Stuck in the Muck!

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On my daily walk past our local beaver dam, I noticed a creepy addition to our little nature blockade. It was a yellow ball with a clown-like emoji face stuck in the dam. As I continued to walk on, I couldn’t get that ball out of my mind. It reminded me of one of those games… “Now what doesn’t belong in this picture? The logs? The leaves? The creepy clown face? The twigs?” Oh my, what kind of kid would play with that in the first place? Maybe that kid threw it down stream because it was so darn disturbing?

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Needless to say, that ball, not able to float downstream to the Potomac river, is still stuck and has slowly shriveled up bit by bit each day. Surprised the beavers haven’t nixed the ball, I considered suiting up in my son’s fishing waders to take care of the eye sore. But… I wimped out because I really didn’t want to touch it or go through the trouble of dressing up like a fisher-woman. (Can you say lazy?) Besides, what if I ticked off the beavers and they decided to play out some sort of a “Jaws” scenario? Nope, it would stay there.

 

Being stuck is not a desirable position to be in. I remember when I was a young kid and my family went on a cross country drive from Michigan to Colorado. My brother, sister and I must have been driving our parents ballistic because in order to shut us up my father chose a rather unconventional tactic. He picked up a disheveled looking hitch-hiker who was plopped right in between us in the back seats. He could have been a serial killer for all we knew. (And we weren’t even wearing seat belts in those days!) Let’s just say, you could hear a pin drop in that car. We were stuck with that guy through some place near Lincoln, Nebraska. Way to go dad! It worked and I have never forgotten it!

 

Have you ever found yourself struggling to break free from a “dam” in your life? Stuck in a place of fear or shrivel? Something is wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it? In an immediate response to get free do you reach for the latest trends that the self-help industry prominently places at perfect eye level while you are stuck in the grocery store line?

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Or maybe you are going through the motions of what society thinks you should be doing but not deeply connecting to what it is that gives your life true meaning and purpose? Sometimes we settle for the masquerade. We have bought into the “fixes” that can only hold so much water… they fail you because they are temporary and not eternal.

 

This week, make a list of those things that are holding you back from being who God created you to be. Whole heartedly ask Him to show you His abundance. This is a calling to dust off your Bible. Get yourself into a Bible Study so actual understanding follows reading. Maybe you have chains of your past that need breaking and have kept you stuck? Keep the below verses at eyeball level on your desk and ask God to reveal himself to you like never before!

 

He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.” Psalm 107:14

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

 

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

 

“When you take hold, grasp, and make your own all of what Jesus has already taken hold of for you, you begin to experience life to the full – the faith you’ve always longed for.” Sharon James: Author “Take Hold of the Faith You Long For.”

 

“The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” Unknown.

 

Monday’s Must See Video: “Remember Your Chains” Steven Curtis Chapman

The Art of Waking

shutterstock_570908494The music starts out softly like leaves gently falling to the ground or the waters of a brook delicately babbling through its destined carved-out path. Slowly that gentle sound graduates with a bit more intensity but never, ever gets loud to the point of startle. That’s how I like to wake up.

Waking my mother each morning is quite another story altogether. Pulling up the blinds and telling her what day it is and finding something positive to say about the weather outside wasn’t working. And by the way, this winter, it’s been tough to come up with “half-full” scenarios about the weather. I’ve been saying… “Well Mom, it’s a great day too, um, stay inside and sew or work on your puzzle.” I can’t blame her for wanting to stay in her cozy bed!

shutterstock_522124174I’ll leave thinking I had inspired her to join the world of non-slumber only to come back with breakfast and see she is still bundled up and dreaming about a cruise she took to South American in the late 40’s. (Another blog post on that one, for sure.) I try again… “Dad’s breakfast is getting cold because he is waiting for you to join him.” “Oh, I promise, I’ll be right there.” (I’ve learned that with dementia, promises are not always kept. Ya think?)

I had to figure out a way to wake her that didn’t require constant needling. So, I decided that if I couldn’t softly get her out of bed, I would have to “startle” her out. I know that sounds harsh but before you decide to boycott this blog, remain calm and bear with me. You see when someone is afflicted with dementia; too much sleep can actually hamper their brain function.

shutterstock_149488397I needed to be creative… “Hmm.. what does she love?” Dogs came to mind. Aha! I’ve got it! Enter labrador retriever, Lucy, the “kissiest” dog I’ve ever known. I’ll get Lucy to hop on her bed and kiss Mom awake. (Dad wanted the job but I told him that would be gross. Ha!)

Lucy has taken to her new job as “Nana-waker” with flying colors. Now, Mom wakes up each morning laughing and instantly invigorated. Her question every morning now is “How does anyone not love dogs?” This new ritual has brought joy for mom, joy for me to witness, and Lucy gets in her service dog hours. A blessing all around.

All this talk about sleep makes me a little tired which reminds me of how important it is for us to be awake and aware of all that God has in store for us. While the outside weather may be dark and dingy; the love of God is warm and sunny. However, it won’t come in through your windows unless you open the shades and ask.shutterstock_552618301

When choosing to solve difficult dilemmas in your life, Go to God first and dig in. His voice only gets louder. He wants to “love you” awake each and every day! Remember that this week and remember this verse.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“I love you, LORD, my strength.” Psalm 18:1

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” Mother Teresa

“This was, I decided, my purpose as a dog, to comfort the boy whenever he needed me.” W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

Monday Must see Video: “Brandon Heath – Your Love / Christian Music”