Nothing to Say, But Can't Shut Up - haha! That's what I thought I should call my blog! What I write here might not mean a thing to you and I'm pretty o.k. with that. However, I have an active mind and like to sort things out out loud, so to speak. I also like to have deep conversations so feel free to jump in and comment. I'm glad you showed up and took the time to read. Welcome!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pain and Praise

Today I am intensely aware of the hurting people in my life. They're all around me (you, too). A relative with cancer, struggling with personal addiction. 2 loving parents doing all they can do to help the family around them - even though it's wearing them out. A dear woman who used to be a part of our family - cancer. An aging aunt - cancer (she doesn't notice she's aging). A dear friend coping, painfully, with MS. Another one I love fighting hard against breast cancer. People I know and love dealing with lost jobs, recession, financial hardship, poor health, loss of parents... the list is long. 

In the middle of this, I'm also painfully aware of my shallow longings and desires for the things of this world which hold absolutely no eternal value. I'm not criticizing anyone but myself; I just notice my love of things and my desire to be accepted. What does it matter? What difference does it make? Vain and empty conceit. Is it Ecclesiastes where Solomon speaks of this?

I wonder to myself... do I live passionately enough for Jesus? The hurting people I mention have varied forms of faith - some very intense, some none at all. The questions flit across my mind - How do some keep their faith? How does anyone cope without it?

I'm slowly reading Ann Voscamp's, 1000 Gifts. The book challenges me to my core. In that very same essence of myself I find myself equally sad and joyful. I'm considering how dark and scary a night can be and hoping, so fervently, that when my darkest time comes I will have known such a passion with Jesus Christ that I can know with confidence that I will again yet praise Him. 

Today I bask in the comfort, joy and peace of my Savior, aware that it is He who filters the events of my life through His hands. He knows the plans He has for me. What sweet comfort this gives. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Short Little Post

I really do feel like the luckiest girl in the world! I'm married to someone who is so sacrificial in his love for me. I can tell you honestly that he never complains to me or criticizes me. He is incredibly patient with me. It's been 28 years since he asked me to marry him and though, "no" was never even the slightest thought, I'm still grateful that I said, "yes". I enjoy his company and his sense of humor. I think he is handsome and pretty much everybody thinks he is smart. I just wanted to share that with you this Valentine's Day - not to make you envious or to brag, but more to say this:
If your marriage isn't what you want it to be, do all you can to make it better. I know sometimes it's not in your power - just do your part to show true love. "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."John 15:13

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Girlfriends Are For Keeping

There is really nothing like a good girlfriend. Your definition and mine might differ, but you know and I know that very few things in life compare.

Julie and I in Brugges, Belgium - true blue
What makes a good girlfriend? For me, it's consistency, dependability, the ability to rejoice when you rejoice and weep when you weep. It's like-mindedness - but not necessarily on everything. It's coffee dates, lunch dates and shopping dates. It's who you need when your grandmom dies, child hurts, marriage is in trouble, life changes - fill in the blank. It's not telling you your pants make you look fat, but helping you find some that don't. It's being able to let your hair down and be totally open and know it won't be used against you later. And of course, she must fully appreciate your cuteness and like-ability.

Tokae Pagliaro - hiking near Osan Korea

I have had good girlfriends, incredibly close girlfriends, who were in my life only for a season, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if our paths crossed again we'd pick up right where we left off. I  have good girlfriends who've been in my life for more years than you'd believe who I love deeply but with whom I rarely communicate. I'm related to some of my good girlfriends and some I've never even met. And of course, I have the one or two very dear ones who've been through thick and thin with me - know my bad and my good - my full family history - have watched my kids grow up - will never leave me girlfriends. And truthfully, I've had good girlfriends that for whatever reason will not have anything to do with me anymore (those are the tough ones because I still love them and miss their place in my life).
Linda, Me and "Beth" (Elizabeth)

In 1973, a group of women-to-be came into my life. 3 to be exact. Linda, Beth and Sherri. We were 11 - 13 years old. We knew pretty much everything and we were HOT! We spent more time hanging out and sorting out life than just about anything else. Life got much better for the 4 of us when Beth's driveway was paved. We'd lie out on that driveway on summer nights, gazing at the stars and talking about EVERYTHING! These are my first true girlfriends. I'm blessed to be in contact with 2 of the 3 to this day and 1 of them I saw just two years (or so) ago. 1973 - 2011 = 38 years!!

Gay and Pam (since 1978)
My high school girlfriends from  Redan High are another special group. We were real friends in high school, separated by grown-up life, but reunited via the internet. I still treasure them and admire the women they've become. Now that I'm settled back in Georgia I hope to have a great day or 2 a year of hanging out with them.

Sandra Nobles Korschgen (since '80?)
One special woman in my life is my mother's age. I worked for her when I was in college and she catered my wedding. She's young at heart and a blast to be with. If you can get her to cook for you, you're the lucky one. She taught me many things and is still quick to zip off a recipe for me. She came to see me in Germany and we both were the younger for it.

My "sis",  Alice

In 1983 I married into a wonderful family and was blessed with 4 sisters-in-law who joined my God-given
sister to make up the 5 SISTERS I have as my girlfriends. They span 35 years of age to 60ish. They rock!! They have been with me for the whole deal. We share the blessed bond of family as well as genuine friendship. In that group is Leslie. I love her like a daughter, though she's my sister. I was 14 when she was born. We don't get nearly enough time together, but can I tell you how beautiful and brilliant and talented she is? You should know someone like her.

In 1989 I moved next door to a wonderful woman who was pregnant with her second as was I. We cared for each other's children, sat on the blanket in our front yards together with the babies, disciplined each other's children and once I even nursed her very hungry baby. We've loved each other through the years and I treasure her place in my life. We're still in communication. Love her!

1992 brought a precious woman who is also a mentor in my life. Her youngest thought my kids were his cousins! Her laugh is positively contagious. Her devotion to studying the Word of God is astounding. Her attention to detail is to be desired. If you saw 2 high school pictures of us, you'd think we're sisters. Yep - we're the same amount of cute. ; )

In 1997, I met a woman that I'm sure I'll grow old with and will go to great lengths to be with - always. We lived in the same city for 2 years, then began a phone conversation that has lasted 12 more years. We've savored our morning coffee "together", raised our children "together", taught and studies the Bible "together", grieved "together" and now we're sending-off our children "together". We just met for a weekend TOGETHER and had we not been in public would have shed many tears together.

Oh my - do you have the patience to stick with this list? I can only imagine that 1) you ARE one of the precious women in my life or 2) you are ticking off the list of those in your life as you read. Go for it!

I cannot go through these thoughts without telling you about the woman whose nickname ends in "icious" (like delicious). Oh, oh - the joy, the depth, the steadfastness this woman brings to my life. She loves me enough to invite herself to Thanksgiving. She will spend hours making cards for the special people in her life. She is dedicated to the art of Christmas card sending. She is probably one of the most thoughtful and sensitive people I know. Wouldn't you call her "icious"?

Me w/ Rita Folsom  - need more time!
 Of course, there are the wonderful women from each church I've been joined with through the years. Out of each place there are a tiny handful that become my girlfriends. I'm not the kind of girl that can handle a lot of friends at one. I give myself fully to my friends and so can only manage one or two at a time. I've loved having these women in my life and your koinonia in my life is priceless.

Sailing  Partner and Best Friend
And can I neglect to tell you about those wonderful women who walked with me through my life-style change? We were in Hawaii and I signed up for sailing. I met my sailing partner who turned out to be a woman I long to spend more time with. In the 10 weeks of sailing class, I was blessed to make a lifelong friend. Along with her, there was a "Wet Hen" or 2 or 3 that I'll never forget. They encouraged me along the way as I learned not only to sail, but to prioritize my health and become a more vibrant, confident woman. LOVE those hens!! If I ever end up living in Hawaii again I'm going to get good enough to be a hen. End of story.

Jen in Sweden visiting me in Germany
Along with those women who've accompanied me in my lifestyle change journey are my internet friends. Some I've met and some I just long to. I have a running "chat" with these women - daily for 4 years! If you don't think you can make real friends on the internet I have to challenge you. These "ax murderers" have walked through everything with me for the past 4 years and helped me as I figure out how the life challenge of the day fits into my weight loss goals. They tell me to take my vitamins,  get my exercise in and put down the chocolate chips. They call me on my excuses and help me get rid of them. We're in Sweden, The Netherlands, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia (that's me) and West Virginia. GOOD girlfriends!

Representing the Air Force Peeps, Les and Jill
The last group I'll mention today are the Air Force peeps I've come across through the years. Those ladies have helped live the life of an Air Force wife and have been a part of momentous occasions all throughout my life. They have been my on the scene family when my family was too far away. Some of them are mentioned above but there are more. I'm so thankful for things like blogs and social networks that keep us connected.

I know I might not have mentioned you, but I love you, too. The longer I think about this, the longer this list gets. I really could write a book about each type of friendship in my life and the value each one has for me. Good girlfriends are for keeping. And frankly, there are too many wonderful women to waste time fretting over the wishy-washy mean ones. I pray for them though because I know there must be pain in their lives that leads to the unpleasantness that's present.

Good girlfriends are for keeping. Do not let them leave your life over something petty. Love them. You can't find one just anywhere. . . or maybe you can.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Free Time...And Coffee!

Don't hate me or think I'm bragging, but I have some time on my hands this morning. Yes, there are things I could be doing - unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the crockpots from the Superbowl gathering, exercising - but really there is no pressing need. I can ponder whether I'm foolish for thinking of this as free time or not at another time, but for the moment, let's just roll with it shall we?

As I ponder what to do with this free time, I consider that I could blog - but about what? I have lots of things on my mind but not sure that I really have anything to say about them. At the same time, I hate to go a long time without blogging because it's just more fun to do regularly and (I can only hope) frequent writing keeps you tuned in. So here's what I've decided... even though it might mean nothing to you, I'm going to write about my morning so far. After all, this blog is MY Life on the Lake and this is what I'm doing on the lake this morning.

Today I was an early riser. I didn't try to be, but that's how it worked out. Because I have trouble getting to my Bible reading once I start Facebook and the news, etc, I decided to take advantage of the early-rising and alone time and read my Bible. I actually began with my Sunday School study guide and got some insightful teaching on the Prodigal Son. Have you considered your own prodigal ways? That time when you shook your fist in the Lord's face and demanded your own way? Oh, my, this can be a tough study! I love the part of the story where Jesus says the son "came to himself"... which was a key step in his repentance. 

After taking time for this study, I began my daily Scripture reading. Don't be intimidated by this as I miss more days than I should. At any rate, today I was finishing up Exodus. As I've read Exodus, I've been struck by how specific God is. In this case, He gives Moses very detailed instructions on the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness and the garments the priests are to wear, down to the gems on the garments. It occurs to me that God doesn't give Moses all the details up front, but rather at each key step on the journey. When God calls me to a task, I can trust that He will reveal His plan to me as I need to know it. . . so much to ponder right here on this point.

Moving from that I opened a book that I've had on my coffee table, unopened, for a week. It was recommended by a trusted friend and mentor, so I rushed out to buy it. Her advice was to read it slowly and as a result, I've left the book in its spot until I could devote my mind and time to the task. I only allowed myself to read a bit of it, though I'm sure I could devour it in an afternoon. (Note: the day's not over yet.) The title of the book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp and promises much. It has been a very long time since I read anything so well-crafted as her sentences. I am anticipating many challenges to come out of the read beginning with my own use of words. 

For no valuable reason, I'll add in the detail of my beverage consumption. Because it was early and I suspected my husband would not be up for a while yet, I chose to make myself coffee with my French press pot. Our big coffee maker only keeps coffee hot for 2 hours, which weighed into the decision and I really like  my peppermint coffee from Trader Joes, but my husband does not. A private pot of coffee means that I can make my favorite and not deprive him of his. After polishing off the hottest part of that pot of coffee, I made myself hot tea (it's really cold in my house this morning) mainly to warm my hands, made my morning toast and sat down with my computer. Before long the man I love walked in and I made a pot of his favorite coffee, which I am now drinking. Yep - I like coffee! And tea! And hot chocolate! And even hot water! (not as much)

I don't know what my day will end up looking like, but I'm set to enjoy it. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. I'm off to a good start!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hair and True Love

Well, it was bound to happen - and I can pretty much guarantee this won't be the only time - a blog about my hair. Oh my goodness! How ridiculous we women can be about our hair and I can assure you that I'm chief among them. (No guts no glory - just saying) 

I like having pretty hair. If you know me, you know this. I feel the same way about my clothes, more often than not. At the same time, I detest the whole hair scene. I really do and I struggle with what to do about my hair ALL the time, especially when we move to a new area. Who's going to do my hair? How much is it going to cost? Am I willing to pay it? Will they make me feel like a doofus when I'm there? Will it look like "me" when I leave (the fake blonde me, not the real me)? I keep threatening to cut off all the color and give the world my white/gray/brown mix - which is a LOT of white in the front - but still don't really have the guts to endure the transition.

Now things are a little more complicated because we're living in retirement mode. We're establishing a new routine as a couple and if you remember, we live a good distance from everything (everything except the fattening, delicious, homecooking cafe we like to frequent). In this new far from everything, retirement, couple mode we're in we decided to book appointments for our hair at the same salon. Yes, we did. My husband woke up and decided he needed a haircut and since I said something like "Me, too",  he announced that he was calling to schedule an appointment for us.

Now, I know that a man can get an appointment on the same day he calls, but seriously here, I needed color for the roots and either highlights or lowlights to add dimension to my color, along with a cute cut to help me feel younger, thinner, richer (though it makes me poorer!), and more like I like to pretend I am and less like I fear I am. I informed my husband of this, leaving out all the extras (he's more of a cut to the chase kind of listener). He called and when he was finished, looked at me proudly (or was it smuggly?) and said "1:30." (He's also a cut to the chase kind of talker. I am not.)

We headed to town a bit earlier than necessary for the hair and worked in a Thai lunch, a quick trip to the grocery, a mini scene in the parking lot when he scared me trying to help me (I was the one in the wrong), and a trip to my favorite Christian bookstore where I picked up a recommended read and a stylish, trendy watch. It was a very productive trip to town already!

After the errands, we headed across the parking lot to Persnickety's. Persnickety's is just as persnickety looking as you might imagine. I loved it - so cute! Turquoise walls, zebra print chairs, stylish looking stylists - all dressed in black, lots of big mirrors, and lots of chatter. It was very cutesy, but not snobby. I don't do snobby well. I'm happy, but I can't help feeling the need to giggle. Do you know my husband. If there's anyone in the whole wide world that is not a persnickety type of guy, it's him. He doesn't wear mousse or gel or wax in his hair. He doesn't use or even need a hair dryer. He's no fuss all the way. He's a polo shirt and Levi's type of guy. Period. End of story. The end. So I'm a little tickled. To be fair, we chose this place because his brother goes there and I have to tell you that he was a great sport. He did not roll his eyes one time - or pace around - or anything. He was the perfect gentleman and I expected no less. 

The salon had thoughtfully scheduled our appointments with the same lady and told my hubby that she'd cut his hair while mine processed. In we go. The stylish stylist wisely lets my hubby know that it's going to be a while and he can go do something else while she gets the color on. Whoosh. I would've felt really, really bad if he had to sit in that persnickety salon with all the ladies and occasional man all by himself during the boring foil process. To be truthful, I felt pretty bad for ME having to be there. He left. I got foiled. He returned 30 minutes later as recommended. I started processing another 15 minutes after that. He got his hair cut. I got rinsed, cut, and styled. Poor guy. 

Finally, declared beautiful (and feeling much more so than when I arrived), we were ready to leave. We headed up to the desk and it was time for the bill. I might not have properly prepared my dear husband for this part - and to be honest, I didn't know what to expect. I seriously saw remorse in the eyes of the receptionist as she gave him the bill - explaining no less the breakdown. $15 for him - significantly more for the wife (she didn't say "significantly" but might as well have) and $16 for that little tiny can of hair goop. Being as pleased with the service as I was, I scheduled my next appointment. Dear husband did not. (I'm going to try and boost my Mary Kay sales in the next 5 weeks.)

He never complained. Not once. Not even a hint. Now if that's not true love, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Be Free!

A few years back I went to a Beth Moore Living Proof seminar in Atlanta. During this teaching time, she described the problem with us stuffing our problems down and not dealing with them as paper that we crumble up and stuff into a trash can. She taught that we're able to get a lot of paper in that can as long as we keep pressing down harder and harder. Eventually, there's so much paper in there we have to climb in the trash can and stand on the paper to make it stay put. That system works just fine until you have another problem somewhere else and have to step out of that trash can. Then the paper (problem) rises up and you realize it's a "900 lb. Goliath". 

Oh the truth in that! Repressing problems just doesn't work. Through the years I've had reason to deal with many people struggling in their lives (me being one of them) with issues from the past that have not been dealt with. We squash and squash that proverbial paper down and then one day (the timing of which we have no control over) something makes this monster in our lives stand up and demand our attention. I'm here to tell you it often is not a pretty sight. 

One of the things I've also noticed is that we are blind to how much energy we're using to hold the monsters in our lives down. Our efforts to bury these issues causes us internal turmoil that we contend with and begin to think are normal - thing is, they're not normal and there can be freedom and liberation.

I'm thinking about all of this for 2 reasons. The first is that I've been unpacking all of that literal stuff that I wrote about a few days ago. In this process I realized that burying my junk in the basement or attic did not make it go away. As all of the boxes arrive, I just keep looking at stuff that I've neglected to deal with through the years. I've hidden it and pretended it didn't exist. Not only that, I've often added to it. So now, here I am and I have to deal with it all because there just isn't any place to put this stuff. And guess what. It's harder now than ever to part with it or decide how to handle. I've gotten "comfortable" with it and attached to it. I've accepted it's place in my life as normal.

We can do that with our negative experiences, too, but the thing is much like my accumulated junk, they have a way of finding us. The 2nd reason I'm thinking about all of this is that I'm having a hard time breaking through to my next season of weight loss. Your reason for examining your life junk might be different than a weight issue but don't miss the point. Our issues manifest themselves in our lives. I have learned that continual overeating and failure to prioritize good health habits often, if not always, have roots in emotional, traumatic events in our lives. Because of that I'm looking deeper than just what I eat and what I do for exercise. Those things are superficial. If I don't get to the root of the problem, the good habits just won't stick. 

In order to make the progress I've made over the past 4 years, I've had to do a lot of soul searching and force myself to deal with the things God has shown me about myself. It's not an easy process but it allows God to heal me and it frees me in a wonderful way. Hopefully, as a result,  I'll be able to comfort others with the similar needs. 

Don't let past pains and sorrows weigh you down and trap you. Having too much junk in your life is burdensome. I cannot tell you how free I feel with each load we carry to the dump or give away. Letting go is liberating. Are you holding on to bitterness and pain, refusing to forgive another, squashing down hurts and pains and sorrows like so much paper in a trash can? Take it to the Lord. Jesus tells us He will carry our burdens and that we can take His yoke which isn't heavy. Be free.