Monthly Archives: February 2012

PREPARE for a LEAP OF FAITH

In honor of Leap Year, I thought it only fitting to focus on “Leap”   – Dictionary:  leap of faith  – The act or an instance of believing or trusting in something intangible or incapable of being proved.

As I look back at my life, I find that I am overly cautious.  I am not a “leaper” but rather a realistic planner.  I have to rationalize everything out and rarely act spontaneously.  In fact there are times I talk myself out of “adventures” because of NOT believing and trusting in myself.  The ironic thing is I generally am an optimist (except for the past few days) and see the ½ full glass.  But, this often only applies in my believing in OTHER people, not necessarily in myself.  For instance, if someone told me they were going to run a marathon, I would cheer them on and sincerely believe in them, but would never believe I would be capable of doing that.   My husband is quite the opposite than me.  He is the firefighter who will go into a burning building, would jump with a bungee cord, propel a mountain, etc.  He believes in his abilities and in his fellow firefighters.  He also believes that Christ will keep him safe. 

I have watched some everyday heroes take a leap of faith.  This week two friends from church will be going on a mission trip (Prayers to Mike and Luke)- they are taking a leap of faith! I have friends who remain with unfaithful spouses because they believe in their marriage – they are taking a leap of faith!  I have friends who have gone back to college later in life and changed their careers – taking a leap of faith! 

 I think of Bible times and a few stories come to mind   * Matthew 9 – the woman who was bleeding for twelve years and took a leap of faith to touch the garment of Christ – Christ honored her leap and was healed   * John 6 – the boy who took a leap of faith and gave his 5 loaves and 2 fishes – Christ took those and fed thousands  * I Samuel 17 – David and Goliath story.  David took a leap of faith and a few stones and killed Goliath – Christ saw his heart and went into battle with him

 What is the difference between these everyday heroes / stories of the Bible and me?  They took the LEAP of FAITH because they KNEW God would honor the leap.  What would I do if I was in their shoes?

  • The woman who touched Christ garment and was healed – my likely response would be I don’t want to bother Him with my problems, would hate to fight the crowds to get to Him, believe I can get better on my own, or would believe others deserve/need the healing more than me. 
  • The 5 loaves and 2 fishes – my likely response would be to give it, but my mind would likely be filled with Lord, why do you want my measly loaves and fishes when you have so many to feed.  I would worry that my fish and loaves would not taste the best, so maybe never even offer them. 
  • David – my likely response would be I am too weak, I am just a boy, The armor doesn’t fit me well.  I am sure there is someone more qualified. 

 But in all of these situations above, not only do I doubt MY abilities – I am harnessing / hindering the ability of Christ to do GREAT things through me. What if the woman felt how I did – she would NOT have been healed.  What if the little boy felt as I did – multitudes may have gone hungry (not just for food but spiritually as Christ ministered to them – they would have heard).  What if David felt as I did ?  The battle would have continued, more lives lost, etc…  None of the people called were extraordinary people — they were every day people — just like me. If He can empower them, He can empower me.

There are little leaps that I can take – simple things like rides at KennyWood this summer (take on a few roller coasters or other rides with my husband).  But what about the BIG LEAPS of FAITH – I think I haven’t taken them because I haven’t looked for them and maybe they have been there all along.  Or maybe I haven’t taken them because I ignored Christ’s little nudge.   But as a result, like the woman, I may have missed out on a blessing for myself.  Like David and the boy with fish/loaves, I may have cost others a blessing. 

I know I need to slow down and listen – open my heart – seize opportunities.  I need to PREPARE to TAKE A LEAP of FAITH in myself – believe that I am capable.  But more importantly, I need to be open and PREPARE to TAKE a LEAP of FAITH for Christ – is it feeding the thousands or battling a giant?  The other day when I was in my pit, I didn’t take the leap of faith that Christ could help.  I dwelled on my normal “ I can do this myself!”  Had I listened closer, He was “Let Go Sheri – take a LEAP, I am here to catch you. I can help you with your problems.” Instead I got in the pit and stayed there longer than I needed too!  I often over estimate or under estimate MY ability, when I should be basing more decisions on HIS ability. 

For me one LEAP of FAITH has been this blog – believing in my ability to write and share my heart.  But, I think I put God’s abilities inside “my limits” instead of placing myself inside Christ’s limits – and with Christ ALL things are possible! Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37

 On your mark – get set – LEAP!!!!

 My Grandma Frazee’s favorite: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” – Phillipians 4:13

 

 

PREPARE for THE PITS

 My week is looking a little different than I planned.  Honestly, I am feeling a little in “a funk” or “a fog” or “in a pit”.  And I really don’t like feeling like this – kind of solemn, kind of sad, kind of overwhelmed, kind of empty… 

This blog has been a life changer for me – I look at life so differently than I have in the past.  I truly want to make positive changes that I have always talked about doing before.  I find myself really listening to little cues going on around me that one day I would have swept under the rug and dealt with later (or never).  I am so excited about some of the things I am envisioning for my life (and my family).  Amazed at some of the things I have taken care quickly and overcome procrastination in many areas.

However, I still find myself in some pits: * dwelling on things and not taking care of them either because I don’t know how to OR I don’t want to OR procrastination (unfortunately is still a bigger part of me than I want!).  * projects that I want to do but time constraints exist – but some are my own “time constraints” that I have created – probably to avoid doing them * lack of vision of how to move forward * lack of perspective of the real pits / problems – what I perceive to be the issue may not really be what is going on (ex: when I have a disagreement with someone the argument is not usually the real problem, it is all the root issues that grew into that).

The thing about a pit – I can either STAY IN the pit or I can GET OUT of the pit.  The choice is MINE!!! Even if the pit is what someone else is doing to me – I have to assume responsibility for my piece of the problem, my reaction to the problem, and how I can change my reaction to the problem.  I choose to PREPARE to GET OUT of the PIT.  There is too much of life to live to be bogged down and stuck in a pit.   Especially the pits that are truly small – but by staying there they appear and feel larger than they are in reality.  My pits are mine – they will not go away by themselves.  I have to accept ownership, responsibility, and eradicate them! So how do I get out – RETREAT

When I looked up retreat on Webster online – it is so fitting.

* an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable –  PITS can be difficult and dangerous depending on what the pit is.  Maybe I will be brave soon and reveal my person pits on paper in my blog.  Maybe as I face them and get out of them, I will feel more comfortable to share the pit and the process to get out of it. 

 * a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction –  this is the time for me with withdrawal from “routine” to focus on my pits.  I am sure prayer, study, instruction, and meditation will definitely be involved!

 So time for R-E-T-R-E-A-T

  • Recognize the pits
  • Establish a plan to get out of each pit
  • Take on the small / easy pits first – prioritize what they are
  • Reach out for assistance – for the rope my friends / family hold out for me
  • Establish a VISION of what I want life to look like and what will replace the pits
  • Allow myself a realistic timeframe.  I didn’t fall in the PIT overnight
  • Tackle things in the future BEFORE the pit exists!

 I feel better already!  Some great ideas and thoughts going on in my heart and head!  The power of writing for me is amazing.  There is a day I would have just thought and thought and dwelled in the pit.  By putting it on paper and posting on the blog.  It makes it more realistic and I feel more accountable to myself and to my “audience” of blog followers! 

I look forward to my RETREAT! I am PREPARED not just for the PITS but to get OUT OF THE PITS!!!

 Psalm 40:2 NIV:  “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

PREPARE for WARNING SIGNS

Samuel LOVES going across train tracks and in Uniontown if you leave my in-laws and go to McDonalds the “long train way” you can cross over about 7 sets of tracks.  So, Saturday when I picked him up we went the long way to McDonalds – only one set of the 7 we crossed had a “Gated Railroad Crossing Sign” – meaning it not only does red light but has a set of gates that come down.  Samuel notices those types of details.  He told me, “the red light warning must not be enough here. They have to have a second warning sign to make them stop.  Wonder why people just don’t listen to the first warning.”  Out of the mouths of babes!

Humans are stubborn like that – think of all the people in scriptures that had WARNINGS but did not heed and this is just a small sampling that came to mind.

  • Adam and Eve – warned not to eat the fruit
  • Noah warned people over and over as he built the ark and they laughed
  • God sent Abraham to warnSodomand Gammorah
  • Moses was sent to warn about the plagues

In everyday life we have warnings * warnings on the packs of cigarette that this is hazardous to your health and people still smoke * warnings about drinking while pregnant * warnings about drinking and driving (and still too many innocent lives are lost) * warnings on the calories and fat in food and I still eat it, and that list goes on.  How many times do we say to our kids, if you do it again you will … OR don’t make me count to 3….  All warnings – what does it teach them – they deserve to be warned more than once.  What happens, they grow into adults believing they deserve warnings.    Employers use to be able to give one warning and then fire you – now it is a list of policies and procedures and paperwork.  Last year Jim went out with the HazMat team on search and rescues in PA area for the severe flooding – people were warned of the floods and they still stayed – only to risk people’s lives to come save theirs. 

Why do I think I do not want to heed warnings?  1. The benefit outweighs the risk – my benefit for the taste of a BAG of DOVE chocolate outweighs the risk in my mind.  2. I am invincible – I can do it by myself  4. It wont happen to me – I won’t get caught if I speed getting to work.  5. Sometimes it is just defiance / stubborness – I remember a time I ordered a piece of pie and someone made a comment, so I ordered the WHOLE PIE to eat.  6. I can make my own decisions about myself and family.  Every year I get a “warning” from the school that my children have missed too much school and a licensed healing professional need to write the excuse or I will be fined.  And every year I explained I AM a licensed registered nurse, my husband a licensed professional paramedic and we are capable of deciding if our children are too sick to be in school.  Also, they make up their work and have good grades and I pay taxes whether they are in school or not.  So – I believe my decision making abilities for my family are MUCH higher and valuable to me than “outside establishments”.

But the warning is just that – a warning – a sign to slow down,listen,  think, and make an informed decision.  Now the instance of the RR crossing signs they are STOP signs – but I bet there was a day where there was just a warning sign of “Railroad Crossing Ahead”.  But as people become more daring – they didn’t slow down, they didn’t think first, and they didn’t make an informed decision – they tried to beat the train, tried to jump the tracks… just so they could walk away and brag.  

How many times have I been given a warning sign and it didn’t work – so God put up a STOP SIGN.  I think that is somewhat true with my health.    * wear myself down with lack of sleep and instead of slowing down and making an informed decision (i.e. sleep) – I resort to an Energy Drink… then God gives me a STOP SIGN and I have to take care of me.   * get on the scales time and time again and see the weight climbing and instead of taking that as a warning and cutting back on my portion size I waited for the STOP SIGN and have to go on a much bigger lifestyle change.

I am working on PREPARING to hear / see the WARNING SIGNS.  I think of my family and the warning signs!  When Mary and I have meltdowns, I need to see them as WARNING SIGNS – I need to see them coming and HEAR what she is saying before a STOP sign comes between our relationships with each other (i.e. WARNING of an AVALANCHE – previous blog)!  When I am getting too busy and not investing in my marriage I notice the little annoyances become BIG annoyances – that is a WARNING SIGN!    When I become distant from God (diminished prayer life, daily lifestyle, etc.), I know there will be WARNING SIGNS – feeling overwhelmed, emotional, empty, and find myself crying and screaming out to God.   All the time there were warning signs saying SLOW DOWN and listen… But remember, I am invincible! I can do it myself so I am a little slower at yielding to the warnings.   

 Dear Lord, please help me to PREPARE for WARNING SIGNS to prevent the dangers ahead! 

Psalm 103:7-8 ESV  He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

PREPARE for the UNKNOWN

One year ago, I was admitted to Ruby Memorial – it started with vertigo a few days before and then to vertigo with double vision but slowly developed into slurred speech and word finding issues, difficulty walking, and focusing.  I remember getting to the hospital and they noted my clothes were inside out.  I knew something was really wrong.  At first I thought it was my imagination- I woke up and there were two alarm clocks, two TVs, etc…  Complete double vision, literally the real “item” with the second vision directly to the left.  At the time I joked – double the money and chocolate is GREAT, but two of some people/things are more than I can handle.  I remember the fear – as a nurse I knew it could be a stroke, a tumor, neurologic issue such as M.S. (extra scary since mom had M.S.).   I went through every test imaginable – even a lumbar puncture (by a resident who did AWESOME).  I couldn’t read or watch TV. Activity was limited – remember I had constant “world spinning” motion and double vision – so I listened to music and prayed.

I personally LOVE aUniversityHospitalwhere you have residents and consulting teams with residents and staff physicians with years and years of experience that are there 24-hours a day.  The more eyes – the more opinions – the more brain storming on what could be going on…  I had to PREPARE for the UNKNOWN.  It is one of the worse positions to be in for life.  I had physicians who called in more physicians (medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, ENT, ophthalmology).  They had no idea what was causing it — so there was no cure and no answers.   Physicians who had been there for over 25 years were called in – amazed and stunned.  Ophthalmology loved me most – my eye movement was recorded for training and extra residents came in to see them in person.  I left with NO ANSWERS – UNKNOWN ETIOLOGY!  I got to wear an eye patch to alternate because if I covered one eye I had single vision.  On an outpatient basis more testing to discover that I had a new profound hearing loss in my ear.  More puzzles… more unknown!

I kept working – it took me twice as long to do things because reading and typing was still a challenge.  I could have taken the time off work and got short-term disability, but I was afraid.  I felt like I needed to fight back from the illness.  I was afraid that if I stopped working, I may not ever be able to work again!  I had to do everything I possibly could.  They were NOT sure I would ever be okay – without double vision and vertigo!  PREPARE for the UNKNOWN – I may have to live the rest of my life wearing a patch and struggling at everything that once came easy.

The bottom line my brain and eyes were not communicating and my two eyes were also not communicating with each other – mixed messages happening continually.  Isn’t that how life goes – much of the problems faced are a result of not communicating, miscommunication, and sending mixed messages!  After 6 weeks it finally disappeared.  I woke up one morning and only saw one alarm clock!  They determined only after the symptoms resolved that likely a virus had attacked my optic and vestibular pathway.  Viruses do not show up on images and cannot be treated.   The problem is now the pathways are vulnerable to viruses. I have had a few mini flare-ups but catch them early, get the sinus medication on board to decrease the pressure – and kick up the prayer (:   Last week I even had to go to the doctor because the vertigo and some double vision started – time for an antibiotic.  I wrote a blog awhile back about viruses attacking us – the key is prevention and early treatment!  When we let a problem go and ignore symptoms, it can become larger than we planned and make us vulnerable for future attacks. 

What a humbling experience for me – I had to rely on so many people to help me!  I couldn’t drive – so everyday people had to help me take/pick up kids.  My husband drove me to work and I would ride home with a friend.  I learned how to space activities and to move a little slower to decrease the vertigo.  I look back on those days and feel so blessed.  Blessed that all the big tests came back negative – sometimes the UNKOWN is not the worst possibility / outcome.  At the time the UNKNOWN was the worst scenario, but in hindsight a blessing.  I think in hindsight it was God’s message to me – slow down – BE STILL and know that I am God  (Psalm 46:10a).  I should make it a habit when I am planning my weeks out to remember those days – a reminder to slow down a little and BE STILL.  God may be whispering something I need to hear!  I shouldn’t need the vertigo and double vision to get my attention! 

I had to PREPARE for the UNKNOWN.  But as a human – we want to KNOW everything.  Some call or visit psychics to tell us our future.  I went to one once with some people from work just to see what it was like – her “reading” was definitely not God’s “reading”.   I know people who believe everything they say – they can be fascinating and feed the needing to “KNOW”.    Life is full of UNKNOWNS – all you can do is PREPARE for the UNKNOWN.  It is UNKNOWN when our life will be over so we have to make the most of everyday (put life into our days – previous blog).  It is UNKNOWN what our children will be when they grow so all we can do is give them a good foundation and love and support  (Train up our child – Proverbs 22:6).  And those are just a few things – everyday can bring UNKNOWNS. Thankfully God knows the plans He has for me!  And though it may include bad and sad and uncertain times (and I may not understand) – His plans are not for harm but hope and a future.  I just have to trust.  I have to PREPARE for the UNKNOWN that God has in store for me.   Often that requires me to BE STILL and listen for His whisper… and though I may question it at the time – the UNKNOWN may be the biggest blessing!  

 “…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”  Jeremiah 29:11

PREPARE to CHANGE MY ATTITUDE (on who I AM)

“Your attitude about who you are and what you have is a very little thing that makes a very big difference” – Theodore Roosevelt

I decided to stick with the Presidential Quote theme.  This one, jumped off the page this morning.  Yes, after my challenge to add Life to my Years, for two mornings I have gotten out of bed with my husband for the past two mornings.  As I said in the beginning I chose PREPARE because in the past I would PLAN to get up early, but never do the ACTION (: 

“Your attitude about who you are… makes a very BIG difference”

This is the part of this quote is what spoke to me this morning.  I know a few people who are very confident of who they are and all they have to offer.  Often, I may have the opinion that they are boastful, snobby, know-it-alls, etc.  Many times people who think they are “God’s gift to humanity” crawl under my skin.  I can see some in my head at the very thought (:

 But, this quote to me says MY ATTITUDE about who I AM… makes a very BIG difference!!!  I have the occasional “good attitude” days about who I am.  Days where I felt I have done well as a wife, a mother, an employee, etc..   However, those days do not come often enough –  I am my worst enemy on most days.   Most days I start the day off with a bad attitude and by the end, my “to do” list is still unfulfilled and I vow tomorrow will be a new day.

Scenario for a bad start… bad hair day, get on the scales to face another failure, clothes don’t fit well or are not comfortable, rush with the kids and get a little (or a lot) grumpy.  The scenario continues if I come home and focus on the big picture.  Scenario continues once the family comes home and I haven’t gotten done what I had hoped or they had a bad day.  Scenario continues as I prepare for bed to realize everything not accomplished… I wake up defeated and go to bed defeated.  He is right ATTITUDE can make a very BIG difference!!!

Also, throughout the day if I work or am out of the house, I will hear people say their house is a mess.  And I will say – come to mine and you will feel better about yours!  If they say they “need to loose weight” I would say stand next to me and you will feel better about yourself.   Why do I have to tear myself down to build others up?  Good question! (but not sure I have the answer except it probably has to do with the attitude I have about myself).

ATTITUDE is something that can be changed.  In addition, the many things I use to define my attitude of myself are changeable too.   Areas I currently use to “define” myself and how to PREPARE to CHANGE MY ATTITUDE on WHO I AM!

  • Bad hair – BUT, many would love my naturally curly hair, cancer patients would love just to have hair, and I can always take a moment in time and get it cut.
  • Scales – could choose either NOT get on them in the morning or do something about the number I see.  Either let the “number” define who I am, or look at the “number” as a tool to make decisions through the day (what I eat or avoid eating).
  • Clothes – clean out my closet – if it doesn’t fit or doesn’t feel good, get rid of it.  Some people could use the clothes.  Don’t save them for the day they may fit or even worse keep in case I gain weight back.  One purchase I made this week was a new nightgown – every time I was in Walmart I would look at them since they were butter soft and often would say I didn’t need to spend the $13.  I should have done it a long time ago – there is nothing like comfortable clothes that make you feel good in your skin (: Time to re-examine buying something because it is on sale and focus on that  makes me feel good!
  • Rushing – another choice.  I can get up earlier, get things ready the night before, try to accomplish less, or all of the above!
  • Grumpy – this is a choice.  I can focus on at least they made it to school.  Instead of grumbling – praying for a good day, strength to make it through the morning and the day, etc. 
  • Unfulfilled “To do” list – I can make the list REALISTIC, realize no one will die if the list is NOT done, break big projects into small pieces.  Another thing is I try to please everyone – maybe my goals aren’t even what would matter to them. If my goal is to make others happy, then I need to know what that is.  Otherwise, I set us all up for failure.

The choice is mine… when I undermine WHO I AM.. I undermine the work of God.  HE MADE ME!!   My attitude should look more like this

  1. I am a child of God – with Him as my Father the possibilities are endless! (“‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18, NIV)
  2. He created me and I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14  For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful)
  3. He gave me the perfect husband for me – so He can help me be the perfect wife for him – it all comes down to LOVE (I Corinthians 13)
  4. He gave me two wonderful children – so He can give me the knowledge to be the perfect mom for them – I just have to ask (James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given)
  5. Focus on what I can do through HIM and not what I can do by myself (Phillipians 4:13 I can all things through Christ who strengthens me). 
  6. Christ looks at the heart – not the outward appearance. This is not saying I should look like crap – lol.  But if my heart is right, everything else will fall in place.  I am MORE than the number on the scale  ((I Samuel 16:7 “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”)
  7. When I love myself – I am praising God for what He has created and opening myself to the ability to love others even more! 

Roosevelt was right — MY ATTITUDE ABOUT ME – can make a VERY BIG DIFFERENCE!!!

PREPARE to PUT LIFE in the YEARS

“Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years.”  ― Abraham Lincoln

I ran across this quote when looking up quotes from Presidents yesterday.  As I read through quotes by Presidents, I was quite amazed and fascinated.  I almost got lost in reading them.  This quote has been on my mind since I read it, and felt led to this challenge – PREPARE to PUT LIFE in the YEARS!

 Live a good life… Everyone will define “good” differently.  For some, it will be to have no children, a house, a car, and a job.  At one point in my life a good life would have been 4-6 children, a large home, a couple cars, and being a stay at home mom.  But, the Lord didn’t bless us with 4-6 children, we do not have a large home and I am not a full-time stay at home mom.  I bring this up only because I believe my definition of “good” was not God’s definition of “good” for my life.  He gave me exactly what I needed – 2 incredible children (when were told we would not have any), a roof over our heads, and jobs that allow me maximum time with/for my family… For me it is a “GOOD” life (but  I am learning God wants more than a “GOOD” life – He wants us to have a GREAT life).

It is not the years in a life….  As a cancer nurse, I have watched many people die before our timeline for them would be over.  But within their powers they put extra life within their remaining days, weeks, and months!  My mother was only 54 when she passed away.  But I do believe, other than the last frustrating years of her life when she lost her independence, she would say overall she had a pretty “GOOD” life – she experienced being a mom of 4 children, a roof over her head, a devoted husband, enjoyed grandchildren, and loved the Lord.   I think of Ed and Robin – I smile when she tells of their memories – the glasses of wine, the dancing… definitely sounds like life in the years (just wish there would have been more years together)

BUT the life in the years… Now this is where I really started thinking!  As I said before I have a GOOD LIFE – but I am not sure I am always putting life in the years!  I know I often don’t even put the life in the months, the weeks, the days, or even the moment! I think often I go through life by routine, by merely existing.  I get caught in the same routine – get up, take the kids to school, fix supper (rarely even new recipes despite a cookbook collection), work, go to bed too late, etc.   That is sad and inexcusable! Every day I wake up I am given another opportunity to put life in the day… and many days I blow it!

PREPARE to PUT LIFE in the years – what would I like to be doing and what have I let get in the way of putting “life in the years”?  And I don’t think it is about all BIG things, I think it can be putting life in EVERY day but changing little things…

1. Mornings – I am NOT a morning person BUT my husband is!  After 19 years of marriage this has not changed (:  But for the greater part of those years, I have missed out on getting up and kissing him goodbye!   What is stopping me – laziness (and staying up too late)!  Could I add more life to my years (and his) by sending him off in the morning and then giving me a little quiet time before getting the kids up… instead of rushing?

2. Supper – I love to bake and cook, but by my menu selections you would never know it. Often it is the ultimate recipes of “I don’t know”. “It’s up to you”, “I don’t care”.  As a result every day it becomes “routine”.  Another thing is our mealtime routine on how we don’t have one.  Growing up we always ate together and my mom cooked everything up with love… Could I add a little life to our family with a different supper routine – I can guarantee you YES (and Mary would agree)  – What is stopping me – laziness in changing “routine”

3. House – I would love to have a routine to my house, be able to invite people over without worrying what they will think about me, and have calmness when I walk in the door.  I always hear Nate Berkus say your room should “rise up to greet you”.  Our rooms rise up to BEAT you!  I have pictures from several years back and some things haven’t changed much – despite my constant verbal resolve.  What is stopping me – procrastination and pride and clutter!

A few things that could add life to my month

4. ROUTINE DATES with my husband – It will be 20 years in September since we were married and 25 since we started dating.  I could probably count on two hands the “intentional” dates alone we have had since then (not counting the work Christmas Party).  Last year we went to a concert with a group of people – but the BEST part was waking up early on Sunday morning and walking along the river atStation Squaredrinking coffee and holding hands!  Definitely dates with my husband belong on the list… What is stopping me – having to ask someone watch the kids, work and Jim’s volunteering!

A few other things that are not daily, but should be at least yearly…

5. ROLLERCOASTERS – I use to LOVE roller coasters and Jim loves roller coasters!!! Our kids not so much ):  Jim and I love Kennywood (especially potato patch), but we stopped going because the kids really do not.  Also, by having to watch the kids, I couldn’t go on the coasters… BUT, the other limiting thing for me is my weight!  Man, that hurts to admit it – but you can’t face something until you acknowledge it!  I don’t want to be the person who gets to the coaster and can’t fit…  What is stopping me – my weight – which is a changeable choice!

6. RUNNING – I admire the people at the beach who can jog along the water!  I often think I would love to be able to do that – it just seems so liberating.  I don’t necessarily want to become a runner full-time, but would love to say I could run a marathon or on the beach.  Maybe a good place to start is even walking that far (: What is stopping me – my lack of exercise and discipline (and weight).

 So what is stopping me – EXCUSES, EXCUSE, EXCUSES!!  Would the above list add life to my years – definitely!  And it would add life to my everyday – definitely! And would it add life to my family – definitely!  I guess I better step it up – it’s time to PREPARE for LIFE in the YEARS (and months and days and moments)!!!

Psalm 39:4-6 (NLT):  “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered —  how fleeting my life is.  5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;  at best, each of us is but a breath.”  6 We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing…..

PREPARE for FRIENDSHIP (Strengthen and Renewal)

 “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” – George Washington

Today is President’s Day and I love quotes!  So, I did some searching of George Washington quotes and this one popped off the page.  Facebook (FB) has changed the “face” of friendships for the negative and the positive.  It is what I believe would be what George Washington be considered “courteous to all”.

Over time I have added “friends” to my FB and have also ignored many “friend” requests.   I have also “hidden” friends posts because they become overwhelming in number (they FB everything), sometimes they have a different life perspective, or they may not keep their posts “clean”.   I think I have been a little too courteous and have accepted friend requests that in hindsight I wish I would not have added. For instance * they were “friends” for that time of my life / situation, but situations have changed * negative people that leave comments * people who don’t appreciate free speech and take things personally or go on defense, etc… I have become more cautious in adding co-workers, people in other professional relationships (teachers, physicians, etc…) I have never been into the various games (Farmville, etc..) so have avoided some “friends” that way.   

FB has been incredible in allowing me to reconnect with friends.  For instance,

  • I started on FB several years ago when invited by an “intimate” friend, Lynn.  We grew up next door to each other  and shared years of incredible memories from childhood, through High School (the Prom), and her military.  Over time, we grew apart due to distance and life circumstances, but so thankful to be re-connected.
  • A special group of “dance moms” when Mary danced. Over the girls stopped dancing together and the friendships somewhat dissolved.  To this day, I still believe I would be able to sit down with any of these fine ladies and likely pick up a conversation – likely about our girls – that brought us all together.  Mary and I are still close to one mom/daughter and thanks to FB we have reconnected to the others…
  • The friends established through various jobs I have had.  We shared many lunches together.  Shared in the pregnancies, children, work issues, etc…   There are a few I am close to and talk on the phone and thanks to FB reconnected with others…
  • I have also been able to reconnect with friends from our previous church, from High School, relatives, friends separated by distance, etc…

But the “intimate” friends are priceless.  They are the ones that I don’t have to talk to everyday to maintain the friendship.  The ones I can bear my heart and soul and get honest feedback or just a comforting hug.  The ones that if we haven’t talked for awhile, we can still pick back up on the conversation where we left off.   Washingtonrefers to a friendship as a plant that has to undergo and withstand adversity – my “intimate” friends have survived the tests of life / time.  They have my back (and I have their back too).

How can I PREPARE for FRIENDSHIP (Strengthening) or more importantly an “INTIMATE” friendship.

  • I won’t expect my “intimate” friend to read my FB status to know what is going on in my life – if it’s important, they deserve the call/text BEFORE the FB post!
  • If there is an issue/concern over our friendship it will not be a post on FB.
  • I will give them honest and loving feedback when asked for it (or needed).
  • 100% acceptance of who they are and support /encourage them in what they want to become
  • Know that it’s ok to disagree – just consider it a different/new perspective  (Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at ALL times)
  • Make and take time – to hear them, to learn about them, and to remember them.
  • Do little things that make them know they are loved – don’t wait for the big stuff!
  • Remember them in your prayers – praise God for the friendship and prayers for their needs!

Friends of all types are important.  I love my FB Friends and my “intimate” friends.  Although, with this blog, I feel like I have exposed a little more to the public than I normally would on FB.  I also know that only those that want to know more about me will take the moment to read it – just another step / opportunity to deepen a friendship.   Mary is learning more and more about friendships – the work it takes, the loyalty and betrayal, etc.  I assure her that friendships will change over her life and different things may separate the friendships.  For a (almost) teen, it is a hard lesson to learn.  As an adult, I look back at my friends over the years – many memories, many blessings. 

As I reflect on friends, I realize there are some “intimate” friends that have moved on through my life (by distance and time) that I still have not been able to reconnect with on FB (not because I haven’t looked).  Over time, Christmas cards stopped being exchanged (probably because I never got mine mailed out).   I miss them in my life and wonder where there lives have led them. Instead of living with constant regret, this is the week I want to PREPARE for FRIENDSHIP (Renewal).   I am taking the time to send a note, some pictures, and contact information.  They may not reach back and that is okay, but maybe they will reach out too and life will be richer just by knowing they are okay.  Maybe they haven’t reached out for the same reason I haven’t previously – life gets busy and though we think of people we don’t take the extra step and reach out.  Hopefully others will take on this challenge too…

“Intimate” Bible Friendships Examples

Ruth and Naomi : Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  There is an incredible song by Nicole Nordimen and Amy Grant about Ruth and Naomi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHZZyNGvOVY)

David and Jonathan: 1 Samuel 18:1-3 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.