After last week’s much needed dope slap of reality, I’ve had a few other instances of that IRL (thank you BFF, you are the best) and realized that the things I’ve been at war with myself at were so downright surface and so unimportant in the grand scheme of things, that I almost felt ashamed that I’d had those thoughts, let alone said them out loud.

And then, last night, over “sister dinner” with Jen and Jess (we used to do these every month prior to Isabel’s birth, so it was our attempt to recreate that as we all enjoyed helping care for the baby), I just sat back and realized, wow, I love this. All of it. Despite all that Jen has gone through, we’ve gotten so much closer than I ever thought we could, and we really have all gotten to know each other so much better.

I know that sounds weird, since we are so close, but in a way, we hadn’t totally learned about each other in the “grown up” sense, just from our companionship growing up and all of the fun we always have. But I have come to realize that I absolutely loved this time with her, it’s really a gift from God that we’ve been able to, and it doesn’t matter that my routine is shaken a bit, or I have to figure out when to work out or catch a bit more sleep.

Because Isabel is worth it. Because Jen is worth it. And because our sisterhood is worth it.

~~

And then I look around, and realize, that despite frustrations in some aspects of my life, my life truly is pretty damn good.

I’m happy.

I’m in love.

I have fantastic friends and family.

I am at a point where I love who I am and this stage in my life.

What’s better than that?

~~

And then I watched Joel Osteen this evening, and wow, his message was dead-on. One of my favorite underlying themes from him – happiness is a choice – and it really is. An excerpt that speaks volumes:

Every day we have the choice to choose how we will live: in happiness and gladness or in discouragement and frustration. So many people are living with a war on the inside, thinking, “I can’t be happy. I don’t even like my life. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the car I drive or where I live. When those things change, then I’ll be happy.” So they wait to be happy. Some people wait their entire lives. Understand that’s no way to live. God created us to enjoy life and be content regardless of the external circumstances.

The secret to living life happy is finding your joy in the Lord. Every day is a precious gift from God filled with blessings. The question is do you notice them? Don’t be so busy waiting to be happy that you miss the blessings God has right in front of you. Choose to live your life happy now.

Amen to that.

It’s all the seemingly little things that add up to a heck of lot of goodness and joy.

When you read that, doesn’t that make you feel thankful? What are you thankful for today? (my attempt at loosely following along with being thankful, as my sister blogged about, for this month)

I woke up this morning and realized how tired I am.

Of struggling and being challenged…

financially…feeling broke gets old. Fast.

emotionally…wanting love, but struggling with why I feel that pull strongly lately.

generally…Nala, most recently, and just being on my own, coping with the day to day, you know the drill.

It’s been almost two full years since I’ve been on my own, and while that doesn’t seem like long for many, for me, it feels like a lifetime. And I’m tired. I don’t want to struggle. I am sick of being tested. I am happy, but in the midst of the troughs of struggles and tests, and for once, it’d be nice to just have an even keel where everything just sort of flows.

I’m having a moment and this is my way of letting it out.

Because I know, at the end of the day, my life is pretty awesome, despite it all, and it could always – ALWAYS – be a hell of a lot worse, but some days I just struggle with the positive and the perspective, no matter how much I remind myself to keep it in mind. To have faith in God and to know that my path is here, that this is what I am supposed to be doing.

But sometimes…I’m just tired. I think I’m allowed that, right?

This brings me to a post from Little Big Wolf’s Daily Plate of Crazy that I tucked away…around the “Fairness Doctrine” and the fact that life isn’t fair…but we deal. Couldn’t have said it better myself – and her words really are helping me today to pull myself together, out of the poor-me funk, because they are dead-on:

Life isn’t fair, and I do not believe in Karmic retribution.

I do believe in learning from mistakes, in caution where it is warranted, and in calculated risks.

I believe in trying, and that in itself is success, even if I do not accomplish my goal.

I believe in gratitude, and taking whatever comes with as much grace as I can muster, and I confess that some days that’s none at all.

I believe in reminding myself on a day like today, when darkness is palpable, that there will be light again. That there is light, and for me, that light will always be my sons. They are healthy and flourishing. With values they can honor.

There is also light in the privilege of having raised my children, my younger son yet to be launched, and still, I am learning to raise the child in myself. None of this has been easy, but it is a life. It is my life. And on an anniversary that casts onerous shadows, this morning there is sunshine.

Wow – those are some amazing words that I really needed to hear today, along with a post from Quarter for Her Thoughts on doing singleness well…based on last night’s somewhat-fun (but somewhat-serious) post on asking the universe to date me, it was a humbling and much-needed read too.

I’m tired, but I am also proud…of making it, of dealing with life’s challenges and carving out a life for myself that in the grand scheme of things, isn’t so bad. I need to capture my sunshine and channel the renewed feelings I had earlier this week post-Maine weekend, because being in a funk isn’t much fun, now is it?

~~

Some words from Joel Osteen…

Whenever you experience trouble, challenges and difficulty — the lemons of life — God’s desire isn’t just to bring you through it or for you to just survive! His purpose is to reward you by making something GREAT out of what seems hopeless or feels painful.

Today, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, Jesus is the rock who is high above your circumstances. When you call on Him, He will be with you. He will lead you and guide you into the higher places He has prepared for you.

Heavenly Father, today I release every care and concern to You. Have Your way in my circumstances. Have Your way in my thoughts. Help me, Jesus, to come up higher in every area of my life with You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Another snowbound day in wonderful New England and I’ve been “waiting” for my blog inspiration to come to me as it usually does. Started to think perhaps it would be the first day I didn’t have a ton to blog about, and then bam, it comes. Listening to Joel Osteen’s weekly ministry and I found what I’m looking for.

An excerpt and link to a podcast of his sermon:

One of the greatest needs is to feel a sense of self-worth. Deep down we need to know that we’re important, that our life matters, and that we have something great to offer. But so often, we base our self-worth on our looks, what we’ve achieved, what we own, how perfect a life we’ve lived, or what others say or think of us. The problem with this is those things can change. If you’re basing your self-worth on your looks, your accomplishments, or your popularity; then when that goes down, your self-worth will go down. But if you place your value in Almighty God, nothing you or anyone else do can ever change that value. People may reject you, but God accepts you.

Why did this hit me square across the face today?

Beyond the valuable words in this excerpt – that we should all take to heart and really think about – not to let others perceptions and opinions impact our self-worth or view of our selves – but also because further into the broadcast, he says “…your value doesn’t decreased because you got divorced, or because you had a personal failure or because someone may have passed you by…you may have some ‘dirt’ on you, your dreams may not have played out the way you wanted, but don’t feel washed up, feeling like you don’t have any value, your best days are still in front of you…because life isn’t fair, but God is.

Wow. YES. Life is NOT fair. We’ve all been through some sort of devastation or challenge that pushed us to the limites of sadness or anger and we’ve wondered “why me?” or said those very words…life isn’t fair. But when you connect that phrase with God being fair and everything that is happening in our lives is purposeful and towards our “best days ahead,” then it puts it into perspective…at least for me.

I’ve written about Joel Osteen on several occasions, as his words really strike me, and he puts the scripture into such tangible words and examples that I GET it, and it moves me. It moved me particularly today because – as what happens when I have a good chunk of alone/me time – I start to think, and wonder, about my life, where it’s going, when I’m going to meet the man that is MEANT for me, and my thoughts tend to drag me down instead of boosting me up. I needed to hear Joel’s message today, and snap out of it.

I KNOW I am worth it. I KNOW there is someone out there for me. I KNOW that life’s challenges will lead me to my “best days.” And, I KNOW that despite life’s unfairness, God IS fair. I just need to trust, believe, and know.

I also think this message can be applied to everyone…we all know someone, a friend, a family member, a coworker, that gets stuck in the trap of the “why me?” and dwelling on the past, mistakes they may have made, and aren’t able to look forward, get away from the cynicism, get away from the negativity and push forward. Because, as Joel closed his broadcast, he said ” You have to see yourself as the masterpiece God sees you as…quit beating yourself up for past mistakes. God has forgiven you, forgive yourself. Let go of the ashes and you’ll receive the beauty.”

So, even if you aren’t religious, this podcast is worth a listen because it can apply cross-religion, and well, across life’s challenges.

Though my post yesterday was a bit down in the dumps, I was able to pull myself out of it later in the day – part of writing the post itself was therapeutic as I got it out of my system and in re-reading my post, realized that it’s true, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, so I just need to really believe that and understand it, reminding myself daily if I have to.

On another note, I watched a wonderful episode of Joel Osteen’s sermons last night around the idea that we need to truly value our time here, day by day, and use our energy for the positive, and not dwell on the negative. This is one of the many reasons I like Joel’s sermons so much – they really speak to me and put things in a completely different perspective. Here is a blurb from the sermon:

“Each day we have the same amount of time to use. If we use our emotional energy for the wrong purposes, focused on the negative, dwelling on who hurt us, we’re not going to have the energy we need for the right purposes. We’re not going to make the best decisions. We’re not going to be as creative with our gifts, and our talents won’t come out to the full. Part of living purposeful is to keep offenses, bitterness and grudges from robbing our energy. Like the sun shines brightly each day, that is how we ought to be; we shouldn’t let anything block our light. With this gift of life comes a responsibility to develop our talents, to pursue our God-given goals, to become everything that He has created us to be. On a regular basis, reevaluate what you’re doing and how you’re spending your time. Refocus your life. Let go of any distractions. Shake off any self-pity, any discouragement, any disappointments and run your race with purpose. If you’ll run with purpose in every step, accepting and appreciating the gift today, then you are redeeming your time, and when you come to the end of your days, you’ll be able to say, “I have no regrets. I have spent my life well.”

So, as I sit here at work, feeling a massive case of the grumpies, I’m really trying to “let go of distractions,” and “shake off self-pity and discouragement,” I am trying to embrace each day so I don’t have any regrets. To anyone reading – take these words to heart and do the same – I see all too often how easy it is for me to fall into this trap and the more I remind myself of the good, the bad seems so much less important.

Off my soapbox for today 🙂