Monthly Archives: January 2016

FOCUS on the blesses and not the messes!

I am so blessed and that is where I will focus. Wow, what a year 2015 was. I fell short in so many ways. I didn’t ___________ (fill in the blank). My list would be pretty long. But a few things have brought things back into FOCUS for me and I hope they will you too! Today for example, I slept in… I wanted to go to church, and well… it didn’t happen. I can FOCUS on the sadness all day or I can 1. Make the most of the hours at home and 2. Watch one or more of my favorite online speakers (Steve Furtick, Priscilla Shirer, etc.).

I have been pretty hard on myself for not keeping up with people in 2015. My WORD FRIENDS got a little neglected. Honestly “my word” ACT got a lot neglected too. I wanted to get more done and reach out more. You should have seen the list I planned to accomplish when off for surgery. I don’t really have a great excuse but that I left life get in the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because I was always living, but because of the messy parts of life (my attitude, motivation, etc.). As I look forward to 2016, I have been blessed as I reach out to people for their words, that though I may not have lived up to my expectations, my efforts touched them. That is a different FOCUS.   To FOCUS on what I didn’t instead of the few times I could.

I listened to a message by Steve Furtick last weekend that we can choose to FOCUS on the messes of 2015 and the past or the miracles.   I don’t know about you, but I said I wanted to FOCUS on the miracles, the blessings, the right, the lessons, etc.   But, the days roll into each other… and my blessings fall into the cracks un-noticed. My grateful list has faded because I get so busy that I don’t pause for those few minutes to close my day with a thank you to God for the little things. My prayer life since returning to work has changed because I don’t make that time.   Let me just tell you… I AM FEELING IT!!!

Some amazing life changes have happened as a result when I FOCUS on the gratefulness of little things. I slow down. I breathe in. I smile.   Even more amazing life changing things happened as a result of my time on my porch swing with my empty cup waiting to receive from God (a great habit I started when off for surgery and time just passed without anywhere to be). (I started to cry just remembering that time). He honors a grateful heart… an empty soul… and every tear!

So today, since I missed church I wanted to start on one of many little projects and it required going through photos. I want to get a belated card out since I missed a Christmas card. I could say I was too busy but I was off work for 9 weeks due to a surgery and then the blessing of migraines.   But, it’s never too late to keep in touch, so Valentine’s Day or Easter the card may come. Anyway, I had to go through files and files of iphone photos and with every folder I opened, I smiled. My FOCUS became on what an amazing year our little family had. Trips and time together… Laughter and sadness… Sunshine and snow showers… Cuddling and chaos…. In the middle of the mess of life (the hard times, the struggles), some amazing beautiful times happened. I needed this today. I needed to FOCUS on all that is right to point my heart back in the direction it needs to go.

Our family has some BIG changes in 2016. On New Year’s Day, I resigned from my job after 11 ½ years. I made the decision, ironically, at the beach. The irony is because when I resigned my last position to go to my current employer, it was at the beach.   There is something about pushing pause on life and sitting in front of the huge ocean and watching the sun come over the horizon, and watching the waves stop exactly where they are supposed to, and the shells laying out beautifully saying “pick me”, and Sam swimming like a fish in the pool, and Mary falling in love with cheesy grits, and our family of four in a hotel room ordering chocolate cake from room service… that makes you get BRAVE because you know that what matters are the people in that room, and the God who controls that ocean and sun, has our lives directly in the palm of His hands. He was just waiting for me to push pause. I paused a lot on my porch when life slowed and truly believe that it was during that time, He made BIG plans for my family.   He sees us, He knows us, and He has GOT THIS! I just have to FOCUS my eyes on Him. It’s easy at the beach… and as I sorted through pictures and placed my beautiful shells (the most I have ever found there) in a big glass vase on my table as a constant reminder to FOCUS… Today on this snowy day in PA, can be as calm as that day in Virginia Beach… if I FOCUS my eyes in the right direction.

God has BIG BIG plans for us… but if I take my eyes off Him, I might just stumble (voice of experience). Thankfully, He is my heavenly Father and will brush off the dirt when I do, kiss my wound (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental), and get my FOCUS back once again.

So FOCUS on the blesses and not the messes — that’s my new motto!

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BRINGING 2016 into FOCUS!!!

2016… where has the time gone… so much more I said I would do, wanted to do, thought about doing in 2015 (and in the 45 years of my life prior…). But all that is gone… no regrets… just moving forward and time to FOCUS on 2016. That’s my word FOCUS!   This was a jointly decided upon word for me with the help of my beautiful family. It is the word I probably utter most to myself, as I have been more scattered mentally than ever….

I absolutely love choosing a word for the year to set my mind on. Every year I generally choose one to combat one of my largest weaknesses – procrastination. I have come a loooong way, but definitely a looong way to go! The biggest moment of reality for me is when our daughter started walking in my very deep footprints of procrastination. It took me watching her trip over her own footprints that I knew I had to change. I had to be the change I wanted to see in her. I have procrastinated everything from homework assignments, work assignments, and even my health with my do it tomorrow attitude. So as in previous years, my word will continue to help me fight the battle of procrastination.

I am finding I notice little things like I can’t remember where something is. When, I generally am the girl who can remember where anything is as long as I have touched it at least once. Even on Christmas, after shuffling things around to be ready for the day, I had misplaced my wallet. Keep in mind, the last prior place I had been was Walmart. All I could think of was that our account would be hacked, and that would be on top of an issue I was already facing regarding finances. After much loss of valuable time, I had to FOCUS of where I had been last and recall if/when I had touched it. I found it, in the bottom of a laundry basket that had been further covered with a load of laundry or two.

What’s changed… I multi-task more than over. I pause less than ever. If I were to dump my mind out on a table, it would resemble the bottom of my purse (or even worse my Grandma Frazee’s purse – lol). I would know everything in there, but some things would need to be thrown away, some would need removed but saved for a later time, and other things would deserve more care! Most importantly, it would make room for other things that needed to be in there!

I recently was off of work for about 9 weeks after a routine surgery. The last time I was off that long was to deliver a child. Well, when you are off and come home with a baby, there is no focus on the mama. This time, I could FOCUS on God, on me, and on family! I found a stillness that I didn’t remember existed. I sat on my porch swing almost every morning for weeks, holding my cup, empty before God, and listened! I blocked out the to-do list, which had shrunk immensely without work. I didn’t even touch my “while I am off” dream list including photo organization, lego organization, house projects, books to read… But I did restore ME… Sheri, the mom, the wife, the friend, etc. I was able to be there… physically and mentally… I could FOCUS on the people that mattered.

I watch Mary… when she is in “school mode” she has a focus – her planner for the week is done, post-it notes for the days work is complete, projects are organized, everything has a color. The end result of her focus is some amazing grades and a happy daughter! When things start swarming in that pulls her away, the focus becomes foggy, she gets flustered and feels overwhelmed. (I can relate).   Then she goes back to the steps she knows to focus and produce. …. (Of note, this beautiful system took place after a hard fall from stepping in my footprints of procrastination, and her watching me constantly refer to the importance of my calendar).

I watch Sam… his focus for whatever his passion is for the moment – Legos, action figures, or Minecraft. His concentration is amazing. He can block out the rest of the world and FOCUS on just that one thing. The result is an amazing creation and/or hours of play. He can become so focused on a project, that he can stay up most of the night or at times wake in the middle of the night to complete what is in his mind. The result is a calm and happy son!

I watched the movie War Room over and over recently. Life changing! When I was off, my porch was a mini war room. The peace after that time spent with God was priceless and poured into my whole day. But when I returned to my pre-surgery schedule, I let my old routine seep back in and I didn’t make time to go to God. When in reality is when I need that FOCUS most.  It is like a puzzle, with FOCUS (especially on God), all the pieces fit. Without that, I discover pieces are temporarily misplaced! (I say replaced because once I focus, I will find the missing item – Jim and Mary will both tell you… 1. If I have ever touched it, I will know where it is. 2. If it is to be found, it will be done by me, and 3. I won’t rest until it is found).

God has some amazing things ahead of me in 2016, I am sure! He promises in His word that He has a plan for me…. A hope and a future… Unfortunately, if I don’t keep my mind fixed and in FOCUS, I just might miss things, because I am so busy looking for the pieces I have misplaced. I think about binoculars (or me without my glasses), the object maybe in “view” but it’s just a blurb. With my glasses or binoculars, I can FOCUS on what it truly is.

It is only a day into 2016 and I have already made some changes…

  • My calendar has shrunk in size. If I have smaller “blocks”, I will be more careful to FOCUS on the things that should be there! (People over projects as Lysa Terkeurst refers to).
  • I have said YES to two major decisions that will change my FOCUS in a new direction. (remember the analogy of dumping out my mind is like dumping out a purse – it is getting rid of some of the garbage that took up too much space and making room for new exciting things – more in near future)
  • I am spending the weekend with my family. We have talked and laughed. They have listened to me talk about all the WORDs my friends have chosen. When I didn’t want to commit (another great word chosen by a friend) to FOCUS, I did a typical search looking for something temporarily misplaced and said (what I thought was under my breathe) FOCUS SHERI! They have since not let up to remind me why this is the word – FOCUS!
  • I chose a word… the one I was avoiding, because it’s the one I need most in my life most.

So a couple things I generally do in choosing a word is to look up definition, find a song, and find a scripture…

Definition (using verb – because I like my one word to be an action because in procrastination I put off, by choosing an action I feel it combats that habit more): 1. To be directed at something specific… 2. To direct attention / effort at something specific…. 3. To adjust to make an image clear

Scripture: wow there are a few… but I like Isaiah 26:3 as it is a promise to ME (paraphrase by me) – He will keep ME, Sheri, in perfect peace, when my mind is steadfast (FOCUSED) on Him!

Song / Hymns – Turn your eyes upon Jesus… Of note, I googled the words of the hymn just to be sure and found this interesting – The lyrics were inspired by the Gospel Tract FOCUSED, by Lilias Trotter… (no coincidence there – lol)…    O soul, are you weary and troubled?   No light in the darkness you see? There’s a light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!  Refrain: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

I can’t wait to watch FOCUS live out loud in my life… and watch your ONE WORD live out loud in yours!!!!