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Archive for January, 2015

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The photos came in, by text, one at a time. With each vibration of my device, my eyes struggled to focus, struggled to understand what I was seeing, struggled to understand how the destruction in the images had occured.

My beloved beasty had used our bathroom baseboards for teething purposes, in a most destructive manner. The floor was littered with bits of MFD.

Upon getting home it was obvious that the beast was in a stressful state, panting and drooling.

Our family put our heads together, and agreed that she had been acting strangely for a number of days. The physical  investigation of the beast began, checking to see if she was in pain, ailing from an injury or illness. All I could see was a tooth that looked like it might have a cavity.

The following day beasty and I visited her vet, for confirmation of a tooth ache.

After careful physical examination of the beast, from head to tail, many questions, and a review of her history, the vet said he felt the main problem was not physical, but emotional.

The problem began last week, as my daughter and I prepared to leave for a trip. We were gone three days.

The vet felt that anytime we leave the house, for the next few days (weeks, maybe even months), our beast will fear that we will not return, and the anxiety will surface.

As I drove home from the vet I thought about how, when something is not right, we humans look for physical evidence to solve the problem. I also thought about individuals I know with physically debilitating illness, suffering and pain, who have nebulous diagnosis such as anxiety, that seem to illicit no more than raised eyebrows from family, friends and work places.

I thought about people who have not been physically well, yet no medical test has been able to diagnose the problem, nor a cure (this seems an especially daunting reality, as there is no medical confirmation that it is not all in their heads).

I thought about students I have encountered, going through struggles like divorce, death, moving, developmental disabilities, abuse, etc., that cause pain that no cast or bandage could ever make right.

I thought about individuals who have struggles to see purpose in living, purpose in their life. How getting out of bed takes it all out of them, and the hope of climbing back in is what keeps the smile on their face and the spring in their step all day long.

Then I thought of some of the destructive things these people have done, to themselves or those around them. The negative attitudes, sharp tongues, risky behaviors, and self harm.

Why do we turn our anxiety, our pain to destruction?

Perhaps, like my beast, there is a hindrance to communication. Perhaps, there is fear of being viewed as weak, as lazy, as flawed, as crazy. Perhaps there just are no words, in oral language, to say what is happening.

Perhaps all that is left are wordless sighs and aching groans …

“Meanwhile,
the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray,
it doesn’t matter.
He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs,
our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
knows our condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That’s why we can be so sure
that every detail in our lives of love for God
is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:26-28

Praying for those whose difficulty in life does not have a diagnosis, a cure, or those whose groans come from such a deep inner agony, that their story is told through the destruction at their feet. May God, who we trust will work all things (even groaning and aching things) for good, bless each one today.

Amen.

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As I entered the class, I spied a young man who I knew I had to greet, by name. When I did, his entire face smiled, his mouth, his cheeks, his eyes. Every time I enter that class, or pass this student in the halls of the high school where I work, I make a point of greeting him, by name.

You see, I am horrible at remembering names. The first time I attempted greeting his young man, by name, I called him a similar, but wrong name. I apologized, and he said it was okay … but the look on his face was as if I had stabbed him in the gut.

That look on his face has forced me to greet him, by his (right) name, every time that I see him.

I needed to not fail this young man again … so I wrote his name on the palm of my hand. I knew where to look for a reminder, and no one was ever the wiser.

Each consecutive time I smile and greet him by name, his smile gets bigger, and bigger. Although in a few months my cheery greeting  may begin to annoy his teenage self, I know that when he hears me say his name, he knows that I have made the effort to know his name.

His name, on my lips, has become an expression of effort, and of interest in him.

Ever noted that name of a waiter, a cashier, or other service person? Ever received your receipt then smiled and wished that person a good day? by name? Most often my minuscule amount of effort is received in surprise, joyful, delighted. You can almost feel their joy as you walk away.

Our name is important. Our name is the only thing that, without tools or devices, can declare our identity.

Ever felt that your name, that you, were not valued? Ever felt that your identity was forgotten?

There is one who knows your name.

It is even written on the palm of His hand.

 

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Some days take more …

More energy, more cold water, more coffee, more make-up, more …

courage.

Mondays may need more courage than all the other days.

We do the ablutions, the preparations for the day to come. We ready ourselves, steel ourselves. We might even bend our knee in humble utterances of petitions. We paste color on our cheeks, a smile across our faces, and open the door to whatever might befall us.

This is how our day sometimes begins … knees knocking, heart pounding, knot in our stomach and lump in our throats. All anxieties coated in a sugary smile, that defies the insecurities of our abilities, our know-how, our qualifications, our confidence.

Sometimes it is where we are going, sometimes it is where we have come from, and other days it is everywhere … and nowhere.

Some days the smile is a work of art, artistically painted to cover our fears, insecurities, heartaches. It also allows us to hide, to escape the downcast, melancholy, dismayed inner beings that war within.

Such is the way of some Mondays (Tuesdays, Wednesdays …).

And the day passes …

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And we fall into bed, thankful that we survived,

sorrowful that we did not thrive.

But, we whisper into the silence,

“i will try again tomorrow”

“The Lord himself
goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you
.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

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Some days …

Ever have one of those days? You know what I mean … it is as though the stars could not be more out of alignment for you. There is a hollow, empty feeling in your gut, your head, your heart.

Maybe it is simply a day of waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or maybe it is a day, at the end of a week of death by a thousand little cuts from all around you in your life. Maybe it is a day of realizing in your head, of an area where you were unsuccessful, or maybe it is a day of not feeling important, needed, loved.

I know myself, and this rather SAD season well enough to know that when I am having one of those days, I need to jump-start my emotions with words of affirmation. The best, most successful ways this works for me are to either watch a ridiculously funny movie, TV show, or video (or read auto-correct messages) or to listen to a worship song whose message is rooted in affirming truth.

The link (above) was my boost, on that particularly dark day, when all I needed was an I love you. Just thought that if it helped me, it might be helpful to someone reading.

“He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope, my everything

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me
Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me”

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Almost four years ago, a friend told me she thought I should write a blog. So I did (this is a rare instance when I did what I was told).

Almost nine hundred followers later, today marks the publication of the one thousandth post at itsawonderfilledlife … wow!

For the past four years I have rambled on about pretty much any stray thought that has passed through my consciousness.

I have been motivated to write by everything from pooh bags, to phrases, to people, to places, to philosophical thought.

I have shared my walks, my work, my MiniWheats (a term of endearment that students use to refer to my kids), and my love of wonder.

I have shared the classroom of my life, on this site, and how I contemplate all that is confusing, inspirational, and motivating about How Deep the Father’s Love is … for me, for we.

I have shared joys, sorrows, celebrations, successes and my loves.

After one thousand posts of bleeding out my digressing thoughts and life before anyone to see and read, what’s the point?

Has it been about dreams of a multi-million dollar book deal? Yup! Who would not dream of such a dream? And, considering my grammatical skills (?) and inability to write a rough copy (ever), that dream will continue to live on … in my dreams.

Has it been about having something to say? Yup! I have been writing blog posts all of my life … in my mind. This venue allows me the space to get my thoughts out, without (much) digression from what I had hoped to communicate. I struggle to communicate clearly when face to face (I am just not great at thinking on my feet). I feel more confident when the only thing staring at me is what I have written, and erased, and re-written, and erased, and …

Has it been about having something to share? Yup! It seems that the things I am most unsure about sharing, the things that rattle in my head, while my fingers hang about the computer keys, are the things that resonate with readers the most. I truly believe, and believe it even more so since writing this blog, that if we are feeling, thinking or experiencing something, there are others who have, are or will be sharing in those things. I believe it was C. S. Lewis who said, we read to know that we are not alone … perhaps we write to know that we are not alone, as well.

One thousand posts … may I continue to learn that, in blessing and curse, it truly is a wonder-filled life.

“Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.”
Isaiah 25:1

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Leisure activities can be all consuming.

A few years ago, a dear friend introduced me to something that was relatively new, called Pinterest.

For those who have no idea of what Pinterest is … well, it is an online collection of every sort of magazine you could ever imagine! It features recipes, DIY projects, gardening, fashion, history, science, and pretty much anything else you could ever imagine needing or wanting.

Once you sign up, on Pinterest, you can start ‘pinning’. To pin basically means to save, on the Pinterest site, things that appeal to you. Once you begin to pin, you will then be able to create ‘boards’, which are sort of like virtual file folders. You also have the opportunity to ‘invite’ friends to join, and then to ‘follow’ or be followed by others.

In no time at all (and I mean, no time at all), I had collected/pinned over three thousand pins!

I had boards with titles such as:

  • recipes
  • places I’d like to visit
  • beauty
  • words I love
  • DIY

That was way back! Now I have eighteen different recipe boards, and thirteen DIY boards alone!

But, I have also deleted many pins, opting, instead, for things that I love (not like), and things that I will follow through with and do, fix or create something from them (aka. they are practical). If I have tried a recipe, and we love it (not just like it, cause, no one has time for that), I add a note, followed by ‘CW’ … if we don’t like it, it simply disappears.

I challenge you ‘pinners’ out there to do a bit of editing, and to spend more time utilizing this resource than simply using it as a time-waster.

Follow me, if you like. You can find me as Carole Smith-Wheaton.

I wonder what my next vice to work on might be …

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It was months in the waiting … five months, to be exact. I had waited so long that I thought I might just lose my mind! There were more bad days than good. Mornings were a time of fear, not sure what I might have to face, as dawn’s early morning light emerged. Variety was no longer the spice of my life, as I was limited by my weaknesses.

Finally, it was time for …

a haircut.

Last week, I got to sit and have what is dry, lifeless, dead

cut away, tossed to the floor, swept up and discarded in the trash.

I walked away feeling like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

The old was gone, and I felt like a new woman.

Ever wish you could have other dead weights lifted so easily? Other lifeless parts of your life, left on the floor, only to walk over them on the way out the door, about an hour later?

If only there was a ‘hairdresser’ for …

a downcast heart …

an empty bank account …

an unfulfilling job …

a child with learning challenges …

a marriage of strangers …

an illness or disease …

so that we could walk in, have whatever is ailing us trimmed, cut away, redesigned and walk out again feeling like a new creation, with a fresh start.

There are some who have tried the hairdresser method of getting the life equivalent of a new do. Maybe a divorce would cut away the marriage with split ends? Maybe a second, a third, a seventh glass of alcohol will give a new look to trying life circumstances? Maybe leaving your current job on the floor will give a fresh start?

Is the haircut method, of dealing with the dead stuff in life, the only option? the best option?

Obviously, no one option, for all, is any more appealing or beneficial than one haircut style for all. We were created as individuals, with different lives to live. Not only do we have different lives to live, but we also have the ability to make our own choices in how we will live our lives (and experience the blessings and curses that follow those choices).

All that we share, in regards to our lives, is that we were created to worship our Creator, fully reliant on Him.

It is in recognizing and living in a such a way that we are fully reliant on Him, that we can keep going through the dead, split ends of life …. and put our messy mop lives up into a ponytail … while we wait, in faith, for it to grow out.

The only way for a beautiful braid to be formed is by letting the hair grow … looking ahead, in faith, to the beauty that will come.

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