Coffee or Tea?

Welcome!  If you haven’t been here before I hope you enjoy.  If you have, thank you for coming back.

I hope you take a moment to sit back and relax, with a nice cup of coffee, tea, water whatever you prefer, it really doesn’t matter.

My next step in my journey is understanding and reconnecting with the fact that the journey itself means so much more than the destination.

I am currently away at school, pursuing my calling into the ministry.  It is a rigorous schedule keeping us going from early morning to late night.  It is tiring trying to keep ones brain focused on the information being crammed in, in a very short amount of time.  I am honestly enjoying the classes, and I love learning new thoughts, concepts, insights etc.  However, one of the things that I am enjoying the most are the stories being shared.

Not just any story, but peoples stories.  Beautifully crafted conversations over a hot cup of coffee (that is what I will be drinking anyway), listening to how and why my classmates have come to the place we are all sharing.

I have mentioned it before, but it is worth mentioning again, we need to slow down and appreciate the path set before us.   Even with all I have learned and continue to learn, I forget how absolutely satisfying it is to join in on a great conversation.  Listening (not just hearing, there is a difference) to what the other person is bringing to the table.  Encouraging and building them up or disagreeing and entering into a healthy debate.

I sometimes (ok, often) forget that my life is made up of people.  It is not just the never ending list of chores and responsibilities that must be met and taken care of. I tend to become so focused on accomplishing tasks placed before me that I do not take time to enjoy my hot coffee with a friend.  I drink it alone, usually after it has become cold because I was to busy taking care of things to enjoy it while it was hot.

Society as a whole has become so fast paced, that we rush from project to project trying to accomplish all we can in a 24 hr. period, complaining that there are not enough hours in the day.  We forget…..we forget that there are others here sharing the space with us, often we are too busy to notice other than when they are in our way slowing us down, making us late.  Is this what life is all about?  Accomplishing tasks?  I argue that it is about people and relationships.  I frequently forget in my busyness to nurture either.

So….a bit of a personal reflection for you this time.  Enjoy your coffee, enjoy the conversation, enjoy the moment.  Many blessings!

Butterfly Processing Now…

I must be completely honest, change is something I have often found difficult.  In my last blog I discussed how I have drug my feet kicking and screaming.

This last year has been nothing but change for me.  Change in good ways, in surprising ways and some I really had to work through.  I told you about many of those changes that were coming and some that have come to our family.  I am going to share with you another large change that has entered my life, one I have not really discussed on my blog until now.

I surrendered a little over a year ago publicly to a calling on my life.  It was a call that I knew was coming and I had been contemplating for close to a year before my public profession.

I am currently preparing to enter into the ministry.  I have been preaching as a lay preacher since the end of January and cannot even begin to count the blessings I have received in way of prayers, new friendships and blessings shown to me.

I have often questioned my call and had to pray through those doubts only to have God reaffirm to me time and again that I am on the right path.  I am truly humbled and honored to be chosen as one to preach God’s holy word.

This change is not just about me.  This change affects my family and my friendships.  No matter what this change will do, I am ready to honor what I have been asked.

Is change easy, is it without hardships, the answer is a huge NO.  Change is necessary for growth for understanding, wisdom and blessings.  While I do not always understand the situation and circumstances that I am going through, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I keep my eyes fixed, it will be made known to me.

 

My husband and I, at least I feel, have been brought closer together through all of this.  Although we do not share a belief system, I see the workings that are going on and am grateful for the bond we share.  I am truly grateful for the man that was chosen for me.

With each change I am reminded of the butterfly, one of my favorite creatures on this planet.  I wonder what stage I am currently in?  It keeps me looking forward to the moment in time when I will finally spread my wings and fly.  Beautiful butterfly of God.

Many blessings.

Change is the Only Constant

This morning I have a thought I would like to share with you….I like almost all the people I know struggle with change in my life.    I have often caught myself saying I like change and yet when it comes I can be combative and drag my heels as it arrives.

Each one of us grows older and each day we live brings new experiences, mental and attitude changes, small lines in our faces, and the changing color of our hair.  If you are like me, I started graying at the age of 16 and now at, ahem, pushing 40 I am very salt and pepper.

I have been married for 19 1/2 years, we married at 19 & 20. My 18 year old son graduated high school last night and will be walking down yet another aisle in about a month. He and his fiancee’ are expecting their first child in late October which will make me a grandmother. My daughter who is 16 will soon be a junior.  And as I drink my coffee this morning while reading my devotional I am wondering just where all the time has gone…..

I know most all the parents of graduate students wonder the same thing.  We all post on social media exclaiming how it seems only yesterday we were watching them take their first steps and here we are watching them walk out of our doors ready to start their own independent lives.

Change is the only constant in our lives.  Yet as creatures of comfort, whether we say we enjoy change or not, we struggle with the new beginnings each day brings.  We like things to remain the same, normal, expected and when someone or something rocks the boat we hold on for dear life.

We question the waves, what will it bring? Will it be the end of the storm or will we drown beneath the wave?  This fear of the unknown the hidden sea beyond the horizon is what we are truly scared of.  Yet it is our timeless companion, sure to meet us each morning and follow us through our days.  Change, constant and consistent, never leaving us behind.

 

 

Not All Fertilizer Is Created Equal

God has been teaching me some great tools as of late.  I cannot say  that they are without a certain amount of being uncomfortable, however, they are much needed.

Not all fertilizer is created equal.

I work for an organization that conducts soil samples of fields, gardens, yards etc.  When the recommendations come back each is completely unique.  It depends upon the ph level of your soil, how much potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and what it is you are going to plant in that location.

If you were going to fertilize let’s say your garden it would be unwise to apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer every year without having your soil tested.  What if you needed a 15-10-10 or a 15-10-5 ratio instead? Each location is unique to its needs.  The same can be said about the people around us.

What God has been teaching me lately is that each person I come into contact with has their own soil, each unique to what their fertilizing needs are.  As a mother of two teenagers I had to handle each child differently based upon what they needed at that time.  One child I stood on the edge of the nest, ruffled their feathers, encouraged them to take flight and they did while the other required a drop kick off the edge.

As a woman of faith, I have realized that my approach to handling not only my children but the people around me on a day to day basis must also be unique.  I cannot have the same interaction with each person in my life and be successful.  Just like a garden, each individual is unique to the type of fertilizer they need.

Some are strong in their faith, and need just a dusting to keep them going.  Some have been growing weeds and are in a serious need of a clean up not just fertilizer.  Some have long been a dry dessert and need water more than anything.

To meet these needs of the correct ratio of fertilizer with each person, my “soil test” is prayer and listening.  If you truly LISTEN not just hear and pray for the right words, attitude and fertilizer, God will give you the correct ratio to put on.

Enjoy your week, month, life. I pray that if you are reading this that God gives you whatever fertilizer it is you need at the moment.  Many blessings!

 

Every Rose Has Its…….

You might have finished that sentence with thorn, but maybe not.  Perhaps you are in a more positive position than I am at the moment.  So perhaps your ending was beauty, or perfume or vibrant color.  All are awesome answers!

However, I am in a thorn mood.  I currently am finding myself battling an addiction, my own personal thorn in life.  While this particular addiction looks goods from the outside, it has a certain beauty to it, a certain perfume and vibrant color it is beyond the shadow of a doubt an addiction.

What is an addiction?  Well the dictionary defines it as the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.  Bingo!  I am addicted, addicted to stress and busywork.

I know we don’t often consider our attitudes/opinions/thoughts/concerns about a topic to be an addiction, but it can be.  I like to be busy, and by busy, I mean working myself to exhaustion and then dealing with the consequences of not learning to let go and slow down.  The very same things that seem to be the theme of my writing.  Often I feel I take one step forward and two steps back.  It is frustrating.

Currently I am dealing with some physical repercussions of not listening, hence the thorny mood. LET GO, SLOW DOWN!!!  Life is short, time being busy just for the sake of being busy is time wasted.

In the moments when I am listening to myself and what others are telling me, I find that I truly enjoy spending time with my Creator, praying with and for others.  Having conversations with those in need and seeking wise counsel for them.  I love helping people on their journey in life, as others help me.

But when I am not doing something I enjoy and have extra time on my hands, I find myself so terribly addicted to being busy that I simply “find” things to do.

Image result for letting go of stress

I am learning that “My Plan” is never the best plan.  His plan is always the best for us, even if we cannot see it in the moment.

Today, I am still learning and I praise Him that I am still here, able to show others that learning is a process and not an over night success story.

So here we go again.  Letting go, slowing down.  Many blessings in your path.

You Don’t Know the Whole Story

A dear friend of mine and I were having a conversation earlier today.  I was venting to her about a frustrating situation that I have currently found myself in.

She and I often talk about our faith and issues we are having.  She is someone I consider to be a true friend, my confident and often advisor.

I told her the details of the issue and how truly frustrated I am.  It seems this problem is taking longer than I would care to sort out.  After all I am a busy person and this is just taking way toooo much time (think of this sentence in the most sarcastic tone you can muster).

What my friend doesn’t know is that when she stopped by to see me I was in the middle of emailing this very same issue to another person, probably someone who I shouldn’t have been venting to about this topic.

Towards the end of our conversation, after listening to what I am going through and why I feel justified to be frustrated, she very calmly looked at me and said, “I understand what you are going through, but often times I have found that we don’t always know the whole story.”  ……..Stopped me in my tracks…..

I just wrote yesterday about the lesson I am learning about not being in control anymore and here I am again trying to pull all the strings and make the outcome the way I want it, in the time frame I want it done in.  Ouch, that hurt…..

She was and is right.  I don’t know the whole story.  I don’t know all the circumstances and I do not understand all the issues.  All I know is what is in my box in front of me.  I cannot see into all the other boxes of peoples lives and decisions.  There is only One who can, and at this moment I am going to have to wait until all the information is revealed to me.

So after she and I parted ways and upon returning to my computer I quickly deleted the email I was composing.  Apologized for not being patient and trying to take back something I already gave.  Understanding that when the time is right, all will be revealed and work out just the way it should.

Many blessings!

Life’s Little Stinkers

Lessons in life some time stink!  Often it is the small lesson’s; or rather let me say, it is the lesson’s that seem insignificant or minuscule to us at that moment, that make the most impact.

My previous blog, I wrote about letting things go and how amazing transformation can come from it.  In my previous stage of life thinking about letting personal habits go usually meant something big.  Issues like addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography or other “bad” items were the first to come to mind.   And while yes, I believe letting these addictions go is extremely important, I have also found that letting go of an addiction to our attitudes can have the biggest impact on our lives.

We don’t often consider our attitudes/opinions/thoughts/concerns about a topic or issue to be an addiction, but it can be.  My personal major addiction was the need to be in control of all aspects of my life at all times.  My expectations of when household chores should be completed.  My insistence that meal times can only be 7AM, Noon and 6PM.  My control in that laundry must be completed on Saturday, etc. etc. etc.  Control, always, in all things.  When someone stepped outside of that “norm” or caused me to miss my own personal deadlines, I became angry and difficult to deal with.

I justified my attitude constantly.  I told myself no one cared as much as I do otherwise they too would be upset.  Upset that people were late for their appointments, or that they didn’t return a phone call at exactly 6PM like was agreed.

Finally, after years of panic attacks, and heart palpitations, high stress levels and more gray hair than should be allowed at my age I handed this issue over to someone much greater than I, and I was ever so glad to do it.  I often find myself repeating “just let it go.”  I continue learning how to just go with the flow instead of constantly fighting upstream.  However, I find myself so much calmer, more at peace.

If I find myself getting frustrated again I ask myself probing questions like; is it really my responsibility to solve this problem, is there anything that I can do right now to change the situation.  If the answer is “no”, I remind myself of my previously mentioned mantra and move on with my day.

I must be honest, this lesson has been hard!  It has stung my eyes and filled my nostrils with a putrid odor.  For so long, I felt that I had to be on top of every minute detail of every situation, that I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.  I think the hardest part though, has been looking back and realizing how much time I wasted trying to be in control.  How many angry words were spoken?  How many arguments could have been avoided? – These thoughts stunk more than anything.

Life is full of little stinkers.  The key is learning to recognize one when you see it.  Learning to deal with it so that you don’t end of making everyone around you stink too. Many blessings on your path in dealing with your own little stinkers.