Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On Being Wounded

I have been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia series on audio. I read it aloud to the kids when they were little...and decided it was time for someone to read it to me.

I've always known about the Christian symbolism in the book, but somehow it has hit me anew while listening to The Horse and His Boy. There is one part of the book where a lion attacks Aravis while she is riding on Hwin. She ends up with scratches from the lion's claws down her back. She is laid up with these wounds for some time afterwards. Later on in the book, Shasta discovers that it was Aslan who wounded Aravis. He asks Aslan why he would do such a thing. Aslan answers that he will only tell Shasta his own story, not Aravis's story.

I have a story. I have been wounded. As I look back at my life, I see indications that the Lord knew what was going to happen to me all along. He knows my story even better that I do. I couldn't prevent my deep wounds from happening even though it seemed as though I should have been able to. I wanted to set the record straight with those who misunderstood me, but the Lord would not allow me to. He closed the doors time and time again and sometimes didn't open the doors at all.

 I really believe that He wounded me. I have gotten into discussions about this very topic in the past with people who disagree. They would say, "Oh no. The Lord never wounds, but he only allows us to be wounded." I disagree because the scriptures mention that the Lord afflicts. (Psalm 119:75) Besides that, if He doesn't do it...then is He asleep on the job when it happens? Does He hire the devil to do his dirty work? Is He actually a cruel God who stands by and watches us get hurt without coming to our defense? No! Of course not.

God is good. He is just. He has purposes that we don't understand. It really was His plan that I be terribly misunderstood and consequently rejected by people I loved deeply. I don't know if I'll ever understand the reasons why on this side of eternity. I am coming closer than ever to being totally at peace about this. I know the truth is that it was supposed to happen.

Here is a quote that I love from the book. It occurs while Shasta is speaking to a mysterious traveling companion after getting lost in a fog. He concludes that he is the most unlucky boy. This is what Aslan says to him:

"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."

He has greater purposes for the "misfortunes" that we encounter during our lives. He is working in ways that we are not aware of. I'm getting closer. Yes...I am.

I only now ask for your prayers that the ruminating about it would stop. It sounds easy to others to simpy stop thinking about it...but it isn't easy. It is like my thoughts automatically gravitate towards this deep groove running through my mind. I would appreciate your prayers about this.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Beautiful Children

It has been a while since I have been here. Allen and Audra are home from college. In June, Audra will be going to Beaver Camp up in the Adirondacks. She will spend the summer working as a camp counselor. Allen had planned on going to Colorado to work on maintaining trails in the Rockies, but his plans have changed. Instead, he will be staying here for the summer. He already has gotten a job with a landscaping company. He will start on June 1st. In the meantime, he has gone up to Beaver Camp to work for a few days. This coming weekend he will be driving to NC to join his ultimate frisbee team in a tournament. Next week, his girlfriend is coming here for a visit. She lives outside of Chicago. Alicia and I haven't met her yet. Jamie met her when he went to IWU to pick up Audra.

This weekend was Alicia's junior prom. This is my favorite picture of all!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Winter Hike 2016

Every year my husband and son, along with Ed (a family friend) go on a winter hike in the Adirondack Mountains.
Allen is now up to 42 high peaks. Only 4 more to go to become a 46er! Jamie is up to 9 high peaks.

They hiked 2 high peaks. Tabletop and Colden.

Here are Allen and Jamie on Mt Colden. Allen has hiked to the top of this mountain before, so only added one new high peak on this trip. Both Jamie and Ed added two. That is Mt. Marcy in the background.  They had a great time. I picked them up from the thruway exit on Monday night around 7:30. I'm proud of them!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Devotional Blog

You should check out my devotional blog. Click on the butterfly in the margin on the right. It is so much better than the fluff I write on this blog.

Friday, February 19, 2016

And now, the 2016 list of 51 things you might not know about me

I can't get motivated to work on the story I started.

I just found this old post and decided to try it again. So here we go again....51 things about me that three people will read. And 2 out of 3 people who read my blog are my it will be very boring for them.
  1. I feel things so deeply that my heart still aches even years later.
  2. I wish that wasn't the case....but I suppose that it makes me much more sensitive to the feelings of others.
  3. I remember details of events that happened as far back as my childhood.
  4. I'm usually good at and have an innate sense of direction...except for when I don't.
  5. Consequently, I don't fear getting lost...even if I am driving somewhere that I have never been to.
  6. In college, during my undergrad, I studied mathematics...which was a totally wrong major for me. During this time, I figured out that I really wasn't a mathematician. Rather, I was a person who was fairly good at memorizing formulas and then plugging in numbers to get an answer. (Okay...maybe I was a little better than that, but not much)
  7. I was very stressed out about #6, but I was suffering from a mental illness and surviving that took all of my energy. I had nothing left to figure out a better major.
  8. I cannot figure out how I passed some of the classes I took during that dark period of time...particularly during the spring of 87. I am positive that I should have failed my linear algebra class.
  9. I am melancholic and I hate it! 
  10. I'm a pretty good cook. I have even made up recipes that have turned out to be delicious.
  11. I've never been much of a baker. I leave that to Martha.
  12. I miss being a stay at home mom.
  13. But I DO love my job and I feel very blessed to have found something that fits me so well.
  14. I hate the television show: Shark Tank. (It's on right now.) My husband loves it. I think I hate it because I know that if I ever was on that show, I would be chewed up and spit out by the millionaires on the panel. Especially by "Mr Wonderful" who I can't stand because he is so mean!
  15. I can't eat very creamy food....which makes me sad because I love ice cream.
  16. I have given up eating meat that comes from animals that walk on four legs.
  17. I take 150 mg of bupropion daily. If I don't take it, I turn into a depressed recluse.
  18. I shouldn't write a list of 51 things when I am in a melancholic mood.
  19. On the last list I wrote, in 2006...For #32, I wrote "I won't go to a high school reunion." Well...I went to one this past summer and I had fun!
  20. I can speak and understand some Spanish, but I am not fluent.
  21. I really want another dog. I think it would be therapeutic for me.
  22. I married someone who is not a dog person! This is very frustrating to me!
  23. In spite of #6 above, I had absolutely no trouble subbing for a geometry class at Pal-Mac HS two years ago and even went over a proof with them on the board.
  24. I subbed for a trigonometry class next and couldn't remember a thing! I was useless!
  25. I always wanted to be in a musical during HS, but never did it. I was finally in a major production when I was 29. I was in the chorus. My husband had the lead.
  26. I can't go anywhere with my husband where he does not run into someone he knows. I sometimes get annoyed by this.
  27. I love Nicciolata. It is the best. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out. I suggest that you buy a jar and enjoy a spoonful from time to time.
  28. I love Mexican food.
  29. My hair is curly. It never was curly until I was in my 30s. I like it.
  30. The problem with having curly hair (and being the only one in the family with curly hair) is that if someone finds it in the food, you can't pretend it isn't yours.
  31. I suffer from insomnia very often. 
  32. Luckily I have learned to function fairly well on little sleep...which is interesting considering that on my list in 2006, I claim to absolutely need 8 hours of sleep. I've adapted out of necessity.
  33. I hate chocolate bars with coconut in them. Coconut does not belong in any candy!
  34. When presented with a box of chocolates, I usually end up with the one with coconut in it or something just as gross.
  35. I think that all of the chocolates in a box of chocolates should have caramel in them. Don't waste my time with all the others.
  36. My life verse is Job 23:10. 
  37. I sometimes stalk people on the Internet. I'm admitting this because I am fairly sure that most people do this from time to time.
  38. I wonder if anyone ever stalks me on me Internet.
  39. I sometimes Google myself to see what comes up.
  40. I wish I was more adventurous. I'm a bit envious of people who are. You would think that I could just make myself be more adventurous, but I can't seem to successfully do that. I'm very cautious. It is my downfall.
  41. I would like to go to Europe. I never expected to reach age 49 without ever getting there yet.
  42. I DID make it to South America and I'd like to go again.
  43. I can't wear high heeled shoes. It's that trick toe again. (See #20 from 2006) I even have trouble with some flat ones. The cuter and more feminine the shoe, the less likely I am able to wear it without trouble.
  44. I am doomed to wear old lady shoes some day.
  45. I learned to cook simply by watching my mother in the kitchen. When I got married, there were things that I had never made before, but I made them just as if I had because I had watched my mother do it hundreds of times.
  46. My kids never wanted to spend any time with me in the kitchen. This made me sad while they were growing up because I always thought cooking would be an activity I shared with them. I'm worried that they won't know how to cook when they need to some day.
  47. When I was graduating from high school, several people suggested that I study library science because I worked at our town's public library. I thought they were crazy! I swore that I would never do it.
  48. Becoming a librarian was a very good decision for me. It fits me very well and I am very happy in this profession.
  49. I'm still surprised and amused that I have a masters degree and career in my middle age. I never would have dreamed that I would accomplish that. Wow! Who knew?
  50. I have tinnitus. In both ears. It usually doesn't bother me until I am in a quiet room. Recently, I've started going to sleep with white noise playing. It helps a lot. I put it on a timer that is timed to turn off two hours after it starts.
  51. I typically play ocean waves as my white noise. My husband jokes about having sex on the beach.
And that, my friends, is my 2016 list of 51 things you didn't know about me! Ten years after the other one! So much has changed in 10 years...but I would say that the old list is still about 84% true. I'm still somewhat of a math geek (but not a true mathematician) in that I actually went through the list, counted the number of things that are no longer true, and figured that percentage out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Safe-guarding My Heart

I have been thinking that I need to tell more of my story. The good parts that came later. Today I ran across this blog post. I feel like I could have written it myself.

Also...running across Jack's obituary a few weeks ago has reminded me of my story. The Lord has been pestering me to share it. So here goes.

It was the fall of 1988. I was heartbroken over losing what I had believed to be the love of my life. I've touched on that part of the story several months ago. I was just recovering physically from a two year long struggle with a major depressive episode that had been kicked off by hypomania. I had no idea what had happened to me, but I knew that whatever it was, it was slowly going away. I was beginning to finally feel like myself again. I started once again recognizing the girl who had left for this adventure called college in August of 1986. I had lost her for two years.

I knew that whatever "it" was that had plagued my life for two long years was finally receding, and I was closer than ever to being normal again...except that my heart was absolutely crushed. I thought it would be impossible to ever repair it and carry on in life. I also had just broken up with another young man by the name of Brian. He and I had dated for approximately 8 months. I knew that I didn't love him and that he didn't love me either. Something happened to make me realize that I needed to end the relationship. Brian was scheduled to come by my room and I knew that I wouldn't drag the relationship out any longer. I broke it off with him when he came. I knew that this was the right decision and felt a tremendous amount of peace in my heart after I had done it. I had broken up with him in a respectful, kind, and composed matter. It was actually a boost to my confidence that I actually could make rational and good decisions....which I had found very difficult to do while in the depths of depression.

I was laying on my bed...staring at a poster on my dorm wall, crying because of my broken heart. My contrite broken spirit. I sacrificed this to God. (Psalm 51:17). I cried out to him in my pain and sacrificed my heart to Him. I asked the Lord to never allow me to date anyone ever again until it was the person I was supposed to marry one day. I didn't care how long it took. I was so done with going out with guys and then breaking up. I never wanted to experience the horrible broken heart of losing someone you fall in love with, and I was tired of dating guys who ended up being a half hearted fling. Although I was still a virgin at this point, I felt like I had given too much of myself physically and emotionally to the men I had dated. I was really regretting that. I had believed the lie that if a girl doesn't cross the line of actually getting naked and "doing it," or touching in certain places...then she is pure. I no longer believed that lie. I knew that I was not really pure. A virgin, yes...but I didn't feel pure anymore. I had kissed too many, hugged too many, exchanged words of love with too many. All of those things are sacred. Not just the final physical act.

So I made this pact with God. In so doing, I defined "dating someone" as being recognized as part of a couple. As being boyfriend and girlfriend. Of exclusively dating that one and only. My agreement with God did not include going out on a date here or there. In order to find someone to spend your life with, you need to start somewhere...and this means going out on a date from time to time in order to get to know someone. I also made a promise to God that I would have no acts of verbal or physical affection with any man until He showed me that that person was the person I was meant to marry. This meant no kissing or even hand holding. Some people might think this is rather prudish, but I know this was truly one of the best decisions I ever made regarding dating. I really wish that I had dated this way from the start. I wish I had never fallen into the foolish pattern of dating that so many of us fall into. That pattern is a recipe for broken hearts. It would have saved me from so much pain and anguish. During this time, I asked the Lord to make it plain to me whether or not to go on subsequent dates with the men I started to get to know. He was faithful in doing that.
I did not have one single date for about two years following this prayer. This was a very good thing.
During these two years, I often renewed my dating agreement with the Lord. He took care of me and brought me healing during this time. I graduated from college, moved back to Rochester, and joined the volunteer staff for Young Life during this time. YL brought a tremendous amount of laughter and joy to me which was so healing. You want to laugh so hard you can't even stand up? Hang out with a bunch of YL leaders for awhile. I made wonderful friendships. Also during this time, the Lord taught me how to forge strong friendships with other women. This was very important because I didn't have this before. Most of my friends were males. I now realize that this wasn't healthy for me. Women need strong friendships with one another.

It was about 1990 when I started going out on dates again. All of my dates were limited to Christians. It was really a wonderful way to date. The pressure was off. I just was myself during this period of time and getting to know people. The awkwardness of seeing someone after a break-up was gone. There was no physical investment. This way of dating protected me and the other person from emotional and physical attachment. I would go out to dinner or lunch with someone and we would talk. Maybe a few weeks later I would go out with someone else to a baseball game. During this period of dating "here or there," I went on dates with Jack, another Jack, Larry, and Todd. None of them were the right person. All four of them later attended my wedding. One of them goes to the church I currently attend. There is absolutely zero awkwardness between me and any of them. I do believe that it was because our relationships were not polluted with physical affection, words of love, and brokenness. They were strictly platonic. If there are any young people reading this, do not fool yourself into thinking that you will not pay in some way for seemingly harmless exchanges of affection with someone you are dating.

About this time, there was another really nice guy at YL leadership by the name of Jamie. He and I always felt comfortable making small talk after leadership. Large groups of us would go bowling or other places to hang out together after leadership meetings. I remember one night, several of us went to see some fireworks together. We were all walking down a sidewalk in Henrietta to find a good place to see the show. Jamie was walking ahead of me on the sidewalk. I remember thinking that he was such a great guy and would make a good husband for someone. I remember looking around at the girls in the group to try to find a match for him. Jamie is the about the same height as I am and I always liked tall men, so it never occurred to me that a good match might be me. (Yes, I DO realize how shallow that sounds) I remember considering some of the shorter girls.

Shortly after my date with Todd, Jamie surprised me (and scared me) by asking me out on a date. I turned him down as politely as I could.

I'll continue this story tomorrow. It has a pretty good ending.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Do Angels Ever Sit on Bladders?...A Camping Story

When I was a child, we used to go camping as a family. We camped in a Bethany trailer camper, which was really a tent on wheels. I have lovingly stolen the picture below from my sister Martha's blog. I don't feel guilty, because it is really my father's he was the one who took it.

I am the little girl in the red. Martha is the little girl on the far left, and the other child is my sister Rachel. That is my mother with us.

I'm not sure what year it was, but it was an unseasonably cold summer night. I was about 7 I think. We were camping and getting ready to snuggle into our sleeping bags for the night. It was so chilly that my father had brought along a small kerosene space heater. He put it on the floor of the camper so it would generate some heat for us and we went to bed.

It was the middle of the night when I woke up with a very full bladder. I didn't want to get up. It was cold, I just wanted to sleep,...and besides that, the camp bath building was a hike down dark, scary trails. I didn't want to wake either of my parents up. I tried to ignore the sensation. It didn't get any better, that's for sure. I finally decided that I would need to get up and make the necessary trip to the camp bathroom. I climbed out of my sleeping bag and then over the top of my sleeping sister Martha. I made it to the floor of the camper. Everyone else was fast asleep. It was then that I noticed that my sister's pillow had fallen down. I picked it up and tossed it back onto the sleeping platform that she and I shared. I started looking for my shoes and thinking about waking up one of my parents so I wouldn't have to walk alone in the dark.

Suddenly I noticed that while I still had to go to the bathroom, the physical discomfort didn't seem nearly as bad as it had when I had first woken up out of a deep sleep. I didn't think I really needed to bother with the trip after all. I was sure I could hold it until morning, so I left my shoes where they were and once again climbed up over my still sleeping sister, and settled into my sleeping bag. I was comfortably dreaming in no time.

The next morning, we were all up and getting ready to start a new day. Mom started rolling up the sleeping bags and setting up the table that folded down into a sleeping platform. Dad was out starting a fire so breakfast could be cooked, and coffee made for him and Mom. Suddenly, I heard Mom gasp in alarm and ask, "What happened to this?! Who did this!?" She was holding up the pillow I had picked up in the middle of the night. It had dark brown scorch marks on it. I still remember that they were in the shape of the mesh covering that formed the top of the space heater. I was a little afraid to answer her. I thought maybe I had done something wrong.

"Who put this up here?" She asked again. Martha acknowledged that it was her pillow, but she didn't know what had happened to it. I finally fessed up. I told her how I had gotten up in the middle of the night because I had to go to the bathroom really really bad. I told her how I had seen the pillow and knew it had fallen.I just put it back up onto the platform, tossing it toward the end of our sleeping bags...where our short little bodies couldn't reach.

I'll never forget what my mother said next. "Priscilla, that was an angel who woke you up! If you hadn't picked this pillow up, it would have soon burst into flames and we would have all died in a fire!" This left such a big impression on me. A guardian angel had woken me up in the middle of the night. God had used me to save my family from an impending disaster.

Years later while I was in college, I tried to relay this story to some friends. They missed the point and focused on the notion that an angel supposedly had made me feel as though I had to go to the bathroom urgently. They poked fun about it. They made my story seem silly. I don't even think I ended up telling them the rest of it. They had made me feel foolish.

Who's to say that the Lord wouldn't ever send an angel to make a little girl feel like she must get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night in order to save her and her family from certain calamity? Why not?

(Post Script: that was the end of using space heaters in the camper)