Thankful for the hardships

2014 has been a tough year. Sometimes, it’s too hard to appreciate the small things during the tough times. I probably didn’t appreciate much during a large part of the year, but I want to turn that around beginning today. I’m going to move forward with a spirit of gratitude.

Near the end of 2013, my husband and son were in a car wreck. Our camper was totaled. His truck was very close, but they decided to repair it. Thankfully, no one was hurt. That’s the important thing. I’m so, so grateful for that. Moments like those, make the world come to a stop, not because of what actually happened, but because of what could have.

Unfortunately, that wreck seemed to start a spiral of unfortunate events for my husband’s truck. It has been in the shop four times since that wreck. But still, I am so grateful because we’ve had the money to cover those expenses. Bad things happen. Sometimes, you have to take a time out from the stress of it all to appreciate how you’ve come through everything.

My stove broke. My air conditioner broke. Most recently, we discovered we have a water leak. All of the water lines are going to have to be dug up. This is still ongoing. Thankfully, my step-dad is a huge blessing in my life. He has been able to fix almost anything that has broken around here, and because he loves me, he works for free. 🙂 I’m so grateful for him.

My step-mom battled breast cancer and won! 🙂 My dad is battling leukemia and is doing great! 🙂 I have so much to be thankful for. My dog was diagnosed with cancer this year. We love her like a member of the family. We’re choosing not to put her through surgery because of her age. Right now, she is pain-free and happily snuggled up on her couch. It is a blessing that she seems to be doing so well.

My husband fell and shattered his knee cap this year. He was out of work for six months. Still, I am grateful. His knee was bad before he fell. Now, after surgery, recovery and rehab, his knee is stronger than it has been in a long time.

The hardest part of this year was losing a family member to cancer. She was an angel in my life. I could talk to her about anything. She was particularly close to my son. He walked on clouds around her. That is the way she made him feel. I will forever be grateful for the time I had her in my life.

It’s been a tough year, but I am so grateful. This is the month to give thanks. Don’t forget that, even if times are tough. 🙂

I am so grateful for my life! It hasn’t been easy lately, but my faith has brought me through it. 🙂

Published in: on November 7, 2014 at 10:05 am  Comments (2)  
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Writers, who will motivate you along the way?

I’m no expert, but I have a few thoughts for writers looking for support to get through the truly tough times, and here’s what I’ve discovered. Look within. Build a passion, a fire in your gut that will not let you stop until you achieve the success you are looking for.

Make your dreams come true. Be persistent. Don’t stop. Do this for yourself, because you want it more than anything, and because you deserve it!

I’ve been writing for a long time, but my first book wasn’t published until 2009. I have four books under my belt. In the publishing industry, I’m just a baby, a new author. And, I’m still striving hard to truly break out and become that “overnight success.” Sadly, I can’t say I’ve ever had that one person that has ever truly pushed me in my writing, but that’s okay. I’ve still had myself.

It’s kind of like when you go on a diet. You run into those that try to sabotage your efforts, even if they don’t mean to. With writing, some of the closest people to me never say anything about what I do. There are others that make off-handed comments like what I might do “one day,” as if they are just trying to make me feel better, but don’t honestly believe that I’m succeeding at what I do. There are also those that think everything I read is the best thing they’ve ever read, which I appreciate them saying, but is overexaggerated and doesn’t ring true enough to believe. Then, there are those that are overly critical and find something wrong with everything I write.

All in all – all of my friends – all of my family – everyone that means the world to me, they just don’t understand. Maybe they just don’t want me to get my hopes up, then be disappointed if I don’t succeed. But, sorry, there’s no turning back now. I wish they really did believe I am a success at what I do. Most of them have the best of intentions. I still love them more than anything. But, if I want what it takes to make it in this industry, I’m going to have to do it alone and do it for myself.

Don’t get me wrong. You will find a lot of help along the way. Thank God for that. I’ve learned so much from other writers. There’s also those times when I feel particuarly down and I’ll run into a reader on the street who loved my latest release. There’s no feeling like that in the world!

No one truly makes it alone out here, but there’s only one person that can make this happen for you, and that’s you. So, the question really is: do you want it badly enough?

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm  Comments (2)  
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Keep your eyes straight ahead.

It’s so tempting to compare everyone and everything. Does my house look as nice as my neighbors’? Are my brothers more successful than me? Is my hubby as involved in the school as the other moms’ husbands? I find that I can sit around and think myself into feeling terrible if I’m of a mind to do it. Have you done the same thing?

Why do we do that to ourselves? We shouldn’t. The only person we should be comparing ourselves to is ourselves. We’re running our own race here. We have our own obstacles and challenges to face. These other people have not walked in our shoes, have not been through what we’ve been through.

Maybe you don’t own your own house, but it seems like every one of your friends do. So what? Maybe they didn’t go through a two-year layoff from work. Maybe they didn’t go through that unexpected surgery. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to everyone else!

If I sit around and think about Stephenie Meyers, for example, I’ll feel like a failure as a writer. Wouldn’t anyone? If I think about the friend from high school that has the home of my dreams, the car of my dreams, and the husband and kids that seem picture perfect, I will most likely think myself straight into feeling depressed. From now on, I refuse to think like that.

Let’s face forward and keep our eyes on our own path. Leave the others around us to do the same. Only a higher power than we are can foresee where our lives are going. Instead of thinking ourselves into misery, turn the tables. Think yourself into being happy!

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 8:39 am  Comments (2)  
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He Sits as a refiner and purifer of silver…

Author Unknown- 

Malachi 3:3 says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver..”

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.  She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities…

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.

If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”  He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.”

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Published in: on October 10, 2010 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Introduction to Smiling Pains

I grew up in a house where a frown was called a frog face. I don’t want to look like a frog, so I smile a lot. For the most part, it is usually returned. Occasionally, however, I get a reaction of nothing or even a grimace. I can sympathize though. Let’s face facts; in today’s world, there is way too much to frown about.

One place in particular I personally find a smile challenging is the grocery store. It is far from the inviting image the bright yellow rollback smiley faces portray on one grocery chain’s commercials. In my opinion, the atmosphere is akin to a headache and incidentally, I always leave the store with one. Still, I continue to smile.

A typical shopping trip for me usually begins with grabbing a broken buggy that violently jerks to the right every few feet as I make my way through the store. Then, the truly fun part begins. The joke is always on me when the store decides to rearrange everything every few months so I can’t find the items on my list. As I look, I dodge a countless number of other customers who also have broken buggies and are suffering from “buggy rage.” Don’t worry. It happens to even the best of us. Just keep smiling.

The best part of the shopping adventure is standing in the checkout line for forty-five minutes to an hour because there are only four lanes open and fifty customers in line. It’s during this time in the store that my son grows antsy and begs for me to hurry up so we can leave. He spies all the items hanging by the registers for purchase. He wants one of everything, especially the candy bars. I smile as brightly as I can by this point as I tell him no.

When it is finally my turn to checkout, I try to load my groceries in my buggy as quickly as possible so I can leave. By the time I turn back around to pay, the customer behind me has moved up to the cash register and I am forced to jam my hip into their buggy so I am able to reach to swipe my check card. I won’t mention what it was like the time the cashier actually asked to see the signature on the card and my check card was so old that the signature had rubbed off, so we had to start over again. Ha-ha. That day was truly a test in smiling through the pain.

On my way out of the store, with my new headache and a load of groceries to load in the car and unload at home, I smile. For just a split second, it even turns into a real one when the door greeter mutters, “God Bless you.”

I believe that my smile is important and I choose to smile in the grocery store because when I glance down at my son I see him watching me and learning from me. A smile is often a challenge for me, but it truly is a gift I can give even when it hurts. I think it is worth the pain, so I keep practicing.

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Published in: on October 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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When you’ve had too much life…

I tell you what, everyday life has really thrown me some curve balls lately, mostly financial ones. Two broken down cars, a dead riding lawn mower, some unexpected medical bills, and on and on. I’m sure you know exactly how that feels.

It makes me want to scream, “Enough!” My pocket book went dry with the first curve ball. We can stop now!

Then, I got to thinking about my friend. She’s such a trooper. She’s a single mom with twin girls. She works three jobs. She’s gone through the broken down cars, and she has NO lawn mower. She pays monthly on all those unexpected medical bills… And, I’m complaining? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

We all run our own race. We all have ups and downs. We all have those specific challenges that we feel like there’s just no way we can handle.

When you’ve had too much life, think of that one person that inspires you. For me, it is my friend. Who is it for you?

Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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