family life, journey, judgment, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

Millennials make us uncomfortable… (That’s why I love them…)

marketing-to-millennials

I was talking with a colleague recently about a vision I had to start a unique think tank of sorts. I expressed my desire to acquire a building where people from various generations could rent space for events, or utilize office space for their daily business activities. I continued explaining how awesome it would be to hear the ideas of Millennial Creatives, then have more seasoned professionals act as their coaches. The older, more experienced generation would help them to add sound infrastructure to the businesses they envisioned. The person quickly responded, “I don’t do Millennials, they don’t like hard work”!

As I to listened to him, I’m sure I had a look of incredulity on my face that was perplexing to him. You see, I am a Baby Boomer to the core; not the hippie Woodstock kind of Boomer, I am a traditionalist. I love rules. They make me feel safe. My friend knows this about me.  Yet, the Millennial generation are some of my favorite people in the world. They are courageous and innovative. They take risks. They dream, and dream big. Some wonder if they are all talk and no action. I’m sure my friend wondered why I would ever want to do business with men and women of this generation.They bring discomfort to our need for a steady existence. They tend to shake up the norms that we have come to embrace in business.

My mother retired from the Federal Government after working for over 30 years. The image of my grandfather receiving his gold watch and pension from Sears Roebuck Department Store, is a vivid and proud memory for me. The family that raised me taught me to find a good job, work hard, and retire with a good pension. That was the way I intended to live my life as well. However, when I entered the workforce, the world was changing. New and creative opportunities were on the horizon. Staying on one job, doing the same thing for 30 years or more was horrifying to me. In some cases that kind of tenure was not even an option.  I like many of my peers, I received promotions by moving from job to job waiting for someone to recognize my talents and offer me a job that they thought would be right for me. Management of my career was passively given into the hands of others.

Having children that are now Millennial young adults has changed my life. When I was raising them, I thought that they would be traditional people too. I tried to steer them into traditional fields. I wanted them to have careers that would keep them “safe”. I was passing onto them what had been passed on to me. But my children wanted no part of what I was offering. They had visions and dreams. Dreams that they dare to walk in every day. They are artists, musicians, graphic designers, writers, filmmakers, and anything else they dare to be and do. They are all very successful leaders. They may not always feel successful, but they are. Moment by moment, they embrace their unique personalities and talents. When they were children, I taught them about different learning styles and how everyone was created with a different “bent”. I taught them that all of the different learning types and temperaments have value. They believed me. They are walking that truth out in their lives every day.

In the community where I serve, the Millennial members are often the most creative and productive people among us. They work very hard. To many onlookers, it may not look like they are not working hard because they work differently. They actually love what they do and have fun doing it. They make us feel uncomfortable because we don’t always understand their process. They come up with the most innovative ideas as they are tossing a ball back and forth joking and laughing among one another. Although they experience stress in their lives, for the most part they keep moving. Many don’t have long term plans; they plan as they go.  This is not their fault, it is the times that they were born into. They have been forced to become possibility thinkers. The fact that they succeed and fail, then do it all again the next day inspires me. They are a resilient, hopeful group. This is why I love them.

family life, journey, Rest, Uncategorized, weather

Todays Forecast…Snow…

2013-02-06-sne-snow-map-02-08

In the middle of the latest snow storm which brought us 14 inches of snow, I couldn’t help but laugh as I thought about a few of my former blog posts. In September I wrote about how the marketing moguls attempt to rush us through the months, initiating Christmas in September.

Last month I wrote about how various advertisers continue this process by telling us what to eat, when to eat it, and how to lose the pounds when we’ve eaten too much. One way or the other, there are grand plans to get us to buy bathing suits in February and to go on diets so that we can fit into the bathing suits during the upcoming summer. Just when they thought they had us hyped and ready to buy…God de-planned their plan!

With this winter already bringing us over 53 inches of snow (with more to come…), the retailers were forced to go back into their warehouses to find more winter hats and gloves, and other winter accessories to accommodate the demand of the consumer. Despite all of the best laid plans of mice and men, it is God’s purpose that prevails. (Prov. 19:21) I love to see God shows up people who think they have it all figured out! (myself included…:))

Let it Snow…Let it Snow…Let it Snow!almaty-intro-snowscape-1-1

Wait!!!! Don’t stop reading!!! I know that some of you may feel like I just cursed you or used some other form of illicit language!:) Now it is true, I happen to love Snow. I know that it can be a pain in the neck on a lot of different levels. It can greatly alter our schedules, it causes great damage to our roads.

Potholes are are the worst! I have first hand evidence to this fact because of two tires that were destroyed by a snow caused pothole to the tune of $350.00! I know that the elderly and others who have trouble navigating ice and snow, get tired of being homebound. But stay with me a moment while I explain why I love snow.

11403265-running-people-vector-illustrationAlways on the Run…

We live in a time when schedules, jobs and other activities drive our lives and make us become driven people. Although there is nothing inherently wrong about having drive and ambition, being a driven person is something different altogether. Driven people often miss the little  nuances of life.

We run from one task to the next and miss opportunities to connect with one another. Connecting affords us time to really listen to whats going on deep down inside. We tend to listen more closely to the hopes and dreams that often go unspoken when we pass like ships in the night. The other reason that I like it is because it reminds me that we (humans) are not in control! It forces us to slow down and reflect. The grocery stores are swamped with people buying food that will be eaten together as we all hunker down and wait for the roads to be cleared. Meals that may have been eaten on the run if the weather was more favorable to travel.

Many of us see being busy and on the go as a sign that we are productive and successful. When we are constantly on the go, doing what society dictates as important, we often miss the still small voice inside of us; the voice that has to do with our Ephesians 2:10 purpose. We forget that we are each an individual masterpiece, created for a very unique and special purpose. We just need to learn that it is ok to be still. In other words…Chill...

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

The next time the snow falls over night (and it is coming :)), take time to notice the stillness of the morning. The hustle and bustle of cars and people are in submission to the freshly fallen snow. I wonder if we can learn the same submission to the God who made the snow?

Friendship, journey, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

Sweatin’ with the Oldies…

sweat1 

Before the Insanity exercise craze, before boot camp, palates and Yoga fitness was popular, there was a man name Richard Simmons. Baby Boomers all over the world know him well. He was one of the first to introduce the concept that exercise and the sweat that is produced as a result, could be fun. Out of this concept came his very successful, Sweatin’ to the Oldies series. What a great idea! Dancing to familiar, beloved songs and burning calories at the same time.

As I laid awake 3:00 in the morning, dripping wet without having exerted any energy at all, I began to think about how I could have my own DVD series or TV show, but I would call it,“Sweatin’ with the Oldies! The shows concept would be based on the Titus 2 concept of teaching women how to walk out their hormonal journey together, on purpose and having fun in the process.

There is really something comedic about how for no apparent reason you wake up in the middle of the night and wake the person sleeping next to you as you swoosh the covers off and on as you alternate between hot and cold, finally ending up looking like a wet dog that someone  has just sprayed with a garden hose. Your freshly styled hair dripping wet completing the Shaggy Dog motif.

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Hormones are a very real part of the journey of women, young and old. ( Men have hormonal issues as well… But that’s for another discussion) 🙂 When not properly educated regarding these things, hormones and the roller coaster effects they have on women can be a bit intimidating. When your heart starts to race for no apparent reason, we are sure that a heart attack is not far behind. So many symptoms, so little time.

Although reading about these things is certainly helpful, there is nothing like connecting with another women who has been where you are going. Like planning a great vacation, they can tell you all about the special places not talked about in the vacation brochures. A Titus 2 woman who is committed to listening and sharing is invaluable.

Older women teaching younger women to live wisely and pure…

Titus 2:5

When I was a young woman, I used to pray that God would send me an older woman who would talk with me, listen to me, and laugh with me – to tell me that it would all be fine in the end. I wanted someone to tell me that the crazies of my life were all a part of the journey.

From the onset of menses, to the post menopausal period, woman need one another. We can help each other by sharing stories and strategies to get through our various seasons with humor and dignity, never apologizing for who we are in the moment, but always striving to get better.

The bible says, two are better than one  –  Ecc. 4:9

As far as night sweats go, I’ve made a decision that I don’t want to go there anymore.

Only day sweats please… Preferably on the beach, with a cool glass of iced tea!

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family life, journey, trust

The Clutter Conundrum

co·nun·drum [kuh-nuhn-druhm]- confusing or difficult problem or question)

Cluttered House

“Let all things be done decently and in order.”
1 Corinthians 14:40

This may be a verse that we have heard or spoken on many occasions. It is something that we tend to say when we are trying to get it right. We say we dislike confusion, yet the truth is many of us function rather comfortably in it everyday. We may not intentionally create confusion; however, many of our daily choices seem to land us smack dab in the midst of chaotic situations.
A BIG MESS!
Clutter can show up in a variety of places in many different forms. It is a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. Although physical clutter is what people talk about the most, the truth of the matter is the excess junk is often just a symptom of something much deeper going on inside of us. Longings that distract us and cause us to chase after the next thing, person or situation that will make us feel better, more content with our selves and our lives. The problem is not necessarily in the fact that we long for new things, God’s mercies are new every morning. We are new creations created in Christ Jesus; however, when you mix the old with the new and leave it all laying around together, it becomes a big mess.
House Cleaning
IT’S SPIRITUAL…
I have found in my own life that mind clutter, situational clutter, and relational clutter are great enemies of my soul. Ultimately all of these various forms of clutter stem from what I call “Spiritual Clutter.” Spiritual Clutter occurs when we collect and hoard the great things that we have learned about God and his ways. We hear a good sermon, listen to a wonderful worship song, talk to a Godly friend and find momentary encouragement, but we ultimately leave the truth that we have learned lying around in an untidy mess. We’ve heard our Pastor say that we must renew our minds. Developing relationships that are healthy and edifying is something that we learned as children as we took the time to pick out our best friends in kindergarten. Yet the moment something gets uncomfortable or ill fitting, we toss it or them aside looking for another more comfortable fit.
Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to “lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily besets us.” This verse does not mean to just leave the weight and the sin just lying around, but that we must put the weight and the sin in it’s proper place, and that place is at the foot of the cross. Verse 2 of Hebrews 12 says, “We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Those situations that torment our minds that we just can’t seem to control, the relationships that bring disappointment and uncomfortable vulnerability will continue to surface in our lives. When you are looking for the right compartment to put away the ill fitting things, just remember this; everything changes with the proper perspective. Remembering Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for us makes it easier to let things go. Let go of old hurts, bad career choices, difficult relationships. John 3:16 says, God so loved the world that he gave up his son for you and for me. What are you willing to give up for His glory?
Head clutter
“A place for everything, and everything in it’s place,” was my mother’s battle cry in her attempt to get me to be organized and disciplined in every area of my life. I don’t know if I’ll ever win the battle of my cluttered ways, much like my ongoing battle with sin, but one thing we can all rest in is the fact that when Jesus died on the cross for your sin and mine, he said, “It is finished!” Now if I could just hear those words in regarding the unfinished projects in my home!
Be encouraged in the start of this year. He makes all things New!

Christine James is a wife, a mother and a pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.

journey, trust, worship

As I Lay Dying…

Dying things are most beautiful …
 
The fall season is a wonderful time of year. The air is crisp and refreshing. We can finally turn off the air conditioners and allow the cool breezes to flow throughout the house. My favorite part if this season is the beautiful vibrant colors of the leaves. 
 
During a recent road trip, I was engulfed with the beautiful landscape of deep reds, yellow, and orange on trees of many different shapes and sizes. 
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While enjoying the scenery, a strange thought invaded my mind… The leaves on the trees are most beautiful as they are dying. I shared my thought with my husband and he said, “it’s the same way with people – people who have relationship with Christ”.
 
I immediately thought of what Paul the apostle said, “for me to live in Christ, to die is gain”. (Phillipians 1:21) Nature seems to flow with this easily. The leaves seem to know that it’s ok to die to make room for a new season. We as humans struggle to stay alive. 
 
Maybe we fear the winter season that quickly emerges after the leaves die. It’s often cold and lonely. It may even feel like the winter season of our lives will never end. But just as sure as the earth turns on its  axis, the seasons will always change. Spring time always emerges at just he right time, bringing with it a beauty  unique to its time.
 
Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat fall to the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit. If a seed remains in tact, it is just one seed. (John 12:24)  There are times when we  become so self protective of the seed we call ourselves and determined to preserve what we have come to know as our lives, that we have difficulty imagining that there could be something greater for us on the other side of death.
 
Many of us are ok with physical death and have the faith to believe that we will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. However there is a great resistance to the death of our will and personal preferences for a life yielded to the Spirit of God.
 
Jesus said, he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Luke17:33)  He came to give us life more abundant. (John 10:10) Exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine.
 
In light of these truths, it seems that we too can be beautiful in the dying process. Instead of stress and grief, peace and joy can make our countenances radiant. We can rest and embrace the colors that emerge from our lives.
 
The prayer of my heart is that when people are traveling on the road of life and pass by me, that they too would be overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s spirit radiant in me.

Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.

journey, judgment, self-acceptance

Do You!

“Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave YOU.” (Colossians 4:17 NLT)

Have you ever noticed that when we get excited about something, we want everyone else to be excited about it too? I find that I not only want or desire others to be excited about the same things, but I go further and assume that that they will be just as impacted as I was. When that doesn’t happen, I have a tendency to look around and say, “what’s going on here? Did they just hear what I heard, or see what I saw?”.

If the person or persons doesn’t respond in a given way, I am often tempted to evaluate and make judgements about the person or myself. I want to find out whether they missed the point, or did I make too much of the issue. Either way evaluation can be very dangerous.
Evaluation begins from the premise that you are standing on a firm foundation of “rightness”. Surely, my thoughts about this situation are correct. It is so important to remember that our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways. His purpose is working deeper in us then we can imagine.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11 NLT)

When we evaluate people based on our emotions, we may completely miss what God is doing in us and them. We must be careful about make comparisons and believing that one part of the body is more valuable than another. In Colossians 4:17, Paul says, “be sure to carry out the ministry that God gave you.” Ephesians 4:1 says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Be careful not to cast off the work of the master architect. He is the God of intelligent design. Who we are, how we think and process things is something that only God can fully understand. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

The Body of Christ, much like the human body is a very complex mystery. The mystery of how all of the systems work are known only by our creative God. It makes no sense therefore to evaluate or compare ourselves to one another.
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:17, 18 NIV)

There is a better way to interact with each other. In fact, 1Cor. 12:30b says,” I will show you a more excellent way”. This is a set up for the next chapter which is all about love. Because, love never fails.

When you are tempted to evaluate, or make swift judgements, pause and ask God to show the beauty of his handiwork in the other person. Choose a heart of gratitude for a person who has different gifts, and who may be on a different part of the journey then you are on.
The world would be missing much beauty and creativity if everyone was just like me.

Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.

journey, trust, worship

Journey Through The Desert

Some years ago my husband and I decided to use our vacation time creatively to kill two birds with one stone. We own a timeshare based in Las Vegas that often runs promotions to get you to come and see how the city is attempting to change its face from just being a gambling town to being a place for everyone in the family to enjoy. The primary goal of course was to get you to buy more property. It was such a great deal and airfare to Vegas was relatively inexpensive, so we decided to take advantage of the deal, and use it as an opportunity to visit our friends in Southern California. Our friends had been telling us for years that Vegas was only a three hour drive from their home which seemed very doable; like driving to Virginia or other places on the East Coast. Upon our arrival into Vegas, we excitedly picked up our compact car and proceeded with great anticipation. We were enjoying our time together and looking forward to the reward of reengaging with our long distance friends. The first hour was fun. We laughed and talked about the sights: The bright lights and gaudy hotels and casinos in the desert. However, as time continued on, the mood began to change. The landscape started to change dramatically. The sights began to conform to the natural habitat of the desert. All of a sudden, there were no more glitzy hotels, no more casinos and no more humans at all. There was just an arid landscape complete with the tumbleweeds that I’d seen so often in the westerns that I loved on TV—The tumbleweeds I’d seen in ghost towns. My mind began to race. I thought about all of the Mob movies that had depicted the desert as a convenient place to “dispose” of people who were “problematic”. As we traveled down the road, I realized there was no highway divider, or shoulder rails to stop cars from going off the side of the mountain. Only big tractor-trailers racing up and down the mountainous road. What if one of them decided that we had cut in front of them in the way they didn’t like. Or what if they just didn’t like the way we looked! Paranoia began to overwhelm me in a way that is not characteristic with my personality. I was horrified by the fact that we literally could drive a couple hours between points of civilization. No city lights, no people, not even an abundance of cars. Until that time I was not aware of how much I depended on a certain type of environment to make me feel safe. After all, what would we do if there was some type of emergency? Our cell phones would go in and out. There were not many cell towers in the mountains. What would we do if we simply had to go to the bathroom? I wasn’t getting out of the car in this “No Man’s Land”. I was holding my breath and my bladder, anxiously awaiting the next town. Very, very small towns with people who didn’t look or talk like me. About halfway through our journey, I heard the Lord speak to me. “I am El Roi, the God who sees”. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Lo, I will be with you, even til’ the end of the earth. My flesh wanted to say, “Okay, Lord, but will you be with me til’ the end of this desert place?” The desert had become a god to me. It became larger than life. Larger than my big hulking husband, who I knew loved me and would always protect me. It became larger than my normal rational thinking mind. It became larger than Jehovah God: The God who is more than enough. The desert place of the unknown can be an ongoing struggle for us as believers, but I think women can be particularly vulnerable to this because of our great need for safety and security. We like certain systems and norms to be in place to fuel our so-called faith. But real faith is that which is written in God’s word: “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) When there was NOTHING to see in the desert, I realized how dependent I was on my ability to see versus God’s ability to see. Today, as you struggle with the unknown, trust that God has perfect vision and provision concerning you. Never forget that you are the apple of His eye. “Keep me as the apple of your eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8 NIV) Rejoice in the fact that you are safe in the father’s arms.

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Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came

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