In life there comes a time when you have to put the baggage down and move on.
I was tired. So tired of carrying around baggage filled with the "old me". It felt like when you go to the grocery store and glace at the carts and think to yourself - "I only have a few things on my list I will just use a basket." Seriously! Then we struggle to make it to the check out with a basket overflowing and groceries tucked in wherever we can find room and walk as fast as we can to the conveyor belt that will save our groceries before gravity wins.
I once carried the baggage of my past around - crushing myself under the strain of the weight. I was on a journey - on a new path - I was a new creation. My past was gone - only it didn't feel gone. It was there staring at me when I woke up in the morning. I dragged it around all day and it became a part of my work - relationships - future. It filled my thoughts as I fell asleep each night.
I longed for the "new creation." What did it look like? How is it possible?
I have always found that asking myself questions is the only way that I can work toward finding the answers - and then I need to stop and listen.
You know what I heard?
"Stop carrying it around." Simple and yet so profound.
It was my own selfishness that was holding on to what was no longer a part of who I am.
It was time to put the baggage down and move on. I had a pretty firm grip, this was not going to be easy - but it was necessary.
I can remember the thoughts of weakness, a loss of power, a loss of identity. But as I began to walk away, the ability to take a deep beautiful breathe of freedom filled me with such peace. Oh, how I longed for peace. Another deep long breath - the weigh began to slowly lift. What a beautiful journey.
Depending by which standards you measure life from - I could say that 2018 was a horrible year.
I had people come into my life that caused me such deep pain that I am still learning how to cope and move forward.
I had situations that stretched me further than I ever thought possible.
I saw things in people that I wish I could unsee.
2018 had so many plots twists the best fiction writer couldn't have wound this plot together.
As 2018 is coming to an end I find that I have two choices. I can drag this "horrible year" into 2019 or I can change my perspective.
I do not look at 2018 as a horrible year. I have learned so much about myself and where my place is in this world. I would have chosen to learn the lessons another way, but unfortunately the easy way is usually not the best way.
I had a situation in 2018 that changed me - it through me for a loop that I wasn't expecting and was not prepared for. I didn't know how to feel, I didn't know how to cope or move forward. It broke me and shook who I thought I was to my core.
So how do I move forward for 2019?
Easy! No actually it's not easy, there are not a magical amount of steps that will make it all shiny and new.
As with anything that has the greatest rewards is the amount of effort you put in to make it a success.
I am choosing that my 2019 will be a success story to the lessons I have learned in 2018. (I am sure that 2019 will have new lessons for me to learn😊 )
I have a saying for my experiences in 2018. Years ago I made the choice to stop looking at situation based on a good or bad scale. Everything is a "character building exercise". Each day there is something to be learned and to be gained. Once you change your perspective, then your life situations start to look differently.
Once the situations start to look different then you start to change your reactions and how you feel about life and your place in it starts to become clearer. And thankfulness and gratitude become a part of these experiences.
A few questions I ask myself on this last day of 2018:
I am looking forward to journeying with you in 2019!
It seems that in December the crazies set in. I start to feel dizzy with all that is going on in our family.
This December I am trying to be intentional with how I invest my time and energy. It doesn't always work out the way that I plan. But I have found so much more enjoyment in this Christmas season than I have in years.
So how I have I chosen to be intentional?
Almost every summer that I can remember I spent at least one week at camp. I loved the feeling of acceptance at camp. My absolute favorite part of camp - either as a camper or a counsellor was bedtime. Not for the reason that you are probably thinking.
At the end of a busy day, as quiet comes over the campground and the lights are turned off for the night - that was when the most honest and real conversations would happen. As I camper I loved this sharing time, as a counsellor I looked forward for the opportunity to speak truth and encouragement into the girls lives. Those are the moments that I continue to cherish today.
It is those camp experiences that inspired the bedtime moments with our daughters. Every night I make time to spend time praying with and listening to our daughters. It has become a part of our daily routine, they give their Dad a hug goodnight and I get to spend time with them individually. As we sit on their bed it becomes our sacred time and place.
Some nights it's just prayer time and tuck in, some nights it's sharing a burden or situation. They know that this is their time with Mom and that it happens everyday. They don't have to make a special time to talk with me, that may be awkward or uncomfortable.
I am so thankful that even now that they are teenagers they look forward to this time, and they miss it when they are away at a sleepover or camp.
I wish I would have kept a journal of all the prayer requests through the years. We have had the privilege to pray for so many friends and family. So many moments that have encouraged and shaped us. Admittedly, some nights I use this time as an opportunity to talk to them about some choices that they have made that may have not been the best use of their gifts and talents. But mostly this is our time to pray and be thankful for our day.
My oldest went through a difficult time in school and many nights she would cry herself to sleep. This Mama's heart broke repeatedly and I felt so helpless. I read as many books and articles that I could to find a way to help her hurt. Somewhere along the way I read that in order to wake up and start your day with a positive attitude you need to fall asleep with a positive attitude. So each night I would ask her what her favorite part of the day was. She would usually start telling me about something negative that happened that day, but I would encourage her to find something good. After a few weeks it was easier to start finding the good in her day and it even got to the point where the list would get so long that we would be chatting a long time. Maybe it was a ploy to stay up later, but the changes I began to see in her was such an answer to prayer.
Bedtime is my sacred time and place with my daughters. Is this something that you can create with your daughter(s)? Your daughter(s) need this space and time with you.
Just two minutes of your time can have an incredible impact.
I am on a journey of learning. My heart is ripe for life lessons. I have become more aware of the needs that surround me each day. I am not sure how I got here but I have to share a few things that I have learned.
The needs are great and we have a serious problem.
Let me try to explain - society has become so inwardly focused that we have lost sight of what is around us. In my analytical discussions I have concluded with all my earthly wisdom - that it all stems from the self-improvement industry that took over the book publishing world a couple of decades ago. While improving yourself is not a negative action, not sharing the improvements with the world around you is. The majority of the self-improvement books didn't include that chapter.
So what we see today is a society that is looking for the next thing to make them happy, for other people to make them happy, to buy the next trendy item to make them happy. They are not going to find happiness in any of those locations.
What I have learned is that heart happiness comes from a two minute investment.
A couple of years ago I tried something different for lent, I decided to "give" instead of "give up". You can read about it here. That experience has never left the way that I look at relationships around me.
I see the needs around me and I want to help - but the needs are great and I am just me.
I have friends that are traveling down some dark roads and through deep water and I wanted to add a little light and encouragement to their day. So I began taking two minutes out of my day and investing in those that need support and strength. I would pray for my friend and then text them a scripture picture.
I could write all sorts of fancy words and quotes but nothing that I could text would bring comfort and support the way God's holy word can.
Finding two minutes is easy- sitting in the car line, one less scroll through social media or sitting down at the end of your day. A short prayer and God's word will have a tremendous impact on those with needs around each one of us. All of us have an opportunity to be the hands and feet and light of Jesus to the world around us.
I am so enjoying investing my time this way. I am finding more two minute opportunites in my day and searching for more cell phone numbers to send messages to. Many times I will be praying for someone and I word or scripture will come to mind and then I know what I need to send to them, many times I get a reply that says, "That is just what I needed to hear today." and that just makes my heart smile. Our Father knows what they need and I am happy to send the text message for Him.
I created a board on Pinterest where I keep scriptures that I want to share and then I have saved them on my phone. If you want a head start you can follow my board for options.
Let's be an encourager to the world around us. Think of someone that needs encouragement and invest two minutes of your time. You won't regret it.
I have been traveling around and teaching journaling workshops - some would describe it more as a party. However you look at it - it is fun!
It is an afternoon of learn new things about yourself, scripture, fellowship worship and food! The number 1 response I have received about the "My Journey" journal is that they wished they would have started it years ago.
No need to run away to a cafe in Paris (unless you really want to), the "My Journey" journal is a great place to start to get who you have been created to be and why you have been created for such a time as this.
I recently traveled to a community to lead a workshop and it was my favorite one so far! Why? Because it had teen girls up to Grandma's - to see the generations working together and getting to know each other was a beautiful sight!!!! Seriously my heart exploded seeing all the open Bibles, pens and pencil crayons creating beautiful and washi tape being unrolled by the yard. Some were creative, some were not :) but everyone was getting involved and having a wonderful time.
The group of attendees from the church already decided to meet once a month to continue on the practice of "My Journey" journal and Bible Journaling. My heart was so filled with joy and the smile on my face lasted the long drive home.
This event was also a great opportunity for a test drive with the teen journal, and the girls really liked it from what I heard from the girls that attended. Here is a little more information on the teen girl journal:
I now have the 2018 "My Journey" Journal available for pre-order!
This spiral bound 8.5 x 11 workbook gives you a place to find peace and gratitude as you spend time weekly writing your thoughts and heart messages.
I will have pre-orders open only until November 25th, then they will be available for shipping the first week of December. So get your Christmas orders in!
Special bonus! Join me on my Facebook page for a Facebook live on Friday, November 10th! Be sure to "like" my page so that you will be notified when I go live! It should be entertaining since I have never done one before! :)
For anyone that purchases a 2018 journal will have access to videos posted in the members only section on my website, so be sure to register for your free account!
There are so many exciting things going on, make sure to join me on Facebook and Instagram, and share the news with your friends. I have worked through this journal for almost a year and I can't believe how much I have changed. My thoughts are more positive, my attitude is more reflective than reactive now and my prayer life has flourished. I am so excited to finally share this with the world!!!!!