Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Here we go Fa la la la la....

Today is the last day of November. That means for this elf tomorrow official starts the Christmas season. I already have about half of my gifts purchased, lights up outside, and a few decorations up inside but tomorrow it is official. I am praying that my heart will stay in November's thankfulness. That I can truly enjoy the reason for the season and not be burdened by expectations that are heaped upon me either by other or myself. I will treasure the wonder of the gift that was given so long ago. I will choose wisely and carefully what I will commit to, partake of, and work towards. I will let my "yes" be for things that matter to me and my family. "Yes" to baking favorite treats.  “No to baking plates full of complicated creations. "Yes" to leisure shopping trips. “No” to stressful Power Shopping and conquering the mall.  “Yes” to thoughtful gifts.  “No” to trinkets that we do not need.  "Yes” to watching Christmas themed services that provoke worship.  "No" to obligations that bring stress and needless busyness.  "Yes" to smiling more and "no" to grumbling.
Let’s do this!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks for the complaint

We are all heading into the week of Thanksgiving.  I have seen lots of lists of things people are thankful for circulating both on blogs and on Facebook.   I have even felt a bit guilty for now making my own list.  It would have been very easy to post something that I am thankful for each day of the month.  My husband, my children, my parents, my home, my friends, etc.   It is so easy to be thankful for the blessings.  The good.  The easy.  The things that make me happy.  The things I enjoy.  But what about all the rest of life.  The bad, the hard, the things that bring my frustration, the things I don’t look forward to?  Am I thankful for those? 

So from now until Thanksgiving I will purpose to be thankful for the things, situations and people that test my faith for the purpose of perseverance to finish its work that I may be mature and complete lacking nothing.

Today I am thankful for complaints against me.  Whether it be in the form of not pleasing someone in my home, an extended family member, someone at my workplace or someone at church.  This helps me learn the lesson that I cannot please everyone.  It reminds me that I am the servant and not The Source.  Although sometimes I feel I may not be pleasing anyone, I know that is not truth.  Today I purpose to do what I can with what I have and to put priority on pleasing the only one that matters, Jesus.  And in pleasing Him I am bound to please some of the others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving. Perspective. Grace.

These three words have been on my mind. I am learning how they all go together.

I am not nearly as thankful as I should be. I am very happy for the people in my life, my circumstances and the material goods I have but happiness does not equal gratitude. My perspective needs to change.

Sometimes...most of the focus is on the immediate. The problem. The solution. The squeaky wheel. If I could just tweak my perspective just a teeny tiny bit to see people and situations through the eyes of the One who is in control of the situations and loves the people I would have more peace in the middle and more grace.

Grace to fill the holes of all that lacks. Not because it is the final ingredient of what people, situations or me do not measure up to. Not because when all else fails grace comes in to save the day. God is not pleased with my stuff and filling in with a measure of Himself where needed. I was never meant to measure up. People, circumstances and things were never meant to fulfill. I need His grace. All of it.  It is the one and only ingredient and no matter what I have to offer grace alone is enough.  All my stuff is accepted and desired only as a love offering.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  And for that I truly am thankful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Day Project Review

I so enjoyed the Happy Day Project.  It was just what I needed to jump back into blogging. 

God has been speaking to me in the theme of 'Do What You Can With What You Have' and this was a perfect way for me to apply what I have been learning. 
The acts of kindess that were done this week were not done in Mathat Stewart fashion.  There were no clever tags attached to the project.  I did not deliver gourmet dinners.  Just simple.  I did what I could with what I had and you know what?  It felt good.  It felt good to not stress about the details of making something perfect and instead focus on the heart behind the act.  It felt good to have my husband comment on me not being stressed out to have folk over for dinner.  It felt good to do things God's way without self-imposed expectations that were just out of reach.

It amazes me that I am still learning about myself.  I really thought I would be so much more grown-up by now.  More mature.  More together.  More confident.  More.  Although there has been much work done in this heart of mine over the 21 years since I said "yes" to Jesus there is still much refining that needs to be done.  Flowerpatch Farmgirl spoke beautifully what my heart was thinking this week regarding the gentle work of the Father...
"He works one chamber at a time changing small pieces.  He lights the spark of willingness and tunes the strings of brokeness and grace" 
I cannot do the work on my own.  I need His help.  I need the help of my like-minded fellow travelers who are also on a journey to the same place. Christ-likeness.  Their path may look different than mine but we can encourage eachother to press on. 

Although I may need work and I am seeing more and more that I am not enough on my own, I am also learning new lessons on grace thanks to this book written by this girl.  I am feeling a freedom to just be.  To just rest.  And that through Him I am enough.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Day Project Day 5

happy day 

Today's project is to bring refreshment. According to the dictionary... 

Refreshment:  noun
something that refreshes, especially food or drink.
refreshments, articles or portions of food or drink, especially for a light meal.
3.the act of refreshing or the state of being refreshed.

Tonight my husband is having the leadership of our youth group over for dinner.  In keeping with the theme of doing what I can with what I have it will be a simple spread of pasta, salad and bread with a chocolaty dessert.  

My goal is for these dear people that serve our students, who most of the time are very ungrateful for the sacrifices that the adults in their lives have given for them, will leave refreshed and encouraged to press on.

Have a happy day! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Day Project Day 4

happy day

As I said yesterday, Wednesdays for us are busy so the gift card for the homeless will have to wait til the weekend.  After reading this post it really got me thinking about what I believe about those I see on the street.  I am intrigued to read the book she recommended.  Especially when I saw Francis Chan wrote the forward for it. 

Today's project is book for a friend. I love books!  I really do.  I just received a book from Amazon for my 15 year old son that we are going to read together Do hard things by Alex & Brett Harris so I am going to let this count for today's project.

In addition I thought I would give you a list of some of my all time favorites.

Crazy Love & Forgotten God by Francis Chan

Surrender, Holiness & Brokeness Trilogy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

A life that says welcome  by Karen Ehman

The power of a praying woman by Stormie Omartian - also praying parent and praying wife are all equally great.

Have a happy day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Day Project Day 3

So I imagined sitting down with a cup of coffee creating this long lovely note to an unsuspecting yet well deserving soul that would warm their heart. In this dream I was also writing with a quill and a bottle of ink.Reality was a store bought card and a ball point pen.  Just a quick little note to show a little love and let them know I was thinking about them.  Just doing what I can with what I have. 

Today's challenge is a gift card for the homeless.  Not sure what I am going to do with this. Hmmmm... 
 McDonalds?  Wal-Mart?  How much? I do know that Wednesday are super busy and this may have to wait til the weekend.  I would like to send you over to Holley Gerth who has a very encouraging post about making a difference in someone's life.  Holley always has something encouraging or thought provoking to say so head on over and be blessed :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Day Project Day 2

What a great project. God knew just what He was doing when He took me to Joy's Hope. It is a great way for me to jump back into the blog swing of things.

On day one I was surprised by my insecurity. Even as I type this it sounds completely foolish. Insecure to bless someone? If anyone showed up on my doorstep with a casserole and loaf of bread in hand I would probably cry tears of gratitude and joy wondering what I had done to deserve such a blessing.

Yet yesterday I found myself questioning.
  • Would she think it was strange that I brought her this gift?
  • Would she like it?
  • Would she have to tell her children to 'be nice because that woman meant well?'.
  • Would she tell her friends that I brought the nastiest casserole she ever tasted?
  • What if she found a dog hair in it?
As I got closer to her house my heart beat faster and I thought about turning around. Especially when I saw she was not at home but her mother-in-law instead.

I have no control over how my gift was received. One or more of those things may or may not occur. What I do have control over is my fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of disapproval. Fear of inadequacy. I will make the choice to do what I can with what I have. I will make the choice to branch out and bless others. I will make the choice to trust that God has all the other stuff covered.

happy day
Today's project is a handwritten note. I don't even remember the last time I wrote a sweet note on anything more than a post it. We live in a society full of facebook, twitter, blogger and texting. The art of taking the time to write a complete sentence with nice penmanship is nearly gone. Do you remember writing and re-writing a note to get the penmanship just so? Trying out different types of lettering? Folding origami style? Maybe even spraying it with Love's Baby Soft perfume? Sprinkling in lots of confetti? I don't know about you, but I still enjoy getting a piece of personal mail. A letter or note written and sent the old fashioned way - snail mail style. With penmanship that shows the sender's personality.

Today I will send some happiness!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Day Project

I am a list lover. I do my meal planning with a calendar, I do my grocery shopping with a list, I read the Bible according to a get the idea. I also enjoy an opportunity to bless someone with just little preparation and planning on my part. Welcome to the Happy Day Project!

Joy is hosting a fun project over on her blog. Every day this week will be a small challenge to spread some happiness and joy. What a wonderful way to lead up to the holidays!

Today's project is to treat a neighbor. There is a new girl in town. She has 3 small children and just started coming to our church. Even though she has family and friends in town I thought I would bring her a little treat this afternoon. I remember having lots of little ones around and people assuming that since my family was here I never needed any help or encouragement as a mom and wife. Technically she is not my neighbor - she lives several blocks away. But from Sunday School I have taught that really everyone is our neighbor.

Have a great day and spread some happiness!