Thankful Thursday: Being Broken

Some days I feel totally broken. I look back at my past mistakes  (those I remember) then add the fact I’m living with MS……. all I see are the cracks and imperfections. I’m sure that is what most people see.  Working on my Fourth Step has been a challenge…. dealing with memory issues, remembering pieces of the puzzle and not being able to put it together, and being careful not to beat myself up over the mistakes I have repeated during my relapse.

I noticed something amazing happens when you hold me up to the light…… You may see my broken places…but, you also see what makes me beautiful, because in those cracks are the stories of overcoming and standing strong.  I have weathered many storms over the years.

It is because of those imperfections, I am who I am today…broken pieces and all. My scars tell my story. There was a time when I hid my scars, afraid of what others would think. My first time in recovery, I found my broken pieces were an inspiration to others. I was able to help other struggling addicts which in turn blessed me many times. Relapse made me feel as if those broken pieces should be hidden from the world.  Afraid of what others would think.  Comparing myself to others.  I’m now learning to embrace those repeated mistakes and look at the additional cracks as more blessings.

My MS scars may be invisible to the world, but their effects are made real as I struggle to get through some days. There are days when I can’t walk more than a few steps on my own, changing the sheets on the bed is a fight, holding things in my left hand requires both hands.…but I keep fighting. I push on. I keep going.  On good days, I over do then spend days resting and doing nothing.  There is often a sea of tears, but I keep going.

Each of you have broken places and cracks too. Your mistakes and hurts are real, as well as your disability (if you have one), but so is your beauty.  Let your beauty shine through and let your story inspire others. Just because you have cracks doesn’t mean you are worthless. Even if you are broken, you are a container of life, love, brilliance and beauty. Let those things spill out today.

Your story is in your scars and may be just what someone needs to hear in order to keep going.  So, just for today I will be grateful for my scars and the cracks I have.  I will stop worrying about what others think and let my light shine for all to see.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Focus

Today I am thankful for having focus….

Life with MS can be difficult – not usually physically for me but mentally.  Focus is defined as “a center of activity, attraction“. On any given day brain fog makes focusing on anything next to impossible.

Since stopping my Co-paxone (the doctor said it wasn’t helping with the change in diagnosis), I find I am having more days where I can focus.  On those days Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie pay a visit and I don’t need to tell you what happens then.  A mini-pity party starts and NOTHING gets done.

Some days, I loose focus because I try to get too much done in one day.  Sometimes I just wake up in a fog.  I keep a list in my planner and am grateful I am able to tick off more things getting done.  I love seeing the pink highlighter line meaning I have completed a task.  Some days I squirrel.  Yup, I have a plan and then get side tracked by something else.  Now, it could be something which also needs to be done BUT instead of being grateful to get another task done,  I look at the fact I am behind schedule.  Tell me I am not alone, right?

I listened to a John Maxwell program where Les Brown talked about focusing on what we have and not what we don’t have.  When we do this, we will get more done.  WOW!  What a way to change perspective.  Instead of thinking about all of the things I don’t get done and how behind I am – cleaning, errands, making phone calls, creating new angels, shipping orders, following up with customers, etc. You get the picture right?

I need to STOP and think… I am blessed to have customers to call, people who want to place orders, the ability to create things and a space to do all of this in.  The truth is the more I focus on the negative, the worse things get.  So I have asked Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie to leave. I am ready to restart my day with a change in my focus.

I never lose sight of my overall goals but when I focus on what I don’t have versus what I do have, they seem unattainable.  Life may toss you a load of lemons but it is what you do with them that makes the difference.  Will you make lemonade and share with everyone or will you grumble about the fact that it takes too much time and energy to make the lemonade?

What are you focusing on this morning – what you have or what you don’t?  Change your focus and see what happens.

Have a blessed day!

 

Who Really Signs Your Check?

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

She works with eager hands (Proverbs 31:13, NIV).

I have had many jobs over the years. I started babysitting when I was twelve years old. In high school, I worked in a clothing store, as an aid for my choral director, and as a recruiter for an employment agency. In college, I was a secretary for the president of our social science honors program and often gave tours to visiting dignitaries. Some jobs I liked more than others but working in an insurance office when my husband attended seminary was one of my least favorite jobs. I soon discovered that I was not alone in my lack of enthusiasm as I read the following note posted on the office bulletin board:

“If you don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, you ought to be here five minutes before quitting time!”

Our attitude about our work will determine the success of our work. Scripture tells us that the Proverbs 31 woman literally “pounced upon” her work with “chosen delight.” Notice the word “chosen.” No job is perfect, and no workplace is always wonderful, but we can learn to choose our inner attitude about our work regardless of the outer circumstances of our workplace. Like this woman, we can learn to train our heart and choose our attitude about our work.

The author of Ecclesiastes writes, “My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor” (Ecclesiastes 2:10). In other words, joy in work can be found when we look for it. The Proverbs 31 woman chose an attitude that guaranteed success in her work. The right attitude in any workplace is to view our work as an act of worship to God. This woman’s workplace was an altar upon which she laid her best efforts as an offering of praise.

The story is told of three men who were working on a large building project. “What are you doing?” one of the men was asked. “I am mixing mortar,” he responded. The second man said, “I am helping put up this great stone wall.” When the third man was asked, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral to the glory of God.” We need to understand that what gives work eternal value and makes it successful is not the product or service we offer; it is doing the job faithfully to the glory of God. It doesn’t matter if you close a million-dollar deal or do a million loads of laundry. If you do it unto God as part of your life worship of Him, you are a success.

The apostle Paul was a very successful man whose work ethic is made clear in Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Every customer you serve or every child you hug, every toilet you clean or every deal you close can be an act of worship when it is done for the glory of God.

A survey by the Families and Work Institute found that 70 percent of people in the United States often dream about doing something different for a living. Books, consultants, and employment agencies offer to help us land our dream job. However, is finding a different occupation always the solution to job satisfaction, or could the key to successful work be discovering a new approach to the work we already do? Twice in Colossians 3, Paul used the phrase “whatever you do” as a call for wholehearted service to the Lord.

A wholehearted effort is difficult when working for a critical, ungrateful boss. Minimum effort then becomes a response that certainly seems justified under the circumstances. However, when our work is done for Christ and we view Him as our supervisor, we will strive to do our best all of the time. The boss may sign the paycheck, but the Savior issues our reward. Obviously, it’s not wrong to seek work that fits our skills and interests, but it is pointless to move from one job to another without first settling the issue of who it is that we truly are serving in the workplace. Daily work takes on eternal significance when it is done for God.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Progress

How many of you are paralyzed by perfection?  The perfect weight?  The perfect size? The perfect business?  The perfect house?  Being the perfect mom?  I have been there and some days still am….Perfection is all about playing the comparison game thinking of what we “should be” instead of focusing on the positives of who we are….

As I walk through recover this time, I am AGAIN learning it is progress not perfection which makes us better.  Here is a post I saw which made me realize on most days despite my best efforts, I am “stuck” worrying about perfection….

I would tell you I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the aisle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.

What if he fell?

He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.  I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole?  His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.

WOW!  This made me realize how crippled I am on a daily basis.  I battle the inner gremlins of perfection which are often paired with the comparison game gremlins.  Yes, they love to tag team me until I am left battered and bruised.  On the inside I’m left feeling less than while on the outside, things look great.  Check out some milestones in my life….

  • 16 months in recovery after a relapse
  • Maintaining a 100+ pound weight loss
  • Doing what I love ever day in my own business
  • MS does not define in
  • A loving husband and supportive family

I don’t say these to brag but so I can appreciate the journey I am on to become a better me every da.  The list could probably be longer but the gremlins start to rear their heads when I think about the positives in my life. They want me to stay stuck in the negatives.  The addictive thinking which kept me feeling less than everyone else.  What about you, what are some major milestones in your life?  Do you focus on them or do you focus on your failed attempts?

Does your idea of perfection cripple you into believing everything you do has to be impeccable?  Does your worth ride on your success?  Think about the gentleman described above…. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared content—all signs of living imperfectly.  Definitely not someone who is handicapped, right?

Here are three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection:

#1 Straighten Up

Believe it or not, standing up straight and changing our body alignment, can make a difference.  How often when we fail at perfectionism do we feel unworthy? As a result, we walk hunched over or eyes cast to the ground, not enjoying the world around us.  Why not practice your “supergirl pose”?  It is time to  change your perspective.  Maybe it is with positive mantras to change your mindset, Maybe it is  seeking your Higher Power. Maybe it is blessing and releasing those fears.  Whatever it is get busy!

#2 Live Outside the Lines

You are NOW standing up straight, so let’s step out of your comfort zone — live outside the lines. This can be tough especially when those gremlins are in the midst of a battle.  It doesn’t have to be something HUGE, just something simple.  How about:

~Driving with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.  Toss the hair tie which will keep your hair neat.

~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.

~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.

“You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make it…”      Albert Einstein 

Just do something to push yourself outside the lines of perfection which keep you restrained.

#3 Love your life

Make the decision to love your life.  Despite the challenges you may have, proclaim contentment.  Remember the man I shared the story about, despite being a differently-abled person, he oozed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. You could tell he made a choice to love his life.

Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.

Will you challenge yourself in a new way?  Will you claim to love your life so you are unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism?  Share your story with us.

Have a blessed day!

 

How to Make a Gallery Wall

If your walls could talk, what stories would they tell? For some, like me, that would be a scary thought.  LOL.

For many of us, we would like them to simply share our milestones, memories and mottos, right?  I created one of these one our walls of our wedding pictures – some of the family who are in the pictures are no longer with us so it has great memories BUT is definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.  I am hoping to add some memories to it by using some of these tips.   Whether it’s in your kitchen, above your couch or along your staircase, choosing unique pieces is the key to making your display so special.

Here are some GREAT tips for adding one-of-a-kind elements to more traditional framed photographs and oversized initials – all to help you create something truly personalized.

1. Game boards & pieces

What was your favorite childhood sport to play? Which board games does your family reach for over and over on rainy evenings? Your local Goodwill or thrift store is a great place to score retro board games and sports equipment you can use to add character to your gallery wall or shelves. (That broken-in, well-loved look actually boosts the cool factor!)

2. Vintage numbers

Whether they’re antique license plates, framed playing cards, tin stencils or old scoreboard tags, vintage numerals are a fun way to express a number that holds a story or memory for your family. Do a quick online search or browse flea markets, yard sales and antique shops for the digits of your address, anniversary or favorite Bible verse.

3. Flowers & wreaths

Add a sweet touch to the gallery wall in a nursery, craft space, laundry room or even your front porch with an arrangement of dried flowers or an artificial wreath. Check your local craft store for oversized fabric blossoms to match your décor, swap in a seasonal sprig for a traditional frame, or create a cute wreath with fabric scraps – we tried this easy-to-make one from Kelly at Typically Simple. And faux greenery looks great mixed with antique window panes and grapevine wreaths arranged on an outdoor wall to welcome guests.

4. Quotes on canvas

Share the special names, dates and words in your life with customized Statement Canvas Wall Art. Scour a social site like Pinterest® for cute quote ideas, then choose from a variety of sizes and printed designs, including white text on black canvas, your choice of 16 colors on natural canvas and even your personal photos! Have a budding artist in the family? Scan your kids’ original artwork and have it printed on one of our durable canvases.

5. Shadowboxes

These deep-set frames are built to hold dimensional keepsakes and, depending on their size, the options are practically limitless. Highlight a single object like a sculpted key or bridal bouquet. Simply fill one with wine corks, seashells, fabric flowers, bottle caps or Christmas tree bulbs. Or adhere some items to the back, layering pieces over each other to add visual interest – think baby shoes, blocks and photos; use wooden letter game tiles to spell out names or places; arrange keys, ticket stubs, medals or pressed flowers; or design your own artwork out of buttons or plastic building blocks – even crayons! (Jamie at The Trendy Treehouse offers step-by-step instructions for putting together your own crayon letter shadowbox.)

6. Photo tag galleries

Turn moments to remember into personalized keepsakes to treasure with Thirty-One’s Close to Home™ Collection. We make it simple to tell your family’s story on your gallery wall with pieces like our Close to Home™ Table Gallery and 9″ Close to Home™ Round Frame, both available in Natural or Grey Wash Wood. It’s easy to switch out the keepsake-quality iron Photo Inserts for the season and to commemorate trips and events as your family grows. Remember to personalize the wood frame with your family name, saying or special date in your favorite laser-etched design.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget the sofa underneath!

Fluff up a few perfectly personalized Statement Canvas Pillows in black and natural – choose an embroidered monogram, printed design or your own family photos to continue your theme even below your gallery wall. Toss a cozy Super Soft Blanket over one arm of the sofa, and you’ll be ready to hibernate all winter!

Share your gallery wall with us….. Have a blessed day!