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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy "Renew" Year

Today marks the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one. Many people use this time to make New Years resolutions. I have to confess, I've never made them. I don't think anything is wrong with resolutions, I just don't necessarily make them on January 1st. Tonight I've decided as 2012 comes to an end I will celebrate 2013 as the "Renew Year."  It is a time to renew things to life; bring refreshment, vigor & restoration to life. Friends, It is a time to continue & extend ourselves in the things of God. It's a time for new ideas, miracles and God's love to refesh our hearts and minds. Romans 12:2 tells us "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  Phillipians 4:8 gives us 8 clues to help us renew our minds. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things". To achieve the freshness of life and share it with others the adjectives below should describe the things that we do, say and think. 

1. True (real, genuine, faithful, actual)
2. Noble (grand, high-minded, excellence, above)
3. Right (morally just, favorable, fair)
4. Pure (clean, free of the unnecessary, virtuous)
5. Lovely (beautiful, charming, harmony, grace)
6. Admirable (deserving of respect, love, of merit)
7. Excellent (eminently good, heavenly,
8. Praiseworthy (commendable, exemplary, tough)

Remember,  a New Year is only a mark on the calendar, but a Renew Year can happen anyday of the year, one day at a time :) If you stumble you can always get up and keep renewing!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Show Up & Play

I love this time of the year! I love the decorations, the baking, the laughter, the gift-giving, spending time with family and friends, all done in honor of the birth of Jesus. To me it's one giant birthday celebration. Instead of the traditional "happy birthday," song we sing carols of His birth. One of my favorites is "The Little Drummer Boy." It's a simple yet powerful story of a young boy who hears that a King has been born and is told to go see the baby Jesus. He is ashamed because he is poor and thinks he doesn't have a gift fitting for a King. Instead of letting this great moment pass him by he humbly offers Jesus the only things he has... a song played on his drum. With a nod from the King's mother, encouragement from the animals and a smile from the King himself, he plays his drum. I admire this boy for his humble courage and willingness to give Jesus all that he had. This season I pray you won't let a God-given opportunity pass you by because of shame or the feeling that what you have is not good enough. You have talents inside of you designed to be shared with others. Sharing your gifts with others honors the King far greater than any expensive gift. You don't need to look any further than within yourself. Your gift is there. Waiting. For you to show up and play your best. The King is there. Waiting. To give you His smile of approval.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dragon Breath



I'm usually the level-headed, rational person everyone comes to for advice or guidance. I'm rarely shaken and have a great capability to remain calm during chaos. Recently I was presented with two situations of conflict that involved my child. I discovered the rational woman that everyone knows can turn into a fire breathing dragon when it comes to my daughter. Instead of wise, well thought-out words, an emotion driven approach blazed from my mouth and probably singed an eyebrow... or two. While my true desire was to bring resolution to both conflicts my motherly instinct to protect my child took over my senses. It's not that what I said was so awful but my approach was nowhere near humble. I realized my subconscious felt if I didn't spit a bit of fire and draw my talons I was not protecting my child, therefore my parenting would be in question. In both situations the sparks that flew from my mouth were met with matching heat from the other parties. Not a good recipe for peace. My inner dragon prevented me from remaining humble and gentle. Bringing peace and unity to the situation, quickly became a harder task to achieve. I realized that when it comes to my daughter I can have a bit of "dragon breath." The next time the sleeping dragon is awoken by my motherly instinct I think I'm now better equipped to brush the flames from my mouth and take a more gentle approach. What awakens your inner dragon and how do you tame it? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stereo of Our Hearts

Have you ever started humming a tune which seemed to come out of nowhere? You don't remember when the last time you heard that song but now it's stuck in your head. This happens to me all the time. Thanks to my 4 year-old daughter instead of humming the hottest new track to hit the radio, I'm usually caught singing the theme song to a cartoon. Music has the ability to stimulate memory and alter your mood. Music is said to be the universal language, speaking to people and crossing cultural boundaries. It has the ability to bury its melody in our hearts and minds and come out when we least expect it. 


Lyrics to "Stereo Hearts," by Gym Class Heroes
I heard the song "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes today and had a thought. What if we made God the stereo of our hearts? We could turn Him up when we feel low, hear His thoughts through every note and have His sweet melody on our minds and lips. Stereos create the feeling of being surrounded by a sound. Psalm 119:11 says "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." If we could instead allow God to surround us and embed His melodic word inside of our hearts we would see sound manifest into something tangible, leaving a trail of harmony in our lives. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God's Campaign

I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not very intelligent when it comes to politics. For some reason political information may enter my brain but there is not much evidence of absorption. As I've gotten older and more mature I have realized the value in exercising my right to vote and have put forth an effort to make sense of the political world so that I can make educated choices. 



The 2012 presidential election was of particular interest to me because I have a 4 year-old daughter who is learning about current events at school and is aware of the choices mommy and daddy make. We took her to the polls so she could participate and of course earn the desired "I voted sticker." She even participated in a mock election at school which involved favorite ice cream flavors. For a 4 year-old child that can be a complex decision. According to my daughter, vanilla won the popular vote. Luckily her classroom voting system did not involve electoral votes otherwise there may have been some kiddos just as confused as I was watching (for the first time) the projections for each state on television. I thought that your vote counted individually and the person with the most votes wins. I realized that the presidency is won by electoral votes, not by popular votes. (I told you I'm slow on this subject). So the way it works is each state is worth a certain amount of electoral votes based on population. States such as California, Texas, New York and Florida have the most electoral votes compared to other states with smaller populations. A presidential candidate may have won in more states but it is the states with the larger number of electoral votes that weigh more. As a Christian our lives can mimic a presidential election. Living a life that is pleasing to God may not always be the popular choice. But like the voting system we have in America it is not the popular vote that holds the most weight. It is the quality of our choices that count more in God's political campaign than the popular ones. Whether you are choosing an ice cream flavor, the President of the United States or finding your way on your Christian journey, choose what weighs more in God's house. It's a lot bigger than the White House. Make your choices count today! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just Be

I decided to try a yoga class this week. This was my first time and was excited to stretch my very stiff muscles. I'm not a fan of heat, so Hot Yoga was not happening for me. Since "Cold Yoga" was not an option a Yin Yoga class was recommended. Yin is designed to take you to a deep level of stretching and work the deeper levels of the body/heart/mind. When I got there I found out we were going to be holding poses for up to five minutes. Five minutes is not usually considered a long time, until your body is posed in an awkward position in total silence. There I was sitting on my mat in a butterfly pose, leaning my upper body as close to my lower body as possible. My mind wandered from one thought to another. My mind's thought process went something like this..

"Five minutes in this position, hope I can make it. When I get home I have to throw in a load of laundry. How many minutes has it been already? Oh! I should write out my family christmas list this week.  I wonder if anyone noticed how inflexible I am. Man, this hurts. This is a long five minutes."



The instructor interrupted me and said, "Enjoy the stretch. Stop focusing on any one thing. Stop thinking about the laundry list of things to do. Instead, just be." BUSTED! So, I did it. I let go and existed in the moment. No time clock, no to-do list , no worries, just being in the moment. When I got home I was amazed at how relaxed and tranquil I felt. I realized how I'm so good at multi-tasking that I never shut my mind off to reboot. Do you ever find yourself thinking of so many things that your body is physically present but your mind is so occupied you're not giving your full attention to the moment? I was thankful to be reminded that sometimes in the midst of my busy life it is refreshing to allow my mind to concentrate on one thing at a time and just be.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Forget & Forgive

I always thought to forgive someone meant I had to " forgive and forget." I should love someone who has offended me by erasing the transgression, the hurt, anger and sadness completely from my memory. I thought in order to forgive I needed to endure the pain, meanwhile feeling like a door mat.  Truthfully, real forgiveness seemed unachievable. I've never erased the memory of an offense, but merely suppressed my hurt feelings, leaving me wondering if I ever truly forgave. I wondered how I was supposed to learn from a broken relationship by pretending "the something" never happened. It didn't make sense to me. Then the light turned on in the dark areas of my mind.  I realized I've had it backwards. Forgiveness is something that happens after forgetting and not beforehand. One of the biggest hang-ups I had was thinking in order to forget I had to pretend something didn't happen. That was a mistake. When you forget, you are merely moving your focus elsewhere. You're by choice, giving something or someone inattention and thoughtlessness.  Remove the person, rumor, unkind words, unkind act, the embarrassment, or broken heart from your focal point, giving it less attention by adjusting your mind's camera lens to sharpen another focal point. In film and photography this is called depth of field. When you begin to loose focus of the pain, the image gets blurry and you loose detail. It is then you can move onto forgiveness.  Forgiving someone or yourself is an empowering choice to pardon or excuse an offense. This is much easier to do when the crisp detailed image of pain has faded and is just a part of the background. You know it's there but the lack of focus makes the snap shot of that ugly offense minor compared to life's bigger picture. You're now able to evaluate the event or relationship with less emotion and can accept the lesson that is yours to learn.
Depth of Field




Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Handmade

I've recently learned to knit. There is something amazing about using my hands to create something beautiful from different fibers and yarn. Sounds crazy but I have learned a lot about myself through knitting. It has taught me patience and the value in "handmade." I may make 50 scarves using the same pattern yet each one is different. When you purchase something handmade many adjectives come to mind:  unique, of value, exclusive and authentic. When something is made by hand it is carefully constructed and each piece has a story behind it.


Psalm 139:13-14 reminds us that we are knit and handmade by God. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
We have been made with quality and a uniqueness that is of great value. He has used the same pattern (the image and likeness of Him) yet each of us are authentic and exclusive. We have been carefully constructed and given our own story.

We are living in a NOW society. Fast and now leads to mass production which leads to generating "cookie-cutter" products that are cheap which equals a diminished value. We often place these same societal ideals on ourselves. We tend to under-value the way we look, the work we produce, the relationships we form and the blessings that God has given us. Subconsciously we are sending our innermost being the message that we value the easy, quick and cheap cookie-cutter life, meanwhile failing to honor the work that God has created in us. You have talents and purpose in this life that are wonderful and of great value. You have been handmade with a unique story to share. He has made you for such a time as this. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stinkin' Thinkin'

"Stinkin Thinkin" is actually a term used in 12 step groups for rehabilitation. It refers to negative thinking patterns. It reflects the idea that what a person thinks has an impact on how they behave. This concept is supported in Proverbs 23:7, "So a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." What you think about today will appear in your tomorrow.

While I don't plan on checking myself into a 12 step program, I will admit I have temporary moments of  thinking that stinks. Most of us do and we don't even realize it. Here are a few examples:
*"I'm not applying for that job. I'm sure there is someone more qualified."
*"I’ve always been like this; I’ll never be able to change"
*"My boss said my project was great, but there were some mistakes. He must think I'm a failure."
*"I know I'm going to get sick, I get sick every January."
*"I never win anything."

Check your thought life this week. What are you thinking? What are you saying? If you find a few foul smelling thoughts,  the bible says in Corinthians 10:5 to cast down imaginations that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. There is power in the tongue to speak life or speak death (proverbs 18:21). Choose to speak life into your situation and into the lives of others. When you choose to speak life your once rotten and stinkin fruit will become sweet and nourishing to your soul. 





Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Your Anchor


Recently I was boarding a ferry with my family. As I stepped on the platform that connected land to water I felt the unsteadiness of the wood under my feet. I felt an uneasiness in my mind as I searched for what anchored that platform and the boat. An anchor is used to keep a boat from drifting during strong winds. It is during the strong winds of a storm that your anchor is tested. I challenge you to check your anchor. Look at the things or people who you have placed as an anchor in your life. Have you allowed a relationship, a habit, your finances, your job, etc to anchor you? Do you ever find yourself feeling uneasy and drifting in a direction that is not destined for you?  Maybe its time for a new anchor; permanent and unmoveable.  Allow God to be your anchor. He will keep you from drifting in unchartered waters. Allow Him to be your hope that anchors you; the one who keeps you firm and secure during life's storms.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Life is a Gift

Welcome! My vision for this blog is to be a place to share my thoughts on this journey called life and to inspire others to embrace its beauty through the everyday.  Life is a gift. The word "gift" means: "something given  voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occassion."  Typically when you receive a gift we do several things:
1) recieve it 
2) open it
3) show appreciation to the giver
4) enjoy it
God has given us favor and life without an expectation in return. I encourage you today to receive your gift. Open it and see the beauty that lies within the package. Show your appreciation to the One who so freely gives it to you and last but not least,  enjoy every minute of an everyday occassion.