the path of progress

As we finish up 2011, many of us will take a few minutes to reflect on the events of this year & possibly consider some plans / thoughts for 2012.  Sometimes its easy to get stuck on the past, but something that helps me to keep moving forward is to be thankful – thankful for the events that have helped me grow, thankful for the relationships that have encouraged me to love more genuinely, thankful for the achievements that couldn’t have happened without God’s help & more! 

Another thing that helps me to grow is to not always think of the massive projects that I want to accomplish, but to rather think of things in smaller sizes.  I most certainly have REALLY BIG DREAMS in my heart & if I’m not careful, the size of these dreams can be overwhelming.  But when I consider these dreams on a day-by-day basis, making little steps toward these dreams on a daily basis, they’re not so overpowering.  Indeed, perhaps the journey is equally as important to God as the destination.  Happy New Year!!

a good laugh

I was recently reading about Abraham & I was pleasantly surpised to notice that when the angel spoke to Abraham about having a son in his old age, he literally fell to the ground laughing!!  And when Sarah heard that she would carry a baby in her very old age, she also busted out laughing!  Both parents had a good laugh at what seemed totally impossible, but what was also probably the biggest desire in their lives.  Perhaps they had been disappointed when year after year, Sarah never became pregnant until it seemed to be too late.  Maybe the only reply that they had left to their decades of disappointment was to laugh at what seemed to be absurd. 

Nevertheless, God is faithful to His promises even when they seem impossible & Sarah became pregnant.  Its completely funny to recognize that God’s name for their son was Isaac, which means laughter  .  The decades of disappointment had been replaced with laughter for everyone.  Please be encouraged that God is faithful to His promises even when they seem impossible.  Maybe one day, you’ll look at the impossible & laugh with faith, knowing that nothing is impossible with God.

mental hygiene

My kids have their bi-yearly dentist check up next week & we will hopefully be cavity-free.  I know that the hygienists will ask them if they floss & brush daily & my kids will answer with mixed results.  As adults, most of us have probably already been down the dental hygiene road & appreciate the importance of regular brushing & flossing <– this video is CRAZY FUNNY!!!🙂

I think, however, that we might want to consider not only the hygiene for our teeth, but also the hygiene for our thoughts.  Personally, when my thoughts begin to go down dark alleys, the consequences are very negative for the ABCs in my life (attitude, behavior & conversations).  Paul tells us in 2 Cor 10:5 that we should take captive every thought that tries to lift itself higher than the knowledge of Jesus in our lives.  Let’s be sure to make our thought life surrender to Jesus’ Lordship.

Perhaps mental hygiene is even more important than dental hygiene  – but don’t tell my kids until after next week ,)

ever been mad or disappointed w God???

Now that’s a loaded question with all kinds of implications.  I think that some people won’t allow themselves to be mad or disappointed with God for fear of being disrespectful.  Other folk go so far as to totally alienate any contribution or participation from God in their lives because of their anger, hurt or disappointment with God.  Is there a healthy middle point?  Can a person be angry, frustrated, hurt, disappointed with God but still keep their relationship withHim?

If you’re in this difficult spot, it can be helpful to read Job to see how he dealt with his anger, hurt & disappointment with God.  Here are a few things I’ve learned from Job when it relates to being angry or disappointed with God:

  • being honest with God is a necessary ingredient for intimacy with God
  • stay engaged – withdrawing or pulling away from God hurts you and is a dead end
  • give God plenty of space & time to respond to you
  • be willing to adjust, repent & change
  • arrogance undercuts any constructive dialogue with God

rejuvenate

 I find that its really important to have times to rejuvenate & perhaps these few days are for exactly that purpose.  Like virtually everyone else, it seems like December is normally packed to the gills with activities, festivities, parties, obligations & general frenzied demands.  But after Christmas, there seems to be an accepted pause or exhale.  For me, this break in activity is very rejuvenating.  It helps me to have some space & time to think, listen, be still, enjoy my family, sleep, read, cook simple things, talk long w best friends and stay warm under a heavy blanket. 

I know that soon enough, the pace will again commence & I’ll get back into the regular groove & routines.  But for this time to pause, I’m thankful.  Furthermore, perhaps when we take time to “sharpen the saw” maybe our work efforts will be more effective & less arduous 😀

celebrate the past :)

 Now that we’ve come through the Christmas season, it seems like its common to reflect on the various events of 2011 & with this reflection, you might find yourself taking a longer trip down memory lane.  Maybe you remember some of your failures & shortcomings (times when you hurt someone or tried something new that turned out awful).  Or better, maybe you remember some of your past victories & successes (like seeing John Elway on the Bronco’s sideline watching Tim Tebow).  Perhaps you remember some of the pains that have happened to you from the past (letting that forgiveness exercise continue to work through you).  Whatever our past has been, with failures, pains & successes, its good to celebrate the past.  Such celebration is important so that we don’t get trapped in thinking that our past is better than our future, nor quagmired in the error that our past controls our present.  Furthermore, celebrating our past is a great way to acknowledge that we all change, grow & get better.  While I may not be where I want to be in my life, at least I’m not where I was ,)

The Endless Gift

We opened Christmas presents this morn & it’s always a blast to watch the kids get so ramped up about plaid bath robes & beaver slippers 🙂 But we know that soon enough, the new-ness buzz wears off & perhaps this Summer I’ll find one of the beaver slippers in the sandbox in the back yard.
One of the things I love about Jesus is that He’s always new & I am continually discovering wonderful things about Him that cause my wonder & awe for Him to always stay fresh. I pray that your awareness & awe of Jesus stays fresh throughout each day. Jesus is the ultimate Endless Gift. Merry Christmas!!

Christmas plans & cooking

 We are coming to the close of the  Christmas  season & it seems to me that we all do Christmas in our own unique ways – which is cause to celebrate!  Thankfully, I changed a few of my normal habits so that this year has less stress than preceding years (normally, I procrastinate package wrapping because this is the one task I totally HATE, for various reasons).  Anyways, this year we had a wrapping party, so that atrocity has been overcome ,)

I’m now putting my brain into the cooking mode, since today & tomorrow will be filled w food prep.  Here are some things that we’ll be cooking (my daughter is helping me):

  • breakfast:  2 savory bread puddings (spinach / artichoke and ham, cheese & sun dried tomatoes) – I think these hold great promise ,)
  • meats:  turkey & ham
  • veggies:  sweet potato casserole ala’ Isabell & green beans
  • salads:  green salad & my mom’s infamous black cherry jello
  • chorizo stuffing (my husband’s favorite)
  • desserts:  pecan pie & peach cobbler

So what do you cook & how do you celebrate Christmas???

We are having lots of people over, but the whole point of all of this cooking, preparation, celebration, et. al, is 100% due to Jesus’ birth – indeed, the most noble of all events to celebrate.  Merry Christmas!!

perspective

 Perspective has alot to do with our decisions & attitudes.  Here’s an example:  one of my kids just told me that they’re bored.  When I suggested that we could skip the Christmas break & head back to school, they were suddenly “un-bored”.  Lots of things are a matter of perspective.  Along this line, I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to think about things from God’s point of view, based on Biblical insights:

  • How does God see the things with which I struggle in my life?
  • What is God’s perspective on the way I treat my mate?
  • What does God think / feel about how I interact with my kids?
  • What does God think about how I behave on my job?
  • What things / values are important to God?
  • How does God “feel” about the way I use my time, money & energies?

If you want to get to know someone really well, you have to do your best to understand things from their point of view.  This takes time, intentionality, honor & humility.  Getting to know someone else’s perspective tells them that they are important to you, that their values are significant & that they matter in your life.  Getting to know God’s point of view is a noble adventure, worthy of our focus & energies 🙂

I messed up :(

I hate it when I mess up & the bigger that I mess up, the more sick I get to my stomach. I hate it when I blow it & I’ve had my share of shortcomings & mistakes. I’ve been disrespectful to my husband (and repented), I’ve been insensitive w my words & hurt my friends, I’ve made selfish decisions & been called on the carpet for being selfish, and there are many more areas where I’ve messed up.
But here’s my encouragement for us: when Lot had messed up & was living in Sodom & having a conversations w God’s angels, they took him by the hand & let him away from destruction. There have been innumerable times when God has taken me by my hand & let me out of destruction. When this happens, I’m always humbled, grateful & my relationship w God always gets deeper & stronger. Be encouraged that when you mess up, God can take you by your hand & lead you out of destruction 🙂