This is My Life

by Featured Writer Angela Jamison  headshot

Some days I’m exhausted by 9am.

The process of getting four, independent, listening-impaired, beautiful children out the door for the 8am school bus is comparable to an interval training workout. There are bouts of cardio while searching the house for lost items mixed with strength training of quite literally dragging sixty pound bodies out of bed.

Most days, we make it to the bus stop, with full bellies and a few minutes to spare. Most days, I don’t look too disheveled (I hope), but on the inside I’m feeling ragged and exhausted. I’m feeling grateful for the reprieve of school and guilty that my kids didn’t have a healthy, home-cooked breakfast with a June Cleaver-like mother.

We can all relate, right? Whether it be one child, four or simply getting ourselves out the door, we all understand the stress of the morning. We read articles, study Pinterest and a number of other things with the hope of achieving a flawless start to our day.

Today, my morning started as typical with a few bleary-eyed, blanket clad kids stumbling through my doorway at 615a while I desperately try to become presentable before the flood gates of life open. Clothes are picked, kids start getting dressed and it all goes down hill.

The oldest has managed to tie his shoe in a bazillion tiny knots, tighter than your jeans at Thanksgiving.

The youngest has the dog in a headlock, attempting to release the leg of her precious baby alive.

The middle daughter is still lying in bed, eyes fixed to Monster High on the television, oblivious of the chaos around her.

But the middle son takes the cake. He is grumbling, huffing and puffing as he tries to tie his shoe. He’s stationed himself in the middle of my bathroom floor, exactly where I need to walk to finish getting ready myself. I ask him to move to another location and when he puts his foot down, he begins frantically searching the bathroom.

“What are you looking for?”

A bit panicked he says, “My shoe is missing!”

…It’s on his foot.

He is frantically searching for his shoe that is solidly on his foot. The same foot he’s using to search for said shoe.

This is my life.

It may look strikingly similar to your life or you’re reading this with memories of the past flashing through your mind. Either way, we all have those moments of chaos, searching for something that is right in front of our faces. Sometimes what we’re searching for is Jesus.

Like my son’s shoe securely on his foot, Jesus sits right in front of us simply waiting for us to notice and we miss it because well…chaos. Our lives our chaotic and the devil uses that to separate us from our peace maker. How easy do we make it for him!

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV 

Take comfort in that the Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save. He is with us amidst our chaos; we simply need to seek him. Zephaniah continues to say that He will save and whether that means he will save me from my chaos, save the baby alive from the dog or the shoes from the garbage I am not sure, but what I do know is that even his smallest save is a big gift.

Some days I’m exhausted by 9am. Some days chaos overwhelms me. Even yet, all days, I am in the midst of a God who saves

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Organizing your Schedule

I know.  You read that blog title and thought..how in the world is this going to encourage me today?  I know.

I get it..and it was a strange direction for me to take, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it seemed to actually make sense.  Bear with me for a minute, because I do believe I can pull this into an encouraging post!

I have worked for years to develop a practical workable schedule that makes sense and helps me to get the most out of day.  On any given day, I am combining multiple work loads.  For instance, I homeschool a 7th and 10th grader, I currently write for 3 blogs, am editing my first novel, am finalizing proposals for 2 nonfiction books, writing devotionals for a work for hire project, growing my social media platforms with intentional posts, teaching piano lessons, shipping coffee orders, and writing book reviews.  I’m busy.

Sometimes the actual typing out of that list, makes me itchy and feeling stressed.  I juggle many hats and I do enjoy it, but I needed a systematic process to be sure I’m getting things done.

I enjoyed the following read today – take a moment to read it if you will!  Just click here

I also checked this article out – you can read it here

So what do you think?

I’ve always been a Stephen Covey – 15 minute segments for the day girl.  But I have found that my creative pursuits – Music, Writing, blogging etc. require a broader brush and limited distractions, i.e. Facebook, email, etc.

Perhaps there’s a hybrid?  I believe this is what works best for me – housework, email, bills, homeschool, business needs all work within a 15 minute framework.  I accomplish a whole lot more around the house, if I’ll schedule it in 15 minute blocks.  I can grade homeschool papers, tests and projects more quickly if I know it doesn’t have to drag out all day – 15 minutes is an easy mental task.  But the creative work – writing, editing, all of these need a chunk of time.  I need to think and not shift my mind off course checking emails, twitter and Facebook updates.  Also texting and phone calls can veer my brain out of “creative” mode.

So how in the world does this fall under an “encouragement” umbrella?  Here’s how..when we fail to plan, we plan to fail.  No not my original words, but such truth friends.  We all have good intentions, and have dreams inside.  Can I encourage you to plan it into your schedule?  What are your dreams, desires and goals?  what could you do with 2 hours at night after work, or when the kids are in bed to accomplish your dreams?

What could you do if you organized housework into a few 15 minute blocks per day? would that not reduce your stress?  Personally, any amount of stress reduction I can add into my day, adds quality to my life and encouragement that I need.

What works for you?  I’d love to have some feedback and I do hope that this does encourage you.

Here’s my favorite verse that encourages my productivity

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

 

View at Medium.com

 

encouragingwomentoday.com

Casting All our Cares on Him

I was thinking of this verse today and thought of the encouragement it always brings me.  This verse doesn’t tell me to just bring certain cares – like the big earth shattering, life altering cares, it tells me to cast ALL my cares, anxieties, heartaches and pain on Him – because HE cares for me.  Wow!  This verse encourages me so much on those days, where things don’t quite go as planned, when the outlook is a bit bleak and when I just can’t keep the kitchen clean.  I know that last one was just a personal testimony – anybody relate…why does the kitchen stay so dirty?

But in the midst of my thoughts, this verse always brings comfort!  As I typed this, I thought of this verse as well from Psalms 94:19:

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

I remember also a hymn I used to sing as a child – it’s words still ring true as I think about casting my burdens away from me and onto Him who loves me :

Leave It There – Charles Tindley 1916

  1. If the world from you withhold of its silver and its gold,
    And you have to get along with meager fare,
    Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird—
    Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

    • Refrain:
      Leave it there, leave it there,
      Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
      If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out—
      Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
  2. If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
    And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
    Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal—
    Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
  3. When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
    Don’t forget that God in Heaven answers prayer;
    He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through—
    Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
  4. When your youthful days are gone and old age is stealing on,
    And your body bends beneath the weight of care;
    He will never leave you then, He’ll go with you to the end—
    Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

 

Such good words – such timeless ideas.  If you’d like to learn more about Charles Tindley you can check out this really interesting story here.

Whatever it is you are facing be encouraged!  Cast your cares, not just the big ones, ALL of our cares on the only One who is able to bear them, and trust that He cares for you!  What Joy and Peace and Comfort this thought brings!

Anxiety and Hurricanes

This morning during my quiet time, I spent time thinking about Hurricane Matthew that has torn through Haiti, and is now apparently setting his sights on Florida.  Anytime a hurricane develops, I feel a familiar pit in my stomach.  Although it’s been 11 years now since the landfall of a hurricane on the mainland United States, the monstrous effects of Hurricane Ivan on me, and my family personally, remain.  While I, my mom, and the kids evacuated from Hurricane Ivan just prior to its landfall on the panhandle of Florida on September 16, 2004, my husband remained behind to help with rescue and recovery efforts.  The effects of that hurricane remain on my life forever.  My husband stayed because he was a volunteer fireman in our local fire department and felt his presence was vital to help our community with recover. He and the crew evacuated just far enough inland to still be accessible once the hurricane had passed through as they were ordered to stay off the roads until the all clear.  I’ll leave his escapades for a future post for another day, but suffice it to say he and the rest of the crew are true heroes and some of the most selfless people I have ever known. They were even featured in an episode of Storm Stories that the Weather Channel used to produce.

The kids, my mom and I evacuated, remarkably now in hindsight – since we now live here- to the Memphis area to stay with dear friends.  It was a forever long week, and the recovery time even longer.  It sobers me today to even think about it again.  We had significant damage in our home, our community and elevated fears for myself and the children.  Our future for the next few years was marked by distinct changes with regards to how we watched hurricanes.  For me, I was constantly check the tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa, the naming of the newest “invest #” and tropical depression status all the way to hurricane.  Once it had a track, I was tracking it.  I watched the radar, and could tell you each wobble based on the eye movement.  Literally obsessed with it, I remember vividly the anxiety of going through another Ivan brought me.  Katrina arrived the next year and while the landfall was clearly west of us, I still evacuated once again because it was terrifying. For the kids, it was the fear of having to grab just a few items and evacuate again.

We have moved since then, and Florida hasn’t seen a major hurricane in years.  I stopped tracking ever single movement of every dust storm off of Africa, and I’m thankful.  I didn’t realize at the time how very fearful I was, it’s only in retrospect that I understand the grip it had on my heart.

So today, I feel great empathy for my friends in Florida and along the eastern seaboard.  As they shop for essentials just in case there is no electricity after the hurricane, or make hotel arrangements in case they need to get off the coast.  The added expenses if you are already financial strapped can be crippling.  The anxiety of the “what if’s” and which way will it go can be unbearable mentally.  I empathize. I have been there and done that.  So I pray and ask the Lord, the one who controls the winds and the waves to quiet the storm.  I pray for those in it’s path to dwell in the knowledge of His care for them, and for those who have already weathered the storm, I pray for them as the rebuild their lives once again.  For a country like Haiti, it’s an even more devastating proposition because they already struggled to begin with.

Hurricane season doesn’t mean what it used to for me, but I will never forget.  I have travelled that road and it wasn’t easy.  I am thankful for the comfort of Scripture!

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:28-29

Perhaps you don’t actually have to face Hurricane Matthew today, but there is another circumstance in your life that feels as overwhelming as a hurricane.  I wrote about my own experience with that here. I know that mentally the anxiety can build for you as well.  I spent time praying this morning as well for my friends and family who are facing cancer and it’s treatments and surgery, for those facing the loss of a loved one, and those who are enduring financial burdens.  I pray you keep your eyes on the One who will sustain you and carry you through those turbulent days as well!