Monday, November 30, 2015

A Road Less Traveled

A Road Less Traveled…

 Close your eyes and visualize the image of those words. What do you see in your mind’s eye? Maybe you see a long and winding road that leads to a quiet neighborhood. It is a happy place where people gather and share life together. Or maybe the idea of a road less traveled brings to mind a dirt road in the country where blackberries grow on the side of the road and simplicity is the order of the day. A road less traveled might be where one comes at the end of a long, tiring day and the only hustle-and-bustle is everyone shuffling in to take his or her place at the dinner table. It doesn’t have to be a country setting, though. It could be a place in the city or suburbs where one feels safe and loved. A road less traveled signifies a cozy area where one can grow and learn and enjoy life as a gift from God

Life Can Be Overwhelming

The world seems to be changing at a rapid pace. The breakneck speed of its constant motion can be overwhelming. Do you ever find yourself longing for a simpler time? Honestly, I do!  The modern world is very different than the world I experienced as a child. There are times when I long for those moments of my childhood when I ran barefoot through a sprinkler on a hot summer day or the nights when I sat outside under a star-studded sky around a bonfire and ate blackened marshmallows cooked over the fire on the end of a stick.  With a longing for simpler times, does that mean that something is missing from my life? How can I (we) live in the 21st century and recapture those simpler times when life seemed more joyous and less complex?

Unplug and Interact

First, I believe we have to refocus our efforts on what is truly meaningful in our lives. While technology has provided advancements in almost every area of life, it has also created more responsibility. Most of us cannot vacation without feeling the pressure of taking our laptop and checking in with work on a daily basis. We have come to feel conditioned to believe that our cell phones should be our constant companions. Instead of interacting with others, we are constantly plugged in to some form of technology. Is this the way we should spend the majority of our time? While I do believe technology has its place in our modern world, it should not take the place of human interaction. Only real connections with others can create warmth and compassion necessary for meaningful and lasting relationships.

A Spiritual Journey

Have you ever considered your spiritual walk as a way of walking down sparsely traveled roads? The Bible tells us that “narrow is the road that leads to salvation”. Matthew 7:14 The Lord longs for us to walk with Him into places that are less noisy and chaotic. He calls us to travel down quiet pathways that give us an opportunity to hear His quiet, still voice and allow His Holy Spirit to shape our lives to become reflections of His goodness. And then, He calls us to go forth and share our joy with others.

Truly Caring For Others

It is my belief that our greatest calling in life is to help others. In order to truly give and be available when others are hurting, many times sacrifice is a required. When striving to live life on the road less traveled, there are times when we might have to be willing to put our own wants and needs on the back burner in order to give to someone else. The reward of giving sacrificially far outweighs the personal sacrifice!

Planning Time To Enjoy Life

Those moments when life feels good and happy are rare. Why? All too often, it is because we strive to be the best in too many areas of our lives. We schedule too many activities and we come home at bedtime, exhausted and dreading another day of doing the same. While life holds many responsibilities and all of us have commitments that we must fulfill, it is ok to say no to busyness when our schedules become overwhelming. Pencil in time to relax doing your favorite activity. Take a Sunday drive to a destination that refreshes and recharges you. Life will be waiting on you when you come back. Plan an escape from the stress from time to time. Allow yourself to be lazy and stay in your pjs all day! Take time to talk with your spouse and really listen. The list of possibilities is endless. The point is making time to really enjoy life!! This, too, is a way of taking the road less traveled.

What Does Taking A Less Traveled Road Mean To You?

My writing focus has been on ways to make life more meaningful by suggesting a few pointed ideas of what it could mean to take the road less traveled. It is my hope that these few suggestions can assist you finding ways to connect with others and spend time with God. By slowing down and choosing to live without so many distractions, true joy has a chance of being experienced among the chaos of a fast-paced world. However, it is not all-inclusive. What are ways in which you and your family take the road less traveled? Please share! I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be thankful.
Today I share the top 12 things I am thankful for:

·      My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave His all so I could have eternal life.

·      My husband who loves me, even when I am unlovable.

·      My children and their spouses, and my grandchildren who are my most precious gift from God.

·      My parents who gave me a good, stable home and a memorable childhood.

·      My stepdad who loves my mom and has been a blessing to our family.

·      My grandparents who loved me. Two of my grandmothers were prayer warriors and I credit their consistent prayers with my relationship with the lord.

·      My mother-in-law who has always loved and accepted me as part of her family.

·      All of my family members, who contribute so much love and care to my life. My brother, aunts, uncles, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, and all extended family who loves me and accepts me just as I am. 

·      My friends who the Lord has placed in my pathway to have someone to share life with...the good, the bad and everything in-between.

·      My apartment home where I retreat to relax and rest.

·      Provision, which the Lord provides us. We are so blessed!

·       Life itself. Life is a gift. I thank the Lord for giving me my life and showing me that blessings abound in every season of life. When I focus my attention on Him and place all things in His trusting hands, I am amazed at His loving kindness.

Thankfulness gives a warm, happy feeling inside. Share some of the things you are thankful for with us! Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Every Day Heroes

When Life Brings The Unexpected

This has been a year of loss and change. In January, we unexpectly lost my husband’s stepfather, Nelson Tate. Then, in October, we lost a dear friend who was more like a brother to us than a friend. My mother-in-law is 86 years old. She lives two and one-half hours away from us and she needs lots of support at this stage of her life. It is not easy to give the needed support from a distance. However, when life demands, we must respond and give to others as much as possible.

Spotlight On Nelson and Bertha

Survivors… what other description would be logical to give two people who received a second chance at marriage and a happy life? Bertha is my mother-in-law and Nelson was Jim’s stepfather, my second father-in-law. They were both every day people and mill workers for many years of their lives. They survived wars, uncertain and unstable economies, heartache, raising children on hourly wages, watching children grow up and leave the nest, etc. She is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and one strong and determined Christian woman! He was a father, grandfather, great grandfather, and one of the kindest souls I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Nelson went home to be with the lord in January after a short illness that he could not overcome. Since then, we have pulled together as a family and have been a loving support to my mother-in-law. Why am I sharing a bit of their lives with you? Because I believe we grow and learn by hearing about others and how they have endured and have not given up or in to the struggles that life brings. Bertha and Nelson lost their spouses within a few months of each other. They were both in their 70s at that time. It would have been easy for them to give up on life and shrivel up and die. However, they did not! They remained strong. They went to church socials. They continued with life routines and they found in each other comfort and a purpose to go on. Within a year of the death of their spouses, they were married. Life had many ups and downs for them, but they pulled together and made a life worth living in their golden years. They are heroes that society will never hear about in the news. They are unsung heroes that are only known about within family and friend circles. I am sure Nelson has received his heavenly reward and I know that Bertha will proclaim the goodness of the Lord until He calls her home. Today, I take a moment to honor them and to say we love you! We commend you for fighting the good fight and living life to the fullest!

Who do you know that deserves every day hero status? Please share!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Inspiration That Rekindles A Dream

Inspiration from others can help spark or rekindle an interest. Recently, I have been inspired. 

A Life Long Dream

Writing is an activity that I have enjoyed all of my life, but one that I have often put on the back burner when life becomes too busy with day-to-day tasks. I have often longed for more time to write as it relaxes me and gives me an outlet to express myself. I dream of being a published author and in my early adult years, I thought I would become a fiction novelist at some point in my life. I have read books and thought to myself, I could write just as well as this author writes. At times, the creative side of my brain will take over and obediently I write. The notebook close by or the scrap of paper found in my purse becomes an instant journal as I take the time to jot down whatever it tells me to write. So who is to say that I will not fulfill that dream in my lifetime? I believe my ability to write and write well is a God-given talent.

Time and Life's Challenges

Life has had its ups and downs, some of which I will share in future posts. Time has not always been a plentiful commodity. The young woman years of my life were spent raising children and trying to figure out how to make ends meet. As a mother of older children, I fulfilled the dream of attending college. I found myself enjoying the challenges of school and I excelled. I endured four-and-one-half years of school and graduated Magna Cum Laude while working a fulltime job and balancing family life. It was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I would love to be able to say end of story and that “she lived happily ever after in a new, exciting career”. Not so! Within two years due to many circumstances (some I will share at a later time), I failed in my mid-life career path. At first, I was devastated and depressed. I floundered and tried to figure out my purpose. Why did God call me to go to school later in life to fail and carry a load of debt that my husband and I are struggling to pay off?  It has been three years since I left the position that I thought would fulfill me. During this window of time, life has seemed overwhelming at times, but as quoted by Friedrich Nietzsche, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. The truth is, God has used failure in my career and in other areas of my life to teach me that only He can fulfill me and that I can survive whatever comes my way as long as I keep my eyes on Him. As a woman who is now an empty nester, a wife to a husband of 24 years, a grandmother of 8 wonderful grand children, and a daughter and daughter-in-law to aging relatives, I have decided through the help of my Lord, Jesus Christ, to embrace life and live it as it comes.
Why Write Again? Why Now?

The questions above are rolling around in my head, even as I have made the decision to share this post with you. Honestly, it isn’t the best time in my life to do so. I am busy. I work and I study. I have grandchildren that I love to enjoy. I have lots of responsibilities that I have to carry out each week, but don’t we all? The truth is, I am inspired. I feel the need to write again. It is a burning desire deep within my soul, which I believe is a true calling. I would like to give a shout out to my daughter-in-law, Brittany Styron, who writes the blog She has inspired me to write again. Follow the link and check out her blog. She has lots of great articles and cool ideas about marriage, raising children, recipes, Christianity, homeschooling, etc. I also have another daughter-in-law, Tina Styron, who has inspired me. She recently wrote a children’s book and she is in the process of working through what the Lord wants her to do with her talent. I am thankful to have two very talented young women to admire and love! Thanks ladies for the inspiration!

What’s Next?

The truth is I have no idea. Taking life as it comes means to trust and allow God to lead. I do know that life is not always fun. In fact, many days are boring and routine.  At other times, life seems overwhelming and uncertain. And then, of coarse, there are those moments when life is wonderful and exciting.  I still have dreams that I hope I will be able to fulfill before God calls me home, but if that doesn't happen, I will be fine. My future is in His hands. I agree with Ralph Abernathy's quote "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."

Join in the fun! Who inspires you? I would love to hear about it!