Be Someone’s Waffle Maker

Life has been incredibly busy and non-stop lately, but I was reminded of something very important yesterday.

The smallest things make the greatest impact. Dinner with a dear friend, an employee telling you how much they appreciate you, and coming home to a homemade waffle.

My son decided to make me a homemade waffle. When I came home after a long day, a homemade gluten free waffle with real maple syrup was waiting for me. I’m not sure what possessed him to do this but I know it was an expression of his love.

The simplest, smallest acts make all the difference. Sometimes, these little things are exactly what someone needs to keep moving forward.

My Wednesday thought for you today…be someone’s waffle maker today.

Have a great day!

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A Road Less Traveled

A bridge construction project blocked off a major road forcing me to choose an alternative route along a path seldom traveled. As I drove, rows of purple and yellow flowers classified as weeds by many lined the road. As the sun shone and illuminated their colors, and they swayed in the gentle wind, I reflected on the beauty in perspective. 

Often times those things in life which are difficult create beautiful growth in our lives. It’s all a matter of perspective. 

I had coffee with someone this morning who I had met while working in a difficult job situation. God allowed our paths to cross and continues to use our connection for His good. This country drive with the rural flowers was on my way to a funeral visitation. While there, God reminded me that He is using me to touch lives.

My stomach issues…the reason I started this blog…have been used to connect me to others in my life.

Even my anxiety has been used for His good as I continue to grow and work through things in my life.

Sometimes, life doesn’t always take us the way we intended, but a road less traveled may have blessings along the way.

God, grow me…

I should have anticipated this might be a hard week. I should have expected it would not be easy. As I struggled and wrestled through some difficult issues last weekend, I found myself at the one place I know can make all the difference…on my knees.

I prayed through these situations last Saturday in the quiet of my home. I felt uncertainty. I felt like a failure. The tears flowed freely as I prayed, “God grow me.”

I kept praying through the weekend and as the week started. I prayed. I’m​ not going to sugar coat this…it wasn’t easy. The anxiety was at an all time high. I woke up in the middle of the night with anxiety. I have learned, though, what to do when the anxiety strikes. I pray through Philippians 4:6-7. It helps the breathing to calm so I can I sleep and so the dark clouds of doubt do not overshadow peace.

As I worked through the issues, God was there. In the midst of my anxiety, He was there. Anxiety tries to tell you the worse thing possible. It tries to blind you from all the positive things around you. I know. I have lived in the land of anxiety.

This time, I decided I would not stay in that land. I would pray through the anxiety. I would take ownership. I would share my reflections, my ah-ha moment with someone. I did. God extended His grace. God answered my prayers​ and continues to answer my prayers…God, grow me.

What does it mean to be a better person? People say this a lot…but what does it mean? To be a Godly leader, a good mom and wife, and a loyal friend…so much truth is found in Proverbs. 
For me, this concept of being a “better person” is grounded in “God, grow me.” It is being open to His teaching, His loving discipline, and His revelation of areas in my life where I need developed and refined.

I told my amazing leader that growth is painful. She provided a much different perspective for me in her response…”Growth is exciting.”

She’s right, so right. 

Tonight, something I saw something on Facebook related to my issues from this past week triggered an anxiety attack. I wasn’t staying there. I prayed. My friend prayed for me. I went for a walk. I filled my soul with life breathing words of truth through the music flowing from my headphones to my ears to my heart.

Yes, God’s grace is so sweet. Dear friend, don’t give up. Stay the course. Stay very, very close to Him. And don’t be afraid of growth…it is so exciting. It may seem slow. It may be subtle. If God is in the midst of it, it is worth celebrating!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5 NLT
You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. Romans 11:29

Sunday Reflections

When the things of the world seem uncertain or out of control or when your own life feels like it is spiraling, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to push an exit button and just hide away from everything for a little while??

We all know life isn’t like that. 

When I look back at some of my greatest times of growth in my life, I recall the challenging circumstances that embodied those times. Those times were often painful times of taking things one step at a time.

I heard a Christmas sermon a few years ago about joy and pain coexisting. I think they do. It is often a matter of perspective and self reflection. This verse comes to mind…

Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.      James 1:2-4 NIV

I have spent some time the past few days reflecting over a conversation I had with someone. Admittedly, I was in a hurry, needing to work my way through a “to do” list when I had spoken with her. I didn’t realize until later that my non-verbal communication communicated just that…I was in hurry. She interpretted this as she was inconveniencing me and taking time from me she was unworthy of deserving.  

I am choosing to use this interaction as an opportunity for me to self-reflect. Life is busy. Life is messy. Life often does not go as planned. Since there is no exit button of temporary escape, how can I endure the pain and embrace the joy simultaneously? In those times when I am feeling overwhelmed, how can I make my interactions with others meaningful despite my own issues?

True, there are times when we need lifted up and supported, but how can we lift up and support others through our own struggles? 

I want to be that person that encourages, coaches, lifts up, and slows down. I am not always that person. The lessons I am taking away from my interaction with this woman are…

1. Every interaction matters.

2. Our non-verbal communication often communicates louder than our spoken words.

3. Everyone has a story and that story often impacts our communication.

4. Slow down. 

5. Perception is reality.

5. Everyday trials hold lessons from God to grow us.

6. Just listen. Listen attentively. Listen a lot. 

The Roller Coaster of Life

I spent a wonderful Mother’s Day at Cedar Point amusement park with my son. It has been a few years since I have been there. 

As we walked through the park, I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells. We waited five minutes or less for each ride. I was so thrilled that I was able to ride the upside down rides without getting sick.

It also took me back a few years to a youth group trip to Cedar Point. Our youth leader did a devotional that day called…the roller coaster of life. I was a lot younger back then and as I reflect back to that moment, I agree…life is much like a roller coaster.

There are times of great highs and lows. We climb hills of anticipation and then things we have looked forward to are over so quickly. Sometimes, things we looked forward to aren’t as fun as we thought. Other times, we realize that things we were afraid of really aren’t so scary. We might find ourselves screaming one moment, then laughing the next. The twists and turns of life can take us upside down and right back up.

I was apprehensive about riding roller coasters, but I really wanted to have this time with my son. To my delight, my stomach didn’t get all queasy on the rides. I had been praying about this day because it was so important to me that we have this time together.

God cares about the big and little details of our lives. He wants to hear our hearts. He cares deeply about us and desires a relationship with us.

God has a plan for your life. Through the roller coaster of life, hold on tight and trust God on your journey.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

What to do with Defeat

I hate it when life feels fine and then all of a sudden, it’s like that sturdy sense of stability falls out from under you. What exactly am I referring to?

Friday afternoon at work at 4:40…just when you think you might be able to leave by 5…things unravel.

Sigh…what do you do with that feeling of defeat? 

I don’t believe in coincidence. Rather, I believe firmly that God uses things and orchestrates events in our lives. This morning, my devotional was about those difficult times…do we pray for a way out or do we pray for way through?

Out and through are very different prepositions.  

I believe we do some of our best growing as we walk through challenging circumstances. When our eyes are on God and our heart open to His promises, He can do some amazing work in our lives.

So, what did I decide to do with my feeling of defeat? I chose to listen to the voice of truth. I cranked up my Christian playlist on the drive home, and once I was home, I hit the pavement for a soul refreshing, mind clearing run. I flooded my mind with His truth, prayed, and ran. 

I received some great insight during my run. The defeat will not defeat me. I will cling to His promises. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 

Traveling to or through

I spend hours on the road commuting to and from work. Since I drive interstates and the toll road, I see lots of trucks.  Trucks travel miles through towns, counties, and states on the road to a destination. 

As a kid, I was fortunate to grow up with parents who loved to travel. Although we flew occasionally, I actually preferred to do cross country road trips. We traveled miles, and I loved looking out the window at the passing scenery. Some vacations if we had time, we would stop at unplanned destinations as we passed through somewhere. Those were some of my favorite memories.

Are you traveling through or traveling to?
In life, we all go through struggles and challenging times on the way to a destination. Maybe this destination is a much hoped for new job, college courses to your degree, a relationship, the quest to buy a new home, or a million other things. While this journey may be painful, if we are paying attention, there are lessons to be learned as we go through the journey. 

Some of the most difficult moments in my life as I struggled through on my way to something greater have taught me the most amazing lessons. For example, the painful journey through my anxiety struggles these past few months have taught me coping strategies. The journey through has brought me to a greater sense of peace. 

Don’t miss the scenery as you pass through on the way to your destination. There are lessons to be learned along the way. If we look, we can always find something meaningful along the way.