Be Calm and Carry On?

This morning, I watched my go-to morning news program, shaking my head at what I saw and heard. Tony Dokoupil, a reporter I greatly respect and admire, was visibly angry and shut down his interview with Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary, because Azar refused to answer a question exactly the way Dokoupil wanted it answered. Three times, the Secretary was interrupted with the same question as he was trying to give the answer. Before Azar was able to fully finish, Dokoupil abruptly ended the interview. Azar wasn’t avoiding the question. He wasn’t playing politics. He was clearly giving a well-thought-out, systematic answer, but he wasn’t allowed to finish.

And this is where we are, folks. As Captain said in Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is…a failure to communicate.” Or is there too much communication without really saying anything that matters?

And it’s happening everywhere. 

It’s no wonder everyone is confused about staying in or going out. Nobody knows who to believe or what to think. It’s like we’re all… Read more

Along For the Ride

I’ve written many blogs about change over the years. I’ve always said I welcome change, and I do, even though sometimes change can bring about unexpected circumstances and even trials. Change can be scary; it can be turbulent; and it can be wonderful. One never really knows what lies around the bend even on a road that has been traveled hundreds of times. And sometimes, even anticipated change can bring with it a wave of uncertainty. 2002 waves

Though we had been preparing for possible change for several months, when it happened… Read more

The Only Gift That Matters

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I recently heard someone say that the greatest gift her parents gave her was her faith. It kind of stopped me in my tracks. Here we are, in the midst of the Christmas shopping season, and I hear that the greatest gift someone received from her parents was the gift of faith. Not an Apple Watch, not a laptop, not a designer bag or piece of jewelry, but the simplest of gifts–the ability to believe what is not seen and embrace it, the courage to trust in God, and the knowledge that there is a glorious new life awaiting us. 

I thought to myself, how true it is that the greatest gift we can pass down is easy and free to give, but then I realized, faith is not easy and it’s not free… Read more

Riding Out the Storm

Please don’t think I mean any disrespect to those in the Florida Panhandle or that I am diminishing what they are going through. Rather, I greatly sympathize with them, for they are facing a far greater storm than most of us do in our daily lives. However, I can’t help but think that what has happened with hurricane Michael is the perfect analogy for what often happens to us at certain times in our lives.

Sometimes, we are perfectly happy living a carefree life with blue skies over head and the sun beating down upon us. Even though there might be some warning signs, and those who voice caution, we have no worries because everything is running smoothly and going our way. Then, all of a sudden, we wake up one morning to the news that a category 4 hurricane with 104mph sustained winds is barreling upon us. With barely enough time to register what is happening, we are forced to go into survival mode.

What are we to do during these times of impending disaster? Where do we turn for help? Do we turn for help? Do we buckle down, sequester ourselves, and declare that we are going to wage this war on our own? Or do we look for help, realizing that there are times in life when the storm is too great, the winds are too strong, and the clouds are too dark for us to fight it alone?

It is during those times that I find I need my family and friends more than ever. But more than my friends and family, I need God. Who better to lead me safely through the storm than He who parts the seas, calms the waves, and turns the dark into day? Read more

Saying Goodbye to Worry and Regret

img_0144I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole nature versus nurture debate.  Are we really born with certain innate traits, or do we develop them based on environment and experience?  As our oldest daughter applies to law school, our middle daughter applies to college, and our youngest deals with the trials and tribulations of being in high school, I can’t help but wonder how they all three inherited, or perhaps learned, their father’s penchant for worrying, doubting, second guessing, and obsessing over the what ifs.  Contrast that with my own attitude of let go, let live, and let God, and I think, where did I fail to instill in them a belief that worrying is a total waste of time?

I recently read an article that claimed that there is a great “connection between anxiety and a stronger imagination.”  The article went on to say that “Worry is the mother of invention.”  That’s funny; I thought it was necessity.  Oh, and it also said that “Cheerful, happy-go-lucky people by definition do not brood about problems and so must be at a disadvantage when problem-solving compared to a more neurotic person.”  Um no, when my girls have a problem, they come to me.  When Ken has a problem, he comes to me.  My totally neurotic family aren’t able to see the forest for the trees.  I, on the other hand, can see the light on the other side of the forest.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m certainly not trying to blow my own horn.  I just haven’t been able to reconcile, in my own mind, how and why worriers are the way they are and the rest of us aren’t.  If it were really as simple as “Overthinking Worriers Are Probably Creative Geniuses,” as the title of the article suggests, then why does Ken not have a creative side while I write fiction?

I was at an impasse trying to figure this out until this past Monday, and then the light through the trees became even brighter as understanding dawned on me.  I was in a meeting with a wonderful group of women whom I am so lucky to be able to call my friends.  Many of us have been meeting every other Monday for the past twelve years.  We pray, discuss, read, and learn, and some of my greatest revelations have come from those Monday morning meetings.  We were watching a short video in which we heard, over and over, people saying that they always worried, were never content, and were constantly searching for happiness and the meaning to their lives until they realized that they could only find true joy in God.  When they learned to let Him guide them, take away their cares, and be the light at the end of their tunnels, their entire lives changed.  And that’s when it hit me.  It’s not about being creative versus neurotic or being intelligent versus imaginative.  It’s about knowing that there are many things in this world that are simply beyond our control.  We can only do so much and have to have faith that the rest will turn out okay.

This past weekend, I helped chaperone a group of high school students on our school’s annual trip to New York City.  We arrived back home after midnight on Saturday, and on Sunday, I chaired our Post Prom’s Bingo.  I had several friends comment that they couldn’t believe I was able to go away for the two days before our biggest fundraiser.  I didn’t see the problem.  I had everything ready the night before we left, and I had confidence in the others who were assisting me with the event.  While there were things that I would like to tweak for next year (including not holding them the same weekend for my own body’s sake), the event was a success, we made money, and we’re ready to move forward.  I could dwell on the fact that turnout wasn’t as high as last year, so we didn’t bring in quite as much as we had hoped, but I can’t change it, and worrying about it won’t make a difference; but analyzing why we had fewer people and planning the next event will.  It’s all about keeping perspective.  Staying calm, making plans, evaluating results, and moving on are the keys to success.

Do I worry about things?  Sure I do.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I worry about about the future of our country, but I can only look out for my small part of the world.  I voted, and then I had to let it go.  I can’t change minds or hearts, but I pray that God can.  Do I worry about the safety of my children?  Absolutely.  The health of my parents, the state of world affairs, the future of our school?  I’d be living in a dream world if I didn’t.  But do I dwell on them?  Not for a minute (okay, last night, for maybe longer than a minute).  

What I always do is pray every day that my children will learn to let go, let live, and let God.  To worry about the future is futile.  To dwell on mistakes of the past is incapacitating.  To fear every possible outcome is debilitating.  But to have faith that you have done what you could, and let the rest happen, prepared to move forward no matter the outcome, will allow you to walk calmly ahead and deal with the consequences.  The next time you find yourself giving into worry, go forward, into the trees, and have confidence that there is light on the other side.  Your attitude, and a bit of faith, will make all of the difference.

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Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her latest book, Whispering Vines, is now available for purchase.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016)