FLICK!!

Monday was a beautiful morning. I had returned to work after nine glorious days of vacation and came back to a world that was calm; no fires to put out at all. I thought, “Wow, this is so perfect.”

And then…my phone rang.

I looked over and saw the name. “Ugh.” was my natural mental response. I never know what I’m going to get out of this particular person. One day they’re sweet and friendly and then other days it’s all about pushing their weight around. As always, I answered with a very happy and friendly greeting.

Not even a hello out of them…just a direct get-to-the-point question. Yep, this was going to be a push-your-weight-around sort of call. They wanted something immediately and I couldn’t deliver on their terms. Even my other attempts to remedy the situation was not good enough. (Deep cleansing breath) I am dumbfounded, as I always am, by these type of conversations. Good grief…it is as if I am supposed to blink my magic eyes to make it all happen.

I mean, is it really that difficult to just be nice? Common sense tells me that I’m going to get a whole lot further when I treat others with respect. In some odd way, I just feel sorry for those that feel they need to act in this manner. It must be hard to have close friends if this is the pedestal they have themselves on.

Isn’t it amazing – and sometimes awful – the amount of power that words and attitudes can carry with them? They can literally make or break those that they come into contact with. In a matter of a minute they had turned my perfectly happy morning into complete irritation and anger. I was seething…and so begins the conversation between my mind and heart.

I’ll spare you the sordid details because what came out of my mind wasn’t nice at all. I am not one to allow people to control how I feel about myself, but I was ticked and wanted to linger there as my gift of knitting words together wielded around like a sword in my mind. But finally, the shield of my heart stepped up and overtook my mind and I just stood there. A decision had to be made. Which road was I going to take?

Our roads of choice come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it seems enormous, with mountains and valleys that seem insurmountable, like when a huge and difficult decision needs to be made. Sometimes it seems medium in size, with hills and windy roads, like when we’re being tantalized by something we desire that we know isn’t really good for us. And sometimes it’s small, with little speed bumps and flying pests that just wants to buzz around in your ear where it causes just enough irritation to ruin a moment.

My heart said, “You have the choice and power right here. You can allow this moment to invade the rest of your day, or you can flick the bug off of your shoulder, ride over the little speed bump, and carry on.” I knew the decision I would make. I decided to take the road less traveled. FLICK! Gone, just like that.

Sometimes it’s an in-your-face issue. But sometimes it can come on so subtle that we don’t even realize we’re allowing it to change the course of the road. We allow it to invade our personal space, our attitude and our thoughts. We allow it to ruin a perfectly good day.

Today will have more roads to face, but I’m alert. I choose to not allow people, things and circumstances to have that sort of control over me. Onward and Upward! FLICK!!

Who’s with me?!
Happy Tuesday, friends.

~CindyLu~

crossroads1

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Monday Morning Chat / September 8th

Today I return to…

Work. It’s been a wonderful and relaxing nine-whole-days of vacation. We spent time with family and friends, but much more importantly (sorry family and friends), time together…just the two of us…reflecting on what’s behind us, deciding about what’s right here in front of us, and dreaming about what’s out there in the great beyond. A good vacation is one where you feel like you truly had one – and we feel like we had a great one.

Healthy Living. Along with vacation, we threw a little bit of caution to the wind (okay…a lot) and decided to just have careless fun here and there with treats we love (can you say “ice cream?”). We decided that there wouldn’t be any guilt associated with it, but that we would just enjoy each and every little moment. No looking back, because we knew that this would be a little speed-bump in the mix of it all. When I hopped on the scale this morning, the reality was definitely there…but my thought was, “But wow…that was fun.”

Writing. Somewhere along the line, I just fell off the wagon. It’s like the words just flowed out of me and then….nothing, absolutely nothing at all. Hopefully you’ve noticed through reading other articles, that I am an encourager. I believe with all of my heart and soul that it’s my God-given gift. I have to admit that the death of Robin Williams shocked me beyond belief, because I just had no idea he suffered so much. But the thing that really threw me, was how so many jumped on the depression band-wagon. Now, I don’t mean that with any disrespect, because I know it’s a real thing. Even big encouragers, like me, have had their moments in the gutter. But it seemed like everyone who had ever suffered, whether in a big way or a small way, started hopping on board. All of a sudden the boards were filled with depressing messages, and people were discounting the encouragers of the world with messages that said, “Quit telling us that everything will be okay.” “Quit telling us that there’s always hope.” Seriously…I read these things in people’s comments on their FB pages.

Well, good grief…what does that leave for an encourager to say?! I was stumped and quite honestly, all of the sadness and gloom made my heart sad. I had no words because I felt that no one wanted to hear them anymore. It seemed that everyone just wanted the world to hear that they were depressed and they all just wanted to linger there.

To all of those that suffer from depression…my heart truly and compassionately goes out to you. I’ve had moments of depression and anxiety, so I know it can be quite debilitating. But, something within me has always been a fighter and I don’t want this life to entrap me and hold me down. So I fight back at life. I’m someone who clings to the smallest glimmer of light. It’s survival for me. And so…I can’t just turn my head and leave you laying there in your sorrow and grief. I must encourage because it’s what I do – it’s who I am. And so…God pricked my heart again and encouraged me to write. I figure, if just one person out there reads my random ramblings and feels encouraged for even a moment, well then…I have succeeded.

So here I am again. Ready to get back to work. Ready to get back to pursuing a healthy and simplified life. And ready to share the words that fill my heart with the hopes that they will fill yours.

Wishing you ALL a wonderful light-filled Monday!!
~CindyLu~

mondaymorningpeptalk1

Posted in The Monday Morning Pep Talk | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just a Bloglovin’ Fool

Please bear with me while I take this little commercial break.

Are you a bloglovin’ fool? Well…I am! So, I was really excited when I came across an article today about this new site. It’s like Pinterest for Blog Writers – and Blog Readers! One place to categorize all of the blogs that you LOVE to follow!

And speaking of blogging…

Coming in September – I’ve been tweaking my site and working on a new schedule for daily topics to chat about. So keep an eye out.

You can read more about this Bloglovin’ site on this article from The Daily Post.
Happy Blogging, friends.

PS: Be sure to look for me on the Bloglovin site.

coffeeandatypewriter3

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12772723/?claim=be72zgdqcvy”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Posted in The Blogging Writer In Me | Leave a comment

Friday Chats / July 25th

Friday…how do I love thee!

It was a busier than usual week for me. Last night I literally fell into bed at 9:30 p.m. If you know me well, you know that’s pretty early for me. I can often be a night owl as well as an early bird. On Monday, I was actually dreading much about the entire week. There was just too much going on. Much that felt, outside of my comfort zone. I had this feeling of anxiety that I couldn’t calm, yet, I couldn’t put my finger on the reason behind it. I think that after the evening event, my mind and body finally relaxed and so I crashed.

Last night I attended my bosses retirement party at a nice hotel here in town. He still has one more week in the office, but it’s beginning to settle in, that he’s leaving. I am so happy for him, yet, so sad to see him go. If you’ve ever been to this type of event, you know that it can become quite the roast. The CEO, President and a couple of VP’s got up to say their “fond” farewells. But my boss, having the heart and great sense of humor he does, took it all in stride and enjoyed the moment. That said, they did add into the mixture, stories of his heart for the customer that we serve and how much time and effort he put into what he did for them.

Funny thing…prior to this event, I spent a lot of time bending the ear of HB and a close friend regarding the weird anxiety I was feeling. Both assured me that everything would be just fine. I wasn’t being asked to do anything outside of my comfort zone and I really needed to relax. I was concerned that, being his assistant, they would expect me to stand up and say something and honestly, I just didn’t feel up to the task. Not in front of all of those people!! My plan was to stand back, sentiments in check, where I wouldn’t tear up in front of others…where I’d be most comfortable.

After the Execs said their farewells, they opened the mic for anyone else. No one seemed to need to add anything more than what was already expressed. My boss, for the most part, kept to himself so while people admired him in many ways, no one really knew him well. Somewhere deep inside of me, I felt a nudge. So…with heart pounding out of my chest, bottom lip already quivering from emotion, I put my left foot in front of the other and took the podium before a room full of people to share my sentiments. My voice started out with a quiver, but soon I got into my groove. My racing heart calmed down and I was able to paint another picture of a really great man; one they didn’t’ really know. They’d already heard about his heart for the customer, and I wanted them to know his heart for all of us, his fellow co-workers. My message was short and sweet, but I believe it served to be powerful – not so much for the people listening, but for the humble man I’ve really enjoyed working for.

My insightful thoughts I’ve gained from this: I think we have things to say to others that we often hold back on for various reasons. I think we worry that we might sound silly or that we’ll show emotion and then feel embarrassed. But think about that other person. Our encouraging words can lift another’s soul – and they need to be spoken out loud. I think it’s so much better to risk the awkward moment then to never say it at all.

So friends, I encourage you to step up and be brave. Share your encouraging voice with others, whether it’s in a crowd or in private. Send a note to someone who you appreciate and tell them why. I think so many people walk through life not even realizing the impact they have on others. Even their smallest efforts can be huge to someone else, and they need to know this.

So, Happy Friday! Keep your eyes open today for opportunities to tell someone just how much you appreciate them. And let me just say to all of you…I cannot express enough, how much I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my random ramblings. It means the world to me. But more than that, I appreciate your friendship. I wish you all a fabulous day!

~CindyLu

friday chats

Posted in The Friday Morning Chat | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pep Talks / July 21st

mondaymorningpeptalk1

“Strive for progress, not perfection!”

I came across this quote over the weekend and wrote it down because I like the optimistic reality of it. The article it was attached to was about weight loss and more specifically, running. But since I tend to be a “bigger picture” sort of thinker, I thought it was such a great quote for LIFE!

I mean, think about it. We set lofty goals for just about everything we do. My personal list consists of: eating better, losing weight, developing a walking plan, reading more, praying more…etc. When I don’t reach my goals, I can feel like such a failure and become discouraged in my efforts and tell myself dumb stuff like, “I guess this is just the way it’s meant to be.”

I remember years ago when I was successful in losing a lot of weight. I made the decision to resist the urge of looking at the goal – meaning, the big number. Instead, I would only look at 5 lb. increments. That didn’t sound or feel so overwhelming. Each week I would add something simple into the mix; like, drinking one bottle of water each day – or adding one vegetable. As I continued down this realistic and achievable road, my mindset began to change. I began reaping the benefits of my baby-step goals. My little efforts were becoming huge areas of progress.

Notice I didn’t say “perfection.” Truth of the matter is…we will never gain perfection, because life is not perfect. The target is always moving and so we will always strive for a little bit more. We need to be okay with that or we will always feel let down by our imperfect results.

But…we can gain huge leaps and bounds in making personal progress. So looking at this with that bigger picture in mind, isn’t this how we should approach all that we set out to do? “Strive for progress, not perfection!”

As I look at my week ahead, I have a personal list that I hope to accomplish – just as I’m sure you do. Let’s try setting the goal on “progress” and not “perfection.” Obviously, moving toward the finished product, but let’s not beat ourselves down if we don’t reach them. Instead, let’s focus on the progress that we’ve made, which is always further out than where we began. Right?!

So what’s on your plate this week? What are some realistic baby-steps you can take to progress in forward motion?

Remember…“Strive for progress, not perfection!”

Happy Monday, friends.
Hoping yours is filled with imperfect forward motion!

~CindyLu

 

Posted in The Monday Morning Pep Talk | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Porch Post / July 18th

The past month was a busy one. HB and I were working on projects around our home, which included making one of our dreams come true. We live in a little suburb area of Sacramento; it’s one of the typical post-war era subdivisions, filled with your basic and functional ranch-style homes that were popular in the late 50’s. Most homes, in our area, have large front yards with big trees, so we’ve always enjoyed sitting out front on our little porch.

The country girl and boy in us has always dreamed of a real porch; meaning, a big, comfy, wood porch. You know, the kind that becons you outdoors to sit for a spell. To drink a cup of coffee or sweet iced tea and wave at the neighbors walking by.

So, we decided it was time. We sat down, wrote out a plan, and made it come to life. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a bit if brain, a lot of brawn and the local Home Depot.

We had an old and cracked cement porch that we decided would be easier to cover than to break out and build from scratch. After some research, we found that we could use cement screws to put down the supporting boards that would hold our future wooden porch. Once he got started, it just began to take on its own life.

I am amazed! Instead of writing it all out, I’ll share some visuals with you.

1 2 3.1 3 4 6 5 8 7 7.1

The porch area over the old cement went down fairly easy for him. The bigger job would be the wrapped section where there had been a row of bushes, along the wall, and old brick that weeds grew through. The ground was rough and uneven and he wanted the porch to be flush with what was already completed.

I love this picture of HB as he contemplates his next move.

9

The next day, he started work on leveling out the ground and soon, it all began to come together. Once again, I am absolutely amazed – and talk about some solid framing!

Here’s the wrapped section…

10 11 12 13
He sure did a nice job, didn’t he?

It needed to be stained and sealed, so here are the finished pictures…

14 15 16 1720

We put these barrels at the end of the porch to give us a little bit of a privacy screen from the sidewalk and street.

Even the neighborbood cat loves it. In fact, we believe Coffee Bean (our name for her) thinks we built this just for her because she treats it as if it’s her new livingroom.

21

So…our dream has finally come true. It’s my favorite place to read, blog, drink coffee and watch the world. And now, neighbors passing by, tend to stop and chat. Friends have stopped by, out of the blue, just to sit on our porch…and we love it. It has done so much more than add some curb appeal…it has opened the door to many conversations about life outside our front doors.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my first little post from my porch.
To be continued…

22

~CindyLu

 

 

Posted in The Porch Post | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Who’s Setting the Bar?

HB and I have found a great couples devotion. Every Saturday morning we start our day on the porch, with coffee in hand, as we dive into some positive and, often times, very deep conversations about us and life.

We’ve both experienced areas of ministries, that we were once so passionate about, fading away. It has left us feeling tired, defeated, wandering spiritually, and asking, “Well…now what do we do?”

It’s apparent to me, that we will have periods in our life where everything is just clicking into place and then, all of a sudden, the well runs a bit dry and we’re left standing there wondering, “What happened?!

But, it’s true what they say…”God will meet you right where you are.” I know this because, in my weariness, He’s met me here and has assured my heart that I’m still okay. In fact, I believe He’s wanted me to have a little rest so that I can recharge, reflect and refocus.

Going forward looks very different from what I left behind…a concept that is sometimes hard for me to grasp because I often want what I had. I think we all have some moment that we want to return to, but life is always in forward motion so pining after “that moment” leaves us feeling discouraged and empty.

I can see now, that I’m often guilty of setting the bar. Instead of just following His lead, I take it and run off ahead. When I remove Him from the equation, I begin to either feel overwhelmed or discouraged, like I’m somehow letting Him down. The truth is, I’m letting me down, because I didn’t reach “my” expectation. His feelings never change for me. Why can’t I grasp that?!

But as I continue to move forward, I’m seeing His thumbprint on what is ahead and so I move along, slowly for now, keeping the eyes of my heart on Him. I’m trying to focus on simple truths like,…”Be still and know that I am God.” And “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” It’s becoming clearer to me, that “my way” can lead to stress, chaos, and feelings of being overwhelmed and discouraged. But, over and over again, I feel what’s being impressed on my heart is that His way is fulfilling and simple. Period.

If you feel like you’re floundering and overwhelmed with “stuff,” I would encourage you to focus on those two simple truths. Just be still, calm your heart, and lean on the assurance that He is God and in control.

If your day(s) begin to feel insurmountable and chaotic, I would encourage you to do a “bar check.” and ask yourself, “Who’s setting the bar? Is this God’s bar – or mine?” and then, readjust, as needed.

Just remember…His way is fulfilling and simple.

~CindyLu

be_still_and_know_that_i_am_god_picture

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bring It To You

The Friday Morning Chat
~May 30th

HB and I have been enjoying a really nice “stay”cation. Some have heard what we’re doing around here and wonder, “why on earth would you use your precious vacation to do work around the house?” Well…all I can say is that this is our favorite place to be. So instead of putting money into airfare, hotels, dinners out…we decided to sink it into our favorite place. We are creating vacation right here!

A little side about my mom. Growing up, I’m sure that people couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like inside of our home when we referred to one of our sitting rooms as “the blue room,” my bedroom was “the yellow room,” one of my sister’s bedroom was, “the lavender room.” Our home was described, for the most part, in colors. My mom couldn’t stand a white wall. She loved color. We didn’t have one of those homes that flowed from one room to the next. Each room had its own personality. Without even realizing it as a young girl, she set the tone for my own life.

When one of my sister’s went to Hawaii with my grandma (who was born and raised there) my mom decided that we should paint a Hawaiian themed mural on the back wall by the swimming pool. Together, we painted sand, ocean, palm trees and my mom added birds. It’s one of my favorite memories and it really did turn out great. My mom wasn’t afraid to step outside the box and try different things.

When we covered the Hawaii mural, it was when she decided she wanted the feel of a cabin instead. She painted the exterior in woodsy colors, planted trees in the backyard and created an atmosphere that felt cool and inviting. In our imaginative minds, the swimming pool went from an ocean cove to a mountain lake. Her theory was that if you couldn’t go there, then all you had to do was bring it to you.

So, that’s what we’re doing. We’re bringing vacation to our own home. HB and I live in a little suburb area where homes look like cookie cutters. We have two very large trees in our overly large front yard so we spend a lot of time out there. He’s been working away creating something we’ve always dreamed of…a wooden wrapped porch. He covered our old ugly cement porch with redwood and is wrapping it around another wall that faces the yard. It will be a wonderful place to sit, with family and friends, this summer as we drink sweet tea, watch the grandkids play, have a morning cup of coffee, or maybe an evening dinner.

We have a nice enough backyard and we enjoy spending quiet time out there, but there’s just something about being on our front porch that we love. Being the people watchers that we are, we enjoy chatting with neighbors walking by and just witnessing life beyond our own sidewalk.

My encouragement for you would be to bring vacation to you. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and at peace, bring it to you.  Walk around and look for little hidden spots where you can create a little intimate area to drink your coffee or read a book.

So yes…it may seem like an odd way for HB and I to spend our precious vacation time, but after a long day at work, we want to be able to come home at the end of the day and feel as if we’re coming home to vacation. Even if it’s just for a few hours before heading to bed and starting all over again. We’re creating vacation right here – our favorite place to be!

~CindyLu

friday morning chat 2

Posted in The Journey | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Fresh Perks

Lately, I’ve been struggling with “commitment.” I think you just reach a time in your life where you feel like you’re all committed out. Well…that’s where I’ve been.

My introvert-self longs to draw in to where the world can’t ask me for anything. I have long suffered from a disease called “helium hand”…where my hand raises without any thought and causes my mouth to say, “Yes, I’ll do that.” But my teeny extrovert-self encourages me to resist the urge to retreat, because there are dangerous extremes to each side.

Everything in life requires a commitment of some sort…if I want to lose weight, I must commit to eating yucky good stuff  to reach the other side. If I need a cavity fixed, I must commit to the necessary steps to be pain free again. If I want a happy and healthy relationship with my friends, family, and hubby…well, it all takes commitment and sometimes hard work.

So, if I want my life to be filled with purpose and meaning – joy and happiness, I won’t find them by retreating into my cave. It means, stepping outside, getting my hands a bit dirty, so that once I’m on the other side I can look back and say, “Wow…I didn’t think I could do that. That wasn’t so bad after all.” That’s where my encouragement, strength, faith and hope comes from. It’s where the will comes to continue on the road in forward momentum.

So this week…I’m focused on the commitments ahead. I’m sure about some but nervous about some others. But I know that I won’t go anywhere if I just stay right here. So onward I go and Upward I stay focused.

Hope you’re able to embrace whatever commitments (both easy and difficult) you have in store for you this week. Get off the sidelines and get into the game. Because something more rewarding is waiting on the other side. 

Happy Monday!

mondaymorningpeptalk1 

Posted in The Coffee Pot | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

To Be Continued…

When I first sat down to write this little piece, on this last day of April, I was going to start out by saying something along the lines of, “Well, as my Simple Life journey comes to an end…”

April was a month where I began a personal journey; my Simple Life challenge to get rid of stuff that is cluttering up our home and lives. This ended up being such a huge lesson for me. It’s been like throwing the proverbial rock into the water and seeing the ripple effect as it reaches outside of its circle and beyond.

When I started this journey, I thought it was about material junk, but it’s been about so much more than that. In addition to the “stuff,” it’s been about crazy schedules, unexpected forks in the road, stacks of paperwork, unplanned interruptions, scads of emotions…it’s been about life!

I thought, by the end of this month, I’d be reporting that my home is immaculate, that everything unnecessary has been taken away, and that all that is useful has a designated spot. But that is not the case. I thought I’d be able to say that after 30-days of effort, everything is perfectly simple. Nope.

But what I can say is that we have a clearer vision of where we’re headed. While we’ve made gigantic leaps and bounds in getting rid of junk in various areas of our lives, there’s still a lot of work to be done. We will continue to move on, in forward motion, to creating a simpler life…mentally, physically and spiritually.

Without telling our entire story here, I can attest to the fact that we have lived a very busy life for the past thirty years. We’ve worked since we were teenagers, had four sons by the time we were twenty-eight, have served on school and sports boards and committees, and have led church meetings and ministries. So now…our hearts long for a bit of rest.

I know there will always be things to do. Our schedules will always have unexpected interruptions. I know that living life – even a simple one – means being flexible and helping where needed. But I’m definitely going to be slower at jumping…more thoughful before raising my hand to sign up. I’m going to take time to think and pray on things before I take gigantic leaps to fill the holes. I believe my life and my health depends on it.

As we move into May, HB and I have decided that in addition to forward momentum on the home front and the continued effort to get rid of material junk that crowds us out, we’re planning to face our physical and spiritual clutter. Back in September we adopted a new way of eating – or some may see it as “not” eating – when we went wheat and grain free. It was a major change for us, but it reaped very rewarding benefits; like HB’s blood sugar and my high blood pressure levels lowering. So as we continue to move into this brand new month, we’re not only bringing with us everything that we learned over the past month, but including new motivation for simple and healthy living.

On the spiritual side…we both feel as if we’re in a stagnant state of the heart. So we plan to use some down time to reconnect and refresh with God in His proper place…front and center. We need this as a couple and as individuals, as we believe this is the strongest root to living a simple and abundant life.

So, as you can see, this isn’t the end of the challenge, but the beginning of something new and improved. Simple Life just became Healthy Life!

We will keep you posted as we walk forward, maybe even jog, into this new lifestyle.

~CindyLu~

healthy life2

Posted in The Simple Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments