Turning It Around

Oh, I had a Monday.

I started the morning running a little behind.  I discovered I had a low tire and took the time to air it up.  I thought to myself as I was airing it up that I’d have Grady fix it that evening.  No worries.

I was three blocks from the office on the busy main street in town stopped at a red light.  As I pulled out I heard an odd noise, but thought it was coming from the semi beside me.  I proceeded to the next light where I turn for the last two blocks to work.  Again, the noise, and this time I could FEEL that I was riding on a pancake-flat tire.  My heart sank and I knew I had to get pulled over as soon as possible.  I parked illegally on the side street.  Ran around to check and sure enough, flat, flat, flat.  I growled under my breath, grabbed my purse, lunch bag and started hoofing it to the office.  I was thankful that I was close, but worried that my car would get ticketed or towed.

This was NOT how I wanted to start my Monday, let alone my week.  As I made it in, I knew I needed to find someone to help me change the tire.  That’s when I started to get nervous about whether or not I even had a jack and tire iron.  I wasn’t sure that Grady had checked for all the necessities in this vehicle since we got it in May.

UGH!

After forty-five minutes of fretting over the possibilities I called upon one of the guys in the office to help.  Graciously, he dropped everything and came to my aid.  We located an air bubble and aired up the bum tire.  I raced (okay I just drove quickly) four blocks to a new (to me) auto shop who gladly took care of my tire.

Problem solved.

Right?

Why is it that when your day starts out wonky it seems to throw EVERYTHING in a tailspin?  My whole day was off.  I couldn’t get my head wrapped around anything and I felt like my work showed it.  I just needed my day to be over.

Tuck and I had a meeting that evening and on our way home we were blessed with this.

DSC_0155 copy2

Sheer BEAUTY!  I couldn’t resist stopping and shooting.

I was quickly reminded of all the beautiful blessings in my life.  Although my day started out roughly, I was blessed with co-workers who cared enough to go above and beyond to lend a helping hand.  I was blessed to find a nearby mechanic with a warm smile and honest heart.  I was blessed to NOT get a ticket for my illegally parked, “out of commission” vehicle.  I was BLESSED that the flat tire happened so close to the office and not on the busy highway I travel every day.

The bottom line…. I was blessed that day.  My misfortune showed me reminded me of the MANY beautiful blessings in my life EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 

 

Peace, love and fortunate misfortunes!!!!

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Waiting

Roald Dahl Quote Typed on Typewriter

Baseball is underway.  School ended last week.  The summer daycare routine has begun.  Late evenings spent in the garden and playing in the yard have resumed.  The busy-ness of summer is upon us.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering in the past few weeks as life has been whizzing by.

As Mother’s Day approached a few weeks ago my heart felt bittersweet pangs remembering Mother’s Day just one year ago.  On the Thursday before, as I sat at my desk diligently working on a project, I remembered the phone call from Grady that brought our world crashing down.  He’d been laid off from his job.  The pit of my stomach and my heart STILL remember to this day.  I don’t know that I will ever forget that feeling hearing those words and listening to him try to choke back his emotions.

I thought our world was coming to an end.  I couldn’t see anything except an out control downward spiral.  How were we going to survive?  I was a train wreck of highs and lows and every emotion in between.

A friend shared a quote today that hit extremely close to home and summed up the last year of our lives in a nutshell.

“Waiting isn’t only about putting off what you’ll receive at the end.  It’s about who you become in the process.”

Waiting.

It seemed like the first six months of the whole ordeal was spent waiting.

Waiting.

We were waiting on a job to come along.  We were waiting for money to pay our bills that seemed to be mounting.  We were waiting on answers to prayers that we thought weren’t being heard.  We were waiting on BETTER jobs to come.  We were waiting on life to stop kicking our butts.

Waiting.

At some point in time it dawned on me.  What if God is waiting on US?  What if he’s waiting on our hearts to be truthful in our search for what we REALLY want and what HE wants for us?  What if God is waiting on us to HEAR him and what he’s trying to teach us?  What if what we thought we wanted and needed isn’t what we’ve really been waiting for?

From that point on I got real with myself.  I got REAL with what I asked for from God.  I prayed from a place within myself that I never knew existed.  I prayed with a THANKFUL heart for the beauty and AWEsomeness that he gave to us.  I prayed for guidance and wisdom and an open heart and mind to HEAR him and his teachings.

When I finally let go of the control that I fault myself with having everyday, I was blown away with the answers that came before me.  I was awe struck by the beauty, kindness, generosity and love that surrounded me even in my darkest moments.

I saw that we were blessed.

We were blessed with a struggle and challenge that changed our hearts and made our marriage SOLID.

We were blessed with a struggle that made us better parents.

We were blessed with a challenge that made us more flexible.

We were blessed with a mess that opened our eyes to the world around us and opportunities we would have turned our backs on before.

We were blessed with a hardship that showed us what friendship REALLY means.

We were blessed with a misfortune that made us more faithful, prayerful and spirit filled Christians.

We. Were. Blessed.

We ARE blessed!

Living this blessing wasn’t comfortable by any means.  Living the uncertainty and unknown was a test of our faith and strength like none we’ve experienced.  Darkness crept in, but in the darkness we overcame with our faith and courage to NOT give up, to NOT take the easy road and to face our hardships head on.

Each day we are so incredibly thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.  We’ve both had opportunities laid before us that we wouldn’t have thought imaginable a year ago.  There is a happiness with simplicity within us that burns so brightly it can’t be anything other than Divine.

Waiting.

The best lesson I learned in this past year is patience.

Waiting.

When I gave up the control and WAITED for God, he led me to some of the most beautiful people, friendships and experiences I’ve ever known.

Today my heart is thankful and PEACEFUL.  My happiness is true and sincere.  My heart is full of light and hopefulness.  My soul is prayerful.

 

Peace, love and sweet reflection.

Happiness Through Tears

SCHOOL3My first day as a Special Education Para.

This day seemed so long ago.

Six months.

It’s really not that long.

It’s just a flash in time when you really think about it.

Six months…

Yesterday, I closed that chapter of my life.  It wasn’t a decision that I WANTED to make, but, rather, one I HAD to make.  It was, in all honesty, probably the hardest decision I had to come to terms with.

While Grady started a great paying job in December, the meager income I was contributing as a Para wasn’t helping at all.  The two combined just wasn’t enough.  Being of the mind that we don’t want to just “get by”, that we want to ENJOY life and be able to let our kids enjoy a few luxuries from time to time, I knew that I would have to start looking for a better paying job.

We prayed and prayed and prayed for the right job to come my way.  There were many days of doubt as resume submissions weren’t answered or interviews didn’t result in the job I thought I wanted.  I knew in my heart that God had the RIGHT job waiting for me.  He was testing my patience.  One morning it hit me.  I needed to be REALLY specific with Him about what I WANTED.  Starting that day, I got REAL with my prayers.

You want to know what happened?  A few mornings later, over a cup of coffee, I saw an advertisement for a position with a company I was familiar with in a neighboring city.  Within a few minutes I submitted my recently revamped resume.  Thirty-six hours later I had an interview set up for the following week.  Twenty-four hours after one of the best interviews I’ve ever had I got the call for the job offer.  God had answered our prayers.  He was blessing our family with everything I’d asked for, a company with FAITH at the forefront of their operation and an overwhelming devotion to the welfare and happiness of their employees and a salary that would help support my family with opportunities for advancement.  I was overjoyed.

That joy came with a price.

I was going to have to say goodbye to a job that I truly LOVED.  I never thought it possible to enjoy working in the education field as much I do/did.  As I’ve told so many people, the role I played in the daily lives of “my kiddos” just sang to my soul.  I loved walking into the classroom to excitement, stories, and hugs each day.  Each and every one of them hold a very special place in my heart.  I know their stories, I know their talents, I know their challenges.  I loved helping to challenge their minds and watching the wheels turn.  Seeing the light come on when they GOT it was priceless.

Telling my supervisors and co-workers about my resignation was tough.  Telling the kids was tougher.  Their hearts were broken along with mine.  For the past two weeks I heard daily pleas begging me to stay.  I read letters and lists of reasons why I couldn’t leave.  I watched fourth graders execute a petition for higher wages for paras so Mrs. Gibb could stay fueled with support/help from their home room teacher.  They were ferociously doing everything they could think of to keep me there.  I got great amusement in the realization of their greatest fear…  They were desperately afraid of getting a “Nanny McPhee” para with monstrous moles and a growling voice.

As much as I would have loved to have a “normal” day yesterday doing the things we always do, the kids had a much different idea. After lunch I walked into our home room class to a “surprise” party.

photo 2Signs were EVERYWHERE!

photo 3I was bombarded with little handmade gifts, cards and more letters.

photo 4photo 5photo 1The white board was COVERED in sweet little messages and they even brought cinnamon rolls and Mexican food, chips, salsa, bean dip and queso dip.

To say the least, I was spoiled.

…and I was loved.

At the end of the day, I did manage to duck out quietly.  I hugged kids in the hall and left as if it were any other day.

My heart is full today.  I said many prayers of thanks last night for being blessed with the para job.  I know God meant for me to have that position.  There were so many lessons I learned about myself, life and relationships.  I gained valuable friendships and great insight into the power of our community, the true meaning of integrity and what it means to NOT give up on your hopes, your dreams, what you BELIEVE in and those around you.

Monday morning I will embark on yet, another adventure and begin a new chapter.  I think I’m really going to enjoy this one.  It comes with signs of peace, resilience and comfort.

Life is beautiful.

Peace, love and Chapter 459

Hello 2014!

DSC_0052 copyGood morning January 1, 2014.

Good morning to a brand new year.

Good morning to new opportunities.

Good morning to endless possibilities.

Good-bye 2013.

Good-bye to last year’s troubles.

Good-bye to doubt.

My dream for the new year is like this picture.  Last year I felt like these old barns, drab, rusty, worn down and pretty much useless.  Then the light of a new day shines bright upon them and suddenly they’re something completely different.  They’re warm, safe and welcoming.  They’re a comforting sight on a cold day.

I vow to let the light of the new year shine through me and lead me in directions I never thought imaginable.

I vow to let last year’s trials and tribulations mold and sculpt me into a better person.

I vow to look at all new opportunities with wide eyes and see the possibilities in all of them.

I vow to be the best version of me I can.

I vow to be the best wife, mother, and friend that I can be.

I vow to thank God for all his gifts and blessings each day.

I vow to make 2014 the best year yet.

Happy New Year’s my friends!  May your year be blessed with goodness, renewed light, the love of friends and family and endless laughter!

Peace, love and new beginnings!!!

A Thankful Heart

Sometimes, when life throws serious curve balls in your direction it’s hard to find the things to be thankful for.  It’s no secret that our family has had our fair share of struggles in the past six months.  But… I am trying hard to find the things in our lives that make us BLESSED, the things that we should hold dear and be thankful for.

I am thankful for this man.

DSC_0201 copyThere is no one else I’d rather take this journey through life with.  He puts up with my crazy moods, sets me straight when I’m unreasonable and loves me beyond measure.  He is my rock and best friend.

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I am thankful for this kiddo.

CadeHe may not be mine biologically, but he’s my “first” kid.  He has taught me love, patience, tolerance and above all forgiveness.  We’ve had our fair share of rocky moments, but he has been a riot and joy to watch grow up.  He’s turned into a young man that I’m proud to be “second” mom to.

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Without a doubt, I am thankful for these two turkeys.

1-18-13 095 copyDSC_0115 copyI am amazed every day that God believes in me enough to raise these babies.  Their heart, spirit, sass, creativity, individuality and love overwhelm me daily.  My love for them is immeasurable and indescribable.

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I am thankful to call this place home.

DSC_0159 copyDSC_0215 copyFeet upThis is truly God’s country.  Grassland as far as the eye can see.  Wildflowers of all colors blanketing the prairie. Crickets and locusts singing their lullabies in the late summer.  Cattle calling for their calves.  Coyotes howling in the still of the night.  Peace.  Immense peace and the best place in the WORLD to just put your feet up.

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I am thankful for the newest addition to our family.

MacyWe adopted Miss Macy last weekend.  She was a stray taken in by a family in Wichita who didn’t have enough space for her to run.  When my friend shared her picture trying to help find her a home I fell in love with her face.  …much like I did when I found Jess, the weenie dog.  She’s fallen in love with the kids.  She naps with Tucker, sleeps at the foot of our bed and snuggles like a kid.  She and Jess have become instant best friends and play for HOURS.  We still hurt for the loss of our Harley, but Macy has stolen our hearts without a shadow of a doubt.

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I am thankful for our families.  We are blessed to have Grady’s within minutes from us and mine only an hour away.  They are always willing to help us with the kids or any little thing we may need.  Their selflessness doesn’t go unnoticed.  We love them immensely and are SO lucky to have them.

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I am thankful for the new job Grady will start on Monday.  A better income will help relieve the strain we’ve felt over the past six months.

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I am thankful for the children I work with every day.  I am certain they have taught me far more than I’ve taught them.  I am a better person, mother and friend because of what these kids show me daily.  There is no better feeling than walking into a building and being bombarded with hugs, stories and pure excitement at the mere presence of MY company.

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I am thankful for my community of people who have been so supportive and kind through our hardships.  Small town, America, is where it’s at.

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I am thankful for Thanksgiving.  I LOVE this holiday.  It’s, by far, my favorite.  I love the opportunity to gather with family and feast on amazing food enjoying good company and lots of laughter.  THIS is what the holidays are all about.  Togetherness and giving THANKS!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.  May your day be filled with blessings, reflections, good food and hearts full of joy.

Peace, love and unseen FORTUNES!!!!

Recharged

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…….

Yesterday I had the opportunity to join a magnificent group of ladies for a spiritual retreat at a local YMCA camp ground in the heart of our flint hills.  This was the beauty that we were blessed with all day.

I will admit that I was a bit nervous to go.  As much as I love stuff like that, sharing my personal thoughts and feelings in front of a group is WAY outside of my comfort zone, especially my spiritual thoughts.  I get VERY emotional about it.

I will fully admit that I was coming up with excuses of why I needed to stay home and do other things, but in the end I made myself go and was SO glad that I did.

DSC_0087 copyI knew most of the ladies there.  I’ve been attending church with them for 10 years.  I knew I was in a safe place and my thoughts and feelings were safe with them, as well.

There was so  much greatness that I took away from my day, but what stuck with me the most was this hymn, which we were encouraged to pray daily.

CHRIST BESIDE ME

Christ beside me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, King of my heart.

Christ within me, Christ below me,

Christ above me – never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,

Christ all around me – shield in the strife.

Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,

Christ in my rising – light of my life.

It was such a comfort to bring into my heart the reminder that no matter where I am, where I go, what I do, God is there surrounding me with his love and protection.  He is there to guide me and teach me.  I only have to be open to his wisdom and love.

We also spent a great amount of time meditating.  Have you ever tried it?  I think it’s a very personal thing. 

I LOVE it!  I’ve suffered from anxiety attacks for years.  They don’t happen all the time.  I struggle with them when life if incredibly stressful and I’m feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, like the last 4 months.  Having someone guide me through the breathing exercises, centering my mind and calming my nerves was exhilarating.  I can’t even begin to describe the calm that washed over my mind and heart.  I need to remember to allow myself to take the time to do this at least several times a week.  Allow myself to just BREATHE.

DSC_0085 copyI am so thankful for the day I was given, thankful for the ladies who hosted, thankful for those who shared so openly, thankful for the fellowship of sisters.

What an AWE-SOME day.

Peace, love and RENEWAL!!!!

Thanks and Praise!!!

photo(2)Earlier this week an old friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

“Your greatest need becomes your biggest blessing when it causes you to depend on Him.”

I read those words and they hit me like a ton of bricks.  It’s EXACTLY what I’ve felt since May when Grady was laid off from the feedlot.

There was SO much in life that we just took for granted.  NEVER did we think either of us would be unemployed unwillingly.  NEVER in a million years did we think we’d BOTH be in that situation.  It literally took my breath away for long periods of time.

Our spirit, faith and courage were all put to the test.

We have always been a praying family, but we became a prayerFUL family.  Our words with God became purposeful and meaningful.  Not one prayer was uttered without heart, truth and thanksgiving.  Through OUR words with Him Tucker learned what the true meaning of prayer is.  He began to pray so unselfishly for his parents, family and friends.  Our son would pray words that made my heart light up and a tear come to my eye.

Despite our new-found communication…

Darkness crept in.  We had moments, hours and sometimes days of falter.  We had episodes of doubt and disbelief in ourselves.  We exchanged cross words out of frustration and impatience.

But… at those moments when life seemed low and scary and eerily lonely there was always something around the corner that would glimmer and shine urging us to keep trudging on down the path.  So, trudge on we did, in faith, believing that our futures were, indeed, bright and would hold a promise of something grand.  We would continue to pray.

Rather than praying for the things WE wanted we prayed for what God wanted for us.  We prayed that He guide us to the right decisions, the right jobs and the right path.  The things that HE felt were right for us.

Monday night that glimmer and shine on our path became a beacon in the form of a phone call.

At the end of that conversation I screamed to the roof tops with so much excitement and THANKS I’m certain I was heard three counties away.

I accepted a job offer I interviewed for last week.  It’s a job that is outside of my usual realm of work.

Education…  I will be working as a Special Education Para.

When I interviewed for this position my heart was so filled with joy and excitement for the possibilities and challenges and opportunities with this new path that I knew that God definitely had his hand in this one.  I believe with all my heart that He led me on this journey to this exact destination and I am SO ready to start this BRAND NEW chapter!!!

We are saying many prayers of THANKS and PRAISE for the gift I was given.  Now I’m prayerful that I will be everything this job needs me to be.

Peace, love and MEANING!!