Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Woman of Peace

  • She has surrendered her life to God and she's not mad about it. She is learning to trust him with the outcome and, even beyond trust, she anticipates that His plan will be more exciting and better than she could have ever imagined.
  • She tends the hearts of those she loves. Petty details decline in value, Love matters more.
  • She is beginning to see what counts for eternity and gives her attention accordingly.
  • She is interruptible.
  • She looks into the eyes of neighbors and strangers and the goofy friends of her kids and sees the person who wants to be loved and valued and applauded.
  • She understands that life doesn't always turn out right and just about everything needs covered with forgiveness.
  • She is slow to mumble stupid words of discouragement.
  • She considers when it is appropriate to become angry.
  • She is way past appearances and pretense.
  • She surrounds herself with passionate contentment.
I read this last night from the book, A Beautiful Offering. I loved it and wanted to share it. I wrote it down because I want to never forget it. I want to strive to live it. I can think of one woman that comes close to living this, maybe not in every way, but definitely close, and I admire her for this.

I will share what a woman without peace looks like as well on another day. It is an impactful list that hit me hard.

God, give me peace. Change me. Amen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Clinging to Him

Tomorrow will mark the end of my six weeks and the goals that I had set out to complete by then. Unfortunately, I failed.

I did not read 4 books. I read 2 and a half.

I did not write 6 letters to friends and family. I wrote 2.

I did not run regularly. I think I ran 4 times total.

I did not learn many new words. I learned 1 that I can actually remember. Frenetic. I blame my frenetic life.

I did not floss everyday. Although I have done this goal best. I maybe missed a week total of flossing.

So maybe goals aren't my thing. Maybe actually having a goal is not what keeps me motivated. In fact maybe it does the exact opposite. Maybe goals are my thing. Maybe just not these goals.

I had actually set out to complete my goal of answering the writing prompts for a week and then last Wednesday they stopped sending them.

Maybe all of this is just an attempt to fill a purpose that I have yet to find. Maybe the reason I can't meet a goal is because I have been so desperately trying to meet the goal for my life. What is that you might ask?

My goal is to do whatever God's goal was for my life. And even though I haven't quite figured that out yet there is good news. God doesn't miss goals which means it is still there for me to find. He is taking me there one day, one step, one light at a time.

"for I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"-Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

15 Minutes...Go!

Today's post should have actually been yesterday's, but I let fear get in the way. Today I am feeling more bold.

“Books are the best of things, well used. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a writer, your only duty is to be original, to inspire, to put something new on paper. Don’t be reasonable – your job is to to fire up people’s imaginations, to give them permission to dream, and to lift their heads up to the incredible sight of the stars. They may forget what you wrote about – but they won’t forget how you made them feel.
It’s your turn now. Dream, be unreasonable and write what comes to you for 15 minutes.

This morning as I was driving into town my mind got to wandering about success. You see yesterday on the radio they were asking listener's to define what success meant to them. I had no interest, but today I was interested. As I was thinking about that very thought, I got to thinking about why I was interested in thinking that thought today and not yesterday when I was being prompted by the radio. This thought lead to the thought of rebellion.

I have never been much of a rebel. In my younger days I was far from a rebel. In recent days, I have found that I frequently want to do the exact opposite of what I am asked or expected to do. I am not sure why this is the case; as if I am trying to make some statement, because I am not. I just find that I want to do what everyone thinks I won't. Or is it that I want to do what I thought I couldn't do? From here I was lead down the path of leadership and what it meant to be a rebel and a leader. I got to thinking about people who hold leadership roles that do quirky things. I thought about the way that others respond to it. In my thoughts I found that when a person in a leadership role does something out of the ordinary, they are rarely criticized for this. In fact most of the time you will hear people say; "well that is just the way she is."

After that I thought about what kind of leader I wanted to be or whether I wanted to be a leader at all. Everyone wants to be a leader in some way. Leadership is fascinating. Some people are quiet leaders, while others are very charismatic. I have always enjoyed both types. There are things to appreciate about both and therefore I always find something I like in either one.

We were talking about this with the kids in church on Sunday. Be a leader! That is what we told them. Then as I was watching the video with the rest of the kids, the guy on the screen said something that hit me hard. He said a good leader follows God and listens well.

Not one time in this series did they say a good leader knows how to talk or acts well. No, that wasn't it at all. I was awe struck because for so many years I had put so much emphasis on making sure I was saying the right thing or acting in the right way in order to be a good leader. I never put much thought into listening well. We also learned that in order to be a good leader, you must be an even better follower...of Christ. I knew right then and there what I was missing if I ever wanted to be a good leader.

Now, I want to be a better follower and a better listener. I think there is a peace that exists in good leaders that are great followers. They aren't anxious, because they know their answers will come. They don't worry, they just trust.

In the end you can either worry or trust God. It is that simple. These were the words I received from God through a friend yesterday.

And this is what 15 minutes of writing looks like for me. Not revised, a bit scattered, and a lot of thought.

Try this exercise....Come back later for today's real post.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It Starts With You

Change Your Thinking by Maryellen Smith

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
At any given point in time, you’re only one thought away from changing your thinking. What thought can you change today?

Changing your thinking is a whole lot easier said than done. I mean with every thought that deserves changing there is always good intentions to do just that. The problem is the evil returns if it ever quit lingering and makes it hard to acquire new thought. Today though, I will change my body and self-esteem destroying thought. Today, I will change it to self-esteem lifting and positive body thought.

"Your thighs are not huge Sasha and you are beautiful whether you are wearing a 9 or 6. It really is the same number, just upside down. A number on jeans does not define you. Love yourself...even if it is only for today"

What thought can you change today?

p.s. I did not fail at my challenge. There are no prompts delivered over the weekend. This means I will continue my challenge through Friday of this week. But now can you see why this is hard?? It's not only deep thinking, but sometimes very revealing of your innermost thoughts!

Friday, July 15, 2011

In A World of Mockers, Original Wins

Original Thought by Michael Brajkovich

“The arts and inventions of each period are only its costume, and do not invigorate men.”

Think of the last time that you thought, said, or did something that was original. What inspired or invigorated this?

This morning I sang you are my sunshine to Zeb. Not original? Well the happy birthday verse that I included was ...and it made him smile at an early hour of the day that rarely sees a smile from his handsome face!

Happy Weekend Friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extraordinary Surroundings

Day 2
“Every artist was first an amateur.”

To be an artist one has to find beauty in ordinary things. Find 10 things of great beauty in the landscape that surrounds you. For example, crumple sheets on your bed in the morning, the smell of coffee making its way around a busy office.

I like that quote. :)

My landscape is my office. The ten things of beauty include....

1. The chatter in the front of the office. People are getting along :)
2. The sanitizer by my keyboard. It keeps my hands clean.
3. The cross that sits by my phone and reads Matthew 17:20. It makes me smile throughout the day.
4. The mousepad that is my family picture. It reminds me of my loved ones in Arizona.
5. The Pink cup. I love pink. I will never grow out of it.
6. The calculator that is also pink. I bought you at random but you have become a handy tool.
7. Zeb's business card that sits on my keyboard. I love him and the hard work he has put into becoming more.
8. My multiple calendars. I just counted 4 in my office. If I don't know the date something is wrong.
9. The low sounds of clicking and typing. Busy bees working away.
10. The chairs that sit on the opposite side of my desk. They remind me that I serve a purpose here in this little office. There are students that need me.

Be an artist today and appreciate the ordinary.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Overcoming Fears

In the very early days of June I came across a writing challenge being done at the Ralph Waldo Emerson site. It was a 30 day challenge to write everyday based off the prompt provided. These prompts were all meant to be based off his one piece of work title "Self-Reliance". At the time I hadn't read that, but I was intrigued by the challenge nonetheless. I signed up to receive these daily prompts in my inbox so I could participate. I could challenge my writing and my thinking. I could learn more about myself.

A week ago I was telling a friend about this challenge. This challenge had brought me to reading Self-Reliance and it had brought me to wanting to dig deeper. I told this friend that I was intimidated by the prompts. They dig deep. They ask hard stuff. They were kinda scary and so I never followed through with the challenge. I answered 2 prompts over the last month and that was because I thought they were ones I could handle. The rest went read and unanswered.

Yesterday I felt bold and decided that I was going to take on this challenge head first. Yesterday I decided that for a week I could handle these prompts and show THEM some intimidation. For a week I am going to answer these prompts that find their way into my inbox everyday. For one week, in some way, shape, or word, I am going to respond to these prompts. It may be in one word or many words, but I will at least address the thought at hand.

Today, this is hard. Today I am feeling less bold. Today is day 1...

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

What message is yearning inside you? What is something you know deep in your soul? Don’t look for someone else to describe it. You do it. Write it down. Write it as a poem, a sentence or even just a string of words. Just make sure you get it to paper.

Love is a tiny word with a sharp bite. It has profound meaning and depth.

Love is four individual letters that when combined in the right order can bring great responsibility.

Love stirs inside every heart in many different forms. It takes the shape of the owner. It is expressed with the individuality of the person.

Love can and will change your life when you allow it to lead. Where there is love there is hope.

Let love take control.

Love you.
Love them.
Love Him.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Being Vulnerable

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control"-Proverbs 25:28

"A reactor either spews emotion or masters the silent treatment. A responder gives the gentle answer."

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God"-Matthew 5:9

"When you decide to live out what you believe. When you decide you want peace in your possession, then you will find out what that looks like & feels like. You begin to pray for God to give you peace. You incorporate peace in your relationships. You decide to respond differently. You speak in love. Act in tenderness. You imitate what you know about peace until it becomes a reality for your character & your life."-A Beautiful Offering

"Our responsibility (as salt) is to make men & women thirsty (for God) because of our lives."

These were all things I needed to read this morning. Everyday I wake up with the desire to please God, serve God, and love God. Everyday I fail. How?

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." "Then the righteous will answer him 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'truly I tell you whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'-Matthew 25:35-40

Matthew states that whatever you do or don't do for anyone, you do or don't do for God. So when I hurt my friend with my words, I hurt the heart of God. When I am cold to people I barely know, I am cold to God. When I offer the silent treatment to my husband, I am being silent to God. I fail everyday.

Everyday I need his grace and mercy and forgiveness and faithfulness. I place my hope in Him, knowing that He will give me the power to change my unkind words, cold actions, and silence to life giving words, heart warming actions, and gentleness. Because without him I couldn't do it.

Without Jesus, I am only human, incapable of anything beyond this world.

"If you have faith nothing shall be impossible for you"-Matthew 17:20

Right now it feels impossible to change these behaviors of mine. It feels like I am justified in these actions and others should change themselves. But you see, God says YOU must change first and you can only do that through me.

This has been on my heart heavily for quite some time. Being hateful to others, even when I feel it is justified, hurts me worse in the end than it ever hurt the receiving person. I want the person that I am and my actions to reflect the desires of my heart. The number one desire of my heart is for people to see Jesus in me.

I am praying for a change. I am praying for humility, peace, love, kindness, gentleness, and self control to live in my heart. I am praying to be a gentle responder and not a harsh reactor. I am praying for God's power and word to overflow in my spirit to keep the enemy from reigning.

I want to bring the light to everyone and every place in my life in honor of Jesus.

 "But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Therefore, as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. And whatever you do, in words or deeds, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Colossians 3:8,12,15,17

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Fulfilling Life This Is

Tomorrow will mark 3 weeks since I started my goals for the summer of 2011. Here is an update of my progress.

I just completed my first book. Granted, it was almost 500 pages but that still puts me a little behind. That leaves me with 3 books to complete in the next 3 weeks! Challenge is on! Redeeming Love is an absolutely beautiful and emotional story. It is the story of a young girl sold into prostitution at the age of 8 and held in it for 10 years. Being bought and used was all she ever knew until one man walked into her life and refused to leave. He took the time to show her love, something she had never seen in its true fashion. It is also a story of forgiveness and God's unfailing mercy. I highly recommend it!

I have failed miserably on my running goal. I have ran one time since my goal was established. This makes me feel yucky, but it is a new month with new objectives. I will at least work out 5 days a week this month. I just bought a new workout video so we will see how this goes.

I have written 1 letter so far. I have 1 day left to write another one before my week starts over. I do plan to write that letter today. So letter receiver....get ready! p.s. I found an antique writing desk last week that I really, really want!! Now if I could only find a way to convince Zeb of my need for it.

I think I have only missed a few days on flossing. I am most proud of this goal because it is something I have wanted to be more consistent in for a long time and I think I officially am. I actually don't like not flossing now. This is a big step!

My final goal was to learn 1 new hobby. Rather, than a hobby I have taken on the task of learning new words. This was in an effort to expand my vocabulary, assist in my writing that I hope to continue to do more of, and prepare for the GRE that I will one day take again if and when I go back for my PhD or in my case most likely my EdD. My most recent learned word was frenetic. Do you know what it means without looking it up? "She decided to decrease her weekly commitments to make her life less frenetic." :)

Make some goals this month. It is a great step to living a more purposeful life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Proud to be American

"Hey Mr. Wilson! I am sleeping at your joint!"-Can you name it??



..............Dennis the Menace!

Oh how I love this movie. Zeb and I watched it last night and it was awesome! Just like every other time I have watched it. My dear friend Tara and I once watched this movie everyday for a week. It was just as good every time. We then proceeded to shout random lines of the movie at each other frequently while others stared in bewilderment. I love that and miss that. Come visit Tara!

4th of July is Monday and we are headed to the lake for the weekend. I am beyond excited for this. It will be the first time I have actually gone somewhere with friends on a holiday EVER! I was not like most young adults that took Spring Breaks or Summer Breaks with friends...although looking back on it now I wish I had a little more. Nonetheless I am excited to do that this weekend. Just a weekend full of 5 other couples, a lake, sunshine, fireworks, a cabin, and fun! I love the 4th of July more than any other time of the year. I am a tad on the patriotic side...ok a lot on the patriotic side. But here is the thing, if we as Americans don't stand by OUR country, then who will? Nothing ever goes perfect, much like an organization, friendship, or relationship; but you don't give up on it and you certainly don't abandon it. Unfortunately, that is a lesson many don't stand by today. Support your country folks! Ok I am off my soap box. I just love the appreciation for our country on that day and the gathering of people that it screams for.

Happy Red, White, and Blue friends! God Bless the USA! Be Safe!