Reminders of Blessings and Goodness

Lew and I have been keeping a Mason Jar of Blessings and Goodness for years. The idea is to write on a piece of paper good things or experiences that happened over the year and collect the slivers of paper in a mason jar. At the end of the year, open the jar and enjoy the reminders of all the goodness we had experienced.

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2016: A Year in Review

indeedThe year 2017 is in full swing. Have you reviewed the plans you had made for 2016? How did you do?

I didn’t meet all my goals. In fact, I only met a few.

I wanted to publish my book, Ten Days to Live, but it didn’t happen. Additionally, my speaker’s calendar didn’t fill as much as I had hoped.

But I’m excited because I’m seeing God at work. I see reminders of that every time I sit at my desk. I trust that God’s word is good.

Unanticipated opportunities came before me. Different people crossed my path during 2016 that I believe were divinely lead. For these reasons, I have hope and excitement as I enter 2017.

Are you focused on what you missed or on the serendipitous events that blessed your life last year? It’s a choice … and I choose blessings.

What say you?

 

How About a Mulligan?

dartsPlaying golf or darts is a great past time. There’s a rule called a Mulligan, or a do-over after the first attempt was blundered. That’s what happened long ago.

Eight hundred years earlier, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would come. Isaiah didn’t use the names of Mary, Joseph, or Jesus. He used the names of Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.

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Nothing New for Me

reset buttonFirst Monday of the new year. I expected fanfare, but didn’t see any. I thought my newly sought enlightenment had been so profound that the clouds would part and angels would sing.

Nothing. All I got was Monday morning traffic and a cold January wind.

How about you? If you made New Year’s Resolutions, are you still holding firm? I gave up on resolutions long ago. Instead, I set goals. Sometimes they’re the same goals every year. You know the ones: be kinder to those around me, practice patience, and drop a few pounds. I struggled, wondering what I could add to my list of goals.

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What a Year, Right?

partying penguinWow! Can you believe 2015 will be over tonight? I remember when I was small I figured I’d be forty-five years old in the year 2000–if I lived to be that old.

Happily, I did make it to the year 2000 and beyond. This year has had incredible highs and unbelievable lows. I’ve gained many friends and lost a few. I’ve dug my heels in firm on beliefs and challenged others. I’ve welcomed wisdom, purchased with many prayers and requests of The One who offers it. I’ve celebrated with many their successes and cried tears due to horrific losses experienced by others.

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How About a Mulligan?

dartsEight hundred years earlier, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would come. Isaiah didn’t use the names of Mary, Joseph, or Jesus. He used the names of Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.

The people of his time knew in their heads the Messiah was coming, but their hearts were elsewhere. Maybe it’s a bit like us. Christmas is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but we spend more time wondering what size sweater we should buy (will he want an X or XL?).

It’s all about a Mulligan–a do-over. Let’s start over, right now. We have the luxury of looking back over time. We know Jesus came to save us all. We know that in our heads. Before it’s too late, let’s move it into our hearts. Let’s put action to our knowledge. Let’s share the Good News—a King has come to set us free!

What Will I Find in 2016?

indeed

Posted on my computer screen as a reminder of God’s promises and purposes for my life.

Every year I try to find a word or theme to follow. For 2015, the word was “Indeed”. I may not be where I want to be, but I am clinging to God’s promises. Verses like:

Exodus 3:7 – God sees us and our plights
Psalm 85:12 – God promises good things
Psalm 121:4 – God promises protection
Proverbs 2:3 – God promises wisdom
Luke 12:7 – Jesus stresses our value
John 4:14 – Jesus promises eternal life
John 8:36 – John promises freedom

In 2015, I saw God’s word in action. I am thankful for remembering the words of comfort offered. He has a plan set for me. He loves me. He has a plan set for you. He loves you, too.

What are you clinging to as 2015 closes and 2016 awakens? What are God’s promises that you are depending on?

Focus the New Year

One word 2015I read The Write Conversation this morning and thought it was brilliant and had to share. Indeed … I’m choosing “indeed” as my word of the year. Here’s why:

 

 

Exodus 3:7                          God sees us and our blights
Psalms 85:12                      God promises good things
Psalms 121:4                      God promises protection
Proverbs 2:3                       God promises wisdom
Luke 12:7                             Jesus stresses our value
John 4:14                             Jesus promises eternal life
John 8:36                             Jesus promises freedom

Thanks, Edie Melson, for the challenge. Now it’s your turn. Let me know if you have a verse or word for 2015.

A Dealing-with-Brokenness Fast for 2013

2013Every January I start the new year with a food fast. Trying to accept my brokenness may have contributed to my attitude, but I find something exciting about the experience of a fast. I start the fast for two reasons. First, my weight has been a challenge because I’m still dealing with the ramifications of brain surgery as well as thyroid issues (both benign, I am happy to say). I also tend to partake in richer foods than I should and have not had as much time on the bike as I’d like. It’s good to have a time set aside for the cleansing that comes from a fast.

But committing to a fast is more than just changing my diet. It’s more than the physical experience for me. It’s also a spiritual one. It’s about remembering who I am; remembering what’s important to me. It’s about setting time apart to think on what’s essential in life. When I have participated in a fast in the past, I would get hungry or have a graving for a favorite food. But those were the moments that I remembered, Father I am hungry for food, but I’m more hungry for you than food.

When I fast, promises abound.  It’s about leaving the old behind and starting anew. It’s a perfect time for self-examination. Have I been leaning on delusional thinking? Have I been self-absorbed?  Have I put myself before others? Boy, I would like a latte, but Father, I need to feel your presence more.

Prayers seem more finely tuned and personal. I truly cherish the experience. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you see me in January and I seem lost in thought,  be kind to me. It’s probably a good guess that I’m processing lessons learned while craving a Snicker’s bar.

Patience or Tenacity?

I like understanding the meaning of words and using them to draw word pictures. For example, take the word patience. Patience is a great word to use visually. The definition for patience is “the capacity for waiting: the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.” The word patience can be used to draw a beautiful picture. I can visualize a father working with a child, teaching them how to build a bird feeder.  Teaching children how to work with sharp tools takes lots of calm perseverance.

I also enjoy the word tenacity which comes from the word tenacious and its definition is “determined or stubborn: tending to stick firmly to any decision, plan, or opinion without changing or doubting it.” Here’s another great word picture; I see a teenage girl, arms folded and her jaw set in defiance standing in front of her mother daring her to try and change her mind. She knows in her heart that her mother does not understand and that she, the daughter, just needs to stick to her guns. Eventually, hopes the daughter, her mother will give in.

Different words, different pictures. But I like both actions when appropriate. In scripture, Jacob for example,  was patient when it came to love and having Rachel as his bride (Genesis 29:16-28), but he was anything but patient when he wrestled with God, (Genesis  32:22-30). His tenacity … his determination … besides giving him a wrenched hip, also gave Israel its  new name.

What about you? Can you say you’ve been both patient and tenacious at the right times? Would love to hear about it.