Sometimes a hefty dose of healthy frustration is good for us, right?
No doubt you can relate to a tidbit from a recent page in my journal . . . .
July 15, 2019
According to the calendar, I’m 65 today. I don’t know where or how to begin to wrap my head around that fact.
My mother-in-law suffered a stroke nearly five weeks ago that stopped us in our tracks and turned us in circles. I was finally on a writing retreat facing a couple of days away to write on the novel. I haven’t looked at it since the call.
She was in the hospital for six days, the rehab center for twenty days, now she’s been in the assisted living home for one week. Having sold her mobile in the past two weeks, I’ve nearly emptied it and both of her sheds.
I’ve seen my mom, my step-dad, and now my mother-in-law suddenly separated from their former lives and their stuff as the result of disease and the need for more directed care. In each case, I found myself sifting through every photo, squirreled away bread wrapper, birthday card, to-do list, and unused stamp. (more…)
You’re not married, but you’re dating. Or you’re thinking about going out with someone. Or maybe you have a gut feeling you shouldn’t be seeing the guy you’re seeing. Let’s chat.
Who you date or hang out with can determine who you marry, which dictates the direction your life takes. That decision is huge and life-changing.
So I have seven questions worth considering in any dating relationship. These points to ponder help push fluttery feelings into the backseat for a bit, turning the driver’s seat over to some fundamental facts. I hear you: “Where’s the romance in facts?”
Well, here’s a fun fact … I actually write inspirational historical romance novels. Love stories are my favorite. I’m a romantic at heart. But here’s a little something I’ve learned in my nearly five decades of marriage to Bob … real romance isn’t fashioned out of feelings, but reinforces the foundation of a healthy relationship.
The dating kind of romance often lives and breathes in a dreamy (or needy) state of mind. That phase might prompt all kinds of romantic gestures. Roses. Salted caramels. Table manners. Wearing a clean shirt. Trimming the mustache.
All of that is good stuff, but is it reliable evidence of a boyfriend worthy of a white dress and marriage vows? Or breakfast?
Your friend is hurting, and you feel helpless. If you’ve passed your eighth birthday, you likely know what that feels like. And it seems that I daily find myself looking for ways to best serve a hurting friend.
One friend recently returned to the ring fighting cancer in a third round of chemo. Another friend navigates a new normal after burying her husband last year. Yet another writes her son in prison. One friend battles betrayal. Another takes it one day at a time in a rehab center. Yet another wrestles with crippling anxiety. And the list goes on.
We can’t fix their hurting or erase their heartache. But that doesn’t excuse us from doing what we can to ease the pain. Some. Even if it’s only for a fleeting moment.
In an upcoming post, I’ll talk about a variety of things we can do to reach out to the broken, but today let’s zoom in on prayer.
Oswald Chambers says, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” (more…)
I struggle with wanting to give in to our society’s endorsement of individualism. My natural tendency is to make life about me and my tidy comfort zone. Maybe you do too.
Expressing love from a distance is oodles easier and less awkward than responding to up-close and personal opportunities to reach out to others. You with me?
Confessions of a (Recovering) Perfectionist came to mind as my initial title for this post. I know something about the dodgy distraction of pursuing perfection.
I’m acquainted with the compulsion to get everything right. To be right. All of the time.
Not long ago I was paralyzed by one version or another of the perfectionist’s creed: “If you can’t do something right, don’t bother to doing it,” or “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”
Yes, well, a perfectionist’s auto response to that kind of pressure includes a hefty dose of procrastination fueled by self-doubt and fear of failure.
There’s more. More often than not, the perfectionist sports a critical spirit, calling herself and others to answer unrealistic and exhausting expectations. Sigh.
Can you relate? We’re not alone.
Never mind that all-around perfect isn’t an option for earth-bound humans, the deceptive path to picture perfect is a crowded dead-end. (more…)
Let me introduce you to my friend, Becky. I’ve not yet met Rebecca Rene Jones in person. But after reading her memoir, Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes, I feel like I’ve sipped coffee with her on the backporch at the lake house and even cast a line with her at the lake’s edge.
As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays fast approach, the reality of an empty chair at the supper table can run us down. Because Becky’s writing is so yummy and her insights are soul satisfying, I asked her to share some refreshing thoughts on grief with us. Follow Becky on Twitter and Facebook.
by Rebecca Rene Jones
People ask how I knew that I wanted to write the book, after Dad died.
“It’s so personal, so raw. How did you know?”
Over the years, I’ve often wondered the same. Why write, and in doing so, re-live? What was there to re-visit? To unearth?
Mine was a garden-variety grief; kids bury parents. Maybe not at 18, but it’s not unnatural. And Dad died of cancer–not exactly a headline there, either.
So why a book? Why tell the story? What was there to say?
The bald truth is this: what I found on the other side of grief surprised me. (more…)
You balance loose envelopes and a package in the crook of one elbow so you can pull the post office door open for a stranger. Only to watch her blithely cross the threshold with nary a glance at you, let alone a “Thank you.”
Ever gone out of your way—or not—to do something nice for a stranger or a friend or a family member without receiving even a glint of gratitude?
Why the tendency to overlook kindness?
Sad to say, I am sometimes that person. Unaware. In my head. Self-absorbed. Consequently, I’ve missed countless opportunities to express thanks for another’s thoughtful gesture or service. And I’ve squandered far too many smile opps.
Being thankful and ready to express appreciation isn’t just a common courtesy or a product of good manners, but also a spiritual practice.
Gratitude is a heart condition commissioned by God. (more…)
Nothing like a lesson in listening during lunch on a Thursday with me, myself, and I.
I ordered my Chili’s menu favorite—Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken. Next, I pulled a file folder from my tote, ready to edit a book chapter while waiting for the greens adorned with pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, green onions, cilantro, chicken, and more.
Before I got my head into marking up the manuscript, my 30-something waitress greeted her customer and friend seated in the booth in front of mine. A couple minutes later, she slid onto the bench across from her older friend and began recounting a personal saga that involved her troubled teenage son.
I perused the pile of papers in my folder while employing a few techniques I learned as a writer studying people for character research.
Here’s what I observed:
The listening friend’s chin drooped.
Her eyes narrowed in empathy.
A sad sigh lifted her shoulders and dropped them.
Her hand reached across the table to lock fingers with her friend.
Her mouth seldom moved as she listened. What?!
That’s what compassion and sisterhood look like. That’s what we want in a best friend, right? (more…)