Author: Stronger Than Broken

Bloggers for 2019

What a thrill I got when I found out that this blog is one of the 23 Relationship Experts, Authors, and Blogs to follow in 2019. As I am now adding coaching services to my public speaking and writing, I felt humbled and blessed to be with the other 22 people who are all about making this world a happier place through better relationships.

Please click on the link and see who we all are. Have a great day, Stacey

Who to Follow

How many paychecks until Christmas?

When our children came home for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, we partook in our yearly tradition of purchasing the live Christmas tree (at a Black Friday discount) and decorating the home. With Christmas music coming from my daughter’s phone (thank you Spotify), we went bananas decorating the entire downstairs of our home for Christmas.

Tree for blog

When they returned to school and jobs, my husband and I were left with a slight sense of panic as to how many paychecks between the two of us would we have before Christmas. Did we budget appropriately? Did we remind the kids that now that they are older we are trying to tone down the massive amount of presents under the tree? I hope so.

The panic subsided when I was reminded that our children love us. They don’t judge us by the gifts we can and cannot afford.

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” 

Our children have always seemed to enjoy the food, the movies we watch at Christmas and the laughter we share. We are content and blessed with or without excess.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 

1122181722

Do not allow the upcoming Holidays to rob you of what is really important. Instead of counting paychecks, count your blessings, count the times you laugh, count the times you give or receive kisses and hugs, count the smiles you gave and the smiles you collected, and DON’T count the calories. Enjoy the abundance for now.

 

 

Preparing for the colder-shorter days.

I just keep telling myself that the shortest day of the year is December 21st. If I can make it to that milestone, I can keep telling myself that winter only gets better from there. I simply hate the short days. Psychologically, I see it get dark and it feels like bedtime even though it may only be 5:30.

1122181735

Shorter days mean less Vitamin D, (which by the way is really a hormone). Shorter days mean higher heating bills, larger electric bills and maybe even crabby husbands. Shorter days mean boredom. There is simply nothing to do in my garden, no lawn to mow, and no hammock to read my books in. Bike rides have gone from hour-long rides outside to the dreaded 20 minutes on the indoor bike trainer, where I stare at the same wall (or TV) and finish in a pool of sweat because there is no breeze of the great outdoors.

Preparing to survive the dark, short days takes some creativity. It takes some resourcefulness, some imagination and finally some initiative to follow through while waiting for the sun to return.

First and foremost, get busy finding a good source of Vitamin D. It should be taken in the morning and is one of the best ways to prevent the flu, as well as many other health issues. Type “Vitamin D” and “Dr. Mercola” into your Google search and go crazy. Your brain will explode from all the knowledge that the website has.

Watch less TV. That sounds funny, as when we are indoors more than usual, that is what we gravitate towards. Exactly! Looking at artificial lights from computers and the TV messes with your melatonin and can cause poor sleep. Reading a book is always a better alternative.

Are you crafty? Are there unfinished projects you didn’t want to bother with in the summer when it was more fun to be outside? Is there a new restaurant in town you have not tried? When was the last time you went to the Art Museum or History Museum? Is it time to take a class at your Community College? Does your local Library have any authors coming to speak and sign books? Although we tend to eat more in the winter months maybe there is a recipe book you have yet to open. Perhaps there is a friend you have not taken to the time to catch up with. Maybe it is time to repaint the baseboards and door jams in your house to spruce it up.

The point is, be prepared to fill these days with things that keep your mind off of the mind-numbingly-cold, short days. Use winter as a way to bring a different set of things into your life to keep you happy and healthy. Spring will come…eventually.

Genesis 8:22While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Psalm 104:19 “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.”

 

 

 

 

Take a piece of peace!

Here we are about to go into the busy season. Thanksgiving, Christmas (or Hanukkah, Kwanza etc…) followed by New Years and the resolutions we feel obligated to make.

We are supposed to feel joyful and at peace with our families and the gift-giving season. Often times easier said than done, our lives become anything at all but peaceful. Money may be tight yet we want little Johnny to get that cool, new ______ (fill in the blank) that he wants. If your children are older you still want to gift them with something amazing and now often have to also remember to buy a gift for the boyfriend or girlfriend of your child, especially if he or she is spending the Holiday with your family.  How do you politely explain the sleeping arrangements? Is church mandatory for the non-family member? There are so many ramifications to consider.

1118180840

And the cooking. Do you make your cranberry sauce and pumpkin pies from scratch? I do. I want to put my years as a Certified Health Coach to good use, and honestly, then I am more aware of the quality of the ingredients. To complicate matters, we have a range of eaters from vegetarian (yes I make a Tofurky too and two kinds of gravy) to ketogenic, to high protein.  Thankfully, my husband eats whatever is put before him. Kudos and a shout out to this man.

 

Pumpkin pie

As we approach this season of good tidings and peace, let’s remember to grab a piece of peace along with that pumpkin pie. Here are my bullet points that should help things run smoothly and effortlessly (OK, well maybe effortlessly is a stretch)

  • Delegate some of the chores and cooking assignments to others.
  • Be honest with your husband when you want help. Most will surprise you and really want to be included.
  • Budget earlier in the year for Holiday expenses. Christmas should not be an excuse to service the credit card companies with your poor decisions.
  • Even though it may be the last thing on your mind as the days get colder and shorter, get outside for as little as 10 minutes or as long as you can afford. You won’t regret the sun and air on your face.
  • Be in the word. Take a moment to reflect on a couple of your favorite Bible verses. Here are a few about hope and peace.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Colossians 3:13 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.
   

 

 

 

West Coast Launch

What a lovely time I had reflecting on my weekend as I was traveling back from California. I did a book launch party for the birth of the book Letters to the Dead Men – Unexpected Revelations on the 11th.

Letters to the Dead Men_paperback cover_createspace_2018-09-06
My second book

What a wonderful opportunity to expose the book to the other side of the states, but also to see the lovely sister I have not seen in three years. In the journey I took writing about the men I have lost in my life, I realized that family can no longer be blown off for such silly excuses as “I’ll miss four days of work”, “I can’t afford to travel so soon after the three day conference I just attended” and so on.

I want my only remaining sibling to know how much she is treasured and adored. I want to experience new opportunities and meet new friends. My trip to San Diego did not disappoint. We ate at various restaurants, attended a yoga and happiness workshop, enjoyed some sun and then she threw me the best party ever at her healing studio.

1111181544
Prizes for the guests

Staying home just to make four more days of a paycheck just seems so silly. The money I may have lost in taking days off (entrepreneurs don’t get paid days off in the traditional sense of the word) is rather insignificant compared to the memories made. Embrace the opportunities to travel, grow, and love. May you be blessed beyond measure with silly stories, goofy pictures, and delicious food. Live your best life.

Best sissy pic
Living my best life with my best sister!

 

 

 

Crossing the Bridge


So many times in a relationship we are forced to cross a bridge of some sort. It may be the bridge from health to disease. From financial security to financial devastation. From being pregnant to having a miscarriage. Will you be just as eager to love and appreciate your mate when a brand new stress has been added to a perhaps already tenuous relationship? Can you two cross the bridge together holding hands?

cropped-vinces-camera-009

In an attempt to get through many of my own bridges of life, I try to think of the Bible verses that helped my dad through tough times in his early life, and I think of all of the leadership audios and books I have read throughout the years. One reoccurring theme keeps emerging. That theme is to reframe the situation and to continue to be grateful for something; anything.

What is a reframe? Simply what it sounds like. Put a new “frame” or perspective on the “picture” or situation you have been given. Could a miscarriage teach a lesson?

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed”

1014161443e

Could a financial difficulty draw you closer to your spouse as you learn to budget better and rely on God more?

Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength”

Could a health issue force you to learn to slow down and ask your husband or wife to help more so that you can do more self-care and recover? You may be surprised that your partner really does want to see you well again.

Philippians 4:6-7 ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Crossing a bridge can be scary but never forget that it can take you to a whole new place where new growth and lessons learned can occur.

 

 

Confident They Come Back

I have been dealing with a somewhat snarky teen lately. I get that we were cut from the same cloth and share so many of the same personality traits that we can get on each other’s nerves. I know I am not alone. There are scores of parents with multiple teens and tweens dealing with the “I-know-it-all-and-mom-is-stupid” mentality of the adolescent mind.

It’s crazy how much we still love those kids, and what great lengths we go to make life easier for them. In my case, often I just choose not speak unless spoken to. You see if I ask a question that he had already answered two weeks ago then I am the fool for not having remembered which day he is going to Homecoming, or which classes he has on Wednesdays, right? Wrong! Still, until he has to juggle the responsibilities of career, bill paying, and the myriad of other grown-up stuff, he will just not understand that my main concern is not remembering every little facet of his life. I will often need to ask the same question again and again. Oh well.

When I grew tired of yelling at him and got bored with always trying to prove that my way is the only way, my relationship with him got tolerable. But better yet, the other day I found an old Women’s Daily Devotional and began flipping through it to see what my life was like 11 years ago. Oh, the entry I read was a sweet as it gets. The past gave me hope for the future.

6/10/2007 “After church this morning I came home and felt like doing nothing at all. Theo (not his real name) and I took pillows and a light blanket and stretched out on the swinging lounge chair in the backyard. For just over two hours we talked, dozed, talked a bit more and listened to the birds. We enjoyed the soft breeze and I felt renewed. I felt honored to have this alone time with my eight year old”

HPIM1639

Wow. 19 is just a season in his life. I must be content to know that we were close once and will be close again. I gave him all of me and all that I am. It is enough. It is sufficient. He still loves me and all of my annoying questions and I still love him and his impatient personality. I was just like that at 19 when my parents wanted quality time with me. I was too busy with people my own age and my own agenda. I grew and he will too.

Go and love your irascible kid.

 

The Conference

Oh my! I just came off of an author conference that was a lot about books, a lot about leadership and a lot about our creator. At times I felt as if I was attending a revival. I work in a leadership group as a side gig, and their three-day conferences are very similar in many ways. Did God do that? Did He align me with just the right groups and just the right people to fulfill my destiny and fuel my passions? I answer with a resounding “Yes!”Understanding that leaders are servants was just what I needed to be reminded of to take my next step.

Panoramic of conference

So now what? Do I come off of the event all high on life and then simply go back to doing the laundry and the dishes in the sink? How will my life now move forward? Will I really build that great website that will draw thousands of hurting people to my site to purchase my books and coaching services?

Me and Kary
Learned so much from author Kary Oberbrunner!

All I can tell you, readers, is that I will look only to the step that I am stepping up to, and not fret about the whole, overwhelming staircase. I will see a long-term vision and break it down into baby steps that will continually allow me to press on. Remember, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Enjoy climbing your staircase too!

 

 

 

Prodigal Son

Most of us know the story of the prodigal son from Luke Chapter 15:11-32. If you don’t, stop right here, get a Bible and read it. Or, you can cheat and listen to the amazing Michelle Tumes song Please Come Back To Me

Now, the son I will describe was not prodigal. Not wasteful or reckless. Not extravagant or imprudent. He was just absent. He had a girlfriend.

When your teenager has a serious relationship, it is exciting and new. it is even better when you like the girl he is dating. Eventually, as the relationship blossomed I saw less and less of said son. That was rough on me in so many ways. I am not what you call a hover parent or helicopter parent, but I wanted my son back. I wanted dinner conversation and breakfast banter. I wanted to sit on the couch and watch a family movie with the last remaining child I had at home. I was sick and tired of him running through the door after work, taking a quick shower, grabbing a snack, then heading back out only to come home long after I went to bed.

When his two-year relationship ended with this lovely girl, I was reminded of the story in Luke. He was back like the prodigal son. And like the father in the story, I wanted to kill the fatted calf and dress him in the finest robe and shoes. But I also silently ached for him. I was once young and know the sting of breaking up.

broken-heart-1

If you are a parent faced with a similar situation, the best advice is to be there to listen only. Don’t ask a bunch of questions or find out who was at fault. Don’t say insensitive things like “There are plenty of other girls.” Take yourself out of the equation unless called upon for any advice. This is a time when silence is golden.

For the moment I have my breakfast banter, and fun conversations about school, world events, future goals and anything that he wants to bring up first. It is a joy and pleasure to hear him share with his father and me. I know he will date again. I know he will get serious again, but for now, I bask in the last bit of being the parent of a teenager.

Enjoy your children. it goes by in the blink of an eye.

 

 

For Parents of Young Kids.

I have some wonderful friends that are younger than I and they have amazing, cute, little balls of energy that they are in the thick of raising.  Although my children are grown, I remember vividly the trials and tribulations of little ones. One time my husband had gone to all of the trouble to redecorate our basement so that my job as a homeschool mom would be easier. My darling man created four desks (one was for me) with matching shelves to store all of the books, glue sticks, papers, computer programs, crayons, Science kits, and miscellaneous craft materials.

One evening he was yelling at the two younger kids for making a glitter glue mess on the new desks. I did not understand why they were getting yelled at for using the desks for their intended purpose. I understand that he went to a lot of expense and time to create such a lovely place to study, but children are messy. I often felt like taking care of small children was like weeding a garden after a rain. The weeds keep coming and coming as fast as you can pull them. With young children, the messes, the laundry, the meal preparation, the countless bedtime stories keep coming and coming and coming until you wonder if anything you do matters.

1528401837467 (1)

Today I want to emphatically remind parents of young, messy, loud and active children that the glitter glue desk means they were learning how to be creative. The muddy shoes in the foyer mean that they got to play outside and were not sitting in front of the electronic babysitter (TV-computer-iPad-etc…) The story you have to read for the nineteenth time means that they are learning repetition and that is comforting to them. The laundry you have to do means that they have a clean environment to grow and learn.

 

Stick it out. Take a deep breath. They will only be young for a short period of time. If you do it right, they will grow up to be these amazing adults who are so much fun to be around. They will be your legacy. They will remind you that all of those sticky fingers, half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches, and poopy diapers were just part of the journey.