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Life is certainly never dull. I have always prided myself on no matter what I was dealt – I could handle it. I was that kid in school who had been through the family tragedy and come through the other side. I was that same kid when I went through the accident that left me in a coma for 10 days with a 10 % chance of surviving. I was like, to paraphrase a Harry Potter line…“the girl who lived”. Friends and family would comment how I held it all together and in a way that established who I was.
I suppose all people in one form or another experience depression. In the early years I used to wonder why they couldn’t hold on to the positive – I tended to label those people who couldn’t pull themselves out of the ashes – weak. By High school I felt people just needed to “suck it up” and move on. Really, get over it. Then at 29 I experienced my first real knock you flat on the ground depression.
At the time of the car accident that took my mom and step dad’s life I was a young mom and we had been walking with God if not intentionally, then at least occasionally. The accident knocked the air out of me. I remember many of my prayers, crying out to God to bring me through. I could visualize a darkness in my mind—almost like falling off the edge of a tread mill. If I did not move forward, I surely was going to fall into the darkness. I was not this weak person I was suddenly seeing in the shadows… so I battled on and through…. For about a year.
I stayed busy. I didn’t allow down time to let me think too hard about what I had been through. People who didn’t know me prior to the accident, had no idea what I had been through. At the one year mark, I left my job for three months to pull the pieces of me together that were starting to fray and pull apart. That decision was probably one of the best things I have ever done. This bad time wasn’t without purpose. Number one, I knew that even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I had to trust God at all times in all things. I felt like the Psalmist who saw all his enemies closing in around him. He would cry out to God and not see His hand in all of this. Nonetheless, he would end the Psalm with hope, trust, and belief that the Almighty knew what He was doing.
He was very gracious to carry me through that period. God also taught me how to have sympathy and compassion on those who’re going through similar things. I started to see in a new light how we all have things in us—be they amazing tragedies, or incredible heart breaks. We don’t all wear them on our sleeves. We do not know what each person—even in a room like this, carries with them every day.
It’s in these times that the Christian must especially hold fast to that which they know to be true from Scripture. That God is good all the time. That everything which happens in our life is furthering the purpose of God (which is a good purpose). That God is with us through even our sorrows. That his purpose is more important than our temporal comfort. Though I have not experienced again what I did 13 years ago (an almost paralyzing depression), I have had my moments where I can feel it creeping in. Sometimes I have a sorrow looming over me for a few hours. Sometimes, a few days. And yet, because of the faith God has graciously given me, I cling to His promises. He has brought me too it—He will surely bring me through it.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
(I bring this devotion today because the beginning of June is always hard for me. I hit the anniversary of the accident on the 6th and it rips me apart. Thank you Key for walking with me this year. On the 7th is, or would be, my sisters birthday. This year she would be 35. She died in the fire at age 5. Not a year goes by that I don’t wonder what it would be like to be an Aunt to her children, to see what type of woman she would have been…. And definitely how great it would have been to have her all these years with mom and dad gone so I would have someone to talk to who is at that same level of pain.
And now today , in June – I go to the funeral of a dear friend who died of a heart attack last week.
I again lean against God to hold me, even carry me, through these times.
The Tour of Lakes bike event took place yesterday morning – Key and I started at 6 am, meeting in the Forestview parking lot at a brisk 39 degrees (it is June right????)
There were many riders there dressed in different types of layered outerwear, from rain gear to sweat shirts, winter caps, face masks, gloves – and even some so brave they tackled this event in shorts. BRRRRRRR!!!!!!
This was Key’s first bike tour event and I was thrilled to do this with her…. our goal was to do the 70 miles, the longer of the two routes, the shorter being 35 miles.
The route was awesome! We enjoyed the roads that had been selected for this tour, a lot of scenery and little traffic. At our first stop off of Lower Sullivan Road had great eats like the breakfast burrito, fresh fruit and plenty of it, as well as granola and candy bars you can could grab for the continued ride. The volunteers running the stops were friendly and fun to talk with.
Back on the trail we continued through some “a little too cool” wind, around hwy 210 to around the Legacy golf course and back on great little roads with beautiful homes on the lake. Key, who enjoys motorcycling made a note that she had to ride this area again as the roads were good and the scenery beautiful.
Our second stop was off of the Gull Dam Road and there we had a chance to walk a bit and warm our hands and feet. They had cookies and fruit to enjoy. A fellow “Tour of Laker” took a couple pictures of Key and I. At this point we were right around 20 miles into the ride.
We hit the road again and found our way into Baxter off of Olivewood Drive (having no idea how the roads that we were on connected to this area – but we were pleasantly surprised!). We traveled down by Whipple Beach and encountered a near miss for a car that was almost hit by a man taking down trees at his home and one went right across the road. We were far enough away to be out of the danger area but it was still a bit freaky. From here we went all the way down Clearwater road, up Inglewood and over to Cherrywood where we stopped in the driveway of a home that was purchased by Brett and Kate Richmond and had a picture taken just for them.
As we neared the end of the 35 miles we had made the decision, along with many of the other bikers we had chatted with, that the 35 was going to be our destination for this tour. The clouds held back the rain but looked as though they were going to burst forth any minute. While I was bummed that we didn’t complete the goal I had set…. I agreed the wind was a little cold to do the second part of the tour – even Key, being such a trooper said she would go as far as I wanted to.
We finished well…. grabbed out 20 year anniversary cups and headed to Coco Moon for a hot cup of coffee and conversation in a warm environment!
Kudos to all those involved in making yet another Tour of Lakes event a success. I imagine it takes many hands to pull this off each year and pull it off as smoothly as it always is. Thank you.
Paul Bunyan Cyclists (who I plan to be joining soon!)
So – brief update on where I am coming to the end of day three…. yesterday I hit the bike trail behind Movies 10 and biked to Merrifeld and back – using this quiet time to be my prayer time for Al. So what can you cover in 18 miles? As it turns out – a lot!
- Prayer for patience (for me)
- peace and rest for Al as he works so hard at our business
- prayer for God to open my eyes to ways I can support Al better
- prayer for our business
- prayer for more time together
- prayer for a gentle spirit – (me again)
- prayer for doors to open
- prayer for my eyes to open to the big picture
- prayer for “SHMILY” opportunities
It is possible to pray for 18 miles. The ride was peaceful and I just gave it all to God.
I made one of his favorite dinners…. meatloaf (heart shaped) and garlic potaoes with peas. I also made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting with SHMILY written on in.
This morning I started my day with prayers for AL and his day… I read again in our book, prayed my way through my morning prep and throughout the day as I was able. Tonight, I am still waiting for him to get home, but worked with him in the office this late afternoon and shared the weight that the business can often carry.
My friend Amy (Dandelion Seeds) introduced me to S.H.M.I.L.Y. (See How Much I Love You). Currently, I am in a 30 Day S.H.M.I.L.Y. Event. In fact, there are over 1,000 women dong this during the month of June. How exciting is that?
S.H.M.I.L.Y. is a great idea and it is a reason to put on the thinking cap and find ways to show your husband how much you love him. On Amy’s blog she gives some great ideas to get started with. For me – the task is a challenge as this time of year there are days that I almost don’t see Al at all. He gets up at 5 a.m. and is gone until 9 or 10 at night. Sometimes this is 6 days a week. Well, I have always thought I had a great imagination so I feel I am up to the challenge.
Proverbs 31:10-12 (New Century Version)
10 It is hard to find a good wife,
because she is worth more than rubies.
11 Her husband trusts her completely.
With her, he has everything he needs.
12 She does him good and not harm
for as long as she lives.
We are also praying for our husbands each day and using the book by Stormie O Martian “Power of a Praying Wife” as a guide. Honestly, sometimes it is hard in my life to want to pray for my husband. I know that sounds awful. I know that it is. In our life, I can sometimes be bitter about how hard he works and how often he is unavailable due to the business, how it is hard to socialize with friends because the business makes it impossible to make plans…..
Yet – I am praying for him because I love him and I know he works hard to provide for us. I know if it were not for the business I would still be working retail. I know that because of his sacrifices, I am able to volunteer and be a part of so many wonderful ministries because of the business. When I really look at it this way – he has sacrificed so much for us. He never complains about how much time I spend volunteering or working at the church and I know it takes me away from ways I could be helping him. My life would be so very different if not for him and what he does.
So today I happily began the S.H.M.I.L.Y 30 Days of Prayer. I started the morning reading the first chapter of the book and praying for Al: for rest, for support, for peace, for knowing he is loved… and I spent time thinking of how I can make things easier for him.
Tomorrow his lunch will have in it his favorite sandwich and a banana with S.H.M.I.L.Y. on it.
- I feel…. spent. Overwhelmed. Tired. Stretched.
- between office work, yard work, working out, and the house stuff…. life has just sped up faster.
- I can not even think back now to what went on each night last week but I know I was always busy.
- Saturday had Farrah’s baby shower which was a lot of fun – went out to dinner with Al and Justin to China Garden, Dairy Queen after (yeah…. I was pretty bad….) then Chance came and stayed over night.
- Sunday – Chance and I went and seen the movie Star Trek (SO GOOD!) In fact, seen it again later with Al . See review here
- Monday – worked out in the am…. started the 30 days SHMILY event (will blog my way through this event). Finished the book Between the Tides (see review here), worked in yard on flower beds, then dinner with Julie, Sandi, and Key
- We are 6 days from the Brainerd Tour of Lakes Bike event…. 70 miles! I am excited to do this! Praying for good weather!
You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew
Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they’re worth
The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends
How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know
And you’ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind
You can own the Earth and still
All you’ll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind
Paul Bunyan Trail, Baxter Mn, May 2009
Not a big fan of cemeteries.
I know… really, who is?
Every year at this time I go and clean up around the cemetery plots of my family. I cut back the overgrowth around the marker, sweep, pick up the leaves…. and yes I plant a flower or two. Every year I think at this time that I will be sure to come back weekly throughout spring summer and fall – and I will keep the flowers watered, and I will continue to clean…. but in all reality…. life just does not always allow for me to do this.
So this year, I took my sister Tara’s old wagon out of storage. I put a layer of rock in the bottom, filled it with soil and miracle grow and planted literally a wagon load of her favorite flower, pansies. I then took an old wash bucket, prepped it the same and filled it with zinnias for my mom. I incorporated my dad in all this by digging through his old tool box and finding plane that I used to prop up the wash bucket so it sits at a tilt.
I put both of these items in my front yard with one of the Adirondack chairs near by. This is in remembrance of my family. This I can see each day, care for each day and water as needed. This… I love.
The cemetery I will continue to care for… but I know they are not there. I wait for the day that I will see them again.
I am totally procrastinating on this post…. mainly just because I am tired. With the onset of nice weather comes a list a mile long of outdoor “to do’s” and my ambitious overactive mind has clicked into high gear and I am now in the process of creating a patio, garden spots on the front and back yards, sanding and restaining all our wood lawn furniture, purchasing perennials for long term and annuals for a fre eye catching ideas I have and today I built a compost bin. (No wonder I am tired!)
Anyway – here is last week…
Tuesday was book club and out review of Water for Elephants was even better than expected. We reall had some great insight on this book and I personally enjoyed the whole reference to the 1930’s and the circus. My review here
Wednesday seems like I am almost consistently hitting overload each week now. As our business picks up, the yard needs attention, trying to keep up on my work out schedule, run the office, volunteer and do my study weekly… I am again hitting the breaks and saying “enough”. By the time evening rolls around I am shot.
Thursday worked late and trained in a new volunteer at church. Watched Survivor with Al and could have screamed “YEAH!!!!” when Coach was voted out. (The man drive me nuts…)
Friday garage saled in the morning with Suzette and have no great treasures to report. Lots of sales but nothing that we hit that was fantastic. Took Group Power at noon, went home and did clean up and then AL and I went out with Chad, Amy, Andy and Laura for Laura’s birthday. We ate at Half Moon and then went to the late movie of Angels and Demons. Great fun! My review of the movie here
Saturday was incredibly COLD. Stayed in house and did house tasks until noon then bundled up and started the lawn mowing process – 3 hours and did not finish. Later went to Applebees for Sara’s birthday with Cindy. Then we drove around and looked at garden centers like Mennards…. picked out the patio pavers I want for the patio.
Sunday was church and then came home and finished the lawn. I picked Chance up and we went biking for 10 miles. Stopped at Menards and picked up some Hostas, mulch, stain for my outdoor furniture, a sander, a garage broom, and Juicy Fruit gum to attack the yard gopher with…. really. Worked in yard until 7 and then watched Survivor Finale – yeah J.T.! This ends our tv watching now until September. We watch Survivor, Biggest Loser, and Amazing Race and all 3 are not done for the summer.
Today I did Group Power this morning and then rollerbladed 4 miles on the trail. I made a few comitments to Kia this week to work out with her. I came home and prepped a few things for tonights AFE meeting and then went outside and created a compost pile. Im sure at some point I’ll blog about this and how it is working…. I have pictures.
- Extremely tired the first part of the week… couldn’t shake it. Slept and slept….
- Went to dinner Monday night with Sandi, Key, and Julie…. good time
- Monday afternoon found my new road bike in S.t Cloud at Erik’s bike shop – (Thanks Cuz and Cuzette for all your help!)
- Thursday night went to the movie Seventeen Again (again) with Karol. It was great to hang with her and just laugh. Movie review here
- Friday morning went garage saleing with Suzette…. we had a great time – we found a few deals
- Saturday – Justins 19th birthday!!! AND I finally got my tattoo. Yes – you read that right. Pictures here
- Saturday evening AL and I took Justin out to eat at Grizzley’s. Brad had to work so couldnt come too. 😦
- Sunday Church and then roller bladed 6 miles on the Paul Bunyan Trail
- Monday worked in our office with Al and enjoyed a bit of the sunny day from the deck