Friday, August 21, 2009

Graduation Day

Fairy Pictures, Images and Photos

Welcome, dear reader. Come in, sit down, have a mug of coffee or a cup of tea. Find a comfy spot and read a while, rest, open your mind, and maybe find thoughtful contemplation. Everyone is welcome here. You stay may be as long, or brief as you feel necessary for your journey. While you are here, it is my sincere hope that you find a bit of what you need and leave some of your care and dead weight behind.

Recently I lost a 34 year old student of a massive heart attack. To me, Teresa was an amazing woman. She had been through a lot in her 34 years, given birth to 4 beautiful children, and was in a place in her life where she wanted to make a difference. Admittedly, I was not quite sure what to make of her at first, but as I grew to know her, I appreciated her deeply. It was shocking and deeply saddening that she was gone so quickly. It made me contemplate how brief our time is here and how we must make good use of every moment that we are given. Yet, I can only hope that as suddenly as she went, that whatever she was sent to this world to do or learn, she accomplished. That SHE got her graduation day. That now, she is on to the next kingdom where she will rule in divine service to her King and be a strong a wise servant.

Saturday Ms. Francis died at the age of 91. In our community you really had to be a moron NOT to know her. She was a local piano teacher, Lion's Club Member, Rotarian, the ram-rod of the volunteer EMS for years. There wasn't anything (as far as I am concerned), that Francis could NOT do. There were many a cold, dreary piano lesson before school when due to one thing or another, I just was not prepared to pursue the fine art of caressing the ivories. Her motherly and grandmotherly insight always seemed to know just what would help. Whether it was sending me in to watch cartoons with her husband, John Hugh (whom I adored equally as much), or suddenly needing another cup of coffee, Francis knew just what to do. In her kitchen with a mug of tea or hot chocolate in my hands, all my cares would slip away as we talked about all matter of things. There was nothing too frivolous or infantile that you could not tell Francis. When nobody else understood, Ms. Francis did. Francis knew me before I was born, so we'd always been connected. Her favorite story to tell me was of Mother and Dad's wedding. That was back in the 60's when women still did elegant things like wear hats and gloves to semi-formal and formal affairs. Francis played the organ for the wedding and wore a tangerine orange outfit. Due to the excruciating heat of the July afternoon, and no air conditioning in the church, Francis had orange hands for a week! She delighted in never letting Dad forget that fact! Francis was a strong, amazing, powerful, empowering woman. One I am so lucky to have had in my life. She was only a couple of years younger than my grandmother, who is still with us. Her daughters had her laid out in a deep plum suit. The color suited her well. She was, after all, royalty. Even at the visitation with her daughters, their children, and grandchildren around, I could feel her and John Hugh there in the room with us all. I could imagine them arm-in-arm, reunited in Francis' graduation day, watching us all lovingly remember not only her, but both of them and what they had meant to each of us in our lives. I'm going to miss Ms. Francis. Miss the thought that I'll ever be able to pop through the back door of that gorgeous old house and hear her wonderful voice exclaim over me and my latest news anymore. Happy Graduation Francis, if anyone deserved it, it was you.

Yesterday was my soul sister's birthday. Chas turned 26. It was as close to the birthday that I wanted for her as distance and circumstance would allow. Talk about an amazing young woman. This is my Chas. She has lived lifetimes in her 26 years. Lifetimes that could destroy weaker people. These lifetimes have, and still are carving a brilliant masterpiece in this woman. She is so amazing and does not even know the half of what and who she is. Chas has the survivor gene. Even when the brain box screams: "I can't anymore," the soul digs in, reaches above, and carries on. The best thing is that the Lord doesn't leave his daughters to manage on their own. We ask, and he leads us to each other. The stronger, more long conditioned, healed of the group, lock hands with the next, and she hold out her hand; locking hands with the next, and so on. We are an interlocking chain of wonderful, powerful women. The last may not know the first, but we are all united in a bond that many will never have the misfortune of understanding.

But, maybe then, it isn't misfortune at all! Maybe it's a profound privilege.

About a month ago I told my Chas that this was her butterfly year. She gets to exit the crysalis that has been her previous life, dry her wings, and start exercising them for her new life. For her new flight. I don't think she was impressed at all. There was even the occasional late night text expressing her dismay at being a butterfly. Now, she has a new apartment, in a new location, where she has vastly better opportunities. She is very likly on the cusp of a whole new job that will be such an amazing opportunity for her! I'm so excited I can hardly stand myself sometimes. It's her graduation day. She gets to start a new chapter in her life.

We can always get stuck in the disappointment that our lives aren't where we had envisioned them for our present stage in life, and we can cry, and throw fits, but what good does that do? It's really just a waste of energy, but sometimes we just need to express our frustrations, get it all out, and not be such a pressure cooker about all the road blocks. Implosions aren't good. It just makes us a mess on the inside.

"When I look back at where I've been,
I see that what I am becoming is a whole
lot further down the road from where I was."
--- Gloria Gaither

I'm in the middle of a graduation period in my life. It is good. I can't wait to see where I'm going. This life graduation is an adventure. One I'm looking forward to.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Soul Care 101

Welcome, dear reader. Come in, sit down, have a mug of coffee or a cup of tea. Find a comfy spot and read a while, rest, open your mind, and maybe find thoughtful contemplation. Everyone is welcome here. You stay may be as long, or brief as you feel necessary for your journey. While you are here, it is my sincere hope that you find a bit of what you need and leave some of your care and dead weight behind.

We all need soul care, most who come to the Sword and Butterfly do. One of the first places that needs to be healed, dear reader, is the heart. You cup, your heart has been given of till it is dry and has not been nourished, nurtured, or refilled as it so naturally needs. Today I shall direct you to the library. Here, I will point out a few volumes, then show you to a suite for a bubble bath and some much needed quiet time. I suggest you check one out, and work your way through. Each has found personal meaning in my life. I pray that you as well may find just what you are longing for within the pages.

The first is: The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkenson. It is a short read, but very full of powerful, healing truths. This is one to purchase and read at least once a year.

The second is: Fight Like a Girl by Lisa Bevere. This my friends, is the book that will draw you closer to God. Or at least, I pray that it will. I wondered why God created me if I didn't, couldn't please my husband. Well, come to find out, God has a divine purpose for His capstone creation, which as women, we are. Pleasing a man isn't my job. Isn't your job. Our job is to love our ultimate bridegroom, Christ. Work towards becoming the woman that He knows we can be. He already knows that we are beautiful, smart, and perfectly created in God's own image. If we work on loving him, perfectly, then there will be a smart man that comes along and seeks our hand to be his consort in the garden of this world that God entrusted to him. When we love ourselves enough to take care of the creation that we are in Him, then we reflect His glory to the world and are the blessings He intended for us to be.

The Shack by William P. Young, is another book. This book gave me the spiritual assurance that I needed to leave my abusive marriage. I met God on a new and more intimate level in this book. I knew that because of sin, we encounter bad in this world, and because God gave us free will, he chooses not to interfere, but to always work good from the bad. Because of the things I have experienced in the last 7 months of my life, I believe this to be a sacred truth. I have gone through many shadow bound valleys, but He has always been there with me, protected me, and brought me to the other side to experience Him and his love in new and more majestic ways. I pray that if you choose to pick up this volume, that you meet God on a whole new level too.

There are so many more books here that are wonderful for soul care. Try these first.

The hour grows late and we are needed for our gifts dear sisters. Revive your souls and rise up for your King. You are the crowning glory of his creation.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Beauty of the Feminine Form

Welcome, dear reader. Come in, sit down, have a mug of coffee or a cup of tea. Find a comfy spot and read a while, rest, open your mind, and maybe find thoughtful contemplation. Everyone is welcome here. You stay may be as long, or brief as you feel necessary for your journey. While you are here, it is my sincere hope that you find a bit of what you need and leave some of your care and dead weight behind.

Tonight I bring to you the ponderance of what is considered feminine beauty. I have to thank my sister, Sid for urging this thought to the surface. It had been churning well below the surface, but now, with a little encouragement, I have brought it into the cozy snug that is just off the Inn's Great Room. Here, we shall safely examine it in it's many fascets and perhaps come to some determinations of our own. I believe all women, from a very young age, wrestle with this question and most go to their graves yet a slave to horrible misconceptions of what is and is not beautiful.

I myself have struggled with the question of physical beauty from a very young age. First to be severely underweight, and then almost over night, become an obese child. It was a nightmare. I hated being the "fat kid," but what could I do when books and food were my only friends? In the 70's parents didn't quite understand things like that (but in my case, they came late to understand and regret their own nievete). Then came puberty, the bane of a young girl's existance; especially mine as it came so young. I needed a bra a whole year before my parents could come to grips with the fact their baby girl was becoming a young woman; a fact that is achived in the anals of the school photo albums. Junior High brought Weight Watchers. By my sophomore year, I was pretty good looking, but then there was a bigger price. I got hooked on the happy feeling of being accepted because I was finally "visually appealing" to what society acknowledged as beauty. From there, bulemia set in. Right along with Princess Di, I was skipping meals, gulping diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, pounding grapefruit juice, water, tea, and gensing before anyone in mainstream America knew what to do with it!

At seventeen years of age, I was a size 6 jean, and weighed 125 pounds, and with my frame, that was not a good thing. My cheeks were sunken, my pelvic bones pertruded. And I didn't care. I wanted more. Half the time I was sick because I had no immune system to speak of. I didn't care. I wasn't the fat kid anymore. I was thin. I was acceptable. Nobody in my familoy had to be ashamed of me anymore.

But really, were they ever? Or was it I that was ashamed of me?

All those Seventeen magazines, and Guess jeans, and Body Glove bathing suits.... Those pictures; telling me what the commercial idea of acceptable beauty was. That was what was beautiful and acceptable, right?

What about intelligence? What about a few curves and ripe, lush breasts? Some women these days are dying to buy a pair that I come by naturally. ***Giggles*** Some even by pairs of Gurnzy Cow Udders because that seems to be what they think are beautiful. (Forgive the ananlogy fair reader, I myself am but a lowly country girl and everything seems to relate back to the farm, or a fine American motor)

Reflect back on art, dear reader? Did the Masters paint and extole the virtue of the wafer thin woman? Perhaps a few, but consider Peter Paul Reubens' paintings for a moment. Even the "thinner" women still had curves and busts.

Young women these days are being encouraged to go even thinner that the young women of the high school years late 80's and early 90's, from which I hail. While out with a friend of mine the other night at a popular sports bar and grill, I watched the evening social scene play out before me. I noticed several young women about who were indeed-- wafer thin. I couldn't help but mentally call them: "See Through Girls." Honestly, I was afraid if they opened their over sized blouses, that were loosely belted at the waist, I could have indeed seen their vital organs through their skin. There could not have been an ounce of fat on their bodies. My second thought, (God forgive me) was: "How could a guy want to have sex with that? There is nothing to hold on to for one, and secondly, wouldn't he be afraid he'd break her?" How could young women like this actually be happy? Were they? The one in hot pink and black plaid looked miserable. Made me want to buy her a Guiness and a Cheeseburger and have a long chat with her about what makes a woman beautiful and unique.

Fair reader, feminine beauty comes in many forms. Honestly, it comes from the inside out. Confidence, intellgence, wit, and a sense of humor are all attribute that start from the inside and make a woman, no matter what her size, a beautiful, attractive person. Now, I am not condoning morbid obesity, or the horribly, morbidly thin. No, not at all; to the contrary I am encouraging you fair reader to get healthy. Weather it is eating healthier and exercising to gain control of weight one way or the other, or just merely to improve general health, you are worth it! When you take these steps, your inner beauty is cleansed and begins to shine through all the more.

As I have said before. You, fair reader, are the crowning glory of God's creation. You were the final creation, not an after thought, but the culmination of all else that was created before you. Do not abuse your body for the sake of what any lame brained, materialistic prick calls beautiful. God is the only one who gets to decide what is beautiful. Take some time dear friend, fall in love with yourself. If you are unhappy with where you are presently, make a game plan and go for it. But keep in mind what is healthy and realistic for you. Do not let your friends or family make this decision for you. It isn't theirs to make. Only yours. Just please, whatever you do, do not become addicted to loosing weight. Know when to say when and just maintain.

You are loved. Don't forget that.

Until next time~
Blessings, Liv