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Living Purposefully

New Year, New Blessings!

As another year is in full swing, I’m compelled to join in on the “make a resolution list” like everyone else. I think of the many ways I would like to improve myself, and set some goals for the coming year. Except oooops, I never do that! Follow through is my downfall, even though I mean well with wanting to actually do things.

Instead, I count my blessings and plug along where I am. The top of my list of course is my faith, family, and friends, because those are the most important of all. Beyond the abovementioned obvious ones, I’d like to tell you about some other simple blessings that bring me joy.


Time alone with my husband…I feel lately as though we don’t have much time alone to spend with each other. I definitely hope that improves this year…Between work, commitments, family events and life in general, he and I rarely take time to be alone. We make the best of the moments we do have together, and that makes me super happy!

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My morning cup of tea…since I gave up coffee months ago, (I know, it’s insane – people think I’m crazy!) tea has been my choice first thing in the morning. Coffee is gone, not really because I wanted it to be, but I felt like I was frequently getting headaches and having afternoon slumps. I decided to start there to see if it made an impact. It did, and I feel great! Sometimes when I smell a fresh cup being brewed it almost brings me to tears though, because the fragrance envelops my senses and draws me in. However, I am definitely feeling better since giving it up, so tea it is!

The Ellen Show…I can’t say there is one specific thing that I like about her show, but Ellen makes me smile. And cry. And think about how I’m living my life. She compels me to care more, and to give what I can to others. She’s hilarious and truly seems to enjoy blessing other people. My goal this year is to go on her show. I just want to dance to Bust A Move by Young MC with her. I don’t need to be on stage; dancing in the audience as she passes by will suffice! :)

Receiving texts from my kids…when my phone alerts me to a new text, a smile instantly erupts when it’s one of my kiddos. I especially find joy in hearing from my boys, since they are both away at college. I don’t ever want to be that stalker mom, annoying them with a ton of texts each day; however, I do really love communicating with them in this way. It is comforting to have the ability to contact my daughter too, especially checking in with her to see how her day at school went. Sometimes thoughts hit you at various times of day where a phone call just can’t happen, so it’s nice to have the texting option.

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Chocolate…in pretty much any shape or form. Period. I love it. Just thinking about having it to eat lifts my spirits and gives me an overall satisfaction and happiness.

Working at my new job…I love what I do! I’m a Rehab Tech, and the many duties I have each day fit my personality and my obsessive compulsiveness. I like things to be neat and organized, so keeping our therapy center clean and in order is so satisfying! My manager is a great leader, and I work with amazing women who are fabulous therapists.  Our whole team is committed to excellence, I admire my coworkers greatly. I am learning a lot, and often get to help them in their sessions of physical, occupational and speech therapy with pediatric patients. It can be challenging at times, but is also extremely rewarding.

Leggings and big sweaters/sweatshirts…is there a much more relaxing thing to do than to come home after a long day and strip down into a cozy pair of leggings combined with a warm, fuzzy top to embrace you? Ahhhhhh the comforts of easy going fabric that expands just where it needs to allowing complete lazy, release from confining clothes!

The couch…stretching out on the couch with my comfy clothes on, a big blanket positioned over me, and my favorite reading material in hand is the perfect way to relax. And nap. Lol

What are some of your blessings and favorite ways to bring in the new year? I hope that you make the most of your 2016 in whatever way works for you! Happy New Year!

 

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Post-Christmas at the Lake

Many times I find myself unable to sleep because I am tossing conversations and phrases around in my head trying to make sense of them. Maybe I take stuff too personally. Perhaps I worry too much about how others perceive me. Mostly I just don’t understand how some people can throw words around like they don’t hold meaning or emotion.

After wrestling with my thoughts for months, I found no solutions to the issues that were bothering me. I’ve prayed about them, left them alone, written about them, and basically gotten pissed off about them, to the point of wanting to get in my car and drive far away from them all, without so much as a “see ya later” to anyone close to me. I’m hurting, and I’m guessing you can somehow relate…


Sometimes you just need to get away so you can find a fresh perspective on important matters of the heart. A couple of days at Lake Gaston for Christmas gave me that opportunity. My brother-in-law gave our family the gift of a weekend on the lake to celebrate his mom’s 70th birthday, and it was the perfect retreat to ponder many things I am currently experiencing.

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Life has a way of making me pause and check myself. I don’t think I am selfish per se, however, I have noticed that lately I am preoccupied with the way I am feeling and acting. So much is great in my life right now, and yet part of me feels full of frustration and unrest. Many contributing factors are showing me what the cause most likely is, but I know there’s more. Maybe the “more” is simply my own mindset and outlook on what is troubling me.


I’m tired of being the one who always try to fix things. I often tiptoe around the elephant in the room – i.e. misunderstandings, one sided outlooks and indifference - and I feel like I’m the only one who sees it. It annoys me and makes me want to scream. Again, I think it’s my perception of situations more than actual problems, yet I am clearly affected, so why can’t I verbalize it and make it clearer??

Quiet time this weekend showed me that I need to alter my focus, and let go of the things I cannot change. I do not have the responsibility of running the world, and it is truly arrogant to think that I do! Deep down in my soul, I know that I am a caring person who only wants to live a meaningful, positive, purposeful life. This weekend I actually sat still and just aimed at being at peace with myself and my life. It felt so good to just be. I feel like my mind was reset, and it is fabulous. I am so glad I had the opportunity to have that time alone.

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When you are faced with a decision to make, what is your driving force in making it? Is it easy for you to just choose the right thing to do, or do you grapple with it for a while? Sometimes I find myself floundering because there isn’t a clear cut answer. Someone will end up hurt or disappointed and I want to avoid that at all costs. Truthfully, that isn’t really possible, is it? I mean if you choose what you feel in your heart to be the best thing, inevitably the other party involved could end up discouraged because their way didn’t work out. That doesn’t seem quite right, yet sometimes we have to do what is hard in order to move forward.

I never intentionally choose to do anything knowing it will upset someone else. I also realize that I cannot foresee what their reaction will be to my assessment of whatever it is we are discussing. The determining factor for my decision-making is whether or not my choice lines up with God’s word. Seeking His will guarantees that I will be doing the right thing regardless of whether the other people involved disagree or are not on board with me. I know it’s the right thing to do, so why is it still hard for me?!

Letting people down breaks my heart; even when I have to do it, due to the circumstances I’m in, it doesn’t make me feel any better inside. I forge ahead, however, because indecision is often worse than the end result of the choice I make. I know deep down inside that I will face more obstacles. I’m even aware that some of them will shake me to my core and make me crazy. You know what I mean? Two steps forward, three steps back kinda thing…let’s just keep going together, okay? I need a cheering section every now and again, don’t you?!

If you find yourself feeling stuck in your circumstances, or in a state of reflection, I encourage you to take some time to yourself to think it through. You don’t have to go far to get the answer you’re seeking. I’m quite sure it’s already inside you, just waiting for the chance to be spoken into existence. Hopefully you will be able to find peace in your situation, and be at more at ease in your soul, as I was after my quick get-away to Lake Gaston.

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10 Things to remember at Christmas...

10 things to remember this Christmas…

 

As we approach this special day, let’s take a moment to remember that we each celebrate it differently, and that is wonderful!  There are many ways to make it memorable, even if for you it might be a difficult time of year.  If you are feeling anxious, stressed, or upset about this holiday, rest assured that you are not alone.  I encourage you to embrace your feelings, and know that you will make it through.

With this day being so close, take a moment and realize that no matter how your day turns out, it will be okay.

1.       Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

2.      The way you choose to celebrate it is just right.

3.      However you are able to feed your family is just fine.

4.      The number of presents under the tree does not make or break the day.

5.      Your efforts will be appreciated, even if you feel like they won’t be.

6.      Money that is spent, or not spent, does not define who you are.

7.      If your dinner table doesn’t reflect the food network expectations, don’t worry.

8.     When you are unable to give gifts to all the people you want to give them to, they will understand.

9.      One day out of the year should not be filled with such a high level of stress that it makes you feel inadequate.

10.  You are enough. Your effort to celebrate Christmas is enough. You are not defined by the situation you’re currently in, especially if you are in a rough circumstance.

 

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I personally have struggled in all of the above mentioned areas at one time or another.  Society puts a lot of pressure on people to go above and beyond to make Christmas about things, stuff and what we can buy to make it special.  I disagree completely with that!

Please know that I don’t think there is anything wrong with gift giving.  It is a blessing for the giver, and the receiver. I’m just saying that it is easy to get caught up in trying to show love by what you can buy and give to someone.  Instead of getting stuck in this world’s view of what it means to give, let’s think about how we can give of ourselves when we are unable to give “things.”

Make a phone call, write a letter, create a hand-made gift, bake a treat, spend time with a friend, organize a family get-together, babysit for a friend, sit with a loved one who is lonely, volunteer as a family, or simply be together and take time to give thanks for all that you already have.

However you spend this holiday, I pray that you will feel joy and peace as you reflect on each and every blessing you’ve experienced. Merry Christmas!

 

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In Celebration

They say time heals all wounds.  I can't say I agree with that 100%, but time does help ease the pain of loss.  On Friday, October 30th, my sisters and I got together to celebrate the life of our sweet mommy who departed this earth on that day five years ago.  After battling a ten year bought with Alzheimer’s, she was greeted by her Savior and restored to life with Him. I picture her now, smiling and enjoying a pain free existence in heaven!

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Our sister get-together began, as it usually does, with a visit to IKEA.  We have a tradition of giggling too much, taking bathroom selfies, and eating at the café before our sister time gets rolling.  It’s so exciting, waiting to see who will arrive first. Knowing we will have the whole day together brings joy to my soul!  As we arrived, we captured the energy that we exude with a sister add-on picture!

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After hugging, squealing and catching up for a few minutes at the entrance downstairs, we headed up to eat breakfast at the café, only to be highly disappointed…

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Oh well, on to plan B…a road trip to IHOP to fuel us for our busy day ahead.  It never ceases to amaze me how much good a sister visit does for me.  I can be struggling with life decisions, stress, and just day to day issues but as soon as I am with my sisters, all of that just leaves.  Instead of feeling down, I am filled with love and peace.  We are so goofy and silly, and also supportive and uplifting towards each other.  Our time spent together is wonderful and it never quite seems long enough.

After we ate, we headed out to do some shopping.  Before this get together was even planned, I had an idea to make jewelry as a gift to my sisters, however, a week of shopping by myself at Michael’s led to frustration as I couldn’t decide on what to make!  It was hilarious as I explained to each of them that I didn’t have anything to give them that day, as I couldn’t make up my mind on what to do for a gift.

I knew in my mind that I wanted something to show our closeness as sisters, and needed to tie it to our dear mommy, because of how much she loved all of us.  The four of us spent a lot of time at the store going through each aisle, perusing the different products.  Together we came up with an idea to make sister bracelets!  They understood my dilemma on trying to pick what to do, as we took at least 30 minutes deciding on which creative ideas to select.

The picture on the bracelets is from our day together and the heart represents the love that unites us together with our mom.  We felt like it was the perfect way to remind us each of how much our bond means to us.

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As time passes, I reflect on how blessed I am to have had a mother that loved me deeply and cared for me in such a way as to impart beautiful life lessons within me.  I carry my mom’s legacy of being kind hearted, loving, caring, and giving and I am grateful for the opportunity to be shown by her how to be the best mom I can be to my own kids.  I only hope that as they grow and experience life, they too will feel as loved and cared for as I do.  As our pain eases in not having our mom here physically with us anymore, I know without a doubt that her memory lives on in our hearts forever!  We can celebrate that day in and day out for sure.  What are some memories that you hold near and dear to your heart?

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thoughts...

 

Another sleepless night has me up earlier than I wanted. It seems as if the times I need extra sleep, or just want to relax for a busy upcoming week, are the times I have trouble getting a good night’s rest.


Upon waking, I come down to a quiet house and peer out the windows as I pull the curtains back into their brass holders. Drizzle. The fall colors pop as I glance at a tree in my neighborhood.

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Sometimes I just don’t want the weekend to be over! I work hard all week, and look forward to family time and relaxation. In addition to catching up on things around the house, I want to complete my ever-growing to-do list. Often, my weekends are packed with stuff to do, so my idea of how I want to spend my time never actually happens.


Even when things don’t go as planned, I’m usually good just knowing I have some quality time around my husband and kids. I try to just roll with it, but lately I find myself super irritated. I don’t want to do whatever new task pops up in front of me. I want to do what I have on my schedule. I’m being selfish and bratty and honestly, I kinda don’t care. I’m sure that sounds horrible but it’s the truth.


I want to make a fire in our fire pit out back, pull up a chair, grab some hot chocolate and just sit. I want to stare at the flames and feel the warmth of the fire spread over me. Allowing my mind to wander and rest and not make a choice or big girl decision is so appealing right about now! Instead, I put on a happy, albeit it fake, smile and trudge along handling whatever it is that I now have to do.

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I’m not sure if it is the change in seasons, bringing with it less sunlight and outdoor time, or if it’s just my stinkin’ thinkin’ that has me so bummed. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter! Remembering to count my blessings seems to be the best way to pull myself out of the funk I’m in. Wallowing in self-pity is so ugly and not at all the way to be a positive person. Taking time to reflect on what really matters to me will give me a much better perspective on things, while helping me focus on all that is right in my life.


I am blessed with a loving, caring, healthy family. I have wonderful friends and a job that I love. We have a roof over our heads and plenty to eat. I am able to get up each day and walk, talk, hear, see, smell and taste and I am so thankful for all that God has given me. I know what is truly important in life and I feel silly complaining at all because I certainly have no reason to.


This reminds me of a great quote I heard years ago from my brother during a time when I was suffering a great loss and seemed unable to see how things would ever get better. He told me, “Tam, everyone has a pity party now and then. Just remember when you sit on the pity pot, do your business, flush and wash your hands, and just keep going!” Great advice I think, don’t you?


With that reminder, I am getting up right now, and preparing my mind for the next task I have to tackle. I have a smile on my face and joy in my heart as I realize that life is too short to complain and get grumpy. Thanks for listening, and can I ask: how do you get motivated to do things you really don’t want to do?
 

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About Tammy

tammy

I am a happily married mommy of three, who is living my life in hopes of making a positive difference in the world. I will share my ups and downs with you all to encourage and support you along your journey.  Live with purpose, and choose joy!

Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches went to visit our local Kiwanis Club to find out how they have been growing future leaders through area high school Key Clubs.

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