Even a Star

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They tell me not to be so shy


Nor fear the scoffs that come with self-expression
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My heart as a vibrant bird of paradise shines

Proud of its color yet still hidden in my mind

Preferring the solace found in shadowed corners.

Saturated with thought, idea, and conviction;

Elated by plans of potential creation

But my brain is a shy and nervous soul.

When all that’s within me would shout out with passion

In flowing lyric or fiery word

As faithful counsel he stands just beside me

With questions of should you? How could you? and like.


Perhaps some are made to start a bit smaller

Stars in gorgeous array hide from the big city lights

For now I will shine for the hills and the country

Even a star can be shy sometimes.

Unaccording to Plan

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Don’t you love when things play out the way you plan them?  We plan things out and our plans become a part of our lives.  We like they our lives to go according to plan. It only makes sense. That is why when things don’t go according to plan it can be rather frustrating.  It’s happened a lot to me lately that things got canceled last minute, or I got called into work, or somebody didn’t show up, or NOBODY was available on the only day I was free.
It’s enough to make you feel really lonely or even depressed.  Its definitely been like that on this end more than a couple of times.  However, I’ve learned how to take control of those feelings, at least to an extent.  Instead of turning to anybody in my contacts like I used to, I thank God that He is with me, and that I am never alone. Next I turn on some music, and ride out the boredom by start thinking of other things to do.
Need some suggestions?  Write somebody a letter who maybe might be feeling lonely too. Bake for somebody who needs a something good to happen today. Be the smile, the laugh you were hoping somebody would be for you. Or just work on that hobby you’ve picked up. Whatever you’re good at, do it; have fun doing it!
There have been many times when a big something ahead for me that was supposed to happen and for one reason or another, things didn’t go according to plan.  Yet, every time I’ve had to let go, and be okay with it, God has given me back something far better. So whether is big life plans or just evening plans, if your plans change don’t think of it as being bored and alone. You are simply waiting for something FAR better. Just have fun in the wait and look for the good things in it. You never know what will happen when you let things happen unaccording to plan.

Doing life: A Money Saving Story

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This week after much struggle to put it off I desperately needed to get new dress trousers for work. Yuck. Mine have been worn for so long the right leg no longer has a bottom hem. Who wants to waste good clothing budget on clothes for work? It’s depressing as buying food for work AT work…I do that. However, that gave me a good reason to do something I find quite ordinary yet exciting; sale search couponing!
 Many millennial college graduates have a debt problem.
Working at a restaurant I get paid primarily in small wads of cash stuffed into teeny tiny manilla envelopes with my name written on them. I budget my cash using a file portfolio…its a bit more durability than envelopes. Each week I put a set amount into each section.  Over time I save up for things.  I put $5.00 a week into my clothing “envelope”, and $7.00 into shopping. Yes, I know that is a very small amount.  This is why sales and coupons are my best friends.
Luckily, I had a $10.00 off $10.00 or more coupon for a near by department store. (Keep an eye out for those.)  When I got to the store I sorted through things until I found a sale rack (also a huge plus) wear dress pants that were normally $34.00 were only $18.00. I found a pair almost identical to my current pair, and bought them for a final price of $8.00 after the coupon.  So they went from costing me 7 weeks worth of my budget to only 1.5 weeks. Not too bad, huh?
If this at all inspires you and you’d like to try to save some cash of your own, here are some tips I use that will help you
  1. Coupons and sales (30% or more) are great.  Utilizing either is helpful, utilizing them together feels like winning American Ninja Warrior….not really but it feels pretty great.
  2. Don’t use coupons as an excuse to live off of junk food!  That makes up almost majority of coupons. Nevertheless, use sales and/or coupons when purchasing clothes, toiletries, cleaners, coffee, batteries, etc.
  3. Know how many you can use.  Some coupons will have a 1 per purchase rule, others you can get away with up to 4.
  4. Know WHEN to shop. Holidays and changes of season mean sales. Know what clothing stores have the best deals, and sign up for coupons from them.
Bonus tip: If you feel like REALLY getting into couponing at grocery stores, get a copy of the stores coupon policies so you’ll always know what to expect.
Nothing in daily life has to be boring. Even grocery shopping. Make it a money saving challenge! After all, if you don’t have the money to start a hobby, you can always make saving money your hobby, right?
Have a great week!
Beth

Depression: The “Low-Down, No-Good, Awful Person” Feeling

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Sometimes days come along that are really hard to deal with. One really distasteful type is the day that comes along to remind you of all your personal failings.  Depression seems to really magnifies these days.  You mess up in some small way, a harmless mistake, then it escalates and everything you touch seems to fall apart and die.  Your mind starts telling you this is all because of what a weak, insensitive, and generally terrible person you are.
You become more tense as your brain continues to tear you down until everything around you is devastation, and all you are is a shameful, disgusting mess.  Then you feel like you should hide yourself from everybody you love because you’re becoming a monster; only hurting people.
If this is relatable to you, you aren’t alone; there is a way out.
This probably doesn’t sound right at the moment.  Is Beth suggesting that we forget our faults and continue hurting people we care about? No, not at all.  Please hear me out.
Think back to a time God convicted your heart about something. Did you feel panicked? Anxious? That’s never been the case for me. I’ve felt humbled, yet at peace knowing that God was showing me what it was time to let go of.
 If you are constantly feeling guilt and anxiety, God probably isn’t behind it. God convicts, but He only does so for His glory, and our benefit. He is not the giver of guilt nor anxiety.  If He was He would not told us to be anxious for nothing.
So there is my argument for why you should feel able to escape this trap.  I’m not gonna lie, this has been my own struggle this week, and it isn’t always easy to get free from, but here are the steps that I take to enter back into God’s peace.
  1. Acknowledge its happening – Realize what is going on. Your mind is lying to you.
  2. Sort out the truth from the lies – Separate your wrongdoings from lame stuff that just happens. Bad stuff happens. It isn’t always your fault.
  3. Repent for anything you’ve done wrong – God is there to forgive and restore.
  4. Ask God for His peace, and claim it in Jesus name – Keep claiming it until you have it.
It may take giving it back to God again and again, but this will leave you, and you shall find peace again.
God bless,
Beth

Depression: Measuring the Journey to Recovery

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When people try to lose weight they usually keep a before picture to look at along the journey to compare the “then” and “now”. Depression is a WHOLE lot of emotional weight, and it hit me that people trying to lose this weight also need something to serve as a “before picture”. Something to remind them of why they are fighting, and to give them a point of reference and show how far they’ve come. Today I got my “before pic” in the form of a song.
One of my favorite musical artists is Owl City. That may sound strange or juvenile, but his ability to create such whimsical imagery in music that has deep meaning makes him a great artist in my mind. One of his songs Silhouette was one of my “go-to” relateable songs back when I was at my lower points.  Today I heard the song playing. I listened closely as it played, but something was missing. As though I had just spoken with an old friend I didn’t know anymore; our connection removed. My connection to the sadness and loneliness portrayed in Silhouette was no more.  That’s I realized how far God has brought me from that place of feeling so alone, and hollow.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love the song. It’s a beautiful, powerful song that shares how it feels to be in such a state both mentally and emotionally. Yet, I no longer ask myself “Will ever feel/smile/love again?” I don’t suffer from night terrors and wake up in tears (or screaming since that was more my style)  I am full of hope, peace, and joy.   The grace of God has dumped down on me to wash away the anxieties, fears, emptiness and self-hatred.
Sometimes we don’t see how far we’ve come because we live with ourselves every day. Finding a “before picture” to compare your current state to makes all the difference. I hope you find your own “picture” this week and are able to see how far God has brought in your journey.
Be blessed!
Beth

Doing Life: A Garage Story

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Today after about a year of planning to do so, my best friend Abby and I took on one of the scarier projects that need to be done at my house….organizing my garage.  It was a monstrous task that practically should have had a full 3 days set aside for. In case your garage also needs some TLC here is the system we used to get it done.
How two Jersey girls organize a rat packed garage
  1. We went through the garage, made note of all the stationary and movable areas of storage we had available.
  2. Next we wrote out a list of 7 categories of things in the garage that needed organizing (it really should have been 9 or so)
  3.  After that determined the best storage area for each of the categories.

Up until this point everything seemed golden…Planning it out would save us TONS of time…that’s not how it worked out.

4. We emptied 2/3 of the garage of…EVERYTHING, sorting into categorical piles as we went.

5. Swept out all the dust, dirt, mousey gifts, and started trashing loads of old garbage..satisfying to be sure.

6. Started organizing stuff back into newly assigned area.

We got about half of what we hoped to accomplish done today, and sadly we ended up putting some back in unorganized, but it was definitely a good run and here are a few great take aways.
  1. Mice have powers of invisibility.  I didn’t even know we had mice, and their poop was EVERYWHERE! They are clearly invisible.
  2. Spiders love social events.  Seriously, spiders ranging from its bits, to an inch and a half across all reside in the jungle that was my garage. It was like a family reunion including the long lost cousins you didn’t know about.
  3. Mosquitos are vampires.  I made it through the whole day without a bite and then got eaten alive once the sun went down. Coincidence? Not likely.
  4.  Friends are for doing life with!   A lot of times people think that we have friends for the extremes. For the road trips, nights out, sleep overs, girl talk, break ups, stress eating, and angry rants. Good friends are there for all of those things, sure, but they are also there to be part of your day to day. The doing homework, grocery shopping, and cleaning out/organizing an eyesore of a garage.  We should stick together during those times, because those times build strong friendships.
Hopefully this garage will be finished up soon… say before winter.  It is well under way and with a grateful heart and slightly closed up throat I say thank you, God, for Abby. The girl who isn’t just there for the mountains and valleys, but also for the boring grass lands in between.

The Worth of Words

My mom always told us not to speak only to hear our own voice.  Now that I’ve grown up the value of that philosophy is proven to me on a regular basis.
Words have such great power and people through them around so carelessly. They say that talk is cheap, but is it really the talk that is cheap, or that we’ve forgotten the value of it?  Everybody says something that they later regret at times. If you don’t, don’t worry, I do so enough for the both of us.  That is why in this past year I’ve asked God to put a guard on my mouth, and have tried to stop and check myself.
 Of course strictly watching every word that crosses your lips while you’re casually hanging out with friends isn’t that necessary. We shouldn’t be serious, solemn and tense all the time. However, what about when people ask for advice,  when we are asked to disclose information about others, or when we are just really upset at somebody close to us. Do we guard our lips and choose our words wisely?  Especially for those struggling with their emotions, its easy to struggle with saying all the wrong things to all the wrong people. It is quite true; hurt people, do indeed, hurt people.
Understand the weight of the words you use before we say them.
Stopping to ask yourself if there is benefit in what you are saying, if it is something somebody else would be okay with you saying about them, and if you are saying it objectively or just out of your emotions is a really great starting point to help you speak with objectivity and wisdom. Then pray and asking God to guard your lips from foolish, vain, hurtful speech.  The more you take pause and give yourself over to God, the more wisdom He will give you to react to situations outside of your own feelings, appropriately and wisely.