04.17.19 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die – ever. Do you believe this? John 11:26

Susan Adams Moffett shared this piece below on Facebook recently.  Her sister Lisa died from cancer just a few years ago.  She wrote about that in her book “My Sister,Her Cancer, and the Cross.” She says “This is the story of walking the journey of my sister’s cancer…but it’s more than that. This is the story of God’s grace because my faith is weak and imperfect, but He is so good.”   I found what she wrote in the article below to be very meaningful. I hope you do as well.

When Lisa died…
I asked Tim, “What is this ‘Oh, death where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”
I asked Dad, “What is this ‘Oh, death where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”
I asked Mom, “What is this ‘Oh, death where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”
I asked friends, “What is this ‘O death, where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”

But I knew that scriptures couldn’t be wrong.
I felt like something was missing in my understanding.
Maybe I was grieving wrong.
Maybe I had to work harder to get over it.
Maybe I didn’t believe enough.
Maybe I wanted to hold on to the sting because it’s all I had.

Then I read the story of Lazarus for the 378th time.
But it was like for the very first time.

Jesus said, “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die – ever.”
Ever. Never. Ever. Die.

In that moment, I heard and understood. Death had no hold on Lisa.
She did not die!

She isn’t here.
That brings sorrow and loss and grief so deep.
But death has no hold on her.
Death has no sting to it. It is powerless!

Lisa isn’t here. Most of my grandparents aren’t here.
Several dear friends aren’t here.
But they didn’t die.
They are all fully alive! More alive than they ever were here.

Maybe today you have a sting.
Or a grief.
Or a maybe.

Let’s walk this week towards the cross, watching, looking, listening to the work of Jesus.
We have to walk this week, so we can deeply celebrate Resurrection Sunday.
(Spoiler…Death is about to be defeated. Keep watching.)

Ya’ll have a Blessed Holy Week!

08.20.18 The 7 Step Guide to Leaving Your Job (to live in an RV), by Chris Conant

Monday, August 20, 2018 – I’ve recently become kinda sorta friends with this young couple and was blown away when I read some of their blog. We will get to meet them in person in a couple of months.  I think ya’ll will like their blog since most people who read ours read it because they like the adventure and travel that was our life from late 2012 to late 2017.  This couple is doing it at a much much younger age and fairly differently than we did. On their blog’s website you can read “Our Story” to learn how they came about living and traveling in a teardrop trailer.  Yes, that’s it on the left. There are several link within their article to more great information.  Be sure to check those out! Because I know some of our followers would love to do what they are doing I asked if I could share this post of theirs.  Chris said “yes” so here goes!

The 7 Step Guide to Leaving Your Job

Posted on

The most common response to our story so far is “Wow, you are so lucky!” quickly followed by an excuse as to why that person could never do what we are doing. For both of us, that meant leaving a good job. We’ve heard everything under the sun from friends and strangers alike. “My current position pays too well” or “I could never get rid of my big, comfy couch.” And of course, “I could never afford that.” In this guide, we hope to address these concerns and provide a road map to help you make your own dreams come true!

Before we dive into our seven step guide, let’s first address the glaringly obvious issue: Leaving any job is challenging. You might think I can’t sympathize considering I’ve had three different jobs in the five years since I graduated law school. None of them seemed to be the right fit.

So trust me when I say that I completely understand the struggle. Bills to pay, self worth tangled up in a professional title, all the time you invested in learning your trade. Those nagging hopes and dreams aren’t just going away though. So when you reach the point I reached last summer (and maybe this post is your catalyst), here is how to give those pests a voice.

Step One – Prepare yourself financially

I hate to lead things off with the financial aspect, but that’s really where you have to begin if you’re considering leaving your job. Anytime you want to make a big change in life, you need to have your ducks in a row. Emotionally, physically, logistically, financially, insert whatever adverb you want.

I wanted to quit my first job out of law school approximately two hours into the first day. Unfortunately, I had signed a year long lease on an apartment within walking distance of the office. I bought a car that required my fancy new job’s fancy salary to afford. I stuck it out for approximately ten months before applying to different jobs in other cities.  Moving to a new state and switching specialties would surely lead me to find a type of lawyering I actually enjoyed, right?

Wrong. Things did go pretty well for a while, but the tables eventually turned. The kool-aid wore off after about two and a half years. A few key mentors left the firm and what was once fun competition turned into a high stress, stupidly competitive and at times, abusive work environment.  I narrowly escaped a similar move when my dad got sick, a move fueled by desperation to leave that toxic place and my fear of not having a steady paycheck. After my father passed away, I decided it was time to finally do something different.

This time I got my financial situation in order first. I took a low-stress, but high paying job at a small start up to bide my time and rake in as much cash as possible. I created a budget, figured out how much we would need for the summer, and started smiling, instead of cringing, every time I looked at my bank account balances. After eight months of diligent saving and frugality, we were prepared to hit the road for the summer.

Until you are financially stable and have at least a few months of financial runway, you will never be able to mentally commit to leaving your job. Sure, you might have to sacrifice nights out on the town. Cut off your monthly clothes/workout/makeup subscriptions. But trust us, it will be worth it! If you want to step out and make a change, start by aligning your financial situation with your new goal. Get yourself prepared for whatever comes next.

Step Two – Do some soul searching

Preparing your finances for the change will certainly ease some of the perceived burden. You still have a ways to go though. Take a weekend and let your mind wander to the places you’re afraid to go. Spend some time by yourself to really think about where you should be channeling your energy. Take those silly internet quizzes to determine your driving values or your love language or your spirit animal. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to wander down the paths you otherwise try to keep your mind from going. Don’t be afraid to let your dreams grow into reality.

For me, that meant accepting that lawyering was not my bag. Accepting that I incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for nothing. It wouldn’t matter how big the paycheck grew because I am not motivated by money. I would never find satisfaction in handling other people’s problems, even if it meant a six figure salary.

While I was good at my job, and according to Becca, “jaw-droppingly handsome” in a suit and tie, the whole scene just did not jive with my personality. Job titles and material things provide very little satisfaction for me. It seemed that’s all I was working toward as an attorney.

I enjoyed meeting with clients and explaining legal concepts. But I loathed the entire purpose of the conversation – my employer’s scheme to overcharge mom and pops in order to help them save a few dollars from the tax man. Intentionally ignoring the fact that frequently, they were paying us more money than they were saving. I had to remove myself from frustrating daily interactions with con artists and bright eyed yuppies. Nature was calling.

Step Three – Identify what you want to do next

This step is crucial. It’s all talk until you can put together a game plan.

When I worked 70 hour weeks in a miserable environment, all I wanted was to find a way out. But I didn’t have a plan for what I would do if I left my job. Unfortunately, hating your job isn’t enough to get off the hamster wheel.

You need to identify what you REALLY want to do with your life. If you don’t go through the personal assessment exercise and take an honest inventory of your wants and needs, you’re going to continue treading water. While at times you have to tread water to stay afloat, that’s not the long term goal. You need a shoreline to reach or a mountain to climb.

This is the hardest step because only you can answer this question of what you want to do next. If you are looking for a helpful starting point, try Pivot by Jenny Blake or The One Thing by Gary Keller. Both books are practical guides to help you figure out what’s really calling you.

All of the signs from my soul searching mission were pointing to something I had given up years before. Something engaging that allowed me to teach, inspire and most importantly, wear flip flops every day. Those signs were leading me back to fly fishing.

Having reached this conclusion on my own, I now had another difficult hurdle – telling Becca. While “telling family and friends” technically comes two steps later, making sure your counterpart (if you have one) is on board falls into this step. You can’t rightly concoct a new life plan without consulting the person you’ve been talking about sharing a life with.

I assumed she would have to go on her own soul searching mission when I disclosed the results of mine. The days leading up to that conversation were difficult. I certainly did not want to lose her and I wasn’t sure she would accept this enlightenment. What if she wanted the suburban life? Corporate hours, benefits and salaries, even if they came with a commute and two week vacation limit.

Unbeknownst to me, she had been suppressing doubts about the path set before her. Although you never need permission to question your circumstances, my enlightenment served as exactly that. If I could question the status quo, that meant she could too. That meant I would encourage Becca to truly evaluate her strengths and weaknesses. Likes and dislikes,  drives and ambitions. That reaction became a significant factor leading to the creation of this blog. If I could inspire Becca to make such a huge admission and lifestyle change, maybe we could inspire others to do the same.

While Becca’s introspection did not lead her to fly fishing, it did lead her to embracing her desire to travel.  And admitting she was in a rut. She wasn’t happy with her physique but had no motivation to do anything about it. While she enjoyed the time spent with her coworkers and how easy going the work environment was, she was uninspired by her repetitive corporate role in a concrete jungle. None of these factors were all that convincing in directing her to quit though. To make sure Becca would come along on this adventure, I asked her to marry me.

Step Four – Find a support network

After you put a financial plan in place and identify what you are going to do next, you need to find a support network. Not just a choir to preach to, but a legitimate support network. Your significant other should certainly be your first ally, but you also need people that can provide constructive feedback and positive encouragement from an outside perspective.

For me, this was a Catholic men’s group and friends that, in various ways, had figured out how to step away from the nine to five til sixty-five routine. Some of your support network might even take the form of folks you have never met in person. We found a lot of support from various Facebook and Instagram pages which helped prove what we wanted to do was actually possible and not just a pipe dream. Whatever network you find, make sure your network holds you accountable and keeps pushing you toward your goals.

Step Five – Talk things over with family and friends

Each of the four proceeding steps are absolutely essential to complete before moving on to Step 5. Once you start telling your family and friends that you’re going to do something different, you’re going to get a lot of push back. A lot of funny looks. Maybe even some snide remarks about how crazy you are. Or our personal favorite, that you are throwing your life away.

Knowing yourself and having your own support network becomes really important. The ability to show them you have the financial and logistical resources set aside and an actual plan to pursue helps immensely. People who don’t understand, who just want to poke holes in your conclusion, can and will pull all the wind out of your sails. Don’t let them. Be prepared for the barrage of negativity.  Brush it off by knowing you’ve already considered all of their doomsday scenarios.

Step Six – Keep your bridges intact

After talking things over with your family and friends, your next step is to talk to your employer. Do this with as much grace as possible. Even if you never intend to return to your old line of work. Believe it or not, I’ve experienced a decent amount of crossover between the fly fishing world and the tax consulting world.

Plus, you don’t want that blood on your hands of leaving a work situation in dire straights. So do your best to put your employer in a good position to fill your role and try to maintain civility with your soon-to-be-former coworkers. You never know what the future holds and it’s best to leave friendly faces in the rearview mirror in the event that your paths cross again.

Step Seven – Do it!

Stop talking the talk and go out and do the damn thing! Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, you need to dive in headfirst. Nothing feels better than fully committing to something that truly matters to you. It could be a side project, a new job, a new city, a new anything. Don’t be scared. Sure things will change, but we guarantee it’s a lot less frightening once you get where you’re going. Before you know it, you’ll be starting new traditions – like Friday night dinner in the valley at the Knotty Pine.

Side bar from Becca

The look on Chris’s face that first night in Victor, Idaho as we settled in at the Knotty Pine was priceless. Here I was sitting across from a fully grown man, the only fitting description: childishly giddy. He was positively beaming. He made me trade him seats “so he could make sure to say hello to anyone he knew that came in.” You could just see in his demeanor that this is where he was meant to be. Thank goodness for that hippie soul searching mumbo jumbo that helped both of us finally acknowledge where we belonged…  together, pursuing a better tomorrow (and incredible sunsets).

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07.21.18 The Awakening, by Sonny Carroll

 

The Awakening
Sonny Carroll

 

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

……….This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect ,and that not everyone will love appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10″…. Or a perfect human being for that matter… and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in “giving” that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” and “contributing” rather than “obtaining” and “accumulating.”

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about – a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.

And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships – how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through… and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns – anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say “I was wrong” and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your” standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.” Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know – Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God… but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees, because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time – FEAR itself.  So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY… the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my “God” to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.

Remember this:- You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
My “God” has never failed me.

 

Copyright © 2001 Sonny Carroll. All Rights Reserved
Reprinted here with permission

Introduction to The Awakening by Sonny Carroll

I actually began writing this piece in 1996 shortly after coming out of a long drawn out and painful break-up. I was a total mess. My life was in shambles and as I tried to make some sense of what had happened, and why, I began to write The Awakening. This piece is a compilation of all the lessons I learned and the observations I made about myself, about other people and their relationships, and of the wisdom that my most dear friend, Drane Uljaj, has shared with me over countless cups of tea.

2007 Note for those trying to contact Sonny Carroll:
Her website, Wake To Life (www waketolife com) is now no longer in existence and she is not contactable.

Graphics Set by Legend Designz
Artwork by Alan Ayers

I save articles or words of wisdom when I find them to use at a later date.  When I came across the version I had saved of The Awakening I was going to share it here.  Then I began reading through it again and found it had no mention of God and the huge part He plays in any Awakening.  I started to Google The Awakening to find pictures to add to the original and I came across this version.  As it turns out this is the original version and over time someone had taken references to God out of it.  You don’t take God out of anything and still have something worthwhile.  I am thankful that today God gave me a little window of very clear thinking to figure this out and put this together.

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07.17.18 When You’re Tired of Pretending Everything’s Okay, by Ann Voskamp

As always, Ann Voskamp reminds us about “The One” who is always there for us!

So you can look up at the calendar today and exhale:

It’s okay to feel bone tired — you have One who gives His bone and His body for you and beckoned: Come Rest.

It’s okay to feel disillusioned — you have One who destroys cheap illusions of perfection and offers you His.

It’s okay to feel done — you have One who listens to the last nail be driven in and proclaims all the hellish things finished.

It’s okay to feel battered and bruised — you have One who storms your battles, takes back everything that needs a comeback, and proves His side won.

It’s okay to feel a bit like a fool — you have One who proves that real love always makes anyone the wisest fool who gives more, lives more, forgives more, because love defies logic, because love is the self-giving, cruciform foolishness that is the ultimate wisdom of the universe.

It’s okay to feel behind — you have One who is the Head and the Author and the Maker and the Finisher and the Carrier and the Warrior and nothing is over until He carries you over the finish line.

It’s okay to feel on the outside — you have One who is passionate about you on the inside, who wants to be with you so desperately, He moves into you, gets into your skin, so you’re never alone, dwells in you, moves into your empty places, your rejected places, your abandoned places and fills you with chosenness and wholeness and withness — because He knows the fulfilled life is an inside job.

It’s okay to feel spent — you have One who pays you all His attention, who says you are worth costing Him everything — and then He bought you back from the pit because you are priceless to Him.

It’s okay to feel whatever you feel — “because you don’t judge your feelings; you feel your feelings—and then give them to God.”

“Feelings are meant be fully felt and then fully surrendered to God.”

“Pain begs to be felt—or life will beg you to feel not one emotion at all. Emotion means movement — and emotions are meant to move you toward God.” ~ The Broken Way

It’s okay to not feel okay — because you have One — who made you His one.

You have One who left the clamor of the 99, to find you, remind you, remake you, rename you, release you.

You have One who is more ready to forgive what you’ve done, than you are to forget,

One who is more ready to give you grace, than you are to give up,

One who is more than ready to always stand with you, than you are to run.

One who is a greater lover, rescuer, saviour, friend— than you have ever imagined Him to be even when your love for Him is most on fire.

This week, these worries, this world, may leave you feeling a bit depressed — but you have a God who is obsessed with you.

His love for you is magnetic, His welcome of you is galactic, His purpose through you is cosmic, His commitment to you is stratospheric, and His hope in you is meteoric.

It’s beautiful how that goes:

Whatever the story is today — it’s okay. Because we know the ending — and how it will be the beginning of the truest happily ever after.

Whatever the story is today — it’s okay. Because the Writer of the story has written Himself into the hardest places of yours and is softening the edges of everything with redeeming grace.

Click on Ann’s logo below to go to her website

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05.23.18 The Gaze of His Eye, by Kelly Balarie

I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel. Psalm 32:8

The Gaze of His Eye

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor

I stood in the center of a kitchen that hadn’t seen the likes of a mop for weeks. Crumbs scattered on the floor, goo stuck to the table, and something mysterious clung to the countertops. I felt like I might explode. I can’t do it all! I thought.

The reality of my life — the countless needs and the never-ending feeling that life won’t stop — made me wonder: God, do You have more for me than nights of kitchen cleaning and mornings of kid-caretaking?

My head spun. I had to fix my emotions. I needed God to answer. I prayed my heart out, as if my all-good effort would bring good results. At home, it usually does. No clean underwear? I’ll do a load of laundry! Hungry? I’ll make dinner! Sick? Let’s get you to the doctor.

I waited. Nothing. I dropped my arms, wondering: Where are You, God? Letting my eyes relax, I found myself hazing out the window, into the density of the night. There, a blur in the distance took shape.

The moon, I could see it. Strangely, it wasn’t perfectly rounded, but imperfectly formed — shaped like an eye. All I could think was: God, You see me. You know where I am going. You have a plan for me in my darkness. You have a way for me, in my wilderness, even when I can’t see. And in all this, I can rest.

When the frantic pace of everyday life catches up with us, let’s remember to step outside at night and enjoy the beauty of the nighttime landscape that God spoke into existence. He sees us. He really does!

~ written by Kelly Balarie on Peaceful Moments for Women

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05.18.18 We’re All Worth A Second Look, by Holley Gerth and Happy Heavenly Birthday Josie Mae!

Happy Birthday in Heaven to my mama Josie Mae Cochran Blum Traylor.  She would have been 98 today.  I know she’s happier in Heaven than she ever was on earth though she made so many of us happy just by her presence.  She definitely left her mark on many.  She told the children to stop when they were running in church.  She believed and shared with others that you do not wear shorts to church.  She loved our new sanctuary and was so determined that it not be stained by spilled drinks that she “encouraged” everyone not to bring anything to eat or drink in church.  She’d let you know if your dress was a bit short to be wearing in the choir.
While those things use to embarrass me I see now that she was so very right.  Harriett and I would talk about that embarrassment, but we loved her anyway!  God’s house, that we worship Him, in should be considered Holy while still being a place where joy and love abounds.  We can be a rowdy bunch at Trinity and that’s part of why I love it there!   I sometimes have to bring a bottle of water into the sanctuary for morning Worship to help with my asthma and coughing.  Since she was very strict about that I find myself asking her forgiveness before I enter the sanctuary.  She was truly a hoot and quite a character all the while such a loyal, forgiving mother and grandmother.
I miss her all the time.  When something new happens my thoughts always go first to wanting to share with mama though it’s been over 10 years since she went to live with God. When God says my time here is over I know she will be waiting there with God to meet me in Heaven.  What a peace I find in that.
I didn’t mean to write all this when I first wished her Happy Birthday in the first sentence above.  Words spill out of my heart sometimes and land here.  Thank you for indulging me when that happens. 

I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6Wwe wander over to our favorite fruit stand, to a table laden with discounted fruit labeled “seconds.” A wiry woman says, “These are here because they have some kind of trouble..”

I look at her and say with a half-grin. “Don’t we all?”

My husband and I have bought these peaches before and we know what she means. There might be a bruise from a hand landing on unrelenting ground. There could be a tiny hold where a bug helped itself to dinner. I glance at the cousins of these peaches sitting on other tables inside the little stand. They are beautiful and unblemished as they proudly in their buckets waiting to be taken home by folks who will not settle for anything less. I think if I were a peach I’d rather be on the “seconds” table where the messy is allowed.

We choose our imperfect peaches and cart them home with anticipation. I set one on a small cream-colored plate and split it right down the side with a silver knife. I bring the piece to my mouth and take a bite. It’s an explosion of sweet and tart and summer.

I look at it and whisper right to its skin, “Who would have thought you have that in you?” Then I think about how this rings true to life. Because we all have parts of our hearts or stories what we think don’t measure up. We call them unworthy and less than and we put them to the side. But the longer I’ve walked this spinning earth, the more I find those are the places where the glory and the beauty are likely to show up and shout, “Surprise!” I had assumed “seconds” meant “not first, not best.” Maybe it just means “worth a second look.”

As you go about your day, look into the eyes of the cashier or the barista or the mailman and say hi. Learn their name. Give them a “second look” and a smile that says, “You matter.”

~ written by Holley Gerth, A Moment to Breathe, shared on  Peaceful Moments for Women

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05.14.18 SHEEP, BY BETHANY HAYES

SHEEP, by Bethany Hayes on Peaceful Moments for Women

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Ever wonder why God calls us “sheep” so much?

We can be just as foolish and helpless. We easily stray. We can’t be left to ourselves. All of these are obvious reasons.
But I think there’s more to it.

I think He calls us “sheep” because that’s the way we were made.
He made us to need Him that much.

Here are five reasons (of many) why God calls His people “sheep.”

Sheep weren’t made to carry burdens.
You will never see a sheep carrying a pack on its back. Other animals are good for carrying things. But not sheep.

Sheep can’t handle burdens.
“Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

Sheep can’t defend themselves.
When a sheep is frightened, the only thing it knows to do is run. Other animals were made with defense mechanisms. But not sheep.

Sheep aren’t able to defend themselves.
“The LORD is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge” (Psalm 94:22).

Sheep can’t find their own way.
When sheep are lost, they are unable to find their way home again. Other animals were made with instincts that can. But not sheep.

Sheep have trouble finding the right way.
“Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face” (Psalm 5:8).

Sheep are content with whatever satisfies.
When sheep are thirsty, they will stop at a puddle, even when clean, still waters are nearby.

Sheep are content with filth, so long as it satisfies. A good shepherd always knows what’s better and best. But not sheep.

Sheep will take whatever they can get.
“[He is] able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)

Sheep need a shepherd.

Sheep need a constant overseer. Other animals can fend for themselves. But not sheep.

Sheep need a shepherd whose life work is to care for his sheep. They need someone to protect, defend, lead, guide, and provide for them at all times.

We have that in our God, whose name is “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).

He calls His people “sheep” because we need a Shepherd. We need Him that much.

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05.12.18 Everyday someone’s patience is being tested by their loved one, by Rick Phelps

Saturday, May 12, 2018 – Rick Phelps wrote and shared this on Memory People’s facebook group on December 11, 2017

“Patience we are told is a virtue. The ability to wait for something or someone, without getting angry or upset is a valuable quality in a person.”

This phrase was first written and recorded in 1360. So, it’s been around a while. Far longer then when Alzheimers was first discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimers in 1906.

There are many things one must do and be while caring for a dementia patient. Patience is right at the top of the list.

Daily I read over the posts in Mp. And everyday without fail someone‘s patience is being tested by their loved one.

And almost 100% of time the caregiver wants to know what they can do to correct whatever behavior is being acted out.

This is because from a very early age we are taught and led to believe that there is a “fix” for literately everything. A reason, an explanation, an answer.

All one needs to do in most cases is understand what is going on, and correct it. Perhaps it’s a process of elimination in some cases.

Whatever the issue, there is an answer, a “fix” to whatever comes up. That is except for dementia. And this includes any type of dementia.

The person who has dementia has one thing in common with other patients. They can no longer think as they once could.

Their brain doesn’t react as those who don’t have dementia does. We lack the ability to make rational decisions. We lack the ability to remember things. And we lack the ablilty to explain to anyone why this is happening.

These are just three examples of what we lack. There are hundreds more and each of them range from subtle to severe to different patients.

Depending on when the dementia started, where it started, and how it has progressed. Personally I can make sense about 60% the time. It’s the other 40% that is the issue, and not being able to control when one can and cannot make sense is a huge issue.

I may make the most rational decisions this morning, and not be able to make any type of decision in just an hour or two.

Sadly, in time, all of our decision making is gone. This progression is slow in most cases. How fast one progresses is an educated guess at best.

The only thing caregivers need to really understand is we have trouble making decisions. Real trouble. And when we make bad decisions as in being belligerent, abusive, or just do things that are wrong, the caregiver always questions why is this happening and what can I do to prevent it.

Which leads right back to what I was saying about we have been taught that almost anything can be “fixed”. If we‘d think about it, we would know this isn’t true.

Sorta like the child who is never told no. Goes about their young life just doing what they want, when they want. Then one day reality hits, and someone, somewhere tells them no.

They just have a meltdown. The mere fact that someone would tell them no never entered their minds. This is what it is similar to when someone is diagnosed with dementia.

They have went their entire lives making decisions, and one day that ability is no longer with them. They can’t comprehend what is happening. And some just keep making bad decisions because once again, they cannot help it.

This is where patience plays a huge roll in being a caregiver. What occurs sometime dozens of times a day with a patient, will because they don’t have the ability to change what they are doing. To make better decisions.

So, the caregiver instinctively tries to “fix” this or ask others what they do to “fix” this. It’s normal. Something isn’t right, you find a way to “fix” it, or ask someone to help.

You have to get away from this type of thinking. You have to realize that what is happening to your loved one is out of your control. If you think I am wrong, then why doesn’t your love one stop making bad decisions all the time? Why do they constantly do the most absurd things, over and over and over? It’s because they can’t make rational decisions.

You obviously need to stop a patient from doing things that would put them or others in danger or hurt themselves or others.

But like the child, you must constantly be watching and trying to stay on step ahead of what may happen. Again, patience is the key.

The reason patience is the key is 99.9% the time nothing you do will work. Take arguing with a dementia patient. It is a total waste of time. Once a dementia patients mind is set on something, you aren’t likely going to change it and arguing is just like going around in circle.

It doesn’t do you or the patient any good to argue. They will because they make bad decisions. They decide for whatever reason to argue over things that they are totally wrong on. But not in their mind, and that is all that matters to them.

Shadowing is a perfect example. How do you get a grown person to stop following you every minute of every day? Follow you from room to room. You can’t get five minutes alone because you are being followed by them no matter what you say or do.

What can you do to “fix” this? The answer is have patience. Because the only way a patient will stop the shadowing is if they move on to some other symptom of this disease. Even then for whatever reason they may return to shadowing you.

Hoarding things is something else you won’t be able to “fix” that requires patience. I have went over this as a patients perspective and have said many times that patients are not actually hoarding anything.

To do this, they would have to make the distinct decision to take something and put it somewhere, to retrieve it later. And this just doesn’t happen. What they are doing, what I do is much simpler to explain.

I am simply putting things back where I believe they belong. If you find silverware in the linen drawer, it’s because that is where your loved one believes it goes.

If you find the milk in the cupboard, if you find left over food in the bathroom, or if you find your jewelry in the oven, again it’s where these things belong.

And what can you do? Patience. It’s easy to try to explain to you to have patience with your loved one, it’s very hard to do when they are up for the fourth time in the middle of the night, with them just walking around. For no reason what so ever.

There is nothing wrong with asking what you can do to try to stop some sort of behavior in your loved one. We do it here on Mp each and every day. However, being told to have patience is rarely seen as the answer.

If we as a society would put as much time into having patience as we do in trying to “fix” or stop whatever is happening, you would find it easier.

Would this solve all the issues you deal with on a day by day, or hour by hour, basis? No.

For this, you need patience, as well. I had to write these thoughts down many times to get them to come out right. That I did with patience.

Rick’s wise words come from his own experience having dementia. Some of these things I already do and am glad that the rest of it hasn’t started yet.

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04.29.18 May you….by Millie Turley

༺•.🌺🍃~~🍃🌸༺•

May today, there be peace within you.

May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content with yourself the way you are.

May you trust, believe and have faith with yourself

Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, to love and to live happily and meaningfully.

By Millie Turley in the Facebook group Christian Women United in Prayer.

༺•.🌺🍃~~🍃🌸༺•

 

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