Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Putting out Fires

  
Recently, I torched a pan of bacon: flames, smoke, noxious fumes, baking powder, etc. Of course I was absentmindedly sitting at the counter absorbed in my phone & eating breakfast when my astute & gentle son observed smoke coming from the oven. Long story made short, my husband bailed me out, for the umpteenth time & no one was hurt, except for the oven window getting shattered. My husband knew well enough to put out the fire by taking away its oxygen & not pouring water on a grease fire. 
Thankfully, Jesus knows how to put out the various fires in our lives. Sometimes relationship can nuke us, sometimes we get burned out from our workload & sometimes we can be fried from the demands & busyness of the Christmas season. 

I’m grateful that Jesus soothes my soul, sustains my heart, nurtures & waters the various purposes of my life. 

Avoiding Disaster

Cooking a turkey has the potential to be a dance with disaster. I know this to be true, based in years of practice & research. But this year is likely to be different, probably. I say this because of not only years of practice & failures but also because of preparation. 
I’m learning that I can avoid lots of disasters with a little bit of preparation. For example, Gideon in the book of Judges, avoided various disasters because he walked a path of preparation with God. Seems to me that God primed Gideon for his massive victory over the Midianites through extensive preparation: angel visitation, tearing down an altar to idolatry, fleece adventures, people screening & even eavesdropping. 

I may not always enjoy the preparation process but I certainly like the outcomes better than the results of poor preparation. Let’s be careful not to belittle the process of preparation 🙂

Celebrating Ordinary

   
 
I’m on the long journey home today, flying from Singapore & landing a mere 5hours after the departure of my first flight (it’s the time change thing that turns today into a 37hour day). I have seriously enjoyed my time in Singapore, making new friends, ministering in new churches, exploring & learning – all things I enjoy. 
But I have an ache in my heart for home, what’s familiar & ordinary. I’m looking forward to opening my refrigerator to make a grocery list for the week. I want to be with my church friends on Wed night, worshipping with them & nestling into God’s Word together. I’m eager to be with my family, hold hands, make goofy faces & hear about their weekend. I’m looking forward to finding my car in the airport parking lot & hoping the alarm doesn’t inadvertently go off when I open the door. And a hamburger with double pickles, no onions would be nice as well ,)

Jesus, the Son of God, came into our ordinary living, did the skin thing with us & didn’t just live for the next surge, thrill or rush. Seems like Jesus probably liked the ordinary in human living & not just the exciting 🙂

Do You Need More Time??

  
It’s 4am here in Cambodia & why I’ve been wide awake for the last hour escapes me. It’s all the more unsettling to me because I’m flying home today, so for me this day will have 37hours because of the time zone changes. Which brings me to the topic about asking God for more time. There have been countless occasions when I’ve asked God for a little extra time – to complete a task, to enjoy a conversation with a friend, to slow down how quickly my kids are growing, a few extra minutes to finish cooking before some company arrives, etc. But I’ve stopped asking God for more time, precisely because of how today will role out with 37 hours. I’ve come to deeply appreciate this idea of a 24hour discrete day. More time isn’t always the answer we need. So here are some thoughts about maximizing our time:

  • put down the phone & be present – time is often wasted with distractions
  • keep healthy priorities
  • live in the truth that God knows our seasons & days – what needs to happen at various times in our lives
  • There’s much to be said about being grateful for the time that we have 🙂

Last Plane

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been in 5 states, 2 countries, through 5 time zone, one boat & 8 planes. Suffice it to say that I feel like I’ve been in a state of perpetual motion. It will be very nice to be still, read on my back porch, breath deeply, cook for my family & snuggle.
Maybe God would like some of that stillness with us as well. Clearly, we all have plenty of responsibilities that require our energies & focus, but let’s also be attentive to all let the engine idle. Running our lives in the red zone for too long isn’t good for anyone nor are we designed by our Creator to live in perpetual motion 🙂

To be still, to engage, hold hands, listen to birds, watch the clouds, center & exhale 🙂

Happy Monday to you!

  

Whoops!

Whenever I hear my kids say this words, I pay extra attention to the tone & volume to know how serious the “whoops” is. 
For me, whoops can be:

  • I forgot my keys in the car which is locked*the smoke alarm is going off while I’m making dinner
  • i forgot to bring cash on an Int’l trip
  • my clothes clash

I figure that whoops is the hotbed for the Holy Spirit to Help me & the truth be known, I always need Help & not just for the whoops ,)

how to practice trusting God

Practice is an interesting word:  it’s what we do to learn a new skill, it’s how we develop success, it’s how we make mistakes without quitting and practice has lots more benefits!  But sometimes I struggle to practice trusting God.  I struggle for lots of reasons:

  • hurts from the past,
  • my own weaknesses,
  • I can’t see the future,
  • I don’t trust people

So for me, trusting God requires practice.  In relation to practice, these are a few helpful tips:

  • form:  wrong form can create all kind of dysfunctions;  the form of trusting God is actively deciding to lean on nothing or no one more than we lean on God (Prov 3:5-6)
  • consistency:  I find that choosing to trust God is a daily & sometimes hourly decision;  when I switch my trust off of God & onto something or someone else, then I’ve stopped practicing
  • character:  it seems like we often trust based on outcomes & because God is sovereign, we don’t always get what we want & so it follows that we can have some resulting challenges to trust God;  rather than trusting God based on the outcomes & results which can change in a blink, let’s decide to practice trusting God based on God’s character – Who God is (kind, just, compassionate, loving, righteous, holy, . . . . );

The Bible is such an essential ingredient in trusting God because the Bible frames for us God’s character and helps us recognize God’s presence & fingerprints in our daily living – thereby helping us to practice trusting God 🙂

What suggestions would you offer to help us practice trusting God?

hot topic: not bored

“I’m bored!”  My kids are on Summer Break & I’d like to avoid the “I’m Bored Syndrome” that can occassionally creep into the Summer days.  I definitely remember these seasons as a kid, so I’d jet outside & do lots of different things like bike riding for a few hours, learn new tricks on our trampoline, continue exploring the canal behind our house and find varieties of mischief.  As an adult, I get bored sometimes with the mundane & hanker for some adventure.

If you find yourself “bored” even though you might be busy, here are some ideas to make the boredom evaporate:

  • prayer:  there are so many adventures in prayer, that I always seem to be learning & discovering new things, probably because God is so infinitely creative
  • exercise:  taking a walk, going swimming, bike riding, gardening, enjoy a walk with a friend
  • reading:  consider reading something you don’t normally read – poetry, blogs, newspapers, fiction, non-fiction, history, how-tos, . . . .
  • look up and imagine:  ever remember laying on the grass in the Summer & imagining the clouds to be dragons or horses, frogs, castles, birds, . . . . I used to make up stories to go with the clouds, like my own fictional narrative & very entertaining
  • memorize some Bible verses & maybe even a chapter:  occupy your mind with the ultimately creative and engaging Word of God 🙂
  • try some new recipes – Summer is always a blast to try new cooking stuff:  grilling, fresh combinations of various veggies & fruits
  • check out this UBER cool video:  super encouraging!!

Sometimes, I think we get bored because we aren’t actively engaged in the place & space we presently occupy.

Sometimes, I think we get bored because we’ve become too consumed with busy & we’ve forgotten to “be” first.

Sometimes, I think we get bored because the Holy Spirit is inviting us to some fun adventures.

Sometimes, I think we get bored because we are trying to live distracted from some pain in our lives that we need to confront and process 🙂

Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

the other side

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate lots of things & in lots of ways.  We lavishly spend time, money, people interactions, parties, etc and revel in the celebrations of the season, opulence and abundance.  Then there’s the day after, today, when we might be groggy, overstuffed and possibly fatigued.  On this day, I find my heart longing to recover a sense of balance, desiring some still and quiet, centering into what’s really important, the One Thing that Jesus spoke about with Martha at her dinner party in Luke 10:42.  Sometimes it helps us regain our core when we sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, waiting, listening, watching and paying attention to Who is the most Essential in our lives, Jesus 🙂

#selah

Thanksgiving with Minions ,)

Holy cow or Sacred turkey!!
I’m very happy to report that my kids & I have been working this afternoon on our Thanksgiving meal for tomorrow & I have never been this well prepared! We have a traditional meal for tomorrow for some wonderful guests & I sincerely hope that we are a blessing to our guests! In the meantime, I have to give out a MASSIVE shoutout to my kids for all of their help!!!! They’re making the cranberry sauce, pecan pie, sweet potatoes, Apple pastries, setting the table, organizing the serving platters & lots more! I never knew Thanksgiving could be such family fun! YAHOOO!!!! If the turkey comes out well, we are most certainly on the cusp of Jesus’ Second Coming, so I hope you’re ready ,)
I’m very thankful to my kids for their invaluable help this year & more so to God for such an extravagant & continuous display of Genuine Love – happy Thanksgiving dear friend!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! 🙂

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Slow Down

We live in a world that applauds speed – fast wifi, speedy cars, quick thinking, hasty travel & lots more. But consider that some of the best things take time:
*slower cars frequently get fewer tickets ,)
*deep friendships: it’s been my experience that the fast friendships usually are the shortest
*coffee – brewed versus instant: nuff said
*books: for me, quick reads rarely stick to my ribs as well as a long & slow read that requires my attention & presence

Sometimes, slow is better 🙂

you need these casualties

Over the weekend, I tried to make chili (a good Autumn meal) & it was entirely a catastrophe: the beans didn’t cook, the meat was yucky, it was flavorless & even my kids were warning each other about eating what they perceived to be the borderline poison and life-threatening chili.  I tried to fix it with more spices and seasoning, which only made it even worse – so salty that it could be a formaldahyde substitute.  To which my strategy was to add potatoes & hopefully soak up the overkill salt.

Hmmmmmmmm – obviously, it’s easy to overdo something good.

In relation to God, let’s have our eyes wide open that too much God will create some important casaulties.  Too much God in your life will ruin deception, insecurity, depression, pride and many other things that need to be wrecked 🙂

waffles for breakfast

I like Saturday mornings for lots of reasons, one of which is getting to “enjoy” my kids’ cooking efforts, kind of and sometimes.  Presently, we have some company staying with us & one of my kids mentioned that he makes some really killer waffles.  Our friend staying with us really likes crispy waffles and voila, a plan was “cooked up.”  The execution of the plan this morning was “sketchy”.  Let’s just say that we almost ruined the waffle iron, the kitchen now needs some deep cleaning attention and there were some nice overtones of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Thankfully our friend who is staying with us slept in and we’ve already organized a Plan B:  no waffles, but crepes area nice alternative.

When life hands you lemons, being thankful can be the sugar you need to make lemonade ,)

Pecan Pie

I make a pretty killer pecan pie & no, it’s not healthy, nor glutton free, not fat free & it has very little nutritional value. If a person eats my pecan pie, it’s strictly for the flavor, full stop 🙂
The reason my pecan pie is so good is that I’ve made all the mistakes I can think of, learning how to make it the best I know. I’ve botched the crust, I’ve forgotten to add sugar, I’ve messed up the filling, I’ve accidentally mixed up the sugar & salt quantities, along with a host of other mistakes. But after numerous failures, I can now make a pecan pie almost with my eyes closed that might be good enough for commercial sale. Mistakes go with the process that creates excellence. Don’t quit with your mistakes & don’t give up in the process 🙂

after Christmas

I wanted to write up a quick post yesterday but I had more work than time – sorry!

I’m particularly fond of the few days immediately following Christmas because they feel like an exhale to me.  The days leading up to Christmas can sometimes be a frenzied collection of meal preparation, last minute wrapping, gifts, holiday bustle and manic hustle.  But the days after Christmas seem to be more peaceful to me.  Everything seems to get more calm, peaceful and manageable.  Let me encourage you to take some time in these days to pause, reflect and rejuvenate.  Drink deeply of God’s presence and nestle into God’s unlimited love for you.  Jesus was born for us out of no other motivation than genuine love 🙂

On a quickie side note, please remember to pray for South Sudan – they’ve had close to 2 weeks of intense conflict and thousands have been killed there in the last 10 days.

uncomfortable

Sometimes I think that comfort can be debilitating.  Comfort can be the path of least resistance, the lack of stretching and sometimes the lack of growing.  It’s definitely possible that when Jesus, the Son of God, was a newborn that He was uncomfortable – but all to our benefit!

I find that when I get in uncomfortable situations, if I lean into the Holy Spirit, I’m not nearly as uncomfortable.  I may be stretched, pushed to grow, improve and get stronger.  But ultimately if I have to make a choice, I’d rather grow, get stronger, improve and mature than remain comfortable, even in this busy Christmas season 🙂

gearing up

Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed.  If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear.  If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles.  While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult.  Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss.  It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes.  Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂

turkey update

Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope your day went well, with lots of peace, joy and enjoyable food 🙂  A few days ago, I posted about how I don’t really care for cooking turkey because of the litany of failed attempts my family has endured over many years.  Well, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s turkey was totally tasty!  It wasn’t burned, not too dry, not undercooked nor any of the other ways that I’ve ruined turkeys over many years – yahoo!!!

So here’s some encouragement.  Think of something that you’ve been trying to get good at for a long time, then consider a few things:

  • perhaps the lessons you’ve learned from the failures just helped you to understand better what doesn’t work
  • be thankful that you don’t have to make the same list of mistakes – you can make new ones
  • perhaps you next attempt will be the one that brings you success
  • if you next attempt doesn’t succeed consider that you’re one step further from failure & closer to success 🙂