Today is really the first day of the New Year for me…

For some reason, January 1 just didn’t do it for me.

Shawn went back to Longwood yesterday. That makes the New Year seem more…here. We are back to a more normal state.

Typing “more normal state” and then reading it back made me laugh out loud.

I’m not really sure what “normal” is anymore. I’m not really sure I believe “normal” exists anymore.

I have realized as I’m getting older that I am resistant to change.

I resisted the new normal of Shawn being away at college. Now I’m resisting his returns for extended periods of time. It just throws me off, as much as I adore that kid.

I am completely resisting the new normal of life with a rebellious, angry, self-centered 18 year old daughter. After the exchange of a few words last night before she went out, I awoke to see she never came home last night. This is the new normal. And I hate it.

I can honestly say I’m resisting the new normal of turning 49 at the end of this month and the 49 year old body that has tagged along with that new normal. That is one change I am trying to change, lol.

So, as I begin this “first day of the New Year,” I have discovered that normal is all about continuous change. Even the normalness of my morning quiet time is ever changing. God’s Word is alive. Every time I read a familiar verse, He says something different to me.

That is a change I want to embrace.

Reading the Bible all the way through this year and my book addiction with a little cancer hatred thrown in for good measure.

Just a quick post today.

Did I mention I am reading the Bible all the way through this year? I am. I am loving it. Even the genealogies. I love that the genealogy of Jesus only mentions a five women. Women that I LOVE to read about and will continue to study. I am doing this reading plan:

Discipleship Journal’s One Year Plan

First thing this morning I took the oldest child to the ER. His bronchitis just has not gotten any better after being on antibiotics for 6 days. I was concerned about pneumonia. In under an hour, we got in, he had a chest x-ray, we saw the doc, got two prescriptions, checked-out and we were driving away. This is all due to a New Year’s Miracle. I had my Prayer Warriors on it since dawn and not only did they come through…He came through. There was not a single person in the waiting room when we walked in and the nurses were standing around enjoying some down time.
We dropped his prescriptions off at my new favorite place to shop: The Walgreen’s and headed to the Starbucks for a coffee and to wait on a local joint to open so we could have breakfast. It was all delicious.

On the way out of Walgreen’s with prescriptions and party gift in hand we ran into a friend of ours. The dad of one of Sarah’s volleyball teammates, both high school and club teams. We knew that he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and that it was treatable for a time, but not curable. His appearance was shocking to us. We talked about stuff for a few minutes and then I mentioned his health. He was very appreciative that I brought it up and he was very candid about his prognosis. Right now, he feels good and it is being managed. It was, upon reflection, a teachable moment for my oldest child, who is already a loving and compassionate young man. I did what I do…I expressed my concern, my sorrow, my hatred for cancer. I reached out and touched his arm and told him that I was praying for him; that we were praying for him. I am fairly certain they are not church attenders and most likely not believers. That increases my sorrow. I will pray for him and I will now drop him an occassional note reminding him that I am praying for him.

I hate cancer. I hate cancer. I hate cancer.

My mother-in-love, Kaye, is having surgery tomorrow for breast cancer. As of right now, however, her cancer is considered “curable.” She is the primary caretaker of my father-in-law, who does require 24/7 “care”…if only just having someone in the house. Tomorrow we will spend the day at Potomac Hospital, my husband and I, and I covet your prayers that Kaye’s surgery goes well and that the cancer is indeed contained.

My book addiction…seriously, it is an illness. So many books I have forgotten I even have. I have one more book coming that I ordered from half.com and after it arrives, I am not buying another book for myself for the rest of the year. Other than bible study member books. I expect y’all to hold me accountable. K? Thanks!

Okay, the kitchen is a huge disaster and I have slowly been working on it all day.

Hugs. And Blessings.

Sooz

Words

Having recently heard that the careless and hurtful remarks of a church member led to the decision of one family to not join our church and being reminded of another incident where long time members left our church due to careless remarks, has me thinking a lot about the words I speak.

The last few months has had me working through the study, Conversation Peace, by Mary Kassian. The one thing that has really stuck with me from this study is that my words begin with my thoughts and my thoughts begin with the condition of my heart.

I grew up hearing my mother say, “This is the way I am. I can’t change the way I am.”

Ummm, yeah. About that. The Bible is all about how we must change and be changed, Mom.

But for the longest time, I subscribed to this logic. Let’s face it. It’s easier. Nothing required of me.

It’s easier to not microscope the condition of my heart. To just go with it. To say, “this is just who and what I am.” To say whatever pops into my head and out of my mouth. I did that for a long, long time and, sadly, still often speak without thinking.

I am trying to change that. First, by saturating my heart and my mind with His word. Second, by training my head to recognize the thought patterns that lead to a hardening of my heart and to turn those thoughts around. Third, by stopping and thinking about what I am going to say before I say it.

As I contemplated on all of this today, I asked God to forgive me for any and all hurtful things I have said, to my family, friends, strangers and asked Him to put a guard on my thoughts and my mouth.

I feel changed already.

Blessings.

Susan

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Two Thousand and Nine was a year. I am glad to physically put it behind me. However, the pain, joy, and lessons learned will stay with me the rest of my life. This is the year that I truly discovered what being a friend means. I am blessed to have many. This is the year that I truly embraced love your neighbor as yourself.

This is the year that my husband of 26 years turned 50 years old. Half a century. I think it impacted me more than it did him, for several reasons: He only grows more handsome to me as he grows older; we have been married for more than half our lives; this means I will soon be turning 50. (that last one was the kicker.)

I no longer do “resolutions.” I do, however, reflect back over the last year, scan through my 2009 journals and lay out before God some things I want to change and open my heart to what He wants me to change. Often, the two lists are not the same. I have found it is better (easier?) to work on the list He gives me rather than my own.

Yesterday, Russell and I sat on the couch in our living room watching disc after disc of Lost, Season 5. This has become an annual New Year’s tradition for us. We want to be ready for the next season and let’s face it, if you watch Lost, you know it is very easy to get, well, lost in all that goes on.

As we sat together, just the two of us, I asked him, “what are we going to do differently in 2010?” His response of, “I don’t know, hon…I don’t know” was exactly why I asked him that question. We are not where we want to be. And I know, beyond doubt, that we are not ultimately in control. This has been the year to give up all semblance of control and lean heavily on faith. Truthfully, it scared me that he said, “I don’t know…”. I want him to know. I need him to know. ‘Cuz I don’t.

I truly had hoped to wake up this morning, the first morning of a new decade, and all of the answers would be laid out for us…how to deal with a daughter spinning wildly out of control? how to continue loving and supporting a family so very dear to us as they continue to grieve and mourn the loss of a wife and mother, also a much-loved friend of ours? how to deal with my own sense of loss and grief over both of these horrific events?

I do not have any of the answers this morning. Most likely, I will not be able to articulate any answers over the next year or years. I will, instead, do what I have been doing this last year…step out in faith and hope. I’ve finally figured out that it is pretty much all I can do most of the time.

Blessings,

Susan