Focus on the Positive

“Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8 NIV

__________

Here, the Lord is suggesting we focus on the good, the better side to things.  We are not to dwell on the negative, to judge others harshly as if we are perfect because we are not.  None of us are.  We need to see the good in others, the positive aspects to life, the truth, what’s right, notice beauty all around us, those who work hard to get where they are, as long as they get there respectably and not trample others on the way to where they’re going.  So even God is telling us to focus on the positive.

Do you think it means something else?  Something different?  Please add to the conversation in the comments below.  We want to hear from YOU.  ;)

Understandable Despair and Silver Linings

Exodus 6

The Lord told Moses that Pharoah would let them go because of His mighty hand and Pharoah will force them out of his country.  He further told Moses he remembered his covenant and will free the Israelites from being slaves to the Egyptians and will bring them to the land he swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and he will give them the land as their possession.

Moses reported to the Israelites what God said but they didn’t listen because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.  The Lord told Moses to tell Pharoah, king of Egypt, to let the Israelites go out of his country but Moses said, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh?”

Exodus 6:13 thru 6:27 is the family record of Moses and Aaron.

__________

If you were an Israelite, forced into hard and cruel labor, beaten and made to work constantly not only building but gathering your own straw for bricks, forced to fill your same quota of bricks as before when you were actually supplied with straw, how would you feel about God?  Would you trust him?  What you believe he would deliver you from this torture and give you freedom and land?  I know I wouldn’t.  He could have come sooner, right?  He could have watched out for these people and not allow them to be tortured at all.

Why would he leave them alone for so long?  I don’t begin to understand nor will I ever understand why he allows people to be tortured.  I’ve heard he has a plan.  For each one of us, he has a plan.  Do you ever question his plan?  I do.  Sometimes I wonder if he actually has a plan for my life.  It’s during those times of suffering.

But then I adjust my focus and see all that I have.  I look at Mama, this beautiful, amazing woman who is capable of anything, the fact that she’s just next door and we grow closer every day.  I look at Hallie, the daughter I wished for since I was 2, the fact that she’s this amazing young person with all the qualities I prayed for during all those years of not having her and we grow closer every day, which is what love is supposed to be.

You spend time with people you love and get to know them on deeper levels and in different ways and you love them in spite of their flaws, failures and weaknesses.  You love them and they love you in spite of all your flaws, failures and weaknesses and your love strengthens and grows and you get closer every day.  And then, from that amazing love, I see all the other wonderful things in my life.

Even though we may struggle at times, we have so much more to be thankful for.

Perhaps it feels like a struggle, but really it’s a blessing in disguise.  This might and might not make sense.  A struggle being a blessing in disguise?!  I’ve actually had several of those.  Where something bad happens and at the time you feel it’s horrid and maybe even for a while after as you mourn that thing.

But then the smoke clears and you begin to see things with cleaner, fresher eyes and see all the blessings that came because of that bad thing.  You find the silver lining and sometimes there are many silver linings from that one bad thing.  I know some of you know what I mean.  So then maybe God does have a plan after all.  It’s sometimes through a bit of suffering and because of suffering we can eventually see and appreciate beauty.

Are You Thankful or Are You Angry?

Colors and Light

Wow, I was so stinkin’ angry at God.  I yelled at him.  I cried.  I cursed.  I ignored him, because I felt he was ignoring me.  I told him, “You turned your back on me, so I’m doing the same to you.”  Then, I cried some more.

I prayed.  I asked for help.  I asked for more faith.  I asked for God to take away my fear, my doubt, my stress and worry.  All I could see was my loss, what I didn’t have.  I was more focused on what I needed and I was so desperate in that need that I could not see all that I did have, everything I should have been thanking God for.  But when you are in the midst of depression, despair, anger, bitterness, worry and fear, you can’t see the good stuff.  All you can see is darkness.  You can’t find much, if any light.  I’m so thankful for that sparklette of light I had that was holding me from going any deeper.

I kept praying constantly, after I gave in to ignoring God.  I kept praying for more faith than fear.  I knew I needed more faith than anything.  It took days.  It took weeks.  Sure, I’d go through anger again, crying, depression, doubt, but I kept praying and asking for more faith over fear.  A month went by.  More.  Then, something cool happened.

This peace come over me.  This peace made me feel like everything was going to be ok.  I felt like I handed over my anger and fear and doubt to God, finally.  I told him to take it from me, and to replace it with faith.  I knew more than anything I needed faith and patience.  Patience is a lesson I’ve never quite grabbed onto.  In fact, I downright suck at it.  This day came upon me and I woke up glad.  I started to think, “I have so much to be thankful for.  I am healthy.  My family is healthy.   I have the most awesome daughter in the entire world.  I have the most wonderful mother.  I have a home.  I have a car that runs.  Hallie goes to a great school.”  I kept on thinking of so many things I could be thankful for.

Then, I started to think what my loved ones must be going through.  I’ve been so focused on me and my selfish thoughts, poor me, my poor life …  What about them?

I’m sure Mama misses Daddy more than anyone and anything.  They were soul mates.  They had such a great love for each other.  Her heart must ache more during the holidays.  Daddy’s been watching over us from Heaven for 11 years now.  And Hallie?  I know how scared she must be with her knee surgery coming up after Christmas.  She’s so fearful, anxious and nervous.  I’ve been so selfish!  And my best friend, Jennefer, with her oldest off at college, and so many other friends who have needs and trials and I’ve been over here thinking “poor me.”  A friend told me once, “It ain’t all about you.”  One of the best things I ever heard.

I just wanted to take this time, here at Thanksgiving, to ask you – Are you thankful or are you angry?  There really isn’t enough room in your heart for both.  You just make up your mind to be one or the other, depending on where you choose to place focus.  You can sit around and have a pity party like I did, or you can write down every little thing and person and place that you are thankful for and then — well … you can be thankful.  I can nearly bet that you have more things to be thankful for in your life than things to be angry about.  And thankfulness is such a much better feeling to hold in your heart than anger and depression.

I want to take this time to say thank you, God and thank you, Jesus, for all you have given to us — more good things than we will ever deserve.  Please forgive us for our selfishness, for our anger, bitterness, depression and doubt.  All we have to do is let it go and give it to you, pray constantly, try to have faith, and wait on you, because it’s all in your time, not ours.  Thank you for all your many blessings.  Though we may not always see it, our cups runneth over.  I love you soooo much!

Can One Fall Off The Earth?

No, I suppose one cannot fall off the Earth, although my friends out there have probably been assuming I did.  I have not forgotten you guys nor have I forgotten the blog.  I have been self employed since May, working simultaneously for three jobs and between 30 to 45 hours a week, give or take.  Not much time for anything fun, except work, although we did take a lovely vacation to Gatlinburg and Chattanooga, Tennessee, for which I’ll be updating you with photos very soon.  Trying to make time to spend with family, albeit not nearly enough.  Not getting any time to spend with friends, except maybe a couple of hours a month.  Just wanted to update you and let you know that I’m working on a plan to increase income while decreasing work hours.  I’ll let you know how that one goes.  ;)

I will try to make some time to return emails to my buddies who have emailed me, and will try to make the time this upcoming weekend to do an actual blog post about our goings on as of late.  So sorry I have not been current and posting as I know I should.  It is still important to me and I will try to get better at updating regularly.

I know.  Excuses…  Excuses…

P1130155

Oh, and while you wait, and since you have been so patient with me, I will reward you with one of my latest photos.  These are Fennec Foxes.  These are some of the cutest furry creatures I have ever seen!  If any of you have ever read the Skippyjon Jones books, he might come to mind when you look at these sweet babies!!  I’m in my 40s and still read those funny books!!!  Of course, I got them when Hallie was little and we read them together (while, of course, using our Spanish Baby Hero voices) and they were so gut-busting hilarious, any time I need some laughter, I go read one out loud, and yes, using my Spanish Baby Hero voice.

I hope and trust that all of you are doing fantastically well.  Love ya!!  *smooch*  ;)

-Carol

Myrtle the Turtle

P1120445This sweet big girl had been camping out at the same spot for a couple of days on the other side of my driveway.  I went over to check on her and she had been digging a hole.  I’m not positive but I believe she laid some eggs in that hole.  This happened around June 1st.  I did a little bit of internet research and it said if she laid eggs, they should hatch anywhere from 45 to 90 days, so I’ll be checking the site come July 15 and every day thereafter just to see if there has been any change.  I looked in the hole and all I could see was mud and the hole.  Hopefully, I’ll see the pitter patter of little hatchling feet in the coming weeks or months.  She was so cute.  I just had a couple of little chats with her and she just carefully watched me.

Later, I saw where cars were slowing down in front of my house, so I went out to see why and she had her butt parked in the middle of the road, so I picked her up (to which she tried to fight me) and put her on the other side of the road in which she was headed.  Haven’t seen her since.

I’m not sure, but I believe her to be a Mississippi Mud Turtle, and I named her Myrtle, for lack of a better name.

________________________________

On another note, I have finally updated my 101 Things page.  Oh, and now not only have I snagged me a couple of cool jobs online (just got a second one today that I start Tuesday) that I can work from home, but I’ve also earned the title Freelance Writer, since I’ve sold my first article online.  Nice!  Dreams can come true.

I hope y’all are doing well.  I’ll try to establish a routine of regular posting.  Still working on my schedule.  Now that I’m working from home, I’m busier than ever, but a lot less stressed, if that makes sense.  At least I’m busy doing things I love.  Working in the yard, cooking, cleaning, hangin’ with my girls, writing, working online, among other things and just enjoying life.  I hope you are enjoying life, as well.  *smooch*

Love ya!

Carol

Skipped Out On My Own Invitation

mama

No need to post what week of 52 this is, since I dropped the ball on posting weekly.  Oh well.  I felt bad at first not following through, but I’ve let it go, since there are only so many hours in a day to get it all done.  Too much goin’ on lately, so focusing on the most important stuff first.

So, what’s been happenin’?  Well, as many of you know, I was participating in the Camp Nanowrimo, which is a virtual camp that participants join in April (and there’s another in July) to write a novel, short stories, poems, scripts, what have you.  My goal was to write a novel and reach 50,000 words.  You only have the 30 days alloted during April and you have to submit by 11:59pm April 30 to see if you are a winner.  I won!  As did a couple of my friends!!  Yea!

So, now that that’s done, or that part is done, I’ve put my novel on a back burner to focus on this new job I was presented with.  Wonderful new job!  Flexible hours, the same money as I make now per week, plus less gas I need to buy, plus less hours, plus no one to jerk me around daily, oh, I just can’t stop about the perks, but I’ll stop anyway.  It’s a great deal, but it’s also scary as H-E-double hockey sticks.  Ya know, any time ya take a risk, it’s pretty dang scary.  And good stress is still stress.  So, anyway, I gave my two weeks notice to my current day job while still working for this other job for about 10 or so hours per week.  My last day with the blegh job is May 22 and I’m soooo excited.  I get to pick my sweet baby up from school on her last day and every day for the next school year.  I get to spend quality time with her during the summer, and I cannot wait!!

So, that’s a bit about what’s been going on.

Above, you see an image of my beautiful mother. She’s such a sweetheart!  She’s one of my best friends in the world!  We hang out every chance we get, and this was the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  She and I decided we’d treat each other to an early Mother’s Day meal out at our favorite restaurant!  Saltgrass Steakhouse!  Oh baby!  Hallie pitched in some of her allowance for the meal for our Mother’s Day gift, as well.  We have to drive like 3 hours to get to this place, but it’s so worth it.  Every mouthwatering bite!  Plus, ya know, we are always up for a roadtrip, a daytrip, any kind of trip trip.  I love to drive and my girls love to ride.  It’s just so relaxing to drive and look at all the sights, and shop at our favorite stores, although we went into our favorite store and some old ladies were working in there, following us around, stalking us, forcing stuff on us and we walked out.  Never have we left that store without a purchase.  First time for everything.  We were very disappointed, and I plan to send a complaint to their website and see if it makes a difference.  You should not hound the shoppers!  Grrrr!  But, we shopped around at some other shops, took some shots of ourselves in a photo booth – Cute and Fun!  And also found a new Panera Bread that just opened up down there.  Oh, all this was in Bossier City and Shreveport, Louisiana – 3 hours away from where we live.  It was an awesome day!  We left at 7am and got home at 7pm.

Sunday was a stellar day!  The weather could not have been more beautiful.  Sun shining, breeze blowing, warm enough for shorts, but almost too chilly for shorts depending on how hard the wind was blowing.  I told God, “You really made this a perfect weather day.  I could be happy in temps like this every day!”  I can’t remember the last weekend before this one where we did not get rained out!  So, we thoroughly enjoyed our Blue Sky Holiday!  Mama slow cooked some roast, mashed up some taters, fixed a salad, and we were in hog heaven at her house just hangin’ out and chowin’ down.

I hope all you sweet mommies out there had a memorable and wonderful Mother’s Day, as well.

I’ll head on over to my 101 things and update that in a second.  Let me get to prayer requests.  What did I forget?  Anything?  Let me know.  Oh, and when my life gets back to some sort of normalcy next week, as I’m working on my new daily schedule now, setting everything up, I will also get back to finishing my novel, and then I can update you on how that’s going.

Y’all have a beautiful day!  Love ya!

-Carol

Oh, last post, I invited y’all over Sunday and I didn’t even show up.  I am pitiful!  One day, I will have my rear in gear and be organized.  One day…

Prayer Requests:

1) For Mama to be healed and feel good again.  She’s been feeling sick for months and has a dr’s appt coming up.  Let the doc tell her it’s something easily fixable with diet and exercise, not eating certain foods, etc.
2) For this new opportunity I’ve been granted work out for the greater good.
3) Please pray for Jennefer about her new job, and let it be as awesome as she is, and let her transition from one job to this next one be much smoother than she anticipated.
4) Please pray for Sherree to quickly be able to follow her heart and dreams.
5) Please pray for Carlie to be safe and well.
6) Please pray for Carlie to come by sometime and let us know she’s ok.
7) Please pray for Patrick to find the woman of his dreams, fall in love and get married. Pray he finds her this year.

Sorry, Been MIA

P1120405Let me start off by apologizing for leaving hi and dry.  I joined in with this Camp NaNoWriMo project, which went from April 1 through April 30.  My goal was to write a novel and reach at least 50,000 words by the deadline and I reached it this morning, and then some.  So, yea!  I reached my goal!  Woooohoooo!  However, now I will need some time to revise, finish, revise again, polish, etc.  I’m hoping this will not take too long, and I suppose I could and should get back to blogging.P1120403

A buddy of mine joined me in the Camp Nano race as we cheered each other on.  He’s awesome!  He reached the finish line a few days before me, but he was waiting for me at the end.  Thanks, Gerry!

Anyway, just wanted to apologize.  I left and I suppose I didn’t explain why and when I’d return.  And I’m back, so I’ll get back to my weekly postings and updates this weekend – back to a more normal posting schedule.  Just thought I’d let you know.

And thanks to those friends out there that knew about it and cheered me on!  I appreciate you so much!  Well, I just really appreciate all of you.  It’s always pretty awesome to have a nice circle of friends and I would most certainly include each of you in that circle.  So, thanks, to each of you for your friendship.  And I’ll try to be better at regular weekly postings from now on, unless of course, I join in with another Camp Nanowrimo (I think there’s another one in July) or regular original Nanowrimo (which is always held in November).  But I’ll give you a heads up first, k?  K.

Just posting a sweet pic of my babe as she’s half asleep in the car on the way to school one morning.  Yes, I snap and drive.  Sorry to all of you early commuters out there sharing the roadways with me.  ;)

Hope y’all have a groovilicious day!  *love, hugs and smooches*  ;)

-Carol

Beautiful Morning

P1120395
Week 13 of 52

Ok, so maybe not a beautiful morning for today’s morning, since it’s raining off and on all day long.  But it was a beautiful morning yesterday when we witnessed this sunrise  on the way to school.  We thought it was cool the way the jet was streaming through the clouds.  ;)  Wanted to post the coolest Easter egg that Hallie painted, but I suppose I downloaded those pics already to my home computer.  This sunrise shot was still on my memory card in my camera, so I’m using this one instead.

An okay week last week.  Carlie is still gone and we are sad and missing her like crazy.

We are a little behind on our 21-day meditation challenge, as we skipped the weekend, but started it back up on Monday.

Started Camp Nanowrimo on April 1st!  My daily word count goal is 2,000, so I will hopefully have roughly 60,000 by the end of April 30. So far, so good!  I hope and pray I can keep this momentum going.  I’ve been really blessed with some free time at work to imagine and type.  Not all days are like that.  Today is another free day, so hopefully I can get my daily writing/typing done before leaving work today.  The last couple of days, I start out early in the morning, then do more at work, especially on my lunch hour, then finish at night.  My friend, Gerry, is also participating in Camp Nano and we are encouraging each other.  Anybody else joining in?  It’s not too late to join in if you like.  Let me know if you do and I will be sure to cheer you on daily!  Encouragement from your friends helps sooooo much!  It helps me for sure.  Keeps me going.  Keeps me strong!

So, how are you?  What’s been going on in your world?

Hopefully, I will remember to go update my 101 things in 1001 days in just a moment.  Nothing really new going on.  Just sort of went into hiding once April 1 got here.  I am determined to finish this 50,000 word count goal.  It’s a really fun story – adventure/fantasy/sci-fi novel for young adults.  It’s the first in a series.  I haven’t mapped out how many books, as of yet.  I do know for sure that there will be three.  I’ve only mapped out the first book and not fully.  The second and third books in the series are only stacks of typed and written notes.  Half of me is a planner, and half of me is a pantser.  It’s more fun flying by the seat of my pants, but it can also be stressful.  It’s especially fun when you plan a story and then it takes on a life of its own and takes over your mind.  Right now, it plays like a movie in my head, and that’s when the writing is at its easiest, although my mind flies faster than my fingers, in which case I have to speak into my handheld, which I completely detest, as I cannot stand to hear my own voice.  Especially when I play it back.  Do I really sound like that to everyone?  Is my southern drawl that bad?  Yuck!  Yes, I get on my own nerves.

I’d much rather just type and scribble and never speak!  No.  Really.  I would not make a good platform when it comes to being a published author, especially if I’m a real success at it, because I would avoid public appearances and functions at all costs.  I would love to have all my stories published and for people to love them, but I’d like to hide behind my pen name, and live as a recluse in a house in the middle of 100+ acres, completely shielded by trees, and for no one to recognize me, and for no one to recognize my name.  If I could get away with that, I’d attempt to publish everything I have written.  Or at least the stuff I’m most proud of.  Is that crazy?  I don’t care if it is.  I soooo love my privacy, and I do not enjoy the social scene at all.  I remember a time when I loved to go out with my friends and party all the time.  Back before, during, and a little while after my Air Force days.  Now that I’m a mom, I am a homebody and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I’ve had all the partying days I wish to have.  Been there.  Done that.  Don’t miss it.  I should probably spend more time with my friends (and I try to once per month), but truth be told, I’d rather be home, comfy, hangin’ out with my kiddo, and having Mama over as much as possible.  And if not at home, I’d prefer to be on the road, driving to some nifty vacation spot, taking photos and enjoying the sights and activities and food from that place.

Anywho, I realize I’m rambling, so I’ll shut up now. Let me just add the prayer requests:

Y’all just holla when ya have a prayer request, and please pray for those below, if ya don’t mind.

1) Please pray for Kristie and David, for comfort and peace.
2) Please pray for Jennefer about her job, as well as her co-workers. Please pray that her co-workers to treat her with love and kindness.
3) Please pray for Sherree to quickly sell her house.
4) Please pray for Carlie to be safe and well.
5) Please pray for Carlie to come by sometime and let us know she’s ok.
6) Please pray for Mama to get well and feel good again.
7) Please pray for Patrick to find the woman of his dreams, fall in love and get married. Pray he finds her this year.
8) Please pray that I reach my 2,000 word count goal each day of the month during April.

I’m hoping that you had an awesome week, you have an awesome day and the rest of your week is fantastique!  Love ya!!!  *smooch* ;)

-Carol