“It Was The Love”
I just got back from the BEST vacation! We haven’t been on an out-of-town vacation in almost 4 years – so needless to say, it was MUCH needed. But besides that, God revealed a lot of things to me.
Briefly I will tell you that we live in the Texas Panhandle – if you have never been here before, let me say that it is hot, dry and flat. No trees. Very little water. And windy – very, very windy. We do have the second-largest canyon in the country (Palo Duro Canyon) – and it is something to see! The beauty here is in the people. We have the friendliest people around – and that is a true blessing!
For vacation, we headed to the nearest mountains (see the picture I took above!). We stayed in Red River, NM. I’m not a person who enjoys snow — so mountains in the summer is my kind of fun. We spent our time doing the following: fireworks on the lake, watched a parade, grilled, mountain climbing/hiking, tubing down the slopes, off-roading and water rafting.
During our time there, I was able to reflect on a few things. For instance, I was witness to some little spats that took place within the couples. Being older than they are, having been there, done that and being single again, gave me a different perspective. In some ways it was like Deja vu – because I remember thinking/saying/acting in similar ways. But I could also see where I had matured past a lot of it and I now know that I handled things in the best way I could in my marriage. It was like God was allowing me to witness these things to let me know that maybe, just maybe I needed to forgive myself a bit more. I have always been critical of myself and though I thought I had moved on, I suppose that I still blamed myself for ‘failing’ in my marriage. So this let me know that 1) I no longer need to second-guess my thoughts/feelings on certain things and 2) It always takes two – so it isn’t all my fault.
I experienced some pain that I thought had healed through the years when I learned of some unkind, hurtful words being told to another. It brought back memories. It hurt and it helped – if that makes any sense. My heart hurt witnessing someone going through the same stuff I had and at the same time it reminded me that what I experienced in my past was not because I’m such a ‘bad’ person or unworthy person – but rather the insecurities of the person saying the hurtful things.
I also learned to lighten up and laugh a little more. You know, being around young adults is definitely an experience! It helped to remind me to be happy and enjoy my life a little more. And it helped to get me off my duff and move – to do something active. AND – to drink more water – LOL!
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in existing in this world that we forget to really look around. We forget to pause and take a look at what He has provided. So I am also thankful that I was able to enjoy God’s beautiful creations there. We saw it rain every afternoon – where that would normally put a damper on one’s activities – we danced in it! We would stand like goobs and simply breathe. It was fantastic! I must admit, when we got back home to the dry 100-degree temps – I was a bit disgusted. I keep telling myself to mellow out though – LOL
And – it has inspired me to really do some serious praying about guidance and seeking God’s will for me. For a couple of years now, I have had a desire to make a living in a different field – but I typically squash it down and try to ignore it. I have obligations. I can’t see how I could do anything else. Blah, blah, blah……but now I’m thinking, why not!? If God has put this desire in my heart, I should be listening – right? So, that is my goal. I will keep my heart and mind open and wait for His lead.
I also discovered that though I thought I was pretty stress-free these days, apparently I’m not as much as I thought. No wonder I’m still struggling with my Fibromyalgia (mainly the Fibro-fog) and weight/health issues. Yes, I’m better than I was – thank you, Father! But I experienced true peace and contentment while away from the daily grind. And I want that in my life! So, I have decided to work on that a little more. Progress not perfection – as the saying goes.
And finally, I was simply able to truly enjoy my family. I love my family. We are tight. But this allowed us to forget the daily stresses of life and just have fun. It’s been a long time, folks. I saw my 7-year old mature right before my eyes. My daughter is struggling with a few things and that in itself is growth. My heart aches for her at times – but I’m so darn proud of her too! She has her own business at the young age of 20 years old – not many can say that, you know. I love my son-in-law. He is intelligent and responsible and he loves my daughter. My ‘other’ daughter – I call her that, she’s my daughter’s best friend — I finally got to know her a little more (she’s always been so quiet though I’ve known her for years). I’m proud of her too – she has grown into a beautiful young lady and she has a bright future ahead of her. And I got to know her boyfriend – and I like him. A lot. Not to mention that he saved my bacon when I went overboard on the rafting trip – LOL!
And then there is my dad. He didn’t go with us. But he stayed behind and tended to my pets on top of running my ex-husband’s business while he is out of the country. I don’t know what we would do without him. I’m 48 years old and still tend to run to him for advice. We all do. He’s a great man and I thank God for him every single day!
Coming back home I found a few more things to appreciate (once I got over the disgust of the extreme temps). I learned that some of my daughter’s friends were disappointed that we were gone over the 4th of July holiday. We typically have a cookout at my place and they had wanted to do it again this year. It’s nice to know that they (being teens and young adults) feel they can come out and have a good time and that they don’t mind being around an ‘adult’ (me) – so I must be okay.
Bottom line, I found a greater appreciation for my job, my home, my life and my church. Though I have a desire to do other things – I will be content where I’m at until God shows me that it is time to do something different. I have faith that I am yet on another exciting journey with my Father and that He will shower me and my family with many more blessings.
Hope you are having a great summer and please, take time to thank God for the blessings He has provided.
As a side note: a friend of mine is listing 10 things he is thankful for each day on Facebook. I’m thinking that is not a bad idea. I may start doing that too in order to keep my mind on the lookout for the positive and the good things in life!
Image courtesy of bplanet /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Lately there has been something weighing heavily on my heart. And I keep thinking I want to post about it – but then I struggle with how to put it into words so as not to sound too negative and judgmental. If you follow my blog – you may have heard some of this before – but read on, some of it is new.
I suppose we all reflect on similar things as we get older. Maybe when we mature we start looking at life through different eyes. I struggle to put into words the things that come to mind in a manner that won’t sound like generations before me – ‘this world is going to hell in a hand basket’ or ‘this generation is so ________’ (you fill in the blank). You know what I mean – we’ve all heard those types of statements from parents and grandparents.
However, I do not believe this is the same as the generations before me. I have always been able to take what is thrown at me and I can handle change – even when I don’t like the change. So I don’t feel like I’m stuck in the past or anything of that nature. As a matter of fact, I’m the one who is usually helping others to transition into what’s new or different.
Maybe my problem is that I hold people to a high standard. I always have. And yes, I am often disappointed or hurt because of that standard. People are people and don’t we all fall short? So what am I rambling about you ask? It is how people treat each other these days. Our society seems to have lost compassion for one another.
We have kids killing kids. We have people being picked on (now called bullied) to the point of suicide. We have people hating each other for no reason. What happened? Some of it is that we did it to ourselves. Don’t you think? We have raised a generation (or two) who believes that they should be made comfortable at all times. They should get what they want, when they want and you better not make them work for it either. They expect it to be their way or the highway.
I believe that is why no one is allowed to say or do or think for themselves anymore. No one is allowed to compete. No one is allowed to joke around or have fun – because after all, we might ‘offend’ some group of people. And I believe that is why there are so many jumping on the bandwagon to accuse others of saying discriminatory or slanderous things. It’s like people are just waiting to pounce on every little thing – maybe because there is no adrenaline rush anymore – after all, everyone gets a blue ribbon whether they work hard or not. There is no sense of accomplishment and the thrill of competition is non-existent – so let’s find something to do….hey look – that person said the ‘R’ word! Let’s get him! Without logically considering the context in which things are being said – people want to get a rush from attacking.
And then there are situations such as my former employer. I’ve touched on it a few times but have not gone in depth. This is – no, was a place of love and caring for others. The sole purpose of this establishment was to help those in need while allowing them to maintain dignity. It was to show God’s love – to be His hands and feet in the community. That is why I applied to work there – I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. That is why everyone I worked with was there too. We shared that same desire. Regardless of the lower pay scale – those who worked there chose the blessings of improving the lives of the less fortunate over money in their own pockets.
In all my years in the corporate world, I have never worked with such an awesome group of people! I’ve never seen so many people willing to put so much energy and everything they have into their work. As mentioned, the pay was very low – and yet people stayed because of that love for others. There were times when paychecks didn’t come on time. There were times when benefits were taken away. There were even times when pay was taken back for a period of time….and yet we stayed.
However, as the years progressed there was a group of individuals outside of the agency who couldn’t stand not having their hands in the middle of it all. They simply would not leave things alone. Slowly this outside entity started creating a different atmosphere into our agency. I started seeing some of the meanest and cruelest actions by people who claimed to be Christians. To this day I am amazed at the arrogance of this group (I am calling them a group rather than a specific church as I do not wish to label or lump any particular group of people together). I am surprised at how these people would look you in the eye and tell you that that they strive to show God’s love and at the same time – stab you in the back. Possibly I’m being naïve. Maybe it’s because I live in the so-called bible belt….but I’m not so sure because I have actually lived all over the country and never experienced anything like this.
Their arrogance and interference led to an upheaval in our agency. People became stressed. They were hurt. Negativity permeated the entire environment. Very few of us were happy. No one could trust anyone else. The gossip mill was rampant. However, because of our desire and our love for the agency and the people – many of us tried to stick it out. We assumed it was a cycle that would eventually go away. Don’t get me wrong, there were problems before any of this took place – there are always issues anywhere you go. Nothing is perfect. But even with the shortcomings, one can tell the difference between people who truly are trying their very best and those who are trying to undermine the entire operation for their own greedy reasons.
Through those years, I watched the head of the group treat his second-hand man like dirt in front of others. I remember being appalled and shocked that someone could be so openly cruel. I eventually lost all respect for this person and honestly that religious group as a whole. There was once a very loving and caring person who stepped in as an Interim Director – just to help out until a permanent replacement was found. His sweet little wife was very ill. It didn’t take but a few minutes talking with him to know just how much he loved his wife. He was the picture of how you hope your own marriage would be. But before long, this ‘group’ was pushing him to do more and more in the church – to the point that the head told him that he should be picking his service to the church over the needs of his wife. Kudos to him – he told them what they could do with the whole thing!
Let me be clear – I don’t mean that I believe all people of this faith are bad. What I mean is that for whatever reason there are those who have this idea that they are all-powerful and that they can do whatever they please. They are out to gain whatever they think will advance them to the next level and they don’t care who they stomp on in the process. Harsh words – I never thought I would say….but I have felt this way for several years as I’ve watched how people are used and then thrown away when no longer useful.
When I finally decided to leave – I was completely burned out. When we hear of people getting burned out – the picture in my mind is that they are tired, exhausted and bored with whatever they are doing to the point that it is time to stop. I also assumed that once they change environments all is well again. Not the case here. And since I’ve visited with others who have also left since my departure – I know they have gone through the same process. I believe that it is because we put so much of ourselves into that place.
It has been a very long healing process – one that I am still recovering from to this day. It’s like coming out of a very dark, ugly place into the sunlight. You don’t quite know what to do. You don’t feel you fit in – you don’t feel like you know how to react to or with others. You jump in startled reaction to the simplest things because you know that had you been back at the other place – man, you would have been in trouble big time! It’s similar to being in an abusive mental/emotional relationship. We have had to learn that it’s okay to be happy again. It’s okay to not fear others and believe that they are out to get you. Eventually you figure out that you no longer have to second-guess the motives of every little thing.
Since my leaving, I have been surprised but pleasantly honored to have many of my former coworkers seek me out for friendship and/or counsel on how to handle things that are still going on in that place or once they have moved on to another. My heart aches for all those still there. Since I am in the Human Resource field, I have made it a personal mission of mine to seek job openings and post announcements on my FB page just so those who are considering a change will have information should they wish to apply.
For a time, I found myself angry. I was angry for the way my friends/former coworkers are being treated. How they have been lied to. I was angry because I heard from multiple people that I and others who have since left have been thrown under the bus over and over again. Yes, I know that is a typical thing whenever a person leaves – they are then blamed for everything wrong. But this is more than that. It is announcements or open discussions being made in group meetings that are inappropriate. Private and confidential things are being aired to others who have no need to hear it. They are assumptions and discussions by the so-called leaders of the agency who know absolutely nothing about what took place prior to them or why decisions were made. And honestly I have always worked diligently to be honest, trustworthy and reliable in my work. I worked hard to gain the trust and appreciation of the members of the board – only to have the so-called leader now tell lies about me/us.
Forgiveness. I know, I know. I am to forgive. And I believe I have – and I don’t hold grudges….but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. And more than my concerns for my own professional reputation are my concerns for those who are still trying to survive in that deceitful environment. I pray regularly for those folks. I pray that doors will be opened for all of them to move on. I also pray that the community soon learns the real truth about what is going on in that place. It’s no longer serving the community as it was created to do many years ago.
I guess what I’m getting at is that my heart hurts for the state of our society as a whole. Yes, yes I will acknowledge there are many, many good and caring people still out there. Heck, I consider myself one of them. But I almost feel we are being overrun with negative, hurtful individuals who no longer have the compassion. It got lost somewhere along the way. And is starts early – check out this post about bullying – it is very touching.
Seems like we need more positive, good stories in the headlines. Let’s bring back to light what we are all here to do. We are to share and show God’s love – aren’t we? Let’s help remind others of the good in people. It does rub off, you know. Let’s teach our kids to be good people again – but that it doesn’t mean being a doormat.
I wonder what it would be like to have a news program that focused on GOOD uplifting stories instead of all of the crisis and negativity the world? I don’t mean that we should stick our heads in the sand….but how about a better balance of news, ya know? Just a thought……………
So, if you are still with me after that ‘disclaimer’ – let me tell you what I’m talking about. Unless you’ve had your head in the sand lately – there is very little chance that you haven’t heard and seen the stories of the weather-related disasters.
There have been floods, the Alabama tornadoes, the Joplin, Mo. tornado, Oklahoma tornadoes and if you live in my neck of the woods – there are wildfires again. In the past 24 hours alone – there have been fires on both sides of me – within 20 miles or so on the north and south of my home.
All of this excitement/trauma has led me to take a real close look at my life. I’ve mentioned this before….but hang with me for a few moments. I don’t believe I’m the only one doing this either. Someone at work today said that she was thinking about the things she would lose if ever something happened to her home. She said she realized that everything that is ‘important’ to her is sitting at the top of a closet. “Not the best place to have that stuff – I need to move it!” she said.
Back in February we had to evacuate my dad’s place – get things moved out quick because the wildfires were bearing down quickly and he was out of town. I made a call to ask him what he wanted me to move. It’s hard to think straight when you get slammed with that type of decision without notice. So, he wasn’t even sure. We made the decisions for him. I remember when that ordeal was over – I found myself considering my own belongings and what I would want to take with me.
So besides material belongings – I also find myself taking a closer look at my life in general. And today, I saw a brief discussion on the news about what Oprah Winfrey wants for people – what final advice that she has for the public in general. They also interviewed Dr. Phil – and he basically said the same thing.
That thing? It was to find your passion. Know your passion. LIVE your passion. Someone mentioned how difficult that is for some people because it’s all they can do to make ends meet. To work, pay their bills and feed their families. Both Dr. Phil and Oprah said that it doesn’t have to ‘cost anything’ and it doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. They said that it just needs to be something that you enjoy. Something that makes you feel good. Something that gives you purpose so you aren’t merely existing in this life.
The interesting thing for me is that I’ve struggled for years – all of my adult life, actually – with wondering what my passion is. I ‘like’ many things. I’m good at many things. But, what – if there were no limitations – would I do with my life? I have no idea. Sad, huh?
I often wonder if it was because of my childhood. My up-bringing. Please understand – I am NOT blaming my parents for a bad childhood. I love my family. I love my parents. No question that they loved me. But what I mean is – no one ‘taught’ my parents to have goals or dreams for their lives. All they knew is that you got married, had kids and worked to support them. Period.
So, they in turn didn’t teach me and my brother about goals and dreams. Again – all we knew was to grow up, get married, start a family and make a living. Period.
I agree with Dr. Phil when he said that if you aren’t living your passion – then you are missing your true potential. We should all find what drives us and enjoy our time here on earth. Therefore, on this journey I am currently on with my Savior (please see my bio or read previous posts) – I am asking Him to reveal to me what my gift is. What is my true calling. Show me my true passion.
And, while I’m in this discovery mode….I’m also taking some baby steps to doing some things I’ve wanted to do for quite some time – as far as hobbies go. I’ve put them off because of dedicating my time, energy and money to my family – my husband and kids have always come first. I tend to put myself after everything and everyone else…and unfortunately, that is not always the best thing to do.
Not to get off track here – but here is an example of when it’s not so great to ALWAYS put others before yourself. I have a lot of people that I work with that I like and they like me. BUT – I have no real friends. Why? Because I ‘didn’t have time’ to invest in true friendship (or so I thought). I put everything I am into my husband and kids. If you have read previous blogs – you know that my husband left me out of the clear blue a few months back. And most recently – my daughter and I have been in the worst place ever with each other. I was sure I had lost her (but we’ve recently made amends).
But through all of that – I’ve come to realize that none of it would have been quite so devastating to me had I not put everything into just that part of my life. I was completely lost without them. Overnight (it seemed) two-thirds of my life was gone. I should have depended on God more than a husband – a man should not be who makes me feel complete and important. I needed to have a stronger relationship with my Savior. And I should have known that I can’t be everything to everyone. I wouldn’t be in a position of needing to rebuild everything had I led my life a little differently.
If I had taken a little more time for myself – I would most likely have friends I could lean on. I probably would not be overweight – because I would have been more attentive to my health and made time to exercise. IF I had hobbies or interests, then I wouldn’t feel so alone during this time when my daughter is avoiding home. Our home would most likely be a place of refuge rather than a place to avoid because of the depressing atmosphere.
Okay – my apologies for the little ‘rabbit trail’ I got off on….but the bottom line is that I need a purpose that is just for me. I need to find my passion. I need to find interests and to build myself up – to start my life anew.
For my ‘baby steps’ – I am picking up a hobby that I took a class on one time and loved it. Stained Glass. I have a work station set up and most of the supplies already. Within a couple of weeks – I should have everything I need and be on to my first project!!
I also want to purchase my next camera upgrade. I love photography and I am ready to experiment with what I can do. Watch out people – woman with a camera on the loose! LOL
Finally – through all of my ramblings here – I am here to say that I hope you have identified your passion. If not, I challenge you to find it. As was mentioned in that interview today – start by TRYING something. If it’s not for you, that’s okay….move on to something else. Continue until you find what really gives you the satisfaction and enthusiasm that you deserve in your life!