So, when was the last time you heard some words that made you feel valued as a person? Not words about your clothing, your physical appearance or the car you drive but words about your character or behavior?  Yesterday was my last day of work at the oil company I joined last November.  When I was hired in I really believed I found my last forever place but it didn't go down that way. It's funny how we like to talk about what we will do tomorrow, next week, next month or next year because we feel like when we put a plan in place that we've decided well and it should not change quickly.  But that's not always the way it turns out. 

In the Bible, James 4:14-15 says: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that."

The older I get the more I realize that our lives are but snippets of seasons.  God moves and directs us, whether you are aware or not, in and out of scenarios and situations for a season.  Your season may be years but it may be a moment in time. I'm thankful that I've come to a place in life that I recognize that when it's time to go, it's time to go. Why delay the next move if you acknowledge the One who directs your path?  

Finding my niche at the oil company was not hard, but the processes were difficult.  The software they purchased some years back was not at all sales or user friendly and seemed cumbersome and inefficient to me.  It created many extra steps needed on a busy sales desk to process an order because the program didn't connect all the dots to all departments as promised. Recognizing that I couldn't change the system or fight for improvement any longer,  I had to determine if I could fit into the process or move on. I had my eyes on several opportunities, when an opportunity came to me. It seemed right and brings me some flexibility that I am looking for so after some discussion with trusted friends and prayer for peace of mind, I accepted the new opportunity.  I gave my resignation. 

Two weeks later as I made my way through the management team and different departments to bid adieu, one by one I was told ‘whether you know it or not, your being here really made a difference for the better.’  I was stunned and more than that, I was thankful.  Instead of regretting the choice I made 7 months ago, I realize that this season seemed to be a needed confidence booster and training ground as I got my footing back in the race. It gave me time to gain a steady pace, brush up on the language of business semantics and hone my skills that God gave me making me a desired hiree even at retirement age.  It’s not easy to interview against potential candidates half my age, but if God’s behind it He will shine His spotlight on you! As I made my way through the ranks yesterday, I was told by a decision maker, that if things didn’t work out where I was going, to reach out and I would be welcomed back.  Nice!

Never count yourself out!

All pics googled 

When Time Stands Still

We like to approach life in moments of time.  A floral scent in the air immediately takes us back to a childhood memory. A song can transport us to our first romantic encounter with someone we loved.  Often times we reconnect all these feelings to someone we've loved and lost but, really, it could be a connection to any life event.  A family vacation, a pajama party with girlfriends where we laughed all night or the loss of a beloved family member we thought would never leave us can all be snippets of time we often linger over to replay or re-script with a different result. 

When did you last experience time standing still for you?  In the world of chaos stemming from addiction or substance abuse time stands still in moments of fear. Holding our breath in hopes that the one we love will resurface intact of any harmful effects is a constant place we stand still. We usually struggle with finding something joyful that makes us catch our breath.  In the spirit of a new year ahead, however,  I have a post of another type. 

Recently we welcomed a new member to our family ~ she blew in with the winter winds of the new year to the shock and amazement of our family.  Certainly, to the wonder of my eldest brother who found out at the age of 67 that he is a father! 

With the dawn of Ancestry.Com and 23andMe along with social media the world as we know it, is getting smaller. My "new niece", JK, had thoughts and questions all her life about her background stemming from feelings of not belonging, not connecting, with the men she had in her life as father figures. JK wanted to do the Ancestry DNA kit offered by and longed to see what was running through her veins, longing to put some rest to the gnawing feelings to "hunt for who I am".  

JK had spoken so much about her desire to search and seek information about her background she received a DNA test kit as a Christmas gift and promptly sent in her saliva collection the very next day. While the test results can take up to 8 weeks to be processed, it seems JK received the results back in record time. She was excited to confirm that she has 22% German/Swiss/Netherlands DNA which she knew, but was shocked to learn that she had a high percentage of Scot/Irish and Welsh DNA. Along with the results of her DNA she also received a listing of surnames, many being all from the same family. There were several names of immediate family members called out which made her even more certain she had stumbled onto something big.  JK spoke with her mother, asking about the predominant names on the list to find out that her mom dated someone in the early 80's whose name matched exactly to one of the names on the list. Suddenly, it all made sense. 

With piqued curiosity, JK did some digging around on Facebook and soon zeroed in on the man she thought could be her father. She decided to reach out to him and see what kind of response she would receive. 

"I think we need to talk"

JK messaged the man she thought she belonged to, (who also has JK as part of his name) but he didn't see her message or respond at first. Whenever someone says I think we need to talk, it usually makes us sit up and take notice whether good news or bad news is coming. Finally after a few attempts to make contact an agreed connection to at least talk was made. A conversation followed and JKM confirmed that he remembered her mom and that they had briefly dated. Comparing notes and checking dates JKM responded. "Yes," he said, "there's a good chance I am your father."  I imagine that time stood still during that conversation. Shortly after a few more encounters, JKM announced to our family that he had a daughter and 2 grandchildren! 

A flurry of phone calls went on between father and daughter and JK became more euphoric with each passing exchange. Through Facebook, pictures were pored over and questions were being answered about looks, height and interests. JK's redheaded daughter was delighted to find another redhead in the family. Me, too!! 

Rapidly, plans were put in place for JKM to fly from WA to NV and meet his family which consisted of his daughter, JK, and 2 grandchildren - one 12 year old girl and one 6 year old boy.  We were all waiting on the sidelines with bated breath for this meeting to take place and were overjoyed to see the pictures of such a glad meeting, face to face. It was very emotional from my seat on the observation deck; I can't imagine the emotions that were flying in the physical realm of this interaction except that perhaps it was another moment when time stood still.  JK posted many, many pictures throughout the weekend and their smiles couldn't have been any bigger. Pure joy sprung to life off each photograph that was shared. 

JK wrote a beautiful post following the weekend of instantaneous love and connection -  "What a weekend, words can not describe the happiness I have in my heart for this visit" 

JKM and I texted back and forth when he got home and he said "You may quote me - I get all fluttery inside when I think about this past weekend."  

What a way to begin 2018!  To our surprise and delight, JK is a wonderful woman who is excited and thankful that the missing piece has been found. We are all "over the moon"! 

Over The Moon

Counting Your Blessings?

White Christmas is one of my favorite movies for so many reasons! Do you recall Bing Crosby singing Count Your Blessings?  Here's a little snippet of it...

When is the last time you counted your blessings with your loved ones or with the ones you love that aren't living exactly as you hoped? 

The other day, Cliff and I were discussing how time seems to be moving so quickly when suddenly he looked at the calendar and said that he was about to celebrate 10 years clean.  Ten years! Now that's something to be thankful for from his perspective and mine! 

After spending 15 years on the pathway to destruction Cliff had his moment with God who heard his heartfelt plea and removed him from the cavernous call of addiction into a life of freedom. The walk of freedom hasn't been without struggles, sometimes really hard struggles, but the call back to heroin has not been in his timeline since that day. In the same way the chaos has begun to become a thing of the past for me. Changes for me have also not come easily as one who was enmeshed in codependency and enabling. I thought I was being a good and loving mom. Ugh. 

As Cliff and I chatted he couldn't help but acknowledge just how much God had intervened and spared his life in moments of danger, provided food in moments of deep hunger and kindness from strangers when he was cold or alone. The conversation was one of gratitude and thanksgiving for Cliff. It soothed my soul as well as I thought of just how much God answered prayers in all kinds of ways for all types of situations. 

Sometimes when we're caught up in the molasses of someones addiction we struggle to find one thing to be thankful for. We can't see past our pain to the promise or hope for the future especially for the ones we love. But God says to give thanks in all circumstances! 

What?!? How in the world am I supposed to do that! Can't you see what I'm dealing with here? 

We speak to ourselves in negative and heavy ways and moment by moment we struggle to even get our eyes up off the ground.  We shake our fists at God in frustration and anger. We are so stinkin' tired of the battle that we lose sight of the hope and promise God is offering to us. 

But He says:  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 
(Col 4:2)

You argue in your heart and mind with this thinking. But as simple as it sounds, if we practice counting our blessings one by one, as we ask God to protect the ones we love and call them into healthy living, our own mindset and outlook on life gets changed. Do you have a roof over your head, food on the table and something warm to wear when you are cold? Be thankful! You've worked hard for it, for sure, but are you thankful for your job even if the circumstances are less than ideal? Do you own a car? Do you have  pet who loves you even if you're grumpy, sad or tired? 

Honestly, you can't do anything about another persons life choices. Nothing. What should be our response? Giving it all over to God in prayer and asking Him for help in our own situations that our attitudes and behaviors would be honorable. As a parent, child or spouse of one who is still caught up in a deadly life style, you have to let them go and take care of yourself. Don't waste the years on what you cannot change. Only God has that kind of life-changing ability! 

"If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings"

(picture googled)