To the One Who Is Struggling:

Dear Friend,

I’m sorry this is all so hard. What you’re going through seems improbable on the best days and impossible on the worst. It’s hard to keep your chin up when life keeps knocking you down over and over again.

Yes, you’re bruised. Your wounds haven’t healed yet. I see your pain, feel it rolling off of you. 

Just when you think you might make it, another wave crashes over you, threatening to pull you under. You’re in over your head and relief seems as far away as the shore.

But friend, I want to tell you that even though you feel like you’re drowning right now, there are plans in the works. Plans to give you hope and a future. I can’t tell you how or when things will change. I just believe with all my heart that they will.

I believe in a good God that goes before us, stands behind us and walks beside us. You’re not sure if you believe, or you haven’t been in close contact with this God I’m talking about? That’s not a problem for him; you can’t do a thing to earn his scandalous grace.

You can have his peace in the midst of the chaos, the crazy, the pain or the grief. You can experience this peace no matter the circumstance. And it’s free.  

 (Photo cred babynameslog.com)

All you have to do is accept it.

Hang in there friend, better days are ahead, and I’m praying for God to hold you in the very palm of his hand.

Blessings,

Meredith

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

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Running Just as Fast as I Can

If you know me, you understand I’m using my title ironically. I don’t run. Unless something scary is chasing me.

 (Photo credit Thug Life shirts)

But it feels like with all the pieces of my world swirling around I am running to catch up. I choose to believe that even though it feels like things are falling apart some days, they are really just falling into place.

I just need to figure out how to stop running.

It’s hard, because when I take a look at my life, I’m not sure what I can drop or remove or take away. I feel as if we’ve already culled all extraneous things, people and events: I can’t cut much more or I’ll be slicing bone.

I’m not built for speed. I’m built for yoga or weight training or walking but never for speed. So where does that leave those of us who are running to catch up, mostly due to life circumstances?

I don’t have the answers, but I do have a handful of ideas that I’ll be trying to implement. For instance, if I’m going to do all the caregiving I do–both for my four munchkins and for my disabled vet hubby–I need to make sure I’m taking care of me. For me this means getting exercise, reading for fun, talking to girlfriends and finding a space in my head and my house for some peace and quiet.

 (photo credit 3amdad.tumblr.com)

And finding time to drink copious amounts of coffee.

 (photo credit mrcoffee.com)

I also need to have a weekly Date Night with the man I caregive for so that we remain connected as lovers and friends. Otherwise it’s more like I’m nurse and he’s patient, which he wouldn’t mind at certain times if you get my drift, but in real every day life that’s hard on a relationship.

Spending quality time with each of my kiddos is also in my priority list. Not just in a hurry-up-get-ready-for-school-eat-your-breakfast sort of way, but really spending time talking with and listening to each kid’s heart. With lots of kids in the house I’m still trying to find my way through this.

 (Photo credit lifelovelauren.com)

Getting organized is also in my master plan to rule the world. Or at least my life. We’ve had some obstacles here between all the kids, a couple of moves, trying to survive 2013, publishing a book, getting creative enough to write another, and all the mountains of paperwork required by the VA for retirement and disability and caregiving. Have I mentioned that each department within the VA can’t see the paperwork we already submitted to another department? Just means an avalanche of papers are threatening to take over my life.

So while I’m theoretically running to catch up with my life and my loves, I’m reminding myself that giving myself a break and counting my blessings are a necessary part of this process. For my survival.

And my sanity.

 (photo credit Instagram)

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Mornings

Mornings around our house are more circus-y than any other part of the day in our Traveling Circus. 

The kids apparently take after Mama-none of us are morning people. But we’re trying. 

We get up every morning in various states of cranky and happy, go through our morning-get-ready-for-school lists, and get out the door. One thing I’m really liking about our schedule this year is how our rolling start times–the thing I thought would make life more chaotic–have actually given me a space in my day where I have just enough time for a walk through my neighborhood.

I have to get up super early to have alone time and writing time and devotional time before the kids wake up super early to get on buses. But after I walk the seven year old to the bus stop, I push the baby in the stroller around our hood for about twenty minutes. This, and coffee, is what is helping to keep me sane right now.

Even though fall decided to wait a couple more weeks to show up, I’m enjoying this little stroll through my gorgeous area. There are trees and birds and dogs and peace and quiet and room for some thinking and head clearing. 

I can breathe again.

Today I’m grateful for how my mornings are shaping up. I’m grateful for rolling start times, caffeine, a baby that will just come along for the ride, kids that seem to be excited about school, a hubby whose morning times (the hardest time of day for his PTSD) seem to be improving, and a little breathing room. 

I hope you find some space in your day to breathe too. Have a blessed Thursday y’all!

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015. 

I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, swing by and say hi!  

#PTSD #mypinkchampagnelife #mornings #veteran #workout #militarywife 

Last Weekend

I had the most amazing twenty-four hours last weekend! I flew out to Colorado to lead a ladies retreat that was supposed to bless them, give some lovely ladies much deserved rest and relaxation.

As it turns out, I was also blessed.

I’m so surprised how that worked. I spoke most of the day, helped facilitate small groups at our breakout sessions and then flew back immediately following. I should’ve been exhausted.

Instead I was exhilarated.

The ladies came to this retreat with a lot of stuff in their suitcases: relationship troubles, deaths of loved ones, job issues, sadness, regret, soul sickness.

It was not a day at the spa.

This was hard work for some of these ladies. And they stuck with it, worked through it, and left a lot of the baggage they brought with them at the retreat center when they left. Many of them walked out lighter, more determined, and more convinced than ever that they have a special place in this world that only they can fill.

And I left there wondering at a Maker who would create our beautiful surroundings, give us much needed time to discover his peace and give us hope just by being together in his presence. 

 

(Statue in the Mother Cabrini gardens, photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015)

We Remember-April, 19, 1995

Today marks the 20th anniversary of an event that rocked my innocence, my state, and our nation-the Oklahoma City bombing. This horrible moment that left scars on our people and our downtown and our state also brought about a thing called the Oklahoma Standard.  (Photo credit Wikipedia.org)

This standard of care helped write the national book on both how to handle recovery efforts and how to create an amazing remembrance memorializing the heroism, loss and recovery from tragedy.

We lost 168 innocent people that day; 19 of them were children.   (Photo credit Charles Porter)

Over 800 were wounded. An act of terrorism that tried to steal our well-being, our sense of self and security failed. It hurt us, but it did not keep us down.

 (Photo credit karashall.blogspot.com)

We know hard times here. But we are survivors. And others have learned from us. When 9/11 happened, rescuers from Oklahoma were sent to help with recovery because they had been through it. We introduced our Oklahoma Standard to others to help bring peace and hope.

There isn’t much I can write to add anything to the anniversary. I just want the first responders, those wounded and still recovering, and those who lost loved ones to know you are not forgotten. 

We are celebrating today, celebrating how far we have come, how much we’ve learned about ourselves, celebrating and remembering the lives lost and the heroes formed from ordinary people that day and the days and weeks following. (Photo credit unknown)

Marking the spot where tragedy happened there is now a beautiful beacon of hope. The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial is an incredible testament of healing. Horrible scarred buildings and earth were transformed into a place of peace, with our Survivor Tree, reflecting pool and remembrances of each person.

  (Photo credit Flickr.com)

I’m proud to call myself an Oklahoman. God bless Oklahoma and God bless the United Statea of America.

©Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015