Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Therapy of House work

     Funny...the things we take for granted. When my kids were young and we were a busy active family, I spent so much time making sure that my Home was as spotless as possible. I loved decorating, rearranging the furniture, painting, finding new creative uses for various antique-ish items, and spending hours in the yard. I took great pleasure in making my Home a very welcoming place for my family and friends. The compliments I'd receive were all the motivation I needed.
   I kept the house based on the rule..."there's a place for everything, and everything IN its place". Looking back now, I regret being quite so strict about such things. More time I could have spent with my girls...

One of THE hardest adjustments for me, now that I'm so physically limited, has surely been my lack of control over the state of the house. In the past month or so I've noticed an increase in my shortness of breath as a result of any physical activities at all, so this only increases the challenge. I feel so "out of control" of many aspects of my life now, but not being able to keep a spotless home is one of the hardest to "swallow".
   No more scrubbing floors on my hands & knees, my favorite way to mop! No more washing the baseboards, mopping out all the closets, scrubbing each tile in the bathroom. I'm reduced to dust mopping things, wet mopping occasionally, dusting furniture, and trying to keep up with the dishes and counters. Thank God, I have a wonderful husband who is always willing to help me with such things, but for me there's nothing like doing it MY WAY! I'm ashamed to admit this, but at one time I IRONED every piece of laundry! UNDERWEAR!! Everything!

   Today, I spent a lot of time cleaning. I am trying to accept a new cleaning routine, and be satisfied with less than spotless. It felt so good, going through my wardrobe, sorting out some things to donate and a few things to sell on eBay. It was satisfying to wash my window sills and windows, and to attack the army of "dust bunnies"under the furniture. For me, trying to keep my house clean is what makes it feel like MY HOME.
   More importantly, I am finally learning something that the Lord has always wanted me to know. RELAX. Its okay if everything is NOT in its place.

  The lesson here for me is that our lives are not really measured by how clean our home is, or if there are any wrinkles in our undies. Although I took great joy in my warm, welcoming home years ago, that was NOT my identity. For months now I have felt less of a person, just because I couldn't do the amount of housework I used to do. But that is errant thinking.

I was reading Ecclesiastes recently, and I feel that verse 11 in chapter 2 can apply here:
   "Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing  to be gained under the sun."
  I don't know that my children or my husband really remember or care now, about how clean our Home was years ago. I DO hope that they will remember how much I love them, how much it pleases me to make them happy or to cook something special for them. I hope that my friends and family will remember that they are always welcome in my home... even if it's NOT spotless. I hope they'll remember how much I love to laugh and hug and spend time with them. I hope I'll be remembered for how much I care, how much I love, and how much I believe. I want to be remembered for sharing my experiences and trying to encourage others, rather than suffering through and just letting it go.

Don't get me wrong. I'll always find a certain satisfaction in the act of cleaning house. A clean house is much more enjoyable. THere's nothing like putting on some great music and cleaning from room to room.
    You will always be welcome in my home. I will probably offer you a cup of tea or coffee, or some homemade sweet tea. I love to entertain family and friends! But just look past the dishes in the sink, a messy tabletop, or a new platoon of "dust bunnies". And I will do my best to be okay with it too.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.

 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Sleepless Night

Hello Moon!
Another one of my sleepless nights. I've always dealt with bouts of insomnia from time to time. Some times are worse than others. I think this recent bout is more about PAIN than it is, insomnia. When I lay in bed, the pain in my spine becomes unbearable. If I manage to fall asleep, then I awake in terrible pain, all "locked" into place! No Fun.
   Long lonely, sleepless nights CAN be good for thinking, praying, and writing. I have found that sometimes the silence can be deafening! When the house is quiet, no TV on, if I focus on being close to the Lord, I can "hear" His voice. Too often, our lives are too busy, too full, and too noisey, to HEAR His voice. I heard someone say recently, "Prayer should be 10% talking and 90% hearing". I like that.
    Hoping to work with some good folks to come up with some custom graphic designs for my BLOG and my Ministry. I know nothing about how to create graphics! I can build a webpage, but only with "already-created" graphics. Also gonna be doing a private photo session, for new pictures for my upcoming new event flyers and media photos.
      Sometimes I feel SO far away from The Life I am striving for. I'd have to say right off the bat, that this is one of satan's UN=encouragement tactics. He knows if he can get into our mind and cause us to feel defeated, then he's won a great victory! But thankfully my God is in control and He's a lot stronger than the devil. So am I, through Christ. I am one of my own worst critics, so I never feel that I'm working as hard as I "should".
    But then I think, "what if I one day reach a place where I say, Ok...I've acheived everything I feel called to do." THEN WHAT? No, I don't think we ever come to that place IF we are truly abiding in Christ and doing His work. There will always be someone needing love, encouragement, and comfort. I don't EVER want to be "done".
    I get frightened sometimes, thinking about my disease. I don't want to become too sick to work. I also don't want to smother to death. (who does, right?!) Its just that for some "SM" sufferers, death comes from an inability to breathe once the syrinx damage nerves higher into the thoracic and cervical spine. Now, WHY would I sit around and dwell on THAT?! Ahhh, get behind me satan! I have had some trouble with being slightly short of breath, which can be a singers worst enemy. Maybe I just need to use my oxygen tank more...?
      I have so enjoyed meeting so many new folks online! Its so easy to get caught up in our own little corner of the world, that we forget that there are other, different lives out there. Different people with different ways of carrying out their days, people with beautiful lives, beautiful faces, and beautiful loves. I think its healthy to step outside our own little lives a bit everyday. Don't want to become stagnate, right?
    SO much BEAUTY in my own life, to share: my wonderfully big, safe, tender husband of 29yrs., He's my best friend too. My 3 beautiful and lovely daughters, each one so different and so individual...and yet so much the same. Grandchildren! Just that word conjures up images of rosey-cheeked, chubby cherubs, running and laughing! FRIENDSHIPS. Wow, I am so blessed by the friends in my life. A Friends love is extra special. They're not bound by blood to always be there for you! They just are...the good ones, at least. Getting outside, feeling the warmth of sun light on your cheeks. Sticking my fingers down into the earth, to stick a baby tomato plant into the soil. Watching it grow. The extra wonderful taste of any food, when prepared by someone other than myself, with love and a smile. My daughters hands on my shoulders. The beautiful wrinkles and grooves on my Dad's face, in them I see my grandma's soft and furry face, and I see the wrinkles quickly spreading onto my own face.
       I'm grateful for the fact that I've never had life handed to me, No silver spoons in this mouth! Because I require so little out of this world, to be truly happy. My true happiness is NOT contingent upon a good economy, perfect weather, peace throughout the world, and a big financial portfolio. My husband, red jello, and an old movie on TV... thats one of my best combinations. Or how about this one: my backyard, hamburgers, good friends and music. Those are the times we remember the most!
    Okay. I see the sun poking through the trees outside. Soon, my husband will be clanging around in the kitchen to bring me a wonderful hot cup of coffee. (another simple joy) We have errands to run today. And I'm getting very sleepy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Story

I recently had a piece I wrote for my ministry website featured on a Christian website called    Christian Notes  and I wanted to share it here in my BLOG too. Just follow the link below to read a somewhat abridged version of my LIFE.
BUT I MUST MENTION: I do not share my story because I think I'm so great, or because I want attention for mySELF.
  I share my story... and I try to spread it as far as I can, because I want to make everyone understand that WE ALL HAVE A STORY to tell. ALL of us! Each of us have our own unuique experiences and life events that make up The WHO we are.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 is the scripture I've built my LIFE and my ministry around.
For ME, that verse says that I am CALLED by God to share my story and to encourage, edify, and educate others facing similiar circumstances.
   For example, I am an amputee. When someone else is facing the prospect of this surgery, I feel that I can better understand their plight, than someone who has never faced it or dealt with it in another family member or friend.
   There are events or circumstances in YOUR life that you have made it through and learned something from. YOU have the same "calling" that I have... to go into the world and offer encouragement to folks facing similiar situations.
        ~Encourage~Edify~Educate~
It is my prayer that you may read My Story and you will come away, enthusiastic and energized to begin YOUR "Mission Work"!

Just Click the LINK below
(or paste this link into your browser window)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Middletown-OH/DW-Music-Ministry-and-Muses/238949115210?v=app_2347471856&ref=nf#!/notes/dw-music-ministry-and-muses/the-paths-we-cross/309974118555

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Long, cold Winter...

   So much snow! It is so beautiful. For the first week. But I'm a bit OVER it now. I'd guess that we have about 14" or more out on my back deck now. Deep snow is not so conducive to handicapped accessibility, if you know what I mean. I've been contemplating putting snowboards on my chairs' wheels!
    Its been more than two weeks since I've been out of the house. Normally I can take a lot of "being home". I'm not one that requires a lot of running around. But I'll admit I'm reaching a limit now! I'll be happy with a well-planned, bundled-up trip to Speedway for a cup of coffee!
  I'm finding too much idle time for my mind too, with being so "cooped-up". All the days are running together, its too easy to sleep too much, and all of these factors don't mix well in the mind of someone who sometimes battles depression. Too much time to sit and focus on every ache and pain. Fibromyalgia is a secondary condition that accompanies my "SM" and when it is really flared up, it is quite painful. Its also like a viscious cycle... the pain is hard to manage, and it is aggravated by things like depression or stress. I'll be so happy to get outside and move around a bit more.
    
The crazy thing is that we all have a CHOICE about how we deal with any circumstance. All I've written here today is about being sick of the snow, not getting out of the house, being depressed and in pain. Oooh, I'm sure anyone will want to read this!! :) Right?....
    Uh...NO. You make a conscious decision every day of what mindset you'll have, how active you'll be, and how you'll carry out your day. I am going to be more aware of what my mind is focused on and what I spend my time doing. I little stretching exercises will go a long way to help with my pain and muscle soreness. I have a couple faithful friends who have become quite good at "kicking my butt" when I loose focus. THANK GOD for friends like that. I need to give them a call and tell them how much they mean to me. I don't want to always be the "needy" one. I want to be an encouragement for my friends too.
   Funny how sometimes, if we just put our feelings into writing, we can see it all in front of us, and sometimes see the error in our thinking. Another reason I love writing and journaling so much.

Thanks to whoever may have "listened" in on this one-sided conversation. LOL
 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crossing Paths

Hello All.

I've been the "author" of several websites over the years and I currently write my "Denice Whitaker Christian Ministry & Musings" site on FaceBook. But I have NEVER authored a real BLOG. So be patient. This isn't gonna be anything too fancy. I want it to be a place where I can let THE REAL ME hang out!!

For anyone just accidentally coming in to the WRONG Blog "door".... Here is an outline of ME:


Happily married to my best friend and Lover for nearly 30yrs. now!

Mama to the 3 most beautiful girls on earth... they are my JOY!

We've got 2 gorgeous grandchildren: Breanna Lee is 4yrs. old and Aidan Dean is 3yrs. old


I am a christian and I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart. But DON'T mistake me for being RELIGIOUS!! Hate that term! I am MUCH too imperfect for that!! But thankfully I am saved by God's Grace (unmerited favor) and He accepts me where I am in my life NOW. Instead of waiting till I reach perfection! I just love Him so much, so I want to live a life that is pleasing to God.

I am a soloist.... I LOVE TO SING! I sing for all sorts of occasions: weddings, funerals, various group functions, women's groups, church services, etc. Through my music and MY STORY, I share all that I've learned through my own unique life experiences.

I was born with Spina Bifida, which is a neurological birth defect. In spite of this I lived a full and busy childhood. I met my "soul-mate" at an early age, and I was 16yrs. old when we married. We had the 3 girls, we were involved in our church and our community, and we lived a very full life. But it was around 1988 when my health problems became more and more serious.

To try and make a ridiculously over-told and long story a bit shorter...... after seeing dozens of doctors it was found that I have a secondary spinal cord disorder that gradually paralyzes you. I've had more than 43+ surgical procedures thru-out my life and have spent long, extended periods of time hospitalized.

All of my UNIQUE experiences have allowed me to Cross Paths with a lot of people I otherwise would have never met! So for that, I am grateful. It is the individual paths we cross that bring to our lives all the color, the texture, and the flavor.

I want this BLOG to be about the many PATHS I'm blessed to CROSS.