Laughing often

Sitting around the table in my grandma’s kitchen meant that there was food nearby. Most of the time the food was a dessert of some sort brought by one of my relatives. We loved to sit together and visit while eating. There didn’t have to be a specific reason for the visit and it didn’t really matter if the dessert was cookies, cakes, or pies we would eat and talk. A big part of the visits was laughter. Our family isn’t quiet in general but when you added laughter to the mix you could hear us from a block away. It was addicting and looking back I now understand why my mom never wanted to leave the conversations to take us somewhere (usually it was to the mall so we could walk around and do nothing).

One of the greatest sounds I remember was laughter. One of my aunts had the loudest laugh ever! I knew she was there though even if it was from a mile away. She just had that way about her. I think of her now as the glue that held our family together and she still does today. My mom used to take us over to her house and we would hang out with her for the day. It seems that she always had somewhere to be and if she didn’t she would plan for us to go somewhere. We would pile into her bright yellow bug and zoom to the desired destination. I think the biggest thing about her is that she incorporated laughter and joy into her day.

That sticks with you. Our brains are programed to either respond to fear or joy. When we allow our minds to work as they should we start to be on the lookout for joy. Fear brings the responses of fight, flight, or freeze which as we all know cause us to close up shop and not look for anything remotely joyful because we are so focused on the fear. You know what happens when you can’t seem to find joy in the moment? Our brains will try and go back to our memories of joyous times. The more memories we have of joy and the more times we find joy in our lives the more our brains are filled with it.

There are days when I don’t even have time to sit down for lunch, these are the days I come home exhausted and in a state of wonder on if I did anything productive during the day. These days are also the days in which I try and do too many things at once. I have too many things on my brain, my thumbs hurt from all the texting, and my emotions are fried because I couldn’t be everything for everyone all at once.

Then I have the days, usually when I take myself away from the crazy life, in which I can see the beauty around me. I can enjoy the conversations with my kids, and my hubby. I put the phone down and I am in the moment. I am not trying to do 50 things at once. These times are when I find my laughter. I love that my laugh is as loud as my aunt’s. I love that when I worked at the “Happiest Place on Earth” my boss used to tell me that I had to quiet down my laughter because he could hear me all the way across the park. When I purposely look at life around me, joy pops up because I am not ignoring it with business.

As living human beings joy is healthy for us. Science has proven it over and over again. Think of the last time you were with a group of people that you just had pure fun with. Laughter was probably a big part of it. My family wasn’t always happy per say, but we had lots of moments of joy. Life isn’t easy as a grown up, but there are lots of moments of joy. Joy is from God. He created us to not live in fear but in joy. This doesn’t mean we are always happy, but it does mean we can trust and rely on the One who designed us. Today find some joy. If you have a pet, take time to love on them. Go for a walk without your phone. If joy is hard to find, think to a memory that was joyous for you. The world is hard to live in sometimes, so we have to do our part to keep joy centerstage. Until next time:

Research has shown laughing for two minutes is just as healthy as a 20min jog. So now I am sitting in the parking lot of the park giggling at all the joggers.

The Fear of Failing

Sixteen years ago there was a twinkle in our eyes. We had been married for 3 years and were just barely starting to get into the habit of being married. We were just the two of us. We managed to keep the furry kids alive without too much damage to their mental health, so we thought maybe starting a family would be a good idea. Our oldest daughter joined us, coming into this world knowing nothing and depending on us for her every need, including keeping her safe and healthy. There was a healthy fear of failing mainly due to the fact that there was no instruction manual that came with her. We knew the basics, she eats and drinks therefore she has to poop and pee. She is active therefore she must sleep. She will cry therefore we have to comfort and provide security for her. We could say that we succeeded in the basics. The failure came in the extras, but with the failures came times of growing and learning. We as parents were far from perfect in the decisions we made but we know that she felt loved and was loved.

As we are about halfway into her sixteenth year, she now has two siblings and is now showing us how to better take care of her. There is still the need and the obligation to push her though. The fear of failing is huge. There are two teenagers in the home now and the youngest will be one in a couple of years. The internet and social media are major influences in the lives of our teens and have already told us and proven to us that we have failed. My oldest has this fear of driving. She got her permit a couple months ago and made a plan for herself to get her license before winter next year so she wouldn’t have to walk to school. It’s a great plan, it’s a plan we can help her with. It’s a plan that will not get off the ground if she won’t get behind the wheel. It’s a plan that will fail if she can’t get out from behind the fear.

The pastor today talked about wearing the armor of God. The thoughts, and fears and attacks that we do to ourselves could be stopped if we just wore the helmet of salvation. We would know our worth if we had on the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, sword of the spirit, and the belt of truth. We are our worst critics and instead of listening to the world around us and going to the word of God instead we would have more weapons at our disposal to take on the attacks against us. My eldest doesn’t think she can drive safely, yet she does well when we do get her behind the wheel. As a momma I have to remind myself that I am not a failure when my kids choose a path that I might not have chosen for them. As a mom I am called to fight for my kids, I am learning the only way to do this is on my knees talking to God.

I have a fear of failure. I don’t like the feeling of failing. Everyday I know I fail at something. It is only because I am far from perfect. I know that from my failures I will learn. Just as my daughter will learn to drive, I will learn from what I did not get right. Joy comes from not being perfect. Imagine if every morning there was a mandate that you had to give up something special to you for every failure you had that day. I would stay in bed. Our bodies physically would not be able to handle the amount of stress trying to be perfect would put on us. Did you know that our bodies respond to when we are stressed, depressed, and in pain? It sounds like a silly question but our bodies even respond to the failures that we have. Our immune systems aren’t as strong, our mental capabilities to take on things lessen, we don’t have as much energy to do things. The flip side is when we know we can’t be perfect and when we embrace the fact that we will fail but can grow from them, our bodies are healthier. We look at life differently because we know we don’t have to constantly prove to ourselves and others that we are perfect.

Having failure built into the learning process and allowing ourselves to get used to failing will take away the fear of failing. If we know our worth in Christ, we don’t have to worry about what we look like to the world. We can fall on our face just to get right back up to keep going forward. Failure no longer is a bad word. Joy comes from knowing that I wasn’t called to be perfect, I was called to be willing. I am a momma to my three kids because I was willing, and because I was willing failure comes with it as well as succeeding. My daughter will fail many times before she gets comfortable with the life skills she has to learn, but she will also succeed in them. Fear is a powerful force, but being loved by God and knowing your worth is much more powerful. Until next time:

Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.”

Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place”

Marianne Williamson

Expectations

Those who know me know I hate to be cold. So the fact that there were a couple of days in the near future that were going to be warm, I was excited. I even took a day off from work so that I could enjoy the warmth. I am the kind of person who when I get something in my head that I want to do I will work to make sure it happens. These warm weathered days that were coming meant that I would be outside. I would exercise outside, I would take my motorcycle out for a spin, I would stand outside and soak up the rays for as long as I could. These warm days are the first ones to show up after a winter that always seems too cold for my liking. I had expectations and they were going to be met!

My bike ride started out well. It was the first one in a little over a year so I did some side streets to get myself acquainted with riding again. It felt good to be on the bike, I had my visor up and the world felt like it was whizzing by me at 40 mph. My first stop was to drop off something for a client. There is something about pulling up to a house and having the occupants not grasping that the rider of the motorcycle is here for them. It’s a bit thrilling in a small sort of way. My next stop was to the clinic to feed the clinic cats. I know what you are thinking “I thought this was your day off?” Yeah it was, but I still had to take care of some of my responsibilities. This is where things didn’t quite go as planned. I was was trying to turn right from a stop sign and I lost my balance and “laid my bike down”. Nothing but my pride was hurt but man it is hard to stand up a 500 pound bike. I got my bike back up right as a guy pulled up to help. Not exactly what I expected but in the end it worked out.

Expectations are weird things sometimes. You think things will go a certain way, you hope that people will act differently, you have the way you think things should go all planned out in your mind but then they don’t end up that way. My hubby had a plan this spring break, he was going to get the kid’s bathroom painted and the floor fixed. He even took two days off from work to get this done. As day three is coming to a close the bathroom is 85% done and as he is working on this project the animals and I are doing our part to stay out of his way. When he gets a plan set in his mind it’s best to let it happen that way. Helping could be harmful to your health. I love my man, and I know this about him and so I do my part to keep him sane. When we were a younger married couple I had different expectations of how we would do projects together. I learned quickly that you help only when asked, you don’t just jump in and expect to know what is needed. This sounds simple enough, but when you think you are a good helper and you’re actually not, it makes for frustration projects.

Life is full of ups and downs, rights and lefts. It really is like riding a roller-coaster. There is a thrill in the ride, there is a joy in the ride especially when you do it with people you love. There is the stomach falling to your knees feeling though that can really make you sick to your stomach. These are the areas in which the expectations of life don’t always go as planned. When on the ride though, you can’t just “skip to the good part”, you have to go through the plunges as well as the twists and turns. Know your people, and know your God and the rest is history. Love and joy go hand in hand. Expect the best but plan for unexpected adventures along the way.

I will have more bike rides in the glorious sun. My hubby will have more projects that he will plan and finish in the way he wants to. Family life will have ebbs and flows like the ocean. Work life will have people who give their all while others don’t give as much. Money will be spent, and food will be eaten, and life will go on. Faith, joy and love will remain steadfast. Life is full of expectations. We all will see them through different lenses. That is what makes us who we are. I may not always like what happens but I know that joy will help keep me strong. Until next time:

Negativity is contagious

Unhappiness is contagious.

Fear is contagious.

But so is happiness.

So is optimism.

So is love and joy.

Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. And strive to be a reflection of what you want to receive.

Michell C Clark

Change is a Constant

No sooner than the thought entering his mind did the tile floor start coming up. The shower rod was taken down, and the mirror was leaning up against the wall. The kids were taken over to their grandparent’s house for spring break so change was inevitable. The bathroom that the kids use has been bugging my hubby for quite some time. The walls need new paint and the floor needed to be fixed. We get it into our heads that projects need to happen when spring break comes along and so that is what we do. Change is a constant it seems.

Home improvement projects aren’t the only things that seem to be changing though. Facebook has a way of showing us how much we have morphed into the people we are today. The only reason really that I look at Facebook these days is to see the memories that pop up. They show me the person I used to be, how cute my kids used to be playing in the mud, and how good my hubby looks when he is building or creating something new. They also show people who used to be in our lives, and the events and jobs we used to have. If someone were to see my page 10 years ago they would see that I was a runner. I was a momma and I was in the vet field.

A lot has changed, but has also stayed the same. I am still a momma but now I have more grey hair, my kids talk to be about everything from gun laws to anime. I am still in the vet field but with a different vet hospital, different role but with a lot of the same people from 10 years ago. I would love to say I run as much as I did back then but honestly I took time off from running, and am just getting back into it but more for enjoyment than races. I am in much better health now than I was then, and I have a healthier mindset.

On the way home from a trip yesterday I was talking to my hubby about the near future change that will happen. Our oldest will graduate (in two years) and that will forever change the dynamics of our home. I was telling him how much I enjoy when the three kids are in the living room with us just being silly. When they are wrestling, or playing, or even talking with each other I have such joy in that. The typical response for us as parents is to “hush” them because they are getting too loud, or “calm them down” so they don’t take things too far like we did when they are younger. I am realizing that it is more important that they are out with us. They are allowing us a parents into their world. Heck I am even happy when they offer to help with the projects we start on the house.

One day the house will be a lot quieter. One day I will look at Facebook at the memories that have been made in the last few years and I will hopefully smile at them and love the amount of time spent with the family. Work will change too, we might have new people in the pictures, my hubby will have new projects, the kids will have new adventures.

Change is a constant, it’s not easy. There are days when the joy of change cannot be contained while other days there is more crying than laughter. Today I will go to work as my hubby works on the bathroom. My son already called to say good morning while I know that his sisters and grandparents are probably still sleeping. Charlie dog has already been outside 5 times because of the cat she saw out the front window, while Jorj faithfully sits by his master’s side hoping for a piece of sausage.

I am not one to say I like change. There is a part of me that would like to keep things the same. The other part of me though, I cherish the change. I love that new experiences have happened and new people have formed from the “little monsters” that ran around the house. I love where I am now vs. where I was as a new vet nurse. I love the progression of my marriage. Change takes a newborn baby and makes her a creative, loving young lady. Change takes a “know it all” newly wed couple and makes them a wiser, more mature couple. Change is in the seasons, it’s in the moments, it’s life. Embracing it, and finding the joy because there is the constant of faith and love makes the harder times bearable, and the exciting times more exciting. Choose joy in the change. Until next time:

Saw this the other day and thought how accurate it is:

Accidentally stepped on my husband’s foot:

“Sorry”

Accidentally stepped on my dog’s paw:

“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry! Are you ok buddy? I am so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I love you. You want a treat? You’re the best boy, yes you are!”

To be Needed

There was an emergency in the hospital that I work at. The dog was in need of supportive care and would have to be hospitalized. When I first started out in the vet tech field this was what I did a lot of, I would be on a rotation with other nurses for the weekend shift. If there was a patient that was admitted for hospitalization on the weekend that was assigned to me, I was the one that would go in and take care of the nursing needs of that patient. I learned a lot over the years doing that, and though I didn’t always want to go in on a weekend I knew that I was doing good work helping the patient and the family that he/she belonged to. It would feel good to be needed.

As I worked and moved up the ladder to more of a head nurse, the weekend jobs would go to the assistants and those training to be a vet nurse. The doctor would check in more often or at times I would as well but I didn’t have to go in as often. In a weird way, it made me feel not as needed but then logic set in and reminded me that I am used in so many other ways within the hospital. I know I am needed still but in different capacities. The act of feeling needed puts you in a position of knowing that there is someone out there that thinks of you when they are doing something difficult and you know you can make it easier.

I tend to do this with my family as well. I know that eventually they will need me less and less especially now that I have two teens. As a momma this can be a bit harder than a job, since you spend so much of your waking hours hoping to keep these little humans alive just to have them go and do their own thing as teens. You know how difficult it is to get a teenage girl to eat food? I mean I love food, it is something that brings me joy. It feels like I am twisting an arm, leg or even a neck at times just to get my girls to eat dinner. God forbit there is chicken or pork involved! My oldest just got her permit to drive which means in the near future she can then drive her siblings around. Now I know this will make my life and my hubby’s life easier but there is still that little part of me that is mourning this step into freedom that she is taking.

The thing I can control is the fact that I can still be needed by myself. I know that I can still advocate for myself. When I feeling down and un-needed I know that I am not reading my Bible enough and relying on God as I should. When I feel like I don’t have energy or that I want to sit and eat a whole container of cookies I know that I have not been giving myself enough push to better myself. When I get done with a run or a exercise routine I feel like I can take on the world. When I decide to skip a day because I just don’t feel like doing the work, I start on a downward spiral that ends with an empty container of Oreos. To be needed all the time by others can be exhausting. To not give yourself enough time for self care can be exhausting.

I am at my strongest when I am in my element helping. There is a rush to being needed but as with everything there has to be a balance. This is where joy comes into play. I admit to worrying about the future and not being needed as much. I also know that I do this so I try daily to combat this. When you live joyfully, there is a balance. There is a time to rest and relax and there is a time to stand up and be involved. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 it states that there is literally a time and place for everything. I can’t be needed all the time , just as I can’t be awake all the time. It is not healthy. It is also not healthy to always want to be the person people depend on. The balance has to be there too, which means taking a step back and allowing others a chance to step up into the role. It’s not easy, self-doubt and even jealousy can creep in, but if you know your worth, and your place then you can be at peace. Until next time:

People have to feel needed. Frequently we just offer a job and “perks”. We don’t always offer people a purpose. When people feel there is a purpose and that they’re needed, there’s not much else to do except let them do the work.

Maya Angelou

Joy Abounding

I know I am sleeping, only because I know I went to bed to do just that. Actually everyone in the house did. so I know I am sleeping but I keep hearing this noise. So I reluctantly release the hold I have on the peaceful slumber I was in. There is a thwap, thwap, thwap sound followed by a small scratch of medal. My alarm goes off at this moment and I realize if I don’t protect myself quickly I will soon be mauled by the very creature that is making the sounds. So I prepare myself as a white ball of energy jumps up onto the bed from the kennel she was previously enclosed in.

in this same moment I realize I am being held down by a ball that is heavy enough to keep me from moving and warm enough that I realize I don’t want to move. My dog Jorj could care less that he is inconveniencing me with the weight of his body on my legs. When we starting out going to bed he claimed his spot right away up against my legs. He has pure joy being under the comforter up against my hubby or I. He knows he is loved and has the “spot of honor” while his silly little sister has to be kenneled.

You know when you put oil and water together, it looks as if it will mix but then it doesn’t? This is how I would describe every morning since we got our dog Charlie. Joy comes in different forms, it doesn’t always show bubbly and playful, and it’s not always calm and snuggled in. But when you mix it up it doesn’t separate, it just is joy. The funniest thing to watch is when Charlie is first let out of her kennel, she grabs whatever toy is available and then tries to get up on the bed. She has the jumping ability, and does it often, but it’s the ability to get up without disturbing Jorj that she has to figure out. We have hardwood floors with a rug at the foot of the bed, this is where the traction is to jump up. The foot of the bed is where Jorj loves to lie which prevents Charlie’s attempt at jumping. Most days she doesn’t care, she just jumps, he growls and she proceeds to mom and dad where she knows she will be received at least with pets. Other times she waits for dear old dad to lift her up on his side of the bed so that she can prance around like she did it herself, in the process thwacking whoever is in her path with the deadly tail. Joy Abounding

I want joy abounding, but it is not as easy as it looks. If I were a year old “puppy” without a care in the world it would be so much easier. I am not though, I am a momma, wife, friend, and work which means I have co-workers. I have what most people have, and I am thankful for it. There are so many variables that contend for my attention in the different aspects of my life, and I would love to say I maintain a certain amount of bubbly joy in each of those but that would be exhausting. Even my Charlie dog quiets down and even goes back to sleep after being let out. This is why I love that joy comes in different levels and flavors. Abounding joy is deep down. It may not always be felt, but that’s ok, it’s not an emotion but rather a way of life. Pure joy comes from above, from Christ. It’s like a spring that never goes dry. We have to remember to drink from it though.

Life isn’t easy, and we were never told it would be. My Charlie dog doesn’t exactly like that every night she is put in her kennel while our Jorj dog gets to be on the bed, but she does it anyways. She is “stuck” until morning, but man when morning comes she is so excited. My Jorj dog doesn’t necessarily like that we added our Charlie dog to the family, but when they start playing together he loves having another dog to play with. Our family doesn’t always get along, it’s not easy with dad jokes, two teen girls, a son who thinks he really did get raised in a barn and of course me who feels the need to clean all the time. We love each other though, we are learning and growing. We tolerate and move forward. We don’t always have the enthusiastic joy of Charlie dog and her toy, but there is a deep down joy. There are days that I am like Charlie dog, the joy just bounces around and it can be felt by everyone around me. Then there are days that I rely solely on that joy (Christ) to get me through the day. It’s on those days I am so thankful that I don’t have to do it on my own. Until next time:

When God wanted to create fish, He spoke to the sea. When God wanted to create trees, He spoke to the earth. But when God wanted to create man, He turned to Himself.

Then God said: “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness”.

Note:

If you take a fish out of the water it will die; and when you remove a tree from soil, it will also die.

Likewise, when man is disconnected from God, he dies.

God is our natural environment. We were created to live in His presence. We have to be connected to Him because it is only in Him that life exists.

Water without fish is still water, but fish without water is nothing.

Unknown

Being Patient Joyfully

I have been working with the goal of having more patience. A devotion I read the other day was about the fact that patience comes from above, a vertical plane, we need to use this plane of patience so that we can horizontally give it to people we interact with daily. This is extremely hard when the people we have in our lives don’t make it easy to be around them much less have patience with them. I am not saying I don’t like who I am around but I will admit that there are days in which patience is not what I want to give them. It’s on these days that I wonder how God gives me patience.

Lately my oldest daughter and my hubby have been butting heads. In one corner is my teenage daughter who has to be in control of the the things and outcomes around her. She will come home from school and want to talk to an adult about her day (we are so very thankful and know we are blessed that she does this). She tends to choose the wrong times to do this. My hubby (in the other corner) usually gets home before I do and will get started on dinner (in which I am so very thankful). He loves to turn on the Ipad start the movie he is currently watching and get the meal cooking. He gets into this zone. The zone is somewhat of a barrier that is put up unintendedly by him. Most nights my daughter smacks right into this barrier when she starts telling him about her day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that he doesn’t want to listen, it’s more that he can only handle so much himself. Being a guy, he is wired to fix things. When my daughter starts talking he starts hearing the things that he feels needs to be fixed. This doesn’t mix well with remembering ingredients and the fight scene that started in the movie. So the patience factor is not there.

I am working on a different type of situation in which I am trying to balance the act of being a full time veterinary nurse, a mom and wife. I want to be everywhere at once and I have this desire to have some control in the different aspects of my life. I run into the problem that the people around me don’t see my vision, and why would they? They are in their own circle of balancing acts in their own lives. I get hurt when my kids do something out of the normal (what I consider normal), but they are just trying to figure out who they are. I get irritated when the people I am to count on at work don’t always hold up their end of the bargain. I take it personally when my hubby is hangry and doesn’t realize he is taking it out on those around him. I want to be on the horizontal plane of patience but I haven’t asked the one on the vertical plane for help. God says love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, the verse goes on to say that love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Imagine if love was a person. That is a lot to live up to, luckily Love is God, and we don’t have to try and be love, we just have to learn from the One that is love so that we can give it to others.

Add joy to the mix of patience as well as turning the thought process around to giving vs. receiving. In the earlier years of marriage there was a lot I expected from my hubby. When he didn’t live up to my expectations I would get frustrated. A wise friend asked me one day if I was praying about my frustrations? She asked me if I was praying to change my hubby or if I was praying about how I could change my thoughts about him. It’s so much easier to beg God to change the people, change the circumstances, change the outcomes. What if instead we prayed about the areas in ourselves that need to be changed, cleaned out, redone. My daughter wants to talk with an adult when she gets home, but hits the barrier. Instead of getting frustrated about it, she could ask her dad after he was done if they could talk about her frustrations. She and my hubby would find more joy and patience in this act than just doing the same old routine.

When I see what I perceive as a fault in someone else, I need to first check myself and have a good heart to heart with God before bringing it up. Joy comes in love, love is patient and kind, and it always perseveres. I can complain until I am blue in the face or I can pray about the problem/situation/person and then go forth in love and patience. Being patient is not easy, being joyfully patient is not easy. Life was not meant to be easy, it was meant to teach, grow, and test us. When we use what is given to us by the One that is Love (which includes patience and joy) we will find that we can give the control of our life to Him. Until next time:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Looking Forward

The stage is set, the flowers and the bridesmaids are beautiful. The groom is anxiously awaiting his bride as she walks down the aisle. We are all staring at her as she passes, willing our love for her to be shown through our eyes so that she can feel it at she passes. The couple has been planning and praying over this event for months now, and the day has finally arrived where the pastor will say “I do” and they will be man and wife. As the ceremony proceeds, and stories and words are shared the future is thought about but in a way that is overshadowed by the moment of love. The couple is in the moment in which they don’t care about what will happen an hour from now much less a year.

As a young couple long ago, my hubby and I were just trying to figure out what it was like to live together, spend together, and plan together. We didn’t get a lot of things right, because we were flying by the seat of our pants. We both came into our marriage with financial debt, but we also both had our own expectations of what marriage would really be like. At times we would get through life day by day, trying to just make it without stressing each other out. For the most part though, we leaned on each other, we had trial an errors in which we grew stronger together, and we made time to plan. We would be grounded in the day but we would let our minds go for what the future held.

We now have kids that are at the stage of planning their futures. It’s amazing to think that the dreams you dreamt about years ago are in your present and you are living them out. Planning now looks so different than planning then. There are just as many prayers about what the future holds while being present now, but the dialog has changed. Joy comes from deep down, it comes from knowing that even if life is hard and the laughter isn’t always there, you belong and are loved. Joy comes from knowing Christ loves you the way you were years ago and how you are now. My hubby and I are more secure in who we are as individuals but also as a couple. Our kids are learning the ways of the world and where they fit into it. They struggle so much with what the world tells them they should be doing, how they should act, what they should see as important. They are trying to figure in where their faith fits into the whole of who they are. They are planning (at least my girls are) for what they will do in the near future. They are looking forward and dreaming. We as their parents are looking forward and dreaming as well, but also looking to see where we can teach them life skills that will keep them on the right path.

It’s a funny thing to plan, and dream and hope. It takes the mundane and makes it bearable. It makes the every day a bit brighter. It’s exciting to see with your mind’s eye what dreams fulfilled could look like. Dreaming and planning is work, but worth it. When my kids were little, planning looked like the amount of time I had to myself while they napped. Now it’s the amount of time I have with them in general. The focus has changed. My hubby and I are no longer trying to figure life out day by day, we have a routine now, we have little nuances about each other than speak louder than words will. We now plan the future out in trips and collage funds vs. diapers and making ends meet.

There is an energy to life when you take the time to look up from the grind. When you take the time to look at what is around you. The grind will be there, it’s what pays the bills and keep life going. I love the new year, it’s like starting over. I love it because I know there are adventures coming in the new year. A new school year happens, new trips, new financial goals, new jobs, new dreams, new outlooks on current dreams and plans. These help when there are bumps in the road. Praying over your dreams and plans will bring blessings along the way. Looking forward is not a new concept, wanted something better than what we have is not bad, unless we are doing it for the wrong reasons. Praying and seeking God’s guidance should be the first step in any planning, He wants you to have a future and hope after all. What do you dream about? What are you planning for? Look forward to what lies ahead but stay grounded in Christ while doing it. The road won’t always be easy, but it is worth it. Until next time: I love this quote from Mother Theresa:

You will teach them to fly, but they will not fly your flight. You will teach them to dream, but they will not dream your dream. You will teach them to live, but they will not live your life. Nevertheless, in every flight, in every life, in every dream, the print of the way you taught them will remain

Mother Theresa

Sprinkle in a little Sunshine too

It was such a good day! My sweet hubby got it into his brain that we needed to actually plan in advance family days. Don’t tell him I said this but he is a genius. Our family is the typical busy family, my hubby and I both work and the kids are in school so nights and weekends are when we can do things as a family. There are times when we do things on a whim and they work out pretty well, if we don’t have other things that have to be done on that same day. So that is where the planning comes into play. We looked at our calendar chose days that we wanted to do something and then we book it. Doesn’t sound too difficult huh? In theory it isn’t, when actually putting it into practice it isn’t as bad a pulling teeth but it is as hard as slowing down, sitting down and taking the time to plan.

So we went snow tubing. We reserved our times (thank you covid) and this past weekend was our time on the mountain. We made lunches the night before and made hot cocoa to bring so we had something hot to drink while there. We packed up the car with the kids and food and headed out. Two hours later we pulled into the snow park and proceeded to have 3 hours of sliding down the hill. Last year when we did this we knew there was a possibility of someone going over the berm into someone else’s lane (they have 5 lanes set up for a fast ride down). This year was no different other than the addition of some hay about 3/4 of the way down (I think they finally figured out they need to slow the tubes down somehow). First go we all realized that we would be taking some of that hay home with us due to the fact that as you go over the mixture of snow/hay some of the hay flies up into your hair, face, jacket basically anything exposed. It did do it’s job though, we slowed for a split second and then sped right back up once the tube hit the slick snow on the other side.

One of my kids tubing

The people that thought this tubing hill up were quite smart, they set up lanes (great for racing each other), they have a escalator type ride that carries you and your tube up to the top of the hill (so no one gets tired climbing), and they have the tubes. You literally just show up! My son wanted so bad for one of his family members to hold onto his tube and go down with him at the same time. We tried to tell him that it would mean he would go faster and that there was a chance that he could be launched into the other lane because of how light he is but he insisted. So he and his sister did lane number 1 (historically the fastest lane out of the five). I was at the top of the hill waiting to go down my slower lane, lane 5 when I saw my son and his tube jump the berm and he rolled in the hay literally. We watched waited and then saw him get himself up, get his tube and walk the rest of the way down the lane. I knew at that moment we had to get him back up the hill for him to tube down again so that he wouldn’t be afraid to do it more. I am happy to report he went down the hill numerous times after that and stayed in his tube each time.

More people tubing

My middle daughter and hubby were not so lucky, both got flung out of their tubes a couple of times while my oldest and I were able to stay upright and in our tube the whole morning. By the time we were done, the hill was slick from the sun, the hay was spread thin and we all had smiles on our faces. Our family has fun together when we get to be together. We are an active family, and do most of our stuff outdoors. There is a saying that goes something like this: If you have to find time to do something with loved ones it’s a chore, but when you make time to do something with your loved ones it’s a joy. We get so busy, focusing so much on what is in front of us that we simply forget to have fun. There will always be chores to do, bills to pay and work to be done. My kids are growing up so fast (yes, I was warned this would happen) and so spending time with them is one of my highest priorities. I want them to look back on their childhood and know that they were loved for one, but remember all the fun times we had together.

I received a group text from one of my aunts who lives south of me. She was inviting her sisters over to sit outside to visit while she weeded her garden. She said there would be food, sunshine and of course a blanket to sit on, and there was no obligation at all for anyone to help with the weeding. This was purely a way for her to have her sisters near. As I read through this short text my immediate response was that I wanted to come over too! My sister (great minds think alike) said the same thing (I might have copied her, but don’t tell her that). In my mind it seemed like such a fun afternoon event. Low key but full of love and food, some of my favorite things. This text also reminded me of the many times when I was younger that we did the same thing that my mom and aunts were doing. Such good memories! I hope that I will be in a similar text in the future but instead of my aunts it’s my girls inviting each other over to do the same thing, hopefully they will invite me too. Until next time:

If you want to have Joy, you have to have Joy on purpose. When you wake up in the morning, you can’t just wait to see what kid of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have. Joy helps you see the day clearer and with more sparkle.

You are What you Wear?

Driving to an appointment today I saw a bright pink object on the side of the road. As I drove closer I realized that it wasn’t an object but rather a person who was walking wearing the brightest pinkest suit you could think of. His hair was also a less bright shade of pink. My first thought was dang, that’s bright, but right after that thought was “you go boy!” wear that suit proudly, which he was doing. I am not a stranger to bright, weird or colorful outfits. My hubby loves to think outside the box when it comes to his shirts and shoes in particular. He has been known to wear a skirt to get into the spirit of a holiday or work function too. If you were to meet him for the first time though he can be a little intimidating (picture a tall guy with a bald head and goatee).

Going a step further I know some people that won’t go to the gym because they don’t look as good as others that go to the gym already. The tighter workout clothes that are the style can push people away from doing something good for themselves. It makes sense, if you already don’t feel comfortable with your body, it can be hard to be around others who have gotten fit and show it off. With that being said, those who want to go to the gym should and not worry about what others look like. I wear the workout gear because it is comfortable to work out in. It doesn’t change who I am as a person.

The kind of clothes we where can give clues to the type of people we are. It doesn’t set it in stone. I wear scrubs all day long, five days a week, but I am a momma, a wife, a friend, I love to workout. The scrubs I wear would not tell you that. One a higher note what do we put on before we leave the house? Do we wear our pride like a badge? Do we clothe ourselves in humbleness? What do we put on our feet to protect us from the harshness we walk through? Kindness should be like our favorite sneakers that we wear whenever we can because they are so comfortable. Love should be worn like your favorite earrings, something that is beautiful maybe even a little bit of sparkle added? Patience is the hoodie that is worn out but you never want to get rid. When it’s cold outside and all seems so bleak that’s when the overcoat of forgiveness is worn.

We put so much thought into our outfits, I wonder if we put that amount of thought into how we act and how we treat others what that would be like. It would be such an eye opener if for just a day we had special vision that allowed us to see what emotions people wore, what attitudes and personalities that carry around. The ability to see these things would show us more about who a person is, as well as who we are. Of course this is how Christ sees us. He is not concern so much about the outer appearance but more what is in the heart. What a scary and exhilarating thought. I literally cannot hide the thoughts I have, every word under my breath, every judgement I place, every praise I don’t say out loud to someone, He knows and hears them all. It can be overwhelming, but I also know I don’t have to hide anything when it comes to Christ because I can’t. That is comforting.

My clothes don’t make me the person I am. I will be that person wearing scrubs or wearing sweats. I am who I am. There is joy in that too. What kind of person are you under the clothes you wear? What attributes do you put on like clothing before you head out the door? Until next time:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another...but above all these things put on love.
Colossians 3:12-14
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