Friday, April 19, 2013


Yea. Rest. Sounds easy.  I know FOR SURE I need it.  I'm realizing that I kinda live in this constant cycle (some friends I know would call it "Insanity") of HALT.  HALT is an acronym. A reminder that when I'm H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired) the best thing to do is what it says, HALT. Stop. Slow Down.  Even Jesus said this:

30 The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32 They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. Mark 6:30-32

This morning was no different.  I had 1359820357298357 things to do, and was determined to get them done.  My grandfather passed away on Monday.  He lived an incredible, long, and fulfilling life.  He was blessed with a relatively quick and peaceful death.  I was blessed by spending about 3 hours with him last month, and had the most wonderful time. We shared stories, worries, hopes, laughs, cookies...  He was incredible, and I wanted more than anything to honor him in his death by attending his memorial service and viewing this weekend.  

I often tell people that my life is crazy.  I'm not sure that's the right word, but definitely it is FULL.  Our weekly schedule is pretty much the same, but there is not a lot of downtime, or unscheduled time to rest and relax.  I'm deeply involved in spiritual and emotional care for my soul, working a recovery step program through Celebrate Recovery.  It has changed my life, and part of that is because I have immersed myself in it and really (and prayerfully) chose to let this be a season of growth for me, by giving my all towards my spiritual and emotional health.  I has CHANGED. MY. LIFE.  This one year of dedication (9 months so far) will change the rest of my time on this planet, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  That all being said, this dedication and decision is based on the overwhelmingly tough and unhealthy part of my life.  Change only happens when the pain outweighs the fear, and change only happens in the present.  I am making the changes, and the pain is lessoning.   

So not to sidetrack there, but back to my grandfather.  I want to do it all. I want to be everywhere, I want to experience everything. I've always been this way, even as a child.  It would pain me to miss things, or not be involved.  It's a huge struggle for me to sit still, to focus, to rest.  My grandfather was also very active.  Bowling numerous games at a time, up until about a month before his death.  He had many hobbies, many loves, many activities that brought him joy.  When he realized he was too sick, and too tired, he decided to rest, and passed away about a month later.  Now he is eternally resting in the presence of the Lord.  Even though I just made the trek to PA a month ago, I made the decision on Tuesday that I could do it again. It appeared that I could pull it off, and make the memorial service on Saturday.  Then on Thursday I decided that I needed to be there for the viewing on Friday evening.  If I was going to make the trip, I needed to make the most of it, attend as much as I could, spend as much time...  

I got up at 6 (I'm NOT a morning person, so it was the best I could do), left the house at 7, and went through the same steps as I did about a month ago, except this time, the result was different.  I realized yesterday, after my contracting paycheck never arrived, that I'd be cutting it pretty close financially. I doubted for a minute, but I knew I could still make it work!!  The morning continued on with road block after road block.  Finally, 4 hours after we left the house, and in a mess of tears and exhaustion, I made the decision to HALT.  Headed home, crashed for 2 hours, and woke trying to figure out what to do for the day.  Maybe I could still make the drive? Maybe I could get a last minute deal on a rental?  Then it dawned on me.  HALT. STOP. REST.  The fact that I was REALLY struggling with just sitting around, showed me that it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  

I will honor my grandpa, by doing what he is doing. Resting.  I will slow down, take a break. I cleared my schedule for the weekend, and I need to leave it clear. I need to be filled up, rested up. I need to listen, abide.  

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

God confirmed my choice.  When I woke from my nap, the rainy, storm threatening day, had turned into gorgeous blue sky and sunshine!  The money lost from the rental was refunded. (How they couldn't help me at the time is still a mystery, yet somehow, as soon as I get home, they are able to help...)  I get it.  When things are in His will, they go smoothly.  When things aren't happening, I take that as a sign that they are not supposed to happen, and surrender to whatever it is God has next.  For me? It was a lesson in resting.  It's SUPER challenging, but I'll try.

28 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

So that's what I will do. I will come to You. Give me rest. Fill me up.  I know your plans for me are better than my own.  I will see my family again. We will share memories and laughs. My grandfather's legacy will live on past today and this weekend.  This isn't the last chance... Last month was the last chance, and I was blessed to have that chance. To see him, to hug him, to tell him I loved him.  

(can I tell you how much I love that Jack is holding hands with grandpa and gramma in this picture? I will treasure this picture forever.)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Re: gratitude

Having an attitude of gratitude is something I strive for daily.  It is something I believe is absolutely necessary to find joy and peace in life.  And it's not like there isn't a TON to be thankful for!  I can easily spend the month of November writing a Facebook status each day about something I'm thankful for.  Being thankful in adversity though, is harder and sometimes feels impossible.  Something I was reminded of the other day, is that being thankful is a learned behavior.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. Philippians 4:11-12 NASB

Paul said it twice; he had to learn to be thankful and grateful during times of adversity.  He also wrote this while he was in prison.  And how do we learn something? By practicing it.  

I've always loved the idea of a gratitude journal, but journaling can be hard for me.  And even if I spend the time to sit down and journal, most of the time my mommy brain can't even remember what we did an hour ago let alone the things I am thankful for throughout the day.  Practice isn't a once in a while thing, but something you do over and over and over consistently.  

So about a year ago I came up with this idea.  What about a gratitude email?  That is something I'm in all day long.  I can pretty much access it from anywhere, and it takes two seconds to do.  So I started:

To: my email address
Subject: gratitude
Body: 2/29/12 - unemployment cleared before mortgage payment, 
awesome lunch meeting for Keith

It had been a great day.  And there were specifics I was thankful for!  Immediately, this email popped up in my inbox.  On March 1st, all I had to do, was hit Reply:

3/1/12 - $1 night at sweet ceces, 
awesome surprise phone interview with keith, 
banner order, $100 from a friend

Thus, began a practice of constant gratitude. All the little blessings happening each and every moment.  We were right in the middle of a VERY rough time, and God was written all over it.  This little email stayed highlighted, and 'unread' at the top of my inbox.  Got a front parking spot? I'd hit reply. Got an extra 3 cents off gas? Reply.  Our bank account bounced from here to kingdom come, but was only charged one $25 fee. Reply.  I started to be SO thankful, even during the tough times, the messups, the let downs.  Started really recognizing the joy in everything.  There is always something to be thankful for.  I started to notice the clouds, the sunsets, when the rain would come after a long wait and when it would stop just in time to make it inside.  I practiced, and I learned.  

At some point I started to making excuses again, and started becoming "too busy" to stop and be thankful. That email got farther and farther down the list, and eventually off the page.  There are numerous times that I can see God written all over my circumstances.  Those times when He shows up SO big! But I fail to write them down, or email them. And then I forget, and the moments quickly pass.  Just in the time it took me to write this blog, I've revisited some of the things in my long email of thanks. Thankful for conversations, errands run, meeting a work deadline, the small stuff.  And the gratefulness that I found in the hard days; the bits of joy sprinkled throughout.  This was a wonderful practice and I truly miss it.  I'm really thankful for the reminder.  I'm thankful for this blog that made me go back and pull up that email. I'm thankful that I was able to read through it and see the change that was happening in me over the months that I practiced.  And I'm thankful that I can jump right back in and pickup where I left off.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

And He will give you the desires of your heart

Psalm 37:4 says, Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.  I've known this verse for many years, and I'm sure I used to think that it meant God gives us what we want if we delight in Him.  It's funny how things can change when you put the emphasis in a different place.  

Is it:

He will give you the desires of your heart.  


He will give you the desires of your heart.

Matthew 6:19-21 says, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So we are warned about our desires. A lot of the time, the desires of my heart, are earthly desires. At least they seem to start that way.  So then, how can I assume that if I delight in Him, He will give me my earthly desires?  There is a greater picture here.  Delighting in Christ is desiring Christ.  It's setting your heart towards heaven; it's turning, repenting, changing.  When I made the decision to delight in Christ, and set my heart and my treasures in heaven, He gave my heart new desires.  And I know they are not from me, because the desires I have now are to do things that I spent most of my life honestly trying to avoid.  But once again, God's will is revealed in hindsight.  And the more I delight in Him, the more my heart and my desires change.