Summertime’s Lessons

Summer sure flew by…I spent a lot of time with family, friends, cooking some of my favorite dishes, reading some awesome books, and joining a new shooting club with gals who like Glocks and to shoot them!

However, one thing that really rose to the surface of my consciousness is that life is all about connecting, relationships, and people. I’ve read several books pointing out this truth and always knew it to be true in my heart; however, this summer I got a good dose of real time experience with it.

Spending time with family and friends is always a desire of mine; however, I also planned on having a good time this summer riding my mare.  I was getting a good start in late spring in that direction, then all of a sudden she got injured towards the end of June. This meant no riding, barrel racing, or pole bending, which is the bulk of my summer activity. Riding her at the end of a long day really lifts my spirits, gets me mentally and physically exercised, and gets me centered in the present moment. Due to where one of her injuries was located, it took two months to heal. There was a time in my past this would have really threw me off and upset me to the point I felt I was “missing out on life”.

However, God had other things for me to focus on this summer. After some praying to Him and “shaking off” the initial frustration of the situation, I was able to appreciate what God had in store for me next.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)  God opened up time and opportunity for me to enjoy the company of my family more than ever this summer. I got to know and fellowship with church friends and do other things I wouldn’t normally have been doing because I dedicate so much time to riding and horse activities. God had me making real connections. Connections that mean something. Connections that have purpose with people who are more real and genuine than the ones in the world I’m usually exposed to.

Below are just a few of my summer fun memories!

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4th of July parade in Jackson, WY with my Dad.
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At the beach with my daughter.
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On a hike to the Sinks with my church family.
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Shi’Lii’ my horse and an August summer sunset.
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Listening to a gospel concert with church family at City Park.

Although I don’t like to see my horse hurt, I can truly be grateful for the goodness God worked out of it. During the time it took for her to heal up, I spent cultivating relationships. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

These relationships will outlast any prize that can be won by competing on my horse. They will outlast the “I have to cram in as many horse related activities as possible” attitude. If this attitude gets out of balance, it can distract me from whom and what is really important. And they will certainly outlast the many shallow acquaintances that come with the territory of any activity or sport that involves money and competition. It feels good to invest my time and energy into the people and activities that really matter in life!

There were also the other usual type of ongoing lessons this summer such as establishing boundaries with people who disrespect me, clarifying misunderstandings, and discovering with a sad heart that I didn’t have as good of a connection with a specific someone as I thought I did.

I also had to say goodbye to my dog Eddie at the end of this summer. For us single people who go home to an empty house, our animals are a source of comfort. They are a source of comfort to many people whether single or married. Losing her was unexpected and saddening. But I take comfort in the scripture saying, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…Ecclesiastes 3:1-2(NIV)

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Eddie

And yet with all these lessons, this was one of the best summers I’ve had in a few years. I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 (NLT)

It’s knowing God and having nourishing and lasting relationships with the people who truly matter that make life beautiful in the midst of life’s lessons!


ASK FOR PERMISSION Heather Britain and Blessed At All Times, April 2015.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Filled With Holy Spirit Joy

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What an amazing weekend of fellowship and worshiping God.  I had the privilege of attending my 2nd Women of Faith Conference in Billings, MT last weekend. Pictured on the left is my new Bible and coffee cup from the conference.  As the saying goes…You can bet my weekend mornings will be filled with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of God!

I enjoyed connecting on a more personal level with a few church family ladies.  It’s nice to fellowship with each other doing fun activities besides just seeing each other at church every Sunday with not much time for anything but a quick hello.  It’s a great way to get to know each other beyond the surface.  The whole experience was a healing balm my soul needed to recharge me with Holy Spirit Joy!  2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT) says, “Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts”.  It was indeed a weekend of good companionship and memories I will savor!

The speakers and stadium full of women from all walks of life amplified the joyful atmosphere.  Matthew 18:20 (NLT) says, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”  And the Holy Spirit was definitely among all of us, educating us and inspiring us!

It was exactly one year ago I jumped into a vehicle with a few ladies I had not met or knew anything about and attended my 1st Women of Faith Conference.  Who knew (besides God) that experience would become the introduction to an awesome church family and newfound joy!  God is certainly amazing how he connects all the dots and makes everything come together!

My Prayer:  Lord, help me to remember that Your joy is my strength, in Jesus’ name, Amen!


ASK FOR PERMISSION Heather Britain and Blessed At All Times, April 2015.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

More Things Go Right Than Wrong

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“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”   Psalm 126:3 (NIV)

Thinking back on the bumpy road of my life up to the present moment, I can definitely say no matter what challenge is going on at the time, more things go right than wrong at any given time.

For example, fairly recently a relationship I had  such high hopes for fell apart fast and hard, within the same time my mother found out she had stage 4 colon cancer, and in 2½ months passed away.  While all of this was going on, someone I had called friend and agreed to roommate with to help with our cost of living expenses turned out to be not such a good a friend, violating the friendship and damaging it to the point that the dynamics changed and it won’t ever be what it used to be.  Talk about feeling kicked in the guts! Three aspects of my life changed in a big way all around the same time.

After an appropriate amount of time grieving the loss of my mother, although I still shed tears now and then for her, the feelings of sadness, loss, betrayal, you name it swirled around inside me for long enough.  I was feeling so blah so much of the time.  I had to start encouraging myself and remember what was going right in my life.

Keeping a blessing journal has really helped me encourage myself, by keeping track and reviewing my blessings in remembrance of what God has done for me.  In which God instructs us to do in Isaiah 46:9 (NLT) says, “Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.”

I had heard about keeping a blessing journal several times and always thought it was a good idea, but didn’t put in it to practice until the topic came up again in my women’s bible study group when we read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. After doing that study I actually put it into practice.

A few things I had written in my blessing journal concurrently going on at the same time during those challenging times were:

  • I have a roof over my head.
  • A working vehicle to get my daily living done.
  • Food in my belly.
  • Hot running water.
  • A comfy bed to sleep in.
  • Admiring beautiful sunrises/sunsets.
  • Someone told me the positive qualities she sees in me.
  • My daughter’s love and support.
  • The presence of my horses is good medicine.

Also listed are a few answered prayers and several fun surprises God blessed me with.  I can literally declare, God has done great things for me and I am filled with joy!!!

Amidst any struggle, God sure shows his love with blessings that just seem to blend into the background of our lives and sometimes get overlooked.  For most of us, whatever we are struggling with, simultaneously these blessings are still there in the backdrop of our daily lives and are going right.  Now whenever a challenge comes up, I allow myself to feel what I need to feel because it’s important to acknowledge our pain, then as soon as I can I start encouraging myself by saying, “Heather, more things are going right than wrong.”  By picking up my blessing journal, counting my blessings, and giving thanks to God my inner wellbeing shifts.

Are there a few circumstances in my life I’m not too crazy about and would like them to change, you bet!  Do I sometimes slip and get weary by giving my circumstances too much attention, guilty!  Do I think life can be unfair at times and feel upset at injustices? Oh yeah!

In times like this, I have to make a conscious choice to pick up my blessing journal, start reviewing it, and honor God by obeying Him and keep in remembrance all he has done for me and is doing for me presently.  Sometimes if I need and extra boost of feel good I will call or fellowship with a friend who can offer words of encouragement.  Reading my Bible or other scripturally inspiring books helps too.

To some degree we will all experience being hurt or discouraged in life.  Remembering more things go right than wrong and counting our blessings will help bring peace to the heart.

My Prayer:  Lord, no matter what is going on in my life, may my thoughts return to all you have done for me and fill me with joy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


ASK FOR PERMISSION Heather Britain and Blessed At All Times, April 2015.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.