Is it really black or white?!

I am literally sitting at the beach right now and I don’t want to leave! The air is cool and the ocean sounds and smells are surrounding me like a warm hug as I sit on the sand.

I have been thinking about my life and my relationships this morning. I have been talking to this guy and we are making plans to meet soon (socially distanced, of course). There is my former crush that I am definitely not over even though I am forcing myself to move on. And then my biggest relationship, with Jesus. I have been ignoring Him, too; it is almost like I don’t want to disappoint Him because I am looking for something.

But is Jesus ever really disappointed in me? All my Christian friends would tell me that God loves all his children and nothing can turn Him away. I am not 100% sure I buy all that, though. And it is almost like I am a willful child who is doing stuff that I KNOW will push the limits of His love for me. I mean, as I mentioned before I am not interested in remarriage. It has ended badly for me twice, first time shame on you and second time shame on me, right?! I am absolutely looking for a man to share my blessings with, though.

Having God in my life keeps me in check so I don’t put the cart before the horse physically so I guess I am not completely off the deep end with my search. Every text or phone conversation feels like I am sinning, though. My black or white mentality is big and strong right now!!

I suppose the bottom line is this…having conversations with someone I want to maybe spend more time with is not wrong and if I get to the point that I want it to go farther I will have to work through that THEN. All this talk about finding what makes me truly happy means nothing at all without Jesus in my ❀

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you know YOU?

I am beginning to have questions about my recent failed relationship so I figured I would share.

First question–was it really that good? I mean, I truly had a great time with my male friend. We did a bunch of fun stuff together. Except it was HIS fun stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS fun. So much fun! None of it was my idea though. As a side note I must confess that I don’t actually know what to do that is fun and adventurous. A list is called for, I think! Then the next time I find myself in amazing company I will have something to offer. But the bottom line is that in the short time we spent together the boat was clearly being steered by the captain and I was the first mate.

That brings me to my second question, do I NEED someone to steer? I already said that I don’t know what to do that is fun. I work, I watch TV and I read. What a boring existence! In my making of a list, I am going to steer my own ship. I am going to find stuff to do that I enjoy. Just like Julia Roberts in the movie Runaway Bride, I need to figure out how I like my eggs instead of just liking them the way my guy likes them. On my days off, I am going to start doing the stuff on my list. I started today by joining a gym. I didn’t stay and work out but baby steps. I joined. I love the feeling of going to a gym and working out. It is so much better with a group but that will come. And fishing! I used to go fishing with my step Dad so I think on Thursday I am going to do that. Which means tomorrow night I will go night crawling for worms. I haven’t done that since I was a kid either. And taking myself on a picnic. I used to love taking the kids on an impromptu picnic with Subway sandwiches when I was out pet sitting. I love to sit outside and look at the sky. Sounds like a good list item! There are so many things I love to do but for whatever reason I haven’t allowed myself to do them. Somewhere along the line I decided I wasn’t good enough to have fun on my own or smart enough to come up with stuff to do. I am so afraid of trying something and failing that I just concede before I even try. What the heck is that all about?!

I spent the day in a dark cloud because I haven’t heard from him. I sent a bunch of messages and I have been left unread. But when I really think about it, am I upset about being ignored by him or just being ignored in general? I feel like I am throwing a tantrum because my little inner child is being ignored and she doesn’t like that! We dated for 2 months. Not two years…MONTHS. I definitely think I need to get a grip on that reality. Fabulous time, but still only 2 months. Not even long enough to plan a vacation together without rushing things.

I updated my profile on one of the online dating sites so I can start talking to new guys. I even sent out a few conversation starters..but as I spent the day swiping through profiles it occurs to me that I don’t really know what I am looking for so maybe slow my roll for a little bit. And anyway, that was a gut reaction to my temper tantrum I talked about above. I am not lonely or needy. I have a pretty awesome life all on my own and am not truly “in the market” for someone else. Nope, the only person I need to be worrying about getting to know better is AMANDA. She is pretty awesome and fun to be around, especially when you get to know her πŸ™‚

Adventures in Dating

Hey there! Long time no hear…I am sorry. I must be honest, I have not been feeling myself lately and I haven’t wanted to write about it. I still don’t, but I have to. I have to get it out or else I am going to be like a bomb and blow!

I began seeing someone. I was having such a good time and I think I forgot that I am great when he was being a smooth talker. Every day I tried to become more of the person HE needed me to be instead of the person I am trying to become. He wasn’t a bad person, just someone I wanted to please even if it meant losing myself again!

After a month we stopped seeing each other. No reason, no problems, just stopped. I am reflecting on how quickly I started to be absorbed into another person. Do I need to have someone else tell me how to “be”? Why?!

I am smart. I am beautiful. I can do anything I need to do and if I can’t I figure it out. I spent so much time being told that I was almost there that I go above and beyond as a rule. I am the definition of a “catch.” So why don’t I believe that?

I believe every relationship brings you closer to being the best version of yourself and the take away on this one is that I have to be super careful about handing over my mind, body and soul. Even if I don’t believe it all the time, I am a powerhouse. And the person I am is the person (fill in the blank) is attracted to so becoming an extension of them instead is not good! Also, I have been scared to try and start dating and now I know it is okay and I am ready. Dating adventures…take one!

Do you see God in your everyday life?!

Hey Everyone! I hope you are all having a great week. I am, things have been pretty awesome at the shelter and I have been trying to develop a relationship with a pet store near us that would be willing to foster some cats in the store so we can try to get them adopted. I have a diabetic cat that is beautiful and charming, but also needs two shots a day. That shouldn’t be an issue except that everyone who falls in love with her backs away when the insulin is mentioned. Haley feels like it is because people don’t want to have to do the shot but I think it is 50% that and 50% a money issue. Insulin is actually not terribly expensive, but if you don’t know you don’t know! Anyway, I am praying that Mia finds the perfect person to adopt her while she is being fostered by Pet Valu.

That actually ties into the reflect for day 14. It asks me to reflect on recognizing God throughout my day. It says to redirect my thoughts from my busyness to His goodness to fuel my gratefulness. I wish I could say that I do recognize God throughout my day but that would be a lie, and lying is a sin! (It is, right? If it isn’t it should be!) I will start doing this consciously tomorrow, but I will go over the different times from today here.

The first way that I feel God was with me was when I awoke this morning. Opening my eyes and taking in the air and the world around me is such a gift and I get to open it every day! I usually thank God for letting me have another day before I even get out of bed so I guess I recognize Him then. I went to do a feline care job (thank you God for the gift of understanding cats!) and then to Home Depot to buy a few things for the shelter and my house. (Thank you God for giving me the opportunities I need to make the money!) I went to the shelter after that and was able to catch two of the difficult cats to put outside on the Catio (the shelter is being sprayed for bugs and fleas). No one else could get them outside and they were afraid to use the heavy duty gloves to pick them up. So thank you God for allowing me to not be afraid when handling the difficult cats. And while I am at it, thank you for putting me in this place. Haley and Jessica are definitely attune to the dogs’ needs and quirks and Heidi and I are the cat whisperers. Heidi is probably more on the dog side but she is a really big help to me so I am claiming her hahaha. I walked with a friend today (I recognize God’s gift of the physical ability to walk). Thank you for giving me the words I needed to talk to the people at Pet Valu and Thank you for putting someone there who can give Mia her insulin (she has a diabetic dog so the shots are no big deal plus she can watch for signs of distress in Mia because she knows what to look for!) Finally, Thank you God for giving me the thoughts and words necessary to write in this blog. Hopefully I will reach someone who needs to be reminded that God shows up in everything they do.

So that is it. I see God in really everything that goes on in my day to day life. I have only really “seen him” on the big stuff but this exercise has reminded me that he is there for the little stuff, too. All the little things add up to big things to help me live my best life. So Thank you God for my best life!

Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Exodus 16:10

Just call me Peter…Simon Peter…

So I am not sure what to do lately. I have been trying really hard to be who I think God wants me to be. I really believe that the perfect person is out there, and that God has it set up in my life. I just have to be patient. Have I mentioned how much I hate waiting for stuff?!

I had a someone come to the house and hang out with me for a few hours. We sat outside and talked, it was actually really great. The only problem was that he called me “religious.” Like 3 different times. And it wasn’t a compliment. I don’t think it was a dig, either, I truly think he was just pointing out the fact that he knew my religion was strong and important. He didn’t try to kiss me or do anything other than talk. I am not sure what he was expecting when he agreed to come over but he absolutely respected me and my Faith while he was here. So why did him calling me “religious” feel like he was calling me damaged or less than?!

I AM “religious.” I am proud to be “religious.” Or am I ? I was embarrassed and…I don’t know…ashamed! I actually looked around my house at anything that made me look like I was, I don’t know, a Jesus Freak. I contemplated taking down the song lyrics to a Christian song about Faith that I had hanging in the bathroom and all the different signs of my strong Faith. I was trying to keep my Christianity in the little box I have had it in all these years. I doubted the path that I know I should be on. The path that I WANT to be on. I know that finding a love that puts God first is going to be so different and so amazing. I know that I need to do this. But when it came down to it, I definitely wanted to go back to being the person I used to be. The person who loved first and learned about a person second. The person who is so needy for love that she ignores it when things are not as good as they should be because they are good sometimes. Is this a test? Do you think God is testing my faith by sending me someone to call me religious as a bad thing and seeing how I would handle it? If that is the case it was an epic fail. I should be proud to be called religious!

I made an appointment with a pastor so I can get some insight. I need someone to tell me why I am doubting so much. I don’t know if I even ever want to get married again, but I don’t want to just be alone. So how does that go? And how do I know when it is time to become intimate? Or is there ever a right time if you aren’t married? It seems like in the Bible couples slept together and then they were married. So…if I meet the person I think is perfect for me and decide to be intimate with them, am I basically agreeing to marry them?

My head is spinning and I need to go to sleep. I am going to keep unpacking this in my mind and in this blog. Please comment if you have some insight!

Song of Solomon 8:7:Β β€œMany waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

Shut up, Frank!

Hello there! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week. I am πŸ™‚ I have been feeling pretty down over the last few days but I haven’t really been sleeping well so that is a big reason why. Life would be so boring if it was always sunny!!!

Day 10 asks me to write out a few “good” circumstances in my life and a few “not so good” circumstances to give thanks to the Lord for. The point being that it is really hard to see the good when you are upset about something awful that is happening but, as it was said before, everything that God does is for a greater good.

I will say the biggest good circumstance in my life as of late is the fact that I have been able to focus on the opportunities and gifts ahead of me (and less on how terrible my life is!). I have been able to make some decisions without overthinking to the point that I am just frozen in place. Just overall, my life has been pretty awesome!

The flip side to that would be that it is a struggle to live this awesome life. I definitely spend a lot of time telling my subconscious (Frank!) to shut up because he keeps telling me how hard it is going to be. Frank reminds me of my age and how I am starting over like a 20 year old but I am practically over the hill. Frank tells me that I am never going to be my version of perfect, I will always be fat, my wrinkles are getting more prominent…etc. etc. etc.

It is easy to thank God for all the good in my life, I usually do when I wake up in the morning and before my feet hit the floor. I don’t usually think to thank Him for the difficult parts of my day; over the last few days/weeks of the bible study I have thanked Him for the REALLY BAD stuff but the little insignificant stuff just falls through the cracks. Another lesson learned in my 21 days to a grateful heart!

I thank God for giving me the wisdom to be able to know that it is Frank’s voice in my head and not my true voice or the voice of my God. I thank God for giving me the strength to know I am not practically over the hill, fat, wrinkly, or anything else that may be placed in my thoughts. I thank God for speaking to my heart and talking louder and prouder than Frank so there is no mistaking the words of my heavenly Father. And finally, I thank God for giving me the tool to “turn it around” when anything happens. Instead of thinking about how horrible a situation is, I have this knack for finding the good that came out of it. God did that for me!!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Day 6 and Day 7…plus some extra :)

Hello again, Friends! I know that I am not being consistent with my 21 day plan, but in my defense I am actually very busy with cat sitting jobs. My heart is learning to be grateful, I have added thanks for things I would not have previously thanked God for in my morning chat with Him. I don’t have any regrets about it because I still feel like am growing in my faith. By not rushing through the days just to finish them, I am really ingesting each point.

Speaking of points, let’s get to the points of Days 6 and 7. Day 6 asks me to write down struggles that I am in and how I feel God is helping. I think this one is important because I have said before that I definitely have trouble with seeing God’s presence in my struggles.

I guess the biggest struggle would be starting my business. I have been in this field for far too long to be struggling like I am now. However, if I flip that around I can say that I am NOT in the same field. I am in a similar one, but cat sitting and cat behavior is completely different then dog walking and general pet sitting. I don’t wake up in the morning and think that I am doing another day of the same ole stuff. I had to stop dog walking so I could care for Albert and God provided for me by pushing me towards taking feline behavior courses. When my season of caring for him was done, I had all these new skills to push me forward in a new direction that was comfortable for me but challenging at the same time. Being that I am in a somewhat new area (an area that is SATURATED with pet sitters!) I am able to stand out from the crowd because I 1. offer feline only care and 2.offer behavior skills that others don’t have. There are other struggles, but this one is the main one that I thank God for.

Day 7 asks that I thank God for…ME! Since I am one of God’s masterpieces, why shouldn’t I thank God? The reflect was to look in the mirror and say thank you. I don’t have a mirror in front of me but truthfully I am pretty vain so I know πŸ™‚ I will start with thanking God for my beautiful blue eyes and smile. I am thankful that I have features that are all in perfect alignment with my face, nothing is too big or too small. I have great skin, few wrinkles or grays and don’t look my age at all. I am also thankful that I still feel confident and beautiful even though I am not “thin.” I am bigger than I want to be but I still feel strong and empowered. I continue to lose weight and build up my strength (I thank God for MOB-fit because it is such a welcoming place, the perfect place for me to be!) but not because I think I need to so I will fit into some kind of version that society states.

For the things to thank God for that are not physical or maybe not even positive is next on my list. I thank God for my inquisitive nature because I am always finding new ways to do things and new, exciting things in my every day life. And I thank God for all the trials and tribulations that have formed the person I am. I can’t remember the last time I was bored! There are so many other things but these are the big ones.

And more… I have one more thing I want to talk about. On Sunday, Pastor Darren talked about Jonah and how he heard God but he ignored it. He did more than ignore it, he did something else instead. And all the puzzle pieces fell into place for him to leave, including a boat going where he wanted to go. The point of the story was that there is always a “boat in the harbor” to take you somewhere else when God asks something of you. And here is my question. How do I know? I have always felt like I will just know when it is God speaking to me and not Satan. I know when something is not right or when it is something that completely goes against the teachings in the Bible. I mean, duh?!

After listening to the sermon, though, I am not confident that I know who is speaking to me. Part of how I feel like I can tell it is what God wants me to do is because everything falls into place for me. If it too hard, I just reassess what I am doing because it is obviously not what God wants me to do. But now when things fall into place maybe it isn’t God who is pulling the strings for me after all? Of course I am talking about things that are in line with the Bible and what I know is God’s will. Here is a real life experience. When Al died, I had a number of people tell me how great I was with caring for Al and how I should think about going into care giving or nursing. I thought about it but then I was reminded of all the work I had been doing for my cat sitting business. I decided that it was God’s will for my life that I continue to work on that business. Then one of my clients (and I consider a friend) got sick and needed care. I already care for his pets daily but now he was looking to have me do some “home health care” stuff. I didn’t want to do it. It reminded me so much of caring for Albert before he died so that didn’t help my mental state of mind. But–I was thinking that maybe God DID want me to get into the care giving after all? It was uncomfortable and not everything God gives me is rainbows and unicorns. But I am really pushing my boundary lines in my business. I am giving cards to people when I want to just walk by and I am talking about cat behavior stuff to…really anyone who will listen! I don’t talk to strangers. I don’t talk to friends even sometimes! But now you can’t shut me up hahahaha! Instead of going back to bed when I get home (my mind and body are begging me to!) I work on the business. So what gives? Maybe this goes back to having faith in what God’s plan for me is. I just have to trust that if I am making sure I do things that align with the Bible, it is the right thing. Right?

Day 3–wonderous acts, anyone?

So today is day three of my YouVersion Bible Study, 21 Days to cultivate a grateful heart. In day three, I am asked to write 5 (or more) wonderous acts of God that I have seen in my life lately. A wonderous act is described in YouVersion as how God provided in a time of need, someone he used to impact you or your family’s life, how he protected you or someone you love, or anything else that made you go “Wow, God”

I definitely used to watch out for these little “God smiles” I called them. Things that were definitely given to me by God and they made me smile (original, I know!) Somewhere along the way, though, I lost my way. Maybe it was when Al’s first scan showed that the chemo was keeping the cancer at bay but not really doing anything to slow it or make it go away. I believe that was the first time that I doubted that God “had my back” and I am still fighting those feelings of abandonment. One of the biggest reasons for this blog actually! Anyway, back to the wonderous acts.

I see God smiles all around me. When I was having tiny anxiety attacks about my non-existent bank account and the large part of my rent that I had to use to fix my car, I suddenly found myself with a job that was going to pay me enough to cover the rent and plump my savings up just enough so I could breath again. When I run into my neighbor and he tells me how happy he is that my son and I are going to stay in our apartment another year, it reminds me that I have begun a community where I live and people actually care about ME. Sometimes I forget that I am more than just “Al’s wife”, and God sends people like my neighbor to remind me. Along the same line, I had lunch recently with a few of Al’s friends that I made while he was sick. I told them how nice it was to have lunch with them and how I felt like they actually invited me to lunch because they wanted to see me, not because they missed Al and I was the sloppy second or whatever so they figured it was as close to him as they would get. When we talked about that, they said they couldn’t figure out why Al never really introduced us and a voice in my head (God, is that you? It’s me, Margaret…) told me that perhaps I only met the friends of Al’s that he wasn’t close to because he was worried that they would like me more than him. Al loved to be the most important person in the room so that is not really a stretch! When I am waiting in line at the deli to get something for a client and a woman comments on my kitty sneakers, which turns into a discussion about her cats and how her sister is selling her house and moving so this woman is not sure what she will do for vacations; I know that is God putting people in my path that need my help and in turn are helping me with building my small empire (insert maniacal laugh). Finally, last week at church I told a friend about my struggles with entering the church after I had driven there and she told me she had the same experiences and how she worked through them. It was so healing to know that I am not alone in this fear. God sent her to be in my path so I would tell her my story and she would validate it and tell me hers.

I had forgotten to look for the God smiles in my daily life. I am smiling as I am writing this blog…I think it is time to put my detective hat back on and look every day. I guess it is like breathing, you don’t realize how important it is (like, life giving and stuff!) and you never really stop to think of how great it is to be able to breath. Without reminding myself of all the ways that God DOES have my back, it is easy for me to hold on to the grudge I have against him. But maybe daily reminders of His goodness will melt that ice. Cultivate…I don’t know…a grateful heart?