Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blame Others or Take Responsibility?

As we get older, most people learn to take responsibility for their actions and grow from their choices and mistakes along their journey.

I want to encourage each of you to stop right now and think about where you live, you are are with and who you are allowing to be in your life.  Where you are right now is a product of the choices you made in your far or recent past.

I want to cheer you on as you change your focus and consciously make healthy choices for your future home, life, education, church family, children and finances.  What you have is your choice and you have the power to change everything you 'think' you are stuck with.

Need to get a handle on your budget? Ask someone to teach you a budgeting system.
Want to be more involved with your children's school? Call the school and ask to help/volunteer.
Wish you had finished school? Do the research and find out what it would take to get enrolled again.

I guarantee you that there are people around you that can help you learn or achieve anything you want if YOU are willing to do the work.

You will have more respect when you work hard to get out of a bad situation than if you just sit around and say that 'everyone' is out to get you or cause you harm.

I say this with love and care and wish each of you peace, wisdom and clarity in 2014!
If you are in danger, please seek help!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Respect

When life throws us a curve ball and we are stuck in a situation, we always have a choice in what we say and how we react.  The situation is stressful for those directly involved and for those indirectly involved. 

Choose your words to be as kind as possible without allowing yourself to be trampled on.  When you speak and act with respect to other's plans you will get along a lot longer than when you barge in and try to take control of a situation by changing it to suit what you personally want. 

A sign of a true mature person is one who can be accommodating while respecting others even in the worst of circumstances. This is very difficult to do and needs a lot of prayer and focus to achieve. 

You can choose to be respectful of others while protecting your interests. Pray for peace and wisdom and I will continue to pray for you as well.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Don't Quit!

While I was at the Mall with family this morning, I came across a stamp that said "I have thought about giving up chocolate, but I am not a quitter".  This cute statement gave me a giggle but it also made me think.

I recalled a poem I heard first in high school during a TOEC/OEA meeting. The Poem is "Don't Quit".

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown. 

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
- Author unknown

Just a heartfelt wish that each of you choose to never give up and keep trying to reach your goals, heal yourself or ask for help when you need it.  None of us on this journey alone, all of us have people that care about us. Please open your eyes and see your fans and family all around you. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Anger and Arguing Solve Nothing.

Anger and Arguing solve nothing and often lead to violence.

We all get angry and annoyed at people in our lives, work, family and friends.  That is okay, but what is not okay is hurting others with your words and senseless arguing.  Self-control is something all of us must learn in order to get along with others in our journey in this life. The holiday season is the time of year when more wrecks happen, more disagreements and most stress occurs.

You control how you respond to others and you control how you feel or if you allow these feelings to destroy your day or your attitude.  There is never a good reason to get nasty and ugly with a store manager over a discount. In fact, if you ask nicely and stay calm, you might get more of a discount than you anticipated. All of these factors influence what you receive. When you ask for something, you will usually get more. When you go in with a demanding tone, you usually get nothing other than embarrassment and the restaurant will dread to see you coming the next time.

I get aggravated at plenty of things/people in my life these days and I am not afraid to speak about it.  I choose to start my day when I know I must interact with these people with prayer for grace, wisdom and peace to do what I must do and keep my self at peace.  When we stay at peace on the inside, we are less likely to react in anger when someone really makes us angry through their words and actions.

In the past few days I have seen nearly every emotion possible displayed because of a car accident and delays and money stress that goes along with being stuck somewhere while you are traveling. I am truly thankful to be alive and spending time with my son and his family this Christmas.  As I have gotten older, I no longer enjoy extended arguing or loud music and I really feel out of place here but I know I am with my son and his family, so I am thankful.

I fully intend to send letters of thanks to those businesses who blessed us during our travels this week because I know how far a letter of thanks can go to a business owner or employee in the tourist business. Kindness and genuine appreciation go along way with family, friends and strangers (or angels) along your daily travels. 

My 2013 Christmas wish for you is that you stay in peace, hug those you are spending the holiday with and stay safe above all else.  I love you and pray you are safe this Christmas Day.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thankful to be Alive PERIOD.

Yesterday while driving through Vail Pass (outside of Vail, Colorado), we had a car accident and the car took some major body damage but all of the passengers are safe and without a scratch.

Yes, I was scared when the wreck occurred but once we landed in a small snowbank, and all of us were accounted for, I was overcome with tears and so thankful to be alive.  My daughter in law cried and blamed herself for the accident and we had to deal with police and tow trucks and insurance and get a place to stay until the adjuster gets here.  But all in all, we are all thankful to be alive.

I am not making light of the situation in anyway but my mind constantly returns to the simple fact that we could have flipped over the concrete separator and died on that mountain.

24 years ago tonight at approximately 11:15 p.m. will be the anniversary of my very first car wreck in nasty snowy weather.  I am having flashbacks like you would not believe and haven't been able to sleep more than 2 hours at a time.

So please for me, take a moment and hug your loved ones and even that one in the room that drives you nuts at times. Because, admit it, you DO love them and would miss them horribly if something happened to them.

Be thankful, take care of each other and pray for each other! No one is alone if we are praying for them!

Friday, December 20, 2013

To Gift or Not to Gift

Over the past week, I have attended 3-4 different Christmas gatherings and at every single one I heard people talking about their lengthy shopping list. Last night I became very aware that I am probably the only one of my friends/family and acquaintances that does not have a Christmas tree up this year. The one thing that has become glaringly obvious to me over the past 2 weeks is that I do not look for or wish for gifts from my friends and family.

I used to spend months worrying and stressing over what to buy my spouse for Christmas or birthday. I usually ended up disappointing them and that made it even harder to shop for this person the next time.  When people would ask me what I want for my birthday, I usually struggle to come up with an idea to ask for.  I wanted a Keurig coffee maker for years but did not buy myself one until I separated from my ex-husband. It was a sign of independence to finally get something I wanted and not have to ask permission to spend the money.

When I watch TV and see all the commercials trying to convince men that all women want a $500.00 necklace, I just shake my head at the expense and commercialism of the season. This year I chose to only do my shopping online and I only purchased a few gifts. I have such peace about the holidays this year because I am doing Christmas 'my way'.

Wouldn't it be nice to just enjoy a few hours with friends over a great meal for a Christmas Gift?  That is all I want for Christmas. I just want to enjoy time with family and friends that are dear to me.

Be safe in all your travels and I pray you have a Happy Holiday Season with those you hold dear. Don't be afraid to make the holiday celebration your own. If you are in danger, please ask for help!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Anxiety can be Overcome.

I have anxiety attacks every now and then. Last night at a dinner, I was sitting there waiting for the event to start and all of a sudden I had this very strong urge to leave for no apparent reason.  I literally had to calm myself down and make myself stay at the dinner. I chose to change where I was sitting so that I could calm myself and gather my thoughts. A few people noticed and asked if I was okay, most didn't notice or if they did, they chose not to say anything. I knew 90 percent of the people in attendance at this gathering yet, I was faced with feelings of loneliness and sadness that I could not control at first.

Over the past 5 years (maybe more), I have had issues with anxiety and depression. My closest friends know this about me and help me get through it.  I have attended events with thousands of people in attendance and long lines and never once got panicky. Some events I attend, I go with a small group and some I have attended all by myself. I even attended a Joyce Meyer conference in Nashville by myself and that was a major accomplishment for me in 2009 since that time frame was filled with depression in my personal life.

My 2 closest friends last night cornered me and told me it was okay to be nervous and upset and even freaked out but that I can't let my emotions win.  I still cry at the drop of the hat when something reminds me that I am alone this year at the holidays.  These two ladies know the feeling all too well and are helping me push through the emotions. So today, I dedicate this article to my buddies J and F for always being there for me and pushing, pulling or dragging me when I need it. I love you both for being there for me!

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Do the Right Thing! #ethics

Over my lifetime, I have been faced with many choices. I could have lied to stay out of trouble at my job, I could have cheated on an exam, and I could have taken money out of the register to feed my children.  I did not always make the right choice, but at the end of the day I can sleep soundly because my conscience is not keeping me up all night. 

When I was an Admin Assistant we would often have a seminar in April around Secretary's Day.  Every 3-4 years the topic would roll around to "Making Ethical Choices" and our speaker was Nan DeMars http://www.office-ethics.com/ . I have never forgotten the lessons we learned in those seminars.  We always have choices and sometimes our bosses are not as ethical as we would like to think. 

This holds true in our marriages and relationships as well. We must strive at all times to do the right thing.  If something you are asked to do seems off or strange, ask why!  You must also be prepared for the answers too. 

At the end of our lives, we are held accountable by the Almighty God and he will know if we did the right thing even if no one else in our lives knew the whole truth.  I wish you peace in your decision making and do things that will keep you and your children safe and healthy.  Continue to pray for your decisions and do the right thing!

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Answer your Anger with Prayer.

Anger is a normal feeling when you are going through a rough situation with a co-worker, spouse, family member or friend.  If you can speak to them without escalating the situation, then by all means, talk about the problem and work it out.

Anger in itself is not a sin, but how we act on it can be sinful.  We can have angry feelings and not act on them. This takes discipline and prayer to accomplish.  I worked very hard to not speak about my ex-husband badly in front of the children.  When I would get so angry I couldn't hold it in anymore I was blessed to have my parents and friends that would listen and just let me get it out of my system.

The nights that I was up all night taking care of a sick child all alone were the worst memories I have from those 11 years as a single mom.  Those were the nights that deep down I wanted my ex-husband to see what his actions caused.  But I would always get through the night and be thankful that I had done it without out breaking down and calling him or even letting him know how difficult it was.

You will have anger, fear, distrust and many other negative emotions flow through you when you are separated or divorced.  Starting my day with a Mom focused devotional kept me going most of the time. I am not saying I never had a bad day, because I had lots of them. I was blessed to have understanding bosses and co-workers in the early days after my divorce was final who would just give me space or listen depending on what I needed or wanted.

I always knew the Bible was there but I didn't always read it. These days, I start every day reading my Bible and try to spend my lunch hour reading as well. The Bible is the living, breathing Word of God and we can always go to it to hear from God.

Praying for you to always turn to God (no matter your feelings). God created us and knows the feelings and is never surprised by how we feel or even how we react.  Even if you don't know how or what to pray, I ask you to pray about everything and this will give you peace. Our shoulders are not created to hold the weight of the world, so please ask God to come into your life and help you with whatever you are facing.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Forgive Yourself!

Many of us going through abusive marriages, separations and eventual divorce experience a great amount of guilt for the decisions we had to make in our path to survival. Society even blames women (or mothers) in many situations.  This unfortunately leads most women to feeling guilty about nearly everything in their lives.

God does not want any of his creation to live in guilt.  As His children, we are highly favored and are to live in the blessings we have been given.  Yes, there are difficult days, weeks and seasons that we do not readily see the end in sight to our troubles.  But, I can tell you that everything you are going through will eventually end one way or the other.


I find myself lately over-analyzing every conversation I have had in the past 2 years with my ex-husband.  Sometimes I really obsess and worry about what I said or why I gave him that information.  I can no longer control what he does or says, but I can control how I react to him and his questions. 

We are taught that we must forgive to receive forgiveness from the Father in Heaven.  This is all too true.  God forgives us of so much and promises us an eternity with Him in Heaven.  We too, have to forgive ourselves. Some people refer to it as letting yourself off the hook or letting go.

 My first divorce was final in February of 1993 and I still am haunted by things from that marriage.  My second divorce was final just a few months earlier this year and as I am sure you can understand, I am still dealing with all the emotions of separation and divorce at this time. I have to almost weekly stop and shake off the negative emotions that attack me from my memories. For years, I blamed myself for the abuse I received & I blamed myself for the cheating that happened in both marriages as well.

I have often gone to the ladies room to clear my head, wash my face and I silently stare at the mirror and tell my reflection that I did all that I knew to do at the time and by the grace of God I am free and neither of them can hurt me anymore.

Please consider this article as a suggestion to forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up for things you remember and things you may have long forgotten.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Selfishness or Protecting Yourself? #pray #protection

I am by no means an expert on life, but I have been through enough stuff to know when it is time to walk away.  Sunday Morning in Life Group we talked about things in our lives that are strongholds.  Lots of people mentioned past hurts, forgiveness and how hard it is to deal with hurt in our lives when the person who hurt us is a relative. We have to love ourselves enough to put distance between ourselves and the person choosing to hurt us.

You do not have to answer that phone call, text or email message. The person calling can leave a message and you can look at it later when you are mentally able to deal with whatever is being said.  Some people are constantly asking things of you and when you get to a point of "No More", you have to step up and say "No More" to this person.  Sometimes you can walk away, block them on facebook and email and pray they don't bother you in the future.  Sometimes you physically have to face them and tell them that you need your space and ask them to respect it.

Today, all of my thoughts are on my own personal battle with boundaries and I need you to pray for me to hold strong to my boundaries I have set up and not falter.  In order for me to heal, I had to remove people from my life. This includes friends of over 20 years, ex-husbands and people I thought would be my friend and supporters until the day I died.  Abusers will continue to abuse you and you have to put them out of your life.

Please pray for me in my battle and I will pray for you in your battles! Seek help if you are in immediate danger.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Seasons

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV)

 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

There have been songs written that convey this message but I prefer to go directly to the Book of Ecclesiastes to read it myself.  This passage of scripture gave me so much peace while I was waiting on the right job, the right time to move, and the timing for when I filed for divorce earlier this year.  I knew deep down in my soul that I was better off single but I had to get to a point where I wanted the marriage over and done with so that I was sure of my decision. I had most people I knew praying for me to make the right decision and thankfully most of those people are still standing with me in my corner!

Timing is everything. From sports, to job interviews and even doctor appointments.  When we look at things on earth and see that they 'seemingly' just fell in our lap or came very easy to us, do you realize that the Almighty God was working on your behalf for months and maybe even years to make that job open to you? Well, it is true.

I continue to encourage you to pray about your decisions for your life, your safety and your family. Reach out to others who can help you even if it is just asking for time to hang out at their house at their kitchen table to hash things out. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes on a situation will show you things you never saw clearly.  Trust me on this.  

I pray for your safety and wise decisions in the coming days. Be aware, you are an adult and you can leave any gathering when you choose. You do not have to stay there if the situation is uncomfortable. This is why for years, I drove myself to gatherings - so that I had a quick getaway. 

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).