Two weeks ago I sat in this library and made a crazy announcement about a huge change in my life; resigning from a company I love and starting with something new. I was just as shocked as all of you. Two weeks later I sit here on my 45th birthday blown away by the blessings that have poured out to me in such a short amount of time; blessings I pray pour out of me and overflow to those around me. You see, I have a lot wrong with my spine. A lot. And I had a setback that really slowed me down and threatened to stop me. Take that injury and couple it with another change that snuck up on me, and will you too, ladies, if it hasn’t already (we’ll talk more about that later, but I’m 45 now, so know that I’m gonna talk about it), and it was a combo of lost/disturbed sleep and inflammation that was a recipe for disaster, and the #FullTiltBoogie ain’t got time for that! I was looking for something to calm the inflammation that had decided to run rampant, and I found something I thought might help. My intention was to add it to my regimen. But then I took a closer look. I looked, I prayed, I jumped! I knew when I did it that people would wonder what the heck happened. I knew there would be people who would be hurt or feel betrayed. Please know that it was never my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings. I will not stab anyone in the back. I firmly believe that you reap what you sow. It’s biblical. I’ve also been around long enough, 45 years now in fact, to know that when The Lord calls me to something, when He starts a work in me, He is faithful to complete it. This particular work is in its infancy, but He is already confirming to me that I was right to trust Him. Isn’t it always the right thing to do? #yes #LibraryThoughts
Week 4: Today I’m currently sitting in my living room in front of my own bookcases. The library is closed in observance of Veteran’s Day. As someone who enjoys learning from the past and tracing my family roots, I am humbled by those in my family tree who gave of their time, sacrificed years of their children’s growing, and even gave the ultimate sacrifice. I see the connections in my family tree from one generation to the next and realize how we all fit together over hundreds of years. Have you ever pondered the fact that if one particular person had died before that one particular child was born that you wouldn’t be here? Wow. Have you ever stood over the grave of someone you’ve never met and whispered a sincere “thank you”? These are the things I think of while researching my family history.
This past weekend I was blessed to spend time with living, breathing veterans who served this great nation. I was blessed to visit with an amazing woman who currently has 98 years of history stored within her in the form of wisdom, lessons learned, and family history. Many people in my family were able to share memories of a veteran no longer with us as we remembered how a grandfather and grandmother took time to make special memories for their grandchildren. There were cheeseburgers in the kitchen, lingering around the familiar table, a tour through the old basement, and some knocking around in the shed that still smells like it has for the last 50+ years (or so I’m told).
If you read my post from last week, you might remember my story about the puzzle pieces and the completed puzzles. This week has been full of things seen and spoken that have been reminders and confirmations of my vision last Monday. Imagine when we went to visit Grandma’s new apartment and right outside her door is a visiting area with tables covered in puzzle pieces and the walls are lined, not with regular, run-of-the-mill pictures, but with completed puzzles.
As I look back with warmth and nostaligia at the connections in my past that have brought me to this point in my life, I also look forward to a picture that I can’t even imagine yet, but I look ahead with anticipation and excitement knowing that what is to come is built on a firm foundation of love and richness over many generations; one piece, one connection, at a time.
Now there’s a profound statement, right? I bet I’m not telling you something you didn’t already know. Well, we all know that in this world we will have troubles. We all know the things we deal with personally, and we’re often reminded to be kind to others and how we don’t know what they’re going through. Maybe they’ve just lost a loved one, received a scary diagnosis, have a child serving overseas, endure daily physical pain, have little kids that never sleep, hate their job, or maybe they’re just nasty and hateful. Who knows? Imagine if we all just lived according to The Golden Rule: Treat others the way that you would like to be treated. In the Bible it’s said more like this, and I paraphrase: Love God with everything within you, and love your neighbor as yourself. We truly never know what is going on in the lives and hearts of someone else. We would all do well to remember that when someone forces us to flip on our blinker and merge onto the offramp that leads to the high road.
I once read a poem called “Sandpaper People”. I wonder if I could find that again. 🤔Anyway…it has to do with the people who are irritating, rough, and rub up against us wrong. These people are everywhere, aren’t they? Some are a one-time deal in line at the store or while driving. Some are people we must encounter repeatedly in our jobs or at the school drop off/pick up line. I may very well, albeit unintentionally, be someone else’s Sandpaper Person. (Sorry about that, but allow me to explain.) The gist of the poem is that these people rub at us and, as annoying or even painful as it may be, they polish us into a more refined version of ourselves. We all have rough edges that need some smoothing. When I irritate you, please keep in mind that I’m polishing you, and I’ll do the same. Deal? 😉
Psalm 23 has been heavily on my mind for the last couple of weeks. I thought I’d write about it in last week’s #LibraryThoughts, and it didn’t end up happening. So here I am, another week later and can’t get it off my mind.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
There is a project, well, there are two projects actually, that were done by various contemporary Christian artists several years ago; Glory Revealed and Glory Revealed II. The songs are words straight out of scripture and set to music. The artists gathered together in a cabin in the mountains and basically had a big jam session to create these albums. The words were already written, but which ones would they choose? After all, there are 66 books, 1189 chapters, and 31,102 verses in the Bible. That’s a lot of material to work with, and Psalm 23 made the cut on Glory Revealed II. I’ve worn out several copies of the CD, so I was thrilled to find it on Pandora and listen to it over and over. Wow…this is long already.
I’ve been particularly focused on verse 5. I’ve not been exactly sure why. In the past the “preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies” part hasn’t been a focus for me. So why is it now? I’m not aware of any particular beef between myself and someone I would consider an enemy. I have always been fascinated with the “anoint my head with oil” part. Oil has been a big part of my life lately, but anointing with oil isn’t something I grew up with. Years ago I was on a mission trip in Mexico where I first saw the anointing of oil used in a very real way. That experience stayed with me.
As the idea for this post was knocking around in my head I remembered I had made a graphic with the anointing of oil on it. It was not saved on my phone. I then remembered that I may have used the hashtag #mycupoverflows, so I searched and found it. Lo and behold! I had used verse 5 in its entirety. So cool.
I’m the furthest thing from a Bible scholar. I could probably do some research to find out what the experts have to say about it, but I can’t help wondering about the proximity of the two thoughts…preparing a table before me…The Lord preparing a table before me…in the presence of my enemies….and anointing my head with oil….my cup overflows. Wow! And my eyelids overflow. They are spilling over right now in the library. For what am I being prepared?
Nineteen weeks ago I sat in the library and spilled some of my heart onto a fb post. For whatever reason it has become a thing. I usually have a general idea of what I want to write about, but it never ends up being what I expected. As this thought process has meandered, I’ve come up with another word to add to a list of words that have been meaningful to me lately. I literally have them saved on a note in my phone…
Ok, so, I’ve said that aloud many times today. At the library this morning, my #LibraryThoughts were about spiritual warfare. I accidentally deleted it before it was complete. At first I thought, “Well, maybe I wasn’t supposed to share that today.” The rest of the day has proven to be challenge…to say the least. I’ve come to realize that I AM supposed to share that message. I’m still working the #FullTiltBoogie, so stay tuned…
About 14 hours ago I sat in the library writing my #LibraryThoughts. I had something I had to do on the computer today while I was there, experienced some technical difficulties, and didn’t have as much time as I would have liked. I’d had a thought knocking around in my head that I wanted to share and even had decided on a picture I was going to post, but once I started typing it took a different direction. I even made a new picture to go with it.
After the library, we all prepared to load up and leave at noon for Nashville and the Vasayo event with the founders of the company. First off, I’ve never been to anything like this (clarification: I’ve been to a lot of this type of event, this was different) where the evening is opened with prayer followed by recognizing our veterans followed by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Glory was given to God through all of the stories of how the founders of this company have come to this place. It wasn’t “preachy” or in your face or down your throat…but definitely genuine. As they spoke of their journey and the ideas and plans they have for the future of the company, I kept being reminded of my unintended post from hours before. They both spoke of different points in life where they were broken and brought to their knees and crying out to the Lord that if a particular thing at the time was the path they were to take, then they can’t do it alone and they would need Him. Now here’s the thing….they asked the Lord for the strength to do what they needed to knowing they’d have to rely on a strength outside of themselves. Now it comes back around to this morning…they didn’t get up and sit back and wait to watch God work. (Now, they didn’t say those words.) No, they got up and got to it. This morning as I made that post about the desires of your heart, I was asking what you plan to do about it. What are your dreams and what are you going to do to make them happen? I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I know the One who does. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get where I’m going, but I know I’m in the right place right now. I’m tired and rambling and hoping I even make sense at this point. One day this post will come up in my Facebook Memories, and I have a feeling it’s going to make me smile.
I’ll put a link to the other post in the comments.
I was born and raised in Southern Illinois. I never went without; I always had a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, plenty of food, toys, friends, and a family who loved me. I had everything anyone ever needed. I was always taught that Jesus loves me, God created all of us, and He loves us all.
I can remember the first time a peer said something to me about a “rich family” and how I need to be a particular kid’s friend if I wanted to be somebody. (It was Jr High. Anyone surprised?) But this peer was surprised I had never heard of the family, the rich people, and that I was unimpressed. That has to be the first time I began to be aware that people thought like that. My parents just never talked that way.
My dad always worked, and my mother took care of the kids and the house. We had a home-cooked meal every night. Geez, this is beginning to sound like Leave It to Beaver or something, but it’s true. My parents weren’t involved in politics or social clubs. They didn’t hob-knob or rub elbows with the “important people”. I guess you could say they weren’t like that rich family. You could say they were people of no reputation.
In Luke Chapter 9, Jesus was with his disciples and asked them who the people, the crowds, say he is. They answered several different things:
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
But then he asked Simon Peter specifically:
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
We’ve just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. The man had the clothes on his back and the sandals on his feet. He was accused, beaten, crucified, dead, and buried in a borrowed tomb. There’s a song that has been on my mind as I’ve reflected over the holiday weekend. It’s called Man of No Reputation by Rick Elias. You can hear it here>>> https://youtu.be/31BF0jFSIBU
An unassuming man with no possessions changed the world. He spoke to large crowds, but he kept his circle small. The crowds speculated as to who he was, but his friends knew. Peter knew he was God’s Messiah.
Now, let me be clear; I have nothing against social clubs and rich people. I’m certainly not dogging anyone in any way. But I will say, never underestimate the unassuming underdog; the man of no reputation.
I’m a Gen Xer and consider myself a #childoftheeighties. I grew up with Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids and came of age with hair bands and MTV.
I sat down today to ponder my #LibraryThoughts after seeing a post in my Facebook Memories that my sister, Angel Ann Bardo, made last year. It was asking what is the first major news story you remember from your childhood. She couldn’t remember which came first; Baby Jessica or the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, but those were the memories that came to mind for her. She had comments including the assassination of JFK and the Challenger explosion among others. What is the first one you remember?
That reminded me of a program that was on tv a couple of weeks or so ago. No one was watching it, it was just on. But I found myself being drawn in and asking the husband what that show is, because it was giving me major flashbacks to huge moments in my life’s history; things that were revolutionary in the culture at the time; things I had experienced but didn’t realize what a big deal it was at the time. Of course, looking back I can see how those moments changed the course of pop culture and therefore, culture in general. (Age old question: Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? Or is it both?)
MTV launched on August 1, 1981. I’m not sure when it came available via cable to us in my town, but before it made it here, it was available in a local college town. My friend, Carol Conley, has an aunt who still lives in that same house where we used to go and spend the night. You see, Aunt Honey had MTV. We would stay up all night long watching the same probably 7 videos that played over and over. Lol! It was glorious!! And we had no idea how that was changing the face of music, the music industry, and popular culture.
MTV had the Top 10 videos on every evening. I’ll never forget that #1 always came on during dinner time. We kept the tv up loud enough so my mom, Angie Waide, and I could go running in to see #1 when it came on. Two that have particularly strong memories when I think of those times are Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine and Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. My teen years were a swirl of appreciation for and love of music from my mom’s teen years combined with the hair bands of my own. Then something happened: Nirvana. No, not that kind. The band.
Nirvana hit the national stage with the release of their album Nevermind and the single Smells Like Teen Spirit in 1991. That was the year I graduated high school, and the hair bands came to a screeching halt. Grunge had taken over in one fell swoop! Gone were the huge Aqua Net hair-do’s and the brightly colored spandex. The dirty hair and flannel came in like a wrecking ball.
Looking back over history, one can see things that happened that forever alter the course of history and the way we live our lives. Sometimes it’s as simple as a change in music. Sometimes it’s as profound as a World War.
Different generations have come to be defined by certain names. Like I mentioned before, I’m a Gen Xer. What bracket/generation do you fall into?
2000 to present: New Silent Generation or Generation Z
1980 to 2000: Millennials or Generation Y
1965 to 1979: Thirteeners or Generation X
1946 to 1964: Baby Boomers
1925 to 1945: Silent Generation
1900 to 1924: G.I. Generation
As much as the culture changes and humanity continues its ebb and flow, I’m reminded of the words of King Solomon…
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
And I take comfort in these words from Isaiah 40:28 as well…
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
Each generation has its changes and struggles, but we remember that, like the generation before us, we aren’t the first. Most importantly, as we navigate the topsy-turvy that is assigned to our generation, we can take comfort knowing that our God is unchanging. He is The Everlasting God.
I’d like to share with you a non-hair band song that had a huge impact on me during a very difficult time in my life, back when I had broken my back…but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, be encouraged by Chris Tomlin’s “Everlasting God” >>> https://youtu.be/yubLGTOcm8c
“But Amy, I could never do what you do!” Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard that? Going all the way back to the radio station days. Thank The Lord you can’t do what I do! That role is already taken! Right? Well, what you can do is YOU!
Michael Eckert works in a prison, and his brother drives a big rig. Do you know how many times I’ve heard them both tell the other, “I could never do that, man.” Truth is, we need truck drivers and prison workers and real estate agents and nurses and mail ladies (like Angel Ann Bardo) and librarians and radio DJs and Uber drivers, but sometimes we each feel the tug for something else…something more.
I’ve been having a …vision, if you will, this morning. All morning I’ve been picturing puzzle pieces and completed puzzles. I can’t get it off my mind. I was texting a friend earlier and her autocorrect changed her intended words to say “puzzle”. I have the chills just typing that. I was then reminded of all the times people have told me that they just can’t do what I do. The truth is, you can…anyone can. You just do it your way. Therein lies the beauty. We’re all like pieces in a puzzle in that we’re all unique, but imagine what happens when we all come together. I connect with the piece that fits right next to me, then that piece clicks arms with the piece closest to them, and so forth. Can one piece create the whole picture alone? We all know the answer to that. I can’t connect with the people within your sphere of influence, but you can. You know people that I don’t know, and the people you know know people you don’t know. One life touches another who touches another. Lots of tiny little connections lead to the big picture.
So here I am now, at the library again, three weeks since that big announcement post I made from this same place. I made a huge change in my life, but I’m seeing the tiny, intimate shifting and moving and bringing together of pieces that are forming a new picture for my future, the future of my family, and the futures of those other pieces that are drawing near. I can’t see it all yet, but my vision this morning confirms what I already know and stirs a fire within me. I’m so excited to see the completed picture, but I’m so enjoying seeing the pieces come together.
If you have a stirring within you for something different, something more, I invite you to take a look at what I do and ask yourself if you could do it your way with your friends and family, breaking bread around your own table. Keep in mind, your puzzle piece isn’t tossed out there on its own. It’s already connected to mine. ❤
Week 13: I’ve still got puzzles on my mind, but now I’ve added doors to the swirling mind mix.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.” ~William Blake
The quote from William Blake was the inspiration for the name of one of my long-time favorite bands. You may have heard of them? The Doors? Yes? No? Not particularly spiritual, but definitely philosophical. I recently watched a documentary about the band and its troubled lead vocalist, Jim Morrison, or as I always think of him; James Douglas Morrison, poet. That’s how he wanted to be seen. Perception is a fickle thing, isn’t it? Jim was searching for something. Something that couldn’t be fulfilled by fame and the adoration of millions that comes with it, money and all it can buy, “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll”, and all the things that outwardly seem to be the answers to solve any problem. It’s easy to look at his story and see a sex symbol, rock star who overindulged himself to death. My perception of him is that of a sad, tragic, broken man…his momma’s baby boy…who just couldn’t figure out how to fill the emptiness, the void, that he felt inside of himself. A deeply feeling artist who was searching. Looking for love in all the wrong places perhaps.
I wonder if anyone talked to Jim about Jesus. I wonder if someone did have a serious conversation with him about a savior who referred to himself as “The Door”. If someone did, then did Jim consider the option of this savior and what He had to offer him? Maybe as a boy he learned of The Door, back before fame and fortune and tragedy. Sometimes we have a door before us and we’re just afraid to open it. Maybe it’s wide open but we’re afraid to step through. Maybe we’re looking for a particular door but we can’t seem to find it…all the while ignoring one that’s there just for us but we don’t believe we deserve to walk through that door, there must be another one more on our level or that suits our own perception of what our door should look like, right?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers; or any, for that matter. I do feel like I’ve been around long enough that the doors of perception have been cleansed enough for me to recognize that man is indeed infinite. Not because William Blake said so, but because man has an eternal soul. The Door is the One who said so. I prefer to take His word for it.
Our lives really are a series of doors, of opportunities and choices. We are created as beings with eternal souls and the free will to decide what we want to do. We are free to decide, but we must also consider the consequences of those decisions, the results of which we are not free. Sometimes the easy door isn’t the best door. Sometimes the best outcome results in a walk through a tough door. Often times it’s difficult to know which one to choose, or it feels like they’re all closed, and the best way to figure it out is to stand in the hallway for a while.