Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Wonder...

Life goes by so quickly. So much happens in a year’s time.



I wonder – next year at this time, just what I will have gone through?


I wonder what challenges and obstacles I will have faced. Will I be stronger and wiser – or will I feel a little beaten down and need time to heal?


I wonder what new and exciting things that I never would have guessed would happen – did; all because my Lord wanted to bless me and love on me.


I wonder what loved ones I will have had to say goodbye to – whether from illness or accidents?


I wonder what dreams will have been realized in my life. Will I have started to dream new ones? Will I have said goodbye to old ones that are no longer important to me?


I wonder if I will use my time more wisely or still take it for granted?


How many lost opportunities will I regret letting pass me by?


How often will I look at my kids and know my time with them at home is that much shorter?


What will my health be like in a year? Better – or – worse?


Will I be more confident?


I wonder what new friends I will meet and wonder how I ever lived life without them?


What prayers will finally be answered? What new prayer requests will weigh heavily on my heart?

I wonder.


Life is so short. It is but a vapor. We don’t realize that on a day-to-day basis. We forget. We take it for granted. Unless we stop long enough to pause, think, ponder, and wonder….

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Maybe We Weren't Meant To Remember

I heard a quote the other day that caused me to stop and ponder it. It was “Sometimes we weren’t meant to remember.”


I’d never really thought about that before. Being a writer and someone who is very sentimental; I love to remember as much about my life as I can. But maybe – just maybe – sometimes we weren’t meant to remember.


I think that sometimes maybe it’s better if we leave pain and hurt in the past where it belongs. Sometimes it’s better to let a friend, loved one, or relationship go.


We try to hold onto so much. Too much, maybe. Sometimes our lives would be better off without recalling certain things or people. Sometimes, maybe we’d heal quicker and be able to move on without holding onto so much; so tightly.


Our lives are but a vapor. We are here and before we know it, we are gone. The older I get, the more I see how quickly life flies by. It’s okay to forget. It’s okay to let some things go. In fact, maybe we need to let some things go.


Each moment of our lives can teach us something. Maybe one of the biggest lessons we can learn is how to let something sail away in the breeze never to be seen or felt again. Maybe we are better off, if we do.


Maybe.

Oh, how much of our bitter hearts and the darkness that falls over our eyes is only there because we hold on to something with such force and strength? We need to open our hands and let it go. Let it melt away and forget.


For sometimes forgetting is the best thing

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm taking the next two days to focus on my family and spend some time with them. One of my favorite things about this time of year is just being with those I love. Traditions are fun and great - and presents are cool - but it's people who mean the most.

Of course I do try to bring in the real reason we are celebrating and have it be a constant reminder in our home. We plan on watching "The Nativity" tonight to set the tone. 

How about you? How do you slow down to focus on what truly matters this time of year?




May you make special memories this Christmas, have lots of smiles, laughs, and hugs - and more moments filled with lavish love. For that is what HE gave us.

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

There Is So Much More

Do we model our faith for our children?


I read something that got me to thinking on this very subject. The author was talking about Christian teens today and how a lot of them believe that they are simply to do good things as a Christian; to be good. And the result? God will be good to them.


Wow. Is that what Christianity has been reduced to? Being good?


When I read the Bible – King David wasn’t always good. But he loved the Lord and desired to serve Him. Peter wasn’t always good either. There were countless men and women in the Bible who weren’t always “good.” And I just wonder how we’d respond if we were sifted as Job was. Would we say God was “good” to us?

I’m worried that our faith won’t translate well to the next generation because, in part, we haven’t lived it well. We haven’t exercised it or stretched it.


Faith is everything to me. Yet I know that a lot of times I talk to God from my heart and exercise my faith privately – from my heart. If I want my kids to see God working in my life (and theirs), I need to be more open about what He is doing and how He is working. I need to show them that I have faith in Him; even in the tough moments in life.


Sometimes answers from God take years. Sometimes things aren’t always “good.” Serving God is much deeper than that though. Much tougher. It takes day to day faith.

I want my kids to see what “living it out” really means. I want them to know that a Christian lives by faith and not by feeling or sight. It’s not a “tradition” but it’s a choice.

 
I pray I can be that kind of Godly example for them. So that they won’t reduce their faith to simply “being good” and they won’t minimize God to a deity who just helps them feel good and is good to them. For there is so much more.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In the Best Interest of Our Kids

What do you do when life is unfair to your kids?


Be sure to stop over at Kari Smalley Gibson's blog,  "My Crazy Adoption" today as I discuss this exact topic and share my thoughts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Staying True to Who We Are

My first car was a pickup truck. It was a Chevy S-10 pickup. Red and white. The rearview mirror came in the glove box and I had to constantly re-glue it to the window. There was no air – which was fine in Oregon, but when I moved to Las Vegas – that was not something I enjoyed. Still… I loved that truck.



That truck was “me.”


I actually had a little Honda for a few weeks before the Chevy. It was a stick-shift. I wanted an automatic and I wanted a truck. The car was a good deal, so I gave in and got it. It was cute and in great shape. But it was not what I wanted. It was not “me.” So it only lasted a couple of weeks before we re-sold it. Then, my dad found my Chevy. MY Chevy. I was so happy.


That’s the way it is with our lives. Sometimes we give in and do things that are just not “us.” Whether it’s peer pressure or lack of patience, we decide to just go with something. But it’s wrong. It’s not God’s will for us and it’s not who we are. It’s all wrong. Just like my car. The thing itself may not be bad. It may be something that is very worthwhile or attractive. But it wasn’t meant for us.


Only when we wait and stay true to who we are, will we find that we are happy. Only when we stick with the desires and dreams that God has placed in us – only then will we find true satisfaction as we live out the calling that He has placed deep within us.


It doesn’t matter if everyone else likes cute little cars. If God created us to love trucks – only trucks will do. And it doesn’t matter if everyone else loves to run or speak or wear certain kinds of clothes and live certain lifestyles. If God didn’t create us that way, none of those things will work out for us. They won’t satisfy and we won’t flourish in those roles, lives, or positions.


We can be proud to be who we are. I love that I’m not like everyone else. I love how I was made. I don’t want to blend into a crowd, but I want to stand out. For that is how I know He intended it to be….

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lost Ornament

Today, I wanted to share a little video message from my stepson, Garrett.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love Is a Gift

Gifts. Whether they are material gifts or gifts of our time, they are blessings and statements of how we value one another. When I make a meal for someone, whether it’s in my own home or because a new baby has been born or a loved one passed away; I do it out of love, caring, and a sense of empathy for what that individual is going through. I do it out of love.



When I give a little gift on someone’s birthday, Christmas, or just because… I do it out of love. I don’t expect anything in return. And yet sometimes I see that people have a hard time receiving gifts. They feel like they have to do something to reciprocate the gesture that was extended their way. They struggle with simply saying ‘thank you’ and feeling the love that was gifted their way with the gift. I’m not sure if it’s because they feel somehow insecure that they didn’t think to give a gift or if they don’t want to be a burden to the gift giver – but whatever it is, it hinders them from enjoying the true blessing of being loved on by someone else.


Love is a gift. In more ways than one. It is a gift of the heart but it’s also a gift in physical form too. Love pays for someone else’s meal from time to time. Love drops by a baked good “just because” they knew you liked it, or love sends a card in the mail. Love sometimes does simple things like offering to help with a project you’re working on, or helping take care of your kids. Love doesn’t expect a return on its investment. It simply loves because of the joy that it brings to everyone’s heart.


It feels good to love on each other. It feels good to make someone smile by the gifts of our heart or time. It feels good to take the burden off of someone else’s shoulders. After all, isn’t that what God has called us to do? To be there for each other and walk through life together? So why do we have this need to isolate ourselves and act like we don’t need anyone or anything? Why do we feel like if we accept anything from someone else that we will have to repay it? Why can’t we simply feel loved and be thankful for it?



Love is a gift. The next time it’s offered to you; recognize it for what it is. Recognize that someone is giving you the gift of love when they are offering to help out or when they give you a physical memento or even their time in your life. Don’t try to fight it – but be appreciate and thankful for it. Sure – somewhere down the line, you will have the opportunity to love on that someone back. But when that time comes, do it because you want to, not because you feel guilty or indebted in any way.


Love is a gift. A beautiful gift. Sometimes simple, sometimes lavish. But it is a gift just the same. And it never asks or expects anything in return. That’s what makes it so beautiful. Accept it. And feel the love that accompanied it, for everyone deserves to feel loved.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Is Satan Listening?

I have a new thought-process in my life when it comes to fears. I’ve taken a new direction; a new course.



After some observation and personal testing, I’ve decided to try and not ever speak my fears aloud. A very hard thing to do. It’s very easy for me to tell someone what I fear and have them give me words of comfort. It’s easy to seek out other people to squelch the fears that can so easily take over my heart and mind. But in doing so, I feel that I’m also giving Satan ammunition.


Sometimes, I think I’m telling Satan just where to push my buttons. I have no concrete proof of this, of course. But after a few trial runs, I’ve decided that I can give him unfair advantage over me. Satan cannot read my mind. He doesn’t know my hidden fears. But he does watch me very closely. He knows by my actions what haunts me. He also pays attention to what I verbally say aloud.


I know if I choose to pray my fears aloud to God that I’m trusting God with those weights in my life. I probably will still do that from time to time. But just as I believe in the power of saying things out loud and audibly for my Lord to hear, I also have come to believe that that same power can be given to Satan when he hears things from my heart too.


I just want to be careful.

I want to be careful not to give Satan anything more than he’s already found to use against me in my life. I don’t want to unnecessarily show him the door to my weaknesses. I don’t want to give any more power to my fears than they already hold for me.

That’s my new plan.


I don’t know how you feel about speaking out loud concerning your fears, but you might give thought to which way the wind could blow once you share things like that. It might be good to sometimes keep them in a safe spot emotionally and spiritually where only you and the Lord can access them.


Just a thought. One that I am going to try to exercise more often because I’m tired of giving Satan free information into my heart and mind. I’m tired of letting him know just what and where to hurt me the most. He’s going to have to start digging a little deeper and harder to gain access to my fears. Because I’m fighting back.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Post Is For My Daughter

So I hear that when my daughter is done with her assignments at school, that she spends time with her friends looking at the photos I post on my blog. She told me one morning, “Mom – can you post some more pictures?” Then she preceded to complain that all the pictures I had of her on here were weird, dorky, or unflattering. And that they went along with articles about “talking to yourself, being alone” and other such unflattering posts.



Aww – sweetheart – I’m smiling.

First of all, I’m honored that you’d spend your spare time reading my blog! Secondly, anyone who
KNOWS you knows you’ve got the whole package. But just to clarify to those who don’t know my oldest personally – let me tell you – she ROCKS! She is one of my best friends. So vivacious, charming, and she brings such joy to my life. She “gets” it. Ya know? Those things in life that you can’t explain, you just have to feel them? She just “gets it.”

So for today, I want her to know how blessed I am to have her in my life. I’m so thankful for each moment I get to spend with her. I truly like her. And I love her even more. She is a beauty – inside and out. I know God has great plans for her life.



Paprika – here are some moments that I cherish of you. Pictures that show your style, flair, sensitivity, and charm. Always use those gifts for the Lord – for with great power (and beauty) comes great responsibility. Everything else is fleeting and will only satisfy temporarily – but God will satisfy always.

Use your life wisely. For it will go far too quickly.


I love you dearly.


MAMA


Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Not Looking

I’m not a very elaborate decorator. Anything good that I come up with has usually been seen somewhere else and I duplicate it. I wish I had natural talent – but I have to work hard at it.

Christmas is the time of year that people’s houses can look like catalogues. I see people post pictures online of their elegant mantles, their color-coordinated trees and their spot-perfect cookies.


And I sigh.

I’m lucky if our tree doesn’t have a glob of ornaments smack dab in front where everyone tried to place theirs. And my mantle is usually simple – with stockings that took me 16 years to needlepoint and finish for each one of us.


My cookies and chocolates aren’t magazine perfect – but they are made with love and laughter by my girls and I. Making goodies is one of their favorite traditions of the season.


I don’t have huge battery-operated talking Santas or glowing deer. But I do have handmade knickknacks that my kids lovingly made for me at school.


So I’ve decided. My way brings the happiness I need at this time of year. My way makes me smile and it brings contentment to my heart for it’s not elaborate – but it’s full of love and memories.


This year, I’m not looking. I’m not looking at those photos of grandiose trees and immaculate fireplaces. I bet they are beautiful. And someday, I might have something close. But for today – I have a family and mementos radiating love, life, and laughter.


And I think it’s what I prefer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Does God Think of Me?

What does God think of me?



I saw that question posted on a blog and it got me to really thinking for I had never really thought about it before. I’ve always heard how much God loves me, He delights in me, takes great pleasure in me and so on and so on. But what does He really think of me?


How does He view me, as a person?


As parents, we often label our children with attributes and style characteristics when we describe them to others. We say things like, “She has a heart of gold,” “ he’s my outdoor child,” “he’s strong willed (or stubborn),” “she’s clingy,” and “she’s a go-getter.” Those are only the beginning of how we describe our children to others!


So how would God describe me? How does He see me? Does He call me His “adventurous one,” His “needy child,” His child who “always tries so hard,” or the “one who always has to learn things the hard way?” Does He know He can give me a lot to handle on His behalf because I will be responsible with it or does He know I’m going to need extra disciplining or coddling and reassurance?


Those thoughts really stop me in my tracks. For I want my Lord to find favor with me. I don’t want Him to have to use extra patience with me (although sometimes I think I need extra patience with myself!) I want Him to see improvement in my life. To look back and see a starting point and find that I’m growing, learning, and improving. I want Him to find me a good listener, a hard worker, and someone who has a loving and obedient heart.

One of my greatest desires is that when I get to heaven, God will look at me and smile – open His arms wide so I can run into them and say “Well done, Dionna. Well done, my good and faithful servant. I am SO proud of you.” It brings tears to my eyes to think about it!

Yet, I feel I have so far to go. So many times I disappoint myself. So many times I stumble and fall. So many missed opportunities.


Still…. There is today. And there is tomorrow. And I can improve. I can change. I can make a difference and be the difference. I can still be that person I desire to be. For myself and for Him. My heavenly Father. Because it matters very much to me what He thinks of me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Test

Have you ever left something out in your house just to see how long it would take someone to pick it up? I have. I call it “the test.” It usually doesn’t work. But I’ve tried on many occasions to leave out those dirty socks on the living room floor, the empty glass on the counter, or the trash on the floor. I’ve been curious to see how long it would take someone to deal with it. But they usually just walk over it or fail to see it in the first place. They hope that if they ignore it long enough, that I’ll take care of it.


I was thinking about my little tests at home and wondered if God has a test that He uses on us. Do you think He does?

I wonder if He “tests” me to see how long it will take me to deal with a situation or if I will take care of something. And if He does, I wonder how often I walk over or around it or fail to see it altogether? I wonder how often I ignore it, hoping that He’ll take care of it for me?

Maybe this explains why we have to learn the same lessons over and over again. Maybe this is why we seem to have certain things happen continually to us in life. We just don’t take care of them the first time!

I hope that I’ll be more aware the next time God might see fit to “test” me. I hope that I’ll see what it is that He’s waiting for me to pay attention to. And I hope that I take care of it in the right way so that He doesn’t have to give me the same test over and over again.

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