Blessing Over Burden

Nurse with smiling elderly man

Gender: Silver-haired Male
Status: Senior Citizen
Occupation: Retired
Demeanor: Humorous, kind, bossy, often crabby (not in that order).

My dear father recently shared with me that a representative from Publishers Clearing House was on their way over to hand-deliver a $500,000 check that he had won. I thought, “Reality check…did he really just say that to me or was I having a dream about that sort of depressing movie ‘Nebraska’?”

“Um…dad, this guy has our address?” “Yes, but he probably won’t come,” he said disappointedly. I thought to myself, “Ya think?” I gently shared with him to not take those kinds of calls anymore. “Please, please (said a little less gently) look at the caller ID before picking up the phone. If it’s not family, friends or your doctor’s office, it is most likely a scammer or at least someone without your best interests in mind.”

With a sheepish grin on his Santa-like face, 1234215“Well, it can’t hurt to dream a little, right?” Wow, he really thought maybe, just maybe, he would be $500,000 richer by sundown. I was caught between crying and laughing. What I saw with my father was the innocence of a child combined with the restlessness of a man long since retired.
As you can probably guess, my dad didn’t get richer that day…but I did. Simply by being able to share a disappointment and a laugh with my dad. For that I am grateful.

This week:

shutterstock_294290969If you have an “older” person in your life, make a point to hug them more, reach out over the phone or pray deeply for them. (Consider doing the trifecta!) Remember, just because they are older, doesn’t mean they are done. There is much to be learned from our elders and our relationships with them are crucial. Don’t we all want to feel loved and appreciated? Never assume they already know how you feel. Don’t allow the burdens to extinguish your light. Instead, be brightened by the blessings!

“Honor your father and mother, that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

 

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.” Psalm 71:9

 

 Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in His hand who saith, “A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” Robert Browning

 

“We must take time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F. Kennedy

 

 “I never knew the old so & so wanted to be an millionaire. Should have thought of that years ago and worked for it.” Nebraska, the film.

The Travel Plan

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Boarding pass on phone – check

Driver’s license in pouch and secured to phone – check

Pre-assembled, ready to go toiletry kit with TSA recommended sized bottles – check

Pair of socks to throw on while going through security line barefoot – check

Computer bag with laptop, iPad, purse (jam it in), travel pillow, make-up and all chargers – check

Over-stuffed, overhead compartment-sized suitcase – check

Advil for the pain of lifting the suitcase up and down from the overhead compartment – check

Pray they don’t make me check my bag – check

 

shutterstock_324818447My trip to the west coast last week made me think about the art of packing and of my issues with it. Personally, it’s hard enough deciding what to wear on a daily basis with my closet in front of me. When assembling outfits for my events, I went through a bit too much contemplation. Is this appropriate, comfortable, not too hot, not too cold, do I need a sweater? Should I pack running shoes because they take up way too much space? If I don’t pack them…I’ll need them for sure.

Then I think, “Just be done with it, you won’t die if you are cold, hot or dressed differently than others. And for heaven sakes, there are people who only have one set of clothes to wear every day. Shame on me.”

I decided to pack lightly so as to prove to myself that I could be wise in my decision making and curtail my need for excess. Since my white pants match several nice tops, I decided I would only pack those. Upon waking at 3:45am to catch my early flight I thought… “throw in another pair of pants, your risking it with one pair.” I forgot.

shutterstock_402702424During my layover, I settled in with my fellow groggy travelers with a large cup of coffee and proceeded to non-gracefully spill it on my white pants. (Yes, I was traveling in those pants too. Not too savvy!) So on this trip, I would have clean hair, clean teeth, and no pants. Just great! You know what they say…“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No matter how thoughtfully we craft our plans they are sure to encounter blunders, crisis’ and surprises.

On his trip from Jerusalem to Damascus, The apostle Paul, (Saul at the time) had his packing list. My guess is it entailed the following:

Burlap bag with small rocks for stoning Jesus followers – check

Copy of the Torah – check

List of towns steeped in blasphemers – check

An extra pair of Birkenstocks – check

Encounter with Jesus along the way…Whaaaat?shutterstock_224948887

This upstanding Hebrew, Pharisee-minded man who was known for his brilliance was also known for being the greatest persecutor of Jesus followers. On his layover, Paul was literally struck blind for three days after coming face to face with the resurrected Jesus. (More intense than a coffee spill) And what did he go on to do after that? Only bring Jesus to the entire Gentile world! Some trip huh? This ‘killer of believers’ became the greatest missionary there was. Only through God’s amazing grace do we see such a thing!

On your daily travels be alert to the beauty of God’s grace that surrounds you. Be prepared for and pray about your relationship with the Jesus who deeply wants to be part of your plans. He doesn’t care what you are wearing or where you are coming from. But He does care about where you are going. He wants you to go with Him.

“And the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

 

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1

 

“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” Francis Chan

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin:

 

 

 

 

The Playing Field

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Some people are more stoic when injured than others. With a pain tolerance close to zero, I am not one of them. My kids would tell you that sometimes I say “Ouch” even before I trip over a tree root, get hit with a basketball or shut my finger in a door.

I’ve been bruise-worthy for as long as I can remember. It must be because of sensitive nerve endings that have oddly developed over the years and not because of wimpy-ness. In my youth, I was anything but a wimp. I ran around trying to keep up with the older kids and when that didn’t work out…proclaimed myself as leader of the younger kids. Typical youngest child.

In the good old days of the late 60’s, early 70’s youth, we used to run around all day and come in only because of the chiming of a dinner bell. (My family never actually had a bell, but the rest of the neighborhood did…I felt short changed.) We kids always found a great adventure around every corner. The world was our safe little oyster; our infinite-seeming playing field.shutterstock_112916848

There was always a ‘Good Humor’ truck to chase down, a fort to be built, a creek to skate on, a nature club to start, a sprinkler to run through and always, always, a game of flashlight tag to assemble. Biking was always a favorite. I remember wiping out on gravel more than a few times and hand picking those little rocks out of my knees. Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.

At night we would retire to ‘Jiffy Pop’ popcorn on the stove and “G” rated TV shows like “The Brady Bunch”, “Wild Kingdom” or “The Wide World of Disney” until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. Ahhh… I can practically smell it! We sure knew how to have fun.

shutterstock_378684688What remains the same in the playing field over the years is the ‘the food chain’. If you are not at the top of it (and even at the top) feelings of insecurity and insufficiency can dominate a vulnerable young psyche. But add to it an insecure world of global terrorism, school violence, sexual pressures, bullying and drug abuse and the playing field changes.

These kids are feeling the fear, bruises and scrapes but on the inside, deep down and it’s starting at a way younger age. Simple band-aids cannot heal these wounds. Because when injury runs deep, band-aids fall short.

The only one, the only answer that never falls short is Jesus. Nothing in the playing field surprises Him. Looking to the world for answers is temporal. You have a savior who knows you and loves you and is seeking you this very minute. Think of getting to know Him as an adventure in itself and change up your playing field. It’s never too shutterstock_448014040late to start or to re-affirm your love for the Lord.

This week, let Jesus pick the gravel out of your wounds. Pray for those you know who find themselves discouraged or lost. If you know of anyone’s kids that are struggling, be a caring friend to them. This is no time to just observe the playing field. Get in, roll up your sleeves and get dirty.

“Saddle up your horses,

We have a trail to blaze,

Through the wild blue yonder,

Of God’s amazing grace.

Let’s follow our leader

Into the glorious unknown

This is a life like no other

This is the great adventure.”

Singer, songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman – “The Great Adventure”

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ears to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22

 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

 

“Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.” Anon

Faith is your best accessory!

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Christian Bling is a direct sale Christian jewelry company. Our mission is to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to make an income selling beautiful jewelry and gifts.

Each consultant has an opportunity to provide an environment where sharing Christ can be woven into their businesses however they feel comfortable. We want to make an impact by living out the true lifestyle of a Christian.

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Jesus Christ and Neutral Paint

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The other morning before I had even finished my first cup of coffee, (very important for functioning), I pulled up my email and my eye caught this subject line from Pinterest: “Christy! We have Jesus Christ and Neutral Paint for you!!” I had to look at it a couple of times trying to decide if this was irreverent or just plain funny. I’ll choose funny seeing that Jesus gave us a sense of humor in the first place. Right?

Macaroons and Pinterest

When I first discovered Pinterest, I knew I had found a brilliant medium for encapsulating creative expression. Finally, a cure for my excessive magazine purchasing in grocery store checkout lines! Pinterest is loaded up with clever quotes, tips and photos on faith, home décor, gardening, writing, organization, simplifying, fitness, travel, recipes and just about anything I find interesting.

For someone who loves to devour both Christian inspirational books and Decorating magazines, this is an online paradise! Two seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum. One being deep, the other…well, let’s just say, not as deep, but certainly part of how God loves to bless us. Design has become one of my many joys over the years. It’s a fun hobby to make rooms pretty and cozy. If people are cozy, they are more relaxed and then we have done our part to help lower blood pressure. You see? It’s fun and serves a medical purpose at the same time! (At least that’s what I tell my husband.)

Any of you Pinterest enthusiasts know this online venue could monopolize your every minute if you’d allow it. In order to keep this “guilty pleasure” in my life, I decided to save my pinning time as a reward for accomplishing goals or tasks. I had to “pin” the old fashioned/Girl Scout badge way; I had to earn my freedom to Pin.

OceanSo looking at the mighty name of Jesus right next to something as mundane sounding as “neutral paint” I immediately thought, “How totally opposite can you get?” Jesus is anything but beige, gray or griege. It’s safe to say that you cannot assign a single paint color to Jesus because He is the whole brilliant spectrum to an extent that we cannot even fathom!

(However, if I could, I would give Him a watery blue color because of the sky and ocean which He created and I think of as a divine color anyway.)

While Jesus walked the earth, we know he most likely wore neutral, even drab clothing, because he came as a servant. Many at the time expected their Messiah to arrive with a royal, kingly outward appearance in colorful garments. However, it was what was in his heart, what he did, what he had to say (The Good News) that was so poignantly colorful! Ironically, most of the world couldn’t see that the “royalty” was what was inside, not the outside. (Sounds like the world today.)

What these two subjects do have in common is that neutral paint colors are meant to be soothing. By truly knowing Jesus we are soothed because we have hope. Hope of eternal life and a peace that surpasses all understanding.shutterstock_194314304

This week think of Jesus as your primer and base coat. Think of the gifts and talents He has provided you with as pops of color. There are endless palettes to choose from so tune into Him to find them. We were made in God’s image to brighten up the world by living and sharing His message of good news.

 

 

“Let God speak into your life. Let his father heart come and say, ‘This is what I have for you.’ And I think that’s the key, not believing the lies, fixing your eyes on Jesus and walking in the truth” Joanna Gaines, Interior Designer & Star of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” Matthew 17:2 (Note: Yes, white is a neutral color…but not this white!)