Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Long Winter

I know with it being January and all, it may appear that this cold, blustery, bleak season just never wants to end. When you are knee-deep shoveling snow and your back is aching, stop for a minute to give thanks.


 Yes, give thanks.

Maybe after you read the following you will give thanks and you will know why.

“I am thankful for:

…the mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends

…the taxes I pay because it means I am employed

…the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat

…the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking

…all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech

…that lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear

…lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home

…my huge heating bill because it means that I am warm

…weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means that I have been productive

…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive”

(Author unknown – has been reprinted many times, in many venues.)

I know that after reading these words I tend to look at life’s not so pleasant tasks and tribulations from a different angle, which makes me, give thanks.

I am thankful for:

…the long winter because it means that someday soon spring will follow. 

Spring, the season of rebirth, renewal, regrowth, and rejuvenation.

 
"To every thing there is a season,
and a time
to every purpose under the heaven:"

(Ecclesiastes 3:1)






Monday, January 19, 2015

Surprisingly So

At first I was a bit more disappointed than surprised as I tried to follow exactly what this typed note on a card read to do.

The card reads, “The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”

To be perfectly honest, I tried to focus on doing this for about an hour and did not exceed. Next attempt I tried for fifteen minutes and still failed, miserably.

I found that only one minute at a time is conceivable for me.

A little disappointing, but I won’t give up, telling myself one minute can become two minutes and then five minutes, and so forth.

I do have to say though, the one minute that I was able to accomplish this was one of the MOST gratifying moments my soul has experienced in a long time.

It sounds so easy, but it’s really not when you try to swallow the written words.

Keep your heart free from hate, that would require loving all mankind, even those poor souls we don’t care to give the time of day to, let alone love deeply.

Keep your mind from worry, letting go of the “what ifs” in life is really, really hard, especially if you’re a mom whose main job has always been to worry and fret over everything possible and impossible.

Live simply, simply quit wanting more and more.

Expect little, learn to be content with what you have and have not.

Give much, no more giving just the leftovers or extras you have in life.

Fill your life with love, which brings us back to keeping our hearts free from hate, loving even those we consider unlovable.

Scatter sunshine, be warm and bright and joyful.

Forget self, think of others, this is a doozie and implores us to serve others.

Do as you would be done by, invokes us to pray for the wisdom to change our not so pleasing ways.

Weeks are made up of days spent, days are piles of hours gone by; hours come from minutes depleted. Everyone can do anything for one minute. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.

Surprisingly so, it really is the way to happiness!


Let us always meet each other
with smile,
for the smile is the beginning
of love.

(Mother Teresa)







Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Second Thought

How often do you give your thoughts a second thought?

Negative versus positive thoughts swirl around inside my brain all day long. I try pushing the negative energy out, but often to no avail. I begin to think I know it all, becoming quite the judge sticking labels on the backs of everyone I meet.

The not so funny thing is that we are not God, and we shouldn’t be so quick to think we can judge others by what we think we see.

Jesus tells us two important things. They both involve love, a deep love for God, and for humankind.

“Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second most important commandment is this: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. There is no other commandment more important than these two.” (Mark 12:30-31)

Ah, last time I checked love does not label, or judge, or do anything that intentionally hurts others. I for one hate being looked upon as peculiar just because I have a few too many OCD signs and symptoms.

Instead of labeling someone weird could we not see him or her as eccentric, amusing in place of goofy, quiet rather than stuck up?

Preferably set in their ways versus stubborn, you see the pattern.

God, who is our Judge, simply asks us to treat others, as we would like to be treated.

 


"No one can do everything,
but
everyone can do something."
-Max Lucado





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pitter-Patter

When my kids were toddlers I loved listening to their feet pitter-patter all over our house. Especially when those little feet brought their little bodies my way, wanting to be near me, desiring to transport a hug or two, needing me to hold a prized possession such as an important Lego piece. For whatever the reason being, they chose to close the gap between us, just because.

Still thinking about some of those times makes my heart skip a beat. What would life be like if our hearts didn’t pitter-patter from time to time?

Can you remember the last time your old heart fluttered unexpectedly?

Evil can wreak havoc in our lives and the lives of those around us. Bad news spreads like wild-fire.

Some days I need the soft pitter-patter of life, like the sound of a gentle rain hitting the roof, reminding me to slow down; to once again believe that good always conquers evil.

My trials will still be with me, new ones will probably find me, old ones may sneak back into my life, but I need not fear because I know God has grand designs for me.

All I have to do is have faith…faith that withstands the test of time.

Fate is known for unfolding unplanned twists and turns, but Jesus is always actively here, waiting, wanting to travel along the path of life with each one of us. He is present, ready to help us through anything life may throw our way.

“Real” faith will sustain us.

It’s a good day when something makes my heart pitter-patter. It means that I’m living, I’m breathing, I’m loved, and I’m in love with a great God who triumphs!

 
..."there is nothing in all creation
that will ever
be able to separate us
from the love of God
which is ours through
Christ Jesus our Lord."

(Romans 8:39)









Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Ten Step Program

I keep seeing people sporting those really neat fitness watches that track their movements throughout the day.

I personally don’t own one, but nonetheless just the idea makes me want to step up my game so to speak. I’m always trying ways to mix things up, throw some variety into my life as I continuously work on becoming a better person, a stronger Christian.

So, being the start of a brand new year I came up with my own personal ten-step program. (No equipment whatsoever required.)

Here she is:

1. Pray – This requires more than setting up an autopilot program. It is using your heart to reach your God. 2. Forgive – Let bygones be bygones. Give pardon with no strings attached. 3. Believe – Have faith in that which you can’t always see. Trust in the Lord (unequivocally.) 4. Help – Go out of your way to give. Everyday find one way that you can help someone. 5. Hope – Don’t give up. Look for the good in life. 6. Listen – Take notice of the sounds around you. Enjoy the sound of laughter. 7. Love – Don’t live life without love. Love God, love your neighbor and love yourself. 8. Touch – Feel real life. Use your arms to hug first a tree, then a friend. 9. Live – Live in today, not tomorrow, nor yesterday. The present moment is the best moment. 10. Rest Peacefully – Before you fall asleep: Pray. As you close your eyes open your heart to receive God’s love and mercy.

Ten steps. One program.

And, that’s all she wrote!

Peace.

I've read the last page of the Bible.
It's all going to turn out all right.
-Billy Graham






Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Glad Tidings

Good news!

“Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands – all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.” (Luke 6:38)

God will not be outdone.

Give, and He gives more.

Unless…you know…we give half-heartedly.

Ahem.

Why would we ever do something like that?

It can’t be that we only want half of what God has to offer. And, it can’t be because we don’t have anything to give. God has given each unique gifts; it is up to us on how we decide what to do with our gifts.

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)

Lifetime changes that I've made in just the last few days like taking time to really read scripture, by giving God my complete attention as I pray, and finding more good in life than bad has made me become more aware of the spiritual gifts that are being poured into my hands.

Trying to pawn off a bunch of leftovers as a gift, isn’t spiritually serving humankind. No, true Christian giving comes wrapped in love.  

I’m learning that giving means a whole lot more than donating some discarded clothes that the fashion police would have eventually confiscated.

God, the One who can’t be outdone, loves us unconditionally and knowing this changes everything.

This holiday season allow God’s love to change the way YOU look at YOU.

“Give to others, and God will give to you…you will receive a generous helping, poured into your hands – all that you can hold.”

Merry Christmas!



Photograph: Courtesy Of (a drawing done by) Shannon O'Donnell