Life Changes

Just nine days after my previous post, he proposed and I said yes! It was a whirlwind engagement and we learned a LOT about each other. I would jot things down and think I will get to back to the blog. It did not happen. There were holidays, a wedding to plan, house to sell, birthdays, events, and so many decisions.

Now I will share those stories and lessons I learned with you over the next few months.

Lesson 1, breathe! Time drags so slowly and quickly at the same time. Enjoy each moment and don’t be afraid to be happy.

Absent

I have been absent for several months. During those months I have mostly been present in my life and with those closest to me. This site/page is just for my ramblings. It is not to be some super duper blogger. Just a way to share thoughts and such so why do I let comments from people get to me? I am human. It is not easy when people critique your life, style, choices, what you write, etc. I am here to be me, to share me not to be someone else.¬† Sooo this week I will see if I can get back ūüôā IMG_3411.JPG

Joy, Peace and Hope

In a stressed out, chaotic world, I can still have peace. I can live a joyful life because I have hope in Him.  It is when I try to do things on my own, when I try to do things within my power instead of through Christ that I begin to feel stressed and drained.

When I let go and give it all to God, He can begin to show me, lead me and guide me. When I try to work things out I sometimes get in the way of God’s will.

I become tired trying to do things¬† on my own.¬† ¬†I become stressed and overwhelmed. I become ineffective in the my daily life and daily walk. It’s not that I am being stubborn and intentionally trying to go against God. It’s in my nature to be a problem solver, to take action and get things done.

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When I find myself drained and worn, it is time to stop take a breath. Time to assess what is draining me, why am I so worn.  Sometimes I need to rest and sometimes I have to press on.

Even when life is crazy and nothing seems to be going right, I can have joy. Even if things are chaotic and I am in the midst of a storm I can have peace. When I give up control and allow the power of the  Holy Spirit to move instead of trying to do it within myself, mountains move.

I have assurance in knowing the God of hope will fill me with his joy and peace.

Romans 15:13 РNow the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost

It’s just life

It was a nice afternoon and¬† my office was freezing¬† so I decided to go for a walk around the building. I noticed a magnolia tree I hadn’t paid much attention to before. Me being the photog I am, had to snap a few pics. There is about 30 to 40 minutes difference between the two pics. One taken up close and the other from my office. The magnolia tree is a little to the right of the frame.

 

I had somewhere to be in in a couple hours and was hoping the storm would pass quickly. I remembered one of my children was out in the storm. I was sure she was fine but hadn’t heard from her.

We lost power briefly at work which took the elevators out of commission. I finally made it out of the building and on the road in time time to sit in traffic. About half way to my appointment my daughter called. She was stranded with a flat tire and no spare. Great! Traffic is horrible, I had to be 20 miles away before a certain time and was cutting it close. Even if I turned around I couldn’t get to her any time soon due to all the wrecks and downed power lines.¬† For a moment I felt my jaw tighten and¬† could hear the frustration in my voice when she called me back. I took a deep breath and apologized to her. It’s ok, we will figure this out. We did, we enlisted the help of her sister and together we were able to call for a tow, find somewhere to take the car, get my daughter a ride home and arrange for the sitter to keep the youngest daughter longer than anticipated.

LIFE HAPPENS! It is not the end of the world, it is just life. My wallet was not happy about paying for a new tire. It was an inconvenience for all of us. It’s just life. Later in the car I called her back and told her it was ok, it could have been worse, it could have happened on the interstate in the middle of the storm. She doesn’t want to feel like a burden or hassle and I definitely don’t want her to feel that way. There is much to be thankful for because it could have turned out very differently.

Life is filled with storms. One minute it is calm and beautiful and 30 minutes later you are being tossed about and shaken to the core. The storm didn’t change the magnolia tree it is still a magnolia tree. Things happen in our lives that shake us up temporarily like a flat tire, coffee spilled on our shirt, rude co-worker or financial strain. The storm may shake off a few leaves but you are still you. Other storms can knock you off your feet, take the wind from your sails or leave you devastated. When you pour your all into a relationship only to be left behind, when you lose a loved one or life takes a crazy unexpected turn, that is just life. There are times we just shake off¬† and move on. Other times the damage is more significant and we need time to heal. Either way, it is part of this journey called life. I am thankful that God is my refuge and fortress. I know I can not only get through the storm but¬† someday enjoy the sunshine again.

Psalms 91:2    I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

The Unexpected

It was a crazier than normal day at work. There was no time for lunch, a break and almost no time to breathe. I was at our secondary location and we had several contractors onsite working, deliveries coming, the pharmacist was between locations and I was experiencing issues adding new software. When I left home that morning I had forgotten I was going to be at the secondary location without a refrigerator, vending machines or microwave. Around 2 p.m. I was distracted by a growling tummy and need for a diet coke. When our IT guy came by I decided to make a run for it! I could go to the store and be back in 20 minutes, no biggie.

No biggie until this happens:

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So much for a quick trip. Now what am I supposed to do? There is no one to call, I don’t have a roadside plan anymore, I need to get back to work, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS!.

Think TJ, just think. My phone battery was at about 10% so I called the IT guy and asked him to run my charger to me. He was happy to change my tire so maybe it will be ok after all. Someone from the building inside comes out to help, starts telling me he is single, where he works, used to work etc. In the process we discover, my Jeep did NOT come with a spare. What? Why? How is this possible? The IT guy comes, nice but creepy guy leaves. We give the car another once over, nope no spare. So now there  I sit, not sure what to do. Then it dawns on me, I have roadside through my car dealership! Yes! I make the call, they dispatch the wrecker and an hour later I am back at work.

In the course of two hours it was a roller coaster.

  • Swerved to avoid being hit head on = WIN
  • Tire bursting =Loss
  • No Spare = Loss
  • Remembered roadside = Win
  • Made it back to work = Nuetral
  • Cannot just change tire; $1000 repair = Loss
  • Need for rental car = Loss

What a day! I had somewhere to be and was determined to make it. The unexpected can really shake us. It was frustrating and such a roller coaster of emotions. It was tough on my bank account and took a week to get the car back. We live busy lives with no time for the unexpected. Dealing with car issues are not fun, spending money on repairs is not fun, handling things alone is not fun. But was it really alone?

Psalms 107:28-30

28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

The unexpected happens, things go wrong. Even with something as simple as a blown out tire, God can calm us and provide the help we need. It was an unexpected afternoon filled with hassles that I was not prepared to handle. Other than a few moments of frustration and anxiety, I realized that I was very fortunate. While I was not happy about¬† missing work, being stranded, spending money and the hassle of the day, I was very grateful that it ended the way it did. It could have been much worse. What if we had hit head on? It would not just be a wheel that was being repaired. Life happens and it is not always on our schedule and in the way we want. I am thankful for God’s protection. I am thankful when he calms the storm and when he calms me in the midst of the storm.¬† When we seek him we can find the help and calm we need.¬† The unexpected can throw us off course and wreck our day.¬† We can also call out and seek his help. Life happens and God helps.

 

Focus(ed)

IMG_20180430_122330_895I took this pic a few years ago. Looking at it now it is hard to focus on one element. It is a good snapshot of my life over the last few weeks. While there are good things happening in my life and beauty all around there is also chaos. It is very busy. I am thankful for my family, friends and career. Family, friends and my career all take bits of my time. Rest and rejuvenation take a back seat. Other times it is hard to focus on a single thing long enough to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Life is so busy that I feel stretched thin. I¬†say this not as a complaint but as a confession.¬† Do you ever feel too busy? I hear it is ok to say no to invitations. I am learning how to say no but I am not there yet.¬† I am learning to allot my time and energy to what matters most. My daughter won’t be one forever so I need to enjoy the moments we have now. My adult children are at different phases of their lives.¬† I need to remember how awesome it is that they still like me. They even like spending time with me. In order to have time with them I have to say no to something else.

There are times life is just chaotic. There may be nothing you can do to slow it down. I remember having five children, three of which were always busy with sports and school activities.¬† I loved attending the activities and cheering them on. The reality of it all is that it was busy. I was tired. Between family and work I didn’t always know how I would make it through the week. You dig deep, focus on what’s important and make it through. Just how life is sometimes.

It isn’t always easy to stay focused on what is important. In addition to family, friends and work is faith. Finding time for worship and serving can be difficult. When our children are young they are our first mission field. Some people are called to ministry formally and for others it is ministering to our families. For those without children it may be ministering to neices and nephews, loved ones or friends. This too can be exhausting.

For my own sanity I had to decide what matters most.¬† In the grand scheme of life, God first, family second, then the other “stuff and people” are layered on. When I focus on the path God has for me then the rest seems to fall into place. Some days it feels like everything is falling apart. It is on those days I have to stay focused on Him, trust the process and have faith.¬† It is ok that I am not super woman. I am human. It’s ok to have a bad day, it’s ok to ask for help. Instead of driving myself crazy with unrealistic expectations of perfection, I’m going to focus on the good things. I am going to focus on what I can improve. I am going to focus on where God wants my time. After all, like we are called to be good stewards of our money, we are to spend our time just as wisely.

Living with a True Heart

What does it mean to live with a true heart? Several years ago I found this verse in Hebrews that really stuck with me. It was a reminder of how I wanted to approach life. It is not about being perfect. It is being human, forgiven and walking in faith. For me it is about being true to who I am.

I am analytical by nature but also very compassionate. I compare that to a large corporation (brain)  that has a business plan but seeks to be socially responsible (heart).  I ask myself if my goals align to my heart. Am I being true to who I am and all that God created me to be? Am I caught up in the business plan? It is important for me to know my heart and actions are true. When I shake off the weight of the world, things that distract, and act with a true heart, walking in faith, I am at peace. When the world around me is in chaos I can live in peace.

For me, living with a true heart  is to be a peace with who I am and to be assured of my path even when I cannot see the road ahead. It is like any journey, there are ups and downs, setbacks, and challenges. When my heart is true and my intentions are pure, it makes the rest much easier.

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.