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

2017 New Year’s Resolutions in Quotes

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” – Ben Stein, American writer, lawyer, actor, and speech writer for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

I want to be truly happy.

There have and are people, puppies, and places that make me happy. But true inner happiness has eluded me much of my life. Several weeks ago in my journal I asked the question, “Why am I so unhappy?”

My answer came in part a few weeks later as I sat watching the program, “60 Minutes” on CBS Television featuring a segment with Denzel Washington on the set of Denzel’s first HBO production, “Fences,” and his mission to produce all ten plays by one of America’s greatest playwrights, August Wilson – winner of two Pulitzer Prizes.

Paul Whitaker asked Denzel if he enjoyed directing and Denzel responded he would not be directing anytime soon because he has to pay the bills.

“Acting pays the bills. Do what you gotta do, so that you can do what you want to do. I’ve just done what I wanted to do. Now I gotta get back to what I gotta do.” – Denzel Washington, American actor, director, and producer

 What I gotta do

I never pursued my dream career for several reasons, but in the end, it’s really my own fault. I allowed circumstances to get in the way of my creative passion instead of it making it daily career goal.

In 2009, I lost the career I actually pursued and, to say the least, I was devastated. I thought it would devastate the financial well-being of my family too. But while the loss forced me to travel unexpected terrain and seemingly bottomless valleys, I have triumphed by creating a contracting business that helped my family navigate the debt waters. And now through the help of friends, who are really angels in disguise, I have full-time employment again in an era when 4th quarter-age and experience are not seen as assets.  This job although it is not a passion, but one I am grateful to have and one that I will do to the best of my abilities. I hope I will competitively excel to allow me to do what I gotta do to do what I want to do.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

To do what I want to do

The Denzel Washington interview opened up a new way of thinking for pursuing my own passion. Success is not only for the 9 to 5 job.  Happiness to me is exploring and producing my creative endeavors. If achieving true happiness never produces a cent of financial success, so be it. It is the creative process in itself that makes me truly happy. Happiness outside of my family and friends is immersing myself in the creative process of poetry, storytelling, blogging, journaling, or wherever the crafting process takes me.

I have drilled into my sons to pursue their passion which ultimately is the gifts God has given them and they will make a living out of it somehow. The important lesson is to love what you are doing. And I will add this piece of advice too for those who are in the 4th quarter of the game like I am on the subject of being successful, remember these words by Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize, and Goethe Prize winner:

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer, French-German theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician

It’s never too late to be successful.

True happiness is

My only resolution for 2017 and beyond is pursuing true happiness.  What does true happiness look like? To me, it is an endless supply of pen ink for my fountain pen and any available scrap of paper. Writing has always meant happiness for me even when I am sorting out whatever it is – good or bad.  The Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso said:

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life from our souls.” – Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright

Dreaming intentionally

Exploring my creativity through my writing is my passion and it does bring me true happiness. The process and the end result is not for my readers although every writer hopes their words are read and valued. It’s what I want to do. I have to turn my dream into a reality just like Denzel.

“You have to dream intentionally. Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream intentionally.” – Haruki Murakami, Japanese Writer of multiple International literary awards

Pursuing the passion

At least for me, Edgar Allan Poe and Leo Tolstoy said it best:

“With me, poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.” Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, poet, and literary critic

“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer

happy-new-year-2017

The Blogging Owl postscripts:

In 2017, you will be reading more from #FitbitTheOwl and #SheriFootball, and maybe a new hashtag personality.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill, American New Thought Author and suspected con man

2017 deadline:  A book of poetry and an inspirational memoir

Whatever you are resolving to do in 2017, I hope it includes a continued reading of, The Blogging Owl.

Happy New Year and God’s Peace in 2017!

Sheri ~ The Blogging Owl