Waiting on the Lord

I’m in an unexpected season of life. If you’ve read previous posts, you know that I left a civil service job in January 2017. This was a very releasing move – my job was quite negative and while I loved the people I worked with, I didn’t feel that I was helping anyone. This decision was preceded by a lot of prayer. I felt that I was led to leave my job, but didn’t want my desires to leave to overshadow what I should really be doing – so I prayed more… and more… and more. Even after my last day of work, things happened that reinforced my decision to leave – so I prayed more (in thanksgiving!).

I had some business ideas to make up the difference in my income. Unfortunately, here I am 10 months later and those ideas didn’t come to fruition. So I’ve started questioning my decision. After talking to a couple of friends and my Pastor, I still feel I made the right decision in leaving that job, but I’m confused about what I should be doing now. I’ve applied for jobs, but have only gotten one interview – I’m intelligent, friendly, but as an auditor, I didn’t specialize in anything – I worked in a lot of different areas (that’s one of the few things I enjoyed about the job – it was always something new!)

My Pastor suggested, that maybe this is a time of waiting. WHAT?? A time to wait & rest for the next thing that God has planned for me. WHAT?? Yes, we’ve all had to wait for things (the arrival of a child, an appointment, etc.) – but I’ve never had to wait to find out what I’m supposed to do with my life?! I don’t know HOW to wait! I’m a doer – I make a plan – and I do… something. How do I just sit and wait? How does that help me find the job that I know God has for me?

I spent the next couple of days a bit confused. That one interview I had been called for was the very next day. It was a job where I’d be helping people with shopping (Home Depot Call Center), there was room to advance to a management position, the people seemed very nice – it sounded promising. But then I saw the schedule – and actually started crying – right there in front of the manager who was offering me a job (talk about embarrassing!). I would miss Thanksgiving with my family. I would miss weekends with my family. I just couldn’t do it (at least not before talking to them).

That night I turned to Google. How do you wait on the Lord? I found an article at GotQuestions.org that I found quite helpful. What I found was that waiting on the Lord involves a confident expectation and hope that God will not leave us hanging. He will provide the way – I just have to … you guessed it … wait for His perfect timing. I definitely had that expectation – but my confidence was a little shaken. I still had my hope in Him.

This article referenced the Psalm 23 – did you know that sheep don’t like to rest near rushing water. When He leads me by still waters – it is to bring me rest. Even though my life is a bit turbulent right now, I know that I can find rest in Him. He is my still waters. Another verse I came across in my search was Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV). This is the one that really spoke to me. I decided to create something to remind me of these verses.

Wait on the Lord tagged

This picture (from a summer backpacking trip in the Uintas) can be representative of life (at least mine, right now). There’s a mountain I need to climb – but it’s in the background – waiting for the Lord’s plan. In the foreground is the still water where He’s leading me to rest (before tackling the mountain, perhaps). It reminds me to wait for Him – maybe He’s creating a different path over that mountain than what I expected.

In the mean time, there are things I can do – self care, family care, and enjoying life – even with the struggles and detours, because I DO have that confident expectation that God WILL guide my steps – ‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”’ Isaiah 30:21 (NIV).

Thanks for letting me ramble a bit today!

Enjoy!

~Gerri

 

 

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Good Bye Auditing!!!!!

Today is my last day as an internal auditor for the Air Force.  I can’t believe this day is finally here!  A year ago, I didn’t think it was possible.  Yet – here I am getting ready to start a new chapter.  It’s exciting.  It’s a little scary.  It’s satisfying.

I didn’t grow up wanting to be an auditor (or even an accountant).  I wanted to be a jockey – I quickly outgrew that dream – literally (I’m in no way short or petite).  Then I wanted to be a veterinarian – I became a veteran.  I pursued an accounting degree instead of a DVM – which was OK, because I loved working with numbers (let’s face it – they never bite, kick or scratch).

At one time I enjoyed auditing.  I love problem solving, I have an eye for details, and I don’t mind confrontation.  Unfortunately – the negativity got me.  After 18 years, it was weighing me down – constantly telling people they were doing things wrong.  Last April was my Spring Board.  I was doing a book study of Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.  In the course of that study – I stretched my mind – what else could I do?  How much of my income would I actually need to replace?   What would make me happy?  How could I help others?  The idea slowly bloomed from a small seed to full blown reality!

With a lot of prayer, consultation with my husband, dreaming, more prayer and lots of seeking, I made the decision.  I don’t know how things will work out – I just know they will.  I know that if Plan A doesn’t work – I can try Plan B – then C – and even D if I need to.  I know God has a path for me.  I know I’m doing the right thing.  I know I just need to listen and move forward.

So – after more than 30 years I will no longer be working for the Air Force.  For the first time in 32 years I don’t actually have a job.  It’s a little scary.  It’s exciting.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Here’s what 18 years of auditing looks like –

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A stack of reports – each one the culmination of months of audit work boiled down to about 10 pages.  These are ready for the shredder & I’m ready to move forward.

Follow your dreams!

La Vie Enrose

I’ve been wanting to post something, here, but didn’t really find much interesting in my life to write about.  We celebrated Christmas with snow, church & relaxing (we watched Star Wars movies in preparation to see the new movie!)

Now I can’t believe 2016 is just a few days away.  I’ve been contemplating creating a New Year’s Resolution Goals scrapbook layout to document what I want to accomplish in the coming year and my progress to those ends.  I’ve also been working on Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead 2016 workbook to see what direction I want to move forward.

As I’ve been preparing for my January classes, I’ve been working with the IMG_2298La Vie Enrose papers – they are quite pretty with roses in various pinks & reds as well as black & white geometric patterns.  IMG_2299Ever since this paper was introduced I’ve been wondering what the name means – so I finally looked it up.  According to www.quora.com – La Vie Enrose literally translates to Life in pink – but more appropriately would be life through rosy glasses.  I think I like the 2nd translation better.  I know you can’t go through life completely with your rose colored glasses on, but I often think about how the world has changed between when I was a kid and what my boys are experiencing.  I would love to add some rose colored glasses to their lives so they could enjoy childhood a little longer without hearing about what’s going on in the news or even down the street.

But, since I can’t hide the world from them, I’ll do my best to temper the difficult things in life with lots of love, compassion & kindness – hope that it’s catchy and that they’ll remember we’re always better together!

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Unnecessary Stress

When I became a Close to My Heart independent consultant, I wanted it to be something fun & not something that adds stress to my life.  I wanted to offer classes, meet new people to scrapbook with, have a Facebook page & write a blog – all without added negative stress.  Close to My Heart makes it pretty fun and easy to be a consultant.  I love the products!  The minimums needed to remain a consultant are easy to reach even as a hobbiest. And there are lots of great examples and ideas available to teach paper crafting classes.  It has really been fun!

Unfortunately, sometimes I add demands on myself that increase my stress levels.  For some reason, I thought I had to start a blog right away and I needed to post twice a week, every week.  This seemed easy enough.  Write extra posts when I have extra time, add the pictures & tada – I have a blog.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.  Oh, I had lots of subjects to write about (after all – doesn’t everyone want to read what I have to say?!) My problem was the time – as always, making my schedule behave was a struggle.

It seems these days that being busy and stressed is the new norm.  If you aren’t busy or stressed, then you must be lazy, or you aren’t important enough.  I’ve decided that is not how I want to live my life.  I realize that stress isn’t always bad – without stress we don’t have growth.  What I didn’t want was unnecessary stress – especially those self-imposed stressors that are just there because I want a certain appearance in my life.

So – I decided to give the blog a break for a few weeks and focus on other things – family time, a week-long stash bash, artwork for my classes.  This removed my self-imposed stress and allowed me to enjoy what I was doing.  I thought about dropping the blog, but I actually enjoy writing (my IPB job involves technical writing and is very structured – blog writing lets me write about what I want, with my own style).  So rather than dropping it, I’ve just decided to start at 1 post a week.  I know you are all just pining away because you feel you’re missing out (ha ha)!

I’ve decided that the stress something causes has to be worth the growth or impact it will have on my life.  A coworker of mine just retired – he put it off a few years I believe because there were some things he wanted to have in place before he started enjoying the good life.  Well about 30 days before his retirement date, he was diagnosed with cancer.  My heart breaks for him and his wife – they waited so long for this time of their lives only to be struck this crushing blow.  Their experience reminded me once again that life is too short to run through it harried and frazzled.  Take the time to enjoy what you’re doing.  Don’t add stressors to your life that don’t enhance it.  Enjoy this ride called life!

I’ll post more of what’s going on with CTMH and my family next week.  We’re heading out for our first family backpacking trip this weekend so I should have some beautiful pictures of the Uinta mountains.  I also have some fun projects I’ve been working on and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Until then – enjoy your life and don’t add unnecessary stress on yourself.

~Gerri

The Responsibility of Respect and our Unalienable Rights

downloadIn just a few days we’ll celebrate July 4th here in the US – Independence Day.  While the Second
Continental Congress voted to approve the resolution of Independence on July 2, 1776, we have traditionally celebrated July 4th – the day the Declaration of Independence was approved.  The day is filled with picnics, BBQs, fireworks, parades, & other festivities.  I enjoy the fun times (and let’s face it, the day off), but if you really think about it, the Founding Fathers and their supporters were really taking a big risk in declaring independence from Great Britain.  This wasn’t simply a matter of losing a war and being subjected to the rule of Britain, the Americans were already British subjects, so anyone supporting the colonists could be considered traitors of the crown.  There was a lot more at stake here than some taxes on tea.

I’ll be honest – I haven’t spent much time reading the Declaration of Independence – I grew up in a totally free society.  I never questioned that we wouldn’t be free.  But, I took a look at those words recently and it really made me think… we’re all created equal, we’ve all been given unalienable Rights – life – liberty – the pursuit of happiness.

I find it interesting that our Founding Fathers stated these unalienable rights are endowed by our ‘Creator’ – yet atheists have these same rights – even though they don’t believe in a Creator – they want their right of Liberty to speak freely against religion.  We all want liberty – we want to be free …

We’re all entitled to Life – Why do we take life so lightly?  How often do we go through life not making healthy choices or thinking of how our actions will affect us later?  Why is it that some believe they have the right to take away life if it isn’t big enough or healthy enough?

Does your right to pursue happiness outweigh my right to pursue happiness?  Where do your rights end and mine begin?  If I don’t believe in your particular form of happiness, or if I say your happiness infringes on my happiness – who gets to be happy?

This is where respect comes in.  The Declaration of Independence only mentions respect one time – in saying it is decent and respectful for the Founding Fathers to declare their reasons for wanting independence.  Yet, respect is paramount if we are all going to enjoy our Creator-given unalienable rights.  We have the responsibility of being respectful so we can all enjoy our unalienable rights.   I don’t have to agree with your opinion, or how you pursue happiness – but I do need to respect your choices.  And I would expect the same from you.  Respect others enough so that your pursuit of happiness doesn’t infringe on their lives.  Just because I disagree with you – doesn’t mean I’m a hater – doesn’t mean I’m mean – it doesn’t mean anything other than I have a different opinion.  I’ll respect you and your opinion much more if you don’t try to paint me as a horrible person for disagreeing.  In that same vein – I won’t try to shove my opinion down your throat.  We can just respectfully disagree.

One thing I think we can all agree on – have fun this 4th of July weekend – be safe – and remember all those who’ve gone before you and fought so valiantly for the freedoms and unalienable rights we have today.

Enjoy!
Gerri

Quick & Easy Meal Planning = More Time For What You Want!

‘I don’t want to work – I just want to’ … hang out with my boys, play in my craft room… how do you finish that song?  Meal planning is one of those never ending chores (it’s always there, right!)  I’m always looking for ways to make it faster & easier.   Meal prep for me starts with deciding what we’ll have (looking through cookbooks for variety), making a list of ingredients, checking the list against the pantry & freezer contents, then actually making the meal (after I find the recipe). I’ve tried a few different shopping lists and meal planning apps, but I’ve found Mealboard to be my favorite meal planning/shopping list/pantry inventory app.

I very rarely pay for apps – there is so much free content available, I just don’t see the point. But if I find an app that I think has true value, I will buy it. I think I’ve purchased a total of 5 – a Study Bible, a math game for my son, a couple I can’t remember, and the Mealboard app. For an app to have true value in my mind it has to make my life easier. Here’s how Mealboard can make life easier for you:

The Menu – when I sit down to plan the menu, I usually have several cookbooks, websites or printed recipes on hand. With Mealboard, you can enter recipes either manually, by importing from a web site, or copy/paste from another text. The app supports importing recipes from 30+ food websites. Generally, I just copy/paste using my computer – this is quick and easy and I can adapt things if I want. You can manually input recipes on the iPhone or iPad, but I like it better from a regular laptop.

After you have recipes entered, you can just add them to the day you want to use them on. When you select a recipe, you can see when it was on the menu last (so you don’t have hotdogs & hamburgers 3 weeks in a row unless you want to). You can also add things like ‘Dine Out’ or things you won’t use a recipe for (Burgers, Spaghetti) using the Quick Add feature.   Once the menu is planned, you can see it in a list or calendar view, email it or print it out for all to see (my kids are constantly asking what’s for dinner – now I just point at the frig).  You can also include prep/cooking time, rate recipes, add source info (I like to include the cookbook & page number), and add a picture.

Grocery Shopping/Pantry Inventory – The next fun step is the grocery list. With Mealboard, just select the Shopping link, then choose the days you want to sync and you have a grocery list showing how much of each ingredient you need, what recipes you need it for, and if you’ve added your pantry/freezer inventory, how much you have in stock. Before you head off to the store, simply swipe away items you don’t need, or add other things you do need. There are also options for what store/aisle to purchase the items from, but I like to keep things simple. I generally shop at just 1 or 2 places & pretty much know my way around the store, so I just skip this. Sending someone else to the store? You can print or email the list if they don’t have the app on their phone. As you make your purchases just check them off.

Updating The Pantry – once you get your groceries home & put away, it’s time to update your pantry inventory with your purchases – simply touch the trash can and you get options to ‘delete checked items’ – ‘delete all’ – or ‘Move Items to Pantry’ – with just the touch of a finger – your pantry inventory is updated. You can also use this feature when you cook a meal. Each item in the recipe comes up and you can decrease your inventory with what you’ve used.

Actual Meal Prep – so now it’s time to actually cook. This is after all the point behind this whole process – getting food on the table to feed the tribe. Simply select the recipe from the menu and (if you’ve entered it in the recipe database), you have all the ingredients and directions. You can also add notes, scale the recipe up or down, ‘Update Pantry” (described above) and ‘Tag as Leftover’. By tagging a recipe as leftover, you can quickly see in your menu that it’s available.

There are a few other free apps I’ve used (I don’t want to name them because I don’t want to give them negative feedback) that worked fine, but were a little slow or cumbersome. I’ve found Mealboard to be quick and smooth (doesn’t get hung up), and the page views are clean and easy to read.

I have only found a few drawbacks to this system – the only thing you can do on a real computer is enter recipes – but having this option for entering recipes is great. It would be nice to update the shopping list from a computer as well, but this is still very easy with the iPad or iPhone. Also, it does take some time to actually enter the recipes. But once this is done, you can access them on your iPhone, iPad or computer. You can also email them right from the app to share with your friends. It also doesn’t have an Android version. These slight drawbacks are so minor compared to the time savings and ease of menu planning, that I think this app is well worth the $3.99 I paid for it.

So there you have it – the value for me is that – I save time by selecting recipes off the list, I know how long it’s been since I made a particular dish, my grocery list is done with a few clicks (and I never forget it at home), my pantry is updated effortlessly after shopping or creating a meal. Also, when I’m actually cooking, I can set my IPad in a stand and easily have the recipe available because everything syncs across devices. It’s a pretty intuitive app, but if you don’t think so, there are tutorials and more info at http://www.mealboard.com/.

I’d love to hear what you think of this app or what apps you use to make your life easier.

Enjoy!

Gerri

Time Plans

I said in a previous post that I really like plans (keeping in mind that they are flexible).  I make meal plans, vacation plans, scrapbook plans & workout plans (although – for these I just plan which days to work out & don’t look at my actual workout until that morning or else I would just stay in bed!).  Today I want to look at time plans.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we all have the same amount of time in a day, it’s how we use it that lets us do more than just the daily grind.  Here are some ideas that have been working for me – some ideas I’m hatching or rehashing – and areas I’m still working on.

What’s Worked – Since I’ve always been a big ‘lister’, I like to start the year by making a list of what I want to accomplish over the next 12 months.  This year’s list includes – read the Bible chronologically, read 2 classics, read 3 non-fiction books, camp in 2 new places, eat healthy & exercise, have a fully funded emergency fund, find someone to replace me as the Cub Scout treasurer (woo hoo – my youngest son becomes a Boy Scout next February and I’m ready to pass the reins!), and scrapbook more.

Each quarter and also each month, I decide what I can do in those specific timeframes to move toward my annual goals and add new things that come up or just need to be done during that particular timeframe (taxes, Christmas decorating & gifts, getting the trailer ready for the summer).   This is where I get more specific – I want to walk 200 miles, work out twice a week, finish reading a particular book.

One last thing I’ve found quite helpful is a timer.  I learned this from the Fly Lady (http://flylady.net).  Some tasks are large or I only have a few minutes to work on something.  I’ll set my timer for an amount of time (or whatever I have available) and when the timer goes off I walk away & move on to the next thing.  I find this to be freeing because I don’t feel like I have to complete the whole task of cleaning my office – just get done what I can until the timer goes off – and move on. This also keeps me from continuing on less important, but needed activities when I have something more important to move on to.  I still feel like I’ve gotten something done, and I’m freed up to move on.

What I’m Rehashing – I used to have a Day Planner – I loved it!  When I discovered the joys of technology I started using my phone for appointments, and day to day to-do lists.  I especially like the phone for repetitive things (yes, I have to remind myself to meditate everyday – or I just won’t get around to it) and using Google calendars to coordinate my family’s schedule is very helpful, but I’ve found it’s pretty easy to just ignore electronic reminders and then that to-do list task falls by the wayside.  

I’ve recently realized that although the technology is great, I wasn’t using my day to day planning to further my goals.  Instead I was just floating along doing whatever seemed to be important (or more fun) on a particular day.  Because I wanted to match my planning and day to day activities with my goals, I looked for some online (free) options – I came across Vertex42 (www.vertex42.com) – they allow you to download free daily and monthly planners (they are in the form of Excel spreadsheets) & print out the days you want.  This has helped me schedule my time more effectively because I’m focusing my daily activities on my monthly and annual goals.  Does it always go perfectly? – NO!  But at least I’m moving forward in the right direction.

What’s Hatching – I’m still struggling with staying focused (or avoiding interruptions), and balancing life (family, work & hobbies).  When I’m at my IPB (It Pays the Bills) job – I try to work for 45 minutes, take a walk around the block, then do something less mind-numbing for 10 minutes.  This helps keep me from getting burned out on the mundane of the IPB.  When I want to focus on my CTMH business I often struggle with the boys needing things from me, so I often have to do things in small snipits of time.

Here’s what I’m working on for these areas

     Master Time Lists – I have started a list of things that I need to do – for my family, for my business, scouts, church, etc.  The only organization to this list is columns for Business & Life.  This way, as something comes to mind, I can just jot it down.  I also try to put an estimate of how long it will take.  This helps when I only have 5-10 minutes available, I can find something on my list with a short time requirement & do it – rather than plopping down in front of the TV or Facebook.  Once I have my big list, I can also move these tasks to a monthly/daily list as the time is available or the deadline approaches.  

     A Power Hour – I heard of this concept about 4 years ago in a business setting, but I’ve never applied it to my life activities.  I want to try this in the coming weeks & see if it doesn’t help.  I used to be big into multi-tasking, but have come to realize I’m not as effective as I thought.  I would like to set up power hours to – 

  – Complete my meal plan (this includes adding recipes to the app I use, checking how stocked the pantry is, and making a grocery list) – I would only need to do this once a month (or less if I’m devoting an entire hour to it).

  – Work on CTMH artwork – Bills & budgeting – Scout treasurer duties – Church duties
Wouldn’t it be nice if I could do a power hour for laundry & it would be done for the week!
What would you do for a power hour??

Hopefully, my time plans will improve as I transition back to planning my days to meet my goals.  I’ll keep you posted if there are any major improvements or huge failures (like Mother’s Day & Teacher Appreciation are this week & I haven’t done anything yet! Amazon don’t fail me now!)
I would love to hear what Time Plans you use, how they’ve helped you or any ideas you have that could help me.   OR – do you just wing it?  

Thanks for reading along with me.  Hope you have a great week!
Enjoy!
Gerri