Bright Spots

Ever find yourself in a challenging season of life? 

We all have at some time or another for some reason or another.

I had a conversation with a friend and together, we both realized we are experiencing similar situations that are just really, really hard right now. We talked about looking for the positive moments in our days. I suggested we text each other daily of a bright spot in our day. She thought that was a great idea. 

So today begins our “Bright Spot” text challenge. 

There always something to be grateful for and thank God for. Find an accountability partner to help you keep your eyes focused on those bright spots.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength;

he makes my feet like the deer’s;

he makes me tread on my high places.


Coffee Talks

Saturday morning coffee with a friend whom I haven’t seen in a while… exactly what I needed.

I met this friend in the midst of a challenging work environment where we both worked closely together to make the best out of a difficult situation. To reflect where we are both now and the journey we have taken to reach this point was encouraging. It was so encouraging to share with one another our growth and to have a shared frame of reference from where we began.

I love how God intertwines our stories with the stories of others. Relationships matter. Sometimes, they have the most unlikely of beginnings. Sometimes, they form in the most difficult moments. God knows who we need when we need them. So many of my friendships have been connections where I can truly reflect and know God placed that person in my life for a reason.

Conversation over coffee is sometimes exactly what you need.

This verse has been comforting to me this week…The righteous person will have many troubles, but the Lord will rescue him from each one. Psalm 34:19

Rescue doesn’t mean life isn’t hard, but it means God is with us and will help see us through. I believe the gift of friendship is one of the ways God rescues us.

My conversation with my friend this morning reminded me the many ways God has rescued me and carried me over the past few years.

Sometimes a cup of coffee with a friend helps put everything back in perspective.

When is the last time you set up a coffee or dinner date with a friend? Maybe it’s time.😊

***two unlikely friends***

I Need a Silent Night

We’re almost officially to the Christmas season although the retail world has been promoting it as soon as those Halloween items were marked down for quick sale.

This morning on the radio on the K-Love morning show, they talked about Christmas music. A recent survey suggests many people actually find Christmas music as a trigger of stress and anxiety. I actually enjoy Christmas music and turned my playlist on in my Jeep. (I do draw the line at Let it Snow… I am not ready for snow!!)

As I listened, the song I Need a Silent Night  by Amy Grant came on. The words really resonated with me in the present reality of my life. I am tired, really tired. I am not here to whine and complain of my fibromyalgia flared ups or my crazy workload right now, but I will say, I listened to those words and thought… I do need a silent night.

The past few years I have tried really hard to scale back Christmas to focus on what it truly means. A silent night or a silent morning…time to focus on quiet time to reflect, to spend in the Word and in prayer and just to be still.

As we approach the busyness of the Christmas season, I hope you will seek and find your own silent night amongst the busyness….even if there is some snow on the ground.

Grace in His Timing

Sometimes, it takes someone else to help you realize that you need to take a step back. After my last two blog posts, my friend messaged me to see if I was okay.

I reassured her that I was. Then, I reflected on my recent thoughts.

Really, it’s been a matter of when things don’t go as planned. 

Perspective is everything, and my friend’s question was the prompting where I realized I needed to step back for a moment.

It can be very, very helpful to reflect on how God has worked in the past to remind us He is still working.

So what comes to mind…

  • The sadness in infertility only to realize my child was born halfway around the world and placed in my arms five and half years later through the joy and incredible blessing of adoption.
  • The joy in receiving a job offer and being excited at the thought of being able to get ahead only to find out a few weeks later, my husband was laid off. Guess what? All our bills were paid, we both learned a lot through the time, and my husband is back to work.
  • As part of the pastoral search committee, we extended an invitation for a pastor to come to our church. He declined. Our church needed some time to step back and unite in prayer. During this time, God spoke to our church and this pastor who felt God calling him to our church. We will welcome his family into our church very soon.

My thoughts in all this? Despite how “perfect” I think my plans may be, God’s timing is perfect. 

My gut wrench response is to want to be anxious, but I know just as in times past, I must trust God and His timing in my current situation. My plans may unfold a little differently than I originally had hoped, but He sees the entire picture. 

When have you experienced God’s grace in the timing of your plans?

The Grace of Almost

Ever have those almost moments?

I have. 

I almost didn’t apply for my job because I thought it would be too far to drive, and I wasn’t sure if I was qualified.

I almost didn’t submit my story for a collection of short stories because I wasn’t sure if it fit what they were looking for.

I almost didn’t….fill in your own words.

Fear, doubt, uncertainty…they all creep in to create these almost moments.

I am happy to say that I did apply for that job, and I am quickly approaching my two year anniversary there. God is doing great things in my life there.

My story I almost didn’t submit? It was accepted.

God has blessed us each with gifts and talents. When we feel that nudge, we need to step out in faith and trust God to do the rest. 

What decision are you wrestling with right now?

Extend Grace

“Extend grace, mom. Extend grace.”

I looked at my thirteen year old son. He was right, but I wasn’t quite ready to admit it. That vicious thing called pride was still hovering in my heart.

 It had been a conversation…me sharing about my day, and my husband looking down at his phone absorbed in something and not fully listening to me. He claimed he had been listening, but hearing is not the same as listening. 

My son’s sweet voice chimed in again. “Mom, you’re not perfect, either.” 

The wisdom of an almost 14 year old…such a perceptive child. 

Extend grace. These were the same words that I had heard from my friend over the weekend. 

 Deep breath. Pride swallowed. I accepted my husband’s apology and extended grace. 

I have much to learn from my son.  I am amazed and reassured that he does listen to me. It is always humbling to hear your words returned back to you. He reminded me of exactly what I needed to hear that night. Extend grace.

Who do you need to extend grace to?

Sometimes, we need to consider  things from a different perspective. I took this picture while writing from a view that overlooked the pond. 

The view was inspiring for writing, but I noticed the imperfection in my photo. Droppings from a bird stained the window. Would I choose to focus on the imperfection or the beauty in the view?

It’s like that with life. Do we choose to focus on the imperfection of the person or situation or do we choose to extend grace?

Our perspective makes all the difference.

31 Days of Grace…even in a Toothache

“I’m worried about you, Tammy.”

These were the words expressed by a trusted friend as I shared my heart with her regarding my anxiety struggles with time and balance.

I looked at her. I knew she was right. If I didn’t listen to the warnings to slow down and breathe, God would find a way to grab my attention and do this for me. 

It came in the form of a massive toothache yesterday morning. I don’t think there is anything worse than a toothache. The side of my face was swollen. My head ached. I couldn’t eat. It hurt too much. 

I pushed through my day because that’s what I do. I am tough. I don’t have time to slow down. There are deadlines to meet. I went to a doctor’s appointment in the morning and left with an appointment for an ultrasound. Huge sigh… definitely don’t have time for that. Then, I worked a late night.

This morning, I was up by 4:30 working. When I let my boss know that I wasn’t feeling well but would be in a little while later, she had a different thought…stay home, take care of yourself.

I don’t do well at that (taking care myself).

Well, you are going to get better at that.

So, I have been to the dentist and have been awarded the patient with the most reactive body. The infection was not deep, just barely on the first root, but it was definitely infected. I walked away with two appointments for a root canal and a prescription for an antibiotic.

I am home now after waiting forever at the pharmacy. I am nursing a raging headache but I am resting and working. It is quiet.

God knows how to get my attention. Everything will be okay.

Breathe. Life is all about perspective. When you can see and feel the grace of God in a thumping toothache He uses to slow you down, you know you are loved deeply. Sure, maybe it’s not the way I would have preferred to be slowed down, but His ways are not our ways.

I received this in a text message today from that same friend:

Tammy, I  just love it when God gives that confirmation! You are definitely on the right track! Taking care of you is most important because that is indeed what God wanted to happen in your life. The rest will all fall into place under his plan.

Breathe…God’s grace is sufficient for me.