Happy New Year

I could look back at 2013 and easily describe to you my full year’s worth of junk. You know, the bad health, my job, my finances, my husband’s job and almost losing everything we own. BUT…Instead, please let me share with you the good things from 2013. You know, the bad health, my job, my finances, my husband’s job and almost losing everything we own. For it is in these trials that I have learned and grown.

 

It was a year of watching the azaleas making fuchsia starburst, looking at the full moon on a cold winter’s night and experiencing a summer breeze gently brush across my skin. It was a year that I came to realize that life is glorious and not one to be taken advantage of. It’s ironic that we forget so often how wonderful life is.

 

We all want to do well in life. Each of our definitions of “well” is different but if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough. Don’t spend so much time on trying to always be “well.” Good is great! Life is short. Remember that, too.  I have often thought about that over the year as it has been ten years since my dad passed away from cancer. And this is what I learned from the experience: that knowledge of our own lives is the greatest gift that God ever gave to us.

 

Happy 2014 to all of you! I pray that you will not take any form of time for granted. Be in each moment of 2014.

 

Beth

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Spiritual Elements

 

 

Okay, I admit it; sometimes I’m am very starved for approval. Relationships around me are spiritually fractured and oneness is something I’ve been seeking for some time now, yet, I’m drained.

Throughout scripture, human beings bonded at a level of thought and emotion. One very intimate story in the Bible is the Book of Ruth. There you will find a deep connection between Ruth and Naomi. Naomi was a Jewess whose sons had married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth. When Naomi’s husband and sons died, she decided to return to the people and she set her daughters-n-law back to their people in Moab. But Ruth stayed with her mother-n-law, speaking her well-known words in Ruth 1:16, “Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” She joined with Naomi in faith, leaving her parents and her people and believing in the God of the Jews. In today’s terms she accepted her mother-n-law for who she was and loved her and accepted her. She wanted a relationship with her.motherdaughters41828985

Some families struggle with this spiritual connection. Most often they love each other because that’s what they’re supposed to do and they want to keep the peace. However, many times they just don’t understand each other. It’s hard to find that deep spiritual connection as many of the families are broken, carrying their own baggage and the bickering and trials continue to seep into the relationship. When you are the only one on the outside, it’s very hard to continue gracefully. The soul is where we relate to God and others and none of us like having our souls confused and crushed. When I try to deal with raw emotions, I tend to bury my head in the sand, hide out, and let the bombs explode around me. I push the buried hurt deep down and it plays with my self-image. But…As a child of God, I am stronger than he who is in the world.

I am spiritually tolerant of the unwilling to accept me because I can’t change the un-changeable. I can only be the me that God created me to be. I am a woman who tries to do the best that she can and loves others but I won’t be walked on. I have values that I will no longer allow my values to be manipulated. They may be lovers of self, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. The roadblock in our relationships just helps us find the detour that brings us to our destination.

Proverbs 3:6 NIV  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

 

A Little Space Heater

As I write this I am sitting in my warm office in the wee hours of the morning. The only lights that are on are my “happy-lights.” Thank you again my sweet friend.

Speaking of friends, God is so good to have put certain people in my life during certain seasons of my life. As I hum below my breath, Joy to the World, I pray joy into their lives. I can’t help but reflect on the wonderful friends that I have been blessed to have.

Friends…you know the ones who bring you a meal, pray with you, cry with you and share in all of your sufferings. They are the ones that don’t judge, just do. They walk through seasons of hardship. Friends come in and clean your house when you’ve been sick or put money in your hand to buy some food. They buy you a happy light and put a brand new space heater at your doorstep all wrapped up in pretty paper and a bow. Thank you my friend.space heater

Friends will also let your smile help drive their dark away and they allow your hugs to charm their fears away. Friends allow you to tend to them as well. They will dare to open the vaults of their hearts and freely express their needs. Friendship is NEVER a one-way trip. Thank you for allowing me to minister to you.

As friends we welcome each other to share our hearts and minds. As friends we believe in our God together and we encourage each other. This has truly been a difficult year for me but without my friends, I would have stumbled through each day without feeling their prayers that helped sustain me.women studying bible

I believe I was born to encourage; created by God to make a difference in people’s lives. I will call or email my friends just to visit, to tell them I care. I’m praying more importantly I will share with them the joy that they have brought me.

Thank you my friends.living by grace

The Life Waiting for Us.

Mindful Practice, paying attention to your present-moment experience sounds so enticingly simple and easy however, it is NOT! God tells us not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries of its own. Can I hear a hearty Amen to that!!! Have you ever put an inspiring quotation or scripture on your refrigerator door, and for a while, every time you saw it, you were inspired? Then comes the day when you look right past it and before you know it, it has become a bunch of meaningless words. What do you do? You replace it with a new quote or scripture, right!!! That happened to me recently. I put up a scripture and I recited it every day. Then I forgot about it one day, then two and before I knew it, the scripture was nothing but words. Why? Because of my attitude.

We need to be in the practice of being mindful. There are some things that I’ve learned over the last year that I’ve put into practice but that doesn’t mean that I don’t slide off the bandwagon from time to time. There are  five things I try to incorporate into my day:MH900409444

1. Try not to fit too much into a day. I am trying to only multi-task when I absolutely have to. If I do more than I am supposed to do, I just get stressed out. I mean come on, I’m a woman. I can wash dishes, talk on the phone, set the dishwasher and schedule an appointment all in the same fifteen minutes. But is that necessary? Why can’t someone else load the dishwasher while I make a  phone call? Or why can’t I load the dishwasher and make the call later?

2. Go it at a slower pace…It? Life! Take it one-day-at-a-time. If we take life a little slower, we might have a better chance of not missing the moment-to-moment experiences. For example; when I rush around like a maniac, I may miss the beautiful cardinal on my fence. If I am rushing to work, I may miss the beautiful sunrise.

3. Leaving out embellishments in your conversation…with this I mean, people don’t want to hear your woe’s all day long. How about not adding an additional layer of suffering to your moment. Why can’t you simply say, “I’m feeling better.” Unfortunately I usually have to add, “I’m feeling better but….” Stay in the positive moment.

4. Wearing a rubber band…Try putting a rubber band around your wrist and every time you are aware it is there, take a couple of deep breaths and be thankful. You may be suffering such unbearable hardships, but there is always room in your day to be thankful.

5. Recite…Recite a scripture, a devotion or a warm-fuzzy saying: God is my strength; God will not give me more than I can handle; God is my refuge and strength. I am the one who eats his breakfast, gazing at the morning-glories. BASHO

We must let go of the life we had or have planned to accept the one that is waiting for us; the one ordained. The life that is perfect and yet we don’t see it. We are not deficient or unworthy of this destined life; we just have to slow down enough to let it come to us.

Beth

DogMeditation

 

 

 

Monday Madness

Do you ever have one of those Monday’s? Oh boy, I’ve been having them a lot lately. But, on this particular Monday so many things just piled up. I woke up late, which means I got a late start to my writing. I decided to escape the noises of the house and go to a coffee-house to write. It was not only cold in there but it was too loud. I really didn’t have any other place I could go because my husband needed the car to go to work this afternoon. Yup, we’re sharing a car. My home is still cold because the heat is acting up. We’ve had someone in twice and it’s still having issues but we can’t afford a new heater right now. I’ve been living in a home that has been holding steady at 64 degrees with sub-zero temperatures outside. As long as I get up to keep clicking it on, it will continue to run. Ugh. I guess it’s better than a card board box. I mean, YES it is better. What is the matter with me. I’m on a soap box today.

My husband gets ready to go to work and does not have his keys. He thinks they may be in my daughter’s pocket because he gave them to her last night to move around the cars. So, I was on a hunt for keys for a little while, in the cold house, with the dirty dishes in the sink while looking down at a dog that won’t go poop because it’s too cold out for her. I can’t put her sweater on because her hair is too long and I can’t afford to get her groomed right now. I have Christmas and bills. My computer keeps crashing and I’ve lost a document. Oh excuse me for a minute; I have to go and CLICK the heat back on. Be right back.smart-thermostat-front__large

So, what do I do? I shut down. I stop whining and talk to God. I took some time to just close my eyes and try to focus on the blessings I have.  Are you sure God? Are you sure I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing in life? Can I go back to working full-time yet? Can my body handle that or is this the way it’s going to be? God, I don’t know if I have been relying on you the way I should be. I’m such a fixer. I want to fix everything and I just can’t, not this one. I can’t make my body heal any faster than it wants to.  When my kidney doctor said it would take over a year to get to some normalcy, he wasn’t kidding. It will be a year in January 2014 that I was diagnosed with this kidney junk. I’m praying for a better year.  So many things spiraled out of my control and I had to learn all over again to give it to you. I want to make it all better. I don’t want to be struggling financially and I don’t know why it has to be this way. I know money doesn’t make things better but it would sure help us out a lot.

For two years, I have been sick. For two years I’ve been on so many medications with so many side effects. It has caused such an attitude and painful issues within myself. Sometimes I feel so sick to my stomach that I feel like I’m having the flu. Sometimes I get so swollen that I can’t fit into my clothes and sometimes it makes me so tired that I can’t concentrate. Why?

As Winston Churchill once said, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” He must have said that so many times because we are so quick to throw in the towel. It’s really the best way to beat the odds in life though; never to give up. I must persist against all odds and remember that I’m not fighting the battle alone. If Mary could endure giving birth to the Christ child in a cold and dirty stable and then watch him take his last breath on the cross, then I can endure this financial blow; this uncertainty and confusion. Because I will never give up.victory in Jesus