Ah, the Time to Reflect

The end of the year. It’s time to reflect. Not sure how not to make it the usual reflection. Hm, let’s see. Heck, I’m just going to write….

Graduation – one of the hardest things I ever did in my life was going back to school in the midst of having a kid, being married and working full time. But I did it. I did it! Would I do it again? I have honestly thought of going back to get another degree, but my family needs me more and for now I’ll gladly talk about old buildings and work to save them. :)

Loss – here are the tears. I lost a very, very dear friend in August, two days before my birthday. It was a bittersweet August this year. Memories from the last 10 years of friendship frequently pop into my thoughts. Softball, house church, OSU football, good beer, music, the list goes on and on. You called me sis. Good friendship. I miss you, Ron Olah.

David – celebrated 19 years this year. What? Where in the world did that go? We’ve grown in many ways. Laughs, tears, bumps, bruises, Ohio, NYC…  we live adventure. If we’re still together after 19 years with all the growth, adventure, bumps and bruises, then we must have something going. ;)  Love you, bud.

Mathilda – I don’t even know how to write words to describe the amazingness of this kid. Absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life… motherhood. But oh how amazing and rewarding. She moves me beyond words and I find myself forever thankful for her in my life. People call her my Mini Me and it’s a precious honor. She’s become my extension, my little buddy, my shopping friend, my fellow bubble tea lover, and a dear soul who lives life with every single ounce of her 4 1/2 year old being. May Jesus guide you, and may you find purpose and a very amazing path.

God – He’s extremely real to me. February of this year marked 10 years since my life changed. I was 30. My world had turned upside down and faith like I had growing up just wasn’t doing it for me. Instead, I came to the realization of a very real God (no matter who says I’m crazy), and I know for my own life – that even though life is tough, and very hard things happen and things may not make sense – I have actually had more joy in 10 years with Jesus playing a very real, loving, gracious, faithful role in my life than the 30 years before the day I came to the amazing knowledge of His saving grace. I am His and He is mine. That’s all there is to it. Bottom line.

And that’s 2015 in a blog of a nutshell. Onward to the unknown of 2016.

Happy New Year.

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An Old Song of Peace and Joy

Listening to Christmas music. Julie Andrews popped up on Pandora today singing “Silent Night” and I paused in my day and felt genuinely happy. While listening to these songs I think of folks out there who don’t know the true hope that Christmas really is and I wish so badly I could convince them. I wish so badly that the words to Silent Night would resonate in their hearts and minds so that they would know that there is a hope to hold onto. There is a hope, a joy, a peace, a love; all of which came to earth in the form of a baby. I was talking to Mathilda the other day about Jesus leaving gold, shimmering heaven to come down to earth to be born in a smelly barn, in a pile of smelly hay, amidst of a bunch of smelly animals. Why? Because He loves us. He loves us. Bottom line. There’s hope in that love. A love that is never taken back, but given in abundance. A love that will never run out. He brings my heart joy. Pure indescribable joy.

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night.
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing alleluia.
Christ the Saviour is born.
Christ the Saviour is born.

Silent night, holy night.
Son of God, loves pure Light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

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New Perspective – Old Song

This is the chorus to a very old hymn that someone just brought to mind today:

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to Thee.

This was my response when I first thought of the song:

You know what? I used to think this song was only needed when I was in a phase of turmoil or hard times. But one day it dawned on me, not that long ago, that oh, I need Thee every hour pouring through all the nooks and crannies of my soul to give me breath to live, strength to walk, so that I might have life and life abundant. It’s a need every minute of everyday; no matter the joys, frustration, sorrows… good times or bad. Always need Thee. And when I accept His presence and sit and rest so He can actually pour through me… well then, that’s when my heart, soul and life are the fullest.

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Out of My Grasp

I’m trying to get a grasp on things, but I find myself grasping for things that are falling out of my reach. I’m stuck in a job where my full potential is not used, and the people who have any say over my job could care less. They run their business, and that’s all that matters to them. People in this workplace could be totally miserable, and it wouldn’t matter. If our well-being does mean something to them, they have a very strange way of showing it.

I need out. How do I do this? I don’t know. I’m slowly making a plan and will exit when everything works out. When will this happen? I don’t know. I can’t even see my hand in front of my face because the proverbial fog is so thick.

And then I think of a scripture that says, “My ways are not your ways,” and I know that God loves me more than anything and wants nothing but the best for me. At this point in my life when the fog seems the thickest, and I can’t see what the next step is supposed to be, He’s so sweetly saying, “Hold on. I’ve got you. I’ve got this. I care for you. I want nothing but good things for you. I’m growing you. I’m stretching you and you will become the person you need to be. Just rest in me and find joy. Find joy in Me. Not in others who will undoubtedly fail you, but in Me.”

And while I write these words, I’m moved and pleased that I’m actually turning to these positive thoughts. Thankful that my heart has turned in that direction. However, something will happen tomorrow, and again I will feel unappreciated and used and will need to be reminded again that God’s got me.

The flesh and the Spirit wrestle continually. Thank God the Spirit has no intention of losing the daily battle within. For that I am thankful.

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In Honor of a Most Remarkable Lady

In honor of someone whose voice has won over several folks throughout decades, and whose kindness seems to emanate on screen and even in personal interviews – I write this blog post about her today. This lady was someone who was a very huge part of my childhood. She entered into my world when I was a mere 7 years old. On a Sunday in March for several years, I found myself in front of the television watching the classic musical that became my favorite of all time. It was the year 1988 when I saved up all of my babysitting money and bought this movie; a double VCR tape set. I watched it so much that it skips at the beginning and sounds awful; but oh, it’s such a treasure. My family endured many days as they would hear me practicing many of her songs with all of my heart (that part of my life helps me understand my daughter’s passion for performance today; and Jainie – thank you for enduring the most as you could hear me best on the other side of the wall in your room). From Broadway to love songs to Christmas music, I would come to memorize music that is still a part of my thoughts today. Although I no longer own a cassette player, I still own a 1987 cassette tape with some real gems on it. I’m playing her music on iTunes as I write this. I’ve been thrown back in time.

In my life, way back when, I treasured her as Maria, Mary, Eliza and even Gillian (opposite Jack Lemmon in an 80s movie that I watched so much that I’m sure if I had asked, the VCR rental store would have given that tape to me). People from my childhood, my undergrad days, and even Ohio days, know the significance of today. Julie Andrews, Happy 80th Birthday, dear lady. If you only knew the impact you made on the life of this kid from Indiana. You will always be a treasure.

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Happy Birthday Dear Friend

Her name was Judy Frank. She would have been 70 years old today. She was taken much too soon from this earth in 1994, just a few months shy of her 48th birthday. She was my first grade teacher who I loved with all of my heart, and not just in 1st grade either. She held a place in my heart as I grew up through elementary school, into junior high and then into high school. I sat with her at high school football games when her son Kelly played on the team. I went back to visit her after I left elementary school, and called her on the phone, and sent her cards and letters and even made her one of my most intricate detailed cross-stitch pictures for Christmas in 1991.

I was a 19 year-old freshman in college when she passed. I had never before that time been dealt the blow of losing someone so dear to me. Sure, my grandfathers had passed by then, and they were dear because they were my grandfathers, but I was only 5 and 7 and life was still too much about me to realize the severity of their passing. But Mrs. Frank (the name I will always give to her) was the first time I ever realized how cruel the reality of mortality could be. She was someone I trusted very deeply and looked to for much guidance in my life. It’s hard to admit in writing that I looked to someone else for my guidance growing up, and not to the people who raised me. Childhood baggage.

After her passing, I learned what my parents truly meant to me. I often wonder if God took her from my life to help me see that the woman he placed on this earth as my mother was someone who really did love me more than she knew how to say. It took my growing up, and becoming a mother myself, to see the depth of love my own mother had, has and always will have for me – putting all childhood baggage behind me.

So happy birthday, Judy Frank. I could never express when I was a kid what you meant to me. You may have known by all the countless phone calls, letters and cards, but I never knew how to say why you meant so much. I think at the age of 41 I’m still trying to put into words. Thank you for who you were in my life. I look forward to our reunion one day when I see your face again when we see Jesus. Much love to you, friend.

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Sailing With No Wind

About 10 years ago, I played soccer with a girl who said that a guy she worked with asked if she knew anyone who would want to play softball. I was totally up for it, and it was in May of 2005 that I walked onto a field to play ball with complete strangers, not knowing at all that these people would end up becoming some of the dearest friends in my life. It was that day that I met Ron Olah. A good guy. He played short stop. I got to eventually play opposite him at 2nd base. He would eventually one day call me “sis.”

I was invited to central teaching several weeks in a row, and I finally gave in and said I would attend. My first Sunday there I sat with the home church folks, and then sat with Ron and Sue on the deck out back, ate dinner from the grill, and we talked until the sun set. I remember that first Sunday as if it were yesterday. To this day, grill season at Xenos holds a dear place in my heart.

That summer, Ron and Sue even came to a soccer game and watched my team that sucked. But they were there, and they were kind. They were reaching out to me, and I think back and remember how thoughtful I thought they were.

I was invited several times to home church. It took until December of that year for me to decide I wanted to be vulnerable enough to attend home church. It was at their house. What a welcoming place. To this day, I love going back for home church at their house. I was there with Mathilda this past March. Home church at the Olah home will never be the same. It will still be so welcoming, but a hug from my brother when I walk through that door will forever be missed.

Ron was a good man. He loved Jesus with all of his heart and he tried to reach out to people in order to grow the Kingdom of God. He will be missed. I am more than thankful that I was given the privilege to be his friend, his softball teammate, a part of his home church, and a sister in the Body of Christ.

Ron, the news of your very unexpected passing today took my breath away, and completely removed the wind from my sails. Ron, I will miss you terribly. I already do.

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