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 <><

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where I Am... Continuing My Story

Someone very close to me once told me that if a man falls out of love, he does so suddenly and he makes a conscious decision about it. A woman, on the other hand, falls out of love gradually over time; she gives her whole heart away to a man, but his action (or inaction) leads her to take back pieces of her heart, little by little, until there's just nothing of love left. I believe this to be a very wise and astute assessment of human nature.

Things had been bad in my marriage for a very, very long time. But I was (and am!) a very stubborn person, and I was determined to make it work. But the harder I worked at the marriage, the more my ex-husband slacked off, so I would work harder still.

In addition, I confess that I was prideful, thinking to myself how much better our marriage was than that of this couple or that couple, or how much worse this neighbor's or that neighbor's situation was than mine, so I should be the shining example of the Christian-wife-and-mother martyr to the rest of my little world. Plus, I didn't want to admit that my mother may have been right all those years ago when she encouraged me not to marry so young. How's that for stubborn pride??

Pride can be a heavy load to carry around, though, and the weight of my situation began to be more than I could bear. It's even reflected in my last blog post before my long absence.

After that, with an additional child in the house in public school, homeschooling my own, working full time, housekeeping, ad nauseum, plus the complaints about the time the blog was taking, I just gave it up for a while. Plus, keeping so busy took my focus away from my problems, and that can be a good thing. It's a good way to keep from wallowing in self-pity lol!

But I did reach a breaking point. I know exactly when, down to the approximate time, that the last little piece of my heart returned to me. It was on a Friday night, the first night of my vacation, when after driving for 5 hours to get to our camper (the rest of the family were already there), after I had prepared dinner and worked on finishing the camper set-up that hadn't been done, my husband picked a fight with me, totally out of the blue, about something I had said 4 months earlier which, in his mind, implied that I worked as hard as him. Never mind that I actually always had worked as hard, and often harder, than him - the fact that I had simply implied such all those months before was enough for him to hold a grudge, and for him to punish me with it that particular night.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Response to a Legalistic Christian

The following is a status update posted by one of my Facebook friends:
"Beloved friends, please let me be clear. I am a born-again Christian. I am on Facebook by choice. I am on Facebook because I want to be on Facebook. I choose my Facebook friends. The word "friend" implies someone with whom you have rapport and compatibility. I refuse to "friend" anyone whose posts contain foul or vulgar language and/or post anything that is sexually explicit. You or anyone else has the freedom to post whatever you please, but I have the freedom to "unfriend" anyone who violates my personal standards. Does that make me legalistic? Absolutely not -- if I am not forcing you into my mold. I respect your freedom to do whatever you please, but I have the freedom to choose not to participate. One day every one of us will stand before Jesus Christ at the bema seat or Great White Throne. For many, the experience will not be a pretty picture -- loss of escrow rewards at the bema seat and banished to the lake of fire at the Great White Throne. The choice is yours."
I commented this response:
Each of us wields a realm of influence, however slight, over each and every person with whom we have contact. While some of those people are close friends, others are merely acquaintances or perhaps complete strangers. However, for some of those people, you may be the only light of Christ that person sees. The power of the internet and platforms such as Facebook increase our scope of influence into the lives of the friends of our “friends.” As Christians we are called to be *in* the world not *of* it, yet the outlook portrayed in this post takes a stance of refusing to even be “in” it. If Jesus were walking our planet today, is this the way He would respond to those whose lifestyles or choice of words with which He disagreed? He didn’t even condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery; he showed her grace, rescued her from her situation and told her to go and sin no more. This, however, is the attitude of one who is holding the stone, just waiting for an opportunity to chunk it. Proverbs 19:11 tells us that “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Let’s face it: the birth pains Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24 are getting closer and more intense; so, as Christians, we will continue to be faced with more and more that is in opposition to our beliefs. But we can’t just stick our heads in the sand and ignore the world which is spiritually dying all around us. So I ask you, when you stand before the Throne of God, how will you answer for those he brought into your sphere of influence to whom he expected you to be a witness, but you decided that you were too offended by their sinfulness to reach out to them in Christ’s love? I believe that choice is yours also.
There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Where I've Been - The Back Story

The last year and a half has been a time of great change in my life - the type of changes that not only upset your physical circumstances but which can also shake your spiritual foundations. There are many aspects of the life changes that God has brought me through which I do not fully understand, but I am hoping that the process of writing out my thoughts and feelings will be therapeutic for me, and I pray that perhaps my experiences will be of some encouragement to others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

If you have read my updated "About" page you will have noticed that I have recently divorced. I have not spoken openly about this until now; in fact, only a handful of people know what has happened from my perspective. Part of me needs to set the record straight, and the rest of me simply needs to move on, this being a means to that end.

I was married to my ex-husband for just shy of 21 years. By all outward appearances we had an ideal relationship and our family was one which our friends and neighbors envied. However, behind closed doors I lived in a fear that's difficult to name -

Friday, September 28, 2012

Coming Home

It's been a very long while since I have posted. Much has changed... SO much has changed!...and there is much to share. There is so much I have learned, one thing being that I have so much more to learn! And through it all, I once again find solace in God's Word, knowing "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, NIV)

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh.
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)

Within the time I have been away there has been time for uprooting, tearing down, weeping, scattering stones, giving up, and war. It was a time to be silent. Now, however, is a time of rebirth, laughter, dancing, and love. It is now, again, time to speak.

There is joy on this journey,
On My Way Home to My Father's House,
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