Friday, January 13, 2017

Breasts

Pss.22:9 “But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.”

Breasts...the title alone got you to click

I imagine since the beginning of time, breast were being obsessed over just as they are this day and age. I imagine Eve tiptoeing toward Adam with her head hung low after biting the apple and having sex with satan and enticing Adam with the apple so he could see what she saw. 

His first bite opened his eyes and pierced his soul and what was the first thing his eyes beheld? Breasts, the alluring nakedness of her sensuous curves had him wanting her in a sexual manner. And there you have it, man has never gotten his soul returned to him. This is the very lust that man and woman must fight.

Today man objectifies, ogles, lusts, breathes and pants heavy just looking at breasts. Whether they are real or fake, small or big, round or sagging, men lust after breast. What they don’t lust after is the reality of all that breast really are. 

If the breasts are fake, man doesn’t see the scars that it took to make them that way, or the pain and stitches the woman had to endure so he would look at her and pay her any sort of attention. Without those fake breasts, she is just another woman in the garden.

If they are real, men don’t see what the woman has to go through with wires poking them to keep them up, or what pain a woman lugs around as they get too heavy to carry causing all sorts of back pains, or the natural way gravity takes a hold of them pulling on them making them look like dried grapes hanging on the vine. 

No, while the female anatomy is an obsession to man it is the very heart of motherhood. Breast are to sustain an infant's life. They are not to sustain a man and his libido but I digress…

Prov. 5:19 “Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” 

We have objectified women for centuries.

Cant. 8:10 “I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.”

From pin-up gals to Victoria Secrets runway shows, women are to be objectified in today’s society never looked at as part of the human species. I’m curious, do men objectify their mother? Do they see her as a sexual, sensuous being that has had sex with their father? No, they see her as their life-giving nurturer who sustained their very life and breadth of being, nothing more. But when men are grocery shopping, what is it that grabs your eyes at the checkout counter; exposed skin of a woman more than likely, not Field and Stream or a National Geographic magazine.

From Marilyn Monroe to Dolly Parton, from Farrah Fawcett, Daisy Duke to the today’s obsession of the Kardashian clan. No one thinks to see the breasts as carriers of cysts, or dormitories for cancer cells, or over-bearing back-breaking hindrances, no they only see what the images titillate the eye with, they never see an entire picture of the shell being portrayed.

Ezek. 17:7 “I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.”

Which brings me to the reason for a much-needed doctor’s appointment. Cysts, tumors or something out of the ordinary has taken over my left breast. Yeah, that’s something to be looked at, a lop-sided woman. I should fear this event in almost every woman’s adult life but instead, I’m empowered to bring you my journey. 

Hos. 9:14 “Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts”.

I find it quite amazing that God places hindrances in your life for you to admirably overcome to only toss another one in to see how you handle THAT one. It’s like a one-two punch that you hear about but seriously don’t ever want to experience or have to live through.  

I also find it quite confounding to go through almost three years of blindness with hubby to watch the success of the miracle of him regaining his sight only for my body to take a mystifying fall almost immediately after his sight returned. I strongly supported him, now it is his turn to be my Hercules and support me. This is me and the journey of my life.

And so the story goes… Monday an ice storm is going to hit this area we live in and it looks like something is going to try and hinder me finally being looked at to find out what has taken over my body. As I said, I could be down, sad and scared but instead, I am amazed that I am worth this much trouble for God to choose ME to carry this to YOU! Praise be to God!

Keep me in your prayers as the story continues not without surprises and twists and turns. 

2 John 1:10 “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Overwhelmed? Take it to God!

Blizzard of 2009
talk about overwhelming

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV), “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 

Overwhelmed

Have you ever been overwhelmed? Here lately my pain has overwhelmed me to the point of frustration and I don’t like that part of me, angry Joni.  The holiday took more out of me than I thought; I felt exhausted, tired and just totally done with the world. So what did I do, I took a time of rest! Something slashed me right across the face; maybe it was the 26 degrees below zero wind chilling temps?

While I love the cold I cannot and will not embrace extremely bitter, skin scarring, back biting cold. The winds alone feel like little shards of glass being plunged into your skin and any part of you that is exposed will surely freeze on impact and bleed when you thaw, so I stayed inside. While I consider myself somewhat of a recluse, the walls begin to close in on you and smother you in the bitterness of the season.

Top that off with a chronic pain and you have a recipe for disaster waiting to spin out of control and spit in the face of anyone that gets in your path. I try not to allow my pain to get that out of control and what is my saving grace? Well God of course. Prayerful meditation.

I realize that when people become so overwhelmed with say (snow) work, classes, bills, pain; their ability to fight is hidden and they shut down and give in to the ‘okay, you win’, worry and stressing about the overwhelming event, if you can call it that. It is what it is and that is LIFE. 

The only way that the events in life stop is if we die, and well, we don’t want that to happen, so what do we do? We deal with everything on a daily basis, sometimes by the seconds of the day and we need our prayerful meditations to just snuggle us tightly and get us through our life event. 

You know how people have huge walk-in-closets where they store everything but the kitchen sink? Yeah, I don’t have one of those. And then there are some smaller more reasonably sized closets; yeah I don’t have one of those either. Then there are the broom closets where you pack all of your junk in there until the walls are about to explode; yeah, I have one of those!

I’m telling you now, the bigger the closet the more problems of being overwhelmed you’ll encounter. People tend to hoard their life in a walk-in-closet when they only have a pantry size cupboard, that is when the overwhelming sneaks up on you and you burst. What to do? Take it to God and leave it in his mansion. He has plenty of room but you know what, He doesn’t store your problems or hide them or pile them back on top of you when you least expect it, nope He carries your junk effortlessly to the shores and places them by the sea. You see where I’m going with this? 

Have you ever watched waves crash on the shores? I remember when I was small we used to go to Ocean City, Maryland. I’d build sandcastles right close to the water but not too close for the waves to come and wash my beautiful creation away. By nightfall, the tide had moved in and my sandcastle became a part of the sea, no longer a part of me. 

That is what happens to our problems when we take them to God instead of storing them in our closets. He places them at the waters edge and it takes very little time for the hoarded problems to wash away. 

The other night I had a dream, one where our landlord came to the house for an inspection. The first thing he did was looked in our closets and started moving stuff around telling me that this closet needs to be organized. I woke with the overwhelming sensation of needing (no not cleaning out my closets!) but to organize my problems and prepare to load them up and take them to where God was standing and waiting for me to unload the accumulated junk in my life.(worries, problems, pain, stress) 

Sometimes we wait for a deadline to come upon us then turn to God when we should have been turning to God all along. We might think, ‘oh this is just a small problem (whether it is pain, bills, a dilemma) that we can handle on our own’, but we soon realize via the intensity, we’ve stuffed our closet to the max and there is no room. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve taken so much to God that I feel I overwhelm HIM and can handle the small things on my own. Boy, was I ever wrong! Like I said, He has a mansion the size of an ocean to store your problems, to Him they are but a grain of sand. Have you ever seen a grain of sand? To me, it is smaller than a grain of salt. To Him, my problems must be smaller than a grain of sand!

Don’t be afraid to take the small stuff to Him. Allow him to organize that closet to where your little pantry looks like a humongous walk-in closet upon opening and allow the sea breeze to swiftly wash over your face lifting your hair in a whoosh to carry your problems away.

It’s that simple, take your overwhelming worries to God. Don’t hoard the small stuff either, it just clutters the closet. ;) 

Matt. 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Monday, January 09, 2017

Happy New Year...To My Return!

The frozen Platte River
Prov. 7:19 “For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:”

Happy New Year…to my return

Well, that break went well, except I missed writing every day. I tried and I am committing myself to pulling out some of my fiction and working on it but my blog needs me, my friends need me. 

You might think I don’t see you suffering in pain, and you might think I’ve left you all behind never to spare another encouraging word but it is that need that pulled me back. I need you all as much as you need my encouraging words.

Again I am not pinpointing anyone out here; my words are for many who see themselves in what I say. Pain. Who doesn’t relate to that one? Sickness! Who can’t say they haven’t been warding off a sickness these past couple of months (if not years); Not many I’m sure. 

I realized something the other day and am quite honored to say that people respect me and expect a certain manner and moral compass from me. They look to me for inspiring and encouraging words and will quite surely make note of when I’ve veered off track.

I posted something on facebook the other day with a negative overtone. While everyone expects the positive and encouraging words from me, they are quick to call me on anything negative. It’s kind of funny though, for an entire year I watched people day after day (and still do) share negative and hate filled posts and no one calls them on spreading hate and negativity. They just bask in the glory of feeling good about themselves by sharing the hate with the world.

That’s when I realized something, people respect me so much and have come to expect a positive energy from me that when something appears to have a negative overtone they steer me back on the enlightened path. That’s when you know your words actually are having an effect on the masses. That’s when you know that you’ve touched the souls of many.

So by realizing people miss my words of encouragement, I of course do what I normally do and that is WRITE! I think you all miss my blog because it is like I am journaling and you like peeking in on all that is going on with my life and how much like your journey is to mine. Not in a bad nosey kind of way but a good concerned kind of way as you relate. You think to yourself, ‘I wonder how Joni is doing’ and maybe wonder what I do to get through the same pain-filled days you yourself might be trudging through. I think you might need that bit of encouragement that has left your reading days empty while I was away. 

I’m back. I can’t give up writing and I certainly can’t leave you all hanging in wonder. I’ve decided to take you on this journey of discovering my medical condition so I don’t feel so alone is the process of whatever is going on with my body. 

I’ll seek a doctor, I’ll get diagnosed and I’ll let you in on the homeopathic process I hope I’m allowed to take. The only way they can diagnose MS is through a spinal tap and just reading about it made me cringe, so that is a big no! An MRI okay, if it’s an open tube (I’m claustrophobic), if not, I’ll live with my disability as I’ve been doing for four almost five years now MED FREE! 

I have some stuff to share and no facebook post is enough space, I NEED my blog, I NEED to write, and most of all I NEED YOU, my friends who CARE about me. So come along on my continuing journey of Christ and see where it is I’m being led to now. If you’re reading this, like it or not, God called you along for the ride! 


My trees awakened by the morning sun!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Poetry Sunday ~ Memories

4 Ezra 4:45 “Shew me then whether there be more to come than is past, or more past than is to come.”

Memories

When tears leak from my eyes I find
a place of healing that’s no surprise,
I find I’m lost once being found is not easy
To mechanically turn life around.

The glorious light of which I cling to 
Allows me comfort waters to wade through
I’m not the one who lives daily in fear
Let me make it clear why I’m still here

The days are long often filled with pain
I’ll say it again in life I’ll remain
The one who finds God in all that I do
As I waddle through memories I once knew

The past is there for me to step around
Tiptoe through eggshells for all I’ve found
Religion and alcohol a cocktail of frights
I made it through the dark stormy nights

I didn’t have a mother who cooked and baked 
I’m lucky to have had the food that we ate.
A penguin filled schoolhouse was my only friend
That carried my memories to the rivers bend

With a concrete garden and asphalt street
My life in Baltimore was never complete
Crimson skies lined my sunset dreams
Away from home’s not as murky it seems

I’ll go and drown my empty sorrow 
For all I carry to every tomorrow
What’s done is done what’s gone is gone
I’ll live my life and carry on.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ten Things I Observed In 2016

Num. 16:30 “But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.”

Ten Things I Observed in 2016

1) Every one of US is judge and jury.
(Think about it, you’re judging that statement right there)

2) Not everyone who says they’re a Christian IS a Christian.
(There is still tons of work to be done)

3) Every church is filled to the brim with sinners.
(As it should be. If all were perfect, there would be no need for a church)

4) Politics can destroy sanity and friendships.
(I see many people differently after this year)

5) Opinions are like an anus, everybody is born with one.
(I tried to be discreet here)

6) Life is filled with more questions than answers.
(Age old question, WHY?)

7) Not EVERYONE has all the RIGHT answers.
(They think they do but they are mere fools.)
Proverbs 18:2 (NIV) “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

8) Birds are the most pure in Spirit
(They weather below freezing temps, they know their place, have no opinions, and learned to soar with all that they’re given to survive!)

9) Death is just a transitional phase.
(Those who think otherwise need to do some deep soul searching)

10) IT’S OKAY TO GRIEVE!
(It’s okay to be sad for others who are hurting. It’s okay to be pained by a loss. It is okay to be sorrowful. There is a time to mourn and a time to move on.)

I’ve come to appreciate every second I’m alive, not just the days I make it through. Life is too short to judge the person sitting next to you whether homosexual or not, black or white, etc., these are your brothers that God wants us to LOVE! Love your neighbor as you love yourself. When you judge someone by their looks or sexual preference, the race, religion or color you are judging all the things that you yourself lack. 

Be wise in the New Year but most of all, BE BLESSED!

"There is more to life than what is in front of your eyes. May 2017 be the year that you embrace what you can't see." ~Joni

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Comforting Words

Heb. 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Comfort in Trying Times

I was going to hang my hat up for the rest of the year of blogging but as many of you already know me so well, I do what God calls me to do and last night it was evidently clear that He wanted me to send out some comforting words to you, who need to hear.

As you know, we have all experienced a year of awe-inspiring deaths; deaths that affected the very core of our soul. Yes, I know everyone dies, and every year we have our shocking deaths of the year that just makes our jaw drop open and hang there in wonder. Last year for me was a blur as I had three deaths in the family and it looks like this year my husband might be losing an aunt. She is in the hospital being kept alive by feeding tubes as I write.  

I’m referring to the current year of celebrity deaths that seemed to touch many generations not just my generation as Prince, Glen Frey, George Michael in the music world, but to the older generations as in Garry Marshall, Gloria DeHaven, Arnold Palmer and the space exploring Astronauts John Glenn and Edgar Mitchell to writer Harper Lee. These deaths touched many generations. The list goes on and on and the year isn’t even over yet. This seems to be the year of icon deaths

When growing up what is magnified in shaping you is what goes into your mind, body, and spirit. While God may have shaped the early years, the television and radio input has also chiseled little pieces of your psyche. As you travel down memory lane December 31st, remember those icons who shaped who you are today. 

The political arena where people fought like pit bulls tossed into a pit with a bunny running in circles overshadowed this dismal year also. Devastating fires and earthquakes in places that rarely receives any media attention carved the year and the disheartening ending. This was a year for the record books from weather, destruction, deaths, politics, wildfires to entitlement. We the people who feel entitled to everything our fingers and minds can grasp are being put into our place for certain. 

We are not entitled! This is not our world to do what we want, this place is on loan and the sooner people realize how close we are to the end and that it is time to pay our dues maybe people can focus deeper on their soul and the continuance of the spirit that will leave the body, leave the beloved family behind to mourn and leave you to cleave only to your own spirit.

I watch as people succumb to their wants and needs. Even if all of their needs are met they seek more; more meds, more money, bigger house, better car, more materials, want, want, want. Their heads are spinning from the confusion instead of calmly looking around at all they have within their grasp and meditating what is right at their fingertips.

Heb. 13:5-6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

I have nieces and nephews with small children that have to grow up in this world and this is not the world I want to leave them. I want to leave my mark so that when I go, like the iconic figures that have gone on before me this year, I want to be remembered for my poetic life, the laughter I shared, the smiles I gave, for the joy I bestowed and for the God I loved in life and in death, and His comforting words that I share with you today.

Heb 6:10-12 NIV “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” 

Some of these icons that passed over were either well aged or who had not even begun their life, but take note, they all left their mark on the world. I can only assume that God is ready for His chosen to be lifted and taken to a better place. 

I find comfort in knowing that I have a place to go after this life. While some still struggle to understand the depths of the hereafter, probably because they are too consumed by the here and now and the wants and needs of today, I am comforted in knowing that there IS a hereafter and that this life is a continuum of a path that never really ends for us. 

Heb. 6:17-20 “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”

So as I am saddened by the recent deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds I can rest assure with the fact that the choir of angels amassed in heaven this year alone is going to be its own resounding trumpet. 
To the literalist I say, don’t wait for the brass, to the realist I say see what is real, to the pessimist I say, stop conjuring and to the optimist I say, keep the faith! 

Maybe we should all… be Praying for Time. 


God Bless one and all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Haunting Christmas Day Storm

4 Ezra 15:38 “And then shall there come great storms from the south, and from the north, and another part from the west.”

Haunting Christmas Storm

I don’t know where you’re located but on Christmas day we here in the Midwest had the weirdest and darkest of storms almost wipe us out. 

Let me start by saying I had the most beautiful blessed day! I woke in the ever peacefulness of the morning, computer humming in the background, hubby already awake. I shuffled to the kitchen to start my morning coffee and allowed Sassy to go outside and do her morning business. 

Besides the wind smacking me in the face the fog wouldn’t allow my eyes to see any further than the road, so I ducked back in the house to see how the coffee was coming along, ahh, nothing like a house filled with the aroma of coffee!

We waited for Adam to make his presence known and then the excitement of gift exchange began. My favorite gift was a Grace VanderWaal CD! My second (or third) favorite gift was a Minion that TALKS! Says 25 different phrases and well, this excited me like any child ripping open presents on Christmas morn. Shut up! I hear you laughing, I was excited! 

They asked what I wanted and I really am not a person of want so anything was fine by me, but I think these people I live with know me too well and made their purchases of love with the knowledge of knowing and understanding my needs. Yes, I needed that Minion to bring a much-needed smile to my face! 

The Grace tape brought tears to my eyes because I didn’t think anyone would remember how much I admire this twelve-year-old prodigy! But hubby remembered! Then there were the adult coloring books! You know coloring books for grown-ups that kids would find boring but I’m using them to keep my fingers exercised; kind of a physical therapy on myself.

I got Pepsi cups, a Pepsi apron (that covers my chest for when I’m slaving over the hot stove!) now I don’t ruin my shirt by that one splatter of sauce. And what else you ask? Well two letters, HP? Any guesses? A new and improved much-needed laptop. WOOHOO!! My old one has been going up for months now and his days were numbered as my days were just writing and going easy on the tired fella. Watching videos was like riding down the bumpy road in frustration waiting for the trip to end. No amount of cleaning was making the old fella work any better and hubby knew that and made sure my Christmas was a MERRY one!

I didn’t get to play with my toys because out here in the Midwestern part of the country, people eat dinner at noonish. Yes, noonish! I was kind of leery after looking into the deep thick fog that made viewing the outside world nearly impossible. It was if God had hung a veiled curtain over the window and was not allowing anyone to see pass the flowing mist.

Anxiously, we went on with our plans and all hopped in the truck and trudged on, falsely thinking that it could only get better out there right? Boy were we ever wrong. The dirt road was already a trembling puddle as the winds were causing the water to shiver as we drove. The drizzle became a downpour quickly as we hit the blacktop part of the road but the fog and rain were only getting worse. I wanted to go back! Home! Safety! 

We pressed on seeing it brighter up ahead but as we lurched ever so slowly as a slug on a slimy road, eerily the sky darkened to almost black as night. The fog had turned into a thick blanket then the rain, the torrential downpour coupled with what felt like a hundred mile an hour winds basically pushing the car off of the road to the side where a ditch was only the next place to go. 

Lightning crashed thunder erupted, and winds pushed. I saw a car pull over and he just sat there waiting for the monsoon-like winds and rain to stop pulsating so that we could eek along on a nearly empty road barely missing hydroplaning our way into a ditch. I felt as if I was in the Twilight Zone special feature and I would surely wake up and all would be sunny and bright after passing through the time warp vortex. 

I wanted to turn around and go back home but I wasn’t the one driving and after all, we had made it this far. I must’ve said ten Our Father’s before reaching his brother's place and yes, we were the first to arrive as the rest of the family was facing the same exact thing that we had just been through. 

All of the family arrived safely, each with their own version of what they had just experienced driving through but like I said we all made it safely to the Family Celebration. Although worries of the turkey not making it, fear of food poisoning hung over the get-together, quickly gone after eating all of the extremely good food that survived. The turkey was fine really but the caution was there for us to decide after the oven had failed early in the morning hours, rendering Tom drying out time in a cooling oven.

The day was drawing to a close. I was getting antsy wanting to play with my new toy at home and briefly the sun shone and pierced the darkened skies just as the Light of the Lord will do for any soul living in the dark. All three of us were ready to part before another predicted storm hit. 

The only thing that hampered the drive home was the winds that had calmed to about 50 mph but we made it home, listened to the howling wind hurl small limbs at the house, shred shingles from the rooftop and pound on the walls like an anxious intruder. Outside tables and chairs were flipped upside down, chimes broke free from the branches where they hung, but we all made it through yet another Christmas day.

Except for the weird wind, strange fog, and thundering lightning the day was perfect. Yet another Pop Singer (one of my faves) died and 2016 will stand out as the most Perfectly Imperfect year to date, for ME!!!! Fittingly, Perfectly Imperfect is Grace VanderWaal’s CD’s name! 

Now onto the days AFTER Christmas… 

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award