Tag Archives: joy

What if the Grass Isn’t Greener?

12 Jul

road stock photo

Have you ever read or heard something and felt like it was written or spoken just for you?

I had that experience yesterday morning when I opened up my daily 3 Things for Mom post in my inbox. Lisa Hendey was Thursday’s contributor and what she wrote in the first few paragraphs really resonated with me.

“Never leave one good party in search of another,” was one of the bits of wisdom my parents passed along to me before I left home for college. “The party down the hall isn’t any more fun than the one you’re already enjoying.”

My Mom and Daddy were always the life of any party, the first onto the dance floor and the last to leave it, the first to RSVP and the last to hug the host goodbye at the end of the night. Their wholesome “partying” is an example of the rest of their commitment to living life fully.

It turns out that this bit of wisdom works well for many of life’s other circumstances too: for career, for investments, and for marriage and family life.

Click here to read the rest of Lisa’s post.

The reason this spoke to me so much yesterday, is because Adam and I are contemplating putting our house on the market. An unexpected blessing this week nudged us to take this idea more seriously – and we are.

The thing is, though, that we are really happy. Life is good. We love our family. We know that we are blessed and despite some minor frustrations, like neighbors who park their cars in their yards, we are filled with joy everyday.

Adam and I are trying to be objective about this whole selling/buying thing. Ideally, it would be nice to live in a better, newer neighborhood where there are sidewalks for the girls, everyone keeps their yards properly maintained, and cars aren’t speeding by. Now is probably the time to buy before interest rates climb back to where they were.

So, the plan is to spruce the house up as quickly as possible and get it ready to list by the end of the month. We’ll see if we can get an offer that meets our bottom line. If not, we’ll probably just stay put, as we really aren’t under any pressure to move.

My worry, though, is that we’ll sell, and then not be able to find a house that meets our needs and wants in our price range. We also don’t want to be greedy, as if we are not grateful for the home that we have lived in for five years.

What if the grass isn’t greener on the other side? What if this party is better? When do you know if it’s better to stay put or if it’s time to step out in faith?

I’ll keep you posted… 🙂

Being Joyful on Purpose (Despite Neighbors and Old Cars)!

14 Jun
grand am

First day of my senior year of high school with my new car! My bro was a lucky freshman who got to ride with me instead of on the bus!

Some days I want to move. I want to live in a neighborhood where people don’t park their cars in the front yard. I’m sick of fixing one thing after another on this house. I’m tired of vacuuming every day because my pomeranian’s hair is all over the place.

I can’t wait to buy a new (to me) car. One where the dashboard isn’t curling up from years of being parked out under the sun, the side door doesn’t have a dent from accidentally scraping against a fire hydrant, and the front passenger window isn’t taped up to prevent it from sliding down due to some weird electrical issue that’s been fixed twice already.

I wish I had more money. Not an obnoxious amount – just enough to feel like an unexpected crisis is going to put us back to square one of rebuilding our emergency savings. And enough to buy a decent used mini-van or SUV when my 13-year-old Grand Am decides it’s been driven too many miles.

I’m sure I could go on about all of the things that are lacking in my life and complain about from time to time, but I’m going to choose not to because I prefer (most days) to focus on the many blessings I have in my life – the special relationships, priceless moments, and undeserved gifts.

Just last evening alone, I experienced so many blessings. After work, I went to my parents’ house to pick up my daughters from an afternoon swimming lesson at their pool. My parents had just made dinner, which was perfect because I was hungrier than usual and was afraid that if I didn’t eat soon my patience would wear thin with the girls. When I sat down to join everybody else who was almost done eating, my two-year-old reminded me to pray! So cute, as she’s just learning to make the sign-of-the-cross and say grace before meals right now!

On the way home, my husband called to FaceTime with my four-year-old. Every night that my husband works, they always communicate via FaceTime before she goes to bed! And each night, including last night, “C” won’t let him off the phone until they both kiss their screens at the same time and hug their phones. Can you say A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E?!

And if that wasn’t adorable enough, when I walked into “C’s” room to get her ready for bed I found her standing at her dresser with her hands folded looking at a framed photo of her Daddy holding her when she was a baby. I asked her what she was doing and “C” said, “I’m praying for Daddy.” I asked her what she was praying for and she said, “I’m praying that he comes back to me and I want him to know that I’ll always love him.” MELT MY HEART! It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!

After precious cuddle time and big kisses and hugs, “C” and I even peeked out the window to watch the fireflies before she fell asleep. Then, later in the evening, I received this text from my husband- “Thanks for loving me :)”. These moments refresh me and make the vocation of marriage and raising a family so joy-filled. It may seem like just an average night, but how sad it would be if I were to dismiss and overlook all of these blessings!

Maybe I paid extra attention to these moments last night, because on Wednesday afternoon a beloved longtime co-worker lost her husband to a massive heart attack. It’s times like these when our priorities are really put into perspective and we cling a little tighter to what who matters. I want to be able to look back some each day and feel grateful that I soaked up precious time with those I love and didn’t hold anything back. I want to know that I sacrificed, gave too many hugs to count, said “I love you” a million times, and brought joy to others because I lived my own life joyfully, on purpose.

I love my house. I love that we live in a nice town so close to the lake, several parks, and my parents’. I love that my girls have nice rooms and warm beds to sleep in. I love that we have a finished basement with plenty of room for them to play and my husband has his own studio. I love that we only have one full bath – one less shower to clean! I love that we have a fenced-in backyard for Princess.

I’m grateful that my car has lasted this long. It was paid for by my parents and despite several cosmetic weaknesses, it has ran great which is what counts the most!

I’m thankful that God has provided what we have needed. It seems like anytime we get a bonus or some extra money, it goes straight to pay for a repair or a medical bill, but I know that is just what we needed at the right time! I’m thankful for our jobs. My husband and I are able to spend as much time with our young girls as possible and still provide for our family’s needs. We’ll never be able to get this time back with them and we know how much every moment counts.

A thankful heart is the key to joy. And this joy is all because of Him!

Have a great weekend, and live life intentionally TODAY!

*This post is part of the Catholic Blogger’s Network June 2013 Link-Up Blitz.

Embracing Our Vocations: The Key to Joy

8 Feb

work-life balance

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sometimes pursuing dreams can be selfish.

We may be so focused on achieving what we want to accomplish so that we can make more money, be recognized, feel valued, etc., that we risk damaging relationships and destroying our faith.

So, how do we know when our dreams are good or when they are detrimental to us or others?  I think the answer comes when we take a look at what it means to have a vocation.

The past few days especially, I have been thinking about this quite a bit.  It’s been a consistent topic of conversation between my husband and me as we navigate what God is calling us to do.  And guess what?  I received a newsletter from DynamicCatholic.com this past Saturday with a special message from Matthew Kelly regarding this exact thing.  Here is what he wrote:

The Peace and Joy of Unique Ability

A few nights ago my little girl, Isabel, came into my office at home after her bath. With a huge smile, she walked over, grabbed my phone, held it to her ear, and said, “Call me, daddy!” I played along for a few minutes and then she came over, got up into my lap, buried her head in my chest and gave me a big hug. It was one of those times when I was able to be completely in the moment… and I was happy.

If I think back a few years, I was not so happy. I wasn’t unhappy. I loved my work, but something was missing. I didn’t have the deep peace and joy I have today. What was missing? Vocation. We talk a lot about it, but too often our talk is sterile and dispassionate. But vocation really is a thing of beauty. It is that thing that helps us make sense of everything. It is the feeling of finally being at home in our own lives. It is that place where your unique ability explodes usefully. It is the thing of great worth.

It also requires tremendous work.

How are you doing with your vocation? This Lent, I would like to encourage you to either search more rigorously for your vocation or give your vocation another look and recommit to it. Take it to the next level.

The world and the Church need more people who love life and live it with passion and purpose. Vocation animates us – brings us to life. Vocation fills us with a peace and joy that is immeasurable if we embrace and dedicate ourselves to our call.

Pretty powerful stuff!  Being an involved parent and spouse requires a lot of sacrifice, but it is also extremely fulfilling! This is exactly why my husband Adam tells people that he is the happiest that he’s ever been!  I’m sure the same can be said for anyone who has responded to God’s call for their life.  This is where we find our purpose, passion, and as Matthew Kelly stated, “peace and joy.”

Maybe, though, you are still saying “What is a vocation or how do I know what my vocation is?”  I did a quick little Google search to find a definition and stumbled upon the website Vocation.com.  While it is geared to those contemplating religious life, I found a great little article worth sharing titled, Is it a vocation or a job or a profession?  Below are a few paragraphs…

[…] when we use the word vocation we introduce a vertical dimension into our life, especially into our thinking process and decisions, since the point of reference when we talk about vocation is God’s will – what we believe he is calling us to do with our life, the purpose for which he created us as it relates to the salvation of our own soul and the salvation of others. So a vocation is not something you switch out of on a whim, since it is not something you go into lightly. In following a vocation the main question is: What does God want? and not: What do I prefer? So it would be a major mistake to approach a vocation to the priestly or consecrated life, or to marriage, thinking only of ourselves and not being willing to commit ourselves to it, “for better or for worse” because we know God wants us to see it through.

And so, if there is ever a conflict between our profession and our vocation, it is always the vocation that has to win. A married person who knows that a career opportunity that opens up to him will most probably destroy his marriage must opt for his marriage vocation even if the price is his career. A baptized doctor who risks losing his license if he refuses to do certain immoral procedures will follow his Christian vocation and even at the cost of his medical career. A priest who is a great success in a particular field of ministry and is asked by his bishop to serve in a different area must follow his priestly vocation which includes obedience to his bishop, rather than his “success” in a particular field.

I think the key when evaluating our dreams, is to always be sure that our aspirations are under the umbrella of our vocation.  Just as the article above mentions, if our goals are at the expense of living out our vocation, then they must be abandoned or reconstructed.

For us personally, the re-working of goals is why many of you may have been wondering why Adam’s website isn’t up yet or why we haven’t been promoting any new songs.  In addition to a lack of ample time, we have been going through a process of identifying priorities, finding nuggets of truth and wisdom, and assessing how everything fits in with our vocation of helping each other get to heaven and raising holy children.  I firmly believe that God wants to use Adam’s musical talents to reach people, but just how that all is going to happen  is still in the works!  I have already seen how much grace and peace he has given us especially in the past year, so even though the road ahead is a mystery, I have no doubt that we are on the right path.

When we stop trying to do things our own way and embrace God’s plan for our life, we will find true joy that is unattainable anywhere else!

Tim Tebow: Too Radical? (January’s Dreamer in the Spotlight)

15 Jan

Tim Tebow - Credit: Jeffrey Beall on Flickr.com

Earlier this week, when I woke for my daughter’s 4 am feeding, I started thinking about Tim Tebow.  Why? I have no idea.  Maybe it had something to do with the recent playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers combined with a brief article that I read the night before regarding his response to quarterback Jake Plummer stating he wanted him to limit the Jesus talk.  (This happened back in November and Adam had sent me a video link of the interview, but I forgot to watch it.  Click here to read about Tebow’s response – amazing!)  All I know, is that a lot of connections and revelations were going on in my mind at a time I am usually half asleep…

As I was thinking about these things, I realized that Tim Tebow would be the perfect person to feature for this month’s Dreamer in the Spotlight post.  He, without a doubt, is focused on doing whatever God’s will is for his life and is not fazed by what others’ say about him.  He was told he wouldn’t be successful in the NFL, but look where he is right now in only his second year.  He has people who talk trash about him, but he continues to possess a noticeable joy and unashamedly expresses his faith.  He does a lot of volunteer work and has his own Tim Tebow Foundation.  He has worked hard and kept his priorities in order.

Later that same morning, when I was getting ready for work, I noticed a quarter on the counter in the bathroom.  I picked it up and looked at the front to see the words that I already knew were printed there: “In God We Trust.” I don’t think it is a coincidence that the NFL is at its peak in popularity right now and God is working through a Heisman trophy winning quarterback to turn America’s attention back towards Him.  Adam told me that he heard that more people watched last weekend’s wildcard playoff game between Denver and Pittsburgh than any NFL game last season, besides the Superbowl.  In addition, so many people started researching verse John 3:16 that it trended on Google.  (And no, I don’t think the 316 total passing yards or 31.6 average yards per pass are coincidences either.)

Is Tim Tebow too radical?  I think it says a lot about the state of our country, when a man is getting so much attention for publicly giving God gratitude for all his blessings and for doing so many self-less acts.  It says many of us Christians aren’t radical enough.   We aren’t shining bright enough and unafraid to live a life uncommon.  Tebow has been an inspiration to those of us who haven’t had enough courage to stand up for our faith or pursue our dreams.  Some of you reading this may be thinking that I’m too radical right now.  If believing that God has a plan for each one of us and that miracles do happen makes me extreme, then yes, I’m radical – and proud of it!  I need to continue to step up my level of faith and “radical-ness,” especially after reading Psalm 34.

Below are some quotes and verses that came into my mind in the midst of thinking about all this Tebow stuff…

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” -Basil King

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

“With God, all things are possible.” -Matthew 19:26

Tim Tebow should give each of us the confidence to not be afraid to show others who we truly are.  We all have talents that God has given us to make the world a better place.  We all have been given a role to aid humanity.  Tebow has definitely been an inspiration to Adam to be bolder and work harder.  He wrote a song last summer, simply and powerfully, titled, “Jesus.”  I woke Adam up after my 4 am revelation to tell him that I felt God was wanting him to share this song.  So please check out the YouTube video “Jesus” by Adam Lee and you’ll see what I mean…

God bless!