How We Connect

I’m pet sitting for a friend this weekend and one of the perks is getting to enjoy her beautiful home.  She likes for me to come stay in her home so her dog will be in her natural environment and less stressed while she’s away.  Seems to work, both for the dog and me.

After fixing my morning coffee, I decided to enjoy it outside on the patio.  It was still early enough that the Houston heat and humidity was not totally insufferable.  My mind started drifting to thoughts of the people I love….my parents, brother and husband (who now all live in Heaven), my son and grandsons, and my two best friends.  Thankfully, my son and grandsons live in the same area and I get to see them a lot.  My two best friends….although I talk to both of them all the time, I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like.  One lives in the New Orleans area and one lives in Oklahoma City; but what struck me is this…..no matter the distance or time, we never feel emotionally disconnected from one another.  Thanks to modern technology and social media, we can communicate any number of ways and I’m grateful for that, but the real connection is the love and friendship between us.  That is priceless and only a gift God can bestow.

What condition is your heart in today? (and I’m not talking about your last cardiology visit).  Do you spend enough time telling the people you love how much they mean to you?  I think most of us are guilty of assuming they just know and it’s not really necessary to say it….but you know what – say it anyway!  There’s no such thing as too much love.  There are millions of people in the world today searching for a way to have a heart connection with someone.  Be willing to be that someone.

If you have a heart full of love, share it with somebody today….it connects us to those we love and it can connect us to those who desperately need to be loved.  Be generous….share your heart, share your life.

Advertisements

Dealing With Grief

I had a conversation yesterday with my very close friend, Barbara Shawn, who is dealing with the recent and sudden loss of her son, David Gildon.  As we talked, I realized at some point, we all have to encounter dealing with grief.  It’s inevitable and one of those subjects we all need to talk about, but no one wants to.

I asked how she was and felt guilty for even asking because instinctively, I knew the answer.  Remarkably, she sounded much better than our last conversation a week ago.

We were discussing the importance of having a support network of people close to you to lean on.  It’s essential to be able to release your grief, both verbally and non-verbally.  Some days it’s enough to have someone hold you and just let you cry.  Other days, you need someone to talk to.  When you lose someone you love deeply, you’re dealing with a myriad of emotions; loss, bewilderment, depression and at some point probably anger.  It’s difficult to understand why God allowed it to happen and even more difficult to imagine how to go on without their physical presence in your life.  Thankfully, Barbara has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and relies on him to provide her with his peace and comfort.  She told me that some days she has to rely on him moment by moment just to get through the day.  I told her on the days she felt a little relief, to relish that and not feel guilty for having a brief respite from the pain.  Grieving can be a long process and is different for everyone.  It takes time to heal – don’t make the mistake of trying to short-circuit the process; this only results in repressed emotions and feelings of grief which can surface years later in anger and depression, leaving you with a scarred heart and an inability to fully experience love.

God can bring healing and comfort in many ways…..often through nature or feeling the warmth of an embrace from a spouse or close friend.  During times of grief, these are moments to build on.  Moment by moment and grace by grace, God will provide you with the strength and comfort to go on.  Let your heart grieve, and let Jesus carry you through the process.

Gradually, as time goes by, you will realize the good days have overtaken the bad and your memories have turned from pain to joy……

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Through Life’s Hard Places

Life is precious and precarious, at best.  We all have difficult seasons and sometimes difficult paths to follow, but perhaps one of the hardest is seeing a close friend or family member go through a personal tragedy.

On March 7th, my lifelong friend, Barbara Shawn, lost her beautiful son, David Gildon, in a terrible car accident.  David’s passing shattered the hearts of many, including his mother, his sister, Tammy Bowen and Mary (ChiChi) Biggs, his fiancee, plus many others in their respective families.

After receiving the news of his death, I sat paralyzed in shock in my living room.  My heart was broken for Barbara and the tears flowed as I tried to grasp the unimaginable grief she must be feeling.

It is human nature to want to reach out and be supportive of our loved ones during times of grief…but the bible speaks of carrying each other’s burdens.  How exactly do we do that? After the initial outpouring of support from friends and family, the visits, the food that is provided for the family, what happens after the funeral is over and life must go on?

For David’s family and his fiancee, their grief will not end this side of Heaven.  How then do we help sustain them?   Perhaps the best way to demonstrate our love is to allow the Holy Spirit to link our hearts to theirs and be willing to share those deep places of grief with them, as best we can. This may happen through phone conversations, cards or letters, or especially a hug when you’re with them. No one can measure the depth of their grief, especially Barbara’s, as a parent, unless you’ve been in the same circumstance, but we can continue to lift them up in prayer, listen to them and love them with open and tender hearts.

My message is this…..commit to help carrying their burden of grief and be willing to go the distance with them in prayer, in support and with much love.

I realize not everyone reading this post knows these two families.  Perhaps you do, or perhaps you’re a friend of mine.  Either way, I would greatly covet your prayers for my wonderful friends.

Thanks,

Cathy

“From One Parent to Another”

For those of you who are parents, you’ve no doubt figured out by now that parenting is perhaps the greatest adventure of all.  When your children come into the world, your life is inexplicably altered forever – there’s just no getting around it.  We have such hopes and dreams for their lives.

I heard a story recently about a young person who made a horrendous mistake that will no doubt wind up following him for the rest of his life.  I won’t go into details, but I was shocked someone so young could have made such a grievous error.  Sometimes I think we discount the fact that evil exists in our world.  Maybe some people simply don’t believe in the concept of evil, but the bible says it exists, and I certainly believe it.  How else can we explain some of the things going on in the world today?

We do our best to provide for our children in every way – to give them a good education, a comfortable and stable home life, to be good role models as parents and to love them unconditionally.  How then do we deal with unforeseen tragedy when it strikes in any form?  Our children need us so much more than we realize, and quite possibly, more than they ever verbalize to us.  We cannot afford to be lax with our attention, affection and uncompromising devotion.

When I was a younger mom, I went through a period of trying to be my son’s best friend.  I wanted to be the “cool” mom.  I thought it was important for him to like me and not just love me because I was his mother.  Looking at things from a totally different perspective some thirty years later, I see now that my role as a mother of a young boy and then teenager was to be a parent – not a friend.  Your children make much better friends when they’re 30!  God assigns us the task of being a teacher, guide, moral compass, unfailing supporter and yes, disciplinarian.  Children need boundaries in the worst way, especially when they’re teenagers.  Of course it’s completely normal for them to begin to test those boundaries the older they get; however, we must learn how to stay in constant communication with them.  We must learn how to be an integral part of their world at whatever age and whatever stage they’re going through.  We must learn how to be giving and wise at the same time.  Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do is say that dreaded word “no”.  Regrettably, many parents are too afraid of losing their child’s affection to ever do that.  As a result, the child then tries to assume the unfamiliar role as head of the household and all hell breaks loose.  Children were never meant to assume that much responsibility until they are adults.  It is our job as parents to exert our influence and wisdom over our children to shape their character.  It will hold them in good stead as adults if we stick to our guns and lovingly enforce the rules.  You may not be too popular for awhile, but believe me, they will thank you as an adult.

It grieves me no end to see children who may be brought up in affluent homes with no lack of material possessions, but yet, sadly lacking in parental love and guidance.  Parents get sidetracked with the notion the more financial security they provide, the better off their child will be.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Money and “things” will not save your child from drugs, pornography, premarital sex, and all the other myriad pressures children have to face today.  School teachers are there to educate your child – not raise them.  That’s your job as a parent.

I know I’m on a rant here, but it really bothers me there are so many kids out there today with parents present in the home, but not really in touch with their child’s life.  Time is the one commodity you cannot replace.  You can always give them more money, clothes, cars, activities, etc., but you only have so much time with them under your protective wing at home.  What am I saying?  Be there……be there in every way – not just physically, but emotionally and especially, spiritually.  Are you aware that God expects you to be their spiritual leader and guide as they mature enough to come to a saving knowledge of God’s truth and grace? Of course your church pastor, Sunday school teacher and other church leaders are there to reinforce what you teach at home, but don’t just leave it all up to them.  I wish I could say that I was always diligent in that area, but I wasn’t.  Thankfully, my husband was responsible for a large part of my son’s spiritual guidance and he has grown up to be a wonderful man and exceptional parent in his own rite, in spite of my shortcomings.

Let your child know in no uncertain terms that you will love them always and unconditionally with God’s love; that you will love and support them through all their mistakes and failures.  Tell them every single day not only how much you love them, but how glad you are to be their parent!  It makes a difference – a huge difference.  As they grow to be adults, it grounds them and provides a stability that will stay with them their entire lives.  They will be able to go through life with confidence because of the guidance and wisdom you provided.  Take the time, make the effort.  Careers and other cares of the world will come and go, but your time with your kids is short.  Make the most of it.

I’ll quit ranting now and leave you with this…..Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Words to live by…

See you next week,

Cathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Everyone Has a Backstory”

The term “backstory”, as defined by Websters dictionary, is a literary term meaning a set of events invented to develop a plot.  However, the secondary definition of this word can be used to describe a person’s history, or life story.

A friend recently suggested I should make my blog a little more personal, so, here’s my backstory…..

Growing up in southern Arkansas, my childhood was, in a word, carefree.  Trauma didn’t find me until my late twenties when my father dropped dead of a heart attack on the golf course.  Seven years later, my younger brother died accidentally when he was thirty. Seven years after that, my mother died of breast cancer, followed by the sudden death of my husband when he was 44.  Just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, over the next few years I went through a bankruptcy, suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer.  Throw in a couple of job losses along the way and you have a Job experience.

During this dark period I drifted away from God.  I became angry and couldn’t understand why he was letting all this happen to me.  It felt like punishment. I rationalized since I had wandered away from him spiritually, I probably deserved it.  However, God in all his mercy, still looked upon me with loving kindness when I finally turned back to him and he gently began to heal my broken heart.  Little by little, he helped me put my life back together.  It was different and it didn’t feel like “normal”, but I began to move forward going through the daily routine and allowing new people to come into my life.  Psalms 68:6 says “God sets the lonely in families.”  He has directed wonderful people across my path who have truly become part of my extended family.  I learned that you don’t have to share a gene pool with someone to feel like family.  My co-workers all became like family.  My best friend in New Orleans is truly like a sister.  She is the godmother of my two grandsons and we forget we’re not actually related!  The same is true for my lifelong friend in Oklahoma – we’ve been like sisters for almost 50 years now and the irony of that is it’s always been a long distance friendship.  I’m not sure I’ve even been around her more than perhaps a dozen times, if that many, over the course of almost 50 years.  That in itself is another story altogether.

While God did not choose to deliver me from all my circumstances, he did walk through each one with me.  What I’ve learned is the heart-felt realization he’s true to his word – he’s there every moment, whether I feel his presence or not, whether I understand what’s happening or not, and overall, his plans for me are good.

Hopefully this will give you a peek into my life and a little about who I am.  In writing these posts, my goal is to encourage you in any way possible as we journey together through life.  There have been a lot of adventures and “misadventures” in my life, a good deal of hardship, but also an abundance of love, joy and in these later years much more peace and contentment.

I would be greatly honored if you leave a comment and share a little about you!  Also, please share a link to my blog with your friends – http://www.cathydeskins.wordpress.com

Let’s get out there and have some fun each day and try to find the adventure in our lives!

Hope you’ll stop back by for the next post and bring a friend or two….

Cathy

“Flying”

This post is dedicated to my good friend Delvia Barrett, who loves aviation as much as I do.

When I was little, my favorite TV show was Sky King.  For the benefit of those of you not old enough to know what I’m talking about, it was a show that ran from the mid-fifties through the sixties.  It was about a rancher, his niece Penny and their twin engine airplane named “Songbird”.  The plots varied, but they always revolved around flying adventures of one sort or another.  It made a huge impression on me.  From the first episode, I was hooked.  I always knew I would learn to fly some day.

A lot of years passed before that dream became a reality.  Finally, the summer I was thirty, my time had come.  The little town I live in has a grass roots country airport with one main runway and several grass runways.  It was really hot that August afternoon I walked into the hangar that advertised flying lessons.  The sign said you could take a discovery flight for $10.00.  How could I possibly pass that up?  The owner of the flight school introduced me to one of the flight instructors.  I told her I wanted to take a discovery flight and paid my $10.00.  The next thing you know I’m following the instructor outside to a little two-seat red & white Cessna 150.  I was so excited I could barely breathe.

My instructor taught me how to do a “walk-around”, where you literally walk around the airplane inspecting the main flight control surfaces to make sure they all move freely.  I started to go around to get in the passenger side and he said, “no, get in on the left – you’re flying”.  What??????  “Excuse me,  you do understand this is just a discovery flight – I don’t know how to fly.”  “Well, you will in about 10 minutes.” As I got in and fastened my seat belt, the instructor began pointing out all the instruments on the instrument panel, explaining their functions.  Some of it made sense, some of it was total Greek. I put the key in the ignition, yelled “clear” to alert anybody standing close to the plane that I was starting the prop, and turned over the engine.  The propeller came to life and an instantaneous smile spread across my face.  I looked over at my instructor and he was smiling too.  “Happens every time, he said.”  He explained how to use the rudder pedals to steer the plane while we were still on the ground.  I pushed in the throttle and used a little bit of left rudder and we were off down the taxiway.  As we got to the edge of the runway, I turned the plane in a 360 degree circle, craning my neck to make sure no other planes were landing.  Since it’s a small airport, there’s no control tower to regulate traffic – you’re on your own to make sure you spot other planes.  I edged out onto runway 14 and turned the Cessna into the wind.  After announcing my intention over the radio advising other traffic I was taking off, I gave it full throttle with enough right rudder to keep it centered down the middle of the runway.  The speedometer crept up between 50-60 knots and I pulled back slightly on the yoke.  All of a sudden we were airborne.  I was flying!!!

We spent the next thirty minutes doing basic turns and climbs.  I was so excited I’m not sure how much of that lesson I soaked up.  All too soon my time was up and we were re-entering the traffic pattern to land.  The instructor told me to gently leave my hands on the yoke and follow him through on the controls as he landed.  We glided down and I felt the slight skid on the pavement when the wheels made contact with the runway.  He let me taxi back to the hangar and park the plane.  I helped him tie it down and walked back inside.  I immediately signed up for my next lesson the following Saturday.  I was on Cloud 9 as I drove home.  There aren’t accurate words to describe the feeling you get in the air.  Of course, it’s still exciting to get on a commercial airliner and scream down the runway at 120 knots, but in a small plane, you really get more of the sensation of flying, especially if you’re the pilot.

If you’re wondering what the spiritual context of this post is, it’s this….God cares about every dream in your heart.   This is one he made come true for me.

Hope you enjoyed it!  Please leave a comment if you’d like.  I’d love to hear about some of your life’s adventures.  You can also sign up to follow my blog and receive an email whenever there’s a new post.

See you next weekend,

Cathy

 

 

 

 

“When Life Gets Messy…”

Within all of us is a desire to know God.  We were hard wired that way from the beginning.

Some of us accept God’s invitation to know him through his son, Jesus Christ.  Others do not.  Wherever you stand on this issue, most of us would agree there are plenty of times when our lives get messy.  Depending on the severity of your circumstances, the analogy of this blog theme Is Your Life An Adventure might make your life sound like more of a misadventure at times.  Which brings us to this question, what do you do when things go wrong and life gets hard?  Our instincts are to turn to someone for support, a family member or a trusted friend perhaps; even if it’s just to vent and get some moral support.  We just want to feel like we’re not out there alone.  I can only speak for myself and say that in most instances, I try to remember to turn to God.

My oldest friend and “southern sister” (which, in the south, means we quit referring to our friends as friends and just claim them as family members) said to me in a conversation, “Gee, you’re really great at trying to do God’s job for him.”  Guilty, I thought.  Sad, but true.

Most days I try to follow him in my life’s adventures along the trail.  Sometimes, though, I weary of his meandering pace, his tendency to stop and read every historical marker…in other words, I get impatient.  That’s when I race around him shouting “I’ve got this Lord – see you later”.  He allows me to race past until I’m within feet of going over a cliff, and then suddenly he’s beside me saying “what are you doing”?

There are several scriptures that encourage us to “wait upon the Lord”.  Waiting not only requires patience, it also means we are to wait expectantly, believing he will see us through whatever challenge we’re facing.  God never promised he would instantly deliver us from all our problems, but he did promise he would always be with us – with us, right there in the big middle of our disaster, in the middle of our loneliness when there’s no one to talk to, in the middle of the night when we have  no clue what to do next.  As I said in the opening paragraph, we all have a desire somewhere inside us to want to know God – he placed it there.  Why?  Because he loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.  John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If your life has become more adventure than you can stand right now, maybe you should consider inviting him along on the journey.  He’ll bring the snacks.

See you down the path….

Cathy