Retreat, Reflect, Refocus, and Reconnect
"So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure. Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other."
James 4:7-8 Voice
Happy Friday everyone! Is anyone saying the catch phrase, TGIF today? If so, maybe you need to retreat, withdrawing from the stuff overwhelming and burdening you. I encourage you to retreat in a non-traditional sense, don't run in the other direction and never look back. Instead, retreat so you can reflect, refocus, and reconnect. This is necessary in our lives.
I may be the only one (if I'm not, I hope you'll leave a comment below), but I tend to wait to retreat until I'm so overwhelmed I'm not sure how to keep moving forward. I keep pushing and the "busy" of life takes over BUT when the busyness and things-to-do over power our quiet time, eventually we hit burn out, frustration, and become ugly. Sometimes we can hide this ugly from those not living with us yet doesn't our family and God deserve more than ugliness spewing from our heart? Of course they do.
I encourage you to take time this weekend to stop, reflect, refocus, and reconnect. YOU and those you interact with deserve it and God longs to spend time with you.
How do you Retreat, Reflect, Refocus, and Reconnect...
Leave a comment below to answer the following questions:
Guess what I'm doing this weekend? The title gave you a clue, I'm on the road. It's been awhile since I spoke or did a book signing. God's nudges are becoming more prevalent and I need to be obedient and can't live in fear. Some of you might be shocked that it's fear that kept me distant the past year or so but it's true. A blessing I count this week is our pastor's message on fear and being obedient to God's calling on our life.
This weekend isn't a huge lunge forward BUT it is a forward motion and one I look forward to. I'm thankful a friend encouraged me to not only attend the retreat but to also bring my books again. I have two new ones since the last time I was there, this is exciting stuff. Many things are floating through my brain and I look forward to sharing them with you, so keep reading.
Last Wednesday was Heidi's birthday and the one year anniversary of my Mom's passing. I did something I haven't done before, I put on my big girl panties and went to work! Go figure. 2016 is about moving forward, trusting God, releasing the fear, and being obedient. I sound like I have it all together but if you think about it, it took me until the second half of September to figure this out. This just means 2017 will have nothing but goals to strive for and more things to focus on.
Moving forward and focusing on my W.I.G.s (Wildly Important Goals)...
This past weekend I kept busy. I transformed our "pantry" area and weeded the Heidi Allen Remembrance Garden. I was encouraged to sit and relax but my mind and heart opted for a focused and productive time. At first it was subconscious, but as I drove to school this morning it made sense.
Last year, I left school after the first three days and didn't know when I'd return. Mom was home with Hospice and her days were few, little did we know that the following Monday she would pass away. I think Friday's ambition to beautify the pantry and the hours spent at Heidi's garden prevented me from thinking about how sad and difficult this weekend was last year. Go figure, instead of taking time to reflect and grieve, I filled the schedule.
I'm thankful God pointed this out to me on my drive to work this morning. To choose busy over the quiet and necessary time is a bad habit from
Jesus invites us,
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28 NLT
With my Mom's smile and memory as a reminder, I plan to put first things first - I need to take care of me so I can take care of others. My drive to work is only about five minutes, imagine how God would have spoken to me if I had a longer commute. Have a great week, catch ya tomorrow.
What helps you to relax, reflect, and recharge?
Is there a Bible verse that comes to mind?
You just moved to a new town, a small and remote place nestled in the hills. It's a place no one had heard of, especially your spouse when you shared the news of your transition. You take a break one afternoon from unpacking and take a walk, you see this beautiful, empty, and vacant building and you have an idea...
Why did you move?
What was your spouses reaction?
Do you find a trinket/photo while unpacking, causing you to walk? If so, what was it?
How far do you walk?
What does it smell like?
What is your idea for this building? Does it have anything to do with the trinket/photo you found while unpacking?
Click HERE for a surprise release!
Remember to share your writing for positive feedback.
We can't wait to read your story.
Since I started school, a long, long, time ago...my Gram and Aunt Nancy would call our house and sing a ditty to wake us up and encourage us to have a great day. My Mom and Auntie M carried on the tradition after Gram and Aunt Nancy passed away. Last year, Mom was sick but still found the strength to call and wish me a good first day, with the help of Dad. I laughed because I was stopping at her house before I went to school but she said "I always call you on the first day." This year she isn't able to but thankfully Auntie M carries on the tradition with multiple calls until I answered. For the record, I was awake and in the shower. Traditions are a blessing I count.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day though, no Mags to wake up. When my parents and aunts told me the day she started Kindergarten, "Enjoy every moment, she'll be graduating before you know it.", they weren't kidding. I'm thankful I took their advice and have a treasure trove of memories to look back on, with new ones beginning as she transitions into college. I wonder, do the college years go as quickly as the previous thirteen years of education?
I decided to be silly rather than weepy this morning. I hope you enjoy this video. I enjoy the song, "Baby Got Back". If you are familiar with this song, you'll enjoy this parody of "Baby Got Class" song.
Please share one of your back=to-school memories with us...
You hope and pray to see whatever it was again. You wait one minute, two, three, and just as you start to shift and return to the car, you see IT!
What is it?
How come you "HAD TO" get your camera from the back seat?
Is anyone else with you? Do they see it too?
Once home, do you share the experience and photo with anyone or do you keep it private? Why?
Set a timer, see how much
you can write in 10 minutes
without thinking about the
PUGS (Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling).
A great book about PUGS - "Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors" by Kathy Ide - Her book, "Polishing the Pugs" is fabulous but is out of print.
Just Write and then post below and share with other writers - let's see how different everyone's piece of writing is from this one prompt.
Stop shaking your head at me, I'm serious. Once the storm passes, whether it's a day, week, month, or decades, we are stronger, more determined, and wiser because of the journey traveled. Others might go through the same storm as you and some will never know the stress you feel. Regardless, you and I are the only ones experiencing "our" storm and each reaction, feeling, or emotion. There isn't a right or wrong, just different. It's important to remember this. It helps to keep a good perspective.
I think about all the kiddos starting college this Fall (which is actually the summer, lol). Some transition with grace and ease, others struggle and need time to find their groove. Some might return home and others chose to enter the work force or military. This next generation is on a mission and in a storm, a storm of change. Let us keep them in our thoughts and prayers. May they see their strength, determination, perseverance, and faith as the foundation to help them reach their goals.
Are you thankful for the storm making waves in your life?
With this knowledge in my heart and on my mind, it makes the transition smoother and more exciting. When she started college my mom told me, "Enjoy the next few years because she'll leave for college before you know it." I thought she was exaggerating. She wasn't.
For my readers letting your babies get on the school bus for the first time in the coming weeks, enjoy every moment because the next thirteen years FLY and it is an exciting, ever-changing, and beautiful time as our little caterpillars turn into a butterfly, ready to open their wings and experience the world and establish who they are in Christ and the world, not the image of their parents but an image of God. The individual and adult He created them to be.
I'm sure there will be bumps and bruises, any transition and time of refining has learning curves but this I know for sure, these curves make us stronger, smarter, and more determined. Let my sweet girl conquer her next journey with hope, faith, friends, and strength...she is ready! I'm ready to enjoy her continued transformation and success.
Published on February 2006
Do you know how much you mean to me?
As you grow into what you will be.
You came from within, from just beneath my heart.
It's there you'll always be, though your own life will now start.
You're growing so fast it sends me awhirl,
With misty eyes I ask, Where's my little girl?
I know sometimes to you I seem harsh and so unfair,
But one day you will see, I taught you well because I care.
The next few years will so quickly fly,
With laughter and joy, mixed with a few tears to cry.
As you begin your growth to womanhood, this fact you must know,
You'll always be my source of pride, no matter where you go.
You must stand up tall and proud, within you feel no fear,
For all you dreams and goals sit before you very near.
With God's love in your heart and the world by its tail,
You'll always be my winner, and victory will prevail.
For you this poem was written, with help from above,
To tell you in a rhythm of your Mother's heartfelt love!
Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/as-i-watch-you-grow #FamilyFriendPoems
How to Trust God With Your Childrenby Tracie Miles
Click HERE to read this article.
Will you share a word or two of wisdom for parents,
like myself, dropping their kiddos to college?
Is it easier with the second, third,
or fourth because you know what to expect?
Let's do some writing, are you ready?
Imagine you are traveling across the country with your favorite peeps, you need a place to stay.
This is the location chose -
where are You?
You have two things in your hands/arms -
what are they?
How far down the hall must you travel to get to your room?
The most memorable experience while staying here is...
Pick up a piece of paper and something to write with,
start typing or texting, and then share
your piece of writing with us all in a post below.
I'll even do this little exercise
but I'll wait to post my story
after a few have shared theirs.
Have fun and enjoy some time writing!
Although this isn't my typical mode of relaxation or meditation, I learned new techniques to help me chill and realized some of the things I do when stressed, are research based relaxation techniques. I think my favorite part of the entire experience was to see so many come together for different reasons, from different backgrounds, and religions to spend time with their kids and friends, and to learn how to relax in the midst of the craziness of our modern schedules.
At one point, we were asked to clear our minds and become balanced with the earth or space around us (or something like this), I'll be honest, I felt awkward but used this quiet time to talk to God. I thanked Him for the outpouring of support for the girls, for the fellowship with friends, and the quiet time of relaxation with our daughter. There was much to be thankful for, so I used this time of meditation to express my thanks to God.
It's important for us all to remember that because we share different beliefs than others, there are things we can learn from them and their beliefs. It doesn't mean we should try to change each other but instead, embrace our differences and build each other up. As Christians, it's a Biblical concept to "build each other up" and it's also a human need, to encourage and build each other up. With more positive encouragement to each other, imagine how our circle of control could be influenced.
just as you are already doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
Do you have a strategy to share to enhance
one's personal meditation time?
As the summer winds down and the back-to-school prep gears up, remember to take time to have fun and make memories. It's the positive memories that get you through the tough days so make a surplus in your memory bank to pull out when your baby goes to Kindergarten, college, or moves in with their new spouse. Our job is to raise our sweet kiddos so they can be independent, so make memories to reflect on when the house is quiet or you are having a "mommy" or "daddy" moment.
What is your favorite part about this time of year?
We don't tend to give each other a lot of "gifts" per say but enjoy spending our birthday with family and friends, if it works out. To make memories with those we care the most about is a priceless gift no one can buy in a store. The pictures in today's blog are from our birthdays this summer - one thing is common for each, smiles and enjoyment.
I thank God for each year and day He gives me, and I thank him for these two goofballs that make life so enjoyable and fun. It's just a day and a number, soon I'll be 50 (well, not so soon as my husband tells me) and I can't wait. A sweet woman told me yesterday, "Don't rush it, I couldn't wait to get older and now that I'm older, I'd give anything to go back." As much as I look forward to joining the Red Hat Ladies, I'm going to enjoy the next five years because each day is a gift worth celebrating.
and he continues to do so, forty-five years later. Thanks Dad!
What birthday traditions or activities do you enjoy?
Over the past couple weeks a fog has lifted from my mind and heart. I'm able to see the light and good surrounding me. Don't get me wrong, I think I've stayed pretty positive and upbeat yet there are days when it's difficult to put my feet on the floor and get out, and active. After my sister's kidnapping, I chose to hide, so at least I didn't do that after my Mom passed away. Instead, I've kept my eyes and heart focused on God and taken it one day at a time. This is the best anyone can do, especially after the loss of a parent, right?
I anticipated feeling quite down at this time in August because of the anniversary of my Mom's cancer diagnosis, and the approaching departure of our daughter to her next adventure. BUT, I am feeling better than I've felt in a year, now will I have the same Polly Anna and cheerful attitude in a couple weeks? I hope so, but I won't make a promise I'm not sure I can keep.
This I do know, I'm feeling better because of The One, God, who continues to lead, help, encourage, inspire, and motivate me to be the person He designed me to be. God uses my family and friends, you, and those I haven't even met. You are his messengers, angels, and servants...thank you for the blessing you are to me. May His light shine through me, and you, as we get on the road again.
"My heart is bursting with a new song;
lyrics to my king erupt like a spring
for my king, to my king;
my tongue is the pen of a poet, ready and willing."
Psalm 45:1 Voice
What is your heart bursting with today? Are you ready and willing?
If you are brave, leave a comment so others can
cheer you on in reaching this goal and destination.
Why do I write?
Writing to glorify God and help others! "Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders." Psalm 119:27 (NIV)
To contact Lisa:
P.O. Box 261
New Haven, NY 13121