See Forever

Seeing forever would be either wonderful or dreadful.

The Bible teaches I’m an eternal being, and faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (the Great Creator) means I will see life beyond what a normal life will afford.

I think if this current world was it, sans people, I could be contented with that. It’d be wonderful. The Great Creator has made a beautiful creation, and I love looking deeply at something until delight in it and Him overwhelms me.

But that’s not the loving Creator says will happen: the current earth is going to pass away.

So will the enemy of our souls (yay, good!) and so will the current way things are (yipee!)

That means I’ll have new things to discover in eternity. New things to discover about the Creator. New things to love and delight over in His Kingdom (Nation? World? Dimension? Not sure what word will fit.)

Yep. Wonderful.

Evil from the enemy and evil from people hurts all of Creation. When I snapped the above picture, I felt like everything was perfect in that moment.

Then I lowered the iPhone and turned around and saw all the people. Oh snap.

Not so wonderful.

If I were to live for eternity on a planet with people who are all and each looking out for themselves… That’d be bad. Awful. Dreadful.

God has a plan for that, too, obviously as outlined in the Bible. Love and light will reign through Him, through King Jesus.

Why? Because God loves people. And why shouldn’t He? He created them.

I want to delight in people like I delighted in that sunset moment. To see people as beautiful. To love them like God does.

Maybe if I could see forever now, loving people would be easier…

I’d not see people based on their actions for the span of my memory, but I’d see them as eternal beings.

Then, maybe then, I’d try to love as many of them as I could into His Kingdom. Introduce as many of them as I can to Jesus (Who is such a neat Person!)

Yes, I will see forever one day.

But for now, I’m going to dwell on this, and keep asking Jesus to help me see like He does.

 

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Wanter Poem

My wanter is busted, or maybe it’s fine

But it pushes my feelers to so far behind

My wanter sees problems it desires to fix

Often my soul doesn’t want into that mix

The absurd and the costly, my wanter demands

I cringe at its focus, I drown in these lands

My wanter is busted, surely needs saving

Pushed along by it, my heart is done raving

God, please change my wanter to line up with You

Because it’s stuck with me, and You’re stuck with me, too

When Shattered – Phones and Other Things

Phone – My I.T. Girl opinion? I was stupid. I loved how the iPhone felt outside of its case. So that’s how I carried it around. One day, I have it on the dryer while I’m messing with laundry. Then I bumped it. Down to the tile it crashes. As soon as it hit: glass crackage. Right around the camera on the back. My soul let out a scream. I knew better and yet I shattered my phone. The only thing I could do was put it in an Otter Box to cover the glass splinters.

Strawberry Jam – My grasp on the small strawberry jam jar slipped. It may not seem like a big deal, but I love strawberry jam. And we were about out of its goodness. Almost out. (Like, all the household toast is about to cry.) BANG! The jar hit the tile on the bottom corner and then… Shatter shards allllll over the kitchen floor. At that point, you can’t eat it, even though part of the jar is sticking together thanks to the last bit of jam. No, no, no, it’s gone. Done. Sorry, toast, you’re left with butter alone.

Relationships – My INFJ ways are to let things sit while they are good. Then, once they aren’t, decide what to remedy and what to let fail. Unfortunately, I’ve always done this with people (and to this day fight to freaking. stop. it.) It starts with a friend going silent. Sometimes maybe I caused that. Then something doesn’t feel right, good, or nice about the relationship. Too late, I see the shattering, between them and I. A delayed gut-punch. All that’s left to wonder is, will friendship glue fix it, or am I too late? Usually, yes. I’m too late.

Feelings – Life happens. Someone dies. Hurt flares. Expectations are dashed. Pain of an argument that goes on and on, stretching the heart pain on for longer than a month. Peace is hard to hold within, because the “owie” overrides everything. Shattered insides much? All have been there. You might be reading this pointing at your own shatteredness in solidarity.

I get you.

A shattering can happen with anything, anytime. Job expectations. Kid expectations. Marriage expectations. Life expectations.

No one gets away unscathed.

My question is:

Who do we take our shattered parts to? Who really cares?

Does anyone really care?

I’m going to whisper this next part, because sometimes blog voices can get tart and snappish, and I’m not wanting that.

*whispers* 

I looked for answers. I really did. But I only found one who really cares.

Also is the only one can fix it: Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Over and over I take the busted stuff in my life to Him, because I am surrendered to Him being the “fixer” in my life. He stood next to me when it happened, and He isn’t upset or mad.* He just wants to be trusted to help. He wants to be trusted to soothe. And He wants to be trusted as the One who never leaves.

He’s never been unfaithful to me. Because, yeah. Stuff shatters.

 

 

*Theologically, Jesus is in heaven after ascending to the Father and the Holy Spirit replaced Him on the earth, so God can still be lovingly with us, for those that care to invite Him in. Triune God = 3 in 1. If you have questions, first read the Book of John and the Book of Acts. Forgive the people that wear the name “Christian”… we are all busted and need our Savior. But He isn’t human. We mess up this Christian walk. He didn’t fail us. He’s perfect, so yeah. He “stood” next to me by the Holy Spirit within me; the Holy Spirit is my direct line to Jesus and God the Father, so artistic liberties on how I displayed it.

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Orchid Photos

Today a friend and I ate together at a luxury grocer cafe. Catching up proved lovely. Then we moved on to shopping.

We bought Rosemary ham from the deli (thin sandwich slices), ogled the baked goods and homemade marshmallows, browsed exotic honey, and smelled 14 specialty bath bombs. Insert huge thank-you to my similarly-bath-loving friend for purchasing the pink bath bomb for me—I can’t wait to use it!

She found kitchen towels that were on sale. I resisted the urge to buy three orchids. Resisted with all my might.

However, I whipped out my camera and had a few moments in the narrow walkway.

The orchids were gorgeous, and I had to stop and stare.

Please enjoy!

Gratitude Series 04

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

Thoughts have brought me to the starting and ending places I find myself staring at.

I have lived through a lot…

My sisters being born. My Abuela’s death. A college friend taking his life. The aging of respected elders. The death of a writer friend, who left behind books unpublished. Miscarriages, amid a sea friends having children and raising children…

The cycle of life and death never ends. And it shan’t, until the Great Creator deems it will.

But I see it now. I can be grateful and thankful for this cycle.

I express gratitude over life on Earth.

I express gratitude over death portals. (Death portals is just a nice way to say the spirit departing a person, as is the order of things now until the next age.)

I express gratitude that Yeshua* took the keys of Death and Hell in fair exchange.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look ​— ​I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18 (Bible reference in the Christian Standard Bible version)

I express gratitude that Yeshua* is the Path to Life.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.

John 11:25 (Bible reference in the Christian Standard Bible version)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (Bible reference in the Christian Standard Bible version)

I express gratitude that in these things, I can rest, I can be at peace. One bigger than myself, bigger than all this, handles these things that I can’t control.

And for that, I can smile and say thank you.

 

 

*Yeshua is Christ Jesus’ Hebrew name.

 

Gratitude Series 03

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

This isn’t much of a thing, but I think it needs to be addressed… I am in love with our Keurig.

The fact that I’m able to make a hot cup of water or hot cup of coffee almost instantly has revolutionized my Working Day and my home life.

I am so incredibly grateful for this little invention and I’m so glad that it exists at this day, and at this time, in Year 2019.

That is all.

 

Gratitude Series 02

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

Today, I am reminiscing friends. Realizing how grateful I am for buddies.

To all those who are close to me and see me for who I am and love me just as:
I’m so thankful for each of you. I’m even thankful for how we grate on each other. 🙂

For each of you who have been with me for over two years, extra special thanks for your patience with my apparent inability to listen well: you taught me to shut my mouth and drink you in.

My world is so much better for it.

Thank you.

Friend, I Listen

Friend
Come close
Enter this quiet abode
Kneel on this mat with me
Let me make you green tea

Friend
Breathe deep
Let me hear and let me stir
Dissolve the facade free
Our eyes delicately see

Share
Speak all
Empty your heart so I hear
Cry and sip and swallow
Pain poured out makes us hollow

Here
Right here
I listen to what you say
The galaxy of you
I dare not disturb the view

Time
Like tea
I give because you matter
I shan’t hurry us on
Even if we sit ’til dawn

Breathe
And smile
For tea doesn’t stain hearts
It is okay to spill
Be with me and please be real

Friend
Come close
Enter this quiet abode
Kneel on this mat with me
Let me make you green tea

by Keviana Elliot 3/26/19

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Gratitude Series 01

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

 

Steps plodded into unwavering gratitude start with the realization of a 30,000-ft view.

A flyover.

Stare down into the tiny dots that make up memories and backstory and see what’s there.

If I were a commercial airliner, soaring over my life, what would the terrain be made of?

Black dirt. Green trees. White snow. A little further on, endless blue oceans and island-dots. Then finally, land filled with flowers and endless miles of flowering trees. (I think they’re cherry and plum trees… But it’s hard to tell from up here.)

Let’s divide it up.

black dirt.

The nitty-gritty on my life story.

The pain.
The sorrow.
The hard.
The stuff I wish each flood of rain would wash away.

Can I be truly grateful for all of it? #unsure

green trees.

Life.

The places God was gracious to grow it in me.

Through parenting poured out on me by my Mother and Father, and expounded in me through my Heavenly Pappa.

white snow.

Where I started.

With nothing.

Getting to choose nothing.

My life, placed in the hands of others at my birth, innocent brown eyes taking everything in as I aged into a girl.

endless blue oceans.

Chased by the fathomless, ravishing love of my Creator.
Wooed by His worlds.
Drowned by His goodness.
Wowed by Him. Wowed by Jesus/Yeshua. Wowed by what He shares with me.

island-dots.

Worlds for He and I to uncover, discover, and form.

Working together. This is what’s mine to steward under His supervision.

land of flowers and flowering trees.

Blessings I didn’t work for.

Gifts I don’t deserve.

Delightful beauty that is given to me to watch, touch, play in.

 

This is the overview.
This is where I start.

 

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During Grief: Sharing Chores with My Husband

This is what I wrote on sharing chores with your spouse before the miscarriage.

This is what I’ve learned since the miscarriage.

It’s so different doing life while inside grief… I wish I’d known all this before it hit. I could’ve saved my Husband and I some tearful discussions.

1. Stuff is going to fall

Let it.

When dealing and muddling through grief, the priority is letting out the pain. Don’t hold back a good cry because the kitchen is a mess. Just cry it out beside that sink full. It’s healing a bit of you that’s bleeding inside.

2. Give grace

You and your significant other need some room to be yourself.

You need room to do you.

Whatever your mourning/lamenting style is, whatever your spouse’s mourning/lamenting style is, embrace it and give grace.

He didn’t get the grass cut? Hire a guy to do it and tell your man you love him.
You didn’t get the towels folded? Shove them where they go unfolded and take a relaxing bubble bath while you’re so close to the tub.

Grace.

3. Communicate softly

When speaking to each other, pick the softest time. Maybe not early in the morning before the first, comforting cup of coffee, or late at night when emotions are so near the surface. No one wants to hear about the garbage can before bed when they are sad.

Pick the softest place to communicate. Maybe not over text. Maybe not over the phone.

Pick your soft tone when speaking to your spouse. Be careful with one another while you are both so sensitive.

Pick your words carefully. Be extra soft. You both need it.

Chores don’t go away, but your spouse might leave the room crying if you are harsh. Be sweet. Be kind. Be soft.

4. Give more grace

When you wanted the chore done oh, so badly, and it isn’t done, weigh it in light of the future.

Will this mildewed basket of clothes bother me in a year?

Will this messy car hurt me in a few months?

Sigh and just let it go. (Or shed a tear and walk away.)

5. When you can, ask for help

If you can get a little help with your chores, consider it during the roughest grief period.

A house cleaner, a yard man, a chef service, a drop-off laundry service, etc. are a good decision while you and your spouse are distraught.

A friend or a family member might be willing to pitch in, too.

Ask.

It’s temporary and might ease the burden you both feel so you can focus on you.

6. Understand grieving may take a long time

For our recent miscarriage, one friend said the discombobulation could last 4 months, another friend said years.

My Husband and I determined it varies from person to person, from couple to couple.

If you expect grief to take awhile, it just makes everything… more… okay.

After the first two months, I’m writing this after having another crying spell this afternoon. I have to tell myself to slow down still and not be in such a hurry to “be better.” Guilt is not allowed anymore. Why?

It may take a long time.

And no one can tell me (or you) exactly how much time it will take.

7. It’s temporary

Things will get better. They will not go “back to normal,” but they won’t hurt like death forever…

Just keep saying it: this is temporary.

Feel the feels, sob the pain, cry the anger, lament, grieve, but know it’s not forever.

Take it day-by-day. – Kalla L.

I agree with my friend’s saying so much: take it day-by-day.

For example, on a simple day, no work was needed at my job, just a meeting of a creative writing church group for a few hours. I’d planned all week to go, excited to write with my friends, but, the night before, I cried so hard, I nearly vomited. That morning, I woke up with a stuffy, swollen head, exhausted, my heart as heavy as a rock. My Husband encouraged me to forget it all. Scrub the plans. Scrub the pending chores. He’d go to work, he wanted me to stay in bed or on the couch. He proceeded to check on me every two hours. And I needed it. This was weeks after the miscarriage. Weeks.

Just when I thought I was getting “better,” everything would crash again. Week after week.

When one or both spouses are going through times of “okay” then “not okay,” it’s a scary roller-coaster. All you can do is pray, cry, sing to God, cry, pray, sleep- out of exhaustion, rinse, repeat.

The last thing you need is to be demanding of yourself or your spouse. It just makes the season 400% worse. (Yeah, I know 400% isn’t a thing. I’m married to a data scientist. That’s just how it felt.)

Keep reaching out to good support sources. (You know who they are.)

You’ll get through this.

I’m not even all the way, but I’m seeing some daylight now.

I believe it for both of us. Me and you.

You’ll get through.

Then you and your spouse will toast that sparkly clean toilet. And on that future day, you’ll say it.

I’m going to be okay.

 

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Bible Museum in Washington D.C. and Our Visit

My Husband and I visited Washington D.C. during the Fall of 2018. Such a beautiful and diverse city, rich with history and heavy humidity.

The brand new Bible Museum was easily the highlight of our trip.

We first heard about the Bible Museum from our Pastor, Robert Morris. He mentioned that he’d visited it and recommended that we all get out to see it. Our Pastor is a grammarian, so he described it as detailed and beautifully as he could, but it still didn’t do it justice! It was so much more than we could’ve imagined.

They have 6 floors full of exhibits, and a lower floor where they host exhibits (they were hosting a Jerusalem and Rome artifact exhibit while we were there). 

To give you an idea of what we saw, I am listing the floors with what their website describes for each:

  • Floor 1: Grand Hall – Visit the long-term exhibit from the Vatican Museums and Vatican Library, as well as Courageous Pages, an experience just for kids!
  • Floor 2: The Impact of the Bible – Perhaps no other book has had more impact than the Bible. Discover the Bible’s influence in many familiar though sometimes surprising places — often hidden in plain sight.
  • Floor 3: The Stories of the Bible – Walk through the stories of the Hebrew Bible, immerse yourself in first-century Nazareth, and listen to the story of how the followers of Jesus grew into a thriving community.
  • Floor 4: The History of the Bible – Discover the Bible’s history, from handwritten scrolls to mobile devices, as it was embraced by many communities with different traditions.
  • Floor 5: Special Exhibits, World Stage Theater – The 5th floor features “The People of the Land of Israel,” a long-term exhibit from the Israel Antiquities Authority, as well as a rotating slate of special exhibits.
  • Floor 6: The sixth floor houses Manna, Chef Todd Gray’s newest fast-casual restaurant, as well as stunning views of Washington, D.C.’s iconic skyline.
  • Floor B1: The basement level at Museum of the Bible hosts a variety of special exhibits exploring the Bible’s history and impact.

Don’t let my pictures fool you. There were a lot of people there. We were just doing the introvert thing and dodging them! (And we purposefully went during weekdays during hours when school was in session.)

 

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We went back a second day to finish seeing what we missed the first day. We agreed that if we’d dedicated three days of 4-5 hours each day to the Bible Museum, it would’ve been an even better pace. There is just too much to see and do there! It’s fantastic.

My Husband and I weren’t the same after the trip. We talked for hours about what we saw and what it all meant. From the sheer number of manuscript copies that survived the ages– regardless of greedy men attempting to use the Bible for power, to the impact the Bible had on history around the world, we were blown away and shocked how solid the Bible’s past really is.

Returning home, I couldn’t un-see the room lined with books representing the languages that still do not have a Bible translation, or the beautiful walk-through Genesis experience (extremely state-of-the-art; was like walking through a movie.) My Husband further researched the man who died a martyr’s death for translating part of the Bible into English so the common folk could read it.

We were sadly under-educated about the Bible and how it’s here for anyone to access. People gave their lives for me to be able to read about what the God of Creation did for me.

We are so grateful we had the opportunity to visit the Bible Museum and learn.

My Husband and I highly recommend the Bible Museum to anyone, any religion, any background. It’s well-run and very family-friendly. (HSP’s and those with Special Needs might want to take along noise-cancelling headphones. Some of the exhibits can be rough for those prone to over-sensitivity due to sound/sight stimuli.) 

If you’d like to support what the Museum of the Bible is doing, or maybe want to plan your own visit, you can learn more here …And you can shop their eclectic store by clicking here.

 

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Sharing Chores with Your Spouse

Every couple must work it out.

Not working it out means there will be heated discussions g-a-l-o-r-e to look forward to.

Who gets to do which chore?

Each couple is unique, each career situation different, each living space varied. So I can’t really speak to which ways are best or most needed for you (or for the future you), but I can tell you how we worked it out. And I can end this post with the disclaimer you should know from the start: we are still working it out. Changing life seasons are delightfully punctual, and what worked last year won’t cut it this next year.

SETTING CHORES UP:

So let me describe us. I am a part-time, remote I.T. Project Manager. I’m at home 95% of the time. My Husband commutes 45 minutes to his full-time job. And right there is our biggest difference on what energy each of us can dedicate to chores. Yeah, both of our jobs are mentally tasking, but not physically. Our weeks are peppered with church items, but not much more typically.

We took our situation into account. And in taking it all into account, here’s how we started: a discussion.

  1. I listed out the chores.
  2. We discussed each item on this list, with he and I discussing what % we disliked each.
  3. We discussed how often each chore needed to be completed. (Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?)
  4. We divvied them up: his and hers.
  5. I picked what days I’d try to get mine done, Husband did the same with his.

It amazed me that when one of us hated a particular chore, the other didn’t mind it. That helped tons. It might not be your situation, but it helps when it happens.

For us, the chores divided out almost equally between him and I, based on energy allotment per day. In the areas where it was uneven, the load had to be discussed additionally. We needed to be honest about where we were willing to stretch some. Both of us made a small sacrifice at that point.

We ended up with a chore list that didn’t just represent what we were fine handling, but containing a chore or two that showed we loved the other person. Sacrifice-like.

That brought us to a place where we were set up for the season.

PHYSICAL & EMOTIONAL LIMITATIONS:

Physical situation should be discussed as often as it changes, right? If you’re taking notes for your own household, be sure and grasp this. Sometimes one of us can have emotional strain/physical sickness/injury for a season. When that happens, discuss it. It all affects the other spouse and how they feel about their part of the chores load, which can end up being a disagreement in the future.

KEEP YOUR BEST FRIEND IN MIND:

We learned that when discussions (disagreements?) arose over chores, sometimes it was one of us needing a little rest. That really flips the switch on chore time.

A stressed spouse who is attempting to rest over doing chores should be praised, not shamed. The more OCD spouse will groan a little, but they will soon realize they can’t pay anyone to be their best friend.

You can’t pay anyone to be your best friend.

You can pay for a house cleaner, a yard service, a launderer, and math tutor for the kids.

Likewise, no one can be your spouse’s playmate, your spouse’s best listening ear, your spouse’s intimate lover.

Chores shouldn’t stress either of you out.

Chores should not keep you from being ready to laugh, love, hold.

If they are, start searching for the reason they are. If it’s pace, have a heartfelt discussion over what gets cut from the calendar. If it’s stuff, consider going minimalist. If it’s activities for the littles, consider boundaries. Boundaries are also the answer if it’s family drama or outside relationship forces.

And if chores are a “land mine” for you or your spouse, I highly recommend counseling. (“Land mines” are topics strongly tied to an event in you or your spouse’s past that makes you/them explode. Think high-resistance happening at even the mention of the topic.) Many “land mines” are so deeply embedded, they require professional help to disarm them for good. There’s no shame in that. Getting past the past ensures a more loving and healthy future.

Well, I hope you don’t get stuck with the toilet cleaning, but, if you do, invest in a good scrub brush and a cling gel that doesn’t fail.

Disclaimer: we are still working this out. Hope this helps you some regardless. 🙂

 

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