Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I personally have mixed feelings about Halloween. I don't think you are sinning by participating in Halloween but I do prefer fun costumes over scary costumes. I think it is for the kids and can be a fun time for them if you choose to allow it.

Growing up my sisters and I got masks/costumes from the store and went to about 10-15 houses around our house and that was it. We had a party at school and had to wear turtlenecks under our costumes if it was chilly outside.

When I became a parent, my children had costumes and when they were school-age they were usually invited to a fall festival. When my daughter was in Girl Scouts, we had either a fall festival or a Birthday Celebration for Juliette Gordon Low (founder of GSUSA) at our local National Guard Armory. The kids first trick or treat stop was my parents house and then a few houses that were decorated around there.  Then we would finish up visiting friends at the apartment complex where we lived. We usually finished the evening by watching Halloweentown and it's sequels and eating popcorn and/or pizza.

Once my children hit those teenage years.. Halloween became weird because that is when the meanness was more noted in my memory. We had a party at the house and then usually stayed up late watching movies (if we didn't have school/work the next day).

Now I have grandchildren -
My daughter and her husband and son usually coordinate their costumes and it always turns out adorable. Nikolai has been a Chocolate Chip Cookie (my daughter was a Baker), and Bamm-Bamm (my daughter was Betty Rubble, my son in law was Barney) over the years. I am not exactly sure what their theme is this year but I am sure it will be cute.

My grandchildren that are out west went last year as a Soldier (Kaden) and Leopard (Abby). I have been told by my son earlier today that this year Kaden will be a Ninja and Abby is going as Doc McStuffins. I can't wait to see the photos!

No matter how you party on Halloween, please be safe and keep your eyes open and don't get into dangerous situations. If you need immediate assistance, call 911  - otherwise call 1-800-799-7233 for help and guidance from the Domestic Violence Hotline.

#safe #halloween #kids #trickortreat #children #fun #harmless #candy

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Resources

I have always been someone who reads and soaks up new books like a sponge. My mother used to say I ate the books instead of reading them because I 'devoured' them so fast. She was correct. There are books that I speed through and then there are books that I read a little each day, let it soak in and then sometimes re-read and go a little farther.

Here are just a few of the things I read that have helped me over the years. Some are books, ebooks, online resources and blogs. I hope they can help you as well. (Note: Not all are written by women and not all are about relationships, some are business focused too.)

Holy Bible - I use King James Version most of the time because it is the version I grew up with and where I learned all my memory verses. Honestly, to this day the verses sound 'odd' to me if I hear them read from other versions. This is a personal preference though. Please find a Bible that works for you and read it.

Battlefield of the Mind - Joyce Meyer
Approval Addiction - Joyce Meyer
The Confident Woman - Joyce Meyer
Never Give Up - Joyce Meyer
Beauty from Ashes - Joyce Meyer
 (All of Joyce's books can be found at www.joycemeyer.org)

Traveling Light by Max Lucado

Unraveling by Elisabeth Klein

Success Principles - Jack Canfield


Million $ Party Girl - Lynn Bardowski
 (Lynn is a leader with PartyLite and a great motivator)

Blogs that I follow -
The Single Woman


Elisabeth Klein

(in)courage

I hope some of these resources can help you and I am open to other suggestions as well.  Remember, stay safe, take care of yourself and be a friend!
1-800-799-7233 is the Hotline to get assistance and call 911 if you are in immediate danger.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Service Minded

What comes to mind when you see the phrase "Forever In Service"?

It is the motto of my sorority (Omega Phi Alpha). I pledged in spring of 1989 at MTSU and though I was not very active at the time, I never forgot the friends I made through the organization.

When time came for me to join the ranks as a Girl Scout leader (1997) when my daughter came home from school wanting a sash like her friend "Amanda", I was excited to give back to another organization that had helped to mold me into the person I so desperately wanted to be.

Part of my heart died in 2005 when the troop disbanded but I was blessed to be able to see my daughter earn the Gold Award in 2008 right before graduating high school.

For a while I was 'lost' without a GS troop to lead and chose to spend my time teaching and sharing through my PartyLite business.

I have continued to fundraise with various charities over the years but this past Saturday I was blessed beyond words by the Buddy Walk to benefit Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (www.somethingextra.org). I was part of a team led by my friend and sorority sister Faithe Logan in celebration of her daughter Dawn Logan. There were 134 teams at Centennial Park and everyone was friendly, kind and helpful if you had any questions.

I have never in all the fundraiser walks that I have done been so moved by kindness and a true atmosphere of family than I was at this event.

I highly encourage you to find a group and/or charity that speaks to you and volunteer your time and talents. You will be rewarded by the friendship and the great feeling you get helping others.

This time will not be wasted if we give to others. Make your time here on earth count for something!

If you are in danger, please ask for help! The hotline for domestic violence is 1-800-799-7233 where you can get assistance and answers.

#OphiA #service #dsamt #lightupthedarkness #babydawn #serve #gsmidtn

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Searching

Do you find yourself always searching for the next 'great thing'?

Someone told me recently that they have destroyed really good things they had in their life because they spent all their time searching for something better instead of taking care of what they had at home.

This person was referring to both relationships and jobs and I have to say I admire his honesty. I know this person very well and I can understand where he is coming from.

Unfortunately this is how most marriages end because one person was seeking something better and ignored what great people/situation they had already at home but they were unable or unwilling to see the forest for the trees.

Some friendships are like this as well. 

1) People are your friend to get something out of you and once you are of no use to them, they vanish and quit texting or calling you. 

2) Others come into our life wanting to fix us and once we are no longer willing to be their project of the week, they panic and 'toss us out' of their lives.

Lesson: If we are lucky, being tossed from their lives is exactly what we needed to wake up and realize that we didn't really need them to begin with.

If you start a relationship (friendship or otherwise) with the intent to fix someone then you are setting yourself up to hurt them in ways you cannot imagine. You also will be hurt in the process if you don't open your eyes and see what pain you have caused by treating this person in that way.

The best friendships are those that have the others best interest at heart and is full of give and take.  Sometimes you need to lean on someone and sometimes they need to lean on you. But when you are overwhelmed at home and don't wish to share just how rough things are, the other person may see you as cold and uncaring when that is just not the case. 

When I am overwhelmed, I go into auto-pilot and batten down the hatches and refuse to let anything or anyone in.  The few that are determined enough to punch through the walls, see the true, ugly situation that I am dealing with.  My son refers to this as 'onion syndrome' because you have to really want to know what is going on to pull back layer after layer.

Don't assume you know what is going on with someone just because you have known them for years. Unless you live with them and see them everyday.. I seriously doubt you truly know what is going on with them. And then if people are really good at hiding, then you may live with someone and never know exactly the root of the problem.

Constantly show love and kindness and please do not throw scripture at them unless you are sure they are mentally in a place to accept it. Sometimes listening is all you can do and that will be appreciated when it is all said and done.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Merry Heart

Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Over the past 6 weeks or so, I have been in a holding pattern with regards to a situation and I realized last week, I have been basically holding my breath over it even though I cannot control it or change it in anyway (other than Prayer).

My son sent me an update yesterday and then a silly joke from his teenage years and I whole-heartedly laughed out loud for a good little while yesterday. It was a good release and my mind very quickly went to this verse and since then I have been more relaxed about things than I have been in a while.

I am still concerned about the situation, but leave it to my son to make me laugh in the middle of something that some would consider very serious. He always did that when he was at home. He would see me crying in my room or the kitchen and come up beside me with a quote from a movie (we all loved the Ninja Turtles series in the 90s) and it would make me smile and focus on something else.

So, if you are reading this .. Thank you Brian for all you to do cheer me up!

Who can you cheer up today with a smile or a quick funny message on their phone? You never know who needs it until you share the smiles. 

If you are in danger, please call 911 -- If the abuser is out of the home, please seek help through calling your YWCA or the Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Be Safe!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Keep Quiet

Most people and women especially love to talk and tell what they know.  This is not a good trait or something to aspire to be. No one wakes up in the morning and says, "I am going to gossip like crazy today." 

If you are trusted by even one other person on this earth, then you are trusted with their secrets, their failures, their mishaps and even their triumphs.  But those things are not 'yours' to tell.

A few years ago during a separation period in my life I had told a few people that things were rocky at home and I was worried that we would end up divorced.  Some people on the other end of that conversation said they would pray but would eventually blurt out that I was getting a divorce at a get together a few months later.  I was devastated when this happened to me.

First of all, I did not want my personal life shared with those at this person's home and it was what I consider inappropriate timing to 'share' my news at that time.  Secondly, the divorce did not happen for a couple more years, and Third, I have since stopped sharing personal information with that person.

So, in the upcoming holiday gatherings with friends and family that you may not see very often, I kindly suggest that you not share someone else's news (good or bad) and keep yourself quiet. 

If you want to be considered a good listener, you must keep quiet and be trusted with the information you have. Wouldn't you want that from someone you talk to?

Be a friend and be kind always to others.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Purpose? Why? Help Me Lord!

I have been asking God to show me what to do in regards to many situations in the past 6 weeks. 

Last week & This week in services I was touched by a word from friends, ministers and other leaders of the church.  The common theme of all their lessons has been to 'be still'. The messages "Let Go", "God is in Control", "Trust God's Timing" have been swirling around me during this time of turmoil.

To say the least, I am amazed by how many people God is using to get through to me and feed into me right now.

I have felt empty for a few weeks now and though I am still uncertain of my personal purpose, I do know that I am supposed to keep praying for the situations at hand and not allow Satan to have a handhold on it.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that God will not betray me, leave me behind or ignore me in my time of need. I may not have a partner right now in this world but God is around me and has sent me a wonderful church family to support me through it all.

So, Today, I am rejoicing in the hallway because I know God has all of this under control and If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

If you think you can function in this world without a church to have fellowship with, then you are mistaken. We are commanded to gather together with other saints so that we can lift each other up and help each other in times of trouble.  Sometimes you are prayed for and sometimes you are doing the praying for others.  And there are many times in the past 2 1/2 years where Covenant Church has been my family that I never knew I had.  I am so overwhelmed by their love for me.

Safe Haven

If you believe that all the people you know are happy and relieved to go home at the end of the day, you are very naive.

1 in 9 people are abused by people they live with. Every 4 minutes someone in the world is being abused in some way.

Safe Haven to me means a person can go home without being questioned about their whereabouts or activities.

My first husband rarely let me out of his sight. If I was not with him, I was suspected of spending money or seeing someone he did not approve of. He did not even want me spending time with my sisters or parents during parts of our marriage.  If I spoke to his side of the family, it was even worse. He feared me telling them the truth about our life overseas and I was so scared, living in fear and young that I didn't tell anyone for many, many years. Walking on eggshells around your spouse or a family member is no way to live your life. There is certainly no joy in that kind of daily living.

There were years of my life where going to work gave me purpose and a place to rest from the home life in many ways my co-workers never understood. I was a single parent struggling to pay the bills and often kept myself and the children busy so that I did not have that down time to focus on what I did not have. It was how I survived those years and the only thing I knew to do at the time.


Today at 44 I am one of the few single Christian women at my church. I don't know if I will ever seek another relationship because I am so scarred. I do enjoy my peace and know that I don't ever want to let this go.

If you are reading this and have no safe haven, I pray you find one for your own sanity. God did not intend for you to live in fear.  Get with a trusted friend and ask for help.

Call your local YWCA for assistance or the Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 to get the help you need for you and your children.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Do you Panic or Pray?

Over the past 4-6 months I have watched situations unfold in my extended family that I cannot change or directly help in any way.

My hands are tied in ways that I cannot explain. One evening at church when it all came crashing down on me emotionally, my friend gently reminded me that "God's got this and You".

I am unable to help emotionally and even if I was physically living in the area, I am still unable to change the actions of another person. After all, God gave all of us freewill. 

So, here I sit in Tennessee watching my phone, and reading text messages or emails not sure when the next round of bad news is going to come through.  It has not been all bad news, some good things have happened in the midst of the chaos and I know God is working on all of those involved in this ugly situation.

Some days I am able to handle the messages that come to me. Some days I am completely unable to handle the news and I fall apart (This includes crying, lashing out and texting my friends to just pray and I don't even know what to pray for.) 

I don't like myself very much right now because I hate feeling helpless and saying "I don't know" when asked about these situations.

Yes, I am weak and I panic and I flip out and I have meltdowns. I am human and I care too much for a situation that is out of my hands.

I am being wide open with you today to show you how vulnerable that all of us can be on a daily basis. I have learned a lot of things in my personal journey back to faith and a relationship with God. But I am guilty of calling friends first, instead of turning to God first.

I write all this to urge you to choose prayer over panic and handle things much better than I do. Right now, these days, I am not a very good example of what I should be doing. I am working hard every day to make the right choices for my life but I also fail miserably every day at something.

So, In closing I ask you to lift up a friend going through a struggle (whether you know about it or not) and believe in them when they are done believing in themselves.

Find ways to be a light to those going through a dark period and always offer help if you can. If you need assistance please call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or call 911 for immediate danger situations.

Friday, October 3, 2014

What do you seek?

As I work through these days and weeks called life, my thoughts are muddled and sometimes someone in my life speaks a word to me without even realizing it.

Earlier this week my sister posted a scripture for her own benefit and it spoke to me very loud.

Matthew 6:1-4
1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I personally do a lot of fundraising and 'shout-outs' for causes or to brag on my team. This scripture reference spoke to me in that I need not announce every thing I do in an email or comment. God sees all the good and bad we do and he keeps a record of it to judge us by in the end. 

I share this with you so that we can all keep mindful of a teaching that is overlooked by society today where everyone seems to brag on everything they do even if it is just breathing and getting through the day.

Let us continue to do good but know that we do not have to announce it for it to be recognized. God will take care of all that and that is truly all we need.

Find ways to be a light to those going through a dark period and always offer help if you can. If you need assistance please call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or call 911 for immediate danger situations.