June 16, 2013
No one (except maybe my kids) likes to “sleep in” more than I. Even now after having to get up early for most of my life, I love those days where I can just roll over and get just a few more “zzzz’s”
When my oldest started school, I had the hardest time waking up a little earlier than he so that I could have a few moments of quiet and get his lunch packed and breakfast ready. So many mornings I would jump up just in time to get him up. Rush around so that he was not late to school and then collapse back at home after dropping him off. Not a good way to start my mornings. But I was stubborn. I soooo wanted that little bit of extra sleep that I was willing to suffer the consequences of the mad scramble each day.
Because of my affinity for sleep, I used to hate to read Psalm 63:1…“early will I seek thee…” I would respond in my mind with, “Hey, God made me this way. He understands I don’t “do” mornings. Plus, we’re under grace not law, right?” But as we all know, the day seems to have a life of its own and before we know it we’re falling into bed maybe with a prayer and a proclamation of “tomorrow will be different” only to wake up the next morning to the “get-ready-for-school-scurry” or the “hurry-up-hustle”.
Well, this note is not to beat you over the head for not getting up early to do your quiet time, though I did figure out that my day goes a lot better when I do. Maybe because getting up early is not as much of an issue for me any more (notice I said “as much”), but what I do have trouble with is coming to God “early” with my problems, as in early in the process. Too often I try to figure it out on my own THEN seek God’s guidance, counsel and wisdom.
The verse “seek first the Kingdom of God…” comes to mind. We can try to change the verse to “seek at my earliest convenience the Kingdom…” and believe me I’ve tried. I’ve tried to have my quiet time at my convenience and I’ve tried fixing my problems (usually for my convenience) only seeking God when I just can’t figure it out. Neither is effective. I encourage you today to not wait for the convenience of time or circumstance to seek God. Seek Him early, convenient or not.
June 10, 2013
Make Someone Happy
I was reading recently a marriage devotional called “Make Someone Happy”. The author was not talking about only making your spouse happy, but the people around you who might be watching your marriage play out. Interesting concept.
Ron and I have been married over 33 years. That seems to be quite an accomplishment this day and time. Believe me, it hasn’t been “marital bliss” all of those years. Getting married at age 19 and 20…well, you can imagine, we had a lot of growing up to do and thinking of each other’s happiness much less anyone else’s, was not a top priority for either of us. I’m really afraid to think what someone watching us would have thought about marriage. There are probably some single people out there now who called off their weddings after watching our attitudes. Ha! Oh dear.
I think one of my favorite things to see is two people who are obviously in love well into their latter years of life. I love hearing about 30, 40, 50, and yes 60 or more anniversary celebrations. Watching an older couple hold hands, sit on the same side of the booth or just have a friendly conversation is so heart-warming to me. While we are not (hopefully) in our latter years of life, I want people to look at us as inspiration and not dread.
One morning while on vacation, we stopped at the Original Pancake House for breakfast. As some of you know, OPH is the traditional hangout for, well let’s say those who have more experience and maturity than some of us. We sat at a table for 2 and watched as one couple in their 70′s pulled in to the parking lot. The husband waited so patiently for his wife, who used a cane, to get out of the car. They walked in together and sat on the same bench. Another elderly couple, sat across from each other and shared their breakfast. The waitress knew their names and their “usual”. They didn’t even have to ask the waitress for a piece of foil to wrap the extra bacon in-she just brought it to her like she’s probably done many times before.
Watching these couples gave me such hope and assurance that there are people in the world who cherish the richness of having a marriage and relationship “’til death do we part”. Knowing someone so well that their thoughts are in your mind before they speak them. Caring for someone so much that your needs are rarely thought of for yourself because they are already taken care of by the person you’ve chosen to cherish. I aspire to that kind of marriage and in the process I hope it makes someone else happy as well.
“Make someone happy today–by loving your spouse. You may not realize who is watching, but I’ll guarantee you this: someone is.” Gary Thomas-Devotions for a Sacred Marriage
June 3, 2013
When my daughter, Allie Beth was about 13 she was in competitive cheerleading. She was a “flyer” which meant she was the one standing on someone’s shoulders and/or being thrown into the air and caught (hopefully). It was scary and she didn’t really like it, but that was her position.
As her team was preparing to go into their first competition she told me that she didn’t think she could do it. She didn’t think she could stand on someone’s shoulders without falling. “I don’t want to fall” she kept saying. I told her that the mind couldn’t process the word “don’t”. So she must tell it what she wants to happen not what she doesn’t want to happen.
She looked confused. So I said, “Don’t think about a pink elephant.” She closed her eyes. I said, “What are you thinking about?” She said “A pink elephant”. I said, “But I told you NOT to think about a pink elephant”. She said, “Do it again.” “Don’t think about a pink elephant” I said. “Blue, blue blue blue blue” were the words coming out of her mouth. When I asked what she was doing, she said “I’m thinking about a blue elephant.” She got it! Say what you WANT to happen not what you don’t want to happen!! Oh and she “flew” without falling.
May 28, 2013
Do as I Say AND as I DO
This week I felt called to get on my soapbox and write about our often righteous attitudes as hypocritical Christians. As everyone knows, Christians are perfect. We don’t swear, watch secular TV shows and movies or read trashy novels. We would never lust, gossip or worship idols like food or shoes! And we certainly don’t judge other’s for doing the like. Ha! Reality check people, we are ALL sinners and as long as we know what we are doing is wrong, then we will be judged by the only One who really counts. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” James 4:17.
We, as believers, must walk our talk or better put, God’s talk. Additionally, we must stop representing our faith as judgmental, holier than though hypocrites. Am I guilty of this? Of course I am, as are 100% of you. We must stop hating the sinner and only hate the sin. We as Christians are called to love others as Christ loves us. That means everyone at all times. Not only are we to do this ourselves, and here’s the tricky part, we need to stand up to other believers who aren’t representing our God as they should. That means calling each other out (in love).
Let me make this clear; I’m not saying we need to close our eyes to all the evil around us and live in a bubble. We have to fight it. Evil is everywhere we turn. We must “live in this world, not of this world” John 17:14-16. I am just saying that we need to love on people. Show them through our words AND actions, what it means to be a follower of Christ. No, don’t start preaching fire and brimstone to every “sinner” you see. Just love them, nurture them and make it impossible for them to not want to come to you and say “I want what you have, how do I get it”.
We as Christians and especially parents must, stop judging, hating, gossiping and looking at people funny. Stop ignoring the homeless guy or the teenager with pink hair and piercings and give them a smile and a kind “Hello” and when called, a helping hand. Start representing the perfect Man who died a brutal, unimaginable death for you, a sinner, by loving others with kindness, empathy and most importantly, your Christ like words and actions. Finally, you, as a mom, know all too well, that our kids learn by watching us, not by listening to us. We need to teach by our example, how to be a true believer.
Written By Kelley Gatewood
May 20, 2013
Would You Date You?
How often have you come home from a first date wondering “why can’t I attract Mr. Right”? If this is you, as it has certainly been me, then I have two questions for you. First, are you being the kind of woman who would attract your Mr. Right? Try this exercise. Make a list of all the attributes and values you are looking for in a man. Then, make a list of the characteristics (good and bad) of the men you have found yourself dating. Now, compare the first list with your attributes and values. Are they similar? If not, what areas do you need to strengthen? Next, take a good look at your second list and really think about why you keep attracting these men. Is it baggage that you are still carrying around from your past or maybe it’s just the way you are presenting yourself? The key to this exercise is to be brutally honest with yourself and then take it a step further by asking a trusted and (brutally honest) friend or two to also look at the list and give you their input. Finally, make a list and even journal about the changes you have discovered that need to be made then, get to work!
If this doesn’t seem to be the problem, then let’s look at the flip side by thinking about my second question. If your attributes and values do line up with Mr. Right’s but you’re still dating Mr. Wrong, are you selling yourself short by lowering your standards because you don’t think you’re good enough for Mr. Right? If this is the case then where is that lack of self-worth coming from? The key is to get to the source of your baggage so you are able to change it for good rather than just covering it up with temporary fixes. God made you to be you for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes and He never gives up on you, so neither should you. It takes a lot of energy and courage to change and get rid of your past hurts but you owe it to yourself and your Creator to become the woman he meant for you to be. Start reading your Bible if you aren’t already. Also, get a hold of some positive faith based books on the subject, Karol Ladd has some great ones. You could also find a counselor, life coach or mentor to help you sort things out. It doesn’t really matter where you start, just start!
Of course, if you feel like you are in a good place in your life and you are attracting “good guys” just not “the one” then maybe God just has other plans for you right now. His timing is perfect and when the time is right (by his calendar not yours) and as long as you are open to God’s plan and paying attention, he will lead you to Mr. Right at just the right moment! In the meantime, get as emotionally and spiritually healthy as you can, stay positive, take care of yourself physically and pray for patience, wisdom and understanding and you will be right where you are supposed to be.