Where am I going?


Is anyone else asking this question lately?

The featured image here is pretty significant, as it struck me in several ways. First, I took the photograph several years ago and—until yesterday—never even knew that the Santa Monica Pier is literally the end of the famous (or maybe not so famous) Route 66.

The historic route started in Illinois (Chicago), ran 2,400 miles westward (across 8 states), and ended in California, at the Pacific Ocean, right where I shot the image. Over time, the original route has been changed and rerouted, so the old Route 66 is no longer “official.” If you plan it right, you can still make the journey across a good portion of it—and there are many cool markers to be found. This is one of them… a sign delineating the End of the Trail

Which is ironic, because that’s actually another thing that struck me about the image… the end of the trail. Lately, there are a few things that I’ve thought about giving up, and blogging is one of them. “This image would be ideal for my farewell post,” I said to myself. The end of the road, so to speak. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I really did entertain the idea. 

Sometimes these waves come over me—however fleeting they may be—and I consider throwing in the towel. It feels as though I’m writing “much ado about nothing” and tossing empty words into an even emptier universe; the dark tunnel we call the internet. My words echo as they leave me… FADING… fading…… and then they disappear, never to return. 

For one thing, the things that I write about have morphed dramatically over time. The reason for coming aboard in the first place was to share my story of finding God and recovering from alcoholism. That story has been told. It’s preserved in time, WAY back in my archives, and there are many other bloggers out there—just like me—telling the same story. We’ve done it! We’re doing it… every day.

As for the present, I’m not an evangelist, or an apologist, and I have no education in theology, so I try to be VERY careful with my words about my faith. Someone was too quick to hint around about my errors, and I was deeply saddened by that. So… I’ve stuck to the philosophy that “living my life as I now live it” is continuous (and rather convincing) evidence of my walk of faith. And I am still sober and forever grateful for this new life.

And then I considered my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I LOVE the idea, and I’m very enthusiastic about it, but already it’s a struggle. Off to a rough start you might say. Who would have thought that the quarantine would alter our lives so drastically just as I set sail on my new adventure! Not to mention the fact that it’s embarrassing to share my thoughts along this journey, because my thoughts —like everything else in life—are ever changing. I can only imagine that trying to keep up with the wanderings of my mind is an exhausting task. 

So… Where AM I going? What am I to make of all of this? Today, writing about all of this feels good—because I’m actually getting somewhere.

No. 1 Look Outward

The first thing I see from my observations is that my lack of knowledge about the significance of that Route 66 marker is an analogy, of sorts, for my introversion. My tendency to look inward for insights and inspiration is a hindrance at times. I’m always missing out on things—things that are going on all around me—because I’m hyper focused on that odd little world that lives inside of me. Talk about a dark tunnel through an empty universe. Ha-Ha! 

I’m going to work on changing that. Rather than allowing this pandemic to bury me even deeper inside of myself… I’m going to reach out more. Less thinking and talking—more watching, looking, listening, and doing. 

No. 2 The Curse of the All or Nothing

The other thing—the really exciting thing—is the other analogy that I notice, that relates to my blogging experience, and my New Lifestyle, New Me project. If things aren’t working for me, my first inclination is always “walk away!” The changing and re-routing of the old Route 66 speaks volumes to me here. The journey is still possible, it just looks different. The road is not CLOSED, it’s just been altered.  

Having an “all or nothing” attitude toward everything has done nothing but get me into trouble—for the better part of my life. I want to DO IT BIG, or DO NOTHING. It’s so hard for me to find the middle of the road, that space in between—where perfect balance exists. But that’s exactly what is needed right now. Rather than shutting it all down, all I really need to do is some altering and re-routing, just like they did with old Route 66.

This is not the end of the trail. It’s the beginning!


Thank you for reading if you made it all the way down. I’m thrilled that these were not just empty words today—they were from my heart.

God Bless!
—Janet

Rejoice!

painted spring

Where flowers bloom, so does hope. —Lady Bird Johnson


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV)

Happy Easter Everyone
Stay healthy, hopeful and positive… and Rejoice!

Unshakable

I used to feel invisible, and I was empty inside.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me though, as I was beautifully bedecked with many embellishments. Coolness was probably the first (and the cheapest) ornament that I picked up, and it stuck to me no matter what I did. Of all of the decorations that I collected through the years, coolness was also probably the most vocal. “Be cool,” it would whisper, “just act like you don’t care.”

Shortly thereafter, I found the spirit (the liquid kind), and I discovered that consuming that spirit brought about all kinds of shiny garlands. My penetrating fears were veiled by courage, and in time I acquired pride as well. Courage came and went freely, but a healthy dose of the spirit usually prompted it to run back home, and sit boldly on its wobbly throne.

Pride, on the other hand, attached itself firmly. If the spirit was low, or courage seemed to be lost, pride would encourage arrogance, or feed on other things to help it grow. It treasured success, money, and even “things.” Eventually… pride started flirting with greed, and it seemed as though we never had enough—of anything. Sometimes I think the two of them were in bed together from the very beginning.

Soon all of these trimmings lost their sheen, and I became convinced that if I found love—the “one”—I would be garnished perfectly. Love was the ultimate frill, the tantalizing tinsel that I really needed. I was sure of it! The search went on… and on… but my efforts proved disastrous.

In a tragic whirlwind, I caught a glimpse of myself one day and realized that I was nowhere to be found. Swallowed up by my decorations—and drowning in the spirit—I was still invisible. That void inside of me was still there, hollower than ever, and not one of those adornments could save me.

That’s when I found you; free for the taking and ready to move in—without question. Unlike that temporal spirit that I used to devour, you filled that void with your spirit, and it was sturdy and concrete… something I’d never known before.

I couldn’t see it, but I felt it.

Since then, my life has never been the same. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not overflowing with gratitude and joy. Sure, I still get caught up in old habits and start festooning myself with things that seem glitzy and glamorous… that’s human nature.

But, as quickly as they come, these trappings fade away. Each time they do, I’m adorned with nothing but my childlike faith. There is no emptiness though… because you are always still there—my unshakable rock—holding me up, and keeping me strong.

And I am no longer invisible… I am clothed in love.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

Augustine

Inspired by the Word of the Day challenge: Bedeck

Merry Christmas Everyone!! I love you all!

Conversation with God

Father, you feel so far away,
I’m not sure that my words are right.
All I ask is to feel you near…
Did you hear my prayer last night?

Open your eyes my little one,
Remember the veil was torn apart.
Be still, and know that I am God…
for I am speaking to your heart.

I’ve summoned the wind to join us,
My spirit stirs amidst the breeze.
Look! The branches, they dance about…
Rustling leaves whisper melodies.

Forever and ever I am with you child,
I’m everywhere, and in everything.
Your words need not be perfect…
I know your heart, I hear it sing!

Oh thank you Heavenly Father,
for this song that you’ve given me.
I’ll be back again tomorrow…
to dance beneath our sacred tree.