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

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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.

plan

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

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

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

Shattered Pieces

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Shattered Pieces – Shattered means to cause to break or burst suddenly into pieces as with a violent blow.  Have you ever had something rock your world unexpectedly?  You found out your spouse was cheating or you have cancer or your teenager is pregnant or something that just really turned your world upside down?  You felt like your mind, heart, body and soul was shattered into little pieces.  I think we have all had that experience at some point in our life or we have known someone that had an issue that just crushed us.  I love this verse in Jeremiah that talks about putting a “Band-Aid” on it and say things are not so bad.    We all know that if something is shattered – there is always a sliver of glass that will just keep poking at you, sticking you where you hurt the most and we just can’t see it. 

Jeremiah 6:13-15 The Message Bible

“Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar, little people and big people alike. Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth. My people are broken—shattered!— and they put on Band-Aids, Saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’ But things are not ‘just fine’! Do you suppose they are embarrassed over this outrage? No, they have no shame. They don’t even know how to blush. There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom and there’s no getting up. As far as I’m concerned, they’re finished.” God has spoken.

 

I just want to remind you that when you are experiencing this in your life – just call out to God.  Just be honest and tell God every part of it.  Even if you made mistakes or created much of the issue yourself.  Listen as David cries out in Psalms 102. 

Psalm 102:1-2The Message Bible

[ A Prayer of One Whose Life Is Falling to Pieces, and Who Lets God Know Just How Bad It Is ] God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don’t turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry—this can’t wait!

I have shared this verse with you recently but I just have grown so fond of it.  Here is Jeremiah’s prayer – he was so honest and so forthright to God.  Why can’t we talk to God like this? 

Jeremiah 17:14-18

God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise! Listen to how they talk about me: “So where’s this ‘Word of God’? We’d like to see something happen!” But it wasn’t my idea to call for Doomsday. I never wanted trouble. You know what I’ve said. It’s all out in the open before you. Don’t add to my troubles. Give me some relief! Let those who harass me be harassed, not me. Let them be disgraced, not me. Bring down upon them the day of doom. Lower the boom. Boom!

I want to caution you if you are helping someone else who’s life has been shattered into pieces – don’t let yourself be cut by a sliver of their problems.  It is so easy to get caught up into a child’s problem or with healthcare of someone that you neglect taking care of yourself.  Many times it is those hidden tiny things that can destroy you.  Watch out for those shattered pieces. 

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Connecting with you,

 

Leigh

DECLUTTER

declutter-your-home

Declutter – do I really have to say very much?  I think you know what I mean.  OK – so if anyone looked in my closet or some of my drawers or cabinets – they would probably call a reality television show – the Hoarders…..well – my closet contains sizes from small to XXL…say what?   How crazy is that? I hate to get rid of anything because maybe I could fit in again….why do we think like that?  First of all – some of those things have been in my closet for years…ok decades…not only do they have dust on the shoulders…they may a little moldy. Amazingly enough – I don’t feel like I have anything to wear.    I plan to start cleaning the closets, going through my stuff and getting organized.

Many people think I am a very organized person.  I can plan, coordinate, collaborate with the best of them, but my own stuff – I just don’t take time.  So it is time to tackle the mess – in my house, at my office, in my car, and most importantly my mind.  Let’s do some decluttering – some real spring cleaning.  So where do I start?  Well – they say it is best to start with something I can do pretty quick that can inspire me…ok – my car….I will clean out my car tomorrow – vacuum, (Get all those crumbs…)  wipe the dust, throw away all the trash – clean the glove compartment….shine the tires, run through the car was – I mean take my car through the car wash – although the running the car wash has always been a dream of mine.  (Sorry I got distracted…)

So I am planning on having a yard sale so I will get some boxes and just start packing up stuff.  I will go through my stuff – one shelf at a time, one drawer at a time, take it piece by piece…not too much at once.  If I do one task every day – I will make progress.  Face it – we all have things we could – Toss, Keep or Sell.  Let’s get started.  So that sounds pretty easy.  I think I am ready for less clutter, less stuff…(secretly thinking I want some new stuff…)

Physically – it all makes sense…mentally – well that seems alot harder.  How do you declutter your mind?

decluttermind

I found this and thought it was great and I also thought I would share some of my thoughts.  When I like to clear my mind – it is usually best to get very relaxed, maybe dark with a little candlelight that has a perfect calming scent.  I like to close my eyes and put a cloth on them so not any light peeks through.  Sometimes I like music – sometimes not.  Then – this is important…just breathe.  I mean in through your nose for ten seconds and blow it out for ten seconds.  Just think about breathing….nothing else.  Focus!  OK, after I have done that for about five seconds, a warm bubble bath – helps me too!  I turn off all electronics (let me tell you – that is a big deal for me!)  I read, I write – journal or blog, I sit on the porch, or maybe I do NOTHING. Sometimes I meditate and every time – I pray.  God can help clear your mind and just rejuvenate you – so let go and let God.  Even when I was younger – I found a private place that I would just go and think.  I had the perfect little hill that overlooked a lake and had beautiful wildflowers – it was my place.  Find one for yourself.

  letgo

This to help with your change…

Physical – Plan your work, work your plan… Determine what you want to clean up and clear out – declutter.  Start slow, have successes and keep at it!

Mental – Find a way to relax.  I have a friend who is helping keep me accountable.  She texts me at 9:00 pm every night to make sure that I have decluttered my mind.  (Thanks Rebecca!)

Spiritual – Find “your place” and let God help you relax and focus on him.

Prayers for you as you focus on breathing and decluttering your life!

Pray for me that I declutter –  mentally, physically and spiritually.

Love ya,

Leigh

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7