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It all comes down to character. Our true heart is shown in the storms of life.
Join with me as we seek to find the
beauty in our storms along with maintaining our character through them. And let us listen for God's voice when it comes - whether a whisper on the breeze or a shout through the hurricane.....

Friday, August 28, 2015

Power Can Come From Pain





Dreamers. We get this preconceived notion that most of life’s “great” people were dreamers. They were motivated, called, and successful people. Maybe gifted.

Some probably were. Some people like Einstein were born to make a dent in society.

But a lot of the greatness that we see out there – whether it’s the people themselves, or the movements, ministries, organizations, etc that are started – they did not dream them. They fell into them.

Great pain often can produce great results. If we let it fuel us.

The family that lost their child – thus leading to the “Amber Alert” system; probably never thought that their personal pain would lead to such a monumental and lifesaving system.

Susan G. Komen and her family probably never dreamed that the devastating news of breast cancer for their family, would lead to a national organization to fund, research and encourage those who undergo the same battle.

There are so many people out there who have gone through deep loss and pain. People who have started suicide hotlines, scholarship programs, alcohol awareness organizations, wigs for cancer patients, blankets for abandoned babies, spousal abuse safe houses… the list goes on and on and on.

We underestimate these hurts we go through in life.

We can impact so many, if we allow what happens to us, to fuel us into loving on others who are also hurting. It’s our choice.

We can stay “there” in that pain. We can wear it with us daily. We can let it steal our smile, joy, and will to be a blessing to others. OR, we can turn what was meant to harm us – into something good for someone else.


Power CAN come from pain. Blessing can come from tragedy. And love can come from hurt.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There Will Always Be Someone Who Doesn't Understand You


Can you live with it if you’re never understood?  That thought occurred to me one day when I was “rationalizing” in my head how someone was never going to understand what I’m all about or what I do.

And I wish they did. But, I’ve come to accept that they may never appreciate who I really am. They may never completely understand who I am as a person, or what I do for my family, or for others.

I’ve come a long way.

There were times in life where I’d fret and toil in my heart and head over the fact that someone didn’t “get” me. Now, I understand that there will always be someone in life who DOESN’T “get” me. There will always be someone who doesn’t like me. Someone who misunderstands what I’m about.

I will be misjudged.

I don’t like it. I don’t want it. But I’m making peace with it.

I’m making peace with the fact that some people will never understand my heart and soul because I’m learning to accept myself more. I’m learning to have more peace with who I am, and I’m learning to place more value in what God thinks of me, than the world.

It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I don’t have wishes of understanding or acceptance. It simply means I’ve decided not to prioritize those thoughts in my head. I don’t want to give them space where they can tamper with something good and valuable that I’m doing (and being).

I am who God has made me to be. And I’m trying to be the best ‘me’ that there can be. That has to be enough. It has to carry me through the times when others think less of me than I’d want or prefer.

Some people may never appreciate you. They may never truly understand who you are. They may never “get” your heart. That doesn’t mean their assessment of you is right. It simply means they don’t understand. But I promise you, there WILL be people who DO understand you and DO get your heart , for God always tries to encourage our hearts when we’re doing our best to stay the course in life.

Friend, you and I will both be misjudged at times. Many more times, probably. And I’m sorry for you, for those times. But I pray that you can accept who you are enough to carry you through those frustrating moments. For you are valuable, and valued for the unique and special person that you are.


Just “be” the best “you” that you can be. Find peace in that.  I have.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

To The Parent Who Wants To Hold On


When my kids were young, I never wanted to go on a trip alone with my husband because I wanted to be there to protect my little ones. When they got to be in high school, I didn’t want to go on a trip alone with my husband, because I knew time was short, and they’d be out the door before I knew it.

When my daughter was home, I’d complain to her about all the glasses she left around the kitchen. But when she was away for the first time at Christmas, all I could think, was that I wished she was home to leave those glasses around again.

This parenting thing. It’s not for the faint of heart.

You cry when they first go off to kindergarten, you cry when they first drive away with their brand new license, and you cry when they leave home.

You want to hold on
. At least I do.

But you can’t. The tighter you hold on, the more they want to fly away  - never to return. So you have to swallow hard, and open the door.

It’s the hardest thing you’ll probably ever do.

But it’s a gift. We were created to do this. To hand life over to the next generation. To let part of ourselves live on in a new and exciting way. To watch our love take hold as lessons are learned in life and hopefully, our children return to the fold – nearby in some part, or merely in heart and soul.

So you let them go. And you let part of yourself go. But in the process, you learn that there is more to yourself than these beings that have taken up all of your heart and then some for 18+ years. You learn that life goes on. You learn how to think of yourself again. You become stronger.

No one will ever take those places in our heart that belong to our children. Those are precious spots that will always remain dedicated to them alone. But our hearts can grow bigger. They can learn to love on others who have empty spots inside that aren’t filled like ours are.

Part of you will always hold onto those days and moments with the best gifts God ever gave you. And that’s okay.

You are brave, dear mom and dad. You have loved deeper, wider, and further than you ever thought possible. You have invested your time, your thoughts, and your heart into making someone else’s life better. And now’s the time to see the return on your investment. So smile. Watch them go. Watch them dream, hope, learn, and grow. It’s scary. I know. But trust in the One who gave them to you. The One who loves them even more than you do. He won’t let you down. He won’t let THEM down.


It will be worth it. He will be faithful.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Serving God FOR God, and Not For Myself




I took a strengths class with my husband last Winter. Empathy was one of my top core strengths. One of the instructors told me how rare that was. “It’s like a sixth sense,” she said. I guess a lot of people have empathy as a complimentary strength but not as one of their main strengths.

It made so much sense to me. How I invest myself personally into everything I do. How I take everything thrown back at me, personally, as well. Because of empathy. I emote. I relate.

I feel. And I feel. And I feel some more. I feel for myself. I feel for you. And with you.

It’s just who I am.

So it makes sense that I struggle in my skin sometimes. I struggle to remind myself of who I want to be, and why I do what I do (writing).  For I can so easily ingest those follower numbers, those likes, and those blog comments. I can personalize them and focus on “me.” When that’s really not what I want to be about.

I do what I do BECAUSE of my empathy for others. For YOU. Not for me, at all. Yes, I enjoy it, but that’s because I enjoy loving on others. I enjoy encouraging others. I enjoy impacting a life. It does bring me great joy.  But from time to time, I have to analyze my motivation and my perseverance in what I do. Is it so I get more attention – more followers and likes? Or is it so that others can see God in me, and that I can draw them closer to seeking Him?

It’s the latter I want. It’s the latter that will give me true value. And yet I still struggle with personally wanting to be liked. Loved. Accepted.  As we all do.

Empathy.

It’s my strength, yes. But I think it’s also my weakness.

I am so thankful to get realigned from time to time. I’m humbled, and thankful to be reminded I’ve strayed off of my focus and intent. I’m blessed to get back on track with serving God FOR God, and not for myself.  For I don’t ever want to use His name, His values, and His words – for my own attention.

“Lord, I am your servant. A servant that does indeed, go astray from time to time. Thank you for lovingly always bringing me back into the fold and never chastising me with anger. You are my God. And I WILL serve you.


Always.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

I Am Happy

I’ve been feeling so content and happy lately. I am just in a spot where life is good. I love who I am, WHERE I am, and who I have around me.

I feel so blessed. So overwhelmed at times, because I’m humbled and in awe of how much my God loves me. Of how good He is to me.

I am happy.

It feels good to feel happy. To feel content. To know that you are blessed and to just sigh, and relish in it.

It seems like so much of life is overcoming challenges, travelling up hills and navigating curves and climbs. It seems like there is so much bad news. Too many tears. The good times deserve to be relished. They SHOULD be enjoyed, felt, and appreciated.

I don’t want to overlook the thankfulness in my heart. I don’t want to miss the appreciation I feel. For I know there will be new challenges, heartaches, and trials ahead. After all, I am living. There are always trials in living!

So for today, I smile.  And I celebrate life. MY life. I heartily love.  And I acknowledge, mostly. I acknowledge that I am seen, valued, loved, and heard.


And that means everything.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Best Leaders Are Teachable


The best leaders are teachable.  I was reminded of this recently as I’d written a couple of articles that were sent back to me to be “rewritten.” 

I didn’t like that.  I felt comfortable with what they stated and how they stated it. But this was the first time I’d worked under an editor. And she was very gracious in stating what she was looking for and why.

I had to rewrite them.

At first, I was perturbed. Irritated. As I let the thoughts settle in with my heart and mind a little bit more, I realized that rewriting these two articles would only be in my best interest.  Having to solidify and clarify my points would only make me a better writer in the long run.

I would learn. I would grow.

King David stopped listening to Godly advisors in the Bible and he fell victim to controversy and scandal. He listened to his flesh and it landed him in trouble.

You see; we can never become too big to learn. We are never too powerful to listen to wise advice, and we are never in a position where we can’t still grow.  When we think we are, that’s the exact juncture in time where we need to be taught the most! When we are humbled, that is when we are often able to see the most clearly. That is when we are able to listen with an open heart, and receive what someone needs to say to us with a teachable spirit.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

I may have an agenda. I may think I know what I’m doing and where I’m going – but God knows more than I. He has a higher purpose and a purer goal.  Sometimes that goal may simply be in refining me in the process. My destination may not have been wrong,; simply my heart or motivation may have needed some redirection. Other times, my destination is a little off, and I need some realignment to see where it is that God would rather take me. Either way, if I allow God to use others to teach me, I will always win in the long run. For I will grow and be more of the person, and the leader, that He is crafting me to be.

So whether it’s rewriting a couple of articles to please an editor, changing some policies within a company, or listening to a teenager tell you why they were hurt by something you did as a parent – each one is important. Each one will help us become better at what we do, and who we are, for the Lord.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

There Is No Timetable For Healing




There is no timetable for healing. You can’t rush the process of healing.

We are all so different. One person might be in shock over something for awhile, while someone else gets angry immediately and gets it out of their system. Another person may not even register what they are feeling for awhile – their emotions are delayed. They come at another time and place when they are least suspecting it.  (And often, with force.)

So, with all the differences of dealing with hurts, losses, tragedies, and grief… who are we to say when the right time is for someone to “get over it?”

I think it’s important that we extend grace to one another. None of us sits in someone else’s shoes – or heart, for that matter.  We can’t force someone to stop thinking about a loved one, to think LONGER about a loved one, or to not have ‘after-effects’ that last years or longer from something tragic in their lives. For we all register big hurts and losses on different scales.  That doesn’t mean that one person cares more than another, just that we sift through those feelings and deal with them at a different rate and manner.

I believe in always being respectful and gracious. Certain situations and losses in life demand a certain level of respect and honor. That being said, I also believe that it’s important to move on with our lives. It’s vital to keep moving forward and growing as a person. That can be hard to fathom when you’re in the beginning stages of grief or healing. But at some point, there have to be steps taken to keep on living and to live life to the fullest.

We are still here. We survived. And even though we may have hurt in a way that no person should have to – our lives still have meaning. We can turn that pain into something constructive, good, helpful, and generous to someone else who may be a little bit further back on the road that we just came on.

I wish life had less hurts. I wish parents didn’t lose babies or children. I wish no one ever had to make the decision to “pull the plug” on someone who lay in a coma. I wish no person was ever abused, raped, bullied, or kidnapped. There is a great deal of evil out there. A great deal that is unfair.

We will ALL go through hurts in life. None of us escapes unscathed. So we should all understand what it feels like to be hurting. To shed tears and to feel great pain.  We can use that understanding to offer love to one another and give each other the freedom to work through their suffering on their timetable – and at their comfortable pace.

As long as someone IS working through whatever that awful “IT” is, that’s all that matters. Love them and be there for them.


Even if it takes years.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

You Don't Need To Pray About Everything



“I’ll pray about it and then get back to you.”

“I need to pray about it, first.”

These are things we hear when we ask someone to make a commitment. These are things we say.

Sometimes, these words are the exact right approach and answer.  We should pray about big commitments on our time, or lengthy commitments. We should pray about something that we are not quite sure if God has called us to do, or not. We should pray when we feel unsettled about saying ‘yes,’ and we should pray when God has specifically placed something on our heart – but it hasn’t come about.

Prayer is important. It’s powerful.

But there are times when we don’t really need to pray first.

There are times when we know we should say ‘yes.’ However hesitant we may be, we know God is asking it of us.

There are times, when we can fill a need. We have the gift needed, the money needed, or the tools needed. There is no need to pray. There is simply a need to jump in with action and give of ourselves on behalf of the Lord.

I think we shouldn’t delay doing good things at times. We don’t need to pray about giving a hungry person food. We don’t need to pray about letting a hurting person come over to talk. We don’t need to pray about whether or not we should send someone an encouraging note.

We should.

There are things that we should quickly and heartily do in life – without having to pray about them, first. We should be generous people, gentle people, loving, kind, and caring.  If we have something to give, something to help someone else, we should give it. Quickly. Lovingly.

Prayer is an important part of our lives; there is no doubt. But sometimes we can use it simply as an excuse to delay doing something that we need to do.

Loving others is a command. There is no need to pray about that. So if we have a chance to show that love – we should immediately step in without any doubts.


Without any prayer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Letting Nature Tend To My Soul




I’m in love with the sounds. The sounds from my new home in Texas.

Maybe nature wasn’t as abundant in my last home state. Maybe I just wasn’t listening as closely. But here, here, all the animals and insects seem to be happy and cheerful.

I sit on my back patio, and I can hear the doves cooing, the insects chirping, and the birds singing. And I take it all in.

It makes me happy and refreshed. For it’s how I imagine God intended it to be – with all the different animals frolicking about and speaking to one another here and there. Going about their business, living life. Loving who they were created to be. At least, that’s what they sound like to me. They don’t sound like they are unhappy, depressed, or mad about where they live or what they are. The squirrel bounces around and seems perfectly content that he’s a squirrel – and not a bird.

So, why aren’t we, as people, happy with who we are? God made us each differently. We can still interact and relate to one another – accepting who we are, and accepting who others are. We can be happy and cheerful – simply living our lives.

I wonder what our “people” sounds, sound like to the critters? Do we sound happy and joyful, or whiny, angry, and ungrateful? Maybe if we seemed more at peace, the animals would be more drawn to us, as we are to them.

I think that’s why nature is so recharging to a soul. It’s accepting. It’s inspiring and motivational, simply in observing, listening, and letting it attend to our hearts and souls.

It’s healing.

City smog, fast-paced traffic, noisy television sets, ipods, and computers. They can be exciting at times – but they are manufactured distractions. They can’t attend to a soul the way the outdoors can. The way that GOD can.

Maybe that’s the secret the wild animals carry with them.


Maybe we can learn something from them.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How We See Ourselves, Isn't Always How Others See Us




How we see ourselves, isn’t always how others see us.

I’ve written many things. Some things are coming from my own experiences in life. Others are from what I see going on around me. And I find it very interesting; that many times when I write something based on observation, some of the first people to “like” my comments, are the very people I had in mind when writing them!

We just don’t see ourselves the way others do.

I wonder, why that is? I mean, why, when we read something, can we see and recognize good thoughts or values, without seeing maybe flaws or weaknesses in ourselves that resonate with those very words?

Is it because we rationalize our behavior to ourselves? Is it because we’re in denial? Or is it because we honestly, truly, don’t think we act a certain way?

I wonder.

I would hope that I would recognize areas of growth that are needed in my own personality and character. I would hope that I would never just ‘wave’ away an expression or thought as something that only “other” people do. I would hope, that I would be able to always take a deep hard look at myself and see where I might, possibly, have said or done something that I would normally not want to be known for.

I don’t want to over-analyze myself. I do, however, want to honestly see myself how others see me, so if something needs fixing, I can fix it.

We all see life from a kaleidoscope of colors. Colors that come from how we were raised, treated, and what values were instilled in us. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and not see things from a different viewpoint.

Maybe it’s time to stand in a different spot with a different view. Somewhere we can see things from another angle. Then, maybe, we can see what others see. Not that it’s right or wrong, just a different perspective. One that may help us to adjust a few things.





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Sunday, July 12, 2015

What's The Worst That Can Happen?



I have fears. I have things I internally struggle with.  I have pretty good instincts and sometimes I fear what is coming because I pretty much know what it’s going to be. And that ‘thing’ is something I either dread, or don’t want.

Years ago, I learned to start challenging my own fearful thoughts. I started asking myself “what is the worst thing that can happen? And if that happens, can I handle it? Can I survive? Can I deal with it?”  Usually, the answer is ‘yes.’ It may not be what I want. It may hurt. But I can usually see that I will survive it and come out the other side of it somewhere.

It’s helped me. It’s helped me grow courage in otherwise vulnerable areas in my heart and life.

I still have fears. I still have struggles. But I can look at them from a more stable stance.

Life is full of curves. If only we could plan out our own path – right? But we can’t. We have so little control. We deal with a lot of things in life because of someone else’s choices. And we have to move on. We have to figure out how to navigate those things, especially when we didn’t really want them to be a part of our story, or our ‘life picture.’

We are stronger than we think.

So, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And if it happens, cry about it. Yell, Kick something. Grieve over the loss.  Then let that moment shift. Adjust to it. And move forward on that new ground and in that new territory.


You can do it. You may not like it, but you can do it. And so can I.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sometimes We Rely On the Wrong Things




Sometimes we rely on the wrong things.

We get to where we don’t know what we’d do without that certain person in our life.

We rely on the salary that our job is producing.

We get into a habit of thinking that someone will come through for us if we don’t plan accordingly.

We rely on having certain things always available to us.

We get ‘lost’ when these things change, or are taken away. We don’t know how to function, or what to do.

Navigating changes in life is normal. But it can really throw us for a loop when we’ve come to rely on that person or thing so much, that we don’t know how to live any differently.

It’s never healthy when we let one person or one thing in life fill us up completely.  It’s important that we do what we enjoy, and that we seek to be happy – yes. But allowing someone or something else to have that much of a hold on us is dangerous indeed.

Only God can fill us up completely. Only God doesn’t change.  And with Him, we will never feel ‘lost.’

I think it’s always good when I look back and see how I’ve taken something in my life for granted. Whether it was a working dishwasher, having two cars, or simply having enough $ to buy what we need. Whenever something comes up to take away one of these things (or something else,) it shows me how much I rely on it. It brings perspective into my every day, and how I go about it.

I want to be able to count on certain things in my life. But I don’t ever want to rely on them so much, that should they be taken away, that I am destroyed.  For I want to know my own mind, my own heart and soul, and my own abilities DESPITE what (or who) is or isn’t in my life.

And with God, I can handle all things. For it is from Him that I get my strength.


And it is ON Him only, that I want to rely.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What Does Your Heart Crave?




Empty spots. Holes that somehow don’t get filled, with most of the things that are sought after in life – things like wealth, success, beauty, or popularity.

Those things don’t satisfy. They don’t last. Sure, they feel good for a while, but then that good feeling fades, and that empty spot returns once again.

So, what does your heart crave? Have you spent time really thinking about that? Have you given yourself enough quiet moments of reflection to ponder, contemplate, and focus on where you are in life – compared to where you want to be?

WHO you want to be?

I think we all crave the same things at some level. We crave kindness. Goodness. We crave to be understood and heard. Listened to. We crave attention because we want to feel valued and valuable. We crave love. Joy. Peace. An unsettled heart and soul desperately craves peace!

We crave God. To know and be known so fully and completely and yet still accepted. Still WANTED.

People can deny it. But there is this inner need for there to be something “more” than just this life. This existence.

We crave hope.

It’s no wonder we so often feel lost. So many of these values, character traits, and morals, have been cast aside. It’s hard to find them.

And so we are left feeling somewhat empty. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

You ARE wanted. You ARE valued. There IS peace to be found and joy that can be yours. Even if life is tough and challenging. Even if others don’t understand.

Seek it out. Pursue it.


Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.



Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Owe Him My Life





I know that God is always watching over me. I KNOW that He knows the very details of my life.

My life is a record of it.


When I was 5 years old, He sent His angels to protect me as I drove across the street in my big wheel, without looking for cars. I nearly got hit. I still remember my sister yelling, and me, looking right at the grill of that car.

When I was probably – oh – 9 years old or so? I almost drowned. God once again, scooped down to save me.

When I was in my early 20’s, I ignored my instincts and got out of my truck to grab my mail as I drove home to my apartment complex. There was no one around but a man at a phone booth. I got out anyways. He grabbed my behind. I’m lucky he didn’t do more. For God was looking out for me, once again.

When I was a young mom, my girls were arguing in the car one day and I got angry at them. I swerved to pull over to the side of the road, but in my anger, turned my car too hard. I almost lost complete control as we swerved from side to side, turned all the way around and then careened to the side of the road. It’s amazing we didn’t flip. And I would have had to live with that for the rest of my life. (Ask my girls. They still remember how terrified they were.) God was there for me.

He has a pattern of being there. He sees. Always. He knows. Always.

Whether it’s my own mistakes, or the actions from others – my God is always looking out for me. He has His angels on guard for me every second.

I know this – because I can look back and see how I was spared. Protected. Shielded. LOVED.

I know I will have to go through hard things in life. Just because I have been rescued so many times, doesn’t mean I will be able to avoid the challenging and hurtful things in life altogether.  And I accept that. I don’t welcome it, but I accept it.

I love my God. My Lord. I owe Him my life. Literally.


How about you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sometimes You Just Have to Take a "Time-Out" From Life



Sometimes you just have to take a ‘time-out’ from life. 

I’ve been on ‘overload’ for awhile now. Getting my daughter ready to graduate from high school in June, working a part time job, planning a wedding for this Fall… and then just adding in the normal to-do’s of life.

But nobody has been telling me that I have to do it all. I’VE been the one telling ME that I have to do it all.

And I don’t. I can’t.

So, for my own well-being, I decided to say ‘no’ to some of life’s requests.

I didn’t go to this last session of Bible Study.

I told myself “no” to going to some blogger events that have come up in the last couple of months.

I’ve forced myself to relax some days – even though there was laundry and other chores to be done.

It has helped soo much! Lightening my load a little bit helped me focus on what truly was a priority and it has helped me start to get the rest that my body has been craving.

Life doesn’t stop altogether. But, you can quit for awhile on the things that don’t matter quite as much.

Sometimes you just have to say ‘no’ to the chores, and watch a movie. Put something aside and play a family game, or go on a walk.

It’s needed. For sanity. For clarity. For refreshment.

There will always be a list of things that need to get done. There will always be someone who wants something from us. But we are merely human. Our energy is not limitless. 

We need breaks. Time-outs. Time to be alone. Time to rest.

I feel strongly about following through on commitments and keeping your word. But there are times in life, where it might just matter a little bit more to focus on staying in tune with your own heart and soul. And to do that, you have to have to be given the time to hear them.

You are the only you that ever will be. So don’t forget to take care of that YOU that can get worn out once in awhile.

Take just a brief ‘time-out’ once in awhile.  Make yourself the focus and priority – so that you can fully be in the moment of your commitments – giving others the priority they deserve, as well.



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