Friday, July 22, 2016

It's not about being thankful for the mess...

There is so much going on in the world today. I don't know about the rest of you, but it can become overwhelming.  I was reminded today of the importance of keeping a thankful notebook or something of the sort so we can write things down and keep track of what is good. Because even in the midst of the mess there is always something good, even as small as a lady bug or as beautiful as the night sky.  More importantly I want to make sure everyone understands that being thankful is NOT about being thankful for the mess or stress or ugliness in our lives. For example, if someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it's not that we are thankful for this! Yes, there is a verse that tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, but it is NOT saying give thanks for the ugliness. It's about being thankful for what God has done, for who He is, for saving us.  Even more, in the midst of the trial, it can be challenging to say thank you for anything. That's where the list comes in handy. Maybe your thankfulness is for something that happened a long time ago. Or maybe it's your pet. Or the rainbow you saw. The point is to remember to think on those things, to speak of them in prayer, to keep them somewhere to remind you of good. The more you do this, the more good you will see.  It doesn't mean the ugliness will go away or stop happening, but an unexplained strength comes over us when we shift our focus away from the bad. I hope that makes sense!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Choose Joy

There are days when things just seem to be crumbling around you-bills need to be paid, house needs to be cleaned, kids are hungry and complaining, you lack sleep, car needs servicing (or replacing), marriage is struggling, there's not much food in the house, depression is trying to take over, job isn't going well or you may not even have one, relationships fall apart, friends move away, you are being accused of something you didn't do....need I say more?

How do you go on? How do you keep moving forward when life just keeps pushing back?  It just seems that today we are so focused on everything that is going bad. The news, the paper, magazines, social media--all point to the things that are just messed up.  But you know what? There are things that ARE GOOD. There are businesses that still care (like the one I just bought my rolling pin from), people who still go out of there way to help out. Why don't we hear about them? GREAT question. Hopefully one you can each answer because ultimately it's up to each of us to change it.

So, here are a few things to help focus on the good...

1. Birds-sit and watch them.
2. Clouds-you are NEVER to old to find shapes in the clouds
3. Ladybugs & butterflies-I know, girly, but still pretty amazing to watch. And for that matter---
4. Ants-consider them. Watch them. They are pretty fascinating.
5. Stars-watch them turn on at night, especially with kids.
6. Music-take some time to listen to music, not the noisy stuff, but the quiet stuff.
7. Sunsets or sunrises-watch them, enjoy them.
8. Art-paint or color something, who cares if you are not an artist-besides, who says you aren't??
9. Go up an escalator, then down, then repeat. Seriously.
10.  Get outside.
11. Create your own positive list.

The point is we each have to choose to focus on what is good, especially in the middle of the mess. If we don't, all we can see is what's wrong. Make a choice today to focus on what is good, you may have to start small, but pretty soon you will see more and more of what is good. Keep a list handy, put it where you can see it and add to it often. Through it all...

...Choose joy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Even Though my Eyes are Closed

It's been said that there is no pause button on life, and that often it appears as though the fast-forward button is stuck. But time isn’t really in fast-forward, or slow motion or even paused. It’s the same for all of us, whether a newborn or that of someone who is 117. We were each given the same 24 hours to complete a day; 1,440 minutes; 86,400 seconds; 86,040,000,000,000 nanoseconds (sorry, had to throw that last one in).  Some of us will finish more time than others, there is no mathematical equation that makes everyone equal. And, throughout our life, we will go through good and bad, it’s inevitable. But sometimes, I wish I could close my eyes and hold life still…just for a moment.

About 8 months ago, I got a phone call that one of my bonus kids died. He was 26, a little over 9,490 days. Life just kept going. It didn't matter that friends were broken, that his little girls were confused or that a mom was devastated. A couple months ago a friend called telling me a story that you would think came right out of a movie-her ex was arrested on crazy charges, this affects so many and isn't close to being over. Again, life doesn't pause so she can get her bearings straight. Last night I took my neighbor to the hospital because her husband went to the ER. He is 229,464 days, or 62 years and counting (which is good). Life still doesn't stop. My friend was very worried, concerned that time was running out. And then today, my bonus daughter's 2 1/2 month old son died-78 days; 1,872 hours. It doesn’t matter that his mom is a wreck, that his grandparents are devastated or that his sister is looking for him. There are no words.

In the middle of this, life goes on. And tomorrow I will get up, do the dishes, and at some point, go to work. Life isn't pausing...even though my eyes are closed.