The Sign Lady

There is a sign that I passed every day on the way to work, and on this sign are names of people and their birthdays and  anniversaries. It’s in a rural area. I don’t even know if you can call it a town. It’s a small area with a Catholic school, a meat market, a huge cemetery, a carry out and a few small businesses but nothing much more. 

I met this sign lady who changes the sign every morning at a musical event at the nursing home where I worked. After that, sometimes I would see her in the morning changing her sign. She highlights people’s everyday events…their birthdays and anniversaries. These are things that matter to people. She cares enough to remember their important dates of their life stories.

 I think sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget that everyday moments matter. Facebook is a great way to connect with people but it’s also easy to get lost in other people’s lives. We forget that Facebook is a reel of the highlights of their life. It captures their special moments, the good stuff in their life. There are some people who put their dirty laundry on Facebook, but the majority of people like to put pictures of kids, vacations, and the special events. Most people don’t put the areas in their life where they are hurting or struggling. I think we all need reminded that our lives are unique and matter. The ordinary every day stuff matters.

I took a different way home tonight after my chiropractic appointment, and I passed the sign. I haven’t seen that sign in quite a while since I changed jobs. I smiled as I passed the sign. The sign reminded me that everyday moments matter, and this woman is still changing her sign everyday. 

Connections are everything. Without each other life just isn’t as easy. God gives us one another to lean on in the toughest of times and to share everyday moments. Sometimes simply to be with one another is what we need.

This sign lady definitely has a unique ministry. Each of us have the opportunity to touch lives every day.

Life as the Great Balancing Act

I miss the mountains. A lot.


Over the weekend, a close friend was asking how my vacation was. As I shared how much I love the mountains, she agreed she could see me living there. When she asked what I loved the most about vacation, I reflected on the slow paced mornings, coffee on the deck, and writing time. She laughed and said, “Sounds like you want the retired life.”
Sigh. Actually, though, I guess what I love about the mountains is the quiet beauty of them. Life is life and vacation doesn’t last forever, though.

What I long for is a piece of that mountain peace  I felt to seep into my daily life. My ongoing struggle is this whole work life balance thing. I know I am not alone. Many of us work a lot and struggle to find a balance. My daughter is an education major and just told me the average teacher works 53 hours a week. I work in healthcare and that is comparable. Every occupation has its times of long hours. 

Last Saturday afternoon, while reading my devotional and Bible, I stumbled upon this verse although I don’t think it was a random stumbling upon…

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones. Psalm 127:2 NLT

There is a message in those words. Balance is important in life. Work should not consume our lives. When work feels like it is becoming too much, what can we do to regain our sense of self?
For me, this area is an ongoing work in progress. I have implemented a few things to help me. I am in the process of reevaluating the things that I am involved in outside of work and setting boundaries. I have just started an inspirational Writing group which totally uplifted me over the weekend. I take time nightly for TV time with my son to laugh along to our favorite show The Middle. I am making snippets of time to write and exercise. I am trying to find moments to reconnect with my husband because he is in a season of working a lot of hours, too. 

The most important thing? I am keeping prayer and time in God’s Word as a priority. I am learning to give myself grace. I am trying to learn an important lesson my friend reminds me…No is a complete sentence.

Finding balance amist the chaos of life can feel a bit like driving through a thick fog. It can be easier to simply accept the busyness as okay. It is much more uncomfortable and disorienting to sort your way through the fog of finding balance.
Finding balance is a process. Don’t settle for crazy. What small changes can you make that may pave the way for big strides towards balance in your life?

Slow Down

It was Saturday night, and I had the rare occasion of an officially declared date night with my husband. We were both determined to do something more than just grocery shopping. Lol…The married life. 

I am happy to say that we took advantage of the nice weather and went for a walk in one of the city metroparks. Some of the trails were closed due to high water, so we ended up on multiple trails to piece together our walk. My husband told me at one point…You don’t have to walk so fast….

Walking fast…. That’s just what I do. I have the reputation at work of walking fast and with purpose. What do you think I saw just a few short minutes later into our walk after he told me that??

Slow. 
And that is definitely a message God wants me to embrace. Slow down….And breathe, and wait, and embrace, and pause, and the list goes on. Just slow down.

Prayer is about communication with God and trusting He is listening. With this comes trusting in His timing. So often, I want an answer soon….Like yesterday. I know that I am not alone in wishing for quicker response to prayer especially in the middle of hard things.

God’s way might feel like the slow way, but He is working things out for our good, moving mountains, orchestrating the pieces, and speaking truths we need to hear along the way if we will listen.

Slow also applies to simply slowing down and not flying through life. Sure, we are all busy, but the older I get, I find myself wanting life to slow down. I don’t want to miss moments. There are opportunities to laugh, to reflect, to share coffee with a friend, to linger over a bridge during a walk, and to notice the flowers beginning to bloom.

My point is….Slow Down and enjoy life. Nichole Nordeman has a song titled Slow Down. While the song is about children growing up too fast and was the accompanying song to my many tears during the time of my daughter’s graduation, it captures the essence of living life a little slower and more intentional.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6:31 NIV
 If the Bible mentions the need to get away from the busyness for quiet and rest, then I think that slowing down is something God wants for us, too.

Reflect on your week…Can you think of a simple way you took time to slow down or a way you can in the week to come or even today? For me…Lingering over the bridge at the metropark enjoying the sound of moving water even if it was brown in color offered a moment of intentionally slowing down.

Have a great week!!

What are you waiting for?

It is Friday morning. I am thankful for the end of the work week in sight. As I sit here reading devotions, I hear my son’s alarm go off for a few moments, then it stops. A few minutes later, it goes off again and then stops. Of course, he is snoozing it….


What is he waiting for???

He can snooze it a zillion times but he knows what will happen….mom will be in his room telling him to get up!!

Never a morning person, not a fan of the academic component of school, but when the alarm goes off, it means the inevitable….he has to get up!! School is coming whether he likes it or not.

I think about this in terms of life….what am I waiting for? The things I want to get done, the hopes and dreams I have, the to do list at work and home… 

Sometimes when there is so much, I find myself feeling stuck. Being stuck is not a place I want to be.

So, I ask myself….what am I waiting for? The perfect moment? A free moment? A rainy day? 

The reality is…there will never be a perfect moment.

If I want to write, well, then I need to make time to write.

If I want to run, I need to make time to run.

If I want to spend more time with my family, then I need to make that time.

You can fill in your own blanks…If I want to ____, then I need to make time to _____.

And, instead of feeling discouraged by all of it, I need to celebrate forward motion and my small steps in the direction I want to go.

What are you waiting for?

The sky is the limit…

When plans go awry…

We were heading into the city for a Saturday morning of family time, just me and my two kids. A cooking class for my young aspiring chef son. Computer shopping for my college bound daughter. Coffee and brunch out. 

Until we heard a loud, persistent, disturbing noise.

“Mom, I think that’s your van,” my daughter stated matter of factly.

Sure enough…I pulled off into the empty parking lot of a country ice cream shop and this is what I saw…

A very flat tire. And just like that…our well laid out plans gone awry. Long story short…some friends picked us up. My husband and his friends saw my SOS texts when they took a break from fishing and came to rescue my van. The tire was repairable for less than $15. And, I still enjoyed quality time with my kids.

The message in this? Sometimes , life just happens. At no fault of our own, things come up that cause bends and kinks in our well thought out plans. Things like nails on the highway. Illness. Weather. Other people’s choices.

Other times, our own choices, lack of action, or a multitude of other reasons can throw our plans to the curbside.

God’s got our back, though. He is always right there to lead, guide, and direct.

I know that I just need to be willing to listen. Trust Him in the small stuff. Keep moving forward. It is easy to allow myself to get stuck, but being stuck doesn’t move me forward . 

Sometimes, there are messages in everyday stuff. Even flat tires on Saturday mornings.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Pieces

We dumped the letters out on the table tonight. I stared at all the Scrabble tiles. Letters. By themselves, that’s all they are. 

As we played and laughed over the words our son tried to convince us were real….Wiki dictionary and the Urban dictionary are not credible Scrabble sources….those letters became pieces of words. Those words joined together became a board full of words and family memories.

Letters don’t mean much in Scrabble until they are joined together to form words. Otherwise, they are just pieces. 

Sometimes, life feels a little like that. Like a bunch of pieces that don’t seem to fit together. Plans fall through. Dreams dissolve right in front of us. Everyone else seems to have it all together. And our life feels like, well shattered pieces that don’t fit together.

I’m in this pieces phase in my life. A dream my husband had that seemed to be God’s leading….doors have closed. My struggle with balancing work and home feels overwhelming and impossible most days. Disjointed pieces trying to make sense together.

A great friend reminded me that God works behind the scenes. He puts the pieces together in ways we cannot see or understand. His grace is sufficient for the day. Just as those Scrabble letters somehow come together to form meaningful words, the shattered, broken pieces of our lives can and will come together when we trust Him.

I encourage you to rest in that truth. 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Mother’s Day Reflections

Last Sunday, my husband and I taught the Junior and Senior High Sunday School class. We attend a small church and know all the kids personally in the class. It was a timely lesson with graduation approaching as we discussed the gifts and works God is doing in us and through us.

One of the questions in the guide that I asked the kids was this…who do you think should finish the work that God has started in you?

Silence as they thought. Then, one girl responded, “We should.”

As we talked through it, we reflected and worked through that answer to that question. God gifts us with abilities, talents, gifts….but honestly as I continue to learn, He simply requires our heart, willingness, and obedience. I remember a saying from a sermon I heard years ago… God doesn’t need our abilitites. He needs our availability.

On this Mother’s Day, this is my prayer for my children…that they understand, that they trust, that they believe that with God all things truly are possible if we only trust and step out in faith and obedience.

God will finish the good work He has started in us.

And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

A great way for me to hold onto the faith that God is working in me and through me is by journaling. When circumstances fall apart and life seems to be crazy, recalling His work in my life keeps me grounded.

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I know my children are watching me. They are observing my reactions to the unexpected events in life that have the potential to throw my life way off target. In these moments, I know it is more important than ever to cling to my faith. To trust. To obey. To hold on tight.

Because He will finish the good work He has started. He’s a good, good Father.