Sometimes it’s difficult to know what direction we should take. Sometimes we go one way, only to discover an alternate one would have been much better. And sometimes we get lost along the journey.
I am somewhat in that process right now – trying to rebrand, reinvent my blog and my website. Clearly, what I was doing before wasn’t working. It’s time for a change; it’s time to start over.
It’s time for a new direction. Or at least an adjustment. And that’s where I currently stand. It’s a little scary, but I’ll never know if it works unless I try!
I have some things figured out, some new ideas to implement, etc., but it’s still a work in progress. It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s time to reinvent MacKenzie’s Musings and Apple Blossom Ministries.
I hope you’ll check back soon to see the changes I have in store!
A few months ago, I
bought a plant. A succulent. I have never had this kind of plant
before in my life. Mind you, my mom is the one who used to grow
plants (and flowers) while I was growing up. Occasionally, I would
try my hand at African Violets, and I remember having a Boston fern
when I was in my 20s. I did alright with those.
I don’t consider myself
to have a green thumb, but I do like to try keeping plants around for
a little while. Mostly since I’ve been married for the past three
years, we have not had any plants in our home because neither my
husband nor I have been overly successful with them in the past.
That changed when I got
the succulent. I named it Angus.
I looked for
information online to help me take care of Angus, and it seemed like
it should be an easy type of plant to keep. You didn’t have to water
it much, and it didn’t like direct sun. I did great for a couple of
Then, one day, I
was examining the bottom of the pot for some reason, and saw watering
holes in it. I got the “bright” idea to water the plant from the
bottom (put water in a tray or container and put the plant in it so
that the water would soak up through the bottom). That way the leaves
wouldn’t have to be moved (I was afraid of breaking one off).
So, I filled the bottom
of the “decorative” pot it also came in part way and let Angus
drink. I think it might have been too much, and the water may have
been a little colder than I intended as well, but I’m not totally
sure on that.
The result: I killed
I think watering it
from the bottom was the mistake. The soil soaked up too much water
and within a few weeks, I started noticing that what had been new,
green, healthy growth on Angus was now dark, almost black. And that
growth was now soggy and goopy. Other leaves on it became soggy and
started dying as well.
I was heartbroken, and
I want to get another
one to try again, and this time not water from the bottom, but I am a
little apprehensive. I feel like I would be throwing money away if I
were to get another one to try.
My walk with God can be
characterized by a similar aspiration way as well. I start out with
a desire or have excitement to start something – a Bible study,
reading the Word every day, praying deep and meaningful
prayers, wanting to tell others about Jesus, helping people, etc.
I get so excited and
begin putting some effort into it; my relationship begins to grow and
blossom, and then gradually I up my game and add or increase things
to help me grow even more.
And then it happens. I
get “water logged” and soon I am drowning in all that excitement
and desire. I burn our and end up killing my commitment and my
desire. And, once that happens, it can be so hard to get back into
the swing of things, which is what the enemy wants.
Recently, I purchased a
couple more plants (at separate times). One was not too long after
Angus, when he was healthy and alive. This new plant is a Croton,
aka Joseph’s Coat. I called this one Baxter, and so far he is doing
well. I’m a little fearful, though, that I will kill this one as
well. And, not too long after I began working on this post, I
purchased a Dragon Fruit Cactus (the spikes on them are soft to the
touch). It’s supposed to be very easy to take care of. I’ve named
this one Carter.
I really hope that I
can keep these plants alive (so far so good), but more importantly,
my prayer is that I never give up striving to grow in my relationship
with the Lord and to not become stagnant, or kill off the desire to
produce the fruit that comes with this relationship.
It’s Christmas Eve today, and like most homes at this time of year, we have had our Christmas tree up for awhile. The colourful lights glowing, decorations hanging, and the angel watching over everything. The top section of our artificial tree is leaning some, because the part it’s stuck into has a piece broken off causing the top portion to not stand up straight. I’m reluctant to give up this tree and get a new one.
This tree belonged to my mom. And when I look at it, I think of her. Usually my thoughts are happy and pleasant, but in all honesty, sometimes I feel sad.
I have always struggled
at Christmas with my emotions for as long as I can remember. I
vacillate between feeling happy and cheerful, and depressed and
I remember feeling depressed many times when I was young (though at the time I don’t think I was aware that was what I was experiencing) and telling my parents I didn’t want anything for Christmas, because I didn’t deserve it. There were times when I would plaster on a smile, because that is what we are supposed to do at Christmas. It’s a joyful time of year, after all!
In my adult years, I have struggled with the thoughts that present themselves in my mind when I hear others trying to help with comments of “Cheer up!” or “It could always be worse. There are others who are in far more serious situations.” And, while I know people mean well and are trying to be helpful, they really aren’t. Not when my depression has made an appearance. Sometimes I just have to ride it out.
There were lots of silent, hidden tears shed at Christmas in my past. But, I am thankful that the last few Christmases have been great – no tears, no feelings of not deserving, no depression.
In all honesty, there
are a number of things that have helped me with this – my
medication, having a loving husband who is very understanding and
supportive, changing my attitudes and thoughts, and most of all, the
love of a Saviour who was born to die and give me eternal life.
Christmas is not about the presents, the tree, the lights or decorations. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. And if depression is something you deal with, particularly at Christmas, please don’t suffer in silence. You aren’t alone in this, and your struggle is real. Reach out to someone, take your meds (if you are on them; if not talk to your doctor), don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to the Lord; ultimately, He is the only one who can help you overcome this.
And, I pray that this Christmas, you can feel the joy that only He can give you.
You may remember a recent post I made, about not using this blog and just using the one I have on Apple Blossom Ministries. Well, after much deliberation, I have decided to reverse that decision. And I removed that post.
Quite simply, I just wasn’t feeling it. It didn’t seem to be the right time for that change, and quite honestly, I was letting the world dictate how I should be doing my ministries. No more.
So, I will be continuing to use MacKenzie’s Musings for my blog, and Apple Blossom Ministries for my ministry. The two aren’t entirely separate, but for now, I feel this is the best fit for me. I do have this blog on my website, and I will always promote Apple Blossom Ministries here.
Today is my last day of a 10 day vacation I took with my husband – though a couple of the days were work related for him.
I really enjoyed my time off because I had been feeling stressed from work, and I think I was taking on a little of my husband’s stress as well.
Directing More of My Time To My Ministry
While away, I was able to come to the conclusion (from talking with my husband and a friend) that I want to jump into my writing more. I want to start directing more of my time with my ministry, following my dream and what I believe is my calling.
I need to get more serious about it than I have been.
The Need for Focus
That means I need to be more focused, and now that I have had some time away, with my husband, to relax and rejuvenate, I feel encouraged to continue with my writing, and with my direction for Apple Blossom Ministries (come check out what I have so far).
Today’s “focus” involved spending time on my blog post writing, and with creating the first few instalments for my Thankful Thursday series (debating on whether or not that will be featured here on the blog, or on ABM). I also started working on another project I have in mind for ABM.
Please keep me in prayer regarding all of this. I want to serve the Lord and help other women along in their journeys as well.
What do you need to take more seriously and focus on? Let me know in the comments.
To me, Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday that happens once a year.
During Thanksgiving, we often tell others what we are thankful for. I don’t think that should be limited to once a day in October or November, depending where you live.
Really, we should be thankful every day.
What It Means
To be thankful means to express feelings of gratitude, to appreciate something, or someone.
Sometimes, when life throws us for a loop, it’s hard to see the good. We tend to focus on the negative aspects. But, even during those trying times, we can be thankful for something. Focusing on the good can help redirect our thinking to something more positive.
I know, normally, people tend to list what they are thankful for at Thanksgiving. It’s not Thanksgiving now, it’s already passed for us here in Canada. But, I’m going to list some things that I am thankful, or grateful, for.
My husband and step-son
My other family members
Living in Canada
The beauty in Nova Scotia – lots of gorgeous places to see and explore
The leaves changing colour this time of year (gorgeous!)
I can see and hear
I can walk (have the use of my legs)
I can read and write
The generosity of others
Those are just 15 things I’m thankful for. Of course, there are many more people and things, but this is just a start.
I’d like to start a regular series on the blog to help remind myself to be thankful in all situations, like Paul talks about. I think it’s a good way to help me redirect my focus during those difficult times.
And I’d like to be able to share that with you, to help you as well. I’d like you to share the things you’re thankful for on Thankful Thursdays as well. I think this would be a great way to help us be more encouraging to others so that we can be reminded that there is always something to be thankful for, every day – not just at Thanksgiving.
So, even though I’m a day late because it’s Friday, let’s get the ball rolling.
Leave a comment with something you are thankful for today.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
I remember repeating that when I was young. I don’t know if I was trying to convince myself of this, or others. It doesn’t matter, though, the meaning of that statement is a lie.
Words are a powerful tool. They can be used to build up others, or tear them down. They can encourage or discourage. They can be kind or mean. The choice is ours on which ones we choose to speak to people.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Words can have a lasting effect – both negative and positive. I remember as a young child being told by a classmate that I was ugly. I also remember a few years later having two other kids, girls I thought were my friends, both saying that I was pretty ugly. Those words devastated me and have had a lasting effect on me for many years. For most of my life, I believed what those kids said to me. I believed that I was ugly – and most days I still believe that. I’m growing though, and now there are days when I don’t believe it.
Words are powerful. Not only do our words affect others, but they can also affect us, too. Our self-talk is just as important to examine. Do I speak positively to myself? Do I use words of affirmation? Or, am I negative and use my words to destroy myself?
I want to challenge you. For the next week, try writing down two positive things you like about yourself every day. It doesn’t matter what you write – do you have pretty eyes? Did you have a good hair day? Maybe you spoke words of encouragement to someone who was feeling discouraged, or you helped someone who was in need. Record these in a journal or notebook and keep them to look back on when you are feeling down. Then, do the same thing for someone else – write down something positive (something different each day for a week) about someone you have a hard time dealing with, and at the end of the week look back over your findings. You might start seeing that person in a different light.
Be mindful of your words this week; build up those around you, and don’t forget to build up yourself as well. Construction, not destruction.
For years I have dabbled in writing – mostly short stories and attempts at novels. I’ve dreamed of being an author, having my name on the front of a book. I’m almost 50 years old and it hasn’t happened yet.
Why? Because I doubted myself, I didn’t feel confident in my writing capabilities, and I let fear overtake me – fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it, fear that people wouldn’t like what I write, and fear that I just wouldn’t be good at it.
I’ve decided, with encouragement from a few people (particularly my husband), that I’m going to attempt writing again. My hours at work have been cut back and it’s a great time to seriously get back into it.
I think I need to develop my style, find my voice, and figure out just what I want to work on. I want to write a novel, but I also thought of maybe writing some Christian articles, devotions or short stories as well. I suppose I could write here, on this blog, to help with my writing. It’s as good as any place to start. It’s all going to take time, naturally, but I just need to make myself sit down and write. If I don’t start, it won’t get done.
So, I would appreciate prayers for guidance and direction…and of course to fight against procrastination and writer’s block.
I’m like most people – I enjoy having vacation. That’s what I’ve been doing the past four days. I still have three and a half more days before going back to work. I’ve been enjoying this time because I’ve been able to get a lot of R&R in; something I need to do.
We’ve been to the beach (Monday was a holiday so my husband didn’t have to work), I learned how to fish (and caught 5 – though 2 squirmed off the hook before I could land them), I’ve been to the driving range with my husband and a couple of our friends, and I’ve been able to do a lot of knitting – one of my favourite hobbies.
I’ve never been fishing before and now that I know how, it’s something our family can do together sometime. I also enjoy going to the driving range because this is something my husband really enjoys, and this allows me to spend time with him doing something he loves. I’ve also been improving, though I’m nowhere near ready to hit the golf course, so that’s an added bonus. I did lose a day, though. I woke up on Tuesday with a migraine and dealt with that all day. So that day was pretty much a write off. I did manage to catch up on some sleep though, so that was nice.
As I said, I still have a few more days left of vacation. My husband is working today; tomorrow he is going to the golf course (a weekly thing) with a couple of his buddies, and then he works tomorrow afternoon/evening as well. On Saturday we have a friend coming to stay with us for the weekend, and I go back to work on Monday.
Even though I’m getting to relax and rest, I do feel guilty that we aren’t going more places (like we did my last vacation) and doing stuff. I know my husband was wanting to go to Cape Breton for a couple of days, but he said that this vacation is for me to rest and relax. I definitely appreciate it, but he’s missing out on doing things he likes to do on vacation (He’s been working, but he can take some time off). Maybe we can do a something on Saturday by taking our friend somewhere he hasn’t been, and maybe do something after church on Sunday.
I am definitely thankful for this vacation. It’s certainly helped with my mental health! And I am most definitely thankful to my husband for allowing me this time.
I still have a couple of vacation days left after this (due to there being a holiday this week and two of the days would have been my normal days off), so maybe I can take them in the fall and we can go somewhere he’d like to go then.
At any rate taking time for yourself and getting some R&R is certainly beneficial to your mental health. It’s far to easy to keep busy and focus on work or helping others and not take time for yourself. The problem is, we end up burning out. I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun place.
In closing, I encourage you to take some time for yourself, do the things you enjoy doing, have fun, try something new, rest, relax. Your body and mind will thank you for it.