My Happiness Resolutions: Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project

  • Health
  • Wear my c-pap mask
  • Go to the gym 4x/week
  • Never take more than 2 days off in a row from exercising
  • Grocery shop every 2 weeks or less
  • Cook at least once a week
  • Buy less frozen food
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • Stick to the plan

 

  • Make a Sanctuary
  • Get rid of clutter and keep it clean
  • Get rid of things I don’t like/that don’t bring me joy
  • Get organized
  • Cultivate a collection

 

  • Embrace Creativity
  • Finish my interior design course
  • Finish my TX scrapbook and photo albums
  • Make more jewelry
  • Pay for blog and web domains
  • Post regular blogs
  • Finish and publish my book
  • Take a quilting class

 

  • Money
  • Pay off debt
  • Tithe
  • Save and spend wisely
  • Renew my passport
  • Give to charities

 

  • Spirituality
  • Focus on gratitude
  • Praise God
  • Offer assistance/volunteer
  • Be generous

 

  • Attitude
  • Do it now/make time
  • Think of others
  • Quit complaining
  • Laugh out loud
  • Say I love you more
  • Make new friends

 

  • Free-time
  • Read more—finish the books I have
  • Read my magazines
  • Use my DVR/catch up on TV shows I like
  • Watch the news occasionally
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My Advice to High School Graduating Seniors

I have been feeling nostalgic. Last year I wanted to post a blog with my paper “Wendy’s Advice to Her Fellow High School Graduates” but never did.  I see I wrote it for Mrs. Buice.  I had her third period according to the paper, and it was due on May 18, 1992.  She was my senior English teacher at Brookwood High School.  We learned about all kinds of grammar, but what I remember most is learning about Dante’s Inferno and Shakespeare.  I could go on and on about the Inferno, but it was in her class that I found my favorite Shakespeare poem:  Sonnet 116.  I had to memorize it and write it for a quiz grade.  I remember cramming in biology class trying to get it all committed to my brain, but procrastination doesn’t always produce the best work.

Mrs. Buice is one of my top three favorite teachers ever. My #1 best/favorite teacher was Mrs. Adcock from third grade at Monroe Elementary School.  We learned so many important things that year:  multiplication tables, cursive writing, about the clouds, California Condors, Mt. St. Helens (and how to make a volcano using a chemical reaction), we had a trip to the courthouse to learn about the legal system, and we learned about Sally Ride from our English books (I wanted to be an astronaut or a teacher back then).

My 2nd favorite teacher is Mrs. Roberts also from Brookwood.  Partly because I had her for four semesters: all of American and European Histories.  I liked Social Studies all throughout school, but History is what I ended up majoring in when I attended college. I received a full academic scholarship to West Georgia College. They changed their name to State University of West Georgia the month we graduated, so my class received two diplomas.  Now, they are known as the University of West Georgia.  I have a third diploma with that name too!  I am proud to say I graduated Magna Cum Laude and probably would have finished Suma Cum Laude if I had finished my last two classes on my double major Education degree.

I went back to school (at the University of Georgia) for a Masters’ Degree in Secondary Social Science Education, but when I got to student teaching, I got scared and backed out.  By the time I wanted to complete my degree, I no longer lived in Athens and I didn’t have money or a way to go back then my credits expired.

The desire to teach never left me, and when I was 38, I finally had enough self-confidence to actually make that dream a reality.  I was both an excellent and a terrible teacher.  I wonder if any of my students will ever remember me as their favorite or best.  For many reasons, I am no longer an educator. However, I know those seeds I planted are percolating.   I wonder what kind of vine my students will produce and how and when they will bloom.

So, my first set of 8th graders whom I taught at church graduate this year.  My assignment I referred to at the beginning of this blog was to give “Advice to Any Group (cover subject)”.  That was written on the back of a handout–Mark Twain’s “Advice to Youth”. So, on the front page of my typed paper, I have hand written: “BEWARE. Literary License in Use.”

I received a 90 for content and an 80 for mechanics (because I had a comma splice). Mrs. Buice’s comments are: “You’re an interesting girl!  You’ve a fine mind—you’re inquiring and you hold on to your opinions.” She also wrote “Oh, I’m feeling faint” and “Right”.  I’ll let you figure out where.

Wendy’s Advice to Her Fellow High School Graduates:

That night you’ve all been waiting for is finally here! Get naked and streak across the green at Stone Mountain. Ride through the streets of town shouting obscenities.  Drop your pants on stage when receiving your diplomas.  Stay up all night; drink beer; smoke pot!  When all that childish play is done, you must settle down to reality.  You, (Yes, you!) are an adult and must act like one.

To look like an adult it is always nice to find a job.  Whether you work, or not, really doesn’t matter. Call in sick every so often when you want to soak up some rays, but spread those days out.  You don’t want to get fired!  Keep the job for appearance’s sake.  Make the maw and paw happy.  When summer’s over and you’ve made a little dough, it’ll be time to do the college thing. Try not to spend all your money the first month, though.  If the professor takes attendance go to class, but don’t worry about attending if he/she doesn’t. Do study for tests.  Write all papers the night before they’re due, not the morning of!  Have fun, but for crying out loud, practice safe sex! Finally, don’t fail out of college unless you want to join the working class full-time.

On a more serious note: graduation is a time to be proud. You should be proud of yourself. Your family is gonna be proud of you too—it’s a given.  Send out those invitations so the money will start rolling in. Don’t spend all of it on booze; put a little in the bank. When accepting your diploma, hold your head high, and if you’re bold enough, I still maintain that it’s all right to drop your pants.

About the summer job—brown nose a little to make up for the days you call in sick.  Try to think about the future.  Make enough money so the funds will last two months of college instead of just the one.

I don’t want to lead my dear old classmates astray, so I’ll change my tune a little.  Listen closely: life is short; party hard and make the most of it.  Do what you will; why listen to someone else? (Including me with my infinite wisdom.) Remember the man upstairs, because you’ll have to answer for your actions someday.

EPILOGUE

The preceding was written to dissuade (by showing the ridiculousness of) the wildness and “I don’t give a S*!T attitude” displayed by most of America’s youth upon graduating.  Party within reason and remember moderation is the key to ‘most anything’ you do. Guarantee you will keep a life worth living and enjoying, and that you will be there to see all your buds come reunion time!

I absolutely love this!!! This is from one of my dad’s ham radio friends.

Thought for the day: I have great faith in fools — self-confidence, my friends call it. [Edgar Allen Poe] The past few years, I’ve opted to take the month of April off from blogging. Since I chose not to participate in the A-Z Challenge, I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to…

via No Fooling! — I Think; Therefore, I Yam

Discouraged about STILL being Single

This blog first appeared on the Prayer Ideas website and was edited by Karen Barber.

Are you discouraged about still being single?  I’ve been struggling lately with doubt and resentment aimed at God about still being single and alone at age 41 with no glimmer of a husband or children.  I know that this sounds terrible to say but I imagine that some of you have also felt this way in the past or feel this way too right now.

There are no easy answers, but I’ll share my struggles and how it’s helpful to talk honestly to God about how you feel.   At the end I’ll share my personal prayer that helps me keep hope alive.

  • Be honest with God about advice from books and others that don’t comfort or help you.

I’ve read books about how I need to find my completeness in God and my comfort in the arms of Jesus. Cerebrally I know that a man cannot complete me.  I know that I have to be content in the person that I am on my own and with my relationship with God before I have anything to give someone else.  I feel pretty good in my own skin and feel like I have a lot to offer.  I know that I have some areas I can improve but I feel like I am trying but it’s never good enough.  I wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” and “What else do I need to do?” The only answer I can think of is God should be all I need but the fact is I want more. I worry is God not going to finally give it to me until I can say I don’t want it anymore and all I want is Him? I used to want to be a nun before I understood all that entailed.  Why is God making me be a nun when I don’t want to be? I don’t think I will ever not want a man.  God made Eve for Adam so Adam could have a companion.  I want a companion and I think God wants me to have one, but when?

  • Talk to God about your sense of self-worth, worthiness, and well-being.

I know I sound like a two-year-old pitching a fit because I’m not getting what I’ve asked for and have been asking for as long as I can remember.  I feel like I am an okay person and have a lot to offer, so I don’t understand why no one wants me and I am still being denied this.  I feel like I’ve been relatively patient and have done my time at singlehood and enough is enough.

I know that you can’t earn things and that God does not grant you them based on whether you do enough or are a certain way.  Three friends have had/are having babies in a six month span.  I am happy for them and it’s not so much jealously but I feel “Why can’t I have that? When will that be me? What should I do? Should I make it happen myself and take it into my own hands or keep waiting?”

I recently began re-reading a book about waiting.  In it the author talks about how single people can do so much for the kingdom that married couples and parents can’t because of demands on their time.  I know I am looking at it the wrong way, but that almost doesn’t seem fair that I am being asked to do more spiritually and also being denied what I want most.  I know that being married and having kids has its own demands and challenges and that mine is a terrible attitude to have.  I am volunteering at church teaching an English-as-a-second-language class. I have found it very rewarding and I know that serving gets you out of your own head and doing something good for others, so I am glad I have taken that step.  The book made me realize that waiting is not enough.  I agree I should put my extra time to good use and answer that call I’m just not sure how yet.

  • Ask God to speak to you through the Bible.

I have written to God and He has answered me that I will find my husband soon and to be patient and that he will be the man I want and that we are being prepared for each other and I will get to be a mother. But that was months ago.  My Bible studies have even had me re-read the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1:5-25 and of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 12.  That was very comforting at the time but then I started doubting again.

  • Ask God if there’s anything else you should be doing or if you’re supposed to wait.

I know people are praying for me in addition to my own prayers.  It feels like it doesn’t matter what I or others do because it is all totally in God’s hands.  I know that should be a comfort and I should feel relieved that God’s got my back, but that’s where the resentment comes in.  Knowing that I am at God’s mercy and I must totally surrender myself to Him and wholly trust in Him and His plans and His will and knowing that His ways are always perfect, that He knows best and it will all be worth it in the end is at the same time inspiring but also exasperating and the realization is hard to accept.  I keep wanting to do something and I know I can’t do anything—I have to wait on God.  And the waiting is what’s getting me down.  I usually don’t feel like it’s an “if” it’s going to happen, but it’s a question of “when”.  Then after more time has elapsed, I start despairing again and wondering will it ever happen.

  • Ask God to help you take comfort in any signs that come your way without reading too much into them.

I thought God gave me a sign in the form of a hummingbird once, but then I started thinking I may have misinterpreted it so I tried to clarify by asking to see a hummingbird again if the guy I like is my future spouse.  I asked for the sign twice and the lack of seeing it those two times meant to me that I had been wrong about who I thought God was telling me is the one.  The first time I told myself you can’t demand a sign from God.  But, I couldn’t get the story of Rebekah at the well (Genesis 24) out of my mind.  As I cried profusely, God told me to look up and I saw my wind chime with doves on it.  It made me cry harder as I realized those are all the birds I need.   Then I also heard a voice telling me not to give up my faith because of one hummingbird and I wondered why I keep testing God and asking for reassurance when I feel like He was loud and clear before I started doubting.  I need the reassurance because nothing is happening.  The doubt has me wondering was it Him, or me, or Satan telling me he was the one?  If I was wrong and the guy isn’t the one, why won’t God send someone else who is???

  • Ask God to direct you to a source of encouragement and help that works for you.

Sometimes when I am troubled I listen to Christian radio and it doesn’t help.  Sometimes I open the Bible hoping that a verse will jump out at me and comfort me or speak to me and it doesn’t.  What I find to be most helpful is doing targeted Bible studies.  That is when I discover (or rediscover) the comforting passages. The Psalms have never really spoken to me until now.  Here are some verses that have helped:

Psalm 32:8: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Psalm 71:14: As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Psalm 100:5: For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 145: 8-9: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Other verses which have been helpful are:

Jeremiah 29: 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Lamentations 3: 22-24: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Joshua 1: 9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Proverbs 3: 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Genesis 15: 1-7: After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”  And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

Genesis 16:4: He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.   (This verse tells me not to take things into my own hands.)

Genesis 17: 16-19: I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

Romans 8:24-25: For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Hebrews 6:11: We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.

  •  Pray it through until you feel better

My uncle also told me when I cannot find comfort, to pray through it.   He said to pray until I feel better.  The following is a prayer that I wrote to help me pray until I feel better:

Please, Lord, hear my prayer and may the Holy Spirit intercede for me and plea on my behalf with the words that I do not have.

Please help me to remember your promises to me and those that I see fulfilled in scripture.  Please help me to keep doubt from taking over and from questioning you and myself.  Please help me to have faith and not just believe you have my best interest at heart, but to find peace in it, appreciate it, and not resent it.

Please open my heart to your majesty and praise you even when I’m disappointed, frustrated, and hopeless.  Help renew my hope and trust that you will deliver on your promises to me.  Help me trust that you will provide and heal my heart and longing.  Please help me to be patient and not despair that I am not doing enough.  Please remind me that I need to let go and stop trying to control things.

Help me to surrender control and to quit trying so hard and relax. Help me to know that your time is the best time and that this is not wasted time.  Please prepare me and help me strengthen my relationship with you so that I will make you the center of my life and not make an idol out of a human.

Please open the heart of the right man for me and stir a longing in him for me.  Help us to find each other and have a relationship based on love for you and each other.  Please prepare me for motherhood and let my body still be able to conceive and bear a healthy child and for me to find the father of my children before my child bearing years are past.

Please help me to see how you are faithful not just in my life but in others’ lives and help me to be faithful to you.

In your son Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

 

 

 

Sniper

An updated post from July, 2014.

vientoweathers

OK. So I said I was looking forward to watching the Sniper Trilogy I got a year-and-a-half ago, but did not sit down to do it until this week. I just didn’t want to see Tom Berenger get his finger cut off. I finally decided I was ready for it and liked the movies very much. They were different than I remembered. It’s been a long time since I saw them so I did not know what was going to happen. That was kind of nice. I often watch the same movies over and over and know what’s coming next so it’s a little boring.

When I have taken career aptitude tests, military has always come up as a job for me given my skills and interests. However, I don’t think I would have made a good soldier because I am a pacifist, don’t like peeing outdoors/in public, and have…

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25 Tips for Reducing Insomnia

Tonight a friend asked me what he should do about his insomnia.  I’ve had a good bit of experience with it, so I was able to rattle off several suggestions and kept adding to it. On the way home, I thought, man, I need to write this down so I can remember it for myself and to help the next person.

I have learned that the first mistake is continuing to lie in bed when I cannot fall asleep. Here is my list of things you should do:

  1. If you can’t fall asleep after 15-30 minutes, get back up and do something quiet in another room.
  2. Before it gets to that point, try concentrating on breathing in and out. Repeating a mantra can help. Mine is simply “breathe in, breathe out.”
  3. Don’t drink caffeine after 2 p.m. (4 p.m. at the very latest). Avoid energy drinks. Don’t drink Gatorade, Power Ade, or carrot juice (I like V-8 Splash but it keeps me awake) prior to bed.
  4. Avoid spicy foods before bed.
  5. Watch your sugar intake.
  6. Consult a physician to determine if there could be another underlying health issue contributing to the insomnia like acid reflux or sleep apnea (I have both).
  7. The only 2 things you should do in the bedroom are sleep and have sex. Yes, the TV has to go!!!
  8. Turn off the TV, computer, phones, etc. about an hour before bedtime so your eyes will not be overwhelmed by their light and prevent you from settling down.
  9. If you must have outside stimulus, watching television is better than listening to the radio because it leaves less to the imagination.
  10. Sleep in a dark room. Wear a mask if it helps.
  11. Keep the temperature between 65-72 degrees during sleep. If it is too cold or too hot, it could cause you to wake up. Wear socks to maintain your body temperature.
  12. Get at least 30-60 minutes of natural light a day and ask your doctor to do a blood test to see if you’re vitamin D deficient. If so, take a supplement.
  13. Consider trying Magnesium after you consult your physician. I use it in tablet form. Take it prior to bed to slow your brain down and help your body relax and prepare for sleep.
  14. Turn your clock away from you so you don’t keep checking the time.
  15. Take a warm bath.
  16. Drink warm milk or a small snack of turkey or some other sleep inducing food prior to bedtime.
  17. Have white noise in the background while you sleep. Invest in a sound machine, or download an app and play it while you sleep.
  18. While lying in bed, relax your body by tensing and releasing your muscles starting with your toes and working your way up.
  19. Get up at the same time every morning.
  20. Don’t take naps. If you must, limit it to a 25 minute power nap.
  21. If your partner or pets bother you, move to another room or wear ear plugs. You might need to make your pet get off the bed if they sleep with you.
  22. Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a walk.
  23. If your mind is racing, tell it to “stop” so you can re-center yourself.
  24. Don’t balance your checkbook, pay bills, or do anything with finances prior to bed.
  25. Before you lie down, write 5 things that you’re grateful for, make a to-do list for tomorrow, or if you’re depressed write something to look forward to as a reason to get up the next morning.

This is just my list (I am not a doctor). You may hear different numbers of minutes or degrees which all can be subjective and are open to interpretation, but hopefully this will give you some ideas and tools to help you find relief. I hope it helps.

Finances

Part of being an adult is paying bills.  I have a considerable amount of debt because in the past I lived outside of my means and charged things I couldn’t afford.  This year I made a vow to pay some of that debt down.

It’s always on my mind, but it started in earnest last December.  I had an overdraft charge because I forgot to deduct my car insurance (in my check register) which I had recently set up for automatic debit.  I went to the bank to ask if they would forgive the fee since I am rarely overdrawn.  They did but then tried to talk me into opening a new credit card with a balance transfer option.  We realized it would not help me, because you could not transfer from cards within the same bank which is what I needed.  But, they suggested I find another credit card company and open one and take advantage of that company’s balance transfer offer.  I found a new card company and was able to transfer one and most of another card to it so that I will not have to pay interest for 18 months.

I thought I was on my way! In January I slightly increased my giving at church and have maintained it. My birthday is in February so I was anticipating my car tag being due and a professional license renewal fee that would also be due.

My church was offering a Dave Ramsey course. I took one a few years ago but thought I would enjoy a refresher for free.  This time I embraced some of the ideas I had trouble with before and was surrendering to the plan.  However, I am making a career change and there was an online certificate course I wanted to take in order to help me get a job in the summer.  You have to spend money to make money, right?

I thought hard about how to pay for it.  Should I wait until I could save enough and pay for it? I checked on-line and they had a $100 discount for only a few days, so I decided to go ahead and pay for it.  There were payment plans but they worked out to over $350 more over time.  So, I took one of the credit cards I had just transferred from which now had a zero balance and charged the course to it thinking I’d get my tax refund back and by the time the bill came I could use that and some extra from my next month’s pay check to pay it off.  In theory this sounded like it would work out great.

But, my tax refund was not what I anticipated.  I thought I was getting back $375 in federal but I looked at last year when calculating my return.  This year I only got $46 back.  I did get some back in state money but nowhere near the course fee.  Then, I got sick and did not have enough sick time to cover all the hours I had to take off.  I was one full day short so I had a reduced paycheck by that amount.

While still reeling from that, I found out that my home’s escrow account had a shortfall last year, so I had to pay it plus higher monthly payments afterward.  It wasn’t much but enough to feel it for a moment and keep me from making headway on paying for the course.

Next, I walked out to my car one morning and it would not crank.  I had to buy a new car battery.  After talking to friends I found out that my new one cost much less than others’ had (but still about $25 more than what I thought it should).  I looked at the receipt and saw that I had been given a discount perhaps from the service manager with whom I had one date with a year ago.

My security alarm company was no longer in business, so I had to find someone else to take it over and begin monitoring it.  I had been putting off getting it updated, but felt like I needed to take care of it.  It was a little more than I anticipated–$175 to reset and switch everything over.  But, good news again, since my parents referred me, I got the next 6 months of monitoring for free and they got a $100 gift card. Cool.

But, by spring I needed an oil change.  I took it to the dealer and they said I needed $1,500 in repairs.  Where in the world was that going to come from??? I waited a few weeks then when I had some vacation time, I took it to a mechanic that had been recommended by a family friend.  Thankfully, they said it did not need all the work the dealer had quoted and it turned out to be $430 instead.

Then the next month my bathroom sink started leaking out the bottom pipe.  While I was getting it fixed, my dad persuaded me to get a new sink basin & faucet (the old one was rusty) and have the plumber install them while making the repairs.  So, all together that was another $430.

I got past that, then my car air conditioner started blowing hot air sometimes.  I have a black car and live in the south and it is just in time for summer.  I didn’t know what I was going to do about that.  But, thankfully, I think I’ve figured how to keep it blowing cool except if I make a couple of stops and have to turn off the motor for  a few minutes then crank it back up. Hopefully I can make it through the summer without having to get it worked on.  I’ve been riding with the windows down a lot which helps, but it can get pretty hot!!!

Now it’s time for my job to end. Tomorrow is my last day.  I will get paid for another 2 months.  I’ve had an interview with promises of follow-ups and am just waiting and hoping that will happen.  However, I received information about COBRA last weekend.  I had assumed that I would have benefits at least through my last paycheck.  However, there were no dates listed on the paperwork and it was rather confusing.  I got worried because I have no savings with all of the emergencies that kept coming up.  I used what I would have built my $1,000 emergency fund Dave Ramsey preaches about.  Also, the monthly COBRA fee was $200 more than what I anticipated so I really wasn’t prepared for that.  And, what if I have to wait 90 days to obtain benefits once I do finally find a new job?  This notice almost was my breaking point and is what made me sit down and start writing about it.  If I were a different person, I’d be thinking I was under some kind of attack. I am taking it pretty well but with a lot of anxiety.

I called Human Resources today to get answers.  I will have insurance for a month after my last paycheck which means I am covered for three more months.  That will give me some time to put money into savings so if I need to pay COBRA for a month or two I can.  I may need to look into the Healthcare Marketplace, but then I would have to start over with a new deductible so it may not really be a savings.  Knowing I still have time before my benefits end is such a huge relief. I really didn’t see how they could cut it off before that, but nothing surprises me these days.

The last two weeks while I have waited for a second interview I have been thinking about how the Bible says the birds are fed and the flowers are clothed so God will take care of us too.  I looked up the exact verses and took comfort in them:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matthew 6: 25-34 NIV)

I’m not sure why I’m going through this right now.  However, the worst thing that has happened through all of this is I’ve only made marginal gains or maybe even owe a little more on my credit cards.  But for the most part the expenses I’ve encountered have been less than they could have been or were expected to be and many times I have been able to pay as the crisis arose so that it wasn’t really a crisis.

I know that God will provide but it is hard to have faith and believe without worrying.  In the past God has provided jobs at just the perfect time and my leap of faith in trying something new worked out.  Ultimately, it was not the best path for me, but God is telling me to try another path which I am now pursuing.  I believe He will guide my way and take care of me on my journey.

My prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me to have faith in your plan.  Please let your will be done and not mine.  Please put me where I can do my best and use my talents to help others as well as continuing to grow myself.  Please help me not to worry about the future, especially money, and help me to know that I will survive the hardships.

Help me to have faith that I can pay my debt later, in Your time, not mine.  Please let me surrender to You rather than trying to control things myself. Please help me to know that even if things get really bad and I cannot pay for my house and have to go bankrupt, that you will still be with me and help me through it.  Please comfort me and help me realize that is far from happening and to not doubt your power and how you send help through people and unexpected gifts.  Remind me that I may bend, but I will not break.

Please give me peace and security and help me to do what I can to help get out of my situation but let me not forget that I ultimately must rely on You. Please help me use these trials as a time to grow closer to You and grow in my faith.  Thank you Lord for all You do for me.

Amen.

I wrote this in late May.  I am still looking for another job and have a lot of “irons in the fire.”  Somewhere along the way, I prayed for God to somehow give me more money along with all these bills and debt. I really didn’t know how that could happen so I kind of dismissed the thought almost as soon as I had thought it.

I got a dreaded jury summons in June for county court.  I also had jury duty for 2 weeks in late February/early March of this year for U.S. district court.  Before I just had to call and never had to go in which was awesome.  I couldn’t believe I could have it twice in one year!  This time I got picked to serve on a trial.  Yesterday I finished 4 days on a jury panel.  I had to cancel an interview, but I will get $120 for my service and now have an interesting experience and new appreciation for our American legal system.  The manager I was supposed to meet with was understanding, said “no worries” and that she will let me know her next interview date.

Today, I received a check for $705 for damages to my front bumper caused by a guy who backed into me in a parking lot a couple of weeks ago while I was going to drop my resume off at a company I was interested in.  I didn’t get to leave my resume there after all that happened. I’m not sure if I will try to go back.

But, these two inconveniences meant money for me I hadn’t planned on. They’re not the way I would have done it, but God works in mysterious ways sometimes.  My car is 9 years old and already has slight damage on my rear bumper I never fixed.  I am planning on putting the money into savings and just living with the new additional minor damage.  Maybe if I was not going to get it fixed the Christian thing to do would be to let it go and not make the guy’s insurance pay me, but since I don’t have a job I can’t think that way and turn down a gift.

The $120 jury duty will cover the $96 ticket I got for running a stop sign two days before I got hit in the parking lot. That was just a bad habit finally catching up to me. In the words of Brad Paisley in If I Could Write a Letter to Me: “Always stop completely—don’t  just tap your brakes.”  And speaking of Brad Paisley, I saw his autobiography on clearance today for $5 so I splurged and bought it and will enjoy reading it!

So, moral to the story: God does provide.  I need to find a job within the next 3 weeks before my  final paycheck.  Yes, I have a small amount of terror running through my mind at that thought.  With this money it gives me a little extra cushion and a little more faith.

People I have interviewed with will be making decisions soon and there are more interviews forthcoming.  New jobs are posted nearly every day.  I really think everything will be OK. God keeps giving me these reminders with the strange ways in which He works. Again, it’s not the way I would have asked for if I had thought to be specific and it wasn’t necessarily fun or easy but in weird ways I never could imagine, my prayers are being answered and God continues to take care of me.    Thank You, Lord!!!