Stop Comparing

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This morning I woke up overwhelmed with my life circumstances. The details of those circumstances are unimportant. What is important is that I found myself belittling my situation because others have it so much worse. I don’t have Covid. I have a job. I have a home. I have friends. When we find ourselves processing the obstacles and pain in our life, we often compare it to what others are dealing with and dismiss our concerns as “not that bad.” Reality – it’s bad for me. I am struggling and it’s valid. Your struggle doesn’t have to win the competition for biggest struggle for it to count. It’s your thing to deal with.

Consider this. For me, commuting for work was a major hassle for me. It hurt my back. It was frustrating sitting in traffic. I had to work hard to not get upset every day. For a friend of mine, they love driving. They love time alone in the car listening to books on tape or podcasts. They don’t care if there is traffic. To them, traffic means they can hear more of the book. You see “for me”, it’s tough. For them, it isn’t. That is true in our life situations too.

What are you facing today? Big or small, what are you facing? How is your self talk about this situation? Are you belittling the situation because it isn’t a global crisis? Are you belittling yourself because your friends could handle this so much easier than you do? Do you not pray about it because it seems silly?

I want you to embrace and accept your situation today. I want you to seek God and His peace and wisdom to handle it. I want you to pour out your circumstance to God no matter how big or how small. It’s all important to Him.

Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you ~I Peter 5:7

Let Him handle it. Let Him provide you with the peace you need today. Let Him calm your anxious thoughts.

If you bring it to a friend, they may be compassionate and listen. They may judge that it isn’t that bad and minimize it. God, however, always listens, always cares, and always values your concerns.

Stop comparing your life’s problems with what others are facing. These are your sets of things to overcome, process and learn from. Each person has their own. Stop comparing! It truly is comparing apples and oranges. We are uniquely made. We have unique upbringings that lead to our way of handling life. How you handle things is apples and to your friend’s oranges. Today embrace your stuff. Bring it to God. Release it to Him. They are your apples (or oranges) uniquely designed to bring you to a place of growth, surrender to God, and peace.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Francis Faye Ullom (My Mom)

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Francis Faye Ullom

The following is the eulogy that will be read at my mom’s service on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 which can be viewed on my Facebook page at 11 am, as the service is family only due to Covid-restrictions. I loved her. I miss her.

Francis Faye Ullom passed away on January 20, 2021 at the age of 86. She was born in Bayard, Nebraska on February 17, 1934 but grew up in Casper, Wyoming. She went to Jefferson Elementary school and Natrona High School. Her parents were Earl and Mary Atkins. She had 3 sisters and a brother: LaVaughn, Norma, Rosie and Bobby. Francis was the last surviving member of her family.

While Francis’s friend was organizing a local softball tournament, Francis spent her day getting to know George Ullom. They were married on March 18, 1956. They moved to Rapid City, South Dakota where George attended South Dakota South of Mines and Technology. Francis worked at Sears to support George while he got an Electrical Engineering degree. George got a job at Hughes Aircraft, which moved them to Fullerton, California in 1960 to start a family.

Sandy, Tim and Debbie were born and raised in Fullerton. Francis was a true “Kool-Aid” mom. She kept her home full of snacks, friends, and laughter. Everyone who knew “Mrs. Ullom”, adored her. She was a soccer-mom, baseball-mom, dance-mom, and just a great mom.

 She was a loving friend too. When Debbie started preschool, she met Nancy Thompson. She had coffee dates weekly with Nancy while the kids played. Francis’ best friend was Jeannette Lee, who lived across the street. They could often be found standing on the driveway chatting long after the street lights came on. Even when Jeannette moved to Idaho, the two still talked on the phone. They last talked a week before Francis’ passed.

 George retired in 1989 from Hughes Aircraft Company. When he joined a senior softball team, the two of them traveled across the US and to Hawaii with the team. Francis loved cheering in the stands. Their years of wedded bliss culminated with quiet evenings at home watching Game Show Network and Hallmark.

 She had the pleasure of being a grandma to her six grandchildren: Jimmy, Collin, Sean, Grace, Olivia, and Joseph. Francis stayed young at heart by indulging in her love of Elvis, old musicals, coloring, croqueting, and jacks.

  Francis passed away just shy of her 87 birthday and their 65 wedding anniversary. She will be greatly missed, as much as she was greatly loved.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. If you knew my mom, I’d love for you to share any memories you have of her in the comments.

New Rhythms

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Many of us have created new rhythms in our life since Covid kept us in our homes. It’s been a year this month, if you can believe that. Wow! Most of us thought it would be for a short season not an entire year, and then some. Yet, here we are 2021 and California is still pretty locked down. We had times we didn’t leave our home at all. We had restaurants open for outdoor dining only (that’s where we are now in Los Angeles County). We had restaurants open for indoor dining. We had restaurants open for take-out only. Outdoor gardens stayed open. Amusement parks closed. Can you believe Disneyland is still closed? This is unprecedented. During this time, we found new ways to cope, new ways to connect, and new ways to live our lives. What has changed for you? What changes do you like? What changes don’t you like?

I want to encourage you to truly examine your new “normal.” For me, I work from home full-time. No more traveling to customer sites. I’m at my desk in my office on zoom. My commute is gone. With no commute comes, more hours in my day. I filled those hours with various things. I cook more. I am meal planning and making home-made meals more often. We get take-out less. We don’t eat out at all because it’s only outdoor dining in LA. I am not behind on my shows. I can watch my TV shows live or recorded but my TIVO has never been so empty. I don’t spend time with friends in person. We zoom or talk on the phone or text. I spend more time with God. I take morning time slower and stay in my PJs longer. I enjoy my backyard more. I enjoy my front porch more. I am enjoying my home more. I attend church sitting on my couch and watching a live stream over my TV. My kids don’t have sporting events so no games to watch in person. Practices are back on but just recently. My life has changed drastically. It has been a season of slow-down.

Now, the vaccine is rolling out. Life will start opening up a bit more. Before it does, ponder. Of those things that are part of my life now, what do I want to keep? What do I want to return to? What will I not add back into my life?

I plan to keep:

  • Time with God daily
  • Working from home (as long as I can)
  • Cooking for my family
  • Connecting with friends anyway possible

I plan to return to:

  • Meeting friends face to face
  • Attending church in person
  • Watching my kids play sports (when they allow spectators)

I plan to not add back:

  • Long commute for work
  • Stress of attending everything offered to me
  • Spending a ton of money eating at a restaurant – instead it’ll be a special event

Before you reengage with the world outside your home, evaluate what to keep, return to, and not add back. Life is tough right now. Life will be tough when the world opens up more. If we are intentional about embracing the lessons learned in this season of slowdown, our life will be richer.

Jesus says in John 10:10 NIV:

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Dream Big! Pray Big!