Tag Archive | priorities

Decluttering

I have today and tomorrow off work, so I’m working on more decluttering, trying to make order out of chaos.

The older I get, the more I realize this truth:

My body is older, so it gets tired more easily.  The world in which we live is utter chaos and life is just downright stressful.  So my mission is to make my home a peaceful sanctuary.  Part of doing that is spiritual (getting into the Word, getting the Word into me, praying, and listening to the Lord).  Part of it is physical — making my home look better.  Having an organized house can help to lessen the emotional stress I feel because things are in order.  I can find things more easily.  I don’t have as much to clean and care for, and when I open a closet or a drawer, it looks nice, not cluttered.

I’ve been reading Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be by Donna Partow.

I’m only reading the parts that really pertain to this stage of my life.  A couple of things resounded with me yesterday.  One was regarding clothes, which I love.  (The owner of the resale shop I frequently visit can attest to that fact.)  Anyway, Donna says we should have a core color, and make our wardrobe from that core.  My color would be black.  Love, love, love that color!

As I was pulling things from my closet to get ready to send off to the resale shop, I was mindful of a few things:

  • Does it fit?
  • Does the color look good on me?
  • Do I absolutely love it?

If the answer was no, it’s not going back into my closet.

Next, I thought about my holiday clothing that I forgot to take to the resale the last time we were there.  It’s taking up quite a bit of space in a cedar chest.  It doesn’t fit me any longer.  However, we can only make 2 appointments a year to take things in to the resale shop we use, and the 2nd one is in June.  This  means I must keep that holiday stuff in my cedar chest until the fall of 2016.  Not gonna happen!  It’s going to Goodwill.  I thought about the space it was using up and how much I thought I’d get in $ if I held on to it for the resale shop.  Is it worth the $?  Nope.  I’m getting it out of here.

Another thing Donna mentioned is going through hair care items and make-up.  That is now on my to-do list.  I don’t think I’ll have anything in the hair care line to get rid of since I’m pretty loyal to the products I currently use.  However, as for the make-up, I have way too much.  Time to clean it out.

I also plan to go through my CDs and figure out what ones I really want to keep.  My tastes have changed a lot throughout the years.  The older I get, the more I just want something soothing to my spirit — something that nourishes and refreshes my soul.  So why take up valuable space with music I no longer enjoy?

Sunday evening

After getting off work at 3:00 yesterday, I took a short nap.  I was down at 3:40, and up again by 4:30.  I headed out to the grocery store to buy the monthly groceries.  I was a determined woman, clearly on a mission.  Thankfully, it wasn’t busy in the store, or I might have needed a sign like this:

I was back home, groceries unloaded, put away, and supper in the oven by 5:30!!!

I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with my daughter while watching Sherlock.  What a nice end to a busy weekend!

Coffee, happiness, and being thrifty

So does the title of this post have you thinking like this:

Keep reading.  It will all make sense.

Whenever I visit the coffee shop at work, I can use my badge and have the charges deducted from my paycheck.  At the end of the year, I always look to see the final total I’ve spent at the coffee shop, as well as at the cafeteria.  When I saw nearly $55 was spent on coffee alone, I started to choke.  Then I thought of it in different terms.  $55 seemed like a lot, until I divided that by 52 weeks.  That is just over $1 a week.  So $1 spent a week on some really good coffee that helps me find my “happy place” is money well spent.  And it really does help me find that happy place because it has more caffeine in it than what I drink at home, so it often gives me a much-needed boost in the middle of the afternoon.  I guess my thinking is that if something as simple as a good cup of coffee can help keep me in a very happy mood, that is PRICELESS.
As for the cafeteria, I only spent $7.44 for the entire year.  I usually bring my own lunch because it is so much cheaper.  Whenever I bring my lunch, I consider a “pay raise” to me just because I’m not spending at least twice that much for food from the cafeteria.

Three things for which I am thankful

I have refrained from blogging for several months.  After suddenly losing my brother to a massive heart attack in March, my priorities greatly changed.  As you have likely noticed, blogging was one thing I dropped rather quickly.  As we have watched world events unfold in the last five months, my desire to blog has waned.  Other things seem so much more important……Things such as sending cards to those who are facing trials.  Things like making phone calls to let others know how much I care about them.  Time with family.  Checking in on my parents as they continue to deal with the daily grief of having lost a child.  And the list goes on…..

However, today I felt the need to share three things for which I am very thankful on this holiday weekend.

Most of all, I am thankful for the cross.

In these trying days in which we live, I am reminded daily that God alone is my fortress and my refuge.  If it wasn’t for the cross, I wouldn’t be able to have peace in the midst of the chaos taking place in this world.
I am also thankful for my marriage.
Daily, my hubby and I discuss world events, Bible prophecy, and the reality of our Lord’s imminent return.  We are becoming closer to each other as we watch the world face incredible times of tribulation.  He is truly my best friend and I am so thankful for him.  I cannot imagine facing the issues of the day if I did not have him here beside me.  We find comfort in each other’s embrace in this world of constant chaos.
I am also thankful for the American Flag and what it means.
As I walked into Sunday school this morning, I noticed one of the men had on a shirt with the American Flag.  I sadly expressed my thoughts, “Enjoy wearing that flag while we still have that freedom.”  There were several people standing around at that moment, and none of them blew off my comment.  Rather, they sadly concurred that we are in a time where we do have to wonder how much longer our beautiful flag will be able to fly freely….how much longer we will still be called The United States of America.

Running the Race

Running the Race

 

Have you ever had one of those moments where God speaks a word to you and it becomes an epiphany to you that changes your entire outlook? I had one of those moments. Of all things, it happened two minutes before I was to speak at my brother’s memorial service. It was such a powerful insight and has brought much comfort and a sense of peace to us as we mourn Matt’s passing.

 

I was reminded of how my brother was a runner. He ran cross country in high school as well as a few marathons. I remembered the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 4. He had run his race and finished his course. Suddenly, a flash of insight hit me! My brother, who was the runner in the family, was also the first one of our immediate family to finish his earthly race! How fitting that was! Yes, we would still miss him immensely, but what a comfort this realization gave us!

 

As I shared this awesome insight, I carefully watched the expressions on everyone’s faces. It was absolutely beautiful to see the transformation on their mournful faces as they “got it.”

 

I have had an immense sense of peace since that epiphany. Whereas, prior to that moment, I would sob nearly every day, I no longer do that. Yes, I still cry, but not the heart-wrenching sobs of a heart that is breaking. Deep within my spirit, I know Matt is EXACTLY where Matt is supposed to be. That has helped me tremendously.

 

As we are trying to move forward, there are several questions that keep resonating through my head:

 

What kind of race am I running?

 

How do I want to be remembered when my earthly race is over?

 

What kind of changes do I need to make to get my priorities in better order?

One thing that was an immediate change is that when I visit my parents, I no longer leave without giving hugs and saying, “I love you.” That has become incredibly important to me. It is also important to me to check in on them even more than I did previously, for losing a child is something none of us can fully understand unless we’ve gone through that experience ourselves.

 

I’m also giving a lot more hugs to extended family members and friends. The power of touch is huge, and the touch of a hug can help to heal broken hearts.

While I frequently speak of my job and often say, “I love my job,” I don’t want that to be the first thing said of me. Rather, I want to be remembered for loving my God first and foremost, then for loving my family and friends.

 

What kind of race are you running? Do you need to make changes?

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

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Surrounded by God’s Mercy

Surrounded by God’s Mercy

 

After the initial shock of hearing my brother died of a massive heart attack in March, I knew the Lord had given me a message to share at his memorial service. Having a mission in my pain certainly made those days of such intense grief a bit easier because the message He gave me about his mercy was something I was living out firsthand.

 

You see—my brother died the day before my scheduled weekend off work. After that, I had to get back to work. I didn’t want to use my allowed bereavement days until my parents returned from Arizona (where he lived), and we could plan our memorial service here. (And that didn’t happen for two weeks.)

 

Nearly every morning, I would get up and start getting ready for work. About the time I would be putting on my eye make-up, I would start crying. Eye make-up and tears don’t work well together! I remember crying out every morning, “Lord, I need Your strength and Your mercy. I cannot do this on my own.”

 

I work the switchboard at a local hospital. It is very busy since I answer every call that comes to the switchboard from inside the hospital, outside the hospital, as well as those for the after-hours answering service for over one hundred doctors. It requires a lot of focus, multi-tasking, and people skills. Yet, every day, in spite of the excruciating ache in my heart, I was able to come to work, put on my happy face, and do my job. Granted, I would sob all the way home, but at least I was able to hold myself together while I was on the clock. That was nothing but God’s mercy carrying me. Through this, I felt the prayers of others like never before.

 

After a grueling day at work, having been on the phone all day, I would come home and have to spend the evening on the phone, updating people on what was going on. Not only were we dealing with my brother’s death, but his wife was admitted to the hospital that night. The day after she got out, my mother was in the ER for dehydration. There were several times when I wondered, “Are they going to die too?” I cannot begin to fully exemplify how terribly stressful all of this was to our family. As my dad said, “This has been the worst two weeks of my life!” So to say it was a flurry of activity would be an understatement. Yet, the Lord continued to infuse me with strength.

 

I would do what needed to be done, but then I had to allow myself to release the grief and stresses of the day through tears each evening. If I didn’t, I was a basket case the next day. There is such cleansing and emotional release in letting those tears fall. Through this experience, I have learned that even tears are part of God’s mercy to us because of how much better we can feel after a long cry.

Another was I experienced God’s mercy was in the message of mercy He spoke to me. You see – I used to teach Sunday school every Sunday. That isn’t possible now since I work every other weekend. Yet, teaching God’s word is still a passion in my soul. He gave me a clear, concise message on His mercy to share at the memorial service. He knew this would do two things: 1. Give me a mission in my pain, which would be a comfort to me. 2. Allow me to use the spiritual gift He gave me to comfort and encourage others as we all walked through this valley of grief together.

 

As you face your own struggles in this life, I challenge you to look for God’s mercy and see how He demonstrates it to you in new, unexpected places.

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

 

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