Missed Opportunities

I feel guilty today.

Let me tell you why.

On Sunday we had a dessert auction at church. Proceeds from the sale benefited a missions group that will be traveling to Haiti at the end of the month.

Woohoo! I love missions and I’m excited for this group.

Dessert Auctions are awesome!!!

The desserts that were offered at this auction all looked delicious. Most were home made! We bought two pans of brownies. Ummm, chocolatey goodness in a pan. They were extra rich and extra chocolatey, and oh, so yummy. I brought one pan to work with me today, and they are quickly being mowed down.

Delicious!!!

We had fun at the auction.

The monies raised will go to a good cause.

We all did this together, and it’s always nice to unite together in purpose for a good cause.

Everything should have been fine and dandy regarding this event, but there was snag.  A wrinkle in my time while there.

You see, there was a gramma and her grand-daughter sitting at the table behind us at the auction.  My back was to them where I was seated and I didn’t see what they were up to during the auction, but someone else did.

In the fun and excitement that was the auction process, this grandma bid on a dessert, but she was outbid. I’m not sure how many times this happened, and I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure the child went away from the church without dessert.

When I found out about gramma being outbid at the auction, I felt sad.

I wished I had been clued into the situation sooner than I was. We had two (count them, two), pans of brownies at our table.  We could have easily given one of them to this family and still had plenty for ourselves. We didn’t need any, but we wanted to help the mission team meet their goal.

The problem is, I think I might have missed God’s bigger goal in the process of meeting a small goal.

I remember another time when Mr and me took our grands to a dessert auction. The older grand asked me when he could eat some dessert, and when I tried to explain that we couldn’t eat whatever yummy dessert we saw on display, he didn’t understand. Every church supper he’d ever attended before this, dessert was FREE for the asking. Why not now?

It’s hard to explain these things to kids.

Let me be clear here, I am not faulting anyone or anything but me for missing this opportunity.  I only wish I hadn’t missed my opportunity to share my brownies with a lil girl who got lost in the hustle and bustle of things.

Next time, I hope I will have eyes to see need on a bigger scale.

Next time…

Have you ever missed an opportunity to do something good and regretted it afterward? How do you make sure you see the immediate needs, without losing sight of the long-range goals in life?

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Hebrews 10

000HebrewsToday I begin my week long goal of reading inspirational stuff while concentrating on God’s power as I read.  I began my goal with Hebrews 10 this morning. What a read!  Wonderfully inspiring!!

Some insights from Paul’s letter:

The old plan, that plan that hinged on humanities ability to follow directions and do the next right thing–yeah–it wasn’t enough. Man doesn’t follow directions very well, and so another plan was needed.  It was empowering to realize that God considered that old plan a “shadow” of the new.  Think for a minute on that concept.  How can a shadow fall before its principle has appeared?  Only God knows these things, but I think they speak to His power over His creation.

It was wise to carve this second plan on the hearts of men, instead of stone tablets.  Putting stone tablets in the hands of a few men is not nearly so effective as putting them on the hearts of all men. Besides, if you entrust the men of this age to impart the mind of God, options are pretty limited for who could be entrusted with such glory.  Confusion and diversity seem to trump holiness and surrender these days, but not for all.  Some still seek God in the midst of this foggy environment.  It’s good that they have the Truth in their hearts, and don’t have to depend on others to supply it. That way, no matter where we are, we have a direct pipeline to Truth as soon as we seek to know it.

Regular and practiced sacrifice is good, but a cleansing for all time is better–the best!

Worship with our fellows is important; more important than ease, entertainment, or ego.

If we turn out backs on the grace Christ brought us, we leave ourselves in a tough spot. We cannot, never could, never will be able to save ourselves.  We are flawed by our disobedience, leaving us with only one path to purity–Jesus!

Its no light matter to turn our backs on the most powerful Creator. Not smart! 

Real treasure doesn’t exist in the accumulation of things.  In fact, having too much is slavery and poverty of the greatest degree.  All we really need is the Lord, and if we seek Him first, all other needs will come to us by His hand and in His time.

Cutting and running, not an option for the redeemed.  He expects us to stand and deliver! We serve the God of the Harvest–He’s always looking for the return on investment. Maybe that’s why we are also always looking for that return and when we don’t see it, we become angry, like Him.  Difference: we are puny. He is strong.

Quitters never win, but winners never quit!!  We are winners as we remain faithful.

How strong is your God? How safe?  How capable?  How holy?

ThreeGoals-AlternativeIt’s Thursday again, and time to report on my three goals from last week.

I did well with goal number 1:  Eating oatmeal every day and exercising for five minutes first thing in the morning.

I ate oatmeal five out of seven days this week; having eaten a bagel one day when I was lazy, and having chosen to fast one day, when I wasn’t hungry.  I’m learning to hear what my body is saying about hunger and that feels good.

My other goals (2 and 3) were to contact doc for appt and get a script for a blood draw.  Doc sent my script, but I have not yet gotten the blood draw. He advised making appointment after the draw was done, so that is still pending.

AT THIS POINT:

At this point, I am beginning to feel like the exercise thing in the morning is really taking hold as a developed habit.  When I wake up, I sometimes say to myself, “Self, its time to do those exercises, like it or not.”  Other times I say, “Self, let’s start solid today.  Exercise for five minutes. You can do this! You’re gonna feel so much better when you’re done!”  It all depends on the day, or rather the lack of sleep the night before and how my body feels that morning, whether or not I am excited or reluctant to do those exercises, but I have done them every day, save one, since I started including them on my goal list.

Woohoo, a goal list helps!

Teeny, tiny is the way to go with these goals, so right now I will stay at five minutes for my morning exercises.  My goal is to ultimately get to thirty minutes each morning. I’m working toward ten minutes in the morning in the near future, but for now I am more concerned that the goals be teeny and achievable, than that I do that ten minutes.

What are my goals this week?

  1.  I will eat right and exercise this week, following the food plan and exercise routine I have talked about previously. Nothing new here, move on…

2.  I will spend five to ten minutes each morning reading something uplifting and thinking about how much power God has, and how often I forget that.  This week I will be leaning in to Him with more conscious awareness of His power and how it can energize my faith, my service, and my passions.

3.  At some point during each day I will ask my mate:  “What are you concerned about?”  After asking the question, I will listen and offer no advice or feedback other than a hug or a word of encouragement about how much I trust God to direct him to the places He wants him to be in life.  This goal will be about “connecting” with my partner in life, and not directing his life–big difference.

Well, there you have them–my three teeny, tiny goals for this week.  I know God is going to do some amazing things through this list. I will be printing these out and posting them in the bathroom, where I can see them all week long.

If you read this list this week, and you know me, hold me to what I’ve written here, okay?  It’s fine to check in once or twice this week with me to see how it’s going. Actually, I would love the support your checking in would provide.  Any prayers you might want to say on my behalf are also appreciated.

What are your three teeny, tiny goals this week?  Will you print them out and be accountable to someone for achieving them? 

Things Go Better When We Do Them Together

I challenged one of my favorite writer friends to write on this topic today:  Things go better when we do them together.

150 words or less.

000child sleepingHere’s my version.

Things go better when we do them together.

I have two grandsons who are age four and six, respectively. They are silly boys. They are active boys. They are inquisitive boys and they are my joy. Whenever they are around, they offer me the chance to see the world through their eyes–a decidedly different perspective than I could ever hope to have without them and I love it.

I’ve wanted to be a granna since I was fifteen; almost as long as I’ve wanted to be a writer.

Today, I get to be both. Yipee!

Last night I had the privilege of laying down with my youngest grandson while he tried to get to sleep. As he wrapped little arms around my neck and ran little fingers through my hair on his way to dreamland, I thought, “It doesn’t get much better than this!”

 

Goals and Simplicity

My aim is to live a simple life, full of joy.

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Today, I want to share with you an update re: my teeny, tiny goals for this week, but before I do that I want to give a shout out to a fellow blogger who had some great things to say about simple living over the weekend.

Over at All About Healthy Choices I found an article that I thought expressed perfectly what that simple and joyful life can look like.  I hope you’ll give it a read this morning. Let me know what you think.

As for my goals, every day I am finding it easier to make teeny, tiny changes to my routines.

Remember: My take on habit is that it can either help or hinder in unconscious ways.  I need to be about the work of developing good habits, while at the same time quitting bad ones, if I want to change my life for the better.  I’m therefore working to develop routines that will help me do certain things without putting too much effort or thought into what I’m doing.

Why am I doing this? Two reasons:  I’m lazy, and I’m too much the critic. 

I am.

I’m lazy when it comes to planning and prepping, and I over think my process many times.  That means that organizing my thoughts and making my body do what my mind knows is beneficial often becomes extremely hard when I want it to be easy.

I crave easy.

I want that gentle path.

I desire a gradual slope.

I want effortless.

Life is not effortless.  Anyone who says differently is lying. But, good habits make daily living less strenuous, so that’s the direction I am headed as I work to live a more simple life.

I am convinced HABIT is the key to simplicity, but not just any habits; my habits need to be good habits, consistently applied.

Wish me luck as I continue on with my experiment.

Now for the update:  I have been focusing this week on making it a habit to eat what I need to eat, while allowing others to eat what they choose to eat.  I too often get distracted with what others are eating, paying less attention to what I need to eat to stay healthy, and more attention to what they are enjoying, although it may be the exact opposite of what I need. This leads me down wrong paths. I’m also focusing on staying positive in my thought patterns about the changes I need to make. A positive attitude makes good things happen quicker and easier.

The truth is, there are certain things my body can handle and others it cannot. I need to choose well and be consistent in those choices. 

So far this week’s teeny, tiny goals are helping me eat the right breakfast every day, exercise every day, and pay attention to what I am supposed to eat, every day.  Yay!

What habit do you have, that you wish you could change?  What teeny, tiny thing are you willing to do today to create a better life tomorrow?

Enough

I read a blog posted by Simple Living Over 50 today, and I wanted to share it with my readers.  It’s a review of the book, Stuffocation.

000Stuffo_US_Border

I haven’t read the book, but I can relate to owning too much stuff.

I think “stuff” is getting in the way for a lot of us. 

This week, our church is hosting a rummage sale and our family is donating a bunch of “stuff” to the effort.  It’s kinda funny how it works. Many who are working the sale or donating to it will end up taking home some of the “stuff” they find at the sale, even as they are taking their “stuff” to the sale.

I love this event, and I love getting rid of my unused, gently used, almost-never-used stuff.  I don’t recycle much, but with the good stuff, I do donate.  It’s a kind of recycling that makes my heart glad.

If you’ve read the book, Stuffocation, please leave me a comment here.  Tell me what you think? Sounds like a great read to me, which is why I wanted to reblog what I had read today and ask you if you knew anything about the book.

Do you have too much stuff?  Why are you keeping it?  Whats the attachment for you?  Do you think your life would be better if you could let go of a lil bit of your “stuff”?

Liars Gonna Lie

Dealing with liars leaves me conflicted.

Am I supposed to allow them to lie to me, unchallenged?

Am I supposed to confront them with their lies?

If I try to gently restore them to the truth, how exactly would I go about doing that?

I know I should pray for them.

I keep hearing I’m supposed to hate the sin, but love the sinner.  I’m working on that.  I sense that I need to separate my feelings about their behavior from any actions I take, but that’s HARD to do.

I’m  not gonna lie to you, I have a problem with liars.

I have a problem respecting liars.

I have a problem with being a liar sometimes. Ugh!

It’s true: I am not always completely honest with others.  Brutal honesty doesn’t appeal much to me.  In fact, I’m not sure that I ever want to develop a taste for that kind of interaction with others.

Does that make me a liar?  Hmmm…

I, like others, find social convention demands I interact with grace in public situations, which sometimes means I cannot be completely honest in my impressions of and sharing with others.  A good thing, I think.  Certainly I feel it is a blessing when they are not completely honest with me about every impression they have of me.  Heavens, who wants to hear every thought someone else has about them?  Scary!

Let me say pretty emphatically that I think telling lies as a means of shielding one’s self from consequences in life is wrong.  It’s sin to me.  But do I believe that in every case, all the time?

Think Corrie Ten Boom. Think the Hiding Place. Is it wrong to lie to those who would take the truth I would tell them and hurt others because of it?

So many variables, and so much danger in granting ourselves too much wiggle room!

I am of the Wesleyan persuasion regarding how I approach faith and sin. That means I define sin as a deliberate act of rebellion connected to a known principle, rule, or command from God.  I see sin as willful disobedience…akin to the plot the religious leaders entered into when they colluded with Judas to betray Jesus and then handed him over to the Roman government to be beaten, murdered, and removed from public view.  They knew what they did was deliberate, hateful, and wrong (sin), but they did it anyway, because they “needed to/wanted to/had to” maintain the status quo so as to shield their reputations and power bases.  Easter having just passed, this act of rebellion (sin) is fresh in my mind, and therefore easily called upon to make my point.

While doing research today, I found some interesting food for thought on the Wesleyan definition of sin.  Maybe you’d like to check it out, especially if you are not Wesleyan and have never understood how they handle sin inside the confines of their faith journeys.  The writer of that post is Keith Drury, a VIP in Wesleyan circles and someone who can pretty much be depended upon to understand the Wesleyan definition of sin and communicate it to the public in trustworthy ways.

My problem:  Determining what is deliberate deceit, and what is a subconscious behavior that is so deeply mired in denial that it is not readily understood as deliberate by the one who uses it to get along in life.

For instance: Someone regularly withholds information from others (friends, family, co-workers), in order to maintain control over these others, and/or avoid fights or anger levied at them when they make “promises” they are unable to later keep.  Is that deliberate sin, or a bad habit?

Or this:  Someone regularly omits information until the timing is right for them to reveal it.  They are looking for an advantage in their communications, but not in a conscious way.  They have learned to watch what they say and limit their comments to times when tempers are less likely to flare.  I can see how this pattern would develop when one lives with an abuser, addict, or an alcoholic.  I can easily see this as a habit developed unwittingly. Not deliberate.

I guess I believe some people have been so shaped by life and their interactions with others that they lie pretty easily, and without realizing how insidious a sin it is or how much it hurts others who trust them to tell the truth.

I could go on and on talking about this today, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what I ought to say and when I ought to say it/share it/reveal it, to want to avoid investing massive amounts of my time dissecting others lies and trying to figure good motives for why they devise them.  When they lie to me, though, that’s different. Then, I am ready to dig in my heels and fight the good fight to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

To be certain, separating the dirty liars from the accidental or occasional liars is hard work, in my opinion.

I want to close this epic post with these words from The Bible, that I was led to consider after a conversation with a friend today.  I think this is relevant to my inner dialogue regarding lying.

“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.  And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”  Jude 1:20-23  [emphasis, mine. ljh]

When have you found it hard to hate the lies, but love the liars?  Do you ever withhold information in an unconscious way?  Under what circumstances do you think it would be right to consciously withhold “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

More than dollars and cents

000dollars and cents

Matt came across a comic strip that he shared with me last week–advice from Bill Waterson, in comic book form.

Pretty good stuff, if you ask me!  Check it out.

If you like Calvin & Hobbs, you’ll like this.

Life is about more than dollars and cents.  Amen?!