The Journey is…options

WHEN FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.

I was always one of the smart kids in school….or so I thought.

I’ve come to find out through the years that I really wasn’t so smart!

The SMART kids were the one’s who learned it all in class, rarely taking a book home to study!  I on the other hand, cleaned out my locker every day…studying until midnight or later.  I’m not exaggerating.

You want to know why!?!

I studied like a mad woman because…when it came to my parents expectations….FAILURE WAS NOT AN OPTION!  Choose to win, or choose to die.  (Not really, but you get the point.)

FFWD a few years:

I have found that as an adult…if something confuses me, or it’s somewhat overwhelming…it’s possible that I will just do nothing at all.  I’m NOT saying that’s a good or acceptable thing.  It’s just me.  It IS good to finally be aware that I do this.  Now I can focus, make adjustments, and choose to win instead!  Expecting more from myself!

Thinking back over my life, while there are many failures I am able recall…there are 4 areas that  I can see where failure was not an option.

Loving the Lord.

Loving my husband.

Loving my children & family members.

Breathing.

….and in all 4 areas…that is a choice.

My Journey of life, like yours, is full of ups & downs.  So in these four successes, I’m not saying there haven’t been great moments of defeat.  But, defeat is not failure.  Failure is when you decide to quit….and it’s only final if you choose not to get back up.

I AM saying that these are the areas that the only option that I have allowed is “stick-tuit-evniss” ….going through the motions during the lowest times…trusting the Lord to bring the “want to” & ultimately the highs of success.

I’m now wondering what areas of my life have I allowed failure to be the option.  Time to take a look & make adjustments!

Today is a good day to decide what areas of our lives do we want to expect more.  Sometimes we just have to be determined that SUCCESS is the ONLY acceptable option!  Choose to win!  Choose to LIVE!

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The Journey is….embracing the past, present & future.

THANKFUL THURSDAY

~I’m thankful for A Timely Reminder

A Reminder to:

Embrace & enjoy my past.

Embrace, enjoy & truly live my present.

Embrace & look forward to my future.

~I’m thankful for the older gentleman that I met at the park.

As we talked, he wistfuly reminisced of his running days &

his own 48 minute finishes at the Vulcan Run 10k, some 15 years ago…

I knew he loved that feeling as much as I do now.

…It blessed me to see a much greater love quickly transfer to his great-grandaughter as she returned from feeding the squirrels.

My brief encounter with him reminded me to:

Be thankful for every breath I have, the health of my youth, the opportunity to exercise on the days I’d rather not…

and

To look forward to the new experiences to come that will eventually replace the dreams I am currently living.

Thankfully,

Julia

The Journey is….Ninja

Fall is my favorite season!During yesterday’s run, as I enjoyed watching the leaves fall gracefully from the trees, one of them tapped me lightly on the head during it’s descent.  I felt that possibly it was God.  Kind of like the times you walk by a little kid & tap them affectionately on the head.  It made me smile anyway.

Well, today…

I was taking a breather.  Walking with a friend, watching her daughter feed the squirrels…..

and this ACORN came out of nowhere and just HIT me right on the top of my head!  It hurt a little for a split second.

What did that mean!?!

NOTHING…except maybe that God has a sense of humor.

 

….or was it REALLY the deviant park squirrels,

 practicing their NINJA acorn throwing skills…

…and laughing…

 🙂

God’s richest blessings to you on this beautiful fall day!

~Julia

The Journey is….pain.

PAIN IS NOT THE ENEMY

They call me “weird”, but I don’t care.

Today, Grace asked me to hold her….so I did.

I gathered her in my lap & wrapped my arms around her…even closing my eyes & breathing in the moment.  What does this feel like, what does it smell like…how do I feel at this exact moment.  I would say that I am trying to mentally take a photograph of the moment to cherish.

Later, Jessica said, “Hey mom, want to come see my powerpoint presentation?”  I was busy, but I stopped because…I really DID want to take 5 minutes of time to enjoy her presentation.  That moment brought me great joy.

It seems I do that a lot lately.  Making my family stop…pause…savoring the moment.  They say, “You’re weird”, and we laugh…but I do it anyway.

After my Butterfly Lesson (where I realized the way I dealt with all pain in my life was by ignoring it), I now see pain everywhere I go.  If interested, you can read some of my observations about pain by clicking  here.

It’s similar to buying a new vehicle.  After it’s purchase, you suddenly notice that many people own the same car.  A fact that had eluded you before.

I’m not IN pain.  I’m just aware of it more.

It seems the more that I am aware of pain…the more I am able to appreciate JOY.

A fellow blogger, Grief: One Woman\’s Perspective ~ Perceptions on life after the death of a child, & I were discussing this somewhat the other day. I don’t think she would mind me sharing her words.  This was her comment on my blog about \”Olivia\”:

“Ohmigosh! My heart just breaks for this little girl…and for the way I see some parents treat their kids. I just want to get in their faces and say, “Don’t you know what a precious gift you have?”

My husband was in a store one time when he overheard a little boy ask his dad if he could have a toy. The dad responded, “I don’t think you’re even worth it.” My husband stopped, bent down, and said to the little boy, “You ARE worth it!! I think you are very worth it.”

I can’t help but think…There HAS to be another way to cherish the simple joys of life, all the many things we have been blessed with…all the moments we have to be thankful for, the people we love the most!  Surely accepting pain, is not the path to true thankfulness!  But for me, in my own life…that seems to be the reality.

What do you think?   I’m not sure how I feel about this yet.

So, for now…if you see me at my favorite park, just sitting there in the wind with my eyes closed.

…or…

You give me a hug…and I don’t let go right away.

I’m just taking a picture.

Savoring the moment.

Being thankful.

and

weird.

*Disclaimer:  I DO believe that pain is the enemy if it takes over our lives.  I do believe that the devil would like nothing more than for us to sit in sorrow & die.  My own experience is, that the Lord takes us & walks us through the pain.  He finds a way to miraculously do “surgery” on us, taking the “sting” away.  During that process…just keep moving forward!  Keep breathing.  Keep doing the right thing despite your feelings.  You can trust that the Lord is leading you to Victory!

10-24-11

Before sharing this blog with you all, I asked my dad what he thought about it.  He said that he thought I was wise, & that I should share it.  Here is part of our conversation that followed:

Thanks daddy…but what do you think about the concept that acknowledging pain is the path to true thankfulness.  It seems the more pain I see…the more grateful I am…TRULY GRATEFUL & thankful for my blessings.  I just think there HAS TO BE be another way to feel thankful than through pain.

To which he answered:

The short answer is, no there is not.  Its only through pain that we really know joy and thankfulness.  We never understand our blessings, until we have the pain to weight them against.  How can you know sweet, unless you know bitter?  In our modern culture, people do everything they can to avoid or deny pain, which is precisely why they are so unappreciative of the blessings their lives are filled with.  Its pain that tears away our illusions and allows us to see Life clearly.  One of the things we discover in the process is that we are not the center of the universe.  That sole discovery opens the gates of our eyes and soul to begin to understand the marvelous wonders and blessing Father has surrounded us with.  It may sound odd, but it is the presence of pain (of all types and most of it bittersweet) that keeps our eyes and soul open.  It is the pain in our lives that allows us to have the freedom to laugh and enjoy our lives.

I think he’s pretty wise himself 🙂

So what do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Pain

Some of the pain that I have observed:

~Having a few minutes to myself at Books-a-Million, I was excited to thumb through a book showcasing the iconic photographs taken throughout history, I imagined it would be so interesting.  The reality is, the book was filled with sadness.  One image in particular is branded in my brain…of holocaust victims on the day they were forced to leave their homes.  The street was filled with women & children with their hands raised.  The fear on their faces was evident….one child in particular will forever be a part of my thoughts.

~Stumbling on a web site that is filled with angry people.  Angry adults, who were adopted, & treated with such injustice.  Seeking to vent & find answers to “WHY?”  Why were they unlovable, why weren’t they wanted, and why do they even care so much….

~A fellow blogger Grief: One Woman\’s Perspective ~ Perceptions on life after the death of a child, who’s son was senselessly murdered at the hands of a drunk driver.

~Friends…with struggles of their  own….seeking answers.

This is something I shared with a fellow blogger the other day, I believe it would be appropriate to insert here:

WHY?  Sometimes the only available answer is…because.

If allowed to, the Lord will help bring peace to your spirit when there is no viable answer.

I believe the Lord does have a plan & often people choose not to follow it.  I believe the devil has a plan also….to steal, kill & destroy.  I believe that when things happen that will never make sense…the Lord is still able to put the pieces of our life together & turn it into something beautiful.

The Journey is….Thankful Thursday!

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”~Fred Rogers

I’M THANKFUL TO MY LORD FOR:

a sun-warmed car on a cool fall day

a sweet surprise note that made me feel loved

the plumber

friends with a pond

a relaxing afternoon

great kids

The Journey is…defeat.

IGNORING YOUR WORST CRITIC
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.-Theodore Roosevelt
When reading this quote, I think of my own worst critic…ME!
I consistently remind myself of my own shortcomings & failures.
This is what I will think instead:
Every person alive will experience moments of defeat.
Defeat is simply part of the Journey.
After the defeat,
Be proud of yourself for getting in the game in the first place!
Give yourself some credit…
The mere fact that you are still here
is in itself it’s own great accomplishment.
…and then….
keep
moving
forward.
It takes much bravery & courage to stay in the arena.
Perseverance, when you’d rather just watch from the sidelines, is the only path to
VICTORY!
~Ignoring Myself,
 Julia

The Journey is…Friendship & Grace

(WARNING:  Do not read this if you like to eat eggs.)

THANKFUL THURSDAY!

 I’m thankful for:

~FRIENDS~

-Children that are old enough to stay home alone so I could go visit an old friend.

-An old friend to go visit.

-Life lessons taught by friends….even if it was unintentional.

-The friendship of my family & making time to enjoy each other’s company.

~Grace~

She fills my life with color & laughter…for example:

The way she has decorated my fridge 🙂

…and her words that have caused me to seriously consider being a VEGETARIAN!

The last 3 times we’ve made scrambled eggs, as I was beating them to go in the frying pan…

1.  “I wonder if they were boys or girls.”  :O

2.  “Momma…what if the baby chicks…”  I didn’t even let her finish the sentence!

3.  No words today.  She just drew me a picture and handed it to me as I was pouring the mixture into the pan.

It was a picture of….

 

a yellow chick.

:/

The Journey is….damaging.

“If you know someone’s heart…

you won’t believe just everything you hear about them.”

~Julia Davis

On a more serious note today…

I have a friend who is fighting a battle.  I have watched as the media has taken words spoken, twisting them & adding their “quotes”…basically placing judgement before the trial has even begun.

…and well meaning, but mis-informed people have followed suite at times tearing apart my friend whom they have never even met.  Much damage has been done.

This plight has reminded me of a much lighter incident in my past.

Long story, short:

Many years ago, using hands on projects, we spent the whole Summer teaching young people about the power of their choices, both good & bad .  We ended it with a challenge where we each received $1.  After two weeks, we would see who had done the most with the gift that was given to us.  I returned with over $2,000…needless to say…I WON!

The shocked look on the kids faces….PRICELESS!

The local newspaper wanted to do a write up about it & interviewed me.  I remember reading the article & feeling stunned :O

What I read…was SO NOT what I said!

Well…in reality…MY WORDS were printed, I did say them…but my intention was not portrayed in the article at all!  I believe its author did his best at interpreting the information that he gathered.

When he heard me one of two things happened:

~He filtered my words through his own belief system, and that is the story he wrote.

and/or

~I talked, but failed to communicate my true heart.

HIS thoughts were not at all my thoughts, my intentions…MY beliefs.

I immediately retyped his article, adding MY correct interpretation to it.  I printed each of our kids a copy & gave it to them.

In life…there is often no damage control.  We can’t say…”STOP THE PRESSES!  THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEANT!  LET ME REWRITE THAT…when I said that, this was what I really meant!”

So whether it be a friend, boss, spouse, teacher, child…let’s strive to give each other the benefit of the doubt.   Maybe they are still working on their communication skills.  So until they get there…life will be easier when we seek to truly hear the other person.  Filtering the words spoken, not through the “reporter”…or through our own thinking processes….but instead, use the filter of the heart from which the words were actually spoken.

There are less pieces to pick up that way.

The Journey is…Thankful Thursday!

THANKFUL THURSDAY!  Just a few things that make me want to say…”Thank you Lord, that was very nice of you to do that for me”.

WINDY DAYS. 

Those rare moments that I cherish.  Have you ever had them?  Where just for a moment you can go back in time & feel like a child.  Something about the wind this week, instead of the usual muggy, Alabama heat…

There were 3 distinct moments this week, where the cool, fall wind took me back to those days when life was all about playing with friends & having fun.  It was if I were right there, back in the culdesac on Tinker AFB….in the never ending OKLAHOMA WIND!  I just closed my eyes & soaked it in for a moment.  I LOVED IT!  Thanks God!

THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The awareness of His presence in my life.  He leads, guides, comforts, strengthens….

“…And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter
(Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He
may remain with you forever…” – John 14:16

Thank you Holy Spirit!  I needed that!

RUNNING.

Someone mentioned how cold it would be to run the Vulcan since it is held the first weekend in November.  I started explaining how wonderful it was going to be….running with thousands of people in the cold brisk air…all with the same goal in mind.  I started getting really excited about it, just talking about it.  Then I realized…they weren’t feeling it.  Not even one bit.

I’m thankful that the Lord puts things inside of us for our own pleasure…be it baking, gardening, sports, music, etc.  That’s very nice of Him.  🙂

WONDERFUL PARENTS!

I will have to dedicate a whole blog just to them soon!  I love them!

….and I could go on & on & on……God is so good!  He IS the Lord of my life.  I am thankful!