31 Days Out

31 days – that’s how old this new year is.

It’s time to take inventory and see how the year is shaping up before we slip into another month.

I’ve not made as much headway as I’d hoped so it’s time for me to turn up the heat a little and get things cooking a bit faster if I’m going to accomplish all I ‘ve set my mind to do this year.

Yes, there are still 11 months to go before 2015 slips in.  But, February has only 28 days and it will be in and out before we know it.

I’m out of here…grabbing my list, checking it twice and checking off at least one thing on my important to-do list before this day ends.

What about you?  Will you use today as THE day to get back on track and heading in the right direction?

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Early Morning Call

When the phone rings before the day has begun it often sets events in motion that dictate and determine what the remainder of the day looks and feels like.

In times like this it’s good to know that Sovereign God loves us and sees beyond where we are and what comes next.

And, it’s good to trust God for what lies ahead and rely on Him for our every need and with every concern.

Pray for those who received an early morning phone call today.  Pray for focus, for wisdom, for clarity….

Accustom, Adapt, Acclimate

Last night the temperature dropped to near 0 again.

A quick venture outside barefoot and without a jacket was both interesting and instructive.

And, it was something I would not have done 3 weeks ago.

So…what changed?

5°F is still 5° but here I am running around with bare feet in the dead of winter.

Something changed and that something is me.

I’ve become accustomed to the cold because I’ve immersed myself in it.

I’ve adapted to the temperature because I’ve ventured out into it instead of shying away from it.

I’ve become acclimated as my body has accepted what is and left what was behind.

Warm Spring days lie ahead.  And, beyond that Summer’s furnace blast awaits. By Summer’s departure,  I will have acclimated to working outdoors in 100+° weather and find the cold once again a strain and a bother.

But, I know that by living it, and by living within it I can (and will) accustom myself, adapt and acclimate to whatever environment I find myself in.

That’s good and bad.  In cold weather, I may experience frostbite and hypothermia because I don’t realize just how cold it is…or I am.  In hot weather, I may overheat and suffer heat stroke.

That should serve as a warning to all – be careful what environment you place yourself (or allow yourself to be placed) in. And, by environment I don’t just mean weather related conditions and situations.

How have you become accustomed to the environment in which you live?

How have you adapted to what’s happening around you?

How have you acclimated to the conditions at home, work, church, socially…?

How Toilets Work

Toilets.

We know what they are and what they’re for. We’re taught from an early age what to do (and not to do) with a toilet.

Young children stand and watch with great fascination as water descends upon small toys, tissues…whatever…with a rush, and then with a whoosh and a clatter it’s all gone.

“GONE,” they whisper as they stare into the porcelain bowl.

“AGAIN!” they cry as they run off to find something else to send into the abyss.

How many times have you flushed a toilet – just because you could?

We know what toilets are.  But, do we know how they work?

The pull of the handle (or string, push of the button/lever) activates an amazing device that removes a load of worry and potential for disease from us and from our environment on a daily basis. Imagine the inhabitants of a city the size of NYC without flushable toilets.  Imagine your own life (and that of your family) without access to such.

So…how do toilets work?

It’s simple, really. Take a look at this website and press the button to flush the toilet. Following pages on the site will explain more in depth about how toilets work.

And, if your toilet stops working there’s a handy-dandy section for fixing it. (It’s far cheaper than calling a plumber.)

Take my advice…learn what makes a toilet work and what to do when it stops working as it should.  When water is cascading over the top of the toilet bowl and filling the bathroom floor it’s too late to casually click on the link and figure things out.

Believe me.

I’ll make it easy for you.  Click HERE to learn about how toilets work. Click HERE to find out how to fix them.

And, be sure your plunger is made for toilets…not for sinks. (Yes, there’s a difference.)

Excuse me…I need to take this trashbag filled with wet towels out to the washroom.  Better grab that new bottle of bleach as I go….

Partly Cloudy

The forecast read “Partly Cloudy” and immediately my mood shifted to one of grrr…I wanted sunshine.

And, I planned my “partly cloudy” winter day accordingly.  Instead of working outside in the 45° weather, I would work inside. After all, every one knows 45° with clouds is far different than 45° with bright sun.

If only the sun would shine….  That was my sigh.

And, so I busied myself indoors while my heart dreamed of outdoor work and I griped about life’s lot that I’d drawn for the day.

At one point I ventured out to the garage with a load of dirty clothes.  45° felt…warm. The sun in my eyes made me squint.

I glanced at the sky and saw only thin wisps of clouds.

“I thought the forecast was for partly cloudy skies,” I muttered to myself.

PARTLY cloudy. That means to some extent, but, it doesn’t specify to what extent.

Why didn’t the forecast say “Mostly Sunny?”

If I’d received a more positive forecast, would my outlook on the day have been more positive and far different in my attitude and actions?

Why did I choose to focus on the negative and not the positive??

Hmm….

“Partly cloudy” leaves the door open to “mostly sunny.”  So, why did I slam it shut and pull the blinds against the light?

Perception is everything, from what I hear, and apparently there’s some validity to that.

From here on out, I plan to look at things in a different light.  Partly cloudy will provide opportunity for mostly sunny.

And, I’m going to live a mostly sunny lifestyle.

What about you?  Are you willing to change your perception and watch your perspective change as a result?

Wow!  Things are looking brighter for me already!

Give it a try and let me know how adopting a mostly sunny outlook changes your forecast!

Friendship Lost

Today I celebrate the birthday of someone I’ve known and loved since my college days.  This individual doesn’t know I celebrate…don’t talk to me anymore…doesn’t consider us friends.

Why?

Oh, years ago I thought I knew best about something and thought it important that my view be seen as the right view…only view.  I drew a line in the sand and my friend drew a line across it and crossed me out.

I think of this friend often and I grieve my attitude and actions that brought separation and estrangement.

Sometimes “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough…even when it’s heartfelt and sincere.

Every year on January 26 I celebrate this individual and the richness this person brought into my life.

Happy birthday! May God bless you richly this day and always.

The Mountain You Climb

The mountain you climb may seem only an ant hill to someone else.

Remember that the next time you tell someone: “get over it” – “get on with life” – “it’s not that bad.”

Anthills are more than they seem and deeper than they appear. Appearance isn’t everything.

Do yourself and others a favor and remember that before belittling the efforts of another, their life’s experiences, or the choices they make.

One man’s anthill is another man’s mountain.

Just because you can see over the next rise doesn’t mean the person next to you can.

And, simply because you can easily step on, over or around a bump in the path doesn’t mean others can.

One man’s mountain is another man’s anthill.

The mountain you climb, no matter how high…how terrifying…how challenging is just an anthill to some around you.

Look with compassion and see the struggles of others as real, valid, important, and necessary.

And, once you’ve climbed the heights remember, the way down is just as deep as the way up was high and is filled with struggles and intrigues of its own.

After all, most valleys are little more than inverted mountains.

Life is a struggle for us all. The height of our climb is insignificant for we all are surmounting obstacles as we press forward in daily living.

Anthill or Everest – it doesn’t matter which lies before you…either must be scaled. And, you’re the only one who can do it.  It’s better and safer to do so in community with those who support us, acknowledge our journey and applaud our achievements.

What mountain are you climbing? What of the person nearest you?

We all need someone to

  • Extend a hand.
  • Offer a leg up.
  • Provide support.
  • Help balance the load.
  • Throw a rope.
  • Be a counterbalance.
  • Belay a line.
  • Encourage the next step.

Mountain or anthill? It doesn’t matter what name you assign it.  It’s the mountain you climb and that’s what’s important.

To all my mountain climbing friends out there – could you give me a hand up? I can’t quite reach the next ledge….

Letting Go

I like my stuff.

Some of my stuff was mine when I was a child.

Some of my stuff…was my grandmother’s…my dad’s…my mom’s….given to me by special friends…reminds me of places, events, good times….

Some of my stuff was acquired by my own volition (aka I bought it). And, some of my stuff was acquired at the whim of others.

Why do I like my stuff?

Good question.

An even better question is – why do I keep my stuff?

As I look around me, I see stuff.  A lot of stuff. It doesn’t take long for a small house/room to fill up with stuff…just “everyday living” stuff takes up a lot of space.

“One day,” I think, “I’ll want/need/use this.” Or, “I can’t get rid of this…it reminds me of….” Or, “If I get rid of this what if the giver finds out?” And, “this makes me smile when I see it.”

I have too much stuff and too much stuff equals clutter. And, clutter leads to confusion…or creates confusion…or is created by confusion.

What do I need to let go of? And, how best can I do so?

What can I live without? (In truth, I can live without most of what I have if it’s true that to survive we only need the basics (air, water, sunlight, food, shelter…).

Perhaps the questions I need to ask myself are:

  • What can I live without, happily?
  • What can I live happily without?
  • What would I be happier without?
  • What steps do I need to take to let go of some of this stuff?

Letting go can be hard if we cling to what is instead of embracing what can be.

Stuff reminds us of where we were and who we were and who we were with.  Stuff is comfy. And, we all like to be comfortable and surrounded with things familiar to us…beloved by us.

Take a moment and imagine your life lived as a minimalist. What would it look like? In some ways, would it be freeing…less complicated?

I Think Therefore I’m Wrong

How often are you wrong?

Seriously.

And, when you’re wrong do you admit it? Or, do you hide it…excuse it?

I’m human.

And, I think.

When you combine the two you have a flawed creature with the potential for error.

Therefore, I’m wrong.

It’s possible I’m wrong as often as I’m right…and probably more often, if I’m honest with you and with myself.

I think, therefore I’m wrong.

For 55 years I found it hard to say the words, “I’m wrong.”

I was a right fighter.  Pride and fear kept me from admitting to myself and others that I was, could be, am…wrong.

Old habits are hard to break.  I still find myself in the role of right fighter and when I do, I stop and utter the words, I was wrong.”

What a difference those three little words make.

They are humbling, intimidating, door opening, laughter producing, freeing….

Do you know how good it feels to allow yourself to be wrong? What a burden is lifted when you stop trying to be right all the time!

“I was wrong” opens doors that “I’m right” slams shut. It has a way of healing relationships and relieving mental anguish.

Releasing our need to be right frees us to be wrong and it frees us from Pharisaical living.  It gives us the right to be human and allows humanity in others.  Did you know…humans make errors?

I don’t want to be right all the time.  There’s too much stress and responsibility in being a right fighter.  I can’t be myself, or live into who God has recreated me to be in Jesus.

I’m learning that it’s okay to be wrong. The world doesn’t end and and my family/friends don’t desert me.

After all…they knew I was wrong and too proud to admit it.

Yep.

The first few times I said “I was wrong” were humorous and a bit unexpected. Some asked me to repeat what I’d said…disbelief, I suppose, or sheer joy in the fact that I’d said it.

It’s difficult to say “I was wrong” – it opens wide the door and lets any comments in as well as the potential for hurt.  But, “I was wrong” takes responsibility and values the other above self. It releases arrogance, lets go of pride, ends the fight, evens the field.

I was wrong.

Try it.  You may like it.

Ritualism

Today in history, Arthur Tooth (an Anglican clergyman) was taken into custody after being prosecuted for using ritualistic practices.

The term “ritualistic practices” caught my attention as I scanned the long list of historical happenings on this date (beginning with 565 A.D.)

Having grown up in church and living for over 32 years as the wife of a minister, I found myself wondering what this man did that led to his prosecution. An active participant in a Protestant denomination for my entire life, I know the place tradition and rituals hold in most traditional churches and in the lives of the people who attend.

(If you think your church is the exception, look at the order of service, the types of things offered, the hierarchy of leadership….)

A quick Google of Albert Tooth revealed a Wiki piece on him. On this page, an accompanying Wiki piece explained ritualism in the Church of England.

(Interesting reading, if church history wasn’t your college major, and well worth the brief time required to read both.)

As a bit of a teaser to entice you to check out the sites above, let me say this – the Public Worship Regulation Act that seems so incredulous may not be so far fetched when one considers our own Constitution and the arguments that go on behind the scenes regarding religion and legality of religious practices.

What say I?

Religion is mankind’s attempt to find God and make peace with him.

Jesus is God’s attempt to find mankind and make peace with them.

Give me Jesus…simply Jesus.