Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Sweetheart

Hey girls….want to hear a secret? Of course you do, we LOVE secrets! Well, here it is…. I have found the absolute PERFECT guy! Oh I know you think yours is the best, and I hate to break the news to you this way, but…. I found him!
To appease your ever growing curiosity, let me tell you about him, because he is pretty much amazing!
This man is the epitome of a gentleman. Always asking how he can help other people. Always gracious – asking what he can do to make things easier for other people. He is protective and caring. He checks up on me and asks how I am doing and feeling. When times are tough, he is quick to reassure me of his love for me. Did I mention he is absolutely adorable? Oh, and he prays for me, every night. His sense of humor – unbelievable! His taste in music – impeccable! His principles and character – from another time and unmatchable….
Who is my knight in shining armor? Well girls….he’s my grandpa – the sweetest man I have ever known…

How could you NOT fall in love with this face???

I spent several hours yesterday and again today sitting with him in the hospital. And both times that I left, I cried on my way home. Cried, because selfishly, I’m not ready to let him go yet. I’m not ready to stop holding his hand or kissing his cheek. I’m not ready to stop seeing his face light up when I come see him. Or when he sees me and says, “Oh, Elizabeth!” There is nothing like those words from that voice…
Allow me to brag and gush for a few (or ten) paragraphs – because that’s what girls do about their sweethearts, lol
This gem of a man was soo gentle and kind and gracious yesterday with all of his nurses. When they needed to take his blood pressure, his response was, “Do you need me to lift my arm up to help you get it better?” Seriously, could he be any cuter??
When you are admitted to the hospital for anything, they ask you if you want to be kept alive in case of an emergency. So, as he was telling me about that (always trying to protect and prepare us), immediately after he told me about the (do not resuscitate) paperwork, he very quickly said, “But if anything happens to me, you know that I love you, right?” And yes, for once in my life, I am thankful his eyesight isn’t fabulous, otherwise he would have seen the HUGE alligator tears welling up in my eyes.
He tried so hard to stay awake visiting with me, but finally I told him I wasn’t going anywhere and he could just rest – so he did. And he snored, and I thought it was
This morning, he was in fine form – as his sense of humor came out in droves! Let me share the dialogue that took place over my latte.
Grandpa: “They wouldn’t give me any coffee this morning, only water. (insert grumpy face) You don’t drink coffee do you Elizabeth?”
Me: Yes sir I do, every morning
Grandpa:  “Oh! Good for you! That’s the Norwegian in you then.” (insert chuckle)
Haha! What a champ! But, you should have seen the look on his face when I told him that I pay almost $4 for a latte…. He was dismayed, not that I pay that, but that anyone would charge that much for coffee! It was "just terrible!" LolJ
Here is another conversation that had me in stitches. Mostly because of his facial expressions (they are priceless). In order to get the full affect, you would really have to know him, but, I will do my best to relay it how it happened.
Uncle Kelvin: “You know Dad, the doctor is really impressed that you are 95”
Grandpa: “Oh really? Why’s that?”
Uncle Kelvin: “Because most men from your generation didn’t live past 45 years old”
Grandpa(with a look of disdain): “Ah, pfft, I don’t believe in that stuff”
Uncle Geof: (as we are all cracking up) “And that Dad, is why you are 95”
Grandpa: “hahaha, I suppose you’re right!”

The sweet tender moments I have shared with this man over the years are precious and so dear to my heart. When he holds my hand as I lay my head on his shoulder, it is comforting and I feel at home. We can sit there in comfortable silence, just enjoying each other’s company. The nice thing is, it’s always been that way. Today, one of those sweet moments happened, and I want to engrave it on my heart so that it never ever goes away.
Me: (lays my head on Grandpa’s shoulder)
Grandpa: (leans over and whispers) “You know I love you don’t you Elizabeth?”
Me: “Oh Grandpa, of course I do…”
Grandpa: “Good, because I do love you. I’ve loved you since the day you were born. And I pray for you every night.”
Me: (kisses that beautiful weathered cheek) “I love you too Grandpa…”
I have always told my grandpa that when I find a guy as sweet as him, I will snatch him up and marry him, lol. But until then, eat your hearts out ladies, because I have the finest catch in town – and there’s nothing you can do about it! He’s all mine – forever and always – my hero, my inspiration, my sweetheart!

Grandpa, you stole my heart the day you taught me how to dance. And I don’t ever want it back, because it is always yours….

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I’m Me, and That’s Ok - Finally...

So I have a question? Am I the only one who not only goes to bed with a million thoughts in her brain, but also wakes up with them? Sometimes my brain feels like an overcrowded pinball machine – ideas and thoughts being ricocheted all over the place, but never going anywhere….
But every once in awhile, one of the ideas goes into the goal, and I score a point. Not a numerical point, but, a life point. A gold star. A reminder that no matter the obstacles that stand in my way, (be it emotional/physical/spiritual/mental), breakthrough IS possible.
By nature, I am an avid learner. I crave understanding and knowledge. Maybe it’s slightly an OCD thing, or maybe it is just who I am. I read everything that comes through my hands – wrappers included.
Why? Um, I don’t know…. But after years of overanalyzing myself about it, I have come to the conclusion that it is just the way I am, and I’m ok with that. Doesn’t mean I expect everyone else to be, it just means that I am. I am ok with, and even embrace this part of myself.
Because it is important for me to understand and know why, I tend to do A LOT of self reflecting. In my mind, if I understand what happened, I can repeat it if it was a positive experience, or I can do it differently if it was not a positive experience. Couple this part of my personality with the “I refuse to give up because I hate losing” side of myself, and you better watch out – it could get very deep, psychological and competitive, lol.
What could I possibly be reflecting on these days? Well, to be honest, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on….me…
Now, before you try to figure out where I am going with this, hang tight. I will do my very best to explain, clearly and openly. When I say I have been reflecting on myself, that in and of itself is nothing new. In fact, I think we all reflect on ourselves on a daily basis. The difference for me was in HOW I was reflecting, and in HOW I was thinking about and even talking to myself.
So, here goes nothing….
“Just love yourself…”
I have heard this phrase a lot – and to be honest, it has received a lot of flack in our Christian circles. Understandably so – at least to a certain degree – because, it seems to be in direct contradiction with the command that we need to “die to self” in order for Christ to be able to “work in us and through us.”
However, although I have heard multiple times that I shouldn’t “love” myself; I have yet to hear how I am supposed to feel about myself. The opposite of love is hate, and I am fairly certain the Lord doesn’t want me to hate myself. So where is the balance? What is the fine line? Is there one?
I haven’t found a scripture yet where God tells me not to love myself… (If there is one, please tell me…) What I have found is God’s telling us how we are to feel about ourselves. He tells us over and over again in His word. I am His workmanship – a workmanship that He said was good. I am wonderful – because He says I am. I am beloved – because He says I am. I am worth it – because He says I am. I don’t love/like myself because I am so awesome or amazing, but because I love what God has created, and I love the plan that He had for me when He allowed me to be born. And since I am part of that creation, I shouldn’t hate or loath what He creates – even when that creation is me.  
I love music because He gave me a song. I love people because He loves them through me. I have more words in my head at one time than any human being should probably have in their entire lifetime, but….He designed that – to be used for His purpose. So why am I not embracing who He created me to be?
Circumstances surrounding my childhood heightened a lot of anxiety producing, self protective qualities in me. I was awkward, because I was scared. I toed the line, because it was safe. I did what I was told, and I did what was expected – because it gave me structure and I knew what to expect from it. The thing is – I needed that structure and consistency, or at least I told myself I did. I had to have that AND the Lord in order to make it.
But, as I grew in my relationship with Christ, those self protective tendencies started to stone wall the growth the Lord was working through me. You see, the more liberty and freedom you have in Christ, the less you need to fortress yourself in a castle built of protectiveness and angst. The more you release your fears to Him, the less you need to worry about structure keeping you safe. I got so caught up “fitting the mold”, that I lost sight of being moldable clay in the Potter’s hands. I thought if I held on tight enough, planned everything enough, marked off that checklist of do’s and don’ts, then I would be prepared for tragedy and pain – or at least be better equipped for it…
“Hitting rock bottom”
This is a term typically used to describe when people have messed up their lives so much, they have nowhere else to go but back up. For me, I had to hit rock bottom emotionally. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone would have been able to tell unless they were really close to me. But inside, the Holy Spirit was churning and stirring up everything I had tried so hard to compartmentalize for years. You see, I thought I had developed into the person I was supposed to be, and that person/image was safe/appropriate/predictable/right…. Yet, who’s definition was I using? On what scale was I grading myself? Oh right….mine
“Letting Go – Being Free”
So, I let go. Not without fear, not without tears and not without pain. Because, as I let go of who I thought I was supposed to be, I was left to wonder who I really and truly was…
Now here is where it gets awesome… when I let go of who I “thought” I was supposed to be, an incredible thing happened. I slowly and freely started to become who HE created me to be. It was a gradual process, one that is still taking place, and one that will always be taking place. It will always be taking place, because He is NEVER finished with me!
You know what though? I am totally ready for that, and my sense of adventure is raring to go!
I woke up this morning, completely content and comfortable with who I am as a person. Two years ago… I couldn’t say that about myself. Shoot, 6 months ago it might even have been difficult. What changed you ask? Well, I realized, I am not enslaved anymore. I am not enslaved by the perceptions and expectations of man. I am free. I have hope and peace and joy! I have all of this because of what ONE person did for me! Is everything going to go perfect? Of course it isn’t, you know that… but I am NOT alone. I am never forsaken. I am never left behind. And my destiny is in the hands of Christ – a destiny that I am totally and completely stoked about living!
So, do I love myself? Yeah, I do… But like I said, I love what God loves, and HE loves me. So on those days when Debbie Downer whispers crap in my ear, HE is the one reminding me that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” HE is the one reminding me that all of my quirks and oddities are there for a purpose. And, if I am willing, HE wants to show me that purpose. And you know what? HE does show me – He shows me every single day. And it is awesome!
What don’t you like about yourself? Why don’t you like it? Is it because other people judge it, or is it something over which the Spirit convicts you? My self-adjustments aren’t made for other people anymore. Believe me, I self adjust, ALL the time, lol. I have to do this because I am not a perfect person, and no matter how comfortable I am with myself, I am still going to make mistakes. But I don’t make changes anymore because I have been made to feel guilty or ashamed. I don’t make changes because I fear being rejected if I don’t comply.  It is because the Holy Spirit gently shows me why I need to change or why I need to grow. It is because I love HIM. It is because I want to be in one accord with my BEST FRIEND. HE is my final authority, and the ONLY one before whom I will stand. When I am ok with HIM, I am ok – period. No one else should be the determining factor. Think about it? HE wants to do EPIC things with your life --- let Him!

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?