Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Giver

My mom was a giver. All the time. Not every once in a while, but really always. She gave of her time to hundreds of people through acts of kindness in every way you can imagine. She gave her talents all the time by watching kids for next to nothing (in cost), by teaching sunday school at church for all of my lifetime, by baking for sick people or for someone who needed it. My mom spent hours praying for others. One memory I have is of us always having the widows over for Sunday lunch. There were a group of them, who were of course older, and whose husbands had passed. There was Grandma Murdoch (she was the closest to our family), Mrs. Duddleston (She was kind of the most crazy one, and her daughter happened to be my school principal), Mrs. Olsen (the most quiet one), Mrs. Richhard (the one who said the silliest things) , and Aunt Irma. Those women came over countless Sundays because my mom wanted to treat them with kindness, love, and a good meal. And of course we played games too. Games were always part of our household. There is a verse in James 1:27 that says visiting the widows in their trouble is true religion.(paraphrased of course). There could be more said on that, but what I'm trying to say is that my mom was always giving-to all ages. There was never a lot of money growing up, but mom always found a way to be giving. The last gift I ever got from my mom that I can recall is a beautiful heart necklace. I wear it almost every day and I get a lot of comments on it. It was not a costly gift, but it was one of the most meaningful. Maybe because it was the last;maybe because it displayed love in every aspect; maybe, and most likely, simply because it was a gift from her heart.
 I say all this to share partly about the 5K that I hold in her memory. It's approaching to happen in October (October 13 to be exact). Because of that, and planning that full force right now, my mom's desire to give constantly is often on my heart. When my mom died, a good friend of hers gave money to go to a scholarship fund, rather than giving flowers. It was a very generous gift, and a beautiful reflection of my mom and the part she played in this woman's life. When dad and I learned about this gift, we wanted to build on it, and we wanted to make the scholarship be available annually. The designation was to be for a nursing student, studying to be in the field of oncology (a cancer nurse.). A lot of people ask me, "was your mom a nurse?" The answer is no. My mom was a teacher. However, nurses played a huge part in my mom's life of course, in the last few years, and this was one simple way of giving back to nurses. (Thus prompting some of my thoughts on mom always giving). Mom did not like attention. She was the most humble person I have ever known. She did everything for God's glory and never ever wanted that to be given to her. She would probably roll her eyes over there being a scholarship in her name. However, in my efforts of wanting the scholarship to grow, and in a sense, keep mom's memory and efforts of always giving, alive, I started a 5K in her memory. We call it the Linda A. Ferguson Memorial 5K. Last year, of course, was the first year for it. We had gorgeous weather and a beautiful turnout. (See my posts October 6 & 8,2011 to read more details). This year, as it approaches, it is growing rapidly. I am working on a website for it and will hopefully have that up by my next post so you can check it out. I have bigger dreams with it. It is going to be fantastic.I want my mom's legacy to keep on giving. I want to be a giver like my mom was. I have been missing her more deeply lately. But her memory is fully alive. Mom always supported my running-i've said that in previous posts more than once. 2 weeks after my mom died, I ran a half marathon. I had signed up for it months before, having no idea that it would fall on the heels of her death. It was a tough race to run, but i did it in memory of her. Just as we do this 5K in her memory. And even more so, for God's glory. May her memory stay vibrant through this, but as I said, even more so, may God receive bounds of glory and praise through it. And may more students be reached. Here are a few pictures from last year's.
Our family

My dad, finishing the 5K with a family friend.

A handful of the CareSource friends who came out for it last year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grateful # 7

I have begun incorporating the idea of gratefulness with my kids at home as well. We have started a "Grateful box" which we keep on a shelf in our living room and each day we write something if not multiple things down.  It's really neat, actually, to watch them learn to do this a bit more each day. And to watch the attitudes change a little bit with it, too. sometime I'll record some of their thoughts, but today I want to share a few of my grateful bits over the last week.
  1. Today would've been my mom and dad's 41st wedding anniversary. As I remembered that, I thought about how grateful I am for what an example of amarriage they set for me. Granted, I have not nearly been the woman my mom was, but I am learning every day and hoping one day I can be seen as great of a wife as she was. They had a really amazing marriage. I loved watching their interactions, and recalling them makes me smile. Sure, they had their moments, but overall, their moments were more private and what we witnessed was love, gratefulness, sincerity and godly examples. I think I heard my dad say every night thank you to my mom for her meals, and I don't really recall ever hearing mom complain about her chores. I watched them laugh together. I watched them pray together. I watched them work through hard times together (though I didn't have as much understanding then as what I have now of how hard those times were.). I watched them interact. I watched mom serve. I watched dad provide. Sure they had their faults, but overall, they had a beautiful marriage. And today I was thinking about how lucky I am to have grown up under that. And to have that example.

 2 I am thankful for my friend, Chris. Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll choose one friend to share about. Friends mean a lot in my life, they play a huge part in my every day. That's a lot because part of my makeup is to be sociable. Today it's Chris. Chris is one of the most gracious, loving friends I have. She encourages me and also lovingly shares correction. We share life (well, let's be honest, right now, she lets me share my life mostly!) . We share faith. We share struggles and we share victories. Chris is a huge blessing in my life. There are  a handful of friends about whom I could write, but today I choose her. She is consistently available for me, night or day, for tears or for victory laughs. (again, let's be honest, it's more tears she gets from me!) . She would probably not be crazy about all the hype here I am making over her, but she deserves it. She has blessed my life by helping me move forward in some really new and neat ways.

 3. I am thankful for some of the neat, new ways my 5K event is beginning to shape up. I may have to write a whole separate blog about that. But for now, I will say that I am preparing for it to be a bigger, better event this year and I am really excited about some things. Today I found a website (Road ID...runners, this is a great resource site with lots of cool stuff), and they are going to supply my event with bibs for the runners for FREE! I am so excited to include them in my sponsorship and to step up the professionalism of the race a bit with that piece of equipment most 5k'ers really love to have afterwards. They are also giving me some other free things that will be very valuable.

4. I am thankful for my bed and my bathroom. Bear with me here...The last 2-3 days our plumbing has been on the fritz. One night we had to sleep elsewhere, and though we were grateful, I really missed being in my own home and my own bed. It's the little things sometimes. I also have realy missed the luxury we have come to know as a toilet. As they have worked on fixing things, we've had to rely on neighbors (Thank you, Wanty family!) for using their restroom. I am glad for that. Glad for good neighbors. But I will be even  more glad once we have our own bathroom up and working right again!

5. I am thankful for cool mornings. I love summer and I love the heat. But there is something totally refreshing and enjoyable about running in the morning at 4:30(ish) in 64 degrees. It's gorgeous.

And the list goes on, as I continue to learn to be grateful one day at a time. I am not always successful, but I am working on it every day. I close with a wedding picture of my mom and dad....I thank God for them so much.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Insecure...truth v. lies

I cross the paths of many people every day in my job. I hear many stories. Stories of successes and stories of sadness. Stories of brokenness and stories of healing. I have listened to joys expressed and I have hugged crying friends. It's a part of my job I really enjoy. But I suppose it's more rare to find me sharing my story with those, and that's really ok. It's part of why I write. In a blog of a close friend whom I follow ( she says "I write to understand as much as be understood." I love that quote. I think I do the same.
  What's really been on my heart lately is insecurity. It's a vicious battle. It's a battle many of us women fight. (I know men really fight it too, and I am certainly not discounting that, to those of you men who also read this.) But it's been an in my face battle lately, and it's not one which I openly talk about with many. So as crazy as this is, I choose to write about it here.
 I battle insecurity horribly. It's a really awful feeling to have. I have to fight constant thoughts of not being good enough or thoughts of people not likeing me for who I am. There are days this battle is a fierce one. This week happened to be not just one of those days, but several in a row.
  Many things can cause insecurities: weight gain, fights, job loss or job failure, words said, (words not said), mistakes made, moving and losing friends, changing jobs, etc, etc, etc..... the list goes on and on. I know what lies at the root of mine most of the time, and most of the time it is: LIES. Things I've seen or said or heard that I say to myself often enough that I believe that I'm not good enough. And I've had enough of it.
 I am fighting back. I've been told that at times I say things but don't follow through. Enough of that. I will overcome this battle, but I am not so silly as to think it will happen quickly. It's been years building.

Sometimes it's media telling me I'm not pretty enough or thin enough. (LIE). The TRUTH is this: 1 Samuel 16:7, "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. "

Sometimes it is  hurtful words I have heard. (LIES) The TRUTH  is this: God loves me for who I am. All the broken, all the sins and wrongs, all the yucky things. I am Redeemed. Colossians 1:14, "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

Sometimes it's just failure (or how I view it) of time management. LIE. The TRUTH is this. Each day is new, each day I have a choice of how I spend my time. Do I do this perfectly every day? No. But the TRUTH is this: Prov. 16:3 "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established." Also, 1 Cor, 10:31 "Whatsoever ye do , whether it is eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God."

The list goes on and on, but those are just a few of the things I am working on replacing in my heart and mind. There are plenty of positive words said to me as well. But sad to say, insecurity rules those out sometimes. And it's time that ends. I know it will be a daily battle, but I am ready to squelch it and take back me:) the wonderful woman God has created me to be.

Now those are truths remembering. One day at a time.
 On that note, with music being something I love, I thought I'd include these lyrics to a song I absolutely love right now. It's Called "Do Everything" By Stephen Curtis Chapman. I wanted to post the video on here, but I'm not computer savvy, so the lyrics is the best you get. If you can listen to the song itself, it will bless you. But in the mean time, here are the words to it:

Your picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today 
Matching up socks 
Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away 

You put a baby on your hip 
Color on your lips and head out the door 

While I may not know you, 
I bet I know you 
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all? 

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long 
(chorus) As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, 
Cause he made you, 
To do 
Every little thing that you do 
To bring a smile to His face 
Tell the story of grace 
With every move that you make 
And every little thing you do 

Maybe your that guy with the suit and tie 
Maybe your shirt says your name 

You may be hooking up mergers 
Cooking up burgers 
But at the end of the day 

Little stuff 
Big stuff 
In between stuff 
God sees it all the same 

While I may not know you 
I bet I know you 
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all? 
[ Lyrics from: ] 
Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long as (back to chorus)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Becoming Grateful, #6

I could write a myriad of thoughts today. I have a longer blog coming that is forming in my mind. But writing about that which I am grateful is overdue, and today I have just one thing I want to put on the list. And it's a big one. Ok....2 things, actually.

 1. My brother came home from Afghanistan today! It was so good to hear his voice again. He is my "little" brother, though he is much taller and stronger than I am. He is in the marines He has been deployed for 7 months, but today he arrived home safely. I am so proud of him. He is my little brother, but we have leaned on eachother alot over the last few years (ok, I probably leaned on him more than he did on me.)  I have missed talking to him while he's been away. So I am happy he's home (which is still miles away, but at least I can see him in skype or talk to him), and I am grateful he came home safely.

2. Our daughter turned 10 yesterday. I am now a parent of the double digits. Wow, where has time gone?! I am thankful for her every day. She and I are very similar so sometimes she can push my buttons like no other, but other times, she has the most calming words. Almost too grown up for her young age . She comforts me sometimes, which sholdn't be the case, but at times it is. She has a sensitive heart for others, and she feels deeply like I do. She is on a roller coaster of emotions these days as she grows up, but lucky for her, I understand that:)  She is a gift, one for which I am grateful every day. It was wonderful (and a bit unreal) to celebrate her 10th birthday. My, how I've learned alot in those years. I"m sure there'll be plenty more lessons on the way!

Stay tuned tomorrow to hear some more from the depths of my heart. Until then, I'm continuing to learn to be grateful one day at a time.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Grief and Gratefulness wrapped together

Sometimes my fingers fly across the keys with thoughts that are overflowing from my heart. Other times, there seems to be a mental block of sorts..difficulty finding the words that I want to use to express what's in my heart.
 It has been a long week for me, and one which I am sifting through my emotions a little each day. This week, our family experienced our first encounter with death since my mom passed away. Death is never an easy event to face, but it is as much a part of life as life itself. I have concluded it doesn't matter how old or how young the person is. It doesn't matter if the death is expected or unexpected. Going through saying goodbye to one you love is just not a fun experience.
 It took me a very long time to cme out of my grief fog. (Ask anyone who was with me through the whole process). But the last week I have had to keep myself from falling back into those emotions again. And that is something that not everyone has been able to understand...hence, I write.
 Michael's grandma passed away on Wednesday. This was something we were expecting, and she had a very long, good life. So in a lot of aspects, it can be said that it was her time and she is no longer suffering. However, a goodbye is still painful, no matter the case. As I sat and listened to them talk about funeral arrangements and flowers and funeral homes, I flashbacked in some serious ways and was very stuck inside my mind for a few days. Those details don't just go away, and this week they were revived. And communicating those emotions has been difficult. I feel the pain of a person grieving in all new ways....especially the pain of someone grieving the loss of their mom. I remembered sitting in the funeral parlor discussing all the flowers we were getting for mom's casket; I remembered discussing the the details of times and placement and what mom would be wearing. I remembered standing under the tent at the graveside, snowflakes falling, shivering almost, and my heels sinking into the mushy ground, saying one final goodbye to mom and choosing my rose from her spray of flowers to keep with me. I was sad to say goodbye to grandma; I felt like I was taken back in time somehow too. I'm not sure that every encounter with death will be like this, but being the first one since, it has been a greif experience I was not expecting. I have spent a lot of time reflecting, remembering, and finding joy in the midst of pain the last few days. I have been on quite a journey the last 2 years, but God has brought me so much closer to Him and so much further away from yucky places I once was. For that....that is my grateful thought the most for this week. I don't have to grieve every day, because I do have a hope like others do not. I do have a joy many do not. And though I still can be sad and cry over the emotions, I am very grateful....for how far God has brought me even in the last few months. So on a happy note to end what has been a more serious blog, I share some thoughts for which I have been very grateful this week:
  1. God bringing me out of the pit of despair of grief and yucky emotions to a newfound hope and joy that reaches a differnt level, every day, one day at a time.
  2. Learning new things about what I enjoy. In a silly quiz type thing I took this week (it was sort of an introspective type quiz) I recognzied just how much I love to write. I am tweaking it all the time. I write best when I am being the most real. But I love to write. And I love to run. ( I am working on organizing the 2nd 5K in memory of my mom to take place in October.) I love to read-it's rare, but I have a book and 2 magazines going right now because I have been enjoying that so much. And I love to laugh. And be with my family. I love to be outdoors.
  3. I am thankful for many a customer who have brought on many conversations and even many laughs. This week, I was blessed with a birthday gift from a group of some of my favorite traveling friends. I was quite surprised by this, and it really blessed me in the midst of a tough week, and none of them even knew it. I have been enjoying reading the magazine I got from them.
 4. My dad. In the midst of his busy life and work, called us up and invited us out to dinner last night, knowing michael was out of town.
 5. Our new church. We have not been there very long at all, and in the midst of the chaos of this week and trying to scramble for childcare, the pastor's wife came to the rescue and offered her services. Not only was that a huge help, but our kids have bonded with theirs, which is also a neat thing to watch happening. Then the pastor helped us find extra sitters for the other days. We are beginning to call it our new home.

Simple things, but big things. And finding these blessings hasn't always been easy this week. But God is always doing that, I just have to look. so, we keep pressing day at a time.