Wednesday, November 26, 2014

100 Reasons Family is Important

‪#‎Journaling Prompt: Blood Is Thicker Than Water. Write 100 reasons that family is important.

1.  Simply because I love them.
2.  And because they love me....Hallelujah.....whether I'm love-able or not!
3.  They are PRESENT when I need them--even when they are far away.
4.  I try to be PRESENT when they need me--even if I can't BE in the same room.
5.  They are always on my side--even if/when I am in the wrong.
6.  They always have my back. (I know it's basically the same things as #4, but I have 95 more of these to go!)
7.  They know how to make me feel special.
8.  They know how to make me feel important.
9.  They know how to make me feel loved.
10.  They encourage me.
11.  They believe in me.
12.  I learn from them.
13.  They tell me the truth....what I NEED to hear, not what I WANT to hear.
14.  They provide desperately needed support.
15.  They pick me up when I fall down.
16.  Of all the people in my life, I know that they would sincerely miss me were anything ever to happen to me.
17.  I never have to doubt them...in any way, shape, form, or fashion.
18.  Whether we apologize or not for wronging one another, we ALWAYS forgive one another.
19.  My mom knows what love to eat and she does her best to make those things for me or to provide them for me.
20.  My dad knows I love to talk and even though he isn't a big talker himself, he lets me talk and will even respond to me.
21.  My sister cares enough to want me to get healthy and she tries to live by example.  (I try to pay attention.  I really do.)
22.  My brother has always been my hero.  He might beat me up--well, he used to, but I have always known that he would fight to the death for me if the need arose.
23.  My parents have kept me fed for most of my life.
24.  My parents have clothed me for most of my life.
25.  Mom and Baba even used to make my clothes for me since it has always been so difficult finding anything to fit properly--what with my being so short and wide.
26.  Baba gave me a love for women's ankles!  :)
27.  Gramdpa taught me so much about faith and how to live out my faith.
28.  Grandpa was THE BEST hugger in the world!  I want to be just like him!
29.  Mom hugs me every time she sees me.  (Sometimes I even get kisses!)
30.  Dad hugs me every time he sees me.  (Sometimes I even get kisses from him, too!)
31.  Katie hugs me every time she sees me!
32.  Kenny hugs me, too, albeit begrudgingly!  :)  It's ok.
33.  Kella hugs me every time she sees me!
34.  Kenny and Kella have come to be with me--to sit with me--over the years when I have had my various surgeries....even when all I was able to do was sit and/or sleep.  Thank you!!!!
35.  Ellen hugs me when she sees me, too!
36.  Ellen cuts my hair!  She would probably do it for free, but I love that she has grown up to do something so awesome and I am proud to be able to thank her in payment for helping me look at least halfway decent, if not pretty!
37.  Scott hugs me when he sees me, too!
38.  Even Nate gives me hugs!  
39.  James' side of our family has always made me loved and welcome, too.
40.  When I spilled my soft drink on Betty Ruth's white carpet the first time I ever met her, she never made me feel stupid for doing it--even though I'm sure under normal circumstances she would have passed out seeing her carpet stained like that!  Thank you, Betty Ruth!
41.  The Watson clan has always tried to work with our schedules and visits home so we could see and visit with as many of them as possible.
42.  I even get hugs from so many of my beloved Watson family members!
43.  They put up with my quirks.
44.  They put up with my eccentricities.
45.  They indulge my passion for books!
46.  They indulge my passion for pandas!
47.  They put up with my passion for life--in other words, my being LOUD!
48.   They KNOW me...the REAL me.
49.  They GET me.
50.  I always have a place to stay when I visit.
51.  They actually come visit me because they WANT to see me and spend time with me!
52.  They read my facebook posts!
53.  They "Life" my facebook posts!
54.  They read my blog entries!
55.  They read a lot of stuff that I write and share with them.
56.  They even seem to want to read some of the things I write!
57.  They will read books I suggest they read.
58.  They will watch movies I recommend.
59.  They recommend books to me--that I read.
60.  They recommend movies to me--that I watch.
61.  They will watch a tv show I recommend.
62.  I read books they recommend.
63.  I watch movies they recommend.
64.  I watch tv shows they recommend.
65.  We have inside jokes.
66.  I get hugs from each of my uncles, too!
67.  They share my faith.
68.  They come to my defense--quickly.
69.  Mom cuts my toenails for me--when she is able!
70.  We actually WANT TO spend time together.
71.  When we spend time together, we get along--mostly!
72.  Dad builds things for me--bookshelves, a swing, a cabinet where I've kept my DVDs for years, and on and on....
73.  Dad fixes things for me--the list is too long even to try to begin!
74.  We LAUGH together.....a lot.  (This is one of my favorites.)
75.  They laugh at my inane jokes.
76.  They love my son--as much as I do....
77.  They support my decisions--right, wrong, or just plain unusual.
78.  They buy things for me that I actually like.
79.  They buy things for me that I actually want.
80.  Even when I have been too busy to call, they still contact me.
81.  They actually THINK about me periodically!
82.  They don't criticize--too much!  :)
83.  They know what makes me tick.
84.  They let me help them--when I am able!  Or know what I am doing!
85.  Plain and simply, they are WONDERFUL.
86.  Mom and Dad took us all to Disney World several times when we were kids!
87.  Katie went with James, Samuel, and I to Disney World last year--because I wanted to go!
88.  They always make me feel at home.
89.  They remember.
90.  They have looked through the many scrapbooks I have made!
91.  They have gone all the way out to Missouri even just to
visit me.  Now THAT's true love!
92.  We sing together.
93.  We play together.
94.  We all love to play board games--together.
95.  We all love to play card games--together.
96.  They know my friends as well as I do--sometimes even better than I do!
97.  Their friends become my friends simply by association.
98.  My friends become their friends simply by association.
99.  They love me.  They really do love me!
100.  They PRAY FOR ME.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

ANOTHER Anniversary

As I mentioned earlier, November is a very difficult month because so much (so many tragedies, in particular) has happened to me--to us--in November.  Today is another anniversary.  This one is of our Precious Anna Rose who miscarried on this day in 2005.  


I am not handling this anniversary very well, so I ask for your prayers today and throughout the rest of the month.  I am feeling that horrific Rage trying to rise to the surface again.  I'm trying to squelch him, but he is pretty powerful and I am finding that I am much weaker on anniversaries than at any other time.  As Banner says in the Avengers' movie, "That's my secret Cap'n.  I'm always angry."

In advance, I thank you sincerely for your thoughts and prayers.  

That is all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This is for the loved ones of the Grieving

(I do not mean to imply that the loved ones are not grieving as well.  I am simply using it as a term to help with the content of this blog post.  For the purposes of this post, I mean “the Grieving” as in the one(s) who suffered the actual physical loss.  I need distinction between them and the families.)

 From day one after losing my Precious James Isaac, I have had to deal with—put up with—hurtful comments from well-meaning loved ones, friends, and family.  I was told that the cord was wrapped around James Isaac’s neck because I had lifted my hands above my head [too often].  Instead of light switches in our house, we had strings hanging from the ceiling so every time I turned on a light, I had to lift my arm above my head. 

I was told things like “God just needed another angel up in heaven.”

I was told that I just need to “get over it and move on.”

I had one scripture after another quoted to me—as if I had not already been studying and reading scripture like a hungry mother wolf getting her nourishment. 

I cannot even begin to tell you all the hurtful things said to me over the years simply because there are too many and because I honestly have tried—very hard—to forget them.  Otherwise it would be too difficult to spend time with these same people day to day because some of these well-meaning well-wishers were/are close friends and family.  I love them too much to hurt them in return.  They did not mean to hurt me.  They simply wanted to DO or SAY something to make things better and they thought that what they were doing or saying was helping. 

Sadly, there were wrong.

So this one is for you, Beloved Friends and Family members. 

*Whatever you do, do not make it about you.  If you are hurt because the Griever did not tell you she was pregnant to begin with, that is understandable, but that was not your decision to make.  Maybe if you let your loved one tell you the whole story—if she is able to share it, you will learn the whys and wherefores and then you will find that you are ashamed of yourself for being offended in the first place.  Yes, you are grieving, too because you love your Griever so very much, but in this case, it is not about you; it is about her. 

*Let her share as much as she is able in her own time and in her own way.  I promise you that if you give her space and let her know that you are willing to listen—or not, she will open up to you.  It might not be right away, but she will and she will more than appreciate your validation of her heart when you let her share when she is ready.

*There will be days when she will not get out of bed.  Or if she does, she does not make it any further than the couch.  She will not shower.  She will not eat.  She certainly will not get dressed.  She simply cannot face the day.  Do not make her feel bad because she is unable to face the world.  Go to her and snuggle with her.  Hold her hand.  There isn’t any need to talk unless she wants to.  Let her lead you.

*Go sit with her and hold her, hold her hand, cry with her, laugh with her, BE with her.  Hugs are best.

*Words are unnecessary.  You may feel with every fiber of your being the desperate need to share some words of wisdom.  You know in your heart of hearts that the words you have to speak to her are exactly what she needs to hear.  Guess what, Loved One?  The words you so desperately want to say are more than likely NOT the words she needs, wants, or is even ready to hear.  Bite your tongue.  Write them down.  Tell them to someone else.  But do not tell her.  There is a big chance that what you think will be words of comfort will end up being hurtful words that could put a wedge in your relationship when all you were trying to do was make it better.  Your words more than likely will NOT make it better—they will NOT make her feel better.  They will NOT make the pain go away. 

*Telling her, “Call me if you need ANYTHING” or asking “What can I do for you?” are both inadequate in that she has NO idea what she needs.  She knows she needs something, but she has no idea what she needs.  So do not bother offering or asking, just DO.

Do her dishes.  Clean her bathroom.  Do her laundry.  Cook her a meal.  Send her a card just to let her know you are thinking about her.  Buy her something pretty.  Find out, if you do not already know, what she likes and get it for her—a book, knitting thread, a pair of earrings, her favorite drink, her favorite candy, and on and on it goes.  Take her out to lunch.  Take her to a movie you know she would like to see.  If she has other children, take them for a couple of hours one afternoon. 

It really is the little things that matter in the life of your Griever.  It does not take much to help her see and feel your love.  That is what you want more than anything, isn’t it? 

Love her.  Just simply love her.  That will make more of a difference in her life than anything else you could ever do or say.  You will be the one she knows she can depend on, lean on, when she has her bad days, as she most certainly will, even years later.  It has been fifteen and a half years since we first lost our Beloved James Isaac, exactly fifteen since we lost Panya Ruth, and right at ten years since we lost Anna Rose.  Yet I continue to have days when I wonder why life is worth living, and I desperately need my support system to gather around me and hold me up. 

Remember when God told Moses to hold up his staff over the children of Israel as they fought the Amalekites?  (Exodus 17:8-16, NLT)  Whenever Moses’ hands fell, the Israelites started to lose.  When he would raise his hands again, they would begin winning.  When Moses could no longer hold up his arms on his own, Aaron and Hur held up his arms for him:  “As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.” Even the strongest among us will eventually need help.  You, Beloved, get to be that one to come to the rescue.

There is nothing you can do or say—there is nothing you could have done or said—that will (would) change the outcome of what happened with your Precious Griever.  You could not have stopped it.  You in your own power could not protect her no matter what you may think to the contrary.  So do not try to fix it now with words or actions that will only make it worse on your Precious.  Just be there.  Love her.  Give her your unwavering support and unconditional love.

And that will make all the difference in the world….

Trapped

Trapped.
You wanted to help me --
Instead, you trapped me.
You wanted to offer words of comfort -
Instead, you backed me into a corner.
You wanted me to know that you care -
Instead, you made me afraid of you.
Fight or flight.
That’s what we do when we’re trapped,
But I could do neither.
I don’t want to hurt you in my pain,
So I continue to listen...
I continue to look away...
All the while hoping for a way of escape...
Mentally crying out, “Help!  Please help me!  Oh God, HELP ME!”
There is no miraculous rescue -
No one comes to physically free me from your entrapment -
As slowly my soul begins to cry
No tears in my eyes
No tears on my cheeks -
But the cries so intense -
The pain is now more severe for, you see,
You wounded me - reopened the unhealed wound -
when you caught me in your trap.
You only wanted to help me.
Instead you trapped me.
Instead of letting go, I’ve buried my pain
Even deeper than before -
And I wonder. . .will I ever be released from
that trap?
Trapped.

                                                            - Polly Anna Watson
                                                                        March 2, 2000


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Anniversaries are always difficult

Tomorrow is November 10, 2014.  Fifteen years ago tomorrow, my sweet Panya Ruth miscarried.  I have no idea, honestly, if this baby was a girl or not; all I know is what was in my heart.  I had read that it is important to name our beloveds regardless of how long they live.  I had already had a name picked out.  I had found the name Panya in a baby book; it means "little."  I had thought of that baby as "Little One" from the moment I'd found out I was pregnant, so it fit.  Besides, it sounded an awful lot like Panda and since I love pandas, it was a natural choice!  Ruth was my Grandma Kinsey's name (my paternal grandma).

I want to take off from work tomorrow and do something in honor of my Precious.  She would have been fifteen years old this year.  Wow.  I'm old enough to have a fifteen year old.  I have some friends who are my age who are already grandparents and have been grandparents for years, but since my only living son is 13-and a half, I still find it difficult to believe that I'm old enough to have a fifteen year old.


I try to imagine too much what she would be like at this age because it hurts too much, but my imagination--my mind--goes there when I least expect it.  Would she have been a girly-girl and wanted to be involved in cheerleading?  Or volleyball?  Or any sport, for that matter?  Maybe even wrestling, like Samuel?  Would she have been a tomboy?  What would be her favorite color?  Her favorite book?  Her favorite tv show?  Would she have a boyfriend?  Would she follow in her mama's footsteps and be overweight or would she be my inspiration to get healthy?  Would she and Samuel get along?  How would I feel knowing that she would be getting ready to drive?  Would she like to draw?  Write?  What would she be thinking about becoming when she grows up?  

She would be in 9th grade, right?  Would she have gone to Challenger?  

Would she like to shop--with her mom?  Would she like to go to the movies--with her mom?  Would we be close?  Would I be her mom rather than her friend?

I will never know any of the answers to my questions while here on this earth.  I may be sad over the next few days, but this is when my Lord promised to carry me--promised me that I will not have to walk this journey alone.  I will rest in Him and let Him send His comforter.  One day, I will spend eternity with ALL my babies and that is something worth being Joyful about!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Changes in me

In the past several months, I have had at handful of people comment on how different I've been lately--how much happier--full of joy--I've been compared to a year ago--even compared to six months ago.  I have to admit that on the one hand, it's good to know that people notice me.  On the other hand, it's sad that my depression was so very obvious.  And here I thought my mask was so effective.

That's almost funny.  

I asked a couple of the folks who have noticed the change in me if they know what has made the difference in my life and each person has answered--without hesitation--that it is JOY.  I have been reading and studying everything on JOY that I can get my hands on.  I spend my days focusing on what gives me JOY in life.  I read and re-read and memorize scriptures on JOY.  I talk about JOY and the JOY of the Lord in my Life.  And that is making all the difference in the world.

If you've been reading my blog over the past two months, you have an idea of the tragedies that have entered my life and that continue to be a part of my life.  It has been a long, difficult road of struggles wherein I am not so sure I traveled with any level of confidence or safety.  But in recent months, I have found myself driving a new, bright, shiny, PINK (because I love pink) car and it feels GREAT.

I have a long way to go in my journey to complete healing and a life full of COMPLETE Joy--a life where Joy fills my heart soul completely rather than mostly, but at least I know I am ON that journey and that I am on the right road.  I will probably still hit a few bumps along the way, but I have the tools to stay the course.  I can change my flat tires by praising the Lord as I work.  I can fill an empty gas tank as I dance with Joy.  I can get to my journey's end filled with Joy the Lord.  I can do this!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

There is no Word

Don't you find it interesting how in the world of words, there are words for just about everything?  Including the pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.  Or a librocubicularist, one who reads in bed.
We have widow or widower for a woman or man whose spouse has died.

Orphan is for a child whose parents have died.  One doesn't even have to be a child to be an orphan.  One can be called an orphan even well into adulthood.

As a writer, I certainly love words and the power they hold.  I am fascinated by the fact that words can bring one to tears while those same words can bring one to laughter, depending on the presentation of those words.  

Anyone who doubts the incredible power of words has never given words serious thought and consideration.  It is simple truth that words hold power.


My point in writing the words to this blog is simply this:  if there are so many words for so many things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things, why isn't there a word for a woman--a mommy--who has lost a child (children)?  Or for a child who is not an only child but yet the only living child?  Or for a man--a daddy--who has lost a child (children)?  Or for the grandparents who have had to watch their precious child suffer the loss of his/her own child--the grandparents' grandchild?  Or for the aunts and uncles???

Do you find that as odd as I do?????

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pollyanna vs. Joy-Killers

noun
1.  an excessively or blindly optimistic person.
adjective
2.  (often lowercase). Also, Pollyannaishunreasonably or illogically optimistic (www.dictionary.com)

In doing some research recently for my memoir, I looked up the dictionary definition of my name and was unpleasantly surprised at what I found:  “excessively,” “unreasonably,” and “illogically” optimistic?!  Seriously?  Such negative connotations in reference to optimism!  What in the world?  My very first reaction was that I was—and am—greatly offended by the dictionary definition.  My second reaction is that somehow or another I have to find a way to get in touch with whoever creates these definitions and begin a petition to get the definition changed.  My third reaction is that it is no wonder there are so many joy-stealers/joy-killers around me.  Rather than seeing optimism as a positive or good thing, people are conditioned even through definitions to see optimism as something negative.  So when someone comes along with a “glass half-full” view of life, said person is ridiculed and condemned for not seeing reality, for being “unreasonably” optimistic. 

All my life I have dealt with joy-killers.  It feels as if every time I have felt any measure of joy in my life, there has been someone waiting to make sure that I know how ridiculous it is for me to feel such joy.  There has always been someone to bring me down out of the clouds and help me plant my feet firmly on the ground.  In spite of stories like The Neverending Story that teach that it is perfectly okay to dream and live in another world, someone is always there, waiting to crush my spirit.

I imagine myself—and other optimists like me—walking through life holding a giant bouquet of large, helium-filled balloons.  (Think of the movie Up and you’ll come close to the number of balloons I see in this bouquet.)  My balloons are gorgeous.  They are all colors, but there are more pinks and purples than the rest because they are my favorite color.  Not only are they all colors, they are all variations of colors and some even sparkle with a few that glow.  My bouquet is magical and it lifts me up into the clouds on wings of joy.

Along comes a joy-killer with a bow and a quiver full of arrows. 
This joy-killer sees me in the clouds with my amazing balloon bouquet and immediately lets an arrow fly, popping at least a dozen of my balloons with one shot.  The joy-killer doesn’t stop there.  No.  The joy-killer won’t be satisfied until every single balloon is popped and I am back with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

As my balloons pop, I plummet towards the earth.  When I land, I hit hard, breaking bones, bruising parts of my body I wasn’t even aware could be bruised.  Not one balloon survived.  I am surrounded by broken pieces of my once beautiful balloon bouquet.  The sorrow and sadness well up in me to the point of pure rage, but the joy-killer is strutting around demanding to acknowledgment and thanks for having saved me—rather than having harmed me.

No one helps me up.  A few around me feel sorry to see my beautiful bouquet destroyed, but they all believe that the joy-killer has saved me.

Only I know how destructive the joy-killer's arrows have been.  Only I feel the aches and pains in my body.  I am alone as the sadness settles over me now as a warm, comfortable blanket.  I wrap it around myself and shuffle away, isolated and dejected.

Why?  Why is it that there are those who would rather we all walk around looking dejected rather than with smiles on our faces?  Why is it better to be sad or angry than it is to be filled with joy?  Why does the glass have to be half-empty rather than half-full?  Why does even the definition of a “Pollyanna” have to filled with such negative connotations as  “unreasonably” or “illogically” optimistic?  What in the world is so very wrong with being optimistic?

My Bible tells me to be FULL of the JOY of the Lord.  I am told in
my Bible to serve the Lord ENTHUSIASTICALLY.  (See my previous posts for the scripture references.)  Jesus himself was a man of Joy and laughter.  Jesus was also criticized for being a man of Joy and murdered upon a cross because He was full of life, love, and joy.

So go ahead and criticize me.  You go right on ahead and pop the balloons of my joy bouquet.  You go ahead and try to keep me down, bruised and broken.  Go ahead, joy-killer and knock me down.  Go right on ahead. 

Just like my Lord and Savior who rose again, I will get up again.  I will have a new, more beautiful bouquet than I had before.  My balloons will be bigger.  They will be even more colorful.  I will fly higher in the clouds on wings of joy than I did previously.  Joy-killer, you may do everything in your power to knock me down and keep me under my blanket of sadness, but I am POLLYANNA and I will throw off that blanket and take hold of my beautiful balloon bouquet and rise above you……!!!!!!

8 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NLT)



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mommy Issues


I admit that I am probably overly lenient where my son is concerned.  I try not to be, but I find myself wanting to give him everything he asks for, to protect him as a Momma bear does her cubs, to love on him every chance I get.  I know that I need to be his Mom and not his friend and I do try.  I really do.  I believe that in many instances, I am successful.  But I also find myself caving when I shouldn't.  More than that, I always wonder if I am doing the right thing where he is concerned.  I tend to question every command I give him and every demand I make of him.  I question whether or not I am giving in to him too much or not enough.  


My son is my life.  He is EVERYTHING to me.  He is my only living child out of four opportunities I have had to have children.  I want to do this parenting thing right.  More importantly, I want my son to grow up in the love and admonition of the Lord, knowing Christ not only because his parents are in the ministry, but also as a personal relationship with Christ for himself.  Sadly, in spite of the fact that Samuel attends church with us and has been in Sunday School all his life as well as attended Vacation Bible School most of his summers, I feel that I am failing my son in this area.  

We do not do devotions at home together as a family.  I read my Bible every day.  I have Bible studies I do on a consistent basis.  My husband certainly studies his Bible, especially in sermon preparation.  But we do not do anything as a family which means that Samuel is not doing a Bible study at all outside of what he gets at church.  I have purchased several Bible studies specifically for Samuel at his age, but they continue to sit on the bookshelf where they were put after first bringing them home.  

One of my very first memories growing up is of my mom having
Bible verses posted all over the house, especially in the kitchen.  We were memorizing Bible verses before we ever learned to read.  When Samuel was younger, we worked hard on learning all the books of the Bible.  At one time, he could tell you all 66 books of the Bible.  Now, sadly, because we haven't continuously reinforced that, he has difficulty knowing which book of the Bible is where and whether or not a book is even a book of the Bible.  

And Bible verses memorized?  He is sorely lacking in that area, I am thoroughly ashamed to say.  When I was his age, I was part of the Bible Drill program in the Southern Baptist community.  I loved it.  Every year for about 4 or 5 years, Kevin Qualls, Brian Edwards, and I (there were others, but we were the only 3 who stuck it out every year) memorized Bible verses and went to competitions--and won at every level--church, district, and state.  We even competed one Sunday against our Pastor as a demonstration, each us beating the pastor at every turn.  I admit to some level of pride concerning my Bible knowledge while at the same time, feeling great humility that I have not passed on or shared that knowledge as I should have already with my son.

I accept the fact that in large part, my depression has gotten the better of me for too many years and that it has negatively affected the things, especially as far as Samuel's religious/Biblical education is concerned, I have wanted to do with Samuel.  I was in so deep and it was not something I could just "get over" without help beyond the Word.  (Yes, I am on medication--and it is helping.  I am also seeing a Christian counselor and getting help for my medical issues which have not helped my depression.)  I was not in a place within myself where I was able or even capable of looking after anyone's salvation, let alone my own, for years.

But now that I am coming out on the other side--now that I see the light, the opening to my tunnel and beginning to find my Joy in the Lord again, I find myself wanting more and more to find ways to teach my son about the Word so that he comes to love it as I do.  I want him to be able to quote Bible verses.  I want him to be able to say all the books of the Bible, in order--and to be able to spell them!  (Yes, I can spell them all, too.)  I want him to be able to pull out scriptures as he needs them when he is teased at school or when he has struggles of his own.


More than anything, I want him to be able to have such a wonderful relationship with the Lord for himself that when troubles and trials come his way throughout his life--as they inevitably will; they already have in his young life--that he will be able to stand firm in his faith and to count it all joy regardless of the struggles he goes through.  I can't fight his battles for him, but I can teach him how to fight those battles--how to keep his armor on.  

Will you help pray for me--and Samuel--as I begin this journey with Samuel?  And for my husband as well?  That we will begin, as a family, to seek the Lord earnestly and to teach Samuel to put on his own armor of God so that He may be able to stand????  Let me know if you will join me in prayer....I need all the encouragement and accountability I can get.  In advance, thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BEST time of the year!

If I let myself think too much about it, I can easily be surprised that Fall is my favorite time of year.  So many of the trials (tragedies, struggles) of my life have happened in the fall of the year:

1.  the doctors found the cyst on my left ovary in the fall (I had surgery just before winter started)
2.  my first miscarriage (Panya Ruth) was in November of 1999
3.  my second miscarriage (Anna Rose) was also in November, but in 2005
4.  my diverticulitis attack happened in the fall, November 2009--subsequent surgery
5.  I had my ablasion in the fall of the year, October/November 2010
6.  It was fall of 2012 (?) when I underwent one procedure after another in an attempt to figure out why I was throwing up every single day
7.  It was in the fall of the year when I blew up at my husband.

There are probably more things I could add to this list, but you get the gist.  In spite of all the horrific things that have happened [to me] during the fall of the year, though, I still find that it is my favorite time of the year.  
I love a big, full, orange Harvest moon!  

I love that it gets dark earlier.  

I love, love, love the cooler weather!  I hate the heat of the summer!  (Of course, the summer heat reminds me, very effectively, of the fact that I do NOT want to spend eternity in hell!)  I love wearing sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, and long-sleeve t-shirts!  

Even though I don't get to go as often as I would like, I love fall football!!!  

I love the colors of the leaves--red, orange, yellow.  I often drive with my eyes on the trees rather than on the road!  I can't wait to take a drive up to the mountains to admire the fall foliage even more!  

I love the food that comes with the fall of the year--chili, s'mores (although, s'mores are wonderful year-round), apple pie, turkey, stuffing, and other fall delicious wonders!  

Campfires.  This is the time of year when all I want to do is have my husband build a campfire so we can sit out under the stars and the moon and just be still in the glory and wonder of the season.

I love the new fall seasons on tv!  All my favorite shows come out with new episodes, yeah!  I love that school starts in early fall--ok, late summer, but still!  

We have always associated fall with the start of school, so this is when you see pictures of teachers
and apples and pumpkins and other great fall wonders!  And I love school!  I would have been a professional student if it paid!  Since I couldn't do that, I became a teacher!

I simply love the colors associated with fall:  orange, yellow, red, pink.  Pink and purple are my absolute favorite colors, but when fall comes, I am reminded of the wonderfulness of the colors that make fall so incredibly gorgeous.  I can't help but feel that God is showing off when it comes to the fall of the year.  This is the time when His creation shines and shouts for Joy and wonder--and He is not just pleased, He is very pleased.

Fall is probably my busiest season of the year, so I have to remind myself every year to slow down and remember to enjoy all the wonders of the season.  Maybe being so busy is part of what I love about it!  For some reason, I'm always most inspired to write during the fall of the year.  I just can't stop writing during the fall.  It's part of what draws me to NaNoWriMo every year.  I WANT to write during the fall.  When I look back at all the writing I have done throughout the years, I see that my most productive times when it comes to writing have always been in the fall--even the years I did not win NaNo, I've still done a LOT of writing.

In spite of--or maybe because of--all the tragedies I have dealt with in the fall of the year, this is the time of year when I feel God's presence more than any other....when His joy fills me as no other time of year does or is able to.  This is the one time of year when I love being outside.  I feel His touch in the very air during the fall.  

Personally, if the whole year could be like fall, it wouldn't hurt my feelings one bit.......

Sunday, September 21, 2014

God rejoices over ME with Singing!


Did you KNOW that God loves you so very much that "He will rejoice over you with joyful songs"?!  We all know that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16) and we believe it.  It is the verse that draws us when we first accept Him as our Lord and Savior.

Over the years, though, I have found myself saying the words of John 3:16 from rote/memory rather than from my heart.  I believe them in head; I know them like the back of my hand, but sadly, they no longer have the power to stir my heart and soul as they did in the early years of my life as a Christian.  I can't help but wonder if I am not the only one.....

As I have been reading my Bible and studying JOY over the past few years, Zephaniah 3:17 has become a verse that has hit my heart in the same way that John 3:16 did when I first accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I needed this verse and the Lord showed it to me at just the right time.

It's powerful knowing that God loved me so much--even though I hadn't even been born, let alone thought of yet--that He sent His only Son to die a horrific death just so I could live eternally with Him in Eternity.  But now that years have gone by and I have suffered and struggled and dealt with deep depression, it is powerful to be reminded that He loves me so much that "He takes delight in me with gladness" and "He will rejoice over me with joyful songs"!  

Do you get that?!  Do you realize that means that God Himself sings for JOY when He sees me?  When He thinks of me??  

Wow.  

I listen a lot to Dr. Gary Smalley.  Many years ago, I watched his video on Hidden Keys to Love where he talks about Honor.  He brings out a Stradivarius violin and the whole audience gasps in awe.  He goes on to talk about that is how we should be when our Beloved (our loved ones) walk into a room.  I've always remembered that and I've always loved it when someone gets excited that I walked into a room.  It doesn't happen very often, but I admit that the few times that it has happened have been pretty awesome.

Do you GET that God gasps in awe EVERY single time He thinks of you?!  So much so that He even SINGS JOYFUL Songs as He rejoices over you?!  Hahahaha!!!  That is SO cool!!!  God doesn't sing about my sadness, depression, failures, sorrows, pains, ugliness, or even my anger.  He simply sings JOYFUL songs over me!!!!  

That makes me smile!  It makes me laugh!  It makes me want to sing right back to Him with love and Joy!  Someone loves me so much that He sings with Joy over me!  


Have you ever felt the joy of seeing someone you love only to met with a feeling that the loved one is not as happy to see you as you are to see him/her?  It's a horrible feeling.  It only takes once or twice before we no longer want to be around that loved one any longer and only once or twice more before we find excuses not to have to be around that no-longer-loved-one any longer.

But when our loved ones receive us with a smile on their faces and obvious joy, we reciprocate!  We know we are loved and we love in return--fully and completely!  It is difficult, if not impossible, to love someone who doesn't APPEAR to love us in return.

God is ALWAYS filled with JOY when we come into His presence....when we spend time with Him!  We can ALWAYS run to Him knowing that He will receive us with open arms full of love and JOY!  Best of all, He loves me so much, He sings with JOY over me!

Hallelujah!  JUMOY!!!  (Jump for JOY!)  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Choose Joy

Even from the first when my depression started to get the better of me, I have hated the way it made me feel.  Yet at the same time, there was some measure of comfort in my depression.  Because I carried it with me for so long before seeking help, it became my new normal.  For a long time, I was
not sure I wanted to quit being depressed because I had forgotten how to live a life in the fullness of God’s joy and peace. 

I also wanted, for the longest time, for SOMEONE to come along, pick me up, dust me off, and fix me—tell me what I needed to do to quit being so depressed.  Even when I first started seeing my counselor, as I would leave my weekly sessions with her, I wondered how and why she had not admitted me to the local mental facility rather than let me walk out the door.  I did ask her during a recent session why she had not admitted me; she said that she had seriously thought about it, but the bottom line was that I had not asked for it and she did not like to admit people who did not ask for it.

Those were powerful words because if I had known that, I would have asked her to admit me.  I was lost in more ways than one and not only did I not know how to get un-lost, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to. 

More than anything, her words made me realize that while I was getting help through counseling as well as other sources (seeing a doctor on a regular basis, getting prescription medications to help with the severe depression, seeing a chiropractor, and so on), I could not depend on these doctors, etc. to make me feel better….to make me better.  They could only help give me the tools that I needed to be able to make a choice of whether or not I wanted to get better.

It all boiled down to the simple fact that I, Polly Anna, had to make a choice that I wanted to get better, that I no longer wanted to allow depression, anger—rage, actually, low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence to rule my life. 

So, okay.  I made the choice that I no longer wanted to live that way, but then came the “Now what?!”  I had no idea where to go from there.

I admit that I found it strange—I still do—that me, a woman who has been saved, a Christian, for most of her life (since I was about three or four years old) had no idea where to begin finding my way out of the deep, dark, cold cave I had been in for so long.  I only knew that I needed to get up and start moving.

Thankfully, with the help of my medical team (most of whom are Christians) and the Holy Spirit, I gradually began to see a change in my whole being.  There is no one thing that I can put my finger on that has led me at least to the entrance of my cave.  I will always be near my cave.  It is my home now.  At least I no longer have to live in the deepest, darkest, scariest recesses of my cave.  I can live in the opening of the cave; I can even leave it for longer and longer periods.  Because of the tragedies I have suffered in my life, my cave will always be my home.

My counselor and I talked about what started me on my path to healing.  I said that it was a combination of many things that have happened over the past two or three years.  While she agreed, she also said that she believes, more than anything, that my healing truly began when I started studying Joy in depth.

One of the first things I did when I realized that only I could change the horror of my life was to begin reading my Bible in earnest and doing one Bible study after another.  I have always read my Bible on a consistent basis and I have memorized a lot of Bible verses, so that wasn’t something I had to learn to do.  I had, though, gotten slack in my Bible reading and Bible studies simply because I was too depressed to care to bother with it.  I knew I needed to get back to reading my Bible on a daily basis, so I chose a Bible reading plan and got started reading my Bible every single day.  Then I found a Bible Study on Joy—I liked the pretty pink cover and it was by the Women of Faith, so I knew it was a good study—and began serious Bible study on a daily basis—again. 

I did not make it all the way through my yearly Bible reading plan that first year, but I did make it through eight months.  Rather than beat myself up over it, as the new year started, I chose another plan and started again. 

As soon as I finished my first Bible study on Joy, I found another one on Joy and went through that one, too.  At first, it was not conscious on my part that I was doing a focused study on Joy, but after about three or four of them, I realized that I was doing a word study.  Then I began to take it deeper.

I searched for every use of the word Joy in all of my favorite Bible translations.  I marked each verse in my different Bibles.  I found that I associate the word Joy with the color pink, so not only did I mark my Bibles in pink ink or pink highlighters, but I even bought a couple of pink Bibles in the translations I wanted to work with. 

I studied the definition of Joy.  I took it a step further and marked the variations for the word joy in all my Bible translations as well as studied the definitions for each:  rejoice, enjoy, glad, happy, happiness, etc.

Eventually, I began noticing songs and poetry that focus on Joy.  I now have files of the lyrics to songs about joy as well as copies of poems.  That naturally led to pictures about Joy as well. 

And then one day when I was sitting quiet before the Lord, He showed me—again, Psalm 45:7 and Hebrews 1:9—“You love justice and hate evil.  Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”  I said, “I know, God.  You showed that to me a while ago.  I really love those verses.”
And the Holy Spirit said, “No.  Read them again.  Slowly.  With your heart.”
“Ok, Lord.”
The words began to sink in to the deepest recesses of my soul.  God wanted to pour out His oil of joy on ME more than on anyone else [I know]. 
Wow.  “But I’m so unworthy, Lord.  I’m still so depressed.  I’m still so angry and even full of rage.”
“Let me handle it.  Just trust me and let me fill you with my joy.”
I wish I could say that the infilling of God’s anointing oil of Joy filled me immediately and that my depression, rage, and anger faded away as the sunset, but the truth is that I am still working on it.  I still have days when they rear their ugly heads and try to take me back down.  At least now I know that the enemy is trying to keep me from receiving God’s full anointing oil of joy and I am better prepared to deal with the challenges. 
I have a long way to go, but I know that God will not give up on me, so I can’t give up on myself, either.
I share all of this with you to say that no matter where you are in your journey, it is important to get quiet before the Lord and let Him reveal a verse, a song, a poem, whatever it is He wants to give you that He has for you.  The scriptures (the anointing oil of joy) God gave me more than likely will not be what He has for you.  Maybe He will give you the same verses, but I very seriously doubt it.  In my studies on joy, while others have found Joy to be a focal point of their lives and studies, I have yet to read about someone else who received these exact verses from the Lord as I have.
God works in His own way with each individual as is best for each individual.  What I need from Him is not necessarily what you need from Him.  He gives each of us exactly what we need when we need it, but we have to be willing to listen as well as be obedient to what He wants of us.  God is not going to conform you to what He has for me or anyone else; He wants you to be you and your ministry to be your ministry.  In order to find that ministry, you have to find the source of your ministry.
Think of it as your mission statement.  Your life verse.  The thesis (point) of your own life.  Your purpose.  God uses our own personal experiences, quite often our tragedies, to help create our individual ministries.  I am working on mine and I share all of this because it is my heart’s desire to see you find yours.
After being depressed for more years than I can count, I can tell you in all honesty that the natural high I get from allowing God to anoint me with His oil of joy is greater than any drug, any shopping, any food, or anything else I have attempted to find joy in.  It all boils down to the simple fact that I am finally working on being in His will and following the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than believing the lies Satan has fed me.
I CHOOSE to be a woman anointed with God’s oil of joy—more than anyone else!  I receive His anointing oil of Joy!