Category Archives: Friendships

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. 

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Unexpected Responses

What I should be doing and what I am doing = two different things… but just need to write… So yesterday, I do believe was an evening of unexpected responses – a couple responses were ones received and one I “sent”.  I had a big discussion with two of my favorite girls last night about the power behind the “sent’ message by text, in their instance.  When I receive a text/email sometimes it is difficult to interpret the feelings behind the text/email.  I can’t see the face, hear the voice, or see body expressions.  It can easily be misinterpreted, and gave them specific examples.  I even gave them an example of a personal response on the phone. Mary had called me and she thought I sounded in a bad mood, but in fact, my rushing was so I could just wrap up and get done for the day.  When I called her back, she said you sound like you are in a better mood.  I said I wasn’t in a bad mood before just juggling about 10 other things.  So even though she heard my voice in a response she could not see what I was doing = misinterpreted response.

Yesterday my first unexpected response was from Jim inviting his family out for a night of family fun – no misinterpretation… only pure joy.  No cooking… heading for wings in Pittsburgh which also meant happiness for Sam (Toys-R-Us) and Mary (Mall) especially since I got her BFF Melissa to come too.

The second response was one she received.  I usually am the devils advocate about text that maybe things were misinterpreted.  She always hates that.  However, by doing that it opens her mind to the other side.  But this time, she was clearly hurt.  I completely understood.  Often times, she has me read her text to be sure that they should cannot be misinterpreted by the receiver.  I read the one sent prior and I believed it to be typed and sent with a pure and honest heart without hidden agenda.  The other problem I have learned with me and text is I want an instant response; however, just as every other communication, sometimes the response needs thought, the receiver maybe pre-occupied and not best time to respond, or sometimes there is nothing to be said.  Perfect example was text she sent was day prior… response received day later… her response back none.  I told her when she did not get a reply the day earlier they may not have received it or may not have been able to respond.  Sometimes it is easier to be silent than to keep the text flowing back and forth to add to the fire.   I am not often speechless, and she hates when I am, but I didn’t know what to say.  Sometimes it hurts when you get an unexpected response, from someone you love, especially when you put your heart out there.   We talked about how her initial text the day prior spoke for the testimony of her life, coming from a family that enforces asking forgiveness.  I told her I was proud of her for that, and wish I knew a way to fix the unexpected response back.  More conversation happened, but that will have to be another blog.

The third response was one I sent.  I had received an email, that I sort of expected to receive, but did not want to get.  I had read it earlier before our family night, but knew if I responded then it would be out of rush and not thought.  I wanted to just say NO to the question… and maybe that would have been wiser.  However, once I came home I sat and typed a response with SEVERAL edits.  I felt I needed to stand up for my personal needs in the situation.  I love to be flexible and help, but have learned over time that can place me in that constant expectation to change.  The change can then become morphed into my role.  I honestly have never said NO in this situation before.  I always go with the flow and adjust and change.  This morning, I gingerly opened the email, and no response back.  The problem with a slow response back is I don’t know if I will even get one, which means I do not know what the other person thought.  I am sure it will “cost” me at some point.  I do not have regrets about my response; however, some guilt for not saying yes.  I even started it by saying not sure how to respond… and ended with I am sure this is not the response you expected.  But, oh the uneasy feeling I have of the silence on the other end.

I think of dear friends – one cousin who received the notice that the lump was positive for cancer who had a double mastectomy… one friend who received the notice the lump was positive but thought treatment would be minimal; however, when the surgery happened it became more extensive and treatment plan changed – unexpected response from doctors… I have another friend who gets her results from her biopsy today… and another friend who gets her results next week…   I think back to Samuel’s diagnosing and though in my gut I knew the response – it still hit me like an unexpected response.

I am in the middle of a book about prayer (a blog later) and how I wish I would have prayed over the response before hitting send – I guess that would be the only piece of regret, so now of course I pray for a good response.  One of the guidance I always give to friends/ family/patients when waiting for a result is to pray for the best and prepare for the worst.  But, in hindsight, that really is hypocritical.  When I pray to God, I should just pray for the best and expect nothing less of him.  Does that mean it will always work exactly like I prayed?  No, but when I prepare for the worst, it may mean that I don’t trust him to give me the best (OUCH!), and I never thought about it that way!  Granted, the answer I wanted may not come when I want it (i.e. years of infertility), and may never come, but as I mentioned in my previous blog – it may be because there is a GREATER STORY He is trying to write!

I think my testimony continues in my response to unexpected responses.  Do I praise Him through the storms or only when life is smooth sailing?  My testimony is seen everyday by my children, and they learn from that.  I need to learn to pray intentionally over the small things – including my responses before I hit send or open my mouth – so I don’t sit now with some regret for not doing that with my email.   I also need to pray intentionally for the best answer, because my God is capable of things beyond my imagination (and Sam’s – which is one of the best imaginations I have ever witnessed – lol).

Isaiah 55: 9 ” “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”

Living a Testimony

Our Bible Study last night was on Hannah and there could very well be several blogs come from just that one study.  But in our conversation, we got talking about testimonies.  I mentioned how I am always fascinated by the strong testimony of the person who has overcome drugs and/or alcohol, living on the streets, etc… to a life walking with Christ.  I mentioned how my life in comparison did not really have a “testimony” in that sense because I was raised in a Christian home, have been in church since probably the first Sunday after I was born.  I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I dated my husband, who is also a Christian, for five years, got my nursing degree, got married….

On the outside, Hannah looked like she also had it all together – married, a husband who loved her more than all the other wives, etc… But, inside she was a mess.  In fact, she cried and prayed so hard it said that some thought she might be drunk.  She was honest with God and poured out her heart for the longing of a child.  I remember those days when everyone else around me had children, and yet we could not.  Despite infertility treatments and every test known to man, we were left childless.  On the outside, I kept working and helping to take care of mom.  We went to church.  I taught Sunday School.  I just couldn’t understand why God didn’t see us or didn’t answer my prayers.

Well, just as with Hannah – God does see me!  The study talked about that God was just waiting for a GREATER STORY.  Sometimes that story is in the waiting.  The story is when we get honest with God and not worry about our outward smile.  It is so funny, in hindsight, although I am often guilty, of putting on that fake smile to God, to my friends, to my family — the smile that everything is okay.  My friends and family may be fooled, and may appreciate the smile.  However, God knows me and my heart.  While talking, one of the amazing women there mentioned that infertility could be part of my testimony.  After I left the Bible Study I really thought about that.  I really do think God allowed our years of infertility for His glory, and of course, looking back it is easy to say that now.  Had He not waited, we would have missed out on the Greater Story – Mary and Samuel.

But then I got to thinking even more… my daily life is my testimony.  When I step out and say I am a Christian, my everyday actions are pieces to my testimony.  Last week we buried our Grandmother and at her graveside a man spoke up about Grandmother’s life.  How when he showed up at her doorstep, she welcomed him in without question.  Her testimony was her daily life.  Her testimony lived until her last breath.

So, what does that say about me?  I am not a “words of affirmation” person, but I do want my reputation to be my testimony.  Today I went through one of my work evaluations and it felt good to hear my strengths (so much for not being a “words of affirmation” person – lol).  My work ethic is part of my testimony.  It means being honest and working 100%.

Being a mom is part of my testimony. So part of my greater story is a beautiful teen daughter, but with that comes mommy/daughter melt-downs. How I handle them are parts of my testimony. The other part of my greater story is an amazing son with Aspergers, but with that come challenges.  How I handle them are parts of my testimony. Do I speak their love languages consistently? Do I praise Him despite the rough times as a mom, or only when things are going well.

Being a wife is part of my testimony.  Do I lift him up or tear him down?  Do I speak his love languages consistently?

Being a friend is part of my testimony.  Do I remember the little things for them?  Do I let them know I am thinking of them?  Do I honor their secrets?  My friendships are a piece of my testimony.

I don’t need a “big story” to be my testimony… I just need to live out the greater story He gave me.  Live it with greatness… Live it with gratefulness… Intentionally make my every day, my every action, my every word be part of my testimony.

Expectations….

Oh my dear blog… how I have missed having / taking the time to write.  Well, this week was Valentine’s Day.  There are probably three types of people 1. indifferent on celebrating but okay with that, 2. those that absolutely love it, and 3. those that absolutely hate it.   Actually, that summarizes it for most holidays.  Mother’s Day for me, for instance, is always bittersweet.  My mother and grandmother are both in heaven, and I remember the year after our miscarriage and all the years of infertility that I yearned for a child, but God had other timing.

Anyway, about Valentine’s Day… I generally am indifferent.  When the kids were in school and we had to send out Valentines, Mary and I always made homemade Valentines.  With Samuel, he seemed to like parties, but having to write the name of all the children and sign his name on 30 valentines were a little over-rated for him.  I had thought about getting the kids something this year, but my intentions never made it into an action (something I really need to work on, by the way).  Jim and I never get each other anything.  I use to buy or write him a card, but then realized that was never his “love language”.  Our first year of marriage he sent me flowers to work and well, I yelled at him when I found out how much they cost. STUPID ME!  Those were the last flowers I received.  I stole the blessing of his giving by being critical.  In hindsight, the words should have been Thank you and I love you!    So, for 20 years, I have not received flowers, BUT have honestly not been disappointed (a little more on disappointment in a minute).  And then this year, I received a package to me and I literally got goosebumps.  Enclosed were a dozen of beautiful roses from my awesome husband.  I was NOT expecting them and was speechless.  Sort of like the diamond wrap I got for Christmas that I was not expecting.  At first, I felt a little guilty because I had not gotten him anything.  However, that would have taken away from his gift and knew he expected nothing in return.

About disappointment – in the dictionary disappoint means to

Disappoint: fail to meet the expectations, hopes, desires, or standards of; let down

One of my biggest life changing attitudes / mottos is to EXPECT NOTHING AND THEN I’M NOT DISAPPOINTED!   It is one thing I have intentionally worked on (before I ever chose the word intentional).  This has been to my benefit many times in life, and I probably learned it more with each circumstance.  Some common examples,

  • I don’t expect any gifts for holidays or birthdays and am not disappointed when I don’t get them — but when I do, it makes the joy that much greater.
  • I don’t expect people to change their ways, but change my expectation and then I don’t boil over every time I think of them.
  • I don’t expect the garbage to be emptied anymore when overflowing, and now I don’t get upset and yell – but when someone does empty it, I am so excited.
  • I don’t expect to get an IRS refund anymore after generally having to pay in, so if it ever happens, I will be so excited.  Had I expected to get a refund and didn’t (and already had it spent on a new item) I would be devastated.
  • I don’t expect when I come home after a long weekend of work that the house will be spotless, and then I am not upset.
  • I don’t expect when I step on the scale that I have lost any weight – for      years I did that and felt so sad – and now if I do, I am just super happy.

When I use to expect things of people and they didn’t meet the expectations, it controlled my happiness.  It made me yell or bottle it all inside becoming ready to explode.

However, what often happens, I am learning is that with expectations, there MUST be communication.  For instance, if my expectation is that the garbage is emptied, I better tell them.  Too many times, people expect other people to do something, but never verbalize that expectation.  Much of that I learned comes down to love languages, and I know I refer to this often, but it is so true.  If I am a gift person and I want to be shown love by gifts, I better tell my husband.  If I don’t tell him and he doesn’t give me a gift – it is my fault because I never told him my expectation.  For instance, when we started dating I told Jim, “I will live in Markleysburg all my life and I will graduate from college with my maiden name.  If you are not okay with either of those things, we don’t need to continue the relationship.”  Well, that was 25 years ago and we live in Markleysburg (although I would probably be more willing to move now) and my college diploma has Knight on it.  It would not have been fair for me to not disclose that, or my expectations to have children, etc.

Probably, one of my biggest irritations in my professional life was when I sat down for a performance review and was told I did not meet deadlines.  Of note, I have never missed a deadline in my life.  I asked for clarification, and apparently, the person’s standard was that items were in 5 days prior to the deadline.  However, in my world, if it is due on Tuesday, you will likely get Monday night or 3am on Tuesday morning, and I would still consider it early because Tuesday could be interpreted at the close of business day.  She was disappointed in me, because I did not know her expectation was 5 days prior.

My problem still lies in my fear of disappointing others and myself. Here are some examples

  • At  first, I thought Jim may be disappointed because I didn’t get him anything and he got me beautiful roses.  Or at Christmas, he gave diamonds and his gifts were much smaller. I was      disappointed in myself that I had not done more.
  • There are often areas that I could use some help, but I won’t ask for it, because of fear that I may disappoint others that I can’t handle it myself or why I needed help.
  • I avoid being completely honest about situations, because I don’t want to disappoint people with my decisions I made.
  • So many times, I over commit to other people, because I don’t want them to be disappointed in me.

Oh, the list of how I disappoint myself and fear of disappointing others could go on.

I need to be more intentional of asking people their expectations of me.  What does my husband expect for me as his wife… my children expect of me as their mom… learning what Christ expects of me as his child….  Because, I truly do love them and want to meet their expectation (and even exceed their expectations).  And on the other side, if you are expecting something of me, just let me know.

But more importantly, I need to be INTENTIONAL about knowing MY expectations, hopes, and desires of MYSELF, and that requires taking the time to figure that out.

Happiness equals reality minus expectations” – Tom Magliozzi

Little things add up

I am learning in life slowly, and only wished I would have realized so much sooner, it is all about the little things.   Lately there have been several little reminders…

Someone had placed on their facebook this morning about little Ethan and the frustration that they had not rescued him and had only sent in Cheez-Its and Hot Wheels.  It was the first time that I had read what they said they sent in.  Sure, I am sure he would have like to have said send in my mom or dad.  But to Ethan, I am sure those little things were really big things.  I know our son would have likely asked for a particular toy and popcorn to bring comfort.  I think of those parents tonight with their son, and I cry!  1. He made it out alive, and 2. of the little things they notice that they had not noticed in awhile – the color of his eyes, how his hand clasps theirs, the length of his arms when he gave them a hug.  Of note, I am assuming the hand clasp and the hugs, only because we are blessed that our son with Aspergers expresses love with physical contact, and many do not.  I think of Ethan as he sees his parents after this very scary time and what he notices about them.  I can see him walking into his home and seeing maybe his pet, toys, DVDs and appreciating them like never before in his own way.  I pray that he can vocalize all that happened to him so he can heal.  Unfortunately, autistic children often have a hard time verbalizing their experiences.  I bet things that were once BIG (tantrums, homework, stepping on toys not picked up, etc.) to his parent will now see them as little things.   (I wrote this last night but heard the GMA interview with family and they kept saying what a special little buddy he is – I so understand.)

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, I know that I started looking at events, tantrums, taking too long, etc… as just small inconveniences and I was just blessed to have my children home and alive.  If it takes Sam thirty minutes to pick out his favorite toys then it takes thirty minutes.  If Mary procrastinates on a paper to the last minute, then she procrastinates.  Too many times, those little things were big things in my life that would cause me to become upset.

I LOVE to read posts about the little things in people’s lives — I am not talking about the shopping then cleaning then fixing supper… but the things that bring a smile to the person’s face that you can just see by reading the post.  Like I went shopping with my best friend and had a great time (I can see the smile). Or while cleaning I lifted the couch cushions and found $5 or for me a piece of Dove still in the wrapper (I can see the smile).  Or I can’t wait to fix a favorite meal for supper for my family (I can see the smile).   A good friend of mine on Saturday, celebrated the National Day for Eating Ice Cream for Breakfast — I could see the smiles even before I saw the pictures.  (Even though at our house you can have ice cream for breakfast everyday – well, because it is a little thing).

It has been since the beginning of November since I started posting a daily list of blessing.  That is approximately 100 days with 10 little things everyday so about 1,000.  I actually read a book about One Thousand Gifts, by Anne VonKamp.  When you start looking for the blessings they show up everywhere.  When I add the little things up you have a big thing – 1,000 blessings!   When I focus on the bad things that is exactly what I will find.  I am not to say that everything is happy all the time and I have no worries.  Friends will laugh at my life most of the time and try to figure out “how I do it all.”   But, I am so thankful that I am not the person I once was.  I was the person who looked at my career and took various jobs to say I did them – including one in Pittsburgh driving 2 ½ hours each way after dropping our beautiful daughter off at 4am to a sitter or Nanny’s.  It was a great job and as a blessing I still have a great friend from there.  But really… now, I do occasionally work too much, but even switched a day on the upcoming schedule so I could have Mary’s birthday off.  Because – it is the little things!!!

Samuel has really taught me about the little things.  I have a great friend who says everyone needs a Samuel in your life because he just makes you look at life differently.  Last week he started to talk about sort of missing school.  I was brave and asked what did he miss and he mentioned lightly friends and his teacher (it is those days it is hard and makes me wonder about the decision we made).  But then he said with the deepest sincerity, but I really miss my Science Book.  I was expecting the worst and he mentioned one of the smallest things.  (p.s. the third grade Science Book like Marclay’s came today and exclaimed but I wanted one like mine at school.  I assured him I ordered it too and it will be here soon.  He was so excited and has carried the Science book around and it will be “our bed time stories”. )  A quick look at Amazon and was able to get 2 Hardback Harcourt Science books for under $10 — it is the little things!

It is the little things that are important, like

  • Remembering people and their Words for 2013 – all 23 people and I could name them without looking at the list because it is important to remember that little thing – that one word.
  • It is getting a card in the mail or a small gift for no reason.- or better sending a card in the mail with no reason .
  • Lunch with a friend at their house over soup and fresh bread with kids playing in the background.
  • Friends who understands and loves your children and their quirks – that is a BIG thing!
  • Hot cup of tea EVERY morning from my favorite mug from an incredible friend that just brings a smile to my face.
  • Pausing to really listen to what Sam has to say, because he is just funny.
  • Stopping to read a bedtime story, when there are still dishes in the sink to be done.  But they will wait.  The dishes are the little things in comparison to the time spent with our child.
  • Finding the perfect pair of jeans for your daughter.
  • Talking to your daughter about inspirational quotes that are slowly covering her walls.  Quotes that build up after all the years of being torn down at school.
  • It is going shopping and spending 10 minutes in the cereal aisle in the grocery store because Sam exclaims “which one to decide.”  And not caring that it took 10 minutes.
  • It is riding to work with your husband and he holds my hand and drops me off at the door.
  • Watching Sam play in the snow and make snow angels and not even noticing the cold.
  • Talking to your family and knowing they have arrived safe in this weather.

Yes, it is all about the little things.  I am just so thankful that I “get it”.   So tonight as Ethan’s family hug him tight and are thankful for their son, for the little things… I too, am so thankful for the little things.  Thankful that I have been intentional everyday to list at least ten, when in reality there are hundreds of little things…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Braut

The Comfort Zones – part 2

So I started a blog yesterday on comfort zones and realized how long it was getting – how many comfort zones I had. Granted in life, many focus on how we should be comfortable, and many believe that the opposite of comfort is misery. However, for me, it is more about stretching myself beyond what I know and have always done, or what I have settled for, and admitting that where “I am” is not good enough. Here are more comfort zones that just need stretched a little – more relationships.

Extended Family (family outside our four walls). If my family needs something they know my phone is on 24/7 and I will be there! I love my family, but it is definitely an area of comfort and growth. I am blessed to have three older brothers, who have married great women, and had families. For awhile, we gathered only in crisis, but thankfully we now get together in the summer for a picnic and a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner. After mom and Grandma passed away our paths just seemed to choose different forks in the road. But, that is what happens when we get comfortable, time passes faster than we realize since we last talked or visited. Birthdays past and you try to figure out their age based on how old they were for our wedding. Family is different now, as I remember growing up and everyone went to cousins houses to play hide-n-seek, snowmobile rides, etc. and now cousins barely know cousins, especially my two because they are so much younger. It is definitely something to think about – how my kids miss out on knowing family. Comfortable can be sad in some ways. Mary and Samuel love family. They love to go visit, so I guess it is Jim and I that are the problem. After a week of work, it’s just easier and more comfortable to stay home. Samuel has offered Jim’s family (a total of 4 people) that I would work extra and pay for them to go on a family vacation. We see Jim’s family on holidays, talk on the phone, and some track me on Facebook (and will probably read this). We also see Jim’s parents when Sam wants to sleep with Poppa. However, I am beginning to realize that just may not be enough and have already posed the idea to do better with more family time. My Dad and Karen definitely do not get the visits they should. I try to check in by phone, and they know to call if they need something, but that isn’t enough. I have some intentional plans to work on that relationship too. All of this is not due to a lack of love for our family or a problem with distance for our family. It has just been NOT taking the time. As I said before one of my favorite quotes is “How you spend your time defines who you are.” Well, I want to be defined as a strong family tree.

Friendships. Life takes you through times and friendships change. I believe God places people in your life that you need to be there for that time. However, I also believe that I have not given attention to some friendships and as a result, they have shriveled. I miss those friends. This is one reason that I love about Facebook – to keep in touch with friends. But really, should they learn about my life or I learn about their life on Facebook (well, except for messaging – which I love the most). And do I read between the lines of their posts and see they are truly hurting? Do I pause often when I read a post and say a prayer? Sometimes I get too comfortable with friends and assume they will just always be there. I have one dear friend who was even with me (and just missed) Mary’s birth. She moved and we lost touch, I have tried numerous ways to contact her and have come up empty. Mary knew her as Aunt Tammy and I would love to share what an amazing young lady she is with my friend. I have friends who still live nearby that I have lost touch of their lives. Sure you could say it is a two-way street and they could call me, and well that is true, but they probably just have been comfortable too. And well, if neither of us reaches out, comfort can build a wall. I have some incredible newer friends, but I can’t say I am great a being a nurturer their either. New friendships sometimes take a little more care and attention to grow. However, it is a balance to honor both old and new friends. I know that I could call my friends and they would be there in a heart beat. I also hope they know if they needed me they could call and I would be there. But, whey do I wait for a crisis to stretch the comfort zone? I can drop a card, invite them to lunch, etc… Comfortable can cost me more than I wanted to pay.

Christian Walk. I have said this before, and you may tire of reading it. I was raised in a wonderful Christian home with church and Sunday School every Sunday without excuse. Our only vacations were to a Church Camping Weekend at Camp Harmony in Somerset PA. Oh the memories. I sang in the children’s choir, did the youth groups, and eventually taught Sunday School. Jim and I went to church together from about the third date. However, somewhere along the line I got comfortable. Sure I had a great prayer life during infertility (and a lot of anger too), then high risk pregnancy with Mary and Sam. I knew where God was when I needed Him, because He never moves, but was comfortable only going to Him on my terms. The scary/sad part is that there is still that tendency. Sure I listened to Christian music in the car and learned the words. Last year I resumed really reading and jumped into my stack by Christian Authors. They talked about stories from my childhood and applied them to life now. They challenged me to stop going through the motion of saying I was a Christian, but to put up or shut up. We became more involved in our church and the closer I moved to God the louder was His voice, which of note can be dangerous and/or comforting. (Dangerous because He asked me to move out of my comfort zone). I read more and learned to love my Kindle that read to me when I drove. I heard him, and started the Ladie’s Bible Study and it was the best decision I have made in a long time. I recently purchased several of my favorite chick flick movies and would play them over and over for noise in the background- some scripts I probably even have memorized (interesting how I could memorize movie scripts, but was lacking in scripture memorization). But then I signed up for an online Bible Study to stretch me a little more. I told a friend who introduced me to the author’s webcasts full of Bible teachings. Long story shortened. my ipod is filled with the podcasts, and now the noise I fill my head with is Bible teachings. The other night, I honestly was listening to a podcast and I got goose bumps and sobbed. I am realizing that my Sunday only approach was just too comfortable for far too long.

Being comfortable is not a bad thing when I am talking about shoes, but it definitely does not need to be a descriptive word in my relationships with myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, and definitely not Christ. Life is SHORT, and in a moment everything can change. If I am not comfortable with the intensity and time I put into my relationships… the moment is now. In this year of being intentional, I know that relationships need to be moved to the top of the list!

Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.” – Peter McWilliams