Spreading the Love!

I recently read a great blog from Deb’s World that included a challenge about spreading some love. I liked it so much, I decided to participate myself (even though I haven’t been officially nominated).

Here are the rules of the event:

  1. Write 10 four-word sentences about what love means to you.
  2. Share your favorite quote on love.
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers to join in.

So here are my responses:

My 10 four-word sentences:

  1. Love is mutual respect
  2. A kind, loving word
  3. A beautifully written book
  4. A sunshine filled day
  5. Pooch on my lap
  6. Husband’s hand in mine
  7. A child’s toothless grin
  8. Always saying I’m sorry (addendum: when you are and you need to apologize!)
  9. Reading an encouraging comment
  10. Creating lists like this!

My favorite quote on love… that one is harder. I have recently put up this Simply Said quote on my wall and I look at it frequently so I guess it’s my favorite right now: The best thing about LOVE is that we’re in it together.

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Love is…

Nominate 10 other bloggers… not sure I know 10… here goes:

  1. Susan Lower – Dairy Dame
  2. Brenda Hendricks – Encouragement for Today’s Christian
  3. Roberta Brosius – Wit, Words & the Word
  4. Kathie Mitchell – Country Grandmother
  5. Suzie – Suzie81 Speaks
  6. Holly Yoder – Breaking Average (A good way to get your first post up!)
  7. Michelle S. Lazurek – The Writer’s Tapestry
  8. Beth Brubaker – Footprints in the mud
  9. Heather Truckenmiller – Fields of Heather
  10. I couldn’t come up with a tenth person… any suggestions?

Now it’s your turn. Even if I didn’t nominate you, feel free to share the love on your blog! Ping me back if you post something – I look forward to reading your posts!

Off to spread more love!

 

 

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Being a Provider

I’m taking my Dad for surgery today. He’s been having back pain and leg numbness for over a year now and finally was given the go-ahead for surgery. It’s a pretty simple procedure really. Here are the details if you are so inclined. The doctor fully expects him to be home tomorrow and able to drive and go about normal activities almost immediately. I pray it’ll bring him comfort.

For over 40 years he’s taken care of my mother and I. He was our monetary provider for years when Mom couldn’t work. He has remodeled our home both for aesthetic beauty, comfort and ease of use over the years (just recently putting in a walk-in shower for my mother who can no longer climb into the tub.) He’s even helped my husband and I do most of the work around our home too.

He rarely thinks of himself – usually only thinking about what would be best for my mother or I. He’s the true definition of a “provider.” He fills out that age old definition of a man’s role so beautifully. And we appreciate it. But I can’t imagine doing the work he has done for the last year with the pain he has encountered.

Last summer he helped renovate our church basement while the pain was just beginning. Some days not accomplishing as much as he would have liked due to the pain, but pushing onward because he knew we had a deadline. For the first time in his 70 years, I saw him defer to the younger men for the tough tasks like hauling drywall, toting boards and running up and down stairs repeatedly.

One day, while running up and down the stairs himself, I noticed him wince in pain. “You know you can ask me or John to run for things right?” I asked, fully expecting him to not take either of us up on the offer. (A mixture of pride and “only I can do it” attitude prevents him.) I was taken a bit aback when he said, “Okay, go get…” John jumped at the chance to help and I was both happy and sad. Happy that he had asked for help, but sad that he needed to.

But when he began to not be able to walk and to have trouble standing for any period of time, we encouraged him to seek treatment. When one doctor told him he didn’t think it was a back issue (but instead a hernia), I encouraged him to seek a second opinion. When he did, a hernia was ruled out and the idea of surgery was presented (along with a few others that he had already done or didn’t want to consider.) I knew he was in pain when he readily agreed to the surgery. He doesn’t like hospitals or doctors and pretty much feels like he can handle anything on his own. I knew the pain was bad when he was again asking for help.

I have full confidence in his doctor and believe it’ll go smoothly. But I can’t guarantee that he won’t be in pain anymore. And neither can the doctor really. I pray it will and that he will be able to take this time to pamper himself. I’m thankful that I can now assist him in getting there and be there for him, after all the years of him taking care of me.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” Ephesians 6:1-2 (NIV)

If it does work, and leaves him with no pain, I’m sure he will be right back at his own devices soon – tackling them with added zeal.

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Monday Repost

Hey all! I’ve been working at trying to summon up a post for today, but it just isn’t happening. It’s snowing once again here in PA (Friday as I write this) and I’m just feeling like perhaps it’s a good day to snuggle up with the pup instead and call it a day.

SO I’d like to leave you, instead, with a post I wrote recently about the Psalms. I feel that it is an important blog full of hope and encouraging words. And sometimes we just need that one a Friday filled with snow or a Monday (which is when you’ll be reading this!)

Enjoy.

Wisdom (and Hope) from the Word Wednesday

When I’m having a particularly bad day or when I just need a small spark of hope, I turn to the book of Psalms in the Bible. If you read any of the Psalms you will see a pattern with each one (loss of hope, turn to God, hope restored), BUT my favorite part is seeing the Psalms as a WHOLE.

I’ve use this technique for awhile now and I thought it could perhaps help some of you, my readers, too in your search for hope, joy, love and inspiration. In the past, I’ve haphazardly scoured the Psalms looking for bits of hope that sustained me through my days. For this post, I read each Psalm and picked out the bits and pieces that spoke to me the most – and I hope will speak to you. I’m sure I’ve missed quite a bit, but I pray that this list will help you when you might be feeling low or when it just seems like no one understands. Feel free to print this out – all or a portion, share with friends and comment below with some of your own favorite passages.

This is what I see when I read the Psalms and what I recite to myself when I’m feeling low and need to know that I am not alone.

The Lord:

  • watches over me (Psalm 1)
  • is my Father (Psalm 2)
  • is my shield (Psalm 3 & 7)
  • fills my heart with greater joy and helps me to sleep in peace (Psalm 4)
  • hears my voice (Psalm 5)
  • accepts my prayers (Psalm 6)
  • crowns me with glory and honor (Psalm 8)
  • is my refuge and stronghold (Psalm 9 & 42)
  • has made my lot secure and will not abandon me (Psalm 16)
  • is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer…my shield, the horn of my salvation and my stronghold and my Savior (Psalm 18)
  • answers me in my distress (Psalm 20)
  • rejoices in my strength (Psalm 21)
  • is my shepherd… prepares a table for me and anoints my head with oil (Psalm 23 & 45)
  • is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27)
  • is my rock…hears my cries for mercy…and is my strength and shield (Psalm 28 & 115)
  • blesses me with peace (Psalm 29)
  • turns my wailing into dancing and clothes me in joy (Psalm 30)
  • is my rock and fortress (Psalm 31, 46, 59, 62) (Do you see a theme?)
  • is our help and shield (Psalm 33 & 91)
  • is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34)
  • hears my cry and lifts me out of the pit, sets my feet on the rock and gives me a firm place to stand (Psalm 40)
  • delivers me in times of trouble, protects me, sustains me on my sickbed and restores me from my bed of illness (Psalm 41)
  • is my help and the one who sustains me (Psalm 54 & 55)
  • has kept my feet from stumbling (Psalm 56)
  • does not reject my prayers (Psalm 66)
  • is a God who saves (Psalm 68)
  • hears the needy (Psalm 69)
  • holds me by my right hand, guides me with His counsel and is the strength of my heart (Psalm 73)
  • is a sun and a shield and bestows honor and favor (Psalm 84)
  • is my dwelling place (Psalm 90)
  • supports me, consoles me and brings me joy (Psalm 94)
  • his love endures forever (Psalm 100, 107, 118, 136, 138)
  • is near to all who call on Him, upholds all who fall, is faithful to His promises, is loving towards all He has made, and watches over all who love Him…upholds the cause of the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, gives sight to the blind, sustains the fatherless and the widow, frustrates the way of the wicked and reigns forever… heals the brokenhearted, calls each of the stars by name, sustains the humble, supplies the earth with rain and makes the grass grow, delights in those who fear Him… (Psalm 145, 146 & 147)

So, you see, I am hopeful because the Lord does and is all these things. Again, I pray you will take Him into your heart today and believe all these things for you as well. He is offering it all to you – won’t you accept today?

“May my meditation be pleasing to Him…” (Psalm 105) and “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150)

Amen.

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A Blog Of A Different Kind

Many of you know that I write this blog to try to find a bit of happiness in my life. I’ve struggled with negative behavior and low self-esteem throughout my entire life, but I’ve worked hard to overcome these habits and to look for the joy and happiness in even the toughest situations. (In no way do I try to “force happy” however – if you’re sad and going through a particularly awful time – it’s OKAY to be sad, downcast and depressed for a time.)

Over the last few days I’ve been working hard at both of my businesses. The writing and editing are going much smoother than my Simply Said business, but I’m working hard at each (as equally as I can.) Simply Said came into my life because I love the products and I wanted especially to push myself into territory that I knew was difficult for me: sales.

Now that I am a few months into it I have not found it that much easier and I’ve begun to doubt my abilities and skills. I’ve reached out to mentors and people who’ve been doing this for awhile and have gotten terrific encouragement.

But yesterday, I just kept getting beat up.

I tried to reach out to a few contacts. None of them replied.

I tried to order a design (finally) for a customer, only to find out we couldn’t do it.

Even my attempts at writing failed yesterday. It just wasn’t happening.

Then – in the midst of people I felt were some of the most encouraging in my life, I got beat up again. I was dragged down by a simple conversation about something I had innocently done wrong. It hit me with the force of a thousand smacks to the head.

For the other individual I’m sure it was just something they were trying to “help” me with, but to me I had failed again. (For about the hundredth time that day.)

This is the curse of the negative person. The low self-esteem individual. Sometimes, and for the most part, I’ve been able to shrug off these things. Take them in stride, see where the “correction”/opinion is coming from, try to learn from them as they are intended (hopefully)… but yesterday… I had already had enough beating. My facade fell and my anger rose. (Please note: this person did not use a lot of love in their berating so I’m not taking FULL responsibility here…)(ALSO the curse of the negative.)

I’m angry at myself again: 1) for being a negative person and 2) for letting this person get to me.

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Today has also been less than productive and it’s due, in part, to me not being able to let go of yesterday. After so many years of working so hard at overcoming this type of behavior – I’m mad.

So. Here is my blog. I’ve written it out without (hopefully) offending anyone and now (hopefully) I can move past it. I’m closing my laptop for a few hours. Going to spend some time with the Lord and out of the house and I pray that I can breathe in a bit of the spring and sunshine that is outside today so that I can move past this moment and continue on my journey to joy.

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If anyone mentions Frozen I will slap them. (kidding.)

 

How about you? What (or Who) has let you down lately? Have you held onto it and need to let it go? Do it now. Find a way to let it go. Don’t let anyone steal your joy and happiness. Resolve right this minute that you are going to be happy. Smile. Do it. (I’m doing it as I write this – don’t want to be a hypocrite!) Take a deep breath. Hug your dog or spouse. Get a chocolate. I like who I am. Do you like who you are?

Remind yourself that it’s OKAY to be happy and it’s OKAY that you are who you are. I’m moving on today. Leaving that crappy day behind me.

How about you? Are you with me?

 

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Wisdom Wednesday

Today I’m surrounded by writers. A few of us found this great local coffee shop, with a lot of space and wonderful Christian music playing throughout, that we all (or most all) agreed to meet. There is even a fireplace that we are spread out around with our notebooks, and laptops. There is idle chit chat happening as well as in-depth “writer chat” occurring. We talk about our latest writing, what novel/script we just sent out into the abyss, and even what our pets or children are up to.

This type of get-together is important. It helps us grow as individuals, as writers, and to fellowship together as Christians. How can we write and explore the world within our stories if we contain ourselves to our own little worlds? How can we dig deep into our characters when we only see ourselves in our everyday existence?

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Last night, I participated in a conference call with my up-line for my Simply Said business. After a day of discouragement with that business, it felt good and uplifting to know that someone else was having similar troubles. We swapped sob stories, but also brainstormed new ideas and, at the end, I felt transformed and encouraged. I am ready to try again.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Holding each other up? Pushing one another and encouraging each other in love to try it again? Reach for the stars, grab that brass ring, and make your dreams come true.

I thrive now on these interactions. I live for them and feel like I’m empowered when I come away from them.

So today – reach out to someone else. Tell them your troubles and listen to theirs. Encourage. Lift up in prayer. LISTEN.

You will be blessed by it.

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Birthday Revelations

As most of you know, Friday was my birthday. The big 4-1. As I went about my day, I thought back to birthdays prior and how each decade has been so different for me and about how far I’ve come.

Last year at this time I wrote this post that had some “resolutions,” if you will, that I wanted to accomplish. I think I have and then some. Over the last year, I quit my job, started this whole freelance thing and started a secondary business as a Simply Said Designer. I certainly am doing things I want to do instead of things that others are telling me to do, and that makes me happier (one of my goals BTW).

Here’s a few things that have occurred lately that I found kind of interesting and, sometimes, a bit funny.

1) I received a birthday card from my prior employer. It was the first birthday card I’ve ever received from them. You see – when I worked there I was the one who sent out the cards to our customers. I did this weekly for the birthdays that were coming up. When my co-worker’s birthdays rolled around, I didn’t send them the business birthday card, instead, I bought, and had the other employees sign, a card and gave it to them personally. No one, however, ever did that for me. My birthday went unnoticed for almost three years by these people I worked with on a daily basis. Not one of them ever bothered to wonder “When is her birthday?” in all that time. I also found it funny when I worked there that my boss always remembered the other employee’s birthday and would often remind me to get a card. But not for me. Now that I am just a customer (a thing I plan to change very soon) I get a card now because the new girl doesn’t know me from anything other than a customer. And the others still don’t know when my birthday is because they just sign the cards in bulk that she puts in front of them. I found it immensely hysterical.

2) I got a massage on my birthday. In the past, I’ve been too high strung and anxiety-ridden to get a massage. Friends would often say “It’s so wonderful!” and I would go have one, only to spend the entire time thinking about this strange person who was touching my mostly naked body. I left most appointments more tense than when I arrived. Not so anymore. Here’s why: a) I finally decided that this is their job and b) I’m sure they’ve seen worse bodies than mine. It actually felt relaxing this year and I enjoyed it. It may have to be an annual thing.

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3) I ran into my former co-worker at my birthday dinner. I admit – I was freaked out. I hadn’t seen him since I had quit and I didn’t give much of an explanation when I left. I didn’t want to converse at all with this individual or offer an explanation now. He wasn’t worth it, never would understand and I didn’t need his approval. I didn’t want to pretend. After all, he didn’t really give two craps about me or my life when I worked with him so why do the whole Hey! How are you?! thing now? I refused. So I made sure I had my back turned to most of the restaurant and John kept me apprised of where they were seated (two booths behind us). John graciously nodded a hello, and my former co-worker graciously did not approach us.

Some may say, “Oh, you should have just said hello!  and made the best of it.” I did make the best of it. I enjoyed every second of my dinner with my loving, caring, always-there-for-me husband. I chose my own happiness and I did not let the past bring me down. I moved on. Plus one thing about me: I do what people want me to do for 364 days of the year. I do what I want on my birthday. One day of the year – I truly choose me.

4) About 11 years ago my life was a completely different story. I had been dumped by my fiance, was living with my parents and felt hopeless. Turning 30 was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt useless, unloved and like a failure. I was certain I would never be married, would never have my own home and would never be happy. That year, I never envisioned that I would be living the life I am now. I’m happy…content even. I have a job I enjoy and that challenges me in a good way. I have a husband I adore and who treats me like a Queen. I have excellent friends (And guess what? Hardly any of the friends I have now were my friends 11 years ago. In fact, those friends are gone.) (Except for you Pat!)

But most of all – I’ve found that inner happiness. That inner strength and joy. As Paul said in Philippians 4, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” I never thought I would find that contentment that Paul talks about. I thought it was a fallacy. But here it is.

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In the end, I think I’m achieving what I’ve set out to do. I’ve chosen to find my own happiness and not just help others be happy (sometimes, with my happiness, others are also happier – just ask my husband). I’ve chosen my work and how I do it (and I’m improving and excelling day by day.)

The best part is that I’ve let God help me with my peace and calm. Today, we’re having washer troubles again. I’m letting John handle most of it, but I’m trying to be supportive and on-hand if he needs me. And I’m not letting it get to me. We’ve fixed it before, we’ll fix it again. It’ll work out in the end. Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, I sometimes wonder WTH? But…I refuse to let anything take my joy anymore.

It’s a brand new day. And a brand new year. I think 41 might be an even better year than 40 was.

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Happy Friday and Something Extra!

Today is Friday the 13th… and it’s also my birthday! So I’m taking the day off and spending some time relaxing with a nice massage this afternoon and a dinner out with the hubs tonight. I hope your Friday is just as relaxing and enjoyable.

Have a great Friday and enjoy your weekend!!

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