Greetings and Joy in Abundance!

Ever wonder why some people seem to be floating through life and others stumble?



I wonder this, and seek to find ways to float instead of stumble. Maybe you would like to join me in this search.

Seeking a closer relationship with God seems to allow my life to float along a little easier.







Phillipians 4:5-6 tells us to reveal our gentleness outwardly, that God is near and that we should not be anxious about anything, but through prayer and petition, we should thankfully approach the Lord with our concerns.

As a high energy person, my anxiety can run high. I am constantly seeking ways to leave my concerns at the foot of the cross.



Random? Probably not.

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Decisions

I was thinking today about decisions.  Especially how I make them and how others make them and just pondering whether my way of deciding is the status quo or if I think differently because of my background. 

When I was young, very young, I remember my mother explaining choices to me.  She would explain to me in a way I understood what options there were and what the outcome of those different options were.  As a young child, I can remember choosing not to act out on purpose, choosing to go for a ride instead of staying home with a babysitter, choosing to have a soda over milk or even whether to play with my dolls or ride my bike.  My mom and dad made it easy for my sister and I to learn how to choose.  It was easy.  As I grew, the choices became more significant, but the way in which I chose never changed.  One of the key pieces to choosing was asking the questions of myself that would allow for the best choice. 
1. Will this cause me harm?  Emotionally or physically - spiritually or financially...any harm.
2. Will this cause someone else harm?  (same parameters as above)
3. Is the outcome pleasing to God?  (in other words, would I be ashamed of my decision if I were standing in front of the Throne of Grace and being asked - "so exactly why did you decide to do this?")
If any of these questions do not pass the go test, then the answer to the decision is negative.  If not, then I usually employ the rest of the parameters...the feel good factor I call it  - if it is pleasing to God and it will not cause me or anyone else harm, then I should enjoy it and relish the fun involved in my choice. 

I think that in my marriage I take this same basic strategy in how I handle decisions - including when I ask for input and when I decide and share.  Many times, I will consult my husband, asking him what he thinks about a situation - prefacing the conversation with the caviat, "I would like your input on this, but I'm not ready to make a decision yet."  My husband likes to decide quickly, and I like to take my time deciding.  I think it is common in a marriage that one person finds the journey of choosing a joy and the other likes to decide and move quickly.  I like thinking through things. Taking my time for me is a pleasure, not a labor. 

The key in deciding and choosing within a marriage is communication.  I never TELL my husband what we are doing, I ask him what he would like to do - or I ask him what he thinks of my choice.  This doesn't mean I will change my choice, it just allows him to be part of my inner thoughts - close to my heart - as I walk through my life.  It brings us closer.  I am so grateful for my parents. 

They modeled for me the effortlessness of combined thinking.  They shared and cared for one another, modeling the way to include and allow without dictating and directing.  Even including the children in the budget process when we were young (I can remember talking about making choices about vacation when I was 8) allowed us to understand the importance of inclusive decision making in a family.

The Bible models this for us as well.  We see the early church coming together and deciding what was best not by dictating but by surveying the situation and then discussing, allowing for each to live out their strengths and employ the best of every gift given.  Jesus tells us to put others before ourselves - think of others as better than ourselves.  Decisions are extremely important - each one.  Every day we make choices that impact those around us.  Be careful how you choose.  Remember that one day each choice will be accounted for.  The Lord loves you.  Your life reflects your love of God.  The choices you make show who you are.  The choices you make reveal your character and your nature.  Choose wisely.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the quiet...

This is one of those times where I wonder why it can seem so hard to be quiet at other times.  I am alone in a hotel room, deep in my own thoughts.  It brought me to a place I rarely have time for on a regular day.  The quiet.  There is no TV on, no computer noise and no radio.  Just the sound of the air conditioning unit (yes, it's 70 degrees outside in January, it's raining and the AC is on for the humidity!) 
So I thought for a moment...do I want to watch TV, surf the net or play a game?  All I could really think of was sharing my day.  My husband is miles away and my deepest desire was to share my day with him.  Wow.  Then, I thought, maybe I will go down to the lobby and people watch with my book in hand.  But that wasn't really grabbing my creative mind either. 
I let out a deep sigh and asked the Lord for a moment.  Then I realized that I wasn't really considering any of these activities without first thinking about the source of my life.  Wow.  This was what really struck me tonight.  I think even for me it was a shock of sorts...that I was asking God what shall I spend my time doing tonight.  I knew I was a little strange, but I think that took the cake.
Seriously, do you ever do that?  Well, this is really not a first for me.  I tend to call upon the Lord in the strangest times.  I saw a group of young men in the lobby and said a breath prayer for them. Thought about the challenges of their lives and how they will handle the strain on their lives.  I thanked God for the receptionist at the front desk and her willingness to help me with a billing issue.  I asked the Lord to bless those who had a day filled with grief in this hotel.
Yes, I may take it a bit far, but I really think it's normal.  I know that there is a book filled with other people's stories and prayers, and they went further than I do...so who am I to actually do less than those who have gone before me? 
Please join me in praying for the people you cross paths with on a daily basis, whether they are in a car, in a plane, in a hotel or just in the grocery store.  There is so much pain and suffering in this world.  Can you imagine what a difference one smile could make?  I can.  I know.  I have been in the depths of depression and had that one smile that brought me joy for an entire day.
Be the light in the midst of the darkness.  Be the joy of someone else's life.  Be the hope of eternal life that passes all understanding by living your faith. What if each person genuinely cared about the other?  What would our world look like?  I dare you to try to find out...see what a difference you can make!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beginning Again...

The beginning of the New Year is always a fun time.  I think everyone enjoys celebrating and making plans to embark on a new journey leaving the old behind and embracing the new.

This is a concept that we many times do not understand completely.  In order to bring a new habit or new idea to the forefront of our mind on a daily basis, it can take up to 21 consecutive days of repeating the new behavior.  Now, this isn't a catchall.  Not everyone can do this - but it has become the standard acceptable model. 

Last summer, we started walking in our house.  It was so hot.  We dripped with sweat after 5 feet out the door here in Florida, but we did it.  The winter brought cold (this is the coldest winter in 100 years!) but we bundled up and wore scarves and hats and gloves. 

Then we got a cold.  We abandoned our walk for two days.  It has now been over a week and it seemed like it was 'just not walking today'.  Then the new habit begins.  The habit of not walking.  We decided today that no matter what, we need to keep our exercise up.  So, back to building our habit again. 

I began a new job.  It's been 3 weeks.  Now, I have to get up early each day and drive to an office and stay there until the end of the day.  Different for me.  I haven't had an office job in 8 years.  Definitely an adjustment, but I'm creating a new habit.  A new lifestyle.  It's a positive change, but any change is difficult until you master it.

I look upon these challenges and think about the model I live - seeking righteousness.  I know that above all, I must be true to myself and to my Lord.  I am not afraid to be out loud about it. I am not nervous that someone will see me enjoy myself in public.  I am not worried that people are looking at me or listening to me.  Really, I hope they are and I pray that I am a good vessel for the Light of the Lord.  In doing so, I will not hide my light under a bushel, I will share my talent and my energy, and I will share the reason for my joy and hope that comes from the love of Jesus Christ and the unmatched love that our Creator has for us to bring us back to Him by giving us a free choice to do so.  I am grateful that I have the choice - that God loves me soooo much that He wants me to come home because I want to be there, not because I have to.  I want to spend eternity with others who seek righteousness and love God.  I pray that this year allows me to share my thoughts and feelings in a great and powerful way...beginning again what I have done before.

Take a chance...live out loud for the Lord who gives us life and breath and a reason for being.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas dear friends. 
I thought about this today while I was at work.  Such great spirit in all my co-workers and in everyone I came into contact with.
Don't you wish that everyone could feel the spirit of Christmas cheer all year long? 
Well, we can!  It is possible!  that is what I have been working on for years and years! 
Jesus lives within us - therefore we have this spirit of Christmas cheer all throughout the year.  Just remember to call upon our Lord, ask for help in remembering and finding that good Christmas spirit whenever you have need.

It can be done - you can set the example for the year starting on Christmas Eve and flowing through the whole year.  God bless you and keep you strong throughout the coming year. 

I wish you the most Merry celebration of the gift of a Savior given to us by our Creator and Father.  What a most wonderful time of the year - when everyone will allow us to share our faith and our source of hope.  Let's do our best to remember to be a good example to others by sharing the source of our hope...Merry Christmas!  All year long!  Woot!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Positively Positive...

Yes, today is a day of remembrance.  Why?  Because a friend called this morning who was good friends with my mother.  Our frienship as a trio was indeed an interesting one.  My dear friend was respected by my mother, and respected my mother.  We have this connection together - the memory of my mother.  So, when we speak of anything, generally, she comes into the conversation.

As it did this morning.  Yes, choices are ours to make.  Any situation we are in requires a choice to be made.  We were talking about aging parents and forgetfullness and difficulties with this and that.  Well, the truth is, my friend said she was blessed to be able to be near her mother regardless.  She is blessed by her mother no matter what happened in the past or the childhood memories that are not so wonderful.  I shared that when I was young, my mother told me that we are so fortunate that we can choose which things we remember.  She made it seem like a very special gift.  We can choose to remember the good and throw away the bad - this way, when we forgive someone for something that happened, it is as if it never really did.  It wipes the slate clean if you forget about it and never bring it back up - but only if you truly forgive them.  My family was full of love and fun.  When feelings were hurt, we tried to forgive and forget.  We are not close in proximity, but we are close in heart.  We have little in common in our lives, but we have much in common in our rooted hearts.  We are rooted in the Lord together, knowing that whatever else happens, we will see each other in heaven and be able to be at the great party of praise going on at the feet of Jesus!  Woot!

So, whether your family is at odds or loving life, remember that it is your choice and yours alone that makes your special time special.  You can remember the day with all the hickups and difficulties and hurt feelings and crying because someone didn't get their way, or you can remember the great parts - we were together, we had fun, someone was joyful or even a joke was shared.  It is all in our perspective.  Positive Perspective can change the world.  It happens one person at a time.  Try it out on the next family gathering.  Only use positive words and influence.  Try it! 

"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  Philippians 4:8

I knew my mother used that Bible to help bring us up, I just never understood how much she used it until I realized what I was reading in the Bible I already knew in my heart because I was living it.  Crazy, huh?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Children Need Us!

I was at a luncheon today, and there were shocking figures shared regarding theliteracy rate in High School graduates.  The figures are so dismal, that only 1 in 10 of our children will graduate from College as a progression of their traditional education cycle.  There is a problem with this.

I wondered where this problem originated.  I sat in my chair at this luncheon and cried for the children who are left wondering who they are and not understaning why they make their decisions. 

I remember as a young girl the way my father helped me understand the value of the power of choice - this was done with love and a firm grip of patience.  My dad sat me in a chair in the living room (I must have been about 14 years old) and just asked me one question.  "What reason compelled you to make this choice, young lady?"  I really had no reason.  I said I had no reason.  He said that was unacceptable and that I must sit and ponder - seek to discover the real reason behind my action.  Until I understood why I made that choice, I would never be able to understand the importance of my choice. 

This was a painful lesson to learn.  It must have been hours.  This was not the only time my father had done this.  These were regular conversations. I applaud my parents for their persistence and patience.  I praise God for strengthening them during these times.  I know it wasn't easy.  My dad told me it wasn't (when I was in my 30's) and I believe him.  I look back now and I see a very wise parent and a very foolish child.  At the time, I saw a very clever child and a very irritating parent. 

Loving our children - and even loving the children around us that do not belong to us but are given to us for a moment or two to cherish - is a gift.  The gift my father received of our love and respect for him was boundless.  We may not have liked his way of correcting or appreciated his philosophical discussions as much as we could have, but he found a way to give us the good discipline he saw our Father God give to His children, and emulated it.

I know I've written before about choice - and my parents were big on our personal choice - but there can never be enough emphasis placed on the truth that the Lord has given us free will.  There is not one person on this earth who can force you to do anything against your will.  They may take your earthly life if you choose not to yield, but that will take you to an eternal life with Christ Jesus.  As we choose each day whom we will serve, we choose to reflect our faith.  Where is your faith rooted?  Your choices actually tell the people around you where your faith lies.  The fruits of your life are a direct reflection of the effort you put forth in planting the seeds you are given. 

Seems easy, but really it isn't.  This is why our children need us so very much.  It's easy to tell people what to do.  It's easy to tell your children what is right and wrong.  It is better (oh, and so much harder) to model the behavior you wish to see continue around you.  Oh, thank you Lord, for my parents.  They were so wonderful to even follow the bike laws when we rode our bikes around Poughkeepsie, NY.  Stop at the corner, walk your bike across.  Never, NEVER ride your bike against traffic.  Follow all the traffic laws when you are riding in the street.  If you are riding on the sidewalk, follow the rules for walking on the sidewalk...that's when you MUST walk your bike across the street.  Follow the flow of traffic.  Do not go anyway even if there is no traffic if you are in the street and the light is red.

Wow - see, it works.  I still remember all those things, because my mom and dad didn't just say, "be careful" but they took me on a ride with them and showed me why it was important.  These 15 minute bike rides were very important.  Seemed like a little thing going biking with my mom or dad on Saturday morning, but looking back now, the little 5 year old really got a lot out of it!

Please remind your friends how important modeling behavior is.  If we wish the next generation (or any of the current ones) to be strong and vibrant, we must help them know who they are, why they are, and whose they are.  Mentor a child today - one moment at a time.  A five minute conversation can impact a child for a lifetime.  Can you remember one to share?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Handling Challenge


My friend posted a question today about how we handle challenges - like the loss of job, home, family, health...and this was my answer today...
 
It's when the daily life comes under attack that we need to seek guidance from God. This is how we ground ourselves in the midst of sorrow, pain, loss, illness and every other thing that satan puts in the path of our quest to be righteous.... Each day, we are faced with choices, and as we look at our circumstance, we face the choice: do I complain or do I praise? I praise God for my faith - everything else I have is His blessing on my life...my health, my job, my car, my home...let's remind ourselves to keep our priorities straight - without our faith, we are nothing. Just specks of dust that will blow away in the wind with no home to ever rest in. Eternal salvation - heaven is where I seek to rest my head. It is a choice to praise and thank instead of whine and moan. It is a choice. It is always OUR choice.
 
 

Moments

Moments
A quiet moment of reflection