Running to Stand Still…

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The above title is in reference to a song written by U2, one of my all-time favorite bands. Though the lyrics of the song speak of another subject, the title seems to permeate down to the inner most recesses of my soul.  It seems to have become the motto of my life.

When I was young, traveling about the world and moving was exciting.  It was thrilling to think about what lay just beyond the edge of my vision.

But these days, moving and starting over has become a chore to be endured.  I’ve done it so many times that I can’t remember all the places I’ve lived.  There have been multiple and various reasons for the moves and all of them logical (though many people just call me crazy).  From job changes to difficult living circumstances to inability to afford where I was living, I’ve moved more than most people will move in a lifetime.

Yet the real truth is I’m “running to stand still.”  I’ve had a dream and a vision of my life that has never come to fruition.  A cottage-like home of my own surrounded by flowers and greenery, a loving husband, 2 cats (yes, must have my cats!), books and a window overlooking my garden as I write my novels.  Simple, peaceful and quiet…my “still” place. I was never very materialistic (though I always joked with my girlfriends that I would marry a millionaire), I just wanted a cozy, quiet place to call my own.

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Yet, for whatever reason, this has eluded me.  I still rent a room in someone else’s house.  I still struggle on a daily basis to meet the financial basics of life.  My relationships have been…well, we’ll save that for another day. And my writing, though it has improved, has yet to bring me the steady income I have sought.  The dream of my little cottage seems as far removed from me as it did when I was a young girl.  Even the most hopeful of people get discouraged sometimes and today is that day.

But…as I’ve pointed out many times, who knows what tomorrow will bring?  And so, with a sigh, I close another day with still a flicker of hope that I will yet see my dreams become a reality.

A Nation Torn…

I wrote this post 4 years ago, but it seems more relevant now in the face of all the fear and negativity after the election. Sigh…please people, stop and think for a moment before you let your passions lead you to fighting with people you once loved.

Wallflower Blossoming

(I will now get on my little soapbox and rant.)  As the recent election draws near, I watch the political ads of the candidates running for president, read articles and listen to debates between acquaintances.  I listen to both sides and watch friends, acquaintances and family members tear each other apart as they argue about which side is better and why.  I read articles demeaning the beliefs and even the character of the people running for their parties.  I see various ads on television doing the same thing and frankly, it makes me sick!  I get so tired of seeing people tear each other down for their beliefs whether they be religious, political or otherwise.

How is it possible that sane, ordinary people who live and work side-by-side can suddenly began to see their neighbors, co-workers, and friends as their sworn enemy if they oppose their views?   Whatever happened to…

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Loving Yourself on YouTube

After much prodding by several friends, I finally took the giant leap and started doing videos on YouTube.  It’s going to be aimed at several different subjects: self-confidence, body positivity, online dating, travel and more.  It’s a scary leap to transition from writing to videos, but it’s just another way of helping to lift and strengthen others to get through our daily lives.

I will still be writing on here, but will post video links on occasion as well.  Hugs and love to you all!

Living in a Real Haunted House

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It’s Halloween and growing up, this was one of my favorite holidays.  Of course, it mainly had to to with the candy (yes, I’ve always been a sugar addict), but I also enjoyed that thrilling chill down the spine when ghost stories were shared in whispers among friends.

When I was a child,I lived for a few years in an old mansion that was built around 1890 in Rockford, Washington.  In its heyday, it was considered one of the richest homes in the small farming community.  After my parents had done some research, we also found out it was once a recovery home for soldiers from the wars.  At another time, it was used as a hotel/bed and breakfast and once a home for nuns.  At any rate, the house has had a long history to it.

We rented the place when I was just 7 years old and we stayed there for about a year or two.  (Hazy on the details.)  I can’t remember everything, but what I do remember was the odd, sometimes creepy feelings I felt while we were there.  Old houses always have their creaks and groans and moans, but there were times you could have sworn that we had invisible guests living in the house with us.

Once, as an activity for our friends at church, we had a “spook alley” in the basement for Halloween.  The basement itself was made of cement, wooden beams and old stones.  It was already a little scary on it’s own, but after that spook alley, it was a place to be feared. We kept an old freezer in the basement and I remember that, at times, my mother would ask me to go downstairs and get something from it.  I hated it every time, because you could almost feel that there was something down there just waiting for you.  I would grab whatever was in the freezer and run as fast as I could up the stairs, always believing that I was being chased by…something.

But the basement wasn’t the only place in the house to be feared.  There was an empty space next to the landing on the stairs that was never used for anything but storage.  It had once been a servants’ staircase that lead to the laundry room, but had long ago been sealed off.  My older brother loved to play practical jokes on his younger siblings and once hid in the laundry room making ghostly sounds while we played upstairs.  Of course, he scared us all to death, but we soon discovered who it was.  Yet, why then, were we scared of that dark hole every time we went up and down the stairs.

One night we had an especially vicious thunderstorm.  Our parents were downstairs and we had just been sent to bed.  The electricity in the house started to flicker with the thunder and we were all naturally frightened, so we gathered in the hallway and made our way downstairs.  Just as we reached the landing where the great black hole was, the thunder crashed, the electricity went out and we all screamed and ran for our lives down the stairs.

These were  just a few of the experiences we had in the house, there were many more than I could share in a post.  I never saw a ghost while I was living there, but there was just this feeling that we weren’t alone.  For many years, well until after I became an adult, I would have nightmares about the house.  I would dream that I was alone in the old mansion and I would begin to panic.  I could feel this fear overtake me and I knew I would have to get out of the house.  I would run for the back door and in a terrible sweat struggle to get the handle of the door open just as I would hear a woman scream from inside the house!  It was a terrifying nightmare and I’m happy to say I no longer have them.

Do I believe ghosts exist?  Absolutely!  Have I seen one? No, but I have had enough experiences in my life to know they are there…watching.

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This is an actual photo of the house off of Google Maps taken in 2008.  

 

Angels Attend Us

s13181p1__19517-1415300260-300-300I firmly believe in angels as I’ve had several experiences over my life that have reaffirmed my faith in them. Some of these experiences are too sacred to speak of, but this is one that I wanted to share as sometimes angels are there to protect us from ourselves.

It was a Saturday night in Cartagena, Colombia.  I had been practicing songs at church with the choir preparing for the following day. We walked out of the building and began our walk home, laughing and talking, arms around each other and singing just for the pure joy of it.

Normally, as we all walked home, several of my friends would accompany me until they felt I was safe.  This night, however, we all went out separate ways after a few blocks. I reached the place in my walk where I usually cut across a mechanic’s yard and hopped a wall to go home.  It cut off a good 5 blocks and I had done it a hundred times, though usually it was during the day.

That night as I began my trek across the dirt yard to the dark wall at the back, I saw a young girl on a bike riding off to my left in the light from an open door.  I then noticed a group of men sitting off to my right.  They were all drinking and laughing and joking.  As I got halfway through the yard and they noticed me, they all suddenly stood up. It was as if I had hit a wall and I immediately stopped.  My stomach clenched and I sensed danger.

My first instinct was to turn around and walk back the way I had come.  But then I thought “No, if I turn around, the men will know it was because of them and I don’t want to offend them.”  Though my heart was in the right place, it was definitely not the wisest of ideas I’ve ever had.

As I took a few more steps, I noticed how dark the back of the lot was.  It seemed almost pitch black with several large trucks parked.  At this point, a little voice in the back of my head was telling me to turn around and I began to hesitate.  I glanced again at the men out of the corner of my eye.  They were still all standing and I could feel their eyes on me.  My steps slowed, but I again shrugged off the feeling telling myself I was being silly.  I had passed these same men a hundred times without a single problem.

Just then, the little girl on the bike rode right in front of me and stopped me in my tracks. She looked at me and said in Spanish “You can’t go that way.  The wall is blocked.”  I wasn’t sure if I understood her correctly as my Spanish was still pretty bad at the time.  I asked, in my broken Spanish, if the wall had been repaired.  She just simply looked at me and said again “You can’t go that way.” I understood that and I also understood her firm body language and bike standing resolutely in my path.  I looked at her and said thank you and relieved that I now had an excuse, I quickly turned around and walked away very quickly.

The next day, I passed the wall on the opposite side.  I was curious to see if the wall had indeed been fixed.  As I came near to it, I stood in surprise that it was in exactly the same state it had always been.  It most definitely had not been repaired.  It was then that what had happened slowly dawned on me.  I stood there in the field staring at the broken wall and realized that I had been protected by an angel.  A small, innocent and very determined angel had stood between me and what could have been a very bad outcome.  I silently said a heartfelt thank you to my Heavenly Father who loved me enough to protect me from my own naivete.

Angels come in all shapes and sizes and often they are there as an unseen hand helping us out when we need it the most.  But sometimes they are also there to protect us, even if they are protecting us from ourselves.

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Very similar to my little angel

 

 

My Unconquerable Soul (The National Gallery of Art)

I originally wrote this over a year ago on my other blog, but realized few have seen it as I did not publicize that blog very well.  I still think it to be one of my better posts and I hope you feel the same.  Please remember that I love comments of all kinds!  🙂

“I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul” Invictus by William Ernest Henley I have always appreciated paintings, but I don’t believe I ever really was absorbed by t…

Source: My Unconquerable Soul (The National Gallery of Art)

Waiting for the Rain…

It’s been an excruciatingly long, very hot summer.  We have had an unusually dry season with almost no rain for more than 3 months. I have spent much of it driving around in a car with broken air conditioning in scorching 90 to 110+ degree temperatures.  I have sat in rush hour traffic with open windows begging mentally for a breeze that would cool me off, even feeling a little sick at times.  It has seemed almost unbearable.

Over the course of the last six weeks, I have watched the wild grasses dry up and turn yellow. The leaves on the trees look withered and parched and the dust from construction sites and fields would blow over everything.  Smoke from nearby wildfires would smother the sun and I began to imagine that this is what hell would feel like.  As clouds and winds would blow through, I would get my hopes up that it would rain, but Mother Nature seemed to mock us with a sprinkle that just turned the dust to splotchy drops and then blow away again.

As I have thought about it, I couldn’t help comparing it to those times that we endure, what seem to be, never-ending hardship.  We struggle through fiery, painful trials that seem to weary us to the core.  Like the dry storms that blow through, we get our hopes up only to find out they are empty promises.  It does seem, at times, as if the rain will never come to quench our parched lives.

But tonight…the rains came.  I cheered as I watched the black clouds roll in at sunset and thrilled to my toes as I watched the lightning flash in the distance. Now I’m sitting next to the open window, listening to the rain pour down washing away the dust and dirt. I can feel the cool breeze blow gently across me and the scent of fresh rain is enticing and delicious.  I am listening to my quiet music and feeling completely at peace.  A little smile hovers around my lips as I listen to the last of the drops fade away.

Just when we think we can’t bear it a moment longer, the relief finally comes.  An all-wise Father seems to know exactly how long we can bear something and then He steps in and mercifully tends to our scorched lives.  We just have to learn to trust that there will be an end to the Refiner’s fire. And like the rains that end a long drought, the gentle peace that comes at the end of a long trial is so much the sweeter, because we appreciate every drop.

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