The Power of Accepting Change

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The first day of school, captured from afar. 

“Are you sure I can’t come?” I asked, “I know the other moms are coming…”

My daughter simply shook her head, “No, Mom,” she said, “You don’t need to be there.”

It was the first day of school and I’d been shunned from the bus stop.

Of course  my almost 13-year-old is old enough to get herself there; I’d just wanted to capture the moment with a photo. After all, my days of having anyone at a bus stop are numbered. But she wanted no part of my sentimentality.

Change is hard. Lately, I find I’ve been resisting it.

Just before school started, I ran into an old friend at the grocery store. Right there between the tomatoes and green peppers, we took a minute to catch up. My friend is younger, her children still in elementary school. We talked about how the summer was going.

My friend was knee deep in summer camp, swimming lessons and taking her kids to the summer concerts in the park. This summer they’d been to Kings Island, a water park and had spent a weekend camping.

“How about you?” she asked.

Um, not my summer.  

No swimming lessons.

No summer camp.

And for the first time, not one summer concert in the park.

At first I felt guilty. What kind of mother am I? Why hadn’t we done any thing fun and summer-y?

After we said our goodbyes and I had moved on to the freezer section, I quickly took an inventory of what we’d done with our summer.

I worked, a lot.

We took a family vacation (great fun!).

My 21-year-old worked and spent time with her friends each weekend.

My 18-year-old worked and spent time with her friends each weekend.

My youngest swam, spent time with her grandparents, played with friends, and honed her Minecraft skills.

What’s happening to my once close-knit family?  Why haven’t we done much together?

In a nutshell, my family dynamic is changing.

For years we did go  to the summer concerts in the park. We had picnics and pool days and swimming lessons and summer camp.  We typically hit the water park, an amusement park and spent at least one weekend at my parents’ lake house.

But my girls are not really ‘girls’ anymore. Two out of three are legal adults. They are busy with friends and work and doing what young adults do.  The youngest isn’t far behind. Her desire to hang out with me is waning, instead she’s all about being with her friends.  Movies and water balloon fights and shopping are first on her radar.

While do we still manage to have our moments of family fun together, the truth is, we don’t do as much together as we used to.  This is what I’ve been resisting.  I’ve finally realized I’ve spent that last few summers trying to do the things we’ve always done, to be the way we’ve always been. It’s a futile effort.

My family is not the family it once was. Times have changed, the kids have grown,  and our family patterns have shifted along with these changes.  I must face the truth:

                         I am no longer a mother of young children.

                         I am no longer in charge of my children’s social activities.

                         Gone are the days of family outings to the fair, the pool, the movies.

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But replacing those days are moments.

Moments when everyone just happens to be home and we share a dinner filled with laughter.

Moments when my one of my three is around and somehow we end up having a really good, deep conversation-on the fly.

Moments when my husband and I discover all three girls are gone for the evening and we can have a date night.

Moments when I catch my three goofy girls having fun together.

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As my girls mature and change, they are developing lives of their own. And when I can accept that I see how wonderful it is.  What lovely people they are becoming.  What cool experiences they are having.  How fun to to watch each girl spread her wings and create a beautiful life of her own. And how nice to think that I am just years away from entering a new kind of future with my husband as we empty our nest (bring on the travel!).

Life is full of phases, full of change.  It is the natural order of things. 

When I can embrace it, instead of fear it, I can see the good. I can be joyful in knowing there are more blessing to come, just in a different form.

My daughters are no longer relying so much on me, they no longer desire to spend all their time with me. Yet as they become more independent, they are becoming the women God intended them to be.

I may be shunned from the bus stop but I am still here, will always be here,  ready and willing to join them wherever they are in their journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in attitude, Faith, Family Life, God, gratitude, inspiration, kids, life lessons, parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“Relax and Let God Love You”, An Interview with Regina Brett

Every once in a while you find a book or an author that strikes a cord with you.  You read the words they have carefully crafted and think, “Yes!  That’s it!  That’s exactly the way I feel, but I haven’t been able to put into words.” 

For me, that author is Regina Brett

Regina Brett

Brett is a New York Times bestselling author of three books, God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours, Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible and her newest book, God Is Always Hiring: 50 Lessons for Finding Fulfilling Work. Her inspirational columns appear regularly in Ohio’s largest newspaper, The Plain Dealer, where she was a finalist in 2008 and 2009 for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary.

I love Regina because she is so real; she writes from the heart and when you read her books you feel as if you know her.  In addition she is wise; she is a woman of faith who tries hard to get life right. When God is Always Hiring came out, I knew I had to buy it. I devoured it, just as I have her other books and knew I wanted to interview her for this blog. Lucky for me, she and her publicist agreed to the interview.  So without further ado, please meet one of my favorite inspiration authors, Regina Brett.

Interview with NYT bestselling author Regina Brett

Me-You grew up in a large family, were 1 of 11 children. Was your faith important to you as a child?  Did you have any spiritual role models?  In what ways did your childhood experiences affect your faith journey?

Regina-Faith and family were the pillars in our house. My parents were super-sized Catholics. We had a three-foot high crucifix over the TV set, a giant statue of Mary in their bedroom, a picture of the last supper in the dining room. It’s like a church exploded in the Brett house.

We read The Lives of the Saints, went to church every Sunday and holy day. My parents were my spiritual role models. I saw my dad on his knees next to his bed where he prayed every night. My mom still loves to say the rosary. They used to line us up along the couch to kneel and pray it.

Faith is the center of my life. A belief and a reliance on a power greater than me who loves me. What has changed is that love is the focus, not fear. Mercy, not judgment.

Me-In your books, you mention various jobs you’ve had (waiting tables, personal assistant, delivering bodies to the funeral home, etc.). What changed in your life to take you from doing odd jobs and dropping out of college, to becoming a college graduate who then became a news reporter, columnist and best selling book author?

Regina-I dropped out of college because I got pregnant at 21. I wasn’t married. At the time, I thought my life was over. It was just getting started. After my daughter was born, I took any job that could pay the rent. When she was 6, I decided to finish my college degree. I made a deal with God: I would finish my degree and go down to part-time work so I could get financial aid and have time to go to school; God would keep us healthy, because I had no health insurance for three years.

I graduated from Kent State at age 30 with a degree in journalism, and my life took off like a rocket.

Me-You’ve overcome a number of difficult personal circumstances in your life.  Confusing teen years, bad relationships, becoming a single mother and getting breast cancer to name a few.  At what point and in which circumstances did you learn to trust God with the details?

Regina-I have to constantly surrender my life over to God. So often I want to steer the bus, then realize, God’s in charge, not me. Life goes so much smoother that way. When I got pregnant at 21 and when I got cancer at 41, I had to walk out on the tightrope that is faith and trust that God would hold me up. Sometimes I tell God, I can’t hold onto You, so You hold onto me. So far it has worked.

 

Me-In what ways do you still personally struggle with faith and what do you do to overcome these struggles?

Regina-It’s not so much a struggle anymore, but I do need constant reminders to let go, relax and float on the River that is life and not struggle to go upstream against the current. God is in charge of the flow. My job is to float along like a leaf and let God’s love carry me to God’s perfect will for me.

Sometimes it’s the small stuff that trips me up, the speed bumps of life, not the giant Rocky Mountains. Life gives me ample opportunities to relax my grip and let God run the show.

 

Me-All of your books inspire me, and likely all readers, to both believe in myself and to trust God in that process.  Would you say that is your ultimate message?  If not, what do you want to get across to your readers?

Regina-Relax and let God love you. That love will take care of everything. Everything that happens to you is second to how much God loves you. Stop fighting life and love it unconditionally.

 

Me-Would you say writing inspirational books is what you are meant to do in this life?  If so, what led you to realize that?  What can those of us who are still figuring it out do to help us find our way?

Regina-After having breast cancer at 41, I got to turn 45 – something two of my aunts didn’t get to do. They both died of breast cancer that spread elsewhere. When I turned 45, I wrote down all the lessons life taught me, they just flowed out like a fountain from my soul. I turned them into a column and it became an internet sensation. That’s when I knew these life lessons were my gift to give the world.

Me-Your latest book, God is Always Hiring, 50 Lessons for Finding Fulfilling Work, encourages readers to find their purpose in life and go for it.  What would you say to those who are fearful of chasing their dreams?

Regina-You don’t need to chase your dreams. What works better is to relax into your dreams and flow toward them. Spend a little quiet time each morning just being at peace with being you and getting grounded. I call it getting into alignment with God and my best self. All else flows from that with ease. Action comes after alignment, because once you get aligned spiritually, you get the clarity on what action to take.

 

Me-Will there be more books from Regina Brett in the near future?

Regina-I’m already working on the next book. I’m most at peace when I’m writing. It’s like breathing to me.

 

Me-Anything else I didn’t ask that you’d like readers to know?

Regina-I want to thank all the readers who have read my books, written me emails, followed me on Facebook and Twitter and shared a bit of their lives with me.

You continually inspire me to keep writing. We’re all in this together. What a wonderful ride!

“Relax and let God love you” words to soothe a weary soul.  For more about Regina Brett, visit her website, at http://www.reginabrett.com.

 

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The Day the Homeless Fed Me

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There was no audible voice, no specific directive, just a nudge on my heart.

But the nudge was strong; so strong I knew immediately what my answer would be:

Yes.

It took a week to commit, to finally answer the email. But despite my reservations, my fears, my lack of free time, I indeed said yes.  I would be happy to help.

Because if I’ve learned anything in the last 10 years, it’s to follow the nudges God places on my heart.  So when I got the email request for summer volunteers, I knew in my heart this was something I needed to do.

And that is how I began working with the homeless women of Wheeler Mission this summer.

The program I volunteered with is called Building A Rainbow and it is through the Indiana Writers Center. Together teachers, interns and volunteers offer creative writing classes to at-risk kids, the elderly and now the homeless.

So okay, this is not so unusual. Lots of people work with the homeless, right? But here’s a secret:

For all the ways in which I’ve served, for all the volunteering I’ve done in my lifetime (which is a lot-just ask my friend Susie!), I’ve never before worked with the homeless. Ever. Why, you ask? Dare I admit, dare I tell you the real reason?

Here it is: Fear.

There is a part of me that has been fearful of homeless people. I honestly don’t know. I can only guess it’s because of my perceptions, of what I’ve been told by society.

The homeless are alcoholics.

The homeless are drug addicts.

The homeless are mentally ill.

And then there’s this one:

The homeless don’t want to be in a part of society, they choose this lifestyle.

There’s no doubt that there is some truth in (at least some of) these statements. Those who have lost their homes, have lost their way. For whatever reason, they have experienced hard times and  hit rock bottom, and not just financially. The lack of finances may likely be a consequence of other, bigger, problems.  Yet here’s something no one ever told me, a truth I learned when I finally stepped out of my comfortable world and into their not so comfortable one:

The homeless are people.

People who were once children.

People who once harbored dreams as big as my own.

People who have a family.

Who once had a job.

A home.

Pets.

People who once had hope, but lost it in their fight to survive.

And when it all fell apart, by God’s grace some of them found their way to Wheeler Missions.

My task as a volunteer was to encourage the women to write. To help them share their stories so that others can understand the world in which they have lived. To assist in bridging the gap between those of us with, and those without.  A gap I most certainly have stood in the middle of.  The stories will be published in a book by INwords.

I’ll admit, I was a little terrified on day one.  First of all, I was lost and late as I left suburbia for this inner-city mission.  But as soon as we got started, I was all in.  These women were kind, intelligent and more than willing to share their stories.

I learned so much about them. Many of them had rough childhoods. Despite this, a number of them went on to college and became gainfully employed. But things like abuse, addiction (theirs or someone else’s) and a lack of support from family led them to spiral downward. It’s a lot easier to take the wrong path when it’s all you’ve ever seen or known.  But now they want more.  All of them want desperately to get back on their feet. To have a a job, a home, a garden; they want to leave a positive legacy for their children.

These women had stories to tell.

These women had experienced hardships I cannot begin to fathom.

These women could write, and write well.

I couldn’t help but realize that if had I been born into their circumstances, I might not be so strong. I too, might have lost my way.

One day I talked to the ladies about food. We write during their lunch and the food they serve at the mission isn’t much different from school cafeteria food.  We’d been bringing cookies for them, but lots of organizations donated sweets regularly and I wondered if we might bring something else.  And then an idea came to mind: fruit!

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Fresh fruit is a daily staple in my household, but I recognize the expense, the labor it takes to prepare it and how unlikely it is that these women ever get it. So I asked one of our regulars, Ty, a poet with the most wonderful cadence, if she thought people would like to eat fruit.

“Yea, sure,” she said, “Fruit would be good.”

So I tucked the thought away in my brain. But life got busy and I never got around to buying, preparing and bringing fruit to our class. But guess what? It didn’t matter, because Ty did.

Ty, the homeless woman attempting to get back on her feet, Ty the woman with next to nothing, Ty who was once a chef, brought the most beautiful, fresh, glorious bowl of fruit to our class for all to share. Mangos and bananas and Kiwi and apple; lovingly sliced, lovingly served.

I learned that day that she works three jobs. That she is saving her money so she can pay her deposit on her apartment, her first month’s rent, get some furniture.  It takes a lot of money just to get started in life.

So yes, I answered the nudge and I am so grateful that I did.  I thought God wanted me to give of myself but instead I was the one on the receiving end.

The woman who has nothing gave me something. A gift. Not just in the form of fruit, but a gift from the heart.

From Ty I learned that even when I have nothing, I can give something.

From all the women I learned that when I let go of stereotypes and judgments, I can connect with another, despite our differences.

In this life, we each have struggles, hopes and dreams. And we often land in very different places, sometimes because of our choices, and sometimes despite them.  But beneath it all, beneath the color of our skin, the money in our bank account, the clothes on our back, we are all essentially the same.  We are human.

God’s nudges aren’t always about obedience or duty or adding a check mark to my list (never about this last one).  Sometimes his nudges are meant for us, to show us in a way we cannot ever predict just exactly what love is: giving of ourselves and receiving more than we can imagine.  And it starts with a yes.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18

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Finding Peace Involves Risk, an interview with Teri Ditslear

An Interview with Teri Ditslear; Wife, Mother, Pastor and “Fire-Starter”

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As soon as I read the article in my local newspaper, I knew I had to get in touch with her.  You see, she and I are not so different. 

Both Teri and I took a while to figure out what it is we are supposed to be doing.

Both Teri and I took a while to find our roots in faith.

And now, both Teri and I continue to chase God, though in very different ways.

So when I read about Teri, her church and the 111 Club (1 hour, 1 question, 1 beer), in a recent newspaper article, I wanted to know more.

I felt the need to connect, to understand this woman and her mission. I wanted to gain insight on what she thinks, how she acts, and the ways in which God is working in her life.

Who is the woman I’m speaking of? Teri Ditslear, wife to Noblesville Mayor John Distlear, mother and grandmother to an entire brood of kiddos, and pastor of the Roots of Life Community, a congregation under development of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).

So with the help of the Internet, we connected.

I asked if I could interview her for my blog.

She said yes.

Humble Beginnings

Teri Ditslear didn’t start out her adult life as a pastor, though the stirring to be one started early. “Even in high school, I thought I would make a good pastor, people would often come to me to talk about their problems,” says Teri, “but I had a recording in my head, ‘You’re a woman, you’re not smart enough, you’re not good enough’.”   For years, the recording won out over truth.

Oh wow, yes, I am familiar with that recording.  Stupid, stupid recording. 

It wasn’t until she was in her forties that she began to listen to the nudges on her heart. She vividly recalls the moment she understood what she had to do, that she was destined to be a pastor.  “I cried,” says Teri, “It was like a 50 pound weight off of my shoulders, I just knew this is who I’m supposed to be.”

Now that she is exactly where she’s meant to be, Teri is doing exactly what she’s always wanted to do: Help people experience God. Through her church, her service in the community, and now through the 111 Club.

If only…if only I too, could help people experience God (it is my goal for my book).  What a honor that would be!

Innovative Ways to Reach the People

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In Teri’s eyes, church is all about hospitality. Not in a coffee and doughnuts way, but in the drawing together of broken people. The Roots of Life is about community. Accepting all who come, despite their differences, “If we can be in the same space and worship the same God, then we all become disciples.”

“I want people to experience God, it’s my #1 priority,” says Teri. Therefore, children are invited to stay in the sanctuary, sermons are interactive, and the worship atmosphere is designed to be warm and welcoming with the underlying understanding that God is in everyone and everything.

Teri also extends the opportunity to experience God outside of worship, through service, bible studies and her discussion group, the 111 Club, which began around 10 months ago. Meeting at Syd’s Bar and Grill every Tuesday evening, the group discusses 1 interesting (and often controversial) question about life and faith over a beer.  It’s all about connecting through conversation.

“I think people are craving community and sometimes we just find it in a different place,” says Teri, “Sometimes the staff or others in the bar join in on our discussions.”

Yes, in this busy world, I too, crave community. Don’t we all?

On Drawing Closer to God

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Finally, I ask the question I find burning in my heart: How can we, those of us who are living lives and seeking to draw closer to God, find Him in this chaotic, divisive and often self-serving world?

Teri first suggests a clearing of the mind with a breath prayer.  Breath Prayers can help de-clutter the mind. Simply take 7 breaths, pausing and holding in between.  Doing so will clear the mind of distraction and help one focus on God.

And when struggling-to understand, to forgive, to act or believe-ask God for help through the hard places. Ask and then be patient as He takes you through the process to peace.

Lastly Teri reminds us that one cannot have peace without risk.

Peace without risk; what does she mean by this? 

People generally dislike taking risks.  But explains Teri, if we cannot open ourselves up and be vulnerable before God and others, we will never truly find peace. We must take chances in being who we are and in living out our faith.

Amen. 

 

 

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The Art of Practicing Courage

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Sunset on the Grand Tetons, June 2012

*Friends-if you don’t have the time to read my entire post-I have news to share: please skip to the end!

This is the photo.  The photo that popped up in my feed with Facebook’s new Timehop “On this Day” feature.  Oh the irony.

Three years ago today I was on vacation.  We took the family to Montana and Wyoming. We visited Bear Tooth Pass, Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons.  I’ll never forget that trip for two reasons.

1-The entire trip was perfect: great weather, great scenery, great time with the family.

2-I was a bit of a mess.

You see on the outside, my life was wonderful.  My oldest girl would be headed to college in the fall, my high school girl was happy, my nine-year-old thriving.  My marriage was in a good place and I had a growing travel agency business.  How could I be a mess? How could everything be so right, but feel so wrong?  Was I just hard to please?

I couldn’t get a handle on why I felt the way I felt, but I was grateful to go on vacation and clear my head.  So on the very first morning, I got up early and had a chat with God.

Tiptoeing through our tiny rented cabin so as not to wake my family, I made a cup of tea, took a seat by the window, and stared out at the expansive Montana sky.  And I started to pray. But what began as prayer soon turned into gushing: me spilling out all my fears and frustrations. It was only after I got it all out that I could humble myself and ask God what to do.   Here is what he said:

Rest in me.

Huh?  Okay fine, I’ve read or heard these words so many times: in my devotionals, bible study, church sermons.  It sounds easy, but what does it really mean? What was I supposed to do with that?

I pondered.  It could mean to just take a breath and enjoy my vacation.  It could mean stick close to God, be patient and all will work out.  It could mean to take a break from all my troubles.

That’s nice and all, but it didn’t feel like enough. Come on God, I need more, I am not following here.  Again, I asked Him to show me what to do.

Rest in me. 

Argh, the same answer!  Though I was frustrated, I’ve learned that when God gives me an answer, it typically is going to take a bit of decoding on my part.  He’s not one to just tell me what to do, but He does lead me. So I decided I had no choice but to trust.  Trust what He told me, trust that if I tried, I’d eventually figure out what he meant.  Turns out eventually is three years.

In three years, I…

Closed my travel agency.

Dropped many of my social and volunteer activities.

Spent time by the side of my terminally ill mother (she passed in March of 2014).

Made space in my life to think. Sleep. Pray.

Rest in me.  It can mean so many things.  But looking back, for me in this instance, I think it meant to trust.  Trust God.  Trust my heart.  Trust in what I cannot see or imagine.  I don’t need to know the details. I don’t need to know the how’s or why’s.  I just need to listen: to both God, and my heart (are they one in the same? I think they could be).

By taking tiny steps in trust, I was able to pair down the chaotic life I had created for myself.  I examined the things I was doing and let go of those things that weren’t making me happy. I made room for and proactively sought out those things that did make me happy.  I trusted God with the details, focusing only on the day-no looking forward or backward. No analyzing or trying to control the outcome.

Friends-this takes courage, great courage. Letting go is HARD.   But when I finally did, when I finally followed my heart instead of my brain: I found my way. And trust me, I’ve been lost in the forest for quite some time.

Rest in me.

When I finally rested in God, I found myself, the me He created.   I found the girl who loves to write. I quit worrying about money or how good I was or time wasted on creative pursuits instead freelance work.  I simply wrote. Day in and day out, I put words to paper having no idea what would happen.

What happened was this: I wrote a book.

A book that was picked up by Hawthorne Publishing.

A book that is being released 7/1/15.

The dream I’d once buried, was resurrected and brought to fruition, all because I let go and let God.

Thanks Facebook and Timehop for reminding me that when I pause to think, take steps in faith, and listen to God, my dreams can come true. And by the way, so can yours.

Details On My Exciting News

For information about my new book, Chasing God, Finding Faith from the Outside In, click here.

To see the book, click here.

To order an early release copy at a 20%  discount, (+ $3 shipping if I cannot hand deliver to you), please email me by 6/30/15 here:

thewritertracyATgmailDOTcom.

To share in my joy, feel free to visit me at one of my book events, listed here.

 

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  -George Eliot

 

 

 

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Getting My Instant Fix

Rush On Smartphone Showing Speed And Urgency

 

“You can do Yoga! It says right here that yoga reduces inflammation!”

I chuckle to myself, “Okay, well I better wait a few days for that.”

My daughter is not convinced, “No, you can do it right now Mom, yoga improves circulation.”

My Abby is perched at our computer, researching ways for me to reduce the swelling of my newly sprained ankle.

I am lying on the floor, in front of our couch, with my calves and feet up and resting on the couch cushions. This I am doing this per my twelve-year-old daughter’s insistence. Elevation, she says, will reduce the swelling. In addition, I can try tonic water, grapefruit oil or massage therapy (tonic water?).

It is sweet that my young daughter is trying to help me get better.

It is amazing that we can access so much information in an instant via the Internet.

If only my ankle would heal as fast as my daughter is finding remedies for it.  But that’s not how it works.

Healing, takes time.

No matter how hard I try, it will take time for the swelling in my ankle to go down. The ligaments will need a few days to repair themselves. And I will need to lay off my usual routine for awhile (I actually miss the gym, who knew that was possible?).

The truth is, we live in an instant age. We have instant access to a plethora of information, news, photos, music and even our child’s grades at school.

It’s wonderful, but sometimes I fear it makes me even more impatient for those times when I have to wait.

The less I have to wait, the less I want to wait.

I am a person who prays daily.  And when things aren’t going the way I’d like for them to go in my life, I often ask God for help. I ask Him for strength and wisdom, I ask for guidance. Yet no matter how I phrase my prayers, no matter how nicely I say things, in so many words I’m just asking God to fix my situation.  I’d like for him to just:

Solve my problem.

Take away my pain.

Give me answers.

Heal my wounds.

And I’d like for Him to do it quickly.

But God knows better than to listen to me.  He knows some things take time.  And when He doesn’t answer right away, when He doesn’t wave his magic wand and make it all go away, what is my response?

Impatience.

Confusion.

And mostly, Indignation.

All this, even though I believe the words of Jeremiah 29:11 to be true.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

Yes, I have a strong faith. But the truth is, I’m also a work in progress. And I don’t like to wait.

So in those times when I’m wanting God to fix things and fix them right now, I try to remember the following.

 1-God’s plan is so much bigger than mine.
It’s crazy to realize I am but a speck in this universe. A speck.  There are so many pieces to His great mosaic.  I have only my limited perspective.  I don’t see what all God sees.

 2-God’s timing is so much better than mine.
In my mind, I’m ready to move forward, always. Why the wait? It isn’t until later, when I look back, that I can see God’s handiwork in my life. The people he has planted in my path.  The lessons I’ve learned from specific circumstances.  The way he slowly tenders my heart in the right direction when I am stubborn.  These things take time.

 3-Ultimately, God’s way is the best way.
I may think I know what I want, I may think I know how things should go, and sometimes I am right.  But there are many, many times times I am wrong.  God though, is never wrong. I can always trust where He is taking me.

I may not see, I may not understand, I may not like the circumstances I’ve been given.  But at least I am learning this: sometimes there is no instant fix. Healing, growth and change take time.

But as I am learning how to walk in this life with faith, I know that when I’m waiting on God, it will always be worth the wait.

 

 

 

Posted in attitude, Faith, Family Life, God, gratitude, inspiration, life lessons, trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to Be A Better Mother

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I just got back from a long weekend away with my girlfriends. Four glorious days with six of my friends: talking, laughing, eating, taking in the sun and walking the beach. It was glorious.

A girlfriend getaway is something I highly recommend. I know there are many mamas who don’t like or don’t want to leave their families, and I respect their choice. But for me, time away with my girlfriends makes me a better mom.

So in honor of Mother’s Day I’ve written a list of reasons a girlfriend getaway is worth your while.

7 Reasons You Should  Leave Your Family (for a few days!)

1-Your family will appreciate you more when you return. Sometimes it takes being gone for your family to notice what all you do for them. Trust me they will miss the lady who cooks, cleans, picks up constantly, closes the blinds every night and replaces the toilet paper roll.

 

2-You will appreciate your family more when you return.  A break from our normal responsibilities reminds us just why we do what we do: we love these cute, messy, funny people we live with.  A few days without them reminds us just how much better life is with them in it.

 

3-We have so much to learn about life from our friends.  When we get away, my girlfriends and I talk with abandon about our kids, our husbands, our dreams for the future. I get all sorts of ideas and advice for ways to handle preteen attitudes, unruly pets, homework, grass-stained soccer jerseys and the constant balancing act of life and work.

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4-Our friends help us get through life’s difficulties.  Life can be hard, we need to get away and gain some perspective.  With friends we can laugh at life’s ironies and suddenly they don’t seem so bad.  We take turns listening to each others struggles and sort out the things in life that need sorting.  It’s like free (group) therapy.

 

5-Time away gives you freedom without guilt. As mothers, we are constantly beckoned by the needs of our kids, husbands, house and for some of us, work responsibilites.  A sink full of dirty dishes, loads of laundry and helping with the latest school project or work deadline keep us from relaxing.  When we get away, we only have our own needs to consider.  We can do whatever we want: stay up late, sleep in, read a magazine, lay in a beach chair and do absolutely nothing or eat at a restaurant that doesn’t offer a kids menu.  What a respite this is!  On a girlfriend getaway, we can enjoy life without the guilt.

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6-It’s just plain fun.  Laughter matters so much, and my friends make me laugh. It doesn’t really matter where we go or what we do, just that we do it together.  Whether we are on a beach in FL (like this year) or tucked away in someone’s basement, time spent away with my girlfriends is a time of laughter and a renewal of friendship.  In the grand scheme, these moments we each manage to steal away from our very busy lives are nothing less than sacred.

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7-Getting away allows you to remember who you once were. It’s been said that mothers forever see their hearts walking outside of their bodies.  Yes, we love our kids so much that they are an extension of us.  The downside of this is that we can often forget who we once were, before children.  Remember that girl who once loved to play tennis?  Wrote poetry?  Enjoyed live music?  Got lost in a novel?   She’s still there, deep inside of you, holding on to those long lost dreams and hobbies: find her, honor her, celebrate her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.  And an especially happy Mother’s Day to all my friends.  I love you all and thank you for making me a better mother, simply by being my friend. 

 

 

 

Posted in Family Life, gratitude, kids, life lessons, parenting, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments