The Mediocre Level


I wrote this piece not this week but prior.  Today as I decide to actually publish it I’ve felt pretty well.  In fact, the last few days have been good.  Writing allows me to process and move forward.  Not always staying ahead but not falling as far back as I once would is more of a normal thing now. I call that progress.

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I hate that my parents died. I hate that the questions go unanswered and the memories are all I have.   I feel broken from that stint I did in 2013. I hate that the confidence I used to feel inside me has been replaced with the lack thereof and the fear of the unknown.

The task of analyzing oneself can be taunting and at times the individual may find themselves grasping to get their head above water.

Currently I do not feel I am doing any area of my life with much excellence.  The ability to be exceedingly good at something has fallen from my life it seems.  I would say I am more in the “do what I need to and get by mode.”  I’ve been running on auto pilot for sometime now.  There’s been a couple of times I’ve began with a mindset of success to only find I fall into that mediocre level once again.  Even in the times of my life (pre-2013) when I was challenged, whether personally or professionally, I still had one or two areas of life I was above average in.

As you can tell the “analyzing” oneself has recently occurred in my life and it has brought a less than stellar mojo around!  Some of you are probably saying right now, “but Julie you are doing this and this and this so well!”  But in reality I’m not.  I’m doing just enough for it to “look” okay.

I’m not falling apart, I’m just looking reality in the face at the moment.  It’s not an “upper” but the “downer” part might be what I need to face to move forward.  I can no longer be the leader of all areas of my life and do it with grace.  And it’s driving me nuts!

I can look back and see when the strength that my mother instilled in me began to fall away.  The turmoil and wreckage of an experience finally got to me and altered my everyday life.  I may be fooling myself, perhaps those traumatic experiences as a child altered me too, but until I was in my 40’s I was capable of  handling  things.  Three consecutive experiences took me to my knees and it’s hard to get up, even almost four years later.

I suppose this is where I would normally write the lines of postivity and a mantra of things to get me “re-booted”.  Well this time I’m not.  I am not going to sit in the depths of despair but I will close with this.

One.  One positive thing a day.  I shall pluck one little thing from my day that I did well and place it at the top of my thoughts.  I will bask in the glory of even the simplest task I did that was good.  Where will that lead me?

Julie

Focus – 2017 Word


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My word for 2017 is Focus.  I have already started a sub-list of things as you can see.

Focus

  • on living
  • on the joy in the moments
  • on my health
  • on the little things
  • on the laughter in my life
  • on the small steps
  • on the love given to me

When I came back today to this post this is the spot where I deleted what I had written. The words that had been so carefully crafted the other day, were no longer good enough to share.

Now I will tell you that after a couple conversations with my spouse I am stumbling into an avenue that I’m not too confident about. It will take a great deal of focus for sure.  As I sat in the vehicle having one of those conversations I finally just said it out-loud.

“I feel like I just want to focus on me. That if I don’t take this time to focus on me I won’t get back to who me is.”  Of course the smart man said, “it’s okay to do that.”  With which I replied, “but I’m not a selfish person, I take care of others.” (I am not a saint, it’s just a personality trait. I’m a caretaker)

That’s it.  I’m back peddling – already.  Focusing on me brings about feelings of guilt and selfishness.  The left side of my brain says one thing the right side says another, then throw in that heart-thing.  Deep down I know I have to do this.  I have to do it to be able to survive with any ounce of happiness and enjoyment in life. This isn’t just about depression there’s more but I’m not ready to share that.

Just need to remember.  Small steps Julie.  No major changes, just minor.  Crawl out of the darkness even if it’s just that.  Crawling.  When you feel tired and weak, grasp to the man that God gave you.  It’s okay to not jump in going 100 miles an hour. It’s okay to admit when it’s hard.

So…. now that I’ve given myself  a pep talk I’m off to slay this thing!

More to come from me I’m sure, whenever I might get the whim to write!

Julie

 

My Story – Your Story


My story.  It isn’t one of much relevance except perhaps to me.  I know the very depth of it and the very simplicity of it.  The way it curves and takes off on paths in this journey. Some are  really only special to me, others are life lessons, and who knows what else.  They may affect others but truly it’s my story and only I know the feelings of joy, despair, heart-break, excitement, and thrill of it!

 

A year later in review

But due to ripple effects and connections with others in my life, my story touches others, even when they may not notice.  How I choose to greet someone, help others, cook my family a meal, answer the telephone, hand a book to another.  Each of these making a connection between me and another.

I wonder what influence I have in this world.  If when I die others will think of me as a kind and giving person.  Did I live out what God intended for me?  Did I take the steps to be at least a small reflection of His love?

My story is full of events, with each new day another added to the collection.  Those events although do include connections, the depth of the experience is mine to hold within.  To take to my grave the powerful ways others influence my life through their story.

Azalea

In looking at your story so far, what does it feel like?  What does it reflect in this world of chaos and love and hope and moments of despair?  What connection have you made today that will alter the path of another on their story?

By the grace of God I pray I am a good influence, that I take opportunities to turn my life into something to His glory.  I pray that I see what others are doing to help me to become closer to God.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Music to my Ears & Life to my Soul!


Do I have any readers that love music?  I love music although I can’t carry a tune or play an instrument!  Hearing the beautiful sounds from the balcony of our church each Sunday now from a young girl, to an uplifting Christian song on my radio to my little girl belting a tune from the back seat of my car, it all brings life to my soul!

Today I wanted to share some of the music that has been motivating me this past week or so.  I hope you will feel free to enjoy them and also share some beautiful music with me.  Whether it’s country music (especially old-time) or christian or modern, feel  free to share. I enjoy all types of music.
This couple sings some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.  It’s a mix of christian and country.  If you check out their website or you tube station you will find more songs that are full of inspiration and goodness.  It’s even more bittersweet since Joey is now at home  enjoying what is left of her life on earth and stopped her cancer treatments.

 

This particular artist Brandon Heath is a christian artist.  I came to know of him through a mission workshop I attended. This particular song is one that reminds me that in my daily living I am in a mission field.  A mission field that is in need of Jesus Christ.  I live in a rural community and my family farms, so the concept of the song is awesome in regards to that too!

 

And sometimes current country music surprises me.  This song doesn’t make me sad or depressed, I just really like the tune and her voice is awesome I think.

One of my youngest daughter’s favorites to listen to is Joshua Tree, sung by The McKinney Sisters!  She will sing away in the backseat on the way school.  These gals are really talented! Seeing them live is a great experience, you CAN NOT sit still!

This is a new one for me.  It came across the radio last week when I was needing to be reminded I am not alone.  When I felt I was overwhelmed and alone and not sure what to do.   Sometimes just being held and reminded is what we need.

 

Then we have good ol’ country music!  I grew up with Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, and others.  So when I hear them now it makes me smile and belt out the words to any of the songs!  They don’t make music like that anymore!

Well for now I guess that is enough!  I hope you enjoy and remember to share with me some great music in  comments!

 

Grace is a gift,
Julie

 

The Hazards of Sitting in Life – 8/15/2015


I spent many years thinking I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and never realizing what I was doing was injuring my body.  I was spending my days sitting at a desk, waiting on clients, and using a computer.  I spent 7.5 hours per day 5 days a week operating what isn’t classified as heavy machinery or dangerous to one’s health.

I have never had very good posture and now that I’m in my 40’s I am paying for it.  So far, I do not need glasses to work on the computer but I have to take breaks.  My wrist and arm begin hurting sooner than it used too.  I have worn a hand brace for several years when sleeping.  If I do not, then I wake with fingers tingling and my wrist aching.

My hand isn’t the only thing that has “taken one for the team.”  My backside as well.  It grew beyond my liking but yet I didn’t do much over the years to move more.  Oh sure there were bouts of movement and inspiration to exercise, nothing that stuck though.

They say that “sitting is the new smoking.”  When I saw that one day I thought to myself, yes I suppose it is.  Although the effects of sitting doesn’t directly hurt others, it could in the long run I presume.

The lack of interaction with my children and grandchildren, lack of desire to do activities that are physical, complaining more about my life, and my aches.  Those within range of me would be affected in that manner.

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My desire to embroider has enhanced my hand issues and you would think I would take more breaks.  I need to, seriously I do.  I am going to damage something further that isn’t repairable probably.  Yet, the embroidery helps me relax at the time and the pain comes later.  I feel like I am accomplishing something, being successful at something in this life.

Hum, I thought I was doing the same thing all those years in front of the computer at work.  Does this mean I need to help fill my mind and time with something that is less strenuous on my hand?  Does this mean I need to set my alarm on my smart phone and make myself take breaks every 30 minutes?  Does this mean I need to stretch several times a day so my body doesn’t tighten to a twisted pretzel type?  Probably so on all of the above.

My daughter is heading off to 2nd grade this next week.  I have spent the summer with her and focusing on our time together.  I have started building a small business with my homemade items.  Now that she will be gone I have to set a routine and keep it.  I have to be healthier during the day so when she comes home I feel and want to interact with her in a positive manner.

I hope writing this holds me accountable.  I hope whatever God has planned for me whether a struggle in the story or not I can find my way to be what HE would want me to be.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

A Year Later – In Review


It’s a year later and although there are many things still the same, there are changes.  Primarily within me I think and it’s a continuous journey.  I want to share the thoughts, changes, and what the future looks like from my view today.

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My life as a working outside the home woman changed a year ago.  I left behind a life of what I thought at the time more stressful, risky business, and more time away from home than I liked.  It was also a place of security, although not as much as it was the 17 years prior.

I feel that God moved me into the agent position as part of a transition into this new position as part of his plan for me.  HE knew I would never just walk away from a secure, good paying job I was pretty good at.  He placed me in a position that made me feel out of comfort, happiness at times, proud and miserable all at once.  It wasn’t about the actual position, it was who I am and who HE made me to be.

I stepped into a new position August 2014 of being a stay at home farm mom and wife.  I had some training at it, but never full-time. Although one might think it’s an easy position it brings about new lessons that one only knows if they are living it.

pv and i 2014

At the beginning I was taken away from my family time due to my father’s illness before his death.  I believe this was another of God’s plans and I have no regrets in the days I spent away.  Once things settled down a routine began for our family.

 

The routine included our one daughter still at home attending school and my days being mostly alone.  My thoughts went back and forth feeling guilt for not working and how to fill my days.  She was six and did a mother really need to be home full-time, but I wanted to be.  I felt my physical and mental self-needed a break.  So I took it.

Various feelings made their appearance depending on the day and they still sneak in on occasion a year later.  The ones of how to pay the bills with less money,  dealing with changes in our farming operation, learning to still socialize with the outside world, focus on my God, and more activities with the six-year-old to name a few.

 

Through the year, adjustments were made in my marriage, my mothering, and my life.  It’s taken a year to feel a normal routine and the summer has been one of the best ones of my entire life.  There were some pretty harsh moments but spending the days with our daughter and even helping my husband was worth those moments.

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School will begin in a couple of weeks and I am wondering how I will do with my helper away all day.  I have various things in motion to fill my time, and I need to get moving more to care for me.  Taking time to step away from the computer and embroidery and walk for better mental and physical health.

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One of the major things that has been upon my mind lately is how I no longer intermingle with adults much.  How I feel when I am presented with opportunities for interactions is sometimes hard for me.  I was never a real extrovert but was fine in my work environment and most situations.  I find it interesting that anything associated with my church I feel comfortable with yet other things I struggle a great deal.  Introvert?  Losing my social skills?  Nothing or something?  This will be another balance to find in my life.  Another process and much time in prayer for guidance.

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I have to admit, I’m afraid to write this next paragraph. That I might jinx it but I must admit it for others should know.  God has provided for our family.  HE has presented opportunities for my spouse to work outside the farm to replace income no longer there.  God has shown me/us what is valuable in this world and what is not.  God has created a path that I am not as afraid to take as I was before.  On the days I am in fear, I know WHO is the only ONE that I can rely on in truth. He’s also available 24 hours a day which is good for me! GOD.

This change in my life after so long, in my 40’s, could have come along for any sort of reason.  To bring me closer to God, raise a child better, support my husband more, know more about farming, do more church work, find who I am really intended to be, or just leave behind the insurance business, no matter the reason, I find myself grateful a year later.

A year later in review

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Writing Prompts – Write About a Moment When…


I was scrambling to write a post for today.   I opened my writing prompts book for help.  This is what I chose for today. I hope it helps someone. The strength is present, just dig deeper for it.

Write about a moment when you felt proud of yourself.

It was May 1989.  I was 18 years old.  There was a large crowd of people in the stands, most I didn’t even know.  But there was an almost two-year old little girl in the crowd.  She’s part of why I felt so proud of myself.  See it was my high school graduation and that little girl was my daughter.  Walking across that stage meant many things to me.  The journey to that day is one I’d like to share. 1987-88

Walking the halls my junior year of high school, with my stomach growing each week wasn’t as much of a proud feeling as walking across the graduation stage.  There were the stares, the talk, the questions, the scandal, the rejection.  There were supportive and nice folks as well, some that stepped up changed not only my life but my daughter’s as well.  I’m grateful for all of them.

I didn’t get in this circumstance by myself but I did take responsibility, even if it was a struggle a lot of days.  Having a large high school full of students and teachers know daily what you did with someone else  at such a young age wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. But I did it because life mattered.  That child I was carrying mattered.

I wasn’t a martyr, I wasn’t good at it, and I didn’t deserve a medal for continuing high school while pregnant.  In fact, I wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last pregnant teen there. I wasn’t the only one that year either.

My gift was not only delivering a healthy, beautiful little baby girl in June 1988.  One of my gifts was the ability to finish high school, walk across the stage to obtain my diploma, and show that two year old it can be done.  That there is strength within, even during the hardest of days.  Also that dwelling on the mistake doesn’t make life better, but learning from it does.

One of the proudest moments in my life was walking across a stage to accept a piece of paper that I worked hard for.  That gave me and my little family opportunities that I might not have had if I had quit high school.  I had good support that I needed during this part of my life, that made a huge difference.

So.  If you are reading this and you are a young teen that is pregnant or know someone that is a teen mother, or are one yourself I want you to know something.  That life within in you or sitting on your lap matters, and so do YOU.  You matter more than you know.  Take the time to find strength, ask for help, stop and take deep breaths often.  Don’t dwell on your mistake, but learn from it.  Love your child.  Love yourself.  I’m praying for you and your family.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Public Platform – What I Use My Platform For.


Word of God In Joy or Sadness

This week I was lucky enough to receive some bits of joy.  One came via my mailbox and the other an email. Both of them held words that made me feel joy and special.  They shared with me, they lifted me up, and they took the time to make an impact on my life.  I am thankful for these tidbits of joy to my week.

These two people have made it a point to let me know they enjoy this blog and my openness about life. To be honest, sometimes I wonder if I am sharing too much or if I am craving attention so much that I am using the blog to try to get it.  (Yes, I’m an over thinker, just ask my husband).

But it’s true, where is the line of too much?  I have virtual friends and I have regular friends and with each type there is an assortment of those that share and those that are more closed off.  I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m just making for discussion and trying to figure out how much is too much.

I want to write with substance, inspiration, and process my way through situations.  I hope to encourage, teach, guide, and just have fun.  This blog has turned out to be so much more than I anticipated.  I have grown in my writing skills, processed thoughts, learned more from The Word, and helped others through #pfwg44thbirthday.  I feel good about this blog and where it has taken me.  Only 42 posts to go and I will achieve a goal as well.  I look forward to what lies ahead for the future of Pushing Forward with Grace.

I guess I will continue to pray about what to write, seek advice from fellow friends, and trust my gut for what words to place upon the screen.  I thank you for joining me in this journey.  May you find much grace in your day!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

Momma (Self Needing) Breaks


As most of you know, I worked full-time most of motherhood.

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I became a stay at home farm wife/mother last August.

pv and i 2014

Our daughter is seven so she was in school until the end of May.  I found myself lonely at times while she was in school but it also gave me a chance to have time to figure out some things in my personal life I needed to. I’m grateful for that time and the ability to finally after so many years replenish.

Now that my daughter has been out of school about a month and has spent basically every day with me I am feeling I need a break.  First, don’t judge me.  I am a good mother, I do work hard for my family, and yes my daughter is not a toddler so I should be fine.  But I know myself and the irritability that is making an appearance that should not be.  I know at least some of my limits.  I know that right now I am going through a change that factors in on my reactions.  I know that admitting I need a slight break, just an evening out with friends or time alone away from home is needed.  It’s also not the end of the world.  In fact, I’m pretty sure my daughter will benefit from the “momma break”.

For those of you that have children at home, whether you work full-time or stay home,  do you feel you need a break periodically?  Do you factor these in on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?   Even when I worked I would need “momma or self refreshing breaks”.  I just didn’t take them enough because I felt it made me look weak.

There is a balance in my life that I am coming to finally find and apply. It a slow but sure process. One of dedication to my family, one to dedication to myself, and primarily my dedication to God.  Recently a friend of mine repeated several times in conversation how things should be to the Glory of God.  Every thing we do, whether it be picking up the toys, figuring bills and paying them, farming, doing laundry, hugging our child, taking them to piano lessons, or any other thing.  I needed that reminder and I like that God used this particular friend to do just that.

As a mother and wife, I do almost all of the household and family things in our home now.  I also have been the lucky wife that had a spouse that split more of the household duties and baby/child duty.  Either way I needed a break from time to time.   I am not embarrassed by this any longer.  I will step away so as my family can bask in my refreshed mindset and gratitude of them.

Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.
Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.

Glory be to the Father!

Grace is a gift,

Julie