A Clean Slate

shutterstock_517648921The champagne bottles have been popping; the New York ball had its annual dropping and now is the time to figure out how to prevent our New Year’s resolutions from stopping.

Been there, done that? Had it with resolutions? It’s an understatement to say that mixed feelings abound on this subject. Some see it as a growth opportunity and a brand new start, while others see it as an overhyped, over-eager way to disappoint themselves with short lived make-overs.

shutterstock_356167211Those of us who find second-chances (or twenty-fifth ones)  appealing; see it as a clean slate! A big beautiful black shiny chalk board dying to be written on with a long slender unscathed piece of white chalk. A new start with a fresh opportunity to notch up certain personal aspirations. Perhaps to re-invent the person who continuously fell short of perfection the year prior.

Uh oh, here lies the problem, at least for me. I’ve done it again…the old “looking to per-fect all aspects of life” resolution. And how did my list get so long that it starts to overwhelm me just thinking about it?!

New Year’s resolutions can be like tetherball. You get all riled up…give the ball your greatest smash and smack! It comes around to hit you dead center in the face, knocking you flat on your back, sending you reeling into a reality that life may just get the best of you. Hmm, maybe next year. Sigh.

 

Then there are those “Oz” moments kicking off your new year. Sporting your best attire and sparkly red ruby slippers – you skip onto the yellow brick road, leading to the wizard who knows all with your besties and your adorable dog in tow.

shutterstock_438949933But there is always something lurking around the corner. Sorry, you know there just is. So where does our power to overcome those surprising, unexpected lions and tigers and bears come from?

Dorothy’s power was hidden within her red shoes. But the shoes could not be activated if their power remained unknown to her. Once Glenda the good witch revealed this power it was up to Dorothy to get in touch with the deepest desires of her heart. She wanted to go home where she was safe and loved. Even if the circumstances weren’t perfect there, she would face them.

 

I can picture Jesus giving me a hand up from the embarrassing tetherball incident saying, “Get up Christy, I love you, you silly girl. You never need to worry about conquering the world. Just be you and draw closer to me. You are perfect in my eyes and that is all that matters.”

shutterstock_355827521“I died on the cross to save you from your sins that will always lurk within you. That cross is why the Father has given you a clean slate! I want to write all over your heart and show you the hope of eternity. You can talk to me, the author and perfector of life, about anything and everything. I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me. You can’t truly know me if you don’t activate my power in you. Draw your power from me and no other sources and I will make you whole.”

When I go to God, seven hundred pounds lift off my shoulders. Are you weighted down with life’s circumstances year after year? Go ahead and set some dynamic and awesome goals but make sure to put God in the center. Then…watch your year, and watch your life actually change.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5 – 6

 

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans fo welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Erol Ozan

 

“On the path to greatness, life teaches you to walk with stones in your shoes.” Matshona Dhliwayo

 

Must watch Video of the week: Jeremy Camp; “Walk by Faith”

Blown Away before Christmas

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It’s that time of year when thoughtful, organized mom’s send little care packages to college kids studying for final exams. Because I am one of those less-organized moms, my daughter didn’t get one of those timely little care packages. So I decided I would be the care package and hit the road for a festive 24 hour visit.

shutterstock_524284105As I merged onto I-95 North I started thinking… “I can’t wait to see my daughter and have quality time with her without all the “stuff” that home base requires of me.” Then I thought that I secretly (although not a secret anymore) was happy to be getting away, even if it was just for the peace and quiet of the car ride. I think all the pre-Christmas work and craziness may have taken a bit of a toll on me. Hmm, this trip may not have been entirely motivated by selfless love and kindness.

Maybe I wanted to get away, if just for 24 hours, from my dear mother who thinks it has been Christmas Eve ever since July. Every time someone walks in her door she asks them how their Christmas was. Their faces are priceless! Kinda sweet, I know, but after a while, you’re like, “Enough already!” Add to that, getting away meant not dealing with “starting” my own Christmas shopping. Yes, starting.

My thoughts drifted from the highway to my recent trip to the mall. Do my kids need one more flannel shirt when so many people are freezing? Nope, I will go home and go through their things and high tail it over to our local shelter! OK, now I’m feeling a little less selfish again. Good for me. Right?

shutterstock_326313962Thoughts and lovely ideas of how I am going to make our family Christmas extra special this year fill my mind and then, in an instant, good feelings over! My car was hit by a sudden gust of wind that practically jolted the steering wheel right out of my hands! Then it struck again like a shark attack. This time It felt like the sunroof was about to blow right off the top of my car.” Yikes!

Then, it happened. Right ahead of me, one of those large, orange and white barrel-like construction markers blew right into my lane. I look to swerve to my right but there is a large truck right next to me, no room to swerve. Ahead of me, a steady stream of cars going at least 60 miles per hour; behind me, the same. This was going to be an accident and it wasn’t going to be pretty.

Right when I thought I was a goner… enter God’s protection! That haphazard orange and white flying bombardment made a crazy fast flipturn to the left clearing my car by inches; creating a safe passage. I immediately thanked God for sending His shield of protection and prayed for those behind me.

The wind kept up like this for the entire, white knuckle drive. Gratefully, I had remembered a piece of wise advice my mom had instilled in me at a young age. “Never, never go out on the road without praying for protection first!”. I had done that and God took care of me. No doubt in my mind… this was a miracle. Thank you God and thank you Mom!

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This week, as you head out to various destinations, Christmas parties and gatherings, be alert to your surroundings and those around you. Enjoy quality time while you have it. Along with praying for protection, don’t let a moment pass where you could warm the heart of a loved one or a stranger.

We are not just heading into a “holiday” week, we are heading into a “Holy” week. If you’re going to be “blown-away” this Christmas, don’t let it be by your new I-phone 18 or your amazing trip to here or there. Let it be by the miracle of God coming to and for you in human form as a tiny baby in a lowly manger, where love was born.

 

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

 

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

 

“For He will give His angels charge concerning you. To guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

 

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” Charles Dickens

 

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” Roy L. Smith

 

Monday Must see music/video : “Away in the Manger” Third Day

 

Lisa Brenninkmeyer ~ Walking with Purpose

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Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

Ever wonder why you were put on this earth? Have you found “purpose” in your everyday life? Maybe your aim is to achieve some sort of generic personal fulfillment? Experience the American dream? Raise the perfect family? Become rich and famous?

Lisa Brenninkmeyer’s book “Walking with Purpose” is a life altering guide book. She gracefully, wisely and humorously walks you through how life is SO much more than achieving these almost cliché, mostly impossible, personal bench marks. Thoughtfully, she points out how eternally important it is to understand that we were made by God and for God. Until we realize this incredible truth, we will most likely flounder about as we try to make sense of it all.

It’s hard to ignore that the world around us is growing increasingly secular. Our Christian faith and the practices that accompany it are being severely challenged and whittled away at on a daily basis. How do we stand firm, confident and knowledgeable in our faith? Are we loving well or are we always on a treadmill of “hurry-up” that takes us away from what is truly important in life?

This is where Lisa and Walking with Purpose comes in. Her book and enormously popular, steadily growing Bible study by the same name, is touching countless hearts and minds for Christ throughout the country! Their mission statement … “Enabling women to know Christ through Scripture,” is bringing Catholic women into a deeper more satisfying relationship with Jesus.

lisa-3That’s it! The key…Knowing Christ in true relationship form not just as a religious figure. In depth teaching and woman to woman discussion on the loving, relational aspects of Christ is allowing Walking with Purpose women to apply what they are learning to everyday life. The results? Women living out a more grounded and more authentic faith than ever before.

Here’s what Lisa had to say…

 

1. What is it that made you feel passionate enough to start up “Walking with Purpose”?

It at all started when I was observing some women in church. Their faces appeared blank as they struggled to keep their kids calm during mass. To me their faces were saying… “What am I here for, is this even worth it?”

I thought long and hard about this. Why would anyone who may not have a deep relationship with God understand the importance of making Him a priority in their life?

I began to see why they were so frustrated. If they are just showing up at church to check it off their weekly To-Do list, then what sort of inspiration is there in that? Secondly, where is the spiritual drive to get through the chaos of Monday through Saturday?

One night I reluctantly went to a church family meeting. I say reluctantly because I knew that we would discuss more “doing” of events but nothing about addressing the deepest spiritual needs of parishioners. But much to my surprise… a woman spoke out. She gestured the sign of the heart and said, “I want to know God personally.” I perked right up!

Soon after this a friend recommended that I lead a new Bible Study to teach scripture to the women of the church. It started out with 8 women who just wanted the best for their kids and knew there was something missing in their lives. Without advertising, it spread to 16, then 30 and grew to 100 women with 50 children in a children’s program!

Coupled with these women’s desire for community, wanting to know where to go in an increasingly secular society and wanting to be rooted in scripture… “Walking with Purpose” was born.

 

2. Being a wife and mother of 7 children, how do you make the time to do all that you do? (Writing, speaking, traveling, mom stuff, wife stuff?) How important is morning prayer time and a structured schedule to you?

By living out the 7 essential principles I’ve written about in my book (see all listed in later question), I manage my time as wisely as possible. I set aside time for my most important priorities. My personal prayer-time is non-negotiable; can’t be messed with. I also like to journal prayers and thoughts to tune into what I am really feeling. Basically, I like to get all my garbage out on paper! If I am feeling bitter or angry about something…this is where I get it out! As God works through it, He releases it and the result… freedom!

I tune into my husband’s needs for the day. I find it extremely important to know your families love languages. I make sure to have quality time set aside with him. Taking the time to have a cup of tea with my husband Leo is sometimes just what is needed.

Then my kids. These guys trump all of my outside activities. However, I carefully weigh priorities and events where I am asked to speak. If the event is in front of say 350 women, it may mean that takes priority over some home-front activities. So the truth is… I don’t serve on the PTO, or go on all of my kid’s field trips. I don’t always get that meal to a friend and I can’t be there for many friend based activities. What I don’t want to see happen is that any of my children resent ministry. However it is important for them to witness the excitement of seeing changes in life and in people for the good of Christ!

I am a big believer in disciplined sleep time and make it a habit to “honor” much needed sleep. This of course enables me to buckle down and dig into my writing. This chunk of time I set aside to write is so crucial to the success of “Walking with Purpose.”

 

3. What is it you want women to understand the most about prayer AND about their personal relationship with God?

The most important part of prayer in our lives is that it is like oxygen in our relationship with God. Without a prayer life we don’t connect. God wants to know the real you, messy as you are. It is here that God changes and comforts us. Not our cleaned up best version of ourselves. He wants to work in us and through us. The starting point is understanding how very very much God unconditionally loves us. This is where He invites us to draw near.

I know without a doubt that when the chips are down He would fight for me at my weakest. We were created with a void that can only be filled by God. We can spend a lifetime trying to fill it but we will never be satisfied without God in that void. Prayer and meditation is about “Who” you are connecting with, not about calming yourself down. The end goal…filling yourself with Christ.

 

4. You seem to have awesome insight on what it is that many women really want (or expect) out of life and that they often feel let down. What do you think is the greatest struggle women face?

 

So many women feel overwhelmingly that they are not enough. They feel that life is asking so much of them and they can just not be the perfect wife and or the perfect mother that they thought they could be. Women who are trying to do it all become very aware of their inadequacies and can often feel great despair. They ask themselves the question “Is this all that there is? It is Jesus that offers us peace to drop these expectations. He wants us to come to a place of “I am enough.” We so often fail and feel we come up short by thinking I could have loved better, done this better, done that with perfection. Here’s where Jesus comes in and says “I got this…be who you are and “I” fill in those gaps!”

 

5. Tell us about your upbringing and your faith as a child. How does all of this bring you to where you are today?

I was really lucky to be raised in a home where Christ was in the center! I grew up in a Protestant evangelical church. My parents were both very active in church and in Community Bible Study. I grew up surrounded by wonderful Bible stories and learned at a young age how they applied to my life. Because these foundations of truth were instilled in me at a young age, I never wrestled with believing them. That is why I feel it is so important to teach scripture to our kids.

Watching my parents teaching and serving in their spare time made me always think about “giving back” like they did. I wanted to emulate my mom because I saw she was making a difference. I would see her stay up all night long preparing for a talk. What a role model she has been for me!

 

6. Why is it that you decided to become a Catholic?

Well, I would say that I was very happy where I was. But I decided to convert because I didn’t want any division in my marriage and family.

We spent 10 tough years out of the states where we were not exposed to good teaching. Once back in the states I was able to find some tools, where I discovered deep meaning in the tenants of the Catholic faith. I felt a greater depth and richness in key areas of sin in life. I got involved in retreats and instruction that revealed a richness in worship, surrender, and victory. This was indeed a great blessing to me.

 

7. What is it that you hope for your own children?

I think it is important as mothers to have one non-negotiable desire for our kids. It is my greatest hope that my children will have a living personal relationship with Christ and serve Him in the kingdom today. We have made a lot of decisions in life based around this hope for our children and with that has come much sacrifice. This has effected where we live, where we worship, who our family friends are and what we invest in for our children. We have had to parent with a boat load of “no’s” and some high quality “Yes’s”. We don’t make our kids do “lame” things, we choose venues that we know will equip them with what it takes to understand their faith and keep it strong.

It is a blessing that each one of my kids knows that God is their #1 priority in life, and they know and appreciate that this is what our family values most. This leads to a rich spiritual life and that is the goal for all of us. Bottom line, is that we need to communicate with our children and be in prayer for them on a daily sometimes hourly basis.

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8. What is it you most hope for your women that are a part of “Walking with Purpose”?

My prayer for these ladies is first and foremost that they will have a personal relationship with Christ that is ongoing. That they would see His glory, and not just see Him as a helper. To surrender to God and allow Him to fill them so that they will pursue Him. And as he grows greater they can confidently surrender to their transformed life that is now all about Him. Finally, knowing that life is not so terrifying and nothing in life is happening that God is not aware of.

 

9. How are you getting the word out to encourage other women to join “Walking with Purpose”?

Grassroots! WWP started off small and grew because of word of mouth. I have a heart for my generation and making available a “safe place” where women are met with grace. There is no hammering here, no politics, no hot button issues discussed. We ask everyone to check these things at the door so we can delve into the truth of God that needs to be renewed in our minds on an ongoing basis.

 

10. Your book, “Walking with Purpose” gives in-depth analysis on prioritizing your life in 7 categories. Can you give us a summary sentence about the importance of each priority?

  • Relationship with God: Our relationship with God is to be the ultimate love story. It begins with us getting out of the driver’s seat of our lives and letting God be the driver. But we are not surrendering ourselves to a dictator, rather to the One who loves us like no other.
  • Tending to your heart: God longs to enter the deepest parts of our souls and meet the most profound of the needs found there. The state of our hearts matters to Him, and He wants us to know, deep down, that we are cherished and loved and delighted in by Him.
  • Your marriage: You are your husband’s mirror-the protector of his reputation and the one person uniquely qualified to speak life and encouragement into Him. Of all your earthly relationships, he should get your best-not your leftovers. God-husband-kids-in that order.
  • Reaching your child’s heart: You have to decide whose opinion matters most to you- God’s, or the culture’s? If we want to mother in a way that has lasting value, we want to pass on to them the things that matter in eternity, that we need to reach our children’s hearts and pour God’s truth into them.
  • Clarify in the clutter of your home: Having order in your home will give your time back that can be spend pouring truths and love into your family. We don’t create beauty and order because that is the highest value- we create it because it gives us the best set up for doing the thing that matters most – loving well.
  • Friendships: Having a servant’s heart in friendship must be balanced with Biblical kindness. It’s a matter of encouraging, but being willing and able to gently speak the truth in love.
  • Outside Activities: They come last in the set of priorities, but they matter eternally. God invites us to cooperate with Him in his story, and He looks for willing hearts that are willing to be God’s instruments. We waste our time on so many things that will make little to no difference in the long run. Our choices here really matter, and every single woman is needed.

 

11. Why do you think it is so important for women to know and understand their “true worth”?

If we don’t define our true worth the way that God defines it, then we will search for meaning and fulfillment in all the wrong places. Our worth was measured in one place- the cross- and there, Jesus determined that we were worth everything to Him. When we rest in our worth because it is rooted in our identity as God’s beloved daughters, we can get on with the real business of living. If we miss this key truth then we’ll try to define our worth through outward appearance, accomplishments, possessions or reputation. All those things can be taken away in an instant, and as a result, we live as insecure women. Insecure women are not world changers. Our world needs women who are secure in who they are in Christ, who can get their eyes off themselves and onto the needs of others.

 

12. What do you see as our greatest obstacles in life that can keep us from truly knowing the Lord?

I think our desire for comfort is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, obstacle that keeps us from knowing the Lord. When we desire comfort above all else, we are going to do all that we can to avoid suffering. This will often mean that we miss out on key opportunities to grow spiritually and get to know God in a way that He was going to reveal to us through that unique set of trials and circumstances. We get busy, we numb, we question, we doubt, all instead of asking, “God, what are you revealing to me about who you are in the midst of what I am going through right now?”

 

13. Do you feel that God is moving mightily in the Catholic and/or Christian churches? How can we unite those with any poor feelings toward the other church?

I do. So many people are afraid of the future of our country. I certainly understand why – we are facing a level of moral decline and relativism that we’ve never experienced in our nation. But I don’t look to the left or to the right for the solutions. I look up and there is where I see the King of the Universe, totally in control. What was the state of affairs when the early church exploded? The early Christians faced far worse than we are facing. But the Spirit moved through humble people who loved sacrificially and were totally sold out for Jesus. I see this level of commitment to Christ today among so many of His followers. I think that our Church will grow stronger even if we face persecution, because that’s what suffering does in the lives of mature believers. It strengthens, refines and equips us. For far too long, Americans, have had an insufficient view of suffering. We are facing many things that snare us from a spiritual perspective, but God is going to faithfully strengthen us through the very things that the enemy wants to use to take us out.

The critical thing is for us to remember who the enemy is. Satan will always seek to divide Christians. We move into our camps of like-minded thinkers, and then we start to divide there as well. If we can keep at the forefront of our mind that “the other person” or “the other group” is not the enemy, and that division is not God’s plan, we’ll be more apt to fight for unity. We do that by asking questions instead of assuming we already know all the answers. Asking, “Can you explain that to me,” can go a long way. This requires humility, and perhaps we need a little bit of suffering in order to grow in that area.

 

14. Do you have a favorite Bible scripture and why?

“There was given me a thorn in my flesh…three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. This is the heart of the gospel. It isn’t all up to me. I can’t save myself eternally, and I can’t save myself today. I need Christ to fill in my gaps. But the beautiful thing is that this is what He most most loves to do. When I come with my weaknesses and emptiness, He fills me with His strength. This divine exchange- my sin for His righteousness, my weakness for His strength – is absolutely life-changing when we embrace it!

 

15. How about a favorite saint?

My favorite saint is St. Therese of Lisieux. She took the riches of the Catholic Faith and explained them in a way that a child could imitate. The wisdom she gleaned from Scripture ignited a love in her heart for the Lord that was personal and transforming. I believe that no one has explained the gospel of grace better than St. Therese.

 

Note to our readers: If you want to give the ultimate Christmas gift to any of your girlfriends or family members here is the link to Lisa’s book.

https://wwpstore.com/collections/the-book-walking-with-purpose-seven-priorities-that-make-life-work

 

If you want to give yourself the ultimate New Year’s resolution: Check out the Walking with Purpose website and consider joining one near you.

http://walkingwithpurpose.com

 

 

 

 

Advent-ageous

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Advent: arrival, appearance, emergence, occurrence, dawn, birth, rise, development.

It’s that time of year again. Time to box up the burnt orange and brown harvest décor, the turkey salt and pepper shakers, the leftover turkey adorned paper plates and the Amish carved wooden pilgrims.

The new scene…a rustic Nativity scene; snow-flocked greens with red berries; a big sparkling tree lovingly decorated with years of memories dripping from its branches; miniature trees with lights; a lit up Victorian centered Christmas village; pine scented candles and countless Christmas knick-knacks I have not been able to resist purchasing over the years.

shutterstock_520435183.jpgAs the corncob door knocker is exchanged for a lovely bowed wreath, I start to think of what a well-oiled machine this holiday decorating has become and I feel a twinge of pride at my accomplishments. But something is missing. Ah, it must be the Advent wreath with candles. I must have put it in a ‘special place.’ Oh well, no time to find it before the first Sunday family dinner of Advent.

A smoldering of guilt is beginning to penetrate my thoughts. Could it be because our first night of the Advent celebration was basically a bust? I had substituted the five candle advent wreath for a much more beautiful fake crystal wreath around a single center candle. But that’s just ritual ~ not a problem of the heart.

To add to my feeling of spiritual discomfort, it dawns on me that I’m pretty sure we didn’t even discuss the coming of our Lord at our family dinner table on this first night of Advent. I immediately place the blame on being overwhelmed with my “To-Do’s” that conspicuously dot every page of my December calendar. And “Hey,” I say to myself, “it’s still only November. Let me recover from Thanksgiving for heaven’s sake!”
Funny… I see no person pointing a finger at me…nope; it’s just me being prompted by the Holy Spirit. I have started Advent and the celebration of Christmas on a shaky note. I was endangering a truly joyous occasion by my rote busyness and reducing this special evening to a hassle at best! I was putting the spectacular news of the birth of Jesus in the backseat when it should be in the driver’s seat. BUT… the God of forgiveness will not let go of me.

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A smile comes to my face and my heart warms up as I think about what God has done for us. (Phew, He’s putting me back on track…wipe sweat from brow.) As you keep your priority on Christ’s birth during this Advent Season, remember to thank God for loving us enough to bring His son to walk the earth as a human. And remember as you are decorating, whom you are celebrating!

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way. A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Mark 1:1 – 3

 

A Prayer for a busy during Advent ~ “Father, I want this holiday season to be filled with light instead of darkness. Please help me discard my emotional masks and be real before You as well as my family and friends. Father, help me make this holiday season an offering of praise to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.” Mary Southerland “Turning Christmas Chaos into Christmas Joy” Girlfriends in God.

 

Monday Must See Video: Noel by Chris Tomlin w/ Lauren Daigle

UNSHAKEN

shutterstock_428657023Shhh, don’t tell anyone but my dog, on certain occasions, has been rumored to be seen running free in the woods behind our house. On her favorite days, she is joined by other local K9 offenders in this leash-less, illegal frolic. Unbounded by the chains of man, these joyful animal escapades can be especially dangerous to those innocently standing by. (Hence, the reason, or at least one of them, for the leash law in the first place.)

shutterstock_358981.jpgShe and her partners in crime naturally get rambunctious when granted this freedom. I’m still trying to figure out why getting wet in the creek makes them even nuttier and twice as fast! It is at these times I am known for yelling one of the following warnings to my fellow bystanders… “Bend your knees!” “Grab a tree!” Or one of my favorite lines from ‘Devil Wears Prada’… “Gird Your loins!”

If you are just standing there unprotected from an incoming frolic, then you are just begging for an accidental dog flogging. So heed my woodsy warning; make sure to steady yourself for protection and save yourself a visit to your Orthopedic surgeon.

Have you ever been caught off guard and taken a fall for it? In our world tossed and saturateshutterstock_242517091d in confusion, unrest, anger and turmoil, consider this: God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He wants to be your “Go-To Guy”. He wants you to know Him personally and to work in and through your life while revealing his truth along the way. Take hold of this promise and prepare yourself to become a sturdy servant; knowing who you are no matter what way the wind is blowing. You are a daughter, or a son, of the one true king who has been revealing himself to us throughout generations of history.

This week… Ask God to give you wisdom to understand your value to Him and give you courage to stand up for your beliefs. Ask your Heavenly Father to show you how to let go of those things that distract you- that often put you on a shaky path.

“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11

 

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank you and praise you, O God of my fathers.” Daniel 2:20-23

 

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

 

“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” Psalm 16:8

 

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous. Be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

 

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

 

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings of eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 

“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln

 

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

 

“Christianity is not about how to escape from the difficulties of life ~ it is about how to face the difficulties of life” Alistair Begg “Truth for Life”

 

Monday Must see Music Video: “We Won’t be Shaken” Building 429

 

 

 

 

 

Ever so Hopeful

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Anyone with a dog knows the look. Those great big dark eyes looking directly into your soul saying, “Look at me. You know I’m your best friend and I want nothing but to please you.” As their chin nuzzles securely onto that spot where your knee ends and your thigh begins, they continue… “That sure looks good… and so much…you don’t need to keep all that food to yourself ya know. I don’t ask for much… so… could you…would you drop a couple of scraps for me?”

My sister and her family call this the “ever so hopeful look”. I believe it’s a universal talent in the K-9 world of begging. Our furry friends hope for so little from us in exchange for so many priceless benefits we receive from them. They don’t talk back to us, would never think poorly of us and wouldn’t ever dream of weighing the pros and cons of remaining loyal to us. They just love us unconditionally; trust that we will take care of their needs and hope for a rewarding scrap or two along the way.

We dog lovers experience much joy but certainly have our fair share of pain. Recently our black pug Penny was diagnosed with “Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome.” (A fancy name for ‘she has suddenly gone blind’.) My vet said something very thoughtful and interesting to me. She said, “Owners tend to put themselves in the place of their dogs, thinking “Oh my goodness, this is so devastating for them. Their life is now dark and sad. But,” she went on to say, “these animals tend to be resilient. Just like before they were blind, they are content just knowing and feeling the warmth of your touch and the sound of your voice. They are content just to be with you.”

shutterstock_433271371I know she was comforting me and I knew she was right. It made me think. The absolute trust that I see in Penny has opened my eyes to a deeper truth about our own tendency toward spiritual blindness. Is our contentment with God swayed by our ever changing emotions or are we solidly grounded in our hope, love and trust in Him?

My little dog knowing that she is loved and cared for no matter what is precisely what God wants us to understand about how he feels about us. His promise to never leave us or forsake us should bring us comfort; making us “ever so hopeful” for more than just scraps we are so often grasping for.

God shows his love for you by unveiling the feast of His message. In your next prayer time ask God to open your eyes to the feast he has prepared especially for you! A feast that includes a peace and hopeful contentment that surpasses all understanding,

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him. So that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

 

“Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

 

“God can bring peace to your past, purpose to your present and hope to your future.” John 14:27

 

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will you give him a snake? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” Matthew 7:10

 

“The gospel infuses hope and joy in our current circumstances by acknowledging God’s greatness over any crisis we’ll face.” Randy Alcorn, “God’s Promise of Happiness.”

 

“A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, smart or dumb. Give him your heart…and he’ll give you his.” Milo Gathma

 

“I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” Will Rogers

 

 

Monday Must see Video:

“Hope in Front of Me” Danny Gokey (An American Idol star!)

 

 

 

Taya Kyle – American Wife.

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After having the honor of meeting Taya, spending time interviewing her and reading her new book “American Wife,” I am blown away by her raw insights, wisdom, energy and strength. She is the epitome of the idiom… “behind every great man there is a great woman.” And let me say, she is way too humble to be comfortable accepting this compliment. She doesn’t see herself as great – just as a Mom trying to do the best for her kids; a widow working hard to honor her hero husband’s legacy and a foundation director working toward a beautiful goal.

 

The relatively recent launch of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is a springboard for Chris and Taya’s shared dream of doing their part to make the world a better place. Seeing no fruitfulness in keeping valuable lessons to themselves, the foundation can step in and ‘Pay it forward!’ The “ripple effect” of sharing kindness and providing resources can provide much needed hope to save marriages suffering from the often brutal ups and downs for those serving in the military, law enforcement and first responders.

 

Taya’s memoire “American Wife” is a beautiful account of love, war, faith and renewal. This is a must read for those of you feeling the effects of these tumultuous times of division in our country. I personally recommend her audio book because her lyrical voice will welcome you like a warm Texas morning. You feel like you’re just hanging out with her. Some of my friends and I have this saying after meeting someone we really liked… “She would be our friend.”

 

Interview with Taya.

What you have to face as a wife and mother is beyond imaginable. Can you tell us how you are doing right now?

Ya know, I’m making a lot of progress. I deal with a fair amount of emotional edginess. From struggling through the mud, I’ve realized I have to allow myself to cry more. I’m definitely working on being aware of where I need to concentrate when it comes to my well-being.

What do you do to relax and seek peace with all the noise?

I’m not doing a very good job with relaxing. A friend told me I need a hobby that has no goal. I come from a family of artist’s so I picked up some paints that are still just sitting there. So my passion for a “goal-free” hobby hasn’t been discovered yet but I’m working on it. I do make a point of honoring my sleep time. If I don’t finish something I’m working on, I make myself put it down so I can get the sleep I so badly need. (This was hard for me.)

I make time with my kids a priority. By putting my phone away, I focus on the quality of our time together. We like to do fun things together and I want to always be present for them, staying in the moment. That requires no phone, no electronics and more reading together. So there are not any big massive changes I’ve made with them, just the little things.

Can you tell us how the kids are doing?

Great! They are involved, happy, they love to laugh and have a strong foundation in God. Everyone says kids are more resilient than adults and I think this is true. I really love that my kids are deep thinkers and just plain kind.

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Can you tell us what kind of man Chris Kyle was?

Sure, Chris was unique in that he was this great combination of quiet confidence and humility. He was all about adoring the people he loved. He made you feel special. I guess you could say he was an old school gentleman; never pushing, never pressuring. He knew how to convey how important I was to him. Just before he died, he had flowers sent to me because it was more special than just bringing them home to me. Very romantic.

Can you share a favorite Chris story? (Or two?)

Well, I’d say the day we were in Barnes and Noble for Chris’ first book signing. We had no idea what to expect from this and to our surprise there was a huge three-hour long line that wrapped up and down the first and second floors and out of the building. The store offered Chris a chair and he insisted on not having one because if these people were going to stand for him, he would stand for them. When the last person in line, an older gentleman, approached Chris saying “I’m so excited to finally meet you!” Chris responded “Well, I’m sorry, you must be disappointed to see just another dumb redneck.”

Chris had a way of making everyone he came in contact with feel like they were important. He always gave you 100% attention and would give you as much time as you needed. This was because of his innate strong sense of respect and just plain old fashioned good manners. As far as dealing with social media distractions and constant cell phone calls, Chris had a way to respect the person calling as well as the one he was with, namely…me. He would say “Hey, I’m talking with my wife right now, is this urgent or can I get back to you?” By doing that he is telling both of us that we are important to him. The funny thing is that when he would “catch” me texting when we were spending time together, he would call me on it and I’d say “Well, I can multi-task. Ha!”

There was something special that Chris always kept in his truck that you didn’t know about?

His Bible. One day we were talking about God and I asked him what he thought about the prospect of us living more than one life on earth. “Well, that’s not in the Bible but I can tell you this, if we do live more than one life here, I hope all of mine are spent with you!” I don’t know all the answers babe, but you should pull out my Bible and see what it has to say. “It’s in the truck, it’s always on hand.” I was so surprised that he had that Bible tucked away there but I shouldn’t have been. It made sense to me…he had a quiet sense of peace that he got from his faith.”

I read that Chris was known as “The most lethal sniper in American military history.” He was often asked how many lives he had taken. Can you please share his feeling and response to that question?

Publishers and reporters were always quoting that statistic. Chris would calmly respond to questions about this because to him…it was all about the number of lives he had saved, not taken. When we were promoting the book in Poland there was a reporter interviewing Chris who was visibly distraught whom I could tell was going to be trouble. He was very aggressive and verbal about how he felt that a man like Chris was indefensible and we should not take him seriously because he had taken so many lives. It was the first interview that I walked out of. I was so upset about how little he actually knew about Chris. But Chris, handled him calmly without a flinch. This was one of his gifts…not mine. Ha!

Can you share with us the story about the all night exhausting combat mission that ended with tears and the National Anthem?

Sure. On one of Chris’ Iraq deployments, there was a super intense fire-fight that went on through-out the entire night and into the “dawn’s early light”. There was no time for rest or breaks, only time to reload a weapon. You can imagine, they were all spent by day break. Everyone in their unit miraculously survived; there were of course injuries. As they dressed their wounds, another unit approached them in their vehicle with flags waving and music playing the National Anthem. They all stood up, and putting their hands over their hearts, began singing. Tears coming down their faces as the dawn broke and dust blew. To these men, words have meaning and the emotion of these particular words was palatable especially as they were exhausted and coming down from the adrenaline from the all night struggle. They were literally fighting for our freedom and the country they love. Real hero’s.

I know your husband called you a lot while he was in combat. How nervous did that background noise make you? Did you flinch every time you got a call?

Chris would always play down most of these firefights only for me to find out how intense they were afterward. What you learn as a spouse of a soldier, or of anyone in law enforcement or other first responders, is you can’t let the fear control you. I certainly struggled with that a lot and certainly didn’t want to even think about life without Chris. But there is this saying in the ranks… “until it’s you, it’s not you.” It’s not that you are unsympathetic to others, you are doing what you have to do. I had to learn that living in fear could overtake me and control me.

It was these daily fire-fights that brought me closer to God through prayer. I vividly realized how little control I had in this life and gratefully handed it over to God. At times, I could physically feel a warmth in my chest washing over me, a sense of peace and safety. The hand of God. The relief knowing that God was very present in my life… changed me.

Moving on to the movie…It is clear that “American Sniper” not only highlighted Chris and his seal and marine brother’s dedication to serve but your personal struggles with the military, marriage and family as well. Tell us about Chris’ choice to retire after 11 years of combat deployments.

Well, first of all, Chris found himself in back to back deployments that are really…not supposed to happen. Where soldiers are supposed to experience “shore leave” between deployments, Chris was repeatedly called into action under the auspices of “Needs of the Navy”. What was obvious to me was that the man in charge here, had clearly never seen combat himself. But also, this was difficult because Chris wanted to be there because to him, this was his job.

I lost complete trust in the military at this point. So many promises they had made…broken. Chris had two knee surgeries, and issues with his ears and eyes. I felt like I had to figure out what else would interest him so he would come home and be with his family. So I told him maybe I would move with the kids up to Oregon, near my family, for a more grounded family life and when he was back he would come visit us there. He told me “marriages don’t work that way!” He felt I was giving him an ultimatum, which I didn’t mean to sound that way. However, that is when he decided to retire in order to put his family first.

Before he died, he said he would never tell anyone to get out of the military but the joy he was experiencing post-military, spending more quality time with his family, was so much more than when he was serving. He still remained passionate about being willing to die for his brothers and his country. But now he had a normal family life; laughing, tickling the kids, being home for Thanksgiving. To see his joy, was a huge deal for me. I would have been devastated if he had felt for one second that he had made the wrong decision.

Are you comfortable with how the movie portrayed Chris and you?

I was 100% happy with how Chris was portrayed. Bradley Cooper and the screen writer Jason Hall spent hundreds of hours getting details together on Chris. I have to give them a lot of credit. At one point, knowing Chris so well, Bradley Cooper told Clint Eastwood, “Nope, Chris wouldn’t have said that.” When I watched the movie, I really felt like I was actually watching Chris so I would say…well done! They had truly captured the essence, spirit and life of a warrior.

It’s quite surreal to watch someone “playing” you, but Sienna did a great job being me! It was actually gut-wrenching to watch. As a military spouse you have to always be ready for what they throw at you. I didn’t even realize the extent of which the military lifestyle had affected me until I saw the film.

Any comments you’d like to share about Bradley Cooper? Sienna Miller? Clint Eastwood?

Well, people love to hear about Bradley and for good reason. He is phenomenal! Yes, his eyes are just as blue as they can get, even more than they appear on film. More importantly, he is the nicest, truly down to earth guy and he genuinely cares about other people. He is not like a typical Hollywood actor in that way. He is very resilient and is willing to let people in.

Clint, was very kind, down to earth, soft spoken and funny. He would say stuff under his breath that would crack us all up repeatedly. In my book I give an account of when he went “all Dirty Harry” on me. Ha!

Sienna Miller is not only beautiful, but brilliant as well. She is definitely a voice to be reckoned with. I was amazed to find out that she got the ‘Protective Paparazzi’ laws changed in England. She would say, If you want something done, do it yourself. Ha! She has a huge heart and I try my best to keep in touch with her.

I’m sure there was divine intervention with the cast and crew of this film. Everyone was so loving and made it their mission to pay attention to the details and get this story spot on.

Your head must have been spinning with all the media attention with the film and your life. How did this affect your family?

We had to put out a few fires but we worked it out. Our children haven’t seen the film. We wanted them to remain unaffected. But they know what their dad did and they are proud of him. In “American Wife” I went into more detail on this as well.

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You and Chris had a shared passion to make the world a better place. Your heart for military and first responder’s marriages. Can you share about why you started your Foundation, “The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation”?

Chris and I learned a lot through our struggles, so we wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and help other marriages and families. The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation’s mission is to honor God, Country, and Families who serve. We do this by providing time and space for couples to re-connect after deployment.

After my parent’s gifted us with a weekend away from “everyday life”, we realized the importance of getting away for a couple days, away from daily distractions. It was important to Chris and me that we reach out to not just military but also to other first responders. We have many friends in law enforcement that go through much of the same things the military families deal with. There is a saying “When one person serves, the entire family serves.” With the specific goal to help marriages and families, the foundation is able to fulfill a real need in these communities. It is such a blessing to be able to witness actual changes in these families!

Are you working with any doctors or any specific therapies on the best treatments for PTSD?

We don’t specifically work with PTSD at the foundation but we are able to connect people with excellent resources to help specifically where they need it. There are so many advancements in this field like EMDR, MRI’s and talk therapy. One of the hardest pieces of this puzzle is getting people to acknowledge that they are suffering from PTSD.

How has your Christian faith grown or changed over the years?

I have always been a believer but my understanding of God and the Bible has grown in leaps and bounds. I have been empowered by sermons that have real life application and also Bible study. I have done the Beth Moore studies and I really enjoyed them. Lee Strobel’s book “A Case for Christ” has also had a major impact on my faith. My mom and I like to share insights via texts about our daily devotional book, “Jesus Calling.” Overall, what I grasped is that the Bible is still relevant in this day and age. Human nature has not changed over time. Technology changes, the environment changes but not human nature and God remains steady. There will always be conflict in the world, but with that there is also triumph.

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If someone would like to get involved in your Foundation, what can they do?

They can follow us on social media and Facebook and spread the word about what we are doing. But I’d like to add that if you want to help someone in need, just show up for them. Don’t ask what you can do, just do what you see may need doing. You don’t have to run a big foundation to be a blessing to others in need. Many times it is the “little things” that make the huge difference showing people that they are loved and cared for.

Please tell us about your book “American Wife”. What inspired you to make this book a reality?

I wrote this book for people to see another side of Chris and to continue to honor his legacy. I also wanted other husbands and wives to know that they are not alone and to show them that it is worth it to make the effort to save their families and fight through the problems. This book is not for women only by any means. For fans of Chris and his first book American Sniper, I think you will find the stories of great interest. I share a lot of background stories behind what people have seen in the movie. I go on about details that followed the movie and talk about the pain and lessons learned through Chris’ murder.

Another note about the book… If you enjoy listening to books on tape, I am the narrator of the audio version of the book. I personally love to put on audio books when I’m working around the house.

 

Interested in knowing more about Taya’s book, American Wife, The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, or to become a part of their Facebook family? Please refer to the links below.

Note: Please take a moment to pray for the safety of our brave troops just outside the gates of Isis strong hold city, Mosul. Pray for them as they fight for our safety and freedom.

https://www.amazon.com/American-Wife-Love-Faith-Renewal/dp/0062398091

 

https://www.chriskylefrogfoundation.org/

 

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=chris%20kyle%20frog%20foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Back

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To all my friends: “Thank you for your part in my journey.”

This weekend I had the pleasure of going back to my college days and spending time with some old friends. I’m reminded of a scene from “Titanic” when the elderly Rose, is given an old mirror they found of hers on the long lost ship. She says, “Oh, it’s in almost perfect condition.” Then she looks in the mirror… “Although the reflection has changed a bit.” Good thing we’re not there yet!

Spending time catching up with friends is a priceless gift. Being able to pick up right where we left off a few years prior always amazes me. Since the ‘good old days’ we have all gone our separate ways and scattered throughout the country. Each of our lives have been shaped and molded by years of work, marriage, health, raising families, seeing new birth, and saying goodbye to beloved parents. We have all seen much joy and much sadness.

shutterstock_3524119These friendships and, in this case, the Rocky Mountains are a binding cement that connects our hearts and gives us a safe place to be silly, serious, open and honest; sharing stories of victory and of defeat. We had traveled back to the scene. A time and place where we were once young and invincible. It seemed back then our shoulders only carried the burden of who the heck we might ask to the next date party.

Entering our old sorority house was nostalgic. It looked pretty much the same except maybe a little messier. The young women occupying the house were now our children’s ages. Clad in the classic sweatshirts and high ponytails, they greeted us with wholesome manners. shutterstock_459695089I think they were really excited to see their mother’s contemporaries. I’m just glad they didn’t ask us to do their laundry or shovel out some spare cash.

The fact that we were not the young ones anymore was totally ok with me. Been there, done that and now my energy level is slightly different. In a few years, God willing, we will go back to the house again and be closer to the age of the kid’s grandparents. Yikes!

I was able to share my faith while we were watching Colorado play Stanford in football. When our team’s shutterstock_217329310kicker made a field goal, after two unsuccessful attempts, I yelled “Thank you Jesus!” They laughed as I explained that while Jesus didn’t care who won the game, He does care about that poor kicker who would not be able to show his face in public if he had missed that one too. Truly though, Jesus does care and he does have a sense of humor. He created it. And I must add, my friends are certainly blessed with all sorts of humor!

Whether you have one good friend, a handful of close friends or a plethora, you are blessed. This week make sure to let them know what an honor it is to have them in your life and while you’re at it, make sure to thank God for bringing them into your life.

As we draw nearer to Thanksgiving, think about how you might do something special for a friend. Or if you are really unselfish, do something special for someone who totally rubs you the wrong way.

 

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

 

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

 

“The most important thing is, even if we are apart…I’ll always be with you.” AA Milne ~ Winnie the Pooh

 

“People come and go in your life, but the right ones will always stay.” Anon

 

Monday Must see Video: “Friends” Elton John

 

 

A Time to Soak

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To soak: Immerse, steep, douse, marinate, and submerge.

 

shutterstock_95030080Shaded by numerous impressively tall maple and tulip trees, our yard gets just about the best shading in the neighborhood. (And cause for alarm during every thunder storm!) The actual lawn is a sorry sight due to its limited amount of sunlight and has been left untended and ratty for quite some time. After taking down an enormous old Maple, we decided it might be worth giving re-growth a shot.

So a few weeks ago I flagged down our neighbor’s lawn care specialist and begging him not to laugh, asked if he could help us grow a real lawn. His look reminded me of an old hair-stylist of mine who once told me that I might possibly have the worst hair in the world. (Note: “old hair-stylist) Not surprisingly, he was happy to take on the challenge. (Of course he was!)

This first step: Weed killing. When this step was completed a few tiny patches of wispy grass, looking like hair plugs, stood flailing amongst the new dirt that permeated our front yard lawn. The next step: aeration and seeding. Following this step we were slapped with a warning note; which basically read: “If you do not soak this grass daily for the next six weeks…oh well. We can’t do everything for you; if you are a dope and don’t do this… it’s not our fault. Consider yourselves warned!” (Note: I apologize to friends in California… you would be arrested if you watered like this.)

shutterstock_153037793Thinking about these little seeds and their need for a good soaking made me smile because of my personal need for soaking, both physically and spiritually. Sometimes at the end of the day, I feel like an abundance of weeds have taken residence and made my life brownish where it should be lush green. We should be growing and thriving like the grass seed. A couple of candles and some quiet time in my soaking tub helps aches, pains, burdens and grief literally melt away leaving me feeling refreshed and renewed.

But it is my morning “soaking” in prayer, Bible study, and reading that refreshes and renews my spirit and gives me the strength, drive and enthusiasm to take on the day. Without it, I shrivel and take a harsh pounding from the elements.

shutterstock_383894359While the popular talk is about being there and being in the moment, I’ve learned through “soaking” in God’s word (verses Christy’s emotions) that it’s not about just being in the moment; it’s about immersing yourself in these moments and not fearing the moments that are to come. Going deeper to find joy, to heal, to get perspective on what others might be going through. It’s not about you in the moment; it’s about what you do with those moments…mostly for others. This is what Jesus was and is all about.

This week, make your first daily priority to prepare yourself for what lies ahead by marinating on these verses:

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

At night, how about this one:

“My presence will go with you, and I will give your rest.”
Exodus 33:14

“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring us to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that we may enter into Him, may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God himself in the core and center of our hearts.” A.W. Tozer

Monday Must See Video: Thrive ~ Casting Crowns

Leave it to the Beavers

shutterstock_208709620Morning walks with my dog never cease to amaze me. There is always something to brighten my heart or ignite my sense of wonder. Sometimes I selfishly like to think of the public nature trail behind our house as my own. When someone else comes by I smile and say hello but I think in the back of my head, “Get your own trail.” Ha! On this morning ritual, I do my best breathing, praying, thinking, and laughing at my whimsical Labrador. This special place is my walking “board room” for long talks with my kids and dear friends.

shutterstock_341079323Recently, signs of invasion appeared on my trail. Beaver teeth marks and freshly grated white mulch surrounded lower portions of several Poplar and Maple trees. Although never seeing the beavers, each day I observed gradual step by step progress being made by these little fellas diligently working toward their goal.

Then the other day… T-I-M-B-E-R! Two relatively large Poplar trees lay splat across the trail, branches everywhere. They must have been working overtime to get their choppers through these trees! “It would take a while for the park rangers to clean this one up!” I thought to myself.

The next day, one of the two trees had been pulled off the trail. Several feet below, a smattering of branches neatly stretched across our little creek. Hmm, “The park rangers don’t respond that quickly and if they had they would have cleared both trees.”

shutterstock_170631332Lucy (lab) and I went out at the crack of dawn the next morning hoping to catch the nocturnal beavers winding down from their night shift. Alas, no actual beaver spotting, but their evenings work had proven triumphant. Those paddle-tailed rascals had pulled the second tree off the pathway. Talk about a solid work ethic! Glancing down at the creek below, their water blockade was looking more passable for a beaver lodge and the rocky surrounding area was starting to flood.

It’s such fun to witness these accomplishments each day. Images of Narnia pop into my mind and bring a smile to my face as I try to imagine these beavers discussing the next evenings strategy over a cup of tea and biscuits. I mean, this is a major construction project! Most likely they don’t ask each other… “Do you think this shade of bark goes well with the rest of the lodge?” or “How come you’re dragging all the light weight sticks and I’m doing the heavy lifting?” “I know we started here but what do you think about re-locating farther from the Beltway?” Nope, I think they simply just do it.

shutterstock_256401856Perhaps the beaver work ethic is a good example for us. Is procrastination keeping you from accomplishing important tasks in your lives? Do you have a card sitting on your desk that you haven’t made time to send to a friend with a heavy heart? I think the beavers would say…“Just do it” Have you been thinking about cooking a meal for a neighbor and surprising them? “Just do it !” Is there someone who needs to hear your story about the realness of God? Jesus would say, Just do it, I’m right here with you. Don’t just think about it, do it….how about today?

 

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

 

“In all things I have shown you that working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

 

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same—with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.” Mother Teresa

 

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” Charles Dickens

 

“We better hurry up and get this tree off the trail before the sun comes up and that lady and her feisty dog come along.” The Beavers.

 

Monday’s Must See Video: Carrie Underwood “Something in the Water”