Friday, May 27, 2011

Better Days Ahead

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. -Ephesians 4:29

"This day can't possibly get any worse"...   Chances are, you've said this phrase before.  Speaking from personal experience, as soon as I say that... my day inevitably gets worse.  When dealing with a 'bad day' there are two choices: mumble and complain about it, or face it and stay positive in spite of it all.

The Bible says mumbling and complaining is a sin.  It shows a person has an ungrateful heart.  Even on our worst days, there are so many reasons we should be thankful. 

In Sunday school, my teacher would say, “What are you thankful for?”  She didn’t just ask us around Thanksgiving, but every Sunday.  Someone would say, “I’m thankful for my mommy!”  Someone else would shout, “My daddy! ”  Friends, a home, food to eat would usually follow.  She’d keep asking... “What else?  What else?”  Eventually there was silence.  She’d say, “You have arms and legs.  You have eyes to see, ears to hear.  Every breath you take is a blessing...

Depending on what we choose to focus on, that’s what is clear... all else is a blur.  Maybe that’s why bad days seem so overwhelmingly bad.  Choosing to focus on what’s going wrong will help us see what else is going wrong.  The opposite seems like a better option.  Instead of counting problems, count your blessings. 

No one was ever promised an easy life, but life in itself is a blessing.  Even if we don’t understand why we go through certain trials, we have to remember that God doesn't make mistakes... there is a purpose behind everything we experience.  I have faith in Him.  I trust He knows what He’s doing, even if I don't.

So, let me try this again... "Can this day possibly get any better?"  Here's to better days ahead!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Waiting with Open Arms

I'll never forget what I loved about growing up in the country.  There was always something to see, somewhere to explore, and lots to discover.  My brother and I grew up as the only kids on our road.  So naturally, we were each others' best friend.  Especially in the summertime.

A typical Summer day involved a whole lot of sunshine.  We played outside unless it was time to eat or sleep.  Should we go play in the stream, swing on a vine in the woods, find a new hide-out?  It seemed there were endless possibilities... 

One such sunny day, we woke up and decided it was the perfect time to visit the ocean.  Our father told us all water eventually flowed there, so we planned to follow the stream from behind our house.  It seemed a logical starting point.  We asked Mom to pack our lunch, which she did, and we set off. 

We took our time strolling along the stream's bank, and eventually ventured in to the woods, beginning the first leg of our incredible journey.  After a (very) short while we agreed to take our lunch break.  Soon all our provisions were gone... but we could still see the house through the trees, so we weren't worried.

Off we went again, and well, we came to a fence which separated our woods from a small field.  My brother decided he'd had enough adventure, and started back alone.  Determined, I told him I was still going, but I didn't really want to travel alone.  Not long after, I was following in his footsteps, sadly trudging homeward. 

I remember walking up through the gradually clearing trees to see Mom standing by the back porch.  She was there waiting to greet us with open arms.  Her hug healed the disappointment in my heart.  It's amazing what a little love can do.

Now I'm Mom.  My kids remind me a lot of me and my brother, going on little adventures and making all kinds of discoveries.  Just as we were, they're naturally best friends, growing up in the country together.  Someday I know they'll leave home with their own hopes and dreams ~ much bigger dreams than reaching the ocean in a day... 

I just want them to know that even if their plans don't work out in the way they expect, I will always love them.  I'll always be there for them... 

Waiting with open arms.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Real Life

Do you remember being in school, sitting in your least favorite class thinking... why do I need to learn this?  When will I ever use this in real life?

I have several old books.  Some I've read.  Others I bought simply because of the way they looked.  One such book is called The New Methods in Arithmetic.  In school my least favorite class was math.  Anything to do with math.  Last night, my son brought me this 90 year old math book saying, "Read it to me!"  I thought, sure... you'll be bored (and maybe a little sleepy) after the first sentence.

So I started reading, and while my son quickly lost interest, I kept going.  I soon realized it wasn't an actual book for children to use.  It was a book probably used at the college level by soon-to-be teachers.  It talked about "the old way" of teaching arithmetic... the solving of pointless equations, and dealing with figures that in no way related to real life.  Then they gave this new, useful example:

The boys and girls of the Welfare Club plan to earn money to buy a Victrola.  There are 23 boys and girls.  They can get a good second-hand Victrola for $5.75.  How much must each earn if they divide the cost evenly?

Did you get 25 cents?  I could definitely see this being useful... in 1921.

Maybe you don't have any old arithmetic books sitting around.  There is one old book though, that you probably do have somewhere.  Despite it's age, the information within has never become outdated.  There are 100 million copies sold worldwide each year.  It's the best-seller of all time...the Bible.

I used to feel the same way about the Bible as I did my Math book.  What is the point?  I don't understand it, and how does it apply to my real life?  I've grown up a little since my last math class, and since I thought of the Bible in that way.  Numbers effect my daily decisions... from how many eggs go in to a recipe to how many gallons of gas go in to my car.  The Bible's words effect my daily decisions too...

Here are a few verses that encourage and give me strength to get through the day.  Maybe they'll help you as well.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today. -Matthew 6:34 

I really could go on, but now I encourage you to take out your own Bible, or look up some verses online.  There is something for everyone, in every situation, to be found in those words.  The Word.  So go ahead and learn about it.  I guarantee you'll benefit from this book and it's meaningful lessons... in your real life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clutter is Poetry

"Clutter is the poetry of our homes.
It is an intimate view that is not always perfect ~ a few dishes in the sink, books piled next to the bed.  Everything in its place may give a certain satisfaction, but a lived-in room exudes comfort and warmth." 

~ Mary Randolph Carter ~

I'll be the first to admit that my home will never be completely perfect.  There's always something, somewhere that is in need of washing, sorting, folding, sweeping... I could go on, but you know what I mean.

Odds are, your home is like mine.  You might not have small children or a husband, but that really doesn't matter.  Every day brings new challenges to face, and messes to clean.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed... if you're striving toward the wrong goal.  How important is achieving and maintaining perfection?  What sacrifices are you willing to make to get there?  Oh, and the quote at the top?  It came from a book with the title:  A Perfectly Kept House Is the Sign of a Misspent Life.

A misspent life.  You've probably heard the saying, time is money.  Time is priceless.  You can't pay anyone to go back in time, not even for an instant.  Don't let precious time with the ones you love and care about slip away because you 'need' to clean.  I'm not saying give up cleaning, just do it when it doesn't take away from your time with others.

Don't worry, the dishes and laundry will wait for you...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Everything's Coming up... Dandelions!

What is JOY Think simple.  Think back to your childhood.  Any dandelion memories come to mind?  The other day I happened to look out on our pasture only to see hundreds of dandelions.  Not the yellow ones, but the silvery-gray kind.  The fun kind.

So I took my son by the hand and led him out to the field.  I was sure he'd done it before, but I showed him what to do with the big puff balls.  He laughed and plucked a few for himself.  One, two, three... BLOW!!  The wispy seeds floated up, up, up... carried away haphazardly by a passing breeze.  He went to another spot and another, on and on.

Later my daughter wanted to join in the fun, so we all walked back to the field.  They were both running around... full of giddy laughter and childish delight.  In fact, they were having so much fun, for awhile they forgot that I was even there.  

It gave me an opportunity to just step back and be in the moment.  What a beautiful gift to just soak up a little of their happiness, innocence and wonder.  Wouldn't it be amazing if we could see the world as through a child's eyes?


No matter our age, we can still possess some child-like qualities... our innocence may be lost, but must our happiness and sense of wonder go with it?

As for me, I choose to be joyful.  I will play in the rain, have an adventure or two, and make a few discoveries along the way.  It's not hard to find joy.  Well, at least it isn't ~ as long as there are a few dandelions nearby...

So go ahead... get out there 
and spread a little JOY of your own... today!!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A World of Mystery

June 20th, 1969.  I wasn't around then, but maybe you were.  It was a monumental day.  Neil Armstrong fittingly stated, "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."  Men were walking on the moon.  There probably wasn't much that seemed impossible in those moments.   I can't help but think that if I had been alive at the time, I would've looked at the moon very differently that night...

"Mystery creates wonder 
and wonder is the basis 
of man's desire to understand." 

~ Neil Armstrong ~

There are many mysteries in this world.  There are many questions, and significantly fewer answers.  In the midst of uncertainty, we need only go to God... first, not in a final act of desperation.  He has every answer, knows every reason, and knows the purpose of everything under heaven.  He has plans already in progress for each and every one of us, and wants to help guide us through.  Even if your situation is difficult to understand, trust Him, love Him, and pray to Him with all your heart... now.  Someday maybe you'll be able to look back, and understand why you endured certain struggles.  Maybe someday there will be one less mystery in your world.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5 

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind... -Luke 10:27

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:11-13

Saturday, May 7, 2011

True Motherhood

 My first Mother's Day was back in 2005, when I was 25 weeks pregnant with my little girl, Olivia Anne.  I saved a little poem Mom placed in my card... I happened to find it again just a few days ago.  I used to think, "Wow, we're gonna have a baby...  I'm bringing new life in to existence!"  What a huge moment for our little one, on her first day in our world.  Only, she wasn't the only one beginning a new and wonderfully different life... 


The dearest gifts that heaven holds,
the very finest, too,
Were made in to one pattern
that was perfect, sweet, and true.
The angels smiled, well pleased, and said,
"Compared to all the others,
this pattern is so wonderful
let's use it just for mothers!"
And through the years, a mother
has been all that's sweet and good,
For there's a bit of God and love
in all true Motherhood.

I could never foresee how much love I'd feel, cradling that sweet baby girl in my arms.  When she cried I'd gently say, "Mommy's here, shh, Mommy's right here..."  She's still my baby girl, as she always will be, I've realized.  As she gets older I love her just as much as in those first precious moments.  I might have brought her life in to existence, but she brought new life to mine.  I thank God for sending such a wonderful gift my way.  Thank you God, for true Motherhood!  

Happy Mother's Day!!!      

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Star light, star bright...

Most of us know the rest of that Mother Goose poem.  I sent my fair share of wishes up to the heavens as a child.  Maybe you did too.  When I was little, I remember lying on the deck, patiently waiting as the stars came out.  There's just something special about the night sky.  It's always helped me put things in to perspective...

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. 

-Philippians 2:14-15

"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars
or sailed to an uncharted land, 
or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.

~Helen Keller

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, 
but the sight of the stars makes me dream." 

~ Vincent Van Gogh

As a child I was filled with wonder when gazing at the moon and stars.  I will probably always feel that way.  Only now, I realize how completely and infinitely small I am in the expansive scheme of the universe.  That's why what amazes me more than the universe, is it's Creator.  He cares about even me and you, and the desires of our hearts... from the smallest need ~ to our greatest wish. 

"With man this is impossible, 
but with God all things are possible." 

~ Jesus Christ