family life, journey, Rest, Uncategorized, weather

Todays Forecast…Snow…

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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?

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Rest, self-acceptance, Uncategorized, worship

Get off the Cycle

 

violon-cartoonSometimes I feel like Mass Media plays us like a fiddle. From September through December, we are convinced that we must buy delicious foods and sweet treats to ensure awesome holiday celebrations. From harvest celebration candy (Halloween for some), to Thanksgiving with all the trimmings; then right after Thanksgiving it’s cookie baking and on to the grand Christmas feast! Soon after we’ve eaten the last stale Christmas cookie we look in the mirror and say, “Oh my God, what have I done? I have grazed my way through three different holidays!”

Work it Out…

Don’t worry! Mr. Ad man (or Mad Man), has the answer. Time to work it all off! Get to the gym! Buy new water bottles to match your new exercise clothing. Don’t forget to buy the new free weights to keep at your desk so you can do some reps between projects. What about all the new juicing gadgets and nutritional machines? We’ve got to buy those so we can mix up all the beets, carrots, spinach and berries. Don’t forget to add a touch of lemon to make it more tasty… Umm Ok…(still trying to get use to the juicing thing.)

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None of the things mentioned above are particularly good or bad. Having fellowship with family and friends, sharing good food is fine. It is also important to monitor your nutritional and physical condition; making sure you have proper balance for optimal health. The concern I have is how media advertising keeps us on a cycle that facilitates a false sense of control; an attempt to coax us into satisfying our needs on our own terms. The truth is that God created us with an internal hunger and full mechanism, endorphins and other metabolic processes that let us know that we need to get up and get moving. As we prioritize fellowship with, he speaks to us and gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

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A new year is upon us. It is a great time to adapt, change and develop new habits. One of the best habits to cultivate is listening to the Lords promptings so that you will know what is right for you moment by moment.  Look at the following passages of scripture.

Post them somewhere in your home. Let them be a guide to help keep you balanced in your perspectives about life and health:

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“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

 I Timothy 4:8

 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Lamentations 3:22-24

I too have renewed my commitment to going to the gym at least 3 times per week. I am even drinking heathy juices with plenty of good fruits and vegetables; however, those behaviors are just meant to enhance my ability to live life well so that I may fulfill the purpose for which I was created.

What I really want see developed in me this new year is a new heart and a new mind. An increased sense of balance versus worrying about the next issue the media presents as a concern. I want to stay focused and  remember that I have a God who loves, cares and provides for me. I don’t want my life to be so much about my activity – the things that I do; but rather those times when I discipline myself to rest; physically, mentally and emotionally. Resting in His presence facilitates me to accomplish what he created me to do. To love God and enjoy him forever.

family life, Friendship, Gifts, Holidays, Rest, Uncategorized, worship

The Who’s Christmas

I have a confession to make. When I grow up, I want to be like Cindy-Lou Who from Whoville. When faced with someone stealing one of the symbols of Christmas, her beautiful Christmas tree, she graciously accepted the lie the Grinch told her about the broken light on the tree and went right back to sleep.  As much as she loved her tree, she knew that it’s absence wouldn’t stop Christmas from coming.

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Over the years, I have heard many discussions about whether Christians should celebrate Christmas. There are debates about timing of Christ’s birth, and the Christmas tree having pagan roots etc. It is not my desire to have a theological discussion about the history of this holiday and it’s origins. I’ll leave that to the heavy intellectuals. Instead, I want to talk about whats right with this picture.

One of the common arguments is that Christmas is too commercial. People shopping for things they don’t need, spending money on things they can’t afford. I think people do that all year long, not just at Christmas. What’s right with this picture is that in the midst of the commercialism, you hear more hymns about Jesus being played in the stores while people of all faiths shop. There is a sense of hope and anticipation of relationship building as people look for just the right gift to encourage a friend or loved one. Sometimes that perfect gift is about healing something that was broken, or maybe helping the relationship to grow stronger. The nervous husband asks, “Do you think my wife will like this”? Mothers of young children swap stories about their children, wondering if a toy is age appropriate. Connections are being made, even if they are just for a moment.

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Even after the Grinch stole Christmas, he was astonished to hear the Whos in Whoville still singing,

Fahoo forays, dahoo dorays

Welcome Christmas! Come this way

Fahoo forays, dahoo dorays

Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day

Welcome, welcome, fahoo ramus

Welcome, welcome, dahoo damus

Christmas Day is in our grasp

So long as we have hands to clasp…

Every Who in Whoville was singing without any presents at all.

I grew up in a lower middle class family with a single mother where presents were not a given at Christmas time. What I anticipated more than presents was the sense of connection that come with the holidays that strengthened my sometimes fractured family. We came together sharing special meals; telling wonderful old family stories. We laughed and cried and connected heart to heart and hand to hand.

So if you happen to encounter any Grinches this season, just drink a glass of water and rest. Be kind, like Cindy-Lou Who. You may be the one God uses to increase the size of their heart. Because as Christians we know the real message:

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Keep singing the Christmas carols and other songs that make your spirit light. Light your homes to create a warm atmosphere of hospitality. People will notice. Some may even slither down the mountain like the Grinch to join you in your celebration. Make them feel welcome! Like the Whos in Whoville.

Gifts, Holidays, Rest, Uncategorized

Sabbath Still…

Noooo… I’m not going to do it! I will not rush ahead! Sometimes being stubborn is a good thing!

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Everything moves so fast these days. We live in a society where moving on to the next thing is prized even if we are not quite through with the last thing. We see it in restaurants: no longer can you casually linger over dinner enjoying good conversation, instead we have the servers continually asking the question, “can I take your plate”? Sometimes you have to hold on with both hands in order to enjoy that last tasty morsel.

When watching a riveting television program, you can hardly catch the ending because of the split screen that pops up: one side with the credits scrolling quickly up the page, and the other side of the screen displaying a commercial advertisement.

Holidays Anyone?!?

However, what really blew me away while shopping this week was the fact that while I was at home putting away my summer purses, ridding them from sand gathered at the beach earlier this month,  most retail stores have been putting Christmas decorations on display! The local shopping channel  was actually showing pre-lit Christmas trees on sale in September!

Just when I’ve gotten used to seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in the summer and early September, they pushed the envelope a little bit further, giving you one more thing to crowd into the month of September. As if back to school shopping isn’t stressful enough enough. (for those of you who are in that phase of life :).

I love Christmas. I have even been known to enjoy the holiday movies during the “Christmas in July” programming sponsored by some of my favorite networks. But this hyper marketing is just too much! As much as I tried to savor my beach moments by continuing to slather on sun screen so I continue to smell like the ocean air, I am bombarded by things that seek to indicate that my Sabbath is over.  There is a constant message that if you don’t hurry and move to the next thing, you are going to miss out.

Well I’m not gonna do it! I am in protest! Although I have purchased my fall Mums and placed them in my garden, I refuse to buy anything related to Christmas until at least November! You’ll not rush me you Marketing Beasts!!! Sabbath is too important.

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Living the Sabbath Life

Sabbath is a lifestyle modeled by our Savior. Luke 6:5 says that he is The Lord of the Sabbath.

When the Pharisees tried to manipulate Jesus into saying that certain things could or could not be done on certain days, he made it plain that he is Lord of all, including the Sabbath.

Jesus is my all time hero in every way; however, I really love how he continually modeled the importance of getting away to rest. Hebrews chapter 4 says that there is a special rest for the people of God and we must do our best to enter that rest. I love special gifts that were planned just for me. It shows me that the person had me on their mind when purchasing the gift.

As the cool evenings and mornings of the Fall season are upon us, don’t ignore the sunny, beautiful afternoon hours. Put on your favorite sweater and press into your Sabbath. Take a leisurely walk at lunch time. Take deep, long, cleansing breaths and enjoy all that your Heavenly Father created just for you.

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