Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Things aren't Always What they Appear to Be ~

This past summer on our wonderful road trip
I shared something with a friend, something I sometimes struggle with in my life.
To my surprise,
she immediately felt better about her own situation.
She was so glad to hear my life wasn't perfect!
I was so taken back, "why would you think my life is perfect?"
 Basically she was basing it on my Facebook posts.
I assured her my life was far from perfect,
I have struggles and challenges always, and we shared
some of those things with each other, privately.
Thank you sweet friend :-)
Friends are good like that.... I love that she shared how she saw it
if even just through Facebook :-)
 It really became important to me that people know
me life is not without challenges as that is not what I desire to project.

To be clear, I have thought about it several times since.
I try very hard to not share negative thoughts or negative feelings on Facebook.
If someone upsets me I don't post it on Facebook.
You will not know if a friend has hurt me,
if I'm upset or disappointed with a family member.
If my hubstir and I have had a disagreement.

I try not to let people know when I have been let down.
I will not share financial worries.
 Yet all of these things have occurred or may occur.
 I will share on a negative subject if I believe it may help someone
by doing so.
Sometimes it's good to know we aren't alone in the muck.
Okay, I may share how over this hot weather I am.
Over and over and over, I may share it :-)


Facebook for me is a place to keep up with my friends and family,
where I'm able to keep up to date on their children and grand children. 
A place I can follow road trips others take and live it vicariously through them.
Especially Judy and Elmer :-)  

Facebook for me is a big Namaw's brag book where I will flood you
with photos of my little loves and I will tell you how much joy they bring to my life.

I will post photos of my friends, because they are forever memories that I choose
 to relive often by a quick glance at a post I've shared. 
 It's a great way to share the memories with those in the photograph as well.

I will post photos of the beauty I often see, when I take the outside in.
Older people (such as myself), become much more aware of God's beauty each year we remain.
Anyone else notice this??

I will share my faith because it is what's most important in my life.
 Share, not insist you believe the same so please don't think otherwise, or feel you need to 
defend yours, or attempt to tear mine apart.
My page, my share :-)

I will share funny stories or thoughts, because humor is good for everyone!

So, life is not perfect based on the joy I share on Facebook or otherwise.
Many like myself choose to keep private things, well private.
Not everyone needs to hear my woes, my anger or my disappointments on Facebook
Not everyone needs to know when I've had a hard day or week, when some have hard lives.

The world has much to much negative to toss at us daily, I choose not to add  to it.
It will never mean my life is perfect.
I am not immune to fears, stress, worry or cellulite :-).

I'm living a real life, and that comes with stuff.

If something is happening in life I may ask for prayers for myself or for others.
If something is happening in your life, I hope you will ask the same from me.
We're all in this together.
My intent is never to project a life other than what it is,
it's just a portion of my reality I share publicly .....

Problems, Joy and all other nouns that describe life,
 its what echos from my heart today  :-)

Monday, October 12, 2015

What's the Rush?

I'm not sure why it surprises me ever year that right next to the blow up pools that are now on sale
(we splurged for three) in August, are all things fall and next to it Christmas decor!
I mean can't we just enjoy the month we're in what's the rush?
Are we a society that is in such a hurry that we need to decorate for an October holiday as soon
as August comes to an end?

Typically, I decorate for a holiday once the month of the holiday arrives.
Once it's officially February (insert hearts), Spring, Fall, and Happy Birthday Jesus month. 
Not before.

Seeing it up in stores so early kinda stresses me out, as if its 
shouting I need to hurry!!!!
I don't want to hurry.
The days of hurry are gone for me.
I missed too much of the good in life because of the hurry syndrome. 

I confess I started Christmas shopping in September, quite leisurely I might add.
 We have cut back on that holiday budget, most of us have more than we need.
 I try and buy a little something that I know a person might love..
I prefer sailing into the holiday without the rush of having to rush to shop.
It's much more fun for me this way :-)

I was curious so I looked up the word rush...
 In red is how I see it....
verb: rush; 3rd person present: rushes; past tense: rushed; past participle: rushed; gerund or present participle: rushing
  1. 1.
    move with urgent haste.
    Urgent haste....okay, in an emergency I will rush.
  2. 2.
    dash toward (someone or something) in an attempt to attack or capture them or it.
    I did run the 50 yard dash in 6th grade... 
    I captured my hubby, though he was willing to be caught....

    I've been known to dash toward the voice of a grandchild as they wake from a nap, 

    in order to get them first.

noun: rush; plural noun: rushes
  1. 1.
    A sudden quick movement toward something, typically by a number of people.
     Seriously, I'm 59 (not rushing to 60) there are no longer quick movements to speak of. 
     Doing so would likely cause some type of injury and then I would
     (see verb) be in an urgent hast to get to an E.R.
That said, no Turkeys until the Halloween candy is gone... (may possibley rush to help finish it) 
Turkeys are for November.
No Ho Ho man or Elf on a shelf until December.
No colored Eggs until we receive the invite to my sister Deanna's for Easter Brunch.

I do fly my flag everyday,
I do not wait for Flag Day, or the anniversary of 9/11
I thank Veterans each time I see one,
I don't wait for Veterans day.
Neither are a rush, just habits I wish to keep.

If in a rush  = I'm not enjoying the moments.

I confess, I will rush toward a big Papa bowl of Rocky Road Ice Cream....
and enjoy everymoment!

Avoiding the rush, its what echos from my heart today.

Friday, October 9, 2015

24 Beds

Often times in my life I have learned things the hard way. 
Rather it be a stubborn will, or a lack of complete trust,
it's in the hard I learn.

My spiritual journey for most of my life has been one of 
relying on God until things are good again.
I would get to a good place and I would basically think I 
could now do this thing called life on my own.
All the while still believing in Him,
but as the song goes,
I did it my way.....which never worked.
When I rely on self or put my faith in others I am often disapointed.
When I rely on God, 
It brings peace, full indescribable peace.
It wasn't until my late 40's that I was fully committed to  
never walking away and relying on myself again.
It has been an incredible journey once I surrendered  it 
all to a God bigger than any issue I may have had.

My faith was recently tested in a very big way.
I am the retreat coordinator for our annual Women's Retreat.
 Every year we contract a low number of how many we believe will attend
with the knowledge we can always add.
This has worked well  for the last four years, at minimum we only pay for the number in 
the contract.

Two weeks prior I make the phone call to turn in our final count, 
this year it was 84!  Myself and the team that makes it all happen, worked
very hard and we were sure God would be doing great things on our weekend retreat
that would benefit the women of our church.
We were very excited about what God was going to do.
Little did we know......
I actually sent my contact at the retreat center our final count of 84 via text message.
I didn't hear back that day which was unusual, so I copied the text and emailed it the 
following day.

I heard back right away...

" I'm afraid I have some bad news.  This year we can only provide you the 60 beds that were in 
the contract. We have never had a situation like this in the past, but a mega church
came in two days prior and bought every last bed on site and off site.
I am trying to figure something out and will be working on that until 11::00 P.M. tonight.
I can't even offer you one extra bed at this point."

To say I was shocked would be a complete understatement.
My heart immediately heavy, as I went into a very sureal state.
How do I tell 24 women they can't attend after all?
Oh and God, I have information on some that I know need this retreat more than ever,
the timing was so perfect for them!
I emailed three praying friends and asked them to start praying...

I made phone calls to local hotels and motels in the vacinity of where the conference center is.
Everyone, booked solid that weekend.
Really God?

How do I attend and remain upbeat about the weekend?
Some would be told that someone they were counting on being there with them
will not be there at all....
Oh boy, it was heavy friends.
It was a very long 24 hours.

One P.M. the next day I called, I just needed to know now so I could notify the church and
begin the unfortunate task of notifying those that could not attend.
The voice on the phone tells me my contact is in a meeting, in fact the whole office is until 2 P.M.

I privately thought, perhaps they are all brainstorming trying to find away?
I wanted so badly to remain hopeful but that negative voice would remind me, 
you are expecting 24 beds, pretty impossible.
I thought, I know I believe God can do anything but, perhaps a bed or two.
He could help them find one or two but 24? Well that would require a miracle of sorts!

As I wait for the hour to pass and the chest pains began...
my thoughts ranged from, how do I face anyone after this...as if I would wear the scarlett
letter to church every week so everyone would know....
 the big R on my chest
 (retreat fail).
 It may be easier to change churches never to be heard from again!
I wish I were kidding, these are real thoughts I was having.
Crazy but real.....

My phone rings and I can see it's my contact from the conference center,

Upon hearing his voice I break, he says,
"you don't sound so good"
I of course replied, I'm not doing to good.

He continues;
"Well, I can't explain how because last night and today I have looked over rooming charts
for all the churches attending 50 times if I did once!
I have some good news."

I pipe in, did you find us any beds?
How many?  I asked....(knowing I'd still have the same problem even if he found a few.)
" I found you 24 beds, exactly the number you needed! " 

As I totally break into tears of joy, 
"are you kidding me?"

He assured me again unable to explain, yes 24 beds!
I could tell he was as relived as I, he has such a heart for what he does.

I immediately confess, I feel so badly that I doubted God.
But I did. 
Really, 24 beds were just going to appear???

Why yes, all 24 of them.
Again I'm reminded I serve a God bigger than any issue that comes my way.
As I hung up I immediately text my prayer buddies and let them know the good news!

Then I went directly to Mark 9:24,
A father says to Jesus,

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

This was me, I do believe, yet I had to overcome my unbelief.
I have.

After the 84 women were welcomed to the retreat,
you can bet I shared my story.
Barely able to speak as it was just so amazingly big!
I ended it with, if anyone has any complaints this weekend,
I will remind you, 
You have a bed!

I'm so glad I choose to share my story of unbelief (doubt) with them, I trust many will remember it
at some point down the road when they experience something they believe may be 
to big for God.

Many times throughout the weekend when something amazing was shared and women were 
needing to hear just whatever it was, I would break into tears at the thought,
they may have missed this special time......but God!

As women left on our last day, many of them shared with me that 
they will never forget the story of the 24 beds!
Praise God for that!!!!

My hope is you too might remember when things seem too big for hope,
24 beds......
its what echos from my heart today.