As I start yet my third story/book this weekend I think to myself, “I will always be a writer because I keep writing…but if I don’t ever finish one of them I will never be an author.”
I have experienced many trials, challenges, and heartaches in my life (so far) but I do not look back at them with regret or resentment. A couple of years ago when my ex left me three months before our wedding I was crushed, the very center I had built my future around had been shattered. Though I didn’t know it then, I had been saved. When my Grandmother passed away, I was deeply saddened, but with that saddness I found strength and courage. When my son was angry and told me he hated me I felt as if my heart had been pierced but it gave me focus and motivation to show him how much I loved him, to be a better Mother.
We will all have tragedies in our lives. Some we bring on ourselves, some that are dealt to us, but do not look at them as defeat, for there is no such thing as defeat. These are just twists in our path.
If it wasn’t for my heartaches, for the challenges I overcame then I wouldn’t be where I am today, or who I am today (or have the relationships I have today). Some hurdles I soared over, some I barely climbed but I can say with pride and boast that I survived them, I survived.
The Lord does not place us in harm, but when we are lost, if we ask, he will lead us out. The Lord does not break our lives but he is always there to give us strength to survive. He gives us the tools to rebuild.
Life will always have tests – tests of strength, tests of courage, and tests of faith.
Having faith isn’t about knowing what the outcome will be, it is about trusting that in the end it will all be well. I used to have a close friend that would always say, “It will be okay and if it’s not okay, then it is not the end”. Those words still linger in my mind. I truly believe that we are placed (or sometimes walk ourselves into) situations so that we may grow, that we may better ourselves. Ten years ago I didn’t have that same belief, I thought the world was against me. But then I learned some valuable advice – what makes us strong, what makes us happy, and what makes us wise is not what happens to us but it is in how we react to it. I choose to be happy, therefore I am.
I don’t know what all will happen tomorrow but I do know that I will have faith to make it through and that I will come out a better person because of it.
We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
So here I am, 4 am, cranky, awoken by the dog chasing the cat, actually taking a selfie in the mirror just so I can share with the world how irritated I am. Knowing that in a few hours I’ll probably need a nap because I can’t fall back asleep now, feeling frustrated trying to think of ways to be productive without waking up everyone else in the house (darn I can’t even make a pot of coffee – trials of living in a condo – and Starbucks isn’t open yet)…and I won’t lie – I am not motivated the slightest bit to take the dog on a wee early morning walk.
Turning thirty a few weeks ago has seemed to bring my New Year early. I knew there were changes on the horizon but what I didn’t know is how much my mindset would be morphing too… I have been trying to detach myself electronically more. I would like to say I had been busy working towards my goals and dreams when I was plugged in so much but the truth is I spent most of my time scanning Ebay for deals and hours and hours on Pinterest. I wasn’t using my “plugged in” time efficiently. I was spending more time thinking about what I want and where I want to be than time acting to get there. So my “electronic device” time is now limited to productive time – I only open up my laptop when I have a task to complete (However sometimes my tasks are still a little exaggerated – for instance I spent 1 1/2 hours on Shutterfly designing a calendar for next year – all the pages do not need to be completed in a day!) and I limit myself to no more than 15 minutes on Pinterest and Ebay daily.
At the beginning of this past week I had quite a leap in my professional life which in the last five days I’m finding is greatly affecting my personal and home life. I was transferred to a different office – closer to home. I am thankful for the growth and experiences I was able to have while in the Maryland office and I think it has and will continue to help me develop in my career. And though I truly miss my staff from Hagerstown, I feel this was a good change for myself. This past week I cooked dinner on a week night for the first time in about six months.
Sometimes it’s the small things things that we miss. I know that this change also brings some re-adjusting to habits I had lost but I’m up for the challenge.
With hitting thirty, a new sense of confidence has betaken me. I’m not sure if it’s a realization that my twenties are over and it’s time to take control of my life theory or if it’s me becoming more comfortable with who I am, but either way I like where it’s leading me. The past few months were tough in a lot of areas for me and now that I’m through it I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am starting to feel like I’m on a path to where I want to be. My new found self-confidence is helping me ask for what I need, do what needs to be done, and feel more positive about the outcomes.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
I know there are still many changes and challenges to come but this time I’m ready to take them head on and grow from the experiences.
First a stop by Starbuck’s for a much needed coffee and spinach & feta wrap and for the boy a mocha chocolate chip frappuccino and blueberry scone (Mr.Fancy Pants!) and then off to an elephant wonderland we go!
We head down Rt.30 on our way to Mr.Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium – off Rt.30 between Gettysburg and Chambersburg. Making a pit stop as we passed through Gettysburg at General Lee’s Museum and Gift Shop, we knew this day was going to a day filled with smiles and laughter.
Enter into a world of imagination and fun:
We parked on the side of the building in front of a big sign reading “Mr.Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium. Knowing this wondrous place would be an adventure of photos and surely some sugar packed shopping, I tucked my phone and credit card into my crossover and climbed out of the car meeting my big-grinned son on the other side of the car. This day trip had been on our to-do list for quite some time and we were so excited to explore. Being a somewhat elephant fanatic (to give you an idea – The first time my boyfriend’s long time friend Mark visited our place his words were, “Wow, your place has some major elephantitis.”) So you can imagine my glee to finally make it to Mr.Ed’s!
My son and I were greeted by a giant talking elephant named Miss Ellie. Upon her suggestion, we set off to explore. We saw sitting bears to sit and relax with, a tree to hug, and a mailbox adorned with an elephant drinking a cup of tea. We were then led by tin soldiers to stroll the woods and gardens, and this is where we went “nuts at Mr.Ed’s”, made a wish at a pond, sat upon some colorful polka-dotted balls, met “Mister”, and shared even more smiles and laughter.
Upon entering the Enchanted Forest, we walked up the Stairway to Nowhere, came upon an elephant cow, and mourned at the elephant cemeteries. After exploring the forest, we made a stop to meet Gunther before wandering down the gnome’s path and visiting a fairie garden, then stopping for a sitting spell before going inside.
Inside we found a shop full of treasures (and candy!), Santa, and shelves full of elephant collectibles. Before heading out with a box full of fudge, and some other goodies, we made sure to stop for a photo op with Dumbo!
Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium is located off of Rt.30 between Gettysburg and Chambersburg in Pennsylvania. Surely a place to add to your trip list for a day trip if your local or a stop to make when you’re visiting Gettysburg!