Pause

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Hello.  It’s late and I’m oh so weary.  I’m taking day 25 off.  Sometimes in the midst of your grief, you need to hit pause and just let it be.  So today I hit pause.  I went to dinner with my Sunday School class and had a much needed time of fellowship.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV

Peace In the Valley sung by Elvis Presley says it best and brings me comfort as it is a song Mom and I listened to sometimes.

Maybe it will bring you comfort too. (click the above words if you want to listen)

Hopefully, I’ll be back on track tomorrow.

If you are new around here I’ve been participating in the Write 31 Days Challenge and this is day 25. You can click on the Ladybug graphic below if you’d like to read the series about my Journey Through Grief.

Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Grace for the Journey,

Teresa

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Come Away

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Today has been a quiet, rest day as most Monday’s are.  Several years ago when I was still working public work, the company I worked for moved us to four day weeks and my day off was Monday.  So, I developed a habit of Monday being my chill day.  We eventually went back to five days, but now that I’m no longer working I’ve once again made Monday my day to catch up on rest.

My husband is in ministry so Sunday’s are very busy days for us and not the sabbath rest so sorely needed. I’m usually exhausted after the weekend, so Monday to the rescue. In the spirit of resting, I’ve laid aside some of the deep thinking and sorting for later.  I have a list of things I want to share with you.  Some things I’ve made notes about, but the time for sharing is not yet. I’m living this in real time, so I have to respect each day as it comes.

After committing to the thirty-one-day writing challenge, A Journey Through Grief, I am more convinced than ever that it was the right thing to do. The writing I have shared and some that I have not shared yet has been therapeutic.  Writing down my thoughts helps me see a clearer picture of where things stand. It helps me gauge how I’m doing.

Talking to people is also therapeutic and last night my writer’s group at church gave me a safe place to pour out my heart.  It reaffirmed some of the writing and helped me put things in perspective. It was a safe place to share some of my deepest grief.  I can’t urge you enough to find a safe person or group to share your grief with.  We thrive so much better in community than we do alone.

My first instinct is always to close the door, curl up in the fetal position and hide under the covers and for a time that might work.  But not for the long haul.  For the long haul, we need friends who support us and will come along beside us.  They don’t have to fix us or make us understand, that is not their job. Their job is to listen when needed and give hugs when necessary.  I’ve been blessed with friends who have done just that.  Sometimes in person, sometimes via text or phone conversation and always through their prayers. And most recently, you dear reader have let me know you hear me and that has made me glad to share with you. I hope my sharing has been a service to you and helped you in some way.

Hoping that Monday has been kind to you and that you too find time during the week to rest and allow your soul to be filled with His peace.

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Grace for the journey,

Teresa

 

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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5 Things 2015 Wanted Me To Know

100_4469.21. NOD TO THE NOT (it’s ok to pause)

It’s ok NOT to choose a word for the year.  I had chosen a word in previous years but at the beginning of 2015 it just wasn’t a priority.  I survived the year without a special focus word.

Taking a blogging break is ok.  I trusted that my loyal readers, those that are my community, would not forget about me and would be waiting to encourage me when I came back.  They didn’t, and they were.

2. THE WORDS WILL COME, GIVE THEM TIME (After all, you are a writer)

I rediscovered the joy of using a pencil on paper.  Nothing can compare to that sweet, scratchy sound.  I need to practice this art more often.

Even though the writing was meager in 2015 and not writing scared me a little, I learned to trust that, in God’s time, the words would flow again. Because I have to write.

I want my writing to make people feel as if they have come home.

Hope*ologie was great, but Hope*writers is even better. I need a writer(ly) community that says what I do matters.

3. PRACTICE CONSISTENCY AND OBEDIENCE (how hard can it be)

I’m not a morning person, and there is no shame in that.  Not being a morning person may sometimes mean that I do better with my quiet time in the evening rather than the morning.  One thing I’m learning about quiet time is that consistency is key.  Regular time in the word is beneficial no matter what time of day you engage.

Sacrificing for Lent is not the point.  Sacrifice is nothing without obedience.  Obedience is a daily submission to God’s will for my life.  Godly obedience is not the kind of obedience that sounds like a bunch of rules.  Rather, it is a willingness to give Him complete control  It is 365 days a year, including the forty days of Lent.

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4. EMBRACE  THERAPY, ACCEPTANCE, AND RESTORATION  (God is your buckler)

Binge watching 7th Heaven preached to me in lots of ways; it was my therapy for a large chunk of time during the first half of 2015.  One of my favorite posts in 2015 was What I Learned From Watching 7th Heaven.

Y’all, I fell in love with Southwestern Virginia.  We spent some lovely days visiting a friend and explored the back roads near her hometown.  It was restorative and gave me much Joy In My Father’s World. And, lots of pictures.

Back in 2013, I realized that I need to make peace with My mom having Alzheimer’s, but it wasn’t until sometime in 2015 that I was able to accept that it is what it is, and only God has all the answers.  Instead of wasting time grieving over what we’ve lost, I’m starting to embrace the path we are on and I’m beginning to realize that you can never truly lose someone, you just adjust to a new normal.

More than ever in 2015 the truth in Psalm 18:2 sustained me:

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

I  also relied on Psalm 91 and knowing that he covers me with his feathers; He is my buckler which according to Merriam-Webster means “one that shields and protects.”  I have discovered that I love the word buckler.

I also found strength from the support of my husband. He takes care of me and loves me well. I love doing life with him.

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5. ENJOY A SEASON OF STRENGTH AND QUIET (embrace the real you)

I’ve always loved Autumn, but this year I realized that the way I describe Autumn also describes me.  Makes perfect sense.

I see Fall as both a little bit spicy and practical.  It is no-nonsense, but serendipitous all at the same time.  It is a warm hug as well as a brusque nod in passing. It is a steadfast heart that loves without condition, but won’t be trampled.  It is chaotic and fragile, but stands strong in the storm.  It is a little rough around the edges, as well as gloriously beautiful in spirit.  Like me.

2015 taught me that by God’s grace I am stronger than I think.

October loves me – she sent me several postcards this year during the 31 Days Writing Challenge

November is a melancholy month when the skies are gray and somber, and the first real chill is in the air.  Lights come on earlier, and we settle in for quieter evenings. I’m ok with that. Because I’m a little bit melancholy.

Advent is a time of waiting for “Emmanuel, God with us“, or as my mother says, “I’m so happy, God is in the house.”  A welcome note of praise to celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child…

and then, we slipped quietly from one year into the next.

Growing in grace,

Teresa

Linking up with Emily for What I Learned in 2015

The Weekend Toss

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Weekends are for rest, relaxation, reading and favorite recipes!

Today I’m making TERESA’S YUMMY VARIATION OF EVERYBODY’S CHEESEBURGER SOUP.  click on the recipe title and it will take you to a Weekend Toss from December of 2014 for the recipe (last item on the post)  This time I left out the brown sugar, used two cans of diced tomatoes and used a combo of Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack with a bit of Philly – I also doubled the cheese this time – hope I don’t regret that!

Some may not consider this official soup weather yet, but I felt the slightest nip in the air yesterday evening and that makes it official.  So, go ahead, make soup!   .

While the soup is simmering I am going to rest  write this blog post and maybe do a few things around the house.

Currently reading:

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman from Chatting At The Sky

Love The Home You Have by Melissa Michaels from The Inspired Room

These are both great books and are speaking to me where I live and where I need to live.  They are timely for me and may be for you as well.

100_4468We recently went on a relaxing weekend to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill where we sat around the fire pit roasting marshmallow’s and listening to the beautiful sounds of mountain music as played and sung by my nephew and a friend.  I don’t have a video of that evening, but there are a few videos posted on their Facebook page, The Mountain Sound.  Click here for one of my favorites!  I may be a little biased.  My nephew is the one in the hat. They have a CD coming soon if you would like to hear more of their music.  They have several original tunes as well.

Hoping your weekend is relaxing and filled with grace,

Teresa

Nodding to the Not

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I did not choose a word for 2015.  I did not set goals, or make resolutions, or sum up my blog or give a state of the blog address or list my most read post of the previous year.  I did not usher in the New Year with any kind of fanfare.

So far, this has been the year of Not.  So, I guess you could say in my non-conformist ways of not doing so many things that other bloggers seem to do and that I have done in the past, I inadvertently chose the word “not” for my 2015 word.  Except, I did not.

“Why not?”  you may ask.  I don’t know.  I haven’t even written on my blog since December 31, when I wrote an end of the year “what I learned” post about Rearranging Furniture so I could link up with Emily over at Chatting At The Sky.  So, I guess you could say that I sort of did a year end summary. I’ve done these “what I learned” posts before though, so just following my norm.  I don’t think it counts or reverses my not’s in any way.

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So, here’s the thing.  I want to write.  Truly, I do.  I write things in my head all the time.  Almost everything that comes into my world has potential for an essay or story of some kind, so the words are always at the ready, so to speak.  For some reason, I haven’t been. Ready.

There could be a reason for this, or maybe it just is.  Maybe it’s the season in which I find myself currently residing.  Maybe it’s fear that I don’t really have anything to say.  Maybe it’s exhaustion.  Maybe it’s unanswered questions. Maybe I need to find my sense of place.

All I know is that it seems to be a season of unwritten words that float on the outskirts of my mind, just out of reach of pen to paper, or more accurately, finger tips to keyboard.  It doesn’t feel like it’s going to end any time soon.  Or, I suppose, it could end tomorrow. Either way, I have decided to embrace this journey of “not” and see what it’s about.  I am not going to fight “nothing”.  I am just going to rest and see what develops.  Or, not.

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So, I think this means, in case you haven’t already noticed, that I’m taking a blogging break.  There, I said it. I’m taking a blogging break.  I don’t know for how long.  And, I don’t exactly know why.  I hope there is a purpose and it’s not just laziness.  I hope I figure out some things about my writing, or about me, while I’m not blogging.  And, I hope you don’t forget about me because I won’t forget about you, the few, who read my words.

It seems silly to worry that I’ll lose you in the lull, and it seems even sillier, to let the fear of losing you be the reason I don’t take a break, when a break is clearly called for.  I have to trust that when the words are ready to be read you will welcome me back.

In the meantime, please know that I value you and the time you have given to reading my words and encouraging me along the way.  Some of you are silent readers behind the scenes; Some of you are friends and family I’ve known a long time, others are people I’ve met through this fascinating world of blogging and you have become true friends.  I will not forget you and even though I’m on break I will still be reading your blogs or seeing you on Facebook.

I haven’t laid down my pen for good and my hope is that there will still be words put to paper while I’m on break.  I hope there are words written that I can someday share with you.  I appreciate being kept in your prayers while I am on hiatus.

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Nodding in Grace,

Teresa