all the things

What Do You Dispense?

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When they were younger, one of my kids’ favorite things were PEZ dispensers. Remember those?  I loved them, too.  I liked the sweet candies that popped out when you flipped the top up.  PEZ candy was first created in the 1920’s.  Did you know that in the 1960’s, some unusual candy flavors were featured?  Have you ever wanted to taste chlorophyll flavored candy?  Once upon a time, PEZ offered chlorophyll flavored PEZ.  Yep.  You also had the options of licorice, coffee, cola, or pineapple.  I sure am happy they had grape, lemon, and orange by the time I got my first PEZ!

Today I want us to think about what we dispense.  I woke up early one morning last week thinking about love and what God says about love.  The first fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5 is love.  As children of God, this product of the Holy Spirit lives inside every believer and as we grow spiritually, the holy spirit gives us the power to reject our sinful desires and begins to work in and through us to make us look more like Jesus.  By following the guidance of the holy spirit, fruit becomes evidence that we are becoming more like Christ.

Love is vital.  It is indispensable.  It is necessary to be effective in sharing love with others.  Romans 5:5-8 says His love is poured out abundantly in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  That love is in us.  Sealed by the Holy Spirit as we see in Ephesians 1:13.  We should burn with the love of Christ, for without love, we cannot be effective in sharing that love with others, which is our entire reason for being here.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says, If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  Without love, people tune us out.  We become unimportant to them, untrustworthy, and invalid.  To them, we have nothing of value to offer.  This is why it is so important to be in constant communion with the Lord, in His word and in prayer.  God’s presence breeds love, because God is love.  Perfect love.  And the closer we come to Him, the more consistently we feel His strength, His comfort, and His guidance.

I had the wonderful opportunity to lead worship at our Women’s Spring Retreat this year and it was such a blessing.  I enjoyed it so much, but to tell you the truth, I did not want to go.  When I was asked, I was in a deep pit of depression and had been for some time.  Finding myself in this all too familiar place was embarrassing and I stepped away from anything where I would be in front of anyone because I didn’t feel like I had anything positive to offer.  I feel like I make a mess of things.  If I feel like I hurt someone’s feelings or make someone angry, fear and avoidance take over and I find myself in a pit.  It took me several months to dig out of that pit and I was just starting to feel like myself again right before the retreat.  I would like to share with you what I learned about God’s love as I walked that journey.  Hopefully, it can help someone else.

One of my familys’ favorite movies is Star Wars.  I’ll never forget one of the many times watching the series.  Over Christmas break, we have been known to have a Star Wars movie marathon.  You know that famous Yoda quote:  Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.  I remember thinking, great,  I’m Darth Vader!  Lovely!

Seriously though.  Fear brings torment.  It really does.  When we are tormented, there is no love in torment.  It is actually quite ugly.  When we are fearful, many times we are irritable.  We lash out at the ones we love or at others.  1 John 4:18 says, There is no fear in love.  Perfect love casts out all fear.  God’s love is inside of you.  It is internal.  His perfect love casts out all fear.  Fear is going to come, but our response should be totally different than an unbeliever’s,

  1.  because of our prayer life.  We have a direct connection with God through His Holy Spirit living in us.  Prayer should be our first response, not our last resort.
  2.  because of our intimacy with God.  He speaks to His children through His word and through His Holy Spirit, and through others.

We cannot afford to allow fear to have a resting place because that will impede the flow of God’s love through us.  Our peace comes from God.  We have to remember that God is still on His throne.  What is true in the light is also true in the dark.  God tells us in His word, I will complete the good work that I began in you.  I will carry it on to completion and that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. We must focus on God and His promises for good things. Be still and know that I am God.  The Lord says, “I’ve got you.”  Whenever I start stinkin’ thinkin’, I have trained myself to stop in the middle of the negative thought and say, Whatever is true-  okay Cindy, what is true right now?  because I am worst case scenario girl.  I am.  Whatever it is on my mind that I am concerned about,  I’ve already got it playing through in my mind and somebody’s gettin’ a tongue lashing.  Well, hold up.  I don’t even know what’s gonna happen.  Do you even know how much time and energy I have wasted on worrying about how I think things are or aren’t?  Oh my goodness!   And, you know what?  Even if sometimes things were the way I thought.  She really was talking about me.  They really don’t like me.  The teacher really did forget to give Michael extra time and his grade is not good.  Whatever it is, God’s got it and my worrying about it is not what I am called to do.  One of my favorite songs right now is Like You Love Me by Tauren Wells.  The first verse and chorus are:

Always something trying to steal my mood
My crazy thoughts trying to kill my groove
That’s when I hear a voice, whisper through the noise
That brings a bigger picture into view
Whenever the clouds come into my mind
I won’t forget it’s You who tells the sun to shine
Every worry, every night
Every second thought about tomorrow’s wasted time (Ay)
You give the sparrows everything they need
You light the stars and You paint the leaves, eh
You clothe the lilies with Your majesty
And You don’t even love ’em like You love me
No, You don’t love ’em like You love me, no
Steve and I were sitting outside on our back patio one morning, eating breakfast.  We love to watch the birds.  This particular morning it wasn’t sunny.  It was raining.  We noticed the birds were quiet.  The trees aren’t fully in bloom yet, becuase it is still early Spring, but the birds are still there.  The rain started getting heavier.  We noticed one bird on the fenceline between our house and our neighbor’s.  It just stayed perched on the fence.  The rain kept getting harder and harder.  You know, sometimes we are going to have to weather storms in life.  For me, it is depression.  It may be something different for you.  It may just be a particular season you are in.  It may be a health issue, a mariage issue, a job issue, one of your kids, all of your kids.  Whatever the storm,  we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us and we can be very confident that nothing will be able to separate us from His unfailing love.  Our confidence should be sky high in God!  We are more than conquerors through HIS love.  His perfect love.  Ephesians 3:18-19 tells us that His love is endless.  It surpasses knowledge.  Think about that… and we are to be filled up to all the fullness of God.  We should be overflowing.  Overflowing onto others.  How can we do that?  The more openly we invite God into our hearts…where the hurt is, where the pain is, where the fear is, His love can heal us – Jehova Rapha my healer.   Jehovah Jireh my provider.  His love can deliver us – Jehova Mephalti my deliverer.  He gives us our identity – Jehovah Nissi the Lord our Banner.  God’s perfect love, inside of you, will make you more than a conqueror, and then you can be a dispenser of love through the overflowing love inside of you.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Love is an action word.  As believers, people should know you by your love.  John 13:35

Be Blessed!

Cindy

 

 

family, marriage

A Chord of Three Strands…

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Well, it has been a little over a year since my very open post on married life and all the things and I thought I might visit with you about where we are.  Steve and I have been married now for 26 years.  Last year we hit a pretty rough patch.  I confessed how we didn’t seem to be on the same page anymore.  At the time, it felt more like not even in the same library!

We have become more intentional in our relationship.  Praying together before we walk out the door to go to work, school or whereever happens every morning.  Every morning.  Do we still have moments of frustration with each other or times we don’t see eye to eye?  Yes, but it is less often and less intense.  We seem to have found a new rhythm.

It was really different with both the girls out of the house and just Michael under our roof.  I recognized Steve’s need for BMX and all that entails and I think he has recognized that I needed to decompress from my former job and just be mom and wife for a while.  I needed to get our home back together.  We have also discovered that I have been dealing with some health issues that explains my exhaustion all of the time and why I couldn’t seem to do all of the things and keep up like I used to.  I am feeling much better, sleeping again, which helps alot!  I guess the pace of the Bierman household has slowed down compared to when there were five of us here, but we still have plenty to keep us busy!

I have noticed that Steve and I both acknowledge what is important to the other more readily.  We definitley make time for each other.  We are much more intentional about our relationship.  I guess it’s just that it was easier before kids, multiple kids and all that goes with that.  It sounds so simple yet we somehow still wound up where we did and had to fight our way back to each other.  It was worth the fight.  It is easy to just build a wall and do your own thing when things are tense.  It is difficult to stay affectionate with someone you feel at odds with.  However, choosing to show our spouse love and affection, even when it would be easier not to, benefits the both of us.  I have found that when we do the hard work, God blesses that.

The most powerful change we have made is praying with each other.  To some people it may sound kind of corny, but to me, it has made a big difference.  I’m not saying that when we pray all of the clouds depart and a rainbow appears and all of our problems go away.  I am saying that I believe and trust in God’s word and that He is faithful to keep His promises.  According to Lamentations 3:22-23, His lovingkindnesses never cease. For His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.

I began writing this post back in May or June, I think.  It is now August.  School has started.  Our college girl is not at school, but is home dealing with some pretty heavy health issues.  An unexpected change that we didn’t see coming.   We’ve had lots of unexpecteds this summer.  So the new rhythm will have to become a new, new rhythm.  Ha!  Anyway, new challenges and new stressors, but we still have the same God with us and I know that we will work through these new challenges together, too.  Praying all the way.

A chord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12

 

Uncategorized

A year in review of All The Things 2018

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If I had to choose 1 word to describe this past year, it would be change.  I have been told, in the past, that I don’t handle change well.  As I have gotten older, the realization came that life is nothing but a series of changes.  Ha!  So, one can surmise that I don’t handle life well…didn’t handle life well.  You see, 2018 was not only about change, but deciding how to handle it.  The decision could have been made to stay the same.  Keep existing, sit super still, not move, and stay where I was…or to move and do, and live life, instead of just existing through it.   That is what I chose to do this past year.  I chose not only to endure change, but to generate it.

January started with beginning to blog, choosing to build a network marketing business, and create a Facebook group and Instagram.  This might not sound like much to you, but for a pencil and paper kind of gal, not tech savvy, it was a lot for me!  I had no idea what I was doing or how to go about doing it!  I just decided to jump in and do it scared.  If you are familiar with the color personalities, I am not a red, so this was not natural for me, but it was necessary.  As a mother of 3 children and 2 with special needs, many years have been spent taking care of others and helping to make ends meet.  Somewhere along the way I lost myself.  I was buried deep in a 9 to 5 job that I dreaded going to every morning.  My house was cluttered, my body was sluggish, and my heart was heavy.  I don’t regret taking care of my family.  I just didn’t remember to take care of myself, too.

Blogging has given me a way to connect with others.  When we choose to put ourselves out there, we quickly find that we aren’t the only ones that feel a certain way about a certain thing or that we like the same kinds of foods or we are in the same phase of life, stage in our marriage, or we have the same interests. We also find that people are much kinder and supportive than social media sometimes makes us think.  The love and support that I have received from all of you has been so very heart warming!

Network marketing has been a huge learning curve.  It is not something I ever thought that I would like to do, but I have found a product and a company that I absolutely believe in.  This year has been one of growth, personally and as a team.  I have an organization of people who are like minded and are finding our products to be beneficial in their lives and that makes me happy. As a result of my new business venture of learning to help others support their health and wellness, I began a Facebook group for product education and camradery.  It’s more fun doing it together.

By April of 2018, I decided to make a huge change that not only affected me, but everyone in my family.  I chose to resign from my 9 to 5 job and come home and focus on my family and Sweet Home Healthy Family, my Young Living business, full-time.  This has allowed me to go on a Disney field trip with our youngest, clean out closets, update my bathroom (still in process), and cook like crazy, to name just a few things.  I have had the time to invest in others.  For the first time, I was able to participate in our county’s annual Christmas Gift Shop, which helps provide Christmas gifts, prayer, and the presentation of the gospel.  Our family was able to take several trips for weddings, wedding receptions, Thanksgiving,  a trip to the beach, and a much-needed get-away for two.  No worries of being allowed the time off or having time to prepare Lauren’s meals, if needed.  I am home to take Michael to school and pick him up and make sure he takes the supplements needed for him to stay healthy and able to focus and finish projects.  My house is cleaner than it has been in years.  Christmas/December was not stressful for the first time in years.  I am not exhausted.

 

Finally, I have made the time to work on my marriage and on me.  I have prayed like crazy this past year and God has been faithful.  A prayer that I have been praying for 25 years was answered.  Steve now prays with me daily.  That is not something that he felt very comfortable doing in years past, but he has realized how important it is to me and for us.  We have both worked very hard these last six months on us.  I am supportive of his need for speed ie…bmx racing, and he is supportive of my need to be the hands on mom and keeper of our home.  I dole out the vitamins, supplements, and Ningxia Red to keep our immune systems humming, and he helps me carry the heavy things, works on the vehicles, (not that women can’t do that.  I have changed the brake shoes on a min-van before 😉 and he shows our children how a wife should be treated-with love.  We have, again, found what works for us and a new rhythm.

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I am happy.  I have accomplished many of the goals I had at the beginning of this year and worked through the tough things that came our way via unhappy work situations, marriage issues, the passing of dear family members and friends, a new adventure into network marketing and health and wellness.  I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future and am excited for the coming year.  I am praying that each of you has a very happy and healthy new year, as well.

 

Looking forward to 2019!

Cindy

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Uncategorized

Marriage- In light of All the Things

I have gone back and forth in my mind about whether or not I should write this post.  It is kind of putting it all out there, but my blog is about all the things.  Life is big and creative and messy and although I want to be pleasing to the eye, like an Instagram photo, I also want to be real and relatable.  So, if I haven’t scared you off yet, continue reading.  😉

If you read my post about our beach vacation, I was open about things being a little tense between Steve and me that week.  Honestly, they have been a lot tense for a while now.  We have been married for over 25 years.  We still love each other.  Things are just hard right now.  Any marriage that is perfect or happy ALL of the time, in my opinion, just isn’t real.  Don’t get me wrong.  We are a really good team.  We work extremely well together.  We are both quick to apologize and quick to forgive.  We can work around a kitchen and whip up a week’s worth of allergen free meals and get them delivered to a university an hour away in a flash.  We can work together to get the hours of homework done with our youngest.  We can work together smoothly without argument and get our daughter moved into her first apartment.  We can handle ALL the things of family life well together.

We are just in a new phase, stage, chapter – whatever you want to call it- of life.  Our oldest has started her first career job, moved into her first apartment, and is officially off the payroll now.  Our middle one, with the food allergies, is moving into an apartment for the remainder of her college life and will be able to do most of her own cooking from here on out.  She has been practicing all summer and she will have a kitchen to be able to do it.   Our youngest will be starting high-school in the fall.  He will be the only one living with us when the school year starts.  I thought that things would be easier, less hectic and that we would have more time for each other, as the focus for the last 25 years has mostly been the kids and their special needs, etc…  We DO have more time, however, we seem to be floating in different directions.  I have found myself with hurt feelings more and more often because our visions just don’t seem to line up anymore.

I have started reading a book called, The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie OMartian.  In the first chapter, she advises that love is diminished if we dwell on the negatives.  Love grows if we focus on the positive.  She encourages you to pray from the right heart and that it is impossible to truly give yourself in prayer for your husband without first examining your own heart.  I cannot expect God to answer my prayers if I harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, or resentment.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. Psalm 66:18   She states “God wants our hearts to be right so the answers to our prayers are not compromised.”

Hmm… thinking.  Mulling that over…

Sometimes, that’s hard.  What about when you feel he has been indifferent, or uncaring, or just makes you mad?  But what about me, Lord?  Don’t my feelings count?  Can’t I just pray for you to change him? If I’m honest, these were the first questions that came to my mind.  From reading just the first few chapters, I am learning that powerful and effective prayers come down to a matter of the heart.  God wants our hearts to be one with His.  He is waiting for me to lay all of my expectations and desires at the foot of the cross.  He wants to change me.  He wants to change Steve, too, but in His time and on His terms.  That’s hard because that means that I don’t have control over what happens.  I have to be patient and wait on the Lord.  I have to trust that All things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Steve and I have talked about things, how we seem to be struggling right now and as my impatience with him has grown, his irritability with me has, as well.  Not a pretty picture, but honest.

ALL the things.

I started to say that sometimes it feels like it would just be easier to give up and start over, but that isn’t true…and I believe that is the enemy speaking lies.  I had that thought because having tough conversations is hard.  It is draining.  It isn’t happy.  You get tired of disagreeing and seeing no way over things when you just don’t see things the same way.  So, what do you do?  Well, pray. Hard!  We are both working together to get on the same page with each other.  We are each trying harder than I think either of us has been for a while.  It is easy to just put it on auto pilot and continue on with all the things of life and not address issues.  That comes back to haunt you.  We are praying together, consistently.  Praying together has never been consistent in our marriage.

Instead of just asking me out to a movie or out to eat, Steve called me up one afternoon and said he had a change of plans.  He said that there were 2 tickets left to see Beauty and the Beast at our Community Theatre, if I wanted to go.  I cried.  You see, I was a Music Education major in college, vocal major, full tuition vocal scholarship, coloratura soprano, and I love musical theatre and all things singing.  Just so you get the full picture.  My husband does not sing.  He loves all things racing.  That’s cars – full size or remote control, motocross, BMX.  As a matter of fact, I am still nursing him back to health from a BMX injury, broken rib and all.  Have you ever had to take care of someone you are mad at?  That’s a whole ‘nuther blog post.  Anyway- He is also a drummer.  He does not sing or dance or like to watch it.   He was trying.  Putting forth effort to make things better.  I have been trying harder, too, or at least I think I have.  I try to have dinner at least started if not on the table when he gets home and a pleasant look on my face, instead of a complaint about something on my lips.  I just mean that I am putting forth extra effort to show him that I love him and he is appreciated, too.  Now, I’m not saying that we can’t do things apart from each other.  That is not our problem.  Of course, I won’t go into minute details of our struggles.  As like any other couple, we just have some things we need to work on and one of those for me, is allowing God to make my heart more like His and trust that He is working on Steve’s heart, too.   As we grow closer to the Lord, I know that we will grow closer to each other.

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Romans 15:5-6 says, May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just keeping it real this post.  I am trusting that we can get back to a happier us.

Lover, giver, and endurer of All The Things,

 

Cindy