Over the extended holiday weekend, I started digging through tubs in my basement and came across three diaries.
There are entries from 1989-2004!
Reading through some entries I have experienced a wide range of emotions: some entries are quite comical, others make me feel ashamed for my behavior and some help me remember things I long forgotten, including the faith I had in God and the belief that He had everything in my life under control. I don’t remember believing in Him back then, but apparently I did.
Tonight, I gave my daughter a journal that she could use as a diary if she chose to do so. While she’s not starting at 10 years old like I did, I want her to be able to look back 10 or 20 years from now and remember the good and the bad.
The cow diary was my first diary. I still remember buying it at a garage sale across the street from my house. It was brand new in cellophane and came with a cow pen.
I keep a couple of diaries these days: one to track all my prayers and devotional readings that stuck out to me, and another for quick note about things that happened that day.
Do you still have your old diaries? Do you keep one today?
My father is a patriot and veteran. He served his country for many years in the Missouri Army National Guard.
Growing up, I remember visiting “the facility” where his unit was. I also remember seeing him off from Fort Leonardwood when I was in the fifth grade.
I don’t remember how many months he was gone, but today, I found several letters he sent me while he served overseas during Operation Desert Storm.
I know I don’t have to tell you this, but the fight my father and many others fought in the early 1990’s isn’t over yet. Our troops are still fighting for the future of the next generation.
In his letter to my fifth grade class, my dad wrote:
“I want you all to understand that what we — the military have done here in the Persian Gulf — was very important for your future as young Americans. Hopefully, by the time you are my age (41) — the world and everyone on this planet will have learned how to live together in peace.”
In 3-1/2 years, I will be the same age my dad was when he wrote that letter to me. I wish I could say that there was more peace in the world.
Sadly, it’s gotten worse.
There have been thousands of lives lost fighting for this freedom my father and all soldiers fight so hard for. As we celebrate Memorial Day, please continue to keep past, present and future military men, woman and families in your prayers.
To all the men and women who have served or are currently serving, and their families, THANK YOU for your service and sacrifices.
“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove.”
One could only be so lucky as to experience the true love that Westley and Buttercup did.
Now that you have the scene from The Princess Bride in your head, I want to show you a different scene of a different true love:
While the image is a little grainy and from a distance, what you see is the adorable couple that lives across the street from me taking a ride on a tractor at sunset.
Both well into their 80s and have been married since the 1950s, maybe even before. Last summer, I snapped the above photo of these two crazy kids taking a ride in their back yard. Perhaps he is the “Farm Boy” after all. 🙂
On the days I’m fortunate enough to work from home, I occasionally get a glimpse into their love story. Thursday, and every other day I’ve been home around 4 p.m., she excitedly comes out of a cozy little farmhouse as soon as she sees his truck pull into the driveway.
Thursday, she came out twice, peeked inside the garage to see if her husband was home yet, then went back inside when she discovered he wasn’t home just yet. As soon as she sees him pull into the driveway, she opens up the garage door and patiently waits for him to pull into the garage. Sometimes, she scurries over to the driver side door of his truck and gives him a little smooch from the window.
It’s one of the most adorable things I have ever seen.
I have faith that one day, I too, will be able to greet my true love the same way this loving bride greets her adoring husband.
Why am I making such a big deal about the old couple across the road from me? You see, she doesn’t always remember I’m her neighbor. One of these days, hopefully not for a very long time, she might forget to greet her husband at his truck, or might forget him altogether*. What I believe keeps her memory going every day is our Heavenly Father and the incredible power of true love.
I believe that true love can overcome just about anything. It can withstand the tests of time.
I believe that true love is the sweetest of addictions, and that no matter how hard you try to resist, you keep getting pulled back to the one that you love.
I believe true love has the power to heal and to help people remember.
I believe true love has incredible ways to make you feel.
I feel true love when I look at old couples like my sweet neighbors across the street.
I feel true love when I pray to God.
I feel true love when I read His word and think about the sacrifices Jesus Christ made for those of us who believe.
Opening up my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young is something I look forward to every morning. Today, was no different.
How many of you wake up and say this?
“Today is a blank page. I’m going to see what I can fill it with.”
I say this all the time, and even started the New Year saying something very similar. Today’s reading encouraged me to try something a little different:
Knowing that your future is absolutely assured can free you to live abundantly today. I have prepared this day for you with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page that you need to fill up, try living it in a responsive mode: being on the lookout for all that I am doing. This sounds easy, but it requires a deep level of trust.
Today, trust that God’s way is the perfect way.
Sometimes it’s hard to trust anyone, even God, but Psalm 18:30 reminds us that “His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.”
I found myself holding my tongue today in line at a Subway restaurant. The two girls behind me were talking about one of the girls boyfriend’s and how she couldn’t understand why he broke up with her.
“I bought him anything he wanted, cooked him foods that he liked, had sex with him like all the time, and he still broke up with me. I just don’t get it,” she said.
She continued telling her friend, who replied with “uh huh’s” and “yeahs,” all the things she had done to earn this guy’s affection, but he still rejected her.
I wanted to turn to her and say, “Maybe that’s because he used you and has no respect for you.”
Now, this chick could have taken me out if she wanted to, so I felt it was best to hold my tongue, but on the inside, I truly hurt for her and wanted to do my good deed for the day and help you. Instead, I proceeded to tell the Subway employee what I wanted on my BMT, paid for my food and walked away.
I’ve been that girl before.
I’ve been that girl who did lots of things to get the wrong kind of attention from the person I was dating only to be hurt, completely broken hearted and even confused as to why the relationship ended.
I’ve been that girl who thought she was doing the right thing in a relationship by allowing my boyfriend to treat me like crap, hoping he would eventually become someone he wasn’t.
I’ve been that girl who, now that I look back, had no respect for herself and made some really bad choices.
But, I’ve also been that girl, that because of some of those mistakes and the seeds that were planted by family and friends, is NOT the girl I used to be.
The other night, I was watching a local TV station called KMOS (one of the only channels I can get with my digital antenna). There was a documentary on about the wonderful Maya Angelou. Miss Maya said something that night that stuck with me. I even wrote it on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
“You are enough.” — Maya Angelou
“You have nothing to prove to nobody,” she went on to say.
I wish I would have believed that a long time ago. I wish I would have believed in myself back then, but I believe in myself now. I wish I would have respected myself back then, but I respect myself now. This is all thanks to the relationship that I have with a very special person – my Heavenly Father – and some amazing friends and family along the way.
The scripture says this about self respect:
“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” – Matthew 7:6
My relationship with God has opened up my eyes to a whole new world:
A world where I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anyone.
A world where I choose not to settle for anything less than I deserve.
A world where I respect myself and expect others to respect me.
A world where I show my daughter what it looks like to be respected.
While I wasn’t able to help this girl today, I hope she figures this out sooner rather than later. I hope she learns that she deserves someone better than this guy (notice I haven’t used the word man, because I don’t consider him remotely close to being one).
Ladies, if you’re reading this and it sounds like a relationship you’re in currently, get out of it. Relationships are all about giving and receiving, not just receiving. It works both ways. Love yourself first. Respect yourself first.
You’ve got a friend in me. Email me at email@example.com if you want to talk.
We’re super critical, sometimes curt, and often forget they are, after all, kids. They don’t know it all. They haven’t figured it all out. We need to cut them a little more slack.
I have found myself apologizing to my daughter and asking for grace on more than one occasion. I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting we don’t always know what we’re doing. Let’s be real…we’re raising teenagers…they think we’re stupid anyway. HA!
On Wednesday nights, I lead a book club at my church. Last week, one of the moms shared a conversation she had with her teenage son about his grades. Caleb is usually a very diligent student, but teenagers, oftentimes forget to turn things in causing their grades to decline.
Being the mother of a teenager, I can appreciate the ebbs and flows of good and bad grades, so when Maria, a former school teacher herself, shared this tip about something she tried with Caleb, I put it in pocket for future use.
“I felt really bad the other night when I was discussing Caleb’s grades with him,” Maria said. “I immediately focused on the missing assignments and the less than ideal quiz scores. I felt so bad after he went to bed, I decided to try something a little different.”
That night, Maria reprinted his grades and circled everything he done right—completed assignments and high scores. The next morning when he woke up, she showed him the same grades, but this time, with all the good things circled instead of the bad.
A little change in perspective goes a long way.
Luckily for me, my daughter shared her grade report for Physics with me on Thursday night, just one day after Maria talked about her experience with Caleb.
As you can see, there are a couple of not so good scores on here, but I chose to circle all the good ones. Focusing on the positive could give your child that little boost of confidence they need, something that’s hard for teenagers sometimes. I try to do this as much as possible with my daughter whether it’s grades, a play she made on the softball field or a stunt she nailed during a cheerleading competition.
Whether its your child’s grade sheet or something else in life, try focusing on the positive before you go right to the negative.
Getting divorced is never a fun process, even if it’s a mutual decision between you and your spouse. When we enter into a marriage, the last thing we want to think about is getting divorced. My ex-husband and I promised we would never do that, but alas, just one year into our marriage, on our anniversary actually, we pulled the top tier of our wedding cake out of the freezer, at a few bites and decided to get divorced.
Here is my advice to you:
1. Pray. You don’t have to be religious to pray. I think this article has some nice thoughts on why you should pray and how lifting your concerns up to someone is therapeutic. You can also try using the ACTS method to pray.
You also don’t have to pray to connect with God. Take a walk outside or listen to some peaceful music. Meditate. Find your own skinny place.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. The last thing you need to do is hang out with people who are going to bring you down or encourage you to make the wrong choices. After my last relationship ended, I got heavily involved at my church. The people at Woodcrest Chapel are so supportive and encouraging. It was just what I needed.
3. Spend time on you. The last thing on your mind right now is dating, but if it’s not and you’re considering getting back out there, I would strongly encourage you to wait a little while. When was the last time you focused on you? Now, I’m not trying to say that you need to fix anything about yourself, but oftentimes, a marriage fails because both the husband and the wife have things they need to work on. Be honest with yourself. Is there anything you need to work on to improve for your next relationship? Focus on your growth and write down some things you learned in your marriage that could help you in future relationships.
4. Give thanks on the good days and the bad days. Being single definitely has pros and cons. Maybe you’re able to spend more time on a hobby now, or maybe you can finally get the bathroom painted (because you knew your husband was never going to get it done). One of my favorites is eating ice cream straight from the container. There’s no one home to judge me! 🙂 Just be grateful for the things little things. You’ll appreciate them more later.
I think giving yourself permission to take things one day at a time instead of trying to move on too quickly is the right approach, too. If you need anything, I’m always here.
Need some honest advice? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was a little girl, my Grandma Libby gave me a pink Precious Moments Bible that I still have to this day. Today, I probably have five or more Bibles that I’ve either purchased or received as gifts, most of them in different translations.
November 2013 is really when my faith journey hit the fast track, as that was the night I was baptized surrounded by family and friends. Over the last three years, my faith and commitment to God and myself have definitely been tested, but there is one thing that consistently gets me through the hard times — the Bible.
Every morning, literally before my feet even hit the floor, I start my day with scripture, thanks to K-LOVE’s Encouraging Word of the Day. After getting ready for my day, I sit down at the table in the dining room, or my desk like today, and dive in deeper to God’s word.
Before I became a Christian, anytime someone mentioned God or the Bible to me, I tuned them/it out.
“Why should I listen to God or trust Him?” I would often ask myself or others. “I have been hurt by every man in my life! How is God going to be different?”
I was scared.
I was vulnerable.
I didn’t want to get hurt again.
Now, the more I dive into God’s word, the stronger my relationship with Him becomes. The stronger I became. The more trusting I became. The less worry I tend to have. I’m constantly reminding myself of God’s word from Jeremiah 29:11:
“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.”
But what are you supposed to do when these plans don’t go the way you wanted them to go?
Recently, a friend of mine suffered a tremendous heartbreak. She’s hurt, she’s confused, but she’s also questioning God and wondering why He would put her through something like this.
“Girlfriend, I have been in your shoes, more than once, and it stinks.”
It’s not pretty when the ugly cries start, and especially when the ice cream runs out, but now that I have a foundational relationship with God, I know He has my back and is going to take care of me. He told me so in Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in Me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Me, and I will make your paths straight.”
Friends, as you prepare your hearts and your minds for your faith journey, I encourage you to open up your Bible and look for your skinny place with God. He has your back, too, and if anything, may His word be a lamp for your feet and a light on your path.
My first diary was green plastic with a small lock to keep my secrets a secret. It had Holstein cows wearing sunglasses. I thought it was THE coolest diary in the world. I bet if I look in a few boxes in my basement, I could find it.
Writing has always been something I enjoyed, so naturally, when I began my faith journey nearly five years ago, journaling was something I wanted to make sure I made part of my routine.
Every morning, I open up Jesus Calling and Jesus Always, two devotionals by Sarah Young, my Bible and a journal. I’m always excited to see what piece of scripture will stand out to me the most, then I journal about is using the SOAP. method.
For you men reading this, maybe you’re thinking, “journaling isn’t really my thing.”
I hear you.
Would it help if I told you I know a man who considers journaling one of his “skinny places,” too?
My friend Sam keeps a journal like me.
I knew he was a cool dude!
For Sam, he always wanted to keep a journal, but it always seemed to fail for one reason or another. Here’s more from Sam about keeping a journal:
“Late last year, I was moved by the Holy Spirit to begin reading the New Testament from beginning to end and write my thoughts during that exploration. I realized that I knew all the stories we go over during worship, but never knew the writings that occurred between these verses and how they impacted our understanding of the Word of God. At first, I thought this little exercise was simply to take notes, but I quickly realized it was more than that. This may seem weird or cliché, but I actually felt the Holy Spirit flowing from my body, through my hand, into the pen, and onto the page.
Before even opening anything, I take a few minutes to pray. I pray for forgiveness, I pray for those on my personal prayer list, I give thanks for the gifts God has provided to me, and I pray for wisdom to read the bible with an open mind and spirit… to read what God wants me to read. There are also times I just sit in silence and listen, sometimes God is speaking to us and we do not even know it since we are too busy talking. When I have finished my prayer, I begin my study.
I have learned to be patient and read only a little bit at a time so that I can fully focus on what is being written. Sometimes this is only a few verses and sometimes this is a few chapters…I wait for God’s inspiration to help guide my journey. I jot down verses that stand out to me, I write down explanations of these verses as needed (even taking the time to look up online commentaries if needed), and then I end with my “Thoughts” on what I have just read…how does it make me feel, what could it all mean, how does it affect how I live my life? Sometimes I am writing to myself and sometimes I am writing to an anonymous audience. This is when I let the Spirit flow. When you do this, it is amazing what comes out.”
Like Sam, I start my day with scripture often before I get out of bed (I read K-LOVE’s Encouraging Word of the Day and go from there) and often get up an hour before I probably need to in order to have plenty of time to write.
After I start the coffee pot, I head to the dining room table to prepare my heart and head for what I’m about to read. I’m always so hopeful that the Lord will “speak” to me. I recite Psalm 143:8-9 as my opening prayer:
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you, I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
If you’ve been thinking of a different way to connect to God, try journaling. Like Sam, you might be surprised what the Lord reveals to you.
I want to give Sam a big THANK YOU for sharing his journaling experience with me and with you. I hope to share more from Sam soon!
About Sam: Sam Giroux lives in Boonville, MO with his lovely wife of almost 14 years and two adorable daughters. He’s a member of the Nelson Memorial United Methodist Church. Sam is currently reading Every Man’s Bible, New Living Translation, but he also consults the New International Version and the King James Version when discerning important verses. His favorite verses include Luke 18:14 and Acts 20:24, and he enjoys long walks on the beach. Just kidding…I added that final part. 🙂