Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What's Next?

Photo by:  Ãlvaro Serrano

2017 has thus far been a rough year.  Among my immediate friends and family, we've dealt with:  Three deaths.  Two hospital visits.  Stomach Bug.  Family-wide flu.  Car breakdown.  Financial struggles.

And it's only the end of February.

Yesterday I woke with my head on the pillow and a sense of dread.  I was scared to get up, wondering what would go wrong next.  I am normally a very optimistic person, but I have felt a bit Job-like in 2017.  This blog is written to help us find joy in the everyday.  Some days it is much harder than others.  Some days joy seems to have flown away, leaving us wondering what just happened.

All I can come up with is that our author is not finished yet.

There are gonna be some chapters in our lives that are just painful.  Some days and hours that we can barely get through.

But we will.

We will persevere and we will get stronger.  We'll lean in to the love and strength of our God who is so much bigger.

The God who is writing our story.

And he's not finished yet.

Instead of waking up with dread, worried about what tragedy will befall us next, let's turn to the Lord with wonder and ask "What's next, Lord?"

"What's next?"

Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Meditation

"Lend me your hope for awhile. 
 A time will come when I will heal, and I will lend my renewed hope to others."  ~Eloise Cole

Photo by:  Luca Bravo

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#worstvalentinesdayever

Valentine's Day is such a loaded day for me.  As I'm sure it is for many people.  It started out well.  I used to love the elementary school Valentine's Day parties where we ate about five cupcakes and cookies, put our names on tiny valentines and delivered them in manila envelopes to friends.  It was like a super fun sugar high!

As I got older, Valentine's Day became more of a challenge.  Growing up, I was pretty shy.  I always had friends, but I didn't have all the little boyfriends some friends had through elementary and junior high.  Around that time is when someone decided to introduce the candy grams and flower grams.  #worstideaever.  You could pay money to have a sucker or flower sent to someone you loved or cared about at school.  Of course, the tall, skinny blonde girl in our glass always got about five of them, and I got maybe one if I was lucky, usually from my best friend Angie.  (We always supported, each other no matter what.)  I always remember feeling so unloved as I watched others get the candy grams.

In high school, it was the stuffed bears and flowers.  Girls would get them from their boyfriends in the morning and carry them around all day like a badge of honor.  So depressing.  At some point, around my sophomore year, I decided to instill a new tradition of wearing black on Valentine's Day.  I wasn't a goth or anything like that.  I just really did not like Valentine's Day.  I talked some of my friends into doing it and the tradition stuck for several years.

College was more of the same.  I had boyfriends off and on, so  I did receive the occasional cardboard heart filled with candy, but my soon to be engaged friends always had me beat. At one point, my single friends and I created something called the "Purple Club" as a support group of sorts to air our Valentine's Day woes.  In grad school I remember once hosting an Anti-Valetine's Day party at my tiny apartment with my famous homemade lasagna.

As you can see, Valentine's Day and I go way back.  We have a love/hate relationship really.  I've always liked the idea of the day.  To recognize love and celebrate its many forms.  Love for a partner, spouse or child.  Love for God and his love for us.  Love, as our chief aim in life, is something I believe is worthy to be celebrated.  Sadly, pinning all of this expectation on just one day can lead to much disappointment.

I've been married now for the last ten years, and I can say that I enjoy the day a bit more now.  I have a guaranteed date on Valentine's Day for the most part, unless he's working (which is often the case).  I have someone to love and celebrate, along with my children.  This year, though, it was not in the cards.  We were signed up to go to our church's date night on Sunday.  We were very excited, because it involved free childcare and was a free event.  You can't beat that!  Sadly, the day before rolled around and my kids ended up with fevers.  We had to cancel.  We were so bummed.  Hubby did make it up to me by getting Japanese takeout and we had a little dinner after the kids went to bed on Sunday.

Yesterday, the actual V-day, I ended up lying on the couch shaking with fever chills.  I had to resist the urge to immediately go to social media and post #worstvalentinesdayever.  Because, although it was bad, I have definitely had worse.  The highlight of the day was hubby making me chicken noodle soup and handing me my gift.  It was wrapped in eight plastic bags, which I had to individually unwrap.  Cute.  Inside was two garden flags for our walkway.  The part I liked the best was that he took the time to think about what I like.  I have this little unspoken garden flag war going on with the neighbor across the street, so now I am up two flags, thanks to my handsome hubby.

Maybe not the best Valentine's Day ever, but I spent it with my three loves, and that is all one can ask for.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Meditation



"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; 
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame." 

 ~Song of Songs 8:6 NIV

Monday, February 6, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Kickboxing for Jesus

Today I had to laugh during my exercise class.  The class is entitled "Body & Soul Fitness" and it uses Christian music for the workouts.  It has been great and just what I needed to try and get back in shape.  Today I had to laugh at the irony of punching and kicking to a song about Jesus.

But it works!

The instructor encouraged us to kick out our frustrations.  I'm sure everyone can relate to having many frustrations right now.  Exercise a good way to get them out.  If you don't like to exercise, do something that makes you laugh or makes you happy.   Watch a comedian online, take a walk, go to a movie.  

It also reminded me that we need to take Jesus with us wherever we are and whatever we are doing.  It could be kickboxing, it could be traffic, it could be a tough meeting at work.  Wherever we are, let's thank him for being with us in the good and the bad in the exciting moments and the tough things in life.

When life gets frustrating, kick it out!