Monthly Archives: December 2011

Clutter…

Pam’s Journey – Day 84

Miles walked: 228

Miles remaining: 772

Days remaining: 282

Clutter? Yes, clutter. We all have it. Some more than others. Some hide it well and others leave it out for everyone.. but yes, we all have some clutter in our lives. Physical clutter, mental clutter, relationship clutter, spiritual clutter. I hate clutter.

Clutter makes me nervous. Don’t laugh.. it seriously makes me nervous and eventually it starts stressing me out! There is no better feeling to me than a weekend spent cleaning out closets and drawers and cabinets. Even the garage and attic are a joy when there’s no clutter! (I said, don’t laugh!)

I have a bad habit of subscribing to a magazine and when it comes in the mail, I toss it aside for a few months. I have every intention of getting around to reading it but the next thing I know, there is an entire years worth of that magazine in a foot tall stack next to my nightstand! Then I start to panic thinking that I’m becoming a hoarder. See why clutter can make me nervous?

There is a house rule that I try to follow. When I buy something new, I need to get rid of something old. Either what the new item is replacing or if I buy clothes then I need to sort some old things to donate to charity. This rule exists because clutter breeds as fast as rabbits. It grows and grows until you have no idea how it got so out of control.

You know I have to mention my walk in here somewhere, right? So, here it is. As I’m walking my neighborhood, I’ve been privy to some pretty cluttered garages. Garages are a big selling point when you’re looking at buying a house, right? Do you picture your car/truck parked in your new garage all snug and cozy, not getting scratched up by neighborhood kids or hailstorms? Or do you look at your new house and imagine the garage piled floor to ceiling with clutter? I hope I know how you answered that… and yes, this really is a garage in my neighborhood and they are not unpacking from a recent move. (I’m not talking about those garages that have been converted into needed additional living space.. that would be the exception.)

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

Why am I so concerned with your cars not being in your garages? Because, it kind of creeps me out sometimes to be walking around my neighborhood and have so many cars parked along the curb. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine! You have a perfectly good 2 or 3 car garage right there and 3-4 cars in your drive and on your curb? Call me crazy.. but I swerve the streets from one side to the other to avoid walking right beside a creepy truck or van parked at the curb at 6am (and at 6am, every car, truck or van parked by the curb looks creepy!). This is why a can of pepper spray made it to my Christmas list this year (which I didn’t receive yet!).

We all have so much “stuff”. Stuff that we don’t need, we don’t use, we don’t even know that we still have it because we have so much. I’m sure with Christmas just behind us, we have even more stuff! Do we feel better because we have all this stuff? Does it make our lives easier? Are we going to take it with us when we go? I’m trying to overcome my “need” of stuff and am constantly looking for ways to streamline my life. This means…. less stuff.

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” ~ Luke 12:15 NKJV

What do I do about this clutter? New Year’s resolution!!! I don’t resolve to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, etc… I resolve to clean out as many closets, drawers, cubbies, and cabinets and keep them clean as clean as I can. I know what you’re thinking… I live a super exciting life, don’t be hatin’! We all know that God blesses us with what we need.. houses, cars, stuff. Well, clean out your closets! Physical closets, emotional, relationship, spiritual closets. Get rid of some of those things that you don’t need. I promise it will bring you closer to what matters most.


“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. ~ Matthew 6:31-34 
There it is, clear as day. So, I can either be slave to my “stuff” or I can give it to God and trust in Him to supply my needs. What’s it going to be? I hope you know how I answered. 😉
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE… keep walking!
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are we there yet?

Pam’s Journey – Day 75

Miles walked: 207

Miles remaining: 793

Days remaining: 291

ROADTRIP!!! I’m leaving for vacation on Friday and we’re driving to South Padre Island, Texas. I’m doing Christmas in Padre this year. Riding shotgun with me is my mom, and my daughter will probably be sleeping away in the backseat. Following us is my oldest and dearest best friend, Ramona, and her family. We are going to spend a week on the beach, doing as much of nothing as we can bear to do.  There might be some deep-sea fishing, shrimp eating, shopping, and possibly horseback riding on the beach crammed into my week of nothingness but there is NO plan. That’s very hard for me to say because I am such a planner!

I met Ramona on my first day of first grade in Mrs. Walsh’s class. She was one of the girls assigned by Mrs. Walsh to show me around and teach me the rules. I believe it was the following week that I got swats for chewing gum in class.. I think we missed that rule. Ramona was there all through grade school. She always seemed to be in a cast or sling for the broken bones she had growing up. She was there through Jr High school, when I seemed to be on crutches so often for trying to play basketball on my weak ankles. She was still there in High School, riding shotgun and cruising Van Buren in my 68′ Mustang with me. I’ve known her longer than anyone besides family so she is super special to me.

This vacation is a treat because I haven’t been able to spend much time with Ramona in years. We lost touch for a while after high school. I moved out of Enid and didn’t see her until our 10 year reunion. We didn’t see each other again until I moved back to Enid and was going through my divorce. It was kind of hit and miss for a few years.. we’d see each other, call, or email and then the miracle of Facebook happened and it’s been much easier to stay in touch. So, here we are.. fixin to be on the road to a much over due vacation.

I’ve done this trip several times with my mom and Taelor. My dear friend, Tony, came a few times, my dad has been maybe twice, we brought my niece one year, a friend from work came once, and Taelor brought her friend Kelsey a few years ago. It’s about 12-13 hours from OKC but the drive down doesn’t seem so long. This trip is how Taelor learned to read a map because I never allowed “that question” to be asked… “are we there yet?” The first time she said it, I handed her an atlas (that’s a big paper book full of state and city maps of the entire United States, for those of you that have gotten sucked into the smartphone GPS syndrome!) and showed her where we were and then she counted each town we went through to see how close we were getting to our destination. I let her ask “have we went through Kingsville yet?” or “how much further to Harlingen?” and then she would try to measure on the map with her little fingers just like I used to do.

Sometimes I long for that ability.. to pull out a map and measure with my fingers to see if I’m on the right road and how much further it is. Have I made the right turns? Am I taking the fast track or the scenic route? Is this highway even on the map? Will there be detours? Is my final destination the one that God has mapped out for me? I could sure use that map!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

He tells us that it may not be the easiest road, or the most obvious road, but to find the narrow road and stay on it… for it leads to life. I would have to say that I’ve lived a pretty safe life. Not a big risk-taker, not a high-roller.. just living a nice, quiet, safe life. I’m not saying that it’s all been easy and I haven’t had some troubles or that I haven’t worked hard to be where I am. I didn’t “plan” on getting divorced or being a single parent. But I can tell you that I have never had to face my troubles alone. He is just a prayer away and is always walking this road with me. Didn’t I just ask for a map? It sounds like He has already told me which road to take!

I have an idea that’s been forming for a while and I think it may be my ultimate destination. It’s a purpose, a plan (I warned you about my “planning problem”), a goal that I think God is nudging me to follow. It doesn’t exactly have a map but I’m getting glimpses of the journey, the destination, and finding people who may be on this trip with me. It’s not exactly my plan.. it’s a God plan and I’m trying desperately to stay on course.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Wow, I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only planner! What a promise (and a plan!).. it’s the ultimate roadtrip! This plan is still in a fetus development stage, but if I stay on the right road (the narrow road) and follow His plan, it shall be awesome.  As for my Christmas roadtrip, it too shall be awesome!  

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Daddy’s hands

Pam’s Journey – Day 68

Miles walked: 190

Miles remaining: 810

Days remaining: 298

A few months ago, I remember hearing something on the radio about how our relationship with our dad strongly influences our thoughts toward God. Like if we live in fear of our earthly father then we might fear our Heavenly Father or if our earthly dad was gentle, loving, and always there for us, then we might feel that same way towards God. I’m not sure how true that is for everyone but I can attest that it’s pretty true for me.

When I was a kid, I was a Daddy’s girl. Not just a little bit.. I was 100% tomboy. Daddy’s girl. Where my Daddy went, I went. What my Daddy wore, I wanted to wear the same thing. If my Daddy didn’t like something, well you could bet your butt that I wouldn’t like it either! He was (and still is) my hero.

I used to sit next to him in his recliner and watch tv after supper. He would wrap his arm around me and I’d hold his hand. I remember how big his hands were then. They were hard-working hands with cuts and scrapes, hammer smashed fingernails, swollen knuckles from crushed fingers but they held me when I sat next to him.  Those hands shot baskets with me after work, they fixed whatever needed fixing, they picked me up from the sticker patch that I ran smack in the middle of with no shoes on, they held his bible at church every Sunday.

My dad is amazing. He’s so amazing that he is somewhat difficult to describe without sounding like a super-hero. My love, respect, trust, and faith in him is unfailing. I’m talking about my earthly daddy here. So, you can imagine how I feel about my Eternal Dad. Both of my Dad’s would move mountains for me. Heaven and earth couldn’t get in the way of their love for me.

My daddy got sick this summer.. real sick. He spent a week in the hospital with C-Diff, and almost didn’t make it. I live just far enough away from my parents that it’s hard to be there as often as I would like to be but not so far that I couldn’t see them more often if life wasn’t so busy all the time. I wanted to be there every day to see him and check on him but I couldn’t be. He got better and went home but it took a toll on him and even now, 7+ months later, he is still weaker than he used to be before he got sick.

After he went home from the hospital, he kept having some leg pain and shortness of breath and his family doctor set him up to see a cardiologist. On his first visit, he told him of these symptoms, they did a venous ultrasound and found a very large blood clot in his leg so they sent him straight to “the city” and admitted him in The Heart Hospital where they later found that he also had clots in his lungs. This is all happening to my daddy.. my daddy who never gets sick, who is the strongest man I’ve ever known, my daddy who was and still is my hero.

If you read Tasha’s post on Monday, you felt her unfailing love and faith for our God. (If you haven’t read it, You Must!) Well.. that is some tough faith. The night we found out that there were clots in my dad’s lungs, we (my mom and I) were at my house with my LifeGroup girls. Tasha prayed with us. I tried reassuring my mom that everything would be fine. My girls left and my mom and I went to bed… and then I prayed and cried and begged and pleaded that God would heal my dad. I did. I had faith, knowing that He can do all things. I acknowledged that His ultimate plan is more than I could ever comprehend, but I cried and prayed that I could have more time with my daddy.

I know that it’s God’s plan that is letting me have more time with my dad. He was started on blood thinners to break up the clots and he is still alive and well. He’s not “back to his old self”, but he’s here. He was here through the summer and able to do some fishing, he was here to take me out to another birthday dinner, he was here to take Taelor for her first season of deer hunting, and he will be here for another family Christmas this year.

I thank God for giving me more time with him because I know how precious it is. There will be a day when I don’t have that gift anymore… but while I do, I will love my dad and honor him for being such an amazing parent. I will thank him for raising me to be a responsible person with morals and values, for being such an inspiration and an awesome role model, for teaching me that there is a God who loves us and who sent His son to die for us, saving us from our sins.

If my relationship with my dad is any indication of my feelings for my God and Jesus, then there isn’t a stronger love possible. Thank you Daddy.

 

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Southern Swag?

Winter weather.. ugh!  Cold weather is not my friend. I seem to be waking up with more aches every day.

Pam’s Journey – Day 63

Miles walked: 177

Miles remaining: 823

Days remaining: 303

Limpy Gimpy.. that was me for a while about 17 years ago. On October 14, 1994 I had a freak accident involving my car, my garage, and me getting run over by my car in my garage.. long story. It resulted in a compound fracture of my left distal femur. AKA, big broken leg. It required an 8″ metal plate, 6 screws and a big ol’ pin right above my knee to hold it all back together. It was one of those life changing events. The kind where you can’t forget the date, the kind where the doctor says, “you won’t be able to go back to work for at least 2 months, and you won’t walk for 6 months”. He might as well have said, “you are going to have no food, electric or water and will be evicted by the time you can go back to work.”

House and hunger can be a pretty big motivating factor in recovery when it has to be. I’ve never been a very good patient, in that I don’t follow doctor’s orders very well. So, 3 days out of the hospital and I was calling him every day to see when I could go back to work. 2 months? Riiiiiiiggggghhhht…. I was back at work 1 week after the accident and my Christmas present was him telling me that I could try to start walking without my crutches, which was 2 months after the accident.

Determination.. perseverance.. bull headedness.. drive.. Stubbornness? Yes.

That was when I was Limpy Gimpy. It was a long, long road but I got back to as close to normal as I guess I could be. The problem I found was that I used to be slightly bow-legged. All of the hardware in my left leg has straightened it out, so now I have 1 bowed leg and 1 straight leg.

You probably wouldn’t know that I limp much until I told you all of this. You might just think it was my “southern swag”.. whatever that is! I pull to the right (when I’m not pulling to the left lol). I over compensate with my right leg and I tend to lift my left leg higher so I don’t trip. Walking is a precious thing when realize that in a second, you may not be able to walk again. That’s one of my reasons for LOVING this walk!
I’ve noticed something on my morning walks. When I’m passing a street light and see my shadow beside me, I notice that my shadow is limping. Not just a little bit, but seriously noticeable limping. Picture a 3 legged giraffe.. that’s maybe close to how much I’m limping! It put this walk in a whole new perspective for me.  I’ve been limping along through my life without even knowing it.

The more I watch that shadow every day, the more I think that it’s my spiritual limp because if I were physically limping that bad, surely someone would have asked me if I were “ok” by now. But my spiritual limp is another story. It’s the battle of control that I know too well. I give it over to God every day but I take it back again and think I have to “take care” of me instead of trusting Him to do it. When you’re a single mom, you manage the office at work, you try to help anyone that needs it, and you take as much care of your parents as they will let you, then you start feeling like you have to do everything on your own and you can’t ask for help… and that’s why I’m limping.

I have a recurring prayer, every day. “Please take my life, everything in my life and do your will. Help me to let You lead me, instead of trying to do it all on  my own. Walk with me in everything I do.”

He tells me to seek Him..

Jeremiah 29:13 ~ You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.. Psalm 119:2 ~ Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.. Isaiah 55:6 ~ Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Proverbs 8:16 ~I love those who love me and those who seek me find me.  

I’m seeking Him on this walk, every day. I seek Him at work when I get stressed. I seek Him when I’m alone and need some company.  He has never let me down, He doesn’t hide from me, He’s there every time.. when I seek Him.

The more miles that I walk with Him, I’m finding that I don’t seem to be limping as much.. or should I say that my shadow doesn’t seem to be limping as much! My “southern swag” isn’t as noticeable. So, either I’m learning to give my life to The One that can handle it, allowing me to walk easier… or He’s carrying me. Either way works for me.

“My precious child, I love you and I would  never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

it was then that He carried me…

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tis the season…

Pam’s Journey – Day 56

Miles walked: 158

Miles remaining: 842

Days remaining: 310

So, it has begun… the holiday season. For some reason, I feel like I’ve fallen flat on my fa la la la laaa this year. I have a 9 ft bare tree standing in my living room because my imagination for our untraditional theme tree is as bare as the tree. We’re supposed to be doing a country/cowboy theme this year (my daughter’s idea) and I just don’t have it in me. I usually do the house up, make it smell all festive, play my fancy little Christmas music box thingy that I just had to have…

I LOVE Christmas trees and usually have one in almost every room of the house. I have a kitchen tree with green ornaments matching my green kitchen wall, my bedroom tree is moroccan inspired to match the room. There’s an entryway tree, bathroom tree, some years there’s the Taelor’s room tree, and of course the tree of all trees… the living room theme tree! Last year it was a “frosty splash”, the year before was the “diva tree”, we’ve done the “Who-Ville” tree, “rustic” tree, some traditional inspired themes, and of course always always match the wrapping paper to the theme (yes, I’m a tad OCD).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an overly commercial Christmas person. I just usually love the joy that spreads around the holiday time. The carolers, lights, trees, wreaths, the Bedlam game, bell-ringers, Christmas programs at school, pink cheeks from being out in the cold air, Christmas sweaters, the do-gooders, Christmas candy, hot cocoa with extra marshmallows, Christmas candles, the BC Clark jingle, generosity to others, giving and receiving, making traditions, the memories of my childhood Christmases..   ALL OF IT!

OK, almost all of it. I HATE shopping… hate it.

My hate of shopping isn’t a new thing so I’m still stumped as to why I just can’t find my Christmas spirit. Is it the store displays that seem to be arriving earlier and earlier every year? Is it Black Friday and the fact that most of the dumpsters I saw on my walk yesterday had huge electronics boxes sticking out of them? Is it because it’s harder and harder to find Christmas cards that say “Merry Christmas” on them, instead of Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Joyous Wishes, Be Merry, Joy Peace Love, yada yada. Not that some of those aren’t nice but c’mon, It’s CHRISTMAS! We celebrate because it’s Christmas. I don’t care what you want to tip toe around to try and be politically correct in this increasingly nonpersonal world but it all comes down to Christmas. 

We celebrate the birth of Christ, not the winter solstice, not the group of holidays that happen to be in the winter season. Everyone talks of how commercialized Christmas has become and I wonder if my lack of decorating spirit is a reflection of that thought. Then I did some googling and put my Christmas back into perspective.

  • We exchange gifts because it reminds us of God’s gift of love to us, His son.
  • The evergreen tree represents the symbol of eternal life offered by Jesus.
  • The pointed top directs us to heaven and the God who loves us so much.
  • The lights are to remind us that Christ is the light of the world.
  • We either put a star on the top of our trees because that’s what led the wise me to Him, or we decorate with angels because an angel appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of Christ.
  • Red ornaments or ribbon: Jesus’ sacrifice
  • Bells: ringing out of glad tidings (the “good news”)
  • Bows: the ties that bind people together
  • Candy cane: shepherd’s crook (to gather the lost lambs)
  • Wreaths: eternal love
  • Holly: immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our savior and the red berries represent the blood He shed for us.
  • Even Santa Claus is to represent the generosity and good will that we feel at Christmas.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

I used to think that I got too wrapped up in decorating but after learning that most of my decorations actually mean something and aren’t just holiday fluff, or commercialized idols of Christmas, then I could relax and decorate knowing that I’m still praising God and the true meaning of Christmas. I might even go so far as to say that my googling seems to have put a small glint of Christmas spirit into my heart. I think this weekend might find me digging out a few more things from my Christmas decoration stash and watching some DIY to try out some new Christmas decorating cheer!

<An update on my bare tree: I took it down. It’s a 9ft slim tree and it’s gorgeous when I load it up with all of my Christmas symbols… but I don’t need to stress over it when I have a perfectly adorable little tree that usually sits in my entryway. It’s less than 1/2 the size and much more manageable on my stress level.>

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