Why This $4.99 T.J.Maxx Gift May Change Someone's Life

Do you remember what you were stressing over around this time last year?
Considering I feel like something is frequently on my mind we need to hurdle over, I decided to look back through my written record of thoughts and prayers I journaled a year ago.
Turns out we were: 
1. Evicting tenants—which took 3 1/2 weeks too long.
2. Fixing up our trashed rental with new drywall, carpet, doors and paint, with no budget
3. Hiring 3 different exterminators to rid our rental of a German cockroach and flea infestationsphoto 4
4. Waiving the first month’s rent for our new tenants since the bug problem lingered longer than expected. The poor people were sleeping in their van.
5. Coping with the sudden loss of my father-in-law, and loving on my mother-in-law (who moved down from British Columbia to live with us during this devastating season).
6. Stressing over finishing the final chapters of the book to hit my deadline (ahhhh!).
7. Trying to track down my doctors to get approval to either quote them or verify my medical records for the book.
8. A month later, questioning why some of the content was being cut from the book—something I didn’t understand at the time.
9. Waking each morning to the only thing separating our master bath from our master bedroom: a dingy, vinyl shower curtain, no wall (long story. I’ll blog about this one day).
10. Living with yellow well water we couldn’t figure out how to fix (did I mention we had recently bought a 1950s fixer-upper after relocating from living in the middle of a cancer cluster neighborhood?)
I love my $4.99 T.J. Maxx journal.
It reminds me of the stuff I forget, but worried so much over.
The eviction I anguished about was forgotten 12 months later. More than a mess, the tension welled up inside as I relived that nightmare experience, reading page after page of my entries. Financially strained, spread thin and living with 7 people sharing one shower that sprinkled yellowish water.
Yet somehow—God showed up and provided everything we needed.
Why do I waste time fretting over these things?
Problems. Will. Pass.
They always do.
What I am thinking about now I probably won’t be thinking about next October/November/December. Enjoy today for what it is, especially during this busy time of year. A new day, a new memory, and the hope that this situation will be a record–a reminder–for next year to not worry about tomorrow.

photo 1

My gift from a friend: a new journal.

Giving thanks in all circumstances, like my Bible suggests, takes practice. 
A journal is a good place to start; and a good exercise in casting all those cares weighing me down.
This is what I’m thankful for this year:
1. AWESOME tenants who stuck it out through our icky situation. They love on our house and even fix minor home repairs.
2. A completed, much more concise book that took an eye of an industry editor to polish. Praise God.
3. My mother-in-law. I forfeited my writing room, and gained a sweet friend, cook, laundry fairy, and an extra helping hand with the kiddos while I feverishly finalized the project. Turns out we needed her just as much (if not more) than she may have needed us. Writing in my closet proved to be surprisingly cozy.
4. A wall between our master bedroom and bathroom.
5. A handyman husband, who works harder than anyone I know. Apparently, his boss thinks so too. A couple of months ago he was promoted.
6. Clean, clear precious water. Turns out our yellowing problem could only be rectified with a new drilled well.
7. Doctors who came forward and not only verified my records, but helped find my fourth near-death experience I had missed.
8. A pumped septic tank. This was our recent unexpected bump two weeks ago.
9. Four precious children who keep me smiling right when I need it the most.
10. And most importantly, the birth of our Savior some 2,000 years ago. His salvation message I had the honor of sharing at a recent MOPS Christmas event, where lives were changed forever. And isn’t that really what it’s all about?
Journaling therapy is a fantastic release of pent-up anxiety and transfers my worries to the page—casting my burdens on God.
These reminders I’m thankful for. What once was my past becomes my memorial for when life surprises me again. Revisiting all the times God answered my prayers is the best faith-builder I know.
Looking for a last minute gift this Christmas season? A $4.99 journal, with a note tucked inside, just might be the best gift that changes someone’s life when they finally look back; or at least their perspective.
Do you remember last year’s concerns? What are you’re thankful for today?

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Psalm 55:22
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Journal entries:
photo 310/22/12
“Feels like it’s been a series of hard days. I shouldn’t be surprised, really. My deadline is here–right around the corner and things are hitting the fan. The eviction & cleaning the house & recarpeting & hiring an exterminator & finding new tenants have taken a toil on me emotionally. Looks like we have someone, but we’ll know for sure in a couple of days. Lord most of all–I’d really, really like the backing of my doctors. Will you please send someone forward who can vouch for the stuff we went through? I’m not sure why I need this–but validation (of what’s written in my medical records) would be huge. Feels like  your sifting me again–stretching me–which probably means you’re preparing me for something. Help me, Lord, to focus on the kids & my husband & to write. Please help me to be prepared with my questions for Dr. Schwartz. Thank you for Colleen and Brett’s friendship.
Tina (mother-in-law) is reading (the book) now. I pray she likes it. I pray the world hears of your miracles. I pray I’m not making anything up. I’m really trying hard to stick to medical records. Please send a Christian doctor my way that will help verify some things (I don’t understand in my charts). Thank you for my husband. He is such a hard worker….Please help me to feel some relief soon. Thank you for friends. It’s so so dumb, but I just need to hear someone say they like the book–someone who doesn’t know me.”

photo 2

I know. I wish my handwriting were neater too.

October 24, 2012
Put you CONFIDENCE in Christ. Not Dabney. Dr. Schwartz agreed I could use his name and quotes in the book. Spoke with Brother Mike–confirmed what awful state I was in during that morning at Moffitt. Then called Pastor Dan and asked if he remembered the night Jason called and woke him. He paused, cleared his throat and said he was getting choked up at how vividly he recalled the conversation.
Jason woke him & said they didn’t think I’d make it through the night–& Dan said-“We’re not believing that, we’re believing for a different outcome.” That’s not his exact words–but similar. Then & this is the kicker–Dr. Karen Fields (my doctor at Moffitt) finally emailed me!!!! She had been out of the office all week & she apologized for not getting back to me!!! Praise God! Lord, you know how important it is for me to validate everything that is written. I don’t want to be anxious anymore!
“All I know is I”m not home yet, this is not where I belong, take this world and give me Jesus–this is not where I belong.”
But I will stay here as long as you want, doing your will.
Thank you God!!!
And, we have a tenant.”

  1. Paula Mantrozos says:

    Of course. You always bring home what God needs to say directly to MY heart, when you write. SURE I’m not the only one! Thank you for being obedient, real, flawed, scared, a bit OCD, courageous, brave and open to letting God DO IN YOU just what He wants for His Glory and our benefit. Merry Christmas to you all as we celebrate the coming of the One Who provided for all of us a Reversal of Destiny! THANK YOU, GOD for Dabney and bless her everyday walking with Jason and the kids in faithful daily minute-by-minute “stuff” of life until you take us all home to the waiting arms of Jesus! I’m so glad You shared her life with mine!! WHAT A GIFT!
    Have a great holiday and a wonderful new year. HUGS-Paula

    • dabneyhedegard says:

      Oh, Sweet Paula, I am a bit OCD. You nailed me. Ha. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read the post.
      I miss you, friend!
      Merry Christmas!

  2. Heather Church says:

    Right on! Sometimes it is something that appears to be small that The Lord can use in big ways. Allowing ourselves to be real and honest with Him and ourselves. I recently started journeling and have found it to be theraputic and a relief to the thoughts that have been trapped inside. It has been a way to physically give things to God and to visually see worship pour out. I love it!

  3. What a great post, Dabney!
    I read it several days ago but didn’t have time to comment. You’ve encouraged me to journal more.
    My father-in-law passed away last year and my mother-in-law moved in with us. She’s been a big help to us.
    I know I’m late, but Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: