Category Archives: Christian Walk

ACT – FINDING MY FLOW (start digging)

On New Year’s Eve I was blessed to be at Virginia Beach with my family. Last year Elevation Church did an online praise party and I planned to watch, but being at the beach, some really loud neighbors, and getting talking to Mary, I became too distracted to fully listen to the sermon. Thankfully, they record them and I could enjoy once I got home. Mary had chosen the word FLOW for 2015, and the sermon from Elevation was “Find Your Flow” – Mary even said that’s a sign because she enjoys listening to Steve Furtick as well.

So, since I have been home, I have listened to this sermon about 10 times and every time I am convicted in a new way. He preached on Genesis 26:12-18 and how the wells were filled with dirt and used it as an analogy of my life and what block my flow from God? How I allow things to block the flow between me and Christ. In verse 17 he talked about how they settled in a valley but how sometimes I grow in Christ when I am in a valley / low place. Because when I am low, I tend to look up! In verse 18 scripture talks of re-opening the wells to allow the flow. Proverbs 4:23 talks how my heart is the well SPRING of life and how it needs to be guarded. But if I allow negativity, sin, complaining, complacency, regrets constantly bombard my thoughts and life, they are stopping my well – my flow between me and God. (if interested the sermon is at this link: http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/find-your-flow)

I think it hit me the hardest when he started giving examples of things that I fill my “wellspring” with – the dirt / the things – that block my flow

Complaining: Monday was a perfect example, the weather was COLD, there were internet connections causing major delays in me getting my work done, Jim wasn’t feeling well, we had to start back to school, I had an interrupted night’s sleep, I didn’t get up as early as I wanted, and the list could continue.   When I start a day like that – it truly stops any positive flow between me and God (and positive flow between me and everyone I come in contact with honestly).   Instead, my focus should be how BLESSED I am to be able to work from home, I am able to have the kids school from home, I got some sleep in my bed (versus a hospital bed), I got some extra rest by sleeping in a little later. Once, I focus that direction, my heart is less heavy, my stomach less knotted, and my hands unclenched.   I generally really focus on blessings / gratitude, but it is so easy to let one thought destroy a moment, a day, a week, etc..

Regrets: Ouch! So, it is New Years and well… last year I did not… lose the weight, read the Bible, work on my prayer life, fulfill my goal for encouragement, unclutter the house, control my spending, write enough blogs, and I didn’t OVERCOME (my 2014 word) everything I had planned. HOWEVER, the past is truly the past and I can’t change any of those things. I can stay in the past, or make progress toward the future.   S. Furtick mentions how some regrets are many years’ worth of “dirt” filling our wells. I can tell you that losing weight has probably always been on my New Years list. The beautiful thing is by choosing a word, I don’t focus so much on the list. The regrets, for me, are an attitude issue as well. I can focus on what I haven’t done or what I did accomplish. Sometimes I can accomplish big things, and sometimes I over estimate and have to take it in smaller “digs” to remove the dirt that stands in the way between me and God. I just have to ACT today to change the regrets, which isn’t easy, but in small shovel amounts, it is possible.

Complacency (another OUCH area): I call them my Eeyore moments. Where I excuse my responsibility by saying that is just how I am.   Or don’t do anything to change because it is easier to stay just the way I am. I also am great about making a list of excuses why they stay the same (I don’t have enough time to exercise or read the Bible, etc…) S. Furtick says how sometimes it is easier to dig a new well, but we really should be cleaning out the ones we already have (like broken relationships – instead of fixing the ones we have we make a new friend; like broken marriages – instead of fixing the one we have we get a divorce and a new spouse; like financial issues – instead of paying off what we already owe we get a new charge card).   I have been known to build new wells – my generally in the sense of taking on one more commitment. The bad thing is some of my wells (spiritual life well, self care well, friendship/family well, finances well, etc..) could use some clearing! I may have just a few shovel of dirt/ things in them getting in the way of the flow, but wouldn’t it be easier to remove a few shovels of dirt than a truck load full of issues. Some things have gone years without tending, and they are honestly major stressors for me (they would be on my “it drives me crazy list”). The stress of not taking care of them has / does / can get in the way of my relationship with God (and others).

  1. Furtick said something that really hit me as a nurse – if I don’t fix my heart issues, my flow between God and me, I will be living this year in a state of Spiritual Cardiac Arrest. As a nurse cardiac arrest leads to death, and I do not want a spiritual death because of everything I have allowed to block my flow.   So, what’s this girl to do?!?!? ACT by FINDING MY FLOW – I have to get busy digging. It may be something like an
  • Saying no to new wells
  • Taking care of me (now that is a really buried well – just saying!)
  • Creating a plan for neglected wells
  • Pick an accountability partner
  • Focusing on relationships
  • Rediscovering some of my passions
  • Reprioritizing my wells
  • Eliminating unnecessary for important (how I spend my time)
  • ACT by FINDING my FLOW!

Proverbs 4:23

  • (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
  • (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
  • (ESV): Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
  • (NAS): Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Matthew 6:21

  • (NIV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • (NLT) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
  • (ESV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • (KJV) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

OVERCOME discontentment

I have a million things to do, but God has blessed me with some sinus issue that requires rest! Plus, I just really needed to write. Yesterday was a hard day in church as I announced we would be leaving Sunday mornings because of a mandatory change in my work schedule. I do believe it is so true you don’t miss something until it is gone, or is going to be gone.   It will impact the whole family, because after all we are a den ( = We miss off/on, but we always knew we could return the next Sunday, and that will no longer be the case, which makes it more permanent. I had already told a couple of close friends. The one came to me after my announcement and gave me a big squeeze. Then after church another friend had already been thinking of solutions to keep us in touch (face to face not just facebook). It is the PEOPLE I will miss seeing every day to start my crazy week. Walking through the church doors and feeling unconditional love by some amazing families. Families who want to love on our family – the whole den!!! Sure, there is Facebook, but there is nothing like seeing a face, a smile, a hug, a handshake, and feeling the love!

Last night, once I was alone at work, I listened to a new podcast I discovered. The topic turned was about when live is hard that we don’t always have to be happy, but we can still be content! It was a podcast for moms, not a Biblical based one, but it sparked the verse in scripture about being content. Philippians 4:11b-12b “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. “ . The guest was speaking about a really difficult and disappointing turn her families’ life had taken. She said one day as everything fell apart, she didn’t have to be happy, but needed to learn to be content for herself and as an example to her children. It was as though the Heavens opened up and He placed that podcast on my phone. I was also so thankful for growing up in a Christian home and church that sparked remembering the scriptures planted on my heart to pull from.

Yesterday, also as I was leaving church, another friend reminded me that I always say that church is not those four walls, but the people inside. And that reminder was also needed, because that is so true. Yesterday was full of things that pointed to contentment. We sang “As the deer pants for the water, So my soul longs after You. You alone are my heart’s desire. And I long to worship You !” Psalms 42:1b. But does it really? Because if that was the only thing I longed for was Christ I would be content! I think the podcast hit the nail on the head was I have been searching for happiness (and control).

­When we go anywhere, Sam loves to say “he wants that house” (especially the one in Heritage Hills with the built in swimming pool!) He also will let his imagination go crazy and he is going to build a HUGE mall with a house attached. The mall will have ToyRUs, Red Lobster, Target, and a few stores just for Mary. It will be open 24/7 and I will never have to cook ( = I love his thinking, but he definitely has not learned content with what we have, because toys and red lobster = happiness. Contentment would not wanting more toys than he already has. I am sure, I do not help him learn contentment as I continue to carry in more Target bags, talk about wanting new things, grumble about what I don’t have.

There are days I am just like him, wanting more to make me happy (not to make me content). It seems universal that HAPPINESS is encouraged in society. I do enjoy reading about happiness (The Happiness Project by Rachel Rubin and her second book The Happier at Home). Over time I have really worked on GRATITUDE despite the circumstances… and now I think I need to LEARN CONTENTMENT!

It is really ironic how Paul, the author of Philippians was imprisoned and was still content. The speaker of the podcast was enduring things, but realized when she took her focus off of happiness and placed it on contentment; it made a huge impact on her life – one example she gave: she didn’t have a perfect living situation, but learned to be content she had a place to live.   I also LOVED that Paul said it he had to LEARN IT, which takes a process. He also had some HARD LESSONS that added to his learning contentment! I really would like to avoid prison (lol) – but if I was placed in prison, would I find contentment (praise God and thank Him for safety, for food, for a roof of my head)? Or would I grumble and groan over the horrible living environment, the nasty food, and him allowing me to get caught! What difference contentment can make it how he spent his days in prison. What difference contentment can make when I face daily life. Do I really need to go through prison to learn contentment? I do believe God gives me things to help us LEARN CONTENTMENT, and sometimes it is hard stuff (probably because I missed the lessons from the easy stuff!). I guess it hindsight it is not a coincidence that I didn’t “get to” my gratitude list. I was focusing on being happy – NOT being GRATEFUL and definitely NOT looking to CONTENTMENT.

Gratefulness is a little easier for me because I can usually find the silver lining in even a bad situation. One day, I would have thought being gratefulness was also equal to contentment. However, I realize it is not and I have a distance to go for CONTENTMENT. Being grateful for what I have helps me to focus on contentment. I also believe God wants me to do the maximum with my life. He does want me to be happy and not miserable. However, He really calls me to learn to be content in HIM! That HE is enough and I am truly okay where I am and with what I have despite the circumstances, including, when things do not go my way!

TODAY I was handed another new serving of mercies (Lamentations 3:23), and I choose to renew my GRATITUDE and work on my lesson in CONTENTMENT (a great possible word for 2015)! Am I happy about the change in my personal life that I had no control over – NO! But I can be choose to be content!

p.s. I googled for quotes on “choose to be content” and Happiness quotes came up – I think it supports that as a society we think happiness = contentment… and of course for many happiness comes from things and gaining more things which is NOT CONTENTMENT. Contentment is being okay where I am without another thing added, and if something is removed, LEARNING to be content again! Contentment is needing nothing more….

p.s.s. I have a long way to go… but every journey begins with a single step (A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Lao-tzu)

OVERCOME the BATTLES

Re-write # 3 of this blog topic. I think it is because I have been really struggling with some battles in my life. Some were chosen by others and some small ones I brought on (because I took my focus off positive things and focused on negative).
The big battles have caused impact to my family, and well, a mama in the battle for her family is intense. I felt guilty for a while when I considered them battles, because there are many others facing life/death battles. But I was reminded of a conversation I had a long time ago (and believe even wrote about), that God cares about all things of our lives. Big things and little things. I shouldn’t compare my battles with someone else’s battle AND I serve an amazing God that can handle every single one!
I have read through some scriptures for answers – after of course, I worried and tried to face it all on my own. Because, you know, God has too much to do to worry about my little battles. Not to mention, I surely know what I need more from my small little view than God’s view (LOL!).
So, as I went in to face my second battle in the same week, I said a little prayer – actually a little request of a prayer…. I only had a small window of time and really needed a parking spot so I could run into my meeting. And sure enough, I pulled in and found a very close parking spot. It was a little sign that spoke LARGE VOLUME to my soul, that I was not going into the battle alone. He was going before me! I didn’t win the battle, but I did win some compromise.
I was so distraught, because I still had to deal with the outcome. I also had another battle brewing also affecting our family. I can’t even describe my inward turmoil. I cried… couldn’t eat… over ate junk… got sick to my stomach (literally)… lost even more of my limited sleep…

So I eventually searched scriptures (which is what I should have done BEFORE the meeting)
2 Chronicles 20
Vs 2. There was a vast army coming against them – that is exactly how I was feeling. I was feeling attacks from various battles.
Vs 14 – The Spirit of the Lord came…
Vs 15 – This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. How many times do I worry, fear, become discouraged instead of repeating – even better repenting – God this is YOUR Battle!
16 Tomorrow march down against them. (and the spirit even said how they would be attacked – and they listened….) Do I listen when God sends His Spirit to tell me where the battles will come. Or am I so busy in making MY plan and stressing I can’t hear Him.
17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’” – He tells me I just have to show up! Show up, stand firm, and trust Him and watch HIM DELIVER. I am also a little amused that they also had to have repeated instructions to Not be afraid or discouraged!
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. What is their reaction to the battle  that is coming the very next day? They fell down in WORSHIP! What was my reaction leading up to my battles?– worry, stress, loss of sleep, eating, crying, vomiting!!! It was NOT WORSHIP!
19 Then some stood up and praised the LORD with a very loud voice. Did they do it quietly in their home? NO THEY STOOD UP and with LOUD VOICE they PRAISED Him! They would have blasted it all over facebook!  They were seen (by standing) and heard (by loud praise).
20 Early in the morning they left – they set out, Jehoshaphat (the leader) stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” – They  got up early instead of hiding under the covers.  They didn’t moan and groan it wasn’t fair.  They set out.  They are reminded right before a battle that could cost lives! HAVE FAITH and you will be UPHELD. So it is when my faith wavers that is when I FALL. If I keep faith I am upheld!
21 appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” Again THEY SANG and PRAISED HIM!
22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men who were invading Judah, and they were defeated – they showed up, worshipped Him even as they were being invaded. They stood firm, they kept their faith, and GOD DELIVERED!

What an amazing example and reminder – 1. Be still so I can hear the spirit directing me, letting me know a battle is coming, and the assurance that God has this battle. 2 Praise and worship God loudly in ADVANCE of the battle in full confidence it is HIS battle. (So much easier to worship and praise when the battle is over and I win!) 3. SHOW UP with truth, righteousness, readiness, faith (The Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18). 4. Just keep PRAISING and keeping my faith!

I have some choices to make after the battles I face/am facing. I must keep praising and keep my faith (regardless if I win / loose the battle). I still have a few battles raging. I love this verse too – Exodus 14:14 “ The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Stillness is not my typical response, and neither is praise.

I do pray for wisdom for the aftermath of the battle(s).
1. Do I let the battle keep me knocked down and feeling defeated and sorry for myself?
2. Do I get back up, brush myself off and move forward?
3. Do I look at the battle as a blessing and figure out a good outcome?
4. Do I choose to stay with the same leader, or do I change?
5. How do I share the outcome of the battle – do I destroy my opposition with words, do I praise Him for the outcome, do I praise Him regardless of outcome?

Not only is God watching and wanting my praise. But others will WATCH my reaction to battle. I am human and thankfully God is loving and forgiving. The example above, the leader was an apparently well trusted leader, to convince all of his followers to also break out into songs and praise! I want to be under that type of leader – HE LED by example! He didn’t send everyone else into battle as he hid.  He listened for / heard the spirit and obeyed. He united everyone and led them. They trusted him. He didn’t waiver – didn’t become discouraged and worry. Again, I want to be under that type of leader.

I pray that when I lead/follow in small and large battles, I am that kind of leader or follower. Even in my own home. Do my children see me listening for GOD’s guidance (not just guidance from friends), breaking out in song and praise as I face battles (I can assure that is NOT what they saw)?  Not only does the world watch me, but more importantly my children watch how I fight, how I lead (if I am the leader), how I follow, what I stand for, how I handle the battles outcome (win/loose/compromise).  I can say at first I couldn’t see the good in the compromise and I spouted at home and to others.  I now can look at the one battle and see the positive… I can see how God was there from the parking space and beyond.  I know I have some more praising to do… as more battles approach.

OVERCOME my negativity…

I love Christian/Worship music and almost always listen to KLove in my car, but there are spots that there is nothing but static.  Static drives me crazy!  I also really enjoy silence in my car; however, there are times I need to block out my thoughts!  I figured out how to download podcasts on my iPhone because I like to feed my mind with things that make me think.  However, I did not know that podcasts would automatically start when I plugged my phone in to charge and over my radio.  The first one was about Breathing Room by Andy Stanley.  I wanted to turn it off, but felt like I was meant to listen to it, but it made me think deeper than I wanted too.  Sometimes I just want to escape “lessons”.  The second one was by Joyce Myer and about the Power of Words.  One of the first thing she said was about the power of negative words.  Words that come out are because of what our heart is focused on.  OUCH!  So, when I am ugly, it is a result of what has been festering in my heart and mind – OUCH!  She is right my ugly words are not just about a new moment, but things I have been festering.

The first area is about people.  Over time, my tolerance of people has shortened.  I just started to type a list of negative people and people who drive me absolutely crazy and I realized as I typed the list of people I could place specific names, situations, etc..  I honestly had no idea how bad it was until my list was growing and festering in my heart.   Though I try to control my words, I know they spill out of my mouth, and now I know why.  I have allowed them to take up valuable space that can be filled with positive thoughts.  Specific example that I did OVERCOME fairly recently was in regards of my children and their speeds.

  • First Sam – he has one speed – his!  I learned much earlier with him to not let his speed drive me crazy.  When I do find myself faltering in that area, I realize it is usually my fault because I got us up late, didn’t have him get things ready the night before, etc… So I offer him grace for my mistakes and know that no matter how many times I say I hurry up, the speed stays the same – his! It just leaves me frustrated, so I now just focus on the blessing of a little boy with an incredible imagination that has to leave the house with the exact right thing.  Also, if I hurry him and he forgets something the day will just go downhill. I also just remind myself how blessed I am to have him in my life!
  • Mary has her own speed as well.  There are the days I miss that I could say let’s go and she could be ready in 5 minutes and out the door.  Those were the days the clothes didn’t matter and neither did her hair, her face, etc…  But, now she likes to look nice in her own style (which thankfully includes multiple layers – lol), have her hair fixed (which can take awhile with her long curly hair – which I have to remember), and her makeup on.  Again, no matter how many times I say hurry up, it doesn’t speed the system.  We both just get frustrated.  So now I try to warn the night before and offer more grace when its last minute plans.  I learned when I use to take her to school not to get in an argument about being late or time issues or her forgetting things because it ruins both of our days.  I still practice that principle as much as possible.  I also count my blessing that she cares enough about her self enough to care what she looks like when she goes out of the house.   I am especially blessed when I go to places like Walmart, etc and see how kids/teen/adults dress and look!  Blessed to have a beautiful daughter from the inside out!

So, now to learn to offer the same grace to the other annoying people.  A friend of mine who chooses a word each year wanted to have her young sons choose a word.  A word that describes overlooking things done by their brother, etc.  We came up with Grace.  The power of learning that word in early childhood, but if they can learn it, surely I can too.  Where do I start to OVERCOME negativity?

  • I have already hidden certain people from my FaceBook.  If I continually see their posts and they continually drive me crazy they will continue to plant seeds in my heart of annoyance.  And if  keep building the seeds the negative will also likely flow from my mouth.
  • The next thing I need to do is to think of one positive to say in my head when I see them.   My hope is that I can replace the negative things I feel about the things they do/don’t do, the thing they say, etc.  with a positive affirmation.
  • Stop keeping record of wrong.  I can be great about keeping a tally in my head of all the things that people have done that annoy me.  I can then easily pull them out of that brain file and shove more stuff in as it happens.  I then put the file back into my memory to retrieve and add to the next time.  I am just being completely honest.  My prayer is that I can pull the files out when I see that person and just empty it and stamp FORGIVEN, just as Christ did for me.  How liberating.
  • Some situations may require me to have an honest conversation and clear the air.  This will definitely require me to have a gentle heart and a sincere reason to heal the relationship.  It can’t be to make me feel better or to just dump out the file.  I have to remember if I can’t talk to the individual, I shouldn’t be having a conversation with someone else about them.
  • My thoughts and words affect my attitude toward people.  I will blame some of this on age and I believe a hormonal switch taking place.  I can walk into a room or just read a facebook post and I can feel an instant attitude change.  Here is a thought maybe it is me with the problem and not the other people!
  • Another point Joyce mentioned was the importance of blessing people.  I think I need to start blessing and not cursing. A great prayer to say over everyone.  Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’…

I truly believe that my negative words – whether spoken out loud or to myself – have been sucking some serious energy out of me.  I am literally letting people drive me crazy – or I should say MY THOUGHTS about other people drive myself crazy!  I can OVERCOME my thoughts… after all they belong to ME!

A Word Search….

MY ONE WORD.  Starting in 2011, I heard about choosing one word to guide/lead my year instead of the list of resolutions that I would give up in one month.  In 2011 my word was renew.  In 2012 I chose prepare and started a blog which I believe helped me to live my word out loud.   In 2013, I chose the word intentional and had over 20 people join me in choosing a word (10x the year before).  Through this past year I have seen people “live their word out loud”, have received personal messages of how their word changed a moment or day, and encouraging messages when they saw things to encourage me.

I have already been having conversations with people about their word for 2014. I have started to think of some words and I will likely do several blogs over my thoughts and ideas for my word.  It is a work in progress, and more importantly, I really have to pray over it.  Listening for the whisper that I found “the one’.  I can’t wait to hear the stories of how / why people chose their words.

In order for me to live my word and be reminded of my word so it becomes part of my daily living I have done the following:

  • Placed it on post-it notes in my calendar, my car dash, etc.
  • Have made magnets with the word (that I also sent to people who shared their word)
  • Put the word as my phone screen saver when it was a little harder to be intentional
  • Make it a password (combined with other symbols – lol) for a website
  • Made the song I chose as an alarm song
  • Wrote a blog.

What I am happy with in 2013 with INTENTIONAL

  • I started strong and ended strong – got a little relaxed with it in the middle
  • I was intentionally grateful almost every day to count my many blessings
  • I was intentional about reaching out to others with their words
  • I got intentional about getting my garage clean
  • I became intentional about my relationships with my peers (rough one)
  • I got intentional and did my first 5K in honor of Sam.
  • When I got stuck in a rut/mood/emotion, I would be intentional about a solution
  • I am intentionally NOT focusing on the areas I didn’t do what I hoped

For those who shared their word, I want you to know how much it means to me.  I loved reaching out and sending a note when I could, thinking of you even on vacation, etc… To me the ONE WORD is so personal!  I have everyone’s word with me every day on my phone.  When I go places and I see your word on an item I stop and say a small prayer and smile.  I have all your addresses so I can drop a note no matter where I am.  SO thank you for letting me part of YOUR ONE WORD!

The process of finding my word:

It is so funny for me when I start talking about a new word, all these words are in front of me suddenly and I think “That is a great word!”  And start a list with them.  This year my list started when I saw or heard a word:

  • The word list all started this year for me when I was finally intentionally cleaning our garage and came across a block of wood with the word SIMPLIFY on it.  By the way, today as I was going to let the dog out I looked down and saw the word SIMPLIFY as a title of a book I own (and didn’t know I had).  I put a second check by that word because I feel like maybe that is a second whisper for that word.  It is like I am taking a tally of how often I have thought of a word.
  • I listen to Elevation Network and a sermon I listened to recently made me add a very simple word.
  • I heard a song by Laura Story and thought that would be a great word and a great theme song.  I will share more about my words when I do a little more evaluating (that is a good word too!)

I also like to look back at previous years.  So, looking back at 2012 Prepare and 2013 Intentional, I think I was stronger with Prepare and here is why.

  • I realize one of the biggest difference is Prepare is an ACTION VERB – I had to do something.  Intentional is more of an adjective or a thought, and no action required.
  • For 2012 my blog titles included my word PREPARE in the title.  For 2013 I got a little more relaxed about writing and didn’t even include intentional in every blog.
  • In 2012 I put PREPARE at the top of every to do list in CAPITAL LETTERS, wrote it on every month of my calendar.  In 2013, not so dedicated (Oh, another good word – see what I mean, every word can become MY word).

However, I have no regrets about my word, it was where I needed to be in 2013.  In fact, I have truly used it a lot the past two months taking care of things that have been issues for years.  So even if it didn’t impact my life daily or weekly, it has made a huge difference overall in the areas I applied it.   I had a conversation with a friend and she only saw her word become alive only in one area or her life.  My reply was maybe that was the area God wanted you to be in, and not have your word cover your whole life.

So here are some guidelines so far for my selection, because I realize the power of a word.

  • I am leaning more towards an action word (for example, instead of commitment I may choose commit.  Instead of determination, I may chose determine).  Of note, I have a few in the running that are not action words.    But I think an action word in comparing the years is a little easier to LIVE OUT LOUD!
  • I also want to make a list of things that I have struggled with this year to see if I can find a powerful word to lead me passed those things this year. Also, look at areas of service, community, etc.. that I want to participate (another great word) in.  Please note this not resolutions of I will loose 10 pounds.. I will exercise everyday, but health is an ongoing issue for me.

So, I am INTENTIONAL about finding the best word for me in 2014.  I want a word that is like an invisible tattoo that I can see when I look in the mirror and people can see living out loud in me.  Or maybe I should start getting a tattoo with all of my words for a reminder!  ( =

I can hardly contain the excitement of hearing what other people decide!!!

Computer Error Messages and life….

Two messages I seem to get from my computer – No network connections and Not Responding.  How true to life these phrases can become.   Of note, these drive me crazy.  I don’t want to slow down and these phrases result in my speed going from high speed to stop.

The same thing happens in life it seems, I loose network connections.  For instance:

  • I loose contact with friends over time because the connection becomes weak.  I think of my childhood BFF and how we had drifted apart over the years.  It wasn’t that I didn’t miss her, but the connection had gone.  She had moved away and I remained in our hometown.  Her life led her down different pathways and mine kept me here.  However, life events brought us back together and our connection is strong.  We text at least a few times a week and feel like we have picked up where the connection became weak.  I am so grateful for the technology network connection of Facebook and texting that got us back here.
  • I also loose connections with friends and family close by.  Life gets so busy and the hours get filled with things.  My calendar has multiple appointments. I already deplete myself of sleep to squeeze more things in.   Last week it worked out to go out with a couple friends to celebrate a birthday.  It had been over a year, and probably closer to two.  Our conversation and laughter was non-stop.  Did I get any further behind in the day because of the celebration?  Likely not, and even if I had, the reconnection of the friendship network gave me a renewed energy.   As the holiday season quickly approaches may I find more network connections and strengthen them.
  • I also loose my network connection with God at times.  It takes planning and effort to maintain any relationship.  I know, from experience, one-sided friendships really don’t work.  Being the friend is always seeking out the communication and connections can get weary.  The same goes for God.   He hands me the world, but at times I get so wrapped up in the world and everything I want that I miss what is right before me.  Some would say the relationship must be maintained on Sundays in church.  And though, being with my church family does my heart good, it is not the deepness I need.  To me that’s like dating once a week.  It’s like dating and marriage – the more you go out / the longer I am married the more I know my husband.  I know it needs to be a daily event, and well though I speak to God daily, there are times it is honestly shoved between other things I need to get done.  Maybe it’s a short prayer (not that He won’t hear them), or a quick praise (not that He won’t appreciate that).  But, I can’t expect to spend little time with Him and learning about Him and expect to develop the deepness in a relationship.
  • Some of my strongest network connections with God are while driving in the car.  Sometimes it is the perfect song that comes on and I just sing to the top of my lungs (Sam is not in there to tell me to stop).  But often, I intentionally shut the radio off and just spill it, like He is physically sitting next to me.  However, I know that my network connection strength can vary daily with Him.  I have to be the one to take the next step.  I love to listen to the ElevationChurch (Steve Furtick)  podcast and listen several times a week.  When I get to read or have my Kindle read to me, it is a Christian Author, just so I can fill my mind with positive thoughts.  I also have gotten much better about Prayer with FaceBook because I love to lift people up.  They may not come out and say they need a prayer, but I know in my gut they do.  It is one moment in time to lift that person up to a God who already knows their need.

My network connection is definitely a continual work in progress, and I am thankful I serve a God who loves me because of who HE is, not because of what I do.

The other annoying computer issue is “Not Responding”.  When I pull up a computer page and it says it is not responding I want to scream (and Sam does especially if Netflix or YouTube – lol).  There are several other times:

  • I can tell you in every day life, it drives me crazy when I send out an email, a phone call, a text, etc and I do not get a response.  I of course analyze it and feel sometimes disrespected, less important, etc.
  • I have children and a husband, and one thing that can drive me crazy is to yell there name (when they know I am fixing supper) and to get no response or a response of what.  They are NOT responding, or at least not how I want them to.
  • I mentioned earlier that I often reconnect in the car.  Lately, I have been doing a lot of outside work preparing the yard for winter.  Normally, I plug in a podcast or some music and reconnect my network.  However, the last few times I have found myself brewing over some things.  Rewinding them in my mind and hitting the repeat button.  During this time, I have been talking out loud and I am sure God is listening intently.  He is likely expecting my praises and prayers and all He gets is my moaning and groaning.  I am NOT responding the way He wants me to, and He already knows He is NOT responding the way I want Him to (after all, I have some great solutions if He would just listen – LOL).   Of course, the more I brew and hit the rewind button, the more I spew.  It rolls over to my husband in some of our deeper conversation.  What happens, he does NOT respond to my issues (or at least not how I want him to – remember I am the one with the solution – lol).
  • Occasionally (often), our dog does NOT respond the way I want her to.  I can yell and scream at the top of my voice and it may not even touch her reaction.

God, I am sure, sits on His throne, and yells at the top of His voice, and I don’t respond the way He wants me to.  I get so wrapped up in my ways, my visions, my thoughts that I warp them to being “God’s will”.  I have heard people say that such and such is God’s will for their life, and I think to myself “they need a hearing aid”.  From my view point, they are not correct.  However, in Isaiah 55:8-9 it reminds me that His thoughts are NOT my thoughts.   I think of men of the Bible like Jonah, who didn’t initially respond to God’s instructions – he got swallowed by a fish – and in the end did exactly what he was suppose to do initially  had he just responded.  Oh, so many days I am like Jonah, running, instead of just responding.   As irritating as it is when I encounter NOT responding by others, I can only the magnitude that Christ feels everyday.

So maybe the next time I see the No Network Connection and Not Responding on my computer, it can be a self check for my life, my relationship with others, and mostly my relationship with Christ.

In honor – live louder… love harder… dream bigger….

I have been blessed to be a nurse for over twenty-years of my life.  As I type that very sentence I actually am crying over the lives that I have taken care of.  Many of my years were in bedside nursing with cancer patients.  They were always so grateful for the care you provided them, but in reality the gratitude was from me.  They touched my life in ways I could never explain.  Their courage, their strength, their resolve is second to none.  They opened their hearts completely, because when you know your diagnosis can lead to death, you really have NOTHING to loose.  However, we are all going to die with or without a cancer diagnosis.

I mentioned in my last blog about the four women I know fighting cancer, and one lost that fight just a day after my blog.  It truly breaks my heart.  I didn’t really know her well, but I know that she had an amazing family and children that she left behind as she walked through the gates of heaven. She was a nurse and I am sure she will be met not just by family and friends, but all the lives she cared for that preceded her to heaven.  I know how hard loosing a mom is and cry at just the thought of the pain.  I know how hard my mom’s death was on her mother (Grandma Frazee) and my dad.  But, I cling to the many memories of my mom and the life she lived and taught me.

I held the hands of many patients and their families through diagnosis, through treatment, and death.  In fact, I can close my eyes and see the room number and give you names.  When I worked at the bedside it was easy to remember how fragile life was, as I had the daily reminder.   I still see some patients that I cared for in the community or recently when someone was visiting a family member.  I saw him and knew his face and even his room number.  He laughed.  Those I don’t see physically I can close my eyes and see I could honestly name hundreds and the memories we shared.  Maybe I need to close my eyes a little more often to remember them and to honor them.

As I mentioned, we are all guaranteed death.   Most patients would say how the diagnosis was the wake up call for priorities.  I have also taken care of trauma patients who never got the “Wake up call’ but were still faced with a life altering event.  The hardest were probably the ones who did not survive an unexpected event (trauma, heart attack, stroke, etc..) and never had the chance to say everything, do everything, reprioritize, etc.   I think of even my mom, whose life was taken early. But prior to her life being taken, so was her walking and ability to care for her family and herself.

I see death many days still in my nursing career.  I also have 3 close friends/family diagnosed with breast cancer just this year.  However, so many days of my life I live like it cannot happen to me.  I don’t live to the fullest.  I hold back on dreams and desires.  I waste hours each week on things that will not matter.  I get wrapped up in drama that is not necessary.  I let too much time pass before I reach out to family / friends.  I let my heath go because of course obesity and diabetes won’t kill me.  I let my life and home be cluttered by things that hold no value. I hold back on my hugs, love, and laughter.  I don’t slow down as much as I need to.  I get absorbed into the daily news and let it depress me.  I don’t make the memories because I don’t have time (really I don’t make time).  My priorities are often out of order.  The list continues…

Why is it I often need the BIG events to wake me up and re-evaluate.  I have many in my memory bank.   But, unfortunately, I quickly get back into the daily rhythm of life and go back to living my daily life and throwing away many precious moments.  I have always felt I should not let someone’s diagnosis or death be in vain.  I love seeing fundraisers for a great cause, scholarships established in honor of a loved one, etc.    Their life, their fight, their battle should be my wake up call.   For my mom, I should walk everyday and praise God that I can.  For those who are no longer here, I should hug more, love more, and make sure my words and actions count.   I have watched my friends with breast cancer continue to praise God through the storm while being honest of how tough the battle.  I should let their battle permanently stamp an imprint on my heart to LIVE LOUDER, LOVE HARDER, HUG TIGHTER, DREAM BIGGER, DO BETTER, and MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

My prayer, Dear Lord, is first you comfort those who has a loved one who now resides with you.  Wrap your loving arms around them so tight they can feel your breath.  May their life and those who continue the battles, the struggles, be a daily/constant lesson and reminder to me that life on this earth and in this body is temporary.  Help me honor them by living my life  intentionally to the fullest without excuses.  May the close of every day I reflect and know I honored them, my family, my friends.  That I was in fact a good and faithful servant.  And anytime I slack into my old ways, may I be (gently) reminded of the preciousness of every moment.  Thank you for new mercies everyday.