Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Me!

Hello my little munchkins! Can you tell I'm a little excited to be back to the blog world?  I'm sorry I didn't warn you of my break but I thought you would figure it out! Merry Christmas, jingle bells and all that stuff... Oh, plus my birthday! 
Grampie (in the sweater I got him for Christmas) & I on my Birthday.
Now I'm back and hoping to start the New Year off right! (Yes, I do realize we aren't quite there yet... But let's get prepared!)  A friend sent me an e-mail with "30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself" and I thought it would be a good thing to read and apply to 2012! Of course you all know when I'm working on myself I share with you so hopefully if you don't attack it all you will find some piece of sanity in my ramblings you can better your own life with! I have added my own thoughts to the e-mail and taken some away but all in all I hope you really enjoy these readings as I am! Oh yes, I should have mentioned before now, this "New Year, New Me!" blog will be a series... I'm not sure how long, just keep reading :o) I love you all and here it is:

Stop putting your own needs on the back burner – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others (I think we all know I'm a big proponent of this!) but help yourself too. I always feel bad when I see a mom who doesn't take any time out for herself... And angry with the husband who isn't quite bright or caring enough to see a couple hours alone or out would do amazing things for her, as well as the family... Something my boss says frequently is "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy!" I think it's true, not because mama doesn't want anyone else to be happy but if you are continuously pouring yourself out for others but not taking the time to get refilled yourself you will soon be empty and no one can benefit from that. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, whether it be reading a book, drawing a bubble bath, going out for some retail therapy (okay so maybe not this close to Christmas you may want to save that one for a month or two haha!), writing a book, going for a walk or create something of your own, that moment is now.

Stop spending time with the wrong people – I know I just wrote about this before my Christmas/Birthday break from blogging but it's something that we have to look at in our own lives at least once a year... And since there is a New Year just around the corner why not now?  Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  It's a hard lesson to learn and I think I was in the "special education system" for this one, but friends aren't friends if they don't have the time to even text you once in a while to see how you are doing... I'm not an advocate for testing people, I think if you feel the need to test someone it's most likely because you already know they are failing but something I once used to find out if I mattered to people was just stop trying for a bit... I just put my effort for friendship aside, stopped inviting, emailing, calling or texting and some of the people I thought were my friends never really spoke to me again... FAIL! But here's the point:  you shouldn’t have to fight for a spot in some one's life. Never ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

Stop running from your problems – Face them head on. Yikes, this is a serious blog!  It can seem so much easier to run except that when you finally stop to take a breath the problem is there tapping on the back door of your mind and you're probably going to be too tired to fight back... No facing problems won’t be easy and, frankly, there is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall because that’s the whole purpose... To learn to to face problems, get up when we've been knocked down, learn from mistakes, adapt ourselves, and solve every problem with prayer over the course of time. Another rather sucky truth: falling down and scraping our knees is part of learning to walk much like problems and mistakes along the journey what ultimately mold us into the person we become.

Stop lying – You can lie to anyone in the world but why would you... Let's face it, just as mama taught us when we were younger, it's hard to keep the story straight when one lie piles on another. "Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive" - Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet. Just as important as the lesson mother taught us, perhaps, is learning not to lie to ourselves... Whether it be when we look in the mirror or to the heart.  I know, as well as you all, it's scary to face truth about ourselves but to grow we must!  Don't be too hard on yourself either, usually we are much more critical of our own being than we would be with anyone else because of that I always think if I saw this in a friend would I be concerned? If the answer is no, don't worry about it... If it is yes, make an action plan and conscience effort to change.  Change, unfortunately is a lot of discipline, mistakes, try agains and work but if you are persistent it is possible!  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. Read The Road Less Traveled.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Somethings Missing: A Sad Christmas Season

I was always the classic case of a "somethings missing" life. I thought I felt alone because I didn't have enough friends... Although, my dad has always been a firm believer of "you only really need one true friend." Once I got all the friends a girl could ask for I realized there was still something missing and thought maybe it was because I needed a boyfriend. Oh how I was mistaken with that one... It only feels worse when they cheat and lie.  Bad experience for the first relationship with a male but once I was past that I still felt lonely. I then decided maybe what was missing was a career; a call center job just was not fulfilling, money isn't everything.  I went to college, became a paralegal and landed a job at a law office...  Honestly, it's not what I thought; I love being a paralegal but still... There's something missing.  My next assumption was I was feeling lonely because my dad left us... Not just my mom, in the eyes of a child dad is leaving the family as a whole... or hole rather.  I worked feverishly at improving my relationship with my dad but even seeing each other every week didn't take that feeling away.  I am a strong believer that pets can fix almost everything and when I first got my pup I was sure he was the answer... But after a couple of months as a fur-baby's mama I realized there was still something missing...  I designed and built my own home something my mama and I were without since dad left when I was 9.  I love being a home owner! All the little things like paying my own mortgage instead of someone else, being able to play music as late and loud as I want or have friends over and laugh until 3 in the morning without worrying about waking the people in the apartment above... But whatever is missing still wasn't there...

But seriously, what else could I have done? I could have gone back to school but I'm not so sure that would help, I mean, I've always thought I would be a good counselor or psychiatrist but then again I'm thinking if someone was in my office every day saying "I just want to kill myself! Life sucks! My mistress is pressuring me to leave my wife, my wife wants another baby. My kids don't sleep through the night and I had to babysit them again last night so my wife could go to the hospital to spend the night with her sister. My Bentley is so hard on gas... And my secretary, ooh that old hag, I hate her! She only works 60 overtime hours a week and I have to be at work an hour a day!" I'm quite sure after the third appointment I would say something along the lines of "listen you idiot, you don't need counsel you need appreciation and morals! Grow up, put your big boy undies on and take responsibility! You have a great life so stop cheating, be a dad not a babysitter and if your Bentley is that hard on gas get a Ford Fiesta! And if you were really going to kill yourself you would do it instead of taking my time up with your belly aching."  I'm also a firm believer in people just needing a reality check these days and getting over ourselves... We don't really have problems comparatively.

Here's the thing... We were all created with "something missing" in our hearts and there is only one thing that will fill that need...  And maybe you should consider that if nothing in this world is filling the empty space and not lasting for more than a season it's because nothing in this world can... Kind of like the old adage "you can't fit a square peg in a round hole..." So what does that mean? There's no help for me? This is depressing, please tell me there's a lesson here and a hope! 

I think C.S. Lewis had hold of something we all need to grasp... There is a hope, something to fill the "something missing" in our lives... It's love!  I know, you've probably already realized that and you've been trying to fill that hole with relationships, alcohol, travel, busyness, babies, sex, work and who knows what else... And now you're thinking, I've had love and still felt horrible!  Now I'm so messed up no one can love me again anyway, even if I did want to try it again... But there is a solution to all of it and if you take a step back with an objective point of view you will see you are loved already and have been all along.
The key to that love actually filling the missing piece? Love Him back... Not just in words but in action... Not just once or twice a week or once a year at Christmas time but every day... Not just realizing God still loved you and saying you love him back but actually forming a day to day relationship and working on it. Something that will really help you in all relationships but especially your relationship with God is realizing it does take work... Work on your part, time and understanding on your part and if that seems like too much for you to do consider what Christ was born to do for you... Die.. And He already has, what else can you really expect from Him? Nothing, but still, He will do more as long as you're working too.

Yes, Christmas makes us all think about God, whether we have a relationship with Him or not... It also seems to magnify that "something missing" feeling and maybe instead of looking at it as a bad thing see it as a sign you've been looking for.  Christmas is a celebration of Christ and a sad time for many, maybe they are sad not because of whatever they think is wrong with life but because they haven't realized the "something missing" in their life is God.... Even if you have entered into a relationship with Christ and still get that feeling, don't worry it's just God reminding you to draw closer. So this Christmas Season take some time out of the frantic preparations and spend it being with the One the season is all about... Make it a date, play some music, write a love note, be quiet together and just soak it up... You'll find that "something missing" feeling will melt away in the warmth of His love.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heart, Feelings & Rollerblades: All the same...

I was watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York yesterday afternoon (Christmas movie watching is at least a daily occurrence in my house these days!) One scene really caught my attention... I was looking for a light & fluffy couple of hours filled with laughs and what I got was a lesson in life. And since it 'tis the season for sharing I thought I would share it with you all :o)

In this scene MacCaulay Culkin (playing Kevin McCallister) and an actress I've not seen before or since (playing Bird Lady) sit in the lighting/storage room above an opera house and listen to a symphony together.  Here is a snippet of the conversation that caused me to think:

Bird Lady: I'm just afraid if I do trust someone, Ill get my heart broken.

Kevin McCallister: I understand. I had a nice pair of Rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.

Bird Lady: A persons heart and feelings are very different than skates.

Kevin McCallister: They're kind of the same thing. If you wont use your heart, who cares if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it'll be like my Rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it wont be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.

The obvious question now on my mind is "how much have I been using my heart?" Whatever your answer is I promise you could use it more.  Think of the love Jesus displayed as a model for us when he died at Golgotha...  Obviously that's not the way we will be displaying our love but until we've surpassed that (which we never will) our job of loving people and God is not finished.  We are after all supposed to sow God's love  for people through our own lives... I know it can be scary and we all have trouble trusting at some point in our lives but love is the most important thing we can do, it's the best quality to carry in your being and if you have all else but not love you are really nothing... So get past the fear and walk in love.

Jesus said love was the most important command he could give us "Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these." Mark 12:30-31 Msg. 

Further, 1st John 4:8 states "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" and 4:20-21 extends that love to others "If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both."

Lastly, love is more than just a word and an action or two... More than a feeling, it has to be your whole being... Your motive and your priority.  Love has a lot of characteristics that sets it apart from just pretending to be nice and painting a smile on your face to fool people or yourself into thinking you've got it all together and I propose that while we take some time off from our respective careers this Christmas season let's take some time on growing love in ourselves and sharing it with other people! One of my favorite and I believe most detailed descriptions of love was written by Paul the Apostle... It's how I measure love and know I still have lots of work to do, so if you're left wondering how to grow love (as I have been many, many times) use this passage as instruction: "If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end." 1st Corinthians 13:1-7, Msg.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In the Army

Picture from Oromocto SPCA via Facebook

I saw this picture mid-week last week and it honestly just struck my heart.  Yes, I am an animal lover. I cannot imagine anyone not helping, loving and being kind to an innocent, defenceless (compared to us) living being. Some of the stories I hear of people abusing animals make me sick and I truly believe people who hurt animals should be put in jail... Really, how long will it be before that same person harms another human being, in some ways I would think it more easily done, at least with conscience... Then again, it's probably only cowardly souls who would ever think of hurting an animal.

The thing that has had my heart bleeding since I saw this picture though has nothing to do with an animal really... But the army.  We are a part of the Lord's army once we are Christians, right?  You know putting on the armour of God, breastplate of righteousness carrying the sword of the spirit, double edged sword of the word of God written on our hearts... But is fighting the only thing an army does?  What is the motive driving the army? Are they really there to take lives or save them?

An army fights to protect the weak, protect their kingdom.  An army fights to push their cause forward... An army is driven by compassion not anger and violence... An army helps. An army loves. An army frees the captive!

So, I ask you what you are doing in the army? What are your motives? Are you fighting against the enemy or have you somehow been turned around and have the innocent, the weak, your own fellow soldiers in your sights?  Do you remember your compassion? Do you remember Christ's compassion?  Have you helped, loved and freed anyone recently?  It's true, we are not all on the front lines, an army has many valuable roles we forget all about... But, without a cook the soldiers would grow weak... Whatever your roll, it is important and invaluable to the kingdom.  You who keep the front line strong, you who feed the spirit through prayer, fasting, supporting and loving are just as much part of the freedom of others as is you were the commanding officer.

We are an army, yes, but we must remember we are a kind army... Peacekeepers if you will. We must be compassionate. We must reach to help the week.  We must love the captive. We must keep the enemy in our sights and remember freedom of the nations is the motive. Christ's compassion for the world must be the driving force behind each move we make.

God, have your way, your will be done and I pray "God, direct our every step. Let our heart beat as yours and our compassion reach beyond every barrier. Help us to love as you loved us and to give ourselves because you held no part of yourself back from us.  Fight with us and on our behalf God and allow us to be your hands to bring freedoms reign in our Cities. In Jesus name I ask all of these things for your glory alone. Amen."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Invation to a Taste Test!

I just read on Twitter... The source of all information you need! haha! Well okay, not quite... It's Walt Disney's birthday! I'm not sure if that implies the company or the man but whichever works for me. I decided today's blog would be based on a Disney quote and of course I go to Disney Words on Twitter for that!  And this is what I've got for my favorite people today:

I've been asked before, referring to living a Christian lifestyle and having a relationship with Christ if I "just do it because that's how [I] was brought up?" Funny question really... I used to live a Christian lifestyle because that is how I was brought up... Well until I was about nine years old and my dad left, at least.  My mama did the best she could to raise me up in the way I should go but I have to admit to not making it easy for her.  It wasn't until my last year of middle school (that was grade 9 back then haha!) I decided I wanted to be a Christian for myself not just because that is the faith most of my family believe... Even then, nothing seemed to come easy for me... I have always been a quick learner and been able to learn from the mistakes of others but for some reason my walk with God was not quite as easy... Does that mean it's not meant to be? Shouldn't it come easily? Well, I have two responses to those questions really: 1. I take from Mary Poppins "That’s a pie crust promise. Easily made, easily broken." via Disney Words, Twitter. And I definitely don't want an easily broken relationship with Christ.  2. As an answer I pose a question "Was the cross easy for Christ?" Of course not! So if it wasn't easy for Him to start the relationship with us why should it be easy for us to grow in a relationship with Him?

I'm not saying a relationship with God is all storms and rocks but I am saying any relationship worth having will cost you something and take commitment to endure storms that may come your way... And this relationship is definitely worth having!  I can honestly tell you that if you have any doubt about whether or not you should try a relationship with God for yourself, any of those "is it really worth it?", "is it real?" or even hesitation because of past experience with a "Christian" who you didn't think was very Christian-like you should try Him! It is worth anything I've ever had to give in exchange and more! My life since Him has been so much better than any moment prior! He has helped me become someone I actually like, someone my family is proud of and someone who would actually have something to give in relationships.  There is a verse in Psalm 34:8 "By experience you will see that the Lord is good; happy is the man [or woman] who has faith in him!" (Bible in Basic English translation)

I once explained a relationship with God to my boss in this way:  "Asking me to explain what it's like, what you feel, the changes and possibilities that come with a relationship with God is like asking me to explain what peach ice cream tastes like if you've only been fed through a feeding tube and have lived in one of those plastic, temperature controlled bubbles all your life." I know that's probably not the best answer and certainly not the answer he may have been hoping for or you were expecting to read... But I further explained this "how could I explain the freshness of a peach without you having any tasting pallet to compare it to? How would I explain the creaminess of the ice cream or even it's coldness on your tongue if you've not felt so much as a cool breeze on your skin? It's the same thing with trying to explain a relationship with God if you have nothing to compare Him to. I can only say it's better than any other relationship I've ever experienced, you would think it's less tangible but once you've seen Him work a miracle he's more real than anything else you've touched or seen! So all I can say, is you have to experience it for yourself and see how great it is!"  And that's what I want to say to you all today!  Try it! I promise you'll love Him more than anything else you've ever experienced! Get everything out of the way, everything you've heard, all opinions that have come your way, all inhibitions and just give God one chance with you, jump in with both feet and I promise you won't regret one second and he won't need another chance!

And one last word from Disney I would like to apply to my invitation... "Prepare for a chance of a lifetime. Be prepared for sensational news. A shining new era is tiptoeing nearer." –Scar (Lion King) as tweeted by Disney Words

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shopping is Dangerous: Adopting is Not!

Hi honeys!  Again today I really don't have a whole lot to write to you all :o(  I think I just need some time off, you know to re-group and relax... Hopefully the Christmas Holiday will bring that to me and I will also be able to get some writing done for you all.

I'm going shopping downtown tonight! Yes, I am excited... I don't do much shopping downtown anymore and especially in the winter time... I do admit it has been a warmer than ever winter but I'm still a bit of a wimp! ha! Not to mention you are apparently taking your very life in your hands to shop downtown these days as I learned from CTV Atlantic tweeting stories like this one: Really, I haven't even been shopping at the mall as much as I should be this time of year... Time to shop for every one's Christmas presents is another thing I hope the Christmas Holiday will bring me!

Since I'm less than interesting with my blogging today I'll try to help Fredericton SPCA and ask you all to donate something to the animals for the Holiday season! It could be a couple of old toys, blankets or a couple of bucks, anything and everything is helpful! Better yet adopt a sweetie and give it to your kiddos for a present or foster some fur babies so they don't have to be alone for Christmas! Here is the website and if you're not near by find the closest SPCA or Shelter to you and do the same! After all, "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." -James D. Miles as tweeted by Inspire_Us