fortygirl

FortyGirl…that’s me! This blog is about a Christian wife, mother and educator who is working on being a better person. This is my very own personal self-improvement journey! I will share my successes, situations (so much better than saying challenges), and any other funny or serious issues that will come up along the way. I am an educator who absolutely believes we MUST be life-long learners…that is what keeps us young! So, the journey begins…here we go….

Prayer Warriors Needed…Immediately

All you have to do today is turn on the television and you are bombarded with negativity. I have this image that God is looking down from his throne on high, and is shaking his head as he observes the events taking place in our nation, and across the globe. We have violent protests, we have police officers getting shot and under public scrutiny, we have a terrorist organization terrorizing the world, Christians are under attack across the world, human trafficking is alive and well in this world. Our country is polarizing, our world is polarizing and it is scary! I truly worry about the future, not so much for me, but for my son, my nephews, our youth as a whole.What is going on???  We need prayer! We need action!

The beauty of this country is that you have a right to peaceful protest…peaceful. Now, our nation has a history of violence, as does the world in general, but what happened to learning from past history. I remember hearing in school “history always repeats itself”, well, at that time I wasn’t so sure, but I now know how true that statement is!

In conversations with people I am amazed at the fact that some people truly have no idea what is going on in the world. We are in the midst of an election for the next President, and many people do not know specifics about the candidates. They do not know what is happening in the world today, but can tell me what is happening on the latest reality show! Seriously! It is time to get engaged in reality! On the flip side I have had people say, “I’m just not going to vote or I will just write someone in on the ballot”. Come on…take a stand for one candidate or the other, after you get the facts, but don’t just remain silent by not voting, or writing in some name that doesn’t stand a chance. Get involved! Have an educated voice, Pray about it!!!

Our nation is hurting, our citizens are hurting each other and pulling away from each other, and we must take action to reunify. We need Prayer Warriors! We need Prayer Warriors that will pray every day for healing for our country, our world. We need Prayer Warriors that pray for our country’s leaders, future leaders, our people. We need prayer Warriors to heal hearts, mend families, cure addictions, bring about personal peace. God is listening!

As a Prayer Warrior you will be drawn, like a magnet, to make a change. Get involved locally, donate whether it is time, money or both. Support a cause, share the message of Christ. Now, I am the first one to say I am not comfortable approaching strangers, as I am not even comfortable praying in front of a group of people, but that is the beauty of being a Prayer Warrior. You do not need to approach strangers or pray out loud…this can be done privately, and as for sharing your faith, and God’s message…that can be done through your actions.

I will tell you I am working on the praying in front of people, and talking with strangers, remember taking action…baby steps. I took a leap of faith and began a book study at church, and I am preparing to lead another one. I have shared the books with co-workers and friends as well. Taking action can start out small. I promise you will find it easier and easier as you continue to take those small leaps of faith.

Stop and reflect today. What can you do to make a difference? Change does in fact start with us. Will you join me, and encourage others, to become a Prayer Warrior?

Here is a prayer to get you started…

Dear Lord, you are aware of what is happening in the world, and specifically in our nation. Please put your hand on me and lead me to help bring a positive change. Please heal the hearts of those hurting. Please refocus the eyes of our nation back on you. Please unify the citizens of this great nation, and please place in the office of President the candidate that represents you and your values, and will lead our country being guided by you, Lord.

In Jesus’ name…Amen

Welcome Prayer Warrior! God IS listening!

 

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The Fabulous Life of…

In this day and age it is so easy to take a look at your life and think that you must have more, more, more. One click of the television remote and you can have your pick of reality television shows. The sad reality is most people know more about what is going on with the latest reality show, but have no idea what is happening in our country…the world. You would think with reality shows being so prevalent, people would be more concerned about, ahem…reality. With all that we are inundated with it is so easy to get caught up thinking that what you see on television is truly a reflection of that person’s life.

I have even found myself thinking, if only…I had a better body, a bigger home, more confidence, a husband who whisked me away on trips around the world, if I made more money, if my husband made more money, if I was a better mother, a better cook. Whew! The list can go on and on, but you know what I have to pause and remember? I am truly blessed! I have a loving and gracious God who has blessed me when I have not deserved it. He has guided me through challenging situations time and time again. He has blessed me with ALL that I need. The Fabulous Life of…ME, really is a reality!

I think for women it is especially easy to get caught up in the comparison game. It is easy to think that the woman standing next to us in line must have a better life than we do, or the woman on the latest reality show must have a better life because, after all, have you seen her home?  Stop! All that comparison does is tear at you. The negative self-talk does nothing to make you feel better, to lift you up.

I must be honest, lately I have struggled comparisons. I have found myself over analyzing my life, questioning decisions I have made in my life, and the list goes on. Maybe it is hormones, maybe it is mid-life :), I truly do not know, but I have felt down about a lot of things. I have to shift out of this though, because I am a woman who is blessed beyond belief. I am married to a husband who still thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread, blessed with an amazing son, parents who are going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year, a career in a field I love, good health, not only for me but my family members, and on and on. So, why on earth am I spending time focusing on what others have? Something for us to remember too…someone out there is looking at our lives and thinking we have everything together too. Isn’t life ironic?

I have always been a believer, but now I am trying to really dive into what that means. Sound funny? Well, I am trying to learn more about God’s word, surround myself with people who are Christians as well, get involved in church, make sure that my son is involved in church. In a nut shell I am trying to live a better life, looking up, not around. I am joining bible book studies, I have led a book study, I am reading Christian focused books, praying often, trying to simply be more of a Christian. My big goal is to read the Bible. That being said, I need to be honest about that. I have tried to read the Bible and have gotten so confused by the language of the bible…”Thee this and Thou that”, all the more reason to get involved in church, begin reading the Bible and feeling comfortable to go to my pastor and ask questions. I have got to step out of my comfort zone.

The other step in my walk as a Christian is less comparison, more focus on helping those around me, loving my family and being grateful. Grateful for the blessings that God has already blessed me with, continues to bless me with, all of this when I am not worthy of his constant forgiveness and blessings. What an amazing God we serve! How loved we all are! No need for comparison…we are ALL loved unconditionally. Whew! What a true relief! Thank you, Lord! We must each celebrate The Fabulous Life of…You and Me!

Stop for a minute and pray…Lord, please help me to stop comparing myself to others. Help me to stop looking around and help me to look up. Thank you for the blessings you have graciously given me, and I ask that you help me to look to you to address the areas of my life that need work. Always looking to you for answers, not others, and not through comparisons. That being said, help me to not judge another, because I truly have no idea of their journey. Amen.

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Taking a Leap of Faith

Gosh! it has been awhile since I last posted. Time has flown by, and things have been rather hectic. The past 6 months I have faced my share of challenges, some that have downright brought me to my knees, praying knees that is. Through all of the challenges, I prayed, even quoted scripture, and in the end know that his hand directed the outcome…it required me taking that leap of faith and trusting…in Him.

One example of taking a leap of faith…I kept getting a gnawing feeling, a push, if you will, that I needed to lead a book study, get involved in my church. So, I took that leap of faith. I spoke to my pastor about my thought, I prayed about it, and next thing I know I was signed up to lead a women’s book study. The book I chose, “More Than a Good Bible Study Girl” by Lysa TerKeurst. The book was shared with my by a dear friend, and after reading it twice I felt it was a book I related so well with, I knew other women would too.

Now, let me be clear, I have never done anything like this. I have not read the Bible, I do not know scripture so easily that I can quote it on a moment’s notice. Putting it plainly, this leap of faith was way out of my comfort zone…to say the least. I also am definitely a Christian in the works, shall we say. Regardless, I felt the push and knew it is what God wanted me to do.

The first night of class I entered my classroom and found my self surrounded by the pastor’s wife, her mother, a former school principal and retired pastor’s wife, my own mother, just to name a few. Needless to say, I felt inferior. My lack of Bible knowledge suddenly caused my anxiety level to increase…drastically. May I also say that the books for the study, that I had ordered well in advance, had arrived, but were the wrong books. Good grief! I needed a scripture and a prayer immediately…this was an emergency! So, I gathered myself and read the first couple of chapters out loud to the ladies. You know what was so interesting…people never get too old to be read to. Each of the ladies sat back in their chairs and just listened. As I read, I would stop and ask questions. Before I knew it the first class was over.

Each week, as I faced challenges at my job, I found this class to be rewarding to me. I was tired each week and wanted to go home, but I would arrive at class greeted by smiles and support from the ladies in my class. I can honestly say I got more out of the class than those ladies probably did. I was the youngest member of the class, and yet I was leading. As we moved through the chapters, what I learned is that women suffer from the same issues and concerns. I listened to women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s talk about their challenges as women, and you know what? Their concerns and challenges were similar to my own!

As I led this book study, it became so clear to me that women need to spend more time lifting each other up and less time tearing each other down. Regardless of our age, we still are women with similar questions and concerns. It was so refreshing to walk into a room full of women who were willing to share their stories. We bonded, connected, and I know leading that class has made a difference in my life. All of this because I heeded God’s desire, and I took that Leap of Faith!

I am preparing to put myself out there to lead another class very soon, and I know that I will be blessed yet again. My encouragement to you is to take that Leap of Faith…get out there! With God leading you…blessings will follow.

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What Do You Mean I Am Just a Human?

This week was the week I found out that I am a just (sigh)…a human. If you have read some of my recent blog posts you already know I wrote about a surgery that I recently had. The surgery was a complete hysterectomy, ovaries and all. Needless to say, pretty major on the list of surgeries. The recovery period is 6-8 weeks and that is just the overall physical healing part. That does not include the stamina recovery and hormone balancing aspect. They say it is months before you truly feel like yourself. Which brings me to the profound truth that has recently come to me…

I was told when I had my surgery that there were restrictions…no lifting of anything as heavy as a gallon of milk, no pushing and pulling, lots of rest, limited work, if any, you get the picture. Well, how do I word this…I pushed myself thinking…”I am a superhuman!”…I guess in my mind I was (drums play)…”Super Forty-girl”!!!

Then last week, I feel a little pain, it continues over the next couple of days, and by Saturday night I am miserable! I immediately panic because no matter what I do I cannot get rid of the pain and discomfort. My mind races…blockage? Complication? What is going on? Needless to say, I ended up in the ER. The minute I stated to the doctor that I had surgery as recent as four weeks ago, I knew I was in for the long haul. This was not going to be a simple evaluate and discharge. Now, I am an educator, and I am sitting in the ER the night before the first day of school. Now, not only was it the first day of school for my school, but for my son as he starts First grade, so…emotions set in as I was told I was being admitted. The more frustrating part was that I put myself here. I pushed and pushed myself working to get ready for the school year, did not get enough rest after the first couple of weeks, because I began to feel better. I did not eat a bland diet…so, yes, I am responsible. Goodness, is that hard to admit!

As the doctors came in to visit me, and the tests were run, the message I was being given was one I simply could not process…what do you mean I can’t do it all? What do you mean I need more rest? What do you mean I can’t work ten hour days yet? What to you mean I can’t eat just whatever I want? What! I can’t leap tall buildings in a single-bound? You can’t be serious? UMMMM…they were serious! I also found out that I don’t control anything…God is always in control, and in this situation my body had a big say in the situation as well. My body was telling me “I need a break, a rest, a chance to fully heal, and you are pushing it”. I got the message…I am not superhuman (long sigh).

As I laid in my hospital bed and pondered my situation, I realized that my health, your health, is so valuable. To not take care of our body is simply put…dumb. I also realized that not taking care of ourselves does not just impact us. It impacts those around us. My family was worried, my son especially did not like visiting his mommy in a hospital. My husband and parents worried, and lectured me I might add. The folks at my school were concerned, and stated “we need you, so you better take care of yourself!”. I realized I impact a lot of people; therefore, I needed to take care of me, not just for me, but for the people around me. Does that make sense? I also realized that yes, I am a human, and humans need rest, nutrition, and as much as we don’t like it…to follow doctor’s orders. I am listening from here on out.  So, my message to you is to take care of yourself, because YOU matter to so many! YOU matter to more people than you even know. Oh, and by the way, you are not superhuman either! Does that surprise you? It sure surprised me!

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Life-changer…Yes!

Well, I had my surgery…the Life Changer as I call it. Let me say, I cried throughout the weekend leading up to the surgery…just trying to wrap my mind around the whole idea of the surgery…a total abdominal hysterectomy including ovaries. I knew it was the right decision, but still struggling with the woman side of me…does that make sense? It is hard to explain to anyone not facing a surgery such as mine, but my feelings were mine nonetheless. I have a beautiful son, a caring husband, and doing all that I can to make sure I am around to watch my son grow-up, and be a partner to my husband drove my ultimate decision to have the surgery. I want to have a healthy active life for my family.

The morning of the surgery to say I was full of emotion is an understatement. It made me feel better when my nurse told me that everyone cries when this type of surgery is about to happen. It is just a very emotional surgery…

After waking up from the surgery, pain and feeling as if I have been hit by a truck is putting it mildly! However, I am now heading into week three after the surgery, and I am on the mend. I have little energy, but the doctor says that takes time…more than eight weeks to be exact! I have started bioidentical hormone therapy the day after my surgery, which has kept my hormones from crashing completely. Now don’t get be wrong, I get teary-eyed, and my hormones are not where they need to be, but my body has just endured a complete shock. The great news is, I still feel like me, which I was really worried about. I thought this surgery would inherently change me, but thankfully it has not, well not really. My doctor says I will feel like a new woman, and that the condition I had could only be treated with the surgery I had. So,the right choice was made, the journey to get well is going to be slow, but good things are on the horizon.

Now, I know I said the surgery did not inherently change me, but I still believe this surgery was a life changer, why? Because while I have had to stop myself and rest, I have also had time to reflect. I have reflected on myself as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, Christian, friend, leader…many aspects of myself. I have had time to review what I need to work on, focus on, and…let go. In the challenge of this whole process, one thing I am realizing is that life is too short, health is too important, and every moment matters. I need to quit focusing so much on tomorrow, and experience and appreciate the moment.

As people have sent me flowers, cards, well wishes, brought meals, stopped by to visit, even bringing gifts for my son…I am moved by the genuine goodness of people, something that I think I may have been questioning prior to this life-changing event. God truly does work in mysterious ways, and many times life events show us so much more and become about so much more than we ever thought.

My surgery was a life changer, one that has made an impact on my life in many ways, but a new journey has just begun!

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Who Gets The Reward? YOU!

We, as a culture, tend to be focused on getting more. You know it’s true! As a matter of fact marketing strategies are set on that human feeling of comparison and having more. Have you ever thought the following…I will be happier if I looked like that person, had that car, was able to buy that or go there? Sad to say, but these thoughts have crossed my mind a time to two, well, maybe three or four…you get the picture!

Well, yesterday my husband and son had just finished with soccer practice, and we were on our way to dinner with my parents. As we were leaving the soccer park we saw an elderly lady pulled over on the side of the road. She looked distressed, so my husband pulled over to check on her. She had gotten lost trying to find her church. Normally the church bus picked her up, but tonight they had not. My husband sought more information as to where her church was, and sure enough she was headed in the opposite direction. It was a that point whatever decision we made was going to make a difference…we could have just given her directions and started on our way to dinner, or we could make a better choice that would curtail our plans a tad. We made the better choice…I knew where the church was, and we were heading that direction for dinner. I am so proud of my husband because he cared enough to stop and check on the lady, and he offered to drive her vehicle and follow me to the church.  When we arrived at the church, another lady in the parking lot came over to check on the lady. I am sure it had to do with some stranger driving the woman’s car, being led by another car with strangers in it. Both ladies were so apprciative…truly appreciative.

It was in that moment that I felt a great feeling…we had made a difference in another person’s life by changing our plans and taking time to help someone else…someone in need. I was proud of my husband for his caring, proud that we had taken the time, and I also realized we had just set an example for our 6-year-old son watching from the backseat. While the lady we helped was thankful…WE got the reward! Our evening was made better because we took the time to help someone else. The focus was not on us, it was on someone else.

That right there, my friends, is the key…helping others. Taking the time to be aware of what is happening around you, and offering to help someone else. In other words, take the focus off of yourself for a while. The bonus? Our son was able to witness his parents showing care and concern for another human being, in a safe environment, of course.

Last night the reward was ours…simply because we agreed to take time to help someone else. Who will you help today? The reward can be yours…I guarantee you will feel great!

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Angels Among Us

Goodness! It has been a long time since I have written as FortyGirl. Well, with the new year I have done some reflecting…as I am sure you have been as well. It is funny how a change of the year can cause deep reflection, and at the same time motivates us to set goals.

Well, my new year started out in a way that has given me an even deeper perspective and cause for reflection, even a change of attitude. My goal this year is to look at humanity through a more positive lens. Now, I know this won’t be easy, simply because as humans we tend to focus on the negative…just watch the news. However, after my New Years Eve and New Year’s Day, I think seeing the positive just may be a lot easier. By now, you are probably wondering…what happened? Well, here we go…

On New Year’s Eve we always get together with my mom and dad. My husband, son, myself and my parents usually start the evening with dinner, then we like to go listen to the music at a local town square. The town square we visit is located in a rather large retirement community known as The Villages. No, my husband and I are not retired, but the nice thing about The Villages is the music is nice and the atmosphere is a friendly environment in which we feel comfortable taking our son. Probably more information than you needed about our choice of location, but anyway…

As we were walking up to the square, my son was being a typical 6 year old…bobbing and weaving while walking down the sidewalk, as he was very excited about New Year’s Eve. My dad and mom were walking behind him. My dad tripped on my son’s foot and began to fall, and fall he did. Now, I have not ever seen my dad look vulnerable…not ever. But when he fell, he fell on his face. His face was covered in blood. At this point, we had no idea how bad he was injured. Here is where I know there are angels among us…two complete strangers fell to their knees, one on each side, and began to comfort my dad…and us. As my husband called for an ambulance, they made sure my dad stayed awake, they continued to talk with him, held his hands, etc. These two individuals, who were out to enjoy New Year’s Eve, took care of a complete stranger and his family. They were amazing. I only know the name of one of the individuals, a wonderful man named Jerry, and the other individual was a fabulous lady who is a retired PE teacher from Wisconsin. I do not know her name but I am forever grateful to both individuals. They stayed with us until my dad was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. They are truly angels! As we arrived at the hospital, we did not know what to expect. I am happy to say…my dad does not have any broken bones, no concussions…simply some bad abrasions and a sprained wrist…Thank God!

That was my New Year’s Eve, now for my New Year’s Day…as I am shopping for items for a bridal shower I am throwing in February, I apparently left my wallet sitting on a counter in the store. I realized I had lost my wallet at another store during check-out. I hit the panic button! As I went back through my steps, I contacted the previous store, and someone, another angel, had turned in my wallet-all contents in tact! I am so thankful to that unknown person as well.

So, in less than 24 hours I was touched by the work of angels. Now, believe me or not..your choice, but as a Christian I have always known there are angels, but I can honestly say I have witnessed the work of angels, and have experienced their works first hand. Who knows…You just may be someone’s angel. You may have had an impact on someone who has moved you into the angel ranks….God always has a plan! Many times we do not have any idea what is plan is, but know this…there ARE angels among us! Thank God for that!

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Father’s Day…post about a special memory

Father's Day…post about a special memory.

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Quote to ponder…

Quote to ponder….

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Blessings…

As I sit here drinking coffee, watching my son play on the floor, hubby sitting nearby, beautiful red Cardinal perched outside on the patio, I am reminded of the blessings of God.  My job is a stressful one, but one that I truly love. I must say that with the stress of the job many times I can get stuck looking at the negative and missing the blessings in front of me. Today, I am trying to take a moment to truly focus on the positives.  Yes, there are people in this world that drive us crazy, the economic situation of our country is a mess, but that being said, the world around us  still has so much beauty.  There are beautiful people in the world still too, and I do not mean in a Hollywood sense, by any means.  There are people that still hold the door open, allow you to go ahead of them in line, give you a smile, and on and on.  I have found that if I give positives I tend to get them back.  I am sure most of us already know that to be true, so it is not as if I am saying anything profound.  But, do we really stop and think about it?  When I leave the house I try to send positives into the world.  If I am going to wear a cross around my neck, then I should live by  His principles, right? People should see Him in me, right? 

In the scope of my job, I have tried to make sure I lead by His example. I have prayed for my staff, prayed for my school, prayed for my students, prayed for their parents. Many say that prayer in not allowed in schools, I disagree!  Prayer is alive and well.  It may not be directed over the PA system, but I can guarantee you prayer takes place in classrooms.  I pray on my way to work for guidance and to make the right decisions for the greater good of my school and community.  Do I fall short still?  Of course, after all, I am human and making mistakes still happens and always will, but I will not give up. 

I hear people comment about the demise of society, and I have even made the comment, but then again, I imagine everybody at some time or another felt the same way.  I do believe that we must focus on interacting with each other in a positive way, and become a blessing to the world. One person can make a difference, and I am determined to make a difference.

 I sent an email to my staff yesterday, simple telling them how hard I know they are working, and that while they are not always thanked for their hard work and sacrifice, I have noticed. I also asked them to lift one another up, because we had members of our community that were struggling personally.  I had no idea that my staff needed to hear that as much as they did.  I had responses from them saying “I needed that” and many more. We highly underestimate the power we have as individuals.

 Imagine if each person, or the majority of people had the attitude they are going to go out and be a blessing to the world?  Our world would begin to improve drastically!  So, let’s get out there and become a beauty and blessing to the world! That smile you give just may be the smile that keeps someone going!

 

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