"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I,of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories, in all their particularity,as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally." -Frederick Buechner

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Well, I've been "limping" along at best these past couple of months when it comes to this blog and our print ministry of our life as Treasures. For that I truly apologize. At first it just got away from me due to some pretty major changes in life. As I did share earlier my family made the decision to move my mother to a nursing home. It has been  much more involved and time consuming for me than I ever imagined. Also there have been some great things happening with Treasure Chest Ministries and some changes again at my "day job." Thus the lack of blogging. HOWEVER, with that in mind I'm officially letting you know there will be a slight break here and this little musing about life spot will come back REFRESHED AND REVIVED!  Watch for the announcement on Facebook. I'm guessing it will be about 2-3 weeks. This month marks the 4th anniversary of the start of Treasure Chest Ministries. Much has been learned and we will move forward with an even better focus. Your continued prayers for God's will to be done are always appreciated. See you soon!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welllness Wednesday - Relationships and Wellness

It's Wellness Wednesday AND it's our 31st wedding anniversary. When I speak of wellness these days I'm thinking of what I call wholeness. It encompasses all of life. Life is about living. That sounds so silly, so obvious. Our family would call that a "dah" statement. However what I mean is life is about every aspect of who you are and what you do. You cannot ignore any piece of yourself. You are physical, emotional and spiritual. You have intelligence and feelings and they are both a valid part of your life.  And all of the parts of your life are connected.  So, as we celebrate 31 years of marriage I recognize that a large part of my health is due to the love that we have nurtured and grown over the years. Like tending a garden, the yields are directly related to the effort involved. When we had seasons of not paying too close attention to our relationship we had more weeds and less crop. When we consistently tend to it we have high yields and MUCH satisfaction.

I've been married quite a bit longer than I was single and it is totally worth the work involved. My best advice? Decide, yes make a decision, to invest in your marriage. What do I mean by "invest"? I mean purposefully decide to study your mate. Learn who they really are. Ask questions and really listen to the answers don't immediately turn the conversation back to yourself. Encourage them verbally and publicly. Give them the time and/or tools they need to do what they need to do.

I am a stronger, deeper, more honest and healthy person because I'm married to someone who invests in  me but loves me. (period) So as I sit here in my workout clothes because he challenges me to be healthy physically I want to say thank you to my husband. YOU are the BEST for me!

Are you investing in the relationships in your life? How do you do that?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It Pays to Persevere

At first I was taking some time to "put my thoughts together"...then I thought we would be announcing our newly remodeled web site/blog soon so I could just wait...but I don't want you to forget that life is worth Treasuring. So for this Wellness Wednesday I'm going to do just that.

1.  Perseverance does pay off. Since our daughter asked us sometime before Christmas to join her as a relay team for a Duathalon the first weekend in May I have exercised with that in mind. It did keep me going better than normal for the winter season. 10 days ago WE DID IT! I ran a 5k. Mark biked 20 miles and Amber ran the last 5k. Did we win? Nope, but that was not our goal. Our goal was to do it and do it together. That we did. Outcome - satisfaction and some great memories. (More lessons from this experience later)
2. Perseverance does pay off. Not only have we exercised this winter but Mark and I have changed quite a few of our eating habits. We are both trying to consistently eat smaller portions and have healthy snacks. I have seriously cut down on the sweet treats. Did I lose weight? Well at the start, like with most of us, I lost the water weight and got myself back to what I call my "stuck" weight which is about 12 pounds from my ultimate goal but losing even 7 pounds would make be very happy. I didn't give up even when I was "stuck" again. Perseverance. For the past 10 days I've been 2 pounds less than my "stuck" weight.  Yeah! Another break through.
3. Things have been in a constant state of change at my workplace for one entire year now. One of the doctors I work for had not one but two immediate family life and death health crisis. Of course that took him out of the office which causes chaos. More than one person has quit and it has taken longer than expected to fill each of those positions AND we started electronic medical records last October.  Everyone has worked overtime and gotten tired. However, some of us have chosen to "hang in there" and really fought to keep a good attitude. The outcome? We have actually developed much more of a team approach. We are all learning and there is far less complaining and negative attitudes overall.
4.  Actually my list could go on and on. Most of my life has been an example of "hanging in there." I'm not one of those people who start something and it quickly becomes a big deal. I have big visions but they start very small and come to reality over time - most often a very long time. So this is my encouragement to you today. Hang in there! Whatever you are trying to learn or do, don't stop. Even when you can't seem to "see" the progress, don't stop. Often there are things happening "behind the scenes" that we can't see.  As Joshua said, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

What are you persevering in right now?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wellness Wednesday - The Gift of a Mental Health Day

Yesterday was my birthday (the start of many in our family). Just to prove it in case you are doubting...

I got this beautiful Hydrangea and card from our son and daughter-in-law. She made the card and the flames glitter! It makes me smile just looking at the photo!

My husband gave me the gift of the day. We are just like all the rest of you. There is always plenty to do in a day but this day he encouraged me to do what I wanted to do and he said he, personally, had no expectations of me. What a gift!  Probably the biggest thing was that he acknowledged out loud, to me that he was not expecting anything out of me for the entire day. Why? Because he and I are quite a bit alike. When there is work to be done, there is work to be done and it's hard to not do it. However, we all need breaks, personal brain breaks. I needed one and I took it. What did I do? Nothing remarkable to anyone but me. I loved my day! I didn't rush through anything. I lingered in my quiet time and read a few blogs written by friends. I did an odd job from my list that had been bugging me for almost 9 months...yep, 9 months, but it's DONE now! (smile) I took a walk with a friend I haven't seen in awhile over the lunch hour. I scouted for jeans but also looked through the store a bit seeing what else they had around for summer. I purchased a replacement plant for our patio area with my birthday money from Dad and then I came home and worked on my patio area! It was great! While I was out there working I received the plant and card from the kids and they stayed and visited a bit. It's too early in the season to see all that is going on in my area but here is it's start.
A place to relax
I took out a couple of too big Hostas (and transplanted them elsewhere), added my new Clematis in front of the iron in the corner and put some training nails in for the vine on the wall. The little fire pit is cleaned out and ready for use. It was a great day. I feel calmer today. My brain had a chance to rest - not make any big decisions. Do you take time to rest?

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength"  Isaiah 30:15

Monday, April 30, 2012

Marriage Monday - Good Relationships are Possible

It's Marriage Monday and I'm unexpectedly off to work at my job as a nurse today. I really had a bad attitude about having to fill in, but it is necessary. Why do I tell you that? Because my husband has been great.  He allowed me to be disappointed that my plans had to change without guilt. Then he helped me move on. As he would say, "it is what it is."

That's life. Stuff happens and you deal with it. It is much easier as a team. You have a broader perspective. You have support. You have encouragement to try something new or hang in there when your tired or even just somebody to relax with when you're really tired. We did that yesterday afternoon. We had our weekend of ministry and then drove home intending to take a nap and get a little work done since today was kidnapped by my nursing job. Instead we ended up watching some TV together, laughing, reading the newspaper, making some chilli and yes, we did do a little work but it was just a little. We relaxed together.

To all of you out there with tough relationships I want to encourage you. It is possible to have a good relationship. To be able to be yourself with your spouse and not worry about what he is thinking all the time. God is able. Our relationship is proof. If you want to know more of our story, ask me. We tell it where-ever appropriate. We love to encourage others.

Have a great day. Enjoy your spouse today!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What ARE you focusing on?

These thoughts intrigue me. "If your idea is big enough you only have room for one." And, "The trouble with us is that the passion for variety puts God in list with other things." (G. Campbell Morgan) I was thinking about this. What difference does it make if we have lots of variety in our life?  I would say in lots of ways variety describes my life. Variety because I like to try new things. I like to learn. However I can honestly say that the  old saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" pretty much sums me up.  I can cook but I'm not a chef. I can do a few athletic type things but only at a mediocre level. I can sing but I'm not really a soloist. I can play piano but again not really a lead or soloist type. The list could go on but you get my drift. Now I'm not complaining for example that I'm not a chef. I've never wanted to be one. The point is in order to "feed" all of my interests (there are MANY more) I don't spend a lot of time going deep into any of them. Some things are for a season of life. That's okay. But right now I can tell you have not scrapbooked in over a year. Why? Because there are so many other things in my life I felt like I needed to do first. Other things take priority. You may not think that is a great loss but I sort of do. Scrapbooking is another way to journal and I totally believe in journaling.

Recently Mark and I have taken on an assignment at a church to help them grow their worship, specifically through their music. This has caused me to shuffle my priorities and focus more on music than I have in years. I'm listening much more attentively. I've gotten out some old learning materials to remind myself of some good old theory. I've actually sat and practiced music at the piano. I got out my keyboard AND it's manual! :) Since this is taking up more of my time, something else had to go. I chose not to take another counseling class for a couple of months. We hired a college student to help with cleaning the house. Adjustments had to be made. When I watch TV, listen to my co-workers and read magazines I hear the "I can conquer all" mentality. If I really pay attention to that I could feel bad that I can't take care of my own house - especially since our kids are grown and it's only me and my husband at home. In fact, I did feel that way for years. Now I know better. In order to do something well you have to give it time and energy. You can't do that with everything in your life. You have to make choices - focus.

Why is this important? Back to the beginning thought, if your idea is big enough there is only room for one. In my life a main focus is learning to live daily with an infinite God, God with no limits. Because of that I'm willing to do crazy things like drive an hour and a half to another church to help them grow their worship and set aside for a season a few other things in my life. I'm excitedly watching to see what my infinite God will do, and when He will do it, and even how He will do it. What are you choosing to focus on right now?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wellness Wednesday - Continuing a Focus Theme

I seem to have a theme going in my life right now. Focus. Focus on what matters and our health matters. I have chosen to focus on eating 5-6 times daily in small amounts with protein more purposefully included and sugar/white flour type stuff cut way back.  With that I am purposefully making sure to exercise at least 3-4 times weekly and most weeks am getting 4-5 times. This is mostly aerobic exercise. When I feel like this is really implanted in my way of life I know I need to add/exchange some exercise time with core strength training but that will come. I cannot do it all at once and I'm more interested in getting and staying healthy for a life time than marking something off my list. 

Focusing means making choices and not being able to do everything. Our culture encourages that we try and do anything and everything we want to. For the most part it also says, "do it now!"  I've found that when I cram too many things in my life I don't really get to enjoy them - I just get to do them. One simplifying blog post I read was talking about "stuff" in your home and asked if you don't have to have it to survive and you don't love it, why do you have it?  I thought that question could apply to a lot of things in our life.  Why don't you ask yourself that question once a day about something for the next week? I'm challenging you. Share your stories. What are you discovering that you are doing and/or keeping in your life that you really don't need or love? Why? Is it just because everyone else has it? Are you worried what the neighbors might think if they see you wearing the same outfit each week? What is your story?

Simplifying or focusing takes some stress out of your life and stress is the number one killer of our lives. I'm choosing to focus.