Sunday, November 28, 2010

What IS That Noise?

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My world is often very quiet at home. I am not a TV lover, so the radio or CD player are usually my only background noise. Several nights ago, I thought I was losing my mind! My brain was certain there was an unidentifiable noise, but I knew no music was playing. I checked both of my radios TWICE! I finally went on a search; I had to know! The noise was so faint and intermittent. I was at a loss! "Lord, What is that noise?!!!" Then I had an idea. I stood at the bottom of the stairs in my dining room that lead to my unfinished second floor and I waited. It finally became clear to me, although still very faint, what the mystery noise was. Perhaps you already guessed. As I opened the door at the top of the stairs, the loud, annoying chirp begged me to change the battery.
I've written about this little project before, but since it had been months since I changed the battery in my bedroom, I had to figure it out all over again. You might be thinking, what's the big deal: just put a new nine volt in there and be done with it! In my experience, nothing is ever that simple! My main concern was the electric line attached to the smoke detector. I always prefer to come away in a non-crispy condition, so after many trips up and down two flights of stairs to locate and assure that the right breaker was turned off, I proceeded.

My next move was to test my batteries with my handy battery tester. Buck never trusted the nifty gizmo. Nevertheless, I have great faith in it, and discovered that two out of the four batteries I had on hand were worthy of placement. I shakily switched out the battery (eight foot ceiling...two foot step ladder and me with balance issues). My little smirk of satisfaction and victory was very short-lived when the alarm continued to mock me! I could almost hear my sweetheart whisper, "I told you so!"

I located an identical alarm in the basement and verified that I had installed the battery correctly. More trips back and forth to cut the juice! Then, I tried the other "so called" good battery. More chirping mockery! I slumped in defeat and discouragement! Such a small chore... my honey would have had it taken care of in no time and after my marathon of trips up and down the stairs, I still had gotten nowhere!

Then I saw it! My little pity party ended as quickly as it started, when I spotted the inconspicuous CO2 detector amidst the miscellaneous collection on top of a dresser! I wanted to jump up and down with joy, but controlled myself and dug out the double A's and my trusty battery tester, one more time! I thanked God when peace was restored! Aaaahhhh; the sound of silence! I celebrated with a brownie!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thankful Heart Is A Happier Heart

 As the Thanksgiving season approached this year, I took on the daily challenge of posting something I was thankful for. Facebook became my daily platform to share my thankful thought for the day. As I contemplated what I would include that day, I realized how much this exercise was turning my thoughts to all the blessings I enjoy. I love the idea of keeping an inventory of the many blessings that come my way. As I contemplated the celebration of Thanksgiving I am sure that many of us are indeed thankful for all we have, but I wonder if we are all mindful of where our abundant blessings really come from.

The dictionary defines thanksgiving as an expression of gratitude, especially to God. By participating in the simple act of being thankful, my spirits were often lifted as I deliberately changed my focus, in spite of the way I might be feeling. I wonder, if maybe that is one of the reasons we are often encouraged to give thanks in so many scriptures in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18  admonishes  us to: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus".

I have learned that it is possible to be joyful in spite of heartache, but it sometimes requires a conscious effort to search for, or at least take notice of joy-filled moments, and there are many to be found when we are looking for them. As the verse goes on, I don't think for a moment, that God expects us to be thankful FOR all our circumstances and the difficulties we face, but rather we are commanded to give thanks IN all circumstances. That is very different.

For me, that means that even when I'm struggling emotionally; with the Lord's help, I can remember and recognize that He is on this journey with me. Through tears, I may pray, "Lord, I'm hurting right now and sometimes I don't understand, but I thank You for what You are doing in my life and I trust You and know You have my best interest at heart as well as the best interest of those I love. Thank You for the good You will bring from this situation and for drawing me closer to You as You empower me to take baby steps towards my future." 

Having a thankful heart comes easy for me because I have been so very blessed and have seen the hand of God in so many ways throughout my life, but never so obviously as during the past, almost, two years, since this chapter began. He continues to go before me, in this totally foreign territory of widowhood. So often, the Lord shows me the next step by bringing people into my life to help with the many decisions that need to be made. This is a tremendous comfort to me!

I have decided that I would like to continue my daily thankfulness inventory. Perhaps I will share my  Gratitude Journal from time to time. I encourage everyone to try keeping a record of thanksgiving and rereading it whenever we need an emotional lift or attitude adjustment.

As William Shakespeare said so eloquently: "Let never day nor night unhallowed pass / But still remember what the Lord hath done." May we all take a few moments to thank God for the multitude of ways He blesses each of us everyday! We are all richer than we know! God bless you and your loved ones as you celebrate this holiday season! You are a tremendous blessing in my life!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dark Circles And A Heavy Heart

Although it is very different now, the struggle goes on. For some reason, I seem to be extra sensitive to the triggers that affect me emotionally. I suppose I thought that I would be doing so much better by now, but the truth is, now the pain appears in many daily snippets instead of the gigantic waves that used to flood over me. I'm so thankful that that season is behind me.

One of my dilemmas is wanting to journal about what is happening in my world and also wanting to encourage at the same time. I fear that anyone reading here will tire of hearing about how sad and broken I am. Really...who needs that! Sometimes I feel like I am not a good witness to the power of God's love, because I can't always report that my Joy has been restored, however momentary. But this is my life...this is where I am right now, and for who knows how long. I want to lift up, not depress, but that isn't easy when you are in the valleys of life. Even so, I feel the need to express myself and see where my thoughts will take me. Thank you for hanging in there with me in the ups and downs of my journey.

I've never been much of a make-up person; a sweep of blush on the cheeks and a little color on the lips (to make me look like I had some), was the extent of my daily routine. But as I get older and my hair becomes lighter and more silver, (that sounds more elegant than gray), I realize I need some tricks to look alive and look my best, especially now. You know you need help, when your seven year old granddaughter says, "Nana have you been sleeping okay? You have really dark circles under your eyes!" I knew they were there, but was not aware that they were quite so obvious. So, I was open when my daughter, Sarah, suggested we go to the mall and let the pros make some suggestions.

One of the products they recommended was something that would minimize the under eye darkness and brighten my eyes. They call it "Well Rested"! Now I have a way to hide this glaring flaw, without calling greater attention to it, as has been the case with other products I've tried.  Adding "Well Rested" and waterproof mascara has gone a long way to making me feel better about my appearance. We all know that if we look better, we feel better.

Over the past year and a half since Buck went home, I have experienced many different levels of grief. According to the dictionary, grieve is a stronger verb than mourn. Grieve implies  deep mental anguish or suffering, often endured alone and in silence; as contrasting with, to mourn, which implies deep emotion felt over a period of time. That may just sound like silly semantics, but strangely, it comforts me somehow, to think that I have reached a lesser level of intensity. Although I'm still in a very painful and vulnerable state, it is greatly encouraging to know I am getting better and stronger as time goes on. I am very thankful for God's grace to have reached this plateau. However, I must admit that I am often uncomfortable with knowing that my tears may spill at any given moment and I am powerless to control them. If only my "Well Rested" was waterproof like my mascara! What a blessing that would be!