Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Year of Hope: Each Day is Enough

I am SO over eager.  When I am cross stitching I am thinking ahead to blogging.  When I am learning a lesson I am thinking ahead to how God may possibly use it in my life.  I begin the morning by making my bed automatically because I am thinking of what I need or want to do next.  I eat my special peppermint bark treat and hardly enjoy it for thinking ahead to Christmas.

This afternoon as I was driving home it hit me.  I am presumptive.  Who knows whether I will even have a "next"?  A next day, a next hour?  All I truly have is right now.  And it is enough.

"All I truly have is right now.  And it is enough."

Just think for a moment.  If all of our "right now's" were spent in love, wouldn't we have lived a beautiful life?  If every fault that someone had committed against us had been forgiven, wouldn't that be a peaceful way to enter eternity?  Even if we never write a book, speak in front of a thousand people, have a million dollar house, or have a college degree, our lives will be well-lived if we see each day as enough and act accordingly.  Not wishing it were another day forward or backward on the calendar, and not borrowing trouble from tomorrow or stealing its joy.  But being present in the moment - looking at what you are doing and experiencing it.  And, whether it be joy or pain, accepting it in peace and loving God and others through it.

What if, during every moment of my day

... I worked in peace rather than with an anxious and hurried spirit?

... I kept my heart clear by forgiving others their faults and asking forgiveness for my own?

... I spent the day immersed in loving God and in showing that love to others in my everyday tasks - Praising Him for another day while making the bed, being thankful there are dirty socks to pick up, enjoying the exercise as I run downstairs to transfer the laundry, praying for dear ones in the church while washing the dishes, adding special touches while making sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch, treating the grumpy customers at the church bake sale to a kind word and a smile and then praying for God's forgiveness and encouragement and blessing in their lives rather than complaining about them
- whatever it may be ?

If I could do all that each day I think I would reach the end of the day feeling very blessed.  Truly the time we are given to live is enough... if we actually choose to live it wisely!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Year of Hope: Two Steps Forward...

...And one step back.  That seems to be my reality right now.  While I want to be all better - because I honestly do feel so much better! - the reality is that this is going to be a journey and that I need to be patient.  And gentle with myself.  And not get discouraged.  And be willing to rest.  I pretty much overloaded my system, both emotionally and physically, last week during Bible School, and now I need to rest and recover.  There is a quote I heard when listening to the Beautiful Life Management CD's the other day that went something like this...

"Any form of stress that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand our capacity - physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually - so long as it is followed by adequate recovery."
-- The Power of Full Engagement

It is good for me to remember this.  It isn't that I shouldn't have pushed myself last week.  It was a challenge, and I did MUCH BETTER than I did last year.  What I do need to remember, though, is that I now need a period of recovery.  And that isn't a bad thing.  And I haven't failed. And God will still love me even though I need to rest.  And I can enjoy my rest period and not feel guilty about it - like I am a second class person because I am taking time to relax, rather than being able to go and go and go like "everyone else" seems to be able to do.

So, how am I doing on my Hope Journal this week?  I'm not.  I'm concentrating on getting the dishes done, and making the bed, and getting up early to pack snacks and lunches for my husband.  I'm working on getting GraceWorks orders printed and out and I'm hoping to make a few birthday cards.  And in between I'm napping and resting and today I plan to settle down and cross stitch.  And, in a few days, when I feel like I am ready for another sprint, I'll pull out my Hope Journal and we will start again fresh, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I have just a bit more endurance than I used to.  That, my friends, is a victory.

I'd like to leave you with a quote from my friend, Jenny of Elefantz, that really spoke to me the other day...

"Be completely where you are, and leave tomorrow 
for another day."

Thank you so much for the blessing that you are to me!!  I thank God for you!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Busy Week!

Hello dear friends!

I wanted to drop by and let you know I haven't forgotten about you!  I'm in the middle of Vacation Bible School week and I am having trouble staying caught up.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I'm not caught up at all!!  If you place or have placed an order this week, please know that I am working on them little by little, but, in all honesty, I may not get them out until next Monday.  I am so sorry!  Thank you so much for your grace and patience with me!!

I'll be back next week with more adventures in this year of hope, once I find my feet again.  At the moment, though,  a wise decision will be for me to take a short nap! :)



PS. While you are waiting, you might want to check out the GraceWorks website for this month's special and Free with $50 item!  Talk to you soon!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Making Wise Decisions

Have you ever been guilty of "emotional eating"?  Sitting down with a bag of chips, an ice cream cone, some M&M's, or a cup of coffee not because you are taking a break to have a treat, but because you just can't bring yourself to face whatever is going on around you?

How about "emotional shopping"?  Escaping to the mall or to the Amazon website or to the craft superstore and buying something that you probably didn't need - or didn't need just then - only to reach home and realize that you really shouldn't have spent the money?

One of my goals during this Year of Hope is to practice making wise decisions when I catch myself falling into the emotion trap.  Here are a few things I find I gravitate toward when I get emotional... 

Going to our local frozen custard shop for a scoop of custard, 
Sitting down to play piano, 
Playing a puzzle game on my tablet, 
Checking my email, 
Looking for something else to eat, 
Window shopping on a stamping company's website...  

None of those things are bad, in and of themselves.  I need to check my email and practice the piano. Window shopping, playing a game, and getting a scoop of custard are fun treats -- but only if they are intentional.  When I find that I have simply gravitated to the piano and I stay there for half an hour regardless of the other things that need to be done, that is emotional playing.  When I look at my schedule and say, "I'm going to practice for half an hour before I do the dishes", that is intentional playing.  So when I find myself just standing in the middle of the room thinking, "I think I'll just play a song quick", or, "I think I'll just check my email quick", I'm working on stopping myself and saying, 

"I need to make a wise decision, instead."

Often that means that I will look at my list for the day and say, "I'm going to do ______________ first, and then I will set a timer and play for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes, I need to..."  One thing I am noticing is that approaching my fun time in this way allows me to fully enjoy it, rather than just doing it "quick" as though I am stealing the time.  Which, come to think of it, I sort of was!  If I know that I have a half hour to read a book and drink a cup of coffee, I can relax and enjoy both the coffee and the book because it is all I have to do right then.  I have chosen to make it a priority.  But if I say, "I'm just going to have a quick cup of coffee..." and then sit down with a book I will feel rushed and anxious, because deep down I know that something else had the priority right then and I was stealing its time.  I've noticed that the word "quick" is almost always in my vocabulary in cases like that, and I'm sorry to say that for a long time "quick" could have been mistaken for my motto.  There have been a number of times I've needed to stop myself and say, "STOP.  Look at this moment.  Right now.  This is a good place.  Make a memory."  So often we allow our emotions to pull us along - anxious, agitated, grieving, resentful, and many more - and we never stop to enjoy where we are right now.  Even as I am writing this blog post I can choose to look past it and hurry through it to get to the next thing, or I can enjoy the process and this chance that God has given me to connect with each of you.  I want to always choose the latter way, don't you?

For my Daily Focus yesterday I spent time in the kitchen cleaning out a basket that sits next to the phone.  

I can still get overwhelmed easily, so when I began to feel agitated I thought, "I need to make a wise decision."  I decided to only go through five items at a time - even if that was just 5 pieces of paper.  That way each five would be a small victory.  To be completed I actually had to do what needed to be done to that item.  If I needed to cut out a coupon, I did.  Then I used a paperclip to attach them to my planner on the next shopping day.  If I needed to shred something, I did, even though I had to walk up and down the stairs a number of times.  It was definitely not the fastest or most efficient way to go through the basket, but it was a conscious decision to take my time and I enjoyed the process.  Here is the after view...

My room for today was the Living Room and it got a good vacuuming, along with the hallway and master bedroom.  That will probably be all for today in my Focus area, as vacuuming and my shoulder don't agree very well.  A wise decision on my part will be to ice my shoulder again as soon as I'm done typing!! :)

Have a blessed weekend, my friends!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Daily Focus

Hello friends!

Starting over is always hard, isn't it?  Especially when you aren't quite sure where to begin.  One of the things I know *for sure* about myself is that I need a basic plan of some sort.  It needs to be flexible but fairly detailed so I can follow it to the letter or just use it as a guideline, depending on the day.  I will freely admit that I have had a lot of trouble over the past few years following the plan laid out in the Beautiful Life Management System.  It's not because the plan doesn't work.  It does, and I followed it, or a variant of it, for years and years.  So many years, in fact, that the basics have sort of become second nature.  Things like making my bed and doing the laundry were wonderful - normal - things that were real comforts during the past few years.  The things that I've had no desire to do are to declutter, to clean deeper, and to make my home beautiful.  So yesterday, as I began my Year of Hope, I sat down to try to think of a way to focus on the areas of my home a little more deeply.  The Monthly Home Blessings are laid out basically room by room, which I like, but right now I feel the need to see some progress in every area of my house all at once.  Hmmm...  After thinking about it, I decided that I would make myself a DAILY FOCUS list and see how it works for me.  I have it split into two weeks so I'll be concentrating on each area around two times a month.


Week One -

Monday - Small Bathroom, Catch Up from Weekend
Tuesday - Main Bathroom
Wednesday - Kitchen
Thursday - Master Bedroom
Friday - Living Room
Saturday - Entrance, Front Porch
Sunday - REST

Week Two -

Monday - Dining Room, Catch Up from Weekend
Tuesday - Laundry Room
Wednesday - GraceWorks Area
Thursday - Office / Stamping Room
Friday - Errands or Paper Room
Saturday - Patio, Hallways
Sunday - REST

I want to work in the focus area about 15-45 minutes on the day it is scheduled, cleaning, deep cleaning & decluttering, so I jumped right into the list yesterday and took a look at the main bathroom.  I planned to declutter first, but I decided that it was time the bathroom had a really good cleaning, so I started there.  When I started to clean the toilet I realized that the toilet brush had really gotten nasty, so I pulled out a Shopping List sheet and jotted it down.  The shower curtain rod was rusty, too, so that went on the list as well, along with some new mini blinds or curtains to replace the "we'll just use this piece of fabric until we can find something better" that has been hanging there since we moved in 9 years ago... (Yes, I'm serious!  I'm sorry to say that window treatments have been a source of paralyzation for years...).  When I finished up I pulled out a Journal page and wrote the name of the room on the top and what I did in the first section.  There are six sections per page, so I should be able to keep track of things for about 3 months on one sheet.  Here's mine from yesterday...

I used a little post it note to remind me where I would like to start next time.  Later in the afternoon I stopped at Walmart after I dropped the GraceWorks orders off at the Post Office.  The mini blinds were all out - they are a hot seller in our little college town! - but I found a toilet bowl brush so that was good.  It was when I was looking for a shower curtain rod that I saw it.  A package including a shower curtain, rings and two rugs for $15.00!  I was so thrilled.  I really wanted to make a wise decision, so I thought about it...  It was in the colors that Paul and I had decided we liked as an overall theme for the house.  It was inexpensive.  It would match most of what we had, with a few exceptions.  It was perfect!  But what about the window??  I couldn't leave up that horrible piece of fabric, and there were no blinds.  Hmmm.  I trotted back to the curtain aisle with my find in hand and found a beautiful set of inexpensive curtains that were just the right length and would coordinate the shower curtain with my current wall color - a warm creamy yellow.  That settled it.  I picked up 2 towels and 2 hand towels to replace the previous accent color and went home to - GASP - redecorate!!  Here's a quick picture that I snapped with my cell phone for my daughter.  I think I should have run the shower curtain through the dryer with a wet towel to take out some of the wrinkles, but I was too impatient.  I will be working on that this year!!

Thank you, friends, for all your sweet comments and emails after my last post.  I love that you are going to join me on my journey.  May God richly encourage you as you have encouraged me!!

All right - I need to get started on today's project... the kitchen!  Talk to you in a day or two!



Monday, July 24, 2017

A Year of Hope

Hello dear ones!

I had an email from one of you the other day asking if I was okay since I hadn't posted for so long.  And the answer is both yes and no.  Many of you know that I have been struggled with multiple food, chemical and medication sensitivities for my whole life, as well as with depression and anxiety since my husband's surgery two years ago.  Oh friends.  I had become SO paranoid, SO terrified of everything, SO sure that I had or was going to have a horrible disease that was going to take my life.  It was all I could do to keep going and do the basics around the house and pack orders.  I had truly gotten to the place of hopelessness.

Three months ago - at my very worst - after a visit to both a medical doctor and a dentist, I was finally referred by a naturopathic doctor to a chiropractor who is also trained in acupuncture/accupressure, nutritional therapy and emotional release techniques.  This chiropractor was the one for the "chronic cases" that seemed to have no medical cause.  By the end of the first visit he had determined that I had a full blown case of EMF (electro-magnetic field) sensitivity - cell phones, wireless internet, bluetooth... things like that.  I was literally conducting the energy through my body and the anxiety and panic attacks were intolerable.  (You always know you are in trouble when the doctor says with a little bit of awe and glee in his voice... "I've read about cases this bad, but I've never actually seen one until today!"). Over the last two months he has been working with me to desensitize me to the EMF's, to help me with other sensitivities, and especially to help me deal with the destructive emotions that I have held onto both before and during these past number of years of major life traumas... a car accident, being a caretaker to my mom after her stroke, her death, Paul's brain surgery, my nervous breakdown after his surgery - even the death of our little dog.  Each of those emotions and more were bottled up within me and they were affecting both my mind and my physical body.   As my sensitivity subsides and as I have dealt with layers of destructive emotions that God has brought to mind, I have experienced both God's healing and His peace.  And I've come to realize what an amazing God He is to love me in spite of myself.

There is SO much more to the story - but I can't even begin to tell it all.  My husband comments every day that I am a "new woman".  I am calmer and deep soul happy and I just feel SO blessed.  There is a light in my eye again and a song in my heart that I simply have to share. The past number of years seem like a bad dream.  If I hadn't lived them I wouldn't believe they were possible, or as bad as I am making them out to be.  But to go from a doctor saying that your health was not stable to having him tell me today that I am better enough to "graduate" to appointments once a week rather than twice a week is truly a miracle in my eyes.  We are SO thankful to God for all He has done!!  

So where do I go from here?  Honestly I feel like I'm starting over from scratch.  New foods, new schedules, new priorities, new hopes, new plans... and even learning to make wise decisions rather than basing my decisions on emotions.  There is so much I have to do and explore!!  I've decided that I am going to begin today.  This is going to be my Year of Hope and I'm going to chronicle it here on the blog.  Planning, homemaking, goals, dreams, blessing others, saving, spending... these are all things that I want to revisit with new eyes and gather into a notebook.  My very own Hope Journal.  I started working on it today by jotting down just a few goals for the future -- something my husband has wanted me to do for the last 30 years, but I never could quite come to grips with it.  Did I tell you how thankful I am for him??  God has brought us through so much!!  I printed out a few sheets of prototype dotted notepaper to use and hand-lettered a title.  He and I are going to sit down together and make some goals to work toward as a couple.  As I said, this will be new ground for us.  I am really looking forward to it.  I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Have a blessed day my friends.  I pray God's love will overflow from your heart to others and I hope that you will join me in my year of HOPE.

I am so thankful for you.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Something Fun

Good morning friends!

I need to sit down and write a "life update" for you all, but in the meantime I have some fun news!

I'm so excited to share that we at GraceWorks  are sponsoring Word Art Wednesday this week! :)  Play along with the challenge to make a card or project with an encouraging theme and you could win a $15 gift certificate to the shop!  There is even a pretty Scripture verse on the challenge site to use if you would like.  As a crafter myself, I know how hard it can be to balance our lives so we can fit in all the essentials - faith, family, home, crafting... :). The Beautiful Life Management System and Classic Home Journal lines are wonderful tools to help with this!  

I wanted to play along with the challenge as well, so  
I used the lovely Gerbera Daisies digi from Power Poppy and colored it with my Staedtler Karat Watercolor Pencils and a blender pen.  The sentiment is a retired digi from KnK Designs. (Shop closed.  Sorry!)

Just a sweet and simple card with a little bit of Stickles in the flower centers to make it sparkle.  This card is actually going out in a GraceWorks order today! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you will play along with the challenge!

Have a blessed day!