When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

She looks as wiped out as I feel when i am swamped!

She looks as wiped out as I feel when i am swamped!

We all go through storms and glorious moments in our lives. Sometimes those moments are all in the same day. Sometimes we are going through so many different things in our lives ~ perhaps because of the stage of life we are in, that the weight of the burdens seems and feels downright crushing. It is hard, really hard, to hope in those times. It seems that every ounce of energy is used to just get through the day.

It is at those times that we sometimes forget to invite God into the fray with us. It is no wonder that our hearts and souls feel lonely. We get on that hamster exercise wheel and just go-go-go, don’t we? We end up depleted. We must plug in, plug into the source of all energy and love. He renews our strength. He sets our feet on high places. He restores our soul.

So if you are dealing with heartache, overwork, underwork, heartbreaking disappointment, or just plain too much (or too little) to do, plug into God. Feeling overwhelmed? Go ahead and cry out to Him. He will be there. He promised. Reach out to Him. Lately I have been feeling some heartache ~ but today I lifted my mind and heart to Him. I stopped trying to just be good old reliable me, taking care of business. I asked Him to “carry my bags” today. I told Him I need to detach from things a bit. By that I don’t mean to stop caring. Oh no, far from it. Instead, I asked Him to direct my priorities–and send His graces. I feel soothed already. How about that?

“The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of the pain, thanking God during the trials, trusting Him when we’re tempted to lose hope, and loving Him when He seems so distant and far away. At my lowest, God is my hope. At my darkest, God is my light. At my weakest, God is my strength. At my saddest, God is my comforter.”

So even in the figurative rain…..SING!

GeneKelly

 

 

 

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Gratitude

What fills you with gratitude today? Is it little tiny things? Is it a BIG answer to a prayer? Is it just having the stamina to have made it to the middle of the week?

Do you ever have weeks where you are almost paralyzed with worry? In old fashioned books, they sometimes describe that as being care-worn. My heart feels a little care worn today. I was thinking about that earlier today and grousing a bit. I thought about it some more and realized that when we obsess and worry, our stamina decreases. So today, though my heart might feel heavy laden, I am determined to continue to give each moment to God. You see, He truly knows my heart.

He knows my prayer requests ~ and will bless me through it. The love I have for my family drives me to want the best for them, and to always see them happy, fulfilled, rested, healthy, and all the rest of that. Of course, troubles come their way, as they do for everyone. When they do, my heart breaks for them as they struggle through it.

BUT—I rejoice when they come shining through the tough times. I am hope. I am a believer in rainbows….even though it may be raining. I am grateful for the promise of the day….

I am grateful that you stopped by today. Take heart ~ there are rainbows right around the bend!

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TGIM ~ Thank God It’s Monday

"Marmoset there'd be days like this"

“Marmoset there’d be days like this”

So here we are, my dears. It is Monday~ and we have the rest of the week in front of us. Does that fill you with joy, anxiety, or dread? For me, it varies. I am restored after a weekend without my work routine. I know that there will be challenges and responsibilities that fill my time. But this week, I want to keep my perspective and focus where it should be.

Of course, that will involve taking care of my responsibilities. But so many times we forget to take care of ourselves. For me, that means to start and end my day with time spent with God.  I tend to hop out of bed and immediately start my chores. But as I do my chores I need to involve God. When I was a child, our teachers had us start the day with prayer, and we would offer our day and our efforts to God as our gift to Him. As I move through this week, I want to invite Him to walk closely with me and to work through me as He sees fit.

1236868_589518911096299_1975447816_nDannyForest

I want to use my efforts as His ambassador. By so doing, my ego diminishes, and I know that I work for Him first. So as I think about this week, I know that I will be presented with so many opportunities. I mean opportunities to work tirelessly and cheerfully. There will be opportunities to have my patience and faith tested and strengthened.

Discouraging times can and will happen in our lives. But if we look at those times as chances to strengthen our faith and increase our steadfastness, perhaps it will give us the ability to gladly accept discouraging times, because on the other side of that can be a stronger Faith Muscle.

Life’s adventures and journeys lie in front of us. May our journey be exhilarating, heartwarming, lovely, comforting, and everything else that we need. The faith we have as we venture forth each day of our lives sustains us. His presence in our lives is our lighthouse, guidepost, and ever so much more.

Happy Monday ~ I wish you love.

BoldAndBraveChick

 

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Once there was a girl

difficultRoads

Once there was a girl. Her name wasn’t actually Hope; but the way she lived each day and looked at one and all, her name could have been Hope. For the sake of this post, we will call her Hope. She believed against all odds. She always believed that the world was full of love and possibilities. It never occurred to her to be jealous of anyone, because she already thought the best of them. She always believed that she was received with care and compassion. She clung tightly to her faith. She clung through all the ups and downs of life. She did not use her faith as a crutch. she used it as a guide, her companion, her ship to sail across the waters.

Max Sailing

Hope continued to believe the best about others. She prayed for them, and always wanted the best for them. She took note of the sacrifices others made on her and others’ behalf. She was an optimist. She felt at home with oh so many people. She assumed she was a part of things and that she fit in. Of course, in those awkward teen years, she felt out of place at places like the swimming pool. But throughout her days and years, she eagerly joined in with all sorts of efforts. She committed her time, talent, and treasure to all kinds of things. Her family expanded and contracted over the years. Her heart melted and broke through the gains and losses of life. She gained dreams and lost huge dreams….but she still believed.

She treasured her family ~ her parents and siblings, siblings spouses and children, aunts and uncles and cousins, and her husband. She cherished her husband and son, and her husband’s family, too. Through it all, she noticed the ones who took special care to cherish her right back. For years and years she did not notice if there were some who did not treasure her right back. It never occurred to her that that would be the case.

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

There came a day when she became painfully aware that there were some who did not treasure her. Now this set her back and broke her heart. Many readers will find this silly, since this is really just a part of life. But it shook her to her core, and made Hope doubt her own value and place in the world. It gave her pause and made her realize that there was nothing, absolutely nothing she could do about it. Multiple things happened that confirmed the fact for her. Hope… in a way…lost hope.

But then a curious thing happened. Hope realized that although there were those that did not have her back (and perhaps never did), that did not alter her worth as a woman. All it altered was her own view of herself and the world for a time. She decided that she could not give those people the key to her ship or her heart. Although she was somewhat less Gidget-y or starry eyed….she knows this. She is STILL God’s creation, and a part of His precious crown.

HandleTheJourneyPoster

Hope knew that the source of her glow, her hope, and her optimism, is and always will be God. Yes, it would be lovely if the Kumbayah world she sees still included everyone she knows. Perhaps it still will. But the chorus of love around her is good. Hope cannot lose hope anymore. It would say that those who broke her are more significant than God and the ones who restore her and love her everyday.

Naysayers’ hearts can change, too. Hope knows that she, too may have done something to cause the string of events to happen. For now, she knows that she must change focus. Rather than look at the torn knees in her jeans after the tumble into the doldrums, she must refocus on the mountains, the stars, the fields of gold, and the open arms of loving people and on the presence of the Lord.

Smiling Christ: Frances J. Hook

Smiling Christ: Frances J. Hook

Hope still hopes, she hopes because the King of Kings restores her heart. She hopes once again, because the gift of love through those who restore her help to renew her strength. Hope believes. Hope insists on choosing joy.

My name is Kate ~ and I am Hope.

Kate 09-2012

Kate 09-2012

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We’re after the same rainbow’s end…

The classic song Moon River says “Two drifters, off to see the world There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waiting, round the bend, my Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me”.

Rainbow'sEnd

I never cared for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I love the song. Is it because it has the term huckleberry friend? Maybe. I have sweet memories from my childhood of that word huckleberry. The kid’s song the muffin man has it…and of course, the Mark Twain classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has it. My dad was a big Mark Twain fan, so he and I discussed his works on a regular basis. When I hear Moon River, I always sing the part about “my huckleberry friend” with a tear in my eye.

The urban dictionary tells us that a huckleberry friend is: A very special good friend that’s been in your life for years, typically for years. I definitely have some huckleberry friends, and I hope that you do, too. They bless my life with their glorious love.

But besides mentioning huckleberry friends, I wanted to talk today about the other part of the verse. “There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end….waiting round the bend….”

I saw this photo yesterday. It reminded me of that song. It made me think about how intertwined hearts share dreams, hopes, visions for the future, and more. We may long for peace of heart, glorious days full of wonder and hope. Like a rainbow’s end, the journey may even be theoretically impossible. But it is our journey, as we drift or even march along that makes it all beautiful. We can see that rainbow connecting the clouds to the earth. It is a symbol of hope and promise.

The rains do not last forever in our lives. Our difficulties will pass. Joy and love burst through our darkest moments. Our huckleberry friends see us through heartbreak and rejoice with us in happy times. I remember a day in New Jersey when my friends Pattie and Connie and I were outside with our kids, in a wonderful rain. The kids were running through the puddles and we just let them get totally soaked. They were floating leaves in the water as it streamed toward the storm sewers. Then, over the pond where the peepers croaked at night, we saw a double rainbow angling over our heads and seemingly ending in the woods just beyond us. It was such a lovely moment….the joyous rapture of childhood, the sweet treasure of rainbows….mixed together with huckleberry friends. Then, of course, we took the kids in to Pattie’s house, dried them off and had her FABULOUS potato soup.

So you see, when you least expect it….joy is waiting around the bend. Me? I long for connections with loved ones. I long for times and moments that renew my strength and faith. I love the promise of possibility. There are times in our lives when we “cocoon”. Perhaps we hide away from the world. Perhaps we lick our wounds. We crawl into a metaphorical chrysalis – to heal, re-group, and re-focus.

Then, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, what happens? You guessed it, didn’t you?

PosterCaterpillarWings

And you are ready to fly….GlassWingedButterfly

 

 

 

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Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush

Here is an article that I came across today. I hope it brightens your day. So many times I have reminded myself and others that each day is a gift, and there is a bright side to our situations. Sometimes people really jump in to remind me of something horrific in the world to serve as a counterargument to my optimism. There are times I do not have an answer for them. Sometimes the counterargument is about something SO horrific that not only am I unable to argue against them, but then I feel lower than low. BUT here is the thing. If I stay down and out, I CANNOT get through the day which may be filled with challenges. I am called to march through each day, no matter what. So I was glad when I stumbled across this article. I think it is a keeper.

Optimism Saves The Day ~ Harvey Mackay

http://uexpress.com/harvey-mackay/2014/8/4/optimism-saves-the-day

U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”

Which do you think will reach their goals, live a happy life and achieve their dreams?

Imagine interviewing two people who have identical skills, but one is always grumbling about how unfair life can be, while the other one talks about what wonderful possibilities exist. Whom would you want to hire? Whom do you think would do a better job?

Naturally, you would gravitate toward the optimist. If you choose the pessimist, you would be setting yourself up for plenty of aggravation and disappointment, not to mention the negative impact on your staff and customers. Pessimism can bring everyone down, not just the person with the negative attitude.

Pessimism is nothing more than self-sabotage. Expecting only the worst is not being realistic. Realists hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Pessimists can’t imagine the best, so only prepare for the worst.

And then if the worst never happens? Pessimists often find the worst possible result simply to prove that their concerns were right.

The question becomes, would you rather be right than happy? That’s not being realistic either. That’s being self-defeating. Pessimism can rob you of your energy, sap you of your strength and drain you of your dreams.

Optimism is the remedy. Optimism doesn’t mean pretending life is always wonderful. Optimism means embracing reality. You accept that there will be bad days, but also good days. When you’re grounded in reality, you know where you are and how far you need to go. Once you know how far your goal may be from where you are, optimism can give you the motivation to make plans to get to where you want to go.

Pessimists see life as one problem after another. Optimists see life as one opportunity after another.

How you look at life can drastically affect how much you enjoy your life. Optimists expect the best out of life. If you were not raised with this attitude, take comfort: It can be learned.

Optimism is based on three basic tenets, according to Mary Kay Mueller in her book “Taking Care of Me: The Habits of Happiness”:

– Bad things do happen in life, but they are temporary.

– Bad things in life are limited in scope and tend to be small or insignificant.

– People have control over their environments.

Pessimists reverse the tables:

– Good things in life are temporary.

– Good things in life are limited — small or insignificant.

– People have no control over their environments.

Does it make sense that pessimists tend to blame others or circumstances for their failures?

Optimists help create some of the good they come to expect, so they are probably right more often than not — and they don’t waste time worrying about what they’re not right about. Optimism relaxes people. When we’re relaxed, there is better blood flow to the brain, which results in more energy and creativity in your life.

Consider how optimism turned this situation around:

Over the course of seven years, a woman’s mother died, her husband divorced her, and she found herself living in poverty, just one step away from being homeless. In her spare time, she wrote a book that 12 publishers rejected. Finally one publisher accepted her book about a boy named Harry Potter. And then she wrote a few more books, which became blockbuster movies, and even spawned a theme park.

J.K. Rowling was an optimist who’s now a billionaire. How far in life would she have gotten by being a pessimist?

There is virtually nothing that you can’t do if you set your mind to it. You cannot control events in your life, but you can control how you react.

Do you want to be a pessimist and have no hope for a better future? Or would you rather be an optimist and believe you can achieve a better future?

There once was an old man who had many troubles. No matter what hardship life handed him, he faced each obstacle with a smile and a cheery disposition.

A friend finally asked him how he managed to stay so happy despite his challenges.

The old man quickly answered: “Well, the Good Book often says, ‘And it came to pass,’ but never once does it say, ‘It came to stay.'”

Mackay’s Moral: Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush — it can color any situation.

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Is that all there is?

My husband is hearing Peggy Lee singing “Is that all there is?” in his head. Work is stressful for him, and the long, long hours are difficult. For me and my tutoring, the school year is already underway. The summer went too quickly, as I really only had about a week off. He only had the 4th of July weekend off. Don’t get me wrong. We are grateful (beyond measure) that we DO have jobs. We are just exhausted.

With work demands and the needs of distant family, we again did not take a vacation for the 3 of us. It needs to be rectified. Stress and exhaustion do eventually take a toll. I have quantified times like this using this expression “I am tired of pushing greased elephants up glass mountains”. Obviously, when I feel this way it comes from lack of balance, and believing I am in the battles alone. Of course, I am not. God is with me through it all, and so are my husband and son.

There are medical situations that we need to attend to in the next month or two.In addition to those things, we need to have some sort of mini-vacation. My son and I will do some early fall housecleaning today as well. Believe it or not, that boosts my spirits, too. The day stretches out before me, and I will march on through it. God is my constant companion. He and I have MUCH to discuss.

The answer to the song running through my husband’s head: No, that is NOT all there is. It just FEELS like it some days.

Psalm 121 states “I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; or your guardian to sleep. Behold, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps. The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night. The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul. The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever”.

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

I lift my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help

 

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