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Showing posts from 2012

Preconceptions

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This Advent season has so far contained the usual amount of meditation and soul searching and one revelation stood out from the others. He is a Father of surprises. The moment I think I can no longer be surprised, bam, something unlike anything I have yet to experience happens.

When I get out of the way and get rid of my preconceptions of how He should touch my life and when, things work out better than I expect. His plan is always better. Always, and I know that. 
However, we humans develop and hold onto preconceptions to just about everything, people, places, books, movies, and the list goes on and on and on. These opinions color our world. Some in beautiful ways, others are not so pretty, and these instant judgments shackle our imaginations, and our ability to accept people, things and circumstances. as well as our ability to see God's hand in our lives. 
As a matter of fact, I have yet to see the answer to my prayers materialize in the way I thought they should. God is always…

The Age Factor

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After numerous failed attempts to find permanent employment, I am fighting discouragement and despair. Several friends, who are HR administrators, have agreed my age is a huge factor in my job search. Granted, it is illegal to discriminate because of age, but proving discrimination is hard.  And although I have seen jobs I applied for go to applicants with half my skill and experience - and half my age, it would still be hard to prove. If I wanted to. Personally, I do not want to work for a company I forced through litigation to hire me. The work place is a tough enough environment without adding that kind of stress.
Ironically, I am too young to retire and too old to be employed. Then an added disadvantage, I don’t speak a second language, which becoming more and more a requirement, at least in our area.
Add the looming changes in Federal taxes and other regulations which will negatively impact my husband’s and my finances even further,my husband is considering becoming an Ex-Pat,…

Just Do It

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I talk, a lot, about losing weight, exercising more, getting up earlier, being more kind, gracious, giving, forgiving, and my list goes on and on. I want to change, permanently. Not for just a week or a month.

So, how do I change? Where do I start on such a long list? One choice, one moment at a time. Rather than lumping everything together into a mountain so steep it is impossible to climb, I need to take the first step.  Then the next. Before long I will be sitting on the crest enjoying the view.

This will take action, not words. We've heard over and over how action speaks louder than words. Jesus said faith without works, isn't faith.

Ah, but to keep the motivation. It feels good to sleep just a few more minutes. That extra helping is hard to resist. Snuggling into my chair with a book after supper is more pleasant than jumping onto the stair stepper. And it is hard to withhold cutting comments and be patient. It feels better to putter around the house in my jammies than t…

What He Sees

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My eyes were opened to another spiritual truth this week. God really does see everything. Let me repeat. God sees everything. He does see my many failures, but He also sees the morning prayer, the prayer during a lunch time walk, and even the private pleadings while hiding in the restroom at work.

He sees when I put my last few dollars into the collection plate, just as He did the woman in Mark 12: 43-44. Jesus noted she contributed not from  her abundance, but from her want. He noticed,  and I am sure He blessed her for it, although Scripture doesn't say.

God also sees the times I clamp my mouth shut instead of uttering what is really on my mind, sparing someone's feelings. He sees when I stand up for my beliefs, even when no one else notices.

He forgives the wrong and blesses the good,giving abundantly when I trust Him, and I can trust Him even when my circumstances hurt.


This means I don't have to worry about competing for His attention. Neither do I have to strive to…

The Other-Someone Else

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Not too long ago I wrote about Someone Else. The person who got the job I wanted, the person who was driving the car I always wished I had, and lived in the house I always dreamed of. The list goes on and on. That Someone Else's life was pretty wonderful.

Granted, I also mentioned the Someone Else who had more problems than I do, but I failed to recognize another aspect of Someone Else, the other, Someone Else.

While I am busy coveting what Someone Else has, I am completely ignoring the Someone Else who is doing what I don't want to do. When hearing about a serious problem or issue, what are the first words out of my mouth? "Someone ought to do something about that."

Right now Someone Else in the personage of the police officer, the paramedic, the researcher, the congressman (yes them too), and many others are doing "something about that." These professionals are taking care of many "somethings" I cannot  and do not want to deal with. But this is…

If I Died Today...

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If I died today, what in my life would really matter? Would I regret how I spent my time? Would my passing affect others in any way? 

We have all heard the Cherokee proverb: When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. 

Could I honestly say that about myself? In my small circle of family and close friends, that might be true, but of the world? Certainly not. I have not done anything outstanding. My life has not made any difference outside of my small circle. 

Yet, I do matter. As the story of the boy on the beach throwing back one starfish at a time, he might not be able to save them all, but his compassion mattered to that one he did save. If you multiply this action by those of countless others, then yes, the world feels the impact. 

So, it does matter to anyone how I live my life? Yes. It matters to me and to everyone around me. 

This week I took a closer look at how I spent my time, where my focus was. I spe…

Golf Carts

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After my husband retired he was bent on living in a retirement community, some place quiet where cars didn't jump up and down and sear your ears with music from half a block away. No racing motorcycles whose mufflers seemed to be only decoration.

We moved south to the land of perpetual sun and into an over 55 community, right on a beautiful golf course. It was quiet, but the quiet was deceptive.

Our first morning we were shaken by a horrendous thud against the house. We ran out to the patio.  Right above my husband's chair was a huge hole. A golf ball hit the side of the house with such force it bored through the stucco and into the interior support mesh. We promptly moved the patio furniture to the other end of the patio - hopefully out of the line of fire.

After coffee we took a walk around the neighborhood. Tire tracks appeared during the night. The black marks rose up over the curb, bumped along the sidewalk for several yards and then  finally regained the road. Evidently…

Don't Worry About Them

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With so much going on in the world today, and especially with the election drawing so close, our attention is drawn to thousands of issues. We worry, we stew, we wring our hands. We shake our fingers at the unkind, the vengeful, the violent. We say bad things about this one or that one, particularly in the political circles. That politician is bad. That political party is radical and hateful. Those people are intolerant, lying, morally corrupt.
We spend a great deal of time judging and condemning. We expend so much energy it amazes me we have any strength to do anything else.  

We don't seem to learn. God said "Do not judge or you shall be judged." Yet, we do, over and over. What if we spent that energy fixing us? What if we didn't worry about what that politician, or that group was doing, and worked on our flaws? Of course we need to be vigilant against injustices and be active in our political procedures as responsible citizens, but what if we didn't worry so…

Catfish Eat Carrots

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Almost there. Just a little closer. Fingers touch. It swings just out of reach - and then the catfish gets it. I didn't know catfish ate carrots, but they do.

An opportunity, a repeat opportunity, dangled in front of me. So close, almost mine, and then in a nano second, gone. Eaten by one of the many catfish in my spiritual tank.

Hurt, I crawled away, desperate to find a hole to hide in. God held me back.

He sent rainbows to remind me there is more to life than the rain and heartache: "After rainstorms, puddles reflect sunrises, or mountains, or rainbows, or blossoms." Joseph T. Sullivan in Good Morning, Lord.

God reminded me through the scriptural story of Joseph in the Egyptian prison that our attitude and example during a time of crises, or disappointment, can influence others and change our circumstances for the better.

He reminded me in Philippians 4:6 "not to be anxious about anything."

Psalm 105: 2-5 re-emphasized those promises: "Sing to him, yes …

Catfish

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Pastor Greg Laurie from Harvest Church in  Riverside, California sent this story in an e-mail: 

 A group of fish suppliers had trouble shipping cod from the East Coast. No matter what they tried, the fish arrived spoiled, mushy, or dead. As a last resort, they tried shipping the fish alive in tanks with one catfish in each tank. The cod arrived alive and well because they spent the trip running from the catfish. 

Pastor Laurie went on to correlate the catfish with our spiritual lives: God puts catfish in our spiritual tanks in the form of difficult co-workers, family members, or any other difficulty to keep us spiritually fit. 

Picturing the poor cod running for their lives made me giggle, and equating them with my own challenges caused outright laughter. I don't know about you, but I think God puts a whole lot more than one catfish in my spiritual tank at a time, and I spend a great deal of my time running, dodging, avoiding and hiding. It seems I lose one, only to see another. 

God …

Someone Else

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I posted this about a year ago, not realizing at the time it would speak to me again under almost the exact circumstances. Isn't it interesting how God orchestrates such coincidences? Isn't it also interesting that life keeps repeating? Is it because we haven't learned the lessons? Or is there some other reason?
(One note: at this moment the job situation is undecided.)


Someone Else 
Originally Posted 10/8/11

At times life seems to be one disappointment after another, and I blame it all on Someone Else.
Someone Else got the house my husband and I fell in love with.
Someone Else got the job I applied for and really wanted.
Someone Else is driving the car I've always wanted.
Someone Else is celebrating a mile stone wedding anniversary that I will never have.
Someone Else is thinner, younger and more attractive.
Someone Else’s list of blessings far out weigh mine.
This morning God shook his finger at me and said, “Shame on you!”  
Throu…

Misbehaving

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My head hangs in shame. The ugly person I thought I exorcised years ago came roaring back.  I have misbehaved and God has called me on it - quickly.

The Set Up: It was a stressful week at work, one of several. I felt the stress level rising, could see the signs, but thought I could handle it. I prayed. I meditated. But none of it touched my heart where it made a difference, except for maybe an hour or so. Even my dreams were stressful and work related.


The Added Crises: A job interview with a long back story, which had me in tears a year ago, resurfaced. It was going to take all of my courage to face the new challenge, and in spite of my newly developed strategy of concentrating on God's will and not mine, in spite of everything I learned and practiced this last year, I was caving in to fear and anxiety. However, I had not yet crossed the line to misbehavior - until the final straw:  the coffee pot. Don't laugh. It isn't funny - yet. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week or month…

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

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Finally, after 30 plus, and almost another 30 plus years, I  know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a Kingdom Person. 

Richard Rohr in today's daily meditation from describes a  Kingdom Person  as a surrendered, trustful person who has given control to Another, which paradoxically allows them to calmly be in control. This gives them the ability, and freedom, to do what they need to do with joy. This behavior encompasses the "best of the conservative and the best of the progressive types." (For more go to: The Center for Action and Contemplation )

I want to be like that, to live in peace, trusting God in every situation, not necessarily physically happy, but joyful in spirit. As St. Paul so eloquently stated in his epistles, what others find as gain, he considered loss. He suffered incredible physical suffering, eventually dying as a martyr, but in his eyes he gained everything. 
For too much of my life, I have been concerned with external beauty,obsessing about…

Who's Pulling Who?

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In one of Richard Rohr's daily meditations, he makes this observation: As soon as you make prayer a way to get something, you’re not moving into a new state of consciousness. It's the same old consciousness. “How can I get God to do what I want God to do?” It's the egocentric self still deciding what it needs, but now often trying to manipulate God too. This is one reason religion is in such desperate straits today. It really isn't transforming people, but leaving them in their separated and egocentric state. It pulls God inside of my agenda instead of letting God pull me inside of his. This is still the small old self at work. What the Gospel is talking about is the emergence of “a whole new creation” and a “new mind,” as Paul variously calls it.
That really hit hard. I do spend too much of my prayer time in negotiation. And, Richard Rohr is right. There are a great number of Christians who believe that because they believe, they will gain prosperity, health and every …

Discipline

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The word discipline has been on my mind a great deal this last week after I realized a lot of my stress is of my own making. I lack discipline in too many areas of my life.

The first area is diet. My doctor put me on a total of 100 grams of carbohydrates a day in order to balance my blood sugar issues. I am not diabetic. I am the opposite. I have hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, which can be a precursor to diabetes if not treated.  Basically, carbohydrates are not good for me. This includes carbs from all foods, not just the decadent temptation on the right.

 It is hard. Once something is forbidden, we by our nature crave it all the more. My sister put it so well, I have plenty of will power, just not enough won't power.


There are other areas where I fail besides diet. I put off getting ready for work. I putter on the computer, linger over another cup of coffee, chat a little too long with hubby, play with the dog and the list goes on. None of these things are bad or wrong, until t…