2018 – Three Words to Live By, an update

Last December as I usually do I reflect on the past year and prepare to become better, if possible, in mind, body and spirit: 2018 – Three Words to Live By. This year I decided to review my yearly plan much like businesses do to stay on track to meet the goals and objectives for the new year.

My approach for 2018 or mission statement is to live by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

At this stage in the game of life I decided I had no time to waste, no money to waste, and in reality; no creative cells to waste. In whatever time God has for me to fulfill the purpose he has given me. Earlier this year I adopted a mantra, I only want what God wants for me.”

No time to waste

My husband, Vinny Sal and I decided to list our cottage in northern Michigan for sale on April 9th. We would take advantage of the seller’s market and decide where, when, and how to invest the proceeds. Invest in upgrades for our primary home, invest in a future retirement home, or bank it until later. We had no idea what development was coming our way only 3 days later.

“I only want what God wants for me.”

This mantra is what got me through yet another employer announcing their dissolution of the company in April of this year… 3 days after my birthday… On Friday, April 13th, the company made the news public.

My response was 180 degrees different when the same thing occurred in 2009. I was calm, cool and collected.  I knew that God was working on my behalf for a better opportunity than the one I just lost. That was my attitude. The evening of the company’s announcement, I updated my resume and immediately began my search.

Within days I had several interviews lined up. On April 25th, I was invited to interview for a position outside of the industry I was in which was my prayer at the time. I was “frugal” in my thinking… no climbing ladders… no compensation package that met certain personal requirements… no, it was simply, “God, place me where you want me.”

“God, place me where you want me.”

On May 29th, I started a new position earning less money but with advancement opportunities if I wanted to take advantage of them. Although earning less income for the time being, I am still able to continue having all my monthly obligations on auto-pay which I had setup in January.

While no company is above dissolving due to wide ranging economic factors or board of director’s view of “going in another direction,” I will joyfully serve where God has placed me for however long that may be.

No time to spend

I came across the blog, Frugalwoods and an article written by Mrs. Frugalwoods, 19 Reasons Why Frugality Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods spoke to my mind, body and spirit in her blog post of May 17, 2018. Since the beginning of the year, my attempt at frugality has taught me that Mrs. Frugalwoods was spot on in her blog post. Although I admit I am still working on her number 14 reason. I have Mrs. Frugalwoods 19 Reasons posted in my office and saved on my iPhone when I have that urge to splurge.

Grace

In my initial post on December 17th, 2018 – Three Words to Live By, I didn’t realize then how the quotes, my personal initiative, “The Watering Can – Helping All of God’s Creature’s Thrive” would become central to the first six months of 2018.

As I quoted then, and it bears repeating for many reasons:

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment,‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

I was happy to help a few of co-workers rewrite their resumes. I used to write resumes as a side-line gig after I lost my job in 2009. My small way of helping my co-workers potentially find their new career has blessed me as much as those who, like me have found employment quickly. I’m not suggesting my resume writing made the difference, but it is a confidence booster nonetheless when anyone can present their value and what they can offer to an organization without hesitation.

In March, our beloved Barkley blew out a disc in his back and required surgery. Frugality helped us being able to afford over $6,500 in medical costs so our fur-baby would not be paralyzed for life. He will never be a 100% in his walking or running abilities, but we are overjoyed that we still have our faithful companion. Sadly, many pet owners would have faced the tough decision of raising the money through other means or having to put their pet down because of the medical costs.

Truth

If there is one thing I am certain living my truth in mind, body and spirit has been the biggest blessing. I could not have reached this point in my life without faith through Christ because he gives me the confidence to live my truth each day.

A recent post on my Facebook page, The Prayer Journals, I posted: “Don’t worry about expressing your faith. Those who God wants to listen will hear. You may be someone’s angel.” There have been angels here on earth that I know God sent to help me to listen to him. And there are probably more angels that I didn’t even recognize helped me to feel God’s presence in my life.

Mind

Writing is my passion and I hope in some ways it is a gift. I have three blogs. The Blogging Owl, The Prayer Journals, and The Owl Poet. And I have convinced my husband, Vinny Sal to collaborate with me on another one which I think we will have fun doing together, The Corked Owl. We hope to be posting soon on wine, spirits, food and fun.

Reading, writing and poetry. It’s what keeps me sane… or going insane.

Body

I continue to struggle with my health and weight. Early this year, I went through a battery of tests and MRIs. There was a serious prognosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis, gratefully, that would not be the case. Autoimmune diseases are tricky and mine, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can present itself in different and devastating ways. But I stay positive in prayer and with practice.

Spirit

Six months into 2018, Vinny Sal and I have not found our faith community with regards to finding a church we are eager to attend each week. I’ll be honest. We’ve been lazy. This is the most critical part of my 2018 mission plan and I am failing. God has been good… and patient… and I pray He directs us to where he wants us to attend and to serve.

My spiritual journey continues in my prayer journal in writing my spiritual memoir.

Spirit of Faith

In the remaining year

I succeeded and failed in the first half of 2018. Looking forward to living more successfully in these three words: Frugality, Grace and Truth.

Cheers!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Finding Joy – In Tears

Beauty of Children

How do you know you are loved?

The tears have not stopped flowing from a Mother’s Day card I received today in the mail. It wasn’t a card from either of my sons, but it is a card I will treasure for a life time.

How do you know you are loved?

When a beautiful young woman tells you in heartfelt words that she has come to know and respect me as a strong, kind, and fierce woman and mother.

It was the word ‘fierce’ that got to me. That’s when the tears really began to flow. I love that she thinks I’m fierce.

How do you know you are loved?

When it isn’t your son who tells you how much you are loved but his girlfriend of four years. When she says to you, “I only hope I can grow up to be like you. You are loved so dearly by your family, and now by me as well. Happy Mother’s Day.”

… to grow up like you…

As I try to allow that to sink in, how do I stop crying?

How do you know you are loved?

mother's day card

When someone takes the time to find that special card, hand write their feelings, mail it (even with a love stamp!) so it arrives on time in the mail.

I found out someone loves me. I found immeasurable joy today.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

The Joyful Journey is a blog series. This is the second post in the series. I will be blogging pages from my journal on where I have found joy. All blog posts will be stored in the category labeled #TheJoyfulJourney.

I hope you will join me on this expedition of finding joy. Not only finding it but sharing it with me and the followers of The Blogging Owl. Whether in posting a comment on The Blogging Owl page or email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

Finding Joy – The Unexpected

As I lay here in bed at 4 a.m. Sunday morning listening to the freezing rain pelt the bedroom window. The end of the week news just like the weather in mid-April is not what I wanted to hear.

Last week started with putting Heaven’s Vineyard, our cottage in northern Michigan on the market. It was a bright sunny day, even though there was about two inches of snow on the ground. But the weather this time of year isn’t totally unexpected in northern Michigan and neither was putting our cottage up for sale. Our sons are grown and away at college. Vinny Sal and I are looking to enjoy life daily and not just on weekends with a three and half hour car ride with two pups in the backseat. We had plans with the proceeds from the sale of our cottage.

(an excerpt from my prayer journal 4/9)

joy is found
never can be sold
memories

Last Monday was my birthday. It was pleasant enough and I had taken the day off work to enjoy peace and quiet. The day was gray, dank and snowing but still relaxing with a delightful book in hand for a future book review for this blog. It is how anyone who knows me would expect me to enjoy my birthday.

(an excerpt from my prayer journal 4/10)

the sun shines
on the day after
my birthday

I found joy today in the office. Yes! The office! Because I work with fantastic people who decorated my little cubicle, a birthday card signed by all, and beautiful, delicious cake.

Last Wednesday was my first day at physical therapy. It was all around a difficult day in mind, body and spirit. More theory than answers to the diagnosis. It wasn’t unexpected and neither was my friend’s response.

(an excerpt from my prayer journal on 4/11)

You know where I found joy today?

I thought it was just the robin belting out a song this morning amid a slight snow shower in spring. Joy could have stopped right there but at the end of a long, difficult day there was more joy to be found.

Some days are difficult to get through for whatever reason. But I found joy today in a friendship I have had less than two years. She is in a ‘class’ of strong women in my life that know and when I need an encouraging word and sometimes when I need to be talked off the ledge, so to speak. We all need those types of friends and I am grateful for her today. And sometimes these friends don’t even know the joy they bring… but now they do… I at least I hope they do.

Last Thursday the last line in my prayer journal before heading out to the office was this:

(an excerpt from my prayer journal 4/12)

“Where will I find joy today?”

At lunch time, I took a short walk outside and in my prayer journal I wrote, “JOY! 69 degrees, balmy breeze and sunshine!”

In Michigan, the weather can be 69 degrees midday and by nightfall a blizzard. The drastic change in weather seemingly in hours is to be expected.

At 4 p.m. the unexpected did happen. As everyone at the office huddled into the conference training room, the company announced it would be ceasing operations nationally and we all had a job and a paycheck for at least the next 60 days.
I went through a similar scenario in the summer of 2009. While still shocking I did not shed a tear. I did not feel a sense of overwhelming panic like I did that July 9 years ago. What I did feel as I looked around the room at many faces of varying degrees of age and looks of disbelief was sorrow. I deeply understood the internal wave of panic, the many questions without answers, and the sense of failure although unwarranted by either company or individual.

Friday, the 13th. Where would joy be found?

Friday was the second day of physical therapy and no less daunting and exasperating.

(excerpts from my prayer journal 4/13 throughout the day)

It’s Friday the 13th. Many people find this to be a “bad” or an “unlucky” day. But for those who intentionally look for joy will find it even on today.”

no love lost
wishing time away
melting snow

Yes, it is Friday the 13th and then this happens… It is not the birthday present I had hoped for this week, but there is still JOY to be found in all the wonderful people I have met here. They are the BEST people I have been associated with in my career.

Then Saturday, time to think (and write)

(excerpt from my prayer journal 4/14)

There is joy today in the soothing sound of a steady albeit a cold rain. Spring will arrive eventually as well as the joy in mind, body and spirit. Joy always seems its’ purest when radiating from a bright yellow sun against the bluest hue of a cloudless sky. Yesterday is done. Today is beginning and tomorrow holds the joy of opportunity.

Where there is joy there is hope. And where there is hope, we thrive.

Back to today, Sunday, the start of a new week

As I continue to lay here like lead in the waning night time hours writhing in bodily pain with still unanswered questions of my own future, I know this one thing. In mind, body and spirit, I will find joy in each day.

Every day is like the weather in Michigan. The unexpected will happen. But there is joy to be found. I remember many years ago when I was going through my own job loss panic, one of my colleagues said to me, “Do you have your family?” Yes, replied. “Is everyone healthy?” Yes, I replied. “Then you have everything you need.”

I have a God and a family who loves me. I’m not dead. I’m alive. Yes, I have everything I  need for mind, body and spirit.

As for my colleagues who are my friends, I am reminded of Psalms 27:17:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Darkest Hour

 

I’ll write the question again. Why is joy so important?

Where there is joy there is hope.
Where there is hope, we thrive.
When we thrive, others thrive.

Peace,

IMG_0603

The Blogging Owl

 

The Joyful Journey is a blog series. This is the second post in the series. I will be blogging pages from my journal on where I have found joy. All blog posts will be stored in the category labeled #TheJoyfulJourney.

I hope you will join me on this expedition of finding joy. Not only finding it but sharing it with me and the followers of The Blogging Owl. Whether in posting a comment on The Blogging Owl page or have a guest blog spot on The Blogging Owl (email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com).

P.S. I will be back to posting book reviews and other stories of the nest soon!