Learn To Recognize Your Triggers

“Signs of a Life” – Part IV

Saving GraceAs you can imagine, hearing the nurse call for the paddles and being in the hospital for 10 nights was pretty traumatic. I wasn’t home for long before my doctor recommended I find someone to talk with to help me sort through my stress and anxiety. The first thing she wanted me to come to terms with was recognizing my trigger points. I didn’t know what a trigger point was until much later, but once I learned the meaning behind it, I quickly knew what my trigger was. The way it was explained to me is that it is the first feeling you have of anxiety.  For example, you are sitting quietly in the living room reading a book and someone in the kitchen drops a frying pan or shatters a glass. It’s that feeling right then and there that you feel. What is it for you? Where do you feel it? Do you feel a tightness in your chest? Or is it a sinking feeling in your stomach. How do you react? What do you do?  Think about it for a second and the next time that happens pay close attention and you will learn with your trigger is.

For me, I feel a tightness in my chest and when I am really stressed I then find myself rubbing my hand over my chest to help calm myself. I do this sometimes without even realizing it. When I do, I do eventual realize I am now able to recognize this as my trigger and a sign of anxiety that I need to deal with immediately.  I then just start breathing deeply and talk to myself and God to get reassurance from Him that everything will be okay. Positive words and prayers of affirmation is the first thing I do. I close my eyes and quiet the room and try to feel the presence of God’s embrace. God has told me repeatedly to ‘Be Still’. I’ve taken this to simply mean, to Be Still in his presence, to stop striving for my will, and start embracing His Will and plan for my life. For Only God knows our next move and what is best for us! He wants us to live an abundant life.

“Be still and know that I am God,”  ~ Psalm 46:10

As time has gone by, this practice is all I really need to follow in order to calm myself and quiet my anxieties, but there was a time when this was not enough.  There are other ways to handle our stress and I’ll be sharing next several ways I learned to deal with mine and hope that it will help you!

Be Still

Do You Know Who Your Guardian Angels Are?

“Signs of a Life” – Part III

2019_04_08_2019_03_29_Narrative Project_1932__DSC0225During my recovery in the hospital, I also learned that God is not the only one watching over me from above. When I was in and out of sleep after my heart attack, I went into a dream state where I saw three individuals sitting on a bench much like this one. Except, the bench was just above my bed sitting in the clouds and I could see many silhouettes of people, whom I believed to be angels in the distance. I could see the sides of the first two gentleman closest to me as they were sitting there just waiting. I recognized right away the first man was my father. He looked exactly like he did back in the 70’s with his long sideburns, yet he could not look down at me. The second man, a bit taller than my dad, was my stepfather. He was looking over my dad and down on me with such a loving, yet concerned, look. The third man, I could not see, but somehow I just knew in my heart it was my grandfather. That surprised me more than anything, because for so long I thought my grandmother was one of my guardian angels. Oh, I’m sure she’s still looking down and watching, but this would be the second time now that my grandfather has come to me in a dream just like this and the only time I have dreamed about him since his death.

There is something to be said about the power of three and this holds true for me as well. Three has always been my lucky number and a number I gravitate to. I love to give three kisses good night or goodbye – one is never enough!  One night when I was so stressed out, I felt the presence of someone sitting on my bed behind me three times. It was as if one person sat down and got up, and then another, and then yet another. I swore someone was there; but every time I looked, there was no one. I was awake and it kinda freaked me out a little. Eventually, I just brushed it aside and thought it must be my grandmother checking in on me. After this dream in the hospital though, I now know it was my three guardian angels blessing me and letting me know everything was going to be alright.

Do you know who your guardian angels are? How do they show up to you? Some leave dimes, some show up as butterflies, feathers, hearts. Our loved ones find many ways to show us they are still among us and with us. Never fear for they are still very near! This dream I had in the hospital, it was very real and I no longer have fear of dying. I know my loved ones will be with me one day and we will all meet on the other side – the never ending journey with God!

God Has A Plan For Each Of Us

“Signs of a Life” – Part II

Jeremiah 32:11

As I heard the nurse calling for the paddles, I remember screaming in my head, “God, I’m not ready to die!”  The next thing I remember is grabbing at my face because I couldn’t breathe. As I came to, my nurse was getting off of me and so many people were in my room in a panic of chaos. It was then I realized I did not die, but now things really got serious and things didn’t look so good!

Over the next several days I was watched around the clock and I realized that God definitely had a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 eventually became a Sign from God and my favorite verse in the Bible.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Follow the LightWhile God never promised us life would be easy, He did say He would be right there with us guiding us and holding us by our right hand. He did this for me that I am certain. There are times in life when God just has to take control. He realizes we need a break and sometimes forces us to do so! That’s what He did for me and I will be forever grateful.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.   I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   ~  Isaiah 41:10

Not only did I change through self-development, but my experience also helped change the course of how leadership at my job manages their projects and their teams now. If my experience helped even just one other person, it was all worth it! Since then, I am no longer intimated by anyone. I take life as it comes and know that God always has a better plan than I do. His timing is all that matters. If something doesn’t work out the way I planned, I am thankful that His plan will be much greater than I ever imagined. Trust me, I’m human and sometimes it does take me a little while to swallow my disappointment, but it doesn’t take long before God shows His hand and I am moving forward with much anticipation and excitement of what comes next in this journey with Him by my side!

 

 

It’s Not Worth It!!!

“Signs of a Life” – Part I

Under Pressure

 

Much like many people, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve lived a stressful life. We all face stress. Stress comes to all of us in many ways and we all deal with stress and react to stress  differently.  For me, I thought I handled it really well. I was strong during the moment when I needed to be for me and my family, though when I was alone I would break down for moment of release. I would recover and do it all over again time after time. I thought I could handle anything.

As a young teen, I watched my mother suffer five years of her life through a nervous breakdown and never knew if my mom would survive that ordeal. Thank God, she did as God had a plan for her. He miraculously healed her when the doctors gave up on her. You can read about her miraculous healing in our first book, “Signs from God” that we published in 2014 and made available on Amazon.  My mother has an amazing story, and while her story will always be a part of mine, my story has allowed us to expand our purpose even further. As you can imagine, watching your mother suffer something so traumatic as this, it makes you grow up fast and you have to learn how to handle that stress. This is where it all started for me at a young age.

At the age of 53, my stress level hit its peak and I broke!  On April 27, 2016, I went to work like any other day, but this day I was managing a difficult project. In fact, one of the biggest projects my team had worked before. We were getting oversight from our upper management team and leadership and we were taking the brunt of the project’s failure due to issues outside of our control. I knew my team and I were doing everything we possibly could, but we were already set up to fail when this project was incorrectly solutioned.  This particular day, I was in a meeting with someone that intimidated me so bad and I was so frustrated because he was not listening to me. When I am made to feel like my opinion doesn’t matter, I clam up. I think that is probably a normal response, and many people do the same thing. Some people might just brush that off and forget about it, but I let it fester, and over the course of several hours it built up so much that I found myself heading to the hospital to be checked out that evening!

The results were positive and they admitted me. I was there for ten long nights with lots more stress and anxiety to follow. Along with cardiac arrest, tests, and even a pump inserted up to my heart to relieve it from having to do all the work. This experience changed my life in so many ways. Some of which I will share with you in this series of blogs!

How do you handle your stress?  Do you internalize it or do you release it? I’ve learned it’s important to understand your triggers. So give that some thought as we move through this series together!

 

As I Look Back I Thank God For Everyday!

“Signs of a Life”  – Welcome

So It BeginsAs I sit back and look over the past three and half years, I thank God every single day for giving me a second chance. I used to think I was so strong that I could handle any situation. I used to think I could help everyone simply because I wanted to. I used to think that I could help people become better people. I used to think I could make a difference. Now, I understand so much more of the bigger picture. It’s not all about you and me. We are such a small piece of the puzzle in God’s masterpiece. Think about it, without every piece to the puzzle the picture is never complete. Things happen for a reason and we cannot change anyone. We can only change our reaction to the situations we are placed in.

The older I get, the more I am seeing the puzzle pieces come together. Like a book has its Chapters; a Play has its Parts; and, a Series has its Seasons. Life too has its Parts, Chapters, and is a series of events that must happen before we can see for ourselves the amazing never-ending Life God has in store for us all. He never promised it was going to be easy and that we wouldn’t experience heartache or pain. Though, I can say that every mountain I’ve had to climb has given me strength and determination to face the next mountain knowing that God will be there to guide me and pull me to safety every single time.

This Spring, I was honored to have been asked to become the subject of a photo-journal storyboard project from an acquaintance at the time. She has since become a very good friend, and I will cherish the memories we shared during this project for the rest of my life and I know we will continue to grow our friendship for a long time. This opportunity was very enlightening to me as she shared with me recently how she was able to capture my story. Seeing her interpretation through her lens was amazing. She named her project, “Signs of a Life”. Seeing how she was able to capture the past three years of my life in photos was a true testament to her God-given talent. To hear how I touched her life was such a heart-warming feeling, it gives me chills now and left me speechless as I turned the pages of the book.

I would like to share this story and her interpretation with all of you if you are interested in following along. I experienced a heart attack in 2016 and God gave me another chance. He opened my eyes, my desires, and my realizations that I deserve more! That Chapter of my life has ended, and I am facing a new and exciting Chapter that will be a page turner for sure. God gave me a talent and a dream to write, and lately He has been after me to share my story and my love of God and how He works in my life so that I can be a light to others. Heidi has given me a unique way of sharing. You will be able to feel my story through her photos and my words.

I encourage you to follow along – you won’t be sorry!

Sometimes You Just Have to Take a Chance!

Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” ~ John 5:8

The road less traveled may not be an easy road to follow. It might get a little muddy. The path may not be so certain and your destination may be unknown, but one thing remains …. you are not alone. Our minds may be filled with doubt and confusion, butRugged Crossing when we walk with God, He leads us. He plants our feet where He wants them to go. He knows our next step, before we even take it and the step after that.

Sometimes we just have to take a chance and listen to that voice in our head because it is most likely the Holy Spirit trying to talk some sense into us. He’s trying to tell us that God has something amazing in store for us. This past year has been that for me, and it hasn’t been easy. Yes, I’ve had doubts. I’ve had anxiety attacks, and I’ve been scared. During these times, I’ve turned to God for support and He has always been there for me. Making life-changing decisions are never easy. Taking chances are scary. So, I talk to God a lot. I ask for signs. I ask to hear his voice. Recently, I started asking to hear his voice more clearly! I even posted recently about the heart-shaped rock I found by the stream, and how I dared to ask God if that was the best He could do. I even thought to myself that was pretty bold of me, but hey it’s God right, and seconds later I found this rock with not only a heart engraved in itself, but a cross.  2

Since I dared God to do better, He has in so many ways, it’s unbelievable. Yet, when I think I know the answer or the route He is leading me, He makes a turn. I’m faced with a little disappointment, because my plan didn’t turn out as expected. That quickly changes though cause I know His plan is better than mine. Low and behold something new appears: an answer, a new possibility, a small detour, or is it maybe a new future of hope and happiness.

Since this rock was found, I was also Baptized again and this time in the Ocean. It doesn’t get better than that! I washed away all of my old ways and old sins (some known and some unknown) and I feel like I am living my best life ever. I am comfortable with who I am and where I’m going.

Are you living your best life? I urge you to contemplate this question. Give your worries and burdens to God and let Him lead your next step too! Pick up your pallet and rise to a new life, a new way of being and seeing.  Ask Him, “Is this the best you can do God?” Then, with the faith of a mustard seed, believe He has plans to make it better than you could ever imagine! Speak positive affirmations of belief and put your trust in God!

Tough Times? Remember These 8 Things!

8 things Three years ago, after my heart attack, I was preparing myself to come back to work. It was a scary thought just thinking about walking back into the workplace that was the cause of my demise. I had dealt with so much stress at home and on the job my heart could take no more, and yet I was in a position where I had no choice but to go back to work at the end of my long term disability leave from work. I knew that God would not let me down and He would be there for me as He was during my heart attack, recovery, and always! Still the thought would stress me out more from time to time just thinking about it. So I tried to prepare myself for those moments by surrounding my work space with my Signs from God. This particular sign resonated with me this morning when I got into the office for some reason. Maybe because this week has been the third anniversary of my heart attack. Now, I feel stronger than I have in a very long time. Today as I read this message, I can honestly say that my life has changed in so many ways and I’ve followed all 8 things on this list unknowingly.

As I look back I know I have changed in these last three years, and one of the biggest ways was learning to be kind to myself. I’ve learned that I matter, and I need to do what I need to do to make me happy! Granted getting here was not easy; let’s face it, tough times can really be tough times.

When you are facing tough times, remember that everything can – and will – change. This moment in time, is only a fleeting moment and temporary situation. God will get you through to the other side. Thank him for His presence and recognize that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers! There is always something to be thankful for even in our worst moments. Picture Jesus’ face and remember a time when you felt loved and know that you are God’s child and you are loved! He will not forsake you. Grab His Hand and hold on for the ride of your life!

3 Years Strong

There are certain days in your life that you will never forget. Like the day you got married, the day your child was born, the day you lost a loved one, your first kiss, etc. Well for me, today marks three years since I was admitted to the hospital for chest pains. This day three years ago is where my story of self-recovery began and I was far from strong!

I never knew that stress could effect your body so greatly. The day after I was admitted, I went into cardiac arrest. It was the worst feeling in the world because I could feel it coming on, I heard the nurse call for the paddles, and I saw the agonizing look on my husband’s face before I faded away screaming to myself, “God, I’m not ready to die!”

Luckily, God wasn’t ready for me to die yet either. He still has a plan for me. He just needed to take control because my stress was out of control. He needed me to take time to heal, learn how to deal with my stress, and to take time to just ‘Be Still’. I was dealing with so many different stressors at that time in my life, I guess I just couldn’t handle any more. Thank God for stepping in and giving me the time to heal. God does this for all of from time to time. The thing is though, is that we have to recognize it for what it is – a sign from God.

Looking back on this time and these past three years, I can see so clearly His role in my life, the decision He helped me make, and now the reasons why. It blows my mind sometimes and I feel so blessed to have this relationship with Him. Whenever I am struggling now with even a little decision, I turn to God and He seems to always find a way to answer me. It may be in a scripture I read, a thought the spirit puts in my head, or just finding a cross in my path throughout the day that lets me know He is with me.

This past year alone, I made the decision to separate from my husband, I moved into my own place, and I’ve met so many amazing friends that have helped me through some of my bad days and have been here to share in some of the fun times that give me such hope for my future. My life is now free from so many stressors, yet there is still worry because now I am living alone. Though, I know God is with me and I will be ok.

Despite boughts of anxiety and stress worrying about a high blood pressure reading, or a couple of skipped beats and palpitations from time to time, I have come to rely on the Lord to get me through. I do my best to push away the fear and welcome His presence and loving arms instead of falling into the downward spiral of doubt and fear. When Satan tries to grab my attention, that’s when I reach out and grab the hand of God that is always there stretched out and reaching to pull me closer to him!

1When I look at this picture that was taken a day after I got out of the hospital, I can see the pain I was dealing with, and I feel the anxiety in the pit of my stomach, but I also see the love in my mother’s eyes, but most importantly I can see how far I have come from that time in my life. I don’t wish that experience on anyone, but I pray that everyone learns or gains a better understanding through my writing and experience of the love that God has for each of us and that He is always with us. I wish I could say that you won’t experience heartache or trials or rough times in your life, because we all know that’s not true. Life is full of disappointments, setbacks and lots of tears, but it’s how we deal with these situations and how we learn to change our reactions to the things that scare us the most. The next time you find yourself in one of these unforeseen situations, think back to a time when you felt loved and protected, and then turn your focus to God because He is always with you, loving you, and reaching His hand out to you. All you have to do is grab it!

Defeat Doubt / Tackle Fear

Making decisions is not always an easy thing to do. The worst thing though, is when you start doubting your decision, you start reconsidering, you change your mind several times until you become some confused you just want to throw up your arms and give up! Don’t let the fear of making the wrong decision cause you to not make any decision at all and remain stuck in the same ole rut.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

29-11Do the best you can to decide and then go forward  Even if you make a mistake, it is not the end of the world. You can learn from your mistake and try again. When I’m trying to make a big decision I always turn to God for guidance. Sometimes He gives me my answer, and sometimes He let’s me struggle and figure it out on my own. In those instances, it is typically always a lesson I need to learn. Whatever the end result is, I feel good knowing that God will get me through. Whether I screw it up the first time, or together we win at the first go round. Either way, I’m learning and growing all the time! Everything happens for a reason and when we are open to looking for those reasons, it helps us tackle our fears and move forward defeating our doubts and knowing that God is the one in control and with him we can’t wrong. He will always re-route our paths to the road and plan He has for us!

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”                 ~ Psalm 34:4

Looking For God’s Presence

log crossI have found that when I am open to Signs from God, I actually find more of them! To be open to finding them, we need to focused on Him and His presence. He is always with us. Though, when we aren’t focused on Him, our thoughts may wander. We may go astray. When you recognize this, turn your thoughts back to God. Look for the signs. They are there. God speaks to us in many different ways. The signs we receive may be different for so many of us.

For me, the signs I receive that leave me feeling like He is present, are crosses, hearts, butterflies, words of affirmation, and when listening to my spiritual music!

The other week when I was feeling down, I took a hike in the woods and the signs were definitely present. I received many that had me feeling so blessed. Being in nature always brings me closer to God and by the time I got back home I felt so blessed and in such a state of peacefulness.

To many, the picture above would have just lookedheart rock like two trees laying in the woods that had fallen down. To me though, when you zoom in on the picture, there laid a cross. Later on, I stopped by the stream and sat for a while. This is when I found a heart-shaped rock…another sign from God. When I recognize these signs, it’s like I stop in my tracks and I lose my breath for a second. Then I just take a deep breath in and know that God is with me! He cares, and He wants me to know that everything will be ok!

Life can be overwhelming, as I’m sure you know. Stress can be so overbearing and can truly affect your health in so many ways. I’ve learned this the hard way and am still learning how to better take care of myself.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” ~ Phillipians 4:6

After I had a heart attack almost 3 years ago, God has slowly been transforming me into the person He truly created me to be. I’ve found more natural solutions to help ease my anxieties and stress. I’ve learned how to listen to my body, recognize the signs of those trigger points that tend to appear letting me know I need to slow down and just breathe, and I’ve learned to rely so much more on God for everything!  He has shown me how to remove the toxins from my life, and that includes all types of toxins. Yes, harsh chemicals, but also toxic relationships that bring me down. Now is the time for me. A time for healing and restoration.

I realize that I’m not alone in this struggle and the struggle is real, so this is why I share. I want everyone to know they aren’t alone and that there is a better way to live a life with less stress. Maybe not less stress, because life happens right, but managed stress and knowing you are not alone. God never promised us a life without trials. It’s these trials that make us stronger. Recognizing my desire to share and help others through these stressful times, God has blessed me with the ability to be vulnerable and transparent, and I have taken this to another level recently.

stone cross

I’ve started leaving my own signs behind hoping that another believer will recognize this as a sign from God as well. I’m praying that someone walking along the same path may run into the crosses I leave behind and recognize it too as a Sign from God. A cross meant to touch their heart so that they too stop breathing for a second and realize that God is with them in that very moment and that they are not alone.

Blessing another believer gives me such peace and gratitude. Blessing someone who may be struggling with their belief into believing, or even wondering, ‘is this a sign?’, brings me joy and hope for a brighter future for so many more believers sharing their love of God and their story!