Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance


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Love Letters From My Father

Dad with Baby mk and me (2)

 That’s me on the right, just in case you couldn’t tell.

After my father died, I found letters he’d written to me over the years and saved, like a journal, hidden in the old cabinet he used as an end table next to his recliner. I’m still processing the content of these letters. One of them is about why he didn’t come to my rescue when I wanted to come home from the college in the mountains.

This excerpt from my work in progress explains:

On my second day in Boone, before classes started, my roommate and I went to a pub not far from campus. I recognized Chris, a super brainy girl from my high school who’d already been at the college for a year. She waved to me and invited us to sit with her. My roommate saw some people she knew and went to sit with them. Chris made me feel welcome, and I started to feel comfortable with her. Maybe the beer helped. She asked me how I was doing.

“Well, I’m a little nervous,” I admitted.

“That’s normal. It’ll get better.”

“And I miss my boyfriend. I’m actually thinking of going back home.”

Chris looked thoughtful. “You know, you’ve got your whole life to go to college,” she said. “If you want to go home, it’s okay. It’s your decision.”

I was surprised by her response. I’d expected her to encourage me to stay. If this brainiac said it was okay to go home, then who was I to fight it any longer?

I called my parents and said I wanted to come home. Having just driven seven hours each way to bring me there a couple of days earlier, Dad refused to come get me. He didn’t say much, leading me to guess he was disgusted or at least disappointed.

Being stubborn, I managed to find another way home, but that’s another part of the story.

Fast forward to 43 years later when I read my Dad’s secret letters last week. One his letters revealed that the reason they didn’t come get me was because their old station wagon had a blow out on their trip home and left him “without a spare.” He wrote in Jan 2011: “Money was very short and, we had very little in the bank, and almost nothing on hand. I would have to have gotten permission from work…We also thought about what you were giving up….I have to admit my love for you was and still is a factor. After we made our decision not to come up, we went to bed, but I don’t think either one of us slept that night. The decision bothered us for years and we talked about it for even more years, even after you were married….I still felt guilty.”

I had no idea that money was a problem back then! I figured it was all about not wanting to bail me out when I should have stayed. I thought it was just because he was mad at me. I’ve carried that shame for years. And all this time, HE felt guilty for not coming to get me. I knew my parents loved me, but I didn’t know how much until I read these letters full of love.

Ive always wanted my father to be proud of me, even when I resented him. Even when I didn’t like his conservative beliefs. Even when I avoided him. I still, deep down, wanted him to be proud of me.

And what I’m finding out from his secret love letters is that he was.

love letters from dad (2)

Some things are worth waiting for. For a chance to win a free, signed copy of When God Says Wait, sign up for my monthly newsletter before March 21st by clicking the box on the side bar to the right, or just click here: http://eepurl.com/ch52KT


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Love Songs with a Twist

agape-candle

When I was single, one of the things that helped me tolerate and even embrace love songs that came on the radio  was to sing them to God. I know it sounds corny, but it helped. One day, on a solo road trip, that old song came on the radio: “Some Kinda Wonderful.” I was about to change the station, when I got an idea. I substituted the name of Jesus for “my baby.” Later in the song, I sang about my sweet loving savior.
And I’m telling you, it worked. Singing love songs to or about Jesus helped ease my loneliness.

Just try it. When a love song comes on, but you don’t have a romantic interest, or if you have one who’s not good for you, substitute the higher power or ideal love of your choice. Think of someone who’s always got your back.

 

Can I get a witness?

I realized I could do this with any love song. I even sang love songs to my dog who was always there for me. Cause you know what dog spelled backwards is. Dogs are like mirrors reflecting unconditional love. Natalie, at Sacred Touches, agrees.

jesse-howling

 

As I write in Trust the Timing:

“The dogs provided more comfort and less stress than the men I dated after the divorce “

 

 

 

You can sing love songs to any body you want to. Because love is valuable and wonderful . It doesn’t have to be romantic love, though romantic love is pretty darn special. I’m talking about caring for someone else so much that their happiness is just as important as your own. (Love your neighbor as yourself, not more than yourself.)

Whether it’s brotherly love, sisterly love, parental love, platonic love, romantic love, self love, dog love or AGAPE God love, love is good.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,

JoAnne/JoAnna

 


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New Year’s Eve Labyrinth Walk

christmas_labyrinth_web-church-of-the-servant

It’s becoming a tradition for me to walk the labyrinth on New Year’s Eve. On December 31st, 2010, in the center of the labyrinth, forgiveness was the key to making room for love to re-enter my life in 2011. Ever since then, my New Year’s Eve labyrinth walk is something I don’t want to miss.

On Saturday night, I expected something powerful might happen in the center, but the message was a little different. Here’s what I wrote to remember what happened:

Am I doing this right?

Don’t worry about it. Just walk.

Am I going too fast?

Maybe. Just walk.

[Restless in the center, I can’t get comfortable. Tried child’s pose and squirmed like a child. Tried sitting in the chair, tried laying down but there wasn’t room, went back to child’s pose. Refreshed the Forgiveness business]

Then I heard:

It’s time to go walk some more.

On the way back, God clarifies:

Keep moving.       

        Don’t stop.      

                  I’m with you.

Confident, encouraged, I slow the spring in my step because
I don’t want it to end.

I carry the message out with me.

prayer-candles

Kneeling at the prayer candles,
I light her candle,
but don’t want to blow out the torch.

God says,

Let it Go
Her flame will grow.
I got this.


Keep moving.
Don’t stop.
I’m with you
All the way.

finger_labyrinth

(After I published this post, I saw that the spacing about what God said was different from what I had typed in the draft. I worked on it for a while, but couldn’t get it where I wanted it. I’m guessing God wants it to be however you see it now.)


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Thank You!

SOCS

First, I want to say thank you to my followers, my supporters, my encouragers. This has been possibly the best year of my life. It’s certainly been a year of transition, and I’m grateful to have the support of so many people on WordPress and beyond. I’m grateful to be approaching 1000 WordPress followers! Officially: 927 WP followers and just over 1000 total blog followers.

When I first started blogging, I couldn’t imagine having 1000 followers, but one day at at time, one post at a a time adds up. It has been so fulfilling to grow here and get to know inspiring people – ordinary folks – I mean that in a good way – working through life’s challenges with grace and learning from each other. I appreciate each one of you, even if I don’t get over to visit as often as I’d like. You are part of my blogging support network, and I am grateful and honored to be part of this community.

2016 has been a year to remember. I took my first steps into retiring from my career as a counselor, and as the year ends, I’m ending the job of 30 years to pursue my creative dreams. And it is because of my first love who is also my last love and, as you probably know, I”m writing a book about that. Almost finished with the writing/revising part and getting ready to send it off to the line editor – one of the last steps in writing this particular book which I started about four years ago. Hard to believe I’ve been working on it so long, but I’ve heard of people taking longer, which is more than okay. It has become a labor of love.

I wish you all abundant blessings in 2017. May the stars shine upon you and may you dance with joy, rest in serenity, and sing your song. I look forward to a lasting, laughing, loving life of creating with you.

And now, my Stream of Consciousness brings us to this song which I dedicate to all those who are lonely. You never know what wonderful surprises are waiting around the corner.  In the mean time, love yourself well and know that you are deeply and profoundly loved by your creator, forever.

 

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was: “first/last,” with instructions to use one or both words, or find words that mean the same. Bonus points if you start your post with “first/beginning/start” etc. and end with “last/end” etc. Enjoy!

The Saturday Stream of Consciousness is brought to you by Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-3116

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

 


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A Gift You Can’t Buy in the Store, Part 3: Pure, Unconditional Love

 

nativity-scene-1807602_1280

“Do you know how much I love you?” said God.

Baby Jesus offers love

With open arms,

Pure and unconditional.

Let go of your fear!

All these gifts I give to you.

Go forward in this love.

I found these words written on a piece of notebook paper in an old pile of papers. It was a dream I had last year, ready to be re-born.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God.

Luke 1:30


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A Gift You Can’t Buy in the Store, Part 1

wooden-balloon

Tuesday was my last full day at the job I worked for 30 years. In January, I’ll go back for a few hours to wrap up some paperwork and get the rest of my stuff, and there will be a “retirement” party. But these things will be on my terms and at my convenience.

My husband told me he was proud of me for retiring on my terms. But it was because of him that I was able to do it that way, cutting my hours back gradually, building my courage for the leap of faith, trusting that I would be taken care of. My husband, not wanting to contribute to the commercialization of Christmas, doesn’t like to buy presents from a store, but he loves to make things from wood like candle holders and Christmas ornaments like the balloon above. I tend to agree with him. He’s giving me the best gift of all the Christmas – the gift of retirement.

It was hard to say goodbye to my clients. But it was the right decision for me. Now, I get giggly inside, like a kid at Christmas, as I realize I don’t have to go back to the bureaucracy, to the demands to do more in less time – or bringing work home,  or to the witnessing of the wreckage of addiction.

I am forever grateful to have witnessed the triumphs over addiction and for the privilege to be able to help a little. I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned. But I believe I’ve paid my dues. Now, it’s my turn to follow my heart back to its creative home. I’ll probably do a stress management group somewhere, maybe a group with a creative twist! But it will be on my terms.

I will remember all those late nights I drove home exhausted, my hands aching from the keyboard, wondering if I would ever get caught up on the paperwork, wondering if I  could make it another 10 years until social security and medicare kicked in, wondering if those benefits would even be there for me in 10 years.

I will remember praying to God for deliverance, telling myself, God has a plan.

Little did I know how marvelous that plan would be. God was watching me, loving me, encouraging me, and doing the same for my soulmate 700 miles away. God waited for the perfect time, when my soulmate and I were ready to journey together. (And in case you didn’t know, I’m writing a book about that.)

Ten years ago, I asked God to take away the desire for a partner, or to send someone who is a good fit.

Today, I thank God for the gift of my husband who is a good fit. And I thank my husband for the gift of freedom to be me. On my terms. And on God’s terms.

doorway-apostle-island


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Can We All Agree on Twinkly Lights, or Nah?

I love twinkly lights and everything about Christmas except the over-commercialization that makes people spend more money than they can afford. That’s ridiculous! 🙂 I love the yuley pictures and the humor and the love of Joey’s post. As a Christian, I too find it “hard to love people who tell (anyone) you’re gonna burn in Hell for eternity…” I’ll do my best to love them anyway because its the right thing go do. But I might have to love some of them from a distance.

joeyfullystated

The reason for my season is basic astronomy, although your reason may be equally valid and special, who am I to say?

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It’s Yule now. Have a blessed one. Light your candles and burn your wood and fire up your stove for somethin yummy. Love and light, love and light, love and light…

It’s not reactionary or revolutionary, it’s just a good day to honor light and warmth because it’s the shortest day of the year.

It’s also the time of year when people like to search their hearts and share their religious fervor by blasting everyone with “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” which is exactly the sorta thing that sends me into red flag mode, but I’m not at war with Christmas so I don’t summon Odin to horse-trample those people, I simply nod and smile, because that’s the safe thing to do when you’re dealing with people who send you into…

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