Choose Joy and Choose Grace

Choose Joy and Choose Grace

It is a Monday morning, not even 10 am, and I am finding myself in need of a pep talk.

I woke up early today to go for a walk before work.  Ear buds in place and music turned up I began my walk on the trail.  Preoccupied with my thoughts of my youngest son starting his senior year of college and my daughter starting her senior year of high school.  My heart burdened by the senseless shootings that took place this past weekend in my country.  I began to pray and walk.  I thought I heard a voice and as the cyclist was approaching my side, I quickly moved over to accommodate him.  Much to my surprise, he hopped off his bike and began screaming at me to MOVE OVER.  He berated me and cussed at me before jumping back on his bike an pedaled away as he was nodding his head in disgust that I would be walking closer to his side of the trail than mine.

I then decide on my way to work to stop at the grocery store and pick up some items for my lunch.  There is road construction so I inadvertently turn and drive against the arrow pointing us to park.  My mistake as well as the car in front of me and the three others behind me.  We all encounter the wrath of a very frustrated driver who honks her horn, rolls down her window and proceeds to scream at all of us for being idiots.

I decide a large coffee is in order at this point and stand in line to order when the young mom in front of me who is juggling 2 little kids spills her iced coffee macchiato all over my sandals and feet.  I then have a choice don’t I?  I chose to laugh and to tell her it was no big deal as we both worked together to clean up the mess.  This prompted the man behind us to pay for both of our drinks and thank me for not treating her like I was treated in the parking lot. He was part of the wrong way driving escapade too. We all had a good laugh and wished each other a great day.

Choices…  Sometimes we are aggravated by what others do and sometimes we are the one who is aggravating.  Today I am determined to choose grace and gratitude.  All the minor issues I described for you are nothing compared to others in the world who would love the freedom to walk without fear in their neighborhoods, to have a working automobile and to have the funds to purchase coffee.  I spend my days working for a global ministry so I am well aware of the fact that these are minor in the macro of our world. Even with that lens I found myself sad and a bit annoyed.

My encouragement to you and to me today is this  –   choose the joy and choose the grace.  It is always worth it even when it is hard and who knows, maybe sometimes you might even be treated to a cup of coffee.

Why I blog…

Why I blog…

Why I Blog…

I have always loved words. I devoured books as a young girl, never having enough time to read all the books I would check out from the library – stacks and stacks of books. I also enjoyed writing and I can remember my 5th grade teacher telling me I had the gift of story telling. I continued to do well in English and even had some poetry and short stories published in high school.

Fast forward through college and marriage and four children and the reader and most definitely the writer in me was placed high upon the shelf. Of course I made suggestions on the papers my kids wrote and are still writing in school but I didn’t take my own writing ability seriously. That is until a few years ago.

As the Women’s Ministry Director at my church, I enjoy the opportunities I have been given to speak to various groups and those opportunities have expanded my writing as well, especially the last five years. I began having people ask if they could get a copy of what I was speaking about which got me thinking about blogging. I started writing a blog called Encouraging Hearts. To be honest I was worried that maybe only my mom, sister, and best friend would read it. Self doubt reigned supreme. Much to my surprise people are actually reading this blog and I am getting e-mail responses thanking me for sharing stories. I have received messages from women in other countries telling me they could relate my experience to their own and it feels like writing this blog has acted in some small way as a chance for me to engage with women and their life stories, making this vast world seem a little smaller for all of us. There is so much division in our world today and to see my life experience resonate with others gives me hope that we are all more alike than we are different. So I began guest writing for other blogs and was picked up by online magazines which little by little has encouraged me to keep typing on my keyboard. I could not have pursued this without the encouragement from my sweet husband and kids, my family, my awesome girlfriends, amazing colleagues, other writing friends, and those of you who have written those notes of connection and encouragement.

I find myself today kicking off the new blog site and excited to share with you stories from my life. This blog is comprised of my life pondering, a christian perspective on my faith,family and hospitality. Those words sum up how I invest my time. I realize my opinions are just that, my opinions and therefore I know not always will we agree but I love wrestling with those gray areas of life and hope my site will inspire you to do the same. There is so much in this amazing world to be curious about.

I also acknowledge there are many websites,blogs,and articles to read so I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this one. Best to you as you pursue your own life story. God willing, we each have many more chapters to write.