Protective of Me

I made some big life decisions this year. I couldn’t do this before because I viewed myself as being selfish for even having these thoughts. But if I do not take care of myself, there is no way I can help you. This is not selfishness. It took decades to realize this even though I preached it. But this year, I am accomplishing this feat. I am putting myself first.

The Bible speaks of loving your neighbor as yourself. Self love comes first. How do you love yourself? Do you even love yourself? Do you come first?

I’m an introvert. I do have this desire to be with others at times, but it is typically short-lived. Then I need to be by myself to regroup. I need quiet, alone time to refuel and energize before the next gathering. It took a long time for me to recognize that this is what I need for me to be healthy.

When I worked for insurance for the past two years, I sat in front of three monitors and a phone. It was nonstop people issues. And of course, I had coworkers I associated with as well, and even though I love them dearly, I had to interact with them. I cannot explain to you fully just how that job depleted me and the damage it did to my body, my mind, and my spirit.

When I got home, I would be so drained that I would sit in my car, in the garage (engine off), and try to calm down before entering my home of children and dogs and sometimes grandchildren. There wasn’t enough time in the garage to accomplish that though. I never caught up. I avoided talking to any and all of my kids on the phone. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I simply did not have the energy. I was spent. And two years of that cost me big time. My very life was at stake.

So at the end of 2022, after stressing my body even more by eating holiday treats on top of the stress of my job, I ended up face down when I hit rock bottom. That’s about as low as you can get. There was no one here to save me. No knight in shining armor. I realized the only thing I could do was to call on Jesus to pick me up. And He did.

Now my peace comes before all else. I am very protective of me and my needs. Whatever that requires, I do…and regardless if anyone else understands.

I feel better about myself. I feel healthier and stronger. And a little bit wiser too.

Take care of yourself. There is no other you here on this earth. And you are so special. So when the plane of your life is taking a steep nose dive, take that oxygen first so you can help the person next to you. It’s not selfish. ♥️

Andi

What’s Holding You Back?

Do you have dreams? Ambitions? Goals? How are you doing on making them reality? Me…I got plenty of those swirling around in this crazy head of mine. But I’m not fairing so well on making them reality. It’s not but my own fault though. Not blaming anything or anyone but myself.

Just as we find a way to justify anything we do (right or wrong), in the same breath we make excuses for why we cannot move forward and make things happen.

Here are a few excuses I’ve used for my hesitation on making dreams come true, and even for simple chores that require my attention. What are your excuses?

Timing just isn’t right.

I need to make a more money.

I’ll wait until the weekend.

I lost my inspiration.

Next year would be better. Yes, definitely next year.

When I lose weight.

I can’t.

When I get in shape.

I need a husband.

It’s too cold.

Next long weekend. I’ll do it then.

Rough day.

My head isn’t in the game.

I’m really tired.

I can’t.

Lost my inspiration.

I deserve to have some time off.

I can’t think.

Maybe in the fall.

I just can’t.

We can justify and rationalize anything we do that borders on being wrong. We can talk ourselves (and often others) into most anything.

But maybe, just maybe, the only thing holding us back is simply our own mind.

The mind is one of the most powerful gifts bestowed upon us humans. Most of us don’t tap into the possibilities. It is powerful enough to make us or break us.

Hopefully, we quit bridling the mind and let it work as it was designed. And then give God the glory.

This year is the year of change. I’ve already begun my new journey and I’m really happy so far…even with this glitch of illness right now. I’m still moving forward. I’m going to do my best to unbridle this mind of mine and stop binding it with “I can’t”.

I hope you allow your mind to open up wonderful opportunities for your life. Accomplish great things in 2023! ♥️

Andi

The Right One

Who is the right one? Is there such a person?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years wondering who is the right one for me. After my divorce a decade ago, I was hell-bent on finding that one right person to complete me. To be my companion, confidant, soul mate.

I jumped into dating with both feet before taking any time to heal, of which I had much to do. Truthfully, I had no clue whatsoever how to be happy with myself or by myself. I thought I needed someone to make me happy.

I learned a lot from the dating scene. A lot of bad and some good. I did make several good friends. What I learned though is that the men are just as messed up as I am. I don’t mean that in a bad way. What I mean is that we all have this amazing amount of baggage. We carry with us all the hurt and pain from previous relationships. Our spirits are broken. Our trust, shattered. We truly are a broken people. And we are all super lonely. We want someone to walk into our life and make all the hurt go away…and for that new person to make us happy. You know…the right one.

So how does a broken person find the right broken person?

Well, it’s taken me forever to figure this out. But I have successfully figured it out. Now.

First, you pray about it hard. If you are honest, sincere, and open to God’s wisdom, He will show you that it’s not about finding the right person. It’s about becoming the right person. And becoming the right person isn’t necessarily about becoming the right person for someone else. It’s about becoming the right person for God.

Let God fill in the blanks as He sees fit. Once you realize that with God you are complete, the craving to find that Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t as strong anymore. God knows what I need and want. But if it’s not in His plan, it’s not gonna be as happy as I might think or wish.

Right now, I’m going through a major refining. I am so grateful for another chance to hopefully get it right.

So who is the right one?

You are.

Get to know yourself. Get to know God. Let Him fill in the blanks…if there are any. ♥️

Andi

Priorities

I bought a Roku last month and am enjoying TV in my room. What I like most are the old programs that I have access to. You know like Johnny Carson, Love Boat, Family Affair, The Donna Reed Show, The Odd Couple (Tony Randall and Jack Klugman), even shows like The Rifleman. I’m still discovering programs everyday and I’ve had the time lately with being sick. Today I found Taxi.

I remember my dad laughing hard at this show. Reverend Jim and Louie. Not to mention Latka and his funny foreign language. I don’t think I’ve seen it since I last watched it with Dad. It’s a bittersweet moment. This made me think of other moments. You know how my busy mind travels. Times spent together and times that weren’t spent together…but should have been. Times that should have been a priority.

I recall when I told my dad that I was getting married (the second time). He asked when and where. Surprised, I asked him, “Are you coming to my wedding?”

“I go to all your weddings!”

He made me a priority.

Back in December of 2017, Dad asked me to meet the family at a cabin near Asheville, NC for Christmas. It was actually a week or two before Christmas. At the time I worked for a florist. It wasn’t just your ordinary “sell flowers” florist. No, we had a huge showroom of merchandise. It was a beautiful store especially at Christmas. So, of course, I didn’t think I could go. And I was afraid to ask my boss. So I didn’t. I was barely able to go to my mom’s when she passed two years prior. I was only able to take a long weekend. Things weren’t always fair there. Not for me anyway.

My family went to the cabin. They had a great time and actually got snowed in. They sent me pictures that I treasure. It was a beautiful cabin in the woods. That was an opportunity to be with my whole family and I missed it. And that was the last opportunity to be altogether before my brother’s marriage dissolved and my dad passed.

Priorities.

Do I remember what took place at the florist shop during those Christmas shopping days while my family was snowed in a beautiful cabin together? No. I do not recall a single second. But I do know what I missed by not being with my family.

Regret. Regret is not easy to live with.

All I can say is it won’t happen again. If I need to be somewhere, somewhere is where I’ll be.

It’s too bad that we often learn lessons too late. But there will be places I need to be in my life yet, and I will be there.

Young people, please learn from some of my life lessons without having to experience them all yourself.

I hope you recognize things of high priority in your life. If it centers around people you love, that’s a clue that it is. No one has a promise of tomorrow and you cannot get those opportunities back. ♥️

Andi

Jinxed

Have you ever done quirky things to ward off bad things happening to you?

I’m not a superstitious person, but maybe I am tad OCD on occasion.

According to the Mayo Clinic:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress. You may try to ignore or stop your obsessions, but that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease your stress.

I guess the one thing that stands out for me is in making my bed first thing in the morning. The lines of the quilt bedspread must be completely straight and the quilted shams have to be set with the orange and teal corner on the bottom right. But it’s not so much the bed details as it is the blanket that is neatly folded at the foot of it.

The blanket belonged to my mom and I have a particular way of folding it and if it is uneven in the slightest, I somehow imagine the rest of my day will be off. Not necessarily a bad day. Just an off day. So I will refold it, again and again if necessary, until it comes out right. Having this blanket folded incorrectly increases my anxiety.

Maybe I’m cured now that I shared this with all the world. Maybe not.

But this post isn’t about my obsessive habit. It’s about superstition. The two are different but can almost seem related.

I did only very little research on this and it seems that OCD requires a ritualistic approach to reach an outcome. Like me folding and refolding a blanket. Superstition is luck related and not because of a repetitive ritual to achieve an outcome. If this makes any sense. Sometimes superstition can cross the line and evolve into an OCD habit. Anyway, I’m not a doctor, I just did a quick read.

Once-upon-a-time, I was married to a man who was very superstitious. It was rather annoying. I never thought of it as a cuteness at all. Only annoying.

In the very early morning of our wedding day, while it was still dark, in the middle of January, he took a lit candle to the cemetery to his grandfather’s grave. This was to get his grandfather’s approval. Whatever. But the candle blew out when he got to the grave. Then he slipped on the ice and fell to the ground. Not sure why he still married me.

The morning after our wedding we hit two deer. Yes, we did.

I jinxed many conversations by being assertive and not using the word “hopefully” to smooth things out. He was always on me about that one.

But the most annoying of his superstition-ness was the knocking on wood. Constantly. It was so bad that we would be driving and I’d say something (should have just kept my mouth shut) and he’d pull the car over and I’d have to get out and find wood to knock on. Once, after church, in the middle of winter, and me in a dress, he stopped along the road and made me get out. I had to trudge through the deep snow in a ditch to get to a wooden fence post to knock on it. I learned after that one. I put a piece of wood in the glovebox.

Superstition can certainly be overwhelming as one tries to cover all the bases so their life won’t be jinxed in some way.

Just thought I’d throw a black cat into the mix. This is a very young Mr. Frodo.

For me, I think I’ll just go to God. Even bad things happen to good people. That’s just life here in an unfair and sinful world. But that doesn’t mean we are jinxed. Maybe we have lessons to learn. You know I’m all about learning lessons.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Have a great day! ♥️

Andi

Selah

Selah. A word which ends verses in the book of Psalms. Since Psalms means songs, Selah could have been a musical point of pause. There are several thoughts on its true meaning, as I discovered. Regardless, I have always been attracted to this word. Selah.

Pause.

Breathe.

Silence.

Lift up.

Exalt.

Forever.

Whatever Selah actually means, the suggestions here are all perfect. I personally love the thought of pausing to breathe. To stop life for a moment and just be…giving gratitude to the One who gives me breath. When you pause for a moment, I hope you recall the beautiful word Selah.

Selah. ♥️

Andi

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

I cannot believe I’ve been writing this blog for three years! Who knew I had so much to say?!

If this was my real job, I’d be in heaven, juss sayin’.

But if I didn’t have readers it certainly wouldn’t be much fun. I appreciate YOU! Thank you for being here and reading my stuff. And for still coming back! Thank you for the private messages that encourage me. Thank you for sharing how something I’ve written has inspired you. I love connecting with you. ♥️

So here’s to another 3 years! Or, more!

C H E E R S !

Andi

Health

We really don’t truly appreciate our health until we don’t have it. I was taught this lesson twice so far this year.

So during the holidays, the severity of my unhealthy lifestyle hit me hard. We typically never have sweets in this house but that’s not all I need to avoid. And I know this. Call me stressed or depressed, or a little of both, but I could not emotionally handle my health.

I realized this yet sometimes when you are so low, you selfishly do not care. I no longer cared much about what was in my fridge or pantry. I didn’t care if I stopped for fast food sometimes 3 times a week. I didn’t care if I was here in two years. Health takes work and I was spent.

What we eat directly affects our brain. The more unhappy and depressed the gut is, the more unhappy the brain becomes. The more unhappy the brain is, the more we don’t care what goes into our gut. We actually crave what causes depression. It’s a vicious circle with no end…unless you find a way to break through it. I was only to break through it with God’s help. And that is the absolute truth. The gut is sometimes referred to as the second brain. The two are definitely connected.

I fell to the bottom of the barrel on New Year’s Eve. Another night full of food and drinks that my body cannot handle. I was so miserable. Again. Sometimes I wondered if this was some sort of self-torture or self-abuse. Did I hate myself that much? Was I angry with my with my life? I knew with every bite and drink I took that I was feeding my gut things that it cannot handle. No one’s fault but my own. Anyway, I finally reached the point where I wanted to unzip this unhealthy body suit and step out of it. I felt claustrophobic. Trapped. Smothered. Unable to move. Unable to breathe. I needed to get out of that suit before it became a body bag.

I’ve struggled with a very unhealthy gut all my life. I never found the key to fixing it until now. After much prayer, God gave me strength to try again. So after New Years Day, I decided not eat a single thing that irritated my gut. Nothing goes into my mouth that causes even the slightest of irritation. Instantly, I found such relief. My gut is happy. My brain is happy. I’m happy. My body is rejoicing. Has it been hard to walk away from all that is bad for me? No, surprisingly, it has been very easy. I have not messed up or given in, not even a single time, since I made this decision to save myself. And that’s what it boils down to…saving myself. I know what good feels like compared to the bad. I want the good. I want to be here.

I have a long road of healing ahead of me. But I’m good with that. The extreme change of how I felt between December and now has made all the difference in the world. I think clearer. I’m excited for the future. I’m making plans again. I got my life back. And I want to be here in two years. And two years after that. I have good, unselfish reasons to be here. And I thank God.

Then the second round of realty hit me last Thursday. I got really sick. It had all the earmarks of being a typical flu only worse. The headache was the worst. I was blindsided as this hit me so fast and hard. Finally, I started getting better. No fever for two days. No chills or body aches. Standing up though causes shortness of breath so I am watching this carefully. But yesterday I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Both 100% gone. (This makes me very angry. I have my personal thoughts about this.) Anyway

I get up and do things and sit when I get winded. I’m diffusing essential oregano oil to help heal my lungs if there is an issue even though I do not have a cough. But today I feel great. Again…I am able compare healthy to unhealthy. I’ve decided I want to be healthy.

Health is a decision. Like anything else in our life it has to be decided upon and action taken. I’m grateful that God has given another second chance to get this right. I can’t serve Him or anyone in such an unhealthy state. Regaining health will allow me to live life more fully with less distraction. I’m so looking forward to the future. I only hope my senses return because this really stinks (if I could smell it).

Whatever you do not change, you choose.

I choose life.

Find your health. Feed both your mind and body good and healthy things. God’s design of the human body beautifully connects these two perfectly for a reason. ♥️

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Andi

I See YOU

When I witness the goodwill of others, I see YOU.

When I look up into the beauty of the ever-changing sky, I see YOU, in all your glory.

Once when at the airport, I witnessed two young girls meet for the first time, both from very different backgrounds and heritage, and they loved on each other without judgement, prejudice, or divide, I saw YOU.

When I opened my blinds this morning and saw a world of white, I rejoiced at the beauty, and I saw YOU.

I see YOU in the faces of the people you have strategically placed in my life, and I am grateful.

When my little man, Jack, looks up to me in the sweetest of innocence and calls me Gamma Shark, because he cannot pronounce my name, I see YOU.

When I watch and listen to my children as they interact with each other, I see YOU.

When I ask for help and you unlock doors, I see YOU.

When a girlfriend texts to see how I am doing and then drops off a bag of flu meds and a can of chicken soup, I see YOU.

I see YOU in planted fields as you water and care for them.

When I don’t know how I’m going to make this paycheck cover until the next…but always manage…I see YOU.

When I walk on a beaten pathway, away from the busyness of life, I see YOU, in all of your creation.

Standing on the coast of Maine, feeling the power of the waves as they beat against the rocks, I see YOU.

I see YOU when sky is darkened in anger and when it is a crisp, crystal blue.

I see YOU in every change of season and in every sunrise and sunset.

When my Nyx won’t leave my side because she knows I’m ill, I see YOU.

I see YOU in everyday. In the good days and in the bad.

And in my darkest hours, when there is no one to comfort me, I see YOU.

God is ever-present. He’s here and there. Everywhere. He’s in the whisper of the wind, and in every snowflake that alights on your eyelashes. You cannot miss God. His presence is bold and it is beautiful.

Psalm 97

1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!

2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

3 Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around.

4 His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.

5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.

7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!

8 Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord.

9 For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil. He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

11 Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.

12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Have a blessed day. Be safe, warm, and healthy. ♥️

Andi

Friendships

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. ~ Aristotle

Friendships, like family, can be difficult at times. But as with family, even through difficult times, love remains.

I used to think that it takes two to make a friendship, but I have another take on that. If someone chooses not to be my friend for whatever reason, I can still choose to be a friend to that person because I care.

If you’ve ever had a bestest best friend in your life you are blessed. If you’ve had more than one true friend, you are very blessed. I am very blessed.

Chelle🎚and me. A long, long time ago….

If I had a flower 🌹 for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever. ~ Alfred Tennyson

I hope my friends know just how much I love them. I wouldn’t trade the friends I have in my life for all the chocolate in the world. I mean, money.

It wasn’t always that way though. In my younger years I was burnt on occasion by individuals who disregarded the sanctity of the friendship bond and broke trusts. I’m sure you can relate. Those friends were self-serving with no idea of what friendship means. I carried those pains with me over the years only to realize as I got older, that they themselves were the ones injured and suffering. Not because of anything I did so I can’t take it personal. Once in awhile, I run into one of those former friends and I embrace her. I no longer feel the hurt. Some say I forgive and forget too easily. Personally, I think it’s what we are supposed to do.

The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for. ~ Bob Marley

Friendships are one of the greatest gifts on this earth. I hope you have a couple of really great people in your life. People who you can depend on with mutual respect and trust.

I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff. ~ Jon Katz

Have a wonderful weekend. Maybe a great weekend shared with a friend or two. ♥️

Andi

I wanted to post pictures of my closest of friends but I don’t have pictures of all of them. So I didn’t. I have both male and female friends who are very close to me. I am truly blessed. ♥️

The Perfect…

“Don’t lose the GOOD in search of the PERFECT.” – unknown

We are so busy searching for the perfect in our jobs, our hobbies, our sports, etc., that we overlook all the good in our everyday lives. All those beautiful things that are right under our nose and in plain sight.

Kota Bear & Baby Moonz

The good in life is found all around us and in innumerable ways.

in raising your children
drying tears and kissing boo-boos
by helping those in need
loving your spouse
beautiful weddings
happy graduations
kitchen dancing with your daughters
holding a loved one’s hand
birth of a child
baby’s first steps
in pillow talks
coffee with friends

June Bug

the Fourth of July
Thanksgiving
Christmas

Princess Belle & Little Man, Jack

picnics and reunions
family movie nights
gardening
t-ball games
autumn walks
camping
and is found in all of nature

We have an altered concept of what the perfect is and that concept truly isn’t tangible. It’s like dangling a carrot before a horse. We will never be able to reach that which we falsely believe to be the perfect. There will always be more and more that we want or need. We will never be filled or satisfied.

At the end of life, I honestly believe we will realize we had the perfect all along.

I’m not suggesting to toss dreams off to the side. I am suggesting though that you enjoy every single minute of the journey.

Because that’s where the true perfect is. ♥️

Andi

Two Things

When I was struggling with my fear and doubt, I came across two things. These two things were my inspiration for the posts on fear.

First, I decided to look at a coloring page that my granddaughter, Belle, had given to me. She likes to roll her artwork into a scroll and stick them in places around the house. This one she gave to me but I hadn’t unrolled it yet. I laid it on a shelf in my closet. I don’t recall the reason why I didn’t look at it earlier. But I see it’s purpose now.

Secondly, later in the day I poured myself a cup of tea. The teabag has a little quote attached to it:

When fear is forcing you to give up, call upon your heart’s courage to continue.

These were little, subtle hints that I needed to reevaluate the way my life was going. Then I decided to write those posts about fear using these pictures. But once I got started writing, I got caught up in other thoughts and completely forget about these two things. So here they are.

I know I shared a lot in those posts. Maybe the posts are more than some of you care to read. That’s okay. This blog is my ongoing story and legacy to leave to my children and grandchildren. But perhaps something written helped another who is struggling with fear or with their personal relationship with God. It’s all good. Take away what you’d like. Leave the rest.

Have a great weekend. ♥️

Andi

FEAR

Part Two

Choosing God Over Fear

Honestly, I have spent my entire life being scared. Scared of being around other people. Scared of people not liking me. Scared to make decisions or stepping outside the box. Scared of saying or doing anything that would give others opportunity to talk about me. Scared of all the what ifs…things that never happen anyway. Scared of the news. Scared of change. Scared, scared, scared….

These are the fears that tend to paralyze me. These are the fears that keep me from taking chances. They keep me from living. The worst of all fears. Well, other than hell.

Having a list of life goals and being too afraid to do what is necessary to make them reality only leads to regret. When I’m on my deathbed I don’t want the thoughts of I could of, should of, to be the last thing on my mind.

So…I replaced fear with trust in God.

I prayed that He lead me. That He would show me the path I needed to take in order to heal and grow stronger. I needed time for me otherwise there would be no more me.

First of all, I knew I needed change jobs. I had been discouraged since I started working there but I was too afraid to make the decision to actually leave. I was afraid to add another wrong decision to my lengthy Bad Decision list.

FEAR…

Everyone would tell me I was great at work and that I treated people with kindness. But the stress, combined with sitting all day long, was hard on me. It depleted me to the point where my health, both physically and mentally, deteriorated pretty rapidly. I prayed hard for direction because my life had become dark and I felt absolutely hopeless.

After several months of prayer, God finally answered. Actually, I shouldn’t use the word finally. He wasn’t late. God answered in His time, not mine. And I understand why now. I had to completely submit.

God opened a new door and I trusted Him enough to walk through it. After two years, I finally left that job for another. Now I make my own hours and I have much more free time. I took a cut in pay but I also work less hours. Time I needed. And I don’t mean that in a selfish way.

But I was soon to find out that God wasn’t done with me yet. I still had more to learn.

You see…I started to doubt. What caused my doubt? Fear. When God opens a door for you, do not doubt. It means you do not trust Him completely. I had difficulty that first month adjusting to working less hours. I was used to working 8-5, Monday thru Friday. Can you believe I actually felt guilt for not working full time? Doubt.

The girls at my old job all received big raises as soon as I left due to the company merging with another. Did I do the right thing? The girls, especially one, had to take my workload on top of their already heavy responsibilities. So I felt even more guilt. I wondered if leaving was the right thing to do. Doubt.

Fear overwhelmed me as I doubted. I doubted because of fear. A vicious cycle. I lost sight of all that God had blessed me with and I hit bottom again.

So during the holidays, God showed me the serious state of my health. I had prayed for a job like this so I would have time to heal and grow stronger but I wasn’t using the time He gave me wisely. I had been given a gift but I was too busy feeling guilt and doubt about all that I asked for and was blessed with!

I had to wake up…or else.

If I didn’t honor the prayers that God had answered I wasn’t going to find any peace. Nothing was going to work as I had hoped and prayed for.

I had conquered the fear aspect of making the ginormous decision to leave one job and take another. But I didn’t do it alone. And I’ve made significant progress with my health, my relationship with God, and my attitude since the first of the year.

I drastically changed my diet and started stretching and walking. My mind is clearer. I am more energetic, and my arthritic pain has decreased about 90%. I removed the news from my life too, I admit I was addicted to it. What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your gut.

I have to share with you that I am happier than I have been in a very long time. And for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I am not depressed in January. I’m actually excited about the future.

I couldn’t have done any of this if it wasn’t for God. I chose God over fear. I know I am in the very early stage of these changes but the only way I will fail is if I doubt God and allow fear to rule my life again.

I thought I was was allowing God to lead, but honestly, I was not. I realize too that it’s not a man I have longed for to fill the void in my life. It is God I’ve needed all along. If He were to bless me someone that would be great. But I know I am fine, perfectly fine, on my own. And I am really happy.

My Denae read Fear, Part One almost as soon as it was posted. She shared with me a couple of details that I had conveniently forgotten. But, as she said, it was a traumatic experience. (She was one of my kids that I pushed aside while on the run.) Denae said I stood up to Jason Voorhees and not many, if any, can say that. And I lived to tell about it. 😳

I wish you a great year. A year without fear. A year to stand up to Jasons. A year to take chances. A year to grow closer to God. And a year of peace. ♥️

Andi

FEAR

Part One

Fear is a horrible thing. I will not watch horror films because I cannot stand to be scared in the least bit. Maybe it goes back to young years when my dad scared me with a clown statue we had. I wrote a post about that on April 6, 2020. The link is below.

the clown

Clowns

Maybe my fear was enhanced by the scary movies I watched as a teen. You might not be able to walk outside at night or even to another room after watching a horror or suspenseful movie. I couldn’t. Still can’t.

I had a sort of traumatic experience take place at a haunted park. Actually, it wasn’t the park that was supposed to be haunted. It was a haunted house set up in the park for Halloween that was supposed to be scary. I’m not a haunted house type person but three of my kids wanted to go. So we went.

When we got to the entrance of the haunted house we were told that the “actors” were taking a break for a little while. We saw the monsters and the dead walking together in a large group through the park to the restroom. The kids and I stood there discussing how long we wanted to wait. We decided to start walking back toward our van. I wasn’t all that thrilled to do the haunted house thing anyway…so maybe I did strongly influence the decision to leave and find something else to do that night.

As we were walking through the park, we looked back off to the left and saw the group walking away from the building that housed the restrooms. We kept walking and every so often we’d glance back at them. Then the group looked at us. We walked on. I looked back again and the group was watching us. They turned together and began to walk toward us. I told the kids to walk faster. The group then walked faster too. Soon we were running through the park and they were running too…after us! The faster we ran the faster they ran. I was terrified. I panicked. I needed to get away…now! In order to pick up my momentum, I actually used my hands to push off on the two kids running next to me. Yes…I did that. I placed my hands on their chests and pushed myself forward leaving my children behind. It wasn’t one of my proudest mommy moments.

After realizing what I had done, I came to my senses. I stopped in my tracks and turned around. In a split second, I was nose-to-nose with Jason Voorhees, who appeared to be the group’s leader, and although I’ve never seen the “Friday, the 13th” movies, I’ve heard enough to understand why the others would follow him.

I screamed in Jason’s face.

“STOP! Just STOP!”

Jason Voorhees

He didn’t say a word. We stood there locked on each other’s eyes. That’s all I could see of his face. Finally…he turned to leave and the group followed him back to the haunted house. Truthfully, I sorta felt bad.

We didn’t go through the house that night. We had our own scary story to tell that was even better than a walk through a haunted house. We went to the van and laughed all the way home. I might have teared up a bit too. I also apologized.

Fear was very real to me. I’m not sure how each of you deal with it but fear can keep me from thinking rationally. It can definitely keep me from leaving a foot dangling over the edge of my bed, uncovered.

There are other fears though that are not related to scary movies or haunted parks, clowns, or even standing up to Jason Voorhees and screaming into his masked face. Fears that prevent you from living a full life.

How do you handle fear? I don’t handle it well as you can see. But I no longer have anything to do with these types of scary things. That helps a great deal.

I’m splitting this post into two parts. Part one is lengthy enough. 😊

FEAR, Part Two, coming up.

Happy Friday, the 13th! ♥️

Andi

Shoelaces

Originally posted on July 30, 2021. Edited and updated.

We have all sorts of well-meaning people telling us how to walk through our life and critiquing how we walked years ago. How does that even make sense? You should have…should never be included in conversation.

I know people have the best of intentions most of the time, but it isn’t fair to critique someone’s walk in life. Not unless you’ve actually walked in their shoes. And if you haven’t, then leave their shoelaces alone.

Example…I have married women tell me that I don’t need a man in my life. I don’t need a man to make me happy (which I do not) and that I need to enjoy my independence and my freedom (which I do). Then they tack on a little…you are so lucky.

Well, my first thought is this…I’m 61 years old. I have been married for 31 of those. I kinda think I know what marriage is about. So please don’t treat me like I haven’t a clue.

Please don’t try to tie my shoes.

My second thought is…I really feel sorry for you…that you view my singleness as luck and that you admire me for being alone. It speaks volumes about you and your mindset about your own marriage.

I walked a lot of miles in those marriage shoes. Even though my two marriages failed, I still believe in it. Why? For many reasons, but first and foremost, it is God’s design. And He designed it for a reason.

Regardless of what your story is, you’ve walked miles in your own shoes. You’ve experienced things I never have. We see life from different angles. I’ve experienced things that would probably make your jaw drop and it’s been suggested many times that I write a book about my life. Well…if I did that, many names would have to be changed. And then I’d have to cut my hair and move to some place like Slickpoo, Two Egg, Burnt Porcupine, Mudd Butte, Knockemstiff, Smackover, Bumpass, or Ding Dong, USA.

But because of our own personal experiences, we have learned and grown in our own way. We managed to survive. It is our journey. Our views of life vary because of it. Our hearts beat to different drums. Someone else may have experienced a similar walk. Yet, we are still very different.

So when someone tells you where to jump and how high…kindly say:

Please don’t even try to tie my shoes.

But I’m not suggesting that with our different views in life should there be division among us. No, quite the contrary. We should have an even greater need and compassion for one another. If anything, our walks have shown us the fragility of life. Every single day is sacred. And it’s to be shared with one another.

Please don’t try to tie someone else’s shoes.

There’s a difference between being critical and condescending, and treating someone with compassion, love, and understanding.

Thanks for having coffee with me today. May your Tuesday be amazing. Be grateful always. I am certainly grateful for my Tamarindo Pathfinder slip-ons. No shoelaces. ♥️

Andi

And, yes…those are actual towns in the US. 🙂

The Coffee With Andi Show

I thought about the title of my blog yesterday and it made me think of a talk show…although I have been the only one participating. For fun, this is how it would possibly go if I had my own show and a special guest speaker.

🎶 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎶 🎶

Announcer: It’s the Coffee With Andi Show!

(Applause)

And our host…Andi!

(Applause)

🎶 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎶 🎶

Andi: Good Morning! Good Morning!

Thank you so much for joining me! How’s that cup of joe? Is it warming you up on this cold December morning?

Today we have a special guest whom we are all quite familiar with. This guest has touched each of us in some way. He’s angered us, caused a great amount of confusion, and changed us as a people. In many ways, our guest has opened our eyes to the reality of our world today. And while that is a good thing, many do not want embrace him with open arms.

I did ask our guest if he would like to speak to us incognito, but that suggestion was kindly declined. He would like to face the music, so to speak, and set the record straight as his term is coming to an end. He politely reminded me that we all know what he looks like but that his appearance varies from person to person. Our guest would like to give us an opportunity to reflect on what was and prepare for what is to come.

If you wouldn’t mind giving a warm welcome to 2022!

(Applause)

…silence…

🎶 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎶 🎶

(Applause)

…silence…

🎶 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎶 🎶

(Applause….please)

…silence…

Andi: Hello 2022. Thank you so much for coming here today. I apologize for the lack of applause but you are fully aware of the sentiment concerning the past twelve months. I realize, as well, that you might be more than slightly uncomfortable sitting here with my studio audience. But I do appreciate you coming here as a means to reflect upon your term.

2022: Thank you so much, Andi, for having me. Yes, my term is coming to a close. The past 12 months have been packed full to say the least and I am fully aware that my legacy will be not well-received nor will it be well-thought of when looking back years from now.

However…without getting into heated discussions over war, inflation, education, sexuality, the grooming of children, child trafficking, election fraud, the unsecured border, the national debt, the climate, Covid, January 6th, and so on…you know the issues at hand…I ask only one thing of you before my story ends and another begins.

I ask that you might reflect on the good things that each of you experienced this past year. Every day had a blessing or two within it. Maybe a long awaited phone call. A letter written to a loved one. Maybe it was the birth of a child. A marriage. A long, overdo vacation. A whisper of I love you. A thank you. Holding the hand of a little one or the weary hand of a shut-in. Maybe there was a blessing in caring for another. Or, money received to feed your family. If you look carefully, every single day contained something of great value. The things that truly give life meaning and purpose.

If you could look back at my time and remember those things, I would be honored. I didn’t choose the bad to happen. Those things happened because of the willful and well-thought out actions of others. And if you are not familiar with who or what, my advice to you is to follow the money. That is a reliable indicator of who is doing what, for whom, and for what purpose. It could be in the best interest of the people or it could be for selfish gain and power. Please remember to pray urgently for those who fight for good, but also for the evil doers. With knowledge, do your part to make a better tomorrow for all.

In a few short days I will hand the baton to 2023. I do not wish to be in his shoes as he is starting off in a very difficult place. I tried to clean up after 2020 and 2021, with a small amount of success, but he has a compilation of all these years plus mine, to continue to work through and make sense of. The ramifications of 2020 were really only just becoming known during my term.

Pray for 2023. Pray without ceasing, and pray hard. Continue to look for daily blessings and know that God is ever-present. Be kind. Be a worker of good and not evil. Love your neighbor.

Well, I guess that’s all I really have to say.

Andi: Wow. Thank you so much, 2022.
Yes, I do know that I’ve been blessed in many many ways this past year. I will continue to reflect upon those things.

Thank you so much for your insight into the next year and for your well-advised advice. Many of us have heavy, tired hearts from the last three years or so. Perhaps we can do as you’ve suggested by keeping blessings the focal point of each day but yet remain knowledgeable of the issues at hand. Using this knowledge, and with God’s help, we can work accordingly, to make our world a better, safer, and kinder place to live for our children and generations to come. Thank you again, 2022, for joining us.

2022: Thank you, and God bless.

(Applause)

(Lots of Applause)

Andi: Well, that concludes our segment this morning. I wish you well as we head off into another year. Thank you so much for joining me and for allowing 2022 to speak to your heart.

Be well. Be safe. Be grateful. ♥️

🎶 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎶 🎶

(Applause)

🎶 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎵 🎶 🎵 🎶 🎶

(Applause and music fade)

Andi

I have two beautiful logos created by two of my boys. The above logo was created by Jet. The one below is by Ezekiel. I love them both. I will use each of them from time to time. ♥️

This Little Sign

2023 is fast approaching and we will enter it with a lot of uncertainty in our personal lives and in our world. The last two or three years have been the strangest ever in my lifetime. I personally was blindsided by the unimaginable that occurred and is still occurring in our world.

Years ago, New Year’s Eve was a sad time for me. It was like leaving a good friend behind. Then more recently, I was happy to leave the year behind and walk into a new and, hopefully, better one. Now I stand in the doorway looking back in awe, and with great disbelief, of all that transpired in our world in 2022. I cannot believe the blatant wickedness and corruptness that blankets our world. 2023 has me even more concerned.

Even so, the blessings of the past year have made me ever so grateful. ♥️

This little sign hangs in my sunroom. It is a reminder to me to never give up on hope. Hope that not all days will be bad days. Maybe, just maybe, the good days will outnumber the tough ones. Even for just a little while.

The best is yet to come. What does it mean to me? And what does it mean to you?

Is the best a better place financially?

Does it mean that life as a whole will be easier to manage?

Does the best mean less tears and more laughter?

Does it mean an advancement in your job or a move to a new location?

Or, does it refer to the status of a relationship?

Is the best some secret code that will be cracked to reveal everything you’ve ever dreamed of and longed for?

Is the best the betterment of our community, our country, our world? Because these are deteriorating rapidly.

Is the best found in personal happiness? And will there be more of it?

I’ve learned in my six decades here on earth (and yes, I’ve learned the hard way) that happiness is truly a state of mind. Happiness is not found in material things because the newness and pleasure wear off and then you are left with an emptiness that needs refilling. Happiness is not even found in another person. People will fail you. It’s not a matter of if, but when. This isn’t because they choose to let you down. But they are human and that’s what humans do on occasion. Basing your happiness and contentment on someone else to fulfill will only set you up for heartache. Happiness comes from within.

But I also know that we can be so beaten down and depleted in life that our will and our spirit are so weakened…even to the point of being broken…where we’ve lost the ability to draw up any form of happiness from within. I know this first hand. And that is why I am making necessary changes in my life to remove the toxicity and heal…both in my mind and body. Through this transitioning period, I am trusting God to lead me, heal me, and shape me into a better person than I was yesterday.

As much as I’d like to believe this little wooden sign will deliver, I know that we were never promised a life here without pain, trial, and sorrow. We were never promised fairness on this earth. If that were the case no one would strive for Heaven. No one would have the desire to seek Jesus or even be grateful for His existence.

This little sign is, though, a reminder of hope. The best is yet to come but is not necessarily in the way we envision the best. Heaven is the ultimate the best for sure. But the little arrow points me in the direction of change, both necessary and positive, that need to be made in my life. And as I continue to grow and mature, I can see that the best here on earth is actually found within me. ♥️

Philippians 4:11b for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Andi

Romans 8:38,39 I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A Slight Panic

Friday. Two days before Christmas. While it is a comfortable 69 degrees inside my home, it is a cool -9 degrees outdoors. Winds are steady at 24 mph which creates a windchill of -36.

I don’t need to worry about anything blowing away outside as everything is frozen to the place they occupy. With temps like these, it’s almost feels inhumane to let Nyx go outside for a potty break. Her feet freeze within seconds. She loves the outdoors but really does not appreciate this weather. At all. She runs out fast and does her business even faster.

I have to admit I went into a slight panic this morning when I couldn’t open doors to the outside. The sliding door to the back deck is frozen fast. With it being so cold I didn’t risk breaking glass so I tried to let Nyx out the front door. I tried and tried but couldn’t open that door either. Opening the garage door was not an option and the basement door is so old that I didn’t even consider that one. So panic shot through my body like a lightening bolt at the thought of not being able to get out of my house (claustrophobic, perhaps?) or, heaven forbid, an emergency that required personnel to get into my house. And where is Nyx going to poop! So I tried again with the front door. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. It would not budge even slightly. Then I turned the little latch by the handle. Oops…my bad. 😬

I’m glad we have no where to go today. Or, for the next three days. I don’t mind. I have projects to work on. And a couple of traditional Christmas movies to watch. We are safe and warm as long as the power does not go out. I looked at the future forecast and New Year’s Eve is supposed to be 56 degrees. Nice.

Please check on your neighbors during this time. Even if it isn’t weather related, the holidays can be such a sad, difficult time for so many.

Enjoy your day. Be safe and warm. And be nice to those who are stuck in close quarters with you. Oh, and try unlocking the door before opening. Life is so much better without unnecessary panic. ♥️

Andi

Be Amazed

Yesterday I began a five day Christmas devotional on YouVersion. It is called “All is Calm”. This morning one of the first sentences struck me and honestly, it’s all I thought about as I sort of listened to the the rest of the devotional and scripture verses.

Why are we instructed to read and reread the Bible? Why must we hear the story of Creation…again? Of Noah? Of the parting of the Red Sea? Of Christ’s miraculous conception and birth? Why all the repetition?

In my devotional this morning, I was enlightened. We need to hear every story, every lesson, again and again, because our minds tend to forget and our hearts cease to be amazed.

Our hearts cease to be amazed.

You may think that repetition would cause us to be unimpressed or even become hardened. But if our hearts are right, every repetition of a story should solidify our faith, our trust, and our love. And we should be amazed.

Whether you celebrate December 25th as the birth of Christ or not, His birth was miraculous and designed with the greatest of all purpose. I suggest you step away from the hustle and bustle of the material aspect of the holiday season and find yourself a quiet place. Reread the story of Jesus’s birth and embrace the beauty of the greatest gift of all. Rejoice with the angels and allow your heart be amazed again. ♥️

Merry Christmas!!

Andi

My Purpose in Life Began 40 Years Ago

Forty years ago I was given my purpose in life. Although I find it to be most difficult at times, it has been my greatest adventure, my greatest love. Motherhood.

Nathan was born forty years ago today. It is hard for me to acknowledge that I have a forty year old child. I was forty just yesterday.

Nathan was two when his brother was born. Then four more children blessed my life. We had a houseful. He is the only one of six to have me all to himself but he couldn’t wait for his brother to be born. He even named his little brother, Jesse.

My parents, my sister, and my friend, Chelle, adored Nathan. Gosh, he sure made them laugh with the funny things he would say. He was the first grandchild on both sides.

Nathan was always busy. Busy hands and an extraordinarily busy mind. He’s still that way. He’s constantly feeding his mind with knowledge. I’ve never met another like him in that respect. His first word was clock. That should have been our first indication that Nathan’s mind worked differently than most.

His love for science and history runs deep and he can hold in-depth conversations in either subject about most any topic. As a homeschooled student, his joy was memorizing the Periodic Table of Elements and reading chemistry books…because he wanted to.

Nathan is gifted with many talents. He has a green thumb and once filled my yard with tulips. Many varieties of tulips popped up throughout our yard in the spring. It was beautiful. He planted a lilac outside my bedroom window so that when the breeze blew, one of the most beautiful scents on all the earth, would waft into my room and cover my bed. He also grew the most wonderful vegetable gardens and I would can or freeze those treasures at harvest. The extra produce would find themselves in a homemade cannon of sorts and he and his brother and their friend would shoot veggies at each other. Boys…..

Nathan was very curious about many things and I’m still discovering the antics of his youth. I would have died then knowing some of the things he did. They are laughable now.

One of Nathan’s biggest curiosity and venture was in the world of pyrotechnics. His love for pyrotechnics began in the lab next door in his friend’s shed. Later, our family worked together in a fireworks company that we purchased after the owner’s unexpected passing.

It wasn’t an easy job for any of us. Pyrotechnics is hard work. But mixed in with some bad times are many good (and very funny) memories. We all learned a lot about each other, life, and the fascinating world of pyrotechnics. Our company entertained hundreds of thousands of people over the years. How many people can say that? Nathan opened our world to an adventure that many people would never dream of experiencing. I thank him for that.

Deep down Nathan wants the best for everyone. And while he comes across as brash, he has a heart of gold and he means well. Nathan feels everything deeply like his momma, which is a curse and a blessing. He grew up watching his mom so deeply passionate about certain life issues to the point it would become an obsession to her. I admit I was intense at times. But the bottom line was I was trying to save the world from something harmful or morally wrong…one passion at a time. Only the world didn’t see the need for saving and I’d end up empty and depleted. Nathan has followed the example I gave him during his young, impressionable years. I’ve since mellowed as I realize I can only do so much without neglecting those closest to me. Sharing my thoughts through writing and praying are my absolute best anymore. Prayer will never disappoint because God knows all and works according to His timing. My influence, my footprint, will be left in the hearts of my children, family, and friends.

Nathan is forty today. How can this be?

Happy Birthday, my son. Thank you for being the first to give me purpose in life. My love for you runs deep. Be at peace in your life. You are very complex yet there is a simplicity about you that reminds me of my little boy of long ago. I cherish that. Although we are miles apart you can find me in every sunrise and sunset. We share in the love of the beauty of God’s ever-changing sky. A connection of hearts. ♥️

Mom/ Andi

Be Like Karen

The name Karen has certainly gotten a bad rap over the past several years. I’m not sure how it got started or why that particular name was chosen to represent women who are privileged, obnoxious, demanding, and angry.

But to suggest that all Karens are alike is well, kind of…Karenish.

I have a close friend named Karen. She is a most cherished friend of mine and let me tell you why.

My Karen is the complete opposite of the stereotyped Karen. My Karen is beautiful. She is oh so smart and witty. My Karen is a nurturer and a healer. Physical and mental health are priorities in her life and she shares her wealth of knowledge with others.

My Karen loves and appreciates the earth and all the wondrous treasures within it. She surrounds herself in everything beautiful. Karen spends endless hours hiking with her husband…breathing in God’s creation. Appreciating every. single. breath.

My Karen is compassionate about many things. She stands up for all that is good and right. She loves our country, her family, and God. And she’s not afraid to share that love.

My Karen is beyond grateful. She is aware of the fragility of life and builds her life around that sentiment. That’s what makes her so precious. It’s my wish that everyone could have a Karen in their life just like my Karen.

So be like Karen.
My Karen. ♥️

Andi

Trusting God

I started my new job as the clerk-treasurer in my tiny town. Yesterday morning, I was asked by my friend how the new job was going. I replied, “I’m not sure.”

Last night after work, I responded again, “I’m still not sure.”

His reply, “All you need to be sure of at this point is you need a job. Leave the rest up to God!”

Then another text from him, “Trust God!!! He has the perfect plan for you…..”

Trusting God.
How easily it is to forget to trust when we get busy…and then we become overwhelmed with anxiety.

I prayed. And prayed some more. God knew all that was heavy on my heart. He closed a door while opening another, and after I walked through it, I question, “What am I doing in this new room?” What happened to my trust?

Sometimes we need a good friend to remind us of where we are grounded. I know I’ve gotten all tangled up in these changes that are happening all at once. I’m leaving what was my life for two years and now venturing out on my own. This is really big for me. But I asked God for this. I can’t forget Him now.

I’m putting things back into perspective today and trusting God. I’m here for a reason and I do see why to an extent. I will work on having a positive impact on this new position.

Thanks to MH for grounding me. Again. ♥️

Andi

“Why are you anxious?”

Origin post: April 26, 2020

Where flowers bloom, so does hope.

Matthew 6: 28, 29 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Today is hard. We live in trying times. But still we have many reasons to rejoice. God feeds the squirrels and the birds. He waters the flowers, and gives the earth sunshine. He will take care of us as well. Remember that God is still in control. Be thankful for that.

Note to self: Don’t be anxious. ♥️

Andi

Photos: Queen Anne’s Lace, one of my favorite flowers. Photos taken near my home.

Feeling Loved

December 1, 2022 – My First Day Gone

Angie had texted me that my office was depressing with me gone. She went into my office and stood there in silence. Soon, Kelly came in, and stood with her. Then another coworker, and then yet another. They all just stood there together in my empty office.

I cannot even begin to express the love I felt as she relayed this to me. It is nice to know that I have touched others in a positive way and that I am missed. The feeling is definitely mutual. My life is blessed and I am very grateful. ♥️

Andi

Go Through It

Often when we come upon a difficult time in our life we talk about the need to get past it in order to heal. What does that mean to get past it?

Today I heard something on a Hallmark movie that struck me in a remarkable way. The situation there, of course, was related to love and heartache. Difficult times are not always related to love though.

So the gist of what was said in the movie was that when faced with a trial, we cannot simply go around it in the passing zone. We need to go through it.

Going through it means you are dealing with it. You don’t avoid all the hard stuff that is created by the situation. You hit it straight on. You face it. You work through it.

Regardless of how hard it is, face the situation head on and deal with it as difficult as it may be. In my opinion, it might just be a healthier route to take than simply getting past it. Taking the path of least resistance will only add extra baggage to your life of that which is not dealt with appropriately.

Maybe my take on getting past it is a little deeper than needed but the words go through it made me think about healing in a different light.

Who says you can’t learn something of value from a Hallmark movie? 😊 ♥️

Andi

A Bittersweet Transition

(Appears more cluttered in the photo than in person 😬)

A week or so ago, I wrote about the wait. Waiting for God to lead and direct while I try to be patient. Currently, I’m trying to understand the timing while acknowledging that God has closed one door and opened another. Do not question when God answers the prayers you’ve been praying. So why do I feel the need to question His timing?

In March of this year, I put my notice in at work. I had been waiting for over a year for things to get better, and they just didn’t. We were so understaffed. I gave my boss until the end of June to he could find someone to replace me. A generous amount of time. In the meantime, the other personal lines person put her notice in and was gone 3 weeks after that. So we were still very short staffed. I couldn’t leave in good conscious. But it never got better.

It’s been almost two years of unwavering stress. My boss decided to retire a couple months ago and he sold our agency to a corporation with the promise that things would be easier for us in the long run. But the merger has been stressful. Not a smooth transition for us at all. For one, we are not set up on their system yet so the last few weeks have been very difficult.

I had stayed to help the office out, and I stayed much longer than intended. The girls are the reason I’ve stayed as long as I have. I love them all so much. But I didn’t want to be that one in the office who brings everyone else down. And I felt that’s who I am becoming.

I think perhaps had I started this job on a better note instead of walking into a hot mess, maybe I would have had a better impression of working in the insurance world. But it was poorly managed from my first day. I didn’t realize the extent of that until this merger took place.

I put my notice in again on November 10th with the new company and yesterday was my last day. It is quite bittersweet as I left women there whom I love dearly. They have become family to me. They are left to carry my workload and for that, I am remorseful.

But my health has suffered greatly since my employment there. I was more athletic. Much thinner. And my mind was in better shape. There really are different personality types. This type of work drains me to the point where I could never regain what I lost during the day before I’d have to do it over again the next day.

When I put my first notice in back in March, I applied for the clerk/ treasures office in my tiny town. They hired an older man who had been an accountant his whole life. Well, in October, he went to jail for being a horrid human being. I was asked by the board members if I was still interested in being the clerk. I thought about the prayers I’ve been praying. I thought about my health. I thought about the many aspects of that job that would allow me to take care of me, and perhaps, grant me free time to write, which is my passion. So I said yes.

Tears have been shed by myself and my coworkers. Never have I had relationships such as these. These women mean so much to me. They threw a surprise lunch on Tuesday. It was amazing. They gave me a generous gift card too. But the love shared is the most precious of all gifts. I cannot even write this without tears.

My office was quite plain when I first settled in. In between the visits to Florida, when my father was dying, I spent the weekend keeping busy by painting two walls the color of autumn gold. My favorite season. I hung my canvas photographs on the wall and decorated my office with a Maine theme, one of the most beautiful places on all the earth. My office was warm and cozy. It became my home away from home. It helped to make my stay there a little easier.

Over the last two weeks I had to gradually dismantle my home. It’s been most difficult. The girls felt it too as my office become colder.

I would remove my things after work when the girls went home. It was too hard to do it when they were present as I shed many tears.

The room is empty now except for the quote I had created and had specially made to attach to my wall. Not sure if it will suit the next occupant of my little office though and that’s ok. It is time though that I heed my words written there. All this time that’s what they were…just words.

A bittersweet transition. There’s no other way to describe it. The girls will be okay. I do have faith in the new company. Mergers take some time to smooth out the wrinkles. I’m still here for them and they know it. I know they are here for me too. The love and friendships run deep. I am blessed.

I know my mind and body did not fair well over the last two years there, but my life would be emptier without the things learned and the friendships earned. There is always something good in the bad. Something to learn. Something that makes us a better person. Something that shines above the abyss.

God is good. His timing is perfect. I give Him the thanks and praise for where I am today. ♥️

Andi

The Most Important Decision

We base many things in life upon our feelings. And I know that my feelings change frequently.

Like falling in and out of love. Fall in. Fall out. How does that happen? Why does that happen? Perhaps it is when we base the relationship on feelings alone. Feelings come and go like the breeze.

Oh yeah, there’s nothing more exciting than the warm fuzzies when falling in love. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I would love to experience the fuzzies again before I die. It’s youthful and energizing. A warm fuzzy is the key which unlocks the door to love. But the warm fuzzies turn cold when we don’t nurture the relationship. And the reason being is…

Love is a decision.

The warm fuzzies…the spark, the click, the fireworks…are an important part of a relationship. But to experience love completely is a choice; a well, thought-out decision. Nothing can be expected to last forever when it is solely built upon feelings.

Loving God is a decision.

When we first realize the err of our ways, our incompleteness, our losses…and we turn to God…we often feel the warm fuzzies. I know I did. The emotion ran high for me. We fall in love with God. We wrap ourselves in His warmth. We recognize His protection. We feel His love.

As time goes on that initial feeling of exhilaration fades. We come down off the high. Unless we choose to love Jesus, unless we make that a conscious decision, we will fall back into a life without Him. Fall in. Fall out.

Whether in a romantic love relationship or a relationship with Christ, both require work on our part. Deciding to love requires understanding. It requires compromise. It requires diligence. It requires consistency. Love requires effort to be successful.

Granted, God is all-understanding, diligent, and consistent. He doesn’t compromise His truth though for what we want to believe.

Love is worth the effort, but it is a decision. Taking the decision-making step before the fuzzies fade is often crucial to long-lasting love. Ask any couple who has remained married for decades if their marriage was easy. Most likely they will laugh first, and then they tell you all the ways it was not. But they will tell you it was a choice to remain married. A decision made by each of them. I have a great sadness in knowing I’ll never experience a 50th wedding anniversary. Or, even a 30th.

Love is a decision. On the human side of love, both need to decide to love the other. On the God side of love, He never waivers. He made the decision to love when earth was just a thought.

Decide to love. There’s a ton of emptiness in giving up when the fuzziness fades. Certainly, not all fuzzies are true because so much in our world is based on lust and not love. But how many true relationships have been discarded because the decision to love takes work? We humans have a tendency to take the path of least resistance.

Love is a decision. Embrace it. It’s the most important decision you will ever make. ♥️

Andi

Orchids

my currently blooming orchid

Will I ever tire of white orchids? I think not.

Many years ago, I wrote a poem about white orchids. It was also about love. If you have ever had either, you know the beauty, and the frustration, of both.

When I worked for a florist several years ago, my sunroom became the orchid rehab center for all the store orchids that finished their blooming cycle, or become sickly. I just could not bring myself to throw them out so I took them home. When I brought the orchids back into bloom, I’d return them to the store. At one point I had about 20 orchids in that room, both mine and those from the store. Along with all the other plants I had of my own, my sunroom was bursting at the seams. Bursting with color. It was beautiful and it brought me such happiness. Finally, my girls told me that for every orchid I bring home, they were going to bring home another dog. Um. That didn’t happen. lol

my work station at the florist shop

I learned a lot about the care of orchids from an older man, Richard, who owned an orchid greenhouse. That’s where we purchased our orchids for the store. He even formulated his own orchid food. Sadly, his health took a turn for the worse and the greenhouse closed this summer. I was able to purchase several orchids before the closure. They were not blooming at the time but I believe they are all white. Two are currently in bloom and they are white.

at the greenhouse
at the greenhouse

Orchids can be frustrating and they teach me what I need most…patience. Love is the same way. Orchids require warmth, watering, and a fair amount just letting it be. Neither will bloom exactly when you want them too. That’s a fact.

one of my currently blooming orchids

Below is my orchid poem. 💕

The Orchid

Love seeded deep within soil long ago,
…two roots took hold and would never let go.

A dismal circumstance, uncontrolled by the two,
…separated true hearts; still the tiny plant grew.

A single stem from, the soil did emerge,
…as the roots did insist; as love did urge.

Enjoying the sunshine, this little stem grew,
…for love also watered, the roots of these two.

Though even apart, these enlightened hearts knew,
…their love buried deep, would carry them through.

And so through the days, the months, and the years,
…the little stem thrived, ahhhh….but not without tears.

For as the time passed, and the taller it grew,
…not a single bloom…EVER…made a debut.

Although life through the years, was simple and good,
…a loneliness existed, lost hearts understood.

And so the plant lived with a void deep inside,
…living life to the fullest, these hearts truly tried.

And then something happened…really quite unexpected,
…the lonely hearts somehow, became reconnected.

What joy filled this plant that had waited so long,
…for the enchanted tune, of love’s sweetest song.

With hearts reunited, two souls became one,
…and the stem rejoiced, under the warmth of the sun.

And in light of true love, the magic appeared,
…and the void in the stem, simply just disappeared.

What wonderful blooms with petals of white,
…covered the stem, at the top of its height.

White for the purist of love on this earth,
…and for joy ’cause this plant discovered its worth.

Roots…where the deepest love, grows in the heart,
…the length of the stem…years living apart.

The blooms rich in beauty…the love two hearts shared,
…this plant in its spender; true love it declared.

So this is my tale of an orchid of love,
…and the essence of what, precious dreams are made of.

By Andi
January 30, 2013

a beautiful orchid I had several years ago

There is much going on in my life currently. Much happiness in preparation for Thanksgiving this week and then another bittersweet transition which I will share with you in a couple of weeks. I’ve become quite emotional with it all over the last couple of days. No worries. I will hold it all together and I will live each moment fully.

Have a joyous weekend. Reach out to those who need a kind face and loving words as the holidays can be a lonely time for so many. ♥️

Andi