happiness

Youth Group

We were so fortunate that even before we moved back home my kids were involved in the church we now go to thanks to my cousin and her family. They have been faithful members of this church for years and the year before we moved back home both my kids were involved in VBS here when we came back for a visit.

This church swooped us up right from the beginning and gave us a safe place to land. First my son and now my daughter have joined the youth group and gained instant friends, as well as time with their cousins, to play, laugh, and deepen their relationships with God. They have become an important part of all of our lives and I’m so grateful we all have this as part of our spiritual tribe.

Kids are at youth, mama is home reading a book with a cup of tea enjoying the quiet with a cat curled up beside me. Life is good and the simple things are what bring us joy – it doesn’t cost a penny.

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A new dress

I wore a new dress today. The last time I wore a new dress was exactly 2 years ago today at my dad’s funeral. Today, instead of the dress being black and tears of sadness being shed, my dress was purple and the tears were of joy.

Our church put on a mother daughter dinner in celebration of the grade 6 girls who are graduating this year. The supper was prepared and served with love and care for these special girls who are loved so dearly by their moms, their families, their communities, their church, and by God. Between each course of the 4 course meal we were given questions to answer and this led to wonderful stories being told about the girls.

I will share one of the questions I was given – it was How do I see God through Jenna. I said that Jenna has this beautiful and open heart, but she also has this intense inner strength. When you need something, if times are tough, and you want someone to have your back – Jenna is just quietly there with her strength, holding you in her space. The combination of this open heart and incredible inner strength gives her such unique character. I adore this girl.

I feel so blessed that we are part of this church community, that the kids have this huge sense of belonging – to their family, to their church, to God. It’s what happiness is.

Jenna, in her new dress, with her friends. 

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Too much fun

I really could have my happiness moment just be this one photo. I have waited a lifetime for this to happen again, for the longest time it seemed impossible. Drishti is proof of the power of prayer and my heart has a broken piece put back together. Love is a beautiful thing. 

He loves the girl too….

But there were other moments of happiness today. It was the last Sunday for our pastor at church today, and while it was a sad time, there was also happiness. Happiness that he is following his calling, happiness in the form of a community lunch gathering, happiness that people share faith that there is always a plan even if we can’t see it at the time.

There were happiness moments like the one I felt driving this morning and this evening. The next two photos were almost taken at the same spot – the first of the sunrise reflecting on the mountains this morning and the second of the elk hanging out in the evening. What an amazing place this is where we live.

I feel like I’ve been really impatient with God lately and wanting Him to shine the light a bit further down my path. This weekend, while I don’t feel like the path is brighter, I feel like I have a lot more faith that I am on the right one. It all reveals itself at the right time. 

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The race marked out for you

The sermon at church today was about the race marked out for you. Meaning we are all here to run our own individual race, we can’t run someone else’s race, can’t run ours the way someone else does, can’t compare our results to that of the other runners. Our journey is ours alone to walk with God and we have to listen to how He wants us to walk it. 

This was big for me as I have spent years trying to live my life to make others happy – even when I knew that it was causing my own soul pain and taking me away from my spiritual path. These past few months I have really felt things like up in a way that they never have before and I’m feeling like I’m walking the right path. Honestly, a lot of it has to do with my decision to not give a f*ck about all the things that used to bug me. They were all distractions from my journey and took so much time and energy away from what I need to be doing. 

I’m finding I make myself go to church lately even when I don’t feel like it because his sermons always seem to hit exactly what I am struggling with at that moment. I consider our decision to start attending regularly last fall one of my greatest blessings. It has opened doors and put me back on my path. 

Happiness 

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Sunrise with Derek and survival mode

We have been enjoying some pretty amazing skies lately, and this morning I was fortunate enough to get outside and see the day break with my good buddy Derek. Look at that little face! How can you not love him. It warmed my heart to  start the day getting cuddles from this little dude (Peaches and George are in the back ground, the less-talked-about orphan calves).

Happiness

We finally got our lazy butts back to church after almost a month of finding many reasons to sleep in and it felt really good. I love my women’s group, and I always get so much out of the sermon.

The topic today was how to step out of the shadow of being in survival mode. This is exactly what I have come to the realization lately that I need to do. The last few years have been all about survival – there has been a lot of growth as well – but survival has been the driving force. I feel sometimes like all I do is run around and put out fires and that I never actually get to move ahead to where I want to be. My body tells me I am survival mode as it is exhausted from holding my being in a constant stressed state of flight or flight. And you know what? The danger, the stress, the fear…. it’s not present in my life anymore. I don’t need to be in survival mode. It’s like my soul, my body, my being does not know how to let go of being in survival mode.

All of that I have known for a while, but my question was how do I get out of it? Because trust me, I have been working hard to get there.

Our pastor had some ideas.

Stay the course. Show up every day, be strong and courageous to do what God wants regardless of the outcome. Work from a faith based perspective rather than an outcome based one. 

Fear keeps you from coming out of the shadows (Oh my.. this is so me). Identify your fears, look them in the eye, then list the ways that God has been faithful. I have taken huge leaps of faith the past couple of years, and I am learning how to do this one, but fear has held me back from taking chances and achieving great things my whole life.

Experience God’s word every day of your life. And remember, you can read God’s word, study His word, and not still not hear Him. We need to hear Him. I need to hear Him. Sometimes I get so busy telling Him what I want I don’t stop to listen to what He is telling me.

And then this:

Genesis 12:1-2

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

And he went.

Going where God wants us to go is never without leaving something behind. We need to ask what we need to leave behind in order to come out of the shadows.

The last couple of years I have left so much behind. There has been a lot of pain – some of that I have left behind, some of that I still carry with me (some of it my children still carry and I carry their burden as well). I have a pretty good idea of what I need to leave behind to come out of the shadows. I am no longer a victim. I was put in that role, and I have played it for a long time. I am no longer his victim and I don’t have to carry the emotional burden that comes along with that. I can learn to leave that behind. It has been almost a year now since I filed for divorce, I have learned so much, have gained more strength than I thought possible, know that there was no truth to that life we were living, it’s time to learn how to come out of the shadows. I’m ready. That is also happiness.

 

 

 

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It’s happening

About a month ago I had a divinely inspired idea come to me. I mean that in the most literal sense possible. I was wasting time on Facebook when I saw a post by a friend that made me stop everything and just breathe into the idea that was being presented to my heart.

As with most of my great ideas, I had it but had no idea of how to make it a reality. It seemed kind of big and overwhelming.

That Sunday I went to church and the sermon answered my question. He asked us what would do if there was nothing holding you back? Well, the answer is many things, but this idea was one of them. He talked about how we can get so caught up in the how of things that we often miss out on great opportunities. That is my problem! I get totally freaked out by how I’m going to do things, and I so often overthink things to the point that the idea just vanishes.

I decided with this one that I was not going to worry about the how. I was going to take the idea and run with it. It has the potential to bring a lot of joy and happiness to children in our town and I was damned if my how questioning was going to ruin that.

I talked with a lady at our church, she thought it was a fabulous idea, she passed it on to the powers that be, and today I was told that it’s approved. I can do it! My how was answered! It’s going to come to life, it’s going to celebrate and bring joy to children who really need it.

I am beyond excited, and to say it’s a happiness moment is a complete understatement.

I’ll explain it all as things get moving a bit farther along, which will be soon. The plan is for my first event to happen in January.

Faith, it’s always about faith.

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Faith can move mountains 

Today I told my faith story to someone for the first time. It was so different to tell it from that perspective, I’ve thought of it privately as a story of faith for sometime, but I’ve never really shared it in that context before. Telling it as a journey of faith, instead of a time of trauma,  made me realize it’s time to tell it like that more. Time to tell how God came and healed my life at a time when I felt I was completely broken, shattered, left lying on the ground. I’m not broken anymore, and although I didn’t realize it until recently,  I don’t think I ever was. What I was was just really hurt and lost.

The last couple of years have consisted of a series of miracles for me, the only time the miracles stopped was when I ignored my faith, my intuition, the voice of God. This summer, after months of standing firmly in my faith, in my trust, in my love,  I stopped listening to that voice and found myself once again a hot mess. It was a good reminder that I always need that time to connect with my Source, I need to listen to that intuition (which for me is the voice of God), I need to honour how I function in my faith. If I don’t, I feel all out of sorts and it takes me a really long time to figure out what is wrong (because I’m not connected to my Source anymore and I can’t find my balance – when I can’t find my balance I’m screwed).

Telling my story today in the context of faith really helped remind me of how far I’ve come on my spiritual journey. I think I’ve always had faith on an abstract level, but when I fell to the floor in despair a few years ago – having tried to fix my life myself – and finally handed everything over to God, everything changed for me. Suddenly things that seemed impossible started happening all over the place in my life. Small miracles, big miracles, things were changing and I was filled with love and gratitude for all I was being blessed with.

In the past couple of months I’ve got my spiritual groove back and everything is falling into place again. In fact new, really big, cool, things are starting to take shape and I love that. What I do know for certain is that I have to keep myself focused on having faith in order for these things to keep on happening. Faith is what grounds me, what gives me wings, what shapes me, what drives me. Faith not only moves mountains, it brought me back home to mine.

Tonight I was out on my walk and I was thinking about God and dad and my faith journey. I had a memory of a moment a few days before dad’s death when my mom, dad, sister, and I were all sitting quietly in the sunroom. In those last days there was a real awareness that there were not going to be very more moments left for the original four to have time together. I sighed and said out loud to God that I really missed those times of my original family being together. I looked up and circling around the slough were four swans. Something about them made me think of our original four and it made me smile. It was a moment of happiness brought together by a day of deep introspection about what my faith is and how it has shaped my life.

Then of course, because I’m me, about 10 minutes further down the road – at the spot where it seems I am prone to these types of meltdowns – I had a full out yelling session at God. I wasn’t even aware that I had these issues pent up inside of me – and honestly when I was done I was pretty glad that I live in the middle of nowhere so no one else had to witness that. But, I have to say  that for me those moments of breakdown yelling at God are often the most healing and productive ones.

I often wonder what it’s like for those people who talk best to God on their knees, heads bent in prayer. I’ve never been able to pray when other people are around, and I don’t think I could even pray like I was taught we should. I just go out in a field and chatter away to God about everything and anything. I talk, I laugh, I cry, I yell, I ask, I give thanks, I do it all.  I think it comes from the hours spent in those same fields on the back of a horse – which was how I first found my spiritual connection – it seems to still be the most effective method for me.

What I am discovering is that even though I’ve got a whirlwind of things going on, even though there’s so much that is uncertain, even though I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, the fact that I’m learning to walk deep in my faith allows me to say it is well with my soul

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The value in the gifts

It seems as though the past couple of months have really been about spending time paying attention to the gifts I’ve been given, figuring out my personal power, and then learning how to own and walk into all of that. I remember weeks ago talking with Asrael and saying that I felt like I was on the edge of another big shift, but that for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. I had already had so many huge life changes, I was really wanting some stability.

But, I jumped off that cliff into the unknown yet again and it’s been pretty amazing. I find it interesting how it took hearing someone whom I loved and trusted tell me how little they valued me to discover how much I had learned to value myself. Once I really could acknowledge that and own it it started to change everything for me. It didn’t matter what someone else thought about me because I know who I am and I know that I have great things to offer. Life changing.

I love how God brings me things just as I need them, and right as I was sitting in this discovery was when I was brought into this amazing group at church. I don’t think it was just coincidence that I was pulled into a group whose focus was on discovering the gifts that God gave us right at a time when I was finally ready to embrace my own.

One of the ladies in our group today gave a really inspiring talk about how she had come to the end of her rope and turned to God saying she needed help right then, and how suddenly things shifted and fell into place for her. It’s that surrender thing, if I can get to the point where I can just surrender then everything comes together. Once I allow that I’m not in charge and just doing what I’m guided to do things work. We went into service and it was the exact same message in the sermon. Ending with him yelling what is it you’re holding onto? What can’t you let go of that is getting in the way of you sharing your gifts?

It’s made me really crave some quiet time to sit and think about that. I’m at a really unique place in my life. For the first time in 20 years I don’t have to think of the dreams of anyone else (except for my kids – but I will always support whatever their dreams are anyway). I don’t have to worry about helping someone else build their career, find their dreams, meld my life plans with theirs. Right now in this space in time I can build my own dreams without having to worry about how they fit in with anyone else. It seems like the perfect time to really make those great inspirations soar doesn’t it? Right now, in this space there should be nothing that is getting in the way of me sharing my gifts. Everything is old baggage that I am happy to drop and leave behind.

Our group had a celebration this morning. Everyone brought something that represented some form of the gifts they had been given to share. It was a fantastic way to learn about who some of these women are. I love when strong, kind women come into my life. They’re the kind that I want to bring into my tribe.

Here’s a small sample of some of the gifts brought in. So much love and talent and support. I’ve needed this kind of group in my life – the fact that I’ve been guided to it is a happiness moment that will keep on giving.

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Finding our gifts

Today was week 3 of the finding your spiritual gift group I’ve been attending at our church. I consider it such a blessing that I was guided into this group, this church, at the exact time I was. For a few weeks before I had sat with this powerful feeling that things were changing in my life, that it was time to begin to embrace my power, that I was going to begin a new level of understanding myself.

Then I went to church and was pulled immediately into this group by one of the ladies. I had no intention of joining, was looking to drop the kids off and go have some quiet time before coming back for service. But the lady told me it was an opportunity to find out what gifts God has given us and how we are to use them in the world. All my spidey senses went off. This was exactly what I had been needing. So I went.

The past three weeks have been really interesting. I have learned a lot about myself, and about how the gifts we are given work. I’m finally understanding that just because my gifts aren’t like your gifts, or aren’t maybe the gifts that I think would have value that I would like them to have (usually because I’ve been told they don’t), that does not mean that they aren’t sacred gifts from God – that it is my duty to use them.

Our leader comes in every week with a wrapped gift and places it at her feet. She talks about how important it is not only to receive the gift, but too use it. Then she motions to the gift box and says – because it’s not much good to any of us just sitting there all wrapped up in the box not being used is it?

So true.

I’m starting to understand some of my gifts and how they have value. They’re things that I actually used to think had value, but had allowed people over the years to devalue. Somehow instead of having the confidence in myself and in what I had to offer, I allowed the opinions of others to make me feel like my gifts weren’t important. And unfortunately for every time I was told by someone else that my gifts didn’t have value, I repeated that message to myself 1000 times more.  All of our gifts are important – no matter how big or how small.

Jenna was asked to help out with the children’s church during service. She was nervous, but excited to be one of the “big kids” and to have some responsibility. She’s so shy in public and often doubts the great gifts that God has given her. She stepped into one of her gifts today and did a wonderful job of helping the kids during service. The kids were happy, but the glow that came from Jenna from sharing that special part of herself – that was my happiness moment. It is so important to share what God gave you.

 

 

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Divine Intervention

I was in kind of a pissy mood this morning (shocking because usually I’m such a treat first thing). I had a couple of things happen that had left a bitter taste in my mouth and I was feeling pretty annoyed. I kind of sat with those feelings for part of the morning, trying to figure out what to do. I played out conversations I could have or actions I could take to express my hurt and discontent. Nothing seemed to really feel right and I wasn’t sure what to do about it.

The image of my beloved Pastor from our church in VA kept popping into my mind and I decided it was time to touch base with her. When things were at their worst, when I was totally broken and alone, it was her hand that reached out to help me up. She not only helped me through my situation, but she walked me onto the path that brought me to this awesome relationship with God. She was absolutely divine intervention.

I sent her an email discussing the events in our family over the past few months. Some things I’ve shared here, a lot I have not – I shared it all with her. She is one of those amazing people who will listen to it all and then walk alongside you without judgement. I miss her support and advice more than I had realized, but I feel so grateful that she was there for me in a time when it literally saved my life.

She wrote me back and caught me up on her life and her family. It was wonderful to get that little update and to know that this person who for me radiates the love of God is still fulfilling her dharma.

It was amazing how emailing with her put me into a different place emotionally. All of those discontented feelings that had been running around in my brain seemed to have quieted themselves after that. My heart felt clearer and more at peace. It was a very clear and satisfying happiness moment. She reminds me how important it is to hold out that helping hand whenever it is possible – you never know the difference it could make in someone’s life.

Image result for i believe in prayer. it is the best way to draw strength from heaven

 

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