Reflections and Goals

HONEST REPORTING YOU CAN TRUST!

This past week I had three teeny, tiny goals. These:

1  Eat oatmeal for breakfast several times this week.

2  Get to bed early at least twice.

3  Perform some kind of exercise each day.

HOW I DID!

Goal No. 1 EXCELLENT!  I ate my oatmeal several times this week. Not every morning, I’m still working on getting back to that, but several times.  I feel good about how I practiced this habit this week.

Goal No. 2  SCORE!!!  I was able to get to bed early two times this week, and boy, did I need it.  This hot muggy weather is killer, so I was glad to get in my jammies early, turn on the overhead fan, and snooze.

Goal No. 3 FAIL!  Other than moving around in an unorganized way, I have not exercised more than a few minutes this week.  My excuse: Pain levels with this blasted sciatica!   This goal will definitely be going on my list for next week. I need to do better.

RANDOM THOUGHTS I’M HAVING AS I ADULT MY WAY THROUGH LIFE

Maybe I’m burned out with regards to teaching?  Maybe!

I can’t wait for my turn with The Healing Journey.  I’m so excited to enter into this group dynamic beginning in the fall.  Seriously, can’t wait (refer back to first random thought).  We begin Sept 12th.

I’m shedding again!  My stylist mentioned it to me the other night when I got a trim.  I had noticed it myself, too. That’s what ya get when you’re the consummate pressure pusher, refusing to recognize/deal with/address stress in its many forms.  Remedy as I know it:  More early nights, more prayer and meditation, more acceptance of life on life’s terms, more veggies, and more water throughout the day.  I think a spiritual reconnect from the group scheduled for this fall will help.  I’m looking forward to that!

Passports.  I’ll finish this update by saying that I found the passport applications and photos I had misplaced, but still have not found our birth certificates.  Where in the world are they?  Only God knows these things.  Maybe you could speak to Him on my behalf about them. I’d really, really, really like to see Toronto again.

MY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK

Same as last week…

1  Eat oatmeal for breakfast several times.

2  Get to bed early at least twice.

3  Perform some kind of exercise each day.

Have you ever lost your hair due to stress?  What about your mind, still got that? 😉

The joy of being reminded

The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship.”. –Evil advice from Screwtape to Wormwood, The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis

During our time together on Sunday, Pastor mentioned that yearning we all have for change; something new and different.

What I heard as he spoke was a reminder to my soul that a new revelation from God in not needed in order to continue being intimate with God.

Change can be joyful, but it can also be difficult, and sometimes we can’t know which it will be before we’ve set upon it.  Conversely, we can and do know God; His goodness, His purity, His holiness, and His love we know.

Today, I’m encouraged to seek out that same wonder-working, saving, and transforming Papa God I’ve always known as I move forward in this messy, messy life.  It feel good!  I’m relying on Him, and not me, to produce the kind of change that renews and revitalizes my life without causing others harm.

To a renewed and revitalized faith I say, Amen!!!

This morning as I’m taking to my prayer closet and making intercessions for the body of Christ around me, I’ve been invited to think upon those things about my relationship with God that have remained constant throughout my faith journey and have been a source of multiple blessings to me.

Things like…

The assurances I’ve been given by God.

The mercy I’ve found at the cross.

The love that has so graciously been poured into my life.

The reminder that I have the Lord, His Son Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and family and friends to depend upon every day, in every way, through every challenge, always and forever.

That is enough!

We don’t need another revelation, another vista, or another vision to make our lives complete in Christ, for we are those who have all we need in the God who once saved us and who will forevermore preserve our souls.

Glory to His Name!!!   

What assurances, mercies and love have come to you as a result of your faith?  What’s the great thing about contentment, in your opinion?

Another Galentine’s Day!

Today kicks off the holiday weekend and a series of festivities on the hill! 

If the weather will just cooperate, I will be happy.  Make that more than happy. Make that giddy, thrilled…over-the-moon with joy happy!  I want so badly for us all to have a good time together, and when the venue is outdoors that means good weather is a necessity.

This morning we began our weekend of family fun with a Galentine’s Day Ladies-Only Breakfast, the first where I played hostess for the event.  It went really well!

Woohoo, I love it when a plan comes together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a picture of the lovely ladies that shared breakfast with me this morning:DSC_0708

These are the fems in my fam.  Aren’t they gorgeous?!

We had a few Y chromosomes in the crowd this morning. Unfortunately, Pa had to work, so he couldn’t kidlet sit.  The wee boys were forced to join our group. They were well behaved for wee boys, and I think they enjoyed the Galentine’s theme as much as the gals did, especially the edible heart-shaped candies distributed around the table top—you know, those kind you get on paper and you have to peel them off with water to put on your cakes at birthday time.

The boys enjoyed gobbling them up!

Here’s another pic, this time with me in the mix. I’m half way down the table on the right hand side.  I think I need a new hair style.  This one looks out of sync with my personality these days, plus it is hard to maintain.  I might go shorter. What do you think?

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See all that pink on the table?  I left the house early this morning so that I could decorate before any of the lovelies arrived, but wouldn’t you know, a few came early.  I’m never early, so I rarely expect that of others!😉

It all looked so nice when I was done. Keeping it real, though, I want to share some misgivings I had before I went to this event.

On the drive down the hill to the venue, I kept thinking, “I should have done this.  Why didn’t I do that? What I’ve done isn’t enough!” I’m the queen of second-guessing!  I went so far as to stop at the Dollar Store to pick up some trinkets on the way, but as I was filling my arms with junky junk, I said, “Stop!” I put the things I had in my arms back and left the store.

I was frustrated with myself. That’s when I decided I needed to check in with my Friend in the Sky.

I pulled into a secluded spot in the parking lot and took a minute.  It was right, good, and appropriate for me to do so.  So many times we women think we are not enough. We have to do more, be more, constantly perform for the world.

I hate that! 

My Friend does too!

We do not have to do that. We are enough.  Our love is enough.  That we all eeked out some time in our lives/schedules/vacation plans to celebrate with each other is enough.

Finally I was satisfied, and guess what:  I went, I saw, and it was—ENOUGH!

In preparation for this Galentine’s event I created little prompts to share with the ladies; questions written on little pieces of paper.  I asked each lady to take one.  I wanted us to make an effort to know each other better.  We live miles apart and life is ever changing, so I thought it would be neat to create a way for us to connect on a deeper level at this breakfast.  The questions did the trick.  They got people sharing.

Ironically, my piece of paper said this:  What is your recipe for continued joy and happiness? 

What?!  Can you believe that? 

We didn’t have time to get to my question, and I’m kinda glad we didn’t because I struggle to find joy in my life sometimes, and I’m not sure what I would have shared in response to that question.  Choosing that question this morning from the grab bag, though, it helped me see that my greatest joy is experienced in those moments when I invest myself in other people, particularly those people I love and with whom I share a history.

These were MY peeps! These were MY JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Closing out this rather epic post, I want to say:  Thank you, You gorgeous sea nymphs, for blessing me with your opalescent beauty this morning. You are the very definition of family, and I love you all sooooooo much! Muah!

Note: To “get” that last couple of sentences, you have to be a Parks & Rec fan. Translation: You’re the BEST!!!!!

When have you brought joy to another person just by showing up?  What brings you joy?

 

 

Voter Registration–Important!!

As many of you know, I take my faith seriously.  I am a born-again, washed in the blood, redeemed and glad-of-it Christian.  I love Jesus Christ!

What you may not know about me, is that I take my civic duty seriously, too.  I am a committed PA voter, who makes it to the polling place to cast the die every time an election is held; local, state, or national.  I love my country!

Because I love God and country, and because I’m excited about the opportunity for every American to take part in the social habits that are shaping our country bit by bit, I wanted to write this blog post and encourage anyone reading it today to commit themselves to voting this November.

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Did you know that in 2012, millions of American Christians neglected to cast a vote for president?  MILLIONS! Some estimates say 4 million. Some say 6 million, and others say 12 million Christians stayed home on voting day 2012!  Whatever the final count, that number is significant in my book and you can see for yourself the unhappy outcome that has come from these people opting out. These MILLIONS were registered, eligible, supposedly healthy individuals who for whatever reason did not make it to their polling place to cast the die in favor of one candidate or the other.  People, this cannot happen again in 2016!

In 2016 we need to be heard, and if we are, we CAN make a difference!!!

If you are not yet registered to vote in November’s election, please visit the sites listed below and get registered.  They offer instructions and download forms needed to get yourself registered.

Election day in America this year is Tuesday, November 8th.

The deadline for PA voters to register to vote is Tuesday, October 11th.  You’ve still got time!

The fact is that someone is going to lead this country after November 8th, 2016.  I won’t say who that someone will be, but as we both know, come November 9th, someone will be elected to the highest office in this country.  I can’t think of anyone more fit to determine who that someone will be than You! However, should your conscience prohibit you from voting for a president (and I hope it does not), there are other important representatives that need to have your vote this fall.  There will be Senate seats, House of Representative membership slots, and other office positions to be filled. They will be filled!  Who fills them is really up to YOU!

Please, please, please do what YOU can to bring checks and balances to America this November!

Justices for the Supreme Court will be assigned in the next two years. They serve for LIFE, people. For LIFE!!!  In some cases, that will be a long, long time.  We need to be involved in the decision concerning who gets appointed to these positions.  The new President will appoint them.  We need to cast our vote!!!

For those not so spiritually minded, but who were drawn to this post because it is about our upcoming election in America, I leave you with this, from the Bard:

Macbeth: If we should fail?

Lady Macbeth:  We fail?  But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.

(a bit of dark reference, I know, but you get the point. 😉

On-line sites you can access for complete your voter registration in time:

http://www.dosimages.pa.gov/pdf/OnlineVoterRegFormBlank.pdf

https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/pages/VoterRegistrationApplication.aspx

http://www.votespa.com/portal/server.pt/community/home/13514

https://www.rockthevote.com/register-to-vote/?source=rtv.com-deadlines

http://www.commoncause.org/take-action/actions/register-to-vote.html?gclid=CJzyoefiwM0CFQxahgodGW8Gkw

 

I don’t wanna be a grubber!

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The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. —Oswald Chambers

Some of us are more introspective than others, and that’s okay, but when introspection turns to self-absorption we’ve lost our way.  We’ve fallen into a pit that is hard to exit.  We’ve bought into the lie that the work Jesus did in us at redemption was not enough; that something more needs to be done and we’ve been left to do it ourselves. Talk about discouraging news, that’s it.

Give me the simple life!!

The second the Divine enters into us we can forever quit the rat race.  No longer do we need to wonder if we’re good enough. No longer do we need to spend time earning our keep. No longer do we need to fret and worry about our reputations, our futures; ourselves.

Listen, if the world knows we are friends with Jesus the die has already been cast, and cast in a beautiful way.

Remember:  Jesus chose us! 

Jesus loves us!

Jesus has already found value in us, so does anything else matter?

Today, let’s admit that the job of salvation is just too big for us and a “continual grubbing on the inside” will only make us more miserable and less happy.  Instead of doing that, let’s do this: Let’s simply follow Jesus!

There is joy in doing what Jesus did, speaking as Jesus spoke, and praying as Jesus prayed.

When have you complicated life by grubbing for too long inside yourself?  What gives you more joy: doing what Jesus did, speaking like Jesus spoke, or praying as Jesus prayed?

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Vengeance.

Pay Backs.

Retribution!

They belong to the Lord, but we sometimes claim them as our own.

The taste of retribution is sweet in the mouth when you have no merciful master or redeemer to soften the hard in you.  Then, retribution seems like a perfectly sound practice.  After all, it’s easy to destroy reputations, hurt with our words, hold onto resentments and seize the chance to get even.

Easy!

Much harder is it to forgive, look past insults, and be active agents of restoration.

There was a time when retribution tasted sweet on my lips, too, like watermelon when it’s really ripe, juicy and running down my chin.  A lil bit of salt on that and I was in heaven.

Heaven! 

That was before I realized the real heaven had a price tag attached to it.

Before I knew Jesus paid the asking price:  EVERYTHING!

Before I understood that I don’t have to get even with anyone.

Before I knew the Scripture that says, “As much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone!”

Before.

I try. I really do. Some days the effort expended by holding back is exhausting, but I’m in the habit-forming business and building character takes practice.  Besides, I know Jesus is there in the mix and that he doesn’t want me to quit trying.

He doesn’t ever want me to quit trying to be more loving, more patient, more understanding, and more comforting.

Neither does He wish for me to rely on mock strength that comes from being quarrelsome, insistent, confrontational, or demeaning.

Retribution, can I take it?

Sure, I can, but it’s never, ever again going to taste as good to me as it once did. It can’t, because this transformation that is taking place inside of me won’t allow it.

Retribution tastes putrid to me these days, just as it should. 

I’m not in “this” to win it.

I’m in “this” to recognize that Jesus already did, and in Him I can find serenity enough to get me through the day without striking back.

Every day!

That’s what change is all about. That’s what it means to be transformed from the inside out.  The old has slipped away.  The new has come to stay!

When have you wanted to take vengeance on someone, but the hand of God stopped you dead in your tracks?  How has God taught you to carefully consider what is right in the eyes of others, as opposed to what is right in His sight?

Goals & meditation

I HAD THREE GOALS FOR THIS WEEK. THEY WERE…

1  Fasting at least twice this week and eating only veggies for lunch at least twice.

2  Get passport applications in the mail.

3  Ride the bike or walk three times this week.

000bike llHOW’D I DO?

Goal No. 1 GOOD! I met my goal for fasting this week, choosing to by-pass breakfast three times.  I ate only veggies for lunch one day, but the good news is that I ate a grilled chicken salad while others munched on pizza one day. That’s pretty good, right?

Goal No. 2 OKAY.  I found that I don’t need my marriage license to get my passport, but I do need my birth certificate. Mr and me have these certificates, but darn if we can find them.  No passports yet, so this one goes back on my list for another week.  I will get this done!!!  I’m determined!

Goal No. 3 YES!  I rode my bike this week, but I did not walk outside the house. I need to step it up a lil with this goal.  I had three late nights this week, followed by three early bed times.  I seriously came in the house, dropped my bags, and went to bed three times.  I was pooped.  Mr probably wonders if he did something wrong. Nope, I was just trying to get my ZZZs to keep up with daily demands.

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK

Because my goals are good goals at this point, and because I still haven’t gotten our passports, I have decided to go with a do-over for this week.  All the goals I had last week, I will again work on this week.  Yay!

WHAT I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT LATELY–MEDITATION AND HOW IT HELPS

I had a session with fretting this week.  A 4am session. I know, I know. What IS THAT ABOUT????!  The next morning, when I finally pulled myself out of bed I knew I needed to spend some time in prayer and meditation.  I did.  Out of that came this:

“No man is born either naturally or supernaturally with character, he has to make character.  Nor are we born with habits; we have to form habits…” 

“Drudgery is the touchstone of character. The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do.  Jesus took a towel…”

Finally, “We say we do not expect God to carry us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we did!”  — Oswald Chambers

What a wake-up call!  This devotional was both appropriate and relevant to this teeny tiny goal setting crusade I’m on!  Reading these snippets of the whole passage by Chambers helped me to balance out my angst and let go of some of that over-the-top expectation I have for myself.  The reading helped me to see that its okay that I’m not perfect, that my sharing isn’t always polished, and that I don’t have to impress with every interaction I enter into.  I know these things, but I also sometimes need to be reminded.  The morning after my 4am wake-up I was.  It was a new day.

Hallelujah, what a Savior.  Jesus is there when I need him, to rescue me from myself.  He’s good, all the time!!!

When has drudgery (or doing the same thing over and over again), been the touchstone of your character?  Were you born to your habits, or did you have to form them out of your experience, education, and optimism?

 

Reporting on my goals

ThreeGoals-Alternative

THREE TEENY TINY GOALS I SET OUT TO ACCOMPLISH LAST WEEK

1  Continue practicing my IF-ing plan, 2-3 days this week.

2  Bring back the balance in life by intentionally planning better with regards to fun, food, family, and the future. We go to get our passports tomorrow. Yippeee!

3  Walk at least 3 times this week.

HOW I DID!

No. 1 GREAT!  I was able to continue on with my IF-g experiment, fasting three times this week.  Twice at breakfast; once at dinner time.  Yay!

No. 2 OKAY!  I’m getting better at this planning for balance stuff, but still not all the way there. I think it is the planning part of planning for balance where I slip up, so I’ll rate my success with this goal a lil lower than I might have, had I tried harder.  ;0

No. 3 GOOD!  I say I did a good job at this goal because I didn’t really walk this week, but I did ride my bike.  I will consider that a win!!!   Woohoo!!!  I burned off several hundred calories with this effort, and that’s a good thing!

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK

1  I will continue on with IF-g my way through the week, fasting at least twice this week and eating only veggies for lunch at least twice.

2  I will try again to get my passports in the mail and plan my way to a balanced summer.

3  I will ride the bike or walk three times this week, hoping to enjoy the out-of-doors a lil more.

Well, there you have it-my three teeny, tiny goals for another week.

How’d you do with your goals?  What was the hardest one for you to achieve?

 

I Love me a good testimony!

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I love testimony times!  They might be the best times of all in church, if you ask me.  Who doesn’t want to hear about how Jesus is rocking out someone else’s life plan, or how they have found victory and courage through their association with the Lord?  Even when the testimony given is of a sad nature, or about a struggle someone continues to have, I love hearing it.  Raw, Real, Honest—bring it on!  This is life on life’s terms and I want to know how YOU are dealing with it, and what progress you are making as you lean in to God.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sermon too, but I love testimony time more!

I love testimony times because they hit all the prerequisites for communal sharing about our faith.  They are honest confessions, filled with real emotion, shared with others in love and hope, and no matter what is shared they almost always honor God.  There is the occasional person who doesn’t understand the basic of Testifying 101 and uses their time to blather on about nonsense, but I can handle that so long as I know the good stuff is on the way.

My biggest complaint about testimony time is that it doesn’t happen nearly enough!  I’m not sure why that is, but I suspect it’s about a lack of faith in congregations to stay focused.  Maybe it’s about not wanting to share the stage.  Or perhaps it has to do with timing, but what better way to share our time together than by sharing with one another the faith stories that encourage us all?

I’m always encouraged when I hear a good faith story, and I can’t imagine that others would not be.

All this to say if you are someone who has a good faith story, call me.  Email me.  Comment below.  Contact me and we’ll make a date and a time to share your story together. I want to know how God has blessed you in the struggles of this life. I want to know how you have been empowered to bless others through Him.  I want to know how you got over that last hurdle, and I want to know where your faith is resting regarding that one on the horizon. Tell me, tell me, tell me how being a Christian is the best thing ever, and how deciding to continue with the Lord has made all the difference! I want to know, hear, and share your excitement with you, so please tell me!

What amazing thing has Jesus been doing in your life in the last three months?  What makes testimony time special for you?