Monday, March 29, 2010

The Christian walk isn't easy!

With Easter approaching, I have to once again say it out loud. I'm in awe of God's love and grace towards me! It is amazing! The cross says it all. Yet as women, we're just human and to follow Christ requires trust and hope in things for our lives that are yet unseen. The words are easy, but sincerely "walking the walk" is much harder...at every age and stage, right?

As moms (and grand-moms)we sometimes feel we must be super-human and all-wise, but that alone requires dependence on who God is, a willingness to surrender to his guidance, and faith for tangible outcomes on this earth. The Christian walk takes a deliverate daily choice to participate in all that God has for us, which includes patience and persistence, and for me and probably you, a willingness to give up my selfish desires, my pride and willfulness. hmmm...what I know for sure...I will never arrive and have it all together. And I also know that as I continually gravitate towards Christ, and strive to discard the old, replaced by the strength of an all-knowing God, I receive a peace and perspective well beyond what I could ever imagine. In realizing my limitations, I'm in awe of the expanse of God's faithfulness.

I guess the bottom line, faith in the Christ isn't just for me and other people. He died for you, too! Christianity may not be an easy walk, but it is the most rewarding, miraculous and adventurous walk you'll ever take. Nothing dull about it! Don't mean to sound "preachy," but sometimes I can't restrain myself. Enjoy the Easter eggs and rely on HIM as you "walk the walk!"
God Bless YOU!
Judy
http://www.judydippel.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ever "In Limbo?"

I need to write something thought provoking and encouraging today, but I feel in limbo--a result of numerous stresses that have gotten to me. What may be the most encouraging is to tell you..."sometimes life gets to us and temporarily gets the best of us, even when we have strong faith, and even when we've lived through enough life to have great answers and quick fixes!"

I'm not alone and neither are you.
But what do we do when we might feel frozen in place, worried, stressed out, depressed, or frozen in place? A few habits that may help you.

First, acknowledge why you are feeling this way. Acceptance is a huge step in the right direction, and remember nothing stays the same. This "in limbo" feeling will pass!

Today, do something you can control and enjoy, and try to let go of what you can't control...and always remember you can't do it all!

Talk to God, pray, seek guidance and comfort in his word.

Talk to a trusted friend, or seek out a therapist if you feel it's needed.

Love yourself enought to practice healthy self-care: regular amounts of sleep, exercise, healthy diet. Get outside, enjoy a change of scene...and KNOW it's okay to say NO to take care of you...boundaries are good!

I'd love to hear from you.
Judy
http://www.judydippel.com/

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seasons of Solace

Last August I had the privilege of attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference and I was randomly assigned a roommate. Though we were a generation apart, Janelle Hertzler and I enjoyed each other's company at meals and in classes. She blessed me in an amazing way--one of which was through her testimony and hearing about her book. Seasons of Solace: A Story of Healing through Photos and Poems represents Janelle's journey as she deals with the unthinkable.

While Janelle and her husband served as missionaries in Thailand, her husband was killed by a drunk driver. Coming home to the US with a toddler, Janelle attempted to navigate through her pain and make sense of a senseless act. Writing poetry, reading the Psalms, and taking inspiring photos are some of the tools she used to express grief, honestly convey her thoughts, and work through her healing process. Hertzler's path is captured tearfully and beautifully in print and photography in Seasons of Solace. Her honesty reminds us that pain is real. Her words tell us that there is no magic timetable for grief. Her transparency is courageous. Seasons of Solace is an excellent gift book that presents timeless truths and images for those grieving the loss of a loved one or life disappointments of any magnitude.

To learn more about Janelle and read a few sample poems, or get information about obtaining Seasons of Solace, please visit www.journey-through-grief.com/seasons-of-solace.html

Peace,
Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life Comes at You Fast

“It shouldn’t be happening to you this young.” That’s what a 30 something gal told me last week as I shared that my husband and I lost a life-long friend suddenly. “I know,” I answered. “We are shocked by it. When friendship is deep, loss is deeper. We hurt.” With no warning, the words, “He’s gone,” pierced our hearts.

Boomers’ bios show that we change jobs, retire, relocate, make new friends, lose friends and family. We watch our children graduate from college, relocate, start a career, marry, and grandchildren arrive. In a blink of an eye, life happens. Sure, we have lots of fun stuff, but what hit me squarely in the face last week is loss. Like my young friend said, “It shouldn’t be happening to you this young…or this soon.” Right; to our parents, but not to us…yet.

I know that there will be a sweet reunion someday. I know that in comparison to “stuff” on earth, heaven is perfect and glorious and I don’t wish my friend back. I know that separation will be short and eternity forever! Yet the reality is that as boomers age, the news I heard will be replayed. We will have loss.

The TV commercial says, “Life comes at you fast.” Scripture tells us life is a vapor. So true. So we’re in the fast lane. Let’s make every day count for what matters. What are you going to do today that matters?

Blessings in your discoveries,
Marilyn

Monday, March 1, 2010

LEARNING LIFE AGAIN

There's is nothing like seeing life through our grandchildren's eyes to remind us what we DO know and what we DON'T! (Like Marilyn's previous post...I'd never before thought of toilet paper as a priceless treasure...though in reality it probably is to each and every one of us. But even more valuable with grandma's lipstick kiss on it, according to Marilyn's grandchildren.) Love it, especially when it makes me see t-paper in a fresh and new way!

It is awesome to be "Learning Life Again" with grandchildren. Seeing through a child's lens teaches us something new, reminds us to appreciate the simple things, and opens us up to the world we live in.

For example:

Have you ever felt a "naked mole rat" is the most beautiful animal in the zoo? Probably not, in fact if you are like me, you don't even know what a naked mole rat is. Well, 5 year-old Ella educated me...and now I see the beauty of their claws and brown, naked little mouse-like bodies! :-)

I'd never noticed the fuzzy, hair-like pods that are on the ground...year after year, just before my magnolia tree blooms. They're beautiful, fuzzy, soft...like a little animals ears...just as both Eli and Ella explained to me this morning. And now, we have two freezer bags full on the counter! I will never miss them on the ground next year.

And as Olivia said when she was about three. Grandma, where does God live? I said he is large and lives way up there...probably beyond the sky. She said, "But he comes really close, and gets really small to live in my heart!" I was speechless.

Amen, and let's pay close attention to the wisdom of our grandchildren. In this stage, I'm ready to keep learning new things about life...from them!

What have your grandchildren taught you lately?
Judy