Glacier National Park 2010

Monday, March 20, 2017

All Things Work Together

The past few weeks have been mentally, emotionally and physically trying. Pain has crept subtly in and is exerting itself quite forcefully.  I can attribute it to many things...some I can talk about and others I cannot.  Stress definitely has increased the length of this pain flare. I'm exhausted body and soul.  Suffice it to say our Spring Break cannot get here soon enough!

This morning as I had a cup of tea....I was scrolling through Facebook and happened to see an article entitled, "My Family is a Prime Example of the Working Poor." Curiosity made me pause and actually read the article by Marjorie Jenkins written in December 2016. Although I don't know the author, she was writing about me...about my life! It was a real eye opener for me.

To be quite honest, she wasn't writing just about me...she was writing about those of us who followed the "rules." We went to college, got a job, had a family and worked hard to achieve the "American Dream." Never did I imagine that I would find myself, at this stage of my life, working a full time job plus a part time job plus earning a bit of extra cash by selling my art simply to pay my bills. Those who know me are aware I live by a very tight times have to be saved for....and heaven forbid I have unexpected doctor's visits. Until reading this article, I didn't think of myself as "poor."

Yes the days when I could splurge on things like books, a night at the movies, dinner out with friends are long gone. But to realize living paycheck to paycheck classifies me as one of the "working poor" was a bit disconcerting....and embarrassing quite frankly. I don't think my friends and coworkers see me as least I hope not.

All that being said...I'm happy.  It is the kind of happiness which comes from knowing and accepting "all things work together for good to those who love God." I spent a good portion of my life basing my concept of happiness on things, people, events. There was even a point several years ago when I had to admit I had no idea what real happiness meant and I felt like I'd never know 'happiness' again.

For me the realization that God is all I need opened the door to my happiness. And the key to that door was learning to love God by accepting the love He has for me.  That precious love contains all I need for any situation I may encounter....grace, peace, joy, salvation, encouragement, wisdom.  Because He is all I need, my prayers have become simple.

When I'm in pain, I ask God to cradle me in His arms so the pain is easier to bear. As stress threatens to overtake me, I ask God to stand between me and whatever is causing the stress thus allowing me to become more calm. When sadness seems overwhelming, God gently reminds me of all that is good in my life. Whatever the situation, He is there for me with whatever I might need.

I may be considered one of the "working poor" by some definitions and I have had a rough couple of weeks. Regardless of those things...My faith in God has sustained me and I am constantly amazed by His goodness.  It is actually quite wonderful to see how He meets my needs....every day and in every way.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Choosing to be happy

I used to write.  Seriously write...quite a lot. It was therapeutic on so many levels. I mean, I carried a journal with me every where for Pete's sake!  There was even a time when I posted to this very same blog on a semi regular basis.

Then I stopped...writing, that is.  Naturally the blog went by the wayside as well.  Friends asked  when I would return to my former habits and give them glimpses into my random thoughts once more.

I had no answer.

There were a few brief attempts to start the flow of thoughts. Upon reading what I had written, the words seemed stilted and lacking.  So...I put away the journal...closed the laptop...quit purchasing the "perfect' pen or pencil. It was if I had nothing of substance to say. That thought bothered me only slightly and I attributed the lack of words to my entering a different stage in my life.

I discovered I enjoyed drawing and began to experiment with using my artwork to express what I was feeling. It was fun! And it still is...I am even able to slightly supplement my income by selling some of my pieces. Time for a shameless plug...visit my FB page, Whimsy by Nsquared.

Lately, I've felt the urge to put pen to paper if for no other reason than to marshal thoughts and emotions into some logical order. The world has become a chaotic mess of sound bytes, self righteous opinions and judgmental indignation...and it makes me feel two things, anger and disgust. 

I'm disgusted with the behavior of others and disgusted with my inability to put into calm, rational words the thoughts and feelings racing through my head and heart. I felt myself being pulled back to a point in my life I never wanted to revisit...a time when I was angry and unhappy but unable to acknowledge that these emotions were the well springs of my misery. Like so many I chose, at that time, to put on the persona of calm contentment...unwilling to admit my failure to be the "perfect" wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend...the list goes on. But I am not that person anymore.

Now, I've accepted my imperfections and am no longer consumed by a hidden anger.  My happiness is, well, my choice. But because of the chaos I glimpse in the world...and the emotions, the thoughts triggered by what I see and hear and experience...perhaps I need the therapy of writing once more.  Perhaps if I return to the written word I can resolve those troubling feelings. Maybe with my words I'll be able to share a more positive outlook with anyone who happens to stumble across my blog.

Despite all the negativity filling newsfeeds and broadcasts and watercooler gossip, I still choose happiness.