My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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She Flies With Her Own Wings

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“Alis Volat Propriis” is the Latin words for “she flies with her own wings”. Discovering this little gem , written on my Albertson’s shopping bag while unloading it from our van. My eyes finally catching the full scope of the brightly colored bag’s design. Initially, the artist’s vivid scenes of Portland Oregon distracted me from the writing encircling the base. As a native Oregonian of nearly 54 years I may have already heard these Latin words when studying the history of Oregon.  Forgetting that on May 2, 1843 the Oregon Country Settlers voted to make Alis Volat Propriis our state motto forming a provisional government independent of the U.S. and Great Britain. Whether I learned this once before or not, these words are fresh and relevant for my here and now .

May 1st will be indelibly etched in my mind as the day I lost my mother. Sorrowful thoughts of what life would be like without her deemed unbearable to ponder while she was alive; now have become my altered and difficult reality. God’s word is a comfort to me and to all those who mourn, promising in Psalms 27:13 * “that we can be confident to see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” His goodness descends from Heaven, gentle reminders of His love lessening the chasm of grief, bringing comfort to my heart.

On May 2, 2013 the day after my mama’s passing I wanted to get my mind off all that had happened, exhausted from mom’s illnesses, her death, and painful false accusations against me. I decided to watch American Idol that was recorded on May 1st. When the opening group song started I could not believe my ears… they were singing, “Mama told me not to waste my life she said spread your wings my little butterfly, don’t let what they say keep you up all night, they can’t detain you, wings were made to fly”.

Tears streamed down my face realizing that God had sent me a message about my mama; encouraging me not follow in her footsteps of worrying about what people thought of me. She is fully experiencing freedom from the fear of man that had become a snare, now in Heaven’s glory liberated from its’ restrictions.

My journey towards audacious liberty began at that very moment, albeit I didn’t know it at the time. This butterfly message fluttered once again and came into view a couple of months later. Appearing while my feet dangled out of the small opening into our attic. Staying seated close to the light as I sorted through the few boxes of my mom’s belongings. Grieving her loss was more stiffing than the attics dense, windowless air. While sifting through her stuff I became saddened she had thrown out a lot of her belongings before she moved from her last spacious two apartment, into a much smaller one bedroom apartment. One of those precious item’s I missed was her beloved roller skates. Having fond memories of my brother Troy and I taking turns skating around in our basement as children. The list of missing items was long, realizing her dementia probably was a factor in her out of character decision to toss them. Far beyond the scope of these earthly mementos was the loss of my parents. My soul felt darker than the farthest corners of the attic breathing in the stale air as a orphan. Intermittently, wiping tears from my flushed face as I divided mementos into designated boxes for family members that lined the attic’s opening.  As I continued  to gently look through her belongings I was suddenly surprised to see a bright pink butterfly on a 3X5 index card.  Excitingly pulling it out to examine it closer I flipped the card over to read “All That the father Hath is yours.” My Little butterfly Love Al. My dad had written this to my mother on April 9th 1977, one of the few things she had kept that he had given her. This orphan girl finding solace in his simple yet powerful words

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A few weeks after that profound discovery my sweet Bff and her hubby surprised me and my husband as I celebrated my first birthday without my mama. Debbie crowned me with a Birthday tiara and my eyes were masked to veil the secret of our destination. Once we arrived and mask removed, I was handed tickets to the American Idol concert. Joy and excitement bubbled within me as we made our way into the coliseum to our amazing seats. Just in time to hear this familiar opening song, “Mama told me not to waste my life, she said spread your wings my little butterfly”. God is over the top with his love and attention to detail , and Mama, you would be proud of me for I’m learning the true meaning of Alis Volat Propriis.

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Perhaps your longing for more freedom in your life? Whether your weighted down by a loss, rejection, fear or shame. Whatever the need, God wants to set you free!… for those He has set free are free indeed. Go ahead, fly with your own wings because God is the wind beneath them.


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A Charmed Life

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As a child I was fascinated with my mom’s charm bracelet nestled in her jewelry box like a hidden treasure. Removing it from the hinged leather case I marveled at its’ intricacies. For swinging from this silver chain were mom’s youthful memories, a cowboy boot, a ladder, a purse and my personal favorite, a small metal disk imprinted with what appeared to be some random letters. However, when spun with a flick of my finger it would magically spell “I LOVE YOU” as it twirled.

Now, as an adult I can look back and see why my love for charm bracelets has never waned. To this day I still collect my share of these beloved bobbles .

One particular charm bracelet that would turn out to be my most cherished is the one that was birthed on our first trip to Disneyland with our children. Drawn into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique just behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle, excitedly finding my souvenir keepsake charm bracelet.Although it was not the same store it recaptured  sweet memories of a  beloved charm bracelet  I had bought on my first trip to Disneyland in 1968

This bracelet was not clad with Dumbo or Cinderella’s castle in between a string of pearls like my childhood one. Rather, it was merely a sturdy chain with one Mickey Mouse head of sparkling rhinestones positioned at the top by the clasp. Each bare link beckoning me to add my own merriment over time. During this vacation I added Tinkerbell, a crown and another Mickey Mouse head with some bling just to balance it out … you can never go wrong with a little extra bling.

Once back home this sweet little trinket lay in my jewelry box for three years, while occasionally adorning my wrist from time to time. Still the full worth of it to me was hidden in plain view. Soon all that was about to change, because of our next upcoming Disneyland trip was going to jettison this bracelet into a far a greater level of importance to me. This journey was going to bring a deeper level of inner healing and release greater personal freedom.

Three days prior to leaving for the Happiest Place on Earth, revelation unveiled a heartbreaking and painful discovery from my past. Knowing this news was no surprise to God and reminding myself that He makes all things beautiful in His time… I knew this vacation was a gift from my Heavenly Father. Going forward, any new additional charms I had intended to purchase would be added to a bracelet that symbolized milestones in my healing journey.

Charms, these tiny representations symbolizing obstacles I have overcome and ones to overcome in the days and years ahead. These “wee” personal reminders dangle upon my wrist declaring the mighty and merciful goodness of God. Twenty Four charms attached to this silver chain in the six years since I started this particular collection. Each fastened charm, a battle fought, a victory won, a hallelujah sung in the heavens’. My harried soul comforted with the truth and promise of God’s healing.

Someday my bracelet will be completely full, each charm brimming with a story to tell of where and how God met me. I will never tire of sharing how all together lovely and delightful God is!. He is perfectly charming and I have a bracelet to prove it!

Charm means…..”delight greatly”
“The power or quality to giving delight or arousing admiration.”

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4


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Justice Like Snowflakes

The  weatherman’s predictions for a winter storm arrived as promised, delivering a healthy dose of snow accumulation. Before this, the season had only graced us with rapidly melting flakes and a scant  light dusting of powder. Perhaps  Mother Nature  had grown weary of being poked fun at  for her lackluster display of wintery splendor,  or merely saving her best for last.  Whatever the reason, it’s here now blanketing our neighborhood  with a soft hush that silents the clamor.  A glistening brilliant white coverlet stretching far as the eye can see.

Snow can have  a way of bringing out the child within, beckoning us to come out and play. Reminiscing about my childhood, snow days were counted as some of my favorites. My brother and I raced to get  bundled up quickly, braving the cold, enthusiastic to chuck freshly made snowballs at each other. Or simply relishing falling  backward into a pile of snow  imprinting  heavenly angels. Rounding out our day of fun building an impressive snowman together.

As the years passed, occasionally our age difference caused a natural chasm of joint activities. One particular evening,  twilight was settling as I constructed Frosty alone. Street lights cast a glow, as gentle flakes fell on my creation, growing increasingly eager to remove my damp clothes and wrap my hands around a warm mug of cocoa. Crossing my cold fingers hoping we had whip creme or marshmallows to garnish my steaming drink.

Toasty and settled in, it was  time  to peer out our second story  window to admire my work below.  Gazing downward expecting to be greeted by a beaming face, carrot nose and  smile made of small stones.  Instead, to my dismay, I was saddened to realize someone had  destroyed  Frosty  leaving him in a heap. Anger and hurt welled up as  I  lamented my woes  to my folks, dad wasted no time to rise to this newly appointed challenge. Legendary  in the neighborhood  for chasing  after anyone that messed with his  property.  No doubt he found this to be another golden opportunity to hopefully catch the culprits and bring them to swift justice. Fashioning a  snowman for his trap, he carefully slipped into our darkened garage which became his makeshift stake out. Willing to wait patiently,  the orange glow of his lit cigarette the only revealing clue to  his whereabouts.  Not long afterwards  two boys  appeared, kicking this decoy snowman to its’ demise.  Hastily they became aware of my dad’s trap, his notorious reputation, and stellar gazelle moves, simultaneously  running away pell mell!  Before mom and I  knew it, my dad had not only caught the mischievous boys, but  marched  them back to the scene of the crime instructing them to rebuild my demolished snowman… not to their liking or specifications no less, but to mine. Sharp contrasting  scenes played out through the same window, one moment destruction, the next, restoration… victim, to victorious. Now wholly justified, redemption rolled out from snow under my dads’ watchful eye. My soul  warmed to the depths where the the bitter chill of injustice once lay.  God’s word tells us in  Psalms 68 :14
“God scattered their enemies like snowflakes melting in the forests of Zalmon”.

What a comfort to know God’s  got your back, He is  mindful of every hurt and loss you have or will ever encounter. He watches over you like a protective Papa Daddy.  Comforting us with this promise…
“Anyone who strikes you strikes what is most precious to me.” So the Lord Almighty sent me with this message for the nations that had plundered his people: *

Even though I don’t know what is going on in your life, I’m confident of this  .. God is a God of justice and He sends the neighbor bullies running. Your rejection, false accusation, harsh sting of injustice, or loss.  With this be warmed with the promise of His love and faithfulness to you now and forever. Whether you see justice here or in eternity, God  will work out all things for the good. All things plundered tethered to His promise.

So, “baby it might be cold outside” and  inside your soul too… no matter the situation allow God’s sympathetic embrace to melt away any bitterly cold concerns… bringing sunshine to your inmost being.  His 100% emotional weather forecast  is always  accurate!

*Zechariah 2:8 GNT


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Blemish Free

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Not long ago while shopping at a thrift store with our oldest son Derek I stumbled upon  the perfect “me time” accessory… a brand new  inflatable heart shaped bath pillow, bright red terry cloth, scalloped edges complete with a half off price tag… score !!!  My sore muscles wildly cheering me on, hoping for some TLC to soothe them due to over zealousness on my part.

Finally, the long awaited moment arrived, pillow inflated, bath drawn, and an older  issue of Country Living magazine to leisurely peruse through while unwinding. This particular beloved addition had already helped me on my journey of relaxation a time or two before.  It’s warped, well worn pages to prove it.  Perhaps the fact that the magazine has been previously around the block a time or two  has caused a less then peaked interest, liken to when my eyes beheld its’ fresh sleek attractive pages for the first time. Surprisingly, what caught my attention this time around was an acne treatment advertisement. Not that it had beautiful inviting photos wooing me, or a need to purchase this product, for I already had several options in my arsenal of beauty treatments.  Immediately captivating me was it’s  boldly printed words within the layout.. the first word was Renew then  Revitalize followed by Repair and lastly my personal favorite Rejoice.  Who knew there was a sermon in an ad ready to sooth my aching soul with a promise.

Our God who is without blemish, promises to Renew,  ridding us of the old making way for lives pulsating with vitality.  A hope that Revitalizes us, as it heals up our inner wounds alleviating emotional obstacles that impede our lives. Thus, bringing His light into every dark area of our heart, mind, soul and body.  Repairing our broken lives from gathered truth gleaned at the foot of the cross, bountiful promises of His covenant unveiled amidst an  empty tomb. Jesus, the lamb of God, who sits upon the throne, interceding for us daily, moment by moment. Forever we breathe and exist under His watchful care, His faithful guarantee.  An elaborate presentation of redemption and grace; given freely, offered without price and yet priceless!  We stand before God, wounded, flawed, stained, and imperfect. While He looks upon us as His beloved bride, veiled in mercy, clothed in His righteousness; a perfect picture of His glorious handiwork.  Who would’ve thought that such a wonderful revelation of truth would leap out from a blemish advertisement. While exhausted muscles celebrated, so did my drained soul as it was filled up right along with the drawn bath water.

Lord… Thank you that you have so many ways to speak to your children whether it be in a sunset,  rainbow, a warm hug, or even an ad in a worn magzine.  May we hear you, mindful of your still small voice, and with every  breath we take inhaling the fragrance of Christ. While every exhale we release your glory. We Rejoice that our sins are forgiven through you…knowing  in Christ we always have a blemish free guarantee. 


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Merry Christmas Charlie Brown

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Ever since “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” aired in 1965 I have been a fan of this beloved holiday
special. Immediately bonding with an endearing kindred spirit towards Charlie Brown with all his self doubt and insecurities, firmly believing Charles Schulz portrait of Charlie Brown was sketched out not only about himself, but a myriad of others like me that have walked a similar journey of shame.

However, an even deeper resounding chord beyond my familiarity with Chucks’ self doubt and low self esteem was how he embraced a sorrowful looking Christmas tree in its poor state.  Wondering how Charlie Brown saw beauty, potential, and  a victorious story waiting to be told through its seemingly defective branches. Chuck was ever so willing to take a chance on the last “real” tree in the lot. Losing more precious pine needles on it’s already sparse limbs along its way home.  Dreaming of what it would look like and not of its’ present condition. Perhaps Chuck could identify with the downcast drooping tree and his own slumped spirit he found himself contending with at times.

For I know when I look at that tree it reminds me of my former wounded and broken self. Painfully bowed down with shame and guilt to see any real value in myself. Feeling bare and stripped of a rich, full  life.  Not having the eyes, nor strength to see any further then my current inner struggles. Thankfully we have a God that cares tenderly for our broken hearts, the downcast finding a home under the shelter of His wings. His love bringing us back to wholeness, while gently sending us loving people to minster healing to our deep hurts and broken places. Just as Linus secured the wobbly tree base with his prized blanket, so too friends rally to reinforce our shaky souls with their blanket of love and sacrifice.  Decorating our wounded spirit with words of affirmation, encouragement and the light of hope. Their compassionate touch transforms us into a thing of beauty that we were meant to be all along.  Just as I marveled at Charlie Browns’ boost of confidence that he mustered up for  his tree, I too marvel at Gods’ rock solid confidence He has towards me.  Not to mention all the friends He has sent my way  that exhibited that same kingdom grace and throne room love.

Perhaps your spirits are drooping today and  joy is falling off you like dead pine needles with no hope of new life.  God promises to bring you tidings of comfort and great joy.  He is a God of all Comforts and He will never fail you nor forsake you.  His grace transforming your spirit and situation with new life and hope, and just like Linus reminded Charlie Brown….”because really that’s what Christmas is all about”.

Luke 2:8-14  “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”