Thursday, December 30, 2010

"I've Missed You!"

2010 is about to end. And all I can say is "HALLELUJAH!!! I am so done with 2010. I am ready for 2011!!! (If you don't know why I'm ready for 2011, click here to read why.)

I feel a little bit like I've been Mary Poppins the last couple of weeks. This classic Disney movie has so many wonderful lessons in it that seeing it as a kid and seeing it as an adult become two totally different experiences. As a child, I saw Mary Poppins as this fun loving, magical nanny that I secretly wished would come and live at my house, sing songs to me, and take me on glorious and fun adventures. But now as an adult, I see that she actually had a purpose for being at the fictional character family's house, the Banks.

Towards the end of the movie, Mr. George Banks has had a terrible occurrence happen to him due to his son's behavior and is called to a meeting with the Board of Directors of the bank. He is basically asked to leave his prestigious position at the bank - and he could care less! He runs home realizing the blessings that he has in his family - all thanks to Mary Poppins coming into his/their life. However, Mary Poppins is packing her things as the wind has changed and realizes that she must now move on as she has done what she had come to do. I love this movie.

Well this girl is ready to go fly a kite, get out her umbrella, and fly away into 2011! I have no idea what it's about to bring me, but I can feel a change just like Mary Poppins. I feel like I've done all I can do in some capacities and I've done them to the fullest extent possible for me for the better of others. And I can feel that it's going to be a big surge of change is some capacity. Right now, I'm not worried about what it is, I'm just honestly excited about it and I know that it's all in God's hand's whatever it is. So with that, I'm ready!

Going through with what I feel and what I'm excited about (which is strange to say because I don't even know what it is!) makes me feel energized and excited about the future. I know that there are several people who have been in my life who are no longer here whom I miss, so perhaps someone I love will come back? I don't know, but I'm ready! I know there have been opportunities that I've been hinted at to start, so will I start them? I don't know, but I'm ready! Will I finally be debt free? I don't know, but I'm ready! A new hairstyle, a new friend, a new freedom? I don't know, but I'm ready for God to move and I'm ready for change. One thing that I do not feel in my spirit is a move from California (so all of you people out there back home, sorry!). However, if God calls me somewhere else and it's truly meant to be, I will go. But right now, I love where I live.

So though it may seem strange to title this blog, "I've Missed You," it really isn't because it's almost as if when a loved pet becomes lost and is finally found, there is an instant love and comfort there that the reunion just makes you want to say "I've Missed You!" as you wrap your arms wholeheartedly around it. So... when that opportunity, friend, or change happens in 2011 that I have a feeling is coming, I'm ready to say "I've Missed You" - even though I have no clue what it is that I'm about to embrace. Bring on good things, God! My eyes, ears, hands, and arms are open to the good surge I'm feeling! Here's to 2011!! Happy early New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Van Gogh?

Van Gogh? No. It's just the torrential downpour of rain that God has so kindly blessed us with for the past several days. And when I mean rain - I mean RAIN. Nonstop heavy rain - day, night, morning, afternoon, evening. All day and night long. Hard rain. But the picture does look like a painting, don't you think? (It was taken from my bedroom window today.)

I remember the first year I moved to California, it just so happened to have rain similar to this, but this by far beats that year (and from what the newscasters are saying, the year I moved here was considered a bad storm). So, here is a little glimpse of life of someone in a wheelchair when it rains along with other rain information happening here in California:
  • Your wheelchair tires have absolutely no traction when it's wet outside. Especially once you get into a store. It's hard to get through the front door without spinning your tires for a good couple minutes while people look at you weird.
  • If you're going to go out into the weather, plan on bringing a change of clothes and a whole new cushion, because both will be soaked. Oh, and no need to do your hair. It will just get wet again anyway. Soaking wet.
  • If you have to go through a muddy patch and it's raining, plan on the inside of your car getting nasty. Thus the reason I switched from light tan leather interior to black interior when I changed cars. Harder to see the dirt. :)
  • Get groceries before it rains! Because carrying them inside the house is a pain already, and rain certainly doesn't help!!
  • Try driving up a hill while a river is flowing down it. Scary!
  • Try going up a curb cut out when there is a huge lake aka "puddle" in front of it. It was so deep and was the only way to get to where I needed to go. So, my shoes were underwater! I couldn't believe it!
  • The second I go from the garage to where my car is parked, I am literally soaked from head to toe. By the time I get into the car, my drivers side inside door has received a free bath.
  • I love that people continue to ask me "Why don't you carry an umbrella?" Um, yeah. Ok.
  • The gutters that lead to the ocean can't even keep up with the rain flow as they are seriously flooded. In fact, perhaps the ocean is coming in the reverse direction!!
  • Soon, I will probably have ocean front property because the front half of the coast will probably be washed away with all this rain.
The rain is supposed to get worse on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then no rain for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I hope that remains true. Some parts of Southern California have already received 12 inches of rain, and parts of the interstate were flooded. Crazy! And we're expected to receive another 5 to 10 inches more! People are using sandbags to prepare for mudslides and flooding, and friends of mine are already having issues with their house. But thanks to the "Emergency Preparedness Training" we had by the Red Cross at my work, I am prepared for ANYTHING! I have all important documents safely secured, and insurance for everything including earthquake insurance!

The positive part of all this rain is that the rims of my car remain semi-clean from all the water (those of you who know me well know that I hate when my rims are dirty!). But seriously, it will make the grass greener, wipe out all the smog and pollution for at least a day once the rain recedes LOL, and um, I guess that's all. But none of this weather should surprise me, because it's the end of a year that was not my favorite, so I guess rain only seems appropriate. The picture kind of reminds me of the scene in Mary Poppins when the sidewalk chalk sketcher gets all his artwork washed away once it starts raining.

Too bad I missed the Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice because of the cloud cover. And I find it funny that the weather news reports that the air quality is "good" right now. Wish I was just a few thousand feet higher and I'd have a "White Christmas."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The True Meaning

This year, 2010, has continued on its path of "blech" ... as in "not a good year." And this Christmas has not felt like Christmas either. In fact, I can't believe it's next Saturday!

I made a decision several months ago to move into a smaller place which cost less in order to pay off my debt. I do NOT regret this decision at all. I absolutely love where I live and truly believe God saved this place just for me for just the right time when He knew I'd need it. However because it is so tiny, I do not have room for all of my things. I got rid of a lot of materialistic items that were meaningless when I moved, however this Christmas just doesn't feel the same without a Christmas tree, my favorite childhood ornaments, my complete 19 piece Willow Tree Nativity Set, or my stockings hung with care and presents neatly wrapped underneath the tree. It really makes me kind of sad, not to mention the fact that I will not be home for Christmas.

I was lamenting to some friends about how I was trying to find my Christmas spirit when a great friend and spiritual advisor sent me the link - of all things - to a portion of "Charlie Brown's Christmas". I can't remember the last time I watched this traditional Christmas cartoon, but I know it must have been 10 or 11 years old!

Watch this short clip:

This is exactly what Christmas is all about! Linus knew it the entire time! And if you notice, this is one if not the only time that Linus ever lets go of his security blanket. HUGE symbolism here, people! It's not about the materialistic things, the stockings, the tree, or even the 19 piece Willow Tree Nativity Set. It's about the REAL thing that Father God did by allowing His son Jesus Christ to be born so that we may experience true freedom, love, and forgiveness!

I'm amazed that a simple cartoon like this which purely quotes Luke 2 from the Bible has lasted this long in the secular society - especially now days. God's hand was on this writer and on this message. It proves to me that God supersedes all of our plans and ideas, and that He is timeless! A priceless gift!

And all this time these past few weeks while I've been trying to find my Christmas spirit and of all the days, guess what comes on the television tonight? Yup - "Charlie Brown's Christmas"! God knew I needed to hear this again to remember and remind myself that it's not about meeting a quota at work, making sure the house is decorated with Christmas-y things, or even that presents are bought and wrapped. The commercialism can stop.

It's about the One true Saviour who came born to a virgin - pure and in human form - to walk the earth and go through things that I have been through and have yet to go through so that I could one day have the opportunity to know that He loves me and me love Him back. Because Jesus Christ was born, and because I have accepted Him into my life and allowed Him to be in control of my past, present, and future, because I believe that later in His life He sacrificially died on the cross for me even though He had the Power to save Himself, and then three days later went back to be with His Father in Heaven after sustaining a real and painful death, then came back to prove to us lowly humans that it was really Him who was now in Heaven - because of all of this, I can celebrate Christmas without a tree, stockings, and presents, because I know I have Jesus forever! A lifetime in Heaven is my present and the true meaning of Christmas!

Through a simple cartoon a huge lesson continues to be taught each Christmas that does not discriminate against age. Young children and older adults can all understand the same message: "Unto us a Child is Born, and He shall be called Emmanuel, God With Us!"

Amen, Amen, and Amen!

If you don't know the True Meaning of Christmas, please read in the Bible, the book of Luke, Chapter 2. Ask questions if you need to. Visit a local church. Jesus Christ is real, the Bible is true, and through a simple cartoon character like Linus whose Christmas special first aired on CBS in 1965, we are reminded of the why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do Something!

I find the picture above totally satirical. This is my cousin (more like sister), Sarah, who is from Wisconsin, and me, from Georgia. We ended up wearing opposite sweatshirts this day as we drove from WI to MN for my other cousins wedding a few weeks ago. I miss her and the family. I think as I grow older, I definitely feel the desire to be closer to family. Now, not too close - so mom and dad, don't get your hopes up. Ha! But seriously, especially extended family... it was so good, refreshing, and enjoyable to be "reunited" with my extended family who all live up North.

Why is it that we (meaning people in America) typically only get together as whole families for weddings and funerals? I find that sad. No individual family is perfect. We each have our own dysfunction that adds to the pot of mixed up families, but does there always have to be someone who's upset with someone else or arguments that start or feelings of jealousy that occur? I understand we are human beings, but Christ died on the cross for us so that we have the ability to forgive people through Him. We may not be able to in our own flesh, but I've learned that there are things in life which I haven't had any control over that happened to me that I've had to learn to forgive and move on with life. It doesn't mean I'll forget or that it makes what happened "ok," but I don't want that one person or incident to hold me back from accomplishing my dreams whenever he/she/it comes to mind.

Just a tangent, I suppose, or maybe a soapbox, but it's really frustrating when a child has to become an adult to an adult. We teach our children to "play nicely" and to "share with others," yet as adults, we can't follow the same rules. It's more like teaching our children, "Do what I say, not what I do."

Again, I digress.

I have seen growth in myself this year in so many amazing ways, and I honestly think writing the previous blog had a lot to do with seeing that growth. Up until then, I thought that 2010 was crappy. And for the most part, it was. But there were so many good things that happened as well that somehow I allowed the "not so good" things to overshadow the blessings that God bestowed on me. I am thankful. And even through the difficult, stormy times of 2010, there has been a silver lining in all of it. I persevered and pushed through each hardship and became a stronger woman because of all of them. I guess God does know what He's doing when we just keep our eyes on Him and keeping doing things to please Him. :)

Only a few more weeks of 2010, and I'm no where closer to accomplishing that "to do" list then I was when I wrote the previous blog. But you know what, that's ok. I'm enjoying each day, and truly living each day out fully. I have to. It's the only choice I have control over. I'm not guaranteed tomorrow. None of us are. And I'm reminded every day of the death of my dear friends husband, Stewart. You can read about it here if you don't know.

Think wisely. Act carefully. Be humble. Create generosity. Love fully. Find strength. Enjoy today.

Do something.

And if you don't know what to do this Christmas, watch this video and I promise you'll be inspired and know exactly what to do!

Joy to the World from Free Wheelchair Mission.