Is it Worth It?

Recently I was meeting with someone and we started talking about personal struggles and goal setting. I really like the AA mantra of Living Live One Day at a Time. However, my twist on that is that we have to set goals and plan for the future and then take it one day at a time. It’s kind of like climbing a mountain; you look up every once in awhile but you need to focus on the steps in front of us. I think we all have something that we might struggle with or want to set a goal for  whether it be addictions (alcohol, drugs, food, shopping etc), health issues, getting exercise or whatever your challenge might be. Getting through those struggles and achieving the goal can be hard. I like to use the example of my excursion to the frozen lighthouse in January. It was a long walk over some pretty slippery icy conditions. I really had to focus on where I was going because of the unstable footing. Every once in awhile I would look towards the lighthouse just to keep my eye on my goal. As I got closer, things got a little more treacherous. Some people decided they had went far enough. I started asking some people that I knew had been to the end…”Is it worth it,” I asked. Overwhelmingly I heard YES! That gave me the push and encouragement to push on. And yes….as you can see from my pictures, it was worth it!! Now isn’t that how a lot of things work? We look to those who have already traveled the path we are on. It might be your pastor, a group leader, a fitness trainer, someone in a career you have dreamed of, do you think they believe it it worth it? Look to those who have walked the path before us and don’t miss out on any adventure. Yes, you might have to work for it, because that is how achieving goals works; we have to put a little effort in. So tell me, what is something you have wanted to do? Do you know anyone you can ask, is it worth it?

Julie Lighthouse 2 Julie at lighthouse

Peace,

Julie

Adventures!

DSC_8688I have to admit that I am a bit of an adventurer. Especially if I think I am going to capture a good picture. I think that I shared in the past how many back problems and ultimately surgery I experienced. After being in the hospital for four days, I went to the chiropractor and I said I will do anything you say without question to make this better and not have it happen again. He laughed…and said, “you will forget. You will get better and forget you said that.” I swore I wouldn’t!!

Today I wanted to see if the pictures that had been posted of the Lighthouses on Lake Michigan were “real.” So my trusty camera and I headed off. (Note the athletic shoes and lack of hat in this picture as I was so excited to go I left both in my hotel room.) Nothing was going to stop me though!! I was going to get some cool pictures (and I did)! First I didn’t see the “close” parking and probably walked a mile up the beach. The closer I got to the walkway going out to the lighthouse, the more excited I got as I could see ice balls, snow/sand drifts and HUGE ice piles and icicles!! (Did I also mention at this point that I also forgot to go to the bathroom before setting out on this adventure!!) It was beautiful and I started out towards the lighthouse at the end. The walk wasn’t easy, but I kept moving on. I wasn’t alone, there were a lot of other brave souls with cameras. The closer I got to the end, the more anxious I was to get there, and truthfully, forgot about having to go to the bathroom!! I got to the lighthouse and asked if it was worth getting around to the front…I was told YES!

There were mounds of ice…but I hadn’t come this far to stop. So I carefully….carefully started moving around the lighthouse which was pretty much solid ice. I have to laugh, because at the point I was crawling and sliding around the ice, my chiropractor’s words popped into my head!! I wanted to call him then and say, “you were right,”  but it was too dangerous. After crawling up and sliding down, getting pants and gloves wet….I was there! Yahoo, I had made it! I enjoyed watching the ducks dive and swim. It was probably one of the most awesome and craziest things I have done. (Please don’t tell my doctors!!!) I made it back safe and sound, a little wet, a little cold, and with some sore muscles, but it was worth every minute!

I think adventures are good for us. A little exploring, a little bit of “pushing” ourselves to do something different. I wish my sister could have been there with me. It would have made it complete and we could have had some good laughs. I encourage you to think about what adventure you could go on! I doesn’t have to be crawling over mounds of ice over Lake Michigan…but what could it be? Let us know what you pick!!

Living Frozen

Julie

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Finding Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”         Philippians 4:11-13

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Recently, Jules sent me this picture with the message, “Don’t you wish you were me!”  I have to admit, I was a little envious when I saw this picture because this has been my view for much of the summer:

IMG_2607     I have spent a lot of time driving the girls to various activities and commitments this summer.  We are fairly conservative about the amount of activities they are involved in, but multiply the trips by two girls and it can add up(I feel for those of you with large families!).  I have been known to grumble about all of this driving from time to time, but I started thinking more about it and realized that although it may not always be the preferred way to spend my day, it is the season of life I am in right now.  I want to try to step back and be more thankful, and as the verse above states, find contentment no matter the circumstances.   Thankfully, I have not had to do without food or shelter, but sometimes I find myself  struggling to find contentment in the daily responsibilities that frankly are not the same as floating down a peaceful river in a kayak!

     These trips in the van may not be as serene as the kayak adventure, but I can find contentment in them.  I think it is all in how I look at things. If I focus on the positive, I think I will find more contentment.  As many wise people who have gone before me on this parenting road say,” These years go by too quickly, enjoy every minute!”

     While we are in the car, I am able to sneak in conversations with oldest daughter, who has to listen because she is trapped!  Some of our most interesting conversations happen in the car.  Little one also enjoys chatting up a storm, knowing I am available to listen. I am even able to make our little pup’s day when I let him enjoy the thrill of a car ride with the family!  I am thankful I have two healthy girls who find joy in extra-curricular activities and I am thankful we are able to provide them with these opportunities.  I know these times with the girls are fleeting and I am determined to make the most of them.  I have also discovered our local library has a great collection of books on CD that I listen to while driving around town.  I have read more books in five minute increments than I ever thought was possible!   It is even more relaxing when I include a hot cup of tea for the road!

     The last part of the this verse states, “…I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”  The challenges I am talking about in this post do not even come close to some of the hard times I have faced in the past or many of you are facing currently.  I think it is important to remember that no matter what circumstances you find yourself in right now, happy or challenging, you can do all things through our gracious Lord who will give you strength!

How about you?  Do you struggle to find contentment?  I would love to hear from you and how you deal with this in your daily life.

Blessings,

~Jen