Good Faith

When seasons change there are some things that stay the same. Most often it is easy to forget the season we just left. Now that the snow has melted and the hot and humid days of summer are here, no one remembers the cold hard winter. There is one day during the winter that I remember well. It was a cold Sunday morning in early January and the ice covered the sidewalk. I moved forward and walked slowly praying that I would not fall. I noticed that Taylor was especially careful but unafraid. She depended on me totally and trusted that I would not allow her to fall. As we made our way to “safe” ground where there was no ice, we were grateful that we did not fall.

Little did Taylor know that I was careful and depended on someone besides myself to assure that we did not fall or stumble. I prayed and trusted God, trying hard not to meditate on the the possibility of falling, but instead treading carefully and never looking back. That reminds me of that “now” faith described in Hebrews 11; believing that things would work out and treading lightly, knowing that there is a greater force sustaining you. Though the season has changed I would like to keep that kind of faith for this new season; treading lightly and trusting God. Because I know that He will not let me fall.

Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen…

Good

 

I have an annoying ability to see the good in almost anything. I don’t think that it is something that I can take all the responsibility for because God* is all good and perhaps if there is a lil’ bit of Him on the inside of me then I will blame Him. Nevertheless it is an annoying trait or characteristic to have for a couple reasons. Mainly because if I see a lil’ bit of good in some people that are undeserving there becomes a larger issue. I am hopeful that one day I can see the good in the right person and not people that are undeserving of that second glance. I love good things; good people, good food, and good friends. Perhaps, that is the reason that I see the good in people.
Whatever the case may be, I am grateful for the good experiences that I have and even some of the difficult ones. I pray that I am surrounded by good people that mean no harm rather than the alternative. I have a heartfelt hope that good things come to those who wait and one day I shall have more than my fair share of good.
Good (adjective): Morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; Satisfactory in quality, quantity or degree. Of high quality.
*After looking up the definition I realize that there is only one good thing: God.

Good Love

There is something so amazing about love. It holds you close and makes you feel safe. Never failing. Never wanting anything. Always steady. There is something so awesome about being cared for. Adored. Loved. Real love, good love can sustain you and keep you safe from harm. Good love is authentic. Powerful. Good love + More Good love = A Good Life
Love is the immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends and preserves. Its eternal goal is life. Smilely Blanton

Good Advice

I get lots of advice. No matter the venue or mode of communication, people tend to give me unsolicited advice because of my situation. Though most of it is well intended and some of it even useful, there are those rare occasions where I get great advice. That was the case today. I posted on FB that today was my first day alone without Taylor in three months. I appreciated the well wishes and the positive tone from friends because most see the struggle first hand. The best advice I received on the thread was from a highschool friend that I haven’t spoken to in years (accept via FB).
We share some of the same struggles as single parents and a love for lifelong learning. She told me to breathe slowly. It was the best advice I have gotten in a long time. I have experienced two anxiety attacks in my life, ironically during times that I was not particularly stressed. The most painstaking aspect of such an attack is the realization that you cannot control your breathing. You are breathing very fast and your heart rate is accelerating. Breathing is so important and therefore today more than any day I focused on my breathing. In doing so, I was able to take in each moment rather than running anxiety about my day. The day actually went by slower and I was able to tap into other senses as well. I smelled the water from our local fountain more vividly and I felt the wind cross my path and move with me as I walked. Most importantly I was able to walk around and notice my environment. I sat still throughout the day at different moments just so I could breathe slowly. Thanks Keli!

Good Advice + Good People= a good life
Breath is Spirit. The act of breathing is Living. ~ Author unknown

Good Memories

My dad is pretty awesome. He is one of those people you like almost immediately because his personality draws you in, making you feel significant even if you are merely a stranger. He has a great sense of humor and a cool confident swag. I am honored to be his daughter. We have always had a good relationship and if there was an issue it is mostly because we are so much alike. My favorite quality that I received from him was the ability to affirm people with positive words, reminding them how important they are, highlighting their strengths rather than their weaknesses. He has always been very positive, saying just right things to help me maintain a healthy level of confidence. I always love hanging out with my dad, and as a teenager we would spend the weekends together at least twice a month. Though my parents were divorced, they always maintained a friendship which made it even easier for us to maintain a good relationship.

My most vivid memories are of us spending weekends together. He would pick me up on a Friday evening in his short body Cadillac (a Chicago thing), and we would head out to his place for dinner. Since I am the youngest, I spent more time with my dad than my other siblings which made are bond even more unique. Since he was not much of a cook he would make sloppy joes or pork chops which he mastered by the time I was a teenager. We would stay up for a bit chatting about what happened at school that week. When he went to bed I would raid my stepmother’s library for her latest novel and attempt to devour it before the night was over. On Saturday mornings he would make a great breakfast (his specialty) before we embarked on a shopping trip. Sunday we would always go to grandma’s house which was always a great time. We would spend at least nine or ten hours there but somehow it only felt like only three hours. I would be a bit sad when he dropped me off, missing him before the Cadillac could even round the corner and eagerly expecting the same fun weekend two weeks later. He is an amazing guy and love my daddy more than words can express. Despite the complexities that exist in parent/child relationships, I know based on those memories that we have a bond that will never be broken.
I am grateful for those memories that sustain me since I moved away from home almost eight years ago. Memory is that part of the brain that can sustain you and give you strength reminding you of those good times, when things were easy and simply.
good memories + good family= a good life
Happy Father’s Day Daddy!
I love my father as the stars-he is a bright shining example and a twinkling in my heart ~

Terri Guillemets

The Day Trip

There is so much that can happen in one day. The experiences that you have within a day can change your life forever. I try to take at least one day trip per month. In fact, I can credit day trips to saving my sanity when I need a change of location or a quick getaway. Over the past seven years, those day trips have amounted to life changing experiences. Whether by train, plane, or automobile, taking a day away to reflect, meet new people, and cover new ground has been so rewarding. For example, while living in Brooklyn back in 2003 I took a day drip to New Haven, CT. Me, Taylor and her famous Maclaren Stroller boarded the Metronorth train at Grand Central, bound for a day adventure. Having never traveled to New Haven, I was interested in touring that famous university set in the heart of downtown. Little did I know that a simple day trip would expand my territory regarding politics and ambition more than I ever expected. I met an older gentlemen on the train and we struck up an interesting conversation about politics and religion. He was a former academic and scholar turned business man. The conversation was thought provoking and I was somewhat converted (but we will talk about that later) to a different way of thinking. He treated me and Taylor to savory burgers at a restaurant at the top of the Omni where we were able to overlook the university. It was beautiful and years later, that restaurant is still my favorite spot in NH. Needless to say, seven years later I live two blocks from that restaurant and I still remember that meeting. It is funny how time away from your comfort zone can expand your horizons and taste buds for new things, new people and new opportunities.

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day. Elwyn Brook White

Good Movement

I love to travel. Movement has always served as an adrenalin rush for me. I prefer the train because it is always moving in one direction. Though it pauses for a bit along the way there is a set destination and psychologically movement allows me to have a sense of direction. Perhaps it is the freedom and the anticipation of the next thing. Staying in one place allows for a sense of monotony. Traveling also allows for new experiences and new people. It helps me to breathe.

I love the train because I can move at a fast pace without doing any of the work. Looking at the beautiful scenery outside the window is refreshing. I have traveled often via train between the three different cities over the past seven years: New York, Boston and New Haven. Each city bringing a new set of challenges and experiences. I would not change a thing about the places I have been or the people I have met along that way. I once took the train when Taylor was a baby from New York to Chicago and back again. On the way back to New York, the train was stopped at around ten o’clock that night. When we woke up the next morning we were in that same spot. I was not upset because our train was delayed, or because I was worried about traveling with my young child, but because we were stopped in the same spot without movement for such a long time. The stagnation was almost paralyzing. I am constantly seeking ways to move. However, sometimes a period of standing still is important for growth. I was grateful that we eventually made it to our destination at the appointed time with everything in tact. I must learn to appreciate those times. Standing still waiting for movement is an inevitable part of life.

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Good People

Several weeks ago during our normal Saturday routine: a yummy breakfast, books and a stroll, we met a wonderful stranger. She joined us for lunch (pizza) and we chatted about numerous topics including family, relationships, and the quest for a life. We discussed how we both were in a place in our lives in which we were making a deliberate effort to appreciate the small things. It seemed to be just what we needed on that particular day. Living in a new city away from family is not new for me.
In fact, I have lived in three cities over the past eight years and I have become accustomed to having only a few “real” friends. However, it is a blessing to encounter good people, kind people, in my daily life that make being a transplant (a person from a different city) a little better.
There are boundaries of course that are important when building any new relationship or friendship, but I enjoy meeting new people, good people, that enable me to believe in the goodness of the human spirit. As I try to block out all the difficult things that are happening in society today I mediate on those good things that happen to us in our everyday lives that we should never take for granted. Good co-workers, good church folk, good concierges, good classmates and good neighbors. For me those are all good people whose company I look forward to on a daily basis.
Good people + Good times = One Good life
 
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters, do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:1-2

Good Interception

What would you do if you knew that even though you suffer at times and feel pain or discomfort, that someone was right there to intercept that pain? Though you may feel it in the natural realm, your spirit is not crushed, because you know that someone was there to intercept it for you. That is how I felt today after a visit to the dentist with my daughter. Taylor had a MAJOR meltdown; biting, kicking, and screaming. All the while I was being berated by the dentist for not having her teeth in the “perfect” tip top shape. Taylor has a beautiful smile, and I brush her teeth daily. However, she was angry because the cleaning was difficult. She was so angry that a major autistic meltdown ensued. It was a tough experience, but similar to several that I have experienced in the past.

This meltdown left me feeling extremely embarrassed and sad. By the time we arrived home Taylor was over the ordeal. She moved on and began anticipating her next snack. However, the negative feelings still lingered with me. But after a couple hours I was fine. I no longer felt defeated or melancholy. Without me any notice, the burden had been lifted, and I was able to move on. That is how God does it. Suddenly our burdens are lifted, leaving new and fresh ground. Holy ground.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (New International Version, 2011)

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Good God

Safe. Loved. Beautiful.

When I close my eyes and imagine you I am blown away. Your presence alone renders me weak and speechless. I close my eyes and imagine you and me. Perfect. Beautiful. Holding hands. Embraced. The slightest touch makes me smile. I beam with joy. Perfect. This daydream in perfect, because you are perfect. I am afraid to open my eyes, because then it would no longer be real. This perfect thing. Us. Together. I have not felt this happy since that bike ride on the vineyard. Satisfied. Safe. Loved. Beautiful.

My eyes open. You are still there. Your presence is always there. You said you would never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you Lord.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Isaiah 43:2-3