Change

dont-be-afraid-of-change-positive-quotes

Change means so many different things to different people. Often, change is thought of in a negative way. I like to think of the word “change” in a positive renewing way. Change can be a noun or a verb; and even an adjective at times. It is one of the most powerful words and one of the most powerful things to do. Most people are scared of change; but some of us embrace it and know that change is good. I looked up the definition and there were numerous definitions but I am thinking of the first one that I read…to make the form, nature, content, future course of something different from what it is now. I want to make a “change” in me!
My blog has been focused for a few years on being a “changed” person – I wanted to change my future – be a better person, but most of all – be a better Christian. It is hard. Sometimes you make so much progress, only to be knocked back down lower than you started. I have learned though; the battles along the way, those unexpected turns were what made me more aware, stronger and to love deeper. The journey would be boring and not mean as much if it was just a straight path. I have learned to fight harder; to ask for help and to give forgiveness along the way. Sometimes the very people that you think are going to support you, to hold you up in times of trouble are the ones that let you down the most. It is so easy to want to blame them; but that is how God intended for the situation to go. It hurts when someone lets you down, when someone gives up on you; and when they even seem to be out to get you. How can that be part of God’s plan? How can he let us get hurt? I know – it is during these times we look up to God more and beg for help. These are times when we commit to him more; these are the times that we rely on him and not ourselves. You see – when times are going great and we get confidence – we think we can handle everything – we forget to rely on God. That is when he allows things to happen to bring us closer to him again. In other words – he allows us to fall in the deep pit, the insecurity, the sin, the lack of confidence, the petty jealousy and the defeat of comparison.
There is only one thing that does not change – and that is God/Jesus. In Hebrews 13:8 it states, “Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”
I know that God loves me yesterday, today and tomorrow; whether I am naughty or nice, or even if I completely ignore him. He is consistent. I know he is always there for me, even when I am not for him. God never fails….so why do we resist change? We resist because we know that we fail. It is hard for us to turn everything over to God. It is scary to think you may make mistakes, life choices that are really big, and commit to something you don’t know how to do. Changes may result in losing your job, gaining family members, increasing or decreasing your finances….change can totally disrupt your plans. Change can also help you find happiness. It is not always bad – it is different. Don’t be afraid to take the first step towards change…read a book to improve; attend a class; set a goal; look for a new job; find a new friend…just take the chance to make a change. If you do not change directions – you may end up going nowhere. Change brings opportunities; helps find dreams; and helps us grow… Don’t expect to see change if you don’t make any changes. Besides God, change is one thing that is consistent…things are always changing – it is up to us to embrace them.
I wish it was easy; but, change is hard! I challenge you to think about how you can change for the better and start doing something about it! I plan to make several changes this year – I want to feel better, not be stressed, enjoy life and it is only me that can do it! Let’s change together…

Leigh

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I am “ME” again!

2015 was a blur for me…literally. I really had a hard year. I had so many health issues, my daughter and my mom had health issues, and I was just physically and mentally spent. One thing different than usual though – when I get completely ruined down – is that I didn’t feel spiritually spent this time. That is truly what got me through these rough times. I became closer to God and turned to him even more. I relied on him instead of myself and I made it through somehow! We forget how good God is to us and that we need to rely on him ALWAYS.

My favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

How amazing is that – God has planned out my life – how can I go wrong? Well it is so easy to go wrong – I know – I do it all the time! I make plans without getting advice from God. I tell him what I am going to do instead of listening to him. It’s hard! I want him just to make it easy for me but I have learned that all the twists and turns and mistakes have made me stronger and my journey was planned that way.
So, I thought I would share about some of my struggles – maybe it will help you know my thoughts and my frame of reference. I hope that you can relate or know that others may feel the same way or made the same mistakes. I am so busy taking care of others that I don’t focus on myself and 2015, I just about fell apart. I knew I felt bad and something was wrong, but I kept trudging along. I had my mom and my daughter; both, that had more urgent health issues and I needed to be the caretaker. I had lots of work on my job that I needed to accomplish and I just couldn’t take the time. I had community and church things that were always pressing and needed my attention. I always put other things in front of taking care of myself. I thought I was being selfish if I took care of me! WOW – I learned the very hard way when I almost had a physical and mental breakdown. I knew all last year that I was depressed, not confident, jealous, and grumpy and even isolated myself at times (I am a PEOPLE person – so this was something new). I didn’t even understand who I was and that made me even more stressed! Who was this person inside my frail, worn out body? I had NO energy, had brain fog, just felt terrible all over! I ached from head to toe…I thought I was getting old and that was just how it was going to be for the rest of my life. You see – I am overweight, have mechanical heart valve, high blood pressure, bad knees and a variety of other issues and I just accepted the fact that this was supposed to be how I felt. I grabbed fast food or something for dinner because I had to have food for my family (I am the mom!) Of course I was too tired to cook – I was barely making it through the day. I literally was too tired to get out of my car and make it inside – but I usually did.  Do you think I worked out – well I had a fitness center membership and paid my dues – but I guess you have to go – huh?  I literally had no energy to workout or even walk the halls at work.   Why would I think this was normal? How STUPID is that?
When autumn came, I had hit rock bottom…I was too tired to keep going. I had convinced myself I had cancer and thought I had a stroke or TIAs. Oh yeah, my left hand and arm started tingling…and still hasn’t stopped. I got to where I was not even able to think, forgot things, missed meetings and was just not myself. Who was this person? What in the world was going on? Where was I? Who was I? This tortured me even more. I usually can write about my thoughts, feelings and am never at a loss for words but honestly – I was having trouble even saying words. I didn’t tell anyone except that I wasn’t feeling great. Finally, I went to the doctor – had tests and blood work. I mean a lot of tests and a lot of blood. I had several things physically wrong with me but the biggest thing was that I was completely depleted of Vitamin D. I was even taking a supplement because this time last year – it was low. Vitamin D – the “Sunshine” vitamin is so important and I never even thought about it! I started taking a prescribed Vitamin D as small as a Tic-Tac and it has made such a difference. I have a few other issues and am doing some procedures and Physical Therapy to improve other parts of my body but a simple little vitamin has changed my life. So why did I wait so long to take care of me? Why didn’t I realize that I couldn’t take care of others if I fell apart and in fact, they may have to care for me – what a burden I would be then!
So for 2016, I have found “me” again and I am happy! I like and love me! I am back to who I used to be. Now I am going to be the first to tell you – there are many areas that I need to improve but I am working hard on those every day! I am excited to be going into a new year and finding a better me at the end of the year!

Images and videos of who loves me
I encourage you to take care of yourself. Don’t miss all those warning signs. You are not supposed to feel bad, if you do, go see a doctor. Do something for yourself – it is the best investment you can make. Also, most important…listen to God and follow his plans…he knows the way and he will guide you.
I hope to hear from all of you as you start the New Year to find yourself!
Blessings,
Leigh

I Want What You Have..

Do you find yourself wanting things your friends have…happy involved family, perfect figure, tons of time and energy, exotic vacations they take or even material things like cars, houses, etc.? I will be honest – I do! I really didn’t realize it until this morning I was doing my Bible reading and I realized that I commit one of the Ten Commandments sins and often! Wait—-Wha…What? I sometimes have a pity party and think about how everyone’s life is better than mine. I wish I was thinner, healthier, richer, and kinder, more organized, had a bigger house, and had a swimming pool… I want it all! So often I forget all the wonderful things I have and how truly blessed that I am! Jealousy is when you count someone else’s blessings instead of our own. I usually think of jealousy in relationships but it’s for things as well. Covet means to yearn to possess or have (something) according to dictionary.com. This is one of those commandments that deals with thoughts and not actions. If I think it…I sin it…WHOA!  That is powerful!  PLEASE CHANGE MY THOUGHTS GOD!  Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” I sometimes wonder why I have so many health issues or why losing weight is such a battle or why my house is not as big as others…I become resentful and that is just the worse thing ever! Those who are free of resentful thoughts…surely find peace. Why do I think I should have something different or better? Why don’t I feel blessed? Why don’t I just leave it up to God because he has done everything strategically so that my life will be perfect for me.

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I realized I need to confess to God and ask him to make me more thankful and not jealous! In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 the Bible states, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” Psalm 107:42-43 Good people see this and are glad; bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks. If you are really wise, you’ll think this over— it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.” I am the luckiest girl around – I have Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I need to remember that God always provides.
Sometimes when your life is going differently than you had hoped, just remember that God has something better planned for you! Last Friday I went to Starbucks and I usually pay for the person behind me, well I was in a grumpy anxious mood so I decided I wasn’t going to do that. Funny thing – there was a commercial on the Christian radio station that I was listening to and it was talking about the “Drive-Thru Difference – pay for the person behind you” (My first sign from GOD). So then I got to the window and the young guy smiled BIG and said, “The person in front of you paid for your order.” WOW – OK God I will pay for the person behind me. Once I did, I just felt this calm and peace about me. God wanted to me to brighten that person’s day. I am not sure what they had going on in their life but I prayed for them and knew they would be happy to have a treat from Starbucks from someone who cared. Funny thing – I wasn’t stressed anymore. My anxiety had lifted and I had a great day! I love God’s sense of humor!  Once again, God has a plan…
Godsplan

Blessings, Leigh

Enjoy the Reese’s PIECES in your life – have some fun!

I love the way a Reese’s Pieces just melts in my mouth. 

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I love the fall colors that brightens my day and I love how fun they are too eat!  I had several coincidences with them recently and it made me stop and think about having fun, enjoying life and appreciating what I have.  God wants us to enjoy life…there are several verses in the Bible that demonstrates this:

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 (The Message)

7-10 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.

Ecclesiastes 7:14  On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days So that we won’t take anything for granted.

God wants us to enjoy our life.  Find things that make you happy.  Don’t sweat the small things and stay positive.  Find true joy…don’t worry be happy!

I will share some things that make me truly happy – maybe it will give you some ideas…

Help other people – I always get blessed double for doing something that I love!

Make time for people –  Ask someone how they are doing, compliment them, make someone feel special.  Believe it or not – it makes you feel good too!

Encourage someone – when you are inspiring or encouraging others – you get inspired and encouraged.

Basically – to have fun, help others have fun….to enjoy your life….help others to enjoy theirs.  Blessings come to those who bless.

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Connecting with you,

Leigh

Chess Pieces in the Game of Our Life…

CHECKMATE!   That word means so much when you are playing Chess.  If you say it – it means you have won, you have trapped the king and it can’t move.  It is a great feeling and it was the goal for the game. If you are hearing it – it means you made the wrong move – you lost.  Even though you had strategically planned your moves – something went wrong and your King couldn’t move.

CheckmateChess is alot like life…there are lots of pieces and each one can move in a different way. It requires much thought and a deep understanding of all the pieces.

A PAWN can only move forward…in the beginning – they can move two spaces but only one after that.  The pawn can move diagonally only when an enemy is one space left or right diagonally.  Reminds me of life sometimes…we take the easy road and just take one step at a time…we might make a slight move if there is an issue but we move forward with no real purpose…just one step at a time.  (BORING)

BISHOPS move diagonal – and can go back and forth diagonally…never veering off course…just back in forth in a line on the same color.  Many of us are like that in our lives.  We decide to do something and then we change our mind…we really make no progress…just back in forth with our decisions.  We start a diet, we get off a diet….we start reading the Bible – we stop reading it….(FRUSTRATING)

KNIGHTS move in an L-shape, one square up and two over….sounds like one step up and two steps back.  In our lives we sometimes start making great progress and then we have to back up two steps.  We lose momentum and we stay in the same pattern over and over – an endless cycle.  (CONFUSING)

ROOKS can move any numbers of squares up or down or side to side.  They have a little more freedom.  We can be like a rook in our life when we do have more freedom and we do make choices to move ahead but we play it safe.  We are cautious.  We are able to advance and strive towards our goals but we don’t cross the lines or get out of bounds.  (PROGRESSING)

QUEENS are the ultimate piece.  They can move in any direction and are the most powerful piece on the board.  We can achieve our goals so much better if we are able to play like a queen and look at the different options and determine the best path to winning in our life.  (ACHIEVING)

KINGS can move only one square at a time in any direction. Kings in our life is us taking baby steps and always waiting for something to happen – something to trap us and something to yell CHECKMATE or stop.  Kings generally wait for the bad

The number one chess player in the world (Carlsen)  once said…”Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them.”

chess

Chess is a game as is life.  Chess requires alot of study and understanding of all the pieces…as does life. We need to determine what Chess piece we want to be and we need to study long and hard so we can be the one yelling Checkmate. So often we just randonly play a game of chess without thinking about the consequences of the moves. So in life we make choices and decisions that were not thoughtfully determined and we can find ourself in a place of Checkmate.  I encourage you to think about your next move and the consequences…you never know if it is the winning move or the move to Checkmate.

Philippians 1:9-10

The Voice (VOICE)

Here’s what I pray for you:

Father, may their love grow more and more in wisdom and insight— 10 so they will be able to examine and determine the best from everything else. And on the day of the Anointed One, the day of His judgment, let them stand pure and blameles.

Connecting with you,

Leigh

Puzzle Pieces of our Lives

Do you remember sitting around a table with all the pieces of a puzzle scattered and seeing the picture on the box and thinking – this will never come together like that.  Most of us start with the corner pieces because those are easy to know where to put them and then we go to the edge pieces.  Occasionally we will see some pieces that seem similar and we will start grouping them together but slow but surely that pattern on the box is starting to look like my puzzle that I am piecing together!

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Our life is so similar to a puzzle – there are those things that we know where to put them in our life – those corner pieces.  We slowly get brave and begin to put the edge pieces of our lives.  Little thought goes into the middle pieces – we haphazardly start doing things without much forethought or planning.  Wouldn’t it be great to have the picture on the box to be our life and we could see what our life is supposed to look like and what pieces goes next?  I wish that were the case – God knows what the picture looks like and guides us to the things that will allow us to be that picture. 

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On The MEssage Bible – 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.
 
God has a plan for us – we just need to have the courage to talk to him and follow his ways.  He knows what the picture looks like – he made the blueprint.  It is not always going to be easy to put the “middle” sections of the puzzle together in our lives but remember to turn to God.  I struggle daily with this…I try to do things my way so much more than turning to God first.  I even convince myself that what I do is what God wants.  I want to be better and turn to God first before I jump right in and begin.  I pray for patience and direction for us both!
 
Connecting with you!
Leigh

Quilt Pieces of our lives

Have you ever really looked at a quilt and all the material used in each one?  I remember my granny had quilts and I remember some of the pieces were from her dresses, curtains, tablecloths in her house.  The quilt was pieces stitched together to keep someone warm, but a quilt is more than just a blanket – it is a hug of memories wrapped around you.  Growing up, my family was a quilting family – that means we had a room with a big quilting frame in it and we would all sit around and sew this bits of material together.  While we didn’t get together as often as we should have, we still did sit around the frame stitching each stitch with love but more importantly we were sharing family stories and spending time together. 

 

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Our lives are like quilt pieces put together.  Each thing that happens to us in that certain material that is included in our life quilt.  The pattern forms itself and God has stitched each one of us with love!  Psalm 139:14 reads; “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well.” In the original Hebrew text, the word ‘fearfully’ means: with great reverence and heart-felt interest and respect. The word ‘wonderfully’ means: unique, set apart, uniquely marvelous. WOW!  No wonder David got so excited about the great love that God has for us. He realized the great love and concern that went into his unique and very individual creation. According to this Scripture, you truly are a Master Piece! After all, God don’t make any junk!  He takes carefully time and leads you down a path you might not have chosen to form your life quilt.  Each piece is put together to tell your story.

I have heard….”When Life throws you scraps…make a quilt”.  I love this phrase because it reminds me that we need to take what is given to us and make the best of it.  So often we like to complain and whine and take so much time worrying that someone else got better things than we do and we miss the opportunity to appreciate the things we have.  Image

So just think about the quilt pieces of your life and how they have been sewn together to make you – YOU!  God stitched you together perfectly.  No one else has the same pieces that you have….

 

Connecting with You,

Leigh