Guest Blogger … Our Summer

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Guest Blogger … Our Summer

Well, our Summer has not been a fun one.  My darling little 2000 VW Beetle has been in the shop so many times.  With each repair, we think THAT’S GOT TO BE IT!  We think, okay, we’ll start to look for a replacement vehicle.  And, it seems that is not going to happen because the repairs keep coming faster and faster and we can’t seem to get ahead. So, now – as of this moment, we have her back from the shop and we are committed to paying off all these repairs and then looking for another car for me.  Sigh.  Can’t have a car payment and debt payment.
David recently wrote what I’m about to post here.  Guest blogger!  He’s a very smart guy, my friend, my husband!  But, for him to get to this place to actually talk about his feelings, well, it sums it up – this has been one doozey of a Summer!

“Are you a Waffle or are you a Pancake? Say what…?”

When it comes to life, emotions and such things, I often make the comparison between waffles and pancakes. I am a waffle. Delana is a pancake. Think about it. If you pour syrup onto a waffle, it can pool up in each individual square if you want it to and the syrup can stay neatly contained until you cut into it, or overfill the squares. Just like my emotions, I often compartmentalize.

With a pancake, on the other hand, the syrup spreads all over and there is no stopping it. This is Delana.

That is a way of describing how we live out our lives. Everything is affected here, because of there. Syrup = life. Waffle = compartments. Pancake = free flow surface. I compartmentalize and for Delana, it all runs together.

This summer has been a time where it appears waffles and pancakes have been served up every day.

Here’s just a brief run down of our events. Both vehicles in the shop with one still not correct and going back in. Costly in both dollars and emotions. TV got fried in a storm. Microwave died. Dehumidifier and basement fan both dead and we are now wondering about high moisture in the basement. To add a little fun to the mix, I even had a concussion and have been told I have pre-diabetes symptoms, due to the meds from my kidney transplant.

My waffle is now full of syrup and looks like tiny little pools of sticky but messy goodness. Thankfully, my foundation for life is so solid but I think I want an omelet for breakfast tomorrow instead!”

We’ve lived through kidney failure, and more and we’ll get through this!  God is good even in the midst of all this added pressure.  He is our Source!

Allelon … A Poem

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Our Pastor, my friend, has been speaking on a series he calls Allelon.  Allelon, is a Greek word for One Another…or something like that.  Relationships, community, people.

This has been a very encouraging series and it got me to thinking about the struggles we’ve had with one another’s in our past. My journey of trusting people is what this blog has been about for the last four years.

So, I wrote this poem.

I hope you find it encouraging.

Allelon: Walking with One Another

All this talk of One Another’s involves risk.
They say risk is spelled R-I-S-K, which we associate with FAITH.
I suppose all this One Another talk also requires faith.
However, faith in people has often caused us pain.
Simply because pain comes so easily.
How many of us have been hurt by those in the church?
So many of us have walked away from the face of God that shows up in Community.
Risk = Faith
But not necessarily faith in people, but faith in the One Who Loves Us Most.
God.
Faith that if we do get hurt in this risky business of Community,
We partner with the knowledge of the true nature of God.
That He can,
That He will,
And that He longs to heal us of any brokenness we encounter,
As we learn to walk with One Another in grace and in Love,
Let this be our prayer.
Father God, I agree to walk with You
And the One Another’s You have brought across my path.
May I not cause pain.
And when I encounter pain,
May I offer grace, forgiveness and then
Give You my heart for more healing
And continue on
Seeking Your face
In Kingdom Community.

Muchness!

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“You used to be much more…Muchier.”

 You’ve lost your Muchness.”

The Mad Hatter to Alice

Alice in Wonderland

A few years ago, the movie Alice in Wonderland came out. I was really looking forward to that movie. When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the story of a little girl who fell through a rabbit hole and encountered an entirely new world.  Maybe back in the day I had the beginnings of being adventurous but the responsibilities that I encountered on the road to adulthood put a stop to the thoughts of such silly shenanigans.

Recently, I saw this quote about “Muchness” from the movie.  The Mad Hatter is speaking to Alice and he says, “You used to be much more…muchier.  You’ve lost your muchness.”  And you know, quite honestly, I think I have, too!

Have you seen this movie?  Alice spends her time fighting off who people say she is.  They all know her from her previous adventures in Wonderland, of which she has no recollection at all. They speak to her of the memories of her adventures, of their experiences with her and of who she is. Alice adamantly replies, “I am Alice, but not that Alice.” Her adventures, and the future, are all written down on the scroll of Wonderland and still, since she has no recollection, she does not realize that she has forgotten who she is.

How much so with us?

For me, I have not walked in my muchness in one particular area of my life.  I used to be much more muchier in this one situation than I am now.  I realize this.  So do others, but I can’t seem to get back to that place of confident, bold, muchness.  Try as I might, momentary victories in this place do not seem to last.  The pressure mounts, and it is simply easier to forgo the adventure of rising up and simply get through the day.  “I am Delana, but not that Delana.”

I’m confessing that I intend to see this one area of my life line up with all of the other areas!  So, here’s to regaining my muchness!

Grace…A New Definition!

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Grace…God’s grace…His unconditional love is poured out on us all the time, but why is it so hard for me to receive it?  I am so hard on myself! I don’t need to list out those self-condemning thoughts, because you probably have them too, so we don’t need to discuss the thoughts that can so quickly cause any of us to end up paralyzed in a deep, dark hole.

1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”  However, due to life’s circumstances this can be difficult to grasp.  Sure, we all know this Scripture in theory, but how does it play out in our every day, everyday lives?

I find myself going back to 1 John 3 and 4.  In my Bible, I have an arrow going across the page from 1 John 3:19/20 over to 1 John 4:16.  For me, these verses will ever be connected together!  And, yes, of course, I write in my Bible.

1 John 3: 19/20 — “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

Insert arrow.

1 John 4:16 — And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

Please join me in reading them consecutively.

This is how we know that we belong to the truth

and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: 

If our hearts condemn us,

we know that God is greater than our hearts,

and He knows everything...

And so we know

and rely

on the love God has for us

God is love.

Whoever lives in love lives in God,

and God in them.” 

He knows everything! He knows the intent of our hearts!!! He knows we didn’t want to do whatever we did, or fall into the paralyzing dark hole that so easily traps us by life’s hurts and our thoughts. He knows that the intent of our heart is to love Him with everything we are.  He knows everything!  Therefore, we can KNOW and RELY on the LOVE that He has for us!  No matter what!

This is not about us “Doing” the right thing.  We can’t maintain that.  However, we can live out of our intimate relationship with Him and live a life of grace.  We will make mistakes. We will have victories. One doesn’t override the other!

The other day, as I was praying and trying to grasp the concept of GRACE, I asked the Lord.  “Okay, so what IS grace from YOUR perspective?  I hear people say it is God’s Richest at Christ’s Expense.  Lord, that has never set well in my spirit.  It makes me sad, actually.  Can You tell me what Grace is?”

Then I waited.

Here’s what I sensed in my spirit. These words were far outside my realm of brilliance, so they had to be an answer from the Lord.

“My Darling One, this is GRACE.  God’s Ridiculous Acceptance Covers Everything.”

I’m sure the sound that was heard in the heavens was the sound of my brain blowing up!  What?  THAT’S GRACE?

“Yes, Delana.  THAT is MY Grace poured out into you, in your every day, everyday life.”

You mean I don’t have to be perfect? I don’t have to beat myself up for my failures? I don’t have to strive for Your acceptance?  I can simply receive Your ridiculous acceptance and let that cover everything?

“Yes.”

Friend, as you read this, I pray that you will be able to let God’s Ridiculous Acceptance Cover Everything for your life, too!

A Summer Read — Walking Butterfly…the Book!

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Happy Blogiversary!  It’s been four years since I started journaling my metamorphosis. Due to the hurts of life, I had walled myself off in a cocoon of self-protection.  I can now, delightfully proclaim that I have shed those confining walls of self-protection and am learning to spread my wings and fly.  Sure, I still have incidences where, if I am not careful, I will end up caught in a butterfly net and captured, but I am learning to see those traps more quickly.

I’m going to use this post as a promotion for my friend Susie Klein. Susie – SURPRISE!  You didn’t know I was going to do this. Susie has written this powerful book called Walking Butterfly.  If you need a good summer read, this would be an excellent choice. Susie is a very good story-teller. I found myself pulled into the pages of her book and it was as if Susie was telling me about her life. I really didn’t want to finish the book because of that. These are ordinary experiences that Susie had with our extraordinary God, trying to sort out life, hurts, joys and things that make you want to go hide in a cave and never come out.  Ever.

First, I want to share a little bit about how Susie and I became friends.

We have AHHH-MAZING friends all over the planet.  If you are reading this, then chances are YOU are one of those people.  I’m pretty sure the only people who read these posts are people who love me.  Thank you!

Some our friends live in California.  They lived (and still do) in a realm of freedom that David and I had not known.  Anyway, some of you know them. Some of you ARE them!  It started with one friend, Byron and then, his power-house of a wife, Crystal.  They are the kind of people who love well.  Over the years, we would meet their friends. They are the kind of people who have really good friends.  If you are a friend of theirs, then you are a friend of ours, kind of thing.  That’s how our circle of friends extended out to California.

On one of our trips, I shared with Crystal that I wanted to meet Susie.  Susie and I had become friends on social media and that turned out to be a good match.  We are so very similar in how we process life, friends and the Kingdom of God.  I really, really wanted to meet her in person.  She was, well, rather legendary to me.  Susie, you are probably reading this and thinking – “Me, legendary? Have you been drinking?”

It was a Sunday morning and Crystal found Susie and we went to chat.  Something unusual happened in that intentional meeting.  I caught a glimpse of Susie’s heart, the love of God that gently and powerfully resided in her spirit and of His love for her.  I am not all that emotional and I began to cry.  Susie said she doesn’t friend people she doesn’t know on social media but she felt a sort of kinship with me so she broke her rule.  Yay us, Susie!  A true friendship was birthed.

One time I went out to visit and Susie and I had an entire day together in Napa Valley. Her incredibly generous husband (hubs) had a gift card to a swanky restaurant and we dined like the royal gals we are!  We had this day together to share, listen, cry, laugh and make memories together.

ANYWAY —- Walking Butterfly would be an excellent summer read.  Many of the experiences Susie shared, I understand. I have also known incredible amounts of healing, but this book took the isolation-sting out of many of those wounds. Wounds are universal.  And, the point of the book is that the vast love of God can, and does, flow into those wounds and makes us whole.  It is Susie’s story.  It is my story. I bet it is your story, too.

You can get this on Amazon.  Click here for more info. http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Butterfly-Comfy-Cocoon-Flying/dp/1523617624/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464978459&sr=1-1&keywords=walking+butterflysusie book

And…thank YOU AHH-MAZING friend for reading and for being in my life!

Vineyard Advent

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David and I absolutely love our church family.  We have landed at a place that has loved us into more wholeness than we’ve ever known. Maybe that’s also because we are older and wiser and realize the importance of working at wholeness. Also, because God loves us so much He longs to help us find restoration.

So, recently, I was invited to be one of the Vineyard Writers who was invited to write for our first ever Vineyard Advent Blog.  I still get giddy, at times, realizing that David and I are part of this Tribe.

I am known, at our Vineyard, for a variety of things and I just get great joy being viewed as a writer.  When I began this blog in 2012, that was the farthest thing from my mind. I wrote because I wanted to find healing.  Now, almost four years later, I have found healing, finding more as the years move on and am finding a few kicks and giggles from being “known” as a writer!

If you want to read the posts from my other writer friends, go to: http://thevineyardadvent.com. These ladies are incredible writers and friends!

Here’s my post on CHOOSING JOY!

The Dictionary defines JOY as: “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; the expression or display of glad feeling.”

That’s not exactly how I define Joy. That sounds temporal. Fleeting. Something based on circumstances or an event. For me, Joy is a place down deep in my spirit. It is like a river. A river doesn’t relocate. Neither does my internal River of Joy. However, I find in order to access it, I have to go find it. I have to choose Joy, in the moment. My river of joy is still there, way down deep in my spirit but in the busyness of life – I need to take a moment and go there.

A river can change over time, but it doesn’t relocate. The more the water rushes through it; it overflows its banks. If you look at a river in a canyon, it can start small but then become raging, over time. The power of the water can move through, or over, obstacles and create new paths that were not there before.

What if I/we allowed the Joy of the Lord to be that sort of powerful force in our day to day lives? The Joy of the Lord. The Lord, the One who endured the Cross. Hebrews 12:2: “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We are HIS Joy! And, in return, I CHOOSE Joy! I exhale frustration, chaos, busyness and inconvenience and exchange them for Joy. I choose Jesus and all that He is. I choose His Peace, the Joy of Who He is, I choose to access the Joy of the Kingdom and bring those tangible truths into my mess.

These are powerful choices.

The power of the Joy of the Lord will overflow the banks of our self-contained lives. The power of the Joy of the Lord will change the landscape of our obstacles. It can flow over them, or bore a hole right through them! The Joy of the Lord IS our strength in this life of ours.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

This verse also says to share with those who have nothing prepared. Let’s share our JOY with those who may be in a place of ___ (fill in the blank). For, this day is holy to our Lord, no matter what! So, do not grieve whatever is going on and access your River of Joy, for the Joy of the Lord IS our strength!

A Funny Story

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I have the urge to write something besides a to-do list.  So, how about I tell you a story?  In my family, growing up, we were a family of four.  Dad was a school teacher and Mom stayed home with my sister and me.  Mom and Dad thought they could never have kids, so I suppose they just settled into their everyday lives thinking kids were not in the picture.  After they had their 18th wedding anniversary, they found out I was on the way.  Seriously, for David and me who were unable to have kids, I can only imagine the mixed emotions my parents must have had at this AMAZING news!  I was on the way!  Less than two years later, more news.  They were going to have another little girl! Oh the emotions.

Anyway, on with the story.  There are many I could share but I think I’ll tell you about the time Aunt Hazel drove us to school.

Since Dad taught school, he left before us.  And….here’s the key.  He came home AFTER us.  We were not at the same school as Dad, either. Can you see where I am going with this?  We could easily talk Mom into letting us stay home from school.  And we did…often!  Grade school, Jr. High, High School.  It really didn’t matter.  Mom really liked having us home with her and we loved not being at school.  Good thing we achieved good grades, easily!

Until that one day.

The day when Dad came home early! Cue ominous music.  We didn’t know that tidbit of news when we commenced the morning of great whining, which always resulted in a fun day at home with Mom, books, cartoons and pbj. Suddenly, our mornings of great whining came to a screeching halt!  I’m sure we were grounded. I don’t remember just how grounded.

Oh, so Aunt Hazel. How does she play into this?  Glad you asked.  My sister and I were in High School. Mom didn’t drive and we always had to take the school bus.  On this particular morning, there was no longer the potential for a Ferris Buehler type of day so we came up with another plan.  We were slow.  S-L-O-W.  S-L-OOOOOOOOO-W in getting ready for school.  So slow that we missed the bus.  Dang!  Guess we’ll have to stay home.

However, we had played mom one too many times and she must have remembered the after-math of our last “Ferris” day, because she had allowed us to stay home as healthy kids and not sick ones.  So, she called Aunt Hazel to come and take us to school.

Aunt Hazel was probably near 90.  She made a mean cherry pie; however, as a chauffeur she was not to be trusted.  She was a sturdy woman who drove an old car.  As my sister and I crawled in the backseat, we had no idea what a ride we were in for!  Aunt Hazel drove like a bat out of hell!  Wiz, bang, floor it Martha!  She drove really fast and she drove through red lights!  Terre Haute, Indiana is somewhat hilly in places and I swear we actually became air born at one point as she flew through the city streets.  My sister and I huddled in the backseat, holding on to one another praying for Divine protection from every Angel that God could spare!  I am not exaggerating for poetic license either.  This really did happen the way I am telling you!  Somehow, that cured us from our morning slowness!

Now, if only I could find that sort of motivation to get moving in the morning as an adult!  Coffee will have to do.