Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Princess Diana

I still cannot believe she's gone.

Remembering Princess Diana...

An imperfect picture

One of my life goals is to get a great family portrait of the four of us: Russ, our two cats, Gracie and Glory and me. So far, no dice. There have been a few attempts. When we first got them as squirrelly kittens…

Last year, shortly after the arrival of their new cat tower…

And most recently…

This last attempt was the least successful, I must say. Two out of the four- Glory’s fur and one of my eyes.


What can I say? We’re racing against fidgety cat time? No one of the feline lot agrees with the concept of portrait posing. No, what they do, however, understand, it is wiggling, squirming and panicking time. It’s amazing how Russ and I are not all scratched up.

I console myself with the fact that an imperfect picture never takes away from a meaningful one. Just because we’re not portrait ready does not mean that the four of us our worthless or unlovable. Everyone takes a bad picture. But, we’re still worthwhile, even with paws and attention spans flailing left, north, right and east.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Found" Is Amazing!

This book is incredible!What her first book, "A Paper Life" exposed, this book further heals.

Are we evil queens?

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

Most of us have seen the Disney classic, “Snow White.” We’re familiar with the exquisite beauty of the title character. We see how this beauty consumes the story’s villain, Snow White’s stepmother, the evil queen. She repeatedly goes to her magic mirror, asking this same question, wanting the answer to be her. When it’s not, well, we have a big problem here. The evil queen’s solution? Kill Snow White, of course!

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
James 3:16

Ah, envy and jealousy! Delightful creatures aren’t they? It’s incredible how ugly and out of hand they can become. Snow White started me thinking, Are we evil queens when it comes to another’s beauty? We probably don’t take it to the extreme of murder, but how many of us ask our mirrors to validate and reassure our identities? How many of us want to be “the fairest one of them all?” C’mon now, be honest.

Competition can turn us into something ugly in no time flat. We may be pretty on the outside, but our heart, consumed by envy and jealousy, will not be very attractive.

“As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man.”
Proverbs 27:19

So what if so and so is beautiful? It does not cancel our beauty and worth. Why do others need to be “less than,” in order for us to feel worthwhile?
Let’s peacefully coexist with beauty, from every direction, rather than compete with it- or kill it via slander, pettiness and gossip. Both beauty and ugliness start from the heart. Do a heart check, then, today. Let’s stop asking, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

Let’s answer, instead: We ALL are, as is!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sidewalk Choices...

“I walk down the street. There’s a hole in the sidewalk and I fall in. I’m lost; it isn’t my fault. It takes me forever to get out. I walk down the street again. There’s a hole in the sidewalk but I pretend I don’t see it, so I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place; still, it isn’t my fault. I walk down the street again. There’s a hole in the sidewalk. I see it, but I still fall in- it’s a habit. But now my eyes are open and I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. I walk down the street. There’s a hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. Finally, I walk down a different street!”

"A Way Out" by Portia Nelson

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Multiple Choice Test

Do you feel like there’s no way out? Do you feel like you have no options? In life, there are times when we can feel trapped in our circumstances. Yes, life is difficult, but never choice-less. At any given time, we can always make another choice. Just like the multiple choice tests we have taken in school, we can choose from different possibilities.

If you want a different result, make a different choice.

The key is to try to make the best, healthiest choice, one that blesses and not curses our current life and future. It’s not impossible. “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).And God is with us, helping us with them. He is leading us.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”
Psalm 32:8

What are you choosing for your life now?

Is God involved?

What could happen if He was?

Multiple choices? Multiple blessings?

Let’s choose this option today, as we take our current multiple choice test!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Disturb Me Prayer

"Disturb me, Lord, when my dreams come true only because I dreamed too small. Disturb me, when I arrive safely only because I sailed too close to the shore. Disturb me, when the things I’ve gained cause me to lose my thirst for more of you. Disturb me, when I’ve acquired success only to lose my desire for excellence. Disturb me, when I give up too soon and settle too far short of the goals You have set for my life.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Be A Good Samaritan Today

What's on your checklist today? Work? Errands? Activities? What about being a good Samaritan? Do we have time to be kind?

Think about the answer. Kindness doesn't need to be elaborate. It can be a smile, a hug, a gesture to brighten someone's life today. And yes, it can be a moment of real help, going out of our way for someone else. What can we do for someone else right now?

Be a good Samaritan today; you have it in you to make a powerful difference in someone else's life!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Obfuscatory Fog


This ten dollar word means “to confuse, to make difficult to understand or perceive, to render indistinct or dim.”

Feeling like this?

What are we thinking? Is it clear-headed or foggy?

With challenging issues, most of us struggle to make our way through the confusing maze we call life. But is life necessarily meant to be this confusing- or do we make it harder on ourselves than we need to by our choices? Do these choices bring confusion or peaceful clarity? It’s important to remember that if we find ourselves confused in life, God didn’t cause it.

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
1 Corinthians 14:33

Yet, confusion and issues are still there. Why? Perhaps we need to recognize our part in the confusion. What are we doing, thinking and wanting? Is it driven by drama, envy, revenge or gossip for instance? If so, God tell us we will have the following results:

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
James 3:16

This can show up in addictions, compulsions and other rather unpleasant outcomes.

Are you lost in the fog? Do you see there’s no way out? God wants to help you. He does not enjoy any of His children being lost or confused. He tells us He will guide and lead us.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’”
Isaiah 30:21

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”
Psalm 32:8

But that guidance cannot co-exist with envy, strife or any foolish drama.
Whether it’s addiction, eating disorder, relationship, communication or personal issues, we each need to stop and look at our own fog. What are we doing that’s causing it? God wants us to succeed.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
3 John 1:2

Recognizing our fog and correcting it is part of that prosperity. Prosper then, don’t be foggy! God’s clear about His Love and Help!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

To be loved…

As a girl, I was obsessed with beauty. And so, that meant I became obsessed with the glamour of classic movie stars, like Rita Hayworth. When I was a teen, I did a research paper on her. From my research, I learned that, despite her beautiful and glamorous image, she was unhappy with her life so much of the time. The star of the classic film, “Gilda,” sadly, was quoted, saying…

“Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda…and woke up with me.”

As this young girl, I bought into her beautiful image, believing her life to be perfect. Not true, in fact. No matter how many films she made, how famous or beautiful she was, she was still longing for something more…

“All I wanted was what everyone else wants, you know, to be loved.”

Recently, I came across some information on her and I was struck again, by this sad statement. I started thinking. Perhaps the fixation on beauty, on image, on being thin, even, could all be traced back to one spiritual desire: to be loved. Do we equate beauty with love? Do we equate being pleasing and being accepted with love? Do we believe the lie that if we just look a certain way, then life will be perfect?

Each of us needs to remember we’re accepted, loved and beautiful already by a wonderful God Who created us.

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Jeremiah 31:3

How about calling that Truth forward the next time we’re bemoaning our appearance? How about spending our thoughts, time and energy believing that the beauty already rests on us?

“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us...”
Psalms 90:17

There’s nothing more we need to do to be both beautiful and loved…

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”
Isaiah 43:4

You and I are just as beautiful, just as loved as the most beautiful, most glamorous movie star. No matter who we are, what we do, He sees us as precious.

Therefore, there’s no need for us to try “to be loved.” We already are.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Awkward Duckling Versus The Promised Swan

The ugly duckling grows into a beautiful swan. Familiar with it? Yeah, it’s engrained in us girls, isn’t it?
Just like fairytales, at some point in our childhood, we come across the fable of the ugly duckling turning into the beautiful swan. It’s the promise of transformation. But the swan promise can lie to us, causing us to stay in a limbo that denies our current situation. It’s akin to perfectionism. “When something is perfect, when something happens, then, we’ll be happy; life will be as it should be.”
But life is a process. Whether we admit it or not, we’re all in an awkward stage, a duckling of some sort. Does that take away from our beauty and value now, however? No. Here’s a secret; we can be both beautiful and awkward, the duckling and the swan!
Relax! You’re not ugly; you’re not hopeless. You’re in a season that will change. But appreciate the beauty of where and who you are now. There’s purpose to it.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1
For now, realize you’re both: awkward and beautiful. Celebrate just how special you are, being both! Your life will never be perfect, but it’s always valuable and beautiful. See those attributes, even while you’re feeling and acting awkward. The duckling never cancels the swan!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stay Tuned...


We'll see what happens...

Stick out a paw...

Don't forget; if you need help, reach out for it today!

Always remember: God is always there to help you!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”
—Psalm 32:8

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Doubting Thomas

Belief or doubt: which camp are you in these days? Life is difficult, battering and bruising our faith. Mark 9:24 hit the nail on the head: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Feeling some unbelief lately? It’s not hopeless.

Out of the motley group of disciples, I believe Jesus purposely chose Thomas. He’s the apostolic ambassador of skepticism, isn’t he? Hanging out with Jesus, day in, day out, seeing numerous miracles, getting to know Jesus, you would think that’d be enough for Thomas to believe Jesus could do what He said. That even included rising from the dead. But skeptical, human Thomas went logical after Jesus died, instead of believing; he gave up hope. He, in fact, stood his stubborn ground:

“So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’
But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’”
John 20:25

Great attitude, huh? But who could blame him. After all, we’re talking death here. So, Thomas, the disciple, became Thomas, the doubter. But wait. The story ain’t over yet…

“A week later Jesus' disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’"
John 20:26

Ta-dah! Well, here He is, right in front of you, Thomas. Gotta believe now, right? Er, maybe not. Jesus knew exactly where Thomas stood, So, He gave him an opportunity to see for himself that Jesus was alive.

“Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side…”
John 20:27

But Jesus followed it up with a choice…
“…Stop doubting, and believe.’"
John 20:27

Thomas, like each of us, has a choice: belief or doubt. God’s never intimidated by our decision. He’ll work with us, mercifully help and guide us, but we need to ask ourselves, if we choose doubt, just how great is that working for us?” It takes just as much energy to doubt as it does to believe. Doubt gets us zilch, with the exception of heartache and confusion (God’s not the originator of that ). But belief in God gets us possibility, beyond our wildest dreams!

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
Matthew 19:26

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Ephesians 3:20

But it all comes back to what Doubting Thomas finally accepted…
“Thomas responded to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’"
John 20:28

Is He our Lord and God or is doubt? We’re all like doubting Thomas, from time to time. But God’s inviting us to choose belief not doubt. Will we accept?

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Progress Snails on Our Faces...

 “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

I love this snail quote- so true. Here I am, venting about the elusive “progress” issue again. It seems to be non-existent most of the time. Or, at least it feels that way. Ah, yes, progress. Are you feeling you’re making it lately? Yeah, I know. Same here. When I was bouncing around the internet the other day, I happened across this image.

It perked up my radar; I’d already been a fan of Mr. Spurgeon’s quote. This image, however, spoke to me. Once I got over my initial “eww” reaction, I thought it was interesting how several progressive snails were making their way across this girl’s face. And, understandably so, her focus was on the trekking critters. It reminded me of how the issue of progress can be all consuming, obsessive, placing unrealistic pressures on us to succeed. Could it be that, while so many of us are looking at the progress snails on our faces, we’re bumping into other life walls?

Progress is great; everyone wants to improve their lives. But we need to remember how gradual, slow, and seemingly non-existent it can appear to be. That doesn’t mean it’s not there and not happening, however. God takes us “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We want progress now, but are we prepared for it? Wise enough for it? Mature enough for it? Or, is it the right time? God knows best, like it or not.

We all have some snails on our faces; there’s no denying that. We all have unmet needs and dreams. But let’s look at others things besides the ambitious progress we want to make; let’s look to our lives. What else represents our lives? Where is God in that? Can we look to Him more, rather than staring at the expedition of these progress snails? There may be fast, satisfying results from the little guys; there may not be. But let’s remember to not forget our entire lives. Making progress is only one aspect of life. What about love? Laughter? Joy? Creativity? Compassion? Connection? A relationship with God?

Here’s to us; with or without snails! Our lives, as is, in their entirety, are worth it!

And, if, for any reason, you find yourself with actual snails on your face, my sympathies. I hope can find someone to scrape ‘em off!

You are getting there, by the way. Yes, you are making progress!