What Are You Waiting for This Christmas?

Hope.

Peace.

Love.

Joy.

In preparation for Christmas this year, my goal was to focus on these four words. Not only that, I wanted to see how these Christmas promises intersected with what I’m currently needing and waiting for.

These last few months I’ve been yearning for hope, seeking peace, trying to find that loving feeling and waiting for the joy to overtake me. There are moments when they come, and when they are fleeting. 

To help me re-discover these things, I planned to sit in my chair with a cup of coffee and read a daily devotional to welcome in the season of Advent. (This is a great book to learn more about Advent).IMG_0504

But you know what they say about the best of intentions … and unfortunately, I haven’t been fully committed to reading my Advent devotions as I had hoped for. When I do sit down, within minutes my thoughts turn to what needs to done right now from my never-ending to-do list.

Ever been there?

While I haven’t focused on these words as I’d planned, I have still managed to figure out a few things in respect to them.

What I need

I’m not sure why this always happens to me at Christmas, but as I reflect on things this holiday season, I see that I have experienced some of these things already:

1. Hope. God knows my struggles and frustrations. He offers me hope in the difficult times. Recently,  I‘ve shared some struggles we’re having with our son. In the last few weeks, God has placed people in my path to offer me support, and hope. They’ve shared their own stories of struggles with their child. I’m forever blessed God brought those mamas to me.

2. Peace. The peace I receive from His equipping is what allows me to survive each day. He brings me encouragement in areas where I need it most.  It gets me through those moments where I want to yell and lose my mom cool or beat myself up cause I feel I’m failing as a writer when I can’t focus.

3.  Love. I try finding love in all circumstances and focus on the blessings. God’s direction can sometimes be hard, but in those circumstances, God loves me and has a plan. Not only for me but those I love as well.

4. Joy. The joy I have when I see a smile or hear “I love you” from my children and husband. It’s in those little moments that I’m reminded that joy comes at times of unexpected moments.

Let me ask you, as you reflect on these four things – hope, peace, love, and joy – how have they been supplied to you this holiday season or this past year?

It’s important that we take time to look back so we can better plan and anticipate what is to come.

What I’m hoping for

I don’t know about you, but this time of year I think about what God has blessed me with and how He has traveled alongside me during seasons of stress and worry.

As we get closer to Christmas, and the New Year approaches, I have faith God has it all planned out. He knows the steps I’m to take, the prayers I’ve lifted to Him. More importantly, that I’m to trust him.

 

This coming year I’ve been in prayer about what is to come…

1. A New Hope. I’ve had a few mentors (excellent, God-fearing friends) tell me I have a story to share. A story of hope, healing, faith, and encouragement. Now it’s time to make the commitment and share it.  In the new year, I will be focusing on writing a memoir of how God has brought me healing and hope.

2.  A New Peace. To have peace that I’m a good mom. God has a plan for my son. I’m to trust that God has it all under control. My son has his own story, and it’s just beginning.

3.  A New Love. Date my husband. Whether it’s going on spontaneous trips to a warm destination or putting those golf lessons to use and playing 18 holds with him, I want to have fun with my pilot and shower love on him.

4. A New Joy. Discover an unexpected joy in trying new things and entering a new season of my life.

As we travel into the new year, do you find yourself hoping to bring a dream to life, for peace in a situation, experiencing love on a new level, or rekindling the joy you once had, but hope to see again? Don’t worry you’re not alone! We are all traveling this journey together!

My hope as we celebrate Christmas and approaching of a new year is that we each find a renewal of hope, peace love and joy.

Isn’t that what we all want as we travel into 2019? Please say ‘Yes’, because I want that for us too!

But these things may take time to meet us, and that’s okay. Waiting is hard, but it’s always worth it. In her book, Come Lord Jesus: The weight of Waiting, Kris Camerly writes, “The advent season provides us beautiful, and sometimes difficult, opportunities to practice waiting. We won’t do it perfectly. There will likely be more tasks, more invitations and more opportunities for distraction on our calendars then we can manage.” Oh, but when the wait is over, it’s glorious!!

So when it comes to hope, peace, love, and joy, what is it you need and what is it you hope for? Leave a comment and let’s share and encourage one another!

And finally….

Merry Christmas, my PW.  May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

P.S. Be on the lookout for new things with Take-off and Landings for 2019!

LOVE FOR YOU TO FLY ON OVER TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE.  

IMG_3765  Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

 

 

Have a Favorite Place to Sit?

Have a Favorite Place to Sit _

Do you have a favorite place to sit? Your go-to chair at home or let’s be real — your favorite seat on the airplane?

A few years ago when we finally made our arrival in our new house in Houston, Texas, I asked my mom, if I could have my Nana’s chair. It’s a chair that my Nana had when she was a little girl. I bet if the chair could talk there would be amazing stories to share. It has the smell of my Nana and my mom.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has that one place that we call ours. It’s in those seats you feel comfortable, secure, and it feels right.  Kind of like Goldie Locks finding her just right chair to sit in. “Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed. 

However, when Miss Goldie settled into her chair, it broke. I can relate.

Have a Favorite Place to Sit _ (1)

Every morning you can find me sitting in my favorite chair with a warm cup of coffee and having my quiet time in my cocoon of warmth and love. Because I’ve occupied the chair so much, it’s showing some wear — the seat cushion needs more bounce, the springs are getting loose, and the floral material has slowly been fading.  It’s time for me to give it some TLC and have it recovered.

To be honest, I have avoided reupholstering it. That would mean my chair would be gone and I would have no place to sit. But when I spotted the perfect fabric and color for my chair on sale, I knew it was time for me to let go. Within a week, I’d found a trusted upholsterer and shipped my beloved chair off for a new life.

Where do I sit now?

For the past few weeks now, I’ve been without my chair. Quite frankly, I have no idea where to sit or find an area in my house where it feels right.

I told my mom, “I have no idea where to go in the morning and drink my coffee. The smell of Nana, you and the cocoon of warmth is gone.” She laughingly told me that the next time she’s at my house, she will sit in the chair and cover it with her smell.  All I can say is I’m holding her to that!

While I know this is not a first world problem, it feels like it. I don’t know where to sit! My morning routine and the predictability of sitting with my coffee has been disrupted.  I know it’s only temporary, but it feels like this void will last forever.

Time to get out of your comfort zone.

“Life is full and overwhelming with the new. But its necessary to empty out the old to make room for the new to enter.” Eileen Caddy

Letting go of our comforts isn’t easy. I’m learning that every day my chair is not here with me. As much as I crave the comfort of my favorite spot, I know that the only way to make way for the new is to let go of the old. 

We need to re-evaluate why and seek out areas where we can renew our thoughts or actions for whatever God has for us.

Recently I’ve been contemplating  ( you can read more here)-my writings, my parenting and my desire to find something that gives me belonging.

Whether it’s letting go of a particular item, an unhealthy behavior or negative thinking, removing these things allows us to open our hands and lives to the better things God has for us.

For me, I found that not only do I need to move out of my favorite seat for a while, I also need to get rid of some other things as well:

1. I will sit down at my desk to write AFTER I’ve cleaned the kitchen put a load of laundry in the washer or catch up on all the social media happenings.  But that isn’t helping me become a better writer.  I need to schedule my writing time with a red pen and commit to it.

2.Thoughts of being perfect. I tend to think that I have to be the ideal mom. The truth is I screw up, and I don’t have it all together. I’m not perfect, and neither are my kids, but thankfully God is.  He knows what’s best for us and loves us anyway.

      3. My unwillingness to change. Often it takes stepping out of our comfort zones for us to discover new things. For me, I need to embrace the new season of life I’m in whether it’s volunteering or enjoying a hobby with my pilot, if I insist on staying where I’m at, I’ll miss out on some amazing adventures.

In what ways do you need to make changes in these areas? Are there things you feel that you need to let go of to make room for your best life?

Girl, life can be full and overwhelming at times, especially when changes are involved. But don’t let those things keep you tied down. You and I were meant to fly. Sometimes though, that can only happen when we let go.

When I finally get my new chair, I know it won’t be the exact same as it was. I will  have to create my own smell, warmth, and comfort (although I’m tempted to call my mom to come to sit in it a while! )

But when I settle into it, I’ll know that whether I’m evaluating my writing, my parenting or something that gives me belonging, I’ll look at them with a new perspective.

All from a chair with a new pattern and comfort of its own.

Let’s discuss and see how we can expand on this a bit.

 

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fullsizeoutput_4b1  Take-off and Landings, Always Tiffany

How to Discover Your Next Steps When You’re Re-routed.

 

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If I had a dollar whenever someone asked me where Jeff was flying to, I’d be one wealthy woman!  The majority of the time I tell people, “I have no idea. His route changes all the time because of weather, late arrivals or they need him to fly a different trip then was scheduled. There’s no set route.” ( Go here to read more PW questions I get asked.)

As much as we like predictability in life, we know that life is anything but predictable. There are always constant changes and re-routes thrown our way.

So, my PW girlfriend let me ask you… Do you fly the same route? Do you have a specific itinerary for your day, your week, or even the next five years?

I know, I know. You must be thinking – Wait, you’re kidding, right?

I feel as if I always have to shift my routing from one place to another. Whether, it’s five minutes, a week or the next five years, I’m always thinking and praying about what’s next.

What’s the best route for me?

This morning I listened to a podcast, “Girls Night Out,” with Stephanie Wilson.  The guest speaker was Emily P. Freeman, who was sharing how she discovered what the “Next Right Thing” was for her. In other words, what is the next best route for me at this time in my life,  and for the season I’m in?

Listening to Emily, I started to question what my next step was. What do I need to be doing or changing in my life right now? It can be making goals you want to accomplish, losing weight, perusing a career or opening a business. It’s your journey.

next steps re-routed

  What’s my direction?

We all find ourselves planning, preparing, and making a check-list for our day-to-day operations. But when life throws us off course and we are to figure out how to bring back focus that’s when Emily said, “Ask yourself what makes sense to me today?”

Thinking about that, I asked myself what makes the most sense for me right now and remembered I needed to take the clothes out of the dryer. ( literally, I was thinking that)

But yet, I still have more significant questions about the bigger things in my life. What makes sense for me to focus not only today but a month from now, six months or even a year from now.

Recently I’ve struggled to figure out what’s next in certain aspects of my life. To be honest, some of them cause my anxiety levels to rise, but at the same time I find myself more courageous as I pursue the things that really matter to me :

1. What to do about my writing journey? I’ve been writing continuously for a year now, and I’ve seen myself evolving and changing the way I think and write. I’ve been more willing to share my struggles and vulnerability that wasn’t there before. Don’t get me wrong I still struggle with opening up my heart. But as I sit down at my computer and search for the words that will bring hope and love to other women I’m compelled to keep moving forward.

2. What can I do to bring hospitality back into my life?  A Book Club, Supper Club, something that allows me to open my heart and doors to a community of women who enjoy reading, eating and sharing the love of God. But being hospitable requires courage to step out, invite others to join me, and let go my control. (which is a whole another  story!).

3. What is the next step in my season of parenting a teenage boy? I often find myself on my knees praying for wisdom and direction. At the moment I’m fearful of where God’s path may be in leading us concerning our son’s next season of life. Letting go and trusting that God knows what is my son’s best thing is hard.

When is all said and done, the heart question I need to be asking is: Am I willing to change my route or am I going to stay grounded in fear?  Sometimes that is a difficult question to ask.

These are the things that have me questioning my current flight path and the possibility of re-routing. I’m having to approach things differently as a woman, a mom, and a wife. For you, it might be something else.

next steps re-routed (1)

There are days when turbulent moments/events will happen.  When they do, I remind myself  of one of my favorite go-to verses: “Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.” Proverbs 3:6 CEV 

When it comes to offering advice on the best possible route or step someone should take, I’ll admit, I’m no expert. When I question my path, I rely on God to show me. He always makes it clear to me what my next route is.

What will you choose when things change, and you’re to consider when life is re-routed? What will be your next step be?

fullsizeoutput_4b1   Take-off and Landings always, Tiffany

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The Passengers of my Life

The Passengers of my Life

With my coffee in hand, I sat down at my desk, powered up my laptop, and clicked on Facebook. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I noticed that one of my posts from Takeoff and Landings was shared on a PW’s page; I couldn’t help but get a little giddy.

Wow! Someone must have liked what I’d written.

However, within seconds of viewing their post, there were some negative comments that a few people felt compelled to share.  To me, it felt like a dozen people were stating their opinion, but in reality, there were only one or two. Unfortunately, for them, they didn’t agree with my Christian viewpoints as it was related to being a Pilot’s wife.

Needless to say, my day had vastly taken a nose dive and landed hard with tears of negativity and doubt.

Have you ever encountered those types of passengers showing up and choosing to sit right next to you?

Those two “wonderful passengers” (sarcastic tone) grabbed a seat and within minutes became a thorn in my side. They stole my armrest, talked non-stop in my ears and wouldn’t let me have a moments peace. Sadly, it was a long, long, flight for me. That lasted a week!

I flew head-on into a self-pity mode. This wasn’t the first time I’ve boarded a plane only to sit next to those travelers who have caused me to run into the lavatory and cry.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

When we find ourselves wandering with those passages in our lives, that’s when we should look for the Manual of Emotions and process the situation. 

Here are a few examples of rowdy passengers you might want to look for:

Negativity Nancy. She can arrive at a moments notice, reaching for the call button and telling you that you’re not experienced enough or questioning your position to say things. 

Those critical and negative comments hurt. Ultimately I found myself crying in my closet, feeling like I had a failed landing.

Doubter Debbie. She will plague you with questions of why? how? and are you sure? She’ll take the controls and leave you doubting your actions.

Debbie had me in full-speed confusion about sharing my story. She was spewing excuses into my headset about why I shouldn’t be doing what I love to do.

When seated next to these types of passengers, what’s a girl supposed to do?

My Manual of thoughts

When I come across these type of tourists, ones who like to play with my thoughts and emotions, it’s then I have to pull out my Life Operation Manual and figure out the best way to navigate the situation. Here’s what I’ve read and learned:

  • Maintain Control of the feelings that arrive in our thoughts.

I recall reading — “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business …, You believe in your creations…  they deserve to be out in the world.  You create because you have a God-given ability to do so.” (Rachel Hollis Girl, Wash your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are)   Armed with that encouragement, I decided to have a better perspective and outlook!

  • Analyze the problem: what is really causing the problem? It is the cynical passengers’ or something else?
  • Take appropriate Action: by looking for someone to talk to or ask for a hug.
  • Maintain Awareness of our surroundings. Stand firm to your goals and trust God to help you what He has called you accomplish.

This life is not easy peasy. It takes prayer and lots of grace and mercy.  I have a story to share, and maybe, just maybe, one PW or two PW’s might be able to relate and say,”That’s where I am! I really needed to hear that!”

One of my favorite authors said, “Negative thoughts lead to a crisis response-activating us physically but hindering our thinking. Positive thoughts allow us to process a situation accurately and respond in a healthy way”.

Are we going to let those contradictory passengers take over our flight? Or are we going to seek out those that bring us the courage and strength to get back on course?

Who I want to travel with

When I find myself squished tightly between Negativity Nancy and Doubting Debbie, it’s then that I can choose to leave my current seat and search for those passengers who can lift me up instead of tearing me down.

Here are the types of seat-mates I would much rather fly with:

Focus Frances. She can help us get back on track by reminding us that we have value and importance to those around us. “Frances” can focus our vision and help us live our best PW life. Thankfully, I didn’t have to search too hard for my “ Frances.” I reached for the intercom and called out to my wedge of friends to vent while sipping a glass of wine. By doing so, I was able to look out the window and see the blue sky of encouragement.

Goal setting Ginger.   Not only is she there to pull me out of the depths of self-pity, but “Ginger” reminds me of my final destination and helps me re-evaluate what I’m doing.  When I was shot down by someone or something that caused me to reroute my thinking, I had to find the ticket that had my goals written on them, showing me a first-class seat in life.

In those days of flying around in my self-pity cloud of discouragement, I recall a scripture that I highlighted in my bible, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

“What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and actions.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and actions.” I was allowing those negatives comments to shut down my engine (mind) and stay that way.  I had to ask God to help me find my focus ( the keys) to start back up and fly into what I’m called to do.

I won’t lie to you and say I immediately go to God and ask for help. It takes practice, and I have to practice every day.

As I make my descent and final landing, I’m learning I don’t need the approval of many or even one. I write, look at the flight plan God has put in front of me and fly with that. When I do that, it’s a much smoother journey.

What about you, what sort of passengers in your life have you come in contact with?

Love to hear from you and maybe we can help each other as we carve this PW life. Just leave a comment below.

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fullsizeoutput_4b1Whether you’re seated next to your pilot in the right or left seat of life, we are flying and taking off and landing together. Flying alongside my pilot for over 25 years I have found a sense of courage, discovered independence that I thought I did not have and developed a better understanding that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.  Maybe you want those things too. You have come to the right place.

  Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany