I Bonded With a Dragonfly Today

When we moved to this house with a pool a few years ago, I decided to splurge and buy myself a pool float that cost more than $10. After seven years, my treasured pool frippery is showing it age.

But it still works and I have an idea to repair it with some waterproof tape if I can. Anyway, me and my blue floaty were out there today alone and I was asking God some questions. Not the little ones about what to make for dinner, how can we pay to repair the crumbling patio, or how am I going to get brave enough to enroll my dog in an obedience class. I don’t normally bother God with those kinds of questions, though I am sure that He would not mind at all.

No, my questions today on that broken floaty were the biggies; What am I doing here? Why am I the way that I am? And, what is the whole point of Susie anyway? I mean really? What’s it all about (Alfie)?

In my growing up years, my church vaguely, and sometimes overtly sent me the message that our purpose is to win souls for God. Period. I believe in Heaven, and since I am firmly into my 6th decade, the thought of my hereafter definitely wanders through my mind on a regular basis.

I don’t know if it is due to certain scriptures or to sermons designed to encourage us to help people get saved, but I also have a weird picture of what our “mansions” might look like in Heaven. I somehow caught the idea that my heavenly home will be commensurate with my soul-winning talent. If I can convince a great number of people to love God, my mansion will be bigger and grander than those who do not. So now, my grownup mind is wondering how there could be “good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods” in Heaven. Seems wrong.

Which brought me back to the big questions while floating today. If I am a quiet, stay at home person who rethinks every single slight conversation that I have ever had with anyone, about anything; what is the point of me? What am I doing here? Why am I here at all? I have a small world. I love my people in my world and they know it, but where is my purpose in the big picture of it all?

And guess what happened? A beautiful blue dragonfly perched itself on my big toe. Don’t laugh. I did, but my laugh was not AT me, it was a giggle of pleasure at seeing a dragonfly ON MY BIG TOE!

It looked at me with those weird big eyes and just rested there for a while. Then it flew away, circled the pool and came back to my big toe…again and again. I think it liked me. We just stared at one another for nearly 30 minutes. I am crazy about all the dragonflies that hang around my yard at this time of year, I’ve always wanted one to land on me. But even though I love them, I have purposely not googled dragonflies because I do not want to learn something awful about them. Like that they see us as good spots to rest and poo or something disgusting like that. Sometimes the unknown is best.

As we looked at one another I had a thought. What is your purpose, little flying creature? What did you accomplish today? Why are you the way you are?

And I smiled.

That dragonfly was doing it’s job perfectly. He was being himself. His purpose was simple and clear to him. For today his job was to circle the swimming pool and give this odd lady a big smile. My conclusion my seem like a stretch for you, but somewhere deep inside me, I feel like I make God smile sometimes. As I circle my home, doing my little chores and marking small tasks off my To-Do lists, that my God takes pleasure in me just being me. Could that be true?

Could it be true that God loves us, even likes us and enjoys us just as we are? Just living our lives and loving our small world of people as best we know how? My world is extremely small right now and I do not see it changing much in the near future. I am what I am, as designed by Him and by the path I have walked. I am here to give Him pleasure and love my people. That is enough.

For today anyway.

Susie

I Want To Be Like My Granddaughter in 2021

This right here is my goal for 2021. To be more like my granddaughter. See that pride, confidence and just plain strength? This 3 year old is my inspiration for the new year. She knows her mind and speaks it freely without self editing…sometimes to her parent’s surprise!

An example, you ask? Certainly! We were visiting her home during the Christmas week and I stepped into her playroom where she was busy setting up and narrating a story with her toys. I don’t remember what I said to her, but I will never forget what she said in her sweet voice as she looked up at me.

“Could you leave here?”

Her shocked Daddy was standing behind me in the hallway and told her that what she said was impolite and to be more polite to Grandma. So she nodded and said,

“Could you leave here, please?”

She obeyed completely. And you know that we will never let her parents forget this little conversation, right?

I want to be you, Sparky (Her secret dog identity). I want to make up my mind and speak it clearly. I am 62 years older than you and that many years of second guessing, self-editing and doubting my own mind and opinions have built up to form an ugly, but crumbling wall. I look at you in this photo and have confidence that you and I will learn volumes from one another in the coming years together.

Today is the last day of the year 2020 and all of us tend to find ourselves weighing up the good and bad of the year that we have just survived. Yes, 2020 was a difficult and ugly year for the world in so many painful and shocking ways. For me personally, the negative events began in February with a heart-health scare, the loss of my friend Joyce in March, then covid led to loss of my beloved preschool job. The year ended with watching my son deal with the death of his best friend from covid just days before Christmas.

2020 also brought me several beautiful things! My third grandchild, Noah, arrived in November and he is bringing so much joy to all of us! Earlier in the year I discovered a wonderful meditation app that I use almost every day called, SoulSpace that I have written about previously. I turned my book into a children’s picture book, not yet published or finished though. We also added to our family with the addition of our goofy puppy, Gretta!

The year 2020 has caused me to nestle closer and deeper into God’s comforting arms. It has been a year of getting down to bare bones, as we all have been forced to re-evaluate what parts of our lives are essential and what can be canceled. It should not have been as hard as it was, but I deleted my Facebook account in September, and haven’t missed it at all. My Essential is consistently finding a moment to close my eyes and breath in the goodness of God, whether I can see it with my eyes open or not. And it has not been an easy year to see it, has it?

But I can see His goodness in the face of my grandchildren daily. They are our reason to keep on keepin’ on. They carry joy, strength and confidence like a superhero’s cape. It looks totally natural, raw and honest on them. They expect the world to be a good and beautiful place and my prayer is that everything that I say and do will confirm that belief for them. See that face pictured above? My wish is that my grandkids will see the same beautiful expression of pride, joy and strength on my face when I look at them.

Happy New Year Friends,

Susie

More Trust and Less Fear

My home is quiet and I am sitting on my couch looking at our decorated Christmas tree after sending hubby off to work. It’s seven in the morning and I’ve already been up for two hours, thanks to my puppy alarm clock. Of course, now she is snoring next to me with her nose on my knee.

The dishwasher needs to be emptied, a grocery list has to be written and I want to hang the garland on the front porch, but this poor neglected blog is calling to me this morning. I honestly do not even know where this post will end up, but the word ‘trust’ is nagging at me and from past experience I know that it will not let go until I sit down and write.

Trust is a big deal in my home right now. What happens inside when you hear the word trust? While you are asking yourself that question, I will give you my answer, ok? For me it also conjures up feelings of rest. A sense of letting go and allowing myself to relax and not worry. In other words, it feels like the opposite of fear.

Which brings me to the other popular word in my home lately, ‘fear’. Can the emotions of fear and trust live in the same being at the same time? Some would say that you can only have one or the other. But I disagree. Both can exist, warring for space and power in our heart and mind.

Our new puppy, Gretta, was rescued from terrible conditions and I can see this battle in her eyes and in her body language every day. She desperately wants to trust us. But her past experience tells her that humans are not worthy of her trust. She is gentle and loves to cuddle, but everything in her is still on high alert to jump away and hide if a loud noise or sudden movement triggers her. She approaches with eyes that want to believe that we are kind, but her body will sometimes cower in submission and fear.

I hate that! I hate seeing what fear has done to her. I also hate that it is like looking in a mirror. Fear has made my world small. Fear of covid, fear of driving around here, fear of getting lost, fear of the mean neighbor dog that chased us the other day, these have all caused me to cower here inside my home.

My puppy Gretta, has good reason to fear. Her history informs her that humans do not deserve her trust. Even I am not worthy of her complete trust yet. One day I bopped her on her nose after she nipped at my hand and it took me several days to win back her heart.

But I do not have such an excuse. My history is full of God’s faithfulness to me. One story after another reminds me that my God has not forgotten me and that He is worthy of my complete trust. Yesterday I listened to a message from Bo Stern Brady that reminded me that “God sees me, knows me and loves me.”

So why does the inner battle wage? What truth am I missing that will give Trust the upper hand in my mind and heart?

Even as I ask that last question, I am hearing some words spoken by my daughter-in-love on Thanksgiving Day this last week. We were talking about being over protective of our kids and imagining the worst, and she said, “Well I guess I’m a bad parent because I never do that. I just know that God’s grace will be there when I need it, if anything awful happens. But His grace is not there when we are simply imagining the situation, because we don’t need it yet. It’s not real. He doesn’t give grace/strength for something that has not happened.”

Hello!! My brilliant DIL’s words are resounding in my head now. She is completely right and the truth in that statement can make all the difference! In case my use of the word ‘grace’ in this instance is confusing, let me explain. It may be a case of “Christianse”, but even the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9… “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

If the worst case scenario happens, God will carry me through it. He will be there, I will not be alone. God sees me, knows me and loves me. I still do not want the bad thing to happen and will avoid putting myself in dangerous situations, but I can rest my mind in knowing that God is worthy of my trust. God also wants me safe and healthy and happy.

Gretta is learning that I see her, know her and love her. She is slowly figuring out that I do not want to harm her in any way, even though last week I put some yucky medicine in her food to make her feel better. And then it took two days to convince her to eat her regular food because I had lost her trust again. But, I know what is best for her.

‘Trust’ and ‘fear’ are both residing in me, but my shoulders are softening, my jaw is not clenched and fear is not in charge today. My deep breathes are bringing relaxation and rest. I can smile at this goofy puppy snoring next to me and promise her that we will attempt a neighborhood walk again today. My DIL’s words and God’s Word are tumbling around in me and helping me to trust more and fear less.

I hope you do not mind that I tend to write my way into inspiration as I go. I did not know where this post would end up at all. I realize that this may be an odd and probably incorrect way to write for public viewing. I suppose I could have thought this through before hand and then written it as an accomplished “How to” model in finding rest, as in; “Here is how I find peace in a chaotic world today…”

Just thinking out loud I guess. Right or wrong, it’s the way I write when a certain word or question is bouncing around in my head and heart. Thanks for listening and hopefully my meandering thoughts can be helpful to you too.

So now I’ll go back and add a title to this post.

Susie

How I Accidentally Adopted A Very Large Dog

Yes, I am irresistible.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear at the beginning of my story; I wanted a big dog, and as I write this, my grin is huge! We have been searching for a dog for the last several months. Our goofy Layla passed away 3 years ago at christmas and my husband and I were both ready to have a dog in our home again.

Baby Gretta. The pic I saw online for adoption.

Husband wanted a small dog, like a terrier. He wanted a Jack Russell to be precise. Like Asta in the Thin Man movies or Eddie on the Fraser Show, to be even more precise. I love big dogs. I remember meeting a friend’s Great Danes years ago and just stood breathless as I took in their beauty and sheer PRESENCE. But of course, I knew that a dog that size was out of the question, so my reasonable desire was a Labrador. Layla was part Lab and we loved the goofy-factor that a Lab brings to the mix.

We kept our search narrowed down to small terriers though, because I just wanted a dog and was ready to compromise on size. I agreed that a smaller dog would make less impact on our home and maybe be easier to live with.

As stated earlier, we’ve been on the dog hunt for several months now and I was becoming very discouraged and tired of getting my heart broken more than once as I fell in love with certain pups at our shelter or online and then they did not work out for us or someone else adopted them before us. We even had 3 in-person dog visits or overnight stays that revealed we were not a good match. I tend to go “all in” and my emotions took a beating during this process. I even reached the point where I tearfully told my husband that I no longer wanted a dog and it was time to just stop looking.

After a couple months of deleting all the “adopt a dog” apps on our phones and ignoring the emails about possible pet-matches, we started looking again, tentatively. I saw the photo of “Baby Gretta” on my Nextdoor App. She caught my eye, but I saw that the post about her was “over a week” old, so I assumed she was probably gone by then. I also saw that she could be a bigger dog than we had agreed to adopt. So I wasn’t going to mention her to my Husband at all.

Here is when my big grin began…Husband saw the picture of her over my shoulder and suggested we contact the rescuers about her availability! The post said she may be a Lab/Terrier mix and I took that as a good sign that we could both get what we wanted!

I talked to her rescuers on October 3rd and we visited her the next day. It was love at first lick! She was so sweet and cuddly right away. I noted her huge feet and told Husband that she was probably going to be a big dog and asked how he’d feel about that. He was also smitten with her and agreed that we should adopt her.

The wonderful couple who very literally rescued her from an area of abandoned and starving puppies are my heroes! They brought her home as a fearful, starving, flea and worm-ridden, 5 month old and turned her into the sweet, clean and lovable 6 month old Gretta that we welcomed into our home.

If you follow my Instagram, then you already know how in love I am with this puppy! I have been flooding IG with photos of our Gretta. The ongoing mystery is her breed mix. Her coloring made us think of a Jack Russell, but her size and speckled spots have us wondering if she has a lot of Pointer in her background. She also resembles the American English Coonhounds we’ve seen in our research.

Whatever her lineage is, Gretta is a super sweet, gentle and adorable housemate. My grandkids adore her and she loves them too. She quietly tolerates interrupted naps and lots of noise on babysitting days twice a week. When she’s had enough, she just slips away to our bedroom and plops down on her bed. I tell the kids that she is in her safe space and we need to leave her alone for a bit.

So, you guys! I got my big dog! Her feet are ridiculously giant. This will not be a small dog by any means. I can grin with complete innocence because I did not make this happen. It happened accidentally! I got my big dog! Husband loves her, but he also keeps shaking his head and mutterring, “What have we done?!”

I just grin.

What kind of dog do you love?

Susie

The First Line of Your Story

My first good decision of the day was to come out here to the back porch of our suburb home, put my coffee cup on the little table next to me and listen to my favorite meditation app called Soul Space.

I sipped the yummy brew and stared at the trees behind my house and followed the gentle guidelines that my phone suggested. I took some deep breaths and tried to tune out the sounds of the pool pump and the busy freeway just blocks from this peaceful scene.

It is working. I feel relaxed and instead of judging my every move with criticism, I am looking at the green trees and asking God to come for a visit please.

The soothing voice on my phone tells me to imagine that my life is a book looked at from a bird’s eye view. I look at the book and of course I see MY book, Walking Butterfly. The next line spoken made me gasp and I am not really sure why.

“If the first words are “Once upon a time, what are the words that come next?”

You guys, I don’t even know what the first line is in my actual book. I would have to go grab a copy and see how I began my story. But just now, the first line that came to my mind is “God loved a girl.”

I won’t give away the rest of this beautiful meditation. I recommend you go check it out for yourself. This app never disappoints. I followed the short path it led me on and then I found myself asking God again why it always comes back to love.

Last night my husband told me that he loved me and I looked back at him and asked, “Really?” His answer was, “What’s not to love?” I offered to give him a list that answers that question and he sternly told me to stop it.

When do we ever believe we are loved? Why is it such a difficult concept for us? Maybe it is easy and natural for some, I don’t know. My actual book is the story of my struggle in this belief and how God relentlessly set me up for situations that would convince me of His love. Again and again.

I sing the old song about Jesus loving me every time I put my granddaughter down for a nap. Is there any truth that is more important than this? Doesn’t this fact outweigh all of the other theological questions and discussions? My short answer to those last two questions are: no and yes, respectively.

We are loved. God loves us. God loves you. God loves me. I can look up from this keyboard and believe that I am loved when I gaze at the lush greenery around me. But when I metaphorically click the “enlarge” button and see the bigger picture, I tend to question His love sometimes. Do you?

This world of ours is a mess, right? I could easily list the evidence that this world is a mess right now. But, I will listen to my husbands advice and “stop it”. I will not remind you of the chaos that we are all seeing and feeling everytime we open our social media accounts or listen to the news. I’m not going to show you “what’s not to love?”

I am instead going to go back to the first line of my story… “God loved a girl.”

Or the first line of OUR story…”God loved a world.”

In the middle of all of our confusion, mess and stupidity, God is loving us. He is dismissing our list of “what’s not to love”. He knows what is on the list. He also knows that when we embrace HIS embrace, we will be able to take some deep breaths that relax our tight shoulders and allow us to reach out to those around us with love.

When I accept that I am loved, there is something magical that enlarges that love to include others. If I can believe that The Creator of the Universe loves me, then my heart is opened up to love those in my world. Even those with an extra long list of “what’s not to love.” Do you think that if each one of us could add a little more love to our world, that it could untangle some of the mess? Could more love and less anger actually make a difference?

My first good decision of today was to come out here to my back porch, tune out the sounds of the cars on the near by highway and listen to God tell me that He loves me, all over again. I hope that you heard it too.

Susie

Honestly

rise and shine1

Two posts in one week?! What is happening? Here is what’s happening; God talks to me when I swim. Even if I am only out here to clean all the junk off the bottom of the pool after last night’s crazy, wild wind, thunder and lightning storm. (Texas weather is still a mystery to me.)

This pic is me at this moment, on my back porch feeling like I simply must write these words to you. Before I even dry off and get dressed.

Yesterday I posted an excerpt from my book. It was the chapter about “shoulds” that happen to all of us. I do not cut and paste when I repost segments from my book. I want to experience the words again for myself, so I literally open a copy of my little book and I write it word for word to you again.

I wrote yesterday’s’ post early in the morning. And then I proceeded to have an awful day. Nothing horrible happened to me. At least nothing on the outside. But my mind and heart took an ugly trip into depression and all the big “why” questions that do not lead to a happy ending.

I found myself trying to take a nap on my bed at 3 in the afternoon and could not even succeed at that. I am not a day sleeper. I am barely a night sleeper! If you see me in bed in the daylight, I am either sick or very sad. I closed my eyes and heard myself saying, “Help me Jesus, help me Jesus, help me Jesus” over and over.

Then this morning as I worked on the messy, gross pool (that I love), I asked God how I could be a real Christian if I can also spiral down into such an unhealthy place. And how hypocritical is it that this same person can send out words of happiness and encouragement to others?

To be honest with you, His answer had a little bit of a “roll the eyes, DUH” attitude to it. “Daughter, you ARE a real believer and you DO get depressed.”

So there’s that.

You guys, I was “shoulding” on myself. How hypocritical is that? I want to be an honest writer. I long to share my full heart with you. If I wait until my life is lovely and perfect, and my heart is devoid of doubt and worry…well then, I’ll have to just close up my laptop and say bye bye.

A Christian writer should have it all together before she starts telling others how to have it all together.

Oops, the should highlighter is working again. I do not have a ton of readers and that is OK with me. But for those of you who do enjoy my scribbles here, I promise to be honest in every post. I know that God is real and that He loves us. I know that you and I do not have as many answers as we would like to have. We have questions.

I also know that He is not afraid of my questions. I am! But He is not. I was scared to write this post. I do not want to admit my low level of understanding and faith. I should be farther along by now, right? 

Wow, that pesky “should” is persistent, isn’t it? As I write this, I see that God did answer my prayer from yesterday. Jesus IS helping me. He is showing me that keeping honest with you and with Him…and with myself, is where my true freedom thrives.

This post is more rambling that I like. But it is honest. And honestly, even though it is the scariest way to write, it is what He is urging me to do.

Thanks for reading!

Susie

 

Don’t Should On Me

 

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I was raised in the church. (Almost literally.) My family attended services twice on Sundays, every Wednesday night and any other time stuff was happening. Our church was like a wonderful extended family and I loved the way it became a warm and comfortable social circle for me.

The center of that circle was a shared desire to serve God in all areas of our lives. We were taught to read our Bibles every day, attend church as much as possible and spend time in prayer every day. I can remember, as a teen, starting one Bible-reading system after another, marking my calendar with my self-assigned Bible passage to read each day. I would open my highlighted pink Bible and some days it seemed alive as the words fit exactly what I needed that day.

But I also had many days when the words meant nothing to me and made no sense or were just so boring that I literally had to force myself to finish so I could make the little check mark on my calendar. This manner of “serving God” came with me into my adult life.

Though this training was well intentioned, it planted the idea that I needed to earn my way into God’s heart. If I missed a day of reading or praying, I felt guilty and was constantly feeling that I did not, and could not measure up as a real Christian.

I remember lessons that compared our spiritual relationship with God to our earthly relationships as boyfriends and girlfriends. One illustration had to do with Bible reading and spending time in devotional prayer.

We were asked why we can’t WAIT to spend time with or read letters from our earthly boyfriend, yet we put off spending time with God. The inference was; if we really, truly loved God, it would be totally easy and natural to read our Bibles and spend time in prayer everyday. This thought brings heaviness to me even now as I write this.

Haven’t we all heard Christians around us talking about how they do not read the Bible enough? How often do we hear believers complain about not spending enough time in prayer? But, what would you call an earthly love relationship, if the partner created a chart to keep track of all the days you missed spending time with him and he held it against you? What if you walked around with guilt and fear due to your lack of reading his letters or calling him on the phone often enough? Wouldn’t you call that an abusive relationship? 

Playing golf on Sunday, going fishing or staying home to watch the game on TV, were all evidence of  “falling away from God” or “backsliding.” Can’t you just picture God up there checking the Sunday morning roll sheet? I am intentionally not mentioning the specific denomination because I believe that this mindset of earning God’s love is seen in a general way in almost all types of organized religion.

God has been showing me a new way of looking at Him and at the relationship between the two of us. For me the “Good News” is not just about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. The Good News is that when He said, “It is finished,” it was FINISHED! (John 19:30) Any kind of striving or working to dutifully “serve” God because I owe it to Him, is not a love relationship. Striving and working fall under the “should” category and my God does not “should” on me.

To  force myself to read the Bible everyday in order to gain points with Him is silly, because he has already awarded me ALL the points that are available. All of the points. It is finished. I don’t need to grovel or do penance for my mess-ups. I am forgiven.

What I do now when I mess up, is get up, brush myself off and bask in how much He already loves me. In how much He still loves me. This new picture of God is more full and brings freedom to everything that I do. He loves creativity and adventure and exploration and variety. Can you imagine how a God like that must get pretty bored in some of our church services? Do you ever get bored there? Be honest now.

The God-relationship that I enjoy today includes us doing chores together, driving together and watching movies in one another’s company. Hey, my God even did a Val Kilmer impression for me once! What would you do if you heard that and you knew that it was God? Yah, that’s what I did…I laughed out loud and could not wait to tell others what I had heard!

This is not the same God who “shoulds” on people!

Whenever I hear myself saying the “should” word to others or to myself, it becomes highlighted like the spell-check on my laptop. I stop and re-examine what I am saying or thinking. 

Am I agreeing to be on that committee because I

want to or because I should?

God may not be impressed with or affected by my service to Him when it is done dutifully because “someone” had to do it. I have been surprised at how the world did not come to a sudden halt just because I “failed” to do what I should. 

What freedom this brings!

I believe that the church leaders of the past had good intentions. They insisted that we do our Christian disciplines because that is how they were trained and how they lived. But it is also why so many Christians in the past looked and sounded burnt-out and angry when they preached. That is not the life that I live. Mine is joyful, surprised and full of pleasure and delight most of the time. The God I love is full of goodness and kindness. 

Should happens, but not to me if I can help it.

You and I live in a culture that loves to glorify the problem of being too busy. Social media articles, status updates and real life friends seem to spend a great deal of time complaining about their overly busy lives. In reality, they are bragging about being too busy, as if that is a good thing.

As if it is evidence of the good life and success.

The truth is, an over-packed life is not a healthy life. A crammed full calendar could actually be symptomatic of allowing others to “should” on you. It might be time to list your activities and get ruthless about eliminating the items that do not give you joy or fulfillment. (The current quarantine climate has done this for many of us, hasn’t it?) Ask yourself why you agreed to lead the women’s Bible study or Kid’s Church once a month? Yes, they needed help, but it is important for you to ration your energy and passion in the best way possible for you and your family.

In any normal church or community organization there are a few people who do everything and a lot of people who do very little. It is time to spread the opportunities out for others to pick up. There is someone in your group who needs and wants to be contributing more. This is the chance to leave an opening for them to step into. If you have volunteer jobs that have lost the fun, it is time to let them go. Do not allow someone else’s “should” to get all over you.

Step away from the “should.”

Susie

This blog post is an excerpt from my book, Walking Butterfly. If you care to read more it can be purchased today on Amazon. Thanks for reading!

 

Waiting For Profound

Woke up feeling sad, empty, staring at the ceiling.

Heard God say, “Meet Me at the pool.”

Sounded too silly. Too nice. Too me. Did not obey immediately. 

Swam thirty minutes. Listening, enjoying, asking. 

Waiting for profound. 

A couple of dragonflies joined me. One was so big that I heard him splash as he touched the water!

I smiled.

Reminded God that I was still looking, listening. 

I heard,

“Stop waiting for profound.

Stop taking yourself so seriously.

Stop taking EVERYTHING so seriously. “

I just now got out and I am writing it down. Still striving to read between the lines.

Sheesh. I am SO me!

God likes the me that He made.

Getting back into pool now. 

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I was in my backyard this morning from 9:30 to Noon. And it was delicious and delightful…once I let go of WHY I was out there.

Along with many of you, I am feeling TOO MUCH lately. I am overwhelmed with so many differing (is that a word?) emotions, opinions and questions.

So I woke up sad. I didn’t want to get up. Honestly, I had no reason to get up. I stared at the ceiling and I “heard” God say, “Meet Me at the pool.”

Let me interrupt myself here please? You may be asking how in the world a woman with a nice home and her own swimming pool could wake up sad. I do not know. I have asked myself the same question more times than I can count. I guess it is just a quirky gift that I have. A special talent.

I did not immediately obey, which coincidentally carries a lot of the same letters as the word “disobey”. It sounded too much like something that I would think up for myself. Too silly, not “God-ish” enough.

Instead of going out to the pool, I opened up my laptop and scrolled around social media. I know! Dumb, right? Right.

Within two minutes I saw posts by people in my real life (whom I love) gathering with hundreds, worshiping and doing beach baptisms. Next post was by a dear friend (in RL) who is struggling SO hard to recover from covid and she is begging us all to please be careful.

I slammed the laptop closed and decided to obey. Yes, I should have obeyed right away. I really should have and I wish I had. But I also try not to should on myself, so let’s forgive me for that ok?

I believe that God loves contemplation. He invented it. He probably enjoys our deep thoughts and may even join us in our inner conversations, as we long to understand Him and His ways.

But this morning He taught me that He also loves relaxation and play. Two other things that He created for us. Did He send those dragonflies to entertain me? Why not go with that thought?

Did He smile when He saw me smile at the tiny splash I heard? I don’t think it is silly to embrace that idea. Again I ask, “why not? ”

I stopped waiting for profound. I took a deep breath and recognized that He was there with me in that minute. That is enough.

As I write this, it is late in the afternoon and my husband is due home from work any minute now. And this is all that I have accomplished today. Nothing profound. But it is enough.

My friends, step away from social media (after you finish my blog, that is!) and breath Him in. Go outside and look at the clouds, feel the breeze or the humidity and listen for the tiny splash.

silly swim

Susie

 

 

 

 

Signs

 

Jeff lives at home pic

Last night I watched a wonderful movie called “Jeff , Who Lives at Home”. Jeff is a weed-loving, 30 something who still lives in his mom’s basement. He is struggling with finding his purpose in life and he believes in signs to help move forward into his destiny.

The story is a great mix of humor and profound life questionings. I loved it and cried at the end, on my couch, alone.

The movie took me back to my life years ago when signs from God were everywhere, it seemed. I was surrounded by people who saw His signature in every-single-little-thing and it kind of began to bother me. Some God-signs were very clear and even I could see that He was talking to us loud and clear. I love that. My own book is full of my experiences with my own signs from God about His love for me.

But there were always some personalities who seemed to work extra hard at calling certain circumstances signs from God, when it just felt like a pretty long stretch to me. I would nod and smile but inside I am thinking, “Nope, don’t think so.”

Recently I have been asking God to please get back into the “signs business’ in my life, because wow, I need Him. I simply cannot figure out this crazy messed up world I am walking around in today. And I am kinda sick of feeling bewildered and lost. It is so not fun.

Back in April I wrote these words in my journal….

“Sitting on the swing in my backyard. It’s a gorgeous Easter morning. God, I see you in the green of the trees and hear you in the cascading water. 

But it’s not enough God. I want to feel you close. I want to sense strength, peace and confidence. All I feel is weakness, chaos and confusion around me.

Where are You? Is this how our world ends? With a pesky disease? It feels like we are quietly disappearing, one by one. Are you here? Please show me. 

I am staring at the trees looking for a sign from you. But the trees themselves are your signature aren’t they?”

And do you want to know exactly what happened after I scribbled those words? I kid you not. A huge black and blue butterfly circled me there on the outdoor swing! I loved it and watched it move up to a branch that hung out over our pool. In seconds it took off again and a small bird landed on the branch in the same spot.

I was transfixed. I held my breath and waited for the next sign from God. You guys! The bird looked at me and pooped in the pool and flew to another branch. Not making this up, promise!

Message? I don’t know! I will tell you that I literally laughed out loud and scared the bird away. I did not go back into the house with any great answers to all of my questions. But I did giggle whenever I thought of it again.

This last week I have been struggling again. Emotionally. As many of us are. Feeling alone in my questions and fear. Then yesterday I got a text from a dear California friend who only connects once every 6 months or so. She said that I had been on her mind a lot lately and she asked a particular question about a specific part of my life that is indeed my biggest dilemma right now.

I was blown away that she asked about that part of my life because it was exactly my heaviest struggle right now. It was so great to dump it on her and know that God was talking to someone else about me. And today, about an  hour ago, this same friend called me and said that it felt like it was important that I know that I am not alone. We talked more and it was so lovely to chat and be able to laugh and cry a bit with her before hanging up.

My sign from God is that He knows me and He will go out of His way to make me giggle at a pooping bird and then go even farther by nudging a friend many miles away to give me a text and a call.

Still don’t know if it is the official end of the world, but until it ends I will keep looking up in the branches for signs and I will also be careful not to be under the branches if I can help it.

Susie