursday and took the long weekend off each week.

After I finished laughing, and then realizing she was serious, I promised her I'd ask my mom to get a second opinion. That worked in her favor because my mom raised six kids and told Kathy that God would want her to have the wine if it made her a better mother.

I think Kathy is just bypassing me and going straight to my mom with these questions in the future.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Remember cute and cuddly Simon and Theodore? They're looking less cute to me by the day because my patio looks AWFUL.

Although I think it might have been entertaining to watch them break the little windmill looking lawn ornament. Can't you just picture them grabbing onto a blade and yelling "WHEEEE!"

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I get this look a lot.

I was busy re-watching all the seasons of LOST on Netflix, and Riley got a little irritated with the television getting all of my attention. So he sat right in front of it and stared me down.

He wiggles in between me and Padma a lot, and every time I answer the phone he leaps on me and lays across my chest to try to wriggle it out of my hands.

Which is super convenient considering I can't breathe anyway. At least he's got that cute thing going for him...

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Thursday, July 14, 2011


Dawn brought me the new frozen strawberry lemonade from McDonalds. I love her.

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Friday, July 15, 2011


There's a whole blog post in this photo. I'm sure of it. Because the storm clouds close and the break of light on the horizon just screams hope to me.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011


When Linda brought groceries this week, she brought along these two ears of sweet corn. Lord have mercy, I love summer in Iowa.

I also realized how crooked my bottom row of teeth are for how long it took me to rid them of the corn.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011


I was watching a Criminal Minds marathon on Sunday night, and I decided that these ASPCA commercials are more disturbing than the show's story lines. I hear Sarah McLachlan or Roberta Flack coming on the screen and I immediately have to mute it and look away.

And hug Riley. They get me every time.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well: