I sprayed my pillow with a concoction of sage and lavendar right before I crawled into bed. It makes my nose happy. There are these shelves of products that beckon to me everytime I go to T.J. Maxx. I’m drawn to the beauty products. It’s like a treasure hunt to see what unusual items that can be found on these two aisles of the store that promise to make my life so much better by being caressed with body butter, charcol scrubs, and oils of all kinds.

While perusing these, I heard a couple of college age girls talking about these ‘pillow sprays.’ “My mom loves these.” is all it took to make me stop and look. I bought two. One for the graduate I was shopping for and the other for myself.

So before bed, I sprayed my pillows and picked up my book, Creating a Beautiful Life, by Elizabeth George.

As I picked up the book, I thought, I could be spending time with God instead of reading. Am I the only one that thought occurs to frequently? Instead of watching television, I could be reading the bible. Instead of watching ‘how to’ videos to find something to do, I could be serving God doing something useful for His kingdom. Instead of walking around the stores to fill my time, I could be . . . I know He is prodding me and yet, I don’t always answer.

As I open it, out pops the heading, “10 Reasons We Don’t Pray” and without even reading them I closed my book and started to talk with God. Not bowing my head, but simply whispering aloud to him as I’m lying on the sweet smelling pillows.

I began simply being thankful. “Thank you, Lord, for loving me. Thank you for the sacrifice of your son for my sins. Thank you for my beautiful life. Thank you for giving me Cameron. Thank you for my good health. Thank you for the ability to work in the yard. Thank you for these pets that are lying beside me. Thank you for my mom. Thank you for providing me with a home. Thank you for allowing me to be born in a country that allows freedom to worship you freely. Thank you for giving me the abiltiy to become a teacher. Thank you for friends. Thank you for Stephanie, sleeping in the room across from me. Thank you for my new job. Thank you for providing for my needs. Thank you for family. Thank you for the quiet. Thank you Lord for speaking to me.”

On Monday, we had a women’s gathering at church. The topic was about friendship and reaching out. I went because I isolate myself and pull in when my life gets tough. I have depression. Some people who superficially know me might think, ‘No, can’t be. You’re always smiling and you’re outgoing.” I do take medicine for it. I love summer and all the freedom it allows. I try to fill my calendar with things to do to fill some of that time alone. I’m exceedingly blessed with friends who will help me fill it.

One of the conversations at the ‘Womens Gathering’ was about transparency. I’m trying to be transparent. We can’t always and shouldn’t always put on a mask and say, “I’m all good” when we’re not. Social Media makes life always seem pleasant and it’s not. As women, sometimes, we tend to be critical instead of lifting each other up. I find my brain goes that way when I don’t know all the details and I judge. (I’m not horrible at it, so don’t be judgie)! Insert a laugh!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when we are having ‘that type of day’ where you need a laugh, cry, or conversation…You could simply pull up a table (anywhere) and say….”Let’s talk” and whoever needed a conversation could simply sit and share. Nope, we wait until we’re invited somewhere to do it and we spill our hearts to strangers. Isn’t that what friends do? Yes, but what if people are lacking that social area of life? Then it’s paid group therapy. Insert a half laugh here. Isolation does happen in this life of ours. Reaching out is important and we shouldn’t wait for someone to reach out to us. Go search.

It was great to talk with different women and hear their perspective on life. A new mom talked about the difficultly of being a stay at home mom and the isolation she sometimes feels from other adults. There was another women who is a military wife. Her husband was recently home from deployment, so they were in the middle of a second honeymoon. Three more of our ladies were related, but were of three different generations. One of those shared that because of their close knit family, they tended to keep their circle of friends small. Two of us were from the single’s group, another recently married for a second time, and the last, I’ll say in the winter season of her life.

Life is what you make it. I do believe that. I believe in chosing joy. However, I also believe prayer matters. Fighting the enemy through God’s word is practical and needed. Friends and family standing in the gap is important.

One of the ladies that spoke to the group and I can’t remember her name (I apologize) …. shared an analogy about us being roses. We have the lovely fragrance and beauty of the flower and the thorns that come with the stem. She said to lead with the beauty of the petals.

Tonight when I thanked God for each of those things, it wasn’t because my life is easy, but because through God, I can find blessings in all of my strengths and weaknesses.

For many of those things I’m thankful for, I can also look for the negative in some of them, and those I don’t want to see. I ask that God helps me to write my blessings on my heart, to find joy in moving forward, and help me seek not to remember the past hurts; real or as I interpreted them. For people to forgive me when my tongue has been or will be a thorn. Help me to activitly strive to be His hands and feet and not wait for someone to ask me to serve. To keep me from getting caught up in this world, but live as if I’m greeting Him in eternity. To always act appropriately that I can be seen as His child and not live for the flesh.

It’s late or early depending on your perspective of time. So goodnight, dear people. I thank you for journeying with me, and I thank God for my ability to write my thoughts down.