Someone recently told me that I needed to update my blog...I guess that means that a few people at least actually read my blog from time to time. So. here I am updating and writing.
My fear of the blank page is being thwarted once again! Horrah!
Many, many things have happened since I last wrote a meaty, beefy, full post!
Many things have happened, yet why is it that the several times this summer that I have met up with friends I haven't spoken to for ages and they ask me "What's new with you?" all I can think to answer is "Oh, not much, same as always."?
No, my job hasn't changed much, no, I haven't moved or relocated, no, there is nothing really new on the relationship front, and no, I haven't won the lottery, travelled the globe, or discovered the cure for the common cold.
But....my little life is full of little pleasures and small changes for the better every week.
Back to Life: (..."back to reality..." she hums in the background...)
I feel like I have been slowly trudging up a long winding hill without even knowing it. It hasn't been easy and I've stumbled many times and tried to go back downwards because it was easier that direction. But here I am, finally realizing that my life has been on an uphill course and I actually don't mind it!
This realization has actually lightened my load and helped me to straighten up and walk taller.
In the past six months or so I have been more encouraged and more poured into and more filled with hope and promise than I have felt in the past 3 years!
I can't pin point all the encouraging times I've been through but I can highlight a few exact times and places or people who have lifted my head and given me insight.
My walk, both with God and through my journey of life has both seemed easy and difficult. Easy in the sense that I have been healthy, well-loved by family and friends, came from a Christian background, always had a home and food to eat. But difficult in the sense that I often feel like the inner circle around me is moving so fast and yet my life is dragging and I am always waiting for my life to begin; like I am on the outside always looking in on the cosy, warm lives everyone else has.
For a few years I leaned towards dwelling on the difficulties I faced; feelings of aloneness, sadness, inequality, anger.
But now, after learning once again to trust in God every day; to hand over the reigns and know that a backseat stagecoach driver is never a good thing, I am finally edging out the difficulties from the majority of my thoughts and trying to dwell on the hopeful and positive aspects of my world.
My family has been my biggest cheerleader squad throughout my life and I would not want to change a thing about them all. My parents are always there for me with a hug, a prayer, an encouraging word or even a helpful and gentle critique when needed.
My siblings are my closest friends even if we don't talk everyday. I love them dearly and wish we could all live closer.
My Christian heritage from both sides continually surprises me in how it affects my daily life. Once in a while I stumble across a letter my Grandmother had written to me on a long ago birthday and I am filled with warmth and love that she writes when telling a story of her youth and wishing me so much love and happiness.
I also recently delved deeper into my knowledge of my Dad's side of the family and found out more about his wonderful grandmother and all the work she did within the Church. And I treasured my time looking into an ancient family Bible, pouring over the names and photos of long gone relatives who have all influenced the way I was raised.
My friends, too, continually lift me up in spirits and in hope. I have a close group of four girl-friends and we try to get together on a regular basis. We chat, watch movies or shows but mostly I love that we keep in touch and are a part of each other's lives. We may not all agree all the time, but we are there for one another at different times to encourage, to cry with, to pray for and to share our journey. I thank God for my dear friends!
Other friends, too play a part in the lifting of the darkness from my shoulders. Some friends (and even cousins that I consider to be good friends) I may not see for a year at a time, but we can always step right back into each others lives as if no time has passed. They are reminders of my childhood and encouragements to my present, always wanting the best for me and wanting to share in the joys life brings us both.
On a daily basis, the people I work with have played a larger part than they know in the brightening of my days. I'm sure if any of my co-workers looked closely at my moods and attitudes over the last couple of years they would wonder what caused me to go from happy-friendly-fun to dreary-don't-bother-me and now (hopefully) all the way back to cheery-amiable-easy-to-work-with-again.
Because we work closely day-to-day they may not have even realized I've been through such a drastic change, or perhaps they are just too polite to ever mention it. :)
Several of my co-workers, whether they know it or not, have been my rocks, my encouragers, my relief from the mundane and my work-day allies. They have built me up, shared interests and ideas, been my venting vault and actually believed in me when I thought I never could. I thank God that he has placed me in such a wonderful atmosphere and with such amazing people to both mentor me and push me outside of my comfy little box!
In rounding out and perhaps finishing this update post I'd like to share one of the times over past few months that have filled and encouraged me.
I was able to attend a conference for my job down in Texas this summer for the second time in two years. I was eager to go, ready to hear about new technology, new gadgets, new ways of doing what I do, and ready to come home with the next great thing that would impress everyone and cause our community to ooo and ahh.
(Secretly, I was even excited at the prospect of being surrounded by possible single Christian men with whom I could talk technology and possibly start some sort of relationship with. Not that I was actively looking...oh, okay, maybe I was a little, but hey, a girl's gotta widen the Christian dating pool somehow, right?)
However, God threw a conference-shaped monkey-wrench into the mix - all was not what I expected.
I was blessed and amazed by a pre-conference round-table where I met people with similar jobs to mine and who faced strikingly similar problems and challenges as my own. I began to feel less and less alone in my struggles and frustrations with my job.
I was also amazed by the quality of conversation amoungst the narrow group of people at the conference itself who create the way I do. Many spoke directly into my life and situation, one young man even bringing me to tears as he felt God speak directly to my frustrations and hone in on what was really bothering me, something I didn't even know I felt until then. I truly valued that late-night gathering where we chatted and troubleshooted each others dilemmas and tried to offer helpful advice and experience.
The final part of what made this conference so unexpectedly amazing was the worship.
Yes, I sit through worship every Sunday while I work, I sing, I feel moved. But this time, as I sat back and had no responsibilities and no one I knew looking in on me...I truly worshipped. I felt like my insides were dancing unashamedly. I felt like I was finally really reaching out to tell God how much I loved him and not just making music to blend in.
I was moved. I was loved. I felt God.
It wasn't the songs or the singing, although I did buy the worship leader's cd so I could learn a few new tunes to worship with.
It wasn't the visuals, especially since I found them a little too simple for my taste and a little too slow on the slide change.
It was the moment when I let down my wall of insecurity and weariness and just let God in. Yes, true, I was outside of my usual place of worship and had nothing to worry about but my own space of worship, that helped, but it was the unabashed eagerness my heart had for letting God in and letting him fill me as I hadn't done for a very long time.
I let Him in.
I came home, not with any majorly new idea, but with an encouraged heart, an uplifted spirit, a happy soul and ready to take my next steps, day by day, in my walk with God. Somehow I have a new outlook on my job and my peers and my future.
Instead of just saying the words, "I know God has a plan for me", I actually, truly believe it. I now walk my uphill journey not knowing what lies over the crest of the mountain top, nor where the next part of my path will turn. I only know that I am safe, that God holds me up when I fall and that I can look forward to the future with a hopeful eagerness as I place one foot in front of the other.
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