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God’s Love Streaming In

God’s Love Streaming In | focuswithmarlene.com

When working through a loss to a new beginning, we experience ups and downs of emotions and thoughts. At times we might feel like a yo-yo, up one minute, down the next. It is an interval when we not only are working through recovery but taking stock of our life – what was important and what was not.

In my book, Learning to Live Again in a New World – available in hard copy, e-book, or audio book – I share strategies and methods to offset those difficult moments. It is a book full of suggestions to make your journey smoother and more complete.

Hope that Sustains

Hope that Sustains | focuswithmarlene.com

Hope! It is a gift I cannot refuse.

Belief. It is the assumption that God catches us when reality doesn’t match our expectations and we begin to fall.

We may not be aware of being caught and held safely because the terror of falling is too great. But regardless of how we feel, God is there, like the parachute keeping a skydiver from plummeting to earth.

A skydiver has learned to turn fear of falling into a heady joy of floating before opening the chute. When reality has dashed my dreams, I need to turn my fear of falling into floating with the parachute ready to open and set me safely down on the ground when the time is right.

Grab Hold, Let Go, and Swing!

Grab Hold, Let Go, and Swing! | focuswithmarlene.com

When faced with life-altering situations, we struggle not only to grasp the totality of what we are facing, but to plan a way forward. Consider the options my son and us faced years ago. His physical limitations never deterred him. And he lived life never even considering he couldn’t make it and took his talents and built a successful career.

Don was born without the muscles to hold up his head. Muscle weakness extended to other areas of his back and neck. A special brace was designed for him, with a rod that went down the back, anchored with straps around his waist and a pre-formed support for his head.

One might assume he was a prisoner to his physical disabilities. But he never saw it that way and neither did we.

Adversity a Blessing? You’ve Got to be Kidding!  

Adversity a Blessing? You’ve Got to be Kidding! | Focuswithmarlene.com

Life is full of challenges and sometimes it seems like we are going from one hardship to another with little time to recover between.

But what if we looked at adversity in a different way?

Would we see something of value for us going through hardships and difficult times? Here is a piece I wrote in 2014 about what I learned from adversity.

Adversity a blessing? You’ve got to be kidding!

Who would even consider such a thing? Who wants difficulties? And how can misfortunes or hard times ever be considered a blessing?

Stories Tell It All

Stories Tell It All | focuswithmarlene.com

Years ago, I was asked to give a speech to a group of teachers in the U.K. In that speech, I shared some of the stories my father-in-law used to tell my kids about when he was a kid.

Their much-loved Grandpa Bert was an easy-going guy, with seemingly not a care in the world, who drove my mother-in-law crazy. Here is one of his stories.

Bert attended a small, rural school. He was not a student of academia – in fact, he hated sitting in the classroom. During recess while other kids were busy jumping rope or throwing ball, he was busy exploring the tall grass around this little country school, looking for wonderful things such as worms, caterpillars, bugs, frogs, etc.

Venturing into the Unknown

Venturing into the Unknown | focuswithmarlene.com

The plaintive sound of a foghorn filtered through the grey morning mist as our sailboat pushed away from the protective harbor of Victoria, BC and slipped silently into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The stillness of the morning was broken only by the low constant chug, chug of our diesel engine and the caw of a lonely seagull taking flight overhead.

The shoreline and our boat were soon swallowed by a grey, colorless matter silently and swiftly moving over the water. Although it had no shape or body, it was as unyielding and impenetrable as any brick wall.

One moment we saw the sky and receding shoreline; the next minute every point of reference was gone.

Whatever You Focus On, You Will Become

Whatever You Focus on, You Will Become | focuswithmarlene.com

As I begin this Threads of Life series, I would like to give some background on why FOCUS is so important and why it is the name I chose for my company, my motto, and my website.

When my husband and I took early retirement from teaching in Oregon, we moved to northern Washington to build our dream home and spend time sailing in the San Juan Islands.

My husband joined a group of talented musicians who played in a local rehearsal band and I returned to teaching part time at Chapman University Extension Center. However, long evening class hours prompted me to leave the formal classroom for good and start giving workshops and classes in ADHD parenting, pain management, stress management and communication.

Threads of Life

Threads of Life | focuswithmarlene.com

I wish all of you a Happy New Year, with prayers and best wishes for a blessed 2021. I want to begin this year with a new series entitled Threads of Life.

Throughout our lifetime, we are weaving together the threads of our existence. Those threads are all around us – ready to be woven into a tapestry that shares our story and defines who we are. We choose how we weave them together. We are the designers.

Developing a life of meaning, purpose, and joy

I have been reviewing the stories and blog posts I have written or used in presentations about ways you can enrich your life, find comfort in your losses, and overcome what might seem like impossible odds.

Spiritual Gifts to Guide You After Christmas

Spiritual Gifts to Guide You After Christmas | focuswithmarlene.com

Christmas: a shining star – a break from the tedious schedules in which we find ourselves. A time to gather and connect with friends and family.

But Christmas is more than a nice diversion – a blip on the radar screen of our hectic lives.

  • For a moment in time we escaped drudgery, pressures, anxiety, and uncertainties.
  • For a moment in time we humbly knelt before the Christ Child whose birthday we celebrate.
  • For a moment in time we laid down our heavy burdens of doubt and fear and unanswered questions and savored the blessings of Christmas.

Gifts of Christmas: Love, Hope, and Peace

Peace | focuswithmarlene.com

This has been a difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, the inability to meet with each other, give hugs, and share concerns of the day.

We have learned to use more technology to operate our businesses and hold group meetings. We have driven up to our churches and stayed in our cars to listen to our pastors speak or we have listened to sermons on YouTube.

We have had groceries delivered and become familiar with masks. We have prayed and reached out to each other in the safest way possible.

It has been a surreal world – one in which we struggle to create a sense of normalcy. We are even learning how to sing as a choral group, rehearsing without gathering together in a group.