2018 – Three Words to Live By, an update

Last December as I usually do I reflect on the past year and prepare to become better, if possible, in mind, body and spirit: 2018 – Three Words to Live By. This year I decided to review my yearly plan much like businesses do to stay on track to meet the goals and objectives for the new year.

My approach for 2018 or mission statement is to live by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

At this stage in the game of life I decided I had no time to waste, no money to waste, and in reality; no creative cells to waste. In whatever time God has for me to fulfill the purpose he has given me. Earlier this year I adopted a mantra, I only want what God wants for me.”

No time to waste

My husband, Vinny Sal and I decided to list our cottage in northern Michigan for sale on April 9th. We would take advantage of the seller’s market and decide where, when, and how to invest the proceeds. Invest in upgrades for our primary home, invest in a future retirement home, or bank it until later. We had no idea what development was coming our way only 3 days later.

“I only want what God wants for me.”

This mantra is what got me through yet another employer announcing their dissolution of the company in April of this year… 3 days after my birthday… On Friday, April 13th, the company made the news public.

My response was 180 degrees different when the same thing occurred in 2009. I was calm, cool and collected.  I knew that God was working on my behalf for a better opportunity than the one I just lost. That was my attitude. The evening of the company’s announcement, I updated my resume and immediately began my search.

Within days I had several interviews lined up. On April 25th, I was invited to interview for a position outside of the industry I was in which was my prayer at the time. I was “frugal” in my thinking… no climbing ladders… no compensation package that met certain personal requirements… no, it was simply, “God, place me where you want me.”

“God, place me where you want me.”

On May 29th, I started a new position earning less money but with advancement opportunities if I wanted to take advantage of them. Although earning less income for the time being, I am still able to continue having all my monthly obligations on auto-pay which I had setup in January.

While no company is above dissolving due to wide ranging economic factors or board of director’s view of “going in another direction,” I will joyfully serve where God has placed me for however long that may be.

No time to spend

I came across the blog, Frugalwoods and an article written by Mrs. Frugalwoods, 19 Reasons Why Frugality Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods spoke to my mind, body and spirit in her blog post of May 17, 2018. Since the beginning of the year, my attempt at frugality has taught me that Mrs. Frugalwoods was spot on in her blog post. Although I admit I am still working on her number 14 reason. I have Mrs. Frugalwoods 19 Reasons posted in my office and saved on my iPhone when I have that urge to splurge.

Grace

In my initial post on December 17th, 2018 – Three Words to Live By, I didn’t realize then how the quotes, my personal initiative, “The Watering Can – Helping All of God’s Creature’s Thrive” would become central to the first six months of 2018.

As I quoted then, and it bears repeating for many reasons:

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment,‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

I was happy to help a few of co-workers rewrite their resumes. I used to write resumes as a side-line gig after I lost my job in 2009. My small way of helping my co-workers potentially find their new career has blessed me as much as those who, like me have found employment quickly. I’m not suggesting my resume writing made the difference, but it is a confidence booster nonetheless when anyone can present their value and what they can offer to an organization without hesitation.

In March, our beloved Barkley blew out a disc in his back and required surgery. Frugality helped us being able to afford over $6,500 in medical costs so our fur-baby would not be paralyzed for life. He will never be a 100% in his walking or running abilities, but we are overjoyed that we still have our faithful companion. Sadly, many pet owners would have faced the tough decision of raising the money through other means or having to put their pet down because of the medical costs.

Truth

If there is one thing I am certain living my truth in mind, body and spirit has been the biggest blessing. I could not have reached this point in my life without faith through Christ because he gives me the confidence to live my truth each day.

A recent post on my Facebook page, The Prayer Journals, I posted: “Don’t worry about expressing your faith. Those who God wants to listen will hear. You may be someone’s angel.” There have been angels here on earth that I know God sent to help me to listen to him. And there are probably more angels that I didn’t even recognize helped me to feel God’s presence in my life.

Mind

Writing is my passion and I hope in some ways it is a gift. I have three blogs. The Blogging Owl, The Prayer Journals, and The Owl Poet. And I have convinced my husband, Vinny Sal to collaborate with me on another one which I think we will have fun doing together, The Corked Owl. We hope to be posting soon on wine, spirits, food and fun.

Reading, writing and poetry. It’s what keeps me sane… or going insane.

Body

I continue to struggle with my health and weight. Early this year, I went through a battery of tests and MRIs. There was a serious prognosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis, gratefully, that would not be the case. Autoimmune diseases are tricky and mine, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can present itself in different and devastating ways. But I stay positive in prayer and with practice.

Spirit

Six months into 2018, Vinny Sal and I have not found our faith community with regards to finding a church we are eager to attend each week. I’ll be honest. We’ve been lazy. This is the most critical part of my 2018 mission plan and I am failing. God has been good… and patient… and I pray He directs us to where he wants us to attend and to serve.

My spiritual journey continues in my prayer journal in writing my spiritual memoir.

Spirit of Faith

In the remaining year

I succeeded and failed in the first half of 2018. Looking forward to living more successfully in these three words: Frugality, Grace and Truth.

Cheers!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Where truth leads

For believers, God has the power to be everywhere and to do anything.

For non-believers, the question remains.

Where was God in all this victimization?

Each week seems to bring new accusations of sexual molestation, sexual harassment and sexual assault as more victims find their voice as evident now in the public revelation of Kevin Spacey’s alleged long standing behavior. Palms slapping foreheads. Fingers plugging ears. Eyes looking elsewhere. Mouths speaking words of disbelief to condemn both the accused and their victims.

But first ask, where were all the bystanders?

Spouse, parent, employer, coworker, colleague, or witness on the street, where were you? I’ll tell you where you were – dependent upon your own needs, your investment, your paycheck, and your unwillingness to get involved. It’s the ugliest of human betrayal.

Say you didn’t know. Say you didn’t believe. Say what you want.

Say whatever helps you sleep at night. You, bystanders who now crawl from underneath your rationalization, are not brave. You are not courageous. You are complicit. The only ones who are innocent are the ones who were being abused too.

“But let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

See if you can sleep after reading these statistics

Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics
Victims and Perpetrators Research
Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Victims

God’s ways are beyond human understanding

I’ll be honest. I struggled with that same question as unbelievers. Where was God in all my sexual abuse circumstances?

The struggle became even more apparent after losing a coveted career in 2009 due to the raping of the United States economy and American families. Bitterness moved in with shame and anxiety. All three capsizing me. On the edge of drowning, I faced what my memory did not want me to see.

“My soul is weak from waiting for you to save me. My hope is based on your word. My eyes have become strained from looking for your promise. I ask, “When will you comfort me?” ” Psalm 119:81-82

God was there

God sent angels, who unknowing of my internal struggles, helped me to see God’s light, hear God’s Word, and feel God’s love. Comforted, I accept who and where I am. God was  there and He is here now.

“He rescues suffering people through their suffering and opens their ears through distress.” Job 36:15

And what I have learned since is this… I will put my hope in God each, and every time over bystanders. I can’t make unbelievers believe, but I have heard God’s call. My struggles have equipped me to help bystanders do the right thing… to stand up and speak out against abuse of any kind to anyone or animal.

Truth

Peace,

The Blogging Owl

 

I am a Christian – An Essay

My Identity

My identity is in Jesus Christ and not in any earthly religious denomination. I grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod with brief periods in other Christian denominations. Recently, I seriously considered other Christian denominations and non-denominational churches, but I chose to transfer to another LCMS community church dedicated to local outreach missions. Churches are not perfect because they have members like me who are not perfect. Christ and His church is the center of my life but the circle around my heart which is in Him is a jagged path.

Matthew 3:2-4  GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
2 “Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3 Isaiah the prophet spoke about this man when he said,
“A voice cries out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord!
Make his paths straight!’”

I believe

I believe in order to make the jagged path straight, I must also follow the greatest commandments:

Matthew 22:35-39 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
35 One of them, an expert in Moses’ Teachings, tested Jesus by asking,36 “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in Moses’ Teachings?”
37 Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’

Sharing my faith

My jagged path believes in acceptance of all my brothers and sisters who may look, speak, love, and yes, even worship differently than I do.

For example

I am pro-choice. Many of my fellow Christian believers would refute my membership in the Christian faith with this confession.

They may even cry out further when I confess that I believe we all want to be loved and some find love with a person who is identical to them. Is it really love or something conflicted because it doesn’t fit into what is “normal?”

God made me a Caucasian while he created others in beautiful hues. If anything I feel cheated to be dressed in a white pasty skin and straight ashy hair. But we did not create our physical, physiological selves, God created us.

While we have the choice to whom and how we worship, how can I connect with others my joy in Christ who are different than me, and yet we are the same – sinners if there are laws and walls that keep us separated from understanding one another?

Don’t misunderstand. I am an advocate for life.

How can I share with a young mother who is contemplating abortion there is an alternative like adoption if I don’t help her obtain the necessary medical attention and education? How can I share with her my story of how I wouldn’t be married to the love of my life or have two beautiful sons had my husband’s biological mother sought out a back alley abortionist rather than his biological dad abandoning him and his siblings at a Catholic orphanage? Were abandonment and an orphanage ideal? Hell no! But he and his siblings were given a better choice of life over death. How can I share with her this story if there are a judgment and barriers to choice?

Acceptance starts with me.

How can I honestly love my neighbor who may look, love, and worship differently than I do if I do not love myself?

I have been molested, I am have been sexually assaulted, I have been rejected for one reason or another, time and time again, I have been lonely, I have been sad, I have been sick, I have made good decisions, I have made bad decisions, and through all that I AM LOVED by Jesus Christ and accepted just as I am. A sinner. A sinner with a jagged circle around my heart whose center is Jesus Christ, trying my best to make my path straight and the jagged circle smooth to enter the narrow gate.

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate because the gate and the road that lead to destruction are wide. Many enter through the wide gate. But the narrow gate and the road that leads to life are full of trouble. Only a few people find the narrow gate.”

How can stories be shared? It starts with a choice. It starts with acceptance. It starts with me.

I am a Christian.