You Don’t Need to Walk Alone

Buddies

In a daily devotional on “The Impact of Right Relationships,” Dr. Charles F. Stanley wrote: “A group of people rightly connected can do so much more than a man or woman acting alone.”

I am happy to say that for the first time in my adult life, I am living in a neighborhood where people do this thing called connecting. Specifically, it is the people in my cul-de-sac that I have become friends with; however, Bart and I are branching out and getting to know some of our other neighbors as well. We have lived in other places where the people around us didn’t really seem to care about knowing the people who lived right next door to them. That’s just sad.

IMG_2010

In our cul-de-sac, we don’t all have all things in common, but each of us connects to several of the others in different ways, and we are learning how to look out for one another through various circumstances. It’s nice to know that if I ever need anything, like a ride to the store or a couple of potatoes for my pot roast, I can call or text them and someone always comes through. We’ve had a Bible study, a fall block party, and numerous chats across the yards (when weather has permitted). We have just started making plans for a spring block party, which I am really looking forward to.

IMG_2043

And when something more serious occurred, like the recent tragic death of one of our neighbors, we found even more ways to connect with, support, lift up, and love one another through the following days. At first, many of us were concerned about intruding; we didn’t want to appear nosy and insensitive. But it turns out that the most sensitive thing we could do was to reach out and lend a hand. It reminded me of this post that Lysa Terkeurst shared a couple days ago:

“My friend’s husband passed away after a long illness and when I asked her about some of the lessons she learned through those tough years, she said something that will stick with me forever. She said, ‘When people are going through hard life circumstances, don’t say “Well if there’s anything you need just let me know.”’

My friend said most days she couldn’t process how she was going to get through the next ten minutes, much less be able to ask others for help. I was challenged by this and wondered how I could help someone in need without being asked.

I could deliver dinner. Gas up their car. Mow their lawn. Pick up an extra gallon of milk or some pet food from the grocery store. Whatever it is, I’ll think I’ll just do it and I won’t wait to be asked.”

IMG_2079

This is what we did and this is the type of stuff I hope we will continue to be able to do for one another. Especially when you live in an area without any of your own family around, it is so wonderful to be able to build and experience a new “family.” If you don’t have that type of community—if your neighbors don’t really seem to be connecting—maybe YOU can be the one to get something started. Have a cookout and invite everyone over—even if you’ve never spoken to some of them before; host a pot luck in your home or create a space for one outdoors (that’s what our fall party was); set up an event for all the kids to get together and play. Maybe everyone else is just waiting for someone to make the first move. That someone could be you.

As enjoyable as it is to share good times with your neighbors, it’s also nice to know that once you have connected, it’s easier to share the everyday moments as well. When Bart was out of town a couple months ago, a few of my neighbors checked on me. One family even invited me over for dinner one night, which was super sweet (and very enjoyable). Just this past weekend, I was sick with an ear infection and a cold. I got calls and texts from different neighbors asking me if I needed anything. It’s bad enough when you feel sick and miserable, but how wonderful to not also feel alone and forgotten. And you know what, it’s okay to need others.

DSC02083The Faith Barista posted this just today: “Following his beating, it’s likely Jesus could not physically carry the cross all the way to Calvary. Jesus needed someone. In that moment, a man whose journey somehow crossed his path was pulled in to help him. We don’t know if Simon even knew who Jesus was. … All we know is that an ordinary person helped the Savior. Through one simple, understated act, became part of the journey with Jesus. And I’m reminded. It’s okay to need someone. When the cross is too heavy to carry, but we still want to be faithful to see the journey through, needing someone isn’t a shameful. … needing is good because it creates space for God to enter in. And love us through others.”

In a blog post on friendship, Lysa TerKeurst says, “Loving someone else is one of the most God-honoring things we can do today. After all, we’re reminded in Scripture that all the commandments can be summed up and fulfilled if we will love others.”

Choosing-Love-by-Holley-Gerth-300x300

“Let no debt remain outstanding,
except the continuing debt to love one another,
for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. …
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor.
Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Romans 13:8–10

So, my advice, my encouragement, for you today is to remember that you do not have to walk through life alone. Reach out, connect, walk beside someone else; you can start with the people next door. What a blessing it is to build bonds with our neighbors.

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

The Art of Encouragement

Spring

Today I am proud to post a sermon from my father-in-law, H.B. Fuller (retired pastor but forever a preacher) that ties in wonderfully with my post from yesterday. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Do you ever feel like giving up? We all go through those periods when we want to throw in the towel. This is the pattern a lot of us go through. Listen and see if this is not similar to your experience. You feel people are saying things about you that just are not true. Work is a drudgery. Even things you used to do for pleasure become a task. You are tired, irritated with those who love you the most. Life loses its joy. Depression, frustration and a tinge of paranoia become your bedfellows.

About at this point, God raises up some friends who prove to be [true] friends. These Christian friends support, pray for, and love us. They have taken seriously Hebrews 10:25:

“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another,
and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

How desperately we all need encouragement. It is wonderful to have a friend who does not hesitate to point out flaws in our Christian faith and conduct. This finest of encouragement is possible only between two friends who trust each other, and know each other well enough to laugh together at each other’s expense.

The creation of this living fellowship is surely one of the most urgent tasks of the church. Anyone who sets their mind to it can be an encourager. It requires no degree or ordination. All one needs is the willingness to give oneself to another person.

Interestingly, the word in the Bible reading in the 11th verse [1 Thessalonians 5] that the NIV translated “encourage” has its root in the word parakalos, usually translated “comfort.” When you make a noun out if it, the word becomes “comforter,” which we define as “one called alongside of.” The supreme Comforter is the Holy Spirit. When we become encouragers or comforters, we are doing work akin to that of the Holy Spirit. How awesome!!! What a privilege and responsibility to be permitted to work alongside of the Holy Spirit to encourage a struggling brother or sister. And yet there is the exhortation “encourage one another” (v. 11).

Walk (or sit) together.

Walk (or sit) together.

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT IS A PERSON

During one of the major offensives of World War II, Dwight Eisenhower was walking near the Rhine River and came upon a GI who seemed depressed. “How are you feeling?” the General asked. “Sir,” the young man replied, “I’m awful nervous.” “Well,” Eisenhower said, “You and I are a good pair then, because I’m nervous, too. Maybe if we just walk along together we’ll be good for each other.”

No speech, words of wisdom, or special advice necessary, just one person giving of himself to another.

Encouragement means “coming alongside to impart courage.” In a sense, encouragement is one person giving strength and support to another by osmosis, just being there radiating light, spiritual nourishment, strength. When we encourage, we snuggle up to an individual and show we care.

One of the great callings of the New Testament church, one of the great responsibilities of individual Christians is encouragement. Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement,” came alongside Paul to give him needed support for entrance in the early church. Let’s read the record in the Bible—maybe God will teach you a lesson I do not see. It is found in Acts 9:26–28:

“And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem.”

Paul not only benefited from Barnabas’ encouragement, but he learned the lesson well. Later, he became an encourager himself, especially for his young friend Timothy.

Encouragement is a person—you and I—an encourager giving self to another in distress—the distressed experiencing the benefit of his friend’s presence and taking up the ministry himself.

Created by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista

Created by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT IS A WORD

Consider the following sound advice from Proverbs 25:11:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

The Japanese have a saying, “one kind word can warm up three winter months.”

We all need encouragement whose “pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).

Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers’ football coach was a feared disciplinarian. But he never leveled a man without also seeking to launch him. One day he chewed out a player who had missed several blocking assignments. After practice, Lombardi stalked into the locker room. The player was sitting at his locker head down, dejected.

Lombardi mussed his hair, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “One of these days you are going to be the best guard in the NFL.” That guard was Jerry Kramer and he said he carried that positive image of himself the rest of his career.

“Lombard’s encouragement had a tremendous impact on my whole life,” he said. Kramer went on to become a member of the NFL Hall of Fame and a part of the NFL’s ALL 50-YEAR TEAM.

Do you offer encouraging words? Paul Tillich [one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century] said, “Almost every person you meet is fighting a great battle within.” People everywhere are in need of an encouraging word, an uplifting compliment, or a note of encouragement. Many Christians are discouraged and faltering in the faith. You can spur them on with your inspiring words.

What words to say? Sometimes one approach, sometimes another. BE THERE, GO and SAY something (make sure what you say is from the heart)—“I love you in the Lord.” “We care about you.” “I am praying for you.” “I am asking God to meet your need.” Be sure you ask God to give you the appropriate things to do and say.

Go to the hurting person when possible. If this is not possible, send a letter of affirmation, a note of congratulations, a pep talk, or a kind word from you. If you send a greeting card, write a personal note, even if it is no more than one line. You would be surprised at how many people read only what you wrote.

Your personal word, from the heart, inspired by God, can and often does make an eternal difference in someone’s life. It has in my life.

Church

Memorial Baptist Chapel

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT IS A CHURCH

The Bible makes it clear that the church is distinctive from the world in the area of encouragement. Our society [often] seeks to depress and defeat; the body of Christ desires to inspire and uplift. “We are called out ones,” the set aside ones. One of the distinctive callings of the Christian is to be an encourager. Listen again to the text from I Thessalonians 5:11:

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up,
just as you are doing.”

It can’t be any plainer. The church is [to be] a safe place of encouragement.

The early church was acquainted with persecution. Martyrdom was a daily occurrence. These people had reason to be depressed. Consequently, the author of Hebrews wrote a letter of hope and perseverance.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hear closely Hebrews 10:25:

“not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another,

and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

The body of Christ gathers for worship and fellowship with other believers. The church offers the warmth of a bonfire. But when we remove ourselves, the fire diminishes. Three times a week [let alone once a week] is little enough for the body of Christ to assemble itself together to be warmed by each other’s spiritual heat. Together hope is fortified, and life is renewed.

Christians thrive as a group, bunched up together. We are not designed to be loners. We draw strength from each other. When God’s people bunch up to pray, praise, preach—the power of God is magnified and individuals are encouraged. 

Many Christians take seriously the ministry of encouragement. A church in Oregon provides encouragement cards in the pew rack. Members take time before the worship service to write notes of encouragement to each other and others. These cards are collected and mailed.

Encouragement is the overall theme at a Texas church. The sanctuary is called “The Encouragement Center.” The pastor’s message on the weekly bulletin is labeled “The Encouraging Word.” The church newsletter is titled “The Encourager.” But more importantly, the membership takes seriously the need to encourage one another. No wonder people are attracted to this growing church.

CONCLUSION:

Find someone who needs encouragement. Give of yourself, say a word, or introduce him or her to the church—the safe encouraging place—or to Jesus—the encouraging Savior.

Sunday school classes must emphasize the ministry of encouragement. Teachers, please work on this. Give priority to it. If for one reason or another you cannot, encourage some of your members who appear to have this ability.

Of course, our best friend is Jesus. He is the premier encourager. If you do not know Him as Savior, now is the time.

Jeremiah

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Stay . . .

Connected
Stay

Stay

When I tell my dog Bella to “stay,” it means I want her to stay put, either sitting or standing, and not move from that spot until I tell her it is okay. She’s pretty good about listening up to a point, but then her puppy nature kicks in and she is ready to move again.

When I feel that God is telling me to “stay,” it is only through his Word and the words of those he puts in my path that I can interpret the meaning for this particular time in my life. Sometimes it might mean stay put, and in that case I might have to wrestle with my own restless spirit and the feelings that I need to be in control of my movement. But at other times, He could be telling me to stay focused, stay faithful, stay centered, stay immersed, or even stay happy. Currently, I believe He has been reminding me to stay connected.

Gideon Study

Gideon Study

I recently finished a Priscilla Shirer Bible study on Gideon subtitled “Your Weakness. God’s Strength.” It was an eight-week study that one of my neighbors invited me to join. The last time she invited me, I was too bogged down in work and could not afford to take the time away from my desk. If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you’ll see that this has been somewhat of a reoccurring theme for me.

This time, however, I felt like I needed to takes some steps to get out of the rut I was in and begin to reconnect not only with other people but also with Scripture. So, I joined the Tuesday morning study, met some great ladies, and heard some powerful words from Priscilla. I did not always stay up-to-date on my homework or spend the time with it that I should have, but hey, I’m a work in progress, and I did make progress over the weeks.

When our study concluded this past Tuesday, many of us did not want it to be over. We planned a lunch date next month so that we could get together and share ideas for another study we could do or a book we could read and discuss or some other “thing” that would benefit our group and allow us to continue gathering and connecting. We were enjoying and wanted to continue the time of togetherness, the strengthening of our spirits, the accountability, and the encouragement.

Walk are meant to walk beside one another.

Walk beside one another.

Charles Stanley once wrote: “Consider the power of a friend’s encouraging words. Think about how meaningful it is when an unexpected blessing seems to fall from heaven right at your darkest moment. These are not ‘happy accidents’; rather, they are precious confidence builders from God.”

Speaking of unexpected blessings, the crazy thing about me running across this particular quote is that it came from an In Touch Daily Devotional on Gideon from October 7, 2008 that I just “happened to” run across a couple days ago. It was in one of my notebooks where I have printed out and saved words that spoke to me at previous points in my life. A good reminder that God’s Word (or words from those he has gifted spiritually) can speak to us over and over again at different times in our lives, and that the words we share with others to encourage them can be powerful reminders that we matter—to God and to others.

As someone who tends to spend a lot of time alone, I want to remind you (and myself) that I believe we are meant to live in community with one another and to be helpers and encouragers. Don’t miss out on the blessing that you can be to others and they can be for you. There is no reason for you to face your dark days alone and no reason to enjoy the great days without someone to share them with.

My husband believes in building and strengthening his work team. Encouragement is an important tool he uses.

My husband believes in building and strengthening his work team. Encouragement is an important tool he uses.

If you know of someone who doesn’t appear to be very connected, reach out to them with a phone call, email, or text (if you have their contact info); leave a note on their door or on their car; approach them at the grocery store or at church with a compliment or question.  Sometimes people who seem to have it all together are actually struggling with something and, on top of that, they feel like they are facing it alone. Be the hands that reach out to grasp another’s and offer a squeeze of understanding or comfort. Sometimes all it takes is a smile to lift someone else’s spirits (and your own).

I think we all have a tendency to go through periods where we focus on the things affecting our own lives and forget that it’s not all about us. I would just like to remind you how wonderful and fulfilling it can be to stay involved and engaged and to be a friend to others. Even dogs understand the importance of the pack. Stay connected, my friends!

IMG_1637

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet
as perfume and incense.”
Proverbs 27:9, NLT

Finding My Voice

Soaring

When I first started my blog back in 2010, I titled it Everyday Moments: Celebrating Life, Love, and Laughter. I knew I wanted to use my own photos and I wanted to write encouraging words, but I really wasn’t sure exactly where I was going to go with it or who it might appeal to. Funny how, looking back, I just noticed that my very first entry fit well with the Faith Barista’s post on perfectionism from February 18th.

At that time, this is how I saw my blog developing: “my eyes are being opened to the importance of everyday moments and how we react to them or how we change because of them. Noticing the beauty around us. Spending time really talking to someone you care about. Finding things to laugh about every day. These are the types of things I’d like to share in my blog as it develops and grows.”

Squirrel

Several months went by before I wrote again.  In January of 2011, I began combining my words with words from Scripture, devotionals, and other blogs I read. I focused on the word “trust” for the month. Two entries were strictly quotes from other sources. While I think they are good quotes, I see that without my own story surrounding the words that I share, they are less likely to engage someone looking to connect.

In the following months, I wrote about things like “rest” and “peace,” but then I got to second-guessing myself. In May, I included these words in my post—“What Do I Hope to Accomplish?”:  “I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog lately. I’m not sure yet if I have really found ‘my voice’ or my niche. I’ve been struggling with figuring out what works best for me on posting specific topics or following certain formats. I believe, for the most part, that some of my content has been good and valid, but it also seems like what I have been writing is more appropriate for a paper for school rather than something directly from my heart. And I have been more worried about consistency rather than connecting. I don’t want my posts to seem like I am giving a lecture or a sermon (although many a good sermon has changed lives).  But I would like for people to want to read what I write.”

Dove

I thought about my title to my blog and how I should be showing more moments of love and laughter, so I later wrote about “Living with Joy” and I included pictures of some of the things that bring me joy, starting with my family and moving on to other things.

Live with Joy

And then came 2012. I was inspired by books and magazines on getting more organized and living a life with more meaning and less stuff. At that time, I changed my blog service and my domain name. I chose Fuller Way of Life (because Fuller is my last name) and I made my tag line “on living simply and living well.” Here  is what I planned to focus on “I promise I will have some interesting household suggestions, product recommendations, blogs to check out, ‘did you know’  concepts, and more.” I guess I thought that I might appeal more to others if I offered them a compilation of some of the information I was discovering for myself in simplifying my life. On top of that, with the big surge in Pinterest use, it seemed like so many people were focusing on food. I was doing a lot of cooking and trying new recipes myself so I began writing about food and sharing recipes with others, as in my “Food for Thought” post.

IMG_7915

I continued down this path for a few months. I think the recipes were appreciated and I enjoyed sharing them, but truthfully, I didn’t feel like this was the right voice for my blog or for me. It didn’t really fulfill me or provide the creative outlet I was looking for. In July, I eased back into something a little more thought-provoking with my “Seasons of Life” post, but ended it with a recipe. Just to cover all the bases, I guess. :)

Next up in my blog journey was our move from Texas to Kentucky and a big focus on “Finding Time” during a very busy period: I “realized that sometimes I need to forget about all the things that should be done and actually make or schedule time for the things that really matter to me – like writing, making crafts, and capturing images with my camera. I also need to try not to get so caught up in doing that I miss out on the chance to experience simply being.

IMG_8592

I delved one more time in some food sharing, and then … there was nothing. From October 2012 until October 2013, I didn’t write or post anything. Right after writing about finding time, it seems I was unable to actually make time for doing something meaningful that I enjoyed. “So, once again, I find myself working on finding focus in my life. Or maybe it is more accurate to say adjusting my focus. I know what the important things are. I just need to find a way to fit them all into my schedule. I need to set priorities and stick to them.”

I’m actually quite happy with my November post – “In Pursuit of Peace.” I feel like it has the right combination of personal story, quotes from other sources, and  real-life application. Plus, I have continued to use my own photos to enhance my posts. I know I personally enjoy blogs that include pictures as well as words, and I enjoy sharing the images I have captured, especially the ones from nature.

Ice Melting

Now, with the help of bloggers like Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista and Holley Gerth, 2014 is off to a good start. Although I still cannot keep up with regular weekly posts (and I don’t see how anyone does this on a daily basis), their weekly writing prompts are helping me to focus on, develop, and continue to share my voice … whatever it happens to be or wherever it wants to take me that week. And each time I submit a new blog post, it makes me feel somewhat accomplished. I also experience the joy of connecting to other bloggers at the same time, reading and enjoying their words and their journeys. This community of bloggers is really helping me continue to find my voice and appreciate the beauty and value of my own words as well as the words of others.

If you are a creative person (whether it be writer or artist or cook) or you want to be creative but are afraid that you aren’t good enough or you don’t know where to start, just begin anyway. As you work and play, you will begin to find areas where you are more often “in the zone” and where you feel fulfilled. And that’s really more what it’s about – not creating what’s necessarily pleasing to others, but finding your own joy and happiness in the process.

Change Your Heart

IMG_2527

Do you ever think you might be happier, more fulfilled, less stressed “if only…” you had a better job, you had married someone else, your house was bigger, you made more money, your kids were more respectful? If only things were different? Are you tired of dealing with so many issues? Do you sometimes wish you could take off, fly away, start over? What if the “problem” isn’t everyone or everything else, but you? The way you perceive yourself, your surroundings, and your life in general. Well, there are two things I want to share with you today. 1) Often, when you feel like you are in over your head, you are exactly where God wants you to be. 2) Only you have the power to change your view and find your joy.

Change Your View

Change Your View

I recently started a Priscilla Shirer Bible study on Gideon (Judges 6-8). That woman is an amazing speaker! Today she shared with us that no matter what crisis you are in or where you find yourself in your life, you are not beyond the reach of God. Wherever you are – God can find you. And if you find yourself in a challenging situation or you feel like you are in over your head, hold on and don’t give up hope, you are exactly where God wants you. He will find a way to use your circumstances for your good. Because God is more interested in changing your heart than your circumstances. Check out this short video clip from Priscilla: Your Weakness God’s Strength

Hold On and Don't Give Up Hope

Hold On and Don’t Give Up Hope

No matter how you feel today about your problems or issues, your negative feelings will often lead you down the wrong path. Don’t follow them. Follow the Word instead. And consider this – your crisis often positions you for your calling. But discovering God’s purpose requires that you first recognize His presence. Personally, I connect most with God as Creator. I am more aware of His presence when I am surrounded by (or looking out at) the wonders of His creation. That is why you will find a lot of nature photos in my blog and on my Facebook page if you are a family member or friend. How do you connect with God?

Here is an excerpt from the Gideon study guide that spoke to me: “If we’ll look around, we might also find Him preparing us as He works through our daily lives. Today’s tasks–even the most mundane of them–are often preparation for tomorrow’s calling. They can carry clues to what He is leading us to learn and accomplish as we faithfully serve Him. While it might seem comical to find spiritual principles in washing dishes or answering phones at your desk job, God is teaching you faithfulness, diligence, and integrity through every task.”  (p. 47) What I got from this – stay faithful to the task(s) you’ve been given even if it becomes unpleasant or inconvenient; keep trudging on even if you are in a season of your life that you are not happy about – God will find you there. Better yet, he will meet you there.

God Will Meet You Where You Are

God Will Meet You Where You Are

Speaking of being unhappy in your season or circumstances brings me to my #2 point above: only you can change your view - or viewpoint to be more accurate. I follow a blog called Speak Happiness. I think today’s post fits very well with this conversation: Unhappy? Change Your View. You can look at the same place or the same situation and see it in two different ways. You have to want to be happy to see happy. I also like these words from the author Valerie Alexander’s book Happiness as a Second Language: “One of the most important steps in being happy is ridding yourself of the things that make you unhappy. Whether it’s beating yourself up over an incident that didn’t turn out as you would have liked, or holding a grudge against someone who wronged you, or blaming the universe when things don’t turn out your way, the negative weight of past unhappiness can really inhibit your ability to be truly happy now.” (p. 66)  You must take an active role in releasing the negative and embracing the positive. You may not be able to change your situation, but you can change how you view it, what you hold onto, and what you feel in your heart. You can focus on the good and the joyful things in your life.

Change What You Hold Onto

Change What You Hold Onto

I also love these words from Holly Gerth, another author and blogger I follow, in a post about her new book You’re Going to Be Okay: “When life surprises us, smacks us on the behind, runs away with our dreams it’s our hearts that are left standing there hurting. Our heads know the truth. We understand what’s supposed to make it right in that moment. But somehow even the truth can ring hollow sometimes. So what do we do then? Is it even possible to live with joy, resilience, and strength in this broken world? After connecting with thousands of women about this topic, searching Scripture, and through my own journey I can say without reservation: YES. And it’s not just possible, it’s what God desires for you. Jesus said, ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).”

The Gideon study reminds me of this: It is through our weakness that we experience God’s strength. Do not let your circumstances define you or direct your view. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and keep your heart open to the happiness that can be yours.

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11, 13

Coffee for Your Heart

Happy Moments: A Mini-Photojournal

Kentucky Fog

As usual, I don’t have much time to write today, but the Faith Barista reminded me that sometimes we can share bits of our journey simply through photos and staying connected. Of course, those of you who know me know that I love taking pictures so pulling together a few that I could add to my blog post was not a hard task. The hard part, narrowing down the images, trying to focus on what made me happy recently and why.

If you read my last post, you know that “happy” is the word that I am focusing on for 2014. It is the word that God put on my heart, and it has come up in so many ways, in so many different situations in the last couple of months that I knew … this is not a coincidence. It is a calling. A wake-up call, if you will.

I have to remind myself sometimes that each day is a gift. We cannot waste a day, thinking things like, “I’ll call my mom tomorrow.” “All I need to do is get through this week, then I’ll take some time for myself.” “I need to put something on the calendar with [my friend] next month. She has been down lately.” But who knows what tomorrow, next week, or next month will bring. Most likely, something else will take up way too much real estate in your mind and your life and you won’t necessarily get around to the things that really matter. We need to find our focus and our happy each day. 

So, with that, here are a few happy images. The first is a picture of my husband Bart at his first store in Louisville. We moved up here about a year and a half ago to open up a new market for Mattress Firm, and we now have eight stores open with more growth coming for 2014. Bart has been promoted to District Manager, and he loves his job. I enjoy listening to him recruit people when he runs across someone he thinks has potential (even at the dog park) because he has a lot of passion for the company and his role in it. It always makes me smile.

Proud of my husband.

Proud of my husband.

Next, of course, is Bella. I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends think I have nothing else going on in my life other than hanging out with my dog (and sometimes that is true). But she is a real sweetheart and definitely contributes to my happiness (especially now that most of her destructive puppy months are behind her). I’m looking forward to better weather days so we can get back outside with her more.

Bella

Bella

Baby Girl

Baby Girl

Not that Bella doesn’t get out in the snow. She still enjoys being outside, even when it’s cold. But Bart and I don’t enjoy being out there quite as much when the temperature is 10 degrees or lower. Those are the days that I let her venture out there on her own.

Bella in snow

However, I do love the beauty of the winter snows, and really enjoy the fact that we get such a gorgeous view from our dining room window. The trees, the creek, the wildlife … That makes me happy.

Snow out back

Okay, so I am already spending more time on this than I have, but I want to share one more thing that contributes to my happy days, and that is anytime I get to spend with family. I am so thankful that we got to go to Florida to celebrate this past Christmas with them. There’s no way I could show all the happy moments in this post, but here are a few:

Baking with my niece, Robin

Baking with my niece, Robin

Setting a bad example with my nieces and nephew (Jo, Gentry, Ryder)

Setting a bad example with my nieces and nephew (Jo, Gentry, Ryder)

Playing with the camera on my phone with my niece, Gentry

Playing with the camera on my phone with my niece, Gentry

Seeing Bart with my nephew, Brayden

Seeing Bart with my nephew, Brayden

Fishing with my stepson, Noah

Fishing with my stepson, Noah

 

Remember, life is good. Don’t miss out on it!

Find Your Happy

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I have discovered that several people whose blogs or Facebook posts I follow make it a practice to start each new year with a one-word soul resolution. A word that speaks to them personally of the possibilities and pursuits of the year ahead. The Faith Barista shares: “Every year, since I was seventeen, I’ve made it […]