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Musings From the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan
 
We made it! We made it through Christmas and New Year, and we are now starting to settle into 2017. So, was 2016 everything you had hoped it would be? Or are you looking at that shiny new calendar wondering how another year has slipped away so unnoticed? This time of year can be really difficult for a lot of people. There is kind of a let down after all of the fun and excitement of the holiday season is behind us. The post-holiday blues, as they are called, can leave us feeling lost. I know that many people have commented to me that it just didn’t seem like the holiday season was as merry as it usually is, in part because we have had so little snow! So, what do you do when you feel yourself sliding into a funk? Here are some tips to help you out!
 
*Move it! I’m used to sledding and other snow sports this time of the year, but this weather is lending itself to walking and jogging in January - which isn’t always an easy feat! Even a quick stroll down the Lakeland Trails can help clear your mind and increase the feel good chemicals in your body! *Read! If curling up with a good book is your idea of a relaxing night in, then indulge yourself ! Grab a soft blanket, a cup of tea, and maybe mix things up by grabbing a book that isn’t your normal genre. I’m a Stephen King fan myself, but every now and then a Lewis Grizzard book is just the lift in spirit I need! *Meditate! One of my favorite activities is to sit on my deck, close my eyes, and just breath. Clearing your mind and allowing yourself to let go of all of your stressors is a wonderful way to help ease tension. Some people enjoy sitting in silence, others enjoy repeating a mantra either aloud or to themselves. The mantra that I have been using lately is “I live by faith and not by sight,” - 2 Corinthians 12:7. Yoga is another great way to incorporate exercise and meditation! (We have yoga on Thursdays @ 9:15am) *Volunteer! Volunteering to help others is a wonderful way to lift yourself out of the blues. Maybe you’re more of an animal person. Did you know that there are volunteer opportunities at local animal shelters that entail little more than petting and showing love to an animal who is in need? You get the joy of showering these sweet animals with attention, and they get the socialization benefits that will help them find a forever home. Everyone wins! There are so many different volunteer opportunities! *Pray! Pray that God eases your blues. Pray that God brings people and opportunities into your life that will bring you renewed joy. Use this time to really turn to God and lay your burdens at His feet. He is your savior, your rock. There is nothing that is too big or too small to bring to Him in prayer. *Know if you need help. Sometimes the post holiday blues turn into a little bit more than these suggestions can handle. If you think that you need help, please ask for and accept it! There is no shame in needing the help that a professional can offer. Know that you are loved and that you are worth it!


Musings From the Mind of a Mother of Many

By: Laura Shehan

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Fredrick Douglass

 
For many of us, this week marks the return of our children into the halls of academia. Some of us have been looking forward to this day since that fateful afternoon back in June when the kids were thrust upon us with a sigh from their exhausted teachers. Others, myself included, have dreaded the return of the school year because we just aren’t quite ready to send our little people back out the door for the day. However you view this return, there is one universal feeling we can all relate to. That feeling is the stress that comes with the homework, class trips, lunches, laundry, paperwork, tests, IEPs, conferences and the like. It often seems like there are fewer hours in the day and so many demands on our time and energy that it is easy to be short with our kids, grandkids or any other children that we interact with on a given day. Early mornings give way to grumpy kids, and sometimes-grumpy parents, that seem to know exactly which buttons to push to get the biggest reaction from each other. Lost shoes, missing reports, pants that just don’t feel right, peanut butter spread too thick or too thin – on what is possibly the “wrong” type of bread, can leave us all feeling frazzled and pushed to our breaking point. Harsh words can flow freely from the mouths of any of us when we feel like our backs are to the wall and we are being pushed to the brink. It is those times that we have to make the decision to step back, take a breath, and let Jesus step in.


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Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

It has been a rough couple of weeks here at Shalom. We have had 3 funerals in as many weeks, and the last

two were for people who took their own lives. The most recent funeral,. for Alec Schmidt a local high school

senior, was especially hard on all of us. I am so proud of Shalom and the Pinckney community for how well

they come together to support each other. Living in a small town is an interesting thing. When tragedy strikes,

the entire town feels it. Even if you don’t have kids at the high school, you still knew that there was a profound

sadness that hung in the air in all of the schools. You had a friend or a neighbor who had a personal

connection to the family in one way or another. When you grieve, this small town grieves with you. There is

another interesting characteristic of small towns, though. The same small town that will grieve with you, will

also share your burdens with you.


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Musings from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan
 
It seems like it wasn’t all that long ago that I help my first born baby in my arms and started the life long process of worrying about what the future held for him. Now here we are, 18 yrs later, and he is graduating from High School this weekend. I’m very lucky. I don’t look at him and wonder where the time went, because I have been with him through it all. I wish it hadn’t gone by so fast, but it has been an amazing and wonderful journey to be a part of. Most of us have graduates in our lives in one way or another and we often search for the words to let them know what we hope for their futures. I want to tell our graduates that this is the part of the journey where you get to find out who you are. Where you hopefully turn your focus not to what the world thinks is your calling, but to what God is calling you to be. I want them to know that the future is limited only by their own drive and determination. That hard work, perseverance, and prayer really are the key to finding your way in this world. And, although most of our graduates are now considered adults, I pray that they won’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up; that they take the time to enjoy each stage of life as it unfolds. When I look at the young man that once fit so neatly into my arms, I can’t help but hope that I have taught him enough.


Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

It’s Mother’s Day weekend! Happy Mother’s Day to all of the people who fill that role in the lives of someone else. Whether you are a mother, a step-mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a single dad, a foster parent, or a mentor, we honor you today for the love and sacrifice that you offer to the children in your life. Mothering can be an exhausting job! God knows that there are plenty of days that I spend in prayer, asking for grace, mercy, compassion, strength, wisdom, and energy. I can almost imagine Jesus, intently listening to my many requests and prayers of praise, thinking – wow, this girl can talk! I joke that He hasn’t found my mute button yet, and therefore He has to listen to my many ramblings! Then it occurred to me, maybe He has found my mute button!


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Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

What is it about spring that suddenly makes everything better? Why do the blooming flowers and warming sun suddenly make the world seem like a better place? Is it the hope that spring brings with it? The hope that the melting snow will give way to new growth and new life after the firm grip of winter has been released. For me, spring is rebirth! Spring is a reminder that I am forgiven, loved, and wanted. To me, it is a reminder that, although I am broken and flawed to my very core, I am chosen and rebuild in His image. The bitter cold and darkness of winter is much like the darkness I experience when I wander from my path with Jesus; I feel alone, lost, uncertain of my future and my place. When the cold gives way to the warmth of the sun, I can feel the veil being lifted and with that the light begins to shine on my path again. My sins fall to the wayside and my footing once more becomes secure; my walk again gains confidence and assurance. I pray that this spring weather warms your heart and draws back the curtain of darkness to see the light that shines with the resurrection of our Lord.



Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

Tuesday was National Administrative Assistant’s Day. I came in to the office to find a beautiful gerber daisy plant, 4 helium balloons, and a “Laura” pen on my desk. I was so excited, and it made me feel so loved! A short time later, while I was on the phone with a congregant, all 4 of our pastors paraded into the office singing “For she’s a jolly good administrative assistant” while Pastor Kurt carried a huge candle and Pastor Chris played the guitar. I could hardly contain myself and the woman I was speaking with got to hear uproarious laughter from the entire staff. It was a simple gesture that made me feel so loved and cared for; so appreciated.


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Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

Have you ever called out to a person, maybe a spouse or a child, from across the room and they ignored you? “KYLE” “JOSHUA” “JOEY” and silence?? You know they hear you. You are feet away. You could practically touch them and they don’t respond to your call. Maybe if I yelled “free money” or “extra desserts” they would hear me more clearly. It reminds me of all of the emails I send out to the congregation. Most of the time 20-30% of the recipients even bother to open the email. One time, in utter desperation to get someone to come in and help, I made the subject line “FREE BROWNIES!” 75% of the recipients opened that email – Sometimes it pays to know your audience!

It’s not just children and under interested email recipients that turn a deaf ear sometimes.


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Musing from the Mind of a Mother of Many

By Laura Shehan

“Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13-23


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