Category Archives: Contemplations

This is Our Time


this is our timeI  watched a really good movie last night. Actually, the movie was okay, but I picked up a message in it. Movie is called “This is Our Time” and it is a Spiritual movie on Netflix. The message was about God having purpose for each of us…

It was about 5 friends who graduate college. 4 go off and begin their lives in big ways, 2 of which become missionaries to lepars in India.
 
The 5th guy, who stays behind to work in his Dad’s restaurant because he was not accepted into Grad school, feels like God has forgotten him. When he consults with a former college professor, the professor explains to him that God’s plan is not about DOING…it is about BEING. 
 
Being?  Somehow, that really sat with me for awhile.  In my own life, I have been so worried about not “doing” enough lately.  In fact, our family is planning a new ministry project, because I felt like God was calling me to “do” more (I still feel he is, but in my mind it was because I am not doing enough).  Doing…it is a noble effort, but in the end, God has a plan for who we are to BE.  Think of all of the people who go to church each week, but never BEcome children of His word and receivers of His great love.  They spend their life doing, without ever being who God truly wants them to be.
 
We are to BE the beacon of God’s light for those in trouble to see.  We are to be loving, caring, and patient followers of His word and truth.  We are to be gentle and kind to those in need.  God simply wants us to be His child. 
 
Ultimately, this “throwaway guy” ends up being the one who holds everyone together when one of the 5 friends dies.  He was the friend who could always bring them all back together…because that is the person he was, not because it was something he felt he had to “do”.
 
He is reminded that God’s purpose is not for us to do. I mean, yes, we do things to help people, etc. But even when we do not feel active in His ministry, we are still living His purpose.  If you want to know what it is to BE God’s child, email me.
 
 
 

Yay! A Matching Pair!


ashton sock boxI supposed you would have to know how chaotic our mornings can be sometimes.  There you go.

This morning, Ashton grumbled to the sock box and the next thing I heard was, “Ooh, already a sock.”  There was raw excitement in the way he said it.

“It’s gonna be a good day.” It seemed to be the underlying message of his comment.

Then, to make his day even better, he found a matching pair!  (He is usually too impatient to look long enough to find one.)

Yep, today is gonna be a good day!  🙂

***This is NOT to say Ashton has no socks.  On the contrary, he has a million of them.  I have delegated the chore of pairing his own socks to him.  🙂

A Beautiful Survivor of Life


Her post captured my attention, not my sight, but my full-bodied attention.  “Sober for 30 days.”  I just had to contact her…(little did I know she would become my newest Angel.)  Her honesty spoke the words that my heart needed to hear, right when I needed it most.

My Angel reminded me that each day is a new start, and to not feel like a tragic failure when a setback comes.  Her personal struggles (through family relationships; her own identity and personality; and with the addictions that have helped her “cope” through it all), inspired me very deeply.  I would like to share some of her survival tidbits, lent to me in my own time of despair:

It is literally one day at a time.  (Sometimes seems like moment by moment)

It gets easier. and you realize how much life is better and easier.

It’s hard, but I believe in myself.

<When you need help with any of life’s problems,> find a good psychiatrist (counselor) and be honest with them and yourself.

Once we’re honest with ourselves our recovery begins.

Then we started talking about our families and growing up.  She grew up with a mother who suffered from mental illness* and told me how hard it was sometimes to cope with – as a family.  During a formative time in my life, her mother was like my second mother and I see some of her qualities in who I am today, even (I could not wait to have a brood of children and dress them all up for Church on Sundays!!!).  I adored her, even when she was “stressed.”  In fact, in my opinion, she made raising four children in the midst of a great deal of physical illness look easy.  For my Angel, her perspective was much different than mine, and after our tear-filled talk, I realized:

 We are ALL beautiful survivors of life.

We often forget to look at the beauty and love and goodness within a person, and instead form perceptions and attitudes that allow us to cope with their behaviors instead…even when it is family or someone very dear to us.  We forget that it is our differences and inequalities that often make us beautiful and unique, and that beneath it all, we are worthy of love and acceptance.  We all survive life in our own ways, no matter what people can find to judge us about (fat, skinny, dumb, nerdy, “red and yellow, black and white,” gay, and so on…)

Be yourself…you are a beautiful survivor of life (and all of the crap it dumps on us!)

*Let me just say this now, I DESPISE the term “mental illness.”  The connotation is horrible, but at this time, I don’t have a better descriptive word (give me a few more semesters in college).  🙂

“Get good at failing”


Wise advice from a dear friend of mine.  And, no, it doesn’t mean “try” to fail.  It is much simpler and much deeper than that.

Getting good at failing – to me – means accepting that I am human and will make mistakes.  If there are consequences, we need to face them bravely and move on.

My definition of mistakes is VERY broad.  Any mistakes, people, we all make them.  From ignoring the truth of those around you to forgetting to get bread at the store.  Anything that “one” deems is a mistake, in their own perception of life, no matter how trivial it might be (as it probably leads to something much deeper).

Mistakes are an opportunity to see how things could have been done differently.  It is a chance to begin again.  How I deal with my own failures, no matter how big or small, must ultimately be acknowledged, accepted and left behind.  I guess in a poetic way, it would be fighting and defending for my own future.

My nephew’s sweet Halloween smile! So full of joy!

If I just pick my head up and move on, without getting caught up emotionally in the concept of failure..just get up and try again.  Deep inside, I know I am not built of failure or I would not be where I am.  I have survived and will continue to do so.

So, why not just get up and try again when I fall on my butt.  Which reminds me of my sweet baby nephew.  He is such a beautiful boy.  He is now running, but he went through a trial of falling and getting back up.  He did not allow the pure awesomeness of opportunites that walking would lead to.  He just knew he didn’t want to keep crawling for the rest of his life.  It is an innate part of us as humans.

Sometimes it can be that simple.

The outcomes in my life are bound to my much different then they have been.  What do you think?

Pros vs. Cons: Am I failing myself?


Here I sit, weighing a list of Pros vs. Cons in my life overall.  What goals am I still focused on and what really is the big overall picture?

I know one thing…I have become an entirely different person from when this blog first began.  That person truly seems like a character from a movie I once saw.  That is how much transformation through suffering and joy has occurred.  It is astounding to look back just a few years.

Astounding.  Perhaps a bit overwhelming too.  Especially given the trials and tribulations within those few years…and the things we keep bottled in – within those few years.  Wow.

Hey, while you are going through those life epiphanies, throw in Masters Level courses in Pastoral Counseling.  It is like God is puppeteering my classes to help me and change me in so many different ways;  I am so “in awe” of its vastness…how can that not be life changing?

I survived my first year of divorce from 15 years of a good marriage (my anniversary was yesterday – Happy Halloween to you all as well).  And I am successfully providing my son with a home, opportunity, life and love.  (Relationships with BOTH sons are works in progress and continually ongoing in nature.)  I have reached a stable point of financial function which brings relief.

Not only do I have a job, but it is truly a good job.  It is a blessing.

Personally, Spiritually, internally, I am growing exponentially.  It is so hard to explain.  I have had open conversations with people that I would once have just bottled up and ultimately imploded over.  That is exponential…for me.

I have stood up for myself.

I have put down my foot and said, “no” when I needed to.

I have faced some of my own deep-running fears.

Again, exponential in the realm of personal growth…not so much in reality.  I am so emotionally overwhelmed with just BEING MYSELF that I lose track of people and events around me.

This is where the Cons are revealed.  I have to drop one of my classes, which has consequences of unknown proportions right now.

I gained more than my previously confessed 18 pounds.  It is more like 35 and I feel every bit of it (though I am unsure of the true number because I have yet to face the scale).  I don’t have any energy…or motivation.

I cannot seem to get to work on time to save my life…to the point that I need to address it and I don’t know how.  I have tried everything I know, including having sleep testing done.  There are other work related issues being addressed.

It truly seems as though whenever I have the focus and drive to succeed in one goal, I turn around and realize that everything else is falling behind.  Is the failure due to me?  Or is there breakdown in the system or framework?  Am I overthinking things?  Or am I becoming self-aware?

All kinds of other things still need to be addressed….yet I feel like a part of me needs to just chill out and relax (relaxing is MUCH different than hiding).

Recent reveations would reveal that I am infact an emotional eater.  So I no longer wonder, “Why am I sitting here eating a Cinnamon Bagel from Panera?”

I can only sigh.  “Ai, what a day I had today.”   ~Barbra Streisand as Fannie Brice in Funny Lady.  (An ironically symbolic comment.)

Weightless


This is me today.  I am choosing to continue moving forward.  I am continuing to face and let go of my emotional baggage.  It is like having a moment of weightlessness, this whole “touchy feely therapy” stuff.  It seems like the more fears I face, which are very, very difficult, the more weightless I feel.

I have begun having conversations with people to discuss things that I have always been so afraid to just say.  I know it sounds easy, but it is not easy for me.  I may seem social, but when it comes to confrontation, even mild, I tend to shy away and internalize what I want to say or what I feel.  “Stifle yourself,” Archie Bunker would say.  Well, that is one way of dealing with stress.

All that seems to ever get me is so anxious (i.e. emotionally constipated) and overwhelmed at NOT facing the confrontation.

Of course, this new life changing way of thought has played a toll on me.  Evidently, I am an emotional eater (I suppose I have always lived in denial).  It seems like the more of this crap I have faced, the more I have relied on food to comfort me during the process.  However many pounds I have but back on (fluctuates between 10-18 pounds) are haunting me and making me feel like a failure.  I am realizing now the patterns involved in why I am eating, and I believe there is a more to learn.

Point is, this is a good song.  And I need to remember to forgive my own mistakes, and move forward.

Train Yourself to Seek Opportunity


Sometimes an opportunity doesn’t seem like much…until you make something of it. ~Sunshine E. Monk

It is so easy to fall into a rut and claim that there are no opportunities.  When in fact, there are times in life when we need to think outside of the box and seek our own opportunities.  (After all, in life, nobody is holding us back but ourselves, right?)  You might think it is hard, but in reality, it just takes a little time and attention.In one of the sessions I attended during a Women’s Wellness Retreat a few years ago, the instructor likened finding pennies on the ground to seeking your own opportunities.  Her story (filtered through my memory) went something like this:

Most of the time when we are walking through public places, and even at home, we unconsciously step over and ignore pennies.  We do it without notice.  Most of the time, if a penny on the ground is actually noticed, we think to ourselves, “oh, its only a penny, not worth the time or effort to pick it up.”  But in reality, if you start to teach yourself to seek out spare change on the ground, you would be surprised how much more you notice.  And after a period of time, say a year, you will notice how many coins or pieces of money you have found on the ground, simply by being open to seeking it out.

Similarly, we pass over so many opportunities each day.  It might be an opportunity as simple as a conversation with someone to encourage them, or as complex as creating a way for your dreams to come true or creating career opportunities.

I have noticed, however, that we keep our eyes closed to the opportunities and keep focused on the task at hand.  Sometimes we might even brush off our instinct for an idea or opportunity because it sounds “over the top” or crazy.  Some of the most profound inventions came from ideas that were over the top.  Apple has reinvented itself with ideas that were over the top.  In our own lives, we need to be aware of our own ideas and opportunities, even if they sound like they are over the top.  Your dreams might not be as unaccessible as you think.

Be open to other people and be open to opportunities that may present themselves, no matter how big or small they might seem.  Live in the opportunities and learn from them.  When we seek them out, we will notice them more.

If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.  Start trying to pay attention to the ground for loose pennies or change.  The first month, you might not even find a cent.  But you will see, the more you try to be aware of the opportunities to seek lost change, the more times you will actually find and notice pennies…and opportunities.

How much can you find over a year?  I will await your responses next year!  🙂  I will report my own seized opportunities through the next year.  Challenge?

Love is never free


Oh no, no, no.  Love is never free.  There is a premium.  But who controls the cost?

I was just sitting around on facebook and was not expecting the attack.  And when I say attack, I don’t mean one of warfare.  I mean one of love and affection.

My darling sweet son, one of the loves of my life, decided to rub my back.  “For no reason.”

Who am I to pass up a “free” backrub?  (Especially since I seem to have pulled a muscle in my shoulder from carrying around school books…unfortunately I am not joking).

So, he rubbed and he rubbed, and then he karate chopped and scratched, and all the little things that our family does to one anothers’ backs.  Then, I became enlightened…so far the backrub has more than 30 seconds…that means he wants something.  And I think, in some ways, he suspects that I know this and he is actually waiting for me to ask what he wants.  But I stay quiet.  Heck, he IS rubbing my back.

This went on for nearly 15 minutes before he was able to finally ask.  And guess what?  The answer was STILL NO!  HA…Mama wins again.  Kids think they are so smart. 🙂

The Study of Happiness


The Happy Movie is awesome!

I just watched the most eye-opening documentary – “Happy” – on the study of happiness (aka positive psychology for those who care). There were some amazingly simple and fundamental points made within the nearly two hours of information. Sounds boring, but really, it was awesome.  Just understanding that happiness is something that exists within each of us and that bonds us, is truly compelling.

It kind of reminds me of the simplicity of togetherness that we all seek.  Good movie, check it out!

I know the full movie is available on netflix, and there is a clip of it available below (and no, I am not getting paid to promote it or anything…it just added a new perspective through my journey!)

Film – The Happy Movie | The Happy Movie.