Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Where I’m Going: Counting Blessings…

On our new property
copyright Cindy Dillard

 As 2014 comes to a close today, I find myself, like so many others, taking stock and reviewing the events of the year. I’m amazed at the changes the year has brought! Blessings have far outweighed heartaches, and who could ask for more?

Although the year started off with a great deal of tension between my son and me, we are finishing the year with a stronger relationship, and I am proud of the way he is maturing and beginning to take responsibility for himself.

From our new house
copyright Cindy Dillard
My daughter has impressed me greatly this year. She finished her senior year and graduated from our home school, and has started executing her plan to become a surgical nurse. She intends to complete her education with no debt, and I am very proud of her for that. She just completed the coursework toward a CNA certification and will complete her clinicals in January. She is already working in an assisted living facility and will pursue her nursing degree with the educational benefits her employer provides. She has shown remarkable maturity in stepping up to the challenge of caring for her father as he recovers from the effects of alcoholism. She has had more stress on her than anyone her age should have to endure, but she has risen above every challenge she has faced. I’m one proud Mama.

My job responsibilities have expanded into a more interesting (if not lucrative) position that affords me a greater sense of worth and contentment. If you have to go to work, might as well enjoy your job, right? Perhaps financial rewards will follow in the new year…

We purchased a new home this year, with a little over 7.5 acres. It’s a lovely house and a beautiful plot of land, and every day I’m amazed that I get to live in such a wonderful, peaceful place. In the coming year we will be working on improvements we want to make and will hopefully get the other property sold or leased. Moving an hour closer to my work has been life-changing and is among the greatest of the blessings this year has brought.

I’m not sure most people would call a motorcycle accident a blessing, but the Good Lord was watching out for me on this one, and for that I am truly blessed. I had an accident on our cross-country trip and in that accident I lacerated my spleen, but I didn’t know I was seriously injured. I got back on the bike (which only suffered cosmetic damage) and rode from Oklahoma City on to Los Angeles without realizing I was bleeding internally until I started having some severe pain 6 days later. Although it ruined a lot of what we had planned for the trip, it could have been much worse!  But we still made some great memories and now have a very good reason to make the trek again soon so we can do the things we missed this time around.

I came into the year with a lot of hurt caused by friends that I considered as close as family, but time heals and teaches, and I believe there are ways to learn and grow even in painful situations. This is what I learned:
I got a tattoo this year!
copyright Cindy Dillard
  • I can hold my head high because I stayed true to myself and my values.
  • Although first impressions can sometimes be deceiving, sometimes they are dead on. So from now on, I’ll pay much more attention to my gut feelings.
  • Unfortunately, many adults will still do or say whatever is necessary to fit in with a clique. I was na├»ve enough to think that people generally grow out of this pubescent tendency by adulthood, but it seems in some ways people do not change with maturity.
  • I learned that I’m not one of those people that I just described. I found out that it’s much more satisfying to be who I am and what I am, even if I don’t have the approval of my peers. After all, the only people I need to please are God, my man and me, because ultimately no one else matters. But then again, I never have been one to run with the herd, so I have never felt the need to change who I am so that I will have someone else’s acceptance.
  • There are situations where it is important to be concerned about what other people think of you and situations where it is of no consequence. I am learning the difference, and most of the time, it's the latter which applies.
  • I can choose not to allow someone else’s drama and pettiness influence me or my behavior.
  • I am the only one who is responsible for my sense of peace and happiness.
  • Other people’s actions and opinions do not define me. They may have hurt me, but they did not break me, and they did not change me.
  • Although I made the choice to forgive, I do not have to forget. There are no mulligans when it comes to lost trust.
  • One should always be aware of another person’s agenda. We all have them, but women in particular tend to be ruled by them.
  • I will accept new friendships with caution, tempered with kindness and respect, but my trust will be hard-earned. I will use better judgment in the future regarding those in whom I place my trust and friendship.
Our Fur Babies
 copyright Cindy Dillard
In the upcoming year, we are hoping to add a female Rotty to our little pack, and hopefully we’ll soon have a nice big fenced area where all our puppies can play. We have some primitive camping planned, and if everything works out, we’ll finally get to take our trip to Ireland sometime this year. I hope to make progress with my nature photography and digital scrapbooking, and there are several other crafts I want to work on this year as well, including becoming more skilled at Tunisian crochet.

I am looking forward to a wonderful year in 2015, with many plans and dreams that I hope come true! It’s always exciting to have a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new beginning. Happy New Year!

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father’s house,
Cindy <><

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Out with the Old...

On the way in to work this morning I was thinking about our impending move to the new house, and it occurred to me that I am not sad at all about leaving the house that has been my home for the last 20 years. 

As I thought about the wall where I marked the kids' heights for a while, I was overcome with emotion for a few minutes, realizing that what I DO miss is being the center of my children's worlds, because they have certainly been the center of mine.  They are the reason I worked so hard at keeping my marriage and my life together...they gave me solace as all that was" me" was slipping away.

I keep thinking that I should have some special attachment to my house because I raised my children there and so many memories were made there - but for all the good memories made there, there was always a darkness that grew as time went on and the abuse got worse, until at one point it was like a physical presence in the house. Although it IS gone now, the memory of it lingers, and it is to me like a stain on your favorite shirt that is so faint that no one else will notice it, but you still know it's there so your eye automatically travels to it every time you look in the mirror. Isn't is strange how we somehow feel like we should cling to things that have brought us misery out of sentimentality, as if we are doing the past some sort of injustice by moving on?

Moving from that house is the last major step for me in the healing process… I have a NEED to get out of there. It's as if that house is the last chain that has me bound, and once I have moved from there I will finally be free. I have found real, true love and we are making a new life together, and this will finally move us out of the dark shadow of what once was.

So here's to the excitement of new beginnings, new adventures, dreams coming true and the possibilities that having hope again brings.  May God bless our new home with Love, Peace, Happiness, Joy, Family and Friends.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,

Cindy <><

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Good, The Great, and The Judges

I recently saw this posted on a friend's Facebook page, and the irony of such a post caught my attention. I find it very difficult not to comment of these types of posts, but since doing so only serves to stir a pot of ill will, I have decided to bring some of these quirky blurbs to my blog to be dissected instead.

I believe that if you are living your life as God intends, then by the very nature of that fact you will face opposition or persecution on a daily basis, be it in the mockery of the unbeliever or the self-righteous judgement/condemnation of the fellow Christian. As our righteousness is as filthy rags before God, it seems that our fellow Man tends to make all too sure that no good deed goes unpunished. It almost makes you want to throw up your hands in exasperation and exclaim, "Why am I doing this?! It's not WORTH it!!" But it IS worth it... not to be considered "good" in the eyes of others, but to be considered obedient in the eyes of the Lord.

Our Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 that we should, "Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Has it ever crossed your mind that if He is leading all of us down exactly the same path that the path would pretty soon be broad and well-worn?

I have learned that He is not leading all of us down the same path, but as long as I am following HIM, the path He is leading someone else down doesn't really matter. Nor should it matter to anyone else where He is leading me, because in the end, all that really matters is whether or not each of us follows HIM wholeheartedly. "For why should my freedom be judged by another man's conscience?"(a)

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."(b)  "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble..."(c)

For the record, if I would have commented, I would have said that a "great" person would be the one who is able to refrain from criticizing another in the first place... "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls..."(d)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

(a) 1 Corinthians 10:29, NIV
(b) Matthew 7:1-2, NIV
(c) 1 Corinthians 10: 31-32a, NIV
(d) Romans 14:4, NIV

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Life Lessons I Have Learned From Riding a Motorcycle

1. When you decide where you want to go, point your eyes that way and keep them there. Don't hesitate, and don't look back.
2. Stay out of other people's blind spots.
3 .Live in the moment, but be prepared for what lies in the road ahead of you.
4. Pay attention to the little things.
5. Always have an escape plan, and know when to use it. Don't allow the stupid decisions or irresponsible actions of other people take you out.
6. Eventually, you're gonna drop it. Pick yourself up, dust off, get back on and keep riding.
7. Beware of the posers and pretenders. They THINK they know it all, and their arrogance can involve you in their crashes. Pass these people so they won't hinder you from reaching your destination.
8. Pray daily, especially for a hedge of protection around you and those you love, and oray for your guardian angel to ride along with you.
9. Enjoy and marvel in God's creation with all of your senses.
10. Don't judge others by the way they look, what other people say about them, or even a very first impression. Take time to get to know the person inside. You never know what good friendships you might miss out on because of someone else's gossip.
11. Most importantly, be on a first name basis with Jesus. After all, you just might meet Him today.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house....

Cindy <><
copyright Cindy Dillard

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I've been spending time in the Wilderness...

copyright Cindy W. Dillard
... the Sipsey Wilderness, that is, in the Bankhead National Forest. Here are a few pictures from our very long hikes:
copyright Cindy W. Dillard
 The Sipsey Wilderness is one of the only places in the Southeast where the Eastern Hemlock grows.
copyright Cindy W. Dillard

copyright Cindy W. Dillard
 Notice the river rocks that are a part of this rock, as well as the leaf prints and the piece of petrified wood. This was located at the base of this massive stack:
copyright Cindy W. Dillard
  The Sipsey is renowned for it's high number of impressive waterfalls. This is one we visited:
copyright Cindy W. Dillard

copyright Cindy W. Dillard
Overall, except for a few blisters and sore feet, one of the best vacations I've ever had. I can't wait for our next adventure!

Now for Christmas...

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Evening Cloud

Copyright owned by Cindy Dillard
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow;
Long had I watched the glory moving on
O'er the still radiance of the lake below.
Tranquil its spirit seemed, and floated slow!
Even in its very motion there was rest;
While every breath of eve that chanced to blow
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous west.
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given
And by the breath of mercy made to roll
Right onwards to the golden gates of heaven,
Where to the eye of faith it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.
(by John Wilson)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mama Drives a Harley...

...and this one's mine! I've had it since May, and I ride it to work every day except when it's storming. One of the ways my life experiences have broadened in the past year. What do you think?

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><
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