Friday, December 19, 2014

CHOICES

Welcome to my day of choices.

Do I get up?

Do I brush my teeth?

What do I eat for breakfast?

Delete emails or save them?

Be polite to the scam caller or just hang up?

What do I eat for lunch?

Nap or no nap?

Dust or not?

And on and on and on.

Choices! Decisions!  

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

Whatever.

I just do not care.

Choices.  Decisions.  Does it ever end?

The list goes on.

What to watch on TV?

What to wear?

How to spend money?

Chocolate?

Coffee?

Life is one decision after another with each leading to either a wise choice or ----- disaster.  Okay.  All choices do not have earth shaking consequences but some do.

And the angel said unto them. Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke2:10-11

Life is one decision after another with each leading to either a wise choice or ----- disaster.  Okay.  All choices do not have earth shaking consequences but some do.  This is one of those choices.

For unto you is born......

Believe?

Don't believe?

My choice:  BELIEVE. What is your choice?  

May your choice bring you peace, joy and the assurance of eternal life.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 12, 2014

REAL PEOPLE. REAL EMOTIONS. REAL DRAMA.

As I was wondering what to discuss in our Sunday School class, I came up with: Christmas: Emotions On Steroids -- Then And Now. Hopefully it will make for an interesting discussion. My goal is to put life into the Christmas Story. To make it real.

We hear the Christmas Story over and over. We might not know it word for word, but could tell it pretty close. That can be a problem. When we hear the same thing over and over, we can quit listening. Our minds wander. We forget the joy! We forget the people, the emotions and the drama were real.

Just think about Mary. There she is, minding her own business, when Gabriel came to her and said, "Greetings." Now how would you react if you were mowing your yard and an angel appeared saying, "Greetings."? Don't worry about your reaction. Mary was a bit un-nerved too. Luke 1:29: Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be." TROUBLED? Mary was not only troubled, but greatly troubled.

Just think about Joseph. Joseph's day was not going exactly as planned. (Ever had one of those days?) He had found out his soon-to-be-wife was with child. Wow. Can you image the back and forth going on in his head? And his heart? Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Enough to make anyone tired. Slumber gave Joseph the answer he was searching for. He had a dream. He not only had a dream, he remembered the dream and obeyed.

Yes, real people with real emotions and enough drama to be the lead story on the evening news. Maybe the networks will even break into the ball game with a news alert. Ok. In today's society, breaking into a ball game might be a stretch, but there is plenty of drama.

  • A walk of 70 to 90 miles, depending on who is doing the measuring, by a pregnant teenage
  • No room at the inn
  • A baby is born
  • Angels everywhere
  • Shepherds arriving
  • Wise Men headed their way
  • A very mad King Herod
  • An escape to Egypt

Real people. Real emotions. Real drama.

Do you remember my goal for the Sunday School class? "My goal is to put life into the Christmas Story. To make it real." That is my goal for all of us and we can accomplish this by not just reading about the birth of Jesus. Instead we need to close our eyes and picture each action. We need to open our hearts and feel each emotion. We need to allow the drama to unfold before us.

Take time - yes, we are all busy - and read MATTHEW 1:18 - 2:18 and LUKE 1:26 - 38 and LUKE 2:1-20

Once more read these verses by section or activity. Stop and consider the emotions each person would have been going through. Fear? Surprise? Anger? Frustration? What was going on around them? Was it quiet? Noisy? Dusty? What did the sky look like to the shepherds? What did it sound like when "a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' "?

Position your arms as if holding a baby and ask, "What did it feel like to hold Jesus?"

Jesus does not want you to read His story every year just so you can say, "Well, of course we read it. Doesn't everybody?"

Jesus wants you to read His story and proclaim, "Mary was with child and gave birth to a son. She named him Jesus. He is great and is called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God gave him the throne of David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

AMEN!!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. We all are thankful for our families and friends.  For our faith. But what about the little things?

It is winter and static electricity gives us a shock.  Have you ever put your head under the covers and then watched the "lightening" as you ran your hand over the blanket?  Just a little thing.

Have you ever turned the radio on and your favorite song was playing?  Just a little thing.

Have you ever watched your grandkids get the giggles?  Just a little thing.

Have you ever --

  • wiggled your toes in the mud,
  • played in the rain,
  • finished a really good book,
  • held hands with a child,
  • snuggled with your sweetie,
  • had peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth,
  • found a wild mushroom,
  • or
  • closed your eyes and listened to the quiet?  

Just little things.

Have you ever felt God listening to your prayers?  Oops.  My bad.  That goes in the "big thing" blessing.

I hope you had a Thanksgiving where you remembered all the "big thing" blessings, but don't forget the "little thing" blessings that make you laugh, renew the feeling of wonder and make life fun.

Friday, November 07, 2014

IT IS MY BIRTHDAY

Greetings.  Today is my birthday. 

BIRTHDAYS

Each birthday means I made it through another year.  The joys spurred me on and the trials did not stop me.  This year I have been blessed with sunrises and sunsets that proclaimed God has not forgotten me.  I have been blessed with the love of an amazing husband, wonderful children and their spouses and fantastic grandchildren.  It does not get any better than that!!!

When I look in the mirror, I see a 68 year old woman, with hair the color of my mother’s.  I see eye glasses, but glasses, in one shape or another, have been on my face for the majority of my life. I see a few wrinkles, but not many.  There are just enough to remind me that life has not always been easy.  

The mirror also shows extra pounds.  These pounds arrived over the years, beginning with a few extra with the birth of each child.  Menopause, along with all of its other gifts, deposited a pound here and there.  Then there was a surgery recovery that jumped on the send-the-scale-higher bandwagon.  Now, that weight is a part of who I am.

When I look at my hands, I wonder why mom had to give me her arthritis but then I am amazed that my fingers can still write, use the keyboard, clip flowers and drive that car at a few miles over the speed limit.  Hands are amazing!  I am thankful for my hands because they can gently wipe away a tear, hold a child or give a less than friendly gesture to the jerk that cuts me off in traffic.

When I look at my feet, I am thankful.  I can walk, maybe not as far or fast as I would like, but those silly toes have not worked correctly, even after surgery.  BUT those silly toes have been in all fifty states, have enjoyed two oceans and a gulf, and have been stuck in more streams and creeks than I can count.  Yes, I see silly toes but those silly toes have many stories to tell.

When I look around me, I realize how very blessed I am.  Church.  Family.  Friends.  Of course!!!  But so much more.  I am blessed to live in the USA.  I am blessed to be able to read and think.  Blessed to go to the faucet and have clean drinking water.  Blessed to have peanut butter cake with a son that shares my birthday. 

Happy birthday to me.  Happy birthday to me.  Happy birthday, dear me.  Happy birthday to me. --- Yes, I love my birthday.  It is a day to reflect, remember and celebrate.

Friday, October 31, 2014

DO YOU SEE A STORY?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures can evoke such feelings: Joy. Wonder: Peace. Compassion. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. Pain.

This picture was posted on Facebook (Phyllis's Art, fantasy and contemporary) and I was drawn in. It is so full of emotion. Usually I prefer the feeling of peace or wonder, but the pain in this picture made me want to sit beside her. Made me want to help her.

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Can you see her pain? The young lady has her arms folded over her stomach and her head is down. Flowers from the bouquet have fallen onto the floor. Storm clouds cover the sky. She is alone. She looks so alone.

I wondered if she had just told a loved one goodbye. A black dress. Flowers. Hurting. And alone. She looks so alone.

She is safe inside but you can tell the storm has driven her to her knees. There is no shadow of someone standing close by to offer comfort. There are no hands gently touching her shoulders. She looks so alone.

Could she be praying? Could she be asking, "How can I bear this? The pain of this is ……." She looks so alone.

It would be great if life was always a picture of joy, wonder, peace and compassion. Life is not always like that. Life also comes with fear, anxiety, sadness and pain.

This young lady looks so alone. She does not have to be. You do not have to be alone when the storms come into your life. You may be on your knees, in a house by yourself and wondering how will I bear this, but you are not alone. You do not have to carry the burden by yourself or go through the storm alone.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Are you weary? Burdened? Do you need rest?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Friday, October 24, 2014

CLEANING

Oh my goodness! If you ever hear me say I am going to clean the pantry, please do an intervention and stop me. Such a simple organize-those-cans idea can lead to ---

= a trip to the store to replace outdated spices,

= cleaning the kitchen drawers because when the pantry was cleaned there was shelf space for all those I-don't-use-often-but-do-not-want-to-throw-away things,

= cleaning the shelves because after cleaning the drawers they looked messy,

= washing the canisters, salt and pepper shakers and those measuring spoons that got put away with just a bit of spices on them (probably those outdated ones I am now going to replace) but now look dirty next to the clean shelves,

= the counter tops because when I moved the canisters I saw the flour and sugar hiding behind them,

= which then made the stove top look a bit less than sparkling

and

= drat; now I see the dust on those empty wine bottles that did look just fine before the sink was scrubbed.

HELP!!! Once started there is no end to cleaning. Each clean spot makes the next spot look dirty. Oh no! There is a cobweb……………………

CLEANING ME

All this cleaning made me think about my life. What do I need to clean?

I need to search out things that misuse my time and energy. My hubby would say I should start with those silly games on the iPad. He is probably right.

I need to throw away bad habits. Cannot think of any at this moment but I am sure my kids, grandchildren or friends would be more than happy to point out one. Or two. Or three. Why would Bill not point out my bad habits? He is smarter than that. : )

I need to restock my shelves with patience, understanding, compassion, gratitude and a listening Spirit.

I need to fill a trash bag with my temper, an unyielding spirit and the word but when I am talking to God.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

How is your life? Do you need to do a bit of cleaning?

Friday, October 17, 2014

WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT?

Sometimes the blog just seems to write itself. An idea pops in my little brain fully formed, flows from my fingers onto the keyboard and appears on the computer screen. Sometimes that just does not happen. Today is one of those days. I goggled "motivation" and up popped one site after another with quotes. Even that did not help. Until:

"Fashion is always of the time in which you live. It is not something standing alone. But the grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous." Coco Chanel

Let me tell you - that did motivate me, but not in a good way. IT MADE ME MAD!! Fashion! Rejuvenate women! Look young! Then women will feel joyous! Then I thought, "Well she lived back in the dark ages and was brainwashed by society." Look young? I have earned every wrinkle! Every gray hair! Every additional pound! The part that makes me really mad is that, unlike men, women are still judged by their looks. Guess we are still being brainwashed by society.

Calm down. Look again. Maybe ---

"The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters." Audrey Hepburn

"I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don't have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?" Shailene Woodley

These made me feel sad for Ms. Hepburn and Ms. Woodley. I do enjoy life. I enjoy my life, but it is not all that matters. Most of the time I like myself, but putting your body, your soul, your capsule -- making self-love the most important thing in life would make the world revolve around you and I just don't think that is the way it works.

Getting nowhere fast, but not ready to give up, I tried again.

"Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?" Mary Manin Morrissey

Finally! Some words of wisdom. Take your foot off the brake. Let go. Release hurt, fear and old pain. These make sense. Maybe I can find one more.

"The most important thing for me is having a relationship with God. To know that the owner, the creator of the universe loves you, sent His Son to die for your sins; that's very empowering. Knowing Him and knowing that He loves me gives me encouragement and confidence to move forward." Benjamin Carson

"There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer." John Wooden

Added bonus: I found two. What great quotes by Dr. Carson and Mr. Wooden.  These do motivate me.  Have a relationship with God.  Pray.  Yup.  I like these.

Where do you find motivation?