Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where Do I Belong?

When my parents married, they each had children from previous marriages.  Daddy had three daughters, and mama had a son.  I'd look at photographs and didn't see anyone I really looked like.  As I grew, I was the short, chubby cousin.  My brothers had the good thick, curly hair from mama.  My eyes weren't the same color as anyone else's.  I would wonder just where I came from and where did I fit in this puzzle called family.

Daddy had been raised in an orphanage and was separated from his older sister and brother when he was about 14 or 15.  Life got in the way of his searching for them, but the summer I was 12 he found them both living within 100 miles of each other between Tampa and Orlando, FL.  He could hardly wait to get us packed up and hit the road!  I figured this would just mean more people I didn't fit it in with.

Imagine my surprise when this lovely lady opened the front door, hugged my daddy, and turned to me and said, "I'm your Aunt Lucy.  I'm so glad to meet you."  There I stood, years older of course, but I looked like Aunt Lucy!  Then she introduced me to her daughter and the likeness was uncanny.  Suddenly, I fit in -- I belonged.

But even without that sense of belonging, as I grew in my Christian faith I learned that I had no cause to worry about fitting in or belonging. 

I Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people ... belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV)

God had claimed me as His own from the moment I was conceived in my mother's womb.  Even though I might have strayed from time to time, I always belonged to Him.  I am His.

Linking up with Beck Gambill on Sister to Sister.  Today's word is belonging.  Have any thoughts to share?  Visit Beck's site to read the guidelines for writing your feelings about belonging.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Journey of a Lifetime -- Installment 2

As the plane leveled out, I allowed my mind to wander back through time.  After all, the trip would take the better part of the day -- I could spend the hours meandering through memories.
My first concrete thoughts of childhood begin sometime around the age of two or three.  I can see her as clearly as if it was yesterday, her beautiful red hair cascading down her back.  And her eyes – they were so green; and when she was happy, they sparkled like jewels.  I could remember her lying across the bed with her hair hanging down and her eyes laughing as I brushed the red waves and curls.  What a favorite memory this was!  It was a time when we were the best of friends.  A happy daughter, a happy mother.  My world was filled with bliss!  But only occasionally.

Other memories were buried in a blanket of pain.  Those were the days when those same green eyes pierced my soul – filled with fire and anger.  Then, I felt her anguish, frustration, and bitterness.  But at such a young age, I didn’t understand those emotions and thought they were somehow directed at me, perhaps my fault.  I believed that every action or word she flew in my direction related to my failure to please her.  And beginning then, the words and actions became a mushrooming cloud that haunted me to this very day. 

How I still longed for something different – something that gave me what I wanted from her.  I wanted soft hands, loving words, sounds of affirmation, storybooks at bedtime, barefoot romps through fields of wildflowers.  What I didn't know was that she believed she gave me all those things and more.  She never realized what her words and actions translated into in my mind and heart.

As the plane moved me closer to home, I reflected on the times when I overheard words flung at my father.  Later I would see the hurt in his eyes and his actions, his withdrawal from all of us.  There were nights when her anger sent her flying out the door, dragging my younger brother and me behind her, driving feverishly through the city as if she were looking for something or someone.  But it was never clear to me just what she went racing through the streets to find.  Those nights came back with the same haunting fear they left me with in childhood – what or who were her ghosts? 

A panorama sped through my mind of those times when daddy was so sick that we thought he’d die, and I watched as she nursed him with such gentle, loving care.  The same was true when one of her children fell ill.  Then she became what I wanted every other day of the year.  Her hands caressed a feverish head and wiped away fretful tears, and she promised she would make it better.  And she did.  But then tomorrow always came, and every tomorrow was unpredictable. 

As I retreated from the past and back to the present, I realized that decisions of the last few days had selected my traveling companion for me.  I was beginning a journey with someone I'd known all my life.  We'd traveled down many roads in our 50 plus years together.  Some paths remembered held delights; and others held emotions filled with pain, and some too painful to recall.  But recall them I must.  Some inner voice urged me to look deeper, to listen with a fine tuned ear, to walk closer for once.
My companion on this trip was my then 88‑year old mother.  In a period of less than a week, I had made the decision to move her across the country and in spite of the memories etched into my mind and soul which told me not to, the decision had somehow been so easy.  Our history contradicted the sensibility of my decision.  How could I please her now?  I'd never pleased her before.  How could I possibly think that I could make the right decisions for her, for me, for us?  After all, I'd lived a lifetime with criticism and harsh judgments. 
There it was again.  That inner voice that kept telling me this was right.  I heard it whisper, “You have no other choice.”  In spite of attempts to read or nap during my flight, that voice kept etching away at all my arguments against this decision.  And now, I need to share that voice and its meaning for me so that hopefully I can show you where it led me.  This last journey with my mother has become one of my greatest treasures. 

[Copyright 2011 by Sherrey Meyer.  All rights reserved.]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Water My Garden

"But Jesus intervened: 'Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me.
God's kingdom is made up of people like these.'"
Matthew 19:13 (The Message)

They came!  And they kept coming!  Children pouring down the center aisle of our church on Sunday morning.  Smiling faces, skipping feet, all clean and shining -- they loved that they were coming.  Coming to hear God's Word in our Sunday morning Children's Message. 

I selfishly hoped that it was a long message, and that the pastor's sermon was even longer.  I'd received a call on Friday asking me to substitute for one of our teachers who was to have made an announcement about our need for Sunday School teachers.  Since she would be in class, which runs subsequently with our worship service, she wouldn't be there to do the announcement.  Would I do it for her?  Fortunately for her, she's a person I just can't refuse!  So, there I sat Sunday morning still muddling over what to say, how to catch the attention of folks in the pews, the older set whose children are off in college now.  I should have been paying closer attention, I know, but I was running out of time.

Suddenly, I heard words being whispered into my ear.  What?  Did you say something?  Who's there?  The words came again, "Water my garden."  Whatever could that mean, especially in the middle of worship?  And again, "Water my garden."  Then, it was like a cool breeze touching my shoulders, and I knew.  I knew He had been there, sitting on my shoulder, whispering His sacred wishes in my ear.  Of course, these children are the future of our church and like a garden they need to fed, watered and nurtured into His Kingdom and into His knowledge.  I couldn't fathom the beauty of this analogy and keep my mind on the pastor's sermon, but I knew I'd been given a gift to share with our congregation.  And share it I did!

I'm spending time in prayer this week hoping that His Words came through me with effect and power, and that they have stirred a longing in someone's soul to reach out and touch this beautiful garden filled with bright and eager faces, and that they will come and water His garden. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Journey of a Lifetime -- Installment 1

Today I begin to share with you the draft of my memoir, book, journal, diary -- whatever it will eventually be called.  I will post "installments" from my writings from time to time, and welcome any and all comments, advice, criticism.


December 2000.  It was a bitter cold December morning.  I shivered as I boarded the plane, but not because of bone chilling air -- definitely not from a fear of flying.  The weather posed no threat, even though its harshness grazed the skin and pricked at the eyes.  The day had dawned clear, and the sky was crystalline blue.  The trip itself had my anxiety at its peak.  I was embarking on a journey like none I had ever experienced in my lifetime.  Was I ready?  From the standpoint of preparations, yes, I was ready -- my bags were packed, my ticket in hand, and my plane ready to take off.  But did my bags and my hands hold everything I needed for this trip?  Did my ticket take me where I really wanted to go?  In spite of fears rooted in family history – a story I didn't want to confront, my journey was becoming as clear as the day itself.  No other itinerary was possible.
As I flew toward home in Oregon and all things comfortable, I pondered the events leading up to this trip.  So far, it had not been an easy one.  Several weeks of anguish had pointed me in the direction of truth.  It has been said "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32), and I clung to the hope this was true.  In many ways, however, I felt that perhaps the truth was about to imprison me.  My plans were indefinite from this point forward.  No detailed, step-by-step recipe showed me where I’d be in a day, a week, a month, maybe in years.  One thing was for certain.  I'd be home by nightfall and in the safe and loving arms of my husband.  That knowledge set another set of thoughts into motion. 
I longed for affirmation that I had made the right decision in starting this trip.  Could I complete it successfully?  Would I destroy everything we had built over the last 20 years?  I had a wonderful husband, a career I enjoyed and a home that I cherished.  We loved traveling and searching through antique stores to find that treasured item.  We loved music and a night out at the symphony.  We were both involved in church activities that required time commitments.  What was I thinking?  What I was about to do could change all of this in the twinkling of an eye!  So much preparation lay ahead once home, not to mention the distance I had to go – a distance not measured in miles. 

I had always believed in the power of prayer, but viewed it as something I did when others were in need.  Did I need to engage in more personal prayer?  So on that December morning, as the plane soared through the underlayer of the firmament, I asked God for strength, courage, guidance, and yes, affirmation.  That was all I could do.  I knew my husband and best friend would stand beside me through anything, but this wasn't going to be easy for either of us, or so I thought.  Little did I know what was in store over the next several months.

[Copyright 2011 by Sherrey Meyer.  All rights reserved.]

Remember the Sabbath

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God.   Exodus 20:8 (The Message)


Eyes slowly open.  Clock says 4:30.  Toss, turn, try to slip back into sleep.  Now it's 5:30.  A peek out the window shows the night is slowly turning to day.  Light is changing.  On the cusp of a new day.  And then it comes to me.  It's Sunday, the Sabbath day, the holiest of days in the week.

"Up," I tell my mind and my body.  Enough time until the clock goes off to sit quietly and think on this day.  My mind wanders to childhood memories of Sundays, a time when family truly honored the Sabbath, a day of rest as ordained by God in the verse of Scripture above.

In my family, Sundays were all about worship, Sunday School classes, and family time.  The most menial of tasks were allowed but there were things that weren't allowed because it was Sunday.  As children, we weren't allowed to go roller skating, attend a movie, play board games or cards, and as a young girl, I wasn't allowed to do any sewing or needlework as that could be defined as "work" and not a part of the rest we were supposed to be observing.  It was confusing because mom cooked and cleaned up in the kitchen, but dad explained that this was a necessity of life and that it wasn't work in the same sense of the word.

Despite all the invisible scars left behind by my dysfunctional home life and at the hands of my mom, I'm so pleased that this gift of the Sabbath was passed along by my parents to me.  I still look on my Sunday as Sabbath.  I try my best to treat it as my day of quiet and rest along with my husband.  We may engage in some pleasant activity, such as a concert at a local church, but beyond that we limit ourselves to time at home or in nature taking in God's creation.

Soon, another week begins.  How will you observe your Sabbath?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Are We THAT Old?

My husband and I have been struggling with some hip and back issues, respectively.  In a conversation last Saturday with our older son, he mentioned "dropping by" that afternoon.  I cautioned that the house he might find wouldn't be the house kept the way he remembers when living at home.  Instantly, we were offered help from son and his wife today to "help" us get caught up on things inside and out.  BAM!  That hit us both hard -- we interpreted it as a statement on our aging (we're 74 and 65!).  We've struggled this week about what to let them do as we all know that no one does things the way we do ourselves.

A friend pointed out that they are trying to do the only thing they can and know to do.  Our medical issues are beyond their control and assistance, so they are looking for a way to ease the burdens in our lives.  She is most likely correct.  We've prayed for God to shower us with gracious thoughts and attitudes today as we don't want to have hurt feelings among family, and we want to honor our son and daughter-in-law's caring nature. 

Our plan is to take them to lunch so that we can at least have some time of sharing about our recent days and weeks, and also to spend time with our son who travels out of town quite a bit in his job.  The reality is we don't see them often even though we live in the same town, so beyond the help offered this is a chance to spend quality time together. 

Father, I ask that you watch over our thoughts, words and deeds today that we will honor Craig and Gigi and their caring for us.  Give us quality time together and sharing around the table not only sustenance for our bodies but for our souls.  Amen.

Q4U:  What similar experiences have you had and how did you handle them?

Friday, September 23, 2011

An Update!

Made a decision today -- I wanted a cleaner, fresher, new look to my blog!  So, having been on a pathway of simplification in my life, I've chosen a simple template with a fresh, outdoorsy, clean look.  Nothing else has changed, at least for now.

Let's Get Down to Business!

Getting down to business with this blog hasn't been uppermost in my mind for a variety of reasons, none of which are highly excusable in my mind.  Yet they are what they are! 

If I'm going to write my memoir, I need to stop just toying with it and get down to business!  I need to wrap up my reading on memoir and writing, and put what I've learned to work.  My plan of action is formulating starting with more posts taking place here as potential parts of my draft.  I will still do other writing here as a blog is a good writing practice forum.  So, not all posts will be reflective of my attempt to write about my life or "right" my life in the present.  As I've explained before, my life today is the best my life has ever been; however, there are memories and parts of my life that need to be dealt with in order not to pass those invisible scars along to the next generation.  Thus, the blog title "'Righting' My Life.

I ask your patience as I begin this process, and your input and comments are more than welcomed.  I'm a newbie at both writing memoir and blogging.  Any suggestions and ideas may be left here and will be acknowledged in some way.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life's Changes

Today I'm linking up with Beck Gambill over at Beck Far From Home in her Sister to Sister spot.  Today's word for our thoughtfulness and writing experience is "change."  Believe me, it didn't take me long to figure out what I'd write!

All I have to do is take a look in any mirror to see the chronology of changes that have taken place in my physical life.  The gray hair is more abundant than ever, and the hair is thinning.  What happened to that thick, luxurious hair I once had?  And that dewy skin?  The wrinkles are beginning to take up residence there and have changed the surface quality of my face, arms, legs, and other body parts.  We won't begin to talk about sagging -- it's too embarassing!

And then there are those stiff joints and sore places that I wake up with in the morning.  The long walks we used to take aren't so easy any more, and I haven't been on my new bike (it's 2 years old now!) since I got it.  I also see the changes in my husband both physically and emotionally.  As his siblings age (he's the youngest of six), he takes on more of the caring role and it's not easy for him.  But we both know we're not that young any more.  After all, the grown kids are now calling to see if they need to come over and "help" us get things done!  OK, we're not that old yet!!!

But these are only a few of the changes that have come about in life.  These are the physical ones, the ones I can see.  There are other more important, more impactful changes -- like the growth in my marriage of 30 years, the joy of grandparenting and now great-grandparenting, the love of having time in retirement to volunteer more in community and church, the ease with which Bob and I share morning devotional and prayer and reading the Bible. 

My willingness to stand in front of a group and share my witness is something that 20 years ago I would have never believed I would do.  Now, I take great joy in sharing God's love with young moms, young marrieds, anyone who will listen willingly.  And writing -- it has come to me later in life than most who will read this and I love putting words to "paper" and enjoy thinking about what I will write today.  Then, what will I do with it next?  The anticipation of possibly appearing on someone else's blog, in an article for an online magazine, or in an actual printed publication excites me.  I want to write my memoir, and I'm trying day by day to accomplish this.  Yet, I feel the pull and tug of God to do more writing, perhaps devotional writing or maybe even a novel with Christian principles throughout. 

So, you see change never ends.  It is a lifelong process.  One that God plans so far ahead we can't anticipate the changes.  I like to think of the changes, both physical and otherwise, as God's marks on my life, the places where He has touched me for some reason and left His hand print.  In that sense, change isn't so bad, is it?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God in the Jury Room

As you've probably guessed, this post has nothing to do with writing my memoir, "righting" my life, or my desire to share my experiences of same with you.  It has to do with my experience as a juror just  yesterday.  More than eight times I've been summoned for jury duty, either at the federal or state level.  Not once have I ever been seated, most likely because at the time I was employed as a legal secretary.  Attorneys don't like legal secretaries or other law firm employees sitting on their juries! 

However, now that I'm retired this was my second summons to duty, and I was seated on a six-person jury to hear a drunk driving case.  Not as exciting as some complex piece of litigation surrounding contracts or business disputes or even neighborly disputes, but important at any rate, as justice must be served. 

The prosecution and defense attorneys made opening statements, called and questioned witnesses, and then made closing arguments.  Each was convinced and had efficiently pled their case.  Now the judge has instructed the jury in its duties for finding the defendant guilty or not guilty.  Obviously, the State was hoping for a guilty verdict as one of its laws had been broken according to the Prosecuting Attorney.  On the other hand, the defendant and his attorney were hoping for a not guilty verdict.  Each had stood before us and stated the "facts" and shown us the "evidence." 

The six of us were adjourned to the jury room to deliberate.  I knew in my heart that this young man wasn't guilty based on the evidence and facts stated by the Prosecuting Attorney.  The law required that the individual charged with driving under the influence be on a public traffic way while intoxicated and that his blood alcohol at that time be 0.08%.  The Prosecuting Attorney couldn't show us that this was accurate.  Four of six jurors agreed; two were hold outs.  What to do?

I knew that God was with me yesterday; He is every day.  So, I prayed that He would take control of our deliberations and lead us to the right decision.  God's powerful presence took over that room and the minds in it, and in the end we reached a mutual decision of not guilty.  I firmly believe that God was in our decision based on the following verse of Scripture:

"Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your
believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God."
Matthew 21:21 (The Message)

It is my continuing prayer that you will make everything in your life, small to large, a part of your daily prayer life.  God wants to hear our prayers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On Receiving

Beck Gambill writes some of the most thought provoking and heart warming blogs on the planet.  My favorite day of the week is starting to be today, Thursday, because Beck has formed Sister to Sister, "a time every Thursday for Christian women to connect from the heart."  Beck provides us with a word, like today's word "receiving," and those of us interested write a 500-word or less post using that word.  Sometimes they're easy, sometimes not.  But as a wannabe writer, I've decided to use it as practice time.  So, here goes.

Receiving is definitely not the easiest thing I do in my life.  For one thing, I was taught to give -- give of myself, what I have, the talents God has given me.  That is one thing I remember about my mom that is a cherished memory -- her giving spirit.  For me to give is so easy, and often my calendar shows that I'm in "giving mode!"  I have trouble saying no to opportunities of sharing what I'm able to share.

However, when put on the receiving end of giving, I tend to play the game the slugs (they're abundant in Oregon!) play and I roll up and hide in my shell of "Oh, no, I can take care of that myself."  Good example coming up.  I'm facing surgery soon and offers have been coming in for meals to help my husband and me.  Do you think we've yet to accept an offer of a meal?  Nope, not us, we're going to be just fine.  We've done it before; we'll likely to do it again.

Why is it so hard?  I've pondered this word "receiving" all day and I've prayed to God about why it's so hard for me to accept something offered.  The day's almost over and I know what it is -- I think that it makes me appear weak, helpless, too needy, and so many other similar things.  What I need to do is work on that part of me and ask God to help me learn to be accepting and to put those negative thoughts aside.  Because in my not accepting, I'm not allowing another of God's servants to do their sharing.  Being a stumbling block is not what I want to be. 

Thanks, Beck, for offering up a word that has caused me to reconsider who I am when I have the opportunity to receive from another!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wonderfully Made!

Today on Heart to Heart with Holley author and blogger, Holley Gerth, wrote on this same topic (Holley's blog).  Her words captured my eyes and drew me in closer and closer to see exactly what she was going to share.  You see Holley started with those labels we all check on items we purchase, and I couldn't quite understand where she was headed.

Then, as Holley always does, her writing explodes and there it is!  Holley was talking about how wonderfully God had made each of us.  I have a hard time remembering sometimes that God made me, especially when I examine in great detail the flaws that I see or that others kindly, or not so kindly, point out to me.  But He did wonderfully make me, flaws and all!  The joyous part of this story is that He loves me, flaws and all.  Isn't that just the greatest?  Flaws and all doesn't deny me the right to consider myself wonderfully made by my Heavenly Father. 

I cannot for one minute improve on the quote from Max Lucado or the words Holley quotes from her book, God's Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman.  But what I can share with you is that part of my life story deals with a time when I felt no worth at all, beginning early in my childhood.  All self esteem was stripped away, and I grew up believing I had done everything wrong.  Worthless!  No good!  Ungrateful!  These are just some of the words that resounded in my ears and memories.  Yet I had been learning about God at church and in Sunday School, and finally He made progress teaching me that I was worth a lot to H im, that I was a good girl and later a good woman, and that He knew gratitude lived within me, and much, much more!  Such freedom is unbelievable wheny you've felt imprisoned by invisible scars of emotional and verbal abuse.

If you ever doubt, if you ever forget, think on these words and remember you are wonderfully made!

Image found at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Type A Personality and Me

I know it's likely you've probably heard more than you'd care to about Type A personality types.  Well, so I have I and I have to live with one -- ME!  I'm learning that my obsession with detail, perfection and doing it all for everyone is getting in the way of being the me I want to be.  This past year I've been trying to sort out just what the priorities in my life should be.  I think I've come up with a plan, and I'm hoping with the challenges I'm soon to face I will come out the other end successful.

First, I want to give credit to Ann Voskamp for writing the book, One Thousand Gifts.  After reading it and rereading portions of it, I began to see that I haven't been filled with a spirit of gratitude for a long time.  And that translates to I haven't been confronting God on a daily basis.  Confronting not in an oppositional way, but confronting Him to welcome His companionship as I travel this dusty road called life.  He wants to be needed; He wants to know I need Him.  In the process, God leaves me morsels daily of things to be grateful for, and I too have begun my list of "one thousand gifts."  Try it -- it will bring you such joy!

Secondly, a big thanks to Mary DeMuth for her prolific blogging, writing, and spiritual gifts.  Mary's writings are my mentoring source and my encouragement for the writing I want to do.  They are one reason I'm not in this blog as often as I probably should be.  Wanting to be a writer and being one are two entirely different things.  No two writers approach their work the same, and I'm still trying to find my niche.  Mary's works and blog are providing some of that guidance.  But the real killer here is finding time and recently Mary talked about The Pomodoro Technique and how it has helped her through difficult times.  Now, if I could just find the time to implement Pomodor's technique!

Now, I have uncovered and confessed my biggest problem -- time management.  With these tools in hand, perhaps I can capture the amount of time needed each day to do each of the important things in my life.  I need to sit down with Pomodoro's instructions for making a list and executing on it, and I need to ask God to help me as I try to accomplish managing my time.  Asking Him for what I need is one priority; spending time with Him is another.  If I put these two first with my gratitude list as three, I don't think I can possibly fail to make progress.

“Hurry with your answer, God! I'm nearly at the end of my rope. Don't turn away;
don't ignore me! That would be certain death. If you wake me each morning with the
of your loving voice, I'll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must
travel; I'm all ears, all eyes before you.  Save me from my enemies, God—
you're my only hope! Teach me how to live to please you, because you're my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.”
Psalm 143:10 MSG
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