Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Accomplishments, Fear & Hope

So, I completed my 30 Days of Thankful on Facebook today.  My closing gratitude was :

Today I am thankful for Strength. I'm not that physically strong, but I have a lot of internal strength that I need to be thankful for. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to draw my inner strength from You !! Psalm 73:26 
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NIV)

I am so proud of myself for doing this every single day & for genuinely, truly being thankful.  And there are so many more things that I can & will be thankful for.  So, I'm not going to stop.  I'm going to keep going until the day comes when I either forget to do it, or I'm no longer thankful.  I just don't see the latter happening ...

I'm often proud of myself.  I'm proud of the accomplishments I've made despite the circumstances I have had to overcome.  I'm proud of the Christian I am & am becoming.  I'm proud of the parent I am & am becoming.  I'm proud of  myself for earning my BA, even though it took me forever.  I'm proud of my Facebook/Etsy shop.  I'm proud of how my Thirty-one business is SLOWLY but surely bopping along ... My dad used to tell me how proud he was of my ALL the time.  As a child, I would find myself pushing myself to the point of exhaustion & illness to be "the best." I was SO afraid of failure.  Failure was NOT an option.  At the time, I really thought it was me.  *I* wanted it.  I wanted it so badly that I would deprive myself of sleep & make myself sick to make it happen.  As an adult, I realize now that I just craved my parent's praises so badly, that I did it for them.  NOTHING feels better than for your parents to be proud of you.  I miss that ... 

So, I stopped reaching for the stars for a while. 

Now that my dad is gone, I find myself pushing myself like that again ... Obviously, not to gain his praises.  I do it with the expectation of "Dad would be SO proud of me for doing this if he were alive ..."  Something is different now, though.  I do things now with the knowledge that I'm learning, growing & hopefully making a difference in other people's lives somehow and not with the expectation of praise.  I try to do things with love or at least with caring. And if I can't feel like I accomplished those things or at the very least SOMETHING good at the end of the day about something, then I don't do it.  And if I did it right, I made at least one person smile or feel like they mean something to someone or give them something to hope for ... It's about the giving, not about the receiving, because not everyone is going to appreciate you & what you do for them.  As long as I know I did the right thing, though, that is gratification enough for me.  

So, I hope for the best when I attempt something new, cry when I fail, and then I shake it off, get up & keep on keeping on.  And when I feel like I don't have the strength to keep on going, I go back to what I am thankful for today :

Today I am thankful for Strength. I'm not that physically strong, but I have a lot of internal strength that I need to be thankful for. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to draw my inner strength from You !! Psalm 73:26 
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NIV)

I know my Dad would be proud ....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful ...

So, I don't blog as much as I'd like to ... actually, hardly ever. Sometimes, though, I get an inkling to write & that "Jiminy Cricket conscience" that annoys me until I do it ... Here goes:

A lot of us have been posting our "Today I am thankful" posts this month & I have become quite annoyed at the posts I've seen from "non-thankful" people full of complaints. I don't just mean a complaint or two. I mean like multiple complaints during the day and then it overflows into the week and then several weeks ... All of us have a day that doesn't go well or maybe even a bad streak and we vent about it. How many of us, though, actually voice it out loud in our statuses on Facebook over and over multiple times per day ?! GET A LIFE, PEOPLE !! My life isn't perfect & I have a lot of things that I could complain about, but there is always, always, always SOMETHING to be thankful for.

This whole attitude I have toward thankfulness & complaining was re-affirmed to me at church yesterday afternoon. Perhaps that is why I felt the need to pass along my personal thoughts on the subject, as well as what I learned in church. Living the Christian life is NOT easy. Let's face it : We're not perfect. We're sinners. We suck. Often. We try so hard to live up to this image of what we imagine is the proper Christian life and of course, we fail. Why ? Because we forget the simple concept that God has been telling us since the book of Genesis in the Bible. If we are thankful & grateful for all that God has done for us & all that He has given us, everything else will fall into place. 

I had never really thought of it that way until yesterday at church. God has always laid it out for us this way, be thankful & grateful to Him for all that He has given you, ad then and only then can you actually follow his commandments and live the life He meant for you to live. The preacher also said this: If we told our children how thankful we were that they were ours, that God gave them to us for a season; our parents; our family; our friends; anyone in our lives who matters ... how much greater would that relationship become ?! What possibilities would open that you never even imagined ?! What change would occur in our community, our state, our country, the world ?! The possibilities for greatness are endless & limitless !! We don't need self-help books or to feel guilty that we just can't do it all the right way. We just need to thank god & be genuinely grateful for all that He has done, follow His commandments and go forth with that overflow of Thanksgiving and it will spread. So, what happens when you mess up or forget ?! You go back to the beginning. You start over. You don't beat yourself up. You don't call yourself a failure. You don't blame other people. You just accept, repent, thank Him and try again.

Here is my thankful list & it will differ some from what I have posted & will post on Facebook:
  •  Beautiful, healthy children. There are so many children battling disease & bad home lives & more. I am so grateful & blessed to have my 5 beautiful, healthy babies !! I ♥ them & thank God for them EVERY DAY ! 
  • GRACE : Amazing, saving grace !! The Lord has done so many things in my life that just wouldn't have come about without Him & he saved me by His grace & completely changed my life !! There are no words to say how thankful I am for that !!
  • We all know that grief is about losing. We need to know that it can also be about growing. ~Bob Diets **Today I am thankful that I had the time I did with my loved ones & friends that have passed away ~ ESPECIALLY my Daddy !! ♥ Some people don't get to experience the love of a father & I had mine for a blessed 35 years !! And for that I am grateful & blessed beyond measure !! With each passing, I learn something new about myself that makes me better & my heart & my life grows !! ~~I ♥ you, Daddy ~ ALWAYS & FOREVER~~ 
  •  Teacher Workday's on cold, rainy days !! SO glad that I didn't have to get up this morning & walk Maddi to school in this YUCKY weather !!
  •  FREE football tickets to ECU from the Army so I can enjoy a good football game & see my son, Brandon !! ♥
  • Beautiful, beautiful spring-like warm days in November in North Carolina !! ♥
  • SO thankful to be back home in NC ! It was another GORGEOUS day in the 70's here today !! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else !!
  •  "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11** Today I am thankful for the forgiving, loving arms of Jesus Christ, because without Him I would be lost & hopeless !! When I feel like I just cannot go any farther, He carries me !! I am thankful for loving, Christian parents who taught me character & values & gave me a foundation to pass on to MY children !! I'm not perfect & I DO make mistakes, but I always know where to come back to !!
  • Freedom! Honoring those who have & are bravely serving our great nation! All gave some, some gave ALL ...
  • Thankful for every single second I get to spend with each of my 5 children !! It's a SHAME some people don't take advantage of all the time that they have with their child/children ...
  • Thankful for ME time !! ♥
  • Thankful for the Internet. I've made new friends, kept in touch with "old" ones, I can share pictures of my kids, find recipes, get craft ideas, read blogs that inspire me, get answers to questions I have throughout the day, and so much more. I'd be lost without it! (:
  • Thankful for McDonald's Peppermint Hot Chocolate !!
  • Thankful for Life. How cool is it that I'm actually here, in this world, living ?! And though many that I love are no longer here, I am also thankful for the life that they had here with me for a time. For life, no matter how short or long the time on Earth, is very, very precious !!
  • Thankful for Nick Jr. My poor little man is sick again & just threw up all over my bed ... After he got cleaned up in the bath tub & I changed the sheets on the bed, Oobi came on Nick Jr. & his sweet little face lit up !! I am grateful for anything that can make my babies smile when they don't feel good ...
  • Thankful for Compassion. It feels wonderful to be compassionate to others & I am SO glad that I am able to feel compassion. SOME PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN THIS TRAIT ...
  • Thankful for Plans. I love knowing that fun things are coming up. Putting plans in place is great !!!
  • Thankful for Patience ! I don't have very much of it yet, but I'm getting better at it every day!
  • Thankful for Stars. As The Killers sing: "Stars are like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun." ABSOLUTELY beautiful !!
  • Thankful for Glitter. C'mon now, you know glitter is just about the awesomest thing ever !!!
  • Thankful for Laughter. There is little better in the world than the laugh-so-hard-you-cry feeling.
  • Thankful for Now. It's awesome to live in the moment. Today I will care more, hug harder, fight less, and be nicer. The only time we have is NOW!
  • Thankful for Water. One of those things I tend to take for granted, but it's super important ...
  • Thankful for Freedom of Religion !! I can serve my God in my way !!
  •  And here are some that may or may not pertain to me, but may pertain to you :
  • A job
  • Friends
  • Own a car that gets you where you need to go
  • Family who loves you
  • A bed to sleep in
  • Shelter
  • Always have enough to eat
  • Plenty of clothes
  • A church to go to
  • A place to learn
  • You can read
  • You can put words together and form sentences
  • You rarely worry about your safety
 I could go on, and on, and on ... So, tell those who you love how thankful you are that they are in your life and do it now. We are not promised tomorrow. Quit being angry about what you THINK people should be doing for you in your life & just do for them what you KNOW is right. Give without the expectation of receiving. Cherish every single second with the people that you love. Thank God for all that He has done & continues to do for you. You will be amazed at how your life changes when you change the way you think !!
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