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Friday, January 29, 2016

Jac of All Shades

Nothing has surprised me more than the responses I've gotten on the doodles I've posted to Facebook. I started doodling right after my head injury. I would sit in our weekly departmental meetings and doodle as I listened. I can't exactly say why I needed to escape, but I think it may have been due to the difficulty I had in hearing. The TBI left me with severe Tinnitus, which is a very loud ringing in the ears. That with the difficulty I had in personal interactions in general, I found solace in the doodling to block the static of multiple voices. A few months ago a friend posted some of her doodles and I thought.... "That's what I used to do during our meetings." So.... I got a sketch pad and some markers and began doodling while I listened to the TV. That was when I was sucked into the black hole of doodling, spending hours lost in my paper and pen. It's so much fun, I never imagined others would enjoy my doodles as well. Today a girl I work with said.... "Jackie, I want a picture of the owl you posted last night."  Nothing makes me happier than doing something that causes another to smile. I've always considered myself a "Jac of all trades, master of none" I can play the piano, yet I am not a pianist. I love to decorate, but I'm not a decorator. Now, I love to doodle, but I'm not an artist..... I guess you could say I am a "Jac of all shades"..... Fifty shades of Jac??? LOL

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A No Brainer

Everyone has moments when they don't feel like being fair. Someone hurts our feelings, does something to disrupt our world, and instead of letting it slide, turning the other cheek, or simply try to look at the situation from their perspective..... We develop an attitude toward them. Heaven forbid someone rock our world by having the audacity to disagree with us. I'm not always fair, but I feel I am mostly fair. I sincerely step back and try to look at situations from all angles.... Not only that, but when I have been in the situation where someone is venting their anger to me about another person, and I believed the criticism is unfair..... I try to guide them to a more balanced way of looking at things.  Sometimes it is difficult to make a stand like that. If a person has a strong personality, it can not only be a delicate dance, but also a dangerous one. Danger aside, it isn't in my nature to sit by while someone verbally tears another person's character to pieces. I can honestly say that standing up for others hasn't always served me well. There have been more than a few times when I have risked the friendship of one person, by standing up for someone else. I feel like standing up for those others would tear down is the Christ-like thing to do. In fact.... Not being charitable completely goes against what Christ teaches us. When I am in a situation where I have to make a choice  whether remaining silent, and turn a deaf ear while a person destroys another's character, I measure my choice against 1 Corinthians 13..... In light of what the Word says, standing up for a friend is a no-brainer.

1 Corinthians 13New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

God Help America

(Note: I should have written this blog post in all caps, because if I were discussing it with you in person, I would not be using my "inside voice")

The other night my husband and I went to see the Movie "13 Hours", which is based on the true story of the six members of a security team who fought to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi. The movie itself did not lean in any political direction..... It is simply an accurate portrayal of the hell on earth that took place in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. It is a powerful example of the courage of soldiers protecting Americans in a foreign land. I found myself shaking my head throughout the movie, stunned that such an event took place. It's unbelievable that with so many lives lost, no one is being held accountable for the negligence of how it unfolded both during and after the fact. I left the theater mad..... Really mad. It is unimaginable to me, that someone responsible for the mismanagement of such an event, would have the gall to not only minimalize it("at this point, what difference does it make?"), but also to lie about it and then ask the citizens of our nation to actually elect them to the highest office in the country. The whole idea is like a really bad Quentin Tarantino film.... It's absurd! But what is even more shocking is there are probably enough clueless Americans who would actually vote for her!!!!!! God help us all.... God help America

2 Chronicles 7:14
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sugarcoated Memories

The other day my Dad and I were discussing the coping skills God gives us when we need it most.. During our darkest moments, he give us the strength to persevere.  We are capable of doing things we never thought possible. There have been events in my life that I have tucked into a safely guarded part of  my heart... Sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.  I can retrieve just enough of these events without touching the visceral emotion associated with them. This place is reserved for the events that aren't emotionally safe for me to examine up close and personal because they are just too painful. Recently I accidentally opened one of the  heart compartments without the safeguards I usually remember it in.  I sat there and  stared at the hardcore uncut version. I was SHOCKED, completely shocked at the pain I felt.... How did I manage?   In that moment I realized that I had previously only seen the sugarcoated memory. I had never really taken a step back and looked at it in it's truest form..... And now I know why. God gives us the strength and grace to get through whatever we need to go through. There have been times I have felt as though I survived by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin, but at least I survived.  I think God intended for me to get a glimpse of the raw version of the event, so I could understand exactly how much pain I experienced, and exactly how much grace it took to get me though. It was his way of saying..... "You don't want to go back there." I've tucked the memory back into it's guarded compartment (doubled the locks this time) with an understanding of how much God loves me and how blessed I am. Note to self, don't take God's grace for granted. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Where You Choose to Focus

When I walked into the house Friday afternoon, I had every intention of having a productive weekend.  During the early morning hours Saturday, I woke up unable to breathe due to a raging sinus infection. I spent most of the weekend in bed or laying on the couch. As I began getting ready to tuck in for the night, I caught myself scolding myself because I hadn't gotten much done and dreading starting the week fighting being sick. About mid-scold, I stopped and started naming all of the reasons I had to be thankful. I turned my words around to sound more like... "I get to go to work tomorrow, even if I'm sick. I am blessed to have a nice comfy bed to snuggle in when I'm sick. I am thankful that my sweet husband cuddled under with me to keep me company."  We don't have took look very far to find things that disappoint us, or things to worry about. But the same can be true about our blessings..... it's just a matter of where you choose to focus.

"His eye is on the sparrow, so I know he watches over me"

Friday, January 15, 2016

Forever Yours

The enemy will pervert and steal anything possible..... But the moments treasured in the heart are forever yours.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Heart of Me

 If you could see into the heart of me.... What would you see?

  • Imperfection.
  • Willing Reflection.
  • A need to please.
  • A friend willing to go the extra mile.
  • A desire to be all God created me to be.
  • An ocean of forgiveness because that is how much I need.
  • A heart that needs things to make sense, yet embraces the senseless.
  • A heart that wants to see the best in others.
  • A broken heart covered with a smile when it finally figures out, sometimes the best isn't enough.
  • A true desire to bring a smile, even in the worst of times.
  • A sense of disappointments when I fail myself, others, and God.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Secrets of the Heart

I walked in the house this evening and headed straight for the hallway closet. My husband was in the backyard flying his drone, but I didn't even peek out to say hello. I pulled three large bank bags which are actually funeral bags from the closet and gingerly began scanning through the information tucked inside.  My daughter had sent me an email first thing this morning, requesting specific information for a college paper she had been putting off for months. It was a paper about death. She needed details about the four deaths that have touched our family. She needed information about the deaths of my husband's parents, my mother, and specifically the death of her half brother whose death was tragically sudden at the age of 23. She dreaded writing the paper and actually put it off until it was late which was a first for her and extremely out of character. I think I dreaded it as much as she did. I think it's natural for people to tuck painful memories and events in a pocket of the Heart. A pocket that allows just enough memory without causing too much pain. As I sat down and began to write the dates and details, I couldn't help but weep. The death of our parents is something we all expect at some time in life. The death of a child before their time, is never expected. The pocket of my heart that contains the memories of Richie's life and death are a mixture of heartache and regrets that I live with every day. His death digs up the could have, should have, and would have's that I cannot go back and fix. I can't fill in the missing pieces. I can't make it better, and I can't bring him back leaving a compartment of my heart without complete peace. The pieces of puzzle are not so neatly tucked away in the secrets of my heart.