We Were Never Meant to Do Life Alone

I ran across this post today. I don’t remember the circumstances under which I wrote it. I’m not sure what I was feeling or dealing with at the time. But we are spiritual creatures. We sometimes forget that, which never turns out well.

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I heard an timely message today. It was timely for me. It was basic and simplistic, in nature, but full of complexities as I apply it in my life. I think I had forgotten that God loves me… personally. And He’s really not about what I do, how much or how little. In fact, if anything, He would rather I do less and depend upon Him more.

I have found that I have been buying into the present-day philosophy that it all depends on me. It doesn’t. I have a part to play, I know. He has a part to play as well, and I find that I sometimes attempt to do His part, all the while doing mine. Which puts me in a position that I was never intended to occupy. I’ve not done this intentionally or even consciously, it just sort of evolved to this place.

Finding yourself in this place leads to loneliness. Thinking it all depends on you, without a higher power or other people to walk this journey with you is the worse place to be.

We were never meant to do life on our own.

In fact, thinking so and acting so oftentimes leads to life’s most devastating times. We hurt the ones we love when we are doing life alone. And what’s even worse, we hurt ourselves.

We must love ourselves before we can even attempt to love another.

So, for today, I am once again deciding, for I know this is always a process, to turn those things around and get back into the proper place in my life and allow God back into His…and reconnect with His love…again.

Basic, simple and freeing.

Willingness

I have been blogging for several years. I have started rereading the posts I published at the beginning of my blogging career and have picked a few out, dusted them off, gave them a little spit and shine and published again. This one was originally entitled: Fishes, Loaves and Multiplication.

I recently read some commentary by Debbie Macomber about the boy in the Bible with the loaves and fishes. The words she wrote spoke to my heart.

The boy in the story had a small lunch but a huge willingness to share. And that can make all the difference.

It’s all about the heart.

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Often, our willingness to share our seemingly meager resources; our time, our words, ours acts of hospitality and kindness, yield so much more than we could ever imagine. God’s math is amazing!

All the boy had was a few sardines and stone-sized loaves of bread, as Debbie put it. The real gift was his willingness to share. Being open and willing can set the stage for God to move in ways beyond our limited way of thinking.

Like the boy in the story, we need not be ashamed of bringing our small lunch to Jesus. If we are willing and if we hold our resources with an open hand, there’s no telling what God can do. The magic of multiplication is what happens when we are willing to bring our gifts to God.

The real miracle is the multiplication of limited resources. It’s a simple element in God’s economy. It’s what He does. This is where the real power of generosity comes in. The more we give, the more we receive. It is the law of sowing and reaping. Add God’s multiplication as part of the equation and the sky is the limit.

Like the boy in the story, we must be willing to offer our own fishes and loaves for miracles to take place.

Simply put, God multiplies our giving, oftentimes in ways we will never see. In His hands each act of generosity we offer Him, no matter how small, becomes part of this miracle of multiplication.

I’m not a math person, but this kind of math, God’s math, I totally get.

And this kind of math, I totally like.

Willingness is a powerful thing. How has being willing changed your life or a circumstance you were facing?

Empowering women to recreate their life stories and dance in the fulfillment of their dreams~

Gratitude

I first published this posts, End of the Day Musings, on March 29, 2011. Much has happened between then and now; events that I have immensely enjoyed, and situations I would never have asked to be a part of, but in the midst of it all, the good, the bad and the devastating, I am blessed and I have much to be grateful for.

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Gratitude goes a long way in getting us through the rough times. It also helps propel us out of the not-so-good times and into the do-able phase, and then the life-is-good stage.

Gratitude is as important to healthy living and satisfying relationships as oxygen is to life.

Gratitude is a beautiful thing.

Having gratitude changes the way we look at circumstances in the worst of times. It also enhances the best of the best that life has to offer.

I’m not always in the mood to find things to be grateful for but when I do take the time to count my blessings, I find I have much to be thankful for and that always puts me in a better frame of mind.

I wrote the following couple of paragraphs during a time when life wasn’t so good:

“I sit and listen to my favorite sound as I bid good-bye to this day…my two sons playing their guitars and singing the songs they have written. As their voices blend in harmonious unity I am reminded of the frustrations of the day, the limiting issues that I cannot control and the stifling circumstances that I cannot fix. But right now, here in this moment, I am content”.

Gratitude and contentment seem to go hand-in-hand.

Tomorrow will bring its own new set of issues and circumstances and I will once again attempt to balance the reality of present-day with plans for all the tomorrows to come.

Along the way I determine to find quiet joy as I relish the beauty of my family.

I am blessed.

How about you? What are your gratitudes for today?

Empowering women to recreate their life stories and dance in the fulfillment of their dreams~

Gift of Being Challenged

This post was first published a few years ago but after reading it I decided to update with some new thoughts.

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I read something thought provoking from Debbie Macomber’s book God’s Guest List. I have been served thoughts to chew on regularly as I read. She wrote, “The gift of being challenged and profoundly changed is a gift we often resist with every fiber of our being.”

I totally get that. I never really thought of it as a gift, however, more like an opportunity in disguise. But I do get it. I get the resisting part, though I’m not sure why I spend so much time and energy doing so. During these times of being challenged we get to see what we’re made of and where we stand in our beliefs. And when I look at it that way, it is indeed a gift.

She said a friend once asked her, after she had dealt with a particularly challenging time with a child (or two), “Do you think any of this took God by surprise?”

Yeah, I totally get that too. Though I don’t understand it,  I am resigning myself to the fact that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. I know this to be true even if I don’t always act like it is.

It like what Kyle Idleman (the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church) says even though life-changing and devastating events catch us by surprise, it’s been circled on God’s calendar since the beginning of time. God knew all along and He isn’t surprised one bit. I find comfort in that. I know I am not alone; there is a power greater than I who can restore me to sanity even in the midst of chaos.

There are many things in my life I would do differently if I had the chance; choices I would re-do if I could.

I can’t.

So I resign myself to that and I am choosing to embrace the gift of change…with a little resistance thrown in for good measure.

What challenges have you faced and what has helped you through?

 

8 Ways to Grow Through Conflict

Conflict, now there’s something we all love, right? Not so much, but it is a part of every relationship and always will be. If you can figure out to grow through conflict then you’re on your way to a satisfying life and relationships.

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Here are  8 ways to help you grow through conflict.

1. The goal isn’t to win the fight. It IS to learn more about each other and how to have a win/win outcome. This will lead to more satisfying relations with your loved one.
2. Listen more, talk less. By listening to your partner, you will set the stage for warm and fuzzy feelings. Your spouse will feel loved and cared for. What better way to ensure that you grow through conflict? You may even begin to embrace times of conflict as time of growth.
3. Being happy is better than being right, right? Is being right really that important? The goal is to build a better relationship with your spouse. Being right serves you not at all, unless you just enjoy the feeling of always being right…and lonely.
4. Allow your spouse to have their own opinions. Just because your spouse has a different opinion than you means very little to your relationship. You can use your differences to make a better you as a couple. 
5. Leave no man behind. The military knows there stuff when it comes to this relationship deal. Don’t leave your spouse behind by laying them out with a verbal barrage of all their wrong doings. Recognize their strengths. Appreciate their talents and cherish this gift of time together.
6. Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t get side tracked. Focus on whatever it is that’s causing the conflict, deal with it and move on.

7. When in doubt, clarify. Don’t assume you know what your beloved is feeling or really means by their facial expression or tone. Ask them what they are feeling. Feelings have no rhyme or reason, they just are.

8. Don’t drag the past around. If you have things to deal with from the past, then do so in an appropriate manner and at an appropriate time. Don’t bring it up every time you have a conflict.

Conflicts are stressful times. If you use some or all of these suggestions, then not only will you be able to handle conflicts better, but you will even grow through them as well, and that makes for a more peaceful and satisfying life and relationship.

What else would you add to this list?

 

Failure

I am a collector of quotes and inspiring stories. I have a notebook full of them. Now I save images with quotes I find online and save them to my computer. I share them often.

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“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” This alone is proof to me that is it good to use other people’s words.

I gleaned a bit of information this week about someone who is near and dear to my heart. This person, I was told, thinks himself a failure. I was surprised to hear this self-assessment. I do know of a rough time in his life but we all have those, right? To be a failure is to stop engaging in life.

This man is no failure.

“People who achieve their dreams usually experience a lot of failures along the way, but they don’t let failure get the better of them.” John Maxwell. Failures are temporary, isolated events; simply a part of the process.

I recently read that to be a success you have to make time to think. That’s a scary thought and explains a lot of things! If thinking were easy then everyone would be a success.

I’ve also heard that failure is an event, not a person.

“Thought is the original source of all wealth, all success, all material gain, all great discoveries and inventions, and all achievements.”Claude M. Bristol.

Plato said “Take charge of your thoughts”.

I guess I took this failure thing a little personally. I have tried many things in my life that have failed. It is hard to separate the act from the person, especially when you are the person who committed the act that failed. I am in great company. Colonial Sanders, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford all had multiple failures. I take comfort in the fact that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering me on.

Today I will brush the dust of failure off my shoulders and continue on, and I hope, my dear friends, you will do the same.

Back to Cincinnati

Several weeks ago I visited Cincinnati for the day. While I was there I saw other sites that I wanted to explore but wasn’t able to because of time constraints…so I went back!

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The first thing we did when we arrived in Cincinnati was to take a Duck Tour. Technically this is in Kentucky, but we entered Ohio from Kentucky to get to Newport on the Levee, the quickest route so I’m told. If you’re unfamiliar with Duck Tours, these are land and water vehicles. Our goal was to see places we wanted to further check out. If you’ve never done a Duck Tour, try it!

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The ride on the Duck was entertaining in and of itself. We got quackers (kazoos shaped like duck bills) to blow at various points throughout the tour. We did find a few places we wanted to check out a little more once we were finished with the tour.

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First stop a place to eat on the water. Brothers provided AL fresco dining at its best. The Philly Cheese steak was a perfect size for sharing.

We then made our way to the Purple People Bridge. This bridged is a pedestrian bridge that allows you to walk or pedal from Newport, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio much like the Big Four Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky.

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travel, travel blog, places to see in Cincinnati, Duck Tours, Great American Park, Purple People Bridge, Newport on the Levee

We then made our way back to the car: note to self-always make a mental note of where you park in a garage. Once we located the car, we drove to the Great American Ball Park, home to the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. There were lots of things to see as we explored the park and the river walk.

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What a picturesque setting on a gorgeous afternoon.

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The day passed much too quickly as we turned our sites and our vehicle toward home.

I love to travel, as you well know if you’ve been reading for any time at all. Day trips are a nice mini-vacation to break up a routine week.

Where do you go for day trips?

How Do You Make It Count?

This post was written a couple of  years ago. I felt the need to share it again. The original post was called Make it Count.

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I attended a dinner recently. It was a dinner in which alumnae were honored and inducted for feats preformed since the glory days of old. My sister-in-law was one of the honorees. I walked away from that dinner feeling satisfied from time well-spent with family and friends; and inspired by the stories I heard.

I left with a thing or two to ponder.

One of the women who was honored had a very touching story. She was the mother of two children. Her son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at a very early age. He spent a lot of his 13 years in the hospital. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of other terminally ill kids.

He made his life count.

This family whose story was such an inspiration, started my pondering as to why some people take devastating life-situations and turn them into opportunities of hope and a chance to make a difference in the life of someone else.

What makes someone decide to climb outside of their own despair and involve themselves in the pain of others? How do you decide, in the midst of your own tragedy, to reach out and make whatever is happening in your own life, worth something good on behalf of someone else?

Most don’t. It is usually all they can do just to struggle through, much less emerge with such grace, peace, and a spirit of giving.

How do you make it count?

Though I’m not sure I have an answer to those questions, or even if there is one particular answer, I suspect it has something to do with attitude, gratitude and an ability to look beyond the temporary situations and see the bigger picture.

Jim Rohn’s words have never rang truer as I muse along these lines. “It’s not what happens that determines your  future”. It’s what you do about what happens. We are all in life’s sailboat. It’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination, it’s the set of the sail. The same wind blows on us all. The difference of arrival is not the blowing of the wind, but the set of the sail”.

I may never quite reach the mark in regards to making lemonade out of  the lemons life hands me, but I commit that I will live my life to make it count.

How do you make it count?

Mom, Can You?

As I sat in the waiting room of the place both my sons took music lessons for many years, the memories came rushing in.

I reflected on all the times I sat while they were in the rooms down the hallway, the songs they played and sang, the bands they were a part of.

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And then I remembered the many times I heard these words: “Mom, can you?”…

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All three of my kids used those words over and over during the course of their growing-up years. I’m pretty sure I will continue to hear them as time goes on, though on a less frequent basis. In fact, those words are already being used less often.

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When my kids were very young and learning new things, I would hear things like “Mommy can you watch me run?”

“Mommy can you put a movie in?”

“Mommy can you play with me?”

As my kids grew older I continued to hear the words but the requests were different.

“Mom, can you call Andrew’s mother to see if he can come over?”

“Mom, can you show me how to fix my lunch?”

“Mom, can you let us stay up a little later tonight?”

Mom, Can You?

And then the teen years hit and the phrase just kept changing:

“Mom, can you take me to the mall?”

“Mom, can you drop me off at the movies?”

Mom, can you give me money for a pizza?”

As the years kept racing by the phrase continued to change.

“Mom, can you lend me your car?”

“Mom, can you extend my curfew?”

“Mom, what’s the best route to take to avoid rush hour traffic?”

As I was driving down the road today, on the first day of school in our neck of the woods, I thought of my two nieces, one starting high school and the other middle school. My thoughts then turned to my brother and his wife, and the busy time of life they were entering because of their girls’ many activities and I felt a bit of envy; a longing in my heart of those days gone by. It’s a hectic time, no doubt about it. You sometimes feel like your life has all but disappeared. But to go back to those days of “Mom, can you?” just for a few short hours would be a gift beyond words.
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My kids are all young adults now. I still hear that phrase from time to time:

“Mom, can you tell me how to get this stain out?”

“Mom, can you help me get a passport?”

“Mom, can you pick me up from the airport?”

Although it seems like just yesterday I was changing diapers, chasing toddlers, reading bedtime stories as I tucked them in for the night, and dropping them off at a friend’s house for a party, it was not.

I will remember those childhood days with a fondness so fierce it sometimes causes my heart to ache.

And those words will forever echo in my ears.

Mom, can you…

 

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

Who can forget their first broken heart? I certainly remember mine. I thought I would die it hurt so badly. How can you mend a broken heart? Remember that song by the Bee Gees? For your listening pleasure: