Bankable Memories – A Birthday Surprise for Mike and a Training Surprise for Me

So, my trip to supporting my family friend turned about to be supportive to me, as well. Blessings go both ways!! 😊
What a loving gift I got, too, as I went to celebrate him! I got celebrated, too, for my training.

My memory will have that moment forever, for how happy he seemed for some reason, and what a fun moment that was!

August 1

My ex-brother-in-law, Mike, had a birthday yesterday. He’s got to be pushing 70 or more – quite a bit older than my sister, he was.

Yesterday I thought to go and spend the day with him. In the morning, I had a flat and had to work out. Prayed about it in the a.m. with respect to having a confirmation of pwhat I was feeling. I opened the bible, and what I turned to was in Psalms, I believe, and it said something about “birthday feast.” Perfect. That settles it.

Went to take my car in and do my training, and by the time I got back it was after noon. I cleaned up myself and felt like I’d rather relax on the couch which is where I found myself sitting doing just that.

It was after 1, and the drive across 70 through FL is my most boring, hated, 3-hour drive, and with no radio!

I consulted the Lord again, what should I do? Do you really want me to go? I got a word from Isaiah that read, “Set you mind on the highway.” I was so excited because it was so clear and, I called Mike and let him know of my plan. Happily, he was out a dock bar having a birthday celebration with some friends and locals.  I asked if he’d be around later, and he said he had no plans. I told him was planning on coming over and taking him out for a birthday dinner! “Yah!” was his great response, in his cute Mike fashion that he does when he’s really excited. It’s so cute like a young kid.

I got off the couch immediately and gladly got about my business. Cleaned up a bit here, packed my bags and readied myself for the highway for the birthday feast celebration. I was so excited for Mike’s excitement and for having clear direction, my road trip woes were destroyed.

I prayed too the trip be shorter, somehow. When my GPS sent me a different way than I’d always gone it’s shaved a half hour off my trip! Yah!!

I got Mike a couple little silly things – a “birthday cupcake” which he requested. It was a chocolate muffin he called a “cupcake,” a card and some candy, a birthday balloon, and that was it. Not much. My visit, and the dinner, were the gifts. Thought he should have a card at least. Something to open! 😊

When I arrived, I sung to him after he opened the door for a quick happy birthday to you – he laughed and took it in.  We greeted each other warmly.

Mike wanted chicken parm which we eventually went out for and had a yummy feast! He was happy! I ate so much. He barely finished his dinner, because he had tacos for lunch he claimed, making him full, whereas I’d only had a tuna sandwich after an hour and a half at the gym, barely anything all day. I was ready to eat. Salad, bread, stuffed mushroom appetizer and a pasta and chicken dish. I ate almost every bit of it. A café latte and biscotti to boot. Mike was too full for a birthday cake, but had a “classic coffee,” as he puts it.  We chatted for some time. He shared how happy he was with the everything which made me pleased! Felt glad it was birthday feast success which was worth the trip over!

My plan the following morning was to train. My legs and knee felt good, gladly. Figured I would run first being it was about the time I would be running, 8:45, and I was working on proper conditioning. I was going for the distance for Saturday, 3.2 miles, a 5K. Planning on running around his neighborhood 4 times, according to him, would likely make that distance. Turns out, I ran 4 miles which was GREAT!!

My morning highlight, after the beautiful morning weather I enjoyed with coffee as I reminisced about Miami weather as a kid, was after making my first lap, seeing Mike in his garage waiting to cheer me on. What a great surprise!! I loved it. It made me so happy. I won’t have anybody at the event with me, so him cheering me on was really special. Bankable memories are what I began accumulating. Rich memories.

One of the things I realized with my run that morning was that like swimming I was originally having a hard time breathing which I’d forgotten – I’ve run little during these 3.2 weeks of training, and haven’t run much at all this summer! So, that was good to realize – that whatever my race, I will find my pace eventually, it may take me a minute or 15 to find my breath and then regulate it, but I’ll get there as long as I don’t panic! So, I felt my pace eventually, and it felt good. Mike even commented on my pace being good, but later told me to pick it up. 😊

I think I loved most what I came next. As I was going for lap two, I saw Mike heading toward me. I did not know it was him for a while. I’m not sure what sparked it, but the smile he had was the best I’ve ever seen on him.

It’s so rare to see a smile from him like that. It was great. Perfect! I’ve termed it one of those “bankable smiles.”

My memory will have that moment forever, for how happy he seemed for some reason, and what a fun moment that was! It was joyous! I’m not sure why or what was said. Maybe it was my laughing at the recognition of it being him coming toward me on my bike! Thought that was funny. He eventually began too with his army chant, “left, right, left, right, left.” He kept on. We laughed. We got back to his place. He eventually pulled in the drive, and I ran on.

He continued to be outside cheering me on, off and on with his coffee in hand, and a wave or cheer and a smile. Something supportive. It was super! I will be so grateful for those sweet memories, always! Fun and memorable are what he made that particular morning of training. It was great. Memorable, for sure. Completely unexpected and fun! Thank you, Mike!!

So, my trip to supporting my family friend turned about to be supportive to me, as well. Blessings go both ways!! 😊

What a loving gift I got, too, as I went to celebrate him! I got celebrated, too, for my training. I won’t have anybody I know cheering me on at the actual event, but, I will see Mike in my head and hear him in my ears as I make my transitions, and I finally cross the finish line winning for myself the title of triathlete.

Me Bike Train 2

Cheers to you, Mike. Thanks, too, for the fun, bankable memories! I love you.

Holly

Happy Hour at Starbucks: A Reward of Giving…Receiving

I was going to hog up the promotion and get two of something for myself – one for now and one for later.

So the law of giving and receiving, sowing and reaping, was fully in effect for me the other day. I was at Starbucks and was going to take advantage of this BOGO promo they have going. Happy Hour

I was going to hog up the promotion and get two of something for myself – one for “now and one for later.”

I offered the drink to a girl instead who I noticed only had a water – I didn’t know if she didn’t have money for a drink or what, but offered her the drink, instead. She accepted. I “took her order” and went in – 3 times. There were issues.

By the time I got her order right based on the parameters, I went back in and went from the front of the line to the back, where there were now 4 people in front of me.  This barrista, however, maintained my place and was already on my order. He popped over, and asked me if the drinks were hot or cold. “Hot,” I told him. He proceeded to make them for us.

He eventually looked my way and asked about size, “Grande.” “Yes,” I told him, then proceeded to inform him I wanted large, instead. So, my drinks were going to be ready quickly, but I was not. I was still four back and goin’ slow.

The kind barrista motioned me over to pick up my drinks, and I informed him I needed to pay for them, still. He told me, “Don’t worry about it, they’re on me, (Bravo) and by the time you got through the line they’d be cold.” This latter part was bunk, but I would not debunk him. He was very happy and gave them to me with a smile. I was very happy and accepted them with a smile!

I was so grateful. I took it as a gift from God gift away, as always. I thanked him and said, “God bless you,” smiled and went off. What a doll he was.

I walked outside and gave the girl her order. She liked it and so do I. What a good thing for us all. It feels good to give and good to receive. Beats being a coffee-hog. Thanks to God for His little gifts. They’re so sweet. One thing I’ve learned about God is when I give, He always does too, in some way, whether it’s joy, gratitude, coffee or all of the above.

Luke 6:38 explains: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Bam! – Luke came alive really quickly – I gave a vanilla bean caramel latte and got the same measured to me, and a little joy and gratitude, to boot. 🙂 Thanks, God! Your word does not return to You void.

Holly

For Love

Performance then, will no longer be my standard. I will now focus on practicing being loved by God, and loving toward myself, toward God and toward others! I will practice letting myself be loved first by remembering who God is, and focusing on how He has demonstrated His marvelous love toward me over all the years of my life.

July 13, 2018

Tonight I listened to some sermons which got me thinking about my performing for love. Always doing and striving. Trying to accomplish.

I have heard before that we tend to view God similarly to how we had a relationship with our earthly father. My perception of this is true, for me, it seems. This is to what I came tonight.

There are several reasons I feel that I have to perform to be accepted. One. I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for a long time, and two, I always felt I had to have something “good” going on or something to report to my dad to be accepted. I had to be dazzling or doing something – not that I ever was, really, but that is what I felt, still. That also goes for a father role model I had. It was the same thing with him. He actually told me once that his love for me was conditional. I hated that. He really drove the stake home there. I was pissed. That is clearly not love if it’s conditional.

There are people that say that once, saved, always saved. Also, that if you are saved, that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  That last part is scripturally backed up in Romans 8:1.

My problem with that is that I take it to mean if we are living as Christians, then of course there is no condemnation, but what about those times when we do actually sin, when we are say, being slothful or gluttonous – when those time occur, you are not technically living “In Christ,” in my estimation. That is a problem with me because I’m always seemingly sinning – maybe not ever day, but there are a lot of times when I overeat or am gluttonous, or lazy – those are my things, or I am not obedient to holy spirit instruction. Those actions result in “deathly” behavior. The bible says if we live in the spirit it is unto life and living in the flesh is unto death. I get it and I also feel its fruit – on both occasions. I know that all I need to do is confess, and the Lord will forgive me, but I do feel condemned, as I should because oftentimes I do those things willingly, like they are not as bad of a sin as are adultery or murder, but God weighs all sins the same. Either way, sin abounds. Grace abounds much more the bible tells me than sin, and if I consciously approached every decision like that, which I have – I love when I make the right decision, then yes, grace often follows that, in those cases, instead of it proceeding it. I’ve had it both ways.

My problem is that when I go against my inner promptings, I can’t help but to feel condemned or I have lost the glory. Like today. The other day I stood up for Christ, when asked in church about renewing a commitment. When I spoke with a cousin the other day, I revealed that I’d done this – maybe to get kudos, or maybe to just to fill the conversation. At any rate, I was feeling not to, but I did anyway.

I had a feeling check this afternoon and what I realized was I felt I’d lost this power I’d gained since I stood up last week.  I had a strength and boldness that I haven’t had previously, and today it was absent, I noticed. When I inquired why to myself it might have been, that is what came to mind – that was my first “off” moment since then. Turns out it was my first interaction with people since then too. ☹

Anyway, all of this made me realize how perfect I am always feeling I have to be – make sure I do it right – am checking all the boxes, and using my time wisely, am staying in the lines. Everything. Maddening is what I feel it is, maddening! Crazy. Maybe I’m alone too much, but I think it really is my hyper-aware personality.

I have been trained to “assess” my person, my emotions and where I’m at from the time I was 16 and when I was little even, I would always be on my mom’s case for doing things wrong. So, it is part of my make-up – part of the teacher nature in me – corrective by nature. It’s maddening, still, at times.

So, my point, still. I am in search of the truth. Right believing produces right living. This is what I’ve heard.

I believe much of the bible. I haven’t read all of it, but I worry that I am under constant scrutiny and it is exhausting. I live that way every day. It is how I am. I’m no longer interested in being that way, but if I do have to be on my p’s and q’s all of the time which I try and be, I’m out. That’s how I feel. I need to know what’s real.

So, I believe God loves me. I believe his love is unconditional, but the keys to the kingdom are not. That is where I falter. So, in a sense, love is conditional because acceptance is conditional? That’s how I feel.

The laws of sowing and reaping are surely in effect with our every thought/re(action), every moment of our lives. This is what scares me, maybe, because I’m not perfect. I need a right perspective because the mind-set I have now locks out love and is purely based on performance. That is how I feel. I’m accepted and loved somedays and there are times I feel the opposite. God is not like that. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, according to the bible.

I am going to begin to focus on love. It’s time to mature and accept the responsibility that yes, you screw up, on purpose even sometimes, and you will reap what you sow, likely. Get clear on your sins. I think the only unpardonable sin is rejecting the Holy Spirit – rejecting God.

This is what I felt I was doing when I was experiencing that “garden confession” on some level. I love God. I feel fallible. Christ’s strength can be made perfect in my weakness. Guess I need to humble-down and get with God more securely, practicing my faith more deliberately, and trusting that He is working in me every day, working to accomplish what He will through me, perfecting me for Himself.

Maybe I just need to let up on myself a little more. Maybe I am so cognizant of my sins because that is upon what I focus. I am going to focus on loving myself more – being more loving toward God – just that. Focusing on being perfect, as we are told to do in Matthew 5:8, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” is something I will not do by my own standards. I will work on loving myself, instead, and loving others. If I can do that, according to God’s word, God’s love will have been perfected in me.

Performance then, will no longer be my standard. I will now focus on practicing being loved by God, and loving toward myself, toward God and toward others! I will practice letting myself be loved first by remembering who God is, and focusing on how He has demonstrated His marvelous love toward me over all the years of my life.

Holly

Now Is Forever

Now Is Forever

This thought came to me as I sat on the couch the other day remembering some of my entries in my old journal I’d read recently that mirrored my current thoughts. What I found was myself in a state where I was downing myself for one imperfection or another – my lack of production over this summer, primarily!  Persecution got me nowhere, ever, but feeling badly, and failing to move forward with any specific productivity worth speaking of.

I thought about how I began to perpetuate that reality as I continued to think in that manner. So, I almost instinctually, and very quickly, decided to just change my mind, to change my thoughts, to change my reality. And, so, I did.

I will have a new now. I will have a new forever. “Now is forever.”  Now is positive. Now is Good!

Holly