Embrace Life

Embrace: Five Minute Friday Prompt (joining Kate Motaung on her Link Up today)

Embracing life. Life is not easy to embrace sometimes. Sometimes it would be easier to be like the ostrich and bury my head in the sand. Usually because I don’t have a good answer for the curve ball thrown at me. Or that the wave that has suddenly hit me is one that I don’t have an answer for except that it has hit. But embracing life thru the lens of Jesus, that makes life’s waves, those curve balls not wreak the havoc that our emotions might otherwise experience. I wonder how much simpler, quieter, peaceful my life would be if my first response to all of life was to embrace the opportunity to pray. Drop to my knees and connect with the Father, the good Father. The God who Hears. The Great I Am. Embracing who God is brings forth peace, power, and strength that is only explained in terms of simple faith. Jesus shows up. The power in the name of Jesus. Embracing the truth laid out in Scripture. Embracing its truth. Embracing the simple fact that Jesus loves Me. He sees. He understand. He is God, I can embrace, believe, and allow the truth that He is God Almighty sink in deep and transform the way I look at each of life’s steps.~ Its been a while since I have written on the blog, let alone linked up with Five Minute Friday…… thanks for reading.

FMF: My Thoughts on Enjoy

Five Minute Friday: Enjoy……starting the timer now

I enjoy reading a good book. Sitting on the couch and cross stitching. Curled up in front of the fire with a book and a beverage. I enjoy taking my camera and capturing moments in nature. There are a lot of things I enjoy. I enjoy hanging out with my family. A good conversation with a friend. A walk and talk with my husband. Laughs with my kids. I enjoy music, playing the piano and listening. I enjoy spending time with God, journal-ling and reading my Bible.

Everything I just named are blessings I have the pleasure of “enjoying” but what about the things that are not “enjoyful”? Such as pain. Heartache. Rejection. The walks through the wilderness. The unknowns of life? Those are not things I would put on my list of things I “enjoy” doing. Yet they are things that enrich my life.

When I look at the word “enjoy” I also see two words – in joy. Perhaps when I look at life and the events of my day through the lens of “in joy” I would see things a bit different. I wouldn’t be quick to separate out the things that I like to do, the blessings that are good, but perhaps my filter of life would switch to being in joy all the time. I would have an attitude of the heart of joy, joy comes from God. The book of John tells us about this when Jesus was talking. Joy is an attitude of the heart.

~
So the timer stopped but not my thought….so here is the rest of the thought 🙂

The verses in John I am referring to are: John 15: 9-13, specifically verse 11 (NKJV) where Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” The verses prior talk about abiding in Jesus love when we obey His commandments.  So often in life we are quick to separate out our activities and thoughts into categories, such as the have to’s, want to’s, the need to’s, the like to do’s. What would happen if I were to walk thru life with an attitude of having Jesus’ joy in me, obeying him, and my joy being full? I want to live in a way that each piece of my life is in joy even if it is not bringing me pleasure. To enjoy each precious minute that God has given me and to abide in His love and to share His love with the world.

Linking Up today with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday:

Five Minute Friday ~ August 5th….. Happy because of Joy

Friday’s over at Katy Motaung’s blog is a Five Minute Free Write to a specific prompt, today that prompt is “Happy”.  Its been a while since I did one, and decided to join the link up today. Here is my Free Write with no edits.

My first five minute timer resulted in this:

Happy is one of those words I struggle with because it comes and goes. It has emotional ups and downs. What is the root drive behind whether I am happy or not? To me it has to do with my joy level and my gratitude. The two go hand in hand. The more grateful I am, the more joy I have and the happy is there. But happy seems to be just when life is good and not when it gets hard, and we know that life gets hard sometimes. You hear people ask – are you happy? For me its the wrong question to ask, instead the question of am I filled with joy. Being filled with joy and gratitude can be there even when the outside circumstances are hard. It is a heart attitude and not just an emotional feeling. The word happy and joy tend to be used interchangeably, but I don’t think they can be. When people say, if I had this I would be “truly happy” or if this would happen, then I would be happy. It tends to be connected with whether someone is content with their life or not. What is the filter I am looking at life thru? Is it the lens of gratitude and conentement or want and discontent.

I see my kids struggle with this concept, this truth. You give them somehting that they were not expecting and then they want more. Not content. Not happy. Happiness seems to be a fleeting emotion that

~ I chose to continue and do another 5 minutes and this is what I wrote…. ~

Can I have a piece of candy mom? What about a soda? When the answer is no, the look of dejection is obvious. When the answer is yes, that moment of elation and then brace yourself for the next question – the next want. At one time happy and joy were used interchangeably in my life. I would associate the emotion of being happy with whether or not I had joy. If I wasn’t happy it was a problem. What I learned was the need for gratitude. The need to be thankful. I find it interesting that you don’t really hear the bible talk about being happy but you do read about joy. I think that is because Joy is an attitude of the heart and being happy, happy is an outpouring of emotion from that heart attitude. I say that because we can be sad and still have joy. Its a heart attitude of knowing that God is in control and we are loved. I know that I get frustrated when my kids don’t seem to appreciate, don’t express appreciation for the gifts that they are given. I am guilty of doing the same thing though. Not being content with what I have. Its easy to get in the trap of wanting more. Of focusing on the wrong thing and not on the gratitude of what we have.

~ this was a difficult free write for me, God has been working on me and showing me how much I have to be grateful for and as I choose to be grateful, thankful, the joy bubbles out more and more. The connection between feeling happy and gratitude / joy is an interesting one. As I was writing this, I realized how my thinking has shifted more and more towards joy and haven’t really used the word happy in a very long time ~

To view other Five Minute Friday posts head over to Katy’s blog by clicking HERE

Wait … #fmfparty

Today is Friday & it is time for Five Minute Friday. The word for today is WAIT. Five minutes. No editing.

Wait.

Wait for the traffic light to change.

Wait for the test results.

Wait for that vacation.

Wait for the big game.

Wait for start time.

Wait for Christmas morning.

What about life decisions. Do you allow yourself to wait on God? Why does it seem easier to wait on things in life (out of our control) but struggle to wait on God to give us direction. Waiting is part of life and something we do well and horrible at times. Some of us understand waiting and embrace it, others of us dig our heels in and fight it.

I find myself in a season of waiting on God. Waiting on healing of hurts in my heart. Waiting on life direction. Waiting on clarity and answers. I am learning that my waiting should be an active time. A time where I leaning into God’s word; praying; walking forward. There are times that I want to simply stay still. I don’t want to move. I want to dig my heels in and fight the waiting. I believe that God is good so I know that this time of waiting is good for me.

Whatever I find myself waiting on today and in the weeks to come, I am going to embrace the wait and have joy.

SEND ….. #fmfparty

 

It is Friday and that means the Five Minute Friday Challenge. I am joining other bloggers over at Kate Motaung’s blog and writing with no stops, edits, backups , etc. Simply free writing for five minutes.

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START.

We live in a world where we push a button to send an email. We head to the post office to send a package. We walk to the bus stop to send our kids off to school. All to often we don’t stop to think about what the word ‘send’ means and how it applies to us as followers of Jesus. I know that I don’t at least.

I hear the word send and one of the first things that comes into my mind is the phrase “send out into all the world”, that I am “sent” to ends of the world. Called out. Sent out. Sent to be light and salt. All to often I work hard to not think about it, perhaps I should think about it more often though.

Jesus said in Matthew 28 to go in to all the world and make disciples. You and I have been sent. For a long time I thought being ‘sent’ meant going to a foreign land for a long time. I have learned over the years that it means going into the community and world around me. On-line and the community of people that I am able to connect with there. The community that comes together to worship each week and learn from God’s work, called the local church. The community of athletes and families that practice and prepare for Special Olympics events. The community for the local boy scout troop. My neighbors. My kids friends. My small group. I am sent to be a light, to point others to Jesus and intentional work to help propel them to a deeper relationship. I know that I don’t do the growth, that is Jesus job however I am called to encourage, to help water and be a part of the process.

STOP.

DEAR ….. Advent 2014 – December 5

Today is Five Minute Friday, the day where I join others over at Kate Motaung‘s site for the word of the day. Today the word is DEAR and I wrote a letter to myself. We have all had those days where we are talking to ourselves and processing things. I wrote for five minutes and then chose to finish my thoughts for the day. Thanks for stopping by!

Dear Self,

Its been an interesting journey over this past year. We have had times of crying, times of laughter, times of joy. Now we find ourselves in Advent waiting on Christmas and the celebration of  Jesus coming to earth. Its one of my favorite seasons. The music, the opportunities for compassion, the opportunity to reflect. Looking back and looking forward.

Remember today how much we have to be thankful for. We are blessed. God has provided us with a family, a place to live, food to eat, opportunities to grow. I know this season we are in is hard. Its been really rough at times but for all the rough patches it has been one of the richest most exciting times of growth we have experienced in a long time.

– stop, but today I want to continue my thoughts-

Today is December 5th.  20 Days till Christmas, 26 days till the beginning of a new year.

One of the reflection questions today was on how I can be a blessing to others; why is it so hard to look at my actions thru that lens?

I know that this a struggle because we don’t want to make it about us. We have to learn to trust, pray, ask the Spirit for help and go for it. He didn’t bless us to keep it to our-self. He gave us our gifts, talents, passions, and experiences for a reason – to be used to show and tell the world about HIM.

Gail

“Only when you first unwrap the gifts of blessings to you can you be wrapped up as a gift of blessing to others. Only when you are overwhelmed with the goodness of God can you overflow with the goodness of God to others.” The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp p41

How can we all be a blessing to others, here are some of my thoughts:

* Put our skills & talents to use in our community. Maybe its baking for a senior center or that class party. Maybe it is volunteering a a local non-profit, such as your church or a mission organization.

* Love on our family.  Is it a phone call. A card. Washing the dishes. Making a meal. A surprise treat. A visit.

* Pray. Sometimes what people need is prayer, don’t under estimate the power of prayer.

* Give monetarily. Is God prompting you to give financially to a specific purpose, organization, or to help meet a need?

* Two specific ways I know of here in our community here in the Northwest that I have been a part of are happening again:

Water Changes Everything – a walk to raise money for building wells in Burkina Faso. The walk is on December 13th in various locations. Head here to learn more: Walk in the Light International

Outrageous Christmas : there are needs all over that we can help meet and stories we have to tell of people’s compassion in this holiday season; head to outrageouschristmas.com to learn more.

What can we add to this list? How can we be a blessing to our families, our community, and to the world?

 

Do I notice them…….#fmfparty

This post is part of the link up for the Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung’s Blog , where you write for Five Minutes on a specific word and the goal is to just write & no editing. (It is supposed to be a free write)

Here is my five minute write:

The smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes. The laughter seems a bit sad. Do you notice that they need Jesus?

Driving down the street and sitting on the corner, a person asking for help with a cardboard sign. Do you notice that they need Jesus?

The parents are leaving the school, faces drawn and barely holding in the tears. The news they just received was less than what they were hoping for…..do you notice that they need Jesus?

All around us are people, people just like you and me. Our schedules are busy. Our focus is specific. We have such a narrow view that we often miss what is right in front of us. People who need to see and experience Jesus in a fresh new way. A way that you are able to help show, that you and I are able to be the hands and feet. It could simply be a smile. A hello. A bite to eat. A prayer. Taking the time to interact, to listen, to laugh and to cry with them. All those seemingly little insignificant things are actually monumental. Yet it starts with noticing that they are there.

How do we change how we notice things? For me its started by slowing down. By choosing to look at my own life as it interacts with that of the world around me and be thankful. To look for the hidden treasures of the moment, of the conversation, of the day and say thank you. To acknowledge it to the Father above with a simple word of thanks. My perspective has begun to shift. While I easily still get caught up in my own to dos, life, and easily make it about me – Jesus is working in me to see and respond differently. To take notice through His eyes and see the world around me as He does, and to join Him by being his hands and feet. Its risky. It can be uncomfortable. But the reward is a smile from Jesus and the peace of knowing you are being his willing servant.

Today will you stop and notice with new eyes the world around you?

 Gail

Today…..learning to follow, listen and obey; trusting in the ONE who loves me and HE loves you too.

A Morning to Be Still ……………#fmfparty

This post is part of the link up for the Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung’s Blog , where you write for Five Minutes on a specific word and the goal is to just write & no editing. (It is supposed to be a free write)
Here is my five minute write:

This morning was one of those mornings where quiet would have been preferred but alas that is not how the morning began. It was full of activity of boys getting ready for school and a mom who thought what she wanted was a chance to be still and sit with her coffee and her bible. As the tears threatened to spill over I realized that what I needed was my heart to be still.

One of my favorite verses is “Be still and know that I am God.” That is really my hearts cry today, that I can be still. That I can know. That I can taste and can see God in a powerful way. It requires me to be still. Being still is not easy for me, in fact sometimes it seems very, very hard. The more I work to be still the more my thoughts invade. Distractions compound.

Being still is hard for me, I find that sometimes when I am still tears are more easily ready to flow (and do). The truth that God reveals is hard to accept and can be heartbreaking. The flip side of that coin is that I find great joy in being still because I see God’s hand at work in my life. I can and do experience His presence in amazing and new ways. I find confidence that He has this.

In the stillness is where I see my faith and trust in the Father above come to the surface and be exercised often more than when I am being active. It requires me to choose to not move, but to wait. What I am learning in being still is sometimes Jesus asks us to walk with Him; still is not being lazy. It is not being a sideline viewer of my life but an active part in it.

Being still is me choosing to quiet my heart and my spirit, waiting and trusting, believing in His love for me and that He is right there with me.

Today…..learning to follow, listen and obey; trusting in the ONE who loves me and HE loves you too.

Gail

Turn …..

This post is part of the link up for the Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung’s Blog , where you write for Five Minutes on a specific word and the goal is to just write & no editing. (It is supposed to be a free write)

Here is my five minute write:

Messy into beautiful.

Tart into sweet.

Often I find myself wishing that things would turn a corner. A child making poor choices, you find yourself wondering if they will turn the corner of making a better choice. The path of unemployment, will the path turn towards a job, maybe a new career. Sickness seems to plague the road you are on, you wonder will it turn towards healing and health again.

Standing in my kitchen earlier this week working on dinner I was reminded how I take ingredients that don’t always seem to work together and make a dinner out of them. Yet if I don’t follow the instructions and allow the cooking to happen as it should the result may be different than what I had planned.

Life is like that. We have a path that we are on and we find that it has various components. Perhaps sickness, perhaps a loss of a job, the death of a loved one, choices of others we love that we don’t understand or agree with, struggles, blessings. We wonder why? We wonder how will this be used for good. It is not what we would put together to make something delightful. Yet the beauty of Jesus and His power is that He turns what makes no sense, what doesn’t seem to go together and weaves it together to something beautiful. Something sweet.

Waiting for Jesus to turn it into something beautiful requires patience, faith, and hope.

Leave …. Five Minute Friday Writing Challenge

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As a military brat I learned about leaving in a unique way. I remember in elementary and junior high when it was time to move to a new area, what my mom would say to people when we left (growing up…..I have always attributed this to my mom). It went something like this – “bye, we will miss you. We will see you again, if not in this lifetime then in heaven.”(Its not exactly how she said it but the point was because we were family in Jesus we would see each other again.)

Our lives have seasons where we have to leave. Perhaps it is a job, a church, a past time, a friendship, moving away to a new location. What that simple concept has taught me is to work at making the most of the time I am in. I have not lived out this concept well but I am trying to get better at it.

When it is time to leave it is leaving what has become comfortable to us and entering into something different. That different can be new, unfamiliar, even uncomfortable. I don’t find leaving easy. The hardest kind of leaving for me is when I don’t know what is ahead of me, I simply know I need to leave and I am to go a different direction. I can rest in knowing that God is my rock and he doesn’t leave. Who I am wasn’t uprooted just the surroundings of the new direction.

 

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This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up over at Kate Motaung, where you are giving a prompt, set the timer for 5 minutes and free write.

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