So Sorry

What do we apologize for?

This morning I was finally able to take Jorj out for our morning walk. The last few day’s circumstances such as pressing the snooze button a little too much and Jorj having a seizure didn’t allow for the early morning walks to take place. I was determined this morning though, I knew that I didn’t have to be at work until later in the morning and the fact that my alarm clock was moved away from it’s normal location made it so I had to get up and turn it off. This morning started off the same as it always does. It was a little bit chilly, and dark but the different paths we take around the neighborhood are so familiar the fact that it was a bit dark was no issue. This walk took us up to the main road via side streets, which I love, quiet neighborhoods are awesome. Once I got closer to home though there was this one house that had two dogs in their yard. These dogs started to do what dogs are suppose to do, they started barking. I had no issue with it and I knew that Jorj could care less, but the barking brought the owners out, who started to call the dogs in, to no avail. We were almost fully by the house when the dogs decided to listen to their names being called, and the owners showed their faces. It was at that moment that I decided to call out “Sorry!”.

This got me thinking, why in the world did I just apologize for something I didn’t do? I was just walking Jorj. I did not provoke the dogs, or stay near their yard longer than normal. The dogs in the yard were not overly obnoxious, they were just too busy barking to hear the owners tell them to stop. I think mostly the apology was made because the owners had to come out of their home. So basically it was said for no reason really. There was nothing that went wrong this morning, except for a little inconvenience.

So why do we say “I’m Sorry” even when we did nothing wrong? For the most part I don’t think it’s said to be flippant, and there are times when it should be said more often. What I have noticed though, is when someone isn’t as confident in themselves as they should be, the thought of inconveniencing someone does not sit right with them. Confident people say sorry when it is needed and overconfident people do not say it enough.

I worked with this gal a few years back who fell into the category of not having enough confidence in herself. The circumstances that caused her to be this way were not due to her inability to do her job well. The opposite was true. She was amazing at her job, was going to school, and had a small family, but she did not have the support system she needed to see that she was amazing. Now don’t get me wrong, her husband was great, and of course her kids adored her. She was getting good grades, but the place where she needed to have support (work) was not giving it to her, so she started to doubt her ability to do the job she was doing. When things went wrong she was the first to take the blame for it even if it wasn’t her fault. When certain co-workers were around she would apologize for the smallest of things. Talking to her boss would bring on anxiety. This girl needed a confidence booster, which came in the form of being fired.

It was hard at first, for my friend, until she started to see that she had worth. That the job did not define who she was. She was away from the people who made her anxious. She went down a whole new path in the form of a different job. She was literally like a butterfly emerging from her cocoon. Her confidence was being built up because she chose to believe in herself and not in what people said. Our brains are wired in such a way that every ten minutes a new thought is built. So we have the ability to re-direct our thoughts for the better. So what does this have to do with saying “I’m Sorry”? I think it has to do with what we say I’m sorry for. If it is truly for something we did or caused then by all means say the words, but if it’s because we don’t like to have someone not like us, or for a reason that is out of our control then at that point we should step back and think about why we would want to say those words. Most often it’s because of an underlining thought process or insecurity we have. So here are some parting words that will hopefully help transform insecure thoughts into more confident thoughts:

  • You are fearfully and wonderfully made Psalms 139:14
  • Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
  • For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:26

And finally I will leave you with this quote:

Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.

Michael Josephson

God Made You Perfect

Perfect? Really?

The act of really looking at yourself in the mirror and liking what you see is a hard one. A teenage girl sees the pimple starting to form, the middle aged man starts to see the hairs growing out of places that it hasn’t grown before, even the wrinkles that have been getting progressively deeper is hard for the 50-something woman to see. We tend to bypass the beauty that is staring back at us because the flaws seem to be bigger than life. A few years ago I had read about this gal who decided to try an experiment. The lady had been struggling with low self esteem because in her mind she was too heavy, too dull looking and a little too blah. So for a two week period she decided she would not look at herself in the mirror. She removed all of the mirrors in her house. When she went driving somewhere she was diligent not to use her rearview mirror to look at herself. While at work, she knew of course that she would have to use the bathroom so she made sure to get in and out there as quick as she could. Even trying to get quick glances of herself in reflections of windows was not allowed. She was set on finishing this challenge she gave herself.

As you can imagine the first few days were very difficult for her. She would have to put on makeup and style her hair without a mirror. When choosing outfits she would just have to trust that she looked ok. When she went about her day she had to remind herself often that she could not find ways to see her reflection or look at a mirror. After about the forth day, it started to get a little easier, she decided to not wear as much make up, and she styled her hair a little more simple, but what she started to notice was that she felt better about herself. She started to see that the way she looked wasn’t nearly as important as how she treated herself and thought about herself. She started to start looking at people differently too. People started to comment on how she seemed different. She started to care more about the people around her vs. how they looked because she started to care more about who she was inside rather than the façade she was struggling to keep up with more make up and stylish hairdos.

My teenage daughter just started the 9th grade. She is your average kid who wears the messy bun on the top of her head with an oversized sweatshirt and leggings most days. She has braces with pink bands and mascara on her lashes. She is into anime and can talk your ear off about all of the characters. Back when she was in 6th grade she got it in her head that wearing high healed shoes everywhere was the thing to do. She experimented with make up and spend so much time in the bathroom perfecting her look we would get her up early on school days just so she wouldn’t be late for the bus. Her clothing was stylish for a 6th grader and she took pride in how she looked. Jr. High hit and that’s where she learned that the pressure to wear the right thing and have the right make up style was important. Near the end of her 8th grade year, things changed, her friends changed and she started to see herself as perfect the way she was. She had been trying so hard to look a certain way because her friends looked that same way, but then those friends moved on from the friendship and from there she started to see herself in a new light.

A few weeks ago my daughter went to her youth pastor and asked if she could give the message at one of the Wednesday night youth meetings. She told him her idea of what she wanted to talk about and he agreed to let her talk. She spend hours writing and rewriting her thoughts. She practiced with the youth pastor and they got the message nailed down. Last week was her talk. The main story line and lead in to her message was about Jacob and Esau in the Bible. These two were twins but as different as they could be. One was a momma’s boy and the other (Esau) was a big hairy burly man who did all the rough and tumble things big burly men do. Esau was also the first born and so he would get the inheritance. Jacob and his momma didn’t like this so they made a plan to trick Isaac, Esau and Jacob’s father. Since Isaac was almost blind, Jacob was able to trick him but putting goat hair on his arms and making himself smell like his brother. Long story short, Isaac was tricked by Jacob’s disguise, Jacob received Isaac’s blessing (basically he was awarded the inheritance) and Esau lost out on everything. Because of what Jacob did he lived his life in fear of his brother’s wrath. Instead of trusting that God would take care of him the second borne son, Jacob changed his appearance to trick his father to give him what he thought he deserved. My daughter’s talk was all about being deceived. She was deceived into thinking she had to look and act a certain way to fit in. She went on to say that people are “taught” to be a certain weight, have the right amount of money, and to act a certain way instead of just being who they are. When we believe we are not good enough we fall away from what the Bible says. God created us in His image, which means this: We were made perfectly, and God does not make mistakes. We are the ones that take what was given to us and try and change it.

Mirror and a Jacob and Esau from the Bible

Just as the woman who challenged herself to not look in the mirror for two weeks was able to start looking at herself and others in a different light, my daughter challenged her youth group to stop hiding behind the disguises. When we start to see ourselves as loved by a loving God, we can start to love others the same way. It doesn’t matter if you have a pimple on your cheek or hair growing out of your nose, God loves you and will provide for you. Until next time:

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful

Alice Walker

What Is Your Why?

Find your why

All too often people will want to do something because they think that is what they really want to do. What happens is they start to do this said thing and realize that it really wasn’t what they wanted. Some are lucky enough to figure this out before they make a big change in their lives but sometimes others aren’t so lucky and have to deal with the consequences of their decision. So what influences people? From what I have learned over the years social media is huge, family, friends, snap decisions based on a conversation. We are a society that seems to get bored quickly so we jump to the next great thing until that doesn’t satisfy us. Instant gratification simple as that. Most of the time we get trapped in his mindset because we don’t know our why. Why do we want to do the next best thing? Why do we want this change? Why is this one thing important to us?

My youngest child has the hardest time saving money. He gets his allowance and within a day it is spent. Now I will give you, he is eight and we are working to help him get better at saving for the things he really wants. The thing is, he changes his mind so often on what he wants I don’t think he knows anymore. So after he went to a friend’s birthday party he decided he wanted a hoover board like hers. He looked it up online and found out the price and even went as far to determine how long it would take him to save up the money based on what he got for his allowance. He did a great job in his research and even asked if he could do extra chores to earn more money. My husband and I were willing to help him too. He had his goal, he had his plan and he was excited to start….until he went and played Fortnite one night and found out there was a new skin he could buy for his character. His money was spend faster than I could has supercalifragalistic expialedosious. His why wasn’t strong enough to keep him from spending his money. He really wanted that hoover board, but that would take some time to get, so when the opportunity to buy something from his game came up and he knew he had the money for that, the game because more important and he got his instant gratification. Now my son is eight and this comes with the territory and I know he’ll learn that saving up for something is far better than that quick buy that you quickly forget about.

A few nights ago I had just gotten off of work and was a bit tired. My husband had been home with the kids and had been working on different jobs around the house as well as shopping and getting dinner done. I absolutely love that he is my best friend and we parent together. After dinner was done though I was ready to turn off my brain (somewhat) and get into a book I had been reading. My husband had other thoughts in mind and decided to take the dog on an evening walk. I had just sat down as he was heading out, I know my “why” for what I was doing was that I needed some down time. The next morning when I was on my own walk with our dog, I started thinking about the night before and why it was I didn’t t go on the walk with my husband. It would have been a great time for us to be alone, as well as be able to talk without interruption from the kids. One of my favorite things to do is go on walks and a walk with the hubby is even better. I started to feel a little guilty and even sad that I missed an opportunity to be with my man, but then it hit me. At that moment the night before, I was listening to my body, I was tired, I was ‘brain tired” and I needed to just take a break and not move for a while. My “why” at that moment was rest.

When it comes to finding your why, it takes stepping back and listening to yourself, praying and going to someone you trust when there is a big decision to make. Social media has taught us that instant gratification can happen. We get the “news” as it is happening. We get shown wonderful places to visit and fun things to make or try. We are influenced by those around us to change, to try something new. We look at our lives in the present and think “I need more, I need more stuff to be happy, I need more friends because the silence is too much, I need more adventures because my life is slowing down”. The list can go on and on. Our “why”has to come from inside. It has to be prayed about and thought out. When we don’t have our “why“ firmly in place we are just kites getting blown in the wind. Find the time to slow down and just be, and while you are there think about the things and people that are important to you and then from there you will start to build what your “why”is all about. Until next time:

Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.

Ellen Degeneres

Helpers

Bad things happen all the time

It is easy to say that this year has not been an easy one to deal with. It started out ok but quickly went into what most people are calling the Jumanji game. It is very easy to say no to the alarm clock and just head back to bed, all the while turning off every electronic device that will give you more news about what is going on in the world. Right when we think things are calming down something else happens. At this point I think the world is holding it’s collective breath and biting it’s nails to see what it coming in October. Sadly still we also look at our own lives or the lives of the ones around us and realize that there too circumstances happen that can cause a jolt to our hearts. So how do we, in the mist of chaos and uncertainty get through what has been thrown at us?

As Mr. Rogers would say: “Look for the helpers” As far back as I can remember whenever there was a major catastrophe there were people running away from the danger and there were those running to it. I am not just talking about our wonderful 1st responders. I am talking about the average everyday person who decided in that moment to help.

When I was in high school I went to Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount CA. One Sunday the pastor went up to the pulpit to start his sermon. Usually he says a prayer beforehand and that day was no different except for the fact that he was very somber. Earlier in the week one of the families in the church had a terrible thing happen to them, and he was asking for prayers. You see, the parents had gone out for the day and had a babysitter come stay with their young child. While the babysitter was taking the girl out in the stroller they were crossing the street, when a car came too quickly down the road. The babysitter was quick to act and pushed the stroller out of the way of the car and to safety while she took the force of the car hitting her. The babysitter did end up being ok, and what she did for that little girl made it so that she could be cuddled in her parent’s arms that night. The babysitter’s quick thinking saved a life.

Most recently with the fires in our side of the country, the news reports talk about the devastation, and about who was responsible. The news highlight the brave firefighters that have worked hard to battle the blazes and for that I am glad. The pull to be depressed or worried about the outcome of these fires is strong and in these moments it is most important to “look for the helpers”. So many people jumped in and started giving donations to help keep the firefighters fed and taken care of. Local farmers and ranchers came with horse trailers and evacuated as many animals as they could. A local vet in town ended her vacation early to get out to the areas where the was going to hit to help owners get their animals out. She also then gave of her time and services to help animals that were wounded or burned in the fires. Land owners offered up their pastures for the evacuated animals to be brought to. Hotel owners gave rooms to people. The community came together. The current “worldly” problems were put on the back burner so that people could come together.

Helpers were also those people who stayed put. They are the ones that though they were not rushing to help the fire evacuees, they instead showed up to work everyday and made sure store shelves were stocked, hotel rooms were cleaned, medical supplies were available. They made the chaotic world, normal because they did what they did everyday. For that vet who helped on the fire, her staff made sure her everyday patients were taken care of. For the farmers and ranchers, their ranch/farm hands made sure the farms and ranches kept running. Stores had the supplies needed for people to buy so they could donate. The community came together in this way too.

When you “look for the helpers” you will see that there is good in this world. That though there may be disasters happening people are good and want to bring the community together to help and support. Being a “helper” in everyday life is not hard. Be a listening ear to someone. Mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor. Offer to watch a friend’s child for an hour so she can go shopping. Offer a smile to a stranger. Encourage someone. When we are pushed into seeing the bad all the time, it is so important to look for the good instead. I pray after you have read this you will look at yourself in mirror and ask how you can be a “helper”. What if you were to write an actual letter to someone that helped you? What if you received a letter from someone that said thank you to you? Disasters shouldn’t have to happen for us to pull together. The world is already a hard place to live. What is stopping us from pulling together now and helping each other? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Until next time:

If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.

Mr. Rogers

Give Up, Give In, Get Going

Give up, give in, or get going

When it comes to action we have three options. We can chose to give up saying it is too hard, there is no way we can accomplish what is before us. We can give in to the fact that we have to go forward because there is no other option. We can get going and look at ways to accomplish the action or task. None of the three options tend to be easy and a lot of times the one we chose is based on how we were brought up or the experiences we have had in our lives. Our minds have a tendency to remember and fall back on what we know and what we have done in the past. Sometimes it has to do with survival, sometimes it has to do with what we perceive as the easy way out and sometimes we decide to forget what we have learned and press forward to try something new.

Giving up means seeing what is before us and deciding that it is just too much, too scary, too hard, too big, too much work, so we say no before we even start. A few years ago we took our family to Disneyland. It was the perfect time to go. Right before Christmas, The whole park was decorated perfectly, the carolers were out and the weather was practically perfect. Heck even the park was almost perfect with the amount of people in attendance. We had a three day passes and the best walking shoes we could find. One of the first rides was the Thunder Railroad. While standing in line we were able to see how fast the ride went and where the tracks went, so when my middle daughter announced that she was not going to go on this ride we were a bit shocked. She said she wouldn’t do rides that go fast and go into dark places (so basically every fast ride at the park). We asked her why and what she said actually didn’t come to a surprise for me. She had done a fast dark ride before and it really scared her. I had forgotten about that incident. She was older so I tried to talk to her about how she should just try this ride and see what she thought. She was not having it so her and I sat the ride out as well as other rides that day. She had given up on trying the new rides because of the potential of them being scary like the previous ride was. Giving up because of fear is a bad habit to start. There are so many experiences that will be missed because of the potential that something will go wrong. You put yourself is a prison of sorts.

Giving in to something usually happens because there is pressure being put on you to do that thing. So many times we see this happening in schools or in groups of young people. The whole pear pressure scenario. I remember so vividly when I was in high school there was this guy who just wanted to fit in. He was that loner guy who really didn’t want to be a loner but since he was just a little odd and didn’t wear the right close it was hard for him to fit in. Whenever he did try to fit it, he tried so hard that it was obvious what he was trying to do. Finally a couple of guys started to hang out with him but they started to pressure him to do things against the rules to where he started to get in trouble. He so badly wanted to fit in thought that he gave in to the pressure that was being put on him by his “friends”. He didn’t see any other way so he gave in. At the time it seemed a normal thing for kids to do, but looking back it’s sad that he felt there was no other way.

When we decide to get going we are looking at what is ahead of us whether it’s a mountain or a molehill and we are deciding to move. This is my favorite choice. I have done those other two. I have given up and given in, thinking there was no other way. When I decide to get going I feel charged. I feel creative juices flowing, to be able to figure out solutions and come up with is so exciting. When I can check things off my list that sense of accomplishment stays with me. When I met my good friend Jaime she had come into the vet hospital I worked at and asked if anyone wanted to start running with her. Running was a very bad word in my vocabulary. It was not my thing, but that day it hit me, I had been saying no to myself only because I felt running was too hard. That day I said yes to Jaime and for years after that I kept saying yes to running. My first “race” was actually two races that I did with Jaime. The first one was a 5k with the second one being that same day, a half hour after the first one ended that was 10 MILES! My first ever race ended up being 13.2 miles. I was hooked from there. I did races around Crater Lake as well as other lakes in the area. I was able to get my middle daughter into running with me and now she leaves me in he dust. My yes to Jaime was such a wonderful thing. I took something I thought I would hate and decided to get going and now I am doing something I love.

Running people

In so many ways we can decide to give up, give in or get going. I hope more often than not you would get going. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

If you can believe this, then you can also believe that you were not called to rely on your own understanding. If we can trust that God loves us and only wants the best for us, the things that cause us to give up and give in get smaller and less significant. Until next time:

Be an example in these things: Start with your mouth, control your tongue! Would Jesus really “just lay it out there?” Ask God to hold your tongue, be an example in word and deed. Do ALL in love

Chose Wisely

The Choice is Yours

These past few weeks have been a challenge to say the least. There have been good days and there have been days where I thought my head would explode. In previous blog posts (Get Up Again, Flow Without Stopping, Breathe) I mentioned the struggles and the good that came from them. The good was the choice though. We all have difficult situations that we have to get through, live through. When we make the conscious choice to not allow the situations to run our lives we chose then to learn from them and move forward. Even now there are numerous fires that are destroying forests, homes, lives. From the ashes of these fires people are rising up, and moving forward. They may be taking one step forward to take two steps backwards but they are pushing themselves to rise above.

A friend of mine has a home in an area that was one of the first places to be evacuated. Her home was safe but the smoke was making it extremely difficult to stay and she was unsure if the rest of the community was going to make it through the fire so she opted to leave. As she was loading up her animals and taking the belongings that she could fit, she was making phone calls. Where would she go, who had room for her. Not surprising people stepped up and made room for her to be comfortable and safe. She was given the ok to head back to her home a couple of days later, and what she found was that her community and home had been spared. Others on the other side of the highway from her were not so lucky but though they lost their homes, everyday angels had made the choice to come help and get them and their animals to safety. These stories will be popping up over the next few days and weeks as more and more people see what devastations the fires have caused. There will be those who will be lost in their own hopelessness because they have literally lost everything, and then there will be those who have lost everything but like the phoenix they will rise from the ashes and thrive.

So what then does it mean to thrive? To rise up? The more and more I thought about this, the more I realized that to thrive and rise up is something that you learn to do over time and with wisdom and experiences under your belt. If you were to ask average teenager what it meant to rise above and thrive they would probably look at you with a blank stare. The other day I was dropping off some items at a local business when I saw a gal I used to work with. She and I started talking about what she was doing now a days and what I have been doing. About 10 years ago her and I worked at a vet hospital. She had been starting out as an assistant trying to learn the ropes and I was one of the technicians trying to help her. Sadly she started out “blind” per say, she wasn’t really trained properly and when she would mess up it was quickly brought to her attention but then she was left to figure out for herself how to fix it. When I was on the same shift as her I would try and help but eventually she left the company because of feeling inadequate and because she felt like she did not have much support. When she left she moved on to another vet hospital but soon found that things were not good there. During our talk I could tell she wanted better for herself. She wanted to make a change. She just was unsure on how to go about it. I had suggested that she get her resume out and updated since there are other vets in town who were looking for hard workers willing to learn. The gal definitely did not have it easy when it came to learn the ropes in the vet field but she learned them and she gained knowledge that will help her get another position, if she chooses to get herself out of a bad situation. When I left that same vet hospital she left, I didn’t feel I had a backbone left. I was beaten down and very discouraged. Hope was found when I left the field for a couple of years only working at a hospital a couple of days a month. That is what it took to heal and grow and thrive for me, but I wouldn’t have chosen that path if it hadn’t been chosen for me. God had my best interest in mind when I was let go. From that brokenness to where I am today, I have my backbone back and I am thriving because I chose to finally let go and let God lead me. I pray that the gal will too. It may take not being in the vet field for a little bit, but maybe that is what is needed.

There are so many things in this world that can break us, and keep us from trying. To allow them to hold us down is a choice that some make. In Matthew 11:28-30 it says:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you ad learn from Me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light

We are born to live, to thrive to be all God called us to be. When we hide behind fear and disappointment we are not given God his due diligence. He is powerful enough to lift us up and help us to Get Back Up Again. When we try and do it on our own we will fail, but when we lean on Christ we will thrive. The road may still be rocky and hard but that’s when we are carried if we just chose to trust that Christ is in control. Until next time:

Thriving isn’t about making life comfortable, fun and happy; it’s about finding purpose and making our own unique contribution.”

― Malcolm Stern, Slay Your Dragons With Compassion

Fires A Blazing

Liar, liar pants on fire

Over the last few days I have been wondering if there actually have been a lot of liars out there with their pants on fire. We had this weird whether system that came through Monday that brought hot dry air, and lots of it. The wind was really sporadic throughout the night and into Tuesday. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the fires hadn’t started, and grown because of the wind. To say that the state of Oregon is on fire is an understatement, and then I look at a fire map and realize the whole west coast seems to be on fire from Colorado to Oregon/Washington and California. I’m just throwing this out there, but it seems quite odd to me to have so many fires when it’s an election year, thus going back to my “liar, liar pants on fire” remark. Ok, so before someone says something to me about this being a political post, it most definitely is not! I think I hate politics almost as much as I hate liver and onions.

These fires all around where I live has gotten me thinking about if I would be ready to leave my home in a moments notice if I was told to. It scares me to think that I am partially prepared, for instance I know for certain that besides my family, the pets would get tossed in the car, and probably a few days of clothes would be tossed in too, but other than that I don’t know much else I would take. I don’t hold a lot of sentimental value to things in particular. I am the kind of person that holds more value to doing things with the ones I love rather than collecting things. Now my kids and husband are way different. They would take the whole house if they could. As this week has progressed (remember it is only Thursday) the amount of fires that have sprouted up is nuts, and I don’t even know about half of them. About 30 miles away is a 10,000 acre fire, that has threatened homes, taken homes and is moving fast. In another direction 70 miles away 4 fires have mysteriously spouted up, causing a whole city to be on alert and parts evacuated. South in California fires have been burning for weeks. They say you don’t really stress about problems that aren’t close to you or that don’t directly affect your way of living. For instance, I will feel bad, and pray for people say in Colorado who are dealing with large amounts of snow, but I won’t really stress over it because it doesn’t affect the bubble I live in. It sounds harsh but it’s realistic. Now, these fires going on around where I live, I stress a little more about them because there are a lot of people I know who are being directly affected by them.

My wonderful husband has been planning a motorcycle trip to the coast for weeks. These fires are affecting him and the routes he can take and travel safely. I have friends who have moved their animals to safer places as they watch their homes come dangerously close to burning down. A gal I work with came to work knowing at anytime she could be told her house is gone. Then I get to hear the stories of people being saved, buildings withstanding the storm and animals being reunited with their owners. Sadly it seems to happen this way, but big disasters help you to really see what is important to you. They draw people together for the greater good. People set aside hurts and anger and their own selfishness to help others in need. People give of their resources, time and energy, they turn back to their “humanistic” ways and support others in need. I love to hear of these stories. The people that “come out of the woodwork” to help and then just as quickly meld back into the woodwork should be praised too. Part of why I write this blog is because I want to “Live Joyfully” I would much rather focus on what is good, what is noble was is just.

Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy---meditate on these things
Philippians 4:8

I admit these fires and the other “news” of this world was really starting to get to me. I could feel the weight of them on my shoulders. I see in my kids faces everyday as they “go to school” from home. I see it in my eyes as I look in the mirror and think why am I working so much? I see it in the way my husband does all he can to support me, take care of the kids and go to college to better himself while still dealing with the world around us. My neighbor the other day had asked if I had seen the news recently and I flat out told him “NO!” I do not want that in my bubble. If it is something I need to know about I will hear about it no matter what, but with how the news is now a days it is so negative without the slight bit of positivity and joy. There is always going to be bad around us, to focus then on what you can find that brings joy is of utmost importance. So here is my request from you: send me your joy, send me the happiness you have found today. Why not share and spread the good rather than focusing always on the bad. I can’t wait to hear from you! Until next time:

Living big and joyful and content is almost always the result of our finding satisfaction in life’s ordinary day-to-day pleasures. And God must be fond of them, too, for He made so many of them for us to enjoy

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

What Do I Know For Sure?

What do I know for sure?

This morning on a my walk with my Jorj dog, I wasn’t in the mood to listen to music so I decided try out the podcast my sister suggested I try. The topic today was about being overwhelmed and having a tired soul. What people failed to realize is more often than not they are one of these two. We live in a world were multitasking and getting somewhere fast is a normal thing. We know when things happen almost immediately thanks to social media. We work on our “days off” by responding back to emails or texts because it will “take only just a second” and before we know it, half the day is gone. We plan our days with how many things can we get taken care of in the shortest amount of time. When the gal in the podcast described what it meant to be overwhelmed I realized it was so spot on.

Imagine having 2-3 deadlines you have to meet, your day is planned with a bunch of activities and you realize that your stomach has been growling for quite some time now. You head to the nearest fast food place, walk in (with mask on of course) and you look up at the menu board, and this is where you stand for a few minutes. The cashier looks at you with anticipation, the people behind you look at you wondering if you are going to make a move and you can do nothing but stand there unable to make a decision. Eventually you let the people behind you go because you realize that you have no idea what you want and the ability to make a decision is lost to you. After stepping back and taking a breather you place your order and get out of there as quick as you can. I chuckle and want to cry at the same time because I have been that overwhelmed to the point that making simple decisions was beyond me. Each and every time I found myself overwhelmed and just soul tired it’s because the ability to say no and do what was good for me was not done.

So what does this have to do with what I know for sure? After my walk and listening to the podcast I was intrigued with what this gal has done for the last few years. She makes lists and writes down anything she knows for sure. She then looks back on these lists and musings and looks for patterns in her life where she had growth, where she felt like she was in a season of change or when there were times that there was no change at all. These lists and musings helped her to realize times where she was overwhelmed or even when her soul just felt heavy and tired. They also helped her see times of such great joy and happiness. I knew that once I had time today I would sit down and write my own list and see if I could keep doing it so that I could start seeing patterned in my life as well. So here is the start to my list:

  • I know I am a daughter of Christ
  • I know that no matter how much I mess up Christ has forgiven me and He loves me
  • I am sure of my husband’s love for me
  • I know that no matter how flat I am because my kids have “thrown me under the bus” so many times they can always make me flatter
  • I am sure that sitting out on my back deck in the early evening in the summer is one of the best things in the world
  • I am sure that my jabber box son does not have the ability to run out of things to say
  • I know I will always worry about my kids and what they chose to follow in this society.
  • I know for sure I DO NOT like Fortnight.
  • I know that I absolutely love my job but it is also the biggest contributor to my being overwhelmed and tired.
  • I know for sure that when we are able to stop wearing masks I will burn every single one of mine
  • I know that I find my peace and my soul finds rest when I am out in the woods preferably by a lake or river.
  • I know that when pedestals are raised too high the fall hurts more than just physically
  • I know that a person who is humble is respected more by me than someone who feels they need to flaunt what they know.
  • The smell of a recently mowed lawn is amazing, add in kids playing and laughing and my day is made.
  • Friendships that last longer than 10 years are life long friendships.
  • Loving enough to speak your mind is better than holding your tongue because “you just don’t want to deal with it”
  • Knowing you have helped a pet in need is a wonderful feeling.
  • Being a pet’s advocate and doing all you can to make them comfortable is one of the main reasons I do the job I do
  • I realize that I have such a hard time watching a show or movie where there is the slightest chance an animal will be hurt or lost.
  • And finally (at least for today’s list) Learning when to let go is both painful and liberating

I can’t say that I will be able to do a list like this daily but my goal is to try and keep my list going. I am excited to be able to glean information about myself that I didn’t know. Want to join me? I would love to see your lists, get to know you and walk alongside you as you start to recognize when you are “soul tired and overwhelmed” Leave a comment, sign up on the email list and check out my other blog posts. Until next time:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls-Jesus

Matthew 11:29

I’ll Have To Think About It

The best answer was “I’ll have to think about it”

Have you ever noticed that stress levels go up when trying to make a decision? The decision could be about whether to have ice cream after dinner or if you want to take a trip for the weekend. I know when I am in the decision making process a conversation could go like this:

Q: Do you want to ride your motorcycle into work today?

Questions I ask to make a decision: Well is it going to rain today? Is there construction on the road I will be traveling? What do I have to bring into work and do I have enough room in the saddlebags for it? Did I wake up early enough to get my stuff ready in time to leave a bit early so that I can ride my bike? How cold is it? How tired am I? I wonder if I will have to stay late tonight? Do I need gas? Is there anywhere I need to go after work?

A: Nope gonna take the care today

I think even when I am deciding if I want cheesecake or not I still have these types of thoughts go through my head when the only answer that should be said is “YES!” . I am one that likes to weigh all my options, most of the times. I am a fickle fellow in the sense that there are some decisions I make that I look back on and think “man how did I not get hurt by that decision? I got lucky I guess” and other times I take so much time deciding, that I miss out on the opportunity.

So why does this happen? When people make a choice they have to choose something over another. If they chose wrong there is disappointment and having to live with that choice. The hidden factor is fear. Fear of being left out, the fear of making the wrong choice, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of having to explain yourself….the list goes on and on.

By stepping back, getting out of the situation and yes even “sleeping on it” you can go into any situation with a clear head. About 15 years ago my husband I went out to look for a new car. It would be the first new car we both had so we were pretty excited. Where we live is Subaru country and we had heard that they were great cars overall, so off we went to our local Subaru dealership. We walked the lot, looked at the different models and promptly got spotted by the super friendly salesperson. He talked to us about the different models and the benefits of each car. We knew we would need a little bit bigger of a car since we wanted to start a family soon and we had two big dogs. We did do some research before we went to the dealership so that we would know our range of price. So when it was time to sit and talk numbers the super friendly salesperson told us our price, told us the promotions and let us think about it. When he came back into his office to “seal the deal” we told him “thank you we need to think about it” We then informed him we found the same car online for thousands less than he had offered us, and that we needed to see if we could explore that option as well. When he saw we were willing to walk out of his office without buying anything, he lowered the price to close to the price we had found and waited for our response. We said thank you, repeated that we needed to think about it and got up to leave, but we did say we will be back. He then made the comment that most people who leave without buying usually don’t come back to actually buy but that he hopes we will. Later that day, we came back and bought our very first new car for the price we agreed on. My husband and I were willing to step back, and evaluate the option we had when it came to the decision we had before us. Had we not, we would have paid thousands more than what we wanted to for the car.

Sometimes it is not as cut and dry. The decision to leave a stressful situation has more grey areas than black and white. Talking to someone about a raise or proposing to your gal, though exciting can be nerve racking at best. Choosing what is best for you and your time is what the outcomes must be. Nobody wants to live with regret. Living with the Best Yes for your life means that with anything you chose to do you chose based on what was the best for your life at the moment and beneficial for your future. Ok now before anyone reminds me that cheesecake is not that great for me in my future, I would agree within you (probably with a grudge though) but normally I eat my cheesecake with friends and because I chose to do that the cheesecake may not be that great for me, but the friendships definitely are.

The outcome of a lifetime of making good and bad choices is a life that is lived. Having the courage to step out and try something new, having the courage to say “No” when it is needed, loving when it’s hard, and saying goodbye. Making decisions can be stressful but when time is taken to step back, breathe, evaluate if it’s good for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually they can be made with a confidence that you took the time to care for yourself first so that others could be cared for later. Think on that, and I would love to hear your comments. Until next time:

Don’t entrust your future on others’ hands. Rather make decisions by yourself with the help of God’s guidance. Hold your beliefs so tight and never let go of them!”

― Hark Herald Sarmiento

Flow Without Stopping

“We’re like the blood in our veins. We must flow without stopping”—-Kuroo Tetsuro

When our heart pumps blood to the rest of our body it must do it with the right amount of force to send it to the farthest reaches of our bodies, our pinky toe. Blood is the river that flows through us, it carries oxygen, nutrients, waste, and even protects our bodies from infection. It is in constant motion and must stay in that state for us to continue living. We go throughout our days not even thinking about it until we have to because of a cut on our hand, or when we don’t feel good and a doctor gets a blood sample from us to figure out why. We are programed not to have to tell ourselves to keep that blood flowing and with the right amount of stuff to keep us alive. God took his time with this and knew that we would have enough to deal with, so He made it his job to keep us alive.

Blood in itself gives us a plethora of information. It can tell us if our heart is working well, if we have kidney issues, liver issues, pancreatic issues…etc. It can let us know if there is infection in us or if we are dehydrated, and this is only touching the surface. Every time surgery has to happen bloodwork is required so that the doctors know how healthy a person/animal is before the procedure. Blood is so very vital.

We must see that like blood we are vital as human beings, when we flow and help each other without complications. There is not a single cell within the blood stream that puffs out it’s chest and says look at me, I am way more important that any other cell here. Each cell, each particle that flows in the blood stream has it’s own unique job to do. When the job is done it helps keep us alive.

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Over the years I have met so extremely humble people and on the flip side some people that are so arrogant they feel the world begins and ends with them. When I was in the process of getting my vet tech license I had a group of gals that were mentors, teachers, friends. They worked hard alongside me to help me succeed. This meant testing me, talking with me, and encouraging me when I thought I couldn’t do it. They were also the same people that pulled me aside right before I took the test and said: “We know you can do this, and we know you will pass, but if you allow yourself to think you are better than anyone else because of this license, consider your butt kicked!” I passed my test a few days after that conversation and I can tell you I need Facebook reminders to remind me when I passed my test but I don’t need any help remembering the conversation they had with me. I check in with them on occasion to make sure I haven’t gotten a big head. Flip side to this, when working at a hospital a few years ago, the head doctor was looking to hire on a licensed vet tech. She had done the initial interview and had asked this person to do a working interview to meet the current staff and to show her abilities is different areas of the hospital. From the get go there was just something about this gal that raised red flags. She was willing to suggest lying to company reps to get more products and she just stepped into situations and offered advice which in itself isn’t bad but the tone in which she offered it quickly ruffled feathers. The staff was asked their opinions afterwards about the gal and most voiced concerns but the doctor ultimately decided to hire her due to experience. At first things flowed smoothly but then over time, little things started popping up and they turned into big things which by that time made it so there was nothing smooth about working at all. If we were talking about blood, there would be blood clots and blockages everywhere. The flow would stop, which sadly for this particular job it did just that and people had to move on to other places.

The Bible talks about us all being one body. We all have a job to do in order for life to run smoothly. When we do our job well but look at what someone else is doing and envy them, what we do falters. 1 Corinthians 12:14-19 says: For in fact the body is not one member but many, if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, i am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

Open bible and a river

We all have our own gifts and talents to contribute into this journey we call life. If we all did the same thing, for one life would be boring, but also there would be no flow. There would be so many undone things. We need people’s talents and gifts but we also need more humble and peaceful people. Don’t hear me wrong there, I didn’t say more doormats, I said humble and peaceful. Wisdome comes from living life, and having experiences whether good or bad. With wisdom comes being humble, being humble means knowing you are capable without having to tell the whole world you are. To flow like blood flows through the body, one must be ablet to get past hurts that may come, stumbling stones that get put in their paths, and worries that asult them. To flow means to trust in the One that pushed you in the direction you are going just as blood is pushed in the direction it goes by the heart and vessels within the body. Can you flow without stopping? Until next time:

Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we

make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last blockon a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves.”

― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

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