No Fear in the Storm

Last week I was fretting over a situation that I had no control over. It was not life-altering even though my mind was taking me down the same road it normally takes and I was fearful. Familiar?

Someday I will post more about my past bouts with anxiety and my road from fear to faith, but for today I will simply admit that my road to faith is not yet complete. Each time a hurdle is overcome, my thankfulness for God’s hand of mercy and grace humbles me yet again. However, it never fails, the next time a hurdle presents itself, the worries and fears appear again. But I am reminded each time that God has never forsaken me and His hand has never left me and no matter what happens, He is still God and I am still kept in the palm of His hand. And each time, the worry monster gets a little smaller. Thank You, Lord.

As silly as it may seem today, last Thursday one of our sweet dogs was having some trouble eating and drinking and we didn’t know what the problem was. Our dogs are outdoor country dogs and when we noticed her having trouble, it occurred to me that her rabies vaccination was overdue. Well, there went all sane thoughts right out the window. I was in fearing-the-worst mode and couldn’t get out. My husband took her to the vet on Friday morning, we found out the the culprit was not rabies, and she is now on meds that we are hoping will make her all better soon. And next month when she is feeling better, she will be back to the vet for her rabies shot.

Every incident such as that one assures me that I am still not where I want to be in my faith, but it also reminds me how far I have come. I was anxious, but I was not overwhelmed with paralyzing anxiety. I was able to remind myself of the faithfulness of God and to tell myself that no matter the outcome, God already had it all under control and we would be given the grace needed to deal with whatever news the vet gave us about our dog (named Grace).

And you know what? God blessed me yesterday morning, while our sweet doggie and my husband were at the vet’s office, with a reading in my daily devotional that was just perfect for the struggle at hand. My nature is such that it is tempting for me to believe it was simply a coincidence. After all, that would have been the devotion I read that morning whether our dog had a problem or not. But what a blessing it was for me to read it at the exact time that I was fretting with my usual worse-case-scenario thought process.

I am presently going through Paul David Tripp’s book, *New Morning Mercies ~ A Daily Gospel Devotional, and yesterday’s reading was about Jesus walking on the water to the disciples’ boat while it raged in a storm. Tripp says, “If all Jesus wants to do is relieve the difficulty, he wouldn’t have to take the walk…He takes the walk because he is not after the difficulty. He is after the men in the middle of the difficulty. He is working to change everything they think about themselves and about their lives…For the believer, peace is not to be found in ease of life. Real peace is only ever found in the presence, power, and grace of the Savior, the King, the Lamb, the I am. That peace is yours even when the storms of life take you beyond your natural ability, wisdom, and strength. You can live with hope and courage in the middle of what once would have produced discouragement and fear because you know you are never alone. The I am inhabits all situations, relationships, and locations by his grace. He is in you. He is with you. He is for you. He is your hope.”

Today I am so thankful for God’s persistence in teaching me about Himself and the peace He continually gives. What a loving Father to bless me with timely words in the midst of my self-imposed storm.

 

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

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A Little Brainstorming or Maybe Just Rambling

“You don’t have to know if you have what it takes. You just have to know that you will take what you’ve been given and make something of that.” Ann Voskamp

This is my third blog since 2009. My first one was started because I love reading blogs and I enjoy writing my thoughts. We were in a hard financial place and had been for a while. I was in a difficult emotional place and I needed an outlet. My second blog was born a year and a half or so later when I decided I needed to move on up and get away from the freebie blog.

And now here I am today with a new blog, three homeschool graduates, and a  more contented view of life.

And no clue where to start. Ann Voskamp’s words in the opening paragraph are what have me moving forward with it today.

I can’t pinpoint exactly why I’m having such a hard time getting the blog post juices flowing. But it doesn’t seem right to just start posting  healthy recipes or the details of my day without giving some kind of clue to readers about who I am. Much has changed in the past few years, but much has also stayed the same. My outlook on life is in a better place for sure. But our circumstances are still difficult financially. Someday I will post about my “I have learned to be content” years. Actually I am still learning, but what a loving ride it has been as God has taught me how to trust Him even in the midst of our hardships.

So thOffice window pic 3is afternoon I will sit and write and introduce myself a little bit. My writing space is so peaceful and my house is wonderfully quiet. I love this gorgeous view over the top of my computer into my front yard.

When I first began thinking about this blog, oh who am I kidding, I’ve been thinking about blogging again as soon as I stopped blogging for the second time, but when I got my final homeschooler graduated last May and decided I really wanted to get back to it, one of my main goals was to use it as an income producer.

I have been googling and reading and learning how that works and my Type B personality is already hyperventilating. Killer content. Pinterest-worthy images. Awesome blog layout. I’ve never been able to try and keep up with the Joneses without losing a bit of myself in the process. But the good news is a better goal has come into focus. And if I make a bit of income, yay me!

It is safe to say that my passions are healthy eating and skin care. I also have a few years of marriage (33) and parenting (28) and homeschooling (14) under my belt. I have made my fair share of goofs in all of those areas and feel like I have more empathy than advice on most days, but I will do my best to share what I have learned mostly the hard way. It is not lost on me that I am an older-ish woman in a generally younger woman’s world here in the blogosphere and the world needs us to step up and put a loving arm around the next generation of women.

My purpose for this blog, as it is coming into focus, will be to encourage all women as we learn to get our minds off of ourselves and onto those in the circle of influence that God has called us to serve. I will also share healthy recipes, which is a wonderful way to serve those we love. I will encourage all of us to pray for others, another act of beautiful service. And I will remind us all that gratitude is what keeps it all in perspective and allows us to serve without reservation.

Busy Hands. Folded Hands. Lifted Hands.

 

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

Real Love on Valentine’s Day

 

Doug working on shed

Sometimes Valentine’s Day means getting flowers, candy, and all dressed up. Sometimes it means letting your husband work on the shed because he is gone from the house 14 hours a day during the week to provide for his family, and shed-completion is relaxing therapy for him.

It has taken more than a few years for me to be okay with this.

If we keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is simply a man-made Hallmark holiday, we can love our husbands the same today as we do the rest of the year. He’s not a different person today than he was yesterday or than he will be tomorrow.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Doug. Here’s to 33 1/2 years and many more holidays together.

Doug's side by side pic

 

A Purpose

A Purpose. Say that five times fast. To me, it sounds like I’m quoting my grandmother who used to say she was doing something “a’purpose” which meant “on purpose”, of course. What a walk down memory lane I took as I titled this post.

Focus, Paula, focus.

The first few posts on a new blog are tricky because there is no history yet, no one really knows me here, and I have a presence to create that will define to new readers who I am, what I hope to accomplish, and bring them back for more.

So today, I will communicate my purpose for being here which will hopefully encourage you all to continue to come back for more ~ with coffee, or beverage of choice, in hand ~ as we navigate ways, over time, to serve others and our Lord.

I’ve been around for a few years, 55 to be exact, and have run the gamut when it comes to life being all about me as a young bride, life being mostly about me as the mom to young children, and finally learning that life is not about me at all as I’ve moved into the mid-century mark. Oh, I wouldn’t have dreamed about admitting that I wanted life to be all about me, or mostly about me. But seriously, it was. And still is on many days.

So we have to be intentional when we begin talking about serving others. We have to get our minds off of ourselves and onto the ones who we love and who Christ loves. Sometimes we have to get our minds off of ourselves and onto the ones we are aggravated with at the moment.

I have come up with 3 Categories as we discuss our service on this blog. Busy Hands. Folded Hands. Lifted Hands.

Busy Hands are our hands when we are working constructively to provide service to our families and others. Cooking, housework (not my favorite by ANY stretch of the imagination), playing with young children, visiting, hostessing, buying groceries, doing laundry, creating, you get the picture. I will share cooking tips and healthy recipes. Maybe some housekeeping ideas, but that might be better left to the professionals. Grace while raising children and running a household and being a wife. All those areas where we have a tendency to feel unappreciated? I assure you God takes notice and He cares. When we come to the place where we are able to channel our service to others through Him, we can humbly shout Jackpot!

Folded Hands are our hands when we are praying for our families, our friends, our community, our world. Let’s learn to make it a priority to take all of our fears, frustrations and worries straight to the One who cares for us the most. This then frees us take the spotlight off of ourselves to fully and unreservedly intercede for others.

Lifted Hands are our hands when we are simply being grateful and thankful and intimately connected to our Lord. There is no greater gift we can give to God than our thankfulness for all He is in our lives. Yes, we can learn to be content and thankful in all situations. Key Word ~ Learn.

I hope to cover all these areas on a regular basis, and I look forward to getting to know many of you as well as we talk and discuss amongst ourselves in the comments.

God has given us all hands ~ hands to serve. Let’s use them to serve Him well.

Well, Here I Am

Good afternoon and welcome to my new blog. I am still playing with design and layout so right now we are a work in progress.

While in the learning phase, I do plan to begin posting soon. I am presently learning my way around WordPress and, although it’s not one of my natural talents, I am looking forward to taking it one bite at a time and getting my bearings without having to constantly bug friends or family for help.

I am excited to talk about healthy eating, healthy skin care, parenting, marriage, serving people, the Christian life, grace in family life, and more.

God has given us all hands to serve. Let’s talk about how to use them to serve Him well.