Furball Blessings

Don’t you wish all the decisions that would yield great Blessings were easy to make? They are.

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A little over a year ago, Charlie and I welcomed this little dog-being into our home. We call him, “Sammy-the most interesting dog in the world.” (aka: #Sammythepeoplesdog)

One day I was popping around Facebook and I ran into a photo posted on a lifelong friend’s page. She was saying that she had just gone to the pet store and played with this precious, little guy and that, “Someone seriously needs to go get this little guy; he’s adorable.” She went on to say that she would have taken him in herself but he is so small, he’d be “hawk-bait” where she lives in the country.

I took one look at him and immediately clicked through the link she’d provided. We were not in the market for a new dog. Not one word had been spoken between hubs and I regarding wanting to add anything or anyone new to our recently rennovated home. I wasn’t sitting there gushing over how adorable this dog was; I just knew he was already mine. Before five minutes had passed, I’d filled out the application, texted with the Director of the Rescue place and committed to picking up the dog-site unseen. Then this conversation happened:

Me: “Cha Cha?

Charlie: “Yes, baby.”

Me: “We’re adopting another dog.”

Charlie: “No, we are not. We don’t want or need another dog. Maybe later, when Chinah has passed, but not right now. Nooooooo.”

Me: “Look at this photo.”

He looks.

Charlie: “When do we pick him up?”

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Two days later, 5.6 lb. Sammy was inspecting our home. Thankfully, we passed and we’ve been living, loving and laughing together ever since. He’s the brightest, funniest, most playful dog we’ve ever had. His presence in our life is an enormous daily Blessing.

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Don’t you wish all the decisions that would yield great Blessings were as easy to make? They are. It’s a matter of tuning into your heart and fearlessly following it’s direction.

Every mistake I have ever made occurred when I decided to steer away from what my heart told me to do. (Take a minute and think this through regarding your own life. I’ll wait… It’s truth, isn’t it?)

We’ve all got people in our lives who believe they know what’s best for us and those who are gifted in making sure to tell us where they think we are steering in the wrong direction. Let’s face it, there are people out there who appear to make it a mission to criticize and point out flaws.  And what do we do in response to these people? Sometimes we go against our better judgment just to please them OR just so we don’t have to hear about it from them. (Can I get an “Amen” here?) I can’t count the number of people out there who are living a life that someone else has dictated for them. When asked why they don’t or won’t pursue what they really want, the response is always the same. “I can’t because so-and-so won’t let me.” (Feel free to insert “…will be mad if I do”, “…says I’m not cut out for that”, “…wants me to stay this way”; the excuse list is endless, and I say this with love because I’ve been there, too. ♥)

So how does one begin the practice of tuning out the white noise of well-meaning friends and relatives in order to start listening to the contents of the heart? If you know anything about me you can predict what I’m about to say is the first step. (I can hear you, ya know. “God, this woman is a broken record. Doesn’t she ever say anything else!”)

The first step is in fact, prayer. I can already hear some of you saying, “But I pray and pray and pray and nothing different ever happens”. I challenge you on this one. There is never a time when earnest prayer doesn’t yield results. Part of the first step is committing to the realization that your prayers are in fact, being heard. You must stop expecting the answers to appear at the front door. It doesn’t work that way. (More on this later.)

The second step is action. You must give up the notion that you don’t have to be an active part in your life. In order to manifest anything new in one’s life, you must be willing to take a new and different step. It doesn’t have to be huge; just any little positive step that’s different and that moves you towards the direction of your heart.

Here’s mine. From the time I was a little girl, I have always expressed myself in writing. In later years, the one and only dream I have ever had for myself is to become a best selling author, but not just any best selling author. I want what I write to impact people on a soul level. I want to be a vessel of God’s love and I want my reach to be far and wide. I want to tell my own story, because it’s a doozy.

This morning I looked outside my front door and darned if there STILL wasn’t a throng of contract-yielding publishers all fighting to get to me first. (Whaaaat? Maybe tomorrow.)

You are reading one of many of the baby steps I am putting into action in order to get closer to manifesting my dream. I can’t expect to write a book if I am currently not writing a thing now can I? The other REALLY IMPORTANT step I started taking in earnest five months ago is my health. I haven’t been happy about my body in years, so I have stopped being mad at my image in the mirror and am now actively working on my diet and exercise. When I see progress, I feel happier. When I feel happier, I work harder. When I work harder, God always meets me half way.

The third step is to keep it quiet for now. You can’t tune into you heart if you are seeking accolades, approval or “go ahead’s” from others. (I know I’m not keeping quiet about what I’m doing, but I’m not the one seeking to learn to listen to my heart, now am I? ♥)

Let’s recap:

  1. Present your intentions before God by way of honest prayer.
  2. Commit to the understanding that your prayers are heard even if you don’t see or feel proof of it. (A lot of times in my own life, the greatest Blessings are those I don’t readily see or even know about.)
  3. Take some baby action steps.
  4. Keep your big mouth shut. Instead, feel how your heart feels when you are tip toeing towards your intentions. It might feel a little scary at first, but it still feels good, right? That’s your heart talking. Try to memorize what it feels like.
  5. Say thank you in advance for your Blessings.

Rest assured, I will be expanding on all of this soon. For right now, I’ve given you a very achievable mission. Should you decide to accept, your rewards are quite possibly infinite.

Love,

Bobbe


My Dearest Lord,

Today I want to take the time to thank you for all of the furball babies that have crossed my path.  There is so much to be learned by these creatures who offer us unconditional love and companionship. Thank you especially for our dog, Sammy, who makes us giggle on a daily basis. 

Jesus, for all of your children who feel trapped by life’s circumstances or who feel scared to break free of living under someone else’s expectations, I offer my prayers for your Blessings and courage. I know that we all have the capacity to become what our hearts desire and the first place for any of us is to start with You. 

Please join my prayers with the prayers of my friends, family, coworkers and readers. Thank you in advance for all of our Blessings, especially the ones we don’t readily see. Help us to trust with our whole hearts that when we place You in the lead of our lives, our rewards are often beyond our wildest dreams.

Let us all be proud to stand and call you, Father.

I love you.

Amen


 

1 John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bittersweet Blessings.

I count myself as pretty Blessed among my friends and family because although my parents are in their upper 80’s, they are both still here and both in reasonably good health. There are times when they might need assistance doing certain things and when the occasion arises, I like to try to help. Having had a rocky relationship with them “back in the day” and even sometimes in the present; I still want to do what I can for them while they are here.

Sometimes I am asked why I do it and my response is simple, “They aren’t going to be here much longer. I want to know I did my best to love them well while they are here.”

Yesterday my Dad needed some help getting to the new location of the Driver’s License Bureau. It happens to be in my neighborhood, so I offered to drive him. Then we received word that one of my parent’s old dear friends had passed and that the celebration of his life would be held yesterday at the country club where our family practically lived my entire life. I knew Dad wouldn’t feel comfortable going by himself, so I offered to drop by and take him to both places.

Bear in mind I really am a creature of habit and practically a social recluse. Charlie and I have carved out a peaceful routine that works for us. We laugh at ourselves frequently for excitedly making plans to go somewhere new or to some social event and then at the very last second we look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say, “Naaaaaaah. I don’t reaaaaaaally wanna go, do you?” Nope. And then we stay home. (99.5% of the time, this is the exact scenario.)

The prospect of having to make small talk makes me recoil with intimidation, so I was sort of dreading going to the Country Club. Add to this the fact that I knew I would be seeing people who hadn’t seen me in almost forty years. I have been over weight off and on for a lot of years and whenever I think about seeing people from my past I become very insecure. (Translation: I used to have a very high level of confidence regarding my appearance! In fact, one might argue correctly that long ago my entire sense of self was wrapped up in the package of my outward appearance.)

All morning long I wrestled with the same feelings of dread that a person goes through when he/she is about to take and important test. Then I arrived to pick up my Dad at 3:00 PM.

This is a memory I won’t forget. After I had been there for a few minutes talking with my Mom, my Dad appeared all dressed to go. The man is 87 years old, yet when he stepped into the room, he was styled from head to toe looking as modern as any other person on the planet right down to his socks! He and my Mom giggled telling me that she had recently bought the pants he was wearing and hadn’t realized she was picking up, “the skinny leg” variety. It looked so good on Dad it made my heart smile. (My Dad has fought getting old his entire life. At almost 88 next month, it persists.) I was struck by how adorable he looked. It made me feel so good. He was dressed up to go out with ME, regardless of the occasion. (Sniffle. So sweet. I wish I had taken a photo, but that memory will stay with me forever more.)

Our trip to the License Bureau went off without a hitch and soon enough we were walking across the parking lot of the country club. This was a walk both of us had taken separately and collectively hundreds of thousands of times. This time, however, my Dad reached for my hand and we walked up the stairs together to pay respects to a dear friend and his family. It was a bittersweet feeling. This was a place that was a second home to us from birth until my early thirties. My Dad spent nearly every day there playing golf. (He reminded me on the trip over there that he and his buddies used to play on New Year”s Eve no matter what the weather.) I spent my youth in the pool and at the snack bar and then when my daughter was born, we were there together daily during the summers. This is the place we celebrated every special occasion; birthdays, weddings, Anniversary’s, Funerals, out of town guests, and of course, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup!

We were both unprepared for the wash of feelings that hit us at the door. The first thing I noticed was a giant portrait of my Dad’s old good friend, Pee Wee Reese. Dad and I walked over to it and then noticed they had created an entire area dedicated to him. It was fun looking at the art and then peering out the window to see the pool area that had meant so much to me. Then we walked through the archway into the bar to pay our respects the family. The son of my Dad’s friend is a person I ran in the same circles with in high school and his wife graduated with me. It was so good to see them both and to hug them and just spend a few moments together. Looking around, it didn’t take long for Dad and I to come to the unspoken realization that he wouldn’t be seeing many of his old friends. They have all passed on or are in too ill health to socialize.

Trying to take the focus off of that fact, I took his hand and suggested we sneak around the club to see what it was like now. And so we did. What we found were a few changes named for other passed on men who were his best golfing buddies. We stopped in the bar and searched the wall for the plaque with his name on it for when he was the 1980 Club Champion. When I found it, I couldn’t help but reflect that in 1980 I was a Sophomore; probably the same year I started actively socializing in high school.

How did we get here, so far along in life? Gosh, it’s gone by so fast.

We took a few more steps out to the veranda to watch the golfers coming in. I knew Dad was probably remembering all of the times he’d played that course. The screaming elephant in both of our hearts was knowing he would not be playing that course again and that this is a place now predicated by the words, “used to”. I don’t have adequate words to paint what was in our hearts at that moment. I just have gratitude that we experienced it together.

On the way out we ran into two more of my high school friends and I got to hug their necks and say hello. Then I hugged my friend, who’d just lost his father and I told him from my heart, that I love him and although the occasion absolutely sucked, I was so happy to see he and his wife. I meant that. His Dad was important to me and by proxy, that made me always think of him as “brother”. I told him that too. It came out easily.

The drive home was filled with small talk and memories of days gone by. As he was getting out of the car, my Dad took my hand, and with tears in his eyes and told me how much it meant to him that I had suggested we go and that I took the time to come pick him up and Chauffeur him to and from. He said he was glad we were present there, “together”. I was too.

Having worked together for over thirty years, my Dad and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. There was even a time when we didn’t speak to or see one another for three years. Though it was emotionally hard, I count this day as a Supreme Blessing. I cried all the way home thanking God that love honestly does transcend all.

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PS- That photo up there was taken when I was just twenty years old. Dad and I were in San Diego attending a business meeting.


My Dear Lord,

Things pass so quickly here on this earth. While we are busy going about the tasks of our daily lives, please help us to remember to look up and to savor where we are in life. Far too often things happen in a flash and then we are left looking back lamenting and wishing we’d stopped before it was too late. Help us to cultivate the relationships we may be taking for granted and to communicate our feelings to those who may not realize how important they are to us. 

Thank you for allowing me precious time with my parents. Help us all to make the time to go the extra mile for our precious loved ones, even when to do so, requires supreme effort and extra energy. The are always unexpected Blessings there.

Thank you for the life you have given me. Thank you for the dear friends I’ve made along the way. Thank you for helping me speak the words that have long been hidden in my heart.

May we all be better vessels of your love and light today and always.

Amen


“Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14

Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

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Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

381455_484719604916428_702273273_n

Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Down but never Helpless

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Oh wow, am I in a MOOD for the past few days!  I try to take my own advice most of the time, but still there are things looming in the air that are beyond my control and sometimes, I cannot help but feel a little bit down.  Read this:  I said I feel a little bit down.  I did not say I feel helpless.

While I know I give good advice, in all honestly, there are times when the tools do not seem to work and we continue to feel icky about the things over which we have no control.  (That’s the down part, not the helpless part.)

I’m in several situations right now where I would like to open up and give a firm talking-to to those involved but it’s not my place, so I have to keep silent.  The fact is, that often in life, we’re presented with situations where it would be easy to just let go and spew what’s in our hearts, but it’s absolutely not appropriate.

It’s these times that it’s important to recognize the difference between down and helpless.  We’re actually never helpless.  That’s a total illusion.  When situations are beyond our control, the choice not to let it grab hold and pull us under is an action step that is within reach.

These are the times it’s perfectly okay to go into cocoon-mode.  Do nothing.  Pray hard.  Talk to a trusted friend or family member.  Do what feeds the soul.

I was just sharing with a close friend that I believe these are the times God uses to work on our faith.  Sometimes fear can cause us to act on impulse because we’re looking for a quick solution.  (I can’t count the number of times in my life where if I’d just waited a little while longer before doing something drastic, my situation would have improved on it’s own.)

Most often if we can find the self control to sit on our proverbial hands and wait while God is at work, the results are miraculous. He can see what we cannot.  He has solutions we aren’t aware of.  His healing has a much further reach than ours and so on.

Just recently I had a financial situation that seemed to have no explicable answer. Instead of obsessing over it, I gave it to God because, based on my past experience, giving it over and refusing to worry over it, always works. Yes, I absolutely did have a “Plan B” in mind, but rather than implement that plan, I went with “Plan A” which is always, “Trust that  God sees and knows and will respond.”

Today He did. Unexpected funds appeared and financial issue averted. Amen.

PS–That image up there?  This was a dollar bill actually received in the collection plate at the church where I work. Just love it!