New Year, New You

This is such an exciting time of the year!  New Year!  New ideas!  Time to make changes in your life to better yourself, your life and the life of those around you.  Every year I love coming up with an idea of something that I know I can actually accomplish and not just do for a few days, and then not be able to keep.  My favorite New Year’s Resolution so far was giving myself some alone time every single day.

Alone time.  You may think, “Ya, right!  I’m a busy mom and don’t have time for myself ever!”  I was there once too.  When I first had children, I never imagine that for years to follow, I would not even have a chance to go the bathroom by myself.  I’m finally just getting some alone time, and I’m loving every minute of this special time, even if it means that I get up an hour earlier than the rest of my family and two hours before I have to leave for work.  It is something that must be done.

To me this is the most valuable time in my day.  Some days, especially on the weekend when our family schedule is skewed a bit, and I think I have lots of time to get my alone time after.  It never fails that this idea never works out, and then I feel lost without my alone time.  I’ve learned to just get up at the same time every day, even the weekends.  I can always grab an afternoon nap but I can’t control if company drops in, or my husband feels like cleaning the garage unexpectedly.

Did you ever notice how the lives of a busy mom or dad mirrors that of the life of Jesus?  He went straight out from day to night.  He healed.  He taught.  He parented.  He doctored.  He produced meals out of almost nothing.  He protected.  He did everything and even more than mothers and fathers of today.

One of the important things that he included in his days after he did all these great deeds, was he went alone to pray.  Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” 

How many of us busy moms or dads take the time to withdraw from life and pray or meditate?  Not too many people I know.  I wish I had of learned the peace and tranquility it would have brought to my life a lot earlier than last year.  I think I would have enjoyed all the stages of my children more.  I think I would have had more patience for my family and I feel like I could have been a more serving mother if I had of taken more time for myself.  I know I would have been a better teacher and a better friend.  I would have been just a better all-around person.

Time for yourself doesn’t mean going on an escape shopping trip with the girls, or a golf trip with the boys.  Sure, that is a bonus and should also be a part of everyone’s life, but time for myself is something that has to be included to every single day of the year.

That is why I’m challenging you to make this your New Year’s Resolution for this new coming year.  Start by setting your alarm clock for 10 minutes earlier than normal.  Force yourself out of bed and if you have to, ask God to give you the energy to get up.  He will give it to you.  I’ve been there many mornings.

Trust me, by the time the year is over, you will be craving more and more alone time, like me, and then find yourself up an hour earlier than you have to be, just to spend time praying, meditating and giving gratitude for every little thing in your life.  Out of all my years of setting resolutions, this would have to be my favorite.  Please, give it a try and watch your days become less stressful, more joyful and abundant.

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Driver’s License Photo

I recently had a birthday and along with the reminder that I was another year older, I also had to drag myself to renew my driver’s license.  This is always a humbling experience.  These pictures show you in full reality.  No fancy lighting.  No cool effects.  Just plain and simple you!

Why aren’t you allowed to smile for your picture on your driver’s license or your passport photo?  These thing are horrible!  Luckily, I had a friend taking mine so that made the experience much less painful than normal, and she tried to convince me that it was a great picture.

All kidding aside, a driver’s license picture is the real you.  The person who you are.  No frills attached.  It makes me think of the way God perceives us.  He sees who we are right down to our core.  Our thoughts.  Our feelings.  Our dreams.  Our desires.  The true us.  He sees it all.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing that you can change.  Just the real you.

Look at the extremes that the world has come to in attempts to change the real you.  We have make-up, eye lash extensions, hair extensions, tattoos, piercings, plastic surgery, liposuction, veneers for our teeth, and that is just to change our physical appearance.  We also use different methods to try and mask our emotional appearance, financial appearance, our marriage’s appearance, our children’s appearance.  Honestly, do we try and be honest about any part of ourselves here on earth?

Hebrews 4:13 explains to us, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Just like our driver’s license photo, we have to start to realize our true selves and start looking at ourselves through the camera lens that God sees us through.  You might not like things about yourself, but that is the way God has made you, and you are insulting his art work when you are trying to change it.

When I was growing up, my father was very opinionated on being into your physical appearance.  One of his favorite lines were, “If God wanted your finger nails a different color, he would have painted them himself.”  Or another great one was, “If God wanted holes in your ears, he would have put holes in them for you.”  At the time, I thought my father was crazy, but he might be onto something.

The list of these quotes of my father are endless, and to this day, I still don’t wear much make-up, I don’t paint my nails and only wear earrings once and a while.  My father on earth ended up brainwashing me into thinking this way too.

I wish people would start seeing themselves for the master piece that God created them to be.  I try to take it upon myself daily to point out to people the beauty of their true self, because so many people don’t see the incredible splendor they radiate daily just being themselves.  People don’t need to use all the crazy methods that have been created by man to be beautiful.  Their true beauty lies in their naked selves, just like our Father in Heaven tries to teach.  I wish he could brainwash everyone like my father brainwashed me.

Today, try seeing the beauty in everyone, including yourself, even if they are masking their beauty behind all of the superficial things that they feel they need to be accepted and feel good about themselves.  Our true self is beneath all the make-up, the brand names, and the eye lash extensions.  We are who we are without all the things we think we need.  We are who God created us to be, just like our driver’s license photo.  We have to stop hiding behind the frills and fluff that we feel we need and realize we are perfectly made just the way we are.

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Christmas Ornaments

Who doesn’t LOVE putting up their Christmas tree?…Well, once you finally find the time during this busy season to set aside a time slot on the already jam-packed calendar.  I know my family adores it!  We take out each ornament one by one and reminisce about who gave it to us, and what was going on that year. After 16 years of marriage and two children later, we have lots of memories to hang on our tree.  It does take a lot of time to adorn this evergreen now, but it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Finally a time to stop and look back at Christmases past and 16 years of memories.

As my children decorated the tree this year, I just sat back in amazement!  They were laughing and remembering their younger life when they loved princesses, or R2D2, Dora, and every other cartoon character that entered their world that year.  As their lives evolved, so did the Christmas ornaments.  My son played hockey in his younger days, but then decided that sport wasn’t for him and moved on to try many other sports; football, soccer, volleyball and basketball, which is one of his favorites.  His summer sports were baseball and golf, and he has both of these ornaments to put on the tree as well, but he doesn’t golf anymore.  Not because he doesn’t enjoy golf, but his passion finally became baseball.  With the intense baseball training, games every weekend, and helping at our restaurant part time, he really can’t find the time to do much else.  But, he still hangs his golf ornaments on the tree reflecting on his youth, when time was more abundant.  When he didn’t have to choose one or the other.

My daughter on the other hand started doing gymnastics at the age of three and even though she tried basketball, hockey, volleyball, golf, dance, and the list goes on, gymnastics has remained her love.  All she seems to have for ornaments are gymnastics ones…many, many, many years of gymnastics ornaments…well, along with her princess, Dora, and Carebear ones from her toddler times.  She was lucky to find her one true passion at the age of three…and now she spends 18 hours a week training for the sport that she chose at the age of three…and loves every minute of it and when she’s not at the gym she is practicing in our living room, or on her beam in the basement.  It’s nonstop gymnastics in her world!

As I watched them decorate our family Christmas tree it hit me!  This is similar as my walk with God.  I have a best friend who from her youth pursued God with all her heart and soul.  She knew she wanted to be a child of God and lived her life from childhood to adulthood reading and learning the scripture, developing a strong relationship with God.  She is the most amazing woman I know!  Just like my daughter with gymnastics…she knew that the Lord and Savior was all she needed, all she wanted, all her life.

Me, on the other hand…I was more like my son, went through many different trials and errors, to find my way.  I tried a little of this, a little of that, but finally in the end I did find my one true love…it just took me a different route.  Now, forty years later, I’m just rekindling my relationship with God.  I’m sad that I didn’t take the opportunity like my Bestie to have a lifelong relationship with the Great One, but thank God she never stopped praying that I would be lead back to the Lord.  She is my idol in this world.  She is God’s biggest warrior for sure.  Her relationship with him is where I want to get to…and hopefully I will get there in this lifetime.

Proverbs 8:17 assures us that, “ I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”  I’m so thankful that I was given the time to finally find my way back to God, and that my friend who was diligent to pray for me and help me find my way back to him.  I’m learning so much as I read, devote and form my relationship with the Lord, but what I am most thankful for is that God answered my best friends prayers and I still have time to diligently find our Lord and Savior!

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Compliment Presents

Compliment Presents.  Ever heard of them?  I never did until this year when I was faced with creating my own guidance lesson for my class, but it turned out to be the cutest little activity that they loved to do right before Christmas.  Not only was it adorable, it had such a great internal lesson that accompanied it.

Each of the students had to make this foldable little gift out of paper and write inside the gift a compliment to each of the students in the class.  It couldn’t be a physical compliment about someone’s appearance.  Instead it had to be a positive meaningful compliment about their inner value.

Many people have a beautiful physical appearance.  Eye candy, some might say.  But just because the outside of the person is beautiful, doesn’t mean the inside is nice.  Just like some of the Christmas gifts that we are going to receive this holiday season.  The outside of a gift can really cover up what actually lies on the inside.  How many times have we admired how gorgeous a gift is wrapped, but when we open it, it isn’t as wonderful as it looked on the outside?

This was what was so great about this lesson for my students.  They all have experienced a time that the gift looked so great only to find underwear, or socks in the gift.  This is what my grade five students felt was a horrible gift, even though they are necessities, they aren’t what ten year olds want to receive under that shiny wrapping paper and adorning bow.  They actually could make a connection from the present to people that they have come in contact with in their decade of life.

As our years start adding up, we witness more and more of these beautiful people or gifts wrapped in shiny bows that aren’t so shiny on the inside.  But you know what I’m noticing as I age?  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no “bad” people, nor bad gifts.  There are people who make bad choices, whether it is to gossip about you, cheat you out of something,  treat you poorly, get angry at you, or whatever it is that these people do to do you wrong.

We all have been there ourselves.  Admit it.  I know in the past, I’ve made some really bad choices.  Selfish choices.  Choices out of anger.  I’ve let greed rule my choices before.  Jealousy has made choices for me that I cringe at now.  I’ve even let my pride cloud my choices.  I’m not proud of any of these choices, but I’ve been guilty of doing it.  Do I think that makes me a bad person?  To some people, absolutely, but I hope that people realize that we can change.

As I am teaching this lesson to my students, this is what I’m trying to get across.  We all make bad choices, but that doesn’t make us a bad gift.  You have to look for the good in people as I’m requesting my students to do about every student in my class.  We can all come up with one positive meaningful compliment to give everyone.  Even a person who has made some bad choices, or what one might consider a “bad gift”.  Even a person who we don’t think we like.

Our bad choices have to be looked at as growing experiences.  We have to learn from them and try hard not to repeat the bad choice again.  If we do, then that is an entirely different story.  Everything we experience is either a blessing or a lesson.

These people who you might consider a “bad gift” are really people that you can learn from.  Proverbs 27:17 explains, “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.”  Iron has sharpened me throughout my years, as I am sure it has sharpened many more than just me.  The “bad gift” isn’t so bad when we learn from it and find the good in it.

Just like people in our lives that might make us think they are “bad people”.  They aren’t bad people.  We just have to use what they are doing to teach us what not to do.  How not to act.  They are actually an incredible gift to us.  They are making our life easier by teaching us from their actions.  That is a true gift!  A great lesson!

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Peace On Earth Goodwill Toward Yourself

I love all the magic that comes along with Christmas.  All the hopes and dreams of the young and old alike, but as it nears closer to Christmas, I’m starting to wonder—what ever happened to the peace on earth, goodwill towards men?  Have you watched the news lately?  I try not too because I love living in my own little bubble, but the world is a crazy place.

Even the world in my little bubble can be a crazy place.  I have students at school attacking other student’s sexuality.  Others are attacking their nationalities and of course there is always the, my-religion-is-better-than-your-religion debates.  Why can’t we all just get along?

I’ve made it a rule in my class that there is absolutely no talk about the above three things about another person.  People can’t help their nationality or sexuality, it sacred to them and religion is a chose and a belief that should never be attacked.  Believe, don’t believe that is your choice.  All I want is this “peace on earth goodwill towards men” that people talk about.  That is it!

However, I feel that we can’t have peace on earth until we finally make peace with ourselves.  How can we spread peace, if we don’t have peace to give?  As I was reading 2 Kings 9, it was talking about peace.  There couldn’t be peace in Israel because of Jezebel’s influence.  If you’ve never heard of Jezebel, she was married to King Ahab and was a very nasty woman, out only for herself.

This is the same for us.  We cannot have peace in ourselves until we get rid of Jezebel’s influence too.  I feel Jezebel is symbolic to our egos and the evil that dwells in our souls.  How can we have peace on earth, if we can’t even have peace in our own soul?  We have to stop having evil thoughts, feelings and actions towards others so our personal “earth” can have peace and goodwill to give to our fellow man.

It was idolatry that sucked Israel into demonic practices, and if you’ve read my blog before, I believe that Israel is symbolic to ourselves.  We are all Israel, and we are all worshiping other things besides the Lord.  I know I’m guilty of spending too much time on the internet, whether it is Facebook, Pinterest, or online shopping.  It is time that I could be doing much more productive things instead of infesting my brain with worthless knowledge.

In 2 Kings 9:32-34 in explains that Jezebel’s own officials threw her out of the second story window and then more of her people drove their horses over her.  She might have been royalty but definitely didn’t deserve to be queen of Israel, nor does she need to be queen over us!  We have to stop letting Jezebel, or evil forces control our lives.  You, like Jezebel’s servants have the power to throw evil out of your life and run over it.

The final two verse in 2 Kings 9:36-37 really puts it bluntly, “When they reported this to Jehu, he said, “this is what the Lord said would happen, when he spoke through his servant Elijah: ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body in the territory of Jezebel.  Her remains will be scattered there like dung, so that no one will be able to identify them.’”

Let your evil thoughts, feelings and actions be scattered like Jezebel’s remains, and then you will finally be able to feel peace and goodwill in your own special world.  Until we can get this in our little bubbles we are never going to see it happen on earth.  Evil has no place in you, unless of course you are a person like Jezebel, and as you can read, her life didn’t go so well.

We all have choices.  Choose peace and goodwill towards yourself!  Then maybe we will finally see this Christmas miracle come to pass!

Merry Christmas!

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Wise Men

‘Tis the season to be jolly, eat lots and lots of food until we can’t move, spend time with family and friends we barely ever see, sing Christmas songs, wrap presents, and talk about the Christmas story.  Every Christmas the story of the birth of the baby Jesus is pounded into our brains.  Some may even think that it is overdone.

As I’m listening to the story and reliving it again, some how my focus shifted to that of wise men.  You may wonder why the wise men?  Well, I love the story of the birth, but I just find the wise men to be fascinating.  Probably because on my search for knowledge myself, I have fallen in love with the ideas and perspectives of many wise men.

There are multiple wise men that we could all learn so much from.  Men that have shared their knowledge with us through their writing, videos, audio tapes, and pod casts.  I can’t for the life of me understand why more people aren’t seeking out the knowledge of these wise men!  But then when I look back over two thousand years ago, out of all the people in the world only three wise men made their way to the celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus.  So many people in Jesus’ time were not open to the idea that the Messiah was born.  The same is true with the world today.  Many people are closed to the ideas of others and don’t feel that God has been working through people in our times too.

Wise men were around way before the birth of Jesus.  Lao Tzu is one of my favorite old wise men that I’ve read lots about, and I appreciate his words of wisdom.  His works date back to late 4th century BC, so he’s really, really old, but somehow his work is still alive today.

I really love the book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Living the Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching” which was another very wise man, Dr. Dyer, who took the work of Lao Tzu’s and explained the meaning of each verse of the Tao to us in a more understandable and applicable manner.  I’m sure Dr. Dyer is a very special chosen mystic of our time.

This is one of my favorite quotes from this book, “What follows is what Lao-tzu might say to you, based upon his writing of the eighth verse of the Tao Te Ching: When you’re free to flow as water, you’re free to communicate naturally—information is exchanged, and knowledge advances in a way that benefits everyone. Be careful not to assign yourself a place of importance above anyone else. Be receptive to everyone, particularly those who may not routinely receive respect, such as the uneducated, homeless, or troubled members of our society. Go to the “low places loathed by all men,” and have an open mind when you’re there. Look for the Tao in everyone you encounter, and make a special effort to have acceptance, gentleness, and kindness course through you to others.

Doesn’t this sum up the whole “love your neighbor” commandment?  Isn’t it amazing that other religions are taught the same basic truths that Christians are?  Could it be that Christians are very close minded and aren’t very accepting of other religions?   God just wants us all to love one another.  End of story!

These are just two of the wise men that I involve in my world on a weekly basis.  There are many more who I love.  Swedenborg, who I’ve already wrote a blog about.  Joel Osteen–Who can ever get enough of his motivational words?  Gary Habermas is another wise man who deserves recognition and if you have the time, search him up on Youtube, he has many great videos on proving the resurrection of Jesus.  I find his work incredible.  St. Germaine is another wise man who I recommend to many people.  His books are a must in my personal library.  I’ve read them over and over again. My last wise man that I think everyone should know about is Joel S. Goldsmith and his take on life, the Bible and his idea of the “Infinite Way”.

Wise men are exactly what the 8th verse of the Tao is explaining to us.  We have to be receptive to new ideas and look for the good in everyone and everything.  Information is exchanged and knowledge advances if we keep an open mind to everything and don’t be ridged in thoughts, including spirituality.  Just let the ideas of others, run over you like water.  If you want, you can let the water bring life to this knowledge and let it revive your old dried up ideas.  Or you can let it roll off you like the pavement that is very ridged and not ready to let water sink in.

Isaiah 44:3 explains, “Water of life am I, poured forth for thirsty men.”

I feel we all should be ready to absorb the water and knowledge that is so readily available in this world today and offered by many wise men.  Absorb what you want, and let other things roll off of you, but before you digest the information, you have to first open you heart and mind.  The universe is such a grand place to have such a closed mind.

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Christmas’ Impatient Surprise

My son is absolutely the most impatient person I’ve ever met!  He cracks me up.  Christmas is incredibly painful for him, and it was much worse when he was younger because the waiting to open presents was just unbearable to him.  He’s not a fan of surprises at all.  We’ve been working on this deficit, but even now, in high school it remains a struggle of his.

The other day, I was helping him clean his room and I saw tissue paper sticking out of his closet and asked what it was.

Immediately, he informed me it was my Christmas gift, then admitted he didn’t hide it very well.  I didn’t even see the bag it was in, and kept on cleaning.  Then he takes the bag out of his hiding spot and asked me to open it.

I explained that I wanted to wait for Christmas, but he begged me, and reminded me how bad he hates to wait.  So…being the curious mom that I am, I obeyed his wish and found the most beautiful necklace.  I was very excited, but I still had to wait for the big day to be able to wear it with pride.

Many of us are very impatient just like my son, myself included.  We don’t want to wait for the good things in life.  We want everything when we want it.  Yesterday.

As I read Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint,” it really got me thinking how sometimes our impatient nature can hold us back from our destiny because we aren’t willing to wait for what we are wishing or praying for.

How many of us are guilty of that?  Being too impatient to wait on our gifts, just like my son and my Christmas gift.  If we put our trust in the Lord, he will give us what is best for us.  It might not be what we prayed for, or hoped for, but in the end it is what we were supposed to have.  Just like the necklace my sweet, sweet son chose for me, I couldn’t have picked out anything more “Me” that what he chose.  He knew exactly what I would love.  Was it what I would have asked for?  No, it’s even better than I could have ever imagined!

Sometimes we have to let go of the control that we want to have over our lives and stop waiting for what we think we need.  Instead, trust and believe in what the Lord has for us, and we just might rise higher than we ever thought we could.

The waiting part is the hard part, but just take it day by day.  Stop praying for what you think you want for Christmas– or life, and start giving God praise that he is working things out for your best.  You might just end up like me, with the most incredible gift ever!

Thank you my kind son for giving me something that I absolutely love and that I didn’t even know I wanted!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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