Friday Reflections 

Every Friday, I find myself asking the same question….How did we get here so quickly??

The weeks seem to fly by, and I want to shout Slow Down!!!! but life keeps happening. 

For me, and I am guessing I am not alone in this, it is so easy to get caught up in the busy stuff of life and forget to take time to rest, reflect…even breathe some days. It has been a week like that.

Yesterday, as I sat in my office, I listened to the soothing voice of one of our maintenance men as he took a break from job duties to play guitar and sing old songs and hymns to the residents. I feel so blessed to work in a faith based organization where I can hear How Great Thou Art being sang in the middle of the morning.

It was as though God was whispering to me as a gentle reminder that all will be OK in the busy, crazy hustle and bustle of life, when I am tired and don’t feel well…He is there amidst all of it.

I suppose some of my restlessness comes from years of walking alongside people in their final years, months, and days. I have heard so many stories of amazing lives and witnessed seemingly simple everyday things that matter. I have also heard some sad stories of dreams never fulfilled, tragedies, and broken families. 

I want to learn from the stories of these elders. I want to embrace the things that truly matter in life. 

I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned from working with older adults…(in no particular order)…

1. Do more listening than talking. Everyone has a story and everyone longs to be heard and to know their life somehow matters and has somehow made a difference in this world 

2. Focus more on relationships than stuff. Almost everyone needs a hug or at least a smile that says…I care.

3. Collect memories rather than stuff. 

4. Make each moment matter…live life to the fullest… don’t sweat the small stuff.

5. Forgive people. Bitterness and resentment only hurt you.

6. Live within your means. Have an emergency fund.

7. A few words of wisdom from Babe Ruth… Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Live life without fear.

8. Faith is important. Having a relationship with God is important. Take your kids to church.

9. Good music has words you can actually understand. 😉

10. A cup of coffee or tea with a good friend can cure most anything.

11. Age is just a number.

12. A good old fashioned game of checkers or Scrabble is great fun.

13. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Never quit laughing. From George Bernard Shaw…you don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.

Happy Friday!!! Take a moment to slow down and breathe. 

Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. Psalm 55:22

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An Invitation to Rest

Sometimes, you just have nothing left. Your body is tired. Your mind is exhausted from multiple tasking. Life is just, well, exhausting.

The beginning of my day I had a moment, well a few of them. A moment of this is Monday, and I am tired and exhausted. Crazy how little things become exaggerated when you tired. Emotions run high. And if you are like me, you just want to be alone.

But you can’t…

Around one o’clock today, things started to feel manageable. I prayed…the blessings in the challenges, remind me the blessings in the challenges, Lord.

I realized it was going to be a Diet Coke kind of day. I hate pop or soda as one coworker adamantly proclaimed it to be. I just needed some energy, though.

I pushed through…A busy afternoon at work. A victory on the soccer field. Dinner served and cleaned up. Every day stuff.

Then a wonderful thing happened. The house became quiet, very still. I realized I needed quiet rest. I realized the “to do” list could wait until tomorrow. I realized it is okay. It is okay to rest.

A warm blanket. Fuzzy socks. A cup of tea. Nothing pressing to be done but rest. 

Giving myself permission to rest is the hardest thing for me to do. There is always something that needs done. Dreams and goals to work towards. A house to tidy. Something… always, something.

But without rest, I realize I am drained, depleted, defeated, vulnerable. 

Rest. Quiet rest. My soul yearns for it.

Jesus invites us…come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV 

If He is inviting, then we should pause to accept His invitation and the gift of rest.

The Heart of All that matters…

Sometimes, I feel like a thirty-some year old living with the mindset of someone much older. I don’t care much for material stuff. I am more interested in relationships with others than the car I drive and the balance in my checking.

Don’t get me wrong… I love to travel, love a good meal out, and worry about my money at times but I generally tend to focus on the simple things.

I was talking through some of this with a friend and she said a lot of this probably has to do with my daily life perspective in working with older adults in long term care.

Everyday, I am honored to spend time with those at the ends of their lives. Their life possessions have been downsized to a small room or half of a room. “Stuff” no longer matters. 

What is so, so universal despite differing financial backgrounds… people want to be heard, to know their life still has value and purpose.

Relationships matter. 

Life can be pretty lonely when you have no one to share in it with….no one to cry with, to dream with, to laugh with, to share a cup of coffee with, to pray with… 

It makes me so sad when I hear bitterness in people’s voices towards family members and friends. I have witnessed daughters refuse to say goodbye to their dying mother because of years of estranged relationships.

That just strikes me as so sad. I never, ever judge family situations, but those type of situations just make me sad.

Last week, my pastor preached this sermon…some people look down in shame, some look back in regret, and others look around for someone to blame or to compare their situation to. The only way that will move us forward is by looking up. Up to Him for healing.

God can heal relationships, lonely hearts, and feelings of resentment and bitterness.

Relationships matter. And in the end, they are the only thing that matters. 

I encourage you to take some time today and let those who you love know how much they mean to you. Relationships matter. ❤

Am I comfortable…

The other day, a co-worker walked into my office and asked if I was attending the optional training session that was starting in the next few minutes.

I looked up at her.”There’s no way. I’m drowning right now.”

“Are you comfortable drowning?”

Whoa…not the response I was expecting from her.

Am I comfortable drowning?

Am I comfortable drowning???

Drowning elicits a vision of fear, of wildly waving, flailing my arms to save myself from going under. It is like one moment you find yourself in the lake, the next, swallowed under by the wake.

That vision does not suggest a positive experience.

So….am I comfortable drowning?

As I ponder this, I relate this to life…how often do we accept the status quo as okay? We accept the busy and the crazy of our lives as our reality.

So, am I okay with drowning? Am I okay with being so busy…so busy at work, so busy at home….that I don’t take time to rest.

Have I accepted the reality of being so busy, so bogged down, so overwhelmed that I am comfortable with drowning? That drowning somehow feels familiar and comforting?

I don’t have an answer to this question. 

What I do know is that I need to rest. Rest my mind. Calm my soul.

Sometimes, God can use a simple but profound, unexpected question to help us pause and reflect.

Am I comfortable with drowning?? Or am I willing to reflect and seek the calm waters…. I still believe they exist. At work. At home. In His care.

Change of Season 

Sometimes, change is inevitable. Sometimes, we even look forward to change.

I found myself feeling a little excited the other night when I saw the red on the trees at the park. Autumn leaves… seasonal changes in the air.

Yes, I know, I know….after autumn comes the dreaded winter with its unpredictable weather, but I want to savor the joys of falls.

The colors of the season 


Pumpkins on my porch…

Sweatshirts and jeans, soccer and football, relief from the summer heat, apples and squash, pumpkin spice lattes….so many things to look forward to in autumn.

Autumn is definitely my favorite season. It is one change I welcome.

I admit, though, I am never a fan of winter but change is inevitable, and I will choose right now to focus on the special joys of autumn that I love. I will enjoy the peace I feel with the comforts of autumn and trust God with the uncertainty of the impending winter…. really not too different than seasons in life we experience. It’s all a matter of perspective.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Whose Perspective are you Focusing on?

As I sit here in the darkened living room, I hear the rain falling against the capped chimney. I hear my son breathing softly as he sleeps on the couch…his favorite thing to do on the weekend. The rain could easily match my mood if I let it. I have just finished a hard, hard week…conflict, tension, confrontation, disagreement, difficulty…I find myself questioning if I could have done something differently or handled a situation from a better approach. It all seems like too much. Like a giant rock in my path…

 

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The decision I have to make is will I let that rock define me…will I let that rock stand in my way…will I let that rock discourage me??

Sometimes, a rock stops us dead in our tracks. Sometimes, a rock is in our path to make us pause and reflect. And sometimes, a rock in front of us might signify that we need to take a detour to find our way back.

I’m still reflecting what the rock in my path means exactly. I do know this, though. When we see rocks in our path and feel discouraged, it is easy to start looking around at other people’s lives and wondering if we were somehow forgotten about…

It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap…it’s easy to think everyone else has everything else better off than we do. Just spend a few minutes on Facebook. Most people don’t highlight the worst moments of their days on Facebook. Most people don’t share their marriage issues, their issues with kids, their hard days at work on Facebook. We see a snapshot of something good on Facebook and then we can easily think that everyone else has something great going for them, and we are well….missing the mark somehow.

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What window are you looking through? Whose view are you focusing on? Your view which is often focused on feelings and the present situation? Or God’s view which promises He will use everything in our lives to grow us and move us forward?

I found myself falling into the comparison trap earlier this week, and a convicting thought infused my mind.

When I compare myself to others and see my accomplishments, my life, my career, my fill in the blank, as less than someone else’s fill in the blank, then I am undermining the work that God is doing in my own life.

He has gifted each of us with different gifts and talents. He has each of our lives on a different timeline.

When I take my focus off Him and onto worldy perspectives of success and happiness, it leaves me feeling empty and less than worthy every time. So, even though my life is not perfect, I will remember I am God’s work in progress.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls-Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV

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Upside Down Kind of Day

Sometimes life feels upside down.

My morning started out as one of those days…an upside down kind of day. I slipped in a puddle on my floor as I was trying to hurry out the door. I internalized a conversation at work. A meeting became permeated with negativity. This was not at all how I planned my day…. especially when I was trying so hard. So hard to be positive. So hard to be focused. So hard to be perfect.

Of course, this morning on my way into work, I realized I had placed my Bible and devotional on my bed and was distracted before I had the chance to read them. I hadn’t started my day in the Word.

Grateful, though, for conversations with supportive coworkers, a friend…still feeling quiet, trying to not feel defeated despite encouragement from my boss that I don’t have to be perfect…it is okay.

I drove home, put eggs on the stove for dinner, and trudged upstairs to change. I found them, the Bible and the devotional, on the corner of my bed where I had left them. I picked up my devotional…the verse…

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! Mark 9:24 NKJV 

The words of the God Calling devotional… crying from the human heart expresses progress of the soul ….a cry for more faith. And my other devotional on accountability, something I am working on at work with staff…and feeling the resistance from some. 

These are words I needed to hear at that moment. Their clarity and meaning much clearer than they would have been had I read them early in the morning before my upside down day. These words breathing life into my defeated soul. 

God’s timing, perfect timing…making an upside down day seem a little bit more right side up. 

Lord….help my unbelief…. please use the upside down kind of days to remind me right side kind of days really do happen.