Karitos Christmas in Streator, Ill

KaritosThis weekend my other love, Karitos, is celebrating their first Karitos Christmas in Streator, Ill at Grace Community Church. I’m going and my dear friends Zach and Susannah Francis are driving me there. Zach and Susannah are currently serving on the executive board of Karitos. They have been dear friends of mine for over 20 years.

We’re not sure exactly what this event will look like since its the first we’ve done. We’ve planned activities like cookie decorating and a Christmas card contest. I will be leading in making some beaded star ornaments and their will be Christmas themed movies playing. There will also be a Family Portrait Station. Most of these events are free. Those requiring a fee the cost goes directly to the Karitos Organization so it can put on more conferences though the year.

geneThe activities are from 2 to 4 p.m. At 4 p.m. there will be a worship time and Christmas program. Karitos Dancers Ginny Ching Yin Lo, Alyce Anders and Ellen Aldridge are planning a number of dance pieces for the event. Gene and Anne Schmidt will be leading the worship time and I get to do a spoken word from Marlo Schalesky’s Book Wrestling with Wonder about the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Mary. 

I started going to the Karitos conference in around 2011, 2012. I helped host mini conference’s in the Indianapolis area based on the Chicago conference for about 6 years and I have been serving as a the Youth Department head for the main Karitos conference for the the past few years. Karitos is about learning who you are and what your gifts are that God wants to refine and use. It is for the artistic minded and covers visual art, dance, theater, writing, poetry, music, songwriting, and worship. To me it has become an extended family of supportive, loving people who celebrate each other’s differences and artistic talents. Each gathering is like a family reunion. If you are artistic I encourage you to at least visit their website and see what its about. It definitely changed my life and I am so grateful for it. Karitos

Photo’s by Cheri Heron

White Knuckling It

foggy road
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There comes a time in all our lives where we feel filled with fear. Lots of times in my life It’s made me turn around, say I can’t or give up. But sometimes you come to a point in your life where you have to white knuckle it through. When I got up this morning I didn’t think I was going to write about this. But then I remembered this blog is about overcoming fear and sometimes you can only do that with teeth clenched and knuckles white.

My daughter Lucy just finished her fourth play, Frozen with CGFAA. These plays take place at a high school on the east side of Indianapolis called T. C. Howe. Its about 35 minute drive from my house. Tec week, the week of the play the cast practices at the high-school every night. I have nerve damage in my right foot from my ruptured disc two years ago. Driving is hard for me. Last year she was in a play this same time and I realized during that tec week I could not safely drive the 35 minutes on the expressway to the school. I white knuckled it home two days in a row with severe pain in my foot before finding friends who were willing to drive me and my daughter back and forth. The next play, I didn’t even try to drive tec week. I got rides and we got through it. I had surgery on my right foot about 9 weeks ago. Since surgery the pain I had had along the bottom of my foot is mostly gone. Driving has been tremendously easier.

I found a way to get to the school avoiding the highway and this past week, tec week, I drove to the school every night. I did fine, until Friday night. I had overdone walking and not rested enough before we left. About 10 minutes into the drive I had severe nerve pain in my toes that began to travel down the bottom of my foot. Fear flooded me. I remembered driving the interstate with similar pain and loosing the sensation of the pedal under my foot. So I started to pray. I prayed God would give me strength or take the pain away. Then I turned up K-Love on my radio and slowed down a little, and started to white-knuckle the steering wheel.

The pain lifted a little, and never traveled down to where I couldn’t feel the pedal. God put some of my favorite songs on the radio, Bulletproof by Citizen Way was the first one I remember playing. Me and my daughter were singing along and by the time that song was over I was in pain but it was bearable and we got home safely.

Now God doesn’t do that every time. Sometimes it doesn’t get easier but I have learned living with this pain daily that I can handle a lot more than I think I can and God can handle more than that. I rejoiced in the fact that all the drives too and from the school I was able to do.  That one was just hard.

We were talking at my Mops group about how when our fists are clenched we can’t receive anything. When my pain started my fists were clenched. Fear had me but when I invited the Holy Spirit into my situation by praying I was able to stop white knuckling it and let God lead me safely home. I think about how many times I’ve faced something hard with my knuckles white pushing though it while hanging on to fear and how horrible those situations have been. I want to receive joy even when things are hard, painful or hopeless.  I want to loosen my grasp in those situations so that the Holy Spirit can lead me safely through.

 

CGFAA’s Production of Frozen Jr. Takes the Stage.

IMG-1506Tomorrow is opening night for my middle daughter Lucy’s play Frozen Jr. by Creative Grounds Fine Arts Academy centered here on the south-side of Indianapolis. This is Lucy’s fourth production with the group and her first time having a role with a line. She’s a towns person. The play will take place at T. C. Howe High School starting tomorrow November 21 through November 24. If you’d like to go please go to this link for tickets and time. thelittleboxoffice.com/cgfineartsIMG-1513

I again got to work on costumes for this play. From ball room gowns to bathing suits I got to work along side some very special friends from past shows. Melissa Yockum and Jill Bradley-Levine were the leaders in costumes this time and I this was my third show working with them. I love the community this group has formed for us parents. I think we make friends and bond just like the kids do. There is a special bond that forms when you are working together for something and its one of the things I truly enjoy about this group.

IMG-1501Last night I snuck into rehearsals and got a few pictures. So I hope you enjoy the few sneek peeks before tomorrow’s show. My littlest, Hunter who is five will be going to morrow and this is the first of his sister’s play’s he’s attended. Thursday night shows are perfect for him because it is the sensory friendly show. On Thursday nights CGFAA makes the show extra accessible to young children and children who may have sensory issues. Loud noises and strobe lights are excluded from the show and the theater is never completely dark. Houselights say lit. The children are aloud to stand up or move if they need to. Its a really special night and perfect for his first time.

We have a busy few days ahead of us but I love the theater life and am excited to see it all together. If your in the area it is defiantly worth coming and seeing. Leave a comment if you come so I can look for you!

 

Finding Joy

IMG-1459It snowed all day yesterday and last night. The ground is covered with a few inches and ice underneath. I love snow. I love the way it smells. I love the way everything feels so clean and beautiful outside. I love how it makes the house feel cozy. Snow is one of my favorite things.

When I was younger, growing up my parents belonged to a ski club. We skied many winters and spring breaks. I loved to ski. I loved the feeling of the wind blowing around me and the lines my ski’s made in the snow. I loved the beauty of the the mountain while riding up the chair lift. Now, I often think God gave me that magical time because he knew I’d be here, unable to ski. I am so thankful I got to experience it.

My son on his way to the bus stop this morning took two steps out on the porch then threw himself down on the ground and started making a snow angel. I of course was worried that his pants would be wet and cold quickly brushed him off and promised we’d play in the snow after school. He was so joyful, so excited to see all the snow. It made me happy that he was happy about the snow.

So many things went wrong this morning. My oldest daughter who has forgotten where her locker at school is didn’t want to wear a coat because she didn’t know where to put it. My husband’s car wouldn’t start and we had to jump it. He was over an hour late to work. I had to find hats and gloves and boots for everyone. Lots of things went wrong. But my son only saw a beautiful snowy day and that brought me joy.

It’s all about perspective. Sometimes we get caught up in all the negative and we miss that the same situation can also have joy in it. My 11 year-old daughter is in her next play, Frozen, and tec week is next week. I have a pile of sewing to do for the play and I ran out of some things so I will have to drive in this weather later to the store. Her first band concert is also today.  I will have to work hard at not dreading it. My 5 year-old struggles with the noise of the concert and hasn’t been able to sit through one. We often take turns sitting in the hallway with him. I will remember how pretty the music sounds and find joy in my daughter playing. I will have to change my perspective. As I sew I will not think about how much is to be done but in the joy of the play and how many hearts it will touch. How happy my daughter is to have the plays to be in. What is going on in your life right now that is hard to find the joy in? How can you change your perspective? Can you share in the comments below?

Have A Plan B

IMG-1402Happy Halloween. I love this holiday. I love kids and dressing mine up, making their costumes and then seeing their excitement at all the candy makes me happy. I understand Halloween is a gray area for some Christians, some don’t celebrate it, some speak against it and all that is fine. I had a God moment a few years back when I was struggling with this when I began to see it as a way to love on my neighbors and their kids. So with joy I decorated up my house, put on a costume and passed out candy. A year later the Holy Spirit gave me the idea to put stickers on the candy that simply said “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” My family thought I was crazy and my husband thought no one would eat our candy but I did it anyway. A few people said things on Facebook about it but that was it and none of it was negative. I haven’t done it in a few years but God put it on my heart to do it again this year. When my middle daughter asked my why I was doing it I told her, I want everyone to know their loved, and that’s it. When were in a wake of another suicide/homicide in the news, where theirs pain in every house, I just want people to know their loved.

But this Halloween is not gearing up to a beautiful night of roaming the neighborhood, no it’s raining outside. They’ve predicting a mixture of snow and rain at tricker-treating time. It’s going to be cold and rainy and a little disappointing.  So what do you do when your disappointed? Some of the best advice I’ve ever had is to have a plan B.

Plan B’s help with the anxiety of plan A not going smoothly. It also helps derail when the anxiety kicks in if plan A falls apart. I struggle with driving, especially on days like this. I spent many days afraid to go somewhere I’d really like to go simply because I was afraid I’d make it there and then be unable to drive myself home. So if my husband or parents couldn’t take me somewhere I simply wouldn’t go. I became captive to my fear because I had no plan B. I told this to my therapist about a year ago. He told me to come up with a plan B. What do you do if you can’t drive any father? My plan B was park the car, call an Uber and get the car the next day. Suddenly all the anxiety I had about driving vanished. I have a plan B. I haven’t needed to use it yet but I have one.

My plan B for Halloween was last night. A nearby church had a trunk or treat inside so I dressed my 5 year-old up, donned some Minnie Mouse ears and went with a friend. It was loud, chaotic and busy but my son got to go trick or treating. If tonight is just one pass down the block for him it will be okay, there was a plan B.

It’s important to remember our plans our now our own. “A  man’s mind plans his way (as he journey’s thought life) but the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” Proverbs 16:9 AMP. Sometimes your plan B may be just the way God wants you to go.

 

Broken Expectations

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As of tomorrow I have been walking around without a boot for about two weeks. I feel like I’ve gone backward instead of forward. I can drive but its more painful than before surgery and frankly I’m not driving very much. My foot gets tired very easily and I have to take a lot of breaks or by 5 p.m. I’m just done walking for the day. Making dinner for my family of 5 seems to be the hardest task. I just can’t stand in front of the stove very long. We have had these beautiful breathtaking fall days and I just want to go hike or apple picking or pumpkin picking or walk the zoo, but I know I won’t make it very far. Overall it’s frustrating.

I didn’t expect this. I expected to feel better after surgery. I expected to do better after surgery. I didn’t anticipate a backward slide. I didn’t realize I would have to train my muscles to walk all over again. Things just aren’t working out according to my plan. Do things ever just not work out according to your plans?

I was told in therapy a long time ago that my expectations tend to be too high, for myself and for other people. That if I lowered my expectations my anxiety that occurred when things didn’t go my way would be less. But I’m still that girl of big expectations and I expected a big turnaround from God with this surgery. I admit I’m a little disappointed. And it’s shown, I’ve been grumpy and down all week.

So what do we do when we are disappointed? When our expectations of what we thought God would do or even of who He is is not met? When the things we don’t expect happen and they are the things of our nightmares? When cancer, death, heart attacks, divorce shakes our expectations of what our life looks like, what our God looks like. I can assure you your not abandoned. God is unchanging, He didn’t leave, He didn’t stop loving you and He doesn’t punish you. You my friend are about to be pruned a little and encouraged to grow a little. You see God uses these situations to transform us a little more into who he wants us to be.

When we become a Christian someone should tell us. Change your expectations. That verse, “2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight (living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises), we are of good courage and confident hope…” , honestly is basically saying that. If your walking by faith and the Holly Spirit your life is not going to go as you planned. Your not in charge anymore and it’s as wonderful as it is terrifying. We become outward examples with outward problems and God has us face them not to see what we will do but as someone told me recently, We will see what we do.

My expectations haven’t been met, but that’s okay. I believe in the end I’ll be in better shape. I can’t see it right now, but I have faith. Is there something that God is asking you to have more faith about?

My dad had cancer in his lymph nodes about 9 years ago. I was devastated and so afraid of loosing him. I felt like someone had taken the floor away from me and I was just falling. But God was good, and he was good to me. He provided another safe place for me to take my 2 year old daughter while I worked. I worked five minutes from my parents house so every lunch hour I was able to spend with them. I helped feed my dad who had a G-tube because he couldn’t swallow. God also answered our prayers and healed him. He has been cancer free since. My dad is not the same person, he’s more patient, kinder, more loving. He was always a good Dad but God used that time in our lives to change all of us for the better. My dad is a healthy man, never smoked or drank, we did not expect him to get sick. God is working in your hard places today too, in your broken expectations. A backward slide just means my journey’s not done yet.

Bye Bye Boot, Hello Shoes

Freedom! I was released of walking in my heavy 3D Cam Cast Walker boot yesterday and graduated to tennis shoes. It feels weird to walk on my foot without any support but I am so excited to be at this point in my journey. The doctor also said yesterday that I could drive, so hopefully I’ll be driving by the end of the week. That means soon I can go get my hair cut. Something I need badly!

Frozen, jr. My daughters latest play with CGFFA is in full swing and I have been busy altering dresses by hand. I’m going to try out the sewing machine today or tomorrow depending on how my foot is doing. I’m excited about this show which runs November 22 though the 25 at T.C. Howe High school in Indianapolis.

I am having new pains in my foot as I walk with this new freedom but I’ve been assured they will go away as I gain strength and my foot continues to heal. Healing is such a long process. I’ve often dreamed and prayed that God  would just going zap and I’d be healed but I’ve learned two important truths in not being healed that way.

First, If God can use others to bring you to healing He will do it if His glory can be seen in it. God is a God of relationships. He wants to use what your going through for purposes bigger than you. If he can lead you to healing with the help of doctors and nurses he will. He will put to test your faith in that so that you can be a testimony of Him. He will use your story to teach both you and them.

The second truth I have learned is that God is more interested in healing whats going on inside your heart than your body. He wants you to learn how to trust Him completely and when your all well that’s a hard thing to do. When your sick or sore or your body just isn’t working right you murmur prayers of “God help me” a lot more often.  I heard my close friend put it a wonderful way yesterday. “If your going through something painful it sometimes means that God is spending a little bit more time on you, because He loves you that much.” God cares about our character and growth comes though painful experiences,  healing is one of them.

God challenged me to post on facebook the progress of this surgery. Something I did not do when I went through my ruptured disc two years ago. Very few people found out about that injury when it happened. I was too emotional to share my story then. Its been hard for me to post about my foot surgery. Its easy for me to post about my kids, the plays, Karitos but when I have to post about myself it is really hard for me to do. God gives us hardships so we can relate to those who are having hardships around us. I have been surprised how many people I know who have said, oh I went through foot surgery too. I have also been surprised how many friends I have who are about to go through a surgery this month. God’s timing is amazing. He knows when we need to encourage each other and when we need encouragement.

Are you facing something hard like a surgery? Have you walked through your own healing process? Share your story in the comments below.