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Part 46, July 7, 2016

Life continues …

I met and married my second husband in Panama. He was also a soldier, in the same company where I was assigned. My term of service ended in July 1989 and the “conflict” in Panama was just before Christmas that year, and I was still there. Not a fun time, but I’ll write about that later. My husband was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas at the end of 1990 and sent to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm in January of 1991.

We’d found a house to buy shortly before he left, and I moved there in February. It was a cozy little farm house on 5 acres, three miles north of the tiny town of Green, Kansas–which is out in the middle of everywhere, cuz everywhere was somewhere else! The realtor helped me move our stuff there on a Saturday, and I figured that the best way to meet people in such an area was to go to church, so that’s what I did the next morning–and I hadn’t even fully unpacked the car yet! I did meet some wonderful folks there.

During our time in Green, we had dogs and cats and chickens and church and bible study and ran a bowling alley & snack bar & it was generally good. I also was called by God into full-time ministry, so had to leave all of that behind. From 1995 through 1999, I finished off my last year of college and went to seminary while serving churches part time as their pastor–2 years in Hanover & Barnes, KS and 3 years in Uniontown & Redfield, KS. After seminary, I served in Herington & Hope, KS until I moved to West Virginia at the end of 1999.

Part 45, July 6, 2016

In my journal, I say “Thank you, God!!!” so often throughout each day that, to another reading it, it may seem redundant and even automatic & unreal, but it’s true and honest gratitude that I’m expressing over and over, every single day. Thank you, God, for this day in which to serve you because I love you and truly appreciate your guidance and love and grace throughout each and every day and night!

Part 44, July 5, 2016

The latter part of my life had moving less frequent, but longer distances and more inner turmoil.

We moved out of the home we built when we lost it because we’d used it as collateral on buying a dry cleaning & laundromat business that wound up having the road on both sides torn up for significant portions of the next 2 summers. We moved back in with his mom, who’d bought his/our house, and we continued to run the diaper service I’d started, turning the garage into our laundry area. I started college, too, for the first time at age 25. I figured I’d flunk out pretty quickly and was shocked when I was invited to transfer to the honors program instead!

When the house was foreclosed on due to somehow someone not realizing that there was a balloon payment due and taking care of that, we had to close the diaper service and move into an apartment. We moved to a different apartment a year later, and wound up splitting up a few months later & I rented a room in a friend’s house, then moved into an apartment about 6 months later. For a couple of months, I lived in a camper on the back of a pickup truck with a man friend for a couple of months, then a month or so in a house with other friends before I left for Army basic training. I turned 29 while I was there, then was assigned to serve in Panama for the remainder of my 3 years of service.

Part 43, July 3, 2016

Mom moved from Alaska to Minnesota while I was in utero. We moved before I was 2 years old, moved a month or so before I finished kindergarten, moved a month after I started 3rd grade and again a month into 4th grade (the closest elementary school didn’t have room for me, so I went there for 3 days before being transferred to one across town, riding a school bus from and to the original new school). We moved during the summer before 5th grade, and in the middle of summer school before 7th grade–then again with a month or so left of 7th grade. We actually stayed in the same place until the summer before 12th grade, at which point I moved away from home when my family moved somewhere else, so I could graduate with my class in the same school.

I moved 2 days before my high school graduation, into my own apartment–I was still 17 years old at that point. A year & ½ later, I moved to another town to live with some friends and their families. About 6 months later, I moved into my own little 10 x 55 mobile home & let my mom stay with me for a while, and about 4 months later into the house that my new husband owned. After about a year & ½, we moved into the home that I designed and we had built by contractors, though we did all the finishing work.

That brings us to about age 21-22. LOTS of moving around in my early years, and the one thing I longed for was stability.

Part 42, July 2, 2016

One piece of the impetus for this book was a couple of people saying that I should write a book about my life. They apparently thought the bits & pieces I told them were interesting enough to share. And my life HAS been a journey of discovery, coming to learn that I AM Love wrapped up in a body, as I so yearned to become for so long–and so are you, dear reader!

But what has brought me to this place in my life? I’m not going to say that it’s been smooth sailing all the way. That would be patently false. I’m not going to say that it’s been more difficult and tumultuous than many others, either. I’ve experienced change, a LOT more than it seems most folks do, and learned to get through it with some measure of grace … I hope … and maybe that’s what  folks find so interesting. I honestly don’t know. I will share what God prompts me to share along the way, that it may prove helpful for others on their own journeys.

Part 41, July 1, 2016

Just a reminder of what all these posts are about: http://anotherchanceacres.com/love-wrapped-up-in-a-body/

Facebook shot me a memory of my own blog post from 3 years ago, and I think that it belongs here:

Traditionally, they say that an optimist sees a glass as half full and that a pessimist sees it as half empty. What about the realist? Well, you can find lots of memes about that online these days. I don’t know what label I’d wear, if there even is one. I see the glass completely full! It’s half full of present reality, and half full of potential! Does that make me a super-optimist? A dreamer? An utopian philosopher? I imagine that the labels stuck on me by others could make me look like an old-time steamer trunk that’s been around the world … but as far as I’m concerned, the labels can all fall off. Labels are for those who choose to stop thinking once the category is chosen and the label has been applied.

You see, my darling husband and I were having a conversation, and it got a bit heated due to our differing viewpoints. We’ve batted around the idea of looking for a younger couple to join us on the farm as working partners in an LLC, as our previous partnership plans may not come to fruition. I was honestly shocked at the controversy we wound up in–we simply don’t argue much at all. When we disagree, we can normally talk it out and come to a mutually satisfying resolution. Not this time. Not at all! Yet.

I believe quite strongly that people tend to behave as we expect them to behave; that most people will live up or down to our basic opinion of who they are; that we shape our world by not only our physical actions, but equally by our invisible mental and spiritual actions. He believes that people are generally selfish and lazy, and will give no more than is absolutely required of them in any given situation. This puts us in quite the quandary. He says that I’m trying to live in an utopian universe that doesn’t exist and am looking for disastrous disappointment. It seems to me that he’s planning for failure and since that’s his plan, he’ll be rewarded by being right. Quite the pair we are, huh?

I believe that love powers and empowers all that is. I believe that our cooperation in and with love makes a difference. I believe that my honey is just feeling frustrated right now and will come around. After all, he’s the most loving man I’ve ever known! Waiting is hard, especially for a man of action, and waiting is really all we can do right now. Thank you for sharing the wait with us.

Part 40, June 30, 2016

Perspective is everything! Do you live in a world of abundance or of scarcity?

It honestly is more a matter of perspective than it is a reflection of reality. If you’re reading this, chances are that you live in a house jam-packed full of stuff, and yet are always wanting more stuff. Chances are that you throw away food that’s perfectly edible. Chances are that you drive when you could walk. You probably pay someone to cut your hair, and maybe even to color and perm it, and to do your nails. It’s likely that you have a fast, unlimited, always-on internet source. And it’s likely that you’re afraid that it’ll all disappear or that it’s just not enough. Fear has more to do with the attitude of scarcity than the reality does.

Many, many folks who are NOT reading this right now have none of that. They may live in refugee camps, or they may live in a hut, or they may live under the sky anywhere in the world. Some of them, while surviving in a world that shouts “scarcity!”  actually live in an inner world of abundance because they appreciate life itself and count the small blessings each day.

Ideally, at least in my mind, would be for everyone to actually have enough and to be thankful for it, without needing to seek more and more. That’s living in trust that God, the universe, the world, whatever, will provide for our needs if not for all of our wants. Growing into our identity as Love wrapped up in a body means learning to trust that Love is enough, and more.

Part 39, June 29, 2016

Traditions

I know, early on I said something about church traditions being unhelpful–and they can be! But they can also be extremely helpful. The important thing, I think, is to keep in mind that traditions exist in order to help folks to build their faith in God, not in the traditions themselves.

Church traditions may vary from denomination to denomination and from church to church and even from family to family. For my purposes, I consider the Catholic church to be a denomination like any other, and not a different religion from the protestant denominations–all are Christian. The word “christian” means “follower of Christ.” Traditions exist in order to help us follow Christ more fully. When they accomplish that purpose, it can be beautiful!!! When traditions are followed for their own sake, the result can be pretty ugly, because at that point we’re worshipping the tradition rather than the God and the deeper realities that they point to.

One example is Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, whatever you want to call it. In some churches, it is served every Sunday while in others it’s monthly or even less often. I find it to be a very meaningful tradition and would like to see it shared every week, but I would also like to see more focus given to the fact that it’s pointing to the reality of sharing EVERY meal with Jesus; that EVERY meal is a gift from God; that EVERY time we share food with others and even EVERY time we eat alone, Jesus is right there with us. EVERY time we eat can be a celebration of communion with God. How cool is that? Yet, how often have you heard that in church?

Part 38, June 28, 2016

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

EVERYONE who loves is born of God and knows God. EVERYONE. Not just those who look like us or live like us or follow the same faith journey as us. EVERYONE.

Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

These two verses completely redraw the lines of separation between people. The lines we think obvious are erased. What we may consider “us” is divided. Many times, we don’t even know the difference! We are blinded to seeing fully the consequences of our own actions, and those of others near and dear to us. We are unable to see the beauty in the loving actions of those who are different from us in some way.

We cry out “Jesus! Jesus!” while hating our neighbor and fearing the foe who means us no harm, then wonder why our faith has no power.

Love draws no boundaries on the earth or between peoples. Love welcomes all …

Part 37, June 27, 2016

I can do all things through God who strengthens me!

I thank God every day for giving me the strength, motivation, stamina and grace that I need in order to do what I need to do, in enough abundance that I can also do some of what I want to do. At least most days. Considering the fact that two years ago, most folks didn’t think I’d last a year, I’d say that I’m doing pretty well!

When I was younger and healthier, I didn’t really think about all that I was able to do in my own strength, let alone what I might be able to do with God’s strength added. Now, I think of “all things” and “God’s strength” as far more than the physical, even though that’s where it appears that most of my limitations lie.

At least as important for me at this point in my life, is God strengthening me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This is where determination comes from. This is where hope comes from. This is where the rubber hits the road!

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