Posts Tagged With: motivational

The Big Easy!!

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 362

Miles walked: 1000

Miles remaining: 0

Days remaining: 4

Before I give the wrong idea… let me just say that there is NO Big Easy. Whatever you want, whatever your goals are, it’s not going to be easy. Anything worth having is going to be hard work.

I finished my 1000 last week and let me tell you that it was an amazing feeling when I dinged 1000… and let me also tell you that it was 1000 miles of hard. It wasn’t easy. It was awesome and I would do it again and again but it wasn’t easy. There was no magic button on the days that I didn’t think that I could walk another step, let alone another mile. But there was Jesus every step of the way, He was there and at the end when my 1000 miles of doubting myself was lifted from my shoulders.

The next chapter of my life has me a little nervous. Not scared nervous but just nervous because it’s a brand new thing for me.  I’m going to open a nutrition club. I have worked for doctors for 20+ years and I’m going to phase that part of my life out during the next year and run a nutrition club. It shouldn’t be so different really.. I’ll be helping people get healthy from the inside out instead of watching them cover symptoms with medication. But still, it’s new.. so I’m nervous of change.   

Finishing my 1000 helped me have the confidence to know that if I lean on God during the next chapter, like I did during my walk, then I can do it. Maybe the walk prepared me, built my strength, renewed my faith, and gave me courage.

My devotion today was about Jesus healing the lame man who had been sick for 38 years. The man had been lying near the healing water, but didn’t have help getting in the water. The devotion didn’t focus on Jesus healing the man, but on the man’s excuses. The man was waiting on someone to help him instead of trying to help himself. He blamed the people who went ahead of him for him not being able to get in the water. 38 years.. Did he ever ask anyone for help? He made excuses for 38 years, until Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk.

– Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”~ John 5:8

Now it’s time to “pick up my mat” and go. It’s time to stop watching everyone else go by while I sit and think that I can’t. I’ve got to make the choice to get up and do what God has prepared me to do. It’s time to go after my goals instead of watching everyone else pass me by as they go for theirs. My life is changing and I can either jump on board and sail my boat with God at the wheel, or I can find another unsatisfying place where I’m just treading water day in and day out. (I think God has more in store for me that just treading water!)

There is still one thing that I probably fight God more than anything else. Accepting help from other people. It is so HARD for me. God has brought many amazing people into my life. People who inspire me, encourage me, and people who I want to inspire and encourage. I have always found it hard to ask others for help but I have learned that when God brings people into your life, sometimes He brings them there to help you. I’m definitely not saying that God brings people into your life to do everything for you so you don’t have to work hard to get what you want. Not at all… but if you’re going after your goals and trying to reach the dreams that God has placed in your heart, then maybe you should look at the resources around you instead of trying to get there all by yourself.

These people who God has placed in my life don’t wait for me to ask them for help, they offer to help me. Who am I to turn down the help from someone who God has placed in my life for possibly that one specific thing? Am I turning down help that I need when God has put it right there for me? That’s like turning down God’s help, right? So there is my struggle.

That’s where I’m at. I know that I can’t do everything by myself as much as I might try. God intended for us to do life with other people for a reason and then He puts specific people in our lives because He knows the plans that He has for us. His word tells us to love others and help others. So every time I don’t ask or accept the help of someone that’s right there and offering, it’s like I’m doubting God as much as I doubt myself.

There will be trials.. He tells us that. There will be hard work, but it will be worth it and rewarded in the end. There will be people along the way that are sent to do what God has led them to do and that might just be to help me at the moment that I need it most. So, again… When God is trying to help me and save me. All I have to do is accept it.

I want to thank everyone that has been on my 1000 miles with Jesus journey with me. You have supported this walk and encouraged my steps. If you were walking the walk and logging miles on this journey, I hope you never stop walking with Jesus. If you started but stopped and don’t think you can start again, you can! Jesus is waiting for you every step of the way. Don’t ever give up and don’t ever think you can’t because we Can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Don’t doubt that. 

More than anything else, I want to thank Kristen for sharing this walk with us and letting us join her on it and I want to thank Tasha for taking God’s lead and bringing us all together or none of this would have ever happened. When God brings people like them into your life, AMAZING things are in store for all of you! ~ pam

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Stalling…

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 350

Miles walked: 980

Miles remaining: 20

Days remaining: 16

You may notice that I’m a couple days late with my blog post this week (or you may not have noticed).. anyway, I had a few thoughts of things to write about for Wednesday but nothing that would have gotten me more than a short paragraph probably. I mentioned to Tasha that I would be a day late, and now I’m two days late. She said exactly what I’ve been feeling, “The blogs are becoming so difficult to write”. I thought it was mostly me, but over the last several weeks they have become harder and harder to come up with something. I had the brilliant idea that maybe we don’t have so much to write about because we’ve given it all to God. I mean, we usually write about our life, troubles, trials, etc.. so if we’ve finally handed it all over to God and are just following His lead, then we aren’t letting it consume us and we don’t feel it’s a topic to warrant writing about, right? I hope that’s why it’s gotten harder to write… it’s either that or I’m just stalling.

From the decline of miles that I’ve walked the last couple of weeks, I would have to lean towards stalling. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to end the first 1000 miles, because I haven’t “committed” to walk another 1000. I’ve said I’ll keep walking and I know that I will but this week, when I slowed down and took a couple of days off and slept later, it was so easy to just sleep later and get up and get ready for work. No Jesus time. I read my devotions but it’s not the same as being outside with Him. It’s not as alive.

As I’ve been dragging my heels and delaying the end of this walk, I started thinking of all the things that God has brought me to and through in just the last year. The strength that I’ve felt come straight from Him, just when I needed it. The love that He wrapped around me at just the right times. The forgiveness that He showed me so that I could show others. That was just during the walk. He knew that I was committed to 1000 miles and I have purposefully delayed other things until I finished this walk with Him. So, what might be waiting at the end of the 1000? I’ve been wondering that for months.

I can’t imagine that God would put me on this path, and be ok with me not finishing it. I can’t help but think that there has got to be a reason that he started me on this road and it’s up to me to see it through. He has a plan and I ask Him frequently to show me the way and keep me on track, so I need to quit stalling and get ‘er done!

I’m a sucker for seeing what’s at the top of the hill or around the corner, so I’ll keep walking with Him until I feel that He has a new plan for me. I’ll keep walking with Him until the things that I feel led to do are being done in His time and not mine. It’s so much easier when I let Him lead instead of trying to jump in and do it when I want.

I have hope… and He has my future.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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Not alone

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 327

Miles walked: 912

Miles remaining: 88

Days remaining: 39

Years ago, when I was going through my divorce, I prayed that God would be so present with me that I wouldn’t feel alone. Being married was all I had known and I didn’t know how to not be. He answered that prayer. In the last 8+ years, there has not been any time that I’ve been “lonely”. There have been some quiet times and some hard times but I have always felt His presence when I needed Him. I’ve never been alone.

Some weeks are harder than others to come up with a blog about what’s going on in my life. It’s not exactly because there’s nothing going on, but more that I just can’t put it into words. God is so present when I earnestly seek Him. He leaves me speechless with His works. I felt His presence so strong and was so thankful for it during the worship on Sunday. This song describes most of my life but even more so, it describes my last 11 months and 900+ miles and all of the changes that are happening in me.

“Never Once”

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.

God has been there for far longer than I’m giving Him credit for. The deliberateness that this walk has provided, for a relationship that I didn’t even know that I was missing, has been the biggest blessing that I could ever have. I’ve learned so much about me.. about who I am, who I want to be, and what I’m capable of with Jesus by my side. I can see that with Him, there are no limits.

So, when I don’t really have much to say, it’s because I’m so busy watching what He’s doing in and around my life and there aren’t enough words to describe just how awesome it is. It’s amazing to know how “not alone” I am.

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Excuses..

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 320

Miles walked: 898

Miles remaining: 102

Days remaining: 46

Oh, I’ve got excuses all right. TONS of excuses. Lately, I have so many excuses, that I don’t even know what’s up with all the excuses. They don’t make sense, and they don’t help, and they’re honestly getting downright ridiculous.

You may ( or may not) have noticed that I missed my blog posting day last week.. and I have excuses for that! I don’t like not doing something that I’m committed to do. But, I think I just needed a break. I still do but things are a little more under control this week, thanks to a lot of seeking God on my walks. I’ve been seeking His help.

I’m really not an excuses kind of person.. I’m more of a “git ‘er dun” type of gal. Well, not this last week. I had excuses for my excuses and it was really starting to get out of hand.

I don’t even know when it started but I remember my Wednesday last week. Wednesday – the day that I can usually walk a little longer because we don’t have patients in the office so it’s not a big deal if I’m a few minutes late. Well… last Wednesday, my alarm went off and I was giving myself every excuse imaginable to stay in bed. I really didn’t feel good. My back hurt. My feet hurt. I pretty much hurt all over from the silly yard work that I did last weekend and my muscles were not loving the physical labor. My bed was too comfortable (this is the same bed that I complain about daily because I wake up with an aching back). I could skip my walk today, even though I feel better when I walk. It was my blog day and I didn’t have a blog post ready. I didn’t even have an idea for a blog post, so I needed to think. Of course, if I stay in bed, my blog post still isn’t going to get done. My miles aren’t going to get walked. I’m not going to get my Jesus time that I obviously needed more than ever. So, I got up.

But the excuses didn’t stop, they were literally piling up on top of each other. I did my morning thing. Got my walking gear on and started out… except I had to stop because the homeless cat that adopted our porch was waiting for me to feed him. Back inside for his food, and then I saw my next excuse. Ants. There were ants in his dish on the porch. I really don’t do ants. They’re so little and crawly, and they can get anywhere. I could just scrap the walk that I haven’t started yet and mix up some of my handy dandy bug spray that my dad gets me and spray the house because if there are ants outside, then there are ants everywhere, right?

I decided the ants could wait.. since I’d be spraying all around the outside of the house and it was 5:30am, so I wouldn’t be able to see anything! Back to my excuses walk. My body is still aching as I head down my street. I looped around to the street north of mine, like I do every morning and wouldn’t you know that my leg starts aching. Bad. My leg that I broke years ago that has the metal plate and screws in it. When it aches, it aches to the bone. I could just call it done and go back home when I loop back around to my street. Who would expect me to walk when my leg hurts?

Somewhere along the way I even thought that I should get back inside because even though I haven’t been bit by a single mosquito while walking these last 870+ miles, there was the possibility that one could bite me and then I’d be taking a chance on the West Nile virus and that would be no bueno… What is wrong with me?!!!

That’s about when it hit me. My little mental whine fest that I had been having with myself since the time my alarm went off. I imagined that God was getting a little tired of my “poor me, me, me” morning. I think I had just said something about that selfish attitude to my daughter recently… and here I was doing the same thing. It was a MEGA whine fest and I have no idea why.

That’s the hardest part.. acknowledging the problem. Now that I know I’m being a whiny baby, I can quit! It really is that easy. That’s all it took to turn me around to thanking God for all the blessings that I have in my life. I started out by squashing all my excuses as I was looping back around to my street again. My leg hurts? but thank You for letting me be able to walk. There are ants on my porch? Thank You for my home. Thank You for my homeless cat that’s eating the cat food on my porch as I walk by my house. Thank You for my aching back and feet and muscles that already feel better after getting out here to walk with You. Thank You for the grace that I needed to be able to skip my blog post and not feel guilty about it. I needed that. Thank You.

To say that I was embarrassed would be an understatement. What was all the mental whining about? no clue. It was completely unlike me. Like any good parent, God let me whine myself out and was there to get me back on track. The most horrible thought of my excuse filled morning was when I thought about all the grace God gives us. Over and over and over. What if Jesus had woke up with an excuse or 50 and decided to be human and not die for me. Or, what if God changed his mind because all of us whiny babies aren’t worth His son’s life.

The rest of my walk was very humble. I appreciated all of it. I turned my “me” focus off and praised God for everything that He is and everything that He will be.

My mom used to have a refrigerator magnet when I was a kid. It said “the devil made me do it!”. Sometimes when I’m feeling so out of character, that’s all I can think of. I’m not a whiner. I don’t enjoy complaining. I don’t even know where the flood of excuses came from, but it was like a tsunami. I’ll be keeping an eye on my excuse meter and I won’t be blaming the devil because I won’t even give him a foothold on my life. No more Excuses for me.

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Top of the World!

I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around

Your love’s put me at the top of the world.

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 271

Miles walked: 710

Miles remaining: 290

Days remaining: 95

It feels good at the top. When everything seems to be going well. Things are good, easy, and enjoyable.. Life is moving by at a fast pace and there’s not much that you can even think to complain about. Not that I need something to complain about but are things going too good?

That’s how things have been feeling for a while. For probably the last month or so, things are good. I’m walking, working, living, and it’s just flashing by so fast that there’s not much time to think about anything. But there is something. I just don’t know what it is. I started noticing it in my LifeGroup when we would take prayer requests or talk about what’s going on in our lives over the last week. I didn’t have anything. Things are just “good”.

Don’t get the wrong idea.. I’m not that “doom and gloom” person who is always looking for the other shoe to drop. I don’t expect something bad to happen because things aren’t suppose to be this good. I’m a glass half full, everything will turn out good in the end kind of person. Things just seem a little off lately.

This week, it’s been hard to stay focused on my walk. No.. the focus has been getting hard for 2-3 weeks but this week it was down right impossible to focus. The walk. Jesus. Relationship. Communication. I can’t even tell you what most of my focus has been on. I even came up with a new “focusing tool”. When I feel distracted (which has been almost the entire hour that I’m walking) I think to myself, “every breath, every step, all day, every day”. That has been my request to Jesus to try to stay focused on Him and to continually seek Him.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Matthew 6:33 NLT

I got a text yesterday. It was an invitation to an impromptu girls night out to a neighborhood concert and fireworks show. I immediately accepted. This is actually unusual for me. I don’t accept on the spot without details and it’s even more unusual for me to accept from an unknown number that texted me. (Cell phone issues and lost numbers and all that.) So, after accepting this invitation and asking who was texting me, I find out that it’s girls night out with Kristen and Tasha.. my 1000 mile sistas!

There is nothing that I needed more than a night with my girls – My Godly Gal Pals, My Cupcake Companions, My 1000 mile girls.

We met and went for dinner. That alone is a blog post in itself, but it was awesome and so nourishing for the heart and soul. We talked about stuff and we talked about nothing and we talked about oxen.. There is no better time, than time spent with the other two legs of our tripod. The strength I get from our relationship is like that of the cord of three strands. The completeness that we each bring to the other.. is like the magic in Vicki’s Tres Leches Cake at The Purple Burro. You just have to experience it to know what I’m talking about.

After dinner, the trek to the neighborhood concert was another blog post in itself but once we got there and settled in, it was pure enjoyment. The music was fantastic. The atmosphere of the neighborhood was envious. So, why was I still feeling somewhat distracted? I was having a great time, with my favorite people, and spending my night “flying by the seat of my pants”, right?

Then it hit me.. like one of the BOOMS from the fireworks show. Everyone always says, “The devil gets you when you’re down”. That’s when we’re usually most vulnerable. Well, I don’t have too many downs so could he be trying to distract me while I’m up? In actuality, wouldn’t that be the better time for him to “distract” us? Things are good, so who would notice Satan creeping in to do what he does best. Distract us from what’s important – The walk. Jesus. Relationship. Communication. If he can’t bring us down – then his next best trick would be to blur our focus.

Yes, my focus has been blurred. My concentration has been attacked. I have been struggling to keep my mind where I want it on my walks. I’ve been struggling with focused thoughts to blog about. I’ve even been struggling to read my devotions every day. But “things” are still going good. There has been nothing that would make me think that I’m being attacked.. nothing except my inability to focus on what is most important. My relationship with God.

You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” ~ Genesis 4:7 NLT

Did it take a completely unfocused night of fun with my girls to bring me back in focus? Yes :).  I may have figured it out sooner or later but most likely later.. I probably would have started getting into a funk of a mood and wouldn’t know what was causing it or how to fix it until it just ran its course. That’s what usually happens. Looking back, that’s exactly what happens from time to time.

So, I will sing with my girls at 10:46pm to the “Top of the World”, while we’re looking to run into a McDonald’s for a $.27 cup of ice water. I will creep through parking lots with them to satisfy our curiosity, and I will most definitely cherish my unplanned escapades of seat of my pants flying silliness. Sometimes that’s what it takes to refocus on what matters most.

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Blessed Beyond…

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 243

Miles walked: 613

Miles remaining: 387

Days remaining: 123

Do you ever just want to “high-five” everyone that you see? Maybe they look like life is giving them a beating right now and they could use that little smack of what you’ve got.. or maybe they’re just glowing with an energy that looks contagious and you wanna get some of that! That’s me lately.. mostly the, “I want to share what I’ve got” part.  If you live in Westbury North and see the lady walking every morning at 6-7ish.. the one that waves at you every day when you’re leaving for work – Yeah, that’s me. And that wave is your high-five!

Things are good.

Things are good and I’m giving thanks and praise for all of it to God. Am I doing something different than I’ve been doing for things to be going the way they are? I’m giving more and more to God, and I’m listening more and more to God. I’m trying to put myself where He wants me and follow where He wants me to go… and let me tell ya, it’s pretty awesome. He has the most amazing ideas… just sayin’

When we first started this walk and decided that we would be blogging our journey, I was extremely anxious to say the least. The walking part – over the top excited, yet completely clueless as to what would unfold along the miles. The blogging part – well… blogging isn’t exactly “my thing”, so it made me a little nervous. It’s not nearly as bad as my mind was trying to make it but sometimes I just feel like a big blank new post page with nothing. I look around, thinking about what’s going on in my life this week and sometimes there’s nothing jumping out at me.. nothing except for countless blessings.

I’m so blessed with the friends and family that surround me and support me. I don’t know how I got so lucky… but I do try to surround them and support them right back. I love being with them and just having them in my life. They are the kind of people that every time I think of them, I smile. I thank God for bringing me to them, them to me, and giving me exactly who I need in my life.

I’m Blessed to have won the “friend lottery”.

I have one of those special friends that has been in my life since my first day of 1st grade. Ramona. We don’t live close enough to get to spend much time together but any time we see each other or even don’t see each other, I know that she’s there if I need her (and I’m pretty sure she feels the same). 30 minutes together and we can be caught up on kids, friends, family, life and all the missed years. We were fortunate to get to take a family vacation together over Christmas last year and it was a week that I’ll never forget.

I’m Blessed beyond years for having a life-long friend that means the world to me.

Last month, Ramona texted me to let me know that her momma passed away. Momma Locke was very sick for a very long time. She was in pain and has suffered more than most people ever will. I was able to visit with her several months ago after she had been in the hospital and the doctors had once again said that she wouldn’t last much longer, but she just kept proving them wrong. She was such a strong and very stubborn little lady and she knew that she was ready to go when it was God’s time. During our visit, she kept telling me (us) to live. Live now while we can. Don’t wait. Don’t say you’ll do things. Do them now. Live.

I’m Blessed beyond this life that I’m living and even excited for the eternal life that Jesus gave me.

When I got the message from my friend, we were on our way to Bricktown for the Walk a Mile in My Shoes event to support foster kids awareness. This event was something that Taelor wanted to do as soon as she heard about it. I’ve mentioned my passion of being the best parent that I can be to my daughter. I tell Taelor quite often that she is my most important job. So, when we helped with a foster kids project before Christmas, it gave her an awareness that not only did some of these 8000+ kids in Oklahoma not have toys or essential winter clothes, but they didn’t have a parent that thinks they are their most important job. It helped her to see that even if her momma doesn’t buy her the $100 jeans that “everyone” at school is wearing or her cell phone doesn’t measure up to the newest and best out there, she is very lucky to have a momma. One that loves her so much to stay “all up in her business” even when she doesn’t want me to be there!

I’m Blessed beyond measure because I have so much more than I deserve when others have so little.

If you’ve followed our blog for any time at all, you know that I mention parenting a lot. Taelor is always on my mind and always in my prayers. She’s the first and last person I see every day. She’s my ChickieBoo, my dotter (daughter), my friend, my delight, my button pusher, my inspiration, and my legacy. I could go on about her for days and sometimes do, because there aren’t enough words to express my love for her. I’m sure it’s just a parent thing. Seeing her grow into one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever known is such a blessing. This weekend we were baptized together and I can’t even put into words what that means to me…

I’m Blessed beyond words… I can’t believe what God is doing in her life and that I get to witness it every day.

There was a time when I didn’t have many people in my life and that wasn’t so long ago. Then, I put myself out there. That’s all I did. Put myself out there and things started happening. I always say, “it would be pretty great to win the lottery… but I guess I should start buying a ticket if I ever expect to win”. It’s the same with everything you want in life. Put yourself out there, buy “the ticket” to what you want and where you want to be. Follow God’s lead and you will find yourself being blessed. So blessed that you lose count when you try to name them all.

So, I’m going to keep living. I’m going to Live Now and put myself out there a little more every day. I’m going to dream about the best tomorrow that I can imagine and I’m going to go for it. Yesterday may have been good, or maybe it wasn’t so good but it’s over. It’s time to be blessed beyond my yesterday and be so thankful for my today. Oh, and if you’re not liking your today so much… then change it! You do have the power to do that and with God in your corner, you’re one step closer to the today you want. 

*High-five*

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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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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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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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