01 June 2020

I Am Anxiously Awaiting To Give You My Confession

I have a confession to make...

I am a worrier.  There. I said it. Phew! I can rest easy now right?!

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

I worry about so much. And I worry about worrying sometimes. I don't really put a whole lot of thought into my worry until it becomes full-blown anxiety.  I worry about finances. Food. Cleaning the house. My job. My kids. My husband. Our health. The need to lose weight. What we need and don't have. What we have and don't need. I could keep going for probably all of eternity. 

I have recently been reminded (because I have "learned" this already) that worry and anxiety (and even depression) usually arise from the need for control. *GASP!*  My husband is probably the only person who will tell you that I have control issues.  *GASP!* Most people see me as hardworking, organized, blah, blah, blah. He knows me pretty dang well.

While I'm not the most organized person ever, and can't say I'm the cleanest person ever, I spend so much time thinking about what will be and how I'm going to be prepared for it.  I lose so much now time, right here time, because I'm living years into the future. It's kinda like how people binge-buy toilet paper, milk, and bread while preparing to get through a disaster. It's not that everybody needs such large quantities of these things at the same time (large families do, though even when not disaster-prepping), but it's something they feel they can control. I think ahead, plan ahead, prep ahead. I can solve problems you didn't know you had. I've already packed a few extra things in my bag when I head out.

It's not wrong to think ahead and plan ahead. When it comes to emergency situations, it is advised to think of strange "what-if" scenarios so that you may be prepared to act accordingly. People who don't think about the "what-ifs" are less likely to respond appropriately in an emergency. This is why we have fire drills and talk to kids about how to be safe around strangers. If you don't think about it, you're not as likely to make the right choices.

So, how exactly do we keep worry in check?

Heh. That's the tricky part if you're a worry-wart like me.  I can't help but be convicted of my worry after reading Matthew 6.  The last 10 verses are all about worry. The birds don't go storing up food in barns (or their fridges) like we do, yet they don't go hungry. Flowers don't go shopping and they don't sew, yet they are clothed in beauty. You are so much more important to God than the birds and the flowers. Why are you so high-strung?! Yes, we need to earn money to be able to buy food and clothes. No, we don't need to stress over it. Yes, there are things we need to do to prepare for emergencies. No, we don't need to live in fear of what is not guaranteed to happen.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Well, I'm sure this all sounds good from some lady in the virtual interwebs who's got her life together and can talk about stuff that doesn't matter anymore.

Ha!  I'm not just some lady in the interwebs. I'm THE lady still struggling daily. It will probably be one of the many few things I will be fighting in this life for the rest of my life.  And it's not like I don't have proof in my own life that I'm taken care of (outside of my own control). I've got countless examples of how I held the world on my shoulders only for the solutions to not come from my own hands. 

What's something you've stressed over, only for it to turn out to not be as bad as you thought? Or for it to be resolved without your help?

Will you try to trust that not everything is under your control? Can you let go (even just a little bit)? If you're struggling with this, I urge you to talk to a friend about it. You can't carry it by yourself (which is something us worriers tend to do). Find someone whom you can trust, who will love you as you are, and work to help you be better. Without judgment.

You can even write it into your calendar so that you'll actually follow through. *wink*

10 March 2020

Charity Starts at Home

Have you ever heard of the phrase "charity starts at home"?  I have. It is often thought that this phrase means to mind your own family before you get into the affairs of others, but I have always taken it to mean something different.

To me, charity begins at home with me and my immediate family practicing how to love others outside of ourselves. Children should be learning how to respect adults and each other, what it means to give space, how to serve, etc. Adults should be refining these things as well as building patience. We know that sometimes family can be hard to deal with. So many personalities occupying the same space together will most certainly collide. However, being able to learn to live together will shape a person's ability to get along with others who have varying belief systems and rules.

Don't just take my word for it! Think about your home life growing up. What have you learned and practiced that you've been able to take with you out into the world in your adulthood? This applies to negative habits and traits as well. As around, your friends and family will also have input.  We know scientifically that we are products of both genetics and our environment (the old nature versus nurture!).

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I'm not saying that your family life has to be perfect. No arguing. No disagreements. Certainly not! Learning how to deal with differences and conflicts is what matters. Being humble, learning when to back down and when to stand up, and having a willingness to compromise are necessary skills in life. You can't change what you were born with, but you can make changes to the environment around you and you can be a positive influence on others (please be positive toward others!!!).

07 March 2020

Springtime Shenanigans

This is my favorite time of the year, weather-wise. I know...I've stated before that summer is my favorite time of the year, but I realize I don't like extremes (maybe it's old age trying to creep in). Fall is great and all, but I love the spring more (minus the windy and rainy parts). Don't even talk to me about winter... This is the time of the year when things start budding. You can see fresh, new life beginning. AAAAND you can wear t-shirts outside; no mummification *ahem* coat required.

I love to see the sun shining and the greenery.  In fact, every year I think about my container garden.  You know, the one that doesn't exist because I didn't plan for it early enough or gave up because things are costly.  I'm a low-budget kinda person and many things I want to do require a bit more than I'm willing/able to spend.  Thankfully, I continue to dream and think of ways to achieve my wishes without breaking the bank. This year, I'm going to do it! I will be scouting cost-efficient containers for my delicious "guests."  I plan to come up with a list of potential fruits, veggies, and herbs that would be easy to care for and affordable. What kinds of seeds I will purchase will depend on the types of containers I end up with. I realize I should have started this in the winter...but we'll see how this goes! I hope to put to use the book I received from a dear friend, Esther.  "The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible" has lots of great info on starting and maintaining your own container garden. You can check it out and other books like it here. (Don't worry, I'm not receiving any monetary benefit from you clicking the link.)

Another project I've decided to throw out there (to my husband's dismay...because I have so many great ideas, he can't pick the best one...yeah, that's it...) is that I want to update our bedroom.  We received a very nice queen bedroom set from my husband's parents in 2016. I believe it will continue to last many years with care, but it isn't our taste.  That issue has a lot more to do with the color of it, than the style. We both prefer lighter woods and are not so keen on cherry. Don't get me wrong, cherry is a beautiful hardwood, but we would like to brighten up our home. Furniture is expensive and I feel a bit remorseful wanting to get rid of something that was given to us by family, so this isn't something that I'm rushing into. I've thought about painting the furniture, but I'm giving more thought into vinyl wrap (as it's not permanent and there are no gaseous fumes). I love to do hands-on projects and this would be fun and rewarding. Going with a vinyl wrap would also mean I don't have to take everything apart and move pieces outside. Well, there is a bit of research that I need to do.

The most important item on this list of things-to-do is decluttering the house. This has been a big issue as I tend to hang onto things and not necessarily find homes for them or I tend to not place things back where they belong (the worst!).  This has been an ongoing struggle for me since I moved out of my parent's house. It was so much easier to just maintain my room!

To get going with this mountain of a task, I started creating lists for every room of the house. I want to keep track of things that we need, things we want, and what exactly needs to happen in each space. Getting organized really isn't so hard for me to do. I'm really great at coming up with plans and lists. It's just that I struggle with maintaining and finishing jobs started. I guess we can talk more about this in another post because there is something deeper involved with this kind of struggle.  However, I feel more able to get started when I've written down ideas and browsed the internet for inspiration.

Welp, my rambling is done for now!  I'm excited to think of new things to get into this season. I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty and learning more along the way!

Are there any things that you look forward to when spring comes? Maybe not if you have seasonal allergies that begin to show up around now. Do you have any advice or other ideas that I should consider?

02 January 2020

Name Change

Happy New Year!

This blog's name has changed. It's gone from "Publicly Assisted" to "Grace. Lavished."  There is no relation to the new year or resolutions.  I wanted to change the name for a while (but struggled).  "Publicly Assisted" was previously chosen because of the stigma that comes with assistance and welfare.  You are fooling yourself if you truly believe that any of the successes you have in life are gained solely from the fruits of your labor. You didn't birth yourself. Nor did you teach yourself to speak. You may have put the hard work in to earn so much of what you have, but there are other factors that contribute to your success. Sure, you worked hard on your resume and aced the job interview but it's up to the employer whether or not to hire you. Things happen the way they're meant to, not always how you want them to.

Then comes grace.  I try to remind my children of what grace and mercy are and how we are to give them freely to others. Mercy is when something you deserve is withheld. Being pardoned of wrongdoing instead of punished. Forgiven.  Grace is much like it. Grace is receiving something you didn't deserve. God lavishes us with grace. He continues to do so before we even think to acknowledge his existence.

This goes beyond assistance.  This is life. Abundantly. Something you can't earn. Something you'll never be worthy of, yet he just keeps on giving.

It is scientifically proven that having a heart of gratitude yields a positive outlook on life and a truly happy lifetime. Realizing your shortcomings and maximizing your thankfulness creates a more kind and less selfish you. You'll realize that you have so much, instead of being greedy and jealous of others.  Open your eyes to the grace being poured out on you all day every day.

Life is not fair.  If it were, we wouldn't be allowed to have it at all.

19 June 2018

Poverty in the United States

I had the pleasure of watching Queen of Katwe on Netflix recently.  It was an excellent movie.  It also made me think about poverty around the world.

In Queen of Katwe, you get a glimpse of life in a Ugandan ghetto.  I can't believe that residents have to pay rent for some of the so-called homes they lived in.  One room, dirt floors, and no proper windows and doors.  Not to mention the hot temperatures of Africa.

Poverty in the US looks a lot different than poverty in other countries.  Our poor can still get a free education, might have cars (or at least access to transportation), and can still have access to clean water and fresh food.  We have programs that will help people to get back on their feet and special housing assistance to cut down on homelessness.  I can't say that we don't have people in this country who live in unsanitary conditions.  I can't even say that we don't have people who are without food and clean water.  I am saying that poverty just isn't the same here.

Another thing that I have noticed was that women the movie who had extra money were more likely to have their hair done (be it braids, straightened, wigs, etc) and those who did not have the money typically wore their natural hair very short.  While a woman's hair in the US does not necessarily indicate wealth or social status, any and all styles may be achieved even if you have a small income.  Hair products are readily available for a variety of budgets and some products are considered personal necessities.

Nice clothing is another item that can be achieved here with little money.  Thrift shops, consignment stores, Freecycle, or clearance racks at big box stores offer so many options.  I personally rarely buy clothing from big box stores.  Most of my wardrobe was handed down or purchased from thrift stores.  For some who struggle to even shop in a thrift store, there are charities available that help to provide clothing.  There is no excuse for not having clothes here, while in other parts of the world some families go without clothing or even shoes.

I have to say that we really should consider the blessing it is to be in the United States.  We have access to so much.  It is even to the point where even the poor here can give to charity to help others around the world.  When your children grow out of their shoes and clothing, they can be donated.  Toys can be donated. If it's time to get a new pair of glasses and you still have the old frame, they can be donated. Certain household items may not go around the world, but they can also make an impact in the life of someone here in the States.  Bibles can also be purchased very cheap and shared (even dollar stores have Bibles for purchase).

There really is an abundance of resources here.  While I do not believe that everyone is meant to have the same things (not the same amount of money or lifestyle or opportunities), I do believe that we should all be content where we are (a future post will expand on this) and be willing to give regardless of financial status.

08 May 2016

The Mother Of Days

I have a certain discontent feeling about the Mother's Day. I don't believe I'm the only one. I'm sure women who have miscarried or who are unable to bear children or those who have lost their children through nightmarish means understand (to varying degrees) this feeling.

I don't get to raise my children. I don't get to hug them daily or tell them good morning daily. I get to watch them grow from afar as if they never belonged to me, but I still get the privilege to partake somewhat in their beautiful little amazing lives.

Even if things were different, Mother's Day wouldn't be a time for me to gloat in my fertility. No. I would still not get so excited about it as I'm more thankful for the blessings my children are to me, rather than my so-called right to be a mother. I do love to remind my mom that I'm glad she gave birth to me, though!

To the "Happy Mother's Day!" I respond with a "thank you," but I say in my heart "for what?" I gave birth. Yeah. But the real happiness comes from seeing what God has in store for my babies in the future.

I don't have the joy and pains of fully raising my kiddos, but I can't forget God's grace for their lives.

To those mothers who cannot bear or have lost their babies, I mourn with you and I pray for you. I also pray for mothers who have theirs. Some of us have been raised without a mother. We all need prayer. We also need to be reminded that all things happen according to God's perfect plan. Even the hurt and wrongdoings of others help to grow us.

I'm truly thankful that God is my all. He truly knows how I feel. Only He can turn my sorrow into praise. I hope that He will do the same for you.

25 November 2015

Do Dump Trucks Come in New???

I know a lot of things about dump trucks. You never want to be behind one, as they are ever so slow to get up to speed. They have like 60 gears and a switch for even more shifting action.  They haul a whole lot of stuff.  They're often found hanging around construction sites.  They're always very dirty and usually pretty dinged up.

Something that I've realized is that...I don't think I've ever seen a brand spanking new dump truck!  Do they even exist? Or maybe when you go to pick one out, you sign the paperwork and receive your key...BAM! it ages about 15 years as you pull out of the lot?!  I'm sure there is a "brand spanking new" dump truck salesman reading this and contemplating ways to hush me up, now that I think I may have figured out the secret.

Life is a lot like this, though.  How often do I sit back and realize that I missed something along the way and I can't figure out how I got here.  What happened?  Should I have seen this coming?  I've been doing a lot of contemplating lately.  We're in a tough spot right now.  I would love to have a dump truck right now that could just haul away the junk in our lives (and by "junk" I mean all the things that are making me sad right now) to a far, far away place.  Someplace where it will be blown up or buried (maybe blown up then buried?), never to be seen again.  Replaced with something new and useful. Something that I can feel better about.

I know that my heart is an idol factory, just like everyone else's (ya feel me, or nah? Actually, we could discuss that one later....).  I want to be able to rest in something tangible.  I like knowing that bills will be paid because we have enough money to pay them.  I don't like not knowing if rent next month will even get paid.  I like knowing that our jobs are secure and we can count on them.  I don't like wondering "how long will this last?".

I know what I should be doing...and I feel like it should be easy.  How can I put my trust in God, when I could be homeless, jobless, foodless, clothless, etc-less?  What does it mean to "be still"?

God brings each of us to this point (of course "this point" is different for each of us) in order to bring us closer to Him.  When we are at the point where we can no longer do for ourselves, we should be looking to Him.  Of course, that doesn't always happen (not for everyone and not usually right away)...we start working harder, take on 15 more jobs, go to other people or things for comfort and reassurance, but ultimately when you're broken, that's when you're supposed to remember that God is the one who has everything under control.  Not you.  Not ever you.

Proverbs 19:21 - [There are] many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

I don't know if I could be righteous like Job was in his sufferings (and I think he suffered way more in his life than I probably will), but I'm so thankful to be reminded that I don't have to be down in the dumps (ba dump cha!) because my God is God and He's all-powerful.  My mountains are just dinky little situations to Him. They are but a few grains of sand in His universe-sized dump truck (did I take the analogy too far?).

I must though, I can't wait to see where all this is going!  Whoo-wee!  I'm looking forward to eternity.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Matthew 19:26 - But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.