Trust Me

I’m sitting here before I retire for the evening and just wanted to write. I love to write. People ask me what I do and I tell them about my jobs and then I add, “I’m a writer.” They find my job status interesting enough. Helping people with their businesses is a stretch and grow for me, but they always look up at me with a smile when I add the ‘writer’ part. It’s like they want to ask all of the questions rolling through their mind, but are hesitant. It’s fun.

trustI found myself coming full circle today on trusting God. There was a season in my life, not that long ago, that I trusted Him just to wake me up the next day. He always did. Not knowing what direction my new life should go, I trusted Him for every step and sometimes every breath.

Making decisions with business throughout the day, it’s easy to play decision maker in my life too frequently. I trust my choices. My life has been calm and peaceful for almost 2 years now, however, a part of my long ago past that I didn’t use my voice on is coming back to haunt me. I didn’t have a voice back then and wasn’t given any options, but guess what? Today, I have a voice and my God is BIG.

When I first moved here God told me, “Just trust me.” That is all I heard and all I knew to do. He has blessed me beyond belief just for trusting Him and being the best I can be. So, with this too I will trust Him. I can trust Him with the big things when they roar up like a giant sea serpent, all the way to the things I take for granted like waking up tomorrow. Walking from my desk to the fridge to refill my glass is a handful of miracles right there.

The hardest thing I had to learn was to wait. It took years and then to not get too good at it because He expects quick obedience. I’m still not as good as I should be waiting on people, but I will wait on God. My morning meditation said, “I am with you and for you. You face nothing alone~nothing!” Little did I know this morning that I would need to be pouring this on me tonight. Thank you God. I’ll just trust You.

 

Small Town Big Dreams

When my daughter and I first moved to our little home on 40 acres, we had no clue what to expect. Driving into town, we found a restaurant that looked welcoming. It was in the quaint part of downtown and it just looked comforting. That restaurant was instrumental in getting us through the ‘not knowing’ phase of our new adventure.

maxinesSunday’s was our favorite day to go. My daughter was in Nashville for the weekend, so I went in alone yesterday morning. They have a fabulous breakfast that is served all day on Sunday and the place was packed!

One of my favorite waitresses stopped by my booth to say hello. Actually, she was saying ‘goodbye’ because this was their last day open. I knew they had hired a new manager and had recently cut back their hours of operation. This is not good. We drive 20 minutes to enjoy this place, only to find them closed after 3:00 pm. I know people drive a lot farther than us to enjoy the food and warming atmosphere.

This makes me feel sad and mad at the same time. It was the one place in Elgin where you could sit down and have a lovely meal. It was a great landmark for meeting up with friends not familiar with the town. One of my favorite preacher’s always says, “Don’t give up! You’re closer than you think!” I believe Maxine’s was very close to being a successful establishment. They were already successful in my mind.

This is a prime example of a small town swallowing up someone’s dream. God plants you where you are for a reason. When we first started going here they changed their hours to be open more. A year later, they back down to being open less. Big mistake. People rely on consistency. For them to trust you there can be no wavering. Stand firmly where you are planted and grow!

I’m sure the clientele in this little town was tough. There was a man yesterday whining about his waffle being cold and he had no utensils. Why was he worried about not having a fork if it was too cold to eat? Somebody needed to give that man a life. The place was busier than I’d ever seen it. If I had chosen that day as my closing day, I would have had to rethink it. God was saying something in full force on closing day.

So, farewell Maxine’s! I’m sorry you quit. You were closer than you think.

 

The Next Right Thing

Our daily lives are a series of choices. It can be the simplest of choices, such as going to bed at a reasonable hour, so I don’t oversleep and miss another Monday morning Conference Call, at 6:00 am. To the hardest of choices as to who gets to be in the inner circle part of my life. My daughter and I discuss this quite often and we always decide to do the next right thing, and let God do the rest.

hardI’m reading “No Excuses“, by Brian Tracy and recommend it highly. It’s a refreshing read, reminds me of some things I know, but have forgotten, and Brian is just good. He said something, similar to the subject of this Blog post, but he took it one step further. He’s talking about doing the right thing and he said, “Practice the Universal Maxim of Immanuel Kant: “Resolve to behave as though your every act were to become a universal law for people.”

What kind of world would this be if everyone in it was just like me?

Well, it would be a happy place for sure, but this really made me look hard at myself. Every act become law? I don’t know about you, but I can think of a few things I wouldn’t want the entire world emulating.

So, that was my thought for today out here Inbarbsworld. What are your thoughts on the subject? Please, feel free to comment. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Snap Out Of It

When I wake up each morning, I thank God for waking me up sober, healthy and whole. That is the start of my day. Each day is new, so I treat it as new. There are tasks I want to accomplish each day, and goals to achieve, but there is no certain order. Just start to finish.

daily-routine-get-up-amazing-bedWorking from home has its perks. You can be amazing in yesterday’s clothes and no one will know. I juggle two business, am writing a book, acquiring a third business, homeschool my daughter, take care of two dogs and a cat, and run a household. I love my life and it has no routine or set schedule.

Instead of a schedule, I write down what needs to be accomplished that day. My work is done in segments of time and starts in the morning and is completed by a certain time. If something else needs my attention that morning, I move my business to the afternoon and stay flexible.

I have coffee in the morning and a pot of tea in the early evening. These are things that make my day better and me more pleasant to be around. No set time I just make time for them. I have learned, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll make time for it.

Living this way leaves room for God’s little surprises. I think people get so focused on schedule and routine they miss what God is doing in their day. Sometimes I get so focused on a task, I lose my peace. That means God wants me to do something else. He is done with that task for right now and it’s time to move on to the next. Keep my eyes on Him.

I believe there are no boring people, just boring lives. If they are bored, they have probably been doing the same things for so long they are not fulfilled. When I get overly focused on ‘me’, God always shows me this verse. Isaiah 43:19 “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” You cannot see it looking down, so look up and snap out of it!

I’m Drowning But Don’t Save Me

It has been raining this week for what seems like forever. I’m sure it was only two days, but here’s what my pond and pier look like. cockWhere are the steps? Lol

Looking out my window, this is what I see. Earlier today I was comparing this to God’s goodness. How He just loves to overflow in our lives. Later in the day what began as overflow, turned into drowning. Was it all God?

I don’t believe God wants to ‘drown’ us in goodness. We wouldn’t be worth much to Him in that capacity. He wants us to be usable so, gasping for air is not a pretty sight. Absorbing the occurrences throughout the day, I had to discern what was good and what was not so good. Was the not so good fixable? Yes. Sometimes we have to face the challenges and responsibilities of life to get to the goodness.

If I do my part and do the very best I can, God meets me there. If life hits too hard and fast, I’m learning to wait. God has taken so many problems out of my life just by waiting on Him and His timing. By continuing to give it to God, to lay it at His feet, He will take either take it, because it was a test of my faith, or use it to grow me up.

The picture of the flooded pond is a great example of my faith. Even though I cannot see the steps leading to the pier, I know they’re there. They are right below the surface, and by waiting for the water to recede, they will be revealed.

 

 

What Woke Me Up

We met in the kitchen, staring at one another with that wide-eyed look of, “What do we do?” It had been eight years since I had heard that noise requiring attention. It was almost 4 am, and this had been going on for a little while. The high-pitched cry, squeal and whining noise coming from the next room, had woken us up, and it was time for action. Not sure what type, we were going to have to dive in and start marking things off the list until happiness resumed.

bayThis picture is my daughter, Bailey, and it describes her perfectly. She took this a couple of days ago, and when she showed it to me, my heart melted. I could see she wasn’t a little girl anymore and she was growing into a beautiful young lady. Wearing her Vintage, Polo golf hat and resting her arm on her treasured Taylor guitar. That’s Bay.

She’s been wanting a puppy for months. We have been talking it through, and praying for the right time and the right dog to enter our lives. We knew that a neighbor’s Australian Cattle Dog, had given birth to a litter around Thanksgiving, so we went to look at them. Need I say more?

The sounds that woke us up in the middle of the night were from her new puppy. We went through a series of activities trying to meet his basic needs. I finally held him close and snug up against me and he fell asleep. All he wanted was to feel loved and secure. Just like us.

puppyAs I walked by her bedroom door this morning, I peeped in looking for the pup. He was sound asleep with her in the bed. Coming into the den with coffee in hand, it occurred to me that she could handle this. My past experience has been, me helping the cat have kittens and me taking care of the puppy who is now eight years old. This is not about me.

It’s about Proverbs 22:6, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” She’s old enough now to do so many things without my assistance. My hope is that she will pass me and do more! It’s a hard thing for a Mom to admit, but at the same time, it’s a proud Mama moment.

 

 

 

16 Things I Learned from Taking the #100happydays Challenge by Matt Hearnden

This was in my Inbox and I wanted to share. It fits right into the ‘A Better Way To Live’ series, and gives us some diversity on the subject. I agree completely with what Matt is saying. What are your thoughts? Please share your comments.

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When I decided I wanted to do this Happy Days challenge, I didn’t realize how hard it would be. The challenge was to photograph yourself during a happy moment. This was a daily task to be completed for 100 consecutive days. Doing anything for this long, short of breathing and sleeping, is quite a challenge. There were a couple of times I forgot to take a picture. There were a few times I forgot about it completely until about 11pm. But, I did it. And I’m really proud that I completed it. Some of what I learned was things I thought I already knew, at least intellectually… but doing this challenge made them real. Now I know for sure. It’s probably one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done, and reinforces that I am indeed “enough”.

  1. Happiness is a choice

Whether you choose to look for happiness or not, it’s definitely there, waiting to be discovered.

  1. Happiness can be found anywhere…

…as long as you search for it. Sometimes, I get the impression that making an effort to be happy somehow isn’t as “good” as it just naturally happening spontaneously. This forced effort somehow makes happiness feel like it’s worth less. Well, that’s bullsh*t.

  1. Happiness is about appreciation / gratefulness

This was an interesting realization. I’ve read lots about happiness, and this is one of the things that often came up. Until I actually did this, I didn’t appreciate how important it was. I realized there was no reason I couldn’t be happy with what I have now, while still pursuing what I wanted.

  1. This challenge was awesome – and fun

Being happy is awesome. Being happy is fun. Who would have thought that? I’m hoping you can sense the sarcasm there. Participating in the Happy Days challenge will let you experience happiness in a whole new light.

  1. Find things to make you happy

Go out of your way and consciously search for activities that make you happy. This quest makes it no less meaningful whatsoever.

  1. The smallest things can make you happy

Sometimes it was as simple as having dinner with my parents. Another time it was a funny Twitter account. Even just acknowledging that I was doing this challenge made me happy. The smallest things eventually add up to big results.

  1. I have more of an opportunity to make others happy

Lots of my pictures were about me. I really enjoy making other people happy. Looking back at my 100 days, I realized I’ve got the opportunity to do it a lot more. The challenge doesn’t need to stop at day 101.

  1. Your happiness is your responsibility

Nobody owes you happiness. You need to earn it. It doesn’t usually happen by accident. Sometimes it does, of course, but do you really want serendipity on its own to be responsible for your happiness?

  1. I missed the challenge when I stopped doing it

It was still on my mind after I’d completed the 100 Happy Days; which, I suppose, was kind of the point of this challenge.

  1. It wasn’t easy

Some days I wondered, “What in the world will I choose for my happy moment?” It’s called the #100happydays challenge though. To complete it, you needed to be persistent. That’s why 71% of people didn’t complete it. They cited “not having enough time” as the main reason. If you don’t have time to be happy, what do you have time for?

  1. I cared less about being judged

I was happy and that’s what really matters. Why would I need to pay attention to what other’s said? Why should I be affected by what someone else thought? On day 44, I posted a picture of a cool t-shirt that my dad bought me. Someone I knew said to me, “You must be running out of things to be happy about, if that’s all you could come up with.” This really annoyed me. Why does anyone have the right to question what makes me happy? That feeling lasted about 5 minutes – then I just started feeling proud. I was proud of the fact that I was succeeding at this challenge and making my life better. I was proud that this other person was doing nothing of the sort.

  1. There are no rules, only beliefs

There are no rules about what makes me happy, you happy, or anybody else happy. I also did two happy moments on day 7, and one on day 104. Why? Because I’m a rebellious lunatic, that’s why. Joking aside, just because there are “rules”, doesn’t mean you have to follow them blindly. Unfortunately, that’s what most people do. Do you want to be most people?

  1. A wide range of things make me happy

Friends, writing, driving, Jack Daniel’s honey, socks, myself, reading, playing “I spy”, juggling, basketball, food, weights, moving out, clothes, climbing, roller coasters, irony, compliments, gratitude, friends, cooking, myself… the list just goes on and on. It really helps when you take the time to tabulate what makes you happy.

  1. It can be a huge event, or something infinitesimally small

From my best friend visiting from China, to some cool socks – happiness is everywhere. Don’t dismiss anything, big or small.

  1. Your happiness will inspire others to be happy

Two other people in my team at work started participating in this 100 Day challenge whilst I was. I like to think I had something to do with that. Maybe I did inspire them? Who else could I inspire? A variety of people were interested in the challenge. They asked me lots of questions about it, but never did anything about it themselves. What would you do?

  1. It’s easy to get out of the habit of recognizing and appreciating happiness

I added this point in about three weeks after day 100. I’m not taking the time every single day to appreciate a moment of happiness. Everyone has stuff going on in their lives, but every time I asked myself the question “If I don’t have time to be happy, what do I have time for?” it really put things into perspective. Most matters simply don’t matter – being happy does.

To sum it all up…

Is there really anything more important in the world than being happy? For me, no. Nothing else seems to matter if I’m not happy. There are some people who’ll read this and think I’m selfish. They would be wrong. One of the things I love most of all is developing, helping, mentoring, coaching and empowering other people to be happy. It’s probably the most fulfilling thing I do. I do it because it makes me happy, and; hopefully, makes them happy too.

Because I’ve been on a journey to discover who I am and what makes me happy, I’m in the perfect position to help other people do that. Discovering this attribute has been the best and most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done. Why wouldn’t I want to help other people have that same experience?

So, I did the #100happydays challenge for me. However, if I inspire even one of you to take the challenge, or think about your own happiness in a different light, I’ll be happy. If I actually inspire someone to do something about it, I’ll be ecstatic.

Matt Hearnden

I write what I learn.