Friday, January 23, 2015

How to be happy

When I look back at the last few years, I'm a bit amazed that I got to here. As a family, my husband and I and our kids, have been through 3 cancer diagnosis, changing churches, recovering from bad jobs, dealing with depression, and losing our dog. One would think in all of that I would have so many stories to tell that I wouldn't run out of blog posts. However so few of those stories are mine. I don't feel right telling them. So I settle for smaller stories and think maybe some day I can tell that story. After much thinking and talking, I have found a story that is mine. I see how I am living a bigger story and I can tell you about it.

Photo Credit: Britt Selvitelle

I think my story starts with the fact that I am happy. I have joy and contentment and happiness. Some moments and even some days I might forget that. I get disappointed and frustrated with myself and others in my life from time to time. But those things don't stay. What does stay is the happy. The happy hasn't been easy to achieve. I've had to deal with a lot of doubts and pain. I've had to work through things personally and with other people. I'm getting better at financial decisions and sticking up for myself. Things are better than they were a few years ago. It hasn't been easy, but it has been good.

As I deal with other people, I have come to realize that many of them are not happy. Quite frankly it is hard for me to deal with.  I really don't have patience for people that continue to remain in their unhappy frustrated state. They drag me down and I don't want to be down. There has been enough going on in my life, our lives, to bring me down. (In case you forgot, read the first paragraph again.) I have to deal with my stuff enough. I really don't want others putting their issues that they refuse to solve on to me. If you want to work on it, I will stand beside you. If you don't, then don't give them to me.

So in learning to be happy, I've had to learn how to get rid of stuff that isn't mine. I've also had to learn how to deal with what is mine. I can't pass it along to other people. I can't expect anyone to fix it for me. I have to do it myself. When I start doing it myself, then I can ask other people that I trust to work with me. Not for me, with me. When I start working on me, then I get me out of the way. I make room for God and then I can be happy.

I think there is more to tell, but I'm not sure where to go next. So we'll leave it here. Deal with your stuff and make room for God. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Becoming an Adult

I have had a blog post idea in my head for a couple weeks. The words weren't coming, but I knew it was something that needed to be written. Then earlier this week shortly before bed, I had a new angle to it. The angle was great and the words were coming. I got a few of those words down before I went to sleep. I didn't get all of them down. I didn't even get the whole idea down. But I was excited about it. It was a great idea. Surely I wouldn't forget about it. So today, I am caught up enough in other parts of my life to get to that blog post. I sat down and read over the words I had written.



Nothing came to me. The previous idea was completely gone. The words that were so freely flowing earlier this week are completely gone. I started writing something and it was okay, but I don't know if it was the direction I wanted to go. So I stopped. Maybe I'll try again later. That doesn't really help me for now. I wanted something to write for today. Something to publish, so I can get back in the habit of writing. So now I'm writing about not having anything to write about. And I'm pretty sure that is a crappy idea too.

So I have a quick little story for you that was prompted by a question someone asked me. The question: "What is your favorite restaurant?" This time when I was asked that question my mind started sifting through all of the restaurants I have ever been to. I thought about the beachy restaurants in Florida. I thought about the fancy restaurants I have been to in various cities. I thought about childhood favorites. I thought about the places that have made me feel welcome. And then there was one that stood out. Quite honestly, I don't even remember the name of this restaurant. I didn't remember the name of the hotel. Google fixed that problem.(I think)

Hotel Mocambo, Veracruz, Mexico

In 2004 just a few weeks before I was set to get married, I took a group of students to Mexico. It was an amazing group of kids. We were travelling with 2 teachers from Kansas. We went to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. Veracruz is a beach town and a port city. It was a pretty great last stop. I was so blessed to be travelling with another amazing group of kids from Kansas. We had been blessed with a wonderful trip and amazing experiences thus far. Then we saw the hotel in Veracruz. It was amazing! There were 2 or 3 pools, a gym, a spa, a couple places to eat, and a gift shop in the hotel. I'm not certain what constitutes luxury, but this was it to me. The best part of the hotel in my opinion was the terrace where breakfast was served. One night the other two teachers and I had dinner there. I think it was the last night. The students had eaten and were enjoying each others company before they had to go home to separate states the next day.

I remember sitting there looking out at the amazing patio thinking of how lucky I was. I remember the ocean breeze and the soft lighting. I don't remember what I ate. I don't remember what I drank. I do remember sitting with one of the teachers after our food was gone. Her teenage daughter and student was on the trip with us. I wasn't that much older than her daughter, so she was obviously quite a bit older than me. I don't remember anything in particular that she said. I just remember sitting and talking about life. I remember her talking to me as an adult. I remember feeling like an adult, a successful adult.

My life was about to change in huge ways. I got married a few short weeks after that. I moved across the country and back and back again. I would go on to have two kids and teach lots more. But that night I sat there talking to that wonderful woman who knew  how much was about to change for me because she had gone through that. She talked to me like an adult and had confidence in me that I was going to be okay. More than okay, I was going to be successful. She imparted some of the wisdom she had gained as a teacher, wife, and mother on to me. She shared life with me. And for that I am forever grateful.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Holding On To It All: One Word 2015

Today I'm announcing my word for this year, but I haven't written a wrap up post for last year's word. I'm okay with that, which is actually a fairly good summary of what I learned with rest. The flip side of that word however is laziness. I flirted with that more than once and called it rest. It wasn't. It was lazy. It seems odd that I struggle with laziness when I am so busy. I find that I attempt to combat that laziness with things to do. That's a good thing mostly. Sometimes it isn't laziness though, it is rest and that is important for this introvert.

I briefly thought about rest being my word for this year as well. It didn't seem quite right though. I wanted a word that would challenge me, a word that was different, a word that would make people ask questions. 2014 was coming to a close and I still didn't have a word. Then the last Sunday morning of 2014 we sang a hymn and a word caught my eye. I searched the word in my Bible app. I wrote down several verses. I reread the verses and eliminated all but two. I then found myself in a dilemma. Are two verses allowed for my one word? Then I realized there were no rules except the ones I have made up. So if I want 2 verses, then I can have two. With that decision, my word had been chosen.


I like that it is in the progressive form because it indicates that some stuff is already going on. I want to keep that up. I will be keeping traditions. I will be keeping the faith through all of our challenges this year. I will be keeping my promises to God. And He will be keeping me.

Luke 12:35 - "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning."
Numbers 6:24 - "The LORD bless your and keep you."

These verses are about the keeping I will be doing and the keeping He will be doing. I feel like I have grown and learned and gained so much from last year. I don't want to lose those things, but I also don't want to lose what I have here. I want to try to hold on to it all. I can't say that I am ready for it because I'm a bit scared of this word. It is a word that requires a lot from me.  I'm challenged by it, but I know it is the right word at the right time to move me in the right direction.

Do you have a word or a resolution for this year? What do you expect out of 2015?