Right in Front of You

It’s Friday….I always seem amazed when Friday shows up again. I greet the day with a sigh of relief…I made it here again.

This week I particularly feel a sense of relief. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, but God is good and continues to breathe His truth into my soul. 

In Psalm 37:3….trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness…

When I read that passage recently, I reflected on the name of​ my blog. Faith. Hope. Love. Food. My original intention for my blog was to share my food struggle journey, but God revealed a different focus to me.

The food that fuels my soul…His faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His peace, mercy, grace… have ​been so clearly evident and alive this week in my life.

Sometimes, what you are searching for is right in front of you, you just need a reminder that it’s there. My prayers this week have been an intense sense of needing direction, His direction. I have been feeding on His faithfulness and staying in the Word, praying His promises.

Ever heard someone speak to you and know it was exactly what God needed for you to hear? Ever received a hug and felt the love so deeply? I did this week. The answers I sought were right in front of me, I just needed reminded.

If you are struggling with making a hard decision, feed on His faithfulness and keep praying. The answer you yearn for just may be right in front of you.

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?

Wednesday Words

I have really enjoyed my little piece of quiet stillness in the mountains these past few days. I have enjoyed lazy mornings, time to relax and reflect, the beauty of nature, witnessing hope in healing from the fires, and time with those whom I love.

Simple moments matter. Sometimes, doing nothing is the something that you need most.

As I bid the mountains farewell, I want to share some great words with you that have been staring back at me each day here in this cabin retreat.

Have a great day. I challenge you to choose a phrase from the picture and live those words today. As for me? I will strive to listen to others with my whole heart.
Have a great Wednesday. Make the best of it!

Old Fashioned Fun

Having spent a week without my phone, I reconnected with some entertainment that normally mindless phone time would have occupied. 

I read.

I journalled.

I savored the quiet.

I listened to God for His lessons in this time.

Thankfully, a new battery and less than $100 later, my phone is back good as new. No lost pictures. No permanent damage. No huge expense. I am grateful.

The time without my phone has opened my eyes to how people, myself included, spend our time. The act of everyday conversation is becoming a lost art. People don’t engage with each other as much. Just look around a restaurant. Unless, just maybe, you are at Cracker Barrel.

The other night at Cracker Barrel, I observed table after table engaging with one another over a friendly game. I love these little wooden peg games. In fact, my grandfather made me this one years ago. I will always cherish it.
It was refreshing to see so many people interacting and not on devices. I know that our world has shifted just in my short life to be more focused and centered on technology and various forms of media but breaks from all of it is a great thing.
Spending time with older adults daily in my work is also another great reminder of the need to engage and interact with one another in meaningful conversation.

Our family is planning a media free day for an upcoming weekend. As we look forward to this time to connect undistracted, we are very aware that we need to be intentional about our plans. 

The world that God created is too amazing of a place to let everyday moments pass by because our attention is focused downwards on a device.

What are your ideas for old fashioned fun?

Moments…

A few days ago, I wrote about the noise on the basketball court. Tonight, God spoke to me through that noise.

I was late to my son’s game. Always running out of work… Always a few minutes late.

I made my way into the stands. I saw him there…charging down the court, full of confidence. He shot. He missed but he had made the attempt. Moments later, he snatched the ball, charged down the court again, and made that basket.

He made his shot. 

I made it for his moment.

Life can quickly become routine. Work, household chores, games, sleep, repeat. It can become so easy to get lost in motions and lose sight of the moments. 

Life is really a beautiful collection of moments.

Tonight, no, I did not see the start of the game. I did witness his moment, though. His confidence. His shot. His basket. Slapping the hands of his teammates. Teamwork.
I have been focusing on my shortcomings for too long. I have been dwelling on dreams not yet reached. I have been harboring guilt at being late to games. I have been placing a lot of pressure on myself to be all things.

I have been exhausted. I am not all things.

Christ is enough, and in Christ, I am enough.

Yes, I need to find a better work life balance. Yes, I need to improve my communication. Yes, I want to grow as a leader. Yes, I have many dreams I still yearn to reach. Yes, I continue to work through my anxiety struggles and second guessing.

But, you know what? I am making progress. Through the noise, I can hear God’s love and grace.

I am learning to let go of second guessing myself.

I am learning to give myself permission to not be perfect.

I am learning to make the most of moments. Everyday life moments.
Sometimes, it takes a little noise to grab our attention. 

Be present for the moments that matter.

Pondering the Season

One week until Christmas. 

Is your shopping done? Cookies baked? Wrapping completed? Parties to attend yet?

In the hustle and bustle of the season, it can become so easy to get wrapped up in all the “stuff”that needs done. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed today, I saw a post that included photos of a friend’s children and every single gift they had opened for an early Christmas. These were extravagant presents, and I found something in myself feeling a little…Gee, my kids aren’t getting that much.

There is nothing with presents, cookies, parties, or decorations. The issue with Christmas is that it can become so easy to lose our focus on what matters.

My pastor preached about ordinary people this morning. He quoted Abraham Lincoln…”God must love the common man, He made so many of them.” It was a great reminder that all of us are struggling one way or another in life at some time or another. It reminds me that my kids aren’t going to remember the gifts they received years from now, but they will remember the traditions and time we spent together, the laughter we shared, and the memories we have made.

One of my favorite verses this time of year is…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

To ponder is to think carefully, reflect, contemplate. To ponder is to intentionally pause and reflect. With everything going on in Mary’s young life surrounding the birth of Jesus, she certainly had a lot to ponder. I visualize her quietly reflecting and praying. 

That single verse is such a powerful reminder to me of the importance to be still and reflective this time of year. In the hustle and bustle of the season, stopping to ponder on God’s grace and peace helps me keep my eyes on the true meaning of the season.

Take a moment to pause and ponder the greatest gift of the season…The birth of a Savior.

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