Do Your Best to Act Loving

Love Notes by Rosalie Garde see more here: https://www.instagram.com/rosaliegarde/?hl=en

HOW LOVING ARE YOU? 

Have you realized that being loving is not often our default way of living? Being sour, complaining, worrying is easier. Often, it takes work to be loving. It takes awareness. Acting in loving ways is a choice. Thinking loving thoughts is a choice. 

How often are you impatient? How frequently do you find yourself envying someone else? Maybe it's their photos on Facebook? There's always someone prettier, that dresses better, that has more clients, and so on. It's easy to become envious.

Do you boast? Those of us on Facebook often boast a little. We are proud of our kids and our accomplishments. We like to share our wins. But there needs to be balance. We can ensure our boasting is kind and for the right reasons--maybe to applaud someone else or to use our experience to help motivate someone else--not to brag or make ourselves look important. 

How often do you criticize others? Do you put your own needs ahead of someone else's? Do you have to be the decision maker in your relationship or are you willing to let your significant other make a decision without your interference? 

Have you become angry lately? Do you fly off the handle? Do you  keep a record of who in your workplace or home isn't carrying their weight? Does your tally sheet make you want to gain revenge? 

I am writing about love in one of my upcoming books and was really shocked at how many unloving behaviours I saw in myself recently when I studied the verse below. Here is how the Bible tells us to act. Do you measure up?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Build a Life of Faith and Trust in God


Is. 55:8-9  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Most of us crave to hear from God, but I get concerned when we get our focus wrong. 

I'm concerned when pastors or worship teams I see on TV sometimes are seemingly "summonsing" God down from heaven as though they want something to happen in a puff of smoke. They want to "feel" God. Sometimes they'll say, "I feel that" as they jerk forward. 

But is this the call of God upon us? Is this what he tells us to crave?

We Already HAVE the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is already in the inner being of every believer. He is ALREADY present. He continues to counsel, help, convict, rebuke, and lead us whether we feel him or not.

It would make more sense for those folk to pray for God to grant them more patience, wisdom, insight, love, peace, and trust than to expect some type of radical movement in their midst. (No one needs gold teeth!)

The Power of an Epiphany

We crave God and we crave to hear from him. Having epiphanies is exciting. 

An epiphany is simply an a-ha moment or a time when our eyes are opened to something. I get excited about epiphanies. It means God has given me clarity about something. 

I love it when he gives me a Bible verse and then another speaker I listen to or article I read talks about the same verse in the same day! That's an epiphany. It strengthens my faith. 

(I talk about an epiphany he gave me in my book, Help Me God, I'm Wilting!)

So even I ask God for more epiphanies because they are exciting. But some days go by with no new epiphany. At a time like this, a woman can feel God is silent. 

When God Seems Silent

When God seems silent, those are times we rely on the foundation we've been building--of faith and trust. 

We merely need to look back at all the favour God has granted us to know he is working on our behalf. We merely need to look back at past epiphanies to regain a sense of peace.

Making faith and trust a foundation is the right thing to do. 

I urge you to record every event when you see God's hand working in something. Write it in a journal. Go back and read it to remind yourself of his power working in your circumstances. 



Give of Yourself, Let God Work Through You

Art by Rosalie Garde
No one has the corner on answers. No one can tell another person what it is they need to do. 

But God has always worked through people. He continues to work through people. When we bow our hearts to him and offer the little we have, he will use it. 

Sometimes our confidence wains. Mine does often. I write things he puts on my heart. I write about my personal epiphanies. I have no clue if they will really help another woman. I hope they do. 

You see, we are all put on this earth together to help each other. We may never know how much we help another. We simply have to have faith that our little portion is of value somehow somewhere. 

Luke 6:38 New International Version (NIV)

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Answer What's Next in Midlife with this Helpful Tool



After many days of working on content writing projects for a National client, I saw a window of time to put one of my midlife woman books into paperback. 

Over time, I've had requests from women who had bought the Kindle version of this book, Identify Your Top 5 Essential Passions and Answer What's Next? In Midlife, wanting it in print. I don't blame them. I saw it as a workbook to begin with which is always best in print so you can write in it. 

It's around $10 depending on where you live. I chose a price I might pay myself for an author whose subject matter I think might help me. After printing costs, etc. I will only personally receive a little over $3 for each sale.This is why this type of project is ministry. I spent umpteen hours writing it and the Createspace process cost another 30 hours or so of unpaid time. Hardly a way to grow rich.




Nevertheless, if you think this book might help you, go for it. 

I interact with midlife women nearly daily. Each has a different background, story, and life phase. What is common with many is they are looking for community and a project to get involved in that will help them feel significant. But many sense something is missing. 

I'm not going to say filling the gap is easy, but it IS important to stay in our own lane and to contemplate God's point of view. 

Many jump from one thing to another. They look into jobs, or join groups (like a writing group, though they've never had a passion to write, or an art group, though they never really enjoyed creating art--it's just what everyone is doing). 

My book points out that ultimately, greater peace is found when operating in the areas God has put in us. Some of us feel more alive in certain settings working on certain areas of creativity. 

An Example 

I'm not a singer or musician. I don't get into the worship at church like others do. It is not a passion for me. I don't seek out concerts of such like others might. Being immersed in worship music may be essential to some women's wellbeing. If they can identify that, they can make regular involvement in such part of their goal to add more depth and meaning to their life. 

I'm not a vegetable gardener. I don't get crazy over fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. My son recently planted his own garden. He is passionate about it. I, on the other hand, love to look at beautiful gardens. I have my own which I love, but I equally enjoy other gardens I don't have to work on. I don't know all the plant names, but enjoying such is an essential passion of mine--something I need in my life to feel alive. 

My sister moved from a home where she'd done immense perennial planting. She said it was time to lay it down. Well, upon a recent visit to her new home, I saw she has several new perennial gardens there. Obviously, it's an essential passion. 

This book is designed to help women identify their top five passions which will help them feel more focused. 

A Few Epiphanies about Travelling into The Empty Nest


I've sensed it's time to write on the empty nest again. Or perhaps for some women, the emptying nest or the refilled nest. 

My nest was empty as both children lived away in university housing for five years each. Now my daughter is married. My son is finished school and has given up his student apartment to return home, so our dynamics have changed again.

Notable Changes 

When my daughter moved out, there was less estrogen in the house. She is perky and loud and the house became quieter. I lost my female buddy, and I felt the void for a while. 

Transition sometimes requires adjustment and time. With transition is loss. When our loss is our children, it's sometimes scary because our entire role and dynamics are changing. 

We can't predict when the last time will be they will live with us. I somehow pictured my daughter returning home after graduating to live with us. She didn't, she moved to another city two hours away each way. It was a jolt. We helped her move and I was overcome with emotion the entire time. Mind you, I was in my last year of reaching menopause too, so the emotions were certainly a hormonally mixed.  

Let Yourself Grieve

With transition is loss and with loss there is grief. We must let ourselves grieve as needed. 

I recently crossed paths with a woman who was newly in the empty nest. I assured her some grief is normal and healthy. It's a part of life that stinks, but it's our way of coping. 

Grief helps us acknowledge the validity of where we've been and what we're going through. It prepares us to move forward. 

The Need to Rebuild Our Life 

As we launch our children, we easily get caught in the middle. The want us to help them move. They want financial handouts. They need laptops and help finding an apartment. It can be a busy time. We have one foot in the mothering pool and another in the empty nest--release them pool. 

When they are gone, the house is quieter. We face waves of loneliness, maybe even a sense of purposelessness.

For the first time in a long time we have time to ourselves but may not know how to fill it. 

We can address our own needs or wants. The problem is, while our children have been in process rebuilding their lives we might not have spent time rebuilding ours--yet. Perhaps our ability to let go takes longer than theirs. Perhaps our ability to rebuild is more complicated than theirs. 

Sometimes we look at life and feel it's boring. We feel lazy not knowing how to spend our new-found time. Sometimes we're just too tired to try anything new. Sometimes we just don't know what that new thing is we should try. 

Epiphanies

1. Give Yourself Permission to Rebuild a Step at a Time

It may seem that as adults we should have life figured out by now. But let me tell you, facing the empty nest is a new ballgame. It's something we haven't been prepared for. So we must walk through it a step at a time. 

2. Give Yourself Permission to Not have to Know the Answers 

One of my epiphanies where empty nest is concerned is we need to give ourselves permission to not have life all figured out and neatly packaged. 

3. It's Okay to Take Time to Rest and Recover 

I don't know about you, but I tire easily. Rather than fight the fatigue, I've taken steps to resolve it. That means changing my routine, having naps, and letting myself just be. 

It's okay to have a lull in life--a time of rest and recovery. A time of adjustment. 

4. There's No Point in Striving

I used to go on hunts for what to do next until it drove me crazy when I couldn't find that one thing. Finally, I decided to quit striving. I decided to share my thoughts with God and let him put the pieces together. When I get an idea, I write it in my journal. In 2011, the second year my daughter was away, I wrote in my journal to a) take an online course, b) join a networking group and c) go to our church's small group startup. I did them all. They don't seem like a big deal, but each small step was important. I continue to set small goals like this instead of looking for one big title, a new job, and so on.   

Rebuilding can be a long and winding process. We don't have to have it all figured out. We simply need to stay in communication with God and trust him to reveal our next steps at the right time.

Feeling Lost and in Need of Change? Here are Some Helpful Resources to Help You Find a Sense of Mission



How are you feeling? Humdrum? Fulfilled?

Have you experienced a feeling of restlessness that you can't quite put your finger on? 

Have you been living your life in maintenance mode caring for all in front of you but feeling like you have nothing fun or fulfilling for yourself? 

Do you crave change but don't know what change to make? Do you long to serve God but need to know what it is He wants you to do?

If any of this describes you, rest assured, you aren't alone in this feeling. Many women have felt that way or currently do.

I've felt that way. I've resolved those feelings at times, and at other times they've returned. By now, though, I've gained enough insight into this somewhat plaguing journey. 

I now make the unraveling of that journey my specialty as a writing life coach. 


A New Age Gap of Christian Women Who Are Restless 

I've often based my midlife writing on younger women. I talk about perimenopause or menopause. I've targeted women 45 to 55. I've always known there's another gap with similar struggles though. It's the gap of women who have never returned to the workforce or who have retired early. It might be women over 60--long past reaching menopause. It might include women over 65, looking for post-retirement excitement. 

With many of these women, they are still single or their children have grown.  Inwardly, when this restlessness appears, their thoughts spin like a Cuisinart trying to blend a meatloaf. If left to spin too long, they fall into despair. 

Bernice's Story 

Recently, I interacted with another such woman...

She arrived at Patti's house, ready for an afternoon of snacking and laughter. It was a time for connection and a little fun. 

I'd met Bernice a few years ago and sensed her turmoil then. She was looking for her next phase of life activity to get involved in. 

This time, I sensed she still hadn't found that one thing she hoped to become involved in as a midlife woman. 

She craved change but didn't know what that should look like. 

My Instinct

Bernice didn't know I'm a certified life coach and that I spend a fair amount of time researching this topic and writing blogs and eBooks for Christian midlife women. I would love to just hand her my card and links to everything I think would help her, but I am not in the habit of doing that. 

So I write online in hopes that women like Bernice find my input helpful. 

A Prequalification 

Before I offer these tips, let me first say that this restlessness can be healthy or misplaced. It's healthy if God is nudging us to make changes. It is misplaced if we've developed discontent and lack of confidence that God is truly leading us. It's far too easy to focus on a fantasy life we wish we had instead of appreciating the life we've been given. 

Once a woman solves her restlessness, it doesn't mean it won't return. A change of scenery, activity and so on is needed by most of us now and then. It's part of life. 

A Few Tips for Midlife Women Who Crave a Sense of Mission

When I first went through a similar stage of wandering, I came across Katie Brazelton's Book, Pathway to Purpose for Women. Bernice could start with this book.  

 Pathway to Purpose for Women: Connecting Your To-Do List, Your Passions, and God's Purposes for Your Life,  -     By: Katie Brazelton

Funny enough, after reading through the book the first time, I DIDN'T find it helpful. I didn't find the answers I was searching for. I had to revisit it. 

There are questions in the back, so I then dedicated a summer to answering them and journalling about it. 

Later, I was introduced to the book Conversations on Purpose for Women. It is designed for a woman to go through with an accountability partner or life coach. Bernice may find this book helpful too. I went through it with my life coach while doing life coach training. 

 



Again, I didn't find definitive answers, but what I learned is all part of my journey. 

I've also written a number of books which are currently only available on Kindle. See the side-bar for links. These can also help a woman like Bernice make a little more sense of the phase she is in. The book below, for instance, may be helpful to find things to work on, while the wilting book will be helpful for her to value the place she's at right now. 


What's Next in Midlife: Identify Your Top 5 Essential Passions: A Self-Coaching Tool for Christian Women (Self-Coaching Tools for Christian Women Book 3) by [Garde, Rose]
Book for Midlife Christian Women

Help Me, Lord, I'm Wilting: Rx For the Midlife Nest-Emptying Christian Woman by [Garde, Rose]
Book for Nest-Emptying Christian Women to Value their Place in Life

The dilemma of feeling restless isn't easily solved. The waves of emotion can come and go. There are multiple tools and resources I could recommend, but there is no one-size fits all solution because every woman is different. 

Still, if you think these resources might help you, click on the link and start working through it today!

Message me for further questions or comment below. 

Managing Life in Midlife

There are so many women in this midlife phase looking for answers about how to manage their lives. 

Do you feel like my female dog?  
Tired and worn?

There are many factors affecting a midlife woman's day-to-day life. There are spiritual, physical and circumstantial drivers to manage. Here are but a few simple things I've noticed and some tips to manage these challenges: 
  • A midlife woman may feel out of shape, stiff all over, depleted in energy, and so on (even women who regularly exercise).

    Challenge:  Manage your health with exercise, supplements, dietary changes, rest, and pacing your activities. You aren't in a 20-year old's body, but you can make the most of what you have. Take care of yourself by adjusting your routines to serve you better. Don't feel guilty about taking a day off to relax. Don't feel guilty about taking a nap.
  • A woman facing unemployment may struggle with an identity crisis and lack of clear path when there is no daily work schedule.

    Challenge: Do you need to work because you need the income? If so, visit an employment agency to help you find the right fit. If you merely want to work because you think it will make life more fulfilling, submit the idea to God. He may have unpaid or part-time work he wants you to do instead. Unless he calls you into paid work again, learn to accept where you are and enjoy your life! Don't keep fighting his plan for your life. Add routine into your day to make a schedule for yourself. Check things off your to-do list to feel fulfilled.
  • A woman may struggle as her role as mother begins to change. The transition can be troubling because the role as she knew it was so long, enduring and meaningful.

    Challenge: Be kind to yourself as your role changes. Read books on parenting if needed to understand the changes that are occurring with your children. See a counsellor if you need to figure out how to relate to your adult children. Enjoy the new freedom this phase offers. Look at this time as a precurser to the next phase of life where you will be able to live like you did before children arrived.

    Most of all, get over the idea there is one perfect way to live life. Don't keep thinking the grass is greener somewhere else. The grass will be greener right where you are if you take care of it. 

Are you in the Midst of a Midlife Crisis?


(Reprint post) 

Could you be having a midlife crisis?
Several themes emerged through conversations with women I coached. Some women seemed to feel stuck and lost. Others didn't have a description for how they felt, they just knew they wanted more out of life.  

They were Christians, but even Christian women struggle with life fulfillment and purpose. Even Christian women face life transitions. 

LIFE TRANSITION

In many cases, some type of transition was involved in the women's lives--kids were leaving home, kids were going off to college, they or their spouse had lost a job or quit one, and so on. 

Many of these women I coached were also in the age bracket for perimenopause and menopause--a time where hormones can upset the apple cart. 

Not only were their bodies changing, their roles were changing. Some were moms whose roles were changing. Others were not moms but sought something new

These women wanted to look inside at who they were now in the current moment and gather insight on what to do next. 

MIDLIFE DILEMMAS

Also came dilemmas that felt unsolvable in spite of very good efforts--the inability to find a new job, the inability to narrow down something they were interested in, feelings of confusion, feeling the need to refocus their life but not sure how, feelings of sadness and sometimes depression. 

Some doctors would merely say these women were "depressed" but I would suggest an alternative viewpoint. A more apropos term may be that a woman like this is having a midlife crisis. 

A midlife crisis is something that has to be walked through. Various life areas are under siege and help is needed all around.  

LABELS CAN BE HELPFUL

It is helpful at times to be able to put a label on a situation because then a person knows what they're dealing with. 

Without direction, it can be too tempting to take stabs at what's going on and to make drastic life-altering decisions. 

It's easy, for instance, when in crisis to assign blame where it doesn't belong. A woman may blame her husband, her marriage, her boss, her children, her husband's ex-wife, and so on. Some secular counsellors might suggest she throw it all away and start over. In my opinion, unless there are deep issues calling for a divorce or job change, taking drastic measures won't solve her issues. 

A woman in a midlife crisis will make more progress when she stops looking for someone to blame and takes responsibility for how she feels. Then, the hard work comes of identifying action steps to take.  

It's always better to make changes from a place of health and understanding than from a place of despair. 

This Wheel of Life can help a woman look at various life areas out of balance. 

I wrote the book Midlife Crisis Checklists as a companion to my other midlife crisis book on Kindle. The Midlife Crisis Checklists book presents issues that may help a woman find her way out of the thicket. 

If you feel you fit the criteria for a midlife crisis, embrace the label. You don't have to tell everyone, just realize what you are feeling is fairly common. Take responsibility without blaming others. Then, with guidance, walk through your midlife crisis, chipping away at a number of distressing issues in your life until you find balance and peace.