August 14, 2016

The Only Constant in Life is Change

The only constant in life is change.

Though this may sound contradictory, it is the absolute truth.

Seasons change with the natural rhythm of the universe. Children grow and for us older individuals (ahem), our bodies can begin to decline.

Life on this earth is in constant change.

Those of us living in a climate where the seasons change somewhat drastically experience this daily. Last week temperatures were in the mid 90’s here in Wisconsin. In five short months we could be experiencing sub zero temps.

From tank tops and shorts to wearing layer upon layer of insulating clothing. -- if that’s not change, I don’t know what is!

Life is full of changes, on a physical and personal level, too. Families change their dynamic over time, and we are in the midst of a whirlwind of change here in our household.

In less than a month we will be celebrating our first family wedding as one of our sons joins his life with his bride in the eyes of God and man. Our family is growing! Such a joyous, happy time as we gather together to share in their hopes and dreams for their future.

In the midst of all this wedding planning, our youngest son heads off to college, with all of his hopes for the future pinned on several years of hard work as he pursues his studies.

So much change for this mama’s heart!

This summer has been a blessing for me. After spending the last twelve summers landscaping full time, I am trying something new. My oldest son is taking over my business, continuing the excellence of the reputation we’ve created in our work.

As for me, I spend my afternoons in my new office, enjoying the blessed relief of air conditioning! I love the challenges of learning something new and bringing all that I have experienced to a new enterprise.

Change is good when we open our hearts to be ready for it.

Although change is good, it isn’t always easy. How do we navigate these changing waters in our journey of life? What buoy can we hold onto when the waves of change roll all around us?

In all this change, there is one constant. One factor of our existence that does not change, ever. And that is God.

It says in Hebrews, Chapter 13, verse 8, that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Interestingly, this verse doesn’t change between the many translations I reviewed.

I remember a conversation with my pastor as we discussed the many changes my life was facing at that time, and he quoted this Scripture to me. With surety I knew this in my heart, and it brought me great comfort. Knowing this truth has become part of the fabric of my faith, the warp and the weft, as I weave the story of my life.

I cling to that Rock in the midst of my storms. But even more so, my thoughts go to this constant in my life as I traverse the ever-changing pathways of my life. Knowing that God is always there, never changing, brings me comfort whenever trials challenge my peace.

I know that I can count on the sun to rise each day, even if it is obscured by clouds. I know that the seasons will change, bringing relief from the heat of summer and changing my green, flowering world to one of bright autumn colors, and then to the drab of winter and the coating of white winter adorns herself with.

And I have learned, without a doubt, that God is the same through all of this change. That no matter where my heart leads me, no matter what my path, God is with me and has gone before me. I draw strength from knowing that I am never alone in anything I must face.

Life is full of change, without and within. Seek the solace that comes from the certainty of knowing God’s constant presence in our lives. In all of the changes we face, it’s comforting to know God’s love for us never changes. Hold on to this solid truth, and hang on for a wild ride.

Blessings, my friends.

April 11, 2016

When You're Hurting and You Feel Alone

There are times when we feel lost and so alone. Moments when we wish we could reach out to a friend, but we can't find the courage to bare our soul. We feel that we are our only companion. Though we wish we could share our hurting heart with someone, we feel we have no one to tell our story to. 
At times like these, we have to stop the self-perpetuating thoughts that drag us down into the depths of self-pity and anguish. Distraction may help us to shift our thoughts. Redirecting the mind is a really good tool when feelings of loneliness or grief overwhelm us. 

Think of something that really absorbs your thoughts, a project that requires you to focus your mind and your energies onto specific details. Here are a few suggestions for when you're feeling consumed by your sadness and you feel all alone:
  • Do something kind for yourself! Take a nice, hot bath or shower. Go for a walk in nature. Taking time to nurture your body is an amazing way to soothe your soul. 
  • Eat. Good food does so much more for our mood than shoving sweets or salty chips into our system, even though that may be what we crave. The task of preparing healthy food is mind-consuming and the smell of sauteing, sizzling food awakens an appetite you thought was gone.
  • Do something kind for someone who is hurting even more than you are. Shifting our focus away from our troubles and to the aid of another is the best way to get outside of our own thoughts.
  • Sing. I know that sounds crazy, because singing is the last thing your heart wants to do. But somehow, even singing through your tears elevates your heart to a new level of understanding in your grief. Try it sometime. You might feel ridiculous at first, and certainly it won't be your best, but you're not performing. You're singing to your soul, giving it the gift of life. 

Most importantly, remember that we are never really alone. Our lifetime companion, the One who made us, is always with us. The God who loves us unconditionally and forever is the God of Love. Reach out your heart to Him, give Him your tears and your loneliness, and you will know that you are not alone. 

God is always with us, and wants to be near to our hearts. I can't describe how it works, but I know that when I reach out to God in my pain, I feel peace wash over me and I am comforted. 

Haven't talked to God in awhile? Now is a really good time to start. Just call upon His name, and tell Him your pain. You will know He is there to hear your hurt and calm you. And you won't have to bear your pain alone. 

Reach out, my friends. There may be sorrow in the night, but there is joy in the morning. Every day is new. A chance to begin again. Life is awakening all around us, and we can awaken to a new relationship with God and with ourselves. I promise it will be worth the effort it takes to get out of bed, and leave the darkness behind you. 

If you would like, you can leave a comment below so that I may pray for you. You may post anonymously, if you wish. God knows who you are. And I would be honored to pray on your behalf.

Casting Crowns has a song for these feelings of loneliness and sadness.When you're trying to hold on but feel like you can't hold on another minute. I've found it to be a great comfort and reminder that we are never truly alone, that God is always with us. He just a thought or prayer away. And He loves us. Unconditionally.

This song resonates in my heart, and I grab onto these promises and hold on for dear life in times when I can't see the forest for the trees. Mark Hall & Casting Crowns... Just Be Held

Subscribers can click on Hope to find to view this video on my blog site.
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January 13, 2016

Barefoot Dreamin' on a Winter's Day

Sitting in the backyard, bare feet in the green grass, we marveled at how in a few short months our world would be covered in white.  It was almost impossible to believe. Well, guess what -- it’s here.

                  The White Stuff.

It took longer to arrive this year, and now it just keeps on coming.

It’s so pretty when it sticks to every branch. And so frustrating when you can’t see curbs or oncoming traffic due to gigantic snow banks.

Ah, Winter in the upper Midwest.

There is a little Alien in a cartoon circulating on Facebook that says, “The air hurts my face! Why do I live where the air hurts my face?”


Snowfalls can be quite beautiful, especially when observed through the windows while sitting beside a toasty, warm fireplace! Although I admit there are times when I bundle up to enjoy a nice winter walk, especially when the snow is falling softly in big, fat, fluffy flakes. My favorite kind of snow.

However, when wind chills hit the double digits (below zero), I question why I live where the air hurts my face.

I left here, once, and I was gone for a very long time. But then I came back.

I’m thinking that the beauty outweighs the cold, or I wouldn’t be here.

That’s what we do, isn’t it?

We keep pressing thru the bitterest of times, looking for the beauty in each day, each life. Knowing that life is such a fragile thing.

Underneath the snow, my plants sleep. Frozen solid, in a few short months, they will begin to fight through the thawing ground, and life will return. 

It’s an amazing cycle to witness, and without the extreme change of seasons, I don’t know that I would retain the awe I now feel at knowing the secret.

Knowing that, beneath the layers of gently falling snow (and the layer of ice from the freezing rain) the frozen ground protects the roots and bulbs of all my plants. And come Spring, I will know their beauty once again.

May it always be so.

Blessings on the season you are in.