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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lemonade, The Lighthouse, And The Drawbridge

Public Domain License -- South Haven Lighthouse Pier Lake Michigan http://pixabay.com/en/profile/PublicDomainPictures/photos/
GypsyOwl's 40 Day Journey continues to be an experience of faith and renewal.  A time to learn about myself and the world around me.  A time of contemplation and learning to trust in a power who often times feels just out of reach.

Sometimes I would feel God wasn't really interested in my life. Partly because I often felt my life was so ordinary and perhaps I felt there were surely better things for Him to be doing in the world.

The truth couldn't be farther from my thinking.  The truth is God is interested in my life and those of each of His children in more ways than I will ever comprehend.  He truly loves and cares for us and He has set into motion a life of joy and challenge.  Challenge can help us grow and each measure of challenge is balanced with the same measure of joy as long as we allow it.

Lemonade 
There is a saying I am not sure anymore who to attribute it to which says "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" and I believe this is true as well as symbolical for understanding balance.  The lemonade is a symbol of adapting as well as balance.  It is true we should learn to adapt to the world around us... this is an attribute which we need to survive the winds of change.  However, what happens when we take that too far can be disastrous.

You may recall a story about Hellen Keller which I am reminded of this morning.  The deaf girl's family adapted to her disability.  They began to give her everything she wanted or what they perceived she wanted to the point she was a spoiled and frustrated child.  When the new teacher arrived, the deaf girl was given a lesson in discipline which required her to learn, and to do for herself that which she could do or could be taught.

In short, The teacher taught her how to make a good, meaningful, and joyful cup of lemonade with the lemons she had received.  The parents, however well meaning, had only taught her the bitter side of the challenge.  The teacher taught her how to balance the challenge with joy and showed her the skills she would need to allow this joy to live in balance with the same measure of challenge.

The Lighthouse
We all could use a little guidance now and then when the waves are crashing against the rocks and the world seems to be pressing us with decisions to make regarding our path in life.  So where do we find this wisdom we need to learn to balance our lives with challenge as well as joy? The bible says:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, 
who gives generously to all without finding fault, 
and it will be given to you.  
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, 
because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, 
blown and tossed by the wind."
James 1:5, 6 (NIV)

When we are looking for wisdom and guidance we will be given the answers generously when we ask believing our prayers are answered.  To be honest, doubt will make its way into my thinking.  I will begin to doubt if the guidance I am feeling is God or is it me.  

I recall a discussion I was having (with myself and God) while driving which went a little bit like this... "When I think you are showing me wisdom how do I know it is really you?" and I felt the answer: 

"Think about how the answer you think I'm telling you would balance, or not balance, the measure of challenge and joy in your life as well as the life of others."

This answer was something to ponder.  I believe as I learn how to use that answer in situations I will come to have discernment and with a bit more confidence.  The Bible says:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5,6


The Drawbridge
When the ships coming through the harbor are too tall to pass under the bridge the bridge will adapt by drawing open.  The motorist traffic on the bridge is temporarily detained while the large ship makes its way past the bridge.  This is a challenge and a joy for everyone who takes the time to see the balance.  

The challenge for the motorists is waiting for the larger ship to maneuver under the bridge.  The joy for the motorists is they might have a few moments in their busy day when they have no choice but to stop and wait and perhaps this moment of waiting gives them an opportunity to think of something they wouldn't have noticed during the hustle and bustle of day to day busy-ness.

The challenge for the ship is to maneuver past the bridge's structure.  Even with the well designed drawbridge construction there are sure to be obstacles which if not taken into consideration could make the ship's effort problematic.  The joy, measure for measure, for the ship and her crew is to accomplish the task and be able to relax until the next challenge presents itself.

To Be Continued...
40 Day Journey Sponsors:
DAY THIRTEEN -- SPONSORS
Toys for one-year-old boys 
by GypsyOwl 
Purchased by Joan4 
DAY FOURTEEN   SPONSOR
Ravenko
DAY FIFTEEN SPONSOR
Ravenko 
DAY SIXTEEN SPONSOR
Ravenko
DAY SEVENTEEN SPONSORs
"Nursery To Go Crib Sets"
Donated by Ravenko  
Purchased by   CCGal   
See More Sponsors -- Become A Sponsor 



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Swim Suit, The Swimming Pool, and The Scenic Route

Public Domain License Image provided by Pixabay submitted by http://pixabay.com/en/profile/PublicDomainPictures/photos/
I am discovering how each stop on the journey seems to tie itself to the next... even when no one knows what is next on the journey.  It becomes more and more clear God has his plan under way and the journey has been planned, provided, and awaits to be discovered.
I was listening to the radio on the way to Michigan and I heard several songs which touched my heart deeply.  One of them was "Where I Belong" by Building 429 (see it below).


The Swim Suit
I haven’t shopped for a swimming suit in as long as I can remember.  I think the primary reason was I could never choose a style that would look right on me (I think I was finding the suit designed for people who would look good in anything) and another reason is when I did buy a suit and got it home I would only wear it once (and never outside of the house).

Of course I would tell myself I never swim anyway so who needs a suit.  If I want to get in the water (for whatever reason) I would likely just roll up my pants and dip my feet into the water for a minute. 

I believe it was not a coincidence there were two swim suits that day.  I was so amazed when I tried one on and it was a great fit, I felt it made me look ok as well.  While other suits would have been ok for a minute this one was actually going to be worn outside.

The Swimming Pool
Several days later, at another point in the journey, a swimming pool was materializing.  There was much work to be done before it would be ready and I wasn’t sure if it would be ready to swim in before I was scheduled to leave. 

Turns out it was ready a day or so before I was leaving and I had a brand new swim suit to wear. I was able to go swimming with my granddaughters and had a great time.  I was mindful about how magical it was I had the suit before the swimming opportunity materialized.

The Scenic Route
Yes, sometimes a five hour drive will take me twelve to accomplish.  Partly because of miscalculation and partly because I become distracted by the sights along the way, yet, it can be accomplished by persistence and patience. At the end of the day (even if it is midnight) you can accomplish anything you have set your mind to doing. 

When I started the drive on day 11 I thought I was in for a five hour drive.  I told my hostess what time I expected to arrive and without double checking I started the drive.  At a point about an hour from starting, I rechecked my directions against the atlas and the maps, and changed my mind about a primary road on the path.  This minor change (or so it seemed at the time) added an additional three hours to the drive.  Not to mention I was about four hours off from the start.  So what should have been a dinner time arrival ended up being a bit after midnight.

I think the moral for the day was to remember this… even when we take the scenic route (which is often more enjoyable overall) we may be off the ‘path’ we were guided to take, but, we still end up right where we are meant to be and the experience will have been enhanced by our curiosity and distractibility.

So, it is ok if a five hour drive takes us twelve… we will always be right where we are supposed to be at exactly the time we are suppose to be there.

Earlier I mentioned a song I heard on the radio.  This is it...



DAY TWELVE -- SPONSORS
Oiva Toikka's Birds
Donated by mbrownauthor 
Purchased by WindyWinters



Become a Sponsor http://www.guidetosquidoo.com/40-day-journey.html 

To Be Continued...
Deb Bryan (aka GypsyOwl) embarked on a leap of faith 40 Day Journey on May 1, 2012 and with the help of sponsors, hostesses, and God's Hand, is taking a break from making decisions about the next chapter in life by having an adventure.  From May through June (traveling 20 days a month) she will explore the country and meet people she has worked with online.


Sponsors: Please visit and support the 40 Day Journey Sponsors (see more sponsors HERE)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

No Time For Tears -- Until We Meet The Sea

Public Domain License Pixabay submitted by PublicDomainPictures http://pixabay.com/en/profile/PublicDomainPictures/photos/
There have been tears.  Most of them have been while driving.  I often talk to myself and to God when I am driving and what better time to contemplate the events of the past few weeks?  There have been 2001 miles of discussions with myself.


I might have sat with these feelings in a different way.  I think the reason this 40 Day Journey is important is so I can take my time with them.  Not sit on the couch in front of the television watching sad movies (tho' that kind of approach can be a great release)... I felt I needed a more proactive approach to sort through the changes and fully evaluate what choices to make here on out.


There is still that lingering thought " ... I am not lovable or worthy of a committed relationship" which creeps in at odd and unexpected moments.  There are still echos of hearing "... since we are not a couple anymore" from someone who I have been committed to in sickness and in health, richer or poorer.  I will not deny the feelings, but, I will ask that they engage in this journey before jumping to a decision.  


I know when I am sitting on the beach and listening to the waves while the seagulls fly into the sunset I will have a better grasp of who I am now.  Who I am becoming.  Where to go next.  That question 'Where will the next chapter of my life unfold?' will be answered and  I will know. 


Day 11 Begins May 21st
Day 1-10 May 1-10th
Day 11-20 May 21 - 30
Day 21 - 40 June 11- 30
Beyond The 40 Day Journey ... More Will Be Revealed


Become a Sponsor http://www.guidetosquidoo.com/40-day-journey.html

To Be Continued...
Deb Bryan (aka GypsyOwl) embarked on a leap of faith 40 Day Journey on May 1, 2012 and with the help of sponsors, hostesses, and God's Hand, is taking a break from making decisions about the next adventure in life by having an adventure.  From May through June (traveling 20 days a month) she will explore the country and meet people she has worked with online.


Sponsors: Please visit and support the 40 Day Journey Sponsors (see more sponsors HERE)
DAY ELEVEN -- SPONSOR
Office Furniture For Children
by GypsyOwl 
Purchased by Joan4

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Faith, The Umbrella, and Lavender Bath Salt

Public Domain Image Found at Pixabay submitted by  Beeki  http://pixabay.com/en/profile/beeki/photos/
Crossing many bridges on the '40 Day Journey' as I find my way to the place where I will make a decision about my future.  There are many times along the way when I have felt there is no way for me to see what lies ahead.  Then I ponder the fact there are so many bridges in my path and I know God has a plan for me much bigger than I could ever imagine alone.


This journey reveals small clues along the way.  I realize from previous experience the 'ideas' I have may only be a way to keep me from being distracted.  This time is for self discovery.  Later I will have plenty of choices to make regarding where to go from here.

The major reason, I am finding, for this time of waiting (the 40 Day Journey) is to find out more about myself and my relationship with life.  So my decision later isn't driven by fear or by resentment.  I need to completely let go of the past in order to make room for the future to unfold.


Faith
While I may not have any idea where this journey will take me... I am growing in faith and know where ever I am God is with me.  And more so when things are most challenging.  He will grow closer as much as I need and allow him to.


The Umbrella
There may have been rain in the forecast, but, I wasn't aware of it.  Only hours after I was gifted the umbrella the rain began to fall.  The gift was more than just am umbrella.  It was a gesture of protection.  The kind of caring God shows for us when preparing us for challenges.  The umbrella will keep me dry when the rain falls and is a symbol of a protection I can count on no matter what is going on in my life I have a guardian watching the forecast and looking out for me.  
  
Lavender Bath Salt
Relaxation comes from creating with a friend and then enjoying the creations...especially when we are talking about making bath salt.  We created some amazing memories as well as bath salts and we each can enjoy them again and again.  


Sharing this experience brought us joy and we will remember it for a long time.  We created relaxation.  This is a good reminder whenever we are stressed.  Step back and take care of yourself.  The challenges will be less stressful when we are well rested and relaxed.  If you find yourself tempted to make a choice under stress then step back and wait (unless you are in immediate danger).  If the decision can wait, then, wait until you relax and rest.  Making decisions when calm will ensure you have taken the time to evaluate all of the perspectives and angles.



To Be Continued...
Deb Bryan (aka GypsyOwl) embarked on a leap of faith 40 Day Journey on May 1, 2012 and with the help of sponsors, hostesses, and God's Hand, is taking a break from making decisions about the next adventure in life by having an adventure.  From May through June (traveling 20 days a month) she will explore the country and meet people she has worked with online.

Sponsors: Please visit and support the 40 Day Journey Sponsors for Days Eight - Day Ten (see more sponsors HERE)
DAY EIGHT -- SPONSORS
Hello Kitty Digital Camera 
Donated by Joan4 
Purchased by Ravenko  
DAY NINE -- SPONSORS
Cashmere Sweaters
Donated by Joan4 
Purchased by Ravenko   

DAY TEN -- SPONSOR
Contribution by mbrownauthor 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Hat, The Camera, And The Journey Poem

Public Domain Image by PublicDomainPictures http://pixabay.com/en/profile/PublicDomainPictures/photos/
Seven days on the journey across the country and I'm stopping to say hello to everyone who is following along this journey of magic and blessings.  There have been so many blessings I am unable to share them all on the blog...but you can be sure I will go into more details about every aspect of the miracles unfolding in the book (more about that later).

The Hat:
Athens GA was a remarkable stop on my journey.  My hostess made my stay better than I could have had in the finest B&B in the south.  The tours, meals, chats on the back porch, and the friendship that blossomed in the 24 hours of my stay will stay with me for a lifetime.

One of the gifts (of many many blessings seen and unseen) was a cheerful hat.  The kind of hat you would wear on a summer day at the beach.  I fell in love with it immediately.   The only thing was it seemed a bit snug, but, I thought I could 'make it fit' by taking my braid down.  So I waited until along the drive to my next stop to try that out.  It was still small.  I thought it would be one of the first pieces in my new home (as decor and a reminder of my visit in GA).

However... At my next stop I would immediately know who the hat was for.

The Camera:
I drove up to the house and saw my friend and her daughter standing waiting to greet me.  The small child (about three years old) was such an angel.  My first instinct was to reach over for the hat (which had rode on the passenger's seat the whole way) and ask the little girl if she liked hats.  Her eyes lit up and she put the hat on.  Perfect fit!

The visit included good food, journeys to explore the beach by moonlight, long talks, great place to sleep, then breakfast on the beach.  In what seemed like only a few hours I had "met" another kindred spirit and would keep the experience close to my heart for years and years to come.

As I was getting ready to move on to the next place on the journey, my hostess presented me with a camera.  This treasure will be playing a huge role throughout the journey as well as in my work after I land.

The Journey Poem:
The speedometer said 1500 Miles and my body said... I'm grateful to stop and rest again.  The people I would meet over the next few days (including my hostess and her family) will be not only a part of my life for years to come but will always hold a special place in my heart.

My hostess had arranged several events for us to go to together.  All have been amazing and I have met many many people who have each blessed my life in significant ways.  It is a bit like opening a book and reading a story with each step fitting exactly with the next chapter.  Each paragraph carefully crafted...but none of the people having been given the chapter before or after.

God is writing this book, and each person who has entered into the scope of the journey has been a part of the big picture in amazing ways.  Each one having been prepared long ahead of time to be just the right person to place this piece or that piece into the puzzle.  Which brings us to the poem...

I met Nancy Vinson for the first time on Sunday night and at 1pm on Monday she arrived at a lunch she learned about as we were leaving the church on Sunday night.  The seat beside me was empty after we were being seated for lunch.  She presented me with the poem which line by line described the very essence of the journey I am on.

I knew at once this is the introduction for the book.  And I will be forever grateful she is in my life and am honored to have this loving gift from her as it will be the best first page, of the book which will show anyone who is seeking a way to take a leap of faith how my experience became proof of serendipity and love.

To Be Continued...
Deb Bryan (aka GypsyOwl) embarked on a leap of faith 40 Day Journey on May 1, 2012 and with the help of sponsors, hostesses, and God's Hand, is taking a break from making decisions about the next adventure in life by having an adventure.  From May through June (traveling 20 days a month) she will explore the country and meet people she has worked with online.


Sponsors: Please visit and support the 40 Day Journey Sponsors for Days One - Day Seven (see more sponsors HERE)


DAY ONE -- SPONSORS
"Bats in London" Donated by Vallain
Purchased by  Fanfreluche
DAY TWO -- SPONSORS
Keyword Packs Donated by Joan4
Purchased by Ravenko
DAY THREE-- SPONSORS
Keyword Packs Donated by Joan4
Purchased by Ravenko 
DAY FOUR -- SPONSOR
CCGal
DAY FIVE -- SPONSORS
WhiteOak50 & Clouda9 
DAY SIX -- SPONSORS
"The Gift of Giving"
Donated by WhiteOak50 
Purchased by ---Chazz
DAY SEVEN -- SPONSORS
"Cookbooks for a Gourmet Pooch"
Donated by Vallain 
Purchased by ---Chazz