Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Contentment - It is possible!

Are you content ?
I mean when the day is over and you are home from work and can sit down and breathe for a few minutes, are you truly deep down able to say you are content?

I was so discontent for so many years that I didn't know any other way to be.  I used to spend every week looking forward to Friday so I wouldn't have to leave the house. I used to count down to everything ahead of me so often that I never sat and just relaxed and enjoyed a day for what it was.

Looking back, I realize how many beautiful sunsets I missed out on by constantly looking ahead instead of sitting on the porch and simply looking up.

When I left for my trip to Colorado last December, I was so excited to see my son and his family. I was also very excited to see the mountains of Colorado and Utah on this 8 day vacation as well.  With all the driving we did, I spent most of it looking up at the mountains and landscape along the way.

I was so very thankful to be there for Christmas and now that I am back to the routine of life here in Tennessee, I try to take lots of pictures of the clouds and scenery when I can. The sight of nature calms me and reminds me there is a God in heaven who loves us and is always there for us whether we can see it or not.  I choose to see God in every creation and every sunset.

So Tonight, I pray you find a way to be content and find something to be thankful for every day. Here are a few pictures I took on my trip out west for you to enjoy too.




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You don't have to hide!

I find myself reflecting over what has happened in my life over the past 2 years or so and I am seeing how far I have come and for that I am ever thankful.  I find joy in little things that were rarely noticed 2 years ago.  Last night after work and attending a women's club meeting, my grandson came running to me at the back door and gave me a hug (right at my knees) and I seriously melted on the inside because that little boy took time out of playing to recognize that Mimi was home.  That is the kind of things that make me cry and be so thankful to be alive in spite of my difficult situation.

I know that I am here on the other side of 2 abusive marriages and I do my very best to focus on the positive every day.  There are days that it is very dark in Maryann-land and I have to work really hard to see the light in the day-to-day routine of my life.  I know firsthand how difficult it is to be abused at home and hide it from your friends and church circles. I did exactly that from 2005-2010 and that is why my story comes as a shock to a lot of people.  The family front that was put on by myself and my ex-husband was believable and he would get very angry if I even hinted to the pastor's wife that we were struggling with stuff and could she say a prayer for us.  

My second ex-husband cheated on me with 11 different women that I know of and many others were suspected over the time we were legally married. We always had food to eat but the bills got behind at times. As time went on, the arguments got worse but he never raised a hand to hit me, he chose instead to disappear and visit friends 2 days at a time. I thought he was over that when we moved to GA but then it was just geography cause he had girlfriends there as well. Georgia was the last chance for our marriage to make a comeback because I had just about lost all hope. I did not want to be a  2-time divorced woman in my 40's but I also prayed that God would open my eyes and give me the courage to see what was there in front of me.

I chose to file for divorce spring of 2013 because I was tired of being connected to him after he had broken so many promises. We had separated in July of 2012 when he basically dumped me and my belongings at a local storage unit place. He unloaded the U-Haul and even wanted to hug me goodbye that day.  I let him hug me and then I had to rush to my parent's house and get ready for an interview at a local bookstore.  I cried the entire time because I knew in my heart/mind that I would never see him again.  I got that job and other jobs that were placed in my path during 2012 and give God the glory for each and every pay check and profit check I received in the summer/fall of 2012. 

2013 rolled around and I was with dear friends for New Year's Eve/Day and I have been so blessed by them and their family who took me in without question.  Their home has been my place of refuge when I needed to escape or hide.  This family has seen me cry, scream, fight and give up on many occasions and yet they still stand with me, stand behind me, pick me up, push me when I need it and most of all support me every step of the way. We are blessed to all attend church together and my church family has truly been a blessing to me in many ways as well. 

When it came time to file taxes, I had to make the dreaded phone calls to my ex-husband to get his info and to tell him that we were filing separately because we had been separated for half the previous year.  Because of laws, we had to reference the previous year and that meant more conversations about our past than I wanted to deal with.  Last year, after taxes were filed I knew I had to put a stop to the separation and made the phone calls to start proceedings to file for divorce.  My parents had said they would back me when I made the decision to file for divorce and all I had to do was say the word.  So there I was in the local grocery store (in the potato chip aisle) and it hit me. It was time to file for divorce. I called my mom in tears and texted my two best God-fearing friends then I called the lawyer the next week.

May 14th, I visited the lawyer's office for initial consult with a dear friend at my side and got all the details I needed to start the proceedings.  May 21st I went back to the law office and paid the fees, read over the documents, cried seeing it all in black and white and went home on that rainy day knowing a countdown had started. I waited in prayer and fear. I was scared that he would refuse to sign the papers. I don't know why I was afraid, but part of me expected him to fight me on filing for divorce.  June 22nd would be the day that the ex-husband would call me to say he had signed the papers and was mailing them back.  The waiting had to continue the appointed number of days and on August 1, 2013 my divorce papers were signed by a local judge and my marriage was over.  

I got the papers, read them and sent out text message to family and church friends that knew the story. I cannot say that I celebrated that day, but it was a day of relief because I now had the papers in my had that said legally, I was a single person and no longer tied to him or his last name. I had the lawyer put in the papers my choice to go back to my maiden name and that was part of my freedom celebration.

August 17th at a local restaurant, I got together with about 10 other friends and we had a nice celebration dinner and reflected a bit on how everyone there was a part of my life and I asked each of them to help me move forward and keep looking ahead.  From that day forward, I refused to hide and I started telling my story more and more.  

So please don't hide! Your life and your testimony is not for you alone, it is for you to tell others what you have been through so they may see the glory of God in everything you have overcome by leaning on him. 

My verse is Isa 41:10  Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Share your Knowledge with a Caring Attitude

I have a few goals for 2014 to learn a few new things and take a few risks. There is nothing life-threatening about what I have in mind, I just want to stretch myself and experience new things.

I am going to be training others and teaching them how to use their computers to improve their online business. I have had to learn and research how my audience learns and their level of knowledge.  I try really hard to remember that not everyone has a computer keyboard as an extension of their life as I have had for 18 or more years.  I often compose letters and flyers at the keyboard and 10 years ago, I had to write everything out with pen/paper before typing it up.  I also pray before every training and every opportunity that I use helpful words they understand and a helpful tone. It is fun to hear from other team members when they learn to do something online that they had not been able to do previously. That is truly the reward of a trainer.

I also have signed up for a couple of painting parties.  What is a painting party? It is where a local art teacher holds a class where all the students pay a fee to paint a picture depending on the season or even fundraising.  The fee covers the canvas, paints, brushes and supplies.  I usually begged off of anything to do with painting because I have a shaky hand and rarely draw much less paint a straight edge.  My first effort at painting a picture was pretty good. I was a nervous wreck about half way through because my edges were anything but straight and I felt it looked really messy. Another student was extremely well versed in painting and crafts and she made me very nervous and I almost quit a couple of times because of her overbearing perfection and "know-it-all" attitude.  But, in the end, I finished and even posted my snowman on facebook for all to see and critique.

I heard a few months ago in a lesson that we as Christians are taught to tell the truth and speak truth in love.  To me that means to teach those around you and when they ask for your opinion, then you are supposed to tell them the truth but say it in love.  In closing, please be gracious when you are teaching or learning and those around you will want you to return. #sharing #caring #teaching #knowledge #truthinlove

Friday, January 17, 2014

Contentment brings Peace

con·tent·ment
noun
1.
a state of happiness and satisfaction.

This definition seems so simple but many people you speak to do not have any idea what the word contentment means.  I heard in a sermon that we are most content when we stop seeking so hard for that "Next Big Thing".  

If you spend every day and every hour counting down to the next big thing or event in your life, how are you enjoying today completely?  Some of my best memories when my kids were small was the unexpected night of pizza (with coupons) and watching movies at home. We would all sit in the floor with pizza, soda and popcorn and have a great movie night at home.  My daughter now holds movie popcorn night with her husband and son and it makes me smile cause she is carrying on a tradition we had 'back then'. 

If you spend your days looking and questioning what others are doing, you are wasting valuable time you could have spent on your own family and your own needs/goals.  You are not doing anyone any favors by being nosy in their business. If it does not concern you or your family and no one is being endangered, then leave it alone and learn not to care or wonder about it.  It is not your business and be thankful for that!!!  I cannot stand busybodies and deal with 2 or 3 of them at the office on a daily basis.

I know you and I will continue to have bad days and be forced to deal with less than ideal circumstances but we can be content and find the good in every day to make it bearable.  Be thankful in the small things and you will be blessed!

I hope each of you have a blessed weekend!



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Your thoughts direct your actions.

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
 
This verse in Proverbs says so much about our heart and thoughts.  We must guard and pay attention to the thoughts that go through our mind and the things/people/goals we choose to focus on.  You and only you can control the thoughts of your mind.  What you think about and focus on you will eventually bring about in your life situations.  
 
Our minds are as much a battlefield as our daily commute to the office when we 'fight the traffic' to get to the office on time. When something negative comes through our mind, we have to train ourselves to change that thought and replace it with something good.  This is when you take that victory list and read it over to remind yourself that you have accomplished great things so far and will continue to accomplish positive things in your life.  
 
Every relationship needs God in the center of it. From the friends at work, your siblings, parents and the relationship with your children and spouse, all of these relationships need God at the center to be the best relationships for your life.  Think about the teaching couples who alone only reach part of a target group, but when they combine forces and teach together, their outreach is so much more.
 
Guard your thoughts, pay attention to the things you think about, talk about and constantly focus on. Do you focus on money, your health, your spouse, your favorite sports team or a celebrity?  Then these things could quickly become your false god and that is not a good thing!
 
Choose what you focus on daily and you will watch marvelous things unfold simply by changing your attitude and thought patterns.  We can only make a change in our community if we start by changing ourselves and our household.  A few people can make great changes if they only work together on a common goal.
 
Please seek help if you need it and do not stay in abusive relationships! Need help? 
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). 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Seeking Silence

I truly enjoy a Saturday that I can spend not driving and relaxing! I had one appointment today and other than that, I had planned to visit friends and spend time with them today.  Early this morning about an hour after I woke up, our power went out. So for about 2 hours today we had no lights, tv, coffee maker or wi-fi. I lit a few strategically placed candles and it was starting out to be a great day!  It was quiet and fun to see my 2 year old grandson just play with his blocks or train set and have some silence in the house.  I did make a run to get coffee and breakfast at a local fast food place so that we would have something warm for breakfast.

Once the power came back on, my parents chose to keep the TV off for a while and it made for a totally different morning in the house.  Off and on throughout the day my mother commented how different the day was without the constant noise of the TV in the background. I smiled and said, "Yes, some days are better with no noise".  In recent months, I have found that I cannot stand constant racket and often can be seen at the office with earplugs in to drown out all the office sounds.  I am not sure what is going on, but I truly seek silence more and more. 

There are times that I have the TV on to watch a football or hockey game and I mute the sound so that I can focus on a project.  Don't get me wrong, I do watch certain TV programs. I enjoy watching NCIS, NCIS:LA, Castle, BONES, Food Network programs, Doctor Who and Star Trek when I can find them. I have chosen to be picky about what I will watch and what attitudes and images I want to be replayed in my mind over and over. 

I believe that we as a society are overloaded with images from every corner of our lives. From the toddlers watching Dinosaur Train, Buzz Lightyear, all the way to grown ups who cannot go a day without watching 3 hours of Stargate.  None of these programs are wrong necessarily but I do suggest moderation because no one learns that much from staring at a screen. I would think you use your brain more by interacting with others and speaking to people to exchange ideas.

Today I also dealt with a raging headache and that is part of the reason I retreated to my room to deal with it.  I actually took medicine today and the headache finally went away enough so I could think again.  When I was in school, there was a week each year that the school would promote turning off our tv's and read instead and today with the power outage, I thought of that again.  I wonder what we could learn if we turned off the tv's, computers, video games and read a couple hours a day??

I hope each of you can find some solace in silence as I do and truly have time for yourself each day.  Stay Safe and seek help if you need it. Visit my friends over at http://resurrectingrobin.com/ to get assistance.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Love

Over the past couple of years, I have been heard to say, "Love is a 4-letter word".  Some people get the phrase's meaning immediately, while others didn't understand my meaning at all (even when I explained my viewpoint).  I had been hurt by those who supposedly loved me and therefore pushed all love away from me.  It was hard to even cultivate and resurrect friendships when I moved back to Tennessee because I was so scarred. I still choose not to watch mushy love stories and rarely turn on the Hallmark channel for anything that is too touchy-feely in my viewpoint.

My divorce from #2 was final August 1, 2013 and that was my release point. From that point, I had to choose to make happier choices and do everything I could to move forward in life, in regards to friends and even workplace relationships.  I chose to find happiness in other's happiness. If a friend was celebrating something great in her life, then I cheered her on.  If another friend had lost a cousin to cancer, then I was there to listen. I chose to be there for others and I was empty (barren almost) on the inside.

As the past few months have passed and I got closer and closer to my Christmas Trip to visit my son out in Colorado, I realized that I didn't quit loving people. I simply became very guarded over those I extended my heart to, because I was so afraid my heart couldn't take another break. (Thank you Billy Ray Cyrus for verbiage there!)  When my 22 year old son came up behind me at the baggage claim at the Denver Airport and said "Boo" in my ear, I jumped out of my skin, screamed like a little girl and then hugged him and cried on his shoulder. I had not seen my son in 18 months and it totally showed that day at the airport.

Just a few days ago, I was proud to be a guest at my daughter's 5 year vow renewal.  She was a beautiful bride again.  They eloped 5 years ago and got married at the courthouse with only a couple of people there with them. Seeing my daughter recommit to her husband and how much love they have in their marriage relationship helps me believe in love again. 

For the record, I do believe in Love and I will continue to reach out and be the best person I can be in 2014. I will not be a doormat, but I will not be a hermit either.  I will help others and be the best friend I can to those in my life.

If you need help, have questions, do not be afraid to ask -
YWCA Crisis and Information Line: (615) 242-1199 or toll free 1-800-334-4628

Monday, January 6, 2014

Storms

Storms come into our lives through the people we know, through situations out of our control and some storms we ourselves created.  I am referring to financial, mental, relational, work and even physical storms we face in regards to our health.

I have asthma and COPD and I try to ignore it most of the time.  This does not make it go away in fact in some cases over the past month, my refusal to take care of my  health has created issues that I am forced to deal with now.  I don't always take my medication or do my breathing treatments because I hate how they make me feel.  I hate these illnesses and I have to take responsibility for my health or I will not be any good for anyone else in my life or business.  Today I made the decision to take care of myself!

I explain all this to you as an example of a storm you may have in your life that you try to sweep under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist.  You may wish with everything in your heart that you could quit smoking but you are afraid and don't know where to start.  Ask someone in your circle of friends/acquaintances who has quit smoking if they would be willing to help you.  You could learn a lot from someone who has already made that journey.

You may wish you had a better job or a bigger home for your family. Seek out people who work in the fields of human resources or are trainers or others who have upsized their house recently. They can give you a true story of what it took to get where they are and most people will be glad to give you a hand to help along the way.

I used to be so envious of a boss I had who always looked the right way, said the right things and seemingly had everything together. I finally told her during a meltdown at work how jealous I was of her cause she had such a perfect life.  She took me to lunch and told me her story and I was shocked to learn how much she struggled to get what she had.  Our lives were not mirrors of each other and we never became close friends, but she taught me to "never sweat the small stuff" and guess what? It is ALL "small stuff". 

Praise you in this Storm  This is the song I leave you with today. Constantly praise God in every storm (both big and small)

When we seek God in everything we face, we will have more peace and more wisdom with every trial that the enemy puts in our path. Prayers that you all stay safe!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Exchange worry for peace

When bad things happen that are not on your script for the day, do you freak out and spend hours worrying about what will happen and worry so much you make yourself sick?

There are things that I am faced with that put me in a tailspin of worry and I do still have panic-stricken days while I am in the middle of a troublesome situation out of my control. I finally feel like I have made a breakthrough in regards to worthless worrying.

As most of you know 12/22/2013, I was in a car wreck on the Vail Pass while traveling from Colorado to Utah. Yes, during the initial aftermath we were all shaken up but once we realized that all 3 of us were unscratched and could walk away from that mountain, we settled into the issues at hand of dealing with the vehicle, towing, police and getting situated for the rest of the day.

I was upset, and a little frightened but I was not fearful of what we would do or if we would be truly stranded for very long.  I had this inner peace and total thoughts of thankfulness to be alive. I knew we would be okay and I then set my mind to keep myself together and prayed for peace and wisdom.  After the wreck happened, I texted 5-6 friends/family who were back home in TN and asked them to pray for us and 3 special people were my lifelines during the whole time I was on the trip.

I know learning to let go of worry is a process. I can also say that after my recent trip, I am amazed at the peacefulness I had during the majority of the trip. We were blessed by the towing company, the hotel staff, extended family and friends who reached out to help us during the stop over and all along the way. It really humbles you when you are contacted on facebook by a friend of a friend offering to drive you somewhere safe.

I don't really have a moral for my story, other than to suggest you constantly pray about everything. Prayer can change things and you don't know, maybe someone is praying for you while you are reading this!

No matter what you are going through please don't give up and please ask for help!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Celebrate your Success!

Today as I reflect on my 11th Anniversary in Direct Sales with PartyLite, I want to encourage you to celebrate your successes as well.  In an earlier post, I suggested writing a victory journal going all the way back to your elementary school days.  This victory journal will help you to reflect on all you truly have accomplished.

Awards earned, graduations, learning something new (in or outside of a school-setting) are all accomplishments.  My list includes graduations, honors earned both in high school and college and the organizations I joined and the positions I held while I was working with those groups.  My list also includes marriages, births, jobs and even my divorces. 

Someone told me one time that her parents taught her that everything is an opportunity and that kept her in such a positive state of mind that I was amazed at that statement. So I borrowed her thought process eventually and now do my best to look at things in a positive light and wonder exactly what will come of every event and opportunity ahead of me.  My life is not a 'Pollyanna' state of mind by any means, but I definitely feel better about my current situations than I would if I looked at everything through eyes of doom & gloom.

Please find something in every day and every circumstance to celebrate. If you struggle to see life in this viewpoint, I encourage you to practice it every day and statistically within 21 days the practice will become a habit. Pray about every decision and celebrate every day you have with those you love and hold dear.

I pray you take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it. You do not have to settle for just anything!
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, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

I know that the holidays can be some of the most difficult days when you are dealing with grief, depression, loss, separation and divorce.  Those silly family oriented commercials that make everyone think their lives are supposed to look like a Norman Rockwell Painting just hurt even more this time of year.

I want to send each of you reading/following my story a hug and a note of encouragement. You are not alone, You are Loved and You are Special!

I challenge each of you to stretch yourselves by choosing to start your day with something positive. I try to read my Bible every morning when I get to the office so that I start they day in the right frame of mind. Deadlines, office politics and normal workday hassles can quickly bring a person down if they don't start off on a positive footing.

I wish you love and peace and a kind hearted attitude for all of 2014 but most of all thankfulness every day!