Monday, December 29, 2008


Having trouble breathing today which I explain in this video.
Woke up struggling to catch my breath. Also, I keep getting extremely cold, then sweaty. Coughing, aching, I just don't feel good. This is one of those times I wish I wasn't alone.

Maybe 2009 will be my year. Finally. I've grown a lot in 2008, painful but long-lasting lessons. My life hit rock bottom, and is still bouncing on the floor of a pit. Have to keep momentum so it bounces higher where I can catch my breath (no pun).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Just Updated Seminole's Site

Maybe I'll see him in 2009. I will be glad to see 2008 pass. Seminole's Rainbow Bridge site

BFF


God is amazing… can I just say that? He has taught me so much this year. I cannot believe I did not get depressed this Christmas. In fact, one of my life long goals that I made 12 years ago was ‘Not be depressed on Christmas”. I can check that off!

You see, I have learned we ALL have limits. Some are understandable, many are not, and the key to socializing is to identify people’s individual limits, i.e. what they can and cannot handle, and respect them.
. But I understand now. I understand we all have reasons for why we do what we do.

You know the best part of the day? I realized even more clearly Jesus is the only One who doesn’t have limits… who won’t delete me from Facebook or refuse to listen to how wonderful my Christmas Eve is. Bryn is one of MANY friends I love and am so thankful for… yet Jesus is my best friend. Truly my BFF.

Bryn is one of my best friends in the world. I cannot express how much I love her, because she accepts me and loves me despite my faults. Knowing I can be honest with her eases the pressure. I told her how I did not want to talk at the hospital (to the other carolers) and she understood. I just wanted to reflect on each family, and pray for every baby, and talk to Jesus about them. With one child, I left the room and started crying (not weeping) and a few people told me not to cry. That bothered me. A guy informed me I needed to be strong… In my mind, being ‘strong’ means empathizing and identifying and feeling the pain of the family. Any robot can go from room to room, smiling “Merry Christmas!”

I digress.

The day had it’s sorrows... but I understand now. I understand we all have reasons for why we do what we do.

You know the best part of the day? I realized even more clearly Jesus is the only One who doesn’t have limits… who won’t delete me from Facebook or refuse to listen to how wonderful my Christmas Eve is. Bryn is one of MANY friends I love and am so thankful for… yet Jesus is my best friend. Truly my BFF.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Isolate, Not Alone

One thing I value about my wiring is the ability to be comfortable in isolation. Perhaps this is why God has blessed me with so many friends (which I am realizing how many as I address Christmas cards!) because I can keep a healthy balance in this area. Of course, too much isolation is viewed as unhealthy… yet ‘too much’ is a subjective amount.

I’ve written how people, especially Christians, give me grief about not being a big fan of socializing. So many times, I force myself to interact with others, believing it is the right thing to do. Then the next day or two, I am always resentful, bitter, and downright grumpy from having a social hang-over.

Something I read from Streams in the Dessert brought me much comfort. It explains my wiring in a ways have never been able to:

May we allow God to isolate us, but I do not mean in the isolation of a monastery. It is in the experience of isolation that the Lord develops an independence of life and of faith so that the soul no longer depends on the continual help, prayers, faith and care of others. The assistance and inspiration of others are necessary, and they have a place in the Christian’s development, but at times they can actually be an hindrance to a person’s faith and welfare.

This has become apparent in my life as I have stopped sharing personal details with an email group of 25 and limited it to 3 people. No longer do I worry about my friends forming an intervention to help me. No longer am I afraid I will lose friends who are unable to handle my ‘crisis’. I keep it between me and Jesus, and this has brought me closer to Him than ever before. So when I ‘isolate’, His presence assures me I am never alone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crohns Blessings

I use to only think of God when I went to bed and said my prayers. There was no communication between me and the Trinity… I just told God what I wanted. I take that back; the only other time I would go to God was when I was in a situation where I felt helpless, like when my boyfriend took me way back in the woods to go target shooting, and a lightning storm made my surroundings seem like a battle field. I prayed whole-heartedly… until I was out of the storm.

Now I continuously interact with Him, whether going through storms or blue sky, sunny days. For the most part. I am able to lay my concerns at His feet and focus on His blessings. It has taken years for Him to develop this part of my character.

I choose to praise Him through my sufferings. Last night started the worse Crohns attack I’ve had since college. I have blood in my stools, fresh blood, which is when mom use to take me to the doctor when I lived at home, and I would be admitted to the hospital. Seeing the blood initially upset me, thinking “I just get a grip on the depression, now this!” I stopped, and refocused my perspective – thank God I have COBRA! It would be horrible if I were this sick and did not have the option of getting medical treatment. God is so good to cover ALL my needs, financial, social, psychological, and medical. I have no need to worry knowing He’s got me covered.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Interesting Disability Statistics

Found this on Business Wire:

Among people 15 and older, 7.8 million (3 percent) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 1 million being unable to hear at all. Although not part of the definition of disability used in the report, 4.3 million people reported using a hearing aid.
Roughly 3.3 million people, or 1 percent, age 15 and older used a wheelchair or similar device, with 10.2 million, or 4 percent, using a cane, crutches or walker.
Nearly 7.8 million people age 15 and older had difficulty seeing words or letters in ordinary newspaper print, including 1.8 million being completely unable to see.
More than 16 million people had difficulty with cognitive, mental or emotional functioning. This included 8.4 million with one or more problems that interfere with daily activities, such as frequently being depressed or anxious, trouble getting along with others, trouble concentrating and trouble coping with stress.
The chances of having a disability increase with age: 18.1 million people 65 and older, or 52 percent, had a disability. Of this number, 12.9 million, or 37 percent, had a severe disability. For people 80 and older, the disability rate was 71 percent, with 56 percent having a severe disability.
Among people 16 to 64, 13.3 million, or 7 percent, reported difficulty finding a job or remaining employed because of a health-related condition.
Among people 25 to 64 with a severe disability, 27 percent were in poverty, compared with 12 percent for people with a nonsevere disability and 9 percent for those without a disability.
Median monthly earnings were $1,458 for people with a severe disability, $2,250 for people with a nonsevere disability and $2,539 for those with no disability.
Parents reported that 228,000 children under age 3, or 2 percent, had a disability. Specifically, they either had a developmental delay or difficulty moving their arms or legs. In addition, there were 475,000 children 3 to 5 years, or 4 percent, with a disability, which meant they had either a developmental delay or difficulty walking, running or playing.
There were 4.7 million children 6 to 14, or 13 percent, with a disability. The most prevalent type was difficulty doing regular schoolwork (2.5 million, or 7 percent).

Paul's Sentiment

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our] behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
- 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

So many people know about the season I am in that there must be many (I hope) who have prayed for me. I love sharing how God blesses me so others can praise God with me. Paul's sentiment in 2 Corinthians reminds me where my hope is and why I trust Him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crisis Over

You know the verse about delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart? I am living it. Six months ago, I wanted nothing to do with counseling and have regretted investing in becoming a licensed therapist.

Monday, I was forced to make a crucial decision about my future. One phone call turned everything upside down. Truly, I was freaking out. Fortunately, Connie met me on the spur of the moment when I emailed her, and 60 minutes later, my peace returned. Brainstorming and heart-sharing with her clarified the current desires of my heart. Now, I had been offered 2 alternatives to living on the streets, and while I was desperate for anything, I knew God had something better for me, so I declined.

Since I declared my desire to go back into counseling clients, my interest in psychology and human nature has greatly increased, while feelings of depression decreased… significantly. I am actually productive again. I am falling asleep without popping sleeping pills. I have peace beyond understanding.

This is major since the past 17 years, I have been in a deep depression during the holidays. Not now. In fact, Bryn invited me to come over on Christmas, and I accepted!! (I know!!!)

Since then, my landlord graciously reduced my rent $150 PER MONTH!!! and continues to work with me – meaning I don’t have to move 12/31. It’s still gonna be tough, but I am no longer in crisis mode. God is good… all the time

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My View on Gov. Paterson Skit

There's some discussion about a Saturday Night Live skit which portrays N,Y. Governor David Paterson. Governor Paterson feels the imitation of him crossed the line, offending people with disabilities,

Personally, I'm not offended. I am one of those people who doesn't get caught up in 'politically correct language" when discussing people with disabilities. My belief is people are already uncomfortable around me, so why add to their pressure by being sensitive to what words they use around me? People-first language has never been an issue for me. Rather, I want people to focus on our interaction instead of the order of their words.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Green Grass

It's very cold in Florida this morning. I am much more sensitive to how the homeless survive since technically, I could be one of them in 18 days. Last night, I hardly got any sleep, wondering how much longer the cats and I would have a warm bed. It truly is a shame we don't realize the blessings we have until it is too late.

To get my mind off reality, I met a friend whom I have not seen in over ten years. We were best friends in middle school. Now she is a stay at home mom, married to a very wealthy man. The diamond on her hand is bigger than my pinky finger knuckle. She is probably a size 5, if not 3... one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I had a great time chatting with her, rekindling our special friendship, yet when we parted, jealousy and bitterness set in. I know the grass is always greener, still, her life truly seemed perfect.

As I type this inside my heated home, sweatpants, warm socks, 120 degree cup of coffee, I pray I can learn to be content in any situation. A few weeks from now, I may be willing to do anything to go back to my current situation. Who knows...

Words from a wise friend:
First of all, I'm sorry how things worked out with your mom and dad. I know their response had to be difficult to hear, but thankfully when our (your) desire is to be in God's will He will go as far as to prevent us (you) from taking a path that would not be in our (your) best interest and He can even use your mother to accomplish that. He truly is a good God, all the time!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Serious Reality


In June 2008, my doctor placed me on permanent disability- I've been falling and my cerebral palsy makes me clumsier as I age, not to mention having major clinical depression. So I had to quit my job, applied for Social Security, and have only been surviving thinking I would get a huge retroactive check covering the months I since I applied for Disability. My church and friends have been helping me out believing once my checks start in January, I'd be fine. Well, I found out there is a 5 month waiting period and I WILL NOT receive a retroactive check. So I am screwed. This has led me into an even more severe depression where I am taking sleeping pills to 'escape'. I know that is counter-productive, yet when I think about my limited time remaining, I get all panicky and paralyzed with fear. I know God is in control... I know He has me in the palm of His hand, still I am scared... more scared than I have ever been in my life.

I asked my family if I could come live with them in Tn. until I get my feet off the ground and they said no. I could live with my brother, but he has a HUGE dog which would give my 14 year old cat a heart attack... and my cats are my kids... I only go where they are welcomed. So as of 12/31, I have no place to go. I've been having faith and praying, yet the more time passes, the harder it gets.

So that is my deal and why I am not up to socializiing right now. Sorry for such a 'downer' post...

I'll keep you posted... may be from the homeless shelter, yet I'll be in touch!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Annoying Addy

Addy is ticklish on her back paws. video

Antisocial Christian


As I walked in the church with Twyla, I sensed her debating whether to introduce me to her friends. I gently stated she didn’t need to, in fact, “you can tell them I am mute” I said half-kidding.

People, especially Christians, continue to give me a hard time about my hermit tendencies. They see me in public, joking with people, and assume I am having a grand ole time. I can tell you with all honesty, my social interactions are never without the power of the Holy Spirit.

I just don’t like being with people. Why I chose to become a licensed counselor, I don’t know… Maybe to try to understand people, including myself, so I can learn why I have such difficulty engaging in human contact. I use to worry I would tarnish my Christian ‘image’ by admitting my antisocialism… but not anymore. I want people to know I am going out of my comfort zone all out of obedience to Jesus. I want my friends to know I love them so much, I will do anything for them.

Twyla thanked me for going to her church which, by the way, is an AWESOME church (except the woman who hugged me…) where I felt unusually comfortable. Twyla knew I went for her, as a way of giving, investing in our friendship. Some may think it’s pride, thinking I believe people should feel honored that I hang out with them. It’s not about that at all. Just as friends pray for me, help me with cat sitting, rides to the airport… they don’t do it out of a pompous attitude – rather, they are showing me their love for me… and their love for Jesus. And that is what makes this loner socialize…

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Forgive

Forgive me my jealousy, forgive me my pride
Forgive all the bitterness I harbor inside.
Forgive me of gossip, and acts of self-gain.
Forgive all the ways I don’t praise Your name.
Let me model You, by your power and might,
For only by Your Spirit can I do what is right.
-- sw 12/7/8

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Disability Link

Promise - am going to do some major updates for the past week and a half. Until then, I found a Disability Related information site that may be of interest to some of you. I am finding more issues with the whole Social Security System and am ready to speak out. For instance, the 1-800 # for Social Security is voice activated... It asks questions like 'where were you born?' Because of my speech impediment, it'll say "I'm sorry - I cannot understand you. Goodbye." and hangs up!!!! The Social Security Disability hotline! That is just ridiculous.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Niece Knows Starbucks!

video

Nashville Black Friday


My brother took me up a mountain to see some foilage. There were many houses for sale and my sister-in-law said "I wonder why all these houses are for sale" to which my 5 year old nephew explained, "It's Black Friday! Everything is on sale!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Non-Florida



So I'm leaving the state for a few days... gotta admit, I am not looking forward to leaving Florida. So I've been scanning the 'net for photos of non-Florida weather. Here's a cool site to check out.

Feels like I've forgotten how to have faith. Strange. Glad to have a couple days to process and PRAY for peace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crime on campus - News

Crime on campus - News

Have to add this... this means another bad game with 5 suspended players! Self-discipline, guys!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today

I want to feel better-
Want to have hope.
Remember God's ways are
so much greater than my scope.

Don't want to be defeated-
Don't want to surrender.
God has a purposeful plan
This I need to remember.
sw

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Benefits of Cerebral Palsy

Here is a video of me telling some benefits of having cerebral palsy.

Emily's Letter to The World


This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!


-- Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Done

Stayed in bed all day-
No commitments were looming.
Needed to escape from-
My life - all-consuming.

Faith, I still have it.
Strength, not so much.
Determination is gone.
I've thrown out my crutch.

Call me a coward,
A hypocrite to my core.
Say I've no faith...
I just don't care anymore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's A New Day


This is my theme song for today...Avalon's "It's a New Day"

I love Avalon! They are in my top 3 favorite groups with Def Leppard and Northland's Worship Team. Jeremi actually goes to my church sometimes and he is one of the coolest people ever! And his voice... you can't help but praise God when he sings.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm Sure They Meant Well


Haven't blogged in a few days because I learned there was an email going around to my 'friends' about me. I am sure it was all out of love and concern, with only the best intentions... I am thankful to have friends who care so much... Still, I feel like they were all declaring me mentally incompetent or something. I don't like it. I shared my play by play experiences to show how God works in my life and to glorify Him... evidently, some people 'freaked out' and called for outside intervention.

The issue was I don't have a plan... I am living day by day... um YEAH!!! My whole life has had to be relying on God day by day! The whole situation bothers me... I need to let it go.

I found out some very disturbing news today about SSDI - I'm not going to blog about it though as I don't want my friends to worry. I shared it with 3 close friends (2 pastors & 1 wife) and will keep the rest to myself. In the meantime, here is a great site about SSDI/SSI.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Humility


A friend of mine went through the next couple of months to plan how she would pay her bills and help me at the same time. She’s practically a single mom who is underemployed, working at a job that does not pay her for what she is worth. Wanting to pay my car payment, she called the loan officer, and tried making a deal with the bank on my behalf. I told her not to worry about my car payment, I know she doesn’t have the money. I honestly do not want her to use her hard-earned money more than I don’t want to lose my car. In other words, her well-being is more important to me than my car. All she said was, “You would do it for me...”

Wow. Honestly, I am amazed how God is changing my heart, amazed at how He is using such a hard season to bless me in life-changing ways. Lately, I am praying for humility on a regular basis. From God’s provision to the quality, unconditional friends He has put in my life, none of it is because of anything I do… it is ALL from the grace of God.

The Enemy has been telling me I am too much of a burden on my friends, which is why some have walked away. I mean, I have a LOT of problems, life-and-death kind of stuff… there is always some ‘crisis’ going on and some people, even relatives, have to walk away for their own mental health. Still, God has given me unbelievable friends who make sacrifices in their own lives, refuse to walk away, and send me emails with words like this:
“We’re all rooting for you, praying for you, glad to be with you, and eager to see how God steers you through this season. Keep glorifying Him...”


It is easy to let such friendships make me prideful, believing I must be a pretty special person for people to travel such a hard journey with me. After asking God to remind me HE has given me all these friends, I found a verse that helps me put all this in perspective. Jesus said: John 6:44
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…

The Amplified version says,
No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me…


Even the desire to cry to Jesus comes from the Father. Everything, even the awareness of the existence of God, comes from God… we can take no credit for our faith, mercy and love. There is no room for pride since all we have comes from the grace of God. It is nothing we do, nothing we ‘earn’, nothing we deserve.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's All Good!

I continue to pray this ‘change’ in me will not, well, change.

Much of my life is the same… my car is about to be repossessed, the ‘dream’ condo I was planning to move to has been rented to someone else, I continue feeling distanced by friends who have needed to step away from our friendship, my bills for November – including rent – have not been paid, etc.

But what is not the same is I have peace beyond understanding. I truly ‘let things go’ and not only am I not worried, I am so fulfilled by my relationship with Christ that the sense of loss I have felt is no longer there. Again, it is as if I got married, and now I know my husband will take care of me, my relationship with Him fulfills all the needs I have, including social. Guess you can say I have freedom in Christ… and it feels incredibly liberating.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Carried

When I went up to be anointed Sunday, Teresa walked with me so I could hold on to her arm. My feet felt like loads of cement as I struggled to lift the right foot, then left, then right. The congregation was asked to say the name of the person they were lifting up in prayer for healing. The sound of Teresa’s voice matched Rob’s lips, “Shelly”. Once the oil was on my forehead, I couldn’t feel my limbs. They weren’t numb, rather I truly could not sense them. It was so profound, I didn’t understand why that happened. Had my ‘old’ body been removed?

I read my devotional, Streams in the Dessert (thanks, Steve!), which mentioned palm trees. Brushing my teeth, I noticed for the first time, my soap dish and shower curtain have palm trees. I felt Him smiling at me, telling me He is all around me, He is holding me. As I took in His embrace, He revealed what had happened during the anointing:

I had to step out in obedience… He knew I would not go alone, so he placed Teresa and Rob there with me, praying for me. Once I had the faith to get out of my chair, and walked the unsteady path, it was when He anointed me through the elder that I no longer felt the heaviness of my limbs. Of course, He was carrying me!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Palm Master-Peace

When I awoke yesterday morning, I prayed that God would keep my mind on him, removing all distractions… after attending worship at Northland, I couldn’t stop thinking about Him for the rest of the day. I kept marveling over His grace, love, and sovereignty. Threads of my life keep tying together into a beautiful tapestry! I can’t wait to see the completed Master piece!

I am not even going to try to explain what happened. There are no words… but that’s okay… just like a husband and wife relationship, this is something so incredibly intimate that Jesus wants me to keep it between me and Him.

Just a small glimpse into the gifts he lavished me with throughout the day: Pastor Vernon read part of Psalm 93 in the sermon… it was an unfamiliar passage, something about being anointed with oil and becoming like a palm tree. Late last night, I had Joel Osteen on for background noise, and he referenced the exact same passage! Of course, I looked it up… Matthew’s commentary says:

Let us seek for ourselves the salvation and grace of the gospel, that being daily anointed by the Holy Spirit, we may behold and share the Redeemer's glory. It is from his grace, by his word and Spirit, that believers receive all the virtue that keeps them alive, and makes them fruitful. Other trees, when old, leave off bearing, but in God's trees the strength of grace does not fail with the strength of nature. The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work their best work: perseverance is sure evidence of sincerity.

I will never view palm trees the same again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Excuse Me

Every excuse I come up with for not believing, God reminds me of His Truth:

1. God isn’t telling me to do that… I was raised NOT to believe in anointing of oil
-I know Him in an intimate way today, unlike my earlier years when I had legalistic view of Him.
2. I cannot remove this idol… I think about it all the time.
- Correct; I cannot remove this idol, but I can ask God to purify my thoughts and rid my mind of all that is not of Him.
3. I tried that many times… it never lasts despite my good intentions.
-The enemy is not going to give me a respite; rather, he pounces when I let my guard down. My willpower never lasts, but His mercies and love remain forever.
4. On a practical level, I cannot participate in the service because I am still coughing & will disrupt congregants; I may fall on my way to the altar; I can’t do communion by myself; I don’t know if I believed in what is practiced; This idol is distracting me from Jesus…
As a friend reminded me earlier, nothing about Jesus is practical.

It’s all about Jesus… not pride, finances, relatives, idols… JESUS. Lay it all on the cross – give it to Him, and don’t look back.

“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” – Proverbs 24:10

--
Shelly Weiss

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nanowrimo Day #1

4:39am

I've been up for a couple hours researching names for my main characters. Think I have 'em: Mary, Sarai, and Eliab. This is my first attempt at Christian fiction and the premise of the story is the contrast of who Jesus is in an individual's life. The idea is literally unfolding minute by minute. I just pray I use my God-given skills and talents to glorify Him through my writing.

I found the following writer's prayer excerpt in an interview with Kurt Vonnegut:
It was written by Samuel Johnson on April 3, 1753, the day on which he signed a contract which required him to write the first complete dictionary of the English language. He was praying for himself. Perhaps April third should be celebrated as "Writers' Day." Anyway, this is the prayer: "O God, who hast hitherto supported me, enable me to proceed in this labor, and in the whole task of my present state; that when I shall render up, at the last day, an account of the talent committed to me, I may receive pardon, for the sake of Jesus Chris. Amen.


Back to the book!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Limerick

There once was a girl named "Shelly",
who felt sick in her head & her belly.
Laid out on the couch,
her 2 cats can vouch,
She's getting quite bored with the telly.

I Lost $100

I lost $100. I was so excited to finally earn some money and I lost it. I tried denying how sick I am and went about my day as if everything was fine until people started returning my calls… calls I don’t remember making. Everything was foggy, like a dream, but I didn’t want to miss my Joy of Living class and I had a counseling client at noon. Maybe I just needed coffee… went to Starbucks, then called Deanna on my way to Northland. Things went downhill from there. Between my fever and medication, I was in bad shape. I don’t know how (well, yes I do) I made it all the way to Northland, but I am glad I was sick there… they took good care of me, just like family. I laid down for 3 hours with them taking turns checking on me. At 1:30, I finally made it home and am feeling physically worse yet my cloudiness is clearing.

I’m thankful I wasn’t able to see the client in the state I am in because I couldn’t have counseled him appropriately. This is like when I had to quit my job in June… I had to earn money, yet when I am sick, that trumps money. Just proves my plans are not His plans… Today reinforced my need to be closer to Northland. It’ll be so good to be a mile away. I just don’t know how I will move next week.

I guess I need to quit dwelling on losing $100 and focus on all the ways God is taking care of me. He will provide.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Checking In

Just in case you’re wondering… I’m hearing a lot from God during this sabbatical… things I don’t want to hear. Things like I need to limit my use of email/internet/Twitter… my preoccupation with communicating with others interferes with my communicating with Him. Also, I have an idol… self-image. (An idol is anything that comes between you and God- can be your family, kids, shopping, career, etc.) I worry so much about people not seeing me as disabled that it stops me from doing God’s will. As for moving, I know it is His will that I move to the place I looked at Saturday, but I still don’t know how it’s going to work financially, meaning the moving deposits. I probably will move next Thursday and Friday… depends on when I can get help. I called Social Security yesterday and they said they show that I am already getting disability payments. When I told him I wasn’t, he said I should know within a month… so I am thinking my file must be ready to start payment and am checking my bank account regularly for deposits. Finally, and this was totally unexpected, I have to stop watching Two and a Half Men and One Tree Hill, along with other shows with sexual overtones. I don’t know where that came from, but that’s what I feel Him telling me… when I ask why, He will likely say “because I said so!” so I won’t even ask, I’ll just obey.

I am finally scheduled to go to the pulmonologist Thursday – this is the appointment I made back in August… well, I have to call them because I am getting sick – earache, sore throat, congested, lethargic… and I don’t know if they can test my breathing when I am sick.

Last thing… still have insomnia… I think it may stop when I move into a different neighborhood. But I took my first Ambien Sunday, and as expected, I called Deanna and have no recollection of doing it. So if I call you and am talking, well, ‘funny’, I may be sleep-talking. Thanks for caring.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not What but Whom

Thanks to Rob, I can blog again!! My laptop has been out for few days but 10 minutes with Rob and the Mac is back!!

One of my friends is an atheist who teases me about going to church. Yesterday, she wanted to get together and I texted her that I was going to church. When she could not convince me to go out, she made a comment about being a heathen. I texted her the following:

If you go (to Northland) with me, I’ll go out with you. She (kidding) asked if she could bring her Zune. Sure. I bring my laptop! It’s a great way to meet people. I have never had so many friends, and it’s because of that church. She asked if she could wear a tight shirt. Yep… you can wear shorts… some people do. Now she got quiet and I sensed she was considering attending one day. These people are just like you… in fact, I am more conservative than a lot of them! They drink, cuss, etc. too. The only difference is they believe in God. She said they sounded like her family, who she does not get along with. That’s when I gave my grand finale’:
No, these people are caring, giving, loving… they’re amazing. It’s because of them I have survived since June without a paycheck. They have covered my bills while I wait on my disability, fixed my laptop, helped me move…

Initially, I felt like I was trying to bring her to church based on what she could get. And you know, I guess I was. I still am amazed at the kindness of my church family, and I still get suspicious, wondering why people are so nice to me. The generosity and unconditional love can only be explained one way… they want to be like Jesus. Otherwise, human nature is not wired to be so selfless. I know if my friend comes to Northland, it will take no time at all for her to see Christians are extra-ordinary. The contrast will be so dramatic, that hopefully, she’ll want to know what makes Christian’s so joyous, peaceful, loving, accepting and forgiving… That’s where Jesus comes in.
I’m not trying to bring her to church for what she can get… it’s Whom she can get that matters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Name is Shelly and I Have A Pride Issue

So I used money found in my washing machine and a lottery ticket to put some gas in my car to meet a close friend for coffee. A homeless woman asked me for a quarter while I was putting in my $4.19 gas purchase. I felt sorry for her, and was thankful I never had to beg. Wait a minute! That is what I am doing now! If I didn’t have my friends, I would be a homeless beggar today!

An hour later, I was asking my friend what more could I do to give back and serve. In retrospect, I guess I was asking ‘how much do I have to do to no longer be seen as a freeloader loser?’ I continued believing this is not about pride… I have mastered the pride lesson. WRONG!

I was reminded that I cannot pay back God’s grace. It is impossible, so no matter how much I give, it will not be enough. But that is what grace is about… God’s gift to us that we are to take, and in return, the gratitude we feel inspires us to give to others without keeping score. How can we keep a tally of how much we give others when God gives us so much? Is this the impetus for ‘unconditional love’?

My friend offered me money for gas – I didn’t want it… I refused… I said I didn’t need it, I’m fine… when the gas in my car would barely get me home. I would rather sit home stranded than admit I needed gas money. Maybe I still have a pride issue.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Faith-Kin

I will try to describe this with words but I know it was a ‘had to be there’ experience. Do you ever get the feeling you totally belong in an environment or setting? I don’t feel that way often, but I did this morning. It was in Bible Study Fellowship where one of the girls told how God told her to do something and she obeyed but her friends and family – even Christian ones- told her she was crazy. She said she’d rather not do what God had told her, but she knew she had to trust and obey Him.

That’s when I felt it… a kinship with her and the other women who shared similar experiences. Things they knew God was telling them yet no one else believed and/or supported them. I totally understood where they were coming from. My current situation, I don’t understand why God is allowing it to go on and on… enough is enough! If I stop and face the reality of my situation, I will go into a panic mode, Crohn’s attack, depression full speed ahead!

But I know Jesus is with me. I just know, without any question, that God is using this for good. I know that He is going to be glorified through this pain and suffering. That is all that matters. That is why I get up each day. That is what I pray for each night, for God to help me stay focused on what truly matters.

As my BSF leader said, God is faithful to overcome our weaknesses as we willingly stay in step with His plan. Focus on who God is and His power instead of the impossibility. Disappointments have to happen for the greater glory of God.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day?


Every since I was a little girl, I have been intrigued by Native American Culture. On this Columbus Day, I am making it a point to learn more about Native Americans. Oh, and for you kiddies out there, Christopher Columbus was not the first to discover America... the indians were already here.

Poem- Trust

Not sure what You’re doing,
Afraid of what may come.
Don’t think that I’ll like it,
Don’t think it’ll be fun.

But I’ve been through doubt before,
I’ve followed you blindly, closely.
Knowing suffering leads to blessings,
I completely trust you… (mostly).

Just don’t let go of me,
Guide me through every turn.
And show me what I need to know,
Let me share the lessons learned.

I know You’re in control.
Nothing I need to fear.
Help me adjust to Your will,
And Lord, please keep me near.
-sw 10/13/08

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Perspective

I am stuck at home with a negative bank account, empty gas tank, and car insurance about to be cancelled. No church for me this weekend. I thought I’d be happy, but I’m not. The fact that I cannot leave makes me want to leave even more…

Isn’t that how life is? We want what we cannot have? We take for granted what we do have? There are so many homeless people who would love to be in my shoes. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Friday, October 10, 2008

History with Humor

I have brilliant friends… I truly do.
Amanda knows everything about current events. For example, Bryn and I were wondering how the cost of gas can vary within the city. I said, “Let’s ask Amanda… she’ll know.” Sure enough, she explained the whole economic fuel system. Bryn is like a walking Google. She knows something about everything. In fact, in the last 3 or 4 years of our friendship, there have only been 2 questions I’ve asked that she did not know the answer; one was about cerebral palsy, the other was what do Hari Kristner’s (sp?) believe. Two questions out of 500 or so isn’t bad!

Yesterday, I had lunch with another genius… my doctorate student friend, Twyla. She’s a physicist who works with cancer research. Way over my head. Now, I know I have 3 graduate degrees myself, but trust me, I am not as smart as people think I am, especially in history.

The other day, I asked a friend if he remembers the Great Depression... a friend who is only a decade or so older than me. I was so embarrassed when he told me the Great Depression was in the late 1920’s, I tried redeeming myself by telling him how bad I am in history. True story – someone recently (teasingly) asked me if I knew who won the Civil War. My sincere response was ‘who was in it!’ The person laughed so hard, I never did find out who won.

Don asked me if I knew where Mount Rushmore is…. Wyoming? He said I was close. I asked who was in Mount Rushmore, to which he told me 4 presidents, ending with Thomas Jefferson. My response? “Isn’t he who invented the light bulb?” Don gently informed me that was Thomas Edison. Jefferson, Edison… sounds the same, maybe I am an auditory learner.

So my lunch with Twyla was a mini-history lesson, as she answered my questions about Israel, Pakistan, foreign policy, Cuba, etc. It was the best lunch I’ve had in a long time as I loved learning that stuff! I guess I am getting old. The days of discussing men, make-up, and shopping … well, that’s all history.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

13 Points from BSF


This is going to be short and concise… I feel the need to list a handful of points I learned from BSF this week, and pray God will speak to you personally through one, two, or all of them:

1. One ‘impossibility’ made reality through God’s power can create a new ‘normal’.
2. Throughout the Bible, it was on ordinary days, that God used ordinary things/people to cause an extraordinary event (i.e. Moses and burning bush).
3. Moses had ordinary days for 40 years in the desert alone until one day, God spoke and Moses obediently replied, “Here I am”.
4. Since God is Holy, we need to approach him in purity by asking Him to show us our sin and cleanse us from it.”
5. God uses impossibilities to get our attention, then meets us there personally.
6. Sometimes, God says, “Go back, start over, and this time… do it with me.”
7. His ways are not our ways.
8. Focus on God’s power – not your failure, reputation or performance.
9. When we are not focused on God’s power, we miss what God is saying, we miss the obvious.
10. He wants to have fellowship with us while he works through us.
11. God’s power comes with our obedience.
12. There is someone waiting on the other side of our obedience.
13. (saved my favorite for last) We either make God Lord of all, or not at all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reins

This next week is going to be interesting… my car insurance is due to be canceled a week from today…

Somehow, I’m not worried. I have been praying about it, asking for God to only provide financial resources, yet He has been granting me other blessings. Michele connected me with someone who I may get to do dolphin research with – a long time dream of mine. I ran into a friend I reconnected with on Facebook after no contact for years. We had been trying to coordinate our schedules for weeks and I ran into her today dropping her kids off at Co-Op (Northland)! Finally, my legs were weakening walking down steps after my Joy of Living class. Of course, I was assuming the worst, that I would have another beach episode when I couldn’t walk… as I am concentrating on one step at a time, I ran into Vernon at the bottom of the stairs. Now, anyone who knows Vernon knows he is rarely ever alone since people seem to be drawn to him. I very rarely get his full attention face to face… Today, I did and I was so happy to see him, I forgot all about my legs weakening until 2 hours later when I was walking fine.

Most of the time, I am reluctant to give full control of my life to God. He has been blessing me beyond belief in ways I could never dream, so I am giving him the reins this week. Watch what He does!
--

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hair You Go

Since I watched the Florida State game on Saturday, I planned to go to church yesterday morning… but as usual, I convinced myself I could watch it online from home. After all, I’ve been ‘giving back’ during the week so I felt it would be okay. Besides, they were doing Communion and I can’t do Communion without causing a scene (shaking in the wine, breaking half the loaf of bread, etc.) . Since I would sit in the Green Room, there was nothing for me to give. I felt Jesus tell me that ‘giving’ isn’t a one time, to-do list event… we are to give whenever we can to whoever we can. So I was arguing with God all the way to church… telling Him I could’ve worshiped at home and I was ONLY going because I felt the Spirit prompting me.

After discussions about animal abuse, I literally said to two different people, “I am trying to figure out why God has me here…” The Worship Team went out while I sat in front of the monitor with my laptop. The ‘Drama Team’ couple was preparing for their skit when she asked, “Shelly, you don’t have a hair tie, do you? I need to pull my hair back so my microphone can go in my hair…”

I was so excited! “Yes! I do! Here!!!” I knew why God had me come!!! I DID have something to give! It felt so good to give… I was truly blessed.

This morning, I told Michele this story, then our discussion changed to how I don’t want my friends to help anymore… they have given me so much, paying my bills since June… Now my car insurance is about to be canceled for non-payment, and my car payment is 2 months behind. (Secretly, I am okay with this because that means I won’t be able to drive without insurance… therefore, I will have an excuse not to leave my house! I want to keep my car though.) The discussion led into me not wanting to ask for help with Communion because, well, I am always needing help! Michele told me it would help other people know when to help me because she never knows when to help for fear she will offend me.

Something clicked in my brain… just as I was so happy Alice asked me for a hair tie, because it was my pleasure to help her… Michele described feeling that way with me… wanting to help, but needs to know how.

Isn’t God AWESOME??

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Disability Related info on FriendFeed

Since my disability related bookmarks have exceeded infinity, I started a Friendfeed room to post them. Feel free to join and post, comment, or lurk!

80 Years Old!

Do you realize Moses was 80 years old when the Lord called him to do the work He had for him? He spent 40 years shepherding in a dessert after fleeing Egypt. My BSF homework points out that 40 years alone in the dessert was required for God to prepare Moses for his calling. (BSF has all these legal restrictions on their publications so I am afraid to even quote from the study). The homework is so timely as it asks if the reader has recently lost his/her job due to an inability to work, and how it is a gift from God to use that time to get closer to Him in preparation for the next season in life. It goes on to say Paul spent 3 years after his conversion learning about God before starting useful activity.

What a wonderful reminder that even when we feel like we are not being productive, God is always working behind the scenes, preparing us for our next assignment. Use times of perceived stagnation to study Scripture, spending quality time with Jesus.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bump Buffer

I had quite an emotional day yesterday! Here are some highlights:

Someone I highly esteem told me she was proud of me. (elated!)
Figured out I don’t have enough money to pay my overdue car payment and car insurance. (worry)
Heart-wrenching phone call from a relative. (sad, deeply hurt)
Email from small group leader asking how much my car insurance is, stating maybe the group can help me pay it so I can keep attending “Joy of Living”. (humbled)
Indication I was most likely approved for Disability, but could take 90 –120 days to get first check (thankful, yet concerned).
Accidently sent a mass email, which had personal information. (embarrassed).
Sent 5 query letters to publishers (content).
Within 90 minutes, received email response from publishing professional wanting to see more of my work so she can forward the material to publishers she knows (disbelief and excitement!)
Friend learned she does not have cancer (praise!).
Another friend informed me she may have had her license suspended because she did not pay her car insurance (sadness, worry about my license!)
Email from same publishing professional asking if I had an artist for my stories (surprised!)
Emailed professional more of my stories (hopeful).
Got to sleep without taking Xanax (successful).

You get the idea… As I studied Scripture this morning, it struck me how Jesus frequently told people to simply believe, and how prophecy will be fulfilled. Just like the disciples, Jesus has given us His Word… He has told us what will happen. The world will take us on emotional roller coasters but by believing God’s Word, we can resist being shaken and tossed around. Life is a bumpy adventure… let God’s Word buffer the bumps.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Can't Lose Faith


“Oh, no! What are you going to do?” was the reaction of one of two friends who heard my latest setback. She started listing ‘what if’s’ including the worst case scenarios. The other friend, who knows details of my situation, kept quiet. She didn’t know what to say. She walked me back to the Worship Wing (to prevent repeating last week’s incident) and listened as I told her I felt like I was ruining my testimony, including the following:

*I am not working – which the Bible says if man does not work, he shall not eat.
*I am ‘sponging’ off of others, not taking case of myself.
*I keep taking, taking from others instead of giving, which is what Christianity is about.

My friend challenged me with some very good points, which I want to share because they are all related to my ultimate goal of glorifying God. According to this friend:

*I have survived more than 3 months without a job not because of anything I have done, rather because I belong to Jesus and he is taking care of me.
*(She said) the fact that I get up every day and write how God is working in my life demonstrates God’s provision.
*My situation is showing the importance of being part of a church family… My church family (aka other Christians) are the vessels in which God uses to keep me afloat.

So today is another day, facing another month of bills. Praise God, He has covered my COBRA, cell phone, food and rent for October! Now I am going to start selling books on Amazon.com, maybe even Ebay, and will be selling homemade Christmas cards (keep this in mind…). I believe I know what my next step needs to be, which is submit my writing and stop procrastinating… I will submit to 3 publishers today. When I am tempted to ‘put it off’, I will look at 3 things: a notice that my car insurance is being cancelled if I don’t sent payment immediately, a note from a friend saying she needs me, and a handwritten piece of paper which simply says, “We love you, Shelly”. Those things, along with the Power of Christ, keeps me going.

Email Responses:
This is encouraging, Shelly. So thankful for the way God provides for you and blesses your life. I know it isn't an easy one, but He uses it for His glory and purposes. I'll be praying for positive results with those writings you submit - really glad you're doing that!

I feel so bad that you are going thru such a mess still – seems so long & by now you should be all settled with that crap –

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trying Times


My circumstances have taken a turn for the worst… worse than they were 3 months ago. I am trying so hard to keep my faith, to keep remembering the multiple times God has rescued me when things appeared hopeless. I am trying to fulfill the promise I made to never doubt Him again. I am trying to follow His will, to do the right thing. I am back to living one hour at a time… just make it one more hour, then you can go back to bed, hide under the blankets, and cry yourself to sleep.

I have nothing left to fight with. I am spent. Yesterday, I didn’t go to my committed appointments except for one, which I tried to get out of but couldn’t. Twyla has long days on Wednesdays as she goes to Gainesville for class, so I go hang out with her dog, Dani. I had taken a few Xanax and was feeling loopy after a heated, emotional morning and knew deep down, I shouldn’t get behind the wheel. But then I thought I can’t let Twyla down, I do love spending time with Dani, and if I wreck and hit a tree, oh well. (Don’t lecture me, I know this wasn’t good judgment, as I was under the influence of Xanax.)

So I went and Twyla had left me a card saying she knows I feel like I take more than I give, but that isn’t true… I do give and people need me. I needed to read that. Then I received an email, asking me to come back to Bible study because I am missed and people need me… Reinforcement. Then, as I typed this, I received another email saying I am needed.

But how can someone who has nothing to give be needed? This verse was part of my quiet time this morning:
Luke 22:35 Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered.


I need to process this today. Maybe I am left with only my Spiritual resources because I am to stop focusing on everything outside of my Spiritual resources.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bill Maher on The View


Saw this segment where Bill Maher was on The View yesterday. It was disturbing, to say the least. He suggested the co-host should call the mental hospital after she said God talks to her.
(BTW- Here is Part One)
Very sad, very scary.

I am so thankful that God does speak to me, regularly. God is very real to me, which goes along with yesterday's post... I wouldn't exchange my relationship with Jesus for anything in the world.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Priceless


This is from an email I sent yesterday:
Why is it so hard to just TRUST God?

I drove to Winter Park to pick up medication... Drove down Park Avenue with all the Mercedes' and BMW's, women with shopping bags, etc. and I started getting bitter... Why does money have to be such an issue for me? How do people support entire family's on one income? I worked so hard in school, for what?

Just then, the Third Day song came on "Nothing Compares to You"... It's true... as crappy as my life may appear right now, I would not trade my relationship with Jesus for all the money in the world. Even if someone said, "You can keep your security of salvation and going to heaven, but not your personal relationship with Jesus, in exchange for the perfect husband, unlimited financial resources, and great health, not even depression...." I would not do it.
My relationship with Him is priceless.
Still, this is hard to keep going through.

Monday, September 29, 2008

By Standing Firm

Every morning, I read Scripture until some passage stands out and I think about it all day. The past three days, I’ve been stuck on Luke 21:12-19. So much is conveyed through these verses:

12 But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By standing firm you will gain life.


See what I mean? Jesus warns us that following Him will not be easy, yet with Him at our side, we can stand firm and persevere until the end. I wasn’t thinking of this passage when I sent the following email last night:
Have a tough meeting tomorrow. Please pray for the Spirit to give me words to say…Thanks.

Now I look at verses 14, 15… and am encouraged and comforted knowing He will give me the words and wisdom needed to defend myself. Reading this prophesy makes all I have been through look like child’s play… haven’t worked since June 12 yet all my bills are paid!!! God is so good. Yesterday, I looked at the calendar and realized another month is ending, and bills will be due again. I got a bit panicky, thinking ‘what if ...? What if ....? What if….?” Then I felt so ashamed that after all this time, I still fret over how I will survive… God has shown me so many times if I practice active faith (meaning I do what I can to work along side of Him), He takes care of everything… no matter what happens, By standing firm, you will gain life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Poem- Ongoing Prayer


Ongoing Prayer
Please keep me from pride-
Lord, don’t let me fall.
In all my achievements, I know you do it all.

Please keep me from envy,
Lord, quench those desires.
Make me want only You, burn my heart with your fire.

Please keep me from doubt,
Lord, give me faith like a youth.
When tempted by lies, assure me I have Your Truth.

Please keep me from loneliness,
Lord, wrap me in grace.
To fill all emptiness within, let me see Your face.
sjweiss 9-28-08

Here's a few more poems I have written...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Scary Moment

Had another scary experience yesterday…
Woke up having pressure in my chest again… called doctor, blah blah blah, she wants me (still) to go back to the cardiologist that I went to last year who I still owe $500 for telling me after 2 days of excruciating tests, “you’re fine”. I will go to the pulmonologist doc is recommending, but not the cardiologist.

So I wasn’t feeling ‘right’ at all, still I drove to Northland in the afternoon. I was having trouble breathing and Northland’s lobby is H-U-G-E! When I couldn’t get back in the Worship wing (where I was suppose to make copies), I asked the security guard to let me back, but for whatever reason, he wouldn’t. So I tried to go through the sanctuary… locked. Tried to get Steve from the bookstore… he was busy. So I walked all the way to the Welcome Center, feeling like I just ran 5 miles, where Lori asked what was wrong… “Nothing, just trouble breathing… will you call Susan and tell her I can’t get back to the Worship Wing?”, which she did. I hurried back to the door, not wanting her to leave, and now I feel like I am going to pass out. She couldn’t open the door either and asked me to get the same security guard I had dealt with earlier. Even when I explained that he wouldn’t let me in, she (not knowing what had happened) told me to get him. When I did, he wasn’t happy, said some things and would not let me back.

I lost it. This is why I should not go out when I don’t feel good. I started yelling at him across the church lobby, am sure the whole entire building heard me, and with my speech, I know everyone knew it was ME! Now I am embarrassed, then I didn’t care, I just wanted to breathe. Finally, Susan (who doesn’t know me that well) got the door opened and I apologized for causing a scene, explaining I don’t feel good.

When it was time for me to go home, I sat in my car for awhile, called Bryn, and told her I wouldn’t be going to Bible study because I didn’t feel good. She suggested I get someone from Northland to drive me home, but I promised I would pull over if I felt like I was going to pass out. I made it home, but became disoriented twice – did not know where I was…. Very scary.

I don’t know what is happening. I’m afraid I’ll end up having a black out or heart attack somewhere. There is something wrong. I tried to watch Grey’s Anatomy but could not process the words! Was so weird! I had to turn on the closed captioning to read what they were saying since I had trouble with auditory processing.
Maybe I should attach a GPS tracking system to my ankle so people can track me… I would make for a very interesting thesis project!

-

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Socializing


Beth Moore is talking about there are some things we all go through that no one but God completely understands. She states that even if we are in a group of people who have experienced the same devastation as us, there are still so many variants, including age of occurrence, genetics, family systems, etc. She referenced Proverbs 14:10 - Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

Still, sometimes we need someone to understand, to affirm and validate what we are going through.

Yesterday, I received several emails in response to my blog entry, “Just Go”. They were intended to encourage me, and had nothing but the best intentions… still, I felt like no one understood how hard it can be for me to socialize. Yes, I went into a self-pity mode, feeling like all the hard work I have been doing (to NOT isolate) has been taken for granted because I don’t share the struggle like I use to, but it is still there, everyday.

I called my brother, knowing he has seen me at my worst and wanted him to tell me he understands (since he is an introvert too). The discussion took on a different turn as he told me about all the (song) writers he knew who isolated. He said he has seen them before they became full-time writers, when they were out at parties and social events as part of their job, but now that they are writers, he never sees them. Isolating is part of the artistic/creative process… I needed to hear that.

Today I cancelled my social events except for taking Twyla’s dog, Dani, out. That won’t be bad because Dani makes me laugh and listens to my thoughts without ridiculing me. Just knowing I don’t have any social obligations feels like a load off my chest… I know that concept maybe difficult to understand, but that’s okay.

Found the following commentary from PBMinistries.org:

Proverbs 14:10 “The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” American Indians had a proverb: “Do not criticize another’s walk until you have walked two miles in his moccasins.” No one can appreciate nor understand one suffering like the individual himself, (1 Cor. 2:11; Gal. 6:5). “We must not censure the griefs of others, for we know not what they feel; their stroke perhaps is heavier than their groaning,” [M. Henry]. Both the bitterness and the joy is most felt by one’s own innermost being; though we may try, we can never really, fully explain either one to others.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Give Me a Break!


CAUTION: this may not be the best entry to challenge me on... Especially today.
------------------------
After participating in BSF and processing what I learned, I am back in my jammies.

This entry is going to bother some and comfort others (hopefully), yet either way, my intent is it will enlighten all who read it.

The entry I wrote this morning bothers me so much that if someone else had written it, I would be confronting them right now. Denial can be hazardous to our health. While I will not fall into a ‘victim mentality’, let’s look at some facts:

- My doctor has said I am too disabled to work and will worsen with age… she was referring to the clinical depression first and foremost, then the cerebral palsy.
- My nature is introvert… that is how I am wired.
- I’ve ‘grown up a loner’. I have never had as many close friends as I do now.
- I tire easier, have increased difficulty breathing, have more problems with proprioception, in addition to depression.

No wonder it is such a struggle for me to leave the house! I need to give myself a break because by denying effects of depression, I am not sharing lessons about my life, which is my main goal now. I have friends with clinical depression and we frequently agree the worst thing about depression is people do not realize it never goes away. Just because I was fine last week, that doesn’t mean my symptoms are gone. Brain chemistry changes.

So the thing I learned at BSF is to stop trying to be someone I am not. God has arranged everything in my life for me to stay home and write… and I have not dedicated myself to that. I am going to stay committed to the studies I am currently in, as well as serving Northland, but no more. I need to give myself a break, stop denying where I am in my life, and use my experiences to glorify God… starting with this entry.

Email Response:
No challenge here - I think you are becoming wiser!

JUST GO!

I need balance. There has to be a median between socializing, serving, and isolating. Why am I polarized in one area when I find the right place on the others? As I type this, I should be ready to head to BSF… I haven’t even dressed. I wrote some correspondences, had time with Jesus, and read some scripture, but now I have to stop to be social. Granted, I get a lot from the lecture, just the other hour and a half is not exactly stimulating. But it is not about me. I need to stop debating and go… just go. Okay, maybe I will get dressed first.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Blessings from Less Pride


I went back to the beach yesterday. This time, Amanda went with me and it was much more relaxing. I didn’t worry about walking in the sand, or having trouble standing up since she was there to help me. I’ve always preferred to go to the beach by myself so I could ‘be introspective and introverted’ – the ocean still fascinates me, how there is a whole ‘nother world out there... dolphins galore, and sandpipers are my favorite birds: so determined, focused, not to mention cute!

Even with Amanda there, I was able to be introspective and introverted. Again, I was relaxed and didn’t feel like I had to run my words through a filter, draining my energy. I told her about my working 5 years at the Osceola County Courthouse, my complete lack of history knowledge (to which she added geography when I thought the straight trip from Cocoa Beach would lead to Africa), and other things she was surprised to learn. It was a wonderful day.

Which leads me back to cerebral palsy (work with me here). If it wasn’t for my difficulty walking/standing on sand, I would continue to stubbornly go to the beach alone. My increased limitations are becoming blessings as they cause me to reach out to others, something my pride would prevent me from doing otherwise.

One last example… Saturday evening it was raining so hard I took off my pumps and wore flip flops (which are hard to walk in) to church (not planning to stay). I ended up staying for a few hours, until I was physically tired from a long day. Since I was sitting with Elaine, I asked if I could hold her arm as we walked out of the sanctuary, to which she was glad to help. It’s getting easier, asking for help… I notice more and more, I don’t care what people think when they see someone help me up steps or link someone’s arm. It’s nice not to be stubborn and refuse to leave my home for fear I may fall… and it’s nice having friend’s to help me… but I am still an introvert, just maybe not so independent!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pastor Joel Hunter and Northland Church


For those of you who have asked, NCD is the church I attend … Northland, A Church Distributed. I have been attending since 1997 and the church has grown significantly since then. Change is hard, especially when it comes to something as personal as faith. As with most areas of my life, I am not always the most committed person when the going gets tough, but I am working on that downfall. More specifically, for the past few years, my primary opinion of Northland is I love it. I love the people, the music, the teaching, the atmosphere, and the Spiritual feeding by Pastor Joel Hunter (which I will come back to in a moment).

But every now and then, for personal reasons, I find some fault with Northland, and consider attending elsewhere. (Most of this is due to personal defense issues, thus no fault of the church.) My reasons tend to be the conflict I have in growing up in an extremely conservative Baptist church versus the contemporary format of Northland. To put it simply, Northland is (among other things) entertaining. The Worship Team honestly sounds better than most groups on the radio and is accompanied by a full band – drums, guitars, sometimes saxophones, pianos, organs, fiddles, you name it. Every now and then, they will add another component, such as praise dancing, videos, skits, etc..

Let me get to my point. Last night, Pastor Hunter (who is widely known and sought after, including saying the prayer for Obama at the DNC and being in the media daily because of his world-wide influence) held a Town Meeting/Forum where he allowed the congregation to express their concerns and ask questions. To be honest, I was anxious myself, not knowing what to expect after some of the negative publicity he has received from the end of his prayer, which can be viewed here.

To say I was impressed is an understatement. By being open and vulnerable to whatever was asked, Pastor Hunter’s faith was undeniable. Instead of going into specifics, I will summarize his answers as such: There is no doubt in my mind that Pastor Hunter’s primary goal is to be like Jesus. He is a dedicated man of prayer, praying for every decision he makes, and seeking counsel from elders. His intent is to spread the Gospel wherever he can, to whomever he can, which brings me to my point.

I forget exactly how he said it, but there is a difference between standing on moral issues no matter what versus spreading the Gospel on an individual’s level. That stuck with me. We can be so caught up in trying to convince others to believe as we believe, that we miss the chance to let Jesus work through us.

When I accepted Jesus as Lord of my life in 8th grade, I only did it to avoid going to hell. I knew nothing about having a personal relationship with Jesus, the need for community, serving others, none of that stuff. I just wanted to secure my spot in heaven. Frankly, if you would have told me all that it would take to follow Christ, such as forgiving, loving, and denying myself to serve others, I may have had second thoughts (not knowing what I know now). After last night’s forum, I understand how Northland meets people where they are, just as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and just as Jesus did and still does.

None of us are worthy to receive the grace God gives us… whether you are an Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Muslim, Democrat or Republican, Jesus loves you so much that he died for you. We are all build in the image of God and I believe Pastor Hunter sees this above all other labels. I am honored – yet humbled- to be part of Pastor Hunter’s church... Northland, a Church Distributed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Need For Alarm

Smoke alarms terrify me! Maybe it’s because I am easily startled by loud noises, or maybe it’s because I am afraid I won’t escape if there is a fire. Whatever it is, I hate smoke alarms. The entire year living in a college dorm allowed me very little peaceful sleep since drunken residents would pull the alarms at 2am. Even though I knew there was no fire, it was traumatic!

My smoke alarm just went off… scared the crap out of me. I was in the kitchen and the alarm was in the hallway. I imagined facing a raging fire on the other side of the wall! Luckily, it was only the smoke from incense I had lit. Still, I am sitting her a half hour later in a state of anxiety, expecting some loud noise to go off. And poor Zoey, I have no idea where she is hiding.

The funny thing about this is the timing… I remember as a kid, I would be on panic mode whenever my parents would leave for fear something would happen. Who would save me? Even a few years ago, I called Rob from Tallahassee, panicking being so far from Northland, telling him “what if I get sick? There’s no one here I can call!” Rob assured me that our congregation is so big, no matter where I am in the world, someone will know a contact person to rescue me.

Now I have ‘my Spiritual brother’ and his wife listed as my emergency contacts. I mean, if I ended up in jail, I need to know who to use that one phone call for! He is out of the country on a mission trip, but before he left, I told him I needed to find a back up. He said I can use his wife as a back up because she is a strong woman and ‘knows how to bail people out of jail’. HA! I thought of that while the alarm was blaring. No matter what I found on the other side of the wall, I knew I could call her. That fact helped prepare me to face the unknown.

Yes, God is all the protection we need… but once again, He puts us in relationships to help comfort one another in good times and bad. As Billy Graham once said, “Churchgoers are like coals in a fire. When they cling together, they keep the flame aglow; when they separate, they die out.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

Joy of Living, Not Dying

Wednesday mornings I am in a “Joy of Living” class where we are studying the book of Job. Although I have only been to one class, it isn’t as hard as going to BSF since it is located at my church. At least I know people in the foyer, and my legs weren’t hurting quite as bad so I planned to go to the class… then I finished up the homework assignment, which happened to be on depression and wanting to die. Oh, I don’t want to go to this – I don’t know these people and this topic is too close for comfort. On top of this, it was Seminole’s birthday, which had me in a somber mood. I decided not to go to class, but go on to church because 80% of my friends work there. I wanted to see them.

Well, Lori and Angelia ended up talking me into going to the class.., which was not an easy task, let me assure you! I was 20 minutes late (it took 30 minutes for them to convince me to go), and apologized for my tardiness. The women graciously said they were glad I made it.

So women are answering questions and I found myself becoming increasingly engaged in the discussion. Then the question came… “Have you ever asked God to let you die out of despair and hopelessness?” I felt the prompting of the Spirit and knew I had to speak. (I am getting to the point where I don’t even bother trying to rationalize with the Spirit’s prompting… He always wins.)

In a group of women who didn’t know me from Adam, er Eve, I told how I use to live for my cat, Seminole, and when he died, I wanted to die… and I shared how my church had a memorial service for my cat where my friends gathered to talk about Seminole (very true!) and today was Seminole’s birthday. The women were warmly listening… So I continued by disclosing how I had told God he didn’t understand the pain I was feeling, I had to PAY to kill my cat… at that moment, God reminded me I do know what you are feeling. I sent my only Son to die for you. Look at what I had to pay…

The women were crying as I concluded my story; “So whenever we do Communion, I remember the pain I felt when Seminole died, and how God willingly endured something much more painful when he sent His Son to die for me.”

It was silent for maybe 10 seconds until someone said, “That’s it! We can go home now.” (meaning there was nothing else needed to be said). A few of the ladies thanked me in the hall, saying they will never forget my story. Truly, sharing that story helped me more than anyone else… I want nothing more than to glorify Jesus with my life, and being able to share my love for Seminole in the process makes it all the better.

Email Replies:
I remember when you told me the story and how it touched me just like it did those ladies…you are such a good loving mother – you suffered the loss of a child.


You should tell those chicks about your blog - they would be impressed..... and blessed..... I am......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Memory of Seminole...


This is the day I celebrate Seminole's birthday... to some, he was 'just a cat'... but to me, he was my reason to get out of bed every day. Please visit his memorial.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Coincidence or Affirmation?


Picture this:
I can barely walk because my upper legs are sore from crawling out of the ocean Sunday. I have fever blisters from the sun (and can barely talk). I’ve had daily headaches regularly, on top of trouble breathing, not to mention hating to leave the house anyway… so I force myself to go to BSF this morning because I know God has me there to glorify Him through my disabilities (which seem to be accumulating).

I walk the long trek to the sanctuary and am breathing hard… the lady says, “Wow! You look tired. Long day?” (It was 9am.) So I am praying, “God, please don’t let me fall… please…hold me up… whatever happens, don’t let me fall.” I get to the small group, where people are still leery of me… and I raise my hand to answer a question… “What attribute of Moses do you most need in your life?” I answered, “Prayerfulness, because I am so confident that God is in control and taking care of me, that I fail to pray and communicate with Him. I just know He has my back…”

Of course, the whole room was impressed, and relieved, that I am on the same planet as they are. At this point, I am feeling prideful, thinking, “see? You all thought I was a stupid freak! Think again…” Well, God in his humor, took care of that pride as I squeezed my water bottle and water went everywhere… on people, on ink pages (now smudged), all over my pants… it was like a gallon of water! Someone went to get a stack of paper towels as the group went on. The rest of the class, I kept laughing, thinking of the girl next to me jumping as she felt cold water showering her. They must’ve thought I was laughing at the voices in my head.

So we walk back to the sanctuary, me in wet pants, hunched over in pain, feeling like Job. I told God I am glad he has ways to remind me it is not about me, it’s about Him working through me, but did he have to use water? I focused on the lecture, (which is my favorite part of BSF, I like the BS…) which was summarized accordingly… call it coincidence, I call it affirmation:

“If you have been praying for years for God to remove an affliction from your life and He hasn’t, perhaps He is wanting to work through your affliction. Stop asking him to remove it and allow Him to show Himself through it.”

Okay. I get it… I grabbed my crushed water bottle, rolled out of the chair, and walked hunched over to my car.

Email Response:
I thought you painted the picture wonderfully….I could see it all unfolding right in front of me. That’s what good writers do. They put you right in the scene.

Now for the stuff that went on all around you. Yes, it sounds like some of it was coincidence…some caused by a lack of coordination…perhaps some you helped bring on yourself. That’s okay. Most people with bad headaches, blisters, aching body, breathing problems….would stay at home and heal up. You decided to go out and take on the world. Some days we have victory. Some days we flounder. It’s all about our response to what goes on around us when it hits the fan….that is what is so crucial. That you could laugh about the water…that’s a much better response than crying or freaking out.

Every day we have here on planet earth is gift from Him. It is up to each of us to decide what we do with the time that we have. And it is such a short time in light of eternity. When it’s over, and we’re in heaven, outside of time, with new pain-free bodies, new attitudes, …and everything wonderful, it won’t matter how we screwed up down here. The only thing that will matter is we made a decision to accept God’s free gift of salvation because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Once we made that decision, every other decision since then has paled. Though, living in victory definitely is much sweeter than at the whim of the world.

Shelly, don’t let the world beat you up….and give you a Shellacking! And do not operate by victim mentality. That feeds into your CP. And when in doubt, go back to the “play book” for encouragement and hope and strength. You already have a much closer relationship with Moses and Job than most. One day God will have you handling the introductions.