Pokémon Go!

Pokémon Go.  Ever hear of it?  If you have children who enjoy video games, I am sure you’ve been out helping them find some of these Pokémon.  It is truly the only video game that I approve of!  It gets them walking around and exercising in pursuit for these little creatures.  They get rewards based on the number of kilometers they travel for them.  I think it is great.  Finally something to get the youth off of the couch and exercising.

Since this was introduced into our household, I’ve volunteered to take my son and his friends around town in quest of these virtual critters.  I will park the vehicle and they will get out and walk around collecting all sorts of weird named creatures.  I guess some are rarer than others and more valuable too.

It’s not like me to sit and do nothing while I wait for these Gamers to get their prize, so I was reading a great book that I have fallen in love with called, “The Holy Spirit—Spiritual Gifts: Amazing Power For Every Day People” by Susan Rohrer.  As I was reading and referring to the Bible verses that she recommends us to read as we follow her book, it really struck me.  We are all on this Pokémon Go journey in real life!

As my son and his friends were in hot pursuit for these rare and exciting symbols of different Pokémon animals, we should be the same thing with God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit that lives inside each and every one of us.  Once you start playing the game of Faith, you will be just like my son, you just can’t get enough of the game.

Honestly, we are all in our video game of life.  It’s all just a game.  We are on a quest similar to this new video game, and you need faith to win in this game called life.  God has many hidden treasures in this world and his most precious of these treasures is his word.  As I grow in my faith, and read and learn, life has become so much more amazing to me.  Just like the boys collecting Pokémon, I am collecting knowledge on how to have a wonderful life, and it is putting God first and foremost above anything else.

God wants us to be successful and happy.  He is an incredibly loving God.  Matthew 6:33 assures us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Just like my son and his friends are seeking Pokémon to get ahead in their video game, we have to seek the goodness of God first and then we will also get ahead in our game of life and see all our blessings unfold before our eyes.

If you are looking to get in touch with the Holy Spirit inside of you to help you in this game of life, I definitely recommend Susan Rohrer’s book.  What I love is that she isn’t like a minister, priest or pastor who gives you their take on a scripture and dictates that you should do what they feel is right.  She gives you the scriptures for you to read and meditate on for yourself.  Just like the game of Pokémon Go, you have to make the effort to go and get your Pokémon, you also have to make the effort to meditate on the word of God.

Make the effort today, and I guarantee you will fall in love and crave more and more of the rare and valuable relationship you will make with the Holy Spirit.  Just like the boys get rewarded for the kilometers they put on chasing their Pokémon, you also will be rewarded for the kilometers you put on in your pursuit of the Kingdom of God!  Just watch all the things that will be added to you!  It’s well worth the effort!

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Sweet Sweet Soul

As I enter into the foreign world of teenagers, I would have to say one of my favorite time with them is in my vehicle driving them to and from their busy schedule of events and social outings.  They seem to open up and tell me things, or it is just a nice time to reach over and give them that squeeze on the leg, or arm around the neck to show them how much I love them.  I just find it a time that we are close and intimate without interruptions.

I was driving home from our gymnastics practice the other day, and I looked over at my daughter.  She was full of chalk from head to toe.  It adorned her cheeks like other teenagers would wear blush.  Her hair was in a messy bun that was now more out than in, and her curly sun bleached hair cascaded down to frame her face.  She worked hard for hours in the gym and it showed in her appearance.

Looking over at her an overwhelming feeling came over me of total adoration.  This child of mine was so beautiful, even in this total disarray.  She had the eyes of her father, the chin of her grandfather and the cheekbones of her Nan.  Everything about her I was admiring, which brought me to think of that saying, “A face only a mother could love.”

Is it true that my daughter had a face only a mother could love?  Absolutely not, I thought to myself, but then my mind continued to contemplate—is it the child’s face a mother loves, or our child’s soul?  We are all created equal, and we are all children of God put here on earth for a reason.  No child is superior to another, nor is any adult for that matter.

I know I love both of my children’s souls.  I’ve been with them since Day 1.  Through it all.  I see things about my children that no other person would, and it is those intimate details that I love the most about them.  It’s what makes them totally amazing in my world!

Don’t you think that God would feel the same way about all of us?  His children that he created for a grand purpose.  He sees us on the intimate level that I view my children from.  He loves us like I love my children.

They say a mother’s love for her children is like nothing else in the world, and as a mother, I would definitely have to agree!  But, God tells us that his love for us is even stronger than this.  In 1 John 3:1, the scripture tells us, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

I know it is hard for some people to wrap their heads around the fact that we have this supernatural father that can love us all and see exactly in each and every one of us, what I saw sitting beside me in the passenger’s seat driving home from a hard practice.  I was looking at the soul of my daughter, the part that no matter what she looks like, I absolutely adore.

We are all loved and adored this much only multiply it exponentially and that is how much our Heavenly Father loves us.  We can all feel his love, by looking around at all our blessings that he has placed in our lives.

Today, if you are feeling down, realize just how much you are truly loved by your Creator.  He made you perfectly perfect and has huge plans for your life!  He loves you more than you could ever fathom.  Start realizing just how important you are to this world, and most of all to Him!

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Building Better Roads

Summer is such a wonderful season!  The strong sun’s rays, morning birds chirping with happiness, the ability to enjoy the pleasures of the beach and all it has to offer, the longer days, the colorful flowers, the warm night’s air and the flowery aromas of the beautiful gardens.  The list of miracles is endless, and all depends on what you find to appreciate.

One thing I have to say that I am not a fan of in the summer time is all the road construction that takes place.  They are constantly fixing something on our roads.  It makes summer traveling slower due to one lane of traffic and waiting to take your turn to get through in different areas.

This one road that we travel quite often, at one time had three different areas under construction.  One place they were just patching the holes that developed over the winter from the destruction of the snow plow.  Another place they are fixing a bridge and the last place they are totally reconstructing the road and have it down to the bare bones.  Dirt for kilometers.

As I was driving on this road the other evening, I found this road very symbolic to life.  How many times do we just try and patch up the roads in our lives.  Something goes wrong and we find we are left with a big hole, and so all we do is try to patch it up.  At first the road is much smoother, and the new black asphalt is a great fix for our problems.

Patching our roads is the great fix, but a quick fix to our life’s problems.  It’s not solving anything, it is just making the road smoother for a short period of time.  Concealing our problems, not fixing them.  In reality, the hole is still there under the fresh, black, smooth patch.  It is probably only going to last a season and guess what will need patching again next summer?  You got it!  Those holes all over again.

Instead of just patching your road, concealing your problem, take the time and tear it apart.  Take it right down to the dirt.  It is going to take you the entire summer, and maybe even into the fall and when the snow flies.  It might feel like it is never going to look like the same road again.  You know what?  It isn’t going to be the same road.  You will fix all the parts of the road from the bottom up and this is what the road needed to become a new and better road.  This road my never need fixing again.

We all face problems in our lives, and you can patch the outside of the problem or dig deep inside of you and find the real problem that exists.  There is no sense fixing the outside of the problem when the real problem is coming from the dirt up, or deep inside of you.

Proverbs 28:13 tells us, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” 

Confessing and forsaking your problems is a great place to start.  Deal with your problems, stop covering them up and patching them for a little time.  You have to change yourself first and then the real healing will start.

One of my favorite lines for the same idea as what Proverbs 28:13, is a saying that one my friends uses, “You can put lipstick on a pig—but it’s still a pig.”  Your problems will remain a problem until you stop hiding your sins.  Confess them and give them up, then God will give you the mercy to build your new road of life.  No need for patching your road anymore!  Smooth sailing from there on out!

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Wild Strawberries

Have you ever tasted a wild strawberry?  They are more divine that you could ever imagine!  The amount of sweetness that is packed into this minute little berry is unbelievable!  It makes my mouth water just thinking of these magnificent little wonders.

Growing up in the country these tiny berries were found everywhere.  I honestly remember getting our first cultivated strawberry, and thinking how huge they were and how they didn’t taste the same or anywhere as good.  My mom started making homemade strawberry jam with the cultivated strawberries and it was delicious but I didn’t enjoy eating them when I was younger because my palate was used to the real deal.  The ones that grew natural.  The totally organic ones, and to me, the cultivated ones were an imposter!

As my life progressed, and I eventually grew up and moved out of the country to the city, I forgot all about the natural strawberries and only now buy cultivated.  I bet my children don’t even know what a wild strawberry tastes like.  They love cultivated strawberries, and our fridge is rarely without them, but a wild strawberry would be foreign to them.

The other day, I went for a run, and I have a route that I run that I cut through a path for my cool down, and it gets me home quicker.  The path is through a wooded area, but someone seems to mow it, and all-terrain vehicles use it frequently, so it is a great path to walk or run on.

I was doing my cool down walk home, and to my pleasant surprise I saw the all too familiar bright red color beaming from the greenery that it lived in.  My heart started to dance!  A huge patch of wild strawberries were beaming back at me.  Nobody understands how excited I was to finally see these little babies again.  I stopped dead and started to pick and eat.  They were just as tasty as I always remembered.  How could I have ever eaten a cultivated strawberry, when these wild ones were literally just meters away from my home.

With child-like excitement, I couldn’t wait to tell my children and bring them to this secret patch and let them experience the joy of a real wild strawberry!  I love sharing all the amazing things in life with my children and a wild strawberry I would rate high on the totem pole of amazing things in life!

As I continued my short journey through the path home, I thought to myself, these wild strawberries were probably in my back yard all these years and I just wasn’t aware of it.  How many of us are looking for that THING that is going to make us happy?  We think if we change our jobs we are going to be happy.  Maybe if we change our spouse we will be happy.  Could it be if we change where we live and move to a bigger house we will be finally happy?

Just like the wild strawberries that I was hunting for since I left my childhood country home, it took me 16 years and finally I found them in my backyard.  They were there all along.  I just didn’t realize this.  I was on the wrong path in my life.

The same is true about life.  Happiness isn’t found in a bigger home, or a better job, or a different spouse.  Happiness is something that is found within you.  Inside of you.  I admit, you might have to take a different path, or change the way you see your life, your home, your job and even your spouse, but none of those things are going to make you happy.  You have to look inside of you to make you happy!

Psalms 16:11 explains, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  If you are on the right path, one lead by God and his word, you will find happiness.  Look inside of you for the happiness that you are searching for.  God is in each and every one of us and he is waiting for you to find his secret path.  Once you do, you will (like me), realize that the incredible, irreplaceable wild strawberries were waiting for you all along!

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Drowning Planter

I gave up on buying annual plants last year.  We are very busy with sports with both of our children that sometimes we are away at a week at a time.  Most weekends we are gone and annuals need a lot of TLC, which I don’t have to give.  Of course, I could ask my parents to help, or neighbors, but instead I decided to plant planters full of perennial plants.  That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about them and they would just come back every year.

One big planter I keep on my pool deck.  Last year, I had tiger lilies and ornamental grass in it.  It looked wonderful adorning the pool area and I was excited to think that I was going to have this cute little collection return back every year.  No fuss!

To my surprise, this year, they are not coming back.  In all honesty, I didn’t think these things died!  I do know the cause of their death however.  Drowning.

When I planted them, I thought I had a great drainage system put in place, but there are no holes in the bottom of the planter, and somehow this is causing a problem.  Many days I lay the planter over on its side, and water drains out for well over a minute.  Obviously my drainage system isn’t working properly.

Many times in life, we experience the same drowning.  We have the stress of our jobs, financial stress, marital stress, child raising stress, sick parent stress, sick children stress, and the list goes on.  Our drainage system for stress is not working, and we are drowning in the problems of life.

We might go to church on Sundays trying to drain our stress in the pews of the church for an hour and we do feel partially re-energized, but then Monday hits and life stresses start to pour down on us again, and BAM!  We are drowning again.  Can we make it to Sunday to lay our planter of life over again in the pews of the church and let the drowning of stress be relieved a bit?

For my planter, I have to make a change to the drainage system, and that will be to drill holes in the bottom to let more of the water out so that these plants stop drowning in the rain water that falls on them.  The same holds true for you.  You have to make a change if you want to stop drowning in life stresses.  That change is different for everyone, but it should definitely include spending alone time with God every day.

He will help you understand how to deal with these stresses of life.  He will make you realize that as long as he is by your side (which he is), you can handle anything.  He can give you strength to deal with these stresses that you never realized you had.  Just turn to his word.

I’m a morning person, so I enjoy getting up in the morning and spending time with him alone, but my daughter is a different creature in the morning.  She hates mornings, and is only unpleasant during the first 20 minutes of her awakening.  Mornings are not the time that she would choose to spend her time learning the word of God.  Instead, we take a half an hour before bed in God’s word which calms her down and relax her before she falls off to dream land.

Matthew 5:6 explains, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  You will hunger and thirst for his word once you start to feel your stresses lift and your life change for the better.  Maybe you can squeeze in a little alone time on your lunch break when kids are at school or busy doing something else.  Whatever works for you!

Try making the change today, because just like my tiger lilies and my ornamental grass, you will continue to drown until you change your drainage system and find time to build a relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Make time today and watch how your life starts to flower into all God has created it to be!

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Chia Seeds

Don’t you just love Costco?  My kids are obsessed with all the free food around every corner.  They enjoy trying the new food products and every time I get suckered into purchasing something or other.  You have to hand it to the product control at Costco, they know how to sell more food.  I go in to buy one or two things, and then end up buying one or two more things from these free demos.

The other day the new product was Chia Seed.  It was this tiny black seeds that were sprinkled on vanilla yogurt.  They were almost tasteless but gave the vanilla yogurt a little crunch that I found most enjoyable, and so of course I grabbed a bag and added it to my cart.   It was only $9.99, and my yogurt needed a new flare.  This was the obvious answer.

When I got home, I quickly googled the seed, and was surprised to see all the health benefits of this crazy little seed, there were 11 actually.  All I can picture in my head are the Chia Pets that my children once grew in our homes.  I’m sure you all seen those cute little grass like pets that were advertised on television for many years.

I was pleasantly surprised that after I ate my little test product sample, that my appetite was quickly suppressed.  Once I started reading up on these little things, it was quickly explained why my belly was feeling full.  When added to liquid, dry chia seeds immediately begin to form a hydrogel capsule, which honestly look like little tad poles (I did my own science experiment) and they can absorbing up to 27 times their weight in water.  Once these seeds hit my stomach they started to absorb the liquids in my stomach and started to expand.  It was magical.

Of course, this is one of their many health benefits that accompanies these incredible little seeds, but as I watched the seeds form these hydrogel as they sat in water on my cupboard, I found it symbolic to what I feel like in the mornings when I first wake up and before I spend my time in God’s word.  I feel like those little dry chia seeds.  Exhausted after my short night’s sleep, and dehydrated from life itself.

Once I sit in my lazy boy, and read and meditate on God’s word, I can feel the Holy Spirit’s presence filling me with His hydrogel of spirit.  It puts a gel around me that is usually untouchable to anything.  We all have the Holy Spirit inside of us, and that is one of the biggest things that I try and teach my own children.  God lives in every one of us, and if you learn to tap into him and his spirit inside of us, it’s unbelievable what He will do for you.

Romans 5:5 tells us, that we all have it.  It wasn’t just for the people many centuries ago, it still exists today.  The words from the Bible, says, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 

Just like this chia seed though, we won’t get to this unbelievable 27 times of our power unless we spend time in God’s word.  Reading it, and taking out of it, what we get out of it.  Don’t take my word for it, or your minister’s or priest’s word,Billy Graham’s or Joel Osteen’s word for it.  Dive into the word yourself and take your own understanding on it.

You two can be so much more than you are right now, just like the chia seed.  Life can dry you out, but if you add the water of the Holy Spirit to your daily routine, you too will swell up to 27 times your original size.  Try it and see!

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Summer Runnin’

Summer runs—man, they can get hot!  I am trying to schedule them for the mornings, but sometimes this doesn’t always work out.  Then by the time the evening comes, it still doesn’t feel as cool as I’d like to run in.  It’s hard.  I have to really make myself get out there and get my run in.  Once I am out there, usually I am fine, but if I run in the dead heat of the day, it is a challenge and not as enjoyable, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Usually, I can easily convince myself out of it.  Tell myself that I will find time later, knowing full well that I won’t.  Sometimes, I just take baby steps.  I’ll just change into my running clothes and see how I feel.  Then I’ll putter around the house, doing a few odd and end chores, and then maybe I’ll put my sneakers on.  After that I’ll decide to download a few new songs to help convince me to hit the pavement, or a new audio book usually does the trick, and then out I go.

I have in my head that I’ll just do a small run, maybe just a three kilometer one, because it is too hot.  As I progress through my run, and my kilometers, I usually always ending up running more than I planned.  I just take it one kilometer at a time.  By the end I will get in my five or more kilometers that I should have been doing in the first place, but I really have to play tricks with my mind.

This is the same for anything hard that is facing you in your life.  Maybe you have a wacky neighbor that you just can’t seem to connect with.  Could it be your mother-in-law is hard to handle, and is always around?  Maybe your marriage is on the rocks and you don’t think you can stay another day in this relationship.  Do you have a crazy co-worker that you just can’t seem to shake?  Did you just lose a loved one and you don’t think you can continue without them?

Whatever hardship you are facing realize that it is just a season you are going through.  Just like running in the heat of the summer, you might have to take it in baby steps.  It will be hard facing the daily challenge and sometimes you might not want to get out of bed, but take baby steps.  Do one thing at a time, and you will eventually be functioning and not realizing it.

We all face hard times and usually these hard times are put in our lives to transform us.  We need these people or situations in our lives for a reason.  We probably don’t understand why they are happening and we might get a bit frustrated, depressed, bitter, negative and even resentful toward God, but please don’t.  There are things you will not understand.  It is written in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

We don’t have the capacity to understand why we face hardships, but nobody is sheltered from them.  Every one of us has to experience them.  We can let them defeat us, and keep us down, or we can try and bear the heat of our summer run.  It’s just a season, and we still have to get our workout in.  We still need to continue on with life.  When we know it is painful, and we don’t want to do it, that is when we just take baby steps.  One thing at a time.  Trick our minds into doing what we really don’t want to face.

If you turn to God’s word and spend some time with God, he will help you get over this horrible season in your life and face people or situations that you don’t want to face.  It’s incredible what he can help you with.  You can start doing this in baby steps too.  Try taking the first five minutes of your morning learning about his goodness and mercy.  Once you start with five minutes, it will probably increase once you feel his amazing love and the peace that comes over you.  He makes facing any situation bearable!

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