Left Hand! Best Hand!

 left-hand

I watched my mother as she sat crossed legged on her bed with a stenographer pad on her lap. Her hand moved smoothly across the paper; intermittently stopping to dot an “I” or cross a “T”.  She was writing a letter to her mother who lived in North Carolina. Letters to her mom were usually long since this was her way of sharing all the happenings of our family. In the sixties, long distance calls were saved for urgent messages and special occasions; so my mom wrote often.  As I observed her writing, I marveled as she filled page after page in her fluid cursive script before signing off with a flourish: Greeba D Foster.

In my 7-year-old mind, this was the most magical and amazing thing in the world. Cursive writing!  I tried to imagine the day I’d be able to  not only duplicate all those swirls and curly “Q’s”  but read it as well.  I fretted over ever learning this delightful ability since I was struggling in school to hold the pencil the “right” way in my left hand just to make regular letters. I did manage to pass first grade with an “A” in penmanship but cursive writing was still a long ways off.  By third grade I still was not able to read or write the hieroglyphics of cursive writing.  I remember thinking: “There’s no way they’re going to let me pass to 4th grade if I don’t know how to cursive write.”  In the meantime I was still facing some challenges in my left-handed world from sitting in desks that were designed for right-handed students.  What I ultimately learned about cursive writing in a left-hand word was this:

The thrill of finally mastering this art form (With a BIC pen!) was not the way I held the writing tool nor the kind of desk I sat in; it was the way I slanted the paper!

Here’s to left-handed cursive writers everywhere!

No More Guilt!

eraseworkingmomguiltI had coffee with the Lord this morning. As I sipped mine, I reflected on the choices I had made the day before and my biggest regret was that I hadn’t spent any time with Him. I thought about it, but got distracted and did something different. Which made my time with the Lord this morning a little less joyful because I spent a lot of that time apologizing. Is this what God wants?  I don’t think so, do you?

Guilt becomes a barrier that prevents warm interaction between your Creator and you.

God is light. When I spend time with Him, I am in the light also. His light is warming and comforting like a big bowl of mashed potatoes swimming in butter! His light heals like a soft blanket. Spending quality time with my Lord gives me direction for the day and guidance for my life. Why would I want to miss the best part of my day?

Because we don’t want to feel guilty or ashamed.

We usually shy away from things that don’t make us feel good. We count up our poor choices and assume that God gets some kind of a crazy pleasure in telling us how bad we are.

He doesn’t.

What our Father God does is open our eyes to help us see ourselves as He sees us and the first thing He sees is love and love, the bible says, makes us not ashamed.

Think about it. When we embrace God’s love and forgiveness, instead of shame and guilt, we’re more likely to go out and make better choices. Guilt and shame leads us to sabotaging our efforts and making the same poor choices again. It becomes a very discouraging cycle.

Here’s some good news…

We can change the cycle! Today, make a different choice. It doesn’t have to be something spectacular.

As you think about the changes you’d like to see in your life, what’s some small thing you can do that points you in the right direction?

Don’t measure this “small something” by how far it gets you down the road. Feel good that you’ve done something that gets you on the right road, going in the right direction! Ultimately, you will get where you need to go.

Here’s something else you need to know…

You’re not alone on that road! God is there with you. Walk with the Lord today. Do you need forgiveness for something you’ve done? OK, let’s fix that now….

Father we come before you now thanking you that when we ask for forgiveness, you give it… Every time!   Here’s what I’m asking you to forgive me of __________________

Lord thank you for forgiving me and I’m especially grateful that you’re not going to give this another thought so why should I? I am forgiven! Amen!

Alright! Are you smiling? Are you feeling better? You should be. You just touched the Father’s heart. He loves it when His kids come to Him.

Today is the day that the Lord has made… I’m going to rejoice and be glad in it. Join me!

CHOICES!

Good Housekeeping Quote

Good Housekeeping Quote

There was a time I thought I was a person who didn’t like choices. I didn’t like having too many things to choose from. Simple options were all I needed: Vanilla or chocolate? The white or the black? Peanut butter and Jelly or Baloney?

Simple.

But life offers so much more than a few selections or possibilities. What to choose becomes more challenging and the outcomes more diverse. I wish I knew what the “Right” answer or choice should be but the “Right” answer seems multi-faceted and potentially there could be more than one “Right” choice.

How do I get back to simple?

I turn to God and His Word. The choices become easier to make in the light of His Word. I may not know what the 800th step will reveal but I know the step right in front of me has been ordered by God and it’s mine to take… if I choose to do so.

So…. How do I make that choice?

I first ask myself: “Why do I really want to make this choice? What do I stand to gain or lose? I consider that.

Next, If the Lord gave me a “do over” would I make this choice again or would I hesitate? Why or why not?”

At this point, I might be tempted to “go with the flow” it’s just easier. But I’ve been given a choice and a chance to make a decision that will impact the rest of my life. I’m going to think about this some more.

Finally, I, on purpose, make a decision that is not based on anyone else’s emotions, beliefs or attitudes but my own (Cause I have to live with this choice) and I make the best decision I can with God’s help. I know He won’t twist my arm but He will put His “two cents worth” in if I’m willing to hear it.

Then the choice is up to me.

Exercise In Nine Feet Of Water? I Don’t Think So!

I signed up for the “Y” and eagerly looked forward to my first water aerobics class. The brochure said beginner and expert swimmers would enjoy the session. I figured I was as close to a beginner as I could get: I don’t know how to swim! How deep could the water be anyway? 4 maybe 4 and half feet? My 5 feet 2 and a quarter inch could handle that.

When I arrived, I grabbed a few towels at the front desk and headed for the outside lap pool. A few early morning risers were already swimming laps. I noticed two ladies at the far end and strolled in their direction. “Are you here for the water aerobics?” I inquired. They grinned in welcome. “Yes!” “I’m Frieda.” Said one. She was slim with gray curly hair. The other was pleasingly plump and pleasantly proportioned. Her name was Nancy. She had a delightful Scottish accent and immediately set to work making me feel at home.

“First we have to get you a buoyancy belt.” She explained. I had no clue what that was. Turns out it’s supposed to keep you afloat in the deep water. I eye it suspiciously. It didn’t look like much to me. Nancy assisted me with getting it cinched nice and tight around my waist before leading the way into the pool. “Just follow me.” She reassured me. “I promise, you will float.” Nancy descended the ladder on the nine feet side and quickly slid into the water. “Oooh. It’s a wee cold!” She called out. “Just get your shoulders under the water as soon as you can and you’ll warm up quickly.”

I cautiously tested the water. Yeah, it was cold! Slowly, I eased my body down the ladder . Nancy cheered me on all the way. “There you go! You’re almost there. Now, dunk your shoulders under so you can get used to the water.” It took me a few minutes but I finally made it completely in and promptly proceeded to go under! Nancy was immediately by my side. “Don’t panic! Just relax your body and let the belt do the work. It will keep you above the water. Trust the belt to do it.” I wanted to believe her. I really did. But I grabbed hold of the side of the pool for dear life. I wasn’t about to let go!

Just then the instructor, Carolyn, showed up. Nancy called out to her in greeting. “Hey there Carolyn! Meet our new comer, Edwina. This is her first time and she can’t swim!” Carolyn smiled and waved. “Welcome Edwina! Let me get you a noodle!” She walked over to plastic bin and picked up what looked like a long piece of colored Styrofoam. Stooping beside me where I was still clinging to the side of the pool; she offered me the noodle and proceeded to explain its merits. “This is just a little something to make you feel safer. Put it under your arms or you can sit on it.” I tried it under my arms and what do you know? That was exactly what I needed! Carolyn turned on some Chubby Checker music and donned some really weird looking webbed gloves before getting in the pool herself to start the class.

The next hour was spent having the most fun I’d ever had in a pool! I did have a few close calls during the aerobic routine. Once I leaned forward just a tad too much and lost my balance. I thought I was going under and begin flailing the waters. Carolyn was there in an instant. “I got cha. Don’t panic” Pointing up to the life guard, she gave me a little bit more encouragement. “See that young lady sitting up there?” She’s got her eye on you too. You’re covered!” The life guarded nodded in my direction and waved. Between the belt, the noodle, Carolyn AND the life guard, I was destined to stay alive until the end of class! Later, I gave Carolyn and Nancy big hugs and thanked them for making the day very comfortable and enjoyable for me. They congratulated me for braving the deep waters on my first visit. I thanked everyone and assured them I’d be back for the next class.

Later as I dried off and dressed to go home, I thought about the very valuable life lesson I’d learned.
First, I pondered: What in the world would make me get in nine feet of water when I know I can’t swim?
• I was encouraged
• I had support
• I had help
• I wasn’t judged or made to feel incompetent
• I was reinforced when I tried
• I felt genuinely welcomed

Doesn’t the Lord do the very same thing with us?! Oh yes He does! He truly helps us to navigate through the ‘deep waters’ of life! As I applied that lesson to my relationship with God, I felt His love in a whole new way! I felt like the little girl from the movie, “The Help.” The Lord was telling me, “ You is smaaart. You is kiiind. You is important! The grammar police may not like it but I was sho feelin blessed!
Have a great day!

Enjoy Your Status!

This morning I woke up and rolled over with a groan. Where was this feeling of discontent coming from? I mentally walked backward through the previous day. I’d had a pretty good Saturday. I’d even blogged about it so why were thoughts of condemnation beating me up? An answer started formulating in my brain. “You dropped the ball somewhere!” Thank the Lord He held up a big STOP sign right then!

“There is therefore NO condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!”

OK Lord, I agree with you but Why am I feeling this way? Again, the Lord responded quickly,

“Old habits die hard.”

I buried my head under the covers and prayed, “Lord isn’t there an easy way to get through this? I’m so tired of same old, same old! You know my heart! You know I don’t want to keep falling in the same holes. What can I do?!” This time the answer wasn’t immediate. I held my breath, straining to hear what God would say. After a few moments I realized how tense and rigid my body was! A scripture squeezed through my self-imposed stressed out state of mind.

“In quietness and in peace shall your strength be.”

I took a deep cleansing breath and slowly let it out. I poked my head from under the blankets and inhaled again. A calmness descended and my thoughts cleared enough to hear the quiet encouragement being spoken to my heart,

“You are my child. Enjoy the status.”

Status? I have status? Hmmm….As a frequent flyer, I’ve earned priority boarding status with a few airlines. I just recently discovered I even have TSA pre-check status which enables me to sail through the security line without having to haul out my laptop, take off my shoes or take off my jacket. I love having that status! But what is this ‘status’ the Lord’s talking about? God begin speaking my language and gave me an analogy.

Consider the kids of celebrities, He said. By virtue of who their parents are, they have elevated status in society. They haven’t done anything to earn it except be born. They inherited favored status as a birthright.

The Lord is saying you and I have the same distinction!

Because of who our Father is, we can relax and enjoy the privileges of who we belong to. We didn’t do anything to earn it and we can’t do anything to keep it. Our sole task is to gracefully receive the status He is bestowing upon us as His kids. Trust me, when I was told at the airport that I could get in the short line, I didn’t waste any time asking “Why?” I got in the short line!

Today, marvel at your new found status (if you weren’t aware of it before) Square your shoulders and know that if God your father be for you; there is absolutely nothing that can be against you. God’s got your back! You’re his son or daughter and He has great plans for you as His child. Don’t let condemnation cheat you out of your blessing! The Lord will walk you through the ups and downs of the process you have to walk through but He’s not grading you on your efforts, He’s looking for you to fully surrender to Him… the ONE who is doing the work in you!

NOTE: After reading this journal entry if you’d like to know how to become one of God’s kids, click the link below and welcome to family!
Who Am I? A story of self-discovery

(Click on the “Who Am I” link on the bottom of page)

Fresh Paper!

Ah! Fresh paper!  Get out your brand spanking new 2014 notebook, grab your favorite writing utensil and open to a fresh page. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Smell the paper.

Feel the paper.

 Now open your eyes and allow your imagination to ignite as you prepare to put pen to paper to leave an impression that flows from your soul. That’s what I call journaling!  

How does journaling differ from a Facebook post?  My analogy of the ever moving FB wall is that it’s a public view of our random thoughts and feelings of the moment. FB posts, just like our thoughts, come and go and usually are quickly forgotten unless we get a lot of “likes” or comments  to the post. Even then, that post will soon be buried amidst the new posts, pics and comments.  Journaling for me, on the other hand, is a way to capture thoughts that I can ponder later.  Often when I go back to my journal entries, I’m encouraged by my own writings!  It’s as though someone else wrote it specifically for me. Kinda sounds like a story  I read of someone who was able to write and send messages back to their younger self in the hopes that they would make better choices and decisions after reading the notes. The  “Fresh Paper” note that I would send back to my 16- year-old self would be:  “Don’t get off the bus!”

I was on my way downtown to the GED testing center to finish the last segment of my test. I was focused and feeling confident that I would pass it this time.  It was my second go at it.  I’d missed the  math portion the last time by a few points and today I would be retaking that portion again. I looked out the window and begin to plan what I wanted to do after the test. Back then my options were limited to one thing: My boyfriend. 

Teenage hormones and distracting thoughts are not a good combination! 

Before I knew it, I had convinced myself that the math portion was not what I needed to do that day.  I got off the bus and headed to my boyfriend’s house instead.  It would be two years and a baby later before I finally finished and passed that test!  If I had found an envelope on the bus  with my name on it with a note inside that said,

“Girl, stay your butt on this bus!  As much as you think your life revolves around that guy right now, in just a few short years, he will be a bad taste in your mouth!  In thirty years, the same characteristics you find so attractive now; his free spirit and impulsivity, will have him jobless and often homeless trying to scrape up a living.  Go finish your test and go home!  PS. If you’re bound and determined to give in to your raging hormones today, then can you at least go take your test first? I promise you won’t regret it.  Signed:  Your 54 year-old self.

Well, of course there was no note, and in hindsight, I know I should have stayed on that bus!  But you know what?  The hindsight of the “stay on the bus” lesson has helped me.  I find it easy to bail on things that are less than appealing to me. I often have to talk myself into “staying on the bus” and seeing things through to the end.  It’s not always easy but I’m not disappointed when I do.

It’s a new year!

Time for fresh paper.

Time for fresh thoughts and behaviors.

 If you’re facing a challenge that you really don’t want to deal with, it’s easy to allow yourself to get distracted by things or people that are not in your best interest. “Stay on the bus!”    The ride might be a little bumpy but stay on it anyway.  The best is yet to come! (I promise!)

© 2014 Everything Edwina! By Edwina Frazier

My First Journal

My mom gave me my first journal when I was 18. I’d always loved writing but the gift of that journal started me on a path that has continued for over 30 years! This new blog, “Everything Edwina!” will be my online journal where I’ll post my random thoughts and feelings. Why? To meaningfully connect to like-minded bloggers and others who might drop in to visit for a word of insight or encouragement!  Here’s to an amazing year!  Cheers!