Creating Quality Time with Friends

Time? Who has time? Let alone “quality time”?

Recently I was back in small town Iowa for my high school class reunion. The committee planned a scavenger hunt with cryptic clues to various places in town. We divided into teams and set off to take selfies at each spot, climbing in and out of our car or minivan at each stop. It was so much fun! It was a great start to a wonderful weekend of renewing friendships and creating new memories. Bonds and rekindled friendships took place.

I treasure the times with friends in deep conversation, sharing my heart while learning something new, a bible study, or discussion at a book club. I love learning how another person thinks, feels, and their perspective.
What is the common denominator in all of this?

Time spent together in a relationship that is focused, intentional, and without distraction, and sharing our hearts—what resides deep within. Good conversation can happen when running an errand or walking the dog. At bunco. After seeing a movie together. And many other times.

What is your favorite way of spending quality time?
It’s important as busy women to pay attention to what feeds our sense of healthy contentment and make time to do it. To have quality time it all starts with TIME.

And how do we find time? We all have the same 168 hours each week.

To get time we must: 1. Prioritize. 2.Schedule it. 3.Then Do It.

Prioritize. Is it important to you? Then put it near the top of your list of things to do.

Schedule it. Put in on your calendar in your schedule. Weekly or monthly or quarterly. If it’s important, it needs to be planned for. Yes, spontaneous times can occur but you can’t rely on if and when that will happen. If you really want it, schedule it.

Then Do It. Keep your agreements. If you’ve scheduled a time with friends, but you don’t “feel” like it, do it anyway because you said you will and your friends are counting on you.

Quiet time with Jesus Christ is quality time well spent. He is always waiting for you. He wants to hear your heart, even though he already knows what is hidden inside. He wants us to know him too, his character and how he wants to help us become our best selves. Be kind and loving, generous, and accepting of others, even if we don’t agree on politics, lifestyles, or philosophies. He is the most important relationship in my life. I hope my life gives evidence of this.

I need my girlfriends too. Dr Laura Schlesinger says don’t expect your husband to be your girlfriend. This has been so true for me in my life. I need my girlfriends for those long walks and talks, long lunches, and bible studies, or book discussions.

So what will you do with this information? It’s all up to you.

Prioritize creating quality time with your friends. Schedule it. Get it on your calendar. And Do It. Let the good times begin. It can soothe your soul and enhance your relationships.

Now, recall a favorite memory of sharing quality time with someone. Call or text her, or better yet, send her a note in the mail and thank her for the memories shared.

And then plan the next time you will get together.

Leave a comment (button above) and tell me what your next step is.

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It’s Mother’s Day Again?

It comes around at this time every year… Mother’s Day.

Knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it any easier for some of us.

There are those of you who have awesome mothers who are still alive and you can’t wait to celebrate her. How wonderful!

There are those of you who are moms and your kids will celebrate you. Enjoy!

Then there are those for whom Mother’s Day is filled with mixed emotions for various reasons…

Their mother has died.

They don’t have a good relationship with their mother or mother in law.

Or they want to be a mom and aren’t yet because of infertility, or because they are still single, or their spouse doesn’t want children.

Or they had an miscarriage, or abortion, or placed their baby for adoption, or their child has died.

All of those leave empty places in our hearts that a”Happy Mothers Day” greeting hits hard.

There were some years as an adult that Mother’s Day was a good day, when my daughter as a child focused on celebrating me as her mom. Precious.

Most of the last 26 years have been tough. That’s how long Mom has been gone.

And double whammy. Her birthday is May 12. Always close to and even sometimes on Mother’s Day.

I had a wonderful mom. She loved me and I knew it. ( Dad too, but this is about moms.)

No, don’t misunderstand me. She was far from perfect. She had her flaws. We all do.

She had a temper that could unfurl at the drop of a hat, seemingly coming from nowhere.

We kids hated to see mom’s displeasure.

And Most of the time she was wise and kind and patient, understanding, and loving.

That’s what I choose to remember.

I miss my mom. Still.

Mother’s Day has never been the same.

There is an empty spot that just can’t be reached.

As a Christian, I firmly believe that my mother is in heaven with Jesus, waltzing and singing, and maybe playing her violin. This is good. No, this is fantabulous.

I believe I will see her again. This is comforting.

And I still miss my mother today. Here. Now.

As tears stream down my face, I think of other friends who have each lost their mother

More recently. This is the first year for many of them.

I wonder how they will face this coming Sunday of Mother’s Day.

Bittersweet. With tears of pain and sorrow. And joy for the blessing of a wonderful mother.

Time marches on and life goes by.

And we are the lucky ones. We had good mothers who loved us, and cared for us, guided us through life.

There are many children of mothers, both living and dead, who somehow neglected them. Children who have something essential missing in their growth and development.

I don’t know their stories. I believe it’s necessary to reframe it in a way that gives mercy and grace to those moms and imparts value and worth to the child.

Child, it wasn’t you. You are lovable. You have worth. You are a valuable creation.

It was your mother. Somehow she was incapable of seeing and providing what you so deeply needed. Whether she was so wrapped up in her own needs and worries of her life or just incapable , she failed you when you needed her. She did the best she could with what she had in wisdom, knowledge, life skills, coping skills, and finances.

It doesn’t make it hurt any less. And it might give understanding and compassion.

Each of us walking this earth had a birth mom who chose life for us. Whatever kind of mother she was or wasn’t, she chose to give you life. Now that’s worth celebrating.

Life is the best gift ever.

This Mother’s Day, choose to Celebrate Life. Now, Go. Live it well.

The Lone Survivor– Never Forget

Just the other day, I finished reading a book that touched my heart and soul. It was recently released as a movie, although I have not seen it yet. Rest assured, we will.

Because my husband has read the book, I decided to read the book before I go with him to see the movie. ( We are big fans of movies.) Quite frequently, I never read the book on which the movie is based. I am usually a slow reader, savoring every morsel of detail. The movies can never go into all that detail and plot line, so unless it is a quick read, very popular, or both, I seldom read a book that gets turned into a movie. ( I read none of the Harry Potter books. I read all the Hunger Games.)

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I am so very glad that I read “THE LONE SURVIVOR”. I am so filled with admiration, respect, and gratitude for the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces. All of them. Everywhere.

“The Lone Survivor” is the story of Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of the Operation Red Wings in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan during the summer of 2005.
I won’t tell his story here, other than to say that by the title, he alone survives an insertion with his SEAL team to fight the Taliban. The book is well written, describes the ‘torture’ of the intense SEAL team training and all the other choices in his life that led him to be at that place and time. He was as well prepared as any man could be for what he experienced during that week. It’s a miracle he survived and lived to tell the story. He calls specific instances miracles. I agree.

It’s inconceivable to me what the SEALs go through to complete their training and prepare for duty. I’m a female whimp. I would never even dream of doing any of that. Get in the ocean with my boots on. No way. Let alone get wet and sandy.

What I want to say is THANK YOU to every man and woman who has ever served the USA military in any way, shape, or form. I have the deepest gratitude for your service, your dedication, your courage, your willingness to serve. For your perseverance under difficult circumstances, your never give ip attitude, for the sacrifice your family makes.

Believe me, I am sure it is a sacrifice. My husband traveled for his job one to three days each week for most of his career. It was a major inconvenience, especially when we had a small child at home. And that was nothing compared to what these military families have to adjust to during long months of deployment by their serving family member!
I have gotten many perks of being able to travel with my husband over the years. Please tell me, what perks do the Armed Forces families’ get?

What Marcus Luttrell saw and lived through in the Battle for Murphy’s Ridge is beyond my imagination. The horror of seeing his best buddies killed right in front of his eyes. The galant way those wounded SEALs kept fighting to the end. The anguish of knowing 16 other brave men never even got the chance to get off the helo before the enemy shot it down, all while responding to the last call for help to try to save you.

Inconceivable.

My eternal gratitude goes to the men whose real life actions are the reason for the retelling of this story. Never forget.

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude to those of you who still serve every day, and to those who have ever served, in order to keep this country the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In This World You Will Have Trouble

The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

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Take heart, in this world you will have trouble. But I have overcome the world.

In Frank Peretti’s book, This Present Darkness, he illustrates the invisible world of demons that roam the earth, seeking to stir up trouble. Doubt. Disparity. Darkness. And many many more. They are real. Their purpose is to take us out, to keep us from living the life we were created by God to live. If they keep us stuck, they have succeeded.

These demons — doubt, despair, discouragement, fear, are not from The Lord. They are from the enemy. If we walk through life with our eyes closed or oblivious to their existence, we are just asking for disaster to happen. So what can we do? Remember, the game belongs to The Lord and in the end, HE WINS. Hallelujah. So, Never surrender to the enemy. Surrender only to The Lord. Surrender now. Surrender daily. Seek to know His will and do it! And do it now!

What can I do? you ask. Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of the Lord. Whatever. That means every little thing. The way you drive your car on the road to work. The way you wait patiently at the check out line at the store. Every little kindness you show to another. Compassion. Patience. Kindness. Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving others as Jesus has forgiven you. Do all this for the glory of The Lord. Our hope is in the Lord.

Trust in The Lord

Lord, I’m trusting you

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Lord you are all knowing. You are all powerful. You are Good! You are wise. You know the plans you have for us, plans to prosper us. Plans for a future and give us hope.

Lord, you go before us preparing the way. You go with us, side by side. All we need to do it to open our eyes and be aware of your presence, be sensitive to your spirit that lives within us. You go behind us, like our rear guard. You’ve got my six.

In this world we will have trouble. The prince of darkness is the ruler of this world. “But take heart, I have overcome the world,” you say to us. Trials and tribulations are a method of building faith, perseverance, patience, and trust. I am trusting you, My Lord.

I have seen you do miracles recently. Baby Kira’s miraculous recovery. Tate’s life spared in a rollover wreck. And many others. And I have seen times when you have chosen not to save a life. A young wife and mother who died in her sleep. An older wife and mother who died skiing. A baby who died of cancer. Lord, it doesn’t make sense to me, to us. Their family and friends are missing the void created by their passing. And still we rejoice for we know that they are with you in heaven right now. In your presence. It still doesn’t make sense, but I trust that your wisdom is greater than mine. You know things I don’t. I will trust you.

Day by day, step by step, I’ll walk with you and cling to You. You are the only thing that does does not change. You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Please take my hand to lead me through the changes in my life. You will work it all for good. Let your name be glorified over all the earth. Someday, every knee shall bow, everyone proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Yet, will I praise you!

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Cherished Birthdays and Friends

In a 3 day span, 4 of my girlfriends have their birthdays as well as my father.
How does it happen that important people in my life celebrate their birthdays in such close proximity to each other? Is there any truth to the horoscopes, personalities, and the alignment of the stars? Do you run across any friends or family members whose birthdays fall in clusters? Or am I the only one who has ever noticed this?

What is this coincidence? And, more importantly, does it matter?

To me, birthdays are important to notice. Each birthday should be a celebration of that person, a recognition of the gift they are to us from God. Each of these women have been a close friend to me at different times in my life. One is a friend from high school days. One was a college roommate. One was close to me when my daughter was in elementary school. (She helped me get Beth to swimming lessons on days I had to work, among other things. ) The other one is my best friend now in my daily life. How I cherish each of them, sisters in my heart, blessings from God.

My dad is now 94 years old. Wow! I am so thankful for the Godly man he has been in my life. He has had a good, long, healthy life; however the end is nearing. His oldest brother and one of his younger brothers have passed on ahead of him. Someday soon it will be his turn. Am I showing my love to him as much as I can while there is still time?

How do you choose to live your life? What will be your memories of this day, today?
The choice is ours. Cherish the day or waste it away. Make treasured memories or let it be a blur. The future is ours to hold. Make each day count.

Have you noticed birthday clusters in your friends and family?
How do you feel about birthdays?

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