January 22, 2015

Weather the Weather

The prompt from my Project 365 Photography Challenge (bethadilly) for today is "weather." Darn it! See I live in Southern CA and as they say, it doesn't rain here (once in a while it does)... or snow, or ice, or get blustery (not really); we don't have tornadoes or hurricanes and only the occasional mudslide or earthquake - which isn't really "weather." So what on earth could I photograph about the weather. It was a little windy this morning, but that died down. Besides, I'm not sure I could photograph wind.

I started thinking about life and how we all have ups and downs. We need to find a way to "weather" the downs & enjoy the ups. That brought to mind some of my tools for "weathering the weather" of the not so great times.. You can see them my photo below. The foundation is my faith - represented by The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal); my Faith & Blessing bracelets from My Saint My Hero; a custom bracelet from SpiffingJewelry that says "tune my heart to sing thy grace"  is sitting on my Worry Bag (more on that later); and last, but in no way ever least, a photo of my husband.

I have sung in choir in my church(es) since I was about 7 years old. The words and music from The Hymnal speak to me often and I find myself humming (or singing!) the hymns. The custom bracelet is inscribed with the 2nd line from Hymn 686 "Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace!" (Words: Robert Robinson, Music: Nettleton, melody from A Repository of Sacred Music, Part II). I seem to have a constant battle to find the grace in everyday and not let the little frustrations knock me down. The Faith & Blessing bracelets are physical reminders to be thankful for the blessings in my life and to keep the faith when things are hard. My greatest blessing is my husband and his love is a solid rock that I am always grateful for. This photo is also posted on the 2015 Project 365 page.

Now... about the Worry Bag.

In 2002 my husband wasn't feeling all that good & wound up in the ER at our local hospital. He spent over a week in the Intensive Care Unit after being diagnosed with cancer. Before we got the diagnosis and especially after, I found it very difficult to relax and sleep. But I knew I needed sleep desperately. One night I imagined taking all my worries (about his health, his recovery, our finances, the dog, anything at all) and putting them in a little bag. This bag was small but could hold all of my worries, no matter how many or how big. Once I had put each worry in the bag, I visualized closing it and tying the ties. Then I handed the bag to God to hold for me. That way, God had all my worries and I could sleep, knowing that He was taking care of them while I rested to face what would come with the new day.

After a few days I purchased a small bag and tied it to the headboard as a reminder that God could free me from my worries.

I am convinced that handing God my bag of worries is part of how I was able to do all the things that needed to be done while my husband was so ill. It was another way that I found strength. comfort and renewal in a time of great stress. When my husband came home I shared my worry bag with him. It's still there, tied to the headboard almost 13 years later. And still one way I "weather the weather" of life.

The good news... my husband has been in remission since November of 2003!!!

I have shared a Worry Bag and my story with others going through a particularly difficult time.  If you feel the need to share this story and a worry bag with family and friends, please do! But please remember where the story came from and the true author of our grace.

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