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Who of you by grumbling?

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Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.                                                                                                                       1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG

“But I don’t want water. But I don’t want to do that. But I don’t like that. Ugh, that’s nasty.  But he never. She never. I want this. I want that.”

Grumbling. No rejoicing. All on a day I had planned just for them.  I don’t think the day went by with one single praise for anything He had done, or I had done, in fact.

It is on days like these that I would like to pack up my family. Move to some distant land. Let them see what “living” really is. Without internet. Without clean water. Without air conditioner, and the drive-thru of their choice.

There are days I need this reminder, too.

Because, quite honestly I have a lot of reasons to grumble. And on the days I find that maybe I grumble a little more, I also have many more to be thankful. Many more reasons to be grateful.

I’ll be missing one more person again this year during the holidays. While it seems I should be used to it at this point, it seems to be harder this time around. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s because my little family is now a generation larger since I have become a MeeMaw and life has taken on new meaning.

I still find reasons to grumble. But the things that used to bug me, just don’t anymore. I also find the things that used to get under my skin, and make me angry don’t have the same effect on me as they once did.

I have not always been this way. I am a scream in traffic girl. A glass half-empty girl. A “I hate people” girl. Yes…there are days I don’t like people. I really don’t like to be around them. On those days, I just want to be alone, with a blanket, and a book.

And because I have to force myself to see life in that glass half-full perspective, I also have to force myself to count my blessings each day, not just during the Thanksgiving season. So I simply started keeping track of three small things for which I was grateful each day. And, while it may not have made me forget that there is something missing again this holiday season, it has done a few things. Forcing myself to be thankful has also forced me to think about all the things on a given day that don’t cause me to grumble. That make me happy. That bring me joy.

Those three things give me reason to praise God through the loneliness, thanking him for all the times He has placed someone in my path in those times of loneliness or defeat to breathe life into those empty places.

To praise God for all the times He did answer me, even when I thought he was not listening.

To stop rushing to work every morning, and actually stop and enjoy a morning sunrise. To enjoy the quiet, calm of an office before the morning buzz takes over.

To appreciate cute baby onesies picked up for the grandson. Or a new mug to enjoy my morning cup of coffee. To reflect on the conversations that have value and meaning, with the people that mean the most to me. To remember the times that I laughed with my kids, and the times they also did not complain and grumble through the day.

To relish the conversations that a 21 year old still wants to have with his mother. And the memories that an older sister has with her once again absent brother.

I can grumble over all the things that are wrong. I can complain over all the things that are bad. Continue to be sad over all the things that are not going as planned. I will always find something that will fit into one of those categories.

And, I will also always find something to bring me joy.

I just have to take the time to look for it.

Stop my grumbling. Change my perspective. Choose to be happy. Choose to be thankful.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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“Costumes” and a Little Boy’s Lesson on Self-Acceptance

After being asked this morning, “Where is your costume?” I can totally understand my son’s desire to simply be himself. Costumes are fun, but being who He has made me to be is so much better!

Coffee with a Shot of Faith

“You are the light of the world-like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13

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“I am being nothing! I am dressing as Hunter!” “What about your shark mask?” I kindly plead with my four year old son. “No! Nothing! I am going as Hunter!”

That is right. Hunter is adamantly boycotting the custom of wearing a costume on Halloween. As a child with sensory processing issues, he often has a hard time relenting to our demands of wearing anything that buttons, anything that covers his face, or anything that requires tugging on, pulling on, or tying on! For the past few years he has managed to wear at least part of his costumes sans hat, crown, or whatever head or face adornment that came with the Halloween duds…but, not this year. This year, he is going to be Hunter.

“I don’t need to dress up to…

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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Handing out Hearts

Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.
Wally Lamb, She’s Come Undone

I wrote this a few years ago, yet it is so relevant in these current days. Whether a milkshake, a pink Starburst, a snack, or a simple mint…when handed out with no other purpose but to simply show love, it can make all the difference.

Coffee with a Shot of Faith

But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. Jeremiah 17:10

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Love. That one word is important to most everyone. We all want to love, to be loved, to be shown love. And, oh…the pure bliss of hearing those three little words-I love you.

But, sometimes those words don’t come. Those three little words are not always easy to say, and my little monster continues to show me with his inability to use his own words-that love is not a word at all.

Love can be as simple as being handed a small pink Starburst.

See, my little monster is not the greatest with words. Well, actually, he is great with them, but only when it comes to sharks, Legos, or what is playing on Animal Planet. The words that require an expression of feeling or emotion don’t come so easy to him. No, sometimes when emotions take over he…

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Posted by on May 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

His Will, Not Mine

This boy…the one this post was written about is 8 today. It was 8 years ago on Thanksgiving that we bought this guy home for the first time. And, I am ever so thankful, even through the pain and heartache, that God’s will is always better than mine.

Coffee with a Shot of Faith

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3

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I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had just found out the news. I remember thinking to myself- How could this be? This was not part of the plan! This can’t be right! Two lines? Yep, there are definitely two of them-two VERY blue lines, in fact. My then 10 month old daughter was running in and out of the bathroom, and then it hit me. I’m pregnant! Again!

So, I did what any woman does who has waited for those blue lines to appear. I did what any woman does while waiting for a test to seal their fate. I did what any woman does when she finds out she is going to have a baby. You guessed it!

I sat on the bathroom floor-and cried!

I cried for the daughter I…

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Posted by on November 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

holding on through the dry season

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Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23, NLT

I absolutely love fall. There is something about its specific sights and sounds that awaken a certain kind of pleasure. It started back in high school, when Friday nights were devoted to football and pizza. The excitement. The crunch of leaves. That lingering smell of burning wood. The crisp cool air. All the signs that a new season was here. Change was in the air.

As I took a day of solitude recently, I wandered down to the lake that is a short walk from my house. As I sat in complete silence taking in the sights and sounds of fall all around me. I once again felt the cool, crisp air. The hum of excitement. That wondrous crunch of leaves underneath my feet. And, I thought about not just this season of nature, but of my current season.

This season that hasn’t drummed up the same excitement that those football games did in high school.

The season that has brought a lingering, unexplained illness that has left me breathless, my body weary and depleted. In a season of self-pity.

A new season where some passion has faded. Everything seems too hard. There is just no strength left to even fight for what once made my heart so ready to move.

It has been filled with doubt. Some due to the barks and critiques of others I tend to hold onto for too long. Those barks and critiques that have left me defeated. Not willing to stand up and push past them anymore.

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul? With sorrow in my heart everyday? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Psalm 13:2

On this day. This day I declared a “me” day. To rest my depleted body. Disconnect from everyone and everything that was too hard. I took the time to finally look at the beauty that was around me.

All that comes to mind when I get excited about fall.

And I saw it. The beauty. In the trees that blazed shades of green, red, yellow, and orange.

See, they are in a season, too. Having spent many months thriving, growing, providing shade and comfort on hot, muggy days, they are now in another season. They are also in a season of struggle.

Yet, as they cling to their last little bit of strength they have left. As they hold onto that branch so tightly before they finally wither and fall…they are at their most beautiful.

It is in their struggle to hold on that they are at their peak. When they shine the brightest.

And then there also comes the time when they do stop the struggle. Wither and fall. When that beauty. That peak seems to fade.

The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. Psalm 145:14

He doesn’t leave them there. Fallen. No. Not at all. Instead, at the right time, He puts new life in those withered leaves. Gives them a new season. New beauty. New strength to hold on again.

And, he will do the same for me. Through this struggle there is beauty in holding on. There is strength in clinging to that solid branch just to keep from withering. Even though I may fall for a season, He will be there to pick me up. To breathe new life in this weary body, and make me shine for Him again.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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There will surely be days like this

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG

Bad Moment

Some days really do play out like the pages of your favorite book. The not so happy kinds. So in the style of one my favorite childhood books, here is an ode to one of ours!

Mommy woke me up to early, and then I bumped my head on the side of the bed. I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair, and the shirt I picked out to wear was too tight.

The dog chewed my socks, and I accidentally wore my sisters. Mom made me brush my teeth before I ate breakfast, and now my toast tastes like toothpaste. That too tight shirt was on inside out, and now I can’t find my other shoe.

Ugh! Now look….Mommy, it’s 7:22. We are supposed to leave at 7:20. It’s raining. The umbrella just broke. The bus is late. And we have a sub.

It’s going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Mommy says some days are just like that.

I didn’t get any sleep, and forgot to set the alarm. The dog has been in the trash, and it’s all over the kitchen floor. I have a headache. Stepped in a puddle in perfectly good shoes.

The bus is late. There is a sub. I’m sopping wet, and late for work. Without the lunch I left on the counter. And now there is someone else as I arrive laying in a puddle on the floor.

Daddy has been gone. My little monster is out of his routine. He is hungry. Kicking and screaming in the middle of the floor. And, Mommy? Mommy is crying in the corner. Hoping no one sees.

Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Why are some days like that?

They are. There are days it seems everyone has dumped all their crap in your cornflakes. Cornflakes that now may taste like toothpaste.

On those days we may throw shoes. Have them thrown at us. We meltdown. React inappropriately because of all our mixed up emotions. Hurt feelings. Hurt others. Scream. Curse. Punch. Start loading someone else’s cornflakes with our crap. Then maybe the tears just start flowing, and you wonder when you will ever get a break.

Yes, Mommy said some days are just like that.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But, take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Bad days will come. Those days when the struggle begins before our feet even hit the floor. But, we have a choice on these days. We can keep trying to push through on our own to get over all those hurdles, as we knock them all down in the process.

Or, we can stop. Breathe. Look up.

Just breathe, just breathe. Come and rest at my feet. And be, just be. Chaos calls, but all you really need is to just breathe. 

Trust me. I know it is not easy. Being a glass half empty girl, my mind tends to wander to catastrophe mode. And my breathing is usually heavy and racked with sobs. Until I just want to leave those cornflakes on the table, run away, and never come back.

The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans in us for Christ will have you put together and on your feet for good. 1 Peter 5:10, MSG

Yes. His grace. His power. His strength. His peace. They overcome any terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. They will come. Again and again. But, he will restore us. Each and every time. After every tear. Every swear word uttered. Every shoe thrown. He will bring us back to our feet. And give us the strength to conquer the next bad one.

Because some days are just like that He said.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Along for the Climb

The Climb 1

Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams, and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. Jeremiah 31:9

In recent years I have become to enjoy the challenge of a good hike. It has become an aspiration among friends to tackle some of the local trails, and a tradition for my husband and I as we travel.

Usually, the task can generate a number of different emotions as one navigates the climb. A number of obstacles also await at times. Some climbs are fairly easy-a nice, quiet stroll with nature, and an effortless path that allows enjoyment of all that surround us.

Some climbs are harder. Climbs that leave you huffing and puffing. In pain. Struggling just to make it to the end. There may be too many hills to climb. Sticks and rocks to climb over. Streams to leap over. And, you probably stumble and fall a time or two.

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For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. Deuteronomy 2:7

Until you reach the end, and see all that surrounds you. The beauty of the land He has created. It is then you realize that the challenging journey was worth it.

Life is a bit like a hiking trail, and God? He is along for the climb.

Some days are painless. They can be navigated with minimal effort, and there are no bumps along the way. It is on these days when finding moments of quiet is easy, and chaos is replaced with calm and peace. Every star is perfectly aligned. Every moment is relaxed and tranquil.

Other days? Other days take immense effort just to get through. Everywhere you turn there are jagged rocks, steep hills, and fallen trees. Obstacles keeping you from your destination. It is too tough. You want to give up. Crumble under the weight of each mountain. Avoid the challenge altogether. Hoping that it just disappears.

In each of these moments, easy or hard, something beautiful waits on the other side.

And, in each of these moments, He is with you. Walking the path alongside you. Making the climb easier to handle, since He carries you and endures each obstacle with you.

Just as you see God in the skies painted blue and the hills on the horizon, you can see him in the people you meet on your climb along the way. In the quiet mornings before the kids wake. In the chaotic moments when you have broken up another fight among siblings. In the people sent to encourage you. In those placed in your life to watch you stumble.

Just as you see God in the valleys, and the flowing streams, He can be seen in the dark moments in the middle of your uphill journey. In the tears that tumble in the dark of night. The ones that are a result of hurt, shame, guilt, or frustration.

And, He can be seen in the hope and promise that something waits on the other side of this mountain. Of this bump in the road. This obstacle that once again looms in your life. The one that seems too challenging to climb. The one in which it seems nothing worthy or beautiful can be found.

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But, it’s there. Beauty. Peace. Waiting on the other side.

And, He is there. With you. For the challenging, daunting, and rewarding climb.

He leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshed my soul. He guides me along the right path. Psalm 23:2-3

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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