A Life Uncertain, Where to Turn?

forking road

A Life Uncertain

Uncertainty is something that is hard to grapple with. Whether it is in regards to your health or your job, your relationships or your finances. Confused about which direction to take in life. Not knowing or being certain that things are going to be okay. These are hard places to be. It is very uncomfortable.

But if you think about it, our lives in general are full of uncertainties. Even the things we feel are secure, could all change in an instant. Nothing is guaranteed in this life. We can take that thought and let it control our mind and cause us all kinds of anxiety and fear. Let it disrupt our joy and contentment. Or we can fully realize that we are never the ones in control anyway. Of anything.

 

What Was Meant For Evil

When we trust in the Lord, we can know that He has His best for us. Though things may not seem to go the way we would like, we can be certain that what was meant for evil, can be turned around and used for our good.  This verse in Genesis comes to mind.

Genesis 50:20 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

 

No matter what uncertainty life is throwing at you right now, hold tight. God has got you. Spend time talking to Him, reading His word, leaning on Him. No matter the circumstance, Jesus is right there with you. Holding your hand and wrapping His arms of love around you.

I encourage you to read the story of Joseph (coat of many colors) in the Old Testament beginning in Genesis 37. So many horrible things happened to this man, but he never gave up. All of the things that others meant for his demise, God turned it out for his good and for God’s glory.

Despite the uncertainties of life, we can know that our Heavenly Father has us in the palm of His hand. He loves us and has a plan for our lives. So shake off your uncertainties and place your trust in Him.

 

 

 

Product Review: Alera Shelving & Garment Rack

I recently bought this rack by Alera after wanting it for quite a while. I needed a place to store clothing, shoes and some boxes for a bedroom that doesn’t have a closet.  A friend of mine ordered one a couple of years ago and I was so impressed at the quality and capacity. I like to get everything for a deal, so I was a little hesitant as this was running for about $125. I waited a bit and I ended up getting it for a little less. It arrived at my home in a fairly modest size box.  I couldn’t image this would be the rack I envisioned. I took it out of the box, followed the fairly simple directions and had this bad boy put up in about 15 min. By myself. No help from the husband.  I am very pleased with this shelving and garment rack by Alera.  It  was well worth the money.

It holds a max capacity of 500lbs. With option for up to 350lbs. per shelf.  If you are looking for a sturdy solid garment rack with extras, I highly recommend this one. It really is a portable closet.

3 Ways to Simplify Your Life

3 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Is your life chaotic? Do you always seem to have more things to do than time in the day? You are not alone. Despite the technology that is supposed to make life easier and simpler for us, we are busier than ever. So how can we simplify our lives?  It all boils down to 3 things that we can do to lighten our load.

 

    • Delegate: Yes, delegate. Simply put, let others do it. I am not saying just give everything over to someone else to do. First off, you’d likely have resistance from others. Second, you do need to do somethings yourself.  Here is an example of how to effectively delegate. Let’s say you have a list of jobs that need to be done around the house. Laundry, dishes, organizing a closet, lawn mowing, weed pulling, dog walking, etc.  Think about the others that live in your house. Figure out which of these jobs they would likely do to your satisfaction (or at least good enough).  Assign them this job. Maybe your teenage son is a capable lawn mower or dog walker. Give him those jobs. Or your daughter can easily weed pull or do a couple loads of laundry. Maybe your spouse can walk the dog and do the dishes.  This helps to free up your time. You may find your family resistant to this at first. Change is hard but if you have help at home, use it.  This idea is great if you have others living in your home. However, if you live alone, consider hiring someone to do some of these things for you if your budget allows.
    • Organize Your Day. Make a schedule. Figure out if you want to do this daily, nightly or even weekly.  Try to plan your day in advance to accommodate everything you need to do. Make a list of what needs to be done. Do this on an app on your phone or old school, pen and paper. You can check off items as you do them. It’ll help you feel accomplished and keep you motivated to finish strong. This can work for your personal and professional life.
    • Just Say No. That’s right. Say no. This is a skill that for some, has to be honed. Often times, we have a hard time turning someone down when they ask us to do something for them. Join a group, stay late at work, carpool kids to soccer practice, run errands for someone else, buy something the neighbor kid is selling. Meet a friend for lunch.  It really is okay to say NO.  You don’t have to over schedule yourself. I am not saying to just cut everything out of your life, but you need to prioritize. Will meeting your friend for lunch be a positive thing for you overall? If this person is someone you enjoy hanging out with, the answer is likely yes. Will staying late at work for several nights be a good thing for you? Sure, you’ll get extra cash and maybe stay on your boss’s good side, but will your boss then assume you will stay every time you are asked? Will it interfere with your family time? Maybe. So prioritize and say no when you can, if you need to.

    Being mindful of your time can help you to get back to basics.  You need to take care of your physical and emotional health before helping anyone else. I am not saying you should shirk your responsibilities, but  just that you don’t have to be superwoman or superman. Give yourself a break. The overall message is prioritize. If you need a break, you can delegate, organize or just say no. 

     

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Said I Do: Lessons Learned from a 25 Year Marriage

bride groom

My husband and I are rapidly approaching our 25th year of marriage. We have had many highs and many lows. Been at the top of the mountain and down deep in the valley and everywhere in between.

I feel like at this point in my marriage I have learned a few things. Things I wish I had known prior to getting married. Things that would have saved me a lot of headache, heartache and grief.  Things that would have allowed me to enjoy the present and be hopeful for the future. But no one told me.

As so often said, there are two sides to every story, there are also two sides to every marriage. And I don’t mean his version and her version. I mean the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly. So let’s start with ugly. I want to share with you some of what I call, the cold hard truths.

    1. There will likely be some days (or even longer) that you really can’t stand your spouse. Seriously. You will look over at him/her and think, what the heck was I thinking? Often times this happens in the early years after the “honeymoon phase” has worn off.  But don’t worry. You will come to see and be reminded of all the reasons why you fell in love in the first place.
    2. Learn to be patient with yourself and your spouse. You are both trying to figure out life and you may not have the same ideas or paths as the other. It’s okay. Just stay involved and interested in each other’s lives and try to connect daily.
    3. You will disagree on how to raise your kids at times. Even if you have had a long talk about child rearing, inevitably one of you will change things up as the reality of life sets in. What you once thought was a bad idea will now be okay and vice versa. Each of you will also have your own parenting styles. Learn to let Dad do his thing and let Mom do hers.  Remember, you are different people with different ideas and have different parental roles. And it’s okay.
    4. You won’t necessarily like or get along with his or her family. If you do…count your blessings! It’s not a prerequisite to having a good marriage, but it does make life easier if you and the in-laws can at least be civil.  If things are not great with the in-laws I don’t think it’s a good idea to put your significant other in the middle. Don’t give them a “choose them or me” ultimatum. As far as it concerns you, try your best to get along. (I know, with some people that is impossible. So boundaries are a must!)
    5. You will argue. You will fight. But fight fair. Avoid the name calling and hurtful remarks. You can’t get back the negative words you put out there.  Remember you do love each other and you are in it together.

Those were just a few of what I call the cold hard truths of marriage. But please understand, that is not all there is to a marriage.  Let me share some of the amazing things about a marriage. When you are in a good marriage you will have:

  1. A partner for life (at least that’s the plan). You have that one person who will be with you through thick and thin. Sickness and health, life and death, tragedy and triumph.  Nothing feels better than to know you have that someone who is there to hold you up when you are weak or to cheer you on when you are making strides. One who sees you at your worst and loves you anyway.
  2. A helper in decision making. Having your other half there with you to help make decisions.  Sometimes big ones, sometimes small and mundane ones. It is good to have someone to be there to help you raise your kids. Being a parent can be so overwhelming. When it gets hard for me, at times I have literally stopped everything to tell my husband how grateful I am to have him here to help with all of this stuff. I tip my hat to single parents. I don’t know how you do it! It’s a hard enough job when there are two parents raising kids.
  3. A lover for life. I think this one is self explanatory, but it is part of the relationship that can die if not tended to and lead to other issues. Be sure you take care of one another and don’t forget the romance in your relationship.  You have to put your relationship first. It can be very hard with demanding jobs and kids, but you have to make an effort. There will be times when “private time” just isn’t something that can happen due to distance, illness or other obligations. But just because you can’t always have physical intimacy, you can strive to maintain emotional intimacy. In many ways, that is more important.
  4. An opportunity for newness. Every marriage goes through different phases and stages. As you transition from newly wed to new parent to parent of teenagers to empty nesters, look for opportunities to grow and watch for your partner to grow as well.  Perhaps one of you has a new job or the two of you have decided to move, you can look forward to what it will bring out in your partner or yourself that perhaps you didn’t know was there. Each new phase of life can bring a newness to your relationship. It can give you a chance to get reacquainted with your spouse all over again.
  5. Someone to Forgive You. We all do or say things to others that we need to be forgiven for.  Your spouse will mess up and it will be up to you to forgive or hold on to the hurt. I strongly suggest you forgive.  You will inevitably do or say something to your spouse that you will want forgiveness for. It really is a two-way street. We are all only human and we make mistakes. Having a forgiving spirit will not only help you individually, but it will help the marriage in the long run. I am not talking about abuse or anything along those lines, but the day to day things that we tend to do to one another.  Extend the grace to your spouse you would want given to you. It is great having someone in your corner who you know will forgive you even when you miss the mark.

Like I said, these are just a few examples of the good and bad things in a marriage.  Everyone’s marriage is different. But if you go into it knowing that things aren’t always going to be great, but knowing that you have a commitment to stick it out regardless, each of you can feel safe in the relationship.  Safe to be yourselves and know that at the end of the day, your love and commitment will get you through the tough stuff.