Monday, January 25, 2016

Loneliness in the Midst of a Crowd

Recently, I heard a commentator say that people in general are overloaded with so many impersonal "media friends" and so FEW real relationships as the result of social media.  Loneliness is rampant. 

We get on Facebook and have 500 to 1000 friends, yet when we want to go out on a girls' night we rack our brains trying to find a buddy. 

How many times have you just been SO lonely, wanting to talk to someone, that you have just resigned yourself to Facebook and wasted hours scrolling and "stalking"?

So, why do we Facebook-stalk?

I believe we just want to know something personal about our "friends" because we long to have deeper relationships. 

This is why Hollywood magazines are so popular.  They sell personal information.  These "stars" become our "friends".  We watch their kids grow up, we mourn when they have a loss and we get angry when they sin...but that is no relationship. 

We yearn to have deeper relationships but are going about it in the wrong way. 

You may say, "I  have lots of friends--I have 500 on Facebook."

Let's ask ourselves a few questions--

  • "How many of these Facebook friends have seen you at your worst?"  
  • "How many have you had coffee with?
  • "How many of them can you call and pour out your worst nightmare to?  Yep, that moment that is so raw and embarrassing."
  • "How many would you ask to go shopping with you?"
  • "How many would you trust with your children?"
I would like to encourage you, in 2016, to build some truly deep relationships.  If you are lonely, there are probably more then a handful of ladies around you who are lonely too.

So how do you find a friend?
1. Pray about it. 
Ask the Lord to bring you a friend. Ask God to bring to your attention someone who is lonely too.  Someone to whom you can minister and that can and will minister to you.

2. GO!!!
Go to church events, go to a mom's group, go to the parks, go to library events. Get involved with other women and moms. 

3. Encounter.
  • SMILE!!
  • Make small talk.
  • Let the Lord lead.
  • Ask questions about the other person.
  • Ask for another chance to get together.
It doesn't always work.  You may not always "click" immediately, but be open to whoever God brings into your life. The Lord has brought some incredible women into my life. 

That being said, many of my deepest relationships are with women who are in other states right now.  We met and bonded here but the Lord led them to other states.  We still call, talk with, and pray for each other but, in this season of life, we do it long-distance.  These are the ladies that I call and with whom I have hour-long phone conversations.  They are the ones who have gone through valleys and mountains with me and I with them.  These ladies are my prayer warriors and friends.  I know some very personal things about them and they know personal things about me. 

We were made to love and have relationships.  I know this blog post may sound really elementary, but in this next year, I pray that you will make some forever-friends.  Don't be lonely looking at your screen; make some friends this year. 

- Rejoicing in the Present
Joy T. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#5 Plumbers Are People Too

His name was Eric. He was driving 2 hours to work in our area because he needed the job. He would travel here on Monday, stay all week and go home on the weekends. He was a former drug addict with a loyal wife and 2 beautiful girls. He had come through that time with a faithful wife that stayed with him and helped him to get to where he was now. He had found Jesus in it all and was a new man.

He started working on our bathrooms but it was about a week before we started talking about God. He helped to remind me that each of these guys who entered my house had souls. They needed Jesus or they needed to be encouraged. They had families to go home to and people that loved them. God cared about them and I should too.

I would offer drinks and sometimes candy or treats. One day, the owner of the company came over and I was making brownies. He knew that the guys were giving my house extra care and attention. He now knew why. They all wanted to be at our house...because we cared (and had brownies). :)

What matters? Souls.

You are paying people to work in your house. You can be as much "light" as you want.

Here are some suggestions...

  1. Offer them drinks. 
  2. Make sure your house is at a comfortable temperature. (Especially if the guys are working hard, you may want to turn up the A.C.) 
  3. Offer food, if they stay late. Many of them have food or will go buy some but the offer is always appreciated. 
  4. Play Christian music throughout the house. 
  5. If you have an open door to talk about God with one of them,
  6. Have an extra Bible on hand that you can send with them. 
Last but not least: Don't accept poor work because you are trying to minister to them. Ask them to fix their work BUT talk to them in a respectful, Christian manner, in the way you would want to be treated. 

- Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, January 18, 2016

#4 It's Just a Bathroom

We were/are in bathroom-remodel mode from the end of August into January (Yep, still in it.). During that time, I saw some of my closest friends go through some really traumatic things. One of my dear friends lost her husband, another one was dealing with a mentally unstable husband while another one had to leave her home due to an unsafe environment. A young girl's father was breaking her heart and a close friend went through a traumatic birthing experience.

It was just heartbreaking listening to their stories, loving and trying to be there for them. During all of their sorrow, I was living in a HOT mess. Many days, we had no water, due to the new plumbing being in-progress. We didn't have a usable shower for nearly 2 months so we had to go to the YMCA down the street to take showers and my house was A WRECK. We were very worried about Twila having another breathing set-back and money seemed to be going down the toilet we couldn't even use.

It was a very stressful time. I could see the effects on my body and I didn't handle it very well.

...but at my worst moments, I was kept in check by thoughts of my dear suffering friends. I had a husband who was trying to help me. He was alive and he wasn't abusing me. I had a father who loved me and cared about me and invested in my life. We were blessed to be able to get these bathrooms done.

Yes, it was stressful but it was JUST A BATHROOM.

...and yes, we had to go to the YMCA to take showers but we could be thankful that a "Y" was available close to our house where we could take those showers. ...and our house was a mess, and yes, everything was covered in dirt but we could be thankful we had a house to get covered in dirt.

Dear sweet friend, it's about perspective. If you are renovating your house, just know, it WILL be more money then you planned. It will take more time then you planned and it will be a bigger mess then you were ready for. ...but eventually it will be new and beautiful and over and done.

We have so much to be thankful for and so much to live for. When this life is over, we have the HOPE, the assurance of heaven and a life for eternity with our Savior.

It's just a bathroom. - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, January 14, 2016

#3 Family & Friends

Many times, we have the option of hiring family or friends for home renovation. This can be good, however, IT CAN ALSO BE VERY BAD.

I have been blessed to have family and friends help us on our house.  In fact, the main reason that my house is so nice is because of sweet family and friends who dedicated their extra time, money or items to help us out.
When I look at my beautiful hardwood floors, I think of a dear man who helped my husband sand and polyethylene them. He also painted most of the rooms and trim in my house. When I look at my flower beds in the front, I remember how my mom helped me clean them up.  Our attic was re-insulated and the roof fixed by my father-in-law.  These are a few of many instances where people helped us.  We have been blessed. 

...but I also have to warn you. This can really come back to bite you. We have paid family friends, or had family help us on projects that didn't turn out.
So I have to throw this question out to you. "It may be free labor, it may be inexpensive labor, but is it worth it?"
Here are some other things to think about:
  • Is the person an expert in this particular area? 
  • Is the job something that most anyone could do? (Paint, hang pictures, change a light switch cover)
  • Is it worth risking the relationship?  If you end up disappointed in the work or even get ripped off by family or friend, you are in danger of a damaged relationship, of maybe even losing that friend.
  • Does this person have time to follow through?
  • How much money are you actually going to save?
  • How much money could you lose if it goes wrong?
  • Have you seen this person do the job before and how did it turn out?
I hope these questions help.  Family and friends can be the biggest blessing when it comes to home renovations but it can sometimes also be quite a painful experience for everyone. Weigh your options with lots of prayer. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#2 Everyone Makes Mistakes

I have NEVER hired a construction worker or plumber that has done perfect week.  From carpet guys to installers, there has always been something that was a little bit off or had to be corrected.

...but then again, I'm not perfect and neither are you.  We are all humans and we make mistakes.  I think the BIGGEST difference between whether a company is good or bad is not whether or not they make mistakes.  It's about whether they are willing to fix their mistakes.

As a homeowner and employer, you are entitled to a good job. You don't have to pay until the work is done and, many times, this encourages workers to do it right.

Never pay your workers the full amount when they have just finished. First, go over the work that has been done, share your concerns, get things fixed and then pay them.

Everyone makes mistakes; will they make it right? - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#1 You Get What You Pay For

"You get what you pay for" is to be the number ONE lesson I learned from home renovations.  If you wonder why you are getting such an amazing deal, stop wondering.  You are NOT getting an amazing deal.

Unless, there is an amazing sale with a 100%-guaranteed business that has been around for decades, I would encourage you to look around for a 2nd opinion. Whenever I have gone the "cheap" route, I have ended up with cheap products or cheap work that doesn't last for long.

When we hit bathroom #3, we were worried that we were running low on money.  My husband met some handymen at the dump during the middle of our project, so we decided to give them a call to see how much they would charge. The price they quoted was ridiculously low and I excitedly called my husband and parents. They were a bit doubtful and even warned me about it, but I was so excited. These guys did an average job on the majority of the bathroom, but when it came to the shower pan, the floor sloped toward a corner instead of the drain.  We asked them to fix it and while attempting to do so, they messed it up worse.  Too late, we got a 2nd opinion and the cost to have their job fixed was $1500.

Before, I knew what a poor job they would do, I referred them to my friend. She also tried them and, in the end, had to pay a LOT of money to another company to fix their work.

This is not the first time this has happened to us.  We also had another guy work on our trees. He offered to cut a certain number of branches and do so much work for a certain amount of money.  He gave us a low-ball number which we couldn't pass up; however he had only done part of the job when he demanded the money.  We had to hire another man to come back and finish the job.

Here are a few suggestions...

  1. If it seems like it's too good to pass up, PASS IT UP.
  2. Ask for referrals.  Go online and check the people out.  Read all the good and bad comments. Contact everyone you can.  Make sure that they know how to do the job.
  3. If you have a gut feeling, listen to it. (I overheard them talking to someone; that gave me a clue that they didn't know what they were doing. I ignored it. Not smart!)
  4. Check to make sure that they are licensed and insured.  If they mess up, you want to make sure that they have insurance to fix it.

I hope this helps someone. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bathroom Renovations

Sweet little A. called all the men working at our home over the last few months plumbers.  Of course, they might have been construction workers, carpet guys, electricians, but no matter what they did, to him, they were all "plumbers."

He picked up a construction-worker voice.  He tried to follow them around.  He would lay by our front window watching them work in the front yard and then jump up and greet them every time they came in.  They were his friends and entertainment.  He really liked them and misses them now that they are not here.

For the rest of us, it was a ROUGH few months. We started the process at the end of August and it's January now with a few little things left to be done.

I learned A LOT of hard lessons.   I want to share some of them with you over the next couple days.  If you plan to do any type of renovations, I would encourage you to follow along.  You are also welcome to leave a note below with extra tips. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

When you fall...

As some of you know, my blog is a journey and the last thing that I want from any of my readers is for them to think that I am some high and mighty Christian who does everything right. ...and of course if you know me in person, you know that this is FAR from the truth.   Hahaha.

Let me explain:  recently I wrote about my new year resolution.  I had really been thinking hard about what I wanted for 2016.  It wasn't hard for me to see my faults and realize the distractions of life that had come between God, my family and myself.  So I decided  that what I wanted was to be attentive.  To be present with my family and God.

I determined to do this and shared my journey with you. 

I woke up on January 1st and received about 10 phone calls which right away distracted me from my kids.  I got annoyed at my husband and the day quickly grew dark. 

I didn't just break my resolution, I blew it up into a thousand pieces

But January 2nd was another day and as the Bible reminds me, "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." - Proverbs 24:16

I was reminded "Every day is a new day." 

And you know what, I will mess up.  I will fall down, but THROUGH God's grace, every day is a new day.  Every moment is a new moment and I CAN, with God's grace, reach those God-given goals. 

Sweet Sister, IT IS HARD. 

The devil wants us to fail. 

Our flesh tends toward sin...



He WILL help us. 

If we ask HIM.

Remember there is a January 2nd.

There is also a January 3rd. 

GET BACK UP!!!!  - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, January 1, 2016


Welcome, 2016!  I have a feeling you are going to throw me more then a few curve balls, especially if it's anything like 2015. 

I don't know about you but I DO love New Year's resolutions.  I guess I really like the idea of being able to start over with a clean slate, with a fresh start. 

For 2016, my goal is to be attentive.  So many times, I feel like I am rushing around like a chicken with its head chopped off.   I'm too busy to answer my kids' questions, my husband gets pushed aside for a load of laundry and that Bible study I've wanted to do keeps sitting on the shelf.  I would like to be more attentive first and foremost to God.  I'm not sure how this will look but I'm pretty sure it's going to mean less time on media. 

Next, I would like to concentrate more on my husband.  As I've been reminded by a dear sister in Christ, you don't know for how long you have him and that dumb old laundry can wait for a kiss and a hug. 

Lastly, I want to be more attentive to my kids.  To be more attentive, I need to make some cuts and I think that social media is going to be one of them. 

Let's be attentive to those whom God really wants us to minister today.  God first, family second. - Rejoicing in the Present