I Am SO Grateful…

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

Wow!  What an amazing year it’s been!

I want to say with all my heart how grateful I am for each and every one of you.  When I started this blog eight years ago, I never dreamed it would become what it has.  I hope it has touched you all in some small way, stimulated your thinking, offered up advice, and enlightened you in your journey on this side of heaven as you prepare for the other side of heaven.

There’s been ups and down but with perseverance as Paul has said comes growth and hope and character. You all have stuck with me and supported me both by visiting my blog and by donating on my sidebar.  I truly can’t thank you enough.  There have been many times I’ve asked myself why I keep doing this and the answer has always come around to you all.  You hold me accountable as much as I hold you accountable.

I’ve finally found what I’ve been seeking:  a home-based business that provides me with the lifestyle I’ve always dreamed of AND given me the freedom to still be there for my kids.  Passions that I can’t live without (BSF, CrossFit, coffee!).  A husband that loves and supports me in everything.  Kids who are good-hearted and kind to others (although not always to each other).  Family that is there in emergencies.  Animals to care for who fill me with love and compassion and restfulness I dearly need.  And God whose hand is always holding mine and leading me every step of every day.

And you all!  Each comment you leave enriches me beyond words.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy-ness to share here and be authentic and open and loving.  Your thoughts, passions, and advice is greatly appreciative as are your corrections as well.  You share a small portion of your life here and in turn I have blossomed because of it.

I’m grateful for Lissette Trahan.  Lissette’s amazing poetry as such a blessing in my life (and I hope yours).  She’s come on as a contributor and shared her heart, and I sincerely hope you are enjoying her words as much as I am.  Check out her work under “Lissette’s Lyrics” either on the top menu or the sidebar.  She has an amazing gift that she’s sharing with all of you.

I’m right where God has placed me (and so are you).  Everything He has done has led to this moment and to the next moment and so forth.  He will continue to lead me.  Everything in my life is for His good.  Everything in your life is for His good.

Beginning next week, I’ll start a new segment entitled “Saturday’s Snippets” where I’ll share little thoughts from what I’m learning in my life.  Sometimes Biblically based.  Sometimes not.  Little nuggets to grasp onto when sometimes that’s what we desperately need.  Similar to my summer devotions, they will be pithy and crisp.

On this amazing and beautiful day of Thanksgiving, my hope and prayer is for you all to live life to the fullest, following God’s plan for your life, living in the present, creating an amazing future, filing the past where it belongs, and living consciously, not unconsciously.  Life is too short to do otherwise.

God bless you on this day of Thanksgiving–a day for Him and by Him.  Grateful for all you have and all you don’t have.  Grateful for all that is coming.  Grateful for Him to be in control.  Grateful for Him to bring us home.

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Figuring Out Life at Starbucks…

Rain+Coffee+Book=Heaven

Yesterday, it was rainy and cold and blah.

My part-time job takes about 3-4 hours during the morning.  Then I’m free till it’s time to pick up the kids from school.

So Starbucks has become my hang out.  It’s close to my kids’ school and they have, of course, the life-sustaining beverage of choice–coffee!

The last few weeks I’ve been trying to figure things out in my life.  Ya know, the usual, what to do, where does God want me, etc.

I know I need to write.  But what?

I know I need to find a different job.  But what?

I know I need to change my diet.  (Finally figured this one out last night after weeks of wishy-washy-ness).

Well, at least I know some things.

And, luckily for me, God knows the rest.  I just need to trust in Him to put my footsteps where they need to fall.

Thank God, right?

The Beautiful Life I Live…

Twenty years ago I was in London when the world got the news Princess Diana died.  Six days later I was standing on Pall Mall when the royal family walked by, following Lady Di’s casket, everyone around me leaking tears.  I didn’t understand then.  I was a 20 year old American studying abroad.  To me, this was more of a news event than an actual funeral.  I didn’t understand the grief of my English friends.

Princess Di and her Kids

I do now.  I completely understand now.

I can’t imagine being taken from this world at the age of 36, leaving two children behind who need a mother more than they need their own life.  I can’t imagine the shock this must have been to all who knew her.  The devastation. The hole.

You don’t have to be famous to leave that hole.  I hole is left inside of someone (even inside of God if you have no family) when you die.  One day you are alive.  Living.  Breathing.  Then the next you are gone.  Food for the tiny creatures God created to return your body to dust.

That day I had big dreams.  Of a life of travel around the world.  Earning tons of money.  Doing something grand and important in this world.  Making a big impact in the business world.  Perhaps even having my own name written about in some major publication.

Fast forward 20 years.

Here I am.  I’m sitting inside a Panera Bread.  Waiting for my two oldest children’s school to let out so I can go and pick them up.  Then one will go to Cross Country practice.  The other has Swim Team practice.  One is in high school. The other middle school.  On the drive there, they both will compete for my attention as they tell about their lives at school.  Which teacher was boring.  What homework they have.  What funny thing a boy said in class.  How they both wish Christmas were here already.

Once I drop them off, I’ll head home.  Make sure my youngest, my baby boy, made it home from school on his bike. See what he needs.  Start dinner.  Check the mail.  Drag in the trash cans from the street.

I’ll wash some dishes.  Start some laundry.  Go and pick up my girls from practice.  Go home.  See if anyone needs help with homework.  And then attend a local board meeting of which I am a part of that meets once a month.

Then home.  To pet my cats and dogs.  To gaze at my fish the kids recently sold lemonade to acquire.  Unwind with my husband.  Check my emails.  Plan the next day.  Go to bed.

A very ordinary life.  A far cry from what I had envisioned 20 years ago.  But one I would not trade for the world. A very beautiful life in a very beautiful planet earth (of which the eclipse reminded all of us is such a gift from God). One Princess Diana vanished from when her life ended tragically.

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.  It went by so fast.  Luckily for me, it passed in such a beautiful way.

I need to remember this when the little things in this world threaten to pull me away.  When plans change that I want to get angry at but which I know will work out for the better.  When the future threatens to pull me from the present moment.

Today I went for a lunch time walk with my husband.  A rarity indeed.  He’s currently unemployed, having quit his job which was going nowhere for him.  He is searching for another.  And he has many opportunities.  And I am thanking God for this reprieve from the hub-bub so we can re-connect and be together.  Before he is taken away again.

Every moment is precious.  With friends.  With family.  With animals. With God.  Cherish it.  Embrace it.  Stay here. For as long as possible.  Hug your kids.  Kiss your spouse.  Remember one day all too soon you will be gone.  Don’t dwell on that fact.  Instead use it to power and fuel your life.  Fulfill your life’s purpose.  God’s intended purpose for your life.

If you do, I promise your life will be insanely beautiful.

A beautiful life

New Features to My Blog!

Hey all!

I just wanted to highlight a few new features to my blog.

1) Please sign up to receive email notifications of my postings.  It’s a great way to keep abreast of my posts and the easiest way to find them.

2)  I have added a donation button in my sidebar.  If you’ve been helped by what you read here and you feel led by God to contribute, please use the donation button on the sidebar.  It helps to support my writings and spend more time on this blog.

3)  The sidebar also has all the BSF questions from this year and the past year easily accessible by clicking on the study of your choice.  All the questions appear in reverse order since everything on a blog is top posted.

I hope you all have a wonderful break and I’ll see ya in the Fall!!

God bless one and all!

Man Never Changes…

I’ve been out of the work force for over 12 years.  I’ve been extremely blessed to be so.  However, over the summer, I have taken a full-time position.

Admittedly, I’ve led a pretty sheltered life.  Not having to deal with adults on a day-to-day basis, I’ve been molded by children and their worlds.  Kids are authentic and real.  They are not perfect, but in general what you see is what you get.  They don’t deceive except when it comes to candy and chocolate.  They are the best of man before mankind changes them.

I’ve had a few hard lessons to digest over the last two weeks.  I’ve learned I have to have boundaries with people.  I’m frankly a very attractive woman and last week I was asked out on a date (I’m married for those of you who don’t know).  It disturbed me because all I was doing was listening and asking questions at my work.  That was it.  A very innocent conversation about weekend plans.  But somehow a line was crossed and I paid the price.

Yesterday, a work colleague whom I thought I knew stole a bonus from me to put it simply.  I asked for his advice on a client and he basically stole my client right in front of me.  It hurt.  I don’t want it to.

Immediately, walls went up.  I’ll never trust that colleague again no matter how much he apologizes.  I won’t lean on him again when I need help in learning our company’s computer systems and my job.  Our relationship of joking around will never be the same.  Because a wall went up.  And I don’t know how to bring it down.  It saddens me.  Immensely so.  Because I don’t want one to be there.  Worst of all, I’m afraid it’ll affect the rest of my work relationships as well.

I’ve spent my whole life behind walls mainly from childhood and it saddens me.  I don’t want there to be walls in my life.  And I don’t know what to do about them.  All I can do is pray.  But for me, prayer in this situation is a slow process.

Now, I have to be wary of what I say to clients.  Wary of being too much of a listening ear for those who need to vent their life’s frustrations.  And worst of all wary of someone I work with every day.

I think of the book of Revelation and how man never changes no matter what.  Deep down mankind is selfish and greedy and vindictive and lustful.   It is his nature.  And to protect ourselves from ourselves we build walls.  Walls that are easy to erect but take forever to crumble.

I don’t know how to get over what happened yesterday.  I am sad and hurt and time must do it’s job.  I don’t know how to forgive and forget. I don’t know how to re-form that relationship.  He was my favorite colleague.  My go-to guy.  My friend.  And now…

I haven’t cried in a long time.  But tears are rolling…

I feel naive.  Stupid.  Out of sorts.  All mixed up when I shouldn’t be.  And now guarded.  When I don’t want to be…

I don’t want to change who I am at work.  But I fear it’s too late.  Because a curtain descended yesterday over my heart.  One I can’t rip apart like the coming of Christ.

Any advice would be greatly received and appreciated.

Help! I Lost My Voice…

It started on Tuesday after I had taught 3 classes.  My voice got crackly.  And then went hoarse.  The next day I couldn’t talk.  So I googled.  It says rest your voice as much as possible.  Drink plenty of fluids.  Use a humidifier.  Suck on cough drops.  “Soon” it’ll go away.

So I quit talking and started typing on my phone.  I type out my order at Starbucks.  I type out directives to my kids.  I text my husband instead of yell for him when he’s downstairs and I’m upstairs.

And now I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  It’s okay, but I have to work in a couple of days.  I pray it gets better.  I’ve been looking forward to this day as it’s a launch where we teach a new release for the first time.  We do it as a team and it’s very exciting.  But not if I can’t talk!

I’m asking God why.  And what is this supposed to teach me.  I’m not sick and I suspect it has something to do with the 18 years of second-hand smoke I had to breathe in from my mom smoking when I was a kid.

It’s very humbling and you realize how much you do take your voice for granted.  How much you communicate with it.  And how much it’s a pain not to have that ability.

So instead of me reading to my kids they read to me.  I have work to do which now has to wait.  So I’m resting.  Doing as little talking as possible.  Reading a book.  Watched a movie.  Anything to distract the mind.

I’m doing what my body is telling me to do:  rest.  Maybe that is God’s purpose after all.

My Dog and Cat Died Because of Me

When God created the universe, death did not exist.  Life abounded.  There were not predators and no prey.  All lived in the Garden of Eden with every need provided:  food, water, and shelter.  Life was perfect.

Then man sinned.  He ate of the forbidden tree, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.  God cursed man, banishing him from the Garden, bringing death to all.  Hence, all creation suffers because of man’s sin.

When I held my dying dogs in my arms, I blamed myself for their pain, suffering, and death.  I look at my cats, all of whom are aging rapidly, and think, “They are gonna die because of me”.  All innocent creatures who live in the moment that God gave us to care for and we are completely incapable of caring for them.  I feel like I let them down when they die.

My kids and I have been reading a lot of books about animals.  Extinct animals and endangered animals come up a lot.  For example, the tiger.  One of the most magnificent animals God has created and we kill them for their coats and gall bladders.  So few left…

Tiger

Tiger

I just read on line how only three northern white rhinos are in existence today–all killed by man for their horns.  Their horns!  It would be like killing humans for their hair.

Extinct animals:  the Dodo bird, the Passenger pigeon, the Tasmanian tiger, the Great Auk, the Baiji White Dolphin, Steller’s Sea Cow, the West African Black Rhino, the Pinta Island Tortoise–all at the hands of man.

Almost extinct animals:  The Javan Rhinoceros, Hawaiian Monk Seal, the Mountain Gorilla, the Island Fox, the Bactrian Camel, Philippine Eagle, California Condor, Amur Leopard, Sumatran Rhino, Vaquita, Kakapo, Iberian Lynx, Siamese Crocodile, and so many, many more.

Yet in the midst of this I see God.  I see how God created us and everything to reflect Him and His greatness.  No where is this more miraculous than in the birth of a newborn baby–human or animal.  This is all despite our sin.

This makes me yearn for heaven and Jesus to come again–to end the pain and the suffering and the sin of man who cannot stop sinning without Jesus.

Death is the hardest part of life in my opinion.  Not necessarily my own death because once I’m gone it doesn’t affect me.  Death of those around us since we have to go on living…

My Cats

My Cats

I pray to enjoy those around me while I can.  To not take one moment for granted.  To hold my kitties a little tighter.  To kiss my kids more.  To spend more time with my family.  To do what I can to stop the death of endangered species (by not buying their products number one) and supporting those capable of lending aid.  And yes, for Jesus to come again–the ultimate end to this Fallen World.