Sustaining: Be Gracious

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24

It has not been hard lately to be grateful.  Sun is shining.  My relationships are going pretty well.  And I have a son.  And he’s pretty spectacular, though I’m pretty bias.

I think back to the moments that weren’t so sun-shiny.  The moments when my life was turned upside down by the loss of a heartbeat.  The moments when I laid in the middle of the floor in the fetal position crying out to God.

In those moments, I still practiced gratitude.  And I had one incredible thing to be grateful for that I couldn’t forget.

I had a God to cry out to.  And he would hear me.  And he wouldn’t forsake me.

And that was healing for me.  I would name the ways God has shown up in my life, big and small, and remind myself that he would do it again and again.  And I would praise him.  I would tell him how grateful I am to have him in my life.  That he chose me.  That he loves me.

This verse in Proverbs reminded me this week how important it is to continue practicing gratitude every day.  It’s not about being optimistic and smiley.  It’s about making a habit for the hard days ahead.  Because they will come.  But God will be there in the storm, just as much as he is here today in the sunshine.

 

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Thank You

I feel like I write these kinds of posts all the time.  But I am so grateful for the people in my life and in my community.  You all have supported me with your words, your hearts and your prayers, and I know that God has put you all in my life.  And I am so, so overwhelmingly grateful.

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Our life this past year has been full of transitions, both good and bad.  From our miscarriage to job changes to my grandfather recently passing, I feel like I have not gone through any of it alone.  I’ve received so much support from this community, from the people in our lives here in Dallas, and from my friends and family across states and even in other countries.

Thank you to the people who read this blog and encourage me on a weekly basis to keep writing.  When I started this blog, I wanted it to be something real that I shared with my family, friends, and online community.  In the past, I have written blogs that didn’t really feel like me.  I have worked hard this last year to make sure that the things I’m posting are things from the heart, but I do tend to leave out a lot of the details.

Because of your support, I’ve decided that I’m going to write more about what’s going on in our lives here in Texas.  I am really passionate about the things I do, and I want to share those things with you.  I hope you enjoy the extra writing each week.

Currently, I post most of my blogs on Facebook.  I will still post my blogs on Facebook from time to time, but if you want to follow all of my writing, I would encourage you to subscribe to my blog through an RSS feed or by email.  Or you can just go back and read what you missed when I do post a blog entry on Facebook.  Whatever works best for you.

Thank you all again for all the support you have given me this past year.  You are all amazing.  Thank you.

Legacy

I’ve been getting a lot of wonderful feedback from my posts.  To say that it’s overwhelming, well, it would be an understatement.  I don’t know how to take all these compliments gracefully in the moment.  I never really know what to say.

It’s not the fact that I’m at a loss for words, but more so that I have too many words to say in that moment.  So, I thought I would take a minute to say those words (and perhaps take the easy way out the next time someone says something to me, and just refer them to this post).

The entire reason that I am able to say the things that I say, to react to my circumstances as gracefully as I can, to show the perspective of life that I have, is because of the legacy that has been given to me by God through the men and women in my life.

It starts, of course, with my parents.  I remember all throughout my childhood, around bedtime, I would see my dad pouring over his Bible with the black leather cover.  I remember the conversations I would have with my mom about life, and how God always seemed to be in the center of each of those conversations.  My dad taught me to stand up for what I believe in, and to build those beliefs on a foundation of knowledge and understanding in God.  My mom taught me to always look for the God connection in my relationships with other people, and know that I’m representing Christ in my words and actions.  My parents gave up their free time to support the church and do mission work in India, Panama, and for several years in Jamaica.  They taught me the importance of spreading the gospel.

There’s my extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents who have God as the center of their lives.  Their example has inspired me to always keep God in the forefront of my life and to believe in the power of prayer.

Then, there was the first church family that I can remember – Hickory Knoll Church of Christ.  I still to this day consider those people as part of my family.  I learned from them about love and acceptance, trust and obedience.  I fell in love with hymns in that church.  I learned about the Bible, memorizing the books and verses.  When I went back for a visit on our first anniversary, it felt like I had never left.  I am so proud of that church and everything it signifies in its community.  They truly taught me what it means to be part of a church family.

Of course, there were other churches that helped me along my spiritual path – Macland Road, Burnt Hickory, Downtown, Highway.  Of course, when Michael and I moved here and we became a part of Greenville Oaks.  That’s when I received a lot more clarity on my life as it relates to the Kingdom.  I learned that I was placing my value and security in things that are temporary, and started on a path to begin placing my value and security in the permanence of God.  It affects every part of my life – how I am as a wife, daughter, friend, woman, blogger, and Christian.

So, when you read the words on my blog, know that they are mere echoes of the legacy of people throughout my life that have brought me to this point.  It doesn’t feel right to take the credit for what all these others have done for me.  So, I just want to say thank you.  Without your love, acceptance and guidance, I would not be where I am.  I know that God has worked through each one of you to help me along this journey.  I praise and thank God every time I think of you.  You are all such incredible blessings to me.

Weekly Check In 1/10/2015

This post is just a bit of housekeeping for my blog, little tidbits that I wanted to share from this past week that really don’t make an entire post.  I think I’m going to try and do a check in each week for the month of January, just see how it goes.  If it works out well, then I may do this longer.  I guess it just depends on what’s going on at the moment.

This week was cold.  I realize that cold is quite relative, but for this girl from New Orleans, anything below freezing outside justifies a day spent at home.  I stayed in most of the week, which suited my dogs just fine.  It just meant more snuggling under the blankets.

This may be TMI, just forewarning, but I started my first cycle this week.  It was another reminder of reality, but it also meant that it was one cycle down of the three I have to have before we can look at trying again.  I don’t know that we will actually start trying at that point, though.  I have another emotional check up in March with my doctor that will help with that decision.  Still, it’s good to know that we are moving closer to more possibilities.

Since I stayed in a lot due to the weather, I watched a few Netflix movies.  I enjoyed “In Your Eyes” and “Liberal Arts” enough to watch them all the way through.  Out of those two, I really liked “In Your Eyes” – a sweet, sci-fi type romance that didn’t have the most perfect plotline (hated that the girl was married and fell in love with another man), but it was pretty light and sweet all the same.  Neither are kid friendly, but the “romantic” scenes were handled without complete nudity, which is sad when movies today are almost expected to show a girl’s chest or a man’s butt to really “set the scene.”  But I digress.

Our church is offering a GriefShare class on Wednesday nights.  Michael and I went this past week to check it out.  The class consists of a video, some discussion and a workbook to do throughout the week.  It was good to share our story with the teacher, Curtis.  He has a real heart for ministry and I intend on going back next week as well.

This morning we went to the other side of Dallas for Coral Fest.  My husband is a reef keeper, which basically means that he maintains coral and fish in a saltwater aquarium.  At Coral Fest (as well as a couple other events throughout the year) vendors from all over the country come together to sell pieces of coral (called frags) that they have grown from colonies.  Some of these frags or coral can be sold for hundreds of dollars, and some are sold for ten or twenty bucks, depending on the variety and size.  Michael saves up for these events and purchases pieces for his tank.  He has an eye for selecting beautiful coral and a talent for caring for them once they are added to the tank.  It’s also neat to see the community come together.  There is such a camaraderie at events like this.

This evening, we saw “Night at the Museum 3.”  I wanted to watch something light and fun, and it was.  I really enjoyed that trilogy.  When Robin Williams came on the screen for the first time, there was an audible gasp in the theater.  I definitely cried a little during that scene as well as some other heartfelt scenes towards the end (I won’t spoil it because I think it’s a movie worth watching).  I went to the museum last April, and it was neat to see the exhibits and the front of the museum again.  It’s now on my bucket list to visit the one in London!

So that was my first week of the new year.  I want to thank you again (I’ll probably be saying this a lot – at least until the feelings of overwhelming gratitude and amazement subside) for walking with me through this blog.  Your comments, both in person and online have really encouraged me.  You have definitely made my steps lighter on this journey, and I love you all so much.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Taking a moment in gratitude…

You know, I had no idea when I set up last week’s challenge how much love I would instead receive.  I mean, I did pretty good on the challenge, finding a person to show love and compassion to, but the love and compassion I received seemed so much greater!  🙂

This week, I want to challenge myself to show more gratitude to the people in my life.  I think sometimes I can go about life, completely grateful with where I am and who I am, but forget to take the time to actually voice it.

So, I wanted to start off this week of having a “Gratitude Attitude” by thanking all of you, readers.  Whether we met recently online or you have known my in real life for a while, I really appreciate your encouraging words as I have started out on this endeavour.  You really have made me feel welcomed into the blogging community.

I never realized how awesome the blogging community really was until I became a part of it.  I have been reading several blogs over the last year, and found a lot of articles were fun to read, but it was the interaction and growth in a blog that makes it really fun.  Thank you so much for your comments and emails that have blown me away.

I know I have just started out, but this community is so awesome, and I’m so grateful that you have allowed me to be a part of it.  I look forward to getting to know you all more, as well as growing and learning more in the process.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Challenge #2: Take a moment each day to tell someone how grateful I am to have them in my life.