23 November 2008

more cheer, more happiness, more hope

so i haven't written in a while. i've been sick and stressed and just so busy trying to keep up with life that has seemed to run away from me. most days i have just been working all day, out in the field and then in front of my computer as soon as i get home until late in the evening and then i am so exhausted i head straight to bed. it is not a very glamorous life. and even more so lately, it seems that things have just been out of my control in almost every aspect of my life. but in the midst of all of that, as i was decorating for christmas yesterday, i found myself being able to be very thankful for the small gifts i am given during the day, not necessarily of monetary value, but just the little things that make me happy, the things that lift my spirits. sometimes they come directly from a friend or they are just something i notice, but God knows the desires of our hearts right down to the little things we enjoy and He knows just when we need a lift. it is from those little things that i get my hope back. not from the gifts themselves, because that would not last, but the brief cheer and happiness they bring is usually enough to bring me out of my stressful state, even just for a moment, long enough to remember the true joy that i have that brings me hope for each new day. He can be seen in those little things no matter how trivial, ordinary, silly, or simple. He knows what we need and sometimes that is only something small to remind us to look to Him. those things are all around us in this world and the people we come in contact with.

so i started this list a very long time ago. it is a list of the things that make me happy and i decided i would share it with you. as you will see, it is about people, His creation, and simple things, all things i enjoy and things that remind me of joy and hope.

  • driving my car, no traffic, especially with other vdubs
  • riding with jeremiah, especially on a nice day, windows down (being driven by someone who knows how after driving myself around in traffic all day/all week long)
  • washing my car, having a clean car
  • laying under the stars
  • hearing the right song at just the right time
  • reading to children
  • finding the perfect gift
  • being at the beach
  • pedicures
  • studying, learning, science and experiments, reading science books, watching Myth Busters
  • graduations (and seeing people reach goals)
  • capturing the perfect photograph, this is fun to play with as well to find other good photos
  • being taken out on a date whether surprised or planned but having him do the decision making, ie. being taken out
  • campfires, toasting marshmallows
  • puppies
  • babies and children laughing
  • shoe shopping
  • breakfast food anytime of the day
  • slowing down with a friend in the middle of a busy day for lunch, coffee, or just a walk/talk
  • soft socks in winter
  • christmas decorations, lights, candles, red ornaments, and holiday smells
  • snow
  • miracles and seeing people doing genuinely nice things, big or small
  • having time with God outside under a tree on a beautiful day
  • naps on a rainy day, laying around watching movies
  • fireworks
  • having a creative project turn out just the way you pictured it in your mind
  • traditions among families
i hope that this helps to remind you of the little things in your life that can bring more happiness and hope to your day.

10 November 2008

more to what we do

i have worked at many jobs since my first position at the Jigger Shop in eleventh grade; everything from giving bra fittings and changing window displays to binding books, folding jeans, serving coffee, and caring for the most precious boys. but none of these jobs have given me the opportunity to touch so many families as my job as a family counselor. it is what i am called to do. it is the purpose i was given. in Romans 12:2 paul says, "don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. then you will know what God wants you to do..." this is what we do as counselors. we help families see things differently and then live up to their God given potential.

so i really didn't want to get up and go to work this morning. i don't want to go to work this week. it is going to be a busy one. so often, almost every day, i get discouraged about the paperwork and other little things that i need to do. i begin to think, why do i have to spend so much time doing all of this when i could be out there really helping people? when i get overwhelmed with the paperwork or the time i've wasted sitting in rush hour traffic i lose sight of the purpose of what i am doing. i become burnt out. why do i need to help all of these people when i have trouble in my own heart and pressure in my own life?

the truth is that we are all called to touch lives no matter what our job happens to be. we do this by living our lives with excellence, by doing things as if we are doing them directly for God himself. doing the little things in our jobs that we hate and doing them well is all part of living our lives with excellence. it is our worship. in doing this we can touch others when they see the passion and dedication in our lives, when they see that we do not simply work at a job but live to worship Him in all that we do, when they see that there is more to it.

i am having a hard time finding the right words to express just exactly how i feel. there are no words to express the passion that i feel for living our lives with excellence and passion to touch others, to show them the joy that we have when He has filled our lives. the point is, no matter what we do, whether sweeping floors, selling perfume, changing oil, or counseling families, we should do it, and all that goes with it, as worship to our God. it is up to each of us to figure out how we touch others in each of our jobs.

"for i live in eager expectation and hope that i will never do anything that causes me shame, but that i will always be bold for Christ... and that my life will always honor Christ... for to me living is for Christ..." (Philippians 1:20, 21)

for all of my friends that are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and maybe even wishing to be gone from all of this, i am praying for you. it is not always easy to stay calm and motivated every day. sometimes we just need to yell, cry, hit something, or just get away from it all. so do that, get it out with a friend, slack off for a moment, or take a little vacation, look into a new job if you need to, but then remember this...the life God gives is greater than any challenge of the mind or emotions. His strength is more powerful than the demands on our endurance to pull through trials and deserts. we are going to make it with His help and for that we can rejoice in Him in all we are doing in each moment.