Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overwhelmed and searching--Grief and healing

The door creaks. The cobwebs entangle. The dust chokes.
"Helloooooooo? Anybody home?" 

I don't know why I picked today to visit my own abandoned blog. Could it be that I feel overwhelmed and could it be that I thought my old blog would be a place I could hide? Mmmm, could be. As long as I'm hiding out here, I can avoid all the housework and sewing projects that are screaming at me. Or maybe I came here searching for something? Or someone? Some days I feel  like I have misplaced my purpose, and my brain. And myself.

Yeah, I think that's it. I'm feeling overwhelmed AND I'm searching. Have you ever been overwhelmed? Have you ever been on a search?

I love the definitions provided by Dictionary.com
o·ver·whelm [oh-ver-hwelm, -welm] verb (used with object)
1.  to overcome completely in mind or feeling: 
2.  to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush: 
3.  to cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters, debris, or an avalanche; submerge
4.  to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything:
5.  to overthrow.
search [surch]verb (used with object)
1.  to go or look through (a place, area, etc.) carefully in order to find something missing or lost: 
2.  to look at or examine (a person, object, etc.) carefully in order to find something concealed:
3.  to explore or examine in order to discover.
4.  to look at, read, or examine (a record, writing, collection, repository, etc.) for information:
5.  to look at or beneath the superficial aspects of to discover a motive, reaction, feeling, basic truth,etc. (my favorite)
Let's back up a minute. Or several months.

My last post here was in June, 2013. I mentioned a new day that was dawning. Daily life for hubby and me changed because of his shift in careers. That type of change, like a pebble boulder pitched in a lake, creates a wake that reaches far into the future. My life will be forever different, like it or not. That change brought me grief. Downright, honest to goodness, tear producing grief. I felt a little silly about that, but what can I say? If you have followed this blog, I think you have a pretty good idea how much I enjoyed My Dashing and Bold Adventure. The end of that life's chapter made me sad. There. I admit it! (Does such public honesty make you squirm? It does me! I'm squirming over here, just so you know.) That sadness, sometimes, is overwhelming.

When I wrote that last post, I thought I was starting to get a grip on the new day that was coming up over the horizon of my personal timeline.
It is possible to be sad about something that you've lost and at the same time be confident that the new thing that comes to fill the void is part of God's plan for you--your hope and your future. 
I thought I had a pretty good idea what to expect and how to deal with it.

Little did I know...

For the last several years my father complained of pains in his chest (and various other places) and and an overwhelming tiredness or weakness. For the last several years, visits to the doctor were futile.  On July 4, 2013, my father was hospitalized because of his pain and weakness. Finally, a diagnosis! MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome)

The months that immediately followed seem now to be a blur. Because my parents lived a three hour drive from here (where dad received treatment), my home became their home one week out of every month, with more visits in between, while dad took chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions.  Yes, a new day was coming--an unexpected day, one that I had no idea how to handle.

Five chemo treatments and a several units of blood failed to produce the positive results for which we had all hoped. On November 21, 2013, dad decided to start home hospice care in my home. Thirty days later Daddy traded his weak, exhausted body of flesh and the temporal things of this earth for a new, unfathomable life to be lived, eternally, in the presence of the LORD! Daddy's ultimate new day has come.

Those six months of offering hospitality and care to my parents I will cherish as long as I live.
Even sad memories become sweet when love abounds.
My youngest daughter and my precious parents. 
Deep down I always saw myself as a daddy's girl. I still do. Though my mother is alive and we have a good relationship, my father's passing left me feeling somewhat orphaned. Not every day, but some days, that orphan feeling is overwhelming.

A few other things have taken place in the recent months that have not touched me directly but have been devastating or at least life changing for other people I know and love. I've shared and felt their grief in the private corner of my soul where I go to hide and cry and petition my God. It's all been...I hate to wear out one word, but...OVERWHELMING! (Feel free to go back up and read the definitions again. Every single one applies.)

 Like that avalanche in #3 above, this whole overwhelmed thing has gotten out of control. It has rolled over my emotional, knocked down my mental, crashed into my physical, and is headed straight for my spiritual with destruction as its intent. It's got to be stopped! How do you stop an overwhelmation? (Yes that's a real word because I just invented it.)

Thus the search begins.

I've avoided this blog, my memories of how life was, because it made me sad. I've been running ahead of the avalanche, refusing to look back because I can't stand the pain, and I'm sick of tears and snot. I think I've been trying to bring about some sort of closure. So here I am, in search of an air hole from under everything that suffocates and overwhelms me at the moment (including the piles of laundry and layers of dirt in my house). I'm trying to face the avalanche head on. I'm searching for myself, that old woman girl who loves to look at life from a quirky angle. I'm searching for a better place than where I am now. I'm searching for a way to REALLY deal with that new day that popped up over the horizon.

God's Word promises that if we seek, we will find. Do you want to know what I'm finding? (Say yes because it's profound and you really do want to know.) I'm finding stuff that makes me laugh. Again. I'm finding a personality that is a unique crafting of the hand of God.  I'm finding a God who deeply loves me and forgives me and cares for me and entertains me and guides me and protects me and provides for me... (Forgive me if this sounds narcissistic. It's not about me, it's about my GOD!)

 I am not finding closure, and I'm glad. All of the days of my life past are such an important part of who I am now, and merely stepping stones to where I am going. To shut those memories up, to close them off because they may sting my heart, or make me cry, is like saying they count for nothing and had no purpose.  But, instead, I am finding healing. Unlike closure, which shuts a door and moves you on down the road of life but never really frees you to live, healing restores, makes whole, cures, reconciles,-- it frees you up to LIVE, not just continue on with life. I pray you understand the difference because it's HUGE! 

I'm not saying I will never again cry over the memories of my Daddy. And I'm sure if I flip back through the pages of this blog again in days to come, I may still be weepy when I remember those fun times. But, I can be free from the overwhelming grief that tries to completely bury me. I can look forward and look back with joy because of God's grace and healing power. 
There is a new hopeful day dawning, and I am certain of that because there is evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness in days past. He has already proved Himself. All I needed to do was look back and see.
If you are reading this and you are feeling overwhelmed, I hope you will read some old posts and find the God who gives relief, healing and life.
Then, if you would like, check out my other blog New Day Dawning here. (Click on the blog link. It's kind of new and trying to grow. Your visit will help it out!)   I would feel so blessed.

Lavonda

Friday, June 7, 2013

A New Day Dawning


Hello sweet friends, family, faithful readers, and whoever else might happen to stop by! I have left you hanging around, wondering where I've been and what I've been up to.

What's that you say? Oh. Well. Yes, I understand. You have had better things to do over the past year than to wonder about my adventures, and then wait around for me to write about them. That's okay. After all, I know it's not all about me. You have your own adventures to live out! But since you are here, let me catch you up, okay? I'll try to keep it brief.

The last adventure I told you about was a year ago and we were in Hobbs, NM. I ran the holding tank over, remember? Well, we moved on...

We came home, then... Honestly the memory of most months since then kind of swirl around in my head like water going down the bathtub drain. I do remember that we had a very short deployment to New Orleans--I'm talking only ten days--and then we were in the Gulf Shores / Mobile, AL area for a few days while hubby took some more training. (Quick! Someone put in the stopper before the last memory goes glug glug into the septic tank!) I think we had one more trip after that, or in between that, but to save my neck (and the last of the bubble bath) I can't remember for sure. If we did, obviously it was very short and totally uneventful. If we didn't, well, maybe it was a dream I can't recall.

I just remember that we were home by the end of September, and home is where we remain. (I'll explain why in a minute.)

The holiday season was a little low key for us but still enjoyable. We had the joy of one granddaughter here for Christmas along with short visits from other extended family.

I started the new year off right by almost severing the end of my finger while making mashed potatoes with my smoothie blender. (Don't ask.) I guess that was pretty Bold, huh? And I did go Dashing off to the urgent care clinic to get it sewed up.

And don't worry. It looks much better now. I have major nerve damage, but the scar is minimal and it still works!

Shortly after the first of the year, our daughter, Patricia and her family moved from Hawaii back to the mainland and spent a few weeks here with us while in transition. What a blessing that was! Another daughter, Kaleena, and granddaughter came up from Houston for a couple of weeks as well, so our house was FULL of little girls and everything that goes with them--toys, hair bows, giggles, tears, teething tantrums, hugs and kisses, ear infections, and smiles... We all had SO much fun. Part of our fun was due to the blizzard that kept us cooped up for a couple of days but gave the little Honolulu Honies some grand drifts to climb!

After all the sweet little granddaughters left, taking most of my heart with them, I spent a few days trying to clean house and wiping tears from my own eyes. Then, I started trying to find a job. (Please don't make me talk about it. Doing so makes my head hurt and my stomach churn. I'm still unemployed, by the way.)

God gave us a new granddaughter,Charlotte, near the end of April. We've not had the chance to see her yet and every day my arms ache to squeeze her. I check her mom's Facebook page every day in hopes of seeing a new picture. Some days I find one and I sit and stare for a while.

Now summer is upon us, and life seems neither Dashing nor Bold and certainly not too adventurous. So, pretty much, you are up to date. Oh yeah, the explanation as to why we are at home--to stay.

The insurance industry has been changing over the years. The company hubby worked for has been changing. Our expenses have increased due to inflation and the crazy price of fuel. The rate of pay has gone the opposite direction. Deployments have gotten shorter and much MUCH less profitable. Taking a deployment call has become a game of roulette, never knowing if we would make money or if we would have to use the credit card to get home. The stress of simply trying to survive and stay in business has a way of sucking the life right out of a person.

So, when the contractor hubby works for "between storms" made a new offer--one that required long term commitment but came with a company truck, more responsibility and authority, a company phone, business cards, etc. we felt like we couldn't refuse.

I can't begin to tell you how sad we are when we let our minds think about life without the adventures of being on the road. Seeing new places, meeting new people, just the two of us...It was a lifestyle we had grown to love. I still want to cry when I recall the wonderful times we've had.

But, God's timing is perfect and we have peace about our decision. It's a new chapter, a new season. A new day is dawning.

That's why I've been away from here for so long--because I've been trying to figure out how to turn this blog about my travels and adventures into something else, and still make it something you would like to read. I'm open to suggestions. This morning I have been setting up a new blog at a different hosting site. It's not ready to publish yet, but stay tuned--something new is coming and I'll give you a link to it when it is ready. (I don't intend to make you wait another year.)

I'm having trouble coming up with content. I want my new blog to accomplish something. There are enough pointless and meaningless words out there on the web, I don't need to add to them. Some of the things I'd like for my new blog to do: glorify God, grow disciples, and entertain.What do you want to read? If you have been a follower here for a while, or even if you are new and like anything you've read, please let me know. What type of posts have you enjoyed the most? I'll be looking for your responses. Please, don't make me wait a year! ;-)


Lavonda

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bad blogger--am I still a blogger?


Have you wondered why my blog has been neglected for so long? I want to give you an explanation, but first I'll have to think up a good one.  I am in the mood to write today. It's been almost a (I hate to say it) a YEAR since I posted here. I'm hanging my head.

I do WANT and PLAN to make it back here today to write. But please don't consider my wants and plans to be a promise.

Like I said, I'm in the mood, but I've got so much stuff to do! Ugh! I need to make a dessert for our small group meeting tonight. I think it may be Italian cream cake. But I have to go to the store for nuts. Maybe I could do a cherry pie without making a trip.

I have so much catching up to do here...it may take days and days. So, while I'm mixing up the dessert, I'll be composing in my head. Then, maybe I can make it back here to type. I'll try.

Lavonda

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compassion--Don't ask. Just DON'T ASK!

My phone rang the familiar Stuck on You ringtone. I knew it was hubby on the other end and I knew what his first words to me would be. "What'r ya doin'?" He has asked me that question every time he has called me for over thirty years. He is so dependable. I love that man. But sometimes, when he asks me that question, I want to tell him, "Don't ask. Just DON'T ASK!"

At first I thought about making up some good story, but I try to make it a practice not to lie to the man I love, and I knew I'd have to come clean about my activity eventually. So, "I'm sitting down resting."

No big deal, right? But then I had to explain why I needed to sit down and rest. Ohhh, I did not want to do that!

It really all started the night before when I took one of those ease your pain PM pills. I slept like a dead log and even overslept a few minutes. A text message got me out of bed and I jumped into the day full steam ahead.
Well, not really. I kind of stumbled into the day with a head full of furry cobwebs. You see, when I packed all my junk back into the camper (those are details I haven't mention here in my blog that I may have to do as a flash-back post) I packed the coffee beans, the grinder, and the white mocha creamer, but failed to put in the french press. Consequently, all day long I fought the effects of the little blue pill that made me rest so well the night before. So what happened later was not my fault. Really. Sort of...not...anyway...

When you live in an RV you have this thing called a holding tank. We've got three of them in our rig. One catches the water drained from the kitchen sink. One catches the water from the shower and bathroom sink. These two are called gray water tanks. And the third tank catches the water from the toilet and is known as the black water tank. (ewww) I don't want to get too boring technical here, but just so you will understand--we leave the valves on the two gray water tanks open all the time we are camped so they consistently drain into the campground sewer system. We allow the black water tank to hold the...well...the...STUFF...until it gets pretty full, then we empty it by pulling a little handle thingy which opens a valve. Then SWOOSH, most of the STUFF goes down a big hose and into the sewer system. Some STUFF will lag behind and has to be rinsed out. No big deal. There's a little dohicky where you attach a garden hose, and when you turn on the water, it runs into the tank.

The procedure goes like this: Attach hose to the dohicky. Open valve. STUFF starts to drain. Turn on water faucet, wait for STUFF draining from tank to...well...look less like STUFF and more like light brown water. (There's a section of the drain hose that is clear so you can see without smelling. Pretty cool.) Close valve and allow water to continue to fill holding tank until you hear a squeely noise (air being pushed up around the seal in the toilet) that lets you know the tank is full. This usually takes a while, especially when you are staying at a place where the water pressure is low. You can do other things while you wait like fold clothes, sweep the floor, talk on the phone, look at cool stuff on Pinterest, read blogs, etc. When you hear the squeely noise, DASH back outside, (try not to fall down the steps in your haste or whack your head on the bedroom slide as you run round the corner) open the valve, SWOOSH, turn off water, wait for tank to finish draining, close valve, remove hose from dohicky, and you're done.

It's a simple routine that works well. Pretty well...except when...

Hey! Is it MY fault that the water pressure was SO low that it took the tank SO long to fill that I totally forgot about it? And it really wasn't MY fault that my head was full of fuzzy cobwebs because I had taken a pill and hadn't had any coffee for a whole WEEK so it was easy to forget that I had left water running! And it sure wasn't my fault that this one time, for reasons unknown, the toilet didn't make it's usual squeely noise when the tank got full! Maybe I shouldn't have been so focused on folding clothes and sweeping floors (that part about reading blogs, talking on the phone, and checking out Pinterest was just examples of what one COULD do, if she wanted to, while she waited) that I didn't recognize the sound of water splashing from the toilet rim to the floor at the very first drop, but I was trying to do a good job! Okay?

After my guardian angel pulled some fuzzy web out of my ear and I realized what the splashing noise was, I rushed to the bathroom and found the toilet trying to imitate the falls of the great Niagara. The water pressure had miraculously increase several gallons per minute. That black water tank was clean now!

I'm sorry I didn't take pictures for you to see. It was something to behold!

Back to why I needed to sit down to rest. When the toilet overflows, its contents makes its way into the heater duct work and through slight openings in the floor around the plumbing and into the "basement" of the RV. The basement is full of things like lawn chairs, fishing waders, bird feeders, you name it. Emptying all that out and cleaning up the flood made me tired. Very hot and tired.

Empty out, vacuum out,...
and let the hot wind blow through!


After I explained why I was sitting and resting, hubby was silent for a moment. Then, "So I guess I'll have to replace the floor in the bathroom when we get home."

I was silent for a briefer moment, then I started trying to break the world's record for how many times a woman can apologize for a single offense.

Hubby seemed less upset with me than I thought he should be, especially since he was sitting outside in 102 degree temperature waiting for a tow truck to come get his broken down pickup. When he got home that evening, he remarked, "The time I did that, water came out the vent pipe on the roof."

Did I tell you how much I love that man? He didn't tell me it was all okay, (I kind of wish he would have) but he didn't yell or scold me either. He had clemency for me. Though he didn't know it, and he might not have meant to, or maybe he did, he reminded me why sometimes we have trials, bad days, and tough times.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
May we remember to show compassion and comfort with the comfort we have received.


Lavonda

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Self-discovery #2

Posting two days in a row? Somebody, get me a cold rag for my forehead!

I really am going to get around to telling you what I've been up to lately--one of these days--but be warned, it will be old news. Today, I need, and I mean NEED some help. I need help from people who know me well or are very perceptive. If you are related to me, have worked with me, have served beside me in church, or watched me work and serve from a distance, or have had deep enough conversations with me to feel like you know me well, I need your input. And if you know me only through my blog and want to chime in, you also are welcomed to do so.

Do you remember that I am on a self-discovery journey? I first mentioned it back in January. Then I told you about my first discovery: I'd make a good pet. Now today, I think I've made another discovery, but I need confirmation. Let me explain.

I've been participating in an online Bible study by Renee Swope called A Confident Heart. It has been a blessing to me, and I recommend it to any woman who is going through a bit, or a bunch, of negative and discouraging days filled with doubts and fears. I'm behind on my lessons (naturally) and have been trying to play catch up. Today I am working on about three chapters because I have read ahead in the book farther than the extra assignments I've completed. Yeah, I'm a mess. Anyway, one of the "extras" I did today was a Spiritual Gift Assessment.

I've been a Christian for a bunch of years. And for the majority of those years, I've been very active in an organized body of believers aka a church. I've done a little bit of just about everything there is for a church member to do. I've served in almost every kind of ministry and worn many different hats. But one thing I don't recall doing is taking a Spiritual Gift Assessment to determine where I should be serving and what I should be doing. I've heard about them and looked at other people's results and read over assessment question, but I don't recall taking one myself. (Maybe I have and my memory is kaput.)

Now let me say that I think God can, and does, give us the gifts we need to do the jobs placed before us. And I believe that sometimes He gifts us with temporary strengths, abilities, and power to accomplish His work. He has the right and the ability to give and take away gifts as He sees fit.  But I also believe that there are certain areas, or gifts, that He has given each of us that remain consistently dominate throughout our Christian lives. It's the way He wired us at the time of our rebirth. (I'm not talking personality types here. I've done one of those tests and decided I'm schitzo, so I don't want to talk about that at the moment.) *grin*

The assessment I took today has 96 statements preceded by an instructional paragraph that includes this sentence. "Respond to each statement below according to who you are, not who you would like to be or think you ought to be."  *furrowed brow* (hmm...Maybe that's why I failed the personality test.)

I'm going to share my assessment results with you (it's almost like letting you look through my dresser drawers) and this is where I need your help. I want to make sure I responded to the statements according to who I am and not who I want to be or who I think I should be. So, if you don't agree with the results based on what you know about me, speak up! If you do agree, it's okay to say so as well. So here goes. I will list the gifts in order of how I scored, highest to lowest.

  1. Tied Teaching and Wisdom (I do have a lot of gray hair for my less than 50 years but I'm not so sure about the wisdom part.)
  2. Discernment
  3. Tied Knowledge and Faith
  4. Exhortation
  5. Tied Administration/Ruling and Mercy (Now that's an interesting mix.)
  6. Pastor
  7. Helps/Serving/Ministering
  8. Evangelism
  9. Giving (Now isn't that sad? I'm embarrassed.)

Here is an explanation of my top three. If you would like to see explanations of the rest, then you can check out the assessment for yourself. (Click here) Scroll on down past the 96 statements to find the explanations.

Wisdom This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit empowers particular Christians with a supernatural understanding of God's Word and the will to apply it to life situations. See I Corinthians 12:8,James 3:13-17.

Teaching This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables particular Christians to communicate and clarify the details and truths of God's Word for others to learn.See Romans 12:7, Ephesians 4:11

Discernment This is the spiritual gift where the Spirit enables certain Christians to know without a doubt whether a statement or behavior is of God, Satan, or man. See I Corinthians 12:10,Acts 5:3-6, Acts 16:16-18, I John 4:1

 I am serious about this self-discovery thing, and you have no idea how much I would like feedback here. Consider it help with vital research. If you all think that I've really missed the mark and that I don't have a clue who I really am, at least you know who I want to be!

Please leave your comments. You don't have to have any kind of an account, just sign in as anonymous (if you don't already have a listed id), but let me know who you are if you don't mind. If you know someone who knows me, please pass a link to this blog post on to them. Thank you so much!

Now if I can get over feeling like I just hung my unmentionables out on the line to dry in Time Square, I'll work on a blog post about what I've been up to lately. Maybe.




Lavonda

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redeemed

I'm so far behind on posting, it almost seems pointless to try to continue on. Most of my readers have stopped reading, and I fear that all my "followers" have wondered on down the road without me. So I ask myself, and my audience of chirping crickets, should I continue to try to blog or should I just hit the big ol' delete button and call it quits? (This is not the first time I've struggled with this thought.)
Hmm. When I started this blog I didn't care if anyone read it or not, and I didn't understand the term "followers" as it related to my writing.  I started blogging just so I would have a place and a reason to write, and it was an assignment in a course I was taking at the time. Now I'm more informed and it is very easy to get bummed out because somehow, what I now know makes me see myself as a bit of a failure. I think I can relate to Adam and Eve after they gained knowledge of good and evil. They were completely happy, naked, hanging out in the garden, chatting with God... Then BOOM! All of a sudden, when they ate the fruit from the knowledge tree, things changed, and they were ashamed. (You can read the story for yourself here.) Sometimes what you know can hurt you. Yeah, you can call me Eve.

The good news is, the God they were hanging and chatting with is a redeeming God who, believe it or not, had never ending, more than enough, blow your mind mercy, and He dumped it all over them. And guess what? I hang out and chat with the same God, so I think I'll give Him my blog and let Him redeem it. (Sorry delete button, not now, not yet.) And I'll return to the reason I began: I want a place and reason to write.

Just for kicks, I looked up the word redeem. I already know what it means but sometimes I can get a fresh outlook on life just by studying words--what they mean and what they don't mean.

Mostly it means to buy something back that was lost, pay a ransom for something, regain possession of, or to liberate. I like that one. If my blog is liberated by God, then it doesn't have to be bound up by followers, web crawlers, search engines, reader stats, etc. I continued to search and found an antonym for redeem. What it DOES NOT mean: abandon.

Did you just get goosebumps? I did.

Let's savor that for a moment in the shade of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When someone (or something) is redeemed, they (or it) cannot be abandoned. Eve messed up big time. She totally failed in obedience. What she did changed the relationship between man and God forever. In blog terms she had only one follower, Adam, and he participated in her sick and destructive meme--trying to be as smart as God--when he should have known better. Together they just about destroyed the whole human race. No more posting, no more readers, no more comments, just crickets--so to speak.

Shame had them hiding in the bushes when God found them. He never stopped checking in or stopping by to see what they were up to. He followed them even when they stopped following Him. That's what a redeemer does. He does not abandon. God pulled them from their hiding places, clothed them with fine furs, & made a way for them, and us, to get things right again. Jesus--the new meme.

So, I continue to try to write here from time to time and I guess I will continue to come up short of readers, followers, comments, hits--all those measuring sticks that make a blog a "success." But no matter how low my stat numbers fall or how big of a mess or a mistake I make, I know God won't abandon me because I have been redeemed. I will not be ashamed.

Afterthought:

When I sat down here to write a post, I had no intention on writing about redemption. I was going to try to tell you what I have been doing since the last time I posted anything. (Like you really want to know. Ha!) But that's what happens when God refuses to abandon us and regains possession of us and our stuff. He changes our thoughts and intentions and actions to bring attention and praise...and followers...to himself.

Do you have a redemption story? Please share it. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!


Lavonda

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The ultimate bucket list


The past month has flown by! The last time I posted we were in Michigan. That assignment was short lived. In fact only about a week after that post, we were finished and on the road again. The storm event didn't pay well, and with fuel costing way over $4.00 a gallon, we couldn't afford to do much sightseeing, but we did take the last two days to poke around Detroit just a tiny bit.

We visited The Henry Ford. I recommend the museum, especially if you have kids, boys in particular, and especially if those boys are interested in planes, trains, cars, ... pretty much anything with an engine or having to do with industry. It is a wonderful field trip covering the industrial revolution.  The F-150 assembly plant was interesting as well. I think my hubby enjoyed it more than I, but that's okay. It was his day. Mine would follow.
I HAD to take hubby's picture after we ate hot dogs at the Wienermobile Cafe inside the museum.
The next day was my day to do something I really wanted to do.

I guess the concept of a bucket list has been around for a long time, maybe since the beginning of time. I think it was made more popular though by the 2007 movie starting Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It is about two guys who make a list of all the things they want to do before they kick the bucket, and then set out to do them. If you haven't see it, you should. I think the idea of making a bucket list and accomplishing each of those things must be growing in popularity. I even found a website, another social media place, completely devoted to just that. It's called, no doubt, Bucketlist.

I don't have a formal bucket list. I've never actually sat down and written out a list of things I want to accomplish before I die. But I do have one, of sorts, tucked away in one of the back corners of my mind. I think I've mentioned here before that one of the things on that mental list is that I want to put my feet into all the major bodies of water surrounding the good ol' US of A.

So, since we were so close, hubby was kind enough to drive me to the edge of Lake Erie.
There's my feet in the water of Lake Erie.


Even though we experienced record heat for Michigan many of the days we were there, it was a cool, windy, and dreary day when we had opportunity to go to the lake. Naturally.
I know you are asking...Was the water cold? YOU BET YOUR BOTTOM BUTTON IT WAS! It took only a few seconds for my brain to register, "Girl, you are crazy!" And just a couple of seconds later my feet started  hurting. And then the sensation went a little past hurt into a bone deep OWWEEE! It's strange how quickly sharp cold pains can rush up your legs and force you to decide that, "Okay, I've been here long enough to put a big check mark on that bucket list!"
So now I've checked off:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Ontario
  • Lake Erie
When I look at that photo and see how much gray hair is on that head, it makes me think maybe I should start writing my bucket list down--before I get REALLY old and forget what it is that I want to do before I die. It's obvious from those gray locks that I am running out of time.

I have decided there are a few problems with the whole bucket list idea. First, the longer I live, the more things I think of that I want to add to the list. That could be a good thing, I guess, because it can be motivation to keep on breathing. I can just hear myself telling St. Peter at the gate, "I can't die now! I still have seven things on my bucket list! No wait. Make that eight!"

If I am going for that feeling of accomplishment, you know, like, "Whew! Glad to have THAT to-do list done!" then constantly adding one more thing to the bottom of the list can get discouraging after a while. When it's time for me to go, I'm sure I'll have to go, ready or not. I would hate to spend eternity disappointed that I failed in getting 100% of my bucket list checked off. But if I keep it short, and I do get it all done before my time, what will I do to entertain myself for the rest of my life?

Another thing that is troublesome about a bucket list is that as I accomplish those feats, check off those dreams realized, I am forced to admit and embrace the fact that I am one day closer to the end of my earthly life. 

That's not so bad if you have stuff on your bucket list like, step in dog poo, have a tooth pulled without the use of any pain killers, or get hit by a speeding locomotive. (Make that the last thing on the list.) Those type things can make a person happy to see one more day gone by and be one step closer to the end. But no! We put fun and enjoyable things on that list. At least I do. Things that make me want to keep on living so I can add more stuff to the end of my list! It's a maddening cycle.

All this makes me think of what I would call the ultimate bucket list. It belonged to a man named Simeon. As far as I know he had at least one very awesome thing on his list.
Luke 2:25-27 (NLT)
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him
26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Wow! Can you imagine?

God's people were in the clutches and service of the Romans. They longed to be free and to live once again as a nation favored by God. And here is an old man who wanted to see only one thing before he died. He wanted to see the Savior. He wanted to know that God was finally going to come and rescue his people.

Luke 2:27-32 (NLT)
27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required,
28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”  
 With the help of the Holy Spirit, Simeon was able to put a big check mark on his bucket list. He was happy. He was satisfied that there was nothing else to add to the bottom of his list.  He was ready to die in peace, knowing what he had eagerly waited for would come to pass even beyond what he had imagined. He knew he had seen God's salvation for ALL people, not just the people of Israel.

I hope, some how, that the days ordained for me and my ever growing bucket list will work out evenly. But even if they do not, I know I will still be able die in peace because, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I will be able to say that I have known God's Salvation. THAT, my friends, is the ultimate bucket list!


Lavonda