Monthly Archives: May 2012

My Mayberry

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 236

Miles Walked: 591

Miles Remaining: 409

Days Remaining: 130

I was able to visit a friend last week, and I must say that I felt some envy of her daily life. I know… that’s not a good thing, but I LOVED her job. She gets to go to work every day where people come in and hang out, encourage each other, and thank one another for what’s happening in their life. She owns a nutrition club and gets to help people every day who want to improve their way of life and that usually means that she’s going to be around positive people who are trying to make good choices.

Being surrounded by positive people.. yeah, that’s sort of my dream.

I enjoy helping people. Giving and caring, trying to make a difference.. that’s my thing. But, it seems that sometimes the more you give and try to help, the more some people just want to suck it out of you and drown you in their selfish negativity. What’s up with that? When did it become the norm for people to use harsh words and rudeness to get what they want? My friend/receptionist was telling me a story of someone she talked to last week.. this lady said to her, “why don’t you get off your butt and make my life a little easier?”. I think that means the same thing as “could you please help me?”, but apparently it’s easier to be rude than to pull out the manners card. That kind of blows my mind and what scares the heck out of me is imagining what the world is going to be like when the kids growing up with that influence is going to be like in another 20 years. Actually, I do know what’s up with that… it’s not God’s plan but I’m guessing that it makes Satan plenty proud of himself.

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Galatians 5:14.  That can be a hard one.. especially if we don’t know each other.

I’m pretty sure that I had my vision of “the perfect” community before I ever heard the Rascal Flats song, “Mayberry”. Cheery houses with lots of windows, big front porches, front yards full of flowers that bloom through every season, and neighbors that you know well enough to keep your doors unlocked and not be shocked if they just come on in when they want to visit. I imagine a neighborhood full of people that you know, that know your kids, people who help each other if they need it, and neighbors that look out for each other. Call me crazy, right? I guess I want my Mayberry with an ice cold diet cherry coke.

Well I miss Mayberry
Sitting on the porch drinking ice cold Cherry — Coke
Where everything is black & white
Picking on a Six String
Where people pass by and you call them by their first name
Watching the clouds roll by

I grew up in the country and living in “the city” for years has worn on my idea of the perfect place to live. When I was growing up, I remember wanting so badly to have cable tv and to be able to have pizza delivered for supper. Since achieving those goals and having everything that I could ask for be a 10 minute drive away or less, I’m ready to move back out to the country and slow it down. It being Life.

The truth is, we don’t live on tree-lined streets with white picket fences. These are the types of communities that movies portray as perfect and safe. Most of us live in garage-door communities. We come in and out of our garages with little or no interaction with one another. That was me. Then I started feeling the nudge to get to know my neighbors. I started feeling that it was time to meet the people living next to me, maybe across from me, or the ones that I see on my way in and out of my neighborhood every day.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ John 13:34-35 

There’s not a lot of “loving each other” going on these days. It’s more like the “all about me” epidemic that has plagued the world. I want to change that. Am I praying for world peace? I just want to start with neighbor peace, parking garage peace, and co-worker peace. Then move it to traffic peace, grocery store peace, and maybe Black Friday Shopping peace. It’s easier to be rude and selfish to people that you don’t know so how about we start getting to know people. This isn’t an easy thing for me because I tend to be a house potato. Not a couch potato, but I like being in the comfort zone of my house. Getting “out there” isn’t an easy thing for me but I don’t think Jesus’ disciples reached people by sitting in their house or sunning themselves in their privacy fenced back yards. My idea of the perfect neighborhood isn’t just going to happen by itself.

On the weekends, my walk usually starts a little later in the morning than the normal 6am weekday walk. A few weeks ago, as I was walking around 7am, I noticed there were people out sitting in yard chairs on their porch or even at the edge of their garage. They were drinking coffee and reading their papers. They almost all waved to me after I waved to them and greeted them with a “Good mornin!”.  Some even asked how I was doing. The longer I walked, and the more people that I had interaction with, I realized that the vision of my Mayberry neighborhood wasn’t that far off from what I was walking in my very own neighborhood. We’re not exactly a white picket fence kind of neighborhood but I have some good neighbors… I just need to get out of my box and meet them, help them, and get to know them. My vision of the perfect community might be right outside my front windows.

 

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3am…

I have NO idea why my internal alarm decided that it was going off at 3am this morning.. but I got my blog posted that was 2 days late, a load of laundry done, and it looks like I’m taking my walk a little early today 😉

Actually, that’s probably exactly why I’m up at 3am… Happy Friday!!! 

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The Rest of the Story

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 231

Miles Walked: 583

Miles Remaining: 417

Days Remaining: 133

When I was a kid, my dad used to listen to the Paul Harvey radio show. I wasn’t especially fond of it and my favorite part was when he said, “And that’s the rest of the story.. I’m Paul Harvey. Good Day.” It was my favorite part because that meant it was over. Paul Harvey just wasn’t my thing.

I was reminded of those words a couple weeks ago when a patient came into our office and I was told that he wanted to talk to me. I’ll admit that I was a little irritated because I’m not the medical person in our office so I wasn’t sure why he needed to tell me what was going on instead of our medical assistant. All that aside, I went up and asked what I could do for him. He said he wanted to tell me his story. He’s been sick for awhile and has a long history of multiple medical problems, all of which were part of his story. At one point he paused and I assumed he was finished, so I started to speak and he interrupted me (politely) to tell me that he wanted to tell me the rest of the story.

I won’t lie – it was a very long story. After his polite interruption, I felt my irritation subsiding and my compassion take it’s place. He just wanted to be heard, and he knew that I needed to hear his story to make the best recommendations for him.

I thought of him over the weekend, partly because I gave him my cell # in case he needed anything – and let me tell you that he was not afraid to use it, and partly because I realized that we almost never tell “the rest of the story”. Everything is always abbreviated to save time or we just don’t want to get into the the full story. We even do it when we talk to God.. like He doesn’t already know the full story. But we try and keep out some parts to justify why we do what we do. Sometimes we just need to take the time to get and tell the whole story.

Recently, I asked a friend for her opinion of an idea that had been swimming around my mind. She responded with a, “Why do you feel you need to do that?”. Wait a minute… I just wanted a yes or no. I didn’t want to have to explain myself. I didn’t want to tell the rest of the story! I had reasons.. but it ultimately came down to just being something that I wanted to do. I had been thinking about it and I had prayed about it.. but I didn’t bother waiting around for that prayer to proclaim itself answered. I just wanted to do it.

Once she called me out, I realized that I do this a lot. I come up with ideas that might even be really good ideas but when you get to the “why, what’s the rest of the story?” part of it, did I really submit it to God and wait? Are the reasons for doing it good enough or does it just come down to “because I want to”.

The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. ~ Proverbs 14:13

I find that when I’m convicted like this, I go back through my mind and pick out the things that might have turned out different if I had waited for God to answer. I’m not saying that I replay things that I regret or beat myself up for the way I did things. It’s sort of my live and learn process. Then I am more empowered to make a better decision next time. I thought of several things that I had done “because I wanted to”. There was way more to the story than the reasons I thought I had at the time, and we’re talking about some life changing things. Of course, since God wrote my story, I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be in my life, but the choices I made to get here weren’t always for the best reasons. More often that not, I should have looked at the rest of the story before making my decision.

My walks have taken on a new conversation since I’m making an effort to give the full story to God. I’m not just giving him my high points and my favorite reasons for things that I’m discussing with Him.. but I’m trying to lay it all out. I mean, He knows the whole story anyway so I might as well come clean with myself and put it all out there. The good and the bad and even the selfish if that’s what it comes down to. He knows my heart but sometimes I wonder if I do. Laying it all out is letting me see which way my heart likes to lean and it’s not always leaning the way it should.

I’m happy to say that since I got called out on my intentions, I have gotten better at identifying when I’m trying to just do something because I want to do it. It’s helping me to make better decisions and especially take my time when asking for guidance on things that are bigger than me. That’s not to say that I haven’t done some things just because I want to. But wouldn’t you know that when I do those things, the outcome usually isn’t what I had hoped for. Go figure…

 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions,
and store them in your heart~ Job 22:21-22

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Feed your body the best nutrition – HERBALIFE!

https://www.goherbalife.com/PAMMANLEY

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Under Attack!

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 222

Miles walked: 565

Miles remaining: 435

Days remaining: 144

I’ve come to accept that some days, no matter how hard you try or what you do, you are going to be under attack. Whether it’s your job, kids, spouse, ex-spouse, traffic, pets, or even the guy at Taco Bell that no matter how many times you tell him that you want extra sauce – he still doesn’t give you any! There are going to be things attacking your body, mind, spirit, and tacos every day.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

My latest attack involves my walk… shocker! I’ve had numerous attacks on this walk since starting it and they have come in every form. Body, mind, and spirit. The physical attacks seem to have slowed down because I have repeatedly committed myself to this walk and nothing short of losing a leg is going to stop me from walking it. My spirit has taken a hit or two along the miles but the spirit living in me is more than strong enough to handle those battles for me, as long as I remember to let go and let God do His thing. You’re going to love the latest attack.. I guess I would classify it as an attack on my mind, maybe.

Here goes.. I’ve mentioned the route that I walk. It’s the same 4 streets every morning, looping around a few times adding up to almost 3 1/2 miles. I leave at 6am so it’s still a little dark out when I start my walk. My neighborhood has pretty good lighting, but if there are rocks or sticks or other objects along the side of the road, I may not notice it until I’m right on top of it. The newest objects in my path is dog poo. Yes, dog poo. I don’t do dog poo.

<Stop laughing at me!>

Seriously. Last week I noticed something in my path but it was too dark to identify, so I stepped over/around it. Later, on another loop when it was lighter outside, I could tell that it was poo. The next day, more poo on a different street. The next… more. Now there is poo on every street and some have it in more than one place! How ridiculous is this?! Dog poo is one of the few things that turns my stomach and would send me on my way home, cutting my walk short, and probably throwing my favorite walking shoes away because I wouldn’t be able to clean it off of them. That’s one nasty attack! I feel my nose wrinkling up just thinking about it, YUCK!

Did you really think I was going to spend +/- 1000 words talking about dog poo? c’mon… I do consider it an attack but I can’t talk about it for that long. Since you’re walking this walk with me, I felt that I had to share but I have more attacks to tackle, so let’s get past the poo.

Recently, my daughter posted something on Facebook that was politically rude. It was a jab at our country’s leader and while I won’t go into whether I agree or disagree with it, it could be taken as a rude statement. Shortly after she posted it, a friend of ours commented on it by saying, “That’s not a very Christian thing to say”.

Wait.. Do you smell that? That’s the “Did you just attack my daughter’s Christian values for saying something rude?” fire that started burning in this momma’s brain. Ok, she’s 15 – so sue her for being rude, because I promise it won’t be the last time. She’s also human.. yes, call me crazy, but Christians are actually human. I know it may be hard to believe because many people who title themselves as “non-Christians”, have apparently put “Christians” up on this invisible pedestal and are shocked when we do or say something that doesn’t reflect the actions of our Savior. It’s called sinning. As shameful as it is, we all do it.. even Christians.

I’m sorry.. I’ll try and turn my sarcasm down a bit. I apologize, but I get a little riled up when I feel my teenage daughter’s values being attacked… by a friend, and I also hate that invisible pedestal.

I know the bible tells us that we will be persecuted for being Christians. I just didn’t know that a grown man would call out my teenage daughter because she has a different political preference than his. I understand that he’s not a Christian and I don’t push my beliefs on him. I honestly don’t even know what his beliefs are as a Buddhist, but I think they are supposed to be nice! I also know that I need to encourage my daughter more than ever to continue following Christ and never let what another person says affect her relationship with Him.

Ephesians 6:10-17 says,

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you   can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,  but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that  comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

If you’re anything like me, you may not be able to get enough of the word of God. Over the last couple of years, I just can’t get my fill. Coincidentally, over the last couple of years I have also had more people challenge my faith and beliefs than I have over my entire life. Coincidence?

Yeah, I don’t believe in coincidences either. I can’t get enough of it because it’s my weapon against these attacks. God has armed us with everything we need to conquer. We just have to dive in, put it on, and pour it out. He’s got our back and there’s no one else that I’d rather have in my corner.

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. ~ Romans 12:21

 

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Momma always said…

Pam’s Journey – Day 215

Miles walked: 546

Miles remaining: 454

Days remaining: 151

I introduced you to my dad a while back.. well, in honor of Mother’s Day, this blog is about my mom – Anna, and some of her words of wisdom that have shaped my life.

To all of you moms out there, wouldn’t you have loved to know how hard it is to be a mom when you were a teenager? Think back to when you were giving your mom fits and treating her like most teenagers do. I would have.. I might have been a little easier to deal with, had I known then what I know now.

Momma always said, “Pretty is, is pretty does…”  (I got this a lot when I was acting up!)

Moms get the rough end of the stick.. They get the job of domestic and child rearing goddess and many still have to hold full-time jobs, and in their spare time they get to be chauffeur, chef, teacher, friend, enemy, knower-of-everything, fixer-of-problems, kisser-of-owwies, I could go on and on…. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a LOT of super Dad’s out there that are awesome and some of them get these titles too but there’s something different about Moms.. (Dads, don’t be sending me your hate mail!  I just get to tell the story of Mom since that’s what I am.) Dads are generally easier than moms. Dads let the kids do more, go more, and have more freedom without worrying like moms do.

Momma always said, “You don’t need to do everything your friends do.. If they jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?” (she never liked my answer to that!)

My mom is the best mom I could have ever asked for. I assure you that I didn’t tell her this when I was growing up. I know it wasn’t a picnic raising me.. not that I was in lots of trouble, constantly  rebelling, or doing everything that I shouldn’t have been doing. I don’t think I was anywhere near that bad, but I was very very stubborn. I’ve outgrown that trait by now.. Ok ok, I haven’t outgrown it, but I can be stubborn now since I’m the one that has to live with me!

Momma always said, “Your stubborness is going to get you in trouble someday!” (at least she never said “I told you so” when it did get me in trouble!)

Knowing now how hard it is to feel like I’m being a good parent when my daughter does things that she shouldn’t be doing, I imagine this is how my mom felt when I chose to do things that I shouldn’t have done. It hurts. It hurts a lot to see your child do things that you know they will regret one day. Every parent has been there.. and every child that grows up to be a parent will be in the same position some day. We are all rebellious at one time or another. 

I recently finished reading a YouVersion devotion plan called Parenting by Design and it has helped me understand that parents are not responsible for everything that their children do. We can only raise them the best that we know how, teaching them what’s right and what’s wrong. God gave us all free will to make our own decisions and choices. When they get to the teenage years, they start exercising those choices more and more. As a parent, all I can do is try to instill good values and have faith that God will guide her and take care of her.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

The best thing about being a mom is now that I’m the one doing the raising and the teaching, I hear things come out of my mouth or I do things in such a way that is EXACTLY how my mom did them when I was growing up. It’s official… I’ve turned into my mom (and my dad too). All of those things she would say when warning me of my behavior and trying to encourage me to do the best that I could do, well now they come flying out of my mouth and I sound just like her. I must say that I kinda like it!

Momma always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” (So that’s who developed my silent treatment!)

No matter how hard I was on my mom, she was always there. She took care of me, helped me when I needed it, and taught me more than she will ever know. She taught me how to be a mom. I wouldn’t say that I parent anything like my mom did, but I take care of my daughter, I help her when she needs it (and sometimes when she doesn’t), and I know that I’m teaching her more than I will ever know. I consider being a mom my most important job so I’m thankful to have had such an amazing role model!

“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. ~ Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT

Thank you, Mom.. you did good!  

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What’s Next?

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 208

Miles walked: 523

Miles remaining: 477

Days remaining: 158

Every week at the end of the church service, after we’ve prayed the prayer to ask Christ into our life, they direct anyone who just accepted Christ to grab a “What’s Next” kit on their way out. The kit has a bible, dvd, and information on what to do next as a follower of Christ. I think this is awesome, because the church that I grew up in didn’t do anything like that. They did a “Let’s all welcome Brother ___ or Sister___ to the family of Christ” type of thing and that was sort of it. Soooo… what’s next? I just love that our church gives some guidance as to what comes next and how to keep growing their relationship with Jesus.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. ~ Colossians 2:6 NLT

Lately, I seem to be asking that question on my walk. “God, am I where you want me to be? ok… so, what’s next?” I’ve heard a resounding voice in my head that says, “You’re not there yet… just keep walking”.  That’s no joke. I’m nowhere near there yet but I just can’t help but wonder “what’s next?”. Other people have been asking me “what’s next?” too. They have either been following this walk or some are walking the walk with us and they want to know what happens after the year and the 1000 miles is up. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since time is flying by and it will be here before we know it.

This is a big question so of course I have a big answer 🙂

Since starting my walk with Jesus, whether spiritually or physically (or both), I know that I can’t exactly stop and expect to continue the same level of relationship as when I walk with Him daily. Wait, back up… I’m not saying that I want to stop. Let’s make sure that’s not what I’m implying. I’m just saying that now that I’ve started this walk with Him, there is no stopping. I can’t imagine my day without that deliberate time to spend with Him. Who would I give my troubles to? How would I get through the rest of the teenage years with my daughter without His guidance? Who would comfort my heart when it’s hurting? Who else would listen to my incessant rambling without interrupting and just let me get it all out and still be there waiting for me every day to do it all over again?

Picture this.. you’re sitting (or walking) with Jesus and you decide that maybe you’re not going to give Him that time anymore. How do you tell Him that? Can you imagine the look on His face? Can you even look at Him when you say the words?

Ouch…

The thing is, we all stop walking with Him from time to time. You know when you’re having one of those horrible days, nothing seems to go right, everyone is out to get you and you can’t breathe from all the pressure coming at you from every direction… did you forget to walk with Jesus that day? Did you give Him those troubles that were weighing you down? Or were you trying to do it all on your own like we so often do.

I read this on a friends Facebook last week and it grabbed me in that moment.

Sometimes I feel like God is so close that I can reach out and touch him. Other times he is so far away that I can barely feel his love. The truth is that God is always the same distance from me. I am the one who puts the distance between us.

Most days, when I’m out the door and heading down my driveway, I smile as I say “good morning” to a dear friend. That’s how my walk starts. Every single day that I’ve walked with Him… He has walked with me. He’s there every time. I feel Him there every time I look for Him and He has never let me down. I imagine the joy on His face, knowing that I’m making the choice to walk with Him again today.. and tomorrow.

So, what’s next? For me, I keep walking this walk. We’re just over the half-way mark of our year but once the year is up… I keep walking. When temptation interrupts my walk – like it undoubtedly will do from time to time – I get back out there and start walking again because I know my dear friend will be waiting for me. He is there waiting to comfort me, to cheer me on, and of course to listen to my incessant rambling without interrupting and just letting me get it all out, and still be there waiting for me every day to do it all over again. He’s pretty awesome like that!

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” ~ Luke 9:57

What’s next for you? Do you need to start your walk or renew that relationship? I promise He will be there waiting.

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