Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cultivating the Soil of Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving is the soil that JOY thrives in"...this is on a church sign just up from our home. I have passed by it several times and every time I read it it gives me pause.
Notice it is JOY not happiness that thrives in the soil of  thanksgiving. 
 Several years ago I was made aware of the difference in "Joy" and  "happiness."  I realized that happiness is a choice..while JOY comes from deep within.  My attitude and response to my surroundings and circumstances that can change daily will determine my degree of happiness but I can experience Joy even in the darkest of times. My joy is rooted deep within me and is founded in those things that do not change...those things that produce a deep rich soil from thanksgiving that is continuous and flows freely. 

The word Joy always brings to mind the scripture "The joy of the Lord is my strength"..Nehemiah 8:10... in other words my relationship with God and my thankfulness for all He is, and has given me, produces a rich soil in which  joy is able to thrive. In the difficult times of life when I CHOOSE thankfulness I am able to draw on that joy and my strength is renewed for the battle. 
In the lonely dark times I can choose Thanksgiving. My personal process is to simply begin to make a list of my blessings.  

My husband Jim...best friend, provider, protector and love of my life after  46 years of marriage

My Children...5 in all...the fuel for my desire of life and greatest supporters and encourager's any Mom could dream of .

My Grandchildren....All 16 of them :)...my inspirations to be healthy and active and sources of hugs and snuggles.

My Health...the ability to walk {after both broken legs} breast cancer survivor ..much more

My Home...{wherever it may be!} Temporary home at present..provided in the most unexpected way..now THAT may be another story :}

My friends...to many to name,who bless me constantly with their kindness and love

Food ....



I find it almost impossible to begin to consciously list my blessings in a form of thanksgiving without finding a smile replacing the stress and loneliness.

I challenge you to make your list..check it twice and be amazed at how very much you have to be thankful for and the joy that will flood your soul. Blessings and Hugs as you enter this holiday season with a heart of thanksgiving and gratitude and JOY unspeakable!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

HOPE is not a strategy...

"Hope is NOT a strategy."

Our  Pastor used this quote from a friend as they were doing their workout in his sermon on Sunday. It has cirlcled around and around in my mind all week.

How true it is..

 I can hope for good health...but without a healthy diet and some added exercise it is not gonna happen. I can concentrate on one or the other but without a balance of good food and motion I will be lopsided in my health.

It is important to have a plan and follow it. Set a goal, create a plan of attack (my strategy) and then I will have HOPE of reaching my goal.

I can hope for a better relationship with that friend or loved one. Without making an effort to understand, forgive, or make that choice to love unconditionally there is a very small chance that the desired change will happen.

When I made my commitment to walk the 3Day 60 miles I didn't HOPE I would reach the finish line. Instead I trained hard, walking 1100 miles in advance of heading for Seattle. I walked on trails, on blacktop and climbed some mountains in preparation for whatever the route would bring my way. I knew I needed to prepare my mind as well as my body. When I took that first step I planned to walk every mile.
That first day confirmed the importance of that 'strategy.' I ended the day exhausted both physically and emotionally. I spent that evening questioning my ability to physically complete my mission and yet my mind assuring me that I would.
The following morning (4 AM) I rolled out of bed refreshed, and determined.  My training had paid off and I finished those 3 days ...88 total miles (it wasn't only the route we walked walking strong!
The interesting thing is, that when I made my commitment to this walk, my goal was to bring HOPE to others. My strategy was that by my doing the walking I would assist in bringing awareness to the need, raise money for research, assistance to those in treatment and to give encouragement to others.

My ultimate hope in the remaining years of my life is to be healthy, active and enjoying fun filled time with my husband, children and grandchildren. My strategy is to eat a healthy diet, continue to walk and exercise and to keep my priorities in order :) all the time realizing that God has the ultimate control and plan for my life. I rest in this promise...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. Jeremiah 29:11

What is that you are 'hoping' for?  Do you have a 'strategy' to see it become reality?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Finding Balance on the Priority Scale

                    For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.
                                                                            I Corinthians 14:33                                                         

It is amazing to me how often it is necessary to re-evalute where the important things in life are on my "Priority Scale." The busyness of life has a way of overtaking sensibilities and all of a sudden life is in spiral of activities without order.
Then something happens to bring me to a halt.  I take a new look at life and what is really important.
My life has always seemed to function in high gear and I never seem to have the luxury of dealing with one life event at a time. It seems that in the midst of one major happening another rears it's head and demands it's rightful place and my attention.
A few examples ....
As a teenager while nursing my mother after a major heart attack, I was in a car accident which resulted in the fracture of both bones in both legs.
As I was recovering from the throes of breast cancer treatment, I ended up with major surgery on my ankle to correct complications of the broken bones years earlier.
While celebrating the completion of walking Susan G Komen 3 Day  our realtor called to announce an offer on the sale of our home..
As the sale of the home was drawing to a close, my husband entered the hospital for a total knee replacement....
Each of these events held a high degree of importance and was considered a major life event..only to seemingly be upstaged by the next. As I recall them now I see the impact that they have brought to my life and how they influenced those things I claim as priorities in my life.
I had lost my Dad to a heart attack just about a year before Mom suffered her first attack. As a teenager I learned quickly that I needed to treasure each day. Then came the car accident and broken legs which made me realize the importance of  appreciating those things I often take for granted.   For example, simply walking freely across the room, and the treasure wrapped in friendship and love I possess.
Breast cancer showed me not only the gift of life but the gifts life had given me wrapped in the flesh of family and friends.
Ankle surgery again brought the appreciation of the everyday blessings of life.
Walking the 3 Day allowed me to take the difficult memories that had come with my accident, ankle surgery and cancer and turn them into daily reminders that God has restored my health. It was an opportunity to celebrate LIFE and a reminder that every step is a gift!
The sale of our home and decision to downsize gave opportunity to share keepsakes of 46 years of marriage with our children and frees us for a new and yet to be imagined adventure in our retirement. Jim's knee replacement promises mobility as we begin this new phase of life.
So, putting these lessons on life together has helped to shape my priority list and brought me to point of stopping my spiral of craziness, to put my values in order, slow down give gratitude for the blessings I have.
Family, Friends, Health and Mobility wrapped in the Grace and Mercy of my God are the things that keep my life in order and my Priority Scale balanced.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: GRACE

When I think of Grace the first word that comes to mind is 'Thankful'.  I can't begin to count the times in my life when grace has been applied...sometimes by a friend or loved one but ALWAYS by my God.
Grace and mercy...they go together like love and marriage. Marriage, children and all that goes with prove to be a perfect mix to both practice and receive the gift of grace.
Gift? Yep, Grace can be the greatest gift we can be given and a source of peace when we choose to give it.
 Sometimes the ability to be the giver causes me to dig deep in my heart and go back to my bank of memories to find the strength to make that choice.
Just as hard, can be the ability to make the decision to be on the receiving end. Guilt, inadequacy or defiance can easily rob me of the gift.
Praying for the strength to give Grace freely and the courage to accept the blessing of the gift when offered!

Finding your passion...

For several years October has been know as Breast Cancer month and the fight to bring an end to this disease which affects so many lives. Everywhere we look our world has been "pinked". We  are given opportunities to participate in a walk or a run, raising awareness and funds for research, education or practical help to the victims.
In the recent years many other foundations have come forward in an effort to gain warriors for their battles.
The Saturday following my Susan G Komen 3Day walk to help in funding research to bring an end to breast cancer my daughter ran a 10K to bring awareness to Domestic Violence. It seems October is also Domestic Violence month... I have pledged to add Purple to my Pink. One in Four women will deal with this monster in their lifetime....then you add the children and men who battle with their monsters and it is indeed a sad story.
Today my husband found an article declaring October Down Syndrome month and a walk to bring awareness to Down Syndrome. (no color mentioned)
Add to these Heart Disease, Prostrate Cancer, ALS (Lou Gerigs Disease), Infertility, MS,  and the list goes on and on....and the months each claimed with a cause.
I'm sure as you consider the needs and think of those you know or love who have been affected by one of these diseases you can relate at some level. Why not choose to be a part the fight. There is someone in your world who needs you to be their inspiration and encourager! You will be amazed what you learn about yourself as you choose to honor someone else!!
Find your passion..step out of your comfort zone..and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
If you are the one in need of inspiration and encouragement reach our and be aware!! Sometimes our needs are met in the most unexpected ways!!