Thursday, December 31, 2015

Start something...

Have you ever heard the slang phrase, "Don't start nothing, won't be nothing"? (Click the link to see the clip from Men in Black.) 

I looked it up and according to the "Urban dictionary" it means "A warning to others stating that if an altercation is to be avoided than they should cease acting in a provocative manor."

Well, to be honest, that is NOT where my random thoughts went today...not by a long shot.

Today is the final day of 2015 and that often causes people to do a couple of different things.

1 - They look back over the past year, the frustrations and hopefully the victories.
2 - They start to look forward to what the new year will bring, or what they HOPE it will bring at least.

For me, that kind of got me thinking about my own future and what, if anything, God has planned for me to do.  At the age of 56, like most people I have started to dream at least a little of retirement. It is no doubt still a long way off, but judging by how quickly the past few years have flown by, not nearly as far away as I might think. 

Am I prepared for retirement? Not by a long shot. I usually joke that at the rate I'm going I can afford to retire about 3 weeks after I die...may need to change that to 3 years after looking at the bills from this last year. At any rate, I obviously still have a lot I'm supposed to do. 

Until God calls us home He evidently has SOMETHING He wants us to do here on earth. I don't think God really has a junk closet that He keeps things in "just in case". In God's house, everything has a purpose! (The image of leftovers in the fridge that get pushed back and forgotten just came to mind. I'm pretty sure that God never pushes someone to the back and forgets they are there till they have fuzzy stuff growing on them and they have to be tossed..along with the container they are in!) But I digress...

I love the new year. It truly is a promise of possibility - even for those of us who are not all that "new", and that is where today's random thought comes from. 

With the beginning of a new year we have hopes of what will be, but if we don't "start nothing, there won't be nothing." If we just stay in our rut and keep doing things the same old way, next year at this time we'll be sitting on our proverbial couch looking back and wondering what happened to all our plans.

What do you hope for this coming year? What are you doing to make it happen? To be sure, the Lord determines whether or not we are successful in our endeavors as man determines success, but last I checked no one "ran a race" while sitting on their couch just thinking about it. You have to get up and DO something. Just thinking about change doesn't cause things to change.

Will you have setbacks? Probably. Will you get frustrated at times? Most likely. Will you feel like quitting along the way? Most assuredly! But today, not tomorrow, is the time to start. 

You're not too old. It's not too late. You are still breathing and your heart is still beating...let's get something "started".

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me. This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 MSG

Friday, December 25, 2015


I don't make New Year's Resolutions...I never manage to keep them longer than about a week. Instead, every new year, I choose a new word to focus on for that year. I never know what the word will be, but it somehow just "comes" and I know it will be my one word for that year. In years past I have had a variety of words including "anticipation," "mercy," "move," and last year's word, "joy." About a week ago, my word for 2016 came to me during a service at church. The one word for 2016 is "involved."

In years past, I have found that my "one word" has developed in ways I might not have imagined. I think the first year I did this, my word for the year was "Hope" and to be honest it was one of the most difficult years I could when I choose my word, or to be more accurate, when my word chooses me, I know it is no small thing. It will mean far more than just a word on a page of my is a compass that helps guide me.

So, what about this year's word - "Involved"? 

According to Google, as an adjective involved means "connected or concerned with someone or something, typically on an emotional or personal level," but I didn't really need Google to tell me this. I knew the moment my "word" came to me why this was my word for the year. It's time to start getting involved in life - really involved.

It's easy to get busy with just trying to survive and forget to get involved in the process. It's sort of that "time to make the donuts" rut that we fall into where we operate in auto-pilot mode and before you know it weeks, months, even years have passed and we wonder what happened to the time.

As we get older, it's also easy to fall into the thought pattern that we are no longer needed, that our best years have sort of passed us by. It gets easier to sit back and watch life happen because, let's be honest, we're kind of tired. It's easy to think that the "young" people can handle things, especially when they tend to think you and your ideas are more than a bit out-dated and old fashioned. 

But I'm pretty sure as a Christian, this mindset is simply not acceptable. I once said that every birthday is God saying He's not finished with you yet. With that in mind, I have to wonder what I can do to really get involved in life and with those around me this year. 

In the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," Clarence the angel is admonished by Joseph that "If you're going to help a man, you want to know something about him, don't you?" This year, I want to get to know people...really know them. Not the acquaintance "know" that I have settled for the past few years. That has gotten me to this place of watching life go by. No, I want to get to know those around me. I don't want to simply be a by-stander in life...I want to get involved.
I'd love to tell you all that the word "involved" means, but honestly I'm pretty sure I won't know until the end of this year. Maybe I'll be able to write that blog this time next year.

For more information on finding your "one word" for the coming year, you can visit I promise you it will be quite an adventure.

Galatians 5:13-14 (MSG)
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.

Christmas thoughts of red and green

Today marks the end of my "Journey to Advent/Christmas" and the blog that follows surprised even me...and I'm getting pretty used to the random direction my thoughts seem take.

As I looked around today at church, I noticed all the beautiful red dresses and ties and I started to wonder - why are red and green the colors of Christmas? 

Red and green separately mean many things - not all of them positive! In different countries, red means a lot of different can mean anger, joy, health, love, and passion. It can even mean danger and warning. Being green isn't something just for Kermit the frog anymore. It means being environmentally conscious, but it can also mean feeling jealous or sick...and of course there's always money and jello (isn't jello always green?)

It is believed by some that red and green are simply the colors that were used in pagan celebrations long ago and adopted as a part of the Christian celebration of Christmas. Perhaps this is true, but since I don't think things like this really happen by accident, I think there must be something more.

It doesn't take a lot of thought really to realize that red is the color of blood and green is the color of life. (Which makes me wonder why it took me so many years to realize just how significant these colors are at Christmas!) We use trees that are "evergreen" just as Christ came to give us life "everlasting" when He came over 2000 years ago. Why haven't I ever thought about this before? I know this is not some deep new revelation, but sometimes the simplest answers are the most difficult for us to see.

The colors of Christmas are red and green because at Christmas, Christ came as a sacrifice to shed His blood and make a way for us to live eternally with our Father in heaven. Red = love + sacrifice -> green = newness of life + everlasting. Simple.

Separately they may mean many things, but together these colors make Christmas mean so much more...and now I think I understand why.

Hebrews 9:22
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

1 John 2:25  And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

All I really want for Christmas...

It is now less than 48 hours from Christmas, and I really expected that by now I'd be in the Christmas Spirit. I finally got a chance to go off by myself to do some shopping yesterday and while we are just about ready - I'm not....ready for Christmas, I mean.

The tree is up - has been since the week of Thanksgiving. Lights are up outside - I will admit that day felt a bit excitement for Christmas coming. The house is somewhat was clean but that is such a temporary state it changes in seconds. So how come I still don't feel like it's Christmas?

I could blame it on our weather in the South. Yesterday it was borderline hot with a storm rolling in that reminded me of hurricane season. Today is a bit cooler; but as always, the primary color outside is simply brown. Boring, dull, brown. In other words, it doesn't feel like Christmas. Not that I want snow. Down here, if we get snow it brings everything to a screeching halt and it doesn't last long enough to really do anything other than make a mess. Still, all of that can't be blamed for my lack of enthusiasm for Christmas.

To be very honest, I'm looking forward to the New Year a lot more than I am to Christmas. The New Year means a chance to start over and get it right this time...or at least closer to "right". The New Year offers hope of the past year being over (thank HEAVENS!) and getting a brand new year to start fresh. I love getting a new calendar and looking at the days that are printed there, imagining that this year will be the one that is better...this year I will finally get it right...this year my dreams will come true. Christmas just means a reminder of how much I messed up the year I was given. I didn't save enough money, didn't finally get things organized, didn't spend the time with my family I'd hoped to...didn't, didn't, didn't.

When did Christmas become this for me? I'm not sure because, to be honest, if anything marks a chance for a new beginning, it's Christmas!

On that very first Christmas, God sent His Son to give us a second chance. He had given us all that could be hoped for, and it had been thrown away with a lie that there was more to be had. Oh, there was more - more pain, more frustration, more death. Now He sent His Son to give us life abundantly. He gave His Son so that we could have a brand new start.

So saying all that, I've finally decided what I really want for Christmas. I want a calendar - one that reminds me that it's not the new year that brings hope and new beginnings. It is a small baby in a manger who came from heaven to make a way for me to follow. Christmas isn't so much about gifts from the mall, (or the kitchen for all you who have been blessed with homemaking skills); it's about the gift that came to set me free. It's not about the lights on the house, (which look pretty cool, I must say); it's about the light in the heavens that guided the wise men to a place of hope. It's not about the food I prepare, (thank heavens! I'm a lousy cook!); it's about the feast He has prepared for my soul. It's not about the songs or the movies or even snow.... Christmas is about a new beginning. Behold, the old has gone, the new has come.

Merry Christmas dear friends...I think I've already gotten what I really wanted this year.

2 Corinthians 5:17

New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Isaiah 43:19

New International Version (NIV)
See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland.

Revelation 21:1-5

New International Version (NIV)
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Not exactly what I was hoping for...

This Christmas season seems more hectic than most. I am currently up to my eyeballs in work and school, so I humbly share a repost from quite a few years ago along with a prayer that all who read may be blessed. Thank you so much for means more to me than you could possibly know.
When I was little, I could hardly wait for that special item to come in the mail. Some of you may remember the excitement, the thrill, the perfect anticipation that came in something called the Sears Christmas Catalog. Oh, there may have been others, but none compared to Sears. 

I'd quickly flip past the dresses and underwear, past the shoes and appliances, straight to the toys...then I'd carefully get out my notebook and pencil and begin choosing my list to present to Santa. Did you know he used the Sears catalog? Oh, I'm sure he did because I remember listing each item, including the page number so that he would have no trouble knowing just which presents to place underneath my tree.

At our house, Santa came on Christmas Eve because our small little town in South Alabama was one of his first stops. We'd watch the Santa Radar out of Mobile and we KNEW when he was getting close. Sometimes we'd be at my father's gas station when Santa arrived - once we almost frightened him away and we had to rush back out of the house so he could finish putting our toys underneath that silver Christmas tree - you know, the one that rotated and had the different color light wheel that made it change colors.

As you can tell, Christmas was a big deal. I don't ever remember NOT getting just what I'd hoped for. Mama must have worked herself silly trying to locate the things on our list but somehow she always managed to find the most important things. I never quite managed to inherit that amazing talent from her...I wish I had. Somehow, the Christmases since then have fallen, well, a little flat.
Somehow, since I've grown up, I've never quite found what I hoped for underneath my tree. Oh, I've had some wonderful presents, but the peace...the joy...the wonder...they just seemed to have disappeared.

Today, I got to thinking about those shepherds - you know, the ones who were watching their flocks by night. I bet they were hoping for something. They may have been sitting around, talking about how difficult life could be. Maybe they were just talking about the weather and the price of wool. Maybe they were just so tired they just sat and watched. I wonder if inside they had that longing for more..more peace, joy, and wonder.

For years, they had probably heard the stories of the long awaited Messiah who would one day day. They'd heard those stories since they were boys...but that had been long ago. Still, they hoped that one day He'd come. Surely when He arrived, He'd be a conquering king and would finally free them from bondage. He'd probably be big and strong and very kingly indeed. I bet each of them KNEW how they thought the King would come. But they were caught by surprise.

Luke 2 - "Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

Not what they were expecting, I am sure....but they didn't let that stop them. They said, "Let's go!"

I want to be more like those shepherds. As Christmas approaches, each of us has in our mind's eye what it's supposed to look like. We have the "perfect Christmas" all mapped out, thanks to our Sear's catalog (do they even make those anymore?) and our internet searches, and our tv shows and movies that show us just how it's supposed to be done. But what if it's not what we were expecting? What if, instead of some shiny impressive King, it comes humbly in a cold manger filled with daily life mooing for attention? What if it's even something that at first makes us, as the King James version puts it,  "sore afraid?" (I've always wondered about that, by the way. How afraid must you be to be sore?) 

What if we discover like the Grinch, that Christmas "came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!

And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore." (There's that sore thing again!)"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

If Christmas isn't what I was expecting, will I still do as the shepherds (and even the Grinch) did and go rushing in to discover more? Will I stand there in wonder and be so afraid I am sore? Will I even notice if it doesn't come the way I'd hoped it would come or will I miss the wonder completely?

The ADVENTure continues...I have to wonder what all I will discover on this journey to Christmas, but I'm pretty sure of one won't be exactly what I was hoping for. Nope, it will be a whole lot more.

Monday, December 7, 2015

I thought he was with you....

It's something that happens to every parent at one time or another...they forget their child. I don't mean they forget they have a child...they just leave them somewhere. (At least I hope I'm not the only parent to ever do this!)

Mind you, I only did this once and it was YEARS ago. My husband and I had to be at the church at different times so we took two cars. After church, we didn't even touch base with each other...we were both so busy. It wasn't any big deal, we'd be home in a few minutes and catch up over lunch. I gathered up my materials from my class and headed home. I think I was there a couple of minutes before I asked, "Where's Levi?" That's when I heard those words every parent hates to hear..."I thought he was with you."

Needless to say I rushed back to the church where I was greeted by my son and a friend, who was laughing her head off at me, by the way. He was fine - I was a mess.

So why did I tell you this story on this Journey to Advent? Not sure, but for some reason today I thought about the story in Luke where Mary and Joseph we headed home and realized that Jesus wasn't with them.
Luke 2:41- 49

[41] Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 
[42] When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 
[43] After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 
[44] Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 
[45] When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 
[46] After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 
[47] Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 
[48] When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
[49] "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 

I can't imagine what it must have been like for Mary to get that far on their journey and then realize Jesus wasn't there. Like any mother, she probably grabbed Joseph and hurried back to the place she'd last seen her child. Imagine her relief when she found him, teaching in the temple.

I'm sure by now, you see where this random thought is going. I'm on a Journey to Advent and I'm wondering if I've forgotten Jesus. In the middle of all the preparations, the gift buying, the decorating, and the holiday cheer, have I forgotten why I'm supposed to be doing it all? Have I forgotten Jesus?

How far have I gotten down the road, and how could I have not realized He wasn't with me on the way? I need to go back to where I last saw Him, last sensed Him and His presence. If I follow the passage, I will find Him in the temple.

My first thought was, I need to go to church - but I'm already doing that. For some, that is where they are busiest! So I decided to look up what the temple was. According to one source, in classical Jewish belief, the Temple acted as the figurative "footstool" of God's presence. So that's it; I will find Jesus not necessarily when I go to church, but when I take the time to sit in God's presence. 

Christmas is less than three weeks away. The pace of life is moving faster and faster as we get closer to the December 25th...and to the end of another year on earth. Will I keep on moving, or will I realize in the midst of the crowds and the noise, I don't have Him. Will I turn around and take the time to sit at God's feet so that I can once again find Jesus?

Or will I continue on my way saying, "I thought He was with you..."?

*Repost from 2011.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Don't throw yourself out at first...

* You know, I love watching sports of every kind. Not on tv, mind you. I like to be there live and in person. Maybe it's my inner athlete that never learned to play sports, maybe I just love watching people; but for whatever reason, I love watching sports - especially when kids are involved. They still believe they can do anything....and perhaps they can. They believe that, even if they aren't all that good right now, they are just one throw, run, hit, or jump from greatness. 

One of my most favorite memories is of a T-ball game I attended years ago. In that game, I watched a little girl do something that has stuck with me since. This tiny powerhouse came up to the plate to bat with all the expertise of a mouse trying to tackle a lion. Her helmet looked a bit too big, the bat looked like a redwood compared to her, and I'm pretty sure they had to stop her and tie her shoes for her before she started to swing. 

The first swing came - she missed. 
Then a second - missed again. 
Once more - it was a tip that sent the ball rolling slowly toward the pitcher. 

In true T-ball fashion, the entire outfield came running in to try and get that ball, but they simply weren't fast enough...not for that little girl. She ran forward and grabbed that ball and then promptly threw herself out at first. She was so proud! She had done what they could not! It took quite a bit of explaining, and I think I remember them giving her another chance, but I will never forget that moment. She actually threw herself out! No opposing team could do what she had done herself. 

Therein, of course, lies today's random thought. I'm pretty sure I've been throwing myself out at first...and so have a lot of others around me. We have participated in helping the enemy of our soul in a way that it could not do in itself. It's as if the spirit of discouragement has attached its thorny claws to us and in raspy whispers only we can hear, it tells us over and over again we are not enough. We are not good enough, not smart enough, not cultured enough, not skinny enough, not whatever enough. It reminds us over and over of just how badly we blew it, AGAIN. It plays the stupid words we said over and over again inside our head like a broken record. It tries to convince us that when bad things happen, it is ALWAYS our fault. That we are being punished for being so inadequate once again.

I wonder if hermits separate themselves from the world not because of fear of the world, but because they are afraid they will fail and finally be discovered as inadequate...simply not enough. I know I have had times when I felt like I should just crawl into a hole so that I would do as little damage as possible. I say the wrong thing, act too quickly, live too loud, generally stick my foot in my mouth and then for good measure, stick the other foot in as well. I find myself desperately trying to learn what I imagine others must have learned years ago as teenagers, yet I am still trying desperately to discover what the "rules" are. Instead of getting better with age, it seems I'm getting worse! Buying wrong gifts, over doing, not doing enough, doing it too loudly, not speaking up when I should, forgetting the important things, being overwhelmed by the trivial....

It's not everyday, mind you. Some days I feel pretty confident in myself - followed closely by days when I realize just how inadequate I am. Like most, I've had plenty of times in my life when the spirit of discouragement and despair has tried to convince me to "throw myself out at first." That's the enemy's favorite tactic - to remind us just how human and "not enough" we truly are. 

Here's the shocker - the enemy is right....I am not enough. 
I am in desperate need of a Savior.

I need One who knows me and yet loves me all the same. I long for One who doesn't condemn, and instead speaks life into the cavernous hole in my heart and fills it. I want to be treasured as special...truly special. I want to feel His presence lifting me and reminding me that I am loved. I want One who doesn't remember my mistakes, but instead reminds me of the few times I actually got it right - because I waited on Him. 

I want Someone who will gently reach out and stop me from throwing myself out at first before I've really even begun to play the game. 

Perhaps you are like me. You wake up to that feeling of dread in facing today's game - sure you'll mess it up somehow. I pray that you will recognize the enemy's lies for just what they are - an attempt to get you to throw yourself out at first before you even get started. 

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a strong mind. He is right there with you, ready to guide your hands, steady your bat, and hit that ball right out of the park....just like your little kid dreams always imagined. 

This song by Mercy Me does a really good job of speaking life.

Days will come when you don't have the strength,
When all you hear is "you're not worth anything"
Wondering if you ever could be loved,
And if they truly saw your heart, they'd see too much 

You're beautiful, You're beautiful,
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful,You're beautiful,
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His,
You're beautiful 

I'm praying that you have the heart to fight,
'Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long,
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross 

You're beautiful,You're beautiful,
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful,You're beautiful,
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His,
You're beautiful 

Before you ever took a breath, long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed, there was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above, you're the one Emmanuel loves
Enough to die 

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
In His eyes
You're beautiful
You were meant for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful 

You are treasured you are sacred you are His
You're beautiful,You're beautiful
You were meant for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful,You're beautiful
You are treasured you are sacred you are His.

Today, as you come up to bat, give it all you've got. Don't be afraid that you won't be enough. Don't throw yourself out at first. Instead, know that you are loved....and give it all you've got - for Him who loves you no matter how you feel.

Beautiful by Mercy Me

*Original post from 2010

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When I grow up, I want to be...interesting.

I used to dream of being smart and interesting, then I started fantasizing of being somewhat funny and fun. Now I'm just shooting for not being boring and ignored.

Yes, I'm having one of those random thoughts kind of days.

Ever wonder what makes a person "interesting"? I decided to ask my Facebook friends what they think made a person interesting. Some were kind and told me I am interesting. (That's the thing about Facebook - pretty much everyone looks more interesting online.) 

Others had interesting thoughts on interesting. "Interesting is living with gusto, speaking with excitement and thankfulness."
"People who are different from others (in a positive way) or courageous, making an impact on others." 
"Someone who accomplishes something...a lot of somethings." 
"It's in their stories...stories others can learn from, delight in, take hope from, delight in, and gain inspiration from. Interesting people have "stories" - lots of stories."
Then there was that one friend who replied "Fruitcake." (Yes, I do have some pretty interesting friends!)

I guess that's another way of saying interesting people have lived, not simply existed. One of my favorite responses to my question was that "those who think they are not interesting usually are the ones who actually are."

I wonder what God would say to the question of what makes someone interesting. Would it be the same as what we think? And whom do I want to be "interesting" to? 

This is one of those shorter blogs where I'm really still thinking, mulling over the possibilities. What makes someone interesting? What do you think? Share your thoughts and let's see if together we can become more "interesting" people.

When I searched for a verse to include with this, interestingly enough this was the verse of the day...and I think it fits pretty well.

Colossians 2:6-7The Message (MSG)

From the Shadows to the Substance

6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Yep - that should make a person more "interesting" for sure!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I may never be fast...

I have come to the realization that I will never be fast. I used to be at least "sort of" fast, but as my years have advanced, my speed has diminished. With that in mind, it would be easy to see how I would get discouraged and just give up, but then things like this happen to remind me why...

Tonight I participated in a local "Go H.A.R.D." (Hug A Runner Day) event. It was only a mile run, and totally for fun, but just what I needed as I start to work on getting back into running again.

I started out with all the other runners as they started into an easy jog. The best part was watching all the parents with their kids as they made their way around the course. Before long, I found myself running alone. I've noticed that happens a lot. There are aBUNCH of runners ahead of me and a few behind me, and I run alone. That's okay. To be honest I am kind of comfortable in that spot. I actually like running alone.

It was then that I came up behind two little girls who had sped past me earlier, but now they were walking. I encouraged them a couple of times to keep going. They would, of course, take off at top speed and leave me, only to have me plod up behind them in a few seconds.
Finally, I ran along side the littlest one, (I'll call her "pink kitty" since she wore a pink kitten hat,) and this time I told her I'd run along side her. She started to kick on the jets again only this time I told her to slow down...we'd just go slow. 

She was doing her best, but she looked up at me and said, "My heart hurts! It feels like it's breaking!" 

I nodded and said, "I know, but that's just your heart growing stronger. Don't stop. Don't give up. You can do this!"

We ran along side by side, me talking to her about her really cool hat, asking about her school, telling her she was doing great, encouraging her that she was a really fast runner for a 5 year old..."I don't think I could have run that fast when I was 5," I said. 

She looked up and asked, "How old are you?" 

"I'm 54. Pretty old, huh." Yes, she nodded. ( that moment it felt pretty good to be that old!)

Step by step we ran together. "Not much further," I said. 

The finish line was getting closer, and she wanted to speed up, but I told her to hold back till the final turn. As we approached that last turn, I told her I wanted her to run as hard as she could. I figured she'd leave me behind when she kicked in those afterburners, but we weren't done. She gave it a burst of speed, but then I could see her slowing. I had to speed up and run beside her, egging her on.

That little "pink kitty" crossed the finishing line at full speed, so proud of herself and what she had done! She finished her mile run!

I have to be honest, I was pretty happy too. No, I hadn't run my fastest mile - far from it. Instead, I helped someone else reach their goal.

The Christian walk is a lot like this run. Sometimes I feel my "best" days are behind me. I'm not nearly as fast as I once was. Only now, I have an even better reason to run. I get to run alongside others who are just starting their race....those whose hearts "feel like they are breaking" and I get to encourage them that they are just getting stronger.

I get to talk to them about little things to help get their minds off the pain. I get to remind them to slow down...we'll get there one step at a time. I get to watch them do things they never thought possible and help them simply not to quit.

No, I'll never be fast like some others, but this is my race, the one that allows me to meet people all along the way that simply need to hear, "You can do this." This is why I run this race called life.  Care to join me?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (Msg)

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

*Note: I originally said this was Pink Kitty's FIRST mile. I later discovered after reading a post from her mom that it was not her first mile. Thanks Christy for allowing me to run with your precious child. 
I also realized, it was probably one of the most fun miles I've run in a long time....Pink Kitty took my mind off my own labored breathing for a while!

Repost from 2013

Monday, November 16, 2015

An unlikely pair...

We've all seen them - that unlikely couple that makes you wonder, "How did THEY wind up together?" Maybe  she's gorgeous and he seems dorky, or his is bold and she is meek, or like me and my husband, she is hyper and loud while he is quiet and calm. Whatever the mix, they just seem like they don't fit, but they are obviously perfect together.

This week I've been thinking of another "unlikely pair" - Confidence and Humility.

On the surface these two might seem like they don't fit together, but when you look closer you find that you can't possibly have one without the other!

Think of someone you know who walks in confidence. You know them. When they walk into a room, people are drawn to them. They aren't cocky or full of themselves, they just are.  They do their job in confidence, parent their kids in confidence, even play in confidence! They just seem to not worry and instead walk into any situation as though they know what to do. 

I've been thinking a lot about what makes a person confident. Is it their ability? Is it their knowledge? What is it about them that allows them to walk in such confidence? That's when it hit me. It's because they aren't just confident, they are also HUMBLE! Yes, you heard me right, they are humble....THAT'S the reason they can be so confident. They realize it's not about them. 

A humble person doesn't think too highly of themselves, in fact, I'm pretty sure they aren't thinking of themselves at all. They seem to be "about their Father's business," and that is enough. The confidence is intertwined so closely to humility that they can't be separated. Think about it, no one ever has walked in more confidence and humility than Jesus. He could have called down angels to do His bidding at anytime, but instead He walked with sinners, sick people, and thieves showing mercy and grace. He just went about doing his Father's will. 

Unfortunately, I find that I more often walk with another "odd couple"....the evil twins of Confidence and Humility - Low-self esteem and Pride. Confusing, I know! Most people see someone who speaks of themselves with words of debasement and self-depreciation and think THAT is the person who is humble. Like most things, however, looks can be deceiving. After all, those words are usually mostly about THEM. It's about what they can or cannot do. The focus is on THEM. What seems to be Humility is actually Pride in disguise. While 
I'd like to believe I can walk in confidence, I more often seem to walk in pride. I want to lose the focus on myself, but often that's exactly where it lands. On me. Not a very pleasant thought, I know.

Confidence knows that everything isn't based on our own ability to make things happen. It's hard to get to this point because the toughest part is that all this requires Trust. It's a simple word, but that doesn't make it easy. 

We have to Trust that our Father God loves us more than we can imagine. Trust that He sees all the days of our lives and has already walked through them. Trust that He has planned an end that will be for our good and His glory. 

Now that I think about it, maybe it's not that Confidence and Humility are a couple. Maybe they actually walk as a trio with Trust. I want to hang with these friends a lot more than I do their evil counterparts, Low Self-esteem, Pride, and Fear. How about you? 

Luke 2:49
He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?”

Psalms 25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

James 4:10   Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

*This is a repost from 2013, formerly titled "An Unlikely Couple..."