Monthly Archives: January 2012

PREPARE to BE STILL…

I have a heavy heart for so many hurting people and families.  One of the reason I love Face Book is that it has truly increased my prayer life.  Throughout the day I read of hurting people – most are friends/family of Face Book “Friends” and then I take the time to pray for them. Yes, in some instances, Face Book has also become a place of gossip, but for me, it has opened the door for prayer for people I may not otherwise know.  I don’t seek out the details of the need if someone asks for prayer – God knows the details.    When I post “prayers” as a comment,  it is not just a simple word response – it is a heartfelt promise.  Often I find that a person’s post will be on my heart not because they ask for prayer, but because it was full of anger or sadness, etc. and I feel they could use a prayer.

When I am alone in the car, I usually ride in silence and that is when I pray.  If it is a longer drive to work or town, after my prayers are done, I will still enjoy the silence, and then make my mental to do notes and just take a pause from the noise of day to day life.  Sometimes I break the silence with catching up with a friend on my cell phone or listening to KLOVE. 

But yesterday and today my heart has been filled with tears — last night it was for Samuel.  Today, I cried going toMorgantown.  I cried for Baby Isabella and her parents as she continues a courageous battle, the loss of a young son/grandson/nephew, the loss of a father, and my personal friends going through some tough times.  They each weighed heavy on my heart. 

 I so wanted a distraction today to pause the tears after my prayer… I wanted to call someone on the phone to distract me, but those I would call were busy today.  I wanted a song to come over the radio that would speak to my heart but KLOVE wasn’t playing what I needed to hear.  I couldn’t locate my MP3 player in my purse for my playlists of songs for moments like today.  I so wanted a distraction….

BUT God didn’t want me distracted… after my prayer was complete and my heart lay wide open and my eyes were slowly drying from the tears… He wanted me to BE STILL and know that HE is GOD!!!   He heard my prayers… He saw my tears… and He will answer those prayers in HIS time and according to HIS will (not mine). 

How many times do I fill the pauses of life with distractions? How often do I run from point A to point B with my mind constantly swirling of more things to get done?  How many times do I “squeeze” prayer into my life without baring my heart/soul?  How many other times have I ignored Him saying – “I am here with you Sheri.  BE STILL!”?? 

I need to PREPARE to BE STILL by not filling the quiet with distractions… I need to pause after my prayers…  I need to seek the quiet so I can feel his presence and hear his voice whisper BE STILL my child, BE STILL….

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God”!

PREPARE to FEEL POWERLESS

Sunday night Samuel was so excited that he had NO school on Monday, but I had to tell him it was because he had a dentist appointment.  The tears started instantly and you could just see his fears being played over in his mind.  He cried himself to sleep on Sunday night and woke up crying Monday morning.  Nothing I could say would reassure him — I felt POWERLESS!  

Monday, he cried all the way toMorgantownover the dentist —- I felt POWERLESS

We had to restrain his entire body and head and block open his mouth — I felt POWERLESS 

I hold his hands the entire time, look him in the eye, assure him I am there — Still feel POWERLESS

After the dentist we always go to the play place at Burger King.   He talks about going to the play place.  I say Sam why don’t we wait for a little bit so other kids will be there to play with you.  He replies, “I don’t want other kids to be there to play with because they can be mean. I am not mean to myself so I will just play by myself.”  (he remembers the bullies that have cornered him in the tubes at play places or pushed him)  —  I feel ANGRY and POWERLESS

Probably the hardest for me was his fear of the play place and nothing I could say would change his memories – EVER!   Why was this the hardest?? Because even though the dentist was scary, I could hold his hand the entire time and something good would come of it – his tooth would be fixed. I can’t always be there to hold his hand when there is a bully and there is NOTHING good that comes out of meanness!

I thought some more and just cried while I watched him play alone – happy but alone — if I felt POWERLESS as he went through the dental experience, and I felt POWERLESS over not saving him from the bullies fast enough — what does he feel???  I can express myself and he cannot!  Man that hurts…

 I am thinking of some awesome people that have gone through or are going through some rough things.  While I feel POWERLESS because nothing I can do or say can change the situation, they too feel MORE POWERLESS because of the direct impact on them.  For example * the death of a loved one * the illness of a child * the broken marriage * the abuse current or past…

 So can I really PREPARE to FEEL POWERLESS?  I think I need to think differently when I FEEL POWERLESS:

  1. where should I go to obtain my power / strength?
  2. what other resources can I offer?
  3. what do I do to cover my weakness — eat, shop, cry, complain?

But the WORST part is when I give up the power, who gains it???  When I feel powerless over the bully – that bully gets the power ):  When I feel powerless over seeing people abused – the abuser gets the power ):  When I feel powerless over a broken marriage – the cheater gets the power ):   When a loved one dies, I can’t let their death be in vain (I need to make sure the memories live on) or death gets the power):

 The definition of POWERLESS:  1. : devoid of strength or resources  2. lacking the authority or capacity to act.

As Samuel and I were walking out of the dentist office, we chatted a little, and he said “That was really scary” and I said “I wish I could of helped more”.  He replies, “but you did mommy, you held my hand and never left.”  I may have felt powerless, as if my actions were NOT enough.   Powerless is defined as devoid of resources, that in reality is so untrue.  I may not have the resources within me, but can find it through prayer to God (I prayed a simple prayer over Samuel as I held his hands – Prayer for protection and peace).  I also have the resource of unconditional love, a hug, a prayer, and a held hand.  Through me, when I ask / pray… God’s power can come. 

 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”   2 Corinthians 4:7-9

“He gives power to the weak   and strength to the powerless”.   Isaiah 40: 29

PREPARE to LIGHTEN UP!

“A joyful heart is good medicine” – Proverbs 17:22

I think too many times we are rushing through life and take it entirely too seriously.   We recently went toFloridaand as a family we SLOWED down and lightened up.  The work computers were never pulled out, cell phones used at a minimum, and Mary forgot her cell phone at home (:  We went to Sea World and the LAUGHTER (from the belly) of our children and us was PRICELESS.  I still smile when I think back to the trip.   What opened us to laughter — we lightened up.  We didn’t worry about the rush of daily life, getting to school, drama at school, stress from work.  We savored the moment and enjoyed what really matters – FAMILY!!!

When Jim and I were dating, I will never forget watching Bill Cosby Himself movie at his house with his parents.   I still can remember the true laughter, the snorting laughter, the “I thought I was going to pee my pants” laughter….  To this day, I love to watch a great comedy (and or course a good chick-flick), especially when I am stressed out or need an escape from daily life.

Samuel is the laughter in our home (remember in March Mary will be a teenager and the drama of school brings her down – so I hold tight to the Sea World trip and the laughter on her face).   Anyway, several weeks ago, Samuel saw someone on a movie doing the “Snorting laugh” – you know the one where you laugh so hard that you snort.  So, he has been trying to teach himself that laugh.  He will laugh and then snort and then laugh because the snort tickles his nose… well the other day he finally got it.  He can now “snort laugh” – sure I should probably tell him that is not the “socially acceptable” laughter, but it makes him happy and it makes us laugh (:    After finally accomplishing this before school one morning, he continued until we dropped Mary off and then to his school.  What killed me was watching the laughter drain from his face as he went into school.  His posture change, his face changed, and the happiness was gone – man, that hurt!  School use to be fun when we were in school because you learned to PLAY with others (;

Everyday, honestly everyday, Samuel experiences a true belly laugh AT HOME! You can’t help but laugh with him.  He tells jokes that he has usually messed up from the show he saw them on, but that makes them even funnier.  You laugh because of his laugh.  If I could bottle two things to bottle up and give out it would be his energy and his laughter — the world could use prescriptions for both.  Often because of his Asperger’s sometimes his literal interpretation of life is priceless and I try to share those on facebook to share the laughter…                                

How many times as adults are we singing in the car and walk into work defeated?  Or worse, bring that same work defeated feeling to our home.  I think it is time to lighten up.   Maybe we should put a box at the door entrance of the house to deposit all the crap for the day and pick out a smile for your face and then walk into the house. 

I have to be honest (even though I am guilty at times when it comes to the kids) but when I see people posting day after day post of sadness, worry, anger, etc… or the constant negative posts, I truly say a prayer.  I hate to see people wasting days away because you have allowed someone/something to steal the smile, the laughter, the happiness…  Stop and find something that brings you laughter to get you out of the pit you are in… LAUGHTER is good medicine!!!    And if you have nothing to laugh about, let me know – I will take you to lunch (my treat) and bring Sam with me (:

In my calendar I have a few cartoons that just make me smile when I see them and I have a picture of my children with a real laugh on their face.  As a nurse of 20 years I have seen people lighten up when they had every reason to cry…  Lighten up – watch a funny movie instead of an intense Reality Show or the news (:  Find a joke and tell for the day (todays jokes by Sam (from Rugrats)– How do you feel more pigs at the barn… Build a STYscraper….   What is hairy and horse?  A Coconut with a cold)…  Stupid jokes but you still have to laugh!!  

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

PREPARE to take the FIRST STEP

I don’t know about you but I get overwhelmed when I look at life.  It seems everything is so big and overwhelming…  The current overwhelming things for me are 1. Hhouse (8 rooms to declutter and clean),  2. Kid’s education (evaluations, testing, I.E.P, daily homework, college savings) , 3. Work projects (some major power point projects, education applications, and education classes), 4. Weight loss  (would love  to loose at least 100-125 lbs), 5. Laundry (I think even beach towels from the beach are down there) and 5. Pictures / scrapbooking (haven’t scrapbooked Samuel’s first year yet).    All of these things are important to me, but they are so huge they also become paralyzing.  When I do “TO DO” lists (as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog I haven’t even done one for a while) they are always on there, but seldom get crossed off the list…. Looking at the BIG PROJECT is endless. It’s easier to plan about them then do something about them…

However, things have to change – I can successfully say that between last week, this week, and next week I will have taken at least one step (at times small but still a step) toward every project.  For me that is amazing!!! I have always had the mindset I have to start and finish a whole project; therefore, the first step may never take place.  None of my projects happened overnight. (I didn’t gain 100 pounds in a week, so why would I think I would loose it that way?  Our house is 20 years worth of accumulation.  Etc…)

But, if it is IMPORTANT to you, it is worth the first step, the second step, the third step.  As parents, when our children learned to walk, we were so excited when they took the first step, the second step, the third step… But as an adult, I feel like I have to run the entire marathon.  So instead of the first step, I practice avoidance, thinking the first step doesn’t matter because I can’t conquer the entire marathon.   Nothing in life is easy or free – you have to work for what is important – even if it is ONE STEP.

There are other reasons I don’t take that first step…

  • FEAR of failure of not getting the project done, it won’t turn out as I expected, or someone else will be disappointed.
  • PROCRASTINATION has always been my middle name.  So it is easier to put off to tomorrow that first step since I can’t do it ALL today.
  • LACK OF PREPARING by not including the little steps on my “to do” list instead of just listing house, weight, laundry, work, kids.

Some days, the FIRST STEP is just getting out of bed.  I recently changed my alarm sound on my phone from an annoying rooster crowing to one of my favorite songs by Mandisa Good Morning (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnmWwudeqfM).  I determined I need to start out NOT being annoyed by a crazy rooster but a song that made me happy to move (:  It was the first step.  No matter how big the project or issue it all starts with a step!!

Dear Lord, guide my steps… keep my feet moving even when my head and heart try to undermine the steps… may I know that even if it is just one step – it is a step moving in the right direction…

* Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.  – Martin Luther King, Jr
* What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.  – C. S. Lewis
* The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu

PREPARE to PLAN (more wisely)

“How you spend your time defines who you are.” – Oprah Winfrey

I love calendars, paper products, pens (different colors), post-it notes.  I use to have such a great system – everyone had a colored pen designated to them so I could quickly glance at my calendar and know who was going where.   If I were to look back at my calendars over the years I could see how I spent my time….

For many years there was a lot of  PURPLE (Mary) with dance, piano, voice,  PTO meetings, PAC meetings, volunteering at school…  BLUE (Jim) with Fireman Meetings, HazMat meetings, work events… a little GREEN (me) on weekends for my work… and Samuel only had a little on the page because he was young.    Did this “define me”?  I guess yes as a mom and wife and worker…. but did I really like that “definition of me”?

I also always had the “perfect fitting calendar” and may change a couple times in the year if the pages got too messy (because of my writing or cancelled appointments or even if I didn’t write it in the “correct” color).   I know what you are thinking… she has issues!!! 

Well, this year I am still debating the perfect calendar for me.  The calendar I am currently using has gotten wet (and I ironed it to get the wrinkles out).  I have bought 2 new calendars for this year but cannot seem to give up the old one… So far this year, I have only used pencil… My observation on this:

  1. When you write in pen it is more permanent – just the simple act of writing in pencil makes life more flexible — just as the other day all my appointments were changed by others and it opened a whole day to spend with a friend (:
  2. This is the first full year that I have CHURCH activities on the calendar.  By changing my work schedule last year, it OPENED up SUNDAYS to be in church with the family.
  3. Work called me today about my schedule and I realized I had never even wrote it in my calendar yet for February.
  4. I have more days with NOTHING on them which leaves the day open for wherever I am needed…
  5. I have not done one of my extensive “to-do” lists this year (I type them in the computer by column by category and it may take a whole page typed)

Does this make me MORE or LESS productive? If there is nothing on my calendar or on my to do list – does that really mean there is nothing to do? (I wish).  What it can mean is

  1. You open the day up for the Lord to provide opportunities that you may not have enjoyed (i.e. spending a day with a friend, running someone to an appointment, making a nice meal for the family).
  2. If a change in your family happens – like someone gets ill – you are not juggling – you are there to take care of them.
  3. If the weather is nasty, you have no where to be (:

But I think the move has been instead of planning our lives away… we have more empty space to spend together at home.. I can focus on the more important (school, homework, I.E.P.).  However, since EMPTY SPACE is new to us, I think I could fill it more wisely – do more things “as a family” (this does NOT include watching TV in the same house but different rooms – LOL).   It has eliminated the rushing from one thing to another.  

When I look at the scripture in the Bible (Ecclesiates) about Time (see below)… I have decided the empty space I want to fill with

  1. PLANT positive messages in my husband/children hearts!  UPROOT the bad weeds that strangle our family.
  2. KILL  bad habits that steal from family time and HEAL broken hearts from the damage of the world (school, work)
  3. TEAR DOWN walls of misunderstanding and BUILD strong foundations in our marriage and children’s lives.
  4. Take time for WEEPING and listen without judgment and opinion (this one will be hard).  Increase LAUGHTER (one of the best things aboutFloridatrip was just to truly hear and feel Mary’s laughter return) (Samuel has discovered how to laugh with a snort)…
  5. DANCE with my husband, as an exercise, and like no one is watching (:
  6. Allow toys/books/music to be SCATTERED while playing but teach everyone to GATHER to help the home run more smoothly.
  7. EMBRACE the day and our differences and REFRAIN from harsh criticism, yelling, and opinions (if not asked for)
  8. SEARCH for ways to improve our children’s education and GIVE UP worrying what others think or say!
  9. KEEP what is important to each person but THROW AWAY (or give away) the excess that does not improve our lives but clutters it.
  10. MEND relationships with family and friends.
  11. SILENT time for me to renew my soul.  SPEAK only with loving heart (and not in anger)
  12. LOVE unconditionally.
  13. PEACE of mind and PEACE between husband/wife, parent/children…

 WOW – looks like My to do list just got long again — but so much better than what use to exist  — it’s the year to PREPARE to PLAN for establishing a stronger family and stronger friendships.  Empty calendar days means spending my time in these things will truly define who I WANT TO BE!!!

 *** ECCLESIASTES 3: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:  A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

 

PREPARE to RECEIVE

“It is more blessed to give than to receive. [Acts 20:35]  “

I LOVE to give!  If you want the shirt off my back, just tell me… You need me to give you some time – happy to do so if humanly possible… You need someone to listen, I will give you my ears. I LOVE to give little surprises to let friends/loved ones know they are being thought of.   I LOVE when someone calls me and needs something and I have it (and if I don’t have it I will often make a note to buy it or just order from Amazon that very moment – LOL).  I think most people who know me know that I don’t give with the expectation of anything in return.  I also don’t give with the intention that I will feel  blessed but to make the other person feel blessed!  However, now that I think about it, I do feel blessed when I know it brought a smile to their face. 

Exceptions to the rule of giving leads to blessing (in my opinion):   1. not everyone wants the gift – often because they feel the need to reciprocate.  It is important to honor that (most of the time) because the gift will not be a blessing but a burden.    To them NO GIFT is a gift (:              2. giving out of  obligation or to “show-off” – and I truly believe that because the motive does not come from the heart, they won’t be blessed in the heart (just my opinion because scripture says (…But the LORD looks on the heart – Samuel 16:7)

MY WEAKNESS is in the RECEIVING.  If you give me a compliment, I often will have to minimize the compliment (for instance if you said I love your shoes I would have to say I got them for $5 at Target – instead of just Thank You!).   If you buy me a lunch or a gift, etc… I want to reciprocate with a lunch or a gift.    I have a HUGE project ahead of me and I have some incredible family members and friends who have offered me assistance, but I just can’t bring myself to receive the offer for help (my pride, fears, independence, and stubbornness gets in the way of receiving their help). 

Today I realized —  then I am stealing / lessening the opportunity for THEM TO GIVE and therefore feel blessed!    I am ROBBING them of their blessing!  This past week my sister-in-law brought me tea, soup, and grilled cheese when I was sick… I was blessed by the thoughtfulness and I believe she was blessed because she was able to give to me.  But, still part of me really thought you didn’t have to do that – and I was right she didn’t have to BUT she wanted to!!! Why is it so hard for me just to accept a gift of thoughtfulness?  Sometime I feel like I am not worthy of it, sometimes I don’t want people going out of their way for me, sometimes I don’t feel I can give back to them… excuses, excuses, excuses!!!

 I think I need to teach my heart and head to PREPARE to RECEIVE.    Giving and receiving is a WIN-WIN when done out of love (if you give you are blessed and if you receive you are blessing the giver).  WOW!!!   

Lord, help me to remember, if someone says a prayer for me, gives me a compliment, gives me their time, or sends a card/gift – just to RECEIVE with my heart!  Keep my mouth from saying anything beyond thank you.  Keep my head from making a mental note to give something back in return.   May I be able to bless the giver by simply RECEIVING the gift with no strings attached – just as they intended it to be!!!  Help me not to rob the giver of the blessing they richly deserve!!!

P.s. help me to come to terms that I too need help – remove my pride, my fears, my independence so one day soon I can say – YES, please help – I am sure it would bless me and the giver!!!

PREPARE for THANKFULNESS

Often in life I complain (usually to myself) about everything I have to do – always feel like there are toys to be picked up, dirty dishes, full baskets of laundry to wash/put away, work to do, lunches to pack…. Does this sound familiar?  I want to start looking at life with a different set of “glasses”.. I need a change of heart… I need to PREPARE for THANKFULNESS.  

I just finished a book by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are Ann wrote this book after starting writing a daily list of things she was thankful for until she reached 1,000.  It seemed to change her life… At times in her book she got a little “heavy” for me and when she could be thankful when her children fought, I decided I have a long way to go before I get to that point (LOL)…  She has a website if you would like to check her out (http://onethousandgifts.com/a-letter-from-ann)

I realized, for me, thankfulness does not come naturally – complaining does! I have to LEARN to look for blessings until it becomes natural.  This is a flaw of humans from the beginning of time – think about it – if Adam and Eve would have sat in the Garden of Eden and looked around and had been THANKFUL ENOUGH for what God gave them Eve wouldn’t have needed the apple…

I am no different, I have a house – but want a bigger one.  I have food in the fridge but it’s not what I am hungry for (just like Eve with a garden full of everything but wanting the apple).  I have a car but it is used.  I have a great job, but want more money… Does it ever end???   

I read this blog two days ago – between finishing the book and reading this – I have so much to be THANKFUL for…  the material things may only last for the moment, but I am THANKFUL that I have that moment…  (WARNING grab your tissues – remember this blog is by a woman with children 4 and 6!!!);  http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/how-did-we-get-here/

So, I am starting my journey of my THANKFUL list…  A couple years ago I wrote a list of 100 things in a short period of time (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1180232128&ref=tn_tnmn#!/note.php?note_id=462054111532) .  But in 2012 I am sure that I can do 1,000 – that is less than 3 blessings a day for a year – God gives daily blessings… I just have to PREPARE to look for things to be thankful…

So to start  I am THANKFUL for things I have grumbled about in the last few days…

  1. all the toys across the floor – means Samuel is at play
  2. music blaring in the car – means Mary is with me
  3. full sink of dishes – means I have food to eat
  4. dirty clothes that I have to wash – means I have clothes to wear
  5. snoring husband – means he is home in my bed (and not out at a fire)
  6. wood to carry in – means I have a source of heat
  7. floor to vacuum – means a roof over my head
  8. bills to pay – means I have life luxuries and a job to pay them
  9. alarm clock going off – means I am alive another day
  10. dirty muffin tins – means I finally got Jim’s cake made (a day late but done)
  11. meeting at work time changed – means I have a job to go to
  12. gray hair – means I am not battling cancer with chemo and have hair
  13. dirty bathroom – means I have a shower and not an outhouse
  14. running to get kids – means I have children and a car to get them
  15. cancelled appointments – means I had time with a friend

 Dear Lord, please PREPARE my eyes to see the blessings around me, my heart to welcome the blessings, and my mouth to praise you for the blessings.  PREPARE me to be content with what you provide and not yearning for the APPLE.