Hello Fall

Autumn officially began last week. I love Fall. Even though the weather doesn’t change much where I live, and we drink frozen apple cider because it’s so hot out, I still LOVE Fall!

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I took a nose-dive into Fall. I was leaving work one day with both my younger children and in the parking lot I ate it! I mean: lost my balance spun around and splat, right on the asphalt. I escaped with no major bumps or bruises, only some road rash. However, my pride took a beating.

My son asked me, “Did you have to fall in front of my teacher?” I had been having a conversation with his teacher and turned back to say something when I quickly ended up on the pavement.

My daughter was more concerned about me, “Are you ok, Mommy?” she asked. I knew I was going to be ok, but at that moment, I was utterly embarrassed.

My life resembles this scenario lately. Things are going great and then splat, everything falls. Can you relate? When I think I have our groove down in this new school year, something changes and throws everything off balance. Our schedule gets busier, and the time for laundry, meal planning, and rest decreases. People get sick, and plans change. Do you wish this season would go more like you planned?

 

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School Spirit Day!

We started the school year well! Our routine was working. Uniforms were clean and laid out the night before, necessary papers filled out daily, and homework was getting done. BUT life happens. Monday comes AGAIN, and even more quickly after a jam-packed weekend. Why does Monday have to come every week? Most mornings, on our way out the door, one of my kids forgets something, loses something, and I rapidly lose my mind! Our productive morning goes SPLAT!

 

This morning was more of a pile-up crash type of moment: My earring back fell out, and I couldn’t find it on the floor. Then, while putting a sandwich bag of chips into a lunch box, they open upon and spill everywhere. All the while, my middle son is complaining he can’t find his planner. He assured me he left it at school on Friday. For the record, when he got to class, he realized the planner was signed and in his backpack. Thankfully, I said “No” to going upstairs to check the library, where I work, before taking him to class.

On most days, it seems the last five minutes of the morning getting out the door becomes the most challenging task. It’s not just my kids who disrupt the morning routine. On many frenzied mornings, I’m running back into the house to grab something – even with careful preparations the night before.

Confession time, I want this season of my life to go just as I’ve planned. I want to make it out the door without a hitch on Mondays, and the rest of the week too. This goal isn’t realistic, nor is it how life is “meant to be.” According to John 16:33, we will have trouble in this life. “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.”

I know this, I tell my children this, and women I meet at church. BUT, I still desire the smooth, comfortable, easy-breezy type of day.

Honestly, what I desire more than a smooth day, is a day where I rise above the disarray around me, the irrational thoughts going on in my head, and the impatient actions spewing out of me. Without challenging moments, I won’t learn to rise above the confusion or my emotions. Part of me believes I should’ve grasped this by this point in my life, but the other part of me is eager to surrender my longing for the peaceful and comfortable. And if I’m asking to surrender this fleshly desire, my God is going to give me opportunities to walk it out.

Although I desire to rise above the daily chaos, my flesh often takes over, and I have to learn the same things all over again. My word for last year last was EMBRACE. This year it’s NEW. The NEW thing I’m learning to EMBRACE this season isn’t unique. I’m repeating the same lesson on embracing chaos. There will be similar disruptions this Fall, and new chaotic moments. One thing I know for sure is that there will be turbulence. I hope that I’ll handle the chaos better this season.

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

I realize if I weren’t holding so tightly to my idea of the perfect morning, it wouldn’t bother me as much when things don’t go as planned. I picture the leaves falling during autumn. Leaves falling is also something we don’t see living this far south. Nevertheless, the leaves don’t cling to the tree branch and refuse to fall. I do, however, clench my desires and plans too tightly. For me to grow and something new to develop, I have to let go! Sometimes I need to allow things to fall. I need to take a deep breathe and help pick up the pieces.

Practically, there are ways I can prepare for the rocky moments. Recently, I printed a morning checklist for my youngest son, so he can see what needs to be done and check each item off himself. I realize I need to focus on a list of my own. Am I making time to rest, to prepare for the next day, or next week? Am I getting alone with the Lord and filling my brain with His truths instead of allowing my worries, desires, and fears to consume me? Lately, because of that checklist, my son is having smoother mornings and is helping more. I can, too, when I’m prepared and not solely focused on how I think the morning should flow.

Another thing that helps is doing something that refreshes me. Embellishing our home is one of those things that exhilarates me. Give me an empty area with a moderate amount of seasonal decor, and I’m in my happy place. The idea of decorating may make you extremely stressed; I have girlfriends who hate decorating!

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Go for a walk!

Find something that will rejuvenate you in this season and make time for it. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try something new. I signed up for an online class and can’t wait to get started. Making time for a walk outside can revive me after a draining day. A few times a week, I step away from the burdens of the day while getting my body moving. I listen to an audiobook, podcast, worship music, or appreciate the quiet of being outside. These are all things that help fulfill me. That way, when the depleting moments come (and they will), I can better handle them.

Free Farmhouse Scripture Print-I am with you alwaysIn this season, I hope you find new practical ways to embrace the chaos you’re facing. We will have troubles, but if you are walking with Jesus, remember you’re never facing them alone. I’m utterly thankful for that realization!

Goodbye Summer

Summer was such a sweet season for our family. I’m sad to see it go. It was a season mixed with downtime, travel, and exciting adventures. We braved the Florida heat and visited Disney World with friends and family. I cleaned out my kids’ rooms, yes, I was almost as excited about this as one … Continue reading “Goodbye Summer”

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Summer was such a sweet season for our family. I’m sad to see it go.

It was a season mixed with downtime, travel, and exciting adventures.

We braved the Florida heat and visited Disney World with friends and family.

I cleaned out my kids’ rooms, yes, I was almost as excited about this as one of our summer adventures!

 

We enjoyed the outdoors and tried new adventures.

 

We savored lazy summer mornings.

My husband and I helped out my in-laws’ family restaurant; this took me back to our days of being engaged where we worked together.

We started a small group in our home for young adults. They keep us young and teach us a lot.

 

I served at our church youth camp and youth conference.

This summer was good for my soul. It was incredible for our family.

img_1538And now we say goodbye to summer.

School is back in session, and my full-time job outside our home begins again.

As I reflect on this season, I remember how opposite I felt when school let out a few months before. I was exhausted, burned-out, and lonely.

I went into the last school year with my own set of expectations; which is never a good idea. I had high hopes for myself and others. Most of which I didn’t even realize.

I thought because last year was my second year at the same job I’d have more things figured out, but I still had quite a bit of learning to do.

I expected my eighth-grader to have a smoother year than his past two in middle school. But, he had similar academic challenges and struggled with responsibility. I wasn’t prepared for his group of friends shrinking and seeing him on the outside of his friend group.

I was entirely caught off guard when my third grader, who never has a rough day at school, began having quite a few rough days at home. His time at home became filled with emotional outbursts, sadness, and anxiety. I couldn’t comprehend how our bright and sweet boy was growing sad and stressed.

I was ill-equipped to handle my daughter going into school crying because she didn’t like her hair, her uniform, or the fact that her best friend yesterday wasn’t speaking to her this week. She was in kindergarten.

Maybe it’s my age, perhaps its selective memory, but I don’t remember middle school, third grade, or kindergarten being this difficult! We did survive the 2018-19 school year, and all grew in many ways. But I welcomed summer break like never before.

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:”        Ecclesiastes 3:1

There was also the challenge of carving out time with my husband amidst our opposite schedules. I had to accept the heartache of dwindling relationships with friends and family without understanding why.

What I did know was: I didn’t feel like I was enough, in any area of my life, and that felt awful!

It was at the end of “my rope” that God began to refresh me with His Word, with friendships that were growing, with sweet time early in the morning sitting at His feet.

And I mean early.

Groggily, I’d peek at my phone to check the time. Most mornings, I’d pray/beg the Lord to let me sleep a little longer. After tossing and turning I’d realize that wasn’t an option. I’d head out to the living room and find my cozy spot on the couch. I’d open my bible or devotion book and wait for the Lord to reveal something.

I’d long for Him to remind me:

· I am not alone.

· Your plans are good, even if I don’t feel like they are.

· I can keep going.

Most days throughout the past school year, I did start my day in my bible. I listened to worship music on my way to work. I enjoyed sweet conversations with my kids (most of the time). I was grateful for the many blessings in my life. But I still felt this heaviness and sadness that weighed me down. I became so physically exhausted; I ended up going to my doctor. I found out I have something wrong with my thyroid, nothing serious at this time, but it is something to watch.

I also realized I had something wrong, spiritually. I was going through the motions and not being filled with Jesus. I was trying, in my strength and my set of expectations to take care of everything/everyone in this season. I don’t have to be Jesus; I have to lean on Jesus.

 I don’t have to be Jesus; I have to lean on Jesus.

I began changing my thinking and reminding myself:

o God is always with me, ‘I’m never alone. Deut 31:8

o I trust Your good plans for my family and me. Jer 29:11

o I don’t have to keep going in my strength; I can persevere with Jesus. Phil 4:13

1280x1280-1I also began realizing Jesus wanted me to know Him as my friend. I sang many times in church, “I’m a friend of God.” I never fully grasped this.  If I hadn’t felt so isolated this past year, I would’ve missed out on knowing my Savior in a new way.

There are times now when I’m hurt, upset, or scared that I stop and pray instead of picking up the phone to call a friend. God has also shown me the importance of having friends in my life to ask to pray and speak into my life.

He’s challenged me to make time for intentional moments with friends. I need to be surrounded by women who have the freedom to speak truth into my life during this season. Because of my busy schedule working full-time, I don’t have as many friendships as other seasons. But I do have deeper friendships during this season. One of the sweetest times since being back at work is the lunch breaks I’ve scheduled with friends. They have been life-giving to me. I’ve learned I’m not alone and to extend the benefit of the doubt; we are all walking through something.

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One reason I felt so alone is that I was focusing on my difficulties and believing no-one else was struggling. That’s not true, this is a fallen world filled with broken people, and we all need Jesus.

I’ve sensed God refreshing me this summer. He is reviving me with His Word. Jesus has brought reconciliation to strained relationships, which are stronger than before. He is renewing my relationships with my kids and leading me as I meet them in their seasons. He’s restoring our marriage as we navigate this busy season. I feel like I’ve been through a renovation this past year. I see “new” rising in many areas of my life. Newness I would’ve missed out on if I hadn’t walked a lonely road of being overwhelmed for a season.

1280x1280Jesus continues to meet me in my expectations, emotions, stubbornness, and weaknesses. And He will meet you too. I’m thankful for this crazy, challenging, blessed life and the undeserving grace of Jesus that gets me through.

Embrace Surrender

Last month I wrote about embracing adventure. I even placed an exciting picture of a roller coaster at the top of the page. Surprisingly to me, this month feels more like I’m on a roller coaster, except it’s not by choice. I have no control over when the ride speeds up, slows down, loops, or drops! Have you ever been in a season when your days feel a little out of control? When you’re trying to be diligent and intentional with your time, but other things pop up that trump everything else. Do you spend days with your mind racing, over day-to-day concerns, anxious thoughts, and things that aren’t even true? I am able to surrender to my own thoughts and ideas, which can be harmful to myself and others, OR I choose to surrender unhealthy ideas and thoughts and replace the lies with the truth in God’s Word.

I have to choose to surrender…. download

I sometimes have to surrender my time and energy to care for a sick family member. I often times have to surrender to changes, at work, church, or in our family that are out of my control. I must surrender to new seasons with friends as moves happen, jobs change, and kids are born or leave the nest. I must surrender to others’ schedules, kid’s activities, church calendar, friends in need, work demands, family plans, and the list goes on and on. I’m sure there are times when you must surrender to plans and ideas that aren’t your own. For me, this can lead to questioning, doubting, or complaining. This is one reason it’s so important to surrender unhealthy thoughts and embrace TRUTH.

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When I choose to surrender my expectations and embrace: the season, plan, difficulty, forgiveness, my life is calmer. I have to decide to embrace surrender over and over. I’m not talking about the wave your white flag, give up, accept defeat kind of surrender. My preferred definition of the word surrender is; “agree to forgo especially in favor of another.” This definition of surrender is a verb, an action word. I must agree to forgo getting my own way, my plans, ideas, dreams, and schedule.

When I embrace surrender, I’m saying I will do this without complaining, not angrily, or bitterly. It shifts my perspective.  Although these “things” life throws at me are out of my control, I am in my control of how I react to them. I’m still trying to embrace this lesson, while teaching it to my kids. We are responsible for our reactions, even if it’s not your fault, it’s your siblings fault, or your friend was mean, or because life isn’t fair. You’re right, life isn’t fair!

One of the hardest things for me about embracing surrender, is surrendering to the unknown.

If I could understand the direction I’m supposed to go, the easiest way to get there, and the instructions to follow along the way that’d be great!

Navigating life doesn’t always come with the Waze app. I use the Waze app almost every morning on my way to work. We have multiple ways to get to school and I want to know the quickest route based on the circumstances of traffic each day. I know in this day and age I can’t use my Waze app mentality in my relationships. Relationships don’t usually work that way; they take time, grace, forgiveness, and love; and they aren’t predictable.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8rod-long-974346-unsplash

I’m learning to share things in a more loving way.  I’m learning to surrender my ideas for how and when difficult conversations are necessary. I’m trying to forgo my own feelings and share things that are difficult in a healthy way. I’m a fixer, I want to fix the problem and move on as quickly as possible! However, I can unintentionally end up doing the exact opposite, making the situation worse instead of better. I don’t always take time to think through conversations and how it might affect the other person. I desire to share truth, that needs to be heard, but with love and grace. I absolutely have to surrender my feelings, my timing, and “fixing it” ideas to accomplish that. Although I still speak without thinking and say things harshly, I am becoming more aware of these times. I’m working on surrendering the need to say things right away with-out avoiding them so much nothing changes. I’m working to surrender my need to say things immediately,  instead saying them in love and grace after prayer. Hopefully then issues are not ignored but actually improved.jude-beck-552165-unsplash

I’m recognizing I choose surrender, it’s just a matter of who and/or what I’m surrendering to. I unmistakably embrace surrendering to fear, insecurity, and unhealthy thoughts. Do you have something negative in your life that you’ve been surrendering to, maybe even unintentionally?

It’s a challenge to continually embrace surrender and I will never be perfect!

You will never be perfect, isn’t that freeing!

Thankfully we don’t have to be perfect. Jesus is the ultimate example of surrender. Because of His surrender I can walk in freedom. I’m grateful for the grace and mercy I receive daily, whether I blow it by saying too much or shut down and avoid communicating at all. I’m loved by my Heavenly Father whether I embrace healthy surrender or fail to and instead throw my hands in the air. BUT I want to keep embracing surrender, adventure, growth, strength, heartache, and whatever else the Lord is showing me in this season. It makes my life fuller and allows me to show the love of Jesus to others.

As we step closer to the end of 2018 and enjoy the fall season, may we take time to be thankful for what we have. Embracing the fall season is difficult where I live, it’s basically summer all year with a few cooler days. I’ve had to surrender the idea of crisp autumn air and sweaters coming out in Fall. I am however, embracing Fall in my neck of the woods, a season filled with iced pumpkin spice lattes and autumn decor while we still enjoy the pool.

May we embrace surrendering things that didn’t go as planned this year. I’m praying you’re able to surrender those things which weigh you down and keep you from embracing God’s best for you. Happy Fall!

Embrace Heartache

IMG_33C4B3208F85-1It hasn’t been the month I hoped it would be after sharing my word for the year, embrace. Instead of welcoming this month with open arms, I’ve been grasping for glimpses of joy. On February 14th Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School faced a horrific tragedy. You’ve probably seen or heard the heart-breaking story. This high school is nine miles from the school where I work; many students and staff members here have friends and family at this school. Broken-hearted is how I can describe these past few weeks. Broken-hearted for the families, staff, and students who suffered and are suffering the effects of this tragedy. Broken-hearted for the first responders, grief counselors, doctors and nurses doing their best to serve this community during this tough time. IMG_6359Broken-hearted for my kids living in this time and doing my best to answer the many questions they have.

“Lord, how do you embrace this?” I’ve asked this question numerous times during this past few weeks. I don’t have a clear answer but I do know I’m not alone. God is here in the pain, doubt, and sorrow. He is with those grieving the loss of loved ones and in the hospital rooms where there are still students fighting for their lives. Grief can come in waves that sweep us under. Grief can then linger like an unwelcome companion. As I’ve been swept under quite a few waves this month Jesus is there to remind me I’m not alone and in Him is the hope of heaven.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Most of the time I need Jesus to help me from myself; the battle in my head not to focus on the negative and difficult. Whatever you’re facing make time to get alone with God and come clean; let Him meet you in the good, bad and ugly going on in your head. God knows all of our thoughts, fears, and insecurities and loves us through all of them. If you’re in the early stages of deep grief go slowly, God is with you and He is patient. I remember reading Psalms 18, two days after my brother was killed in a hit and run accident, it was the first time I realized God was with me in the midst and He spoke comfort through His Word. I didn’t feel immediately better and the pain of his loss still lingers with me years later. BUT it was the beginning of knowing I’m not alone and God has a plan even when I can’t understand it.  I just had to open His Word.

When I was in the beginning stages of my grief journey I prayed like never before. It was one of the first times in my life I couldn’t handle normal day-to-day tasks. For the past couple of weeks, it has been a time of praying without ceasing, mostly for others who are in the midst of this tragedy. This should be a constant thing in my life, but often times trials have a way of turning me back to the Lord and reminding me to pray more. I’ve also been praying that I don’t forget to keep praying.

It also helps when I shift my focus from my difficulties and focus on serving someone else. If you’re able to help others who are grieving do so. God takes our little and uses it, multiplies it, and blesses through it. Our women’s ministry group at church made “thinking-of-you” bags for the teachers at West Glades Middle School, the school next

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“Thinking-of-you” Bags

door to Stoneman Douglas High.West Glades Middle School was also deeply affected by this tragedy. The staff returned to work the next day trying to figure out how to process their grief while caring for their students. The staff was so appreciative of the “thinking-of-you” bags. God took our little something and used it to make a big impact. There have been other opportunities to serve too. They’ve seemed like small tasks, but trusting the Lord to use them to make a bigger impact as His church comes alongside to serve this heartbroken community.

I’ve had to remind myself God’s grace is sufficient for me during this time. IMG_6260My husband told me last week he’s been praying for me to be filled with joy. That felt more like a smack in the head then the loving encouragement and concern my husband meant it to be. Conviction started to rise, how long has it been since I’ve been joyful in our home. Definitely not the past couple of weeks. I’ve been allowing the heaviness of grief and difficulties weigh me down. I was being bumped and nudged and what was coming out wasn’t pretty! I needed to look up instead of around me. Now I’m not talking about “feeling happy” type of joy. I’m talking about the joy that only comes from faith in Jesus. The peace and joy we have, as believers in Christ, because of the hope in heaven.

This past weekend I was blessed to attend a Living Proof conference with an awesome teaching from Beth Moore. This was exactly what I needed. I had time to reminisce about how Jesus met me right in the midst of my sin and doubt twenty years ago,  just like He met the women at the well. And He still meets me today to extended His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. I was savoring the reminder that Jesus is the only thing that can truly satisfy. As I returned back to my day-to-day living; I was determined to relish in this beautiful reminder of grace. I felt like I could sprinkle joy all over our home like confetti!

Then I woke up Monday and definitely didn’t “feel” joyous but I was ready to pursue Jesus and His joy this week. Then my mom called; through her tears she told me one of the managers at her office was killed in a car accident on his way to work the night before. The questions arise again; this broken-hearted grieving wells up AGAIN. I was blessed to work with this young man for a couple of years when I worked part-time at the office. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word to share.  “Lord, why?” Grief upon grief. Broken-hearted for my mom who personally invests in her employees, for his family whose life will never be the same, for my co-workers that are grieving the loss of their friend and co-worker. “Lord, how can I just sit here and go through these tasks?” I wanted to be at the office where I used to work to grieve and pray with the employees that were processing this, and encourage someone if I could. Not sitting here pretending like it’s another normal day.

That was Monday. By the end of the week one of my dearest friends had traveled to see her Grammy in hospice to say good-bye one last time. Another sweet friend celebrated what should’ve been her daughter in heavens 13th birthday. I learned of a woman in ministry who ended her battle of depression. Grief upon grief upon grief….

Again, I ask God, “How do I embrace this?”  What do I do with this broken heart of mine? What do you do with your broken heart?  Thankful God can shoulder my concerns, I run to Jesus, I pray, try to offer the little encouragement I can while trusting God to use it for more. The heaviness isn’t gone, neither are the tears, the pain, or the questions. What do you do when those close to you suffer loss? When these stories on the news weigh you down? When you begin your own grief journey? Take it day by day, extend grace to yourself and others, seek Jesus in His word and in prayer. Take time to acknowledge all you’re grateful for. Remember this isn’t our home, heaven is our home! UnknownMay we be ever thankful for the hope of heaven.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Philippians 3:12

“Dear Jesus, meet us here in the midst of our broken hearts. You know each burden and loss we carry. Help us to pray like never before during these times we live in. Lead us by Your Spirit to comfort others with our little. May we make time to open Your Word and be comforted, convicted, and encouraged. Help us find true joy in the hope of heaven.”

Taste and See

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
IMG_2066I was at the deli counter on my weekly grocery shopping trip. I ordered the usual items and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a new type of cheese. I immediately knew I wanted to try it. I basically talked myself into asking the nice gentleman behind the counter if I could try a piece. Confession time – I don’t like small talk! It makes me anxious. My mind turns to mush, and words just don’t form. I began this awkward conversation with myself:
“Why was it so hard for you to ask about the cheese?”
“It’s his job.”
“It’s only cheese!”
After some time contemplating the cheese, I realized I didn’t want to inconvenience him. What if I tasted the cheese and didn’t like it? Then I’d have to say “No, thank you. I’ve decided not to buy any.” All this after putting him to the trouble of cutting me a piece of cheese in the first place!
I’d love to say this comes from my consideration of others. But that’s completely false! It usually comes from me not liking to be bothered. So I assume no one else does either. There’s another reason. It’s also the anxiety of making small talk, the insecurity of having nothing to say, and the fear of looking like a fool. This time around, it had nothing to do with me bothering the kind gentleman doing his job. Instead, it had everything to do with my anxiety issues!
What’s it for you? Maybe small talk comes easy and if you want to try something at the deli, you just ask with no thought. If it’s not something as simple as this, I’m pretty sure there’s something else that makes you anxious, fearful, or insecure. We are made of flesh and bones and all lack confidence in certain areas of life. What’s that “thing” that keeps you from enjoying life deeper? Maybe you have an uncontrollable fear that even keeps you from leaving the house. Or perhaps its fear of people seeing the real you – instead of avoiding small talk, you fill every conversation with some type of surface talk. Whatever “it” is, God wants to walk you through it. I know because He’s walking me through my issues, and believe me this is only one! Also, His word tells us:
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”  John 10:10 AMP
I want this live life to the fullest approach….. which is pretty cool, because my key word for 2017 is Abundantly!
So guess what? I actually did ask that nice gentleman at the deli counter for a sample of cheese. I can hardly believe I set aside my anxieties and tasted the Italian herb cheese. And do you know what? I loved it! I ended up ordering that cheese, picked up some fresh tomatoes, basil, and bread. What a yummy lunch those sandwiches made, complete with balsamic drizzle. Would my day have been horrible if I didn’t try the cheese? Probably not. But I would’ve beat myself up a little for chickening out on asking for something I really wanted to try – AGAIN! It takes work to conquer these little things that can keep us from enjoying this life in the day-to-day. It also takes work to enjoy life during the really tough days.
On January 4, 2017, my dad

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#daddysgirl

would’ve turned 63. This particular birthday was very difficult. On that morning, my husband and I didn’t have a lot on our “to do” list. The only thing on our plate was to take our daughter to school. And then we were going to walk before he left for work. But our youngest son left his lunch at home. We couldn’t even call and make arrangements for him to buy lunch that day. His class was having a picnic, and if he didn’t have a bag lunch, he wouldn’t be able to go. We don’t live close to the boys’ school and driving up there meant no time for our walk. IMG_0831

 

I already mentioned how much I love interruptions – NOT! This took my gloomy day and made it worse. We drove pretty much in silence. About half way to the school my husband pointed out a rainbow. I saw it beautifully peeking out from the clouds. I don’t think we would’ve seen it had we gone on our walk. I knew the Lord had placed it there just for me. My husband knew I needed to see that rainbow too. And of course, he knew the next thing I’d want is a picture. I LOVE taking pictures. The problem was I couldn’t see it without looking out his window. He carefully took my phone, steadied it, and drove as slow as he could to grab the shot. Did that moment take all the sadness and grief away? Nope. But it did give me the choice to see what God had done. It reminded me to focus on the good things I have. The rainbow prompted me to be thankful that my dad’s not suffering any longer, to remember him whole now, and the cancer is gone! It brought new perspective into my day and helped me be grateful for the memories I have of and with my dad.

He was a remarkable man – a wonderful husband, incredible dad to me and my husband, and a terrific grandfather to our kids. On January 15th, the 3rd anniversary of my dad going to be with Jesus, my mom and I took the kids to Disney Springs in Orlando. It’s a perk of living a few hours away we can just drive up and enjoy a brief trip. We filled the day with fun things Grandpa would’ve loved.

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#choosingjoy

We went bowling, toured the coca-cola factory, and had lunch at a down home fresh cooking place. My dad was from Illinois and loved home cooking meals.  That day we chose joy! We have a choice each day to taste and see God’s goodness, it’s there for us to reach out and grab. Most days I really believe I just miss a lot of it. I live in my bubble, behind my to-do list, and often am onto the next task before I’ve completed the current one. This year I desire to savor more moments. A dear friend of mine’s focus word for this year is “Savor.” Although it’s not my word for the year, I am grateful for the reminder to Savor more Jesus moments! This year has been BUSY and I haven’t had as much time to savor the beautiful messy everyday moments as I’d like. With Spring upon us, it’s time for me to stop and smell the flowers. I know all to well life is short and I still manage to get up in the craziness that’s called life.

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My husband taught at church last week and one of his points was – Slow Down! Oh how I needed that reminder. I don’t know where you are in this season, but if it’s a busy one, slow down and smell the roses! Find the beauty in God’s creation and those He’s placed in your life. Have a picnic, take a walk, rest, breathe, and savor!

Thank you Jesus that You love us even though we live in our own little circles, missing much of the beauty around us. May we remember in the midst of the trials, pain, and hardships this world offers, we can find beauty in You. Help us to let go of those things IMG_2070that keep us from tasting and seeing Your goodness. Let us savor more of your goodness each day. Help us slow down, sit at your feet, and open our eyes and our hearts to the
abundant living only You provide! Let us be free to embrace the messy moments around us that You make beautiful.  – Amen!