Let yourself rest!

I’ve daydreamed about a day off from work for the last several weeks. I even asked my husband if he could take a day off to go to the beach a few weeks ago. I imagined my perfect day off…a morning workout, coffee with a friend, wandering in and out of some shops, preparing a nice meal for my family and a nap (not necessarily in that order). But something stops me from taking this time for myself. Maybe it’s guilt or the need to be in control (and not trusting someone else to do my job).

Today I am home on a workday. It is a beautiful day and I am struggling to get out of bed. I hardly have a voice and my son said my cough sounds like I have been smoking for “100 years.” My dog’s whine reminds me that it is a perfect fall day for a walk. My throbbing head and body say no way. I’m feeling sorry that I didn’t take the time for myself when I was healthy.

This got me thinking….

Why is it so hard for us to allow ourselves to rest?

The Bible is very clear about the importance of rest. In order to rest, we must trust that God will take care of things for us. We need to have confidence that if we take a day off, the world will not stop spinning! If rest is defined as “a peace of mind or spirit,” then relaxing our control of our own lives, families, careers, etc., and trusting them to God in faith is the best way to relax.

We must remember that good health and the ability to enjoy life are gifts from God. We need to be good stewards of God’s gifts.

  • Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God. (Ecc 5:19)
  • Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2 NASB)

If we want to be able to serve others and God in the long term, we need to practice self-care. Our mind, body and soul is the center from which all good work can flow. Life brings many challenges, and these challenges will be easier to overcome if we face them with a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to bed!

The future is bright

I am one hour and 15 minutes away from surviving my first week as an elementary school teacher.

Am I tired? You bet!

But my heart is full in a way that it hasn’t been before. Each morning I am greeted with a smile and a hug from a young student who is eager to learn. I have a chance to make an impact on their attitude towards school and their future opportunities. We use kind, positive words and encourage them to do the same.

Yes, I miss sleeping later and working out after the sun comes up, but I feel thankful for this opportunity!

I challenge you to think about your current situation. Are you fulfilled? Are you growing? Are you using the skills that God gave you?

I heard this quote recently and loved it: “Life shouldn’t be about working to make money. It should be about relationships.”

 

A new perspective

I will be starting a new full time job at the end of August, so I purposely ended my current job a few weeks early so that I could relax, get organized and have some fun. My last day was this past Thursday. On Sunday evening I was getting into my running clothes when I got a call from the assisted living facility where my mom lives. My mom had fallen and was being taken to the hospital via ambulance. I had a flashback to last December when she fell and broke her back. That resulted in a week at the hospital and three weeks at a rehabilitation center. As I put my regular clothes back on and headed to the hospital with my husband, I was anxious. We found my mom in the ER and learned that she had broken her hip and would require surgery. She was admitted to the hospital and the surgery was going to be the next day.  I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but as we headed home from the hospital after midnight, I was focused on myself.

There goes the rest of my summer. 

I returned the next day to see my mom in pre-op and pray that everything would be fine. After they took her into surgery I made my way to the waiting room. Adjacent to the waiting room was a kid’s play area, so I sat as far away as possible to avoid any noise. I wanted to be alone. A few hours later the surgeon came to me to tell me that everything went well and that she was in recovery and I would be able to see her soon. As he walked away my phone rang and it was my mother in law asking how everything was going. I gave her the report and she then told me that my father in law had fallen and hit his head and was on his way to the ER in an ambulance. My heart sank and my selfish thoughts returned.

There goes the rest of our summer.

After I visited with my mom and they took her to her room, I made my way to the ER to find my in-laws. As I walked through the surgical waiting area, something caught my eye. I saw that the area that was set up as a play area had become quite full and many adults were standing, hugging. I noticed that the sign on the wall said Pediatric Surgical Waiting Area. I stopped and stared at the people for a few minutes, trying to imagine their fear. It was like a slap in the face. My mom was going to be fine, but what about their child?

What about the rest of their summer?

I found my in-laws in the ER and my father in law had received many stitches and staples in his head. The CAT scan showed some bleeding and he was going to be admitted.  As I drove home from the hospital on that second day, I prayed out loud. I asked for forgiveness for being so selfish. I thanked God for keeping both our parents alive and asked for blessings for the parents in the pediatric surgical waiting room.

Today is the fourth day that I’m getting ready to return to the hospital. I will see my mom and father in law and remember to be thankful. This may not be the way that I thought the end of our summer would look like, but I remind myself that it could’ve been a lot worse.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Moving forward or staying in place?

Today is June 1, exactly six months since the New Year began. Do you remember what you did on New Years Eve? Who were you with? Did you make a resolution?

I love the start of a new year because it is a time to reflect and move forward with goals and plans. I like to make resolutions in the different areas of my life; family, faith, health and work. So now that six months have passes, take a minute to ash your self these questions:

Have you done any of the things that you said you were going to?

Tried new adventures?

Worked on yourself?

Are you any closer to your goals?

The cold temperatures of winter have passed and trees have blossomed; have you?

If so, you should feel proud! But what if you’re like me and feel like one or more of the things that you resolved for the new year haven’t progressed as you thought they would? What if you STILL need to lose those 20 pounds or haven’t done anything to change your work situation?

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I know that my goal for my faith hasn’t progressed as I had hoped. I want to read my Bible more often and focus on His word to deepen my relationship with God. I want to do a study that challenges my faith and takes it to a new level.

Well, guess what? It’s not too late to meet our goals! We still have six months to go!

So will you join me and hit “refresh” today as we reflect on the goals and promises that we made and promise to move forward?

He makes all things new (part 2)

It’s been 28 days since we welcomed the new year. Many of us made a resolution, pledge, promise, goal, (whatever you want to call it) to be better, or make a change. According to ABC News, the top resolution for 2016 was enjoy life to the fullest. Isn’t that awesome? This was followed by quit smoking, lose weight and make more money. I like to exercise regularly and laugh to myself as I notice the number of cars in the gym parking lot start to dwindle around January 15th each year. I wonder what happened to the others who were so determined on January 2? Are you one of them? Think about these questions for a minute:

Did you start off strong and found that it was too hard and gave up?

Were your expectations realistic?

Did your goals become inconvenient for your lifestyle?

Let’s face it, we like to be comfortable. Sore muscles and eating salad everyday can be uncomfortable for many. But instead of focusing on the short term, focus on what the end will look like. Why did you make the goal in the first place?

As you assess and possibly modify your resolutions, consider doing a faith check up as well. Just like a personal trainer, God doesn’t want us to be comfortable. He wants us to trust Him completely. He wants us to use what we have been given. He doesn’t care how much money we make or how many deadlifts we can do compared to the other person. What matters to Him is that we do our very best and rely on Him when we feel weak.

“And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.” 1 John 2:28 (The Message)

What can you do if you’ve fallen away from the goals you made? Consider making them more realistic by breaking your goal into smaller chunks of time. For example, if you want to read the Bible this year, set your goal into weekly or monthly mini-goals. Make it manageable by setting a time of the day that you will read your Bible. The more specific you make your goal, the better…..I will read my Bible for 10 minutes each morning before work (M-F).

Goal setting is good for us; we just have to know how to do it in a realistic way. Do you need to re-set your goals? February 1st is right around the corner and a great opportunity to start again….don’t give up!

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To do today: Thank God

Hi friends,

If you follow this blog, you know that December started off rocky for me. I am an only child with an aging mother and on December 3, she fell and broke her back. It sent the start of my holiday season into a tailspin and I was a wreck. I found myself trying to juggle hospital visits, calls to doctors, work, and feeding my mom’s cat, all while taking care of my family and trying to prepare for Christmas. It was tough!

l-274439My mom has been in a back brace and in a rehab center for a month. She is not happy, wants to go back to her cat, and hates having to do physical therapy. I have worried, cried, and prayed.

Fast forward to today…..I held my breath as she got an x-ray and we waited to meet the orthopedic surgeon. I finally exhaled as he gave us a good report. She will return to her cat next week!

This experience got me thinking about my faith. God has never let me down, yet when things get tough I don’t always turn to him.

Why do we do this? Is it because we want to believe that we can do everything on our own? Isn’t it nice to know that we don’t have to?

Have a great day!

Tracey

follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/TMCasciano

 

 

 

 

 

And the 2016 winner is…

I like the idea if having a word to keep me focused during the year. Last year my word was obey. At first it was scary, but became very important as the year went on. I returned to it and reflected on it every time I doubted my journey. God made it clear to me that He wanted me to publish my story and I feel blessed that I was chosen for the task. I have received many notes, e-mails, and hugs from readers who thanked me for coming forward. Many have confided in me about their own pain and difficulty with forgiveness. I am humbled and thankful for the word that led me far.

So, it’s a new year and time for a new word. This year my word is strength. This word came to me for several purposes: physical, spiritual, and emotional. I am looking forward to physical strength as I embrace a new fitness regimen starting on Monday. I pray for spiritual strength as I want to continue to grow in my relationship with God. Lastly, I need emotional strength as I continue to take care of my mom.

So when you hear the lion’s roar, you’ll know it’s me!

What’s your word for 2016?

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Would you like fries with that?

A new year, a clean slate. I love it! It’s like all the chips, candy and chocolate we ever ate is gone forever. Never counted. Well, not exactly…I must admit that I am one of those people who starts eating salads and fruit on January 1st. I start flossing, and promise to do sit-ups every day. I have the best of intentions, but it’s not easy. Are you like me?

Well, the good news is that God doesn’t care about any of that. All He wants is us…all of us. Our undivided attention. Once we surrender our life to Him, we are free! We get a clean slate, no matter what day it is. Our old life is gone and we are a child of God. That sounds much easier than swearing off an occasional cookie or fighting for a parking space at the gym in January, doesn’t it?

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He makes all things new!

It’s almost New Years Eve. I have always loved the thrill of the countdown to a new beginning. It was on this night, 22 years ago that my husband proposed to me at the strike of midnight and I remember the magical moment as if it was yesterday. We have had many happy New Years Eve celebrations together since and enjoy remembering the years that have past.

As I reflect on 2015, shake my head in disbelief. Last time this year I was in a job that left me feeling unfulfilled, unsure of the path that I felt that God was leading me to. I had been writing and blogging, but wasn’t sure that I had the courage or strength to really go forward with my story. This is when God made it clear to me. He put people in my path to help answer my questions, build my confidence, and showed me the way. I published a book about my journey to forgiveness and faith; something I never thought I’d do.

Isn’t it wonderful how He can do that? He can wipe away our insecurities and allow us to see that He is all we need. All we have to do is trust Him! We can make plans and resolutions, but He will guide us to our true purpose and knows what we really need.

So as 2016 quickly approaches, I think about how I can improve my health, my role as a mom and a wife, and make goals for my personal and spiritual life. But my biggest resolution is to thank God everyday for guiding me to His love and for giving me the strength to reach my goals.

Thank you for reading my little blog and encouraging me this year! I look forward to what He brings for us all in 2016!

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I think I’m being setup

Dear readers,

Two weeks ago I wrote about a promise to make this December a “stress-less” time. I promised that I wouldn’t over-do it and just relax and enjoy this magical time with my family.

Just three days later everything changed. My mom fell and broke her back on December 4 and was in the hospital for a week. She has been moved to a rehabilitation center and is receiving physical and occupational therapy and is very unhappy. This has caused a lot of stress for me and my family. If you’ve read my book (hint, hint) you know that my relationship with my mom is very complicated.

As I have been back and forth to visit my mom and talk with doctors and therapists, I desperately want to feel some Christmas joy!

So now I am trying to focus on what Christmas is really about. Jesus. His love and God’s grace have made me who I am today. For that I am thankful and know that He will see me through this difficult time. th

I know that I’m not the only one having a rough holiday season and wanted to share so that we can remember His love for us. Today I saw this:

“Difficulties are a setup for God to do something greater. Setbacks are a setup for God to move you toward your destiny.” Joel Osteen

So let’s embrace the fact that God is setting us up for something wonderful! Who’s with me?

Love,

Tracey