Friday, August 22, 2014

The Funeral and Life

I attended a funeral this week... It was for my friends father.  He lived a full life of love, joy, family, Jesus and simplicity.  His life was not extravagant yet it was a life to be both jealous of and inspired by. He didn't have a mansion, limo (is that even a thing anymore?), no private hatch whisking him away to his personal island, no off-shore bank account holding his millions, not even a house staff... Yet, he was one of the richest people I've known. He was rich because he got a second chance when he needed it most. You see, he did not grow up with the foulness he experienced later in life. He was a heavy drinker and partied but somehow it was all empty... He had many people around him but couldn't really seem to figure out if any of those were his true friends.  

I've been seeing, reading and hearing a lot about Robin Williams lately... Many people writing and speaking as if they knew him personally when really, they only knew the person behind a screen, they only knew the act.  I can barely stand to see any more, not because the words I've read are bad or wrong but because it effects me in an unexpected way, it deepens the sadness. Sadness for robin and his family yes, but sadness for everyone.  No one seems to know what happened, really... There are many suppositions of course but no one really knows, and if we don't know then how do we stop this from happening to those near to us? Robin had much wealth, family, love and somehow, still, emptiness. Somehow solitude crept in and held his soul in a death grip. 

I don't pretend to have all the answers, I don't know how we stop people from dying whether by choice or fate.  But what I do know is when people do transition from this world into eternity those of us left behind frequently have regrets... Maybe we loved but never enough, we've spoken words but never said all we've desired. I don't know that anything could have changed the fatal decision Mr. Williams embraced that day, I believe he knew he was loved and I don't think his death the fault of anyone but I know I wish I could have spoken to him. Spoken some words, any words of healing, comfort, care, hope.  I know this, I know we all wish for more time, less raised voice, more touch, more love, more eye contact, more comforting silent moments passed between us; more of the good, whatever the good is for us, more.

So it's not an extended pen today, just a regret, a wish, a glimmer of reality, mortality.  Take some time to think about Robin's passing and of those close to you.  Take a moment to consider how you've felt when people left you behind when they took the journey into the end, be honest about the regrets, think of the words you wished to have spoken, the no you would have turned to yes. Consider the past so that you can live your life fully with your family and loved ones today.  Think on the love you should have made known, the eyes you should have starred into a bit longer, the hands you should have touched and allow them to guide you into opening your heart to those moments now. Allow those pains to be the keys that open you up to feeling, experiencing, living, saying, touching, being all you're designed for.  Tear down the walls, don't wait for a miracle or tragedy to destroy the boundaries around your emotions, do it yourself.  And please don't limit your experiencing ans sharing only to your loved ones but extend yourself to anyone and everyone you can. Offer that smile to a stranger, look for ways to care for others, touch the lonely soul, speak into the darkness that you might be a beacon of hope. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that..." - Martin Luther King Jr., so, be the light because light is greater than dark. There is no competition, no jury, no fight, it is just so, light is more powerful so be the light.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I Demand you Remember who you are! (remnants of "I need a Doctor" series)

"I can endure no more,
I demand you remember who you are"
- Marshall Mathers

These are two lines left from a Three Part Series of blog posts I wrote a loong time ago...  Remembering who we are... Well, that's a tall order sometimes, especially if you're rather sober thinking of yourself, like me.  But the thing is you are someone, you are loved, you have amazing potential.  You are stronger than you look, maybe you don't pump iron every free second of the day but inside, where it counts, you are strong! You are thought of every day by someone who you may not even consider in the quiet moments of life, He loves you so much he can't stop Himself from obsessing over every little detail of your life, He's addicted to you, to your happiness, to your care and to your benefit.  

I often think about how God loved to walk with Afam & Eve every morning and evening... And I wonder, with all the people in the world now does he still miss those walks or are there some who set aside time for conversation with him still? I'm sure there were some walks that were rather quiet, even routine, but somehow God showed up each day, regardless of rain making them run for cover the day before.  I'm not sure why I would find it strange to think about, all of us know how relaxing, comforting and intimate just being together can be... Just seeing the sparkle in someone's eye or a grin rush over the lips of them when they see a sunset, there's something about those quiet walks, you can get to know someone so well through learning their expressions.  Simple thing can be so endearing, the way they find humor in things unnoticed by many, the way they run their fingers through their hair or press their hand to their mouth when pondering an answer, the sound of their laugh or even their need for a quick, soft touch to your arm.  These are some of the things God wants to experience with each one of us, it's not even that he doesn't know already the nuances of our humanity but to see them each day, to have that familiarity is part of relationship and very much part of relationship with Christ. 

If you're reading this and you don't know God, I do know Him and let me assure you again, you are a special and precious person in His eyes even before you enter into a relationship with him. The Bible says he dies for each one of us while we were still sinners with no guarantee of required love, he loved us that much! He loves you more than anyone else ever has... Maybe to you that's nothing, maybe you've not been loved, or in your life love has only meant pain and abuse... You know what? In Christ's life, love meant pain and abuse as well... He took on beatings, mocking and ultimately death he didn't deserve so you could live in love! Please, I beg you, give God a chance to show you what real love is and who you are, you are beautiful, you are His beloved, don't forget that.

I need a doctor - part 1 worship

I need a doctor - part 2  heartbeat

I need a doctor - part 3 donor

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Dreamer and the Hermit

Gosh I didn't know what to write about this week... I was looking all week for inspiration and couldn't seem to get any traction after a couple of sentences... Maybe those ideas need some time, maybe they'll be something someday... Luckily I was reading The Matt Walsh Blog today about 50 Shades of Grey and it hit me... Okay, bad play on words, I know... but seriously, here I go, plagiarize away... Okay, seriously now, you should read his post about 50 Shades of Grey, after you've read the rest of mine and I promise, I only want to steal a couple of sentences and twist them into what my little mind sees... "Far-fetched? Perhaps. Unlikely? Maybe. Probably achievable at this point? Yes, definitely, but let me dream. And, more than dream, let me try. Let me try to bring about this Utopia."

I'm not talking about 50 Shades of anything, except how we see the world.. Everyone has different ideals than the next, everyone has their own dreams that many would scoff at... But why must we scoff at each other's dreams at all? Are we the dream giver, must we put in the blood, sweat and tears we assure a dream that grandiose would take? No, so what difference does it make if someone else wastes time on a unreachable dream?  It shouldn't make any difference at all, I get it, you're concerned... Well, there's a major difference between expressing healthy concern and question than taking a knife to the heart of the dream itself.  There's lots of time where parents training children to ride a bicycle don't believe the child is skilled enough or mentally ready to go without training wheels but do you know the correct way they handle it? They express their concern and even advise on the possibly scraped knees consequence and then they take the training wheels off and stabilize the bike with their hand and encourage the child as he or she takes off into the new-found freedom. Sometimes the child falls down, sometimes the parent has to get out the peroxide and bandages, wipe away the tears and comfort away the broken dream of a day of bicycle caravan with the neighbors... Sometimes, after the first or second fall the child doesn't want to get back on a bike, they can't, the dream is too big, it's stupid... The parent then becomes the believer of the dream, encouraging the child to try again, making sure the child knows they can do it and soon enough the dream is mended and realized. So why can't we do that for each other?  

Why can't we advise of the possible falls without saying "you could get knocked down by a passing car and killed, or maimed, or worse!" Can you imagine if parents told their children of every possible danger before they tried to learn anything new?! We would have a world of terrified hermits!  And how sad is it that out world is chalked full of terrified dream hermits?  I mean, seriously, even though it may sound funny, that's exactly what many have become... And I don't want to be that way!   It should not be that way, we should try!  How hypocritical that we teach future generations to live life to the fullest, follow your dreams, try, try again and we sit in the shadows of fear ourselves!  

We all have dreams; maybe they're buried beneath business, covered by carelessness, maybe they are broken by our own disbelief or smothered in words of discouragement passed our way by other dream deniers but where ever they are, how ever tattered or damaged they are, dig them up, believe again, try! And next time you think of discouraging someone else on their dream that seems impossible to you remember, nothing is... Nothing is really impossible, convey your concern and then become a fellow believer and encourager. The worst thing that can happen if you believe in a dream destined to remain only a dream is give the dreamer someone who understands the disappointment with them.  The next time you're listening to someone else discourage your dreams, or you're hearing your own negative thoughts speak these words ""Far-fetched? Perhaps. Unlikely? Maybe. Probably achievable at this point? Yes, definitely, but let me dream. And, more than dream, let me try. Let me try to bring about this..."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hurricane Arthur & Hard Resets

You may or may not have heard about Hurricane Arthur in the past couple of weeks.  Well, I'm not so happy to say my City got to experience him firsthand... He blew into town late last week and caused a lot of damage... Some of my friends and locals are still without power as I write this. I've included two personal picture of damage in my area but they are nothing compared to some I've seen! I know there are way worse storms in the world and I'm not comparing, just allow me to say "if you're not prepared, the storm magnifies regardless of intensity" and we were not prepared in my area.  Storms of this magnitude just don't usually happen in Fredericton.

I, thankfully, have power restored to my home and office and I feel so bad for those who are still without, we definitely take a lot for granted that electricity has to offer us. I've read and heard a lot of critics perspectives on NB Power and its crews and those who have come to our City to help us and let me just remind those who may be aggravated with the timetable of when they are to expect power to be restored that we do not experience storms like this in our area... It's not that our power companies can't plan well or that they are not intelligent but they are planning for over 140,000 customers unexpectedly and at once, all things considered we should be showing gratitude for the concern, compassion of others, long hours worked, families missing out on having all members present at supper because they're cutting trees from power lines or installing polls or making schedules and the persistence of the power company in trying to restore electricity to so many.

We had church via generator last weekend and I have to say, I was not excited about that at all... We have done it before and it was strangely nice but I just wasn't looking forward to it Sunday. (For shame that I've even admitted that, ha!) It's funny how sometimes what I am not looking forward to, something I don't want is exactly what is needed.  I'm so glad I went in spite of my less than enthusiastic approach, I can't explain why but somehow the lack of lights, cameras and booming sound system made everyone a little more family like, a little closer, there was just a beautiful atmosphere.  We sang regular songs and did everything as usual but there was a tangible difference, maybe because without the mentioned lights, camera, mics we weren't waiting for chentertainment ("church entertainment" yes, I made up a word, be proud Pastor Leaman!) or because no one came to hear the songs, check out the production tools or staging but whether it was difference in purpose or electricity there was a change in the air... Maybe we were without electricity but the Power of God was there in a marked way.  Yes, there was removal of some extras and yes, it was noticed but no, there was not a void... in fact, it was the opposite of void.

I heard Mayor Woodside say on the radio (and if he's reading, awesome job, your kindness and compassion for this City were well expressed) 'it was sort of nice to see neighbors come out of their homes and talk, to pull together in this time... Fredericton is a strong, good City and will come out better on the other side because of this storm.' (loose quote) And he is right! It was nice to actually sit at the supper table instead of on the sofa with the TV blaring, to play board games with friends and family, to go for a walk and chat with the neighbors along the way, to watch the birds outside and to sit and think in quiet... It was nice to help others and to receive help from those around us.  Difficulties arose from Hurricane Arthur, yes. It was and is hard to be creative and figure out how you are to move forward in a somewhat normal fashion without electricity, we can't allow the storm to stop the world around us... I know it was and is a huge inconvenience to go without power for so long... And I'm probably being kind calling it an inconvenience but in some ways even though it is hard isn't it exactly what we need?  Kind of like a "hard reset." A hard reset is just that, hard... When you hard reset your phone it can wipe out some things you want but not what you need, it can be frustrating and it can create work in trying to recover and repair, but it's the only thing that can help sometimes... And the reset result is worth the hard part. So let us make Hurricane Arthur into a "hard reset" in our lives. There are some neighborly and family basics we've learned again but let's not let it die in the days ahead, let Hurricane Arthur's havoc be a hard reset that changes the way we live. Continue having some meals at our tables, continue chatting with our neighbors, continue inviting people who are less fortunate than ourselves to enjoy some of our blessings, continue looking for ways to help those around us and be sure we are able to accept help when we're in need.

One last picture of my mama during Hurricane Arthur...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Hello ladies & gents,  I know I'm a day late with this post... And I have a few writings on my mind so who knows where this will end up. I was only home for 2 hours all day yesterday and when that is getting ready/eating time there is just no possibility of writing :( Excuse shared, let's get on with a Friday Fun Day post!

It's so awesome how things can happen... Not that my days have been sunshine and rainbows lately, because they haven't literally or figuratively but still, somehow through the clouds peak glimmers of hope. I guess I'm not going to give you many fabulous metaphors for you to glean from today or anything like that, but let me just encourage you to accept this feeble post as a word for your life, a message of hope and promise.  I know I've been on this promise kick lately, I suppose because I am in the waiting right along with you and I am trying to encourage myself just as much as I'd like to help you.  

I had a friend come up to me Sunday night after watching me sing and just let me know she was thinking about me... Now, first let me say that although last week wasn't what I would call a "great week" it wasn't all together bad and I thought I was doing pretty good all things considered... At least until after just a few words from a caring heart had me reduced to a teary mess.  I kept insisting, I had been fine up until that moment and that I didn't even realize I was stressed or effected by the goings on around me... But maybe I just didn't allow myself to process anything?  Either way, clearly circumstance can effect your mind, your hopes, your beliefs... Sometimes I suppose it would be good, if everything is going right I'm sure it's a good thing to gain confidence, but we must recognize when things aren't good so that we can fight off the negative effects on our thoughts and prayers. Let the good in and out, keep that flow going but do whatever we have to and get the "negative pipe" clogged up! I remind myself frequently of things I hear said to diminish negative impact, words like "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming" - Finding Nemo (yes, I'm that deep! ha!) "If people are talking behind your back, it' only means you are ahead of them" or " I may walk slowly but I never walk backward" - Abraham Lincoln, or even "he who trims himself away to suit every one will soon whittle himself away." Still, it can be difficult to stay true to who we are and to keep walking toward a promised land we have never seen only trusted in. And I'm not speaking about heaven although I hope we are walking toward that destination too, I'm talking about those future places of progress and destiny where we fulfill our life callings. Those places we have no GPS for or map to, not even a gas station along the way to stop at and ask directions... How do we get there? How do we stay on course? How do we know which way to go?

Maybe we can't know the way, maybe we will never get to where we thought we would... Maybe we won't always know what direction to go even after praying for direction.  But maybe that's a good thing.  In my devotional this morning there was a section that read "I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn't bear to see all your life at once.  Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you.  Refresh yourself in my company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence.  The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment.  I am with you, watching over you wherever you go." - God (via Jesus Calling App.)   So maybe the point is to be less like Joseph who knew where he would end up and more like Abraham walking toward a goal we've not seen but been promised we would know when we got there. Maybe as long as we direct our attention to God and do our best to stay close to him when we have lack of direction we will just end up where we are supposed to be... And maybe, He's been giving direction all along. Maybe direction comes in the form of friends stopping you to give you a shoulder to cry on, to encourage you to keep going, to let you know you're not alone...  Maybe it's not really your friend speaking at all but a loving God speaking through that friend.

I received another piece of welcomed encouragement from my cousin as well... I haven't even written to thank her yet but I've turned to that note almost every day since it came in the mail.  It wasn't even a long note, just on a homemade card... But the words were as impacting as a novel of pages.  I read the story of Hansel and Gretel when I was young and now that I'm grown I've realized that sometimes along life's path all it takes is a breadcrumb to remind you of your way... 

I suppose I'm only writing you today to leave a breadcrumb in your path... To encourage you that wherever you are right now in life, just keep walking toward your goals and promises.  Walk slowly if you must but refuse to go back. Fight the strong arm of negative people and thoughts that may press in and take time to recognize all of the little clues of direction and encouragement along the journey. Never whittle away at yourself to make other's more comfortable or worry about what everyone is saying, just trust and follow God.

And one last word... Not from me...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Planned Promise

Hi bunnies, sorry I didn't post last week, the intention was there until Wednesday when three Mounties were gunned down in Moncton, New Brunswick, a City less than two hours away from me... And because I have five friends who are Mounties one of which is from the detachment of the officers killed I took time for updates on that all day. Luckily for me but no less tragic for anyone else, my one friend who was supposed to be on duty in that area at that time hurt his back and went home before the shootings. In case you hadn't heard the story here's a link to the happenings.

I've been thinking a lot on some life promises lately... Some things I've been promised will happen that haven't yet come to pass. Now' you see, if I had control I would have already had those promises in my life... Probably more than once because I would have had them too early and ruined them.  It's so hard to just trust, keep believing and hoping. I mean even when you know the one who has promised you something is good for it, if it doesn't happen when you think or hoe you think it should then it's difficult to wait in faith. Sometimes it seems easier to let the dream go rather than be disappointed every time you see a glimmer of possibility that turns out not to be that ship sailing in.

Now, before you climb up onto that high horse called "make it happen!" Let me just say that if these promises within my capability to push along it would be happening... Wait, I already told you that, so listen! Don't go saying "well, you just need to be more positive and then it will happen!" and if I hear "it'll happen when you're not even looking for it" one more time, I'm hitting someone! Ha! Okay, before is get physical I need to explain I'm not down in the dumps or anything like that but it natural to have ebb and flow in your mind, circumstance pounding against the tower of belief you try building can sometimes topple it or at the least erode away some of the strength. So, if you're not with me now, just wait, you will be at some point in life. And don't go saying "patience, my child, patience..." Because one of the promises I'm talking about was spoken to me when I was nine years old, if that's not patience and belief than I don't know either trait.

So now that I've gone through most of what not to say or think about promises and why they haven't happened yet let me tell you the one thing that has actually given me some solist and hope as of late... There is a difference between a promise and a plan.... I can promise you we will go fishing without speaking of the plan I've laid out for our voyage.  Or I can tell you a plan and never promise to do it. I know, deep, right? Well, maybe not astounding to many but I think it's a point we frequently become confused about. When God makes a promise we sometimes assume the plan and because of that, we shrink into discouragement and fear. The thing about God is, he rarely shares his plan other than a general overview or destination, sort of like if I invited you to a huge party at my house but didn't give you the address or directions to get here. There are many promises given but as for the plan to carry  out those promises He says "I know the plans I have..."  And unfortunately for those of us who like to be independent and self sustaining, He doesn't always share that plan, in fact He most never will. maybe it's because He "won't share His glory with any other" or so that we will fully depend on Him, the reason doesn't really matter it's understanding of the difference we need to bring to mind. Lack of knowledge of the plan does not negate or even diminish the promise in any way, it just means if He's the one making the promise He needs no help to bring it to fruition. He's not a parent saying I promise you you can have chicken dinner and when you get home then saying "okay, go cook it!" He's going to promise and make it happen, it's not up to us to know a plan, come up with a plan or help with the plan, it's only up to us to believe the promise, do our best at living a good life and making room for God to direct.

So here's my confession, I to have slipped back into the shadows of fear, distrust, discouragement, disbelief and even anger at times when it comes to the area of promise. I've misunderstood and confused promise with plan... I've allowed myself to let go of promises and dreams because I couldn't see the plan not realizing that it's the job of the one making the promise to fulfill it. I have no power to bring my promises to pass nor yours, I can't help you or myself but you don't need me and furthermore you shouldn't even want my help,  because I didn't make the promise in the first place, I never did know anything about the plan but the one who ,ade the promise has the power to complete it from the veery moment He spoke it... And the best part, He can speak worlds into existence with one sentence so your promise is only not complete because the plan isn't finished. I know it can be difficult to believe any of the bad that happens in our lives could be part of the plan, I don't get it either when it comes to some of that but think of Joseph's promise... He was given a promise as a young child, he was betrayed by his family first, boss second, friends third. Joseph was jailed for years and no one believed in his dreams but when the plan was finished the dream came true and was greater than he could have ever imagined. So let's stop confusing promises with plans and realize that the plan isn't always for us to know but we must believe in the promise makers ability and intention to make it happen.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Word Tattoos

I read another quote last night... Or maybe the night before... Again, I've been thinking.  This quote asked one question and honestly, I had to answer "no." I've been so disappointed in myself to have to answer no to that question... It's something I "preach" all the time but also something I "preach" at myself because I fail frequently.  It's something I need to work on and change about myself and I would bet it's a question you would have to answer no to as well.

Posted by Lauren DeMoss 
So what if your daily words became tattoos on your skin? Would you still be beautiful? Would each word be something you would want everyone and anyone to see? If your words were to become your tattoos would you change any of them? If your words were your tattoos would you be kinder, stronger, more confident, more trustworthy? Would you trust God more? Would you speak less? Would you love more? What is it you would change if you knew everyone would see?  Would you change even the things you say to and about yourself? Would you speak words of encouragement and support to yourself? Would you speak more humbly?  Would you appreciate who you are and concentrate more on the things you like rather than the flaws?

Of course, the lesson we learn from this question and all the other questions it leads us to ask of ourselves is to be more aware of the words we speak... Not only the words we speak to others but those we speak into our own being. We must take time to think about our words, I know it is more difficult in the moment but we should take time right now, thinking of the words we have spoken lately that we may not be proud of, the words we wish we would have spoken, the words we would soften... If we think about them now it may be possible to change them in the moments to come.  Dr. Phil frequently says "it takes one thousand 'atta boys' to make up for one negative statement."  We must speak life, kindness, love, encouragement and support, we must change our way of thinking before we can change an outcome and to change our thinking we must repeat a thousand "atta boys."

"Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose."
Proverbs 18:21 (Msg)

"Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth.  Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from Artesian springs.  The words of a fool start fights; do him and favor and gag him.  Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words.  Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want that junk in your belly?  Answering before listening is both rude and stupid.  Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest! Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Beauty & Rainstorms

I read this today... It's so impacting to me. Isn't that exactly what happens to us all, in one way or another we learn to be silenced? Maybe not our voice itself but definitely our words, we change what we say to be more accepted, more like those around us... We don't stand up because we are afraid to stand alone.  We stop singing because we don't want to magnify the darkness of someone else's situation... 

The problem with silencing ourselves, with hiding our thoughts and opinions through choosing not to speak them... The problem with changing what we say to be like others and to gain acceptance... The problem with not standing at all because of fear to stand alone, the problem with stifling our song is sometimes that's all that gets us through. Sometimes we lose what we want most and the only thing that helps us work it out in the mind is giving the pain a voice...  If we choose not to speak our minds on what we believe in to gain acceptance and be like others, first we cannot gain actual acceptance of our true selves and second if I don't speak, you're silenced and the person next to us is the same then no one is speak and we are just being swept away by the current of our surrounding culture... The problem with being swept with culture is we will never have time to think about who we are, what we want or what we believe because we will be too busy just trying to stay afloat.  The problem with never standing up, I know you're probably expecting "we will fall for anything" but no, if you don't stand and I don't stand and no one stands then change and betterment cannot come... What is Abraham Lincoln never took a stand, what if Rosa Parks never took a stand what if Bumblebee transformer never took a stand!? Too far? Haha. The problem with not singin our song is we lose the light in our own lives... Don't be afraid to magnify darkness, darkness cannot coexist with light, maybe your song is the sun breaking through the clouds in someone else's situation.

You are born to be bold! You were born to be chaotic!  Don't be afraid of the storm, you don't owe sunshine or beauty to anyone, you owe yourself to be true, real and honest with the world. The funny thing about people is we all want to be found beautiful in some way, we all seek the approval of someone else but we often fail to realize that the same things we find beautiful in others is beautiful lived out through us! We look at others and deem them beautiful because they are "their own person," because they're so "authentic," they are so "real and down to earth..." We see those beauties in others then we hide ourselves. Stop hiding the true you,  you're beautiful, rain and all.  Let your presence be booming, let people take note when you walk into the room, not because of what you're wearing but because they know you have something to say and they wait to hear your voice.

I suppose the thing I am trying to push you toward is remembering who you are... Digging yourself out of the grass you've blended into and let your colours bloom! Let the rain of your life cause beauty to break forth.  Accept the dark rainy days of your past, don't hide from them, don't even hide those days from others, let the rain soften the soil of your heart and spring forth words of encouragement for others going through the rain. Stand up, find your voice again, share your opinions, stop fitting in with the current crowd and find those who love you for who you really are! Sing your song, let it take you through the hurt in your life while inspiring the people around you to walk through their own storm, inspire them to be real. Inspire them to acknowledge their own chaos and work it out. After all, you were born to be a rainstorm.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just Hold On a Minute!

Hi guys, I'm a bad blogger girl the past month! I almost wasn't going to post again today, I'm sooo tired from work today... Well let's just say Monday has nothing on Thursday.  Last week I actually completely forgot to post, then I was going to so another Friday post and forgot then as well... Maybe I should get that checked, haha!  Anyhoo, I didn't want to let the bad day win today so I thought why don't I write about it?

It is not just me that had a bad day, it was nuts for everyone in the office! My poor boss actually said he wanted to retire and do something else... "Welcome to Wendy's, can I take your order?" uhhh, no. I told him he just needed to "hold on on for a little while and it will change."  It's not that we don't enjoy what we do, it's just that we can't extend the hours in a day to get everything done... And, it's not our clients, they're great, we love them all! Everything worked out in the end as it always does it's just that knowing or hearing "it will all work out" doesn't always help.

Everyone has bad days, whether it's work, a relationship, just a mood or circumstance... And we aren't always being babies about it, sometimes things just suck.  We can all understand that, even though we all experience things differently there is not one person who hasn't experienced a day when they felt like giving up on something and most likely deservedly so... So what how should we handle those lovely days?  Don't give up, give in to the day, accept it as a sucky day and move on... Go home, go to bed, let go for now but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up.  Hold on to hope and try again tomorrow, it will get better at some point, you just have to get through the rainy days to see the sun shine again!

So there it is, nothing special this week, no deep words of wisdom but maybe some hope?  If you don't need it today, tuck it away in a safe place and bring it to mind on a sucky, rainy, give-uppy day :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Handful of Heartbreak

Have you ever given your all to someone only to be passed by? You know, you give and give and give only to get back empty handfuls of heartbreak and rejection. Someone who you give the benefit of the doubt to even though all you hear says they aren't true to who you've believed them to be only to be made to feel stupid for standing up for them in the first place? Someone you've been caring about, shown kindness and love to only to receive disrespect, unthoughtfulness and hurt in return? How can people be like that? Why must we continue to love the ones that don't reciprocate? I've been thinking about this a lot today... Why, how? 

Moreover, have I been this way to Jesus? Have I passed Him by in my busyness? Have I taken far more than anyone would deserve and broken His heart through rejecting to show His love through giving to others? Have I been true to who He says I am or have I shrunken back into the shadows of less than I'm meant to be? Have I made Him regret standing for me? Have I disrespected the sacrifice of the Cross just because I've not been mindful of the hurt all around me? Have I hurt Him or reciprocated His love and passed it on? Have you?

The truth is, we have all hurt him, been unloving toward Him, thoughtless of Him, disrespectful, been less than we are capable of... Each one of us has taken far more than we deserve, none of us have given enough... We've all broken pieces of His heart, we've all stepped over Him in walking our own paths. And you know what? It doesn't matter. No, it's not right or good or acceptable but it can never dampen His love for us. He knew all along we would fail and purposely shut doors in His face and still he chose to die for us.  He chose to give His all, to give everything, to extend benefit of doubt, to stand up for us, to continue to care for us.  He chose to be kind toward us, and to show us love through complete sacrifice of self. How can He be like that? How can He continue to show love to us without reciprocation? How can he be mindful of us? And that's where it ends... I don't know... I only know he does, even though we've brought Him pain beyond measure he continues to come back with love... 

We can never be worthy, we can never make up for all we've done wrong, we can never give enough for Him, we can never measure up to His sacrifice.... But that's not what He is asking for... He's asking the same question He always has "will you follow me today?" There are no prerequisites, no qualifications and no caveat, only a call. Consider His sacrifice, it's Easter weekend, give Him just some thoughtful time, think of the Cross, the price He paid for your love, and the victory he ensured through the resurrection... What will you give now?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Out on a Limb

I saw this quote the other day and it got me thinking... How often do we do this!? How often do we let the doubts and judgements other people put on us become our fences keeping us in the same place? How often do we not allow ourselves to flourish and grow all because of what someone said about us? How often do we allow the negative words of others become what we say to ourselves? How often is the strength of our inner voice weakened by outside pressure? For me, it has unfortunately been all too often... You know, I have no regrets about the things I've tried for and failed to reach, only things I turned back from trying because I didn't have others believing in me... No regrets from falling but only from not moving forward.

There have been many things I've been too afraid to step into... I, like a lot of people, don't love change, a paint colour here and there is great and I love those changes but a direction in life, not so much. Maybe because I've heard a lot of "you really think you can do this?" and some "I hope you've thought this through..." and not enough "you never know until you try!" or "if you think you want to try I think you can do it!" Whatever it is that's held me back has later been realized to be from... Well, idiots... I mean, that may be a little strong but I can definitely guarantee it's never been from people who actually love and care for me... Maybe there were no ill intentions but there also was no prayer before speaking.  Anytime I have been held back by allowing the negativity of someone else to become my inner doubt is on me, I should have known better, I should have believed harder, I should have been stronger, I shouldn't have backed down on my dreams... And neither should you!  We cannot continuing being echoes of what someone else has spoken over us, we must become our own voice!

A friend of mine recently told me someone in her family spoke negatively over her daughter's life... Not like, "she's going to be a horrible person" type thing just a question "if she disappoints you in this way are you going to judge her, what will you do?" sort of way... And instead of answering that question my friend rebuked the question right then. She said she would not speak that into existence, she wouldn't allow that person to speak it either, she simply posed her own line of questioning along with a few reminders... "She has people praying over her life! Family, friends, the church and I plead the blood of Jesus over her life all the time. The blood has power, the blood works... Have you forgotten the blood saves!? The blood heals! The blood keeps! The blood has power to change!"  The is exactly how we need to be answering a few of our own critics and even some of the thoughts we allow to pass through our own minds... Challenge the echoes of negativity from words spoken in our pasts with the blood of Christ, nothing is stronger, nothing can stand against the blood!

Listen, you're never going to become what you dream of if you never climb over the things, thoughts, doubts and words that fence you in.  Sometimes to reach for new and better things you have to crawl out on a limb... I know it's scary but one of my favourite cowboys said "courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne. And John Wayne didn't even have the blood of Jesus backing him up, you do! So just grab a little courage, remind yourself God is with you, do something to move forward, no matter how small and see where it goes, it probably won't turn out exactly how you've thought out but it may turn out to be exactly what you need anyway!  Either way, at least it's on your terms, at least you're moving, at least you are trying!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Settle Down Already!

I was talking to a friend the other day and she was telling me all the things I missed while I was on vacation... Which actually was a whole lot of nothing. But she was telling me about a mutual friend having a conversation with her about relationships... This friend I'd known for always offering life advice and although it's not always bad advice it's not always solicited either. Ha! Now, as we all know, I am no expert on relationships but I definitely know some of the not good things! Anyway this mutual friend told her it was about time to look at settling down... Okay my first thought was, "with him!? Wink, wink." Haha! Second, "take your own advice bud..." Third, "ummm, you're older than her..." Now I'm thinking a little more...

First of all, I hate that word "settle." Settling is what you do when you know you don't have a leg to stand on in a lawsuit, not what you should be doing with life or a mate! I mean I get it, we all (pretty much) want someone - "DON'T YOU WANT SOMEBODY TO LOVE, DON'T YOU NEED SOMEBODY TO LOVE!!! - but I don't just want anyone.  I admit, I've thought about it, that settling thing... "Well, he's nice.. Good job, not bad looking, Christian..." but I just cannot settle, and I shouldn't... Neither should any of you! Listen we all say "where have the good ones gone?" But maybe it's just that there's no need to become a "good one" if there's always someone willing to settle for a "less than..." I believe there is someone out there made for me, I just have to wait for him to find me and speak up! Haha. Seriously though, even if you don't believe in "the one" I know you believe in a "good one," I know you want a great, fulfilling relationship and all I'm saying is, "okay, so own that. Expect and require it! No, no one is perfect but we can all be good, we can and should all better ourselves and if we can do it ourselves then we should expect it from the people we choose to enter into relationship with!"

And "settle DOWN!!??" Really? Down? NO!! I want my life to go up! I want a relationship to improve on what I have now, without improvement what's the point? I mean, I know you have to "find yourself," "love yourself first," be "complete" on your own, no one can" make you happy" you have to find your own happiness, blah, blah, blah... Yeh, I'm there already lol! But let me just say, although I agree with all that self first, becoming you on your own and finding someone afterward who compliments who you are... That's just it, I need someone who will "compliment" not contaminate, and so do you! Know who you are, yes, but once you do all the self improvements don't you dare to let someone come into your freshly renovated life and leave dirty footprints all over it! Find someone who will improve with you, push you to grow and make your life better than it already is! Find someone who brings you up! Don't settle down or slow down, saddle up and get going! Move into a better future with the support of a loving, equal relationship! And if you can't find that at this point then it's better to stay single with people like me! Haha!

And just in case you don't know who you are yet... Or in case you've forgotten who you are, let me help you, start here...



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Great Expectations!

A word was spoken to me last year... Something I've been wanting and waiting for all my life and it was supposed to begin... I believed that word, I waited with great expectations and looked to find it everywhere, at times I even thought "okay, this is it, it's happening!" But I find myself still waiting today, still putting all my hope in an uncertain future, still searching.

Today I had a thought, or maybe a question... "Am I putting my great expectations in the right place?" And sadly, I think the answer is no... It's not because I shouldn't expect the word to come to pass rather I should be pointing my great expectations toward the great God who is to being it to pass! I need to be more like a child... When you take a child to a store and promise them a treat if they are good they don't just expect the treat to hop into the cart at the end of the trip, they expect you to remember and they make sure you don't forget by asking "am I being good? Do I get a treat?" Until that treat is purchased the child will continually look to the adult supplying the treat, the chile will remind and ask, it's not because the child is doubting they are just showing their great expectation to the one who is providing the promise.

I'm sure you have hopes, dreams and promises from God in your life yet to be fulfilled and if you do I'm calling you to the same place I'm bringing myself to, yes, be excited, have great expectations for the future but make sure you're looking in the right direction! Look to the sky's from whence comets your help! Talk to Him, remind Him, ask Him! After all "knock and it shall be open, seek and you will find, ask and it shall be given. For everyone that knocketh (knocks and continues to knock) it shall be open, and them that seeketh (seek and continue to seek) findeth and them who asketh (ask and continue to ask) receiveth (receive and continues to receive!) 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Every Season, Turn, Turn, Turn

Hey guys! I'm sorry I'm a day late (again...) I'm in Florida and the resort we are staying at has spotty wifi in the rooms, so here I am writing to you from the Club House...  It's so nice here, perfect heat and a light breeze, aahhhhh... I was reading a couple of nights ago and something caught my attention and I thought I would talk to you all about it.

I know I'm in sunny Florida and yes, it's great but I come from cold, snowy, wintery Canada so I know what it's like to be stuck inside when you want to go somewhere... Isn't life the same? Sometimes we are in sunny seasons of fun and happiness and other times we are stuck in a place of bitter cold and it seems we may be there forever. In seasons of weather we know without a doubt better weather is coming but somehow we can't always seem to translate that belief into our seasons of life, it's more difficult to believe the pain will subside or that we can be happy again, but it's no less true, we will see better days.

Maybe you're in the middle of life's winter season though and some blonde chick typing to you from another country or state just is not enough to lift those spirits up... And you know what, that's normal, I totally understand... That's where what I just read will meet you with hope! If you're in a dark place in your life you may be right where you need to be, you may be in the presence of God...

Maybe you've read that scripture a million times, I know I've read it before... But although I have had similar thoughts to this I'm not sure has meant so much... No, I may not be in the same season as you but I have been through those seasons and I guess that's just the point, isn't it? I've been THROUGH seasons of darkness and you will get THROUGH yours as well. Before you rush toward the light just take a minute to look around; yes, winter is cold and sometimes miserable but there is also a beauty you could never understand without seeing it with your own eyes... Take time to see the beauty in the season you're in, to feel the love of those around you who are supporting you through that season and to trust that God is with you in that season and darkness and light are the same to Him, there is no darkness that he cannot dispel.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

You Never Know

Gosh, what a crazy day, I actually didn't even think of posting anything! First it's my mama's birthday! I love her, she's awesome, wish her happy birthday! But work today, ugh... Seemed like one of the days the wheels just came off everything! But this time next week I'll be writing to you from good ole Florida! 

I saw a quote last night that made me think... Not an original thought this time but one we all should consider nonetheless. 
At first I thought, yay for being real but then I read the rest, how sad. So here's the thought for today, you never know, you just never know who I'd being fake for the sake of keeping it together. I once read a Martin Luther King Jr. quote urging us to "be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." How often do we get frustrated and shoot a look at someone who cuts in front of us in a line or show impatience with an overwhelmed waiter? We should be able to answer never to this question but I doubt any of us can. Let's determine to become more mindful of others battles they face, you never know what someone is going through or facing... Just because they look fine means nothing, they may only be able to hold it together long enough to get to their car close the door and cry... 

I have a cousin who has a very rare disease, to my understanding it basically slowly paralyzes and shuts down internal organs and muscles... There is treatment but no cure. My cousin has been hospitalized many times with infections and not able to swallow, no able to breath properly, etc. because this disease is so aggressive she may be fine one day and bed ridden then next. My cousin is pretty good at keeping a smile on and being independent, she still goes out and keeps a positive attitude. One day on her way into the hospital she parked in a handicapped parking space, displayed her card in the window and walked in... Someone in the parking lot yelled at her for taking a parking space she didn't need away from "real handicapped people." Yes, my cousin could walk to the door but her breathing was shallow and was going into the hospital for treatment of a disease that has threatened her life in the past. That person yelled in the name of helping someone else but they had no idea of the story behind what they were seeing...

It's so easy to trust what our little eyes see and react accordingly but let's try to be more than that. Let's be sensitive to others needs we may not be able to see. Let's let kindness overtake a heated moment of judgement or impatience. Let's not use "helping others" or "standing up for what's right" as an excuse to heap insult upon injury on a broken soul, let us instead help the person in front of us, let us stand up for right by being understanding and compassionate. I know we all have off days, I know we've all done and said things we regret, I know it's difficult when we are out of time and patience but let's try to put others ahead of our own preferences in those times. We don't have to change over night, I'm not saying we will immediately be a better person in those circumstances, but I am saying if even once we hold back an unkind word or a clearing of the throat to make sure we aren't stepped in front of, even once makes a difference. One kind word or extension of compassion can change not only the life of the person on the receiving end but it will change us as well.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

That "Sort of People"

Oh gosh, today is one of those days where I have no idea what to write about... I'm so busy I can't think straight and really, there's not that much going on! I guess it's just business before vacation that's making it seem so crazy. You know me, I love quotes and they can always get my little wheels turning... So here we go... (Pinterest Break)

A friend of mine was sitting in a University class the other day when a hot topic was brought to the discussion floor... My friend is a very kind person and to my knowledge has quite a few friends in the class, however during this discussion people were saying things about a certain "sort of people." How they don't deserve to go to University because they have no mind of their own anyway... How they know nothing about the real world... How that group of people discriminates against another group and they should be stopped with whatever force necessary. My friend sat through that class with people all around putting her down because she belongs to a "certain sort" of people, no they didn't direct their comments directly at her but they knew she was there, they knew she was part of that group... They meant it for her ears and heart.  The sad part is, they kind of succeeded, it hurt her, she was angry and felt she was alone and couldn't or shouldn't speak up. The quote above isn't exactly realistic, don't get upset... Ummm, hello? We're human and upset will happen! But My friend didn't give a reaction and no matter the reason, that was a good thing.

I know all the air is probably sucked out of the room you're in right about now but hear me out... It wasn't the right decision not to react because she shouldn't stand up for herself, but because the fight wasn't fair. First of all you're talking about taking human rights away from one to give to another, second of all both on the part of my friend and on the part of the "attackers" there was way to high emotion levels to even attempt a rational and respectful sharing of views. So I agree, biting her tongue, in this instance and for now, was appropriate. My friend picked not to have the argument right then and that was good, but the battle must be fought...

I get it, we don't agree with everyone all the time (not even among ourselves) and that is normal, it's part of being human, Christian or not... But, as Christians we need to be respectful! There is no reason to step all over someone with verbal abuse just because they are part of a "certain sort" that we don't agree with... Just because a "certain sort" has been abusive with you in the past doesn't mean every person in a group is abusive and doesn't mean you have the right to abuse every person you meet from that group in the future! Listen, Jesus didn't agree with a ton of people (including you and I sometimes I'm sure), His words were often controversial but He was never abusive, even when He was being abused.  So basically, if you're a Christian and you're not speaking like one, shame on you! You are a white washed tomb, filled with dead, brittle bones and you need to get back to God's heartbeat to reach!

One thing I didn't mention... My friend who was being discriminated against was the Christian in the room.  It wasn't that she was bashing a group of others, no, they were saying those things about her "sort." First, allow me to apologize if you're on the other side of the argument, I'm so sorry if you've been abused verbally or otherwise by any so called Christian, that is not what we are here for and that's not how the majority of us feel, we may not agree with you but you are just as valuable of a human being as any one else and we love you... That being said, just as I came down on the Christians with tongues like vipers and brittle hearts, you must not allow yourself to become venomous either... I know it's a hard place to be when you're the one being "picked on" so to speak but you must remember that because one person in a group acted a certain way doesn't mean all of the others will OR that all of the others agree with the one. We cannot ask of others to respect us and our views, regardless of agreement, if we cannot first respect them. We must be respectful on both sides on any argument if we are to make any progress, we cannot think or act rationally if we allow ourselves to be judgmental of people as a whole because of a past infringement on our sensibilities. Please remember, people are dumb and they do and say dumb things (thanks to R. Woodward for that quote.) we don't mean to but we've all fell short in the "words of wisdom and kindness" category at some point in our lives and we must give others as much room for improvement as we would give ourselves.

All in all, as usual, you can and should have your own opinions and yes, for goodness sake express them! Use that beautiful freedom called speech that we have but please do it respectfully. No, we don't have to all agree or approve of the choices of everyone else and yes we can stand up for things we feel are right regardless of which side we are on, but we must do so with integrity, honesty and respect.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How do You Get There?

I have to admit, I've wondered about and prayed for the will of  God for many years... I will continue to pray but the wondering is at least quelled a bit. I have many thoughts on the issue but there are a few I think should be considered by all and those are the ones I'll concentrate on today...

These days people are all about bettering ourselves and others, coming up in the world and pushing ourselves there by social media, self promotion and hard work. In and of itself none of these things are bad, no, not even a little self promotion if the motive is right... If you're promoting your singing career because the more who hear your songs, the more hear the message of Christ then go on, promote! Safety is in reminding yourself that it's not really about you as the messenger; only the delivery of the message itself.  The problem is we all have these huge dreams and ideals of what our lives should be and when we should reach those goals... Not that dreams or goals are wrong, they're not, but our timing is not God's timing and the journey is just as important as the destination.  We think of "God's will" being the destination but it's not, it's every step along the way... Jesus said, many times, he came to do the will of he who sent him... He said he was going about doing the will of his father in heaven... The crucifixion and resurrection was always the destination for Christ but the will of God was in each miracle, each conversation, each prayer, each touch and each relationship along the way.

So how do we know we are in the will of God? One of life's most urgent questions... But so simple because it's not secretive or mysterious at all... It's written in black and while... Actually, red. The secret to being in the will go God is obedience.  I know, we don't like that word, we haven't liked any words close to that since we hit teenage years and began thinking we were "grown up..." The funny thing is, once you've actually grown into an adult, you realize you still feel like a child in most ways... No more ready for life than you were at eight years of age, yes, you're older but do you have it all together? Do you know all you believe you should? Absolutely not... Maybe those insecurities are the true sign of adulthood..?  But still... Obey? We don't obey anyone, we are our own person, an individual and "we will..." Oh what's that Miley? Oh yes, "we will do whatever we want." The thing is, along with our prized independence and freedom we obey someone everyday! We obey culture, social expectations & norms (for the most part and I hope,) we obey our employers...  And you, dear entrepreneurs, feeling proud that you have no boss to obey, think again! I work for one of you "no boss but myself" people and we both know who you obey... Yes you do... You're slave to your clientele, you obey anything they want to the best of your ability... If you don't, you're most likely not going to lose the business.  So now that we realize while the word itself may get our back up, obedience is a daily routine for us all, we just need to apply it elsewhere...

Now that I'm ready to put all this into action I need to know what it is God is looking for from me, what He wants me to obey... Well, God is pretty involved actually, He cares a lot about all aspects of our lives and there is lots to find that He likes, a lot of things to make Him happy but we will concentrate on what He said were the most important. He was asked outright what were he most important commandments to obey and He answered "love God, love people." (Matthew 22:36-40)  Really? That's it!? Yes... But when you think about it, that encompasses everything we do.  I think we know how to love people, be kind, care.... While it is possible to love someone and not agree with them (come on, my parents rarely agreed with me on anything but they loved me, just the same) it is not possible to love someone and not respect them. Love is just as much in the little things like a note or a smile as it is the big things and overall, even if we aren't always obedient, I think that commandment is the one we know how to obey...  But loving God... How do you prove that, how do you show it? Well, Jesus answered that question too! Jesus said "people would know you love God when you obey his commands..." (John 14:15John 15:10 & Proverbs 4:4

Here we are back at obedience... And now "commands," what are His commands? Again they are involved but there are a couple of first steps that we must take care of initially and continue to uphold... Get into relationship with God, first and foremost - repent of your sins (that means get sorry for the wrong things you've done in God's sight, the disappointment and hurt you've brought to Him but not sorry only, change direction, be sorry enough to change the behavior.) repentance is kind of like getting rid of all your past relationships before getting serious with your soul mate! Completely breaking ties with the past, letting go of any remaining feelings because you want to move on. Next get baptized in the name of Jesus! That is putting you into covenant, not with a church but with God himself; kind of like a wedding ceremony... Getting baptized puts you in that kind of relationship with god, you marry yourself to Him. And once that happens you will receive His spirit in you, kind of like the honeymoon, you become one with Him! And one more command... Jesus' last commandment to us, "go and tell!" (Matthew 16:15 & Matthew 28:19-20) Don't keep all this love for yourself, share it with others, this is the one command that takes care of both loving God and loving people at the same time, with the same action! Just tell others about how awesome God is because He is! You're not responsible for their response, it's their choice to refuse Him or open their heart, you are only responsible for giving them an opportunity, sending the invitation You may not be standing in front of thousands in a stadium with each person in the crowd holding onto every single word that falls off you lips, but guess where you are... Smack dab in the middle of God's will.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nobody's Valentine... What You're Doing Wrong & Changes You Need to Make

So,  it's the day before valentines day... All the quotes like the ones above - which is one of my favorites - are circling about, that fuzzy feeling in the air, love in the eyes of people all around.... My favorite time of year... Not exactly, I mean I love love but I'm not in a relationship and there is a tidal wave coming in that basically just says to us singles "look what you don't have yet..." Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for all you who are dating and hitched and I don't even feel like I've missed out on anything at this point but this year I'm nobody's valentine and I still want what you have, someday :) 

I read this quote today and loved it... I think because it's what I've been realizing lately... This time, being single, is a perfect opportunity for me to be like tea, to read more of God's word, to pray more, to get close enough to him that a husband is an addition into an already incredible relationship instead of something that will define my relationship with God. God will be the base of my relationship and that's exactly how it should be... We need to take this time and use it, not wish it away waiting for our futures! We need to use the waiting to grow into the future God has planned, to prepare ourselves for that future...

I've been told a lot about how to get into a relationship throughout my 20's... I've considered all of it, some of it has even changed the way I've presented myself at points but I want to make sure you don't make the same mistakes without hearing what has to be said after the fact...  I've been told by well meaning people that I'm intimidating to guys (which for you who are thinking "yeah right" don't worry, I don't believe it! Haha) I've been told I'm too smart, I'm too put together and should be more messy sometimes... So I've acted less intelligent than I am, I've let myself have messier hair than I like, I've dressed differently than I like. I've been told I'm too spiritual, too involved in my church, too into God... And, shamefully, I've tried to act like I'm not, I've tried to pretend like I don't want or need a man who is completely committed to God and involved in the church... I've even considered dating outside church...  I've been told I love my mom too much, I shouldn't live with her or care about her opinion on a man... I have to say, that one I didn't change for but I was embarrassed at times and I did wonder if I should just not care what's she thinks... I've been told I should hold myself back, I shouldn't buy my own home, have a car, or pets or responsibilities and because of that I almost didn't buy my home! How crazy is that my home is my proudest adult purchase, it's a security for myself and my mother and I need responsibilities! After all the things I changed for a season I've now (actually a long time ago) decided I am not going to be ashamed of any of those things! I am intelligent, I like to have my hair and clothes neat (although it does not happen 24/7 I want to present myself well),  I am spiritual, my life is God and church centered, I am involved in everything I can be at my church and offer to do more anytime I can,  I read my bible, I pray, I fast, I don't miss church, I love my family, my pets and I own my own home, I have a great career and someday I hope to go into ministry full-time! All of that is who I am, I love it all and I want someone who likes all of that... Furthermore, I want someone who is a lot like that... I mean the hair can be messed up, his clothes don't have to be trendy or anything haha, but I want someone who has a life of their own, I want someone who loves his family and helps them, I want someone who is involved in his church and has a strong relationship with God! I want someone who has everything he needs and will give it up if god calls him to! just like I would! And you know what, a man like that will want a woman like me, he won't be intimidated by it he will be attracted to it, he will appreciate it. Honestly, I'm embarrassed I was ever weak enough to hold myself back, to hide my passion for Christ, maybe not completely but hiding that at all is too much, I'm embarrassed I ever listened enough to those well meaning people to change for one second... If you're someone who has said any of those things to someone, please never say it again, we get it, you feel bad, you're trying to make us feel better but just say " be yourself and the right person for you will come" that will make us feel better.  And if you're like me and you've listened to any of those words, don't change a thing, don't dumb it down, don't change the way you dress or act or pray or love, grow and be proud of that growth! This Valentines Day be yourself and be proud of that, you can't attract the right person for you if you're hiding who you really are!

Lastly, the favorite thing I read today... I love my dad but because my parents are divorced we don't talk about the man thing... Haha. I know my dad would do anything for me and wants the best for me but I don't think he would involve himself in that aspect of my life.. So sometimes I feel unguided in that area... There's something about a dad's view and protection when it comes to their daughters relationships (future or present) and that's always been something I've felt I've missed out on... This helped and if you're that girl I thought you should read this too. If you're a dad, you should pattern after Him...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Silence Speaks Volumes

The other day I was browsing Facebook and found a story a friend wrote... It was a true story about a train ride she took earlier that week and I wanted to share it with you all!  This is exactly what I am talking about, it is so easy to do and it can really make a difference for you and the other person involved!  Please consider others and try to find ways to show it, it's so simple when you consider stories like this...

"Riding the tram on Hong Kong Island back to our hotel this afternoon, I made my way gradually toward the front of the car in preparation to get off shortly... I noticed an attractive young woman (maybe 30,) wearing dark sunglasses standing just ahead and a bit to the right side of me.

I suddenly became aware of tears silently trickling down her face and then watched as she quietly brushed them away with her hands, first one side and then the other. She clearly was quite upset. Noticing she had no tissue, I searched in my own bag, found one still in its packet and quietly pushed it into her hand without saying a word. After a few wipes, the tears were still coming and I could tell she'd needing another... So again, I searched my bag found another tissue in its own packet & handed that one to her as well. 

This all took place without a word spoken although she had quickly half glanced back at me with the passing of the 1st tissue. Now, with her own, barely perceptible body language and my sensitivity to her sadness - feeling her hurt though not knowing the source - thankfulness was expressed and empathy was exchanged.

I haven't been able to get her off my mind since returning to my room ... knowing all too well how she was feeling standing in that tramcar with tears coursing down her cheeks. I've been there standing or sitting in a public place feeling the pain of whatever situation I was in at the moment, nobody else knowing, silently suffering, unable to stop the tears. I'm sure that many of us have been.

I'm thankful that I could at least silently empathize and express care to someone in need this afternoon with the passing of tissues and a soft, kind touch to her shoulder as I moved past her to disembark.  I'll not quickly forget her and I pray she's feeling better soon. These little, unexpected moments and situations mark days in a special way. Mine was specially marked today!" - Deborah Curtis, Missionary

And there you have it, no words are needed, you can speak very clearly without uttering a word sometimes... After all, actions speak louder... There is little cost involved in making someone's day better, just time and sensitivity... A smile, an unexpected coffee or note, a dollar more with your normal tip to a waitress with a note he or she is doing a fabulous job. Just speak to someone's heart this week!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Freedom of Speech... Absolutely

Freedom of speech? What a strange concept... We don't have freedom of speech anymore... Well, unless it is a speech written for you and coached by the politically correct police... You may however have your own opinion, as long as it matches the opinion of others... Don't actually have an absolute truth in your opinion or you're wrong! There are no absolutes in this world, we don't allow them anymore and if your belief system is so archaic you do still believe anything absolutely then we will beat it out of you... Not physically but verbally and possibly legally.

It's all about tolerance! Or is it... No... It's all, about complete acceptance. You must accept me no matter what I say or do, no matter what you believe you must tell me my way of living is just as righteous as yours, you must not think anything I do is wrong, remember no absolutes.  You must not only tolerate me, you must validate me. You mustn't only be kind to me but you must sacrifice everything you are if any of it makes me feel uncomfortable. Oh and if you don't agree but keep quiet, that's not enough, I will pull the acceptance out of you eventually, we can never just agree to disagree...  And even if you don't say it, I can feel it and I know what you would say so I will put those words in your mouth anyway... I can talk about the way I live twenty four hours a day until I ware your resistance down to nothing but you, if you speak of your absolute truths, you're an ignorant, hater. But how ridiculous is that!? I mean, we can disagree with someone and still tolerate them, for goodness sake, I love some of the people I disagree with on a weekly basis!  I can ultimately disagree with the way a person is living, in fact, I can hate that person's lifestyle because of what I know it does to them and I can still love that person and continue a relationship with them... Don't believe me, well, I already have... My uncle was an alcoholic, I hated that about him, yes, he was high functioning and always seemed to be in a rather alert state of mind but I knew what that lifestyle would do to him... I loved my uncle, went to his house all the time after school, he loved me. We both knew I didn't like his choice in lifestyle but that didn't hinder the love at all, I was respectful to him and we had a great friendship, he and I both understood that I loved him but that didn't mean I had to fully accept his lifestyle as being right, I didn't even have to like the lifestyle. We can, and must agree to disagree, if we all agreed on everything it would absolve diversity from the Earth.

I know this introduction. Has been unusual, but isn't that the message we are getting lately? Poor Natalie Grant leaves the Grammys and doesn't even state her reasoning but the words are attributed to her anyway, she is a hater, a horrible person because she doesn't sit through something she believes to be wrong... But not only the absolute, it's intolerant of her, I sensitive to her beliefs... Oh but, who cares about her beliefs because she believes there is only one way so her rights don't count?  Honestly, reading about the Grammys and Natalie walking out specifically has stirred something in me again, something I've thought of before but something I've ignored.  The truth is, there are absolutes.

The truth is, believing in absolutes does make people uncomfortable, honestly, even I'm uncomfortable with it sometimes... But that feeling of discomfort is actually called conviction and it's not the same as condemnation... Sometimes they feel a bit alike but conviction is made to help you, to lead you to change, to better you not to discourage or inhibit growth.  The truth is, there is truth. Jesus is the only way, there is only one God and heaven is his home, so if you want to live under His roof you're going to have to follow His rules.  Fortunately, He loves us like children and his rules are for our good. There is one door to His home and the security system is our of this world, the only way in is through that door. Jesus is the door and none come to the father but those that come through Jesus.  I know that sounds a little confusing so let me break it down... To go through Jesus, the door, there is three steps you must take. There are keys to that door and Jesus gave those keys to Peter... There are three keys.  1. Repentance: recognizing your sin, admitting and confessing that sin to God... Asking Him and anyone else you need to for their forgiveness and committing to change. That is the crucifixion of your old self. (Walking up to the door.) 2. Baptism: by immersion in Jesus name. That's the death of sin's power over you and the awakening to a new you! (Stepping up on the threshold.) 3. In filling of the Holy Spirit: God's spirit comes to dwell in you, to help you live a better life, to give you power and strength in your Christian walk. And you know this step has taken place because you speak with other tongues as His spirit helps you... It's how everyone knew in the bible times and still how we know today. Since heaven is a supernatural place you need a supernatural power to get you there and that power is the Spirit of The Lord! Simple. (You're in!)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Give it a Rest! It's Okay.

I read a friend's Facebook status and caught myself in thought... Not the greatest though but I still thought I'd share it today.  All I really read of the status was "I'm into that paying-it-forward thing..." I though, "yeh, right... Me too... Pay-it-Forward to the government, my boss, my friends, my family... I'm paying-it forward, alright!" Of course the thought is a little tongue-in-cheek and I never feel this way long, the truth is I like to give... Okay, well maybe not so much to the government but I can take pride in my job when it's done well and I love my friends and family so I want to give to them not expecting anything in return.  But then I thought about you, what your thoughts would be... What if, like me, you give and you like to give, you do it with a cheerful heart... But what if you wonder sometimes if you will have anything left...

The thing is, you won't have anything left, you will get drained and your cheerful heart will shrivel into a heart of resentment. You will start just being tired, tired of pouring yourself out and gaining not even respect in return.  You will give and give and give and someday awake to realize you've put your own needs on the back burner so long you've burned away all of the substance.  You'll try to give someday and your hand will extend empty because there's nothing left inside... Or will you.  I normally wouldn't paint such a bleak picture in your mind but today, I think, it's needful... You must see what can happen if you never think about yourself...

I know, I know, we are raised (especially as Christians) to care for others more than ourselves, to give ourselves away for the cause of Christ... But we seldom remember Christ, himself took time alone, time with God, time to replenish... He did things He liked, He sat with friends enjoying a good meal and some laughter... He went to parties and stayed out late... He was always an example to others but He also made Himself approachable and "normal" as He could appear while healing blind eyes, cleansing lepers and raising the dead... I think that's why many missed their messiah, He was too human in their eyes to see the God inside.  People expected Him to come in robes of glory with servants and carriages, not to travel around in linen clothes and dirty sandals, borrowing a place to lay His head each night but Jesus came to seek and to save and to show us how to do the same.  Jesus knew some would miss out on the God inside of Him but chose to show His human side to be real just the same... Why would Jesus do that, how could He not make sure everyone knew who He really was? For you and I... For each moment we need a reminder that it's okay to get tired, it's okay to need something from God to help get you through the week, it's okay to take a break and have some fun with friends, it's okay to be "normal."

You see, Jesus has both given us permission to be human, to get tired, to have fun and laugh and even to just be alone and regain perspective after a busy, stressful journey and He showed us how to do it... That we can be fully human and still reflect the image of God to others.  We can be tired and weary, in need of a friend's hospitality and do so with grace and beauty.  Away with the notion we must float 5 inches off the ground and never be bent over with care, we must never tire and most certainly never show our inner supply is getting low! Don't crack a smile if someone tells you a joke and for heaven's sake don't get caught laughing and having fun! Never go to a sinner's home when they have invited you in for a dinner party, we can't have friendship with sin so we mustn't soil our spirituality with entering a home where sinners live... Reach for them, yes, but from your own turf. Never let anyone see the weakness of needing to replenish and refresh, we must go, go, go at any cost or we are not worthy to be called a true Christian... Where did we ever get those ideas anyway?!  To be Christian is just to be Christ-like...  And if He rested, if He accepted the hospitality of others, if He accepted invitations to dine with sinners and actually make himself so available and friendly they felt comfortable enough around Him to want Him there, if Jesus took time alone, if He spent time with God asking for help on the journey, if He laughed and had fun with his friends, if He appeared so normal then part of being a Christian is doing the same.  It's okay to take time for yourself, to laugh, to show yourself friendly to EVERYONE on their turf as much as on your own, it's okay to need God to get you through a rough spot, it's okay to admit you don't want to do something He's wanting you to do and to ask His strength to help you follow Him closely, not only is it okay, it's just as much part of being Christ-like as giving is... Because it's the only way you will not end up in the place I described before.

"After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone."
Matthew 14:23 (NLT)

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed"
Luke 5:16 (NIV)

"After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 3“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it." 
Luke 19:28-31 (NIV)

"Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together. Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him. He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there."
Luke 22:8-13 (NLT)

Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon."
John 4:6 (NIV)

"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work."
Genesis 2:2 (NIV)

"Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do..."
Matthew 9:10-12 (NLT) (in context).

"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."
Luke 22:42 (NLT)