Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Start a Trend on Your Block

Just a quick scan of the internet will tell us the myth of the “good Samaritan” is alive and well. A mother searches for the good person that saved her daughter out of the kindness of his heart; a stranger pays someone’s fuel bill without asking anything in return; someone helps another avoid a suicide attempt; and a neighbor's cat is rescued. We all wipe away tears when we hear of these heartwarming stories.

However, caring for others may not come naturally. We tend to become preoccupied with our own wants and desires ignoring needs of those around us. We can even justify to ourselves and friends and family that we each should take care of our own responsibilities and not be bothered by anyone who needs help. This is sometimes the mindset of those who don’t want to become involved even when someone is in danger or in an emergency situation.

Why Should We?
So what happens, then, when we ourselves need help? And, of course, at some point in life, we will, indeed, be in a situation when that occurs. No one can go through life totally alone and expect to never need another to help us out. Recently an article mentioned, we unfortunately may only ever know no more than two of our neighbors at any one point in time. And that is just a friendly wave or a one-syllable “Hi”. Knowing the names of people living around us is an additional step. Inviting that neighbor for coffee or dinner, is almost unheard of in our world.

So what is the point of of being that person who is willing to drop everything and become a “Good Samaritan’? Why should we in the first place? If we choose to have compassion for another person we step out of ourselves and may, then, avoid our own pity party surrounding problems in our lives. Amazingly, we may even arrive at a solution in the midst of others’ dilemmas.

Of course simply helping someone, when we could just walk away, will help us grow in unexpected ways as a human being. Selfishness is a childish trait that is not very attractive in an adult. We would never want to admit such a thing or be known as that kind of person. We may have lived with a person who exhibited this very same personality characteristic and it was difficult and frustrating for us to deal with such a lack of compassion. We are better than that, so consider these benefits that are showered on us when we demonstrate a generous nature.

Nine Blessings of a Good Samaritan:
  • We naturally become givers in all things
  • We will prosper and be refreshed
  • We are protected against criticism
  • Wisdom, faith and knowledge grows
  • Goodness will be heaped upon us
  • Our reputations will be remembered
  • We will have influence and honor
  • We will “reap what we sow”  
  • Our world is filled with joy and light, rather than darkness

We are given unique abilities and born into a certain time and place whereby, we have what we need to help those put in our path. As humans, we can recognize our own responsibilities and duty when it comes to being that neighbor whom everyone can count on to help. Someone who is always there. Being neighborly can catch on fast, so be the first on your block!

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” Galatians 6:9 NLT.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dancing in the Rain

On days when we lose our momentum, it’s sometimes hard to get it back. The wheels just won't move. The engine wants to go back to bed. The fuel staggers on empty. 

It starts out all right. We wake up in the morning ready to tackle the day. The adrenaline level seems a little shaky, but soon revs up like a blender on over-kill. The bed and breakfast are made before the kids' feet even hit the floor. So much to get done in the next few hours.      

Then all of a sudden--bam!--the energy comes to a crashing halt! Our “To Do List” is the last thing we want to tackle now. It's truly overwhelming doing life on our own. The mind wanders to way off places remembering the "smiles we left behind." So what happened? Where did the motivation go?  

Life is not about how we survive the storm, 
it's about how we dance in the rain!

Most likely we are still harboring fears and anger about the past. We allow our emotions to get ahead of us. It's important here to say it's absolutely o.k. to cry it all out. We all do it. In fact, it's a must, otherwise those feelings turn inward on us and depression takes over and that's a nasty problem indeed. So go ahead and grab that pillow and scream as loud as you can! It's truly the best release ever available. 

Out-of-whack and out of slack. 
Priorities got jumbled and the tension suddenly burst. We often forget to first take a morning minute and check in with our Creator. He already knows what’s on our agenda for today and it may not be the same as the one in our smart phone. He has people for us to meet today--a new neighbor or maybe an old friend who is hurting like us. Exciting things for us to do. It’s probably nothing like what we expected, but you can be sure He knows the Plan. 

So let’s make it easy on ourselves and Pop! that umbrella open! 

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

In a Rut or In a Groove?

Someone once said if our hairstyles are the same more than five years in a row, we're in a rut! Or is that a groove (not as deep as a rut)? This could also apply to the placement of our furniture, the shower curtain, the pillows on our couch or just about anything that needs changing.

In the Disney animated film, The Emperor's Groove, Kuzco, the rude and narcissistic emperor, has no need of anyone. Yzma, his female adviser, poisons him and Kuzco turns into a llama. The silly story goes on and on with Yzma accidentally drinking a poison and she turns into a kitten! 

Disney sometimes makes comical and crazy movies, or what your grandmother might have called cockamamie (silly word in itself), but there is eventually a point made. In the movie above, the emperor learns the lesson that it's senseless to resist change. 

Funny, once we do get in the mood to do something positive for ourselves and get out of our monotonous routine, we see the magic we've been missing in our daily lives. It's a great spirit-lifter. Once we do one thing, we want to do the next thing and the next thing, and. . . Doctors even say it only takes 21 days (or 21 times) to replace an old habit with a new one. Less than a month; we can do that! 

Let us not forget God likes change. He doesn't leave us in our same routine. He chose us and He expects us to grow and mature. There is a reason for everything and He sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help you in creating your very best life now! 

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.
Luke 17:33

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Smiles Are Contagious, Be A Carrier!

C'mon Laugh!
We can only laugh about it, really. That is the dreaded season we love to hate called Aging. And yes, it's a real eye-opener when we figure out we are old enough for our savings account to begin paying off! 

Survival, mid-life or otherwise, will only come with a good measure of laughter! We all know that no one on this planet has yet been able to stop time, banish the wrinkles, and lift enough skin to make us look 23 again. But they keep trying! "If I knew in my 20s what I know now, ______________" (fill in the blank)    

So, the better choice is to have a sense of humor, because it happens to everyone eventually. 

Enjoy a smile with these unexpected blessings about maturity: 
1. We can have "lights out" before our college kids even leave on a date.
2. Karaoke is our favorite music with words.
3. We can eat breakfast for dinner and lunch for breakfast. 
4. Our grand kids are shocked if we know the identity of One Direction.
5. A good party begins at 7pm and ends at 10pm.
6. We no longer think of speed bumps as an obstacle.
7. Our expenses for excessive beauty products are considerably reduced.

See how many more you can add to this fun list! 

Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
It wasn't so long ago that age was honored as one having gained wisdom through life experiences. Of course, we didn't reach each decade without ever knowing anything, regardless of what the Post-Millennial generation aka iGeneration thinks (apparently those are necessary descriptions since we ran out of the alphabet with the X, Y, and Z Generations). You're still smiling, right? 

First there is physical beauty as pushed on us by all the advertising. Then comes inner beauty as we gain more common sense in all things joyful. And, alas, there comes brain beauty or more commonly referred to as wisdom. Someone once said, "It's amazing how wise our parents get as we age!"

An age-old (pardon the pun!) problem
What does God think about all this self-admiration? Quite a lot, matter of fact. One only needs to read the Old Testament to see vanity isn't just a modern problem. It began way, way back in the Garden of Eden and continued right along into the New Testament and has now caught up to this century.

Among God's descriptions of a wise person He uses the words humble and understanding, one who invites counsel and, one who fears (respects) the Lord. He is serious about this aging thing! 

No matter what our age from 20s to 40s to 60s and beyond, we can welcome the fact we belong to Him who IS wisdom. The good news: we can work towards that beautiful goal and help each other along the way, sisters! Heaven waits.

"Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God" 1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT.

Monday, July 31, 2017

How to Get Off the Merry-go-Round

Achildren, many of us thoroughly enjoyed going on the Merry-go-Round at any amusement park. The horses were not quite as difficult to stay on as real ones! These were colorfully painted with long flowing manes and they rose up and down with rhythm and precision from the fun music constantly playing. The white stallions were the most beautiful and favorites of so many little girls.

In our grown-up worlds, sometimes the Merry-go-Round just needs to stop! We face interruptions daily as we try to get things done. Some days, we get absolutely nothing done by the time the clock strikes 5:00 p.m. and it's time to get dinner on the table. It's maddening! We need peace and quiet to even think past all the demands and distractions bombarding us. 

This suggestion may be difficult and take much practice, but relaxation experts often recommend finding a quiet place and try just being still in order to calm the heart and soul. Quiet and still. It's been proven that three slow, deep breaths in the nose and out the mouth to a count of four will actually reduce blood pressure. It really does work. 
Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6
We are all human. Women of many different ages, temperaments, styles, and professions. But God still gave each one of us free will and choices and, because of those gifts, there are times when we make mistakes and bad choices along the way. This freedom causes our worlds to get out of control, like a Merry-go-Round gone into a spin. Eventually it can be stopped if we choose to give it effort and time. Nothing says we have to drown in a pool of craziness!  

Developing a time each day to spend in quiet reflection and prayer is the best remedy. This habit will bring us to a point in our lives where we will automatically know where to go and what to do about all sorts of dilemmas and troubles that currently hold us in a state of panic and confusion. 

Many women choose mornings before the day begins. Some of us who are not quite "rise with the birds" kind of people find mid-morning just as effective. Just be sure to "unplug" all the electronic distractions. The important thing is not necessarily the time or the amount of time, it is the One who we spend it with. It's true that the Bible is God's way of speaking to us and prayer is how we speak to God. Just be sure it's a two-way conversation! 

"Be still, and know that I am God!. . .Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes" Psalm 46:10a; Psalm 37:7 NLT. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Thorns and Thistles

Those of you who have that emerald green "thumb" are to be much congratulated! You know exactly which plants go together, what season to plant what, and seem to have a connection with all growing things. Unfortunately, in my world, I look at a plant sideways and it will die. My thumb is of the black variety!

Living in a small mountain "country" town, instead of a city, gives the advantage of all the greenery one could ever want. Lots of rain and a mild winter with a few snow days, makes it so easy to keep plants growing. 

Gardens Galore!
A friend who works miracles with plants, has turned her entire backyard into a garden! Various flowers and plants bloom at certain times of the year and thrive like crazy. Particularly, she is an expert with the gorgeous Iris varieties and belongs to the local Iris Club. She is an amazing woman! What a great passion for any of us to pursue.

It seems she never has problems with any of the unwanted kinds of plants aka weeds, thorns, and thistles. Surely that is because she works hard at keeping them out of her garden. They are prickly and can hurt when accidentally grabbed. They can also choke out the good plants.

The very first garden known was the one in Eden--home to Adam and Eve. It had to have been extraordinary and lush with plant life "bringing all good things in abundance" according to some experts. There was no pollution and environmental disasters as there are today. The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground--trees that were beautiful and produced fruit.

Necessary Weeding
Then, as now, mistakes were made by humans. The lushness in Eden soon gave way to thorny pests that needed to be controlled while trying to keep the best intact. It is ironically reminisce of our everyday lives. We all make mistakes and are trying to do our best to "weed out" the bad and keep the good. 

Hydrangea Fall Favorite
Hundreds of centuries later, we have come far, but it hasn't been easy by any measure. In our own personal lives, we have made important steps into our future. Be encouraged with just those facts alone. Then realize we can keep it going with some planning, planting, and lots of prayers. After all, God is on our side and He will be there for each of us when we need Him. 

Giving up is not an option because who likes thorns and thistles anyway? Let's surround ourselves with the most beautiful flower garden out there! Hydrangeas anyone? 

The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. Psalm 65:12



Monday, July 24, 2017

Collected In A Bottle

The movie, Message in a Bottle, was a tear-filled and bittersweet kind of story. At the same time, it was pretty amazing to find out that one person had actually collected their thoughts and love for another and kept them in a bottle! 

Digging in the Sand

Many of us still carry around fears, anxieties and pain. We find ourselves, sometimes, crying endless tears over things that are no longer of any benefit to us. How about today we dry our tears and dig into the sand of our future to find out Who really loves us?

There is an empty spot in our hearts, and, since our creation as newborn baby girls, it's been waiting to be filled. Every baby, female or male, has the same heart-spot. As much as our parents were able to provide our every single need and wish, that heart-spot was not theirs to fill.   

We Can Only Imagine

Our heart-spot is there because absolutely no one understands us better than God Himself. He is our Creator including that elusive heart-spot. He knows all about our fears, what makes us joyful, our anxieties and worries, and our thoughts even before we think them! 

He knows our physical qualities, like how many hairs are on our heads, how many times our heart beats and yes, how many tears we have shed. He cares so much about those tears, He collects them in a bottle and even writes down what caused them. Just close your eyes and imagine. Simply astonishing! This is the absolute truth. It can be verified in His book, the Bible.

Our heavenly Father knows exactly how to fill that empty heart-spot. He chose us to be His daughters--don't ever forget that love-filled fact. God is unlike any human father; His love is complete and unconditional. He anxiously waits for each of us to say "Yes!" to His invitation to come and live with Him forever. When we do, that empty heart-spot is instantly spirit-filled with so much love, we have only tears of joy.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8