Posted in Devotional

Things

Has anyone ever thought about making a list of all your worries?

I feel like many times I worry and stress over all the things in life that causes concern rather than turning it all around and searching for what I have to be grateful for because of it.

I am truly working hard and striving to be conscious of everything in my life, even the bad stuff, that I need to thank God for everyday. I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in a busy life and only turn to the Lord when I am struggling. In reality, I need to be thanking him when life is good even more so.

In spite of all my worries, I do have some happy moments in my life. I have some good days even though many times they are clouded with the storm that is brewing in the back of my mind. It is hard to forget how much my heart aches everyday, but there is some joy regardless of all the pain.

I simply have to search for it.

It is there as clear as day, although sometimes I don’t immediately realize it.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,”

James 1:2

As I was reminded while listening to the sermon I watched yesterday with my daughter and hubby, we are simply on a path to get to where we are going. All the materialism, money, popularity, and all “things” we may desire on Earth will not matter, nor will there be a place for them. What will matter is if we followed the Lord on our way, or if we lived by our own rules.

The sermon, my family’s situation, my worries, my prayers, the holidays….they all have me thinking lately. Thinking about life, about being grateful, about what brings me joy. It’s nice to have shiny new things, but at the end of the day that is all they are.

Things.

We seek more and more in search of finding happiness. Joy.

In the end we realize they are simply distractions. Objects. Just things.

No feelings. No heart. Lifeless. Cold.

Most of us would give away everything we have to save ourselves and those we love. For our health. Our family. For love.

God got that right the first time. However, we are still learning.

Today, I wrote out a list of some of my worries, and I turned those worries into gratefulness. Because at the end of the day, I know there will always be something to be thankful for.

A couple of weeks ago I was traveling back home from out of town and stopped for a coffee for the road. As I ordered and waited in the drive thru I noticed a young man behind me and felt an urge to pay for his coffee. Not because I had extra money to spend, but because my heart led me to do it. Someone had done the same for me a few months earlier.

Had that person sensed I was having a bad day? Maybe.

Regardless, the gesture warmed my heart and made my day thinking a stranger had been so kind. I paid the deed forward in hopes it would make someone else feel the same.

No matter how broken I feel inside I want to remain steadfast on my path. I don’t want to let the bad stuff make me bitter. I don’t want to get distracted by all the shiny things.

I want grace, and I want love. I want it all around me. Even in the midst of all my worries, I know it is there.

It is a promise.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Posted in Devotional, Family

Be Thankful

What do you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

It has been a challenging year to say the least. One that has put us to many tests, questioned every ideology we believe in, and divided our society more than we care to discuss.

Yet, through this ever changing crisis in our world, I am fighting harder than ever to remain hopeful in every aspect of my life. To say it has been a difficult task is an understatement.

I am awake at 1:30 in the morning going through the thoughts weighing my mind down. It seems almost a bittersweet day, trying hard to focus on the good in order to battle the demons I wrestle with inside my head.

Twenty-four hours from now my heart will be brimming with love, my house will be full, and the four beds upstairs will be filled with my blessings. It is an instance I have been anticipating, and one that brings joy to my soul.

Everyone will be home from college, and the holidays will begin.

It is a time of year to reflect on all I have to be thankful for, all I’m blessed with, and how grateful I am for my family. This year has been filled with ups and downs, and it has produced a time like no other.

In spite of all the chaos, there are many reasons to feel blessed. And, my list is long.

On another note, there is also a sense of sadness, heartbreak and hurdles that have plagued me, one after another. It is hard not to recall those moments no matter how hard I push them back in my mind.

I have had an uneasiness in my heart. One I know is fueled by anticipation, waiting and what-ifs. At times it overwhelms me to the point where I feel like I am suffocating. The anxiousness takes over at those moments, and I remind myself to just breathe. There are moments I feel like I’m going to explode and the anxiety will consume every inch of me.

Distractions. They are my saviors for the moment.

I wrestle with what this week should look like and all it is. It bounces back and forth in my mind as I try to grasp hold of it to get it under control.

Peace. It is near. I feel it just out of my reach.

I simply must stop the noise I have let inside, take the leap and grasp it.

In the midst of all the storms in my life the only peace I can cling to is having hope, trusting the Lord will see me through and remembering there is much to be grateful for.

Other than being thankful for the obvious blessings in life, I am grateful for the hope I have found. The prayers, the Lord, and all the things not seen. They are there and the only sense of comfort that brings any peace in my life.

My children are my salvation. Without them I would not be able to weather the pain I feel in my heart. They give me strength to get up each day, knowing I have moments with them to look forward to, their hugs, their I love yous, their voice calling out to me. They fill my heart with a joy I have no where else in my life. They create the four corners of my world. They are my biggest blessing.

My family, my friends, the wonderful doctors, my parents, my aunt and uncle, my brother, the crazy dog who brings so much laughter to these rooms and all the others I fail to mention. The battles hubby fights so hard without complaints, providing for our family in spite of his illness, and all the times he has been the one comforting me.

All of you have been a solace in the storm. All I am blessed with. All the good in spite of the bad.

It is in the midst of turmoil that sometimes we find the many blessings bestowed upon us. Without the bad, how would we see the good?

Perhaps, we should remember we need to have the negative in order to see the positive. The bad in order to appreciate the good. And, the storms in order to enjoy the sunshine. No matter what we endure, the glass is always half full if that is how we choose to see it.

On this Thanksgiving open your heart to the joys in your life, the blessings, the gratefulness. Find hope in the uncertainty, seek grace from the favors of the Lord, and appreciate what you do have. We all have something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Posted in Cancer, Family

National Family Caregivers Month

Do you know anyone who serves as a caregiver for a family member?

November is a time to recognize and support family caregivers so if you know one thank them for their dedication to humanity.

I’m certain being a medical worker is a rewarding career. I have many family members and friends who work and serve in the medical community. I never thought about the challenges of it though until I became my hubby’s caregiver.

Obviously, I am a wife and mom first, but since my hubby’s cancer diagnosis and my son’s burn accident I have become a little more to both of them.

In the process of becoming a caregiver, I have learned so much about advocating for my family members, being a nurse and wound care specialist, and the mental and physical needs of someone who cannot always care for themselves. I have learned to stand up and push for what they need or do not need, ask questions, understand medical lingo, fight for what’s right, and not be scared to be their advocate.

According to whitehouse.gov, more than 40 million people in the United States serve as unpaid caregivers.

Posted in Family, Self Help

Laughter

Do you ever feel better after a good laugh?

Through all the tears, all the pain, all the bad news, we still manage to laugh as much as possible in our house. And, when there’s no cure for what’s ailing you it’s hard to deny laughter makes it somewhat better, even if it is just for a short while.

Hubby always says one minute of laughter a day is all we need, but lately I’ve been feeling I could use a little more.

With everything going on in the world this year, I think everyone needs some laughter and some joy.

It’s amazing how much better I feel when I get out of my familiar surroundings for just a short while, spend some time with friends who are like family, and just LAUGH. I may need a second, or even a third dose throughout the day, but hey I know it’s good for the soul.

It’s a known fact laughing can reduce stress, ease tension, and just improve your mood. Even a little bit. Even for a short while.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22

Hubby has always been sort of a funny man. He’s kind of a smarty pants most would agree, and he can make anyone in our family laugh. Sometimes, he can make them mad as well. LOL

We have this crazy sense of humor we share, sarcastic in a way, poking fun in the other’s direction, laughing at silly memories. When I think back, I can remember so many things, so many times.

Sometimes I wonder, where does he come up with this stuff? But, I think in a way we feed off each other, knowing how to push each other’s buttons.

I love when we have those meaningless conversations, the ones that lead to laughing or reminiscing, and I end up smiling just thinking about them. So many memories, vacations with family, trips with friends, and holidays or occasions that include laughing.

If I lost him it’s what I would miss the most. His sarcastic comments, the way a family conversation is always full of chuckles and crazy comments, and how everyone plays off each other’s words. My children and their dad, telling stories, laughing, making jokes. It all makes me smile.

I would miss all of that. And, who else would ever put up with me?

Even in the midst of laughter, there’s always those thoughts in the back of my mind. And, I know what people will say, but it’s hard to distract the mind from going there. So, don’t say it to me please. I know I shouldn’t think about it, but tell my mind that at 2 am.

After everything we have been through it is hard to forget. As someone once said, it’s not about what might happen, it’s about what did happen. It’s not so much about worrying, but about remembering.

And, it’s hard to not remember all of the doctor visits, all the appointments, all the scans, all the complications, the infection, the cancer, the treatments, the effects, the wounds, the pain, the battle, the fight. It’s too much to forget, and the daily reminders are always there, in the morning and at night.

Always.

Every. Single. Day.

The laughter is a temporary distraction, and one that is always welcomed.

Needed. Craved.

Every day we tell ourselves, Laughter is the best medicine.

As the bible says there is a time for everything. I know God is telling me to enjoy life as I have it right now, because time is precious and we never know when we will come to the end of our path.

I remind myself it is out of my control, and I know I should not fret.

In spite of the division we have all around us, I am going to choose Joy, choose Laughter, choose to spend time with my family and closest friends because I know that is something I do have a choice in.

And, amongst the laughter that will be something to remember.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Posted in Devotional

Peace in the Silence

Do you ever just sit and think about quiet time?

I think about it every day.

My soul craves it like a sun-drenched skin thirsts for the shade. All the time I am imagining I require it to keep me in a homeostatic state.

I have made a conscious effort to cut out all the static and noise. When hubby first got sick, my mind tirelessly went to thoughts and worry and what-ifs. It was like I had no control of my mind, running rampant making no sense out of anything. There is no immediate way to stop all the racket in your head when your world has been turned upside down.

People can say what they want. They can judge, voice their opinion on what I should say, do, feel. Unless they have been in my shoes, they have no say in how I should feel. My spouse is in the battle of his life, and I am helpless.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Exodus14:14

How can you just sit back and watch that without a glimpse of worry?

It is almost too much to deal with on some days. I have went back and forth from managing to bad to worse. It’s like a miserable fair ride that won’t stop.

And, that reminds me. Do you ever just remember a similar instance of something happening that occurred in your childhood?

I feel like as a child I was on a ride, screaming to get off, for it to stop, but it just kept moving despite my mother yelling, STOP! I wonder if it’s real, just a figment of my imagination, or if maybe it’s me grasping for some sense of security and understanding. Maybe it’s my mother or some sort of thought transference, or maybe it’s just made up in my head.

The mind is powerful, turbulent at times, and a vessel of danger when we don’t practice discipline and use our authority to manage it. It can become our master and control us if we give it the power to do so.

And, not always in a happy or positive way.

I have learned silence is fuel. It repairs what is fatigued. A cure for the broken-hearted. It is only in the quietness I can embrace inner peace. It is where God is with me, where I sense I have some sort of protection for my heart.

I believe I have feared loneliness for so long that I didn’t realize being lonely and being alone are two different things. I have learned to appreciate my alone time, using it to talk to God and find the peace concealed inside me. I still wrestle with the loneliness at times, but now it is different, even though I have to restrain it from time to time.

I have regressed, back and forth, to this place. It’s as if I’m digging myself out of a pit, and on the other end someone is digging it deeper. I’m fighting being buried, fighting to survive, fighting my own mind.

If I can simply stop the chaos, stop the noise, stop the race, I realize the battle is over.

All it takes is a few minutes of quietness.

Silence.

Peace.

The more I practice it, the more solitude I find.

There’s no desire for validation or acceptance. No need for words.

The peace comes from the silence within my heart, where I know only God can calm the storm.