Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

381455_484719604916428_702273273_n

Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Warrior Souls

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others.

image

“No one can put a leash on my spirit and I’ll follow it exactly and precisely where it wants me to go, thank you!” ~Bobbe Ann Crouch circa 2009

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others. We give power to what other people think and do and say about us, even at the very high cost of our precious self worth and self esteem. Why is this?

My feeling has always been that people are basically good at the core. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, which is why it’s important to think before speaking to others, to assess whether our words are important or just wasted air. It’s of high importance to recognize that no one has the right or ability to squash the spirit, but it still happens, doesn’t it?

Preventing this makes connecting to one’s basic goodness, a very high priority. Words cannot penetrate the soul of a person who is connected to the basic goodness of the spirit. This is why so often, I require people to literally start to count their Blessings. A person focused on the good side of life cannot be easily harmed by the word daggers someone else may be throwing.

Remember this phrase: “Words have Weight”. Watch what you say to others so that you are not unwittingly covering someone else’s goodness. Likewise, put on your suit of armor and remember that you have the ability to deflect negativity at every turn.

Connect to the goodness inside you and refuse to let it go.

PS: When I got home yesterday, this was waiting for me!

image

 

 

Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

381455_484719604916428_702273273_n

Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Grateful Heart stays the course.

happy-heart

Good grief, it takes so little these days to truly MAKE my day. Yesterday I posted the second little blog I’ve done in years. It was with a bit of trepidation, because I am such a perfectionist! (I have a hard time showing anything that I do not deem to be my personal best.) I did it though, because I am attempting to challenge myself in new ways; ONE of which is to relax my standards a bit. (Who am I kidding, that’s really never going to happen the way it sounds! ha ha) It’s probably better to say I am currently challenging myself in all sorts of new, uncomfortable ways.

Anyway, before I hit that “publish” button, I held a silent pep-rally for myself.

“It doesn’t matter-no one is going to see this anyway. It’s just practice. You can share the links later when you are back in the saddle, etc.”.

Soon after I hit that button, I left my home office determined not to think about it again; just happy I could cross, “write something” off my list.

Then last night something happened. I started getting email notifications that people were subscribing to and liking this blog. I nearly cried. It’s such a small thing, but truly, I am so grateful. It’s the little things that count, right? ♥

So with this tiny boost to my heart, I was able to get through last night without veering from my current eating plan. (Protein shake for breakfast; chalky protein shake for lunch; sensible dinner.) Instead of my planned menu, I made perhaps the best meatloaf I’ve ever made in my life (recipe below), steamed broccoli and regular baked potatoes. The plan had been to make naked burgers and sweet potatoes, but I wasn’t feeling it. (Also, long about four PM, I was starting to have food fantasies, so I made a salad of romaine, tomato, artichoke, onion and light Caesar dressing. It hit the spot.)

(Did I fail to mention I’m a foodie? I probably should have said something. Soon you’ll be seeing photos of my creations!

Tonight is the biggest challenge of the week. Wednesdays are always hard as my hubs and I cook the Fellowship meal for a hundred church people each week.  (Of course today, I FORGOT to pack my lunchtime caulk – I mean shake- but that’s not the real challenge.) Wednesday’s we get into the kitchen around 1PM. Dinner is served promptly at 5:15, so it’s a lot of running around in between. (Did I mention it’s four thousand degrees in the kitchen right now?) The challenge comes when we hit the door at home and it’s almost 7PM and we’re tired. The last thing I want to do is eat, but we’re so wired from working, we don’t want to just lie down either. So what do we do? Usually Wednesday night we have a well-deserved, delicious celebratory cocktail. Not tonight.  I made a vow to stick to this program for 2 weeks, so no imbibing for me this evening.

How will I manage? Determination, dedication and prayer and lots of it. This morning before I got out of bed, I had my morning convo with Jesus. Later, when I went downstairs, I got out my prayer journal and wrote for a while. It’s making a huge difference. There is something to be said about keeping prayer in the forefront of your heart. There is something to be said about keeping a journal just for prayers and intentions. For me it feels as though it’s written on my heart as well as in that journal and it helps me STICK to the PLAN!

Tomorrow I will start to include photos of the things I’m talking about in the hopes that you are currently in the midst of a challenge, you might think about the things that are working for me and give them a try! (I even keep the cutest mini journal in my purse for times when I feel I need a boost. Yes, I do jot down notes and prayers to God there. You’d be surprised at how often the answers come in all sorts of ways.)

OH and…ALSO tomorrow, I have to share the coolest thing EVER…one of my new favorite things…a piece of art that someone rescued from a dumpster for me! (perks of working part-time for a church!) Stay tuned!!

If you are following me, THANK YOU! You make my heart smile! If you have a blog, I will be visiting soon!


Best little Meatloaf Ever 

meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (we had a grass-fed 80/20 on hand so that’s what I used)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I had organic pizza sauce on hand so I used that)
  • 1/2 minced onion
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 c. steel cut oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Dash or two organic ketchup for the top (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine all ingredients (except the optional ketchup).
  • Press into a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, top with a slathering of organic ketchup if you so desire.
  • Bake 45 minutes.

This recipe will serve 4 – 6 people depending on how large you like your slices. Since it’s just my hubs and I, he will have leftovers for a couple of lunches!

PS-I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Internet.

 

 

Raw

take the stepYou know how your face feels so strained and flushed when you are fighting off a serious bout of tears?  Your heart physically aches and the muscles surrounding the eyes are tense and hot to the touch.  One wrong look or kind word threatens to tip the scales and the dam will burst; so I get quiet within, put on my brave smiley face and march on. It’s exhausting and humbling and often times I cannot help but beg the question,”Is this really my life?”.

As soon as I see these words on paper I can hear one of you saying, “You have a choice as to how you want to feel at any given moment.”  Yes, I hear you.  (I probably taught you this, in fact.) The reality is that I am making the choice to use every tool in my box to fight a depression that wants to pull me under. This is why I will not succumb to the wailing fest that wants to get started any minute. Instead, I continue to slap a fake smile on my face, find things to occupy my heart and mind and try to immerse myself in being of service to others. Most of the time it works, but today, the dull ache is still there.

I remind myself that life has turned the corner and am heading straight forward in the right direction. It’s day two of my “reinvention”. I not only succeeded in meeting my goals yesterday; I slayed them. I learned I am not a fan of protein shakes, but I’ve made the commitment to drink two per day for the next two weeks in place of breakfast and lunch. Here I sit with my lunch shake and I have to say, it’s not good.  LOL! It’s supposed to taste like vanilla but instead, it tastes like chalk. (EVEN WITH fresh strawberries in it!) On a positive note, it IS very filling. When I get home I can enjoy a sensible dinner. I am looking forward to it for two reasons: it will be nice to have real food and I love to cook. Tonight “sensible” translates into naked burgers, steamed broccoli and baked sweet potatoes…perhaps with a nice spinach salad or something. Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you’ve had two meals of chalk….well, you get it!

Last night when I lay my pillow to head, the last words I spoke were, “Thank you, Jesus, for being by my side today. Thank you for helping me follow through. Please be with me tomorrow as well. Help me to fight my way back. I know you will. Thank you”.

When my eyes opened this morning I again thanked the Lord. it helps me to remember that this is a process and I am to take each day as it comes. I feel sad about things that are absolutely out of my control and this is okay provided I remember (and I will) to count my Blessings (there are many) and to be grateful for all that I have and am.

While I still have plenty of hours left in this day where I may be faced with temptations, right now, I’m doing just fine.

I think I’ll stay the course!

Start Where You Are.

Since most people who are reading this blog are here for the first time, my inclination is to do “the back story of who I am”.  I try to write it and then I erase it.  I write it again and then I erase it again.  It’s too long and too involved and I’m having a hard time finding THE one right place to begin.

I keep hearing, “Start where you are” in my brain. So here I am sitting at my desk. I’ve just had my second Usana protein shake of the day and I must say I’m glad that’s over. Today is Day one of my clean eating, clean living, “return to me” project.

I’m feeling hopeful because it’s Monday (I love the clean slate this day brings each week.) It’s the day I have on my calendar slated to “start again”.

What on earth does that mean?

I quit smoking almost nine months ago, which is huge considering I’ve smoked 40 of my 52 years. I did it “cold turkey” with the absolute resolve in my gut that I just was NOT going to be a smoker any more. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve undertaken, but I’ve stuck to it and I refuse to go back. Oh, the cravings still hit me from time to time but I’ve realized smoking is more of a “brain habit” than a physical one for me. If I sit and think about the act of inhaling cigarette smoke, I immediately know I really do not want a cigarette; I just think I do.

Over time I’ve gotten to a place where I feel out of sync with who I really am, so I picked a date and today’s the day it’s time to start peeling the layers back. One step at a time.

Writing used to be such a huge part of my life. Whenever I take one of those silly Facebook surveys and it asks what my dream job is, the answer is undeniable:  “author”. To be an author, however, requires a person to write and I haven’t done much of that in quite a while. So part of getting back to “me” means exercising the part of my brain that puts words out for others to read. (This is the first installment.) Words used to flow effortlessly out of me. Now, it takes me an entire day to make one page make sense. It will come.

Lastly, no “return to me” would be complete without more regularly exercising my spirituality. I have always been in touch with my other worldliness, and I have always prayed, but I need to get back to my daily talks with God, my communing with the angels and Saints and my being the all-time best “Angelic Troublemaker” I can be! I think somewhere along the line I let this silly physical world take up too much space in my heart. I know how it happened. I know how to make it better and I so I will.

So to recap:

  1. Work on Health
  2. Begin to write again
  3. Exercise my spirituality regularly.

Today is the first day.

Here I come world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Feature Film, Dino.

I know I’ve been away and I’m long overdue to post and share what all has been going on in my world.  I promise to do that over the weekend.

Right now I’d like to share an INDIEGOGO campaign that I just launched last night.  This is for a film written by myself and my husband. It’s a family friendly, action packed, faith based film entitled, “Dino”.  I’d be appreciative if you would go through and read all about it and support us either by donation OR sharing through your social media feeds.

I strongly believe in this project and want to make it happen.

Thank you for your support!!

With love,

Bobbe

Click here to get to the Indiegogo page for Dino