New Year’s Resolutions

To ring in the new year of 2017, late in the month of January, my mom, my four sisters, myself and some of my nieces met together for a brunch.  This was a first for us, and it was a very meaningful time.  It was a needed time.

So, why am I writing on this now?  Ha.  We are half-way through the year!  Let me explain.

One of the activities we did that day was writing our “New Year’s Resolutions” on 3×5 notecards, and then if we wanted, sharing with the group.  It was such a great idea, it truly helped me to slow down and be intentional about what my priorities really were for the year.  Afterwards, I placed my little cards in my Bible as bookmarks and needed reminders for my daily life.  Here we are in July, and halfway through the year and I smiled this morning as this particular resolution marked my Psalm this morning.  Rest.  True Rest.  Did I even know what that meant when I wrote it?  I certainly didn’t know what all my year would hold… that’s certain.  But, I smiled because I thought the definition of rest has taken on a new shape, and new meaning for me in so many ways the past few years.

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Rest.  True rest.

That’s what she said in January – beginning 2017.  Here we are in July.

I like to visualize rest thinking about our cat Thomas.  Now that fellow knows how to rest!  He has a little routine every day.  And it all revolves around rest, I’m pretty sure (well, that and eating..).  He has his morning stretches, his breakfast, his nap on Paul’s top bunk, snacktime, naptime on Wesley’s bed, snacktime, naptime on couch, snacktime, aggravate our other cat Romo time, snacktime, and then relax-time on back of couch or in our laps to complete his evening before bed time.

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The only time he doesn’t rest is when his food bowl is empty.  Not only does he not rest,  WE can’t rest.  Because he paces, stares, and even gives a little bite (if it comes to that!) to remind us “MY BOWL IS EMPTY.”

Kinda like me.  I can rest when things are all nice and tidy… all my ducks swimming pretty in a row (and for the record, I can’t even remember when it was that way for me.  I am thinking they are not even ducks at this point… maybe chinchillas?).

But, oh God where is the rest when things aren’t the way I want them?

Not when things are hard and confusing.

Or, when I have needs that I feel aren’t met.

Not when I feel I’m wronged or shorted from what I deserve.  (Ouch).

Or, how can I rest when the storms are big and unexpected… and the lights seem to flicker on and off.

Where are you?

And, He reminds me.  The wind and waves know my name.  You can rest.

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Throughout the years, lack of sleep has become my nemesis.  I’ve learned some practical ways that help.  Sleep association patterns:  Reading before bed, journaling my “to-do” list for the next day, calming playlist, lavender scents, relaxing a wee bit on my caffeine intake :), less screen time, good hydration, etc.  All great aids!  Definitely have proven to help me greatly!

But, maybe you will agree with me… there seems sometimes to be no cure for an anxious heart.  When you toss and turn on your bed, and sleep seems so far away.  Your pillow may be the only one you trust with your tears, but God sees.

What was the Psalm that my resolution from January had randomly marked?

“When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.”

Psalm 94:18-19

What’s the true rest I want to practice?  Trusting Him.  Allowing His words to console the deepest corners of my soul.  Letting go of what others think, giving Him all the heavy things I carry, fully embracing His forgiveness and grace, trusting that He is at work in all areas… even the ones that may be difficult to understand.  Entrusting each step to His wisdom and ways.  Reaching for His word when I want to ruminate on issues.  Committing myself to pray, even when there aren’t words, or when all I want to do is complain or worry. Looking for faithful friends who can listen, pray for me, and share needed perspective and truth to my ears. Settling my mind to know I am not the “fixer” of anything, I’m just a girl who has the opportunity to love others, as I have been loved. Loving is easy, when you spend time with the One who loves you.

Sleepless nights will still find us.  Anxious moments will come.  That’s for sure.  But even in those moments, we can have the gift of true rest.

2017 –  A year of rest.  The gift of rest that we can all embrace.

 

 

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my friends.

It’s almost 2015, folks!  (A bit of news for you, eh?)  😉  As I think about this past year, and actually, reflect even longer back on the past decade of my life, I am so grateful for the many, many, many, gifts I have been given.  So this morning, I sit and think… my heart swelling with gratitude.

My friends. Lighthouse

I am so thankful for you.  How can one gal be so fortunate to be loved.  To be loved so well.

In my life I’ve been so blessed, by so many undeserved kindnesses.  It overwhelms my heart, and lights a warm flame in me… that has needed to burn long and steady during some difficult days.

So, to you, I say thank you.  Words are trite, but they are all I have to give to you today.

Thank you for….

Gorgeous flowers…. at surprising moments.  At needed moments.

Trips to Cayman, to sit quietly on a beach and bask in God’s magnificent, splendour of Creation when my heart was tired, and needed to see His big radiance at work.

An owl pinata.  AND an owl Christmas ornament that says, “I *heart* Grandma”.  Just because.

Words of constant encouragement.  Lovingly pointing me to Hope.

Big, hearty gut laughs shared over the complexities (that we make), the simplicity’s (that we need reminded of), and great joys of these treasured days.

Texts and memes to make me laugh, or to whisper “you are loved”.

Trips to visit me in another country… just to lay eyes on me and make sure I was OK during medical issues.

Standing quietly by when I needed to cry alone, and squeezing me tight when I needed to cry with someone.

Red stretchy pants.

Consistent phone calls that sometimes weren’t returned during strong moments of grief.

Coffee pots and coffee times.  🙂

Special thoughtful gifts that say “I love you”.

Crazy selfies that make me laugh until I cry.

Heart to heart talks, with the comfort of full trust.  A kind ear and safe place to fall.

Chocolate!  (‘Nuff said, dearie.)

Songs to help me breathe.

Incessant prayers.

Pointing me up, up, up to the clouds.  Sometimes you have the best view of God’s big, beautiful sky when you are flat on your back.

Kindness.  Compassion.  Gentle understanding in moments when I wasn’t so pretty.  Yet, you loved me well.  You were patient.  You were kind.  You didn’t envy, or boast.  You weren’t proud.  You didn’t dishonor me, instead you gave of yourself sacrificially.  You didn’t get angry with me, and I’m hoping you don’t keep a record of wrongs.  😉  You rejoiced in light.  You pointed me to light, and you reflected my Father’s light.  You protected.  You trusted.  You hoped.  And you persevered in loving me well.

I love you.  Thank you, my friend.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

~Albert Schweitzer

1 Corinthians 13

thanks for walking next to me

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. 
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”    ~A.A. Milne

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about friendship.  My mom has this precious friend.  She is such an encourager, bubbly, warm, full of life… yet also always makes these little profound statements out of nowhere that send you into a whirlwind of creative thoughts, while simultaneously stilling your mind and bringing focus back to where it belongs.

Do you have those friends?  They are your every day people… moms, grandpas, hairstylist, teachers, children, doctors, and students.  They walk with you through this life, and make it a wee bit more bearable. When the day feels a BIT gloomy, just a reminder of them can make you smile. That text comes at just the right moment with a winkey-smiley and a warm greeting for your day (right after you spilled your latte on your clean white pants, and you were already rushing out late for your meeting…hmmmm….sounds like I know this from experience, huh?)  A game night full of laughter reminds you that sometimes when things are too serious, we just need fun and fellowship to ease the moment. Then there is also a quiet cup of tea or coffee sharing your deepest thoughts, frustrations, and then hope.  What amazing gift — the needed people in our lives!  My mom beams a little brighter after she has spent time with her buddy.  She kinda shines actually, and it shows me what strength is passed on by that encouragement.

So then I ask myself the question, am I a good friend?  Am I the best friend I can be to those around me?  Are my words always full of life and encouragement?  No. Not always actually.   Yes, I am still on a journey learning how to be the most excellent friend I can be.  Sometimes I am grumpy, non-responsive, or negative.  Other days I try to please my friends more than God, doing ALL of us a big disservice.  Yet, still, even in my weakness, the treasure  remains in those friends who keep lifting me up when days are tough, and then laughing with me when the sun is shining finally. They remind me of who I am, and fill my life with kindnesses that urge my heart on, making this pretty-tough-and-not-always-fun road, easier because someone is walking next to me.

I thank God tonight for my friends.  So grateful for one of the many ways He loves me, and may I never fail to see how beautifully and clearly He loves me through the gift of companionship.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:  “Two are better than one,  because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down,  one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”