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.