Posted in Uplifting

You are Unique

Growing up I did not want to look or act like anyone else. I went to great lengths to look like what I thought was unique and in my young mind if I looked unique then that must be what I am, no label for me. Over time and growing up of course things change but it got me thinking a lot about how in this world everyone is striving to be unique but some how when it comes right down to it most would prefer to be like someone else.

People, me included at times look at someone and see their talent or looks and think…if only I had that ability or those looks how nice it would be, how easy life would be.

To see a talented artist and acknowledge their talent is great. In fact to be grateful for what they bring to the world is a good thing but it can start damaging us if we start the if only, if we start to covet. Then we start to not be happy with our own unique selves.

I was reading the story of David and Goliath ( 1 Samuel 17 ) I know this story from childhood but what got me was that David used what he had. He used what was his own way to defend his sheep. He didn’t go up to one of the soldiers and ask for a sword because he knew that he could use a sling shot better. He was happy with what he had, with out second guessing himself. He owned that sling and stones. He knew that God would use what he was good at to deliver the giant over to the Israelites.

So I am happy to embrace my little sling shot. Yes I might only have a sling shot instead of a bold beautiful sward but I am good with that. I know that no one else has one quite like it. I am unique, I have talent that no one else has and I am so blessed to be able to share what I only can offer. I know when I am looking at the world to share my uniqueness then I am able to fully enjoy other people and the unique talents that they bring.

“There is an abundant need in this world for YOUR exact brand of beautiful.” Lisa Terkeurst

Posted in Uplifting

Feeling Drained

On Sunday my service was on Matthew 14:13-21 the feeding of a great crowed with five loaves and two fish. I have heard this story so many times but on Sunday when I was feeling sluggish and drained I couldn’t help but notice things that I hadn’t before.

Frist I noticed from the beginning that Jesus was trying to make an escape and get away from the crowds. He was just told of his cousin’s death and yet everyone was needing more of him, all he wanted was to mourn his loss.

I have felt the same way, the need to be alone so I can just heal from some hard parts of life that have drained me and left me mourning.

My ears perked up again at another part in this reading. Jesus went in a boat to get away now my favorite part ” When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them.”

Yes the rest of the story is the feeding of the people with just five loaves and two fish and that is amazing but what I found so comforting is not only did he have compassion but knew they needed food and met their need.

I thought how many times do I get so wrapped up in me that I forget to see people with eyes of compassion, then take action.

I found that when I do help others even when I am feeling low that by the time I am done helping them the person that was really helped was me.

 

Posted in Uplifting

Letting Go Of Your Blankie

I am surprised that I was not called Linus. Yes the nerdy kid that was naïve and carried his blanket everyplace not caring what others thought or said, in fact with his blanket he could take on the world or use it to help others.

As a very young girl that was me, I had a green knitted blanket that I loved. It went every where I went and over time this blanket got ripped and so thin that I bet no one wanted that ugly thing near them but I did not care to me that blankie was the essence of comfort and my sail for my imagination when I needed a retreat from an average life, what adventures I had with it.

I loved my green blankie, so when the day of going to Kindergarten came I just assumed I would have my beloved green blankie with me. I mean who could go to school with out it. By that time it was so small from years of washing and falling apart it would have fit fine in a back pack.

I was told I could not bring it! I had such a hard time giving up my friend. I mourned the loss of it.

It sounds so funny now to say that but to me at the time it was if I had to say good bye to my best friend. I also had no idea of the freedom that would come to me when I didn’t have to look for it.

I eventually grew and wouldn’t trade my new independence and freedom for even a moment to have my blanket back.

Looking back on this got me thinking on how we all carry a blanket.

A blanket of :

Anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, self-pity, self-condemnation, grumbling or complaining.

It can be so hard to let go of that blanket that has kept us warm. It almost feels that if we were to let go of that comfort what would we have left.

How easy it is to let go if thought of as a childish thing but just as I had to let go of my beloved blankie, in life I have had to let go of my other blankets that I would fold nicely and put on the shelf to bring down when it suited me.

So all those blankets we carry or put away,  how about getting rid of them for good and in turn we get so much more.

Galatians 5:22-23a New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23a gentleness and self-control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

The Body Snachers

For the last few years off and on I have found my self in what I can only describe as the 1950s movie The Body Snatchers. I have gone from my normal easy-going bubbly happy-go-lucky person to in brief moments of insanity becoming a conformational angry let you have it kind of person with no mercy.

I will give you an example, the other day I was singing and driving along when out of no place a car comes into my lane cutting me off and almost hitting me. Now normally I would just me grateful to have come out unscathed but no I acted like a crazed person yelling and giving  jesters that should not be used when driving, my mouth did not stop yelling angry words for minutes.  When I did take a breath I felt instant sham of my behavior. I continued driving all the while behind the person that cut me off and almost hit me and not only did they drive to the same store but parked right by me. I took longer to get out of the car because I felt horrible and just didn’t want to have to admit my wrong. I finally got out and walked up to the store but I didn’t get far because when I looked up I saw a white hair man who could hardly walk waiting for me. He smiled and apologized for almost causing an accident. Swallowing the piece of humble pie I apologized.

I will never forget that life lesson.

I know I am not alone with my actions of anger. In fact it seems that the whole world is at times nothing but anger. What if one by one we decide not to hold onto our anger and let anger rule but we start taking ownership of our anger and our actions. For every time we say or act unkind out of anger we continue the hurt and suffering of ourselves and others.

A quote that I like by an anonymous person is so true.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

 

Posted in Uplifting

A French Drain

I love to garden and work in the soil or to landscape. Yes it is hard work but just to be outside with my hands in the dirt even pulling weeds, that is one of my happy places.

Years ago I worked for my in-laws in the office of their landscape company. I enjoyed the fact I could take my children to work and have a flexible schedule plus I had a friend in my brother in-law that always took the time brighten my day with a joke or to explain things and help me learn about landscaping and on one occasion I found out about a French drain. It is not named after the country but after a person that came up with an idea to use the concept of how water flows down hill. It is a slightly sloped trench filled with small rock or gravel and pipe that diverts the water away from your house or other place you don’t want to flood then is collected and used.

This basic idea of collecting water that could damage property or hurt people if not done the right way got me thinking. What if in life we have French drains when hurts happen and our tears fall.

In my life as with everyone hurt will happen and tears will fall. I have had things happen that have left me crying my river of tears. I can look back and see those tears were collected and now used for good. I know that even when life hurts my tears are seen by God I am not alone He makes a French drain that keeps me safe in the middle of what would be damaging to me but stores those tears to be used for something good later.

Psalm 56:8

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)

 

Posted in Uplifting

Jenga

I am sure every one has heard if not played the game of Jenga. Incase you haven’t it is a game of wooden blocks. You place the blocks in a tower formation then each person takes turns removing the bottom block and putting it on top and as you can guess after some time it becomes a wobbly tower that eventually falls crashing down.

I have played this with my children when they were small and enjoyed it. Sometimes we would make up our own rules other times it was by the book. Either way it would go we would start out on the right track but at some point our tower would look like it belonged in Pisa. Our hearts would beat fast and hopes none of the blocks would come crashing done on our turn.

I was thinking of this game and reflecting on how my life can be like a big Jenga game.

I can start out putting God the first block on top. Everything is stable and going well but as life has it I then start pulling more “blocks” of life from the bottom and replace the top block with my priories and the busyness of life just keep going, block after block until my tower is so unstable my heart will race and I will start to have fear of it all coming crashing down on me. If I don’t take head to these feeling my tower crashes and I am left with pieces of what was my life.

I am learning and sometimes ever so slowly not to have my blocks of life a Jenga game but instead more like the quite but can be fun blocks of a Lincoln Logs set.

Posted in Uplifting

We need each other

The day my daughter met her new little brother it was love at first sight. In her mind I had given her a live baby doll to take care of. This love affair continues with them but its more a love/hate relationship now.

The rose color glasses came of for my daughter when her precious little brother decided to have a mind of his own at such a young tender age of only one.  The fights started and never really ended. Even today when we have dinners together as supposed adults the teasing and verbal insults laced with love can and do fly.

I had tried everything from setting timers and letting them hash it out then when the timer stops they had to say at least five nice things about each other. To if fighting continued we would get in a talking circle and pass a talking” oven mitt around ( because if we used a talking stick, why that’s just asking for it) but that would end with them turning and laughing at my expense. I could go on with the creative ways to deal with the arguing and at family dinners we laugh at some of them but one in particular stands out and actually worked more often than not.

I would have them sit on the floor with their backs to each other, lock arms then try to stand. I have to admit that at times I enjoyed watching the struggle and how they learned to work together. Sometimes it took longer for each to cooperate and stand but other times they stood together no problem.

I thought of this and how it parallels with life. I have been so busy with getting my blanket business off and running and my eBooks written plus mix all other normal life activities into my day-to-day that I started feeling stressed. As I had my quite time this morning I remembered I have a God with me always, willing to help, in fact would love to take the pressure of if I only allow him to take it.  Plus I have some awesome people in my life that I could work with and help me to stop struggling.

In todays electronic driven world we can become an island. With becoming an island it bring so many health problems that can be avoided if we just remember to reach out to other. Even just a smile can go such a long way.

We as people were never meant to be alone. Things go smother and happier when accomplished together.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  (NIV)
9
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Posted in Uplifting

Undercover Boss

This past Saturday I wanted nothing more than to eat pizza and binge watch Gilmore Girls. This is a little unusual for me, don’t get me wrong I love the show but for me to sit that long just watching TV is not something I normally do or enjoy.

I turned on my Netflix but it wouldn’t load, after trying it a few times and not being tech savvy or having patience for technology I gave up and looked at what was on TV. I found an undercover boss marathon.

I haven’t watched it much but it seemed ok for someone who just wanted to be a couch potato. I enjoyed it but always wanted to know how most people couldn’t see past the disguise, from the few I watched only two people saw through the disguise. Besides bad wig jobs it was interesting to see the CEO work menial labor and interact with those that worked for them. You could see the happiness in the CEO’s eyes when they worked with people who cared about their job and just as interesting to watch were those interactions with people who did not like their job and could have cared less. I noticed even with people who didn’t have the best out look or work ethic the CEO would still try to work with them to see if they could or would do better.

In the end I would get a little teary as the good hard-working people got a reward and of course I also got to see the few that were not so hard-working get talked to or let go.

As I went to bed from a wild night of undercover boss I thought how very much Jesus was like that on earth. He came in a disguise not as the “CEO” that he was but as an ordinary person no frills just hard-working and showing love were he went and taught us by his actions how to live and treat others. Only a few saw past the disguise.

In the end he will reveal who he is, will we be the ones getting the reward or the deadbeats that don’t.

 

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

When Ordinary becomes Exceptional

A brief definition of ordinary according to the dictionary is “Having no special ability, quality, or purpose.”

I know this might sound as if I have low self-esteem when I say that I have always thought of myself as ordinary but just stick with me for a moment. I am not what you call unattractive but defiantly not beautiful. I have always had a problem keeping weight on, no major muscle tone but still a small amount of muscle. I have average intelligence although on some days I question if perhaps its a little below. I can be crafty but nothing Pinterest worthy, I can sketch but nothing to sell and the list can go on.

For years this drove me nuts, I wanted to be the best.  I was the over achiever, I studied harder to get that 4.0 or when I ran I had to beat my own time. When I became a wife and mom I had to be and do everything.  I became almost obsessive you might say, that anything I did I wanted to go above and beyond almost to prove I was anything but ordinary. It’s no small wonder my husband left me, yes he had his demons but looking back how exhausting to live that way.

I continued that “I must be the best attitude” for so long and if I did not achieve being perfect I would bail or almost kill myself trying to do and be all things. I have hurt people I love with this way of living and burnt my candle out at both ends. I had to learn that ordinary does not equal failure.

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly” John F Kennedy

True to perfectionist form I didn’t just fail but I did so miserably but I am so glad I did because now I can achieve greatly.

Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, Lord are our father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of you hand.

I may be an ordinary gray clay pot nothing to extravagant with design or color but I am exeptional, unique and so loved by my creator.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uplifting

Mothers Day

Growing up my dad gave of his time and money to make that day special for my mom. We would cook  give homemade gifts and cards plus with an older sister to boss or I should say “guide” us. Our celebrations should go down in record books.

Fast forward to mothers day 1993 it was coming fast I was excited because it was my first mothers day as a mom. I had visions of being doted on, showered with love oh the expectations were very high. The day came and went with not even a glance in my direction. I was hurt, mad and my thoughts had a lot of  colorful adjectives that I could use to describe my husband.

Mothers days came and went I never did get the celebration you see from Hollywood from my husband, he just didn’t have it in him but what I got as my children grew was better.

I would hear from my bedroom my daughter boss my son around as they would get breakfast so I could “sleep in” and eat in my bed with a had made card and gift. My breakfast in bed started out as cold cereal graduated to eggs with shells, so much protein. Then on to perfect looking and tasting breakfast that I could say come straight from a magazine. I look back missing those with egg shells.

Perfection or close to perfection is over rated. We can lose our self trying for it and trading our joy to never get it.

I have those wonderful memories but I can learn from them as well. I can give of my self to others not for perfection or anything in return. To be a servant like Jesus was, he was a perfect example.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mothers day can be hard on some who no longer have their moms with them or they don’t have moms that they want to celebrate but what ever the case we can celebrate the joy of those women that give and enrich our life.