Behind every smile…

I like to think I look like everything is okay.

I like to smile, and put on the front that I am fine.

Having an autoimmune disease will do that to you.

Most days, I am okay. Most days, that smile is genuine. Some days, though, there is a quiet strength behind that smile.

We spent a lot of time this past Sunday at church talking about our thoughts. Truly, what we choose to focus on in our mind impacts our choices and response to our world around us.

I just had a conversation with my son. I reminded him that everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. People often act in a way they do because they are trying to project an image that they have it all together.

So, I smile because I want to keep pushing on. I am a fighter. My quiet strength is founded upon my belief that God has a plan for me. I trust that He will carry me through every challenge.

I don’t talk about my ulcerative colitis often. It’s just part of my life. I don’t allow it to define or control my life. I am grateful my UC is mild compared to so many others. I am so incredibly tired in my current season. Fatigue is an unwelcome friend to UC. Yet, I push on because I have life to do- goals, dreams, and well…dishes to do, laundry to fold, bills to pay. So, I smile and push on.

Every smile has an untold story behind it.

Your mind is a powerful thing…be careful of your thoughts you entertain. They impact you greatly.

My favorite quote to leave you with….In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

What favorite quote, saying, scripture inspires you?

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Okay with me

Success is progress not perfection. This was a favorite mantra in my former professional world. We strived to be the best and do the best, but we acknowledged that growth takes time.

I’ve learned a lot about me in the past few years. I know my strengths. I know my weaknesses or to be politically correct…my growth opportunities.

I self reflect to a fault. I strive to grow. I desire to be a better wife, mother, friend, leader at work.

But mostly, I want to be better with accepting who I am in Christ. I am His child. A work in progress. I don’t have to be like everyone else.

At writing group last weekend, we were challenged to write about what we like about ourselves. That’s not exactly easy to do. But, we did it.

And, I realized those weaknesses (a.k.a growth opportunities) are actually things I have grown to like about myself. I understand myself better. I am a INFP personality type. Click the link for more information or to discover your personality type.

Yes, success is progress not perfection, and I am a work in progress.

I am okay with me.

I challenge you to reflect and ask yourself this question….what do you like about yourself?

#infp

Believe

It’s been almost two months since I posted last. I needed a hiatus of sorts. Life was coming at me fast, and I needed to stop and catch my breath.

In the course of these past two months, I have changed jobs and taken a step of faith. I’ve come home in a sense, returned to my roots of discovery, to the place where I first realized my calling to long term care. I have had to close doors so I could embrace new beginnings. Grief of endings is a real process, one that I also had to embrace.

I have witnessed the workings of healing and redemption in some challenging situations in my life.

I have taken time for me. To reflect. To rest. To breathe. To reconnect. To rediscover. To catch my breath.

I am choosing to believe to expect the unexpected. I am choosing to believe that with faith nothing is impossible. I am stepping out in faith to trust God that this journey is uniquely mine, but I am not meant to travel it alone. He is with me every step of the way.

Have you ever looked back at your life and wondered how you ever survived that struggle? Have you ever been completely awed when you realize all the connections of your life have been orchestrated?

I’m so grateful for every experience in my life even the hard times. Especially the hard times.

I am choosing to believe this year.

What is your word for the year? What are you choosing to believe in?

Perfectly Imperfect

This year the tiny Christmas tree I bought a few years ago on a Black Friday special in order to simplify the tree process is now missing the middle section of lights.

I am not even bothered by it.

A few years ago the imperfections may have concerned me. The perceptions of others of my imperfect holiday decorations may have unsettled me.

Not this year.

This year, I am resting in the beauty of imperfections. I don’t have any expectations this Christmas for perfect traditions. I am simply going to enjoy the simple moments.

Nothing was perfect with the birth of our Savior…a dirty stable, no room at the inn…yet everything perfectly unfolded the way God planned.

What have I learned this year?

Trust the process. Be okay with imperfection. Give yourself some grace. Sometimes, life is messy, and that is okay.

Merry Christmas! ♥️♥️

My “Be Still”

I have come to realize and accept that I need my “be still” moments.

Life has been a crazy whirlwind henceforth my quietness here on my blog. It has been filled with work busyness, holiday things, and extra crazy obligations.

This has been a particularly challenging year for me in so many ways. I have been quietly pushing on. Recently, I have had some powerful reflective moments that have caused me to step back and reevaluate my life and priorities.

I didn’t like some of what I saw.

I may have shared this song before but Granted by Josh Groban has been very meaningful to me the past several months.

Granted by Josh Groban

I have come to realize that I need my “be still” moments. I need to catch my breath. I need to have time to sit and be still. I need to be in the Word. I need time to write. (I did do a modified #Nanowrimo this year). I need to be more present and intentional with those whom I love. I need to practice listening even more actively.

At a conference I was recently attending, we were asked what we considered one of our strengths. I immediately chose compassion. I love people deeply. I feel deeply. I care deeply.

Life is all about relationships.

Life is really hard yet really beautiful. I can’t fix everything in my life, but I can step out in faith and follow the direction I feel God is leading me.

“Be still” moments are my saving grace. They refresh me, restore my sanity, and help me to discern the still small voice of God in my life.

In the busyness of life and especially now during the holiday season, I encourage you to pause and find your own “be still” moments. Maybe it’s a certain place like the coffee shop or some early morning moments while the rest of the house is still sleeping or perhaps by the glow of the Christmas tree lights at night… wherever it is-take time to pause and reflect on your life.

You can never have back the time that has slipped away.

How do you reenergize in the chaos of life?

Showers of Blessings

Today is the day of Thanksgiving in America. It is a day of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (my contribution), and pumpkin pie. It is a day of football. It is family and traditions.

It is a time to be reflective on all you have to be grateful for.

This year, my Thanksgiving looks and feels a little different. Our traditions have been altered due to family logistics and other particular issues. Our college age daughter is working. There are other variables in life that just makes this year’s Thanksgiving different.

What about you? Are you trying to move forward with life even though things are different?

God uses those messy situations, those hard times, the devastating moments, the lonely days…all of it to draw us closer to Him.

It may not make things easy, but today I choose gratitude.

This Thanksgiving may be a bit different but wow, do I have so much to be thankful for.

Just a week ago, I was able to observe my college age daughter in all her glory leading a children’s program. This morning, my teenage son is baking just because he loves to cook. My dogs lay peacefully at my feet. I have accomplished a huge feat in my professional goals. My husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage earlier this year. I have an accountability partner who is encouraging me to write daily for #Nanowrimo. And I sure do have a lot of great friends!

Yup, there’s a lot to be grateful as I reflect today.

Despite it’s been a few weeks since I have had a moment to catch my breath to blog and my back spasms continue and my stomach issues are flared, Thanksgiving is so much more than food and traditions. It is a moment to pause and realize life may be full of challenges, but it is also overflowing with everyday blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful for each and everyone of you. Thank you for taking a moment to pause and read my thoughts. What are you thankful for today?

Gratitude is a choice. Choose it.

#blessedbeyondmeasure

This is Brave.

It’s fall finally, and the leaves are falling. As I walked Quill this morning, the reds, oranges, and yellows lay scattered in a disorganized leaf array making me grateful I have no trees in my yard.

I walked this morning to clear my head. It is my Saturday morning ritual, and one Quill has come to know and expect.

Anxiety is a real thing. If you have ever suffered an anxiety attack, then you know the strength it takes to pull yourself out of one. You must find coping skills.

Walking is my therapy. Music. Quiet time with God in solitude to calm the voices in my mind. These walks are my peace. They recharge me.

This morning, I stopped at a bench. My favorite walking path, an old railroad track transformed to a walking path nestled between trees. Quill calmed, sat obediently beside me as I journalled on my phone note pad app. Then, we walked some more.

I know many people who function with anxiety. They are successful people-professionals, teachers, administrators, mothers, fathers, students. They are thriving, sometimes surviving, but they are brave people. Pulling yourself, pushing yourself, and refusing to give in to anxiety is an act of bravery.

The word fear is in the Bible so many times. God knew we would face fear and anxiety.

As I walked today, I reflected on the leaves. The disorganized chaos they create as they fall. Life with anxiety can feel like that, but I must keep walking and keep pressing on.

My thought for the day-be nice to people. Extend grace everyday in every place. We never know the journey a person may be taking.

Here are some of my favorite verses to help me walk through the anxiety and press on. I hope they bring you hope and peace.

#write31days #grace