Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reflections of our hearts

What are the reflections of your heart? By that I mean - what do you really value in life? Holley Gerth says "Our values are a reflection of our hearts and God has made us unique in what we respond to most." By values she means what is important to you, not morals. I believe these kind of values are things that bring hope and joy to our lives.

Not too long ago I was doing some serious thinking about what I would do if I knew I only had 24 hours left on this earth. Now, don't worry, I wasn't thinking in a depressed sort of way. Life had just gotten way too busy. I was really needing to figure out what is important and what is a priority. If it made the list of what I would do in my last 24 hours than it is truly a priority of priorities.

I love going to the beach and watching sunsets..... that would be nice.
I love chocolate and mocha lattes..... yummmm.
What about my "bucket list"?...hmmmm.

As I became still and allowed my heart to reflect on what is important to me, what I truly value, it became pretty clear - it is simply family and close friends.

Phooey on my "bucket list"! It isn't a very long list and I only have one thing crossed off so far. But things like taking a spin in a Nascar race car, being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune and learning to quilt just aren't that important compared to spending time with my family. In case you're wondering, the one thing I have checked off my "bucket list" is get a tattoo. Actually, I have gotten two - both when I was 50 years old. The second one I drew and so I am a tattoo artist. And yes, they did hurt.

A major step in restoring some hope & joy in my life happened this past Christmas season and it involved special times with my family. It was the first year since my Kyle died that I even felt like celebrating. We didn't do anything big or special. We spent less money than in past years. But the time that was spent with family is priceless. The memories we created from our just being together, sharing food, love and lots of laughter are what has helped bring healing to my heart. It is these things that have helped me move on to the next chapter in my life.

I believe Holley's statement is so very true. These times with family are things I value and are a reflection of my heart. The Lord used the thing I value most to begin my journey to finding hope and joy. I don't know if hope brings joy or joy brings hope. I think it works both ways.

And I believe if I knew I had only 24 hours left on this earth you would find me with my family and a few close friends laughing and sharing and loving. Maybe we'd be at the beach watching a sunset and drinking iced mocha lattes. Priceless!!

BTW~ So, friend, what would you be doing? What are the reflections of your heart? Leave me a comment.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Finishing the Challenge

If you have read my very first post you know I never thought I'd find myself in "blogland". Well, maybe as a happy observer, but not as a participant.

Now, even more of a surprise, I have recently completed a 21-day challenge in "blogland" led by Holley Gerth. The series was titled "The Rest of Your Story". Holley led us through eleven days of preparation before we even got started with the challenge. There was so much discussed, thought about, discovered and learned that I can't begin to describe it all here. Be assured it was truly a blessing and each day I looked forward to what the next challenge would be.

By the end of our challenge we were to have written a personal story statement. This is like a mission statement, but since God is the author of our lives the word story makes more sense. The simple formula Holley gave us was: To bring + (what) + (who) + (how)

I keep struggling with this task. So far all I have is: To help restore hope and joy to those who are hurting and discouraged by ....... hmmmm.....

I have had a very hard time figuring out that last part. Maybe it's because of that perfectionist tendency I have that I feel it needs to be worded just right. Maybe I am over thinking something that's simple.

So, as I reread the lists of strengths and skills from the challenge, the word encourage keeps coming up. Ok, maybe that's what I'm looking for. I do love to send notes and cards of encouragement to someone who is having a hard time, is sad or discouraged. More than once I've given an encouraging word to the new cashier at the store when I see them struggling. Even as a child I wanted to help and encourage others. I remember encouraging a classmate in kindergarten (a really long time ago) who was too afraid to say "here" when the teacher called the roll call. I talked to him and told him it really wasn't so scary to say that one word when the teacher called his name.

I believe I'm onto something here. Let me try it again - To help restore hope and joy to those who are hurting and discouraged by encouraging them ..... hmmm...

Stuck again! Ok, so back to the list and ideas and let's try this one more time - To help restore hope and joy to those who are hurting and discouraged by encouraging them with acts and words of kindness.

Whew! I did it! Ummm..... now how do I put this into practice in my life's story? I'm not totally sure. I guess I'll just keep being the me that God created me to be. Because Jesus is the author and He's writing my story.

BTW ~ you can visit Holley Gerth at: Heart to Heart with Holley

Monday, February 8, 2010

Running ahead

When my boys were little they sometimes would run ahead of me when we were out shopping at the mall. They knew we were going in a certain direction and would just take off. They never hid or got lost. I think they were just excited because they knew the fun we'd have. The mall ment time in the arcade playing games, lunch in the food court, and a snack from the Cookie Factory before we'd go home. Usually somewhere along the line we'd stop in the toy store. Kyle would choose a Hot Wheels car (back when they were only $1.00) and TJ a pack of baseball cards.

When they'd run off they may have known what direction we'd be headed in, but not necessarily the destination. They wouldn't always know which store we'd be going to next. Or when it was time to stop for lunch. Or just what was the plan and what was on my list. I'd let them go so far and than call them back to me. Sometimes they'd run back to me, other times they'd stop and wait for me to catch up to them. Then we'd start off again in the right direction together. As a result, we have some wonderful memories of the fun times we shared at the mall.

The past ten days have been pretty rough for me. I've been tired, crabby, slightly depressed and missing my Kyle a bit more than usual which makes me sad. I think I have finally figured out why...... I am running ahead of the Lord. Just like a little kid who thinks they know which way they're headed I just took off. In my journey to finding hope & joy again in life I thought I knew which way to go. So off I ran. Knowing it will be fun and wonderful and exciting. And wait.... I really don't know the plan, or list or destination. Yikes! What am I doing running off like this?!

So, I have stopped. I need to go back to the way I know the Lord was showing me to take. This is a rebuilding time in my life. Rebuilding of my faith and relationship with the Lord. Rebuilding of my focus on my husband and family. Rebuilding of how I live my life. Rebuilding my convictions. As I start out again on this journey I'll listen better to what the Lord says are His plans for me. I'll try to follow what's on His list of things for me to accomplish. I want to journey with Him, knowing that is when I will find true hope and joy.