Welcome Y'all

Hopefully the name of this blog speaks for itself. I envision it being one of humor, exhortation, random musings, theological discussion, sports, and things that impact my life and could bless yours. Sometimes it might be a verse or a funny story, a sports score that has me up in arms or a profound truth that has hit me. I pray you find your visit here blessing your heart.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Best Equation: Faith + Hope = Trust

Faith arises from the personal experience of Jesus as Lord

Hope is reliance on the promise of Jesus,
accompanied by the expectation of fulfillment.

Trust is the winsome wedding
of Faith and Hope.

-From Brennan Manning's RUTHLESS TRUST: The Ragamuffin's Path to God

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Timely Perks of Singleness

To continue the theme of singleness, let's cover a few more things that could be a productive use of your time while you are single.  As a single person myself, I have had this argument with quite a few married people and I think to a degree it stands strong; however, there are some caveats that I am willing to concede to a married person which have been pointed out rather strongly to me, the single person "with nothing else to do than take care of yourself"....

Yes.  That was actually said to me and I'm willing to bet that you, if you are single, you have heard that as well.  Comments?

I have been told that a married person with children does not have the time that a single person has.  It is on this premise that I beg to differ.  We all have the same amount of time... we just choose to spend it differently due to priorities.  I know I am probably only representing the single person's side but in my defense, I am not married nor have I been so I am only talking about what I know first hand.  I have thought about how life would be different for me if I were married and so I can integrate that perspective as well though thinking about a scenario and actually living a scenario is quite different.  Let's just say that there are perks about being married such as having another adult around to help with chores, someone to help provide financially, help with homework, do the household errands, even stuff as silly as fastening bracelets and zipping dresses.  The perks about being single include, not picking up someone else's dirty clothes :), not having to provide financially for anyone else but myself, arranging my schedule around what works for me rather than someone else, generally using my time in the way that I deem important rather than how my husband or children deem important.

There are perks to both sides and cons to both sides... If they are both gifts from God, then there will not be one that is far and away better than the other, though it might appear that way based on where we are standing. 

Anyway, the crux of this entry will be about T-I-M-E - amounts, management, wasters and priorities.

First,  every person has the same amount of hours in a day.  Every one - married or single.  Your marital state does not whether or not you have more or less time than anybody else.  It all comes down to management.  How do you manage your own 1440 minutes per day?

Management of these precious minutes can be one of the greatest obstacles to the growth of the Kingdom of God.  It can also devastate your own personal productiveness in life.  There are a portion of those minutes that will and should be spent sleeping (7-8ish hrs), eating (2-3ish hours), and getting ready for events of the day/evening (1-2ish hrs).  These are things that everyone does (should do) everyday.  Taking the high end of time towards those activities, it still leaves 13 hours of remaining time to manage out.  If you don't manage your time, someone else will manage your time for you.  For example, I remember in college having a difficult conversation with my parents because I had not done well on a pretty big test.  My reason was because I had sat up listening to two different friends having very "traumatic" events... I believe one girl was distraught because a guy didn't call her back and another girl was failing a class.  I remember feeling very sympathetic at the time for their plights and yet, none of this was reciprocated the day I got my failing test grade back because they had to go get ice cream and because the other one had a date (ironically with the other girl's guy... we now know why he didn't call her back.)
Bottom line... they were managing their time in the way that they wanted to... and they managed MY time in the way they wanted to... I, on the other hand, did not manage my time, did not do well on my test because I listened to them instead of studying and then did not have the sympathetic ear in return.  Tough lesson to learn but one desperately needed.

I still struggle with that at times.  I can get overwhelmed and feel like I am just spinning my wheels not accomplishing anything.  However, I have tried to implement strategies that work for me... daytimer, calendar, setting time limits, measureable goals/objectives, PLANNING... Is it easy?  For me, absolutely not.  I am not wired that way.  It is a discipline to do that every day but if I want to make my life count for something, management of time is crucial for success and fatal of not implemented.

Here is a link for further information on time management.

Let's talk about time wasters... there are a lot!!!  I'll put some down that are prevalent in the world that I live in - in my own life or those that I love...

Facebook, excessive sports watching events, emails, surfing the internet, TV watching, procrastination, reading innumerable blogs/internet sites, excessive texting that interrupts a mind's train of thought, excessive shopping, mindless unintentional reading, etc...

I'm gonna be honest, I really enjoy doing many of those things I mentioned above.  I do.  I think the question to determine if these things are time wasters are:
1)  What is this doing for my overall productivity of my day?  Is it adding to or distracting from?
2)  If this is a productive activity of my day, is it in excessive amounts?  Too much of a good thing is not always a great thing.  Sometimes it is just too much to fit into a day meant for working and productivity.
3)  Does it negatively impact your other prioritized activities for the day?

This brings us to priorities...

What are your priorities?  When you take an inventory of your activities, do they equal the kind of person that you want to be?  Everyone has different priorities and we aren't required to have the same ones.  What are your priorities?
- To be top salesperson of the firm
- To be in a position of leadership in order to faciliate change
- To make more money or a certain dollar amount
- To be learning a new skill to make you more marketable in this difficult job market
- To be a parent
- To be a good friend
- To be faithful to your personal charities/churches through giving
- To be President of the US
- To be more open about your faith with your colleagues
- To be married

There are hundreds of thousands of priorities and you can choose what you want those to be.  I think that is part of the problem is that many people haven't set priorities and they are going to realize too late that the world has set their priorities for them and they aren't at all where they want to be. 

If you want to be in a position of leadership, what are your practical steps on getting there?  Are you showing up to work on time?  Are you doing the extra steps that set you apart from the crowd?  Are you doing research about what could revolutionize your field and trying to align your skill set and giftings in the convergent path as much as possible?  

If you want to be married, what are your practical steps in getting there?  Are you where you want to be emotionally when you Mr. or Mrs. Perfect-For-You shows up?  Physically?  Spiritually?  Do you have mounds of debt that will assuredly impact your spouse?  Do you take care of yourself?  Do you have unrealistically high expectations for your soon to be spouse to meet ... and then expect that they accept you "as you are"...  Is that the equivalent to saying "I am looking for the crown jewels for which I will trade you a broken gumball machine necklace"?  We are not perfect and have definite flaws, but we have a responsibility to do the best with the strengths and weaknesses that we have been given.  Work hard to stretch yourself.  Think out of the box.  Do something for someone else.  Quit focusing on what you don't have and focus on all the positives that you do.  You become more attractive and more like the person that Mr. or Mrs. Perfect-For-You is looking for in the first place.

I guess this post is an encouragement to take an inventory of your life and how you spend your time.  Does worrying about tomorrow add a single minute to your day?  I think we all know the answer.  Does your daily use of 1440 minutes each day reflect the microcasm of character you want to exude?  Prioritize.  Get the big stones in the jar before adding some much sand that the big chunks won't fit.  When the big things are taken care of, the littler things are much easier to fill in.  What are your big things?  If I looked at your minute by minute time schedule, would I think that you are the developer of Facebook?  Would I question your commitment to Christ and easily believe your commitment to the Kardashians?  Would I think you talk like Billy Graham but act more like Alexander Graham Bell with your love of the phone?

Same amount of time in everyone's day... how are you spending yours?

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Best Blessings In Being Single

I know in the last post, I presented a side of singleness that is more spiritually focused, mentally disciplining, and just plain hard to do sometimes.  I wanted to follow up with more practically positive things about being in an single state, possibly extended beyond what you've imagined should be "fair".  Primarily for my own mental peace and as an act of disciplining my mind to focus on whatever is pure, lovely and true, I have a running list of "blessings from God in my singlehood" for a woman (or male) to ponder while living life in an unmarried state.  These may or may not appeal to you, so feel free to chime in with your own list of blessings.

1)  My time is my own to choose to do what I want to do with it
2)  I don't have to watch the hunting channel ever, if I don't want to.
3)  I don't have to share the Wii.
4)  I always get to spend every holiday season with my family without having to spend it with in-laws.
5)  I get to pick my own radio station and leave it there for as long as I want and listen to it as loud or soft as I want to.

I want to put a little caveat here... I have been told before by a married man who, honestly, has shown himself to be fairly foolish with his time and his relationships that he, in a way, envied a single person because it gave license to be totally selfish and focus on doing whatever YOU want to do.    

Let's be clear... being single does not give you license to be selfish anymore than having a pool justifies you drowning someone in it.  (How 'bout THAT analogy?)  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  Period.

6)  Spend time with friends without having to pass it by anybody else
7)  I love having more time to read and study uninterrupted by the pitter patter of little feet... or the shuffling of dusty, adult-sized Redwings across my newly mopped tile floor. :)
8)  I can make dinner consisting of what I like to eat... which might be a bowl of cereal or an apple.  Only. Or, a three course meal with friends!
9)  I think being single allows me more time to dream dreams for what I believe the Lord has for my life.
10)  I get to pray and praise outloud anytime, even if it is 2:27 AM on a week day and not worry about disturbing anyone.
11)  I get to spend more time doing ministry with and towards other families because I am not, at this time, having to take care of my own family.
12)  Singleness provides more time for preparation for the season of life that might include a spouse and possibly children.  This preparation time might include taking cooking classes, learning more about health and wellness, learning to garden or basic mending, learning and maintaining financial responsibility, picking up a new craft for bringing in household revenue later on, or spending time investing in other married couples and learning what are some big hurdles that married people go through no matter your race, culture, society, or age.
13)  Usually there is a lot of silence or quiet time where I can spend just thinking, which after talking to many married women with children, it seems like thinking without interruption is a luxury.  :)
14)  Travelling at any time, planned or unplanned, alone or with friends or family.
15) I think that periods of singleness do include times of loneliness.  However, I have had married woman after married woman tell me that loneliness is NOT specific to singles.  It is the white elephant in the living room of many married people's homes... and can actually be the cause of people leaving marriage to become single once again because their needs are not being fulfilled in the way they would like.  I choose to look at these moments, periods of loneliness, as building up my character.  A lot of times, loneliness provides an emotional impetus for me to seek out Christ more urgently, more frequently and find Him in the tightest of places and in the vast expanse of life.  It is in those moments of finding Him when no other person is around, I am changed for the better.

One of the greatest blessings the Lord has provided for me in prolonged singleness is the fact that, if and when the Lord provides a godly mate for me to do life with, I will be so grateful for our time and my season of waiting will enhance the time eventually spent together. 
"Wait on the Lord; Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord."  Psalm 27:14   
Waiting is not bad.  Unfortunately, we are culturized enough, Christians included, that we believe that waiting for any length of time at all is a punishment of sorts and immediacy is our entitlement.  This is simply not truth.  God has plenty to say to us while we are "in the waiting".  Maybe we should take this time to listen... really hear what He is saying when you're by yourself, uninterrupted, quiet.  Appreciate the silence and intimate time with Christ and realize, more than likely, there will be a time somewhere down the path you are travelling where mere seconds of uninterrupted time will seem like a Godsend.  What is He trying to tell you as a single person?  What lessons are being taught in the quiet moments of your day in possible preparation for marriage?  Can God trust you to be thankful in times that don't look exactly like you'd envisioned or prefer?  Take an inventory of your thoughts and actions and conversations... what percentage is spent on complaining over the state of your life or the lack of your preferred provision?

My mom has said this for years that in a lot of cases, NOT ALL, but a lot of cases, a depressed or unhappy person is one who is entirely too self-focused and spends time wallowing in his problems rather than helping others through theirs.  I think in many cases, this is the truth.  If we would focus on others and do what we can to serve them, our own "plight" really comes becomes the tool Christ uses to minister to others.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6
Until whenever, enjoy your singleness... use your time wisely... serve others graciously... give of yourself generously... love selflessly ... and above all, trust Christ ruthlessly.  In these things, you will become a woman who pleases the Lord and the benefactor of God's very best gifts... perhaps in a tall, dark and handsome package.  :) 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being the Best at Being Single

I know a lot of single women and I'm gonna be honest about it... there are a lot of them that are NOT happy about being single.  I am one of them sometimes.  I think we deal with "marriage MUST be better than this" thought process when you are trying to bring all the groceries up three flights of stairs after working all day to come in a find that your pooch has relieved herself on the newly cleaned carpet.  Some days, it is the "it would be so nice to always have someone to go to my office party with".  Other days, it is "honestly, I just wish I had my own personal snuggie - and we ain't talkin' about that lame blanket"!  I think we as women, probably all at one time or another suffer from "the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence" syndrome on some days.  I don't know... I am not married so I would love to hear feedback from the married readers. 

My most courageous and sober thoughts about being single help me realize that being married is not the answer to all of life's ills or problems nor does married life always consist of chocolate, flowers and back rubs for most people at all times.  In fact, at times, it compounds life's ills and problems and though flowers make an occassional appearance, so do double amount of dirty dishes, unfolded clothes, and a few too many in-laws.  :)  I am not bad mouthing marriage at all and I sincerely believe that God has us in godly marriages for sanctification and to be an example of Christ and His bride, the church.  That is kind of a weird concept on some level but such a beautiful picture when you allow your mind to envision what that looks like.  Such love and such compassion.  The lucky thing about this love and compassion is that it is available to single women in the person of Christ.  He loves us enough to give us this time of sanctification for ourselves without someone else hindering our sanctification process.  It takes a lot to get to the point where this is really what we long for, I know.  However, when it is revealed that another human, man or woman, is not the solution to your time management issues, your financial concerns, your problems with your family and your sin issues, it helps bring the right perspective to the situation. 

So, how do we embrace our singleness and enjoy this time the Lord has given us to spend with Him uninterrupted and unabridged?  How do we keep our minds and hearts engaged in the thought that minds and hearts singly engaged with Christ is just as much a gift as a godly marriage is?  How do we not fritter this precious time away waiting for the next season that may (or may not) look exactly how we want it to look?  Ladies (and gents), the solution here is contentment and focus.  And YES, it is VERY hard!!  I know it is.  I am there now and have been here for some time.  It is an act of discipline to focus on what Christ wants us to focus on and not what the world/society throws at us through a myriad of images, promotions, available goods, etc.  A few verses to help us through this...

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,"   2 Corinthians 10:5

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and haracter produces hope, 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."  Romans 5:3-5

"...Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that..."  1 Corinthians 7:28b

"And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.  But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to 'please' her husband...(my personal paraphrase:  pick up his socks on every day ending in "y", visit his mother every weekend, clean up buttery popcorn stains and vacuum up salty pretzel crumbs off the newly reupholstered couch after THE game... from him and his eight buddies... among other things that are not delineated in Scripture and usually not found out until after "I do". )   1 Corinthians 7: 34

Just a few Scriptures that can encourage us to continue to walk in faithfulness and see where this journey takes us.  It is not easy - you will never hear me say that walking the path of singleness is easy.  It is definitely hard.  It is just not too hard for you if you are currently single.  If you were to be married at this time, you would be.  If you are not, don't waste your life.  Do something constructive while you are waiting on "The One".  You really don't know how long you have left.  Don't sit around and wait for Mr. Perfect - he is not out there.  There is only a potentially Mr.-Perfect-for-you and right now, choose to serve others while being actively seeking.  Engage in hospitality of your single friends, invest in godly marriages by volunteering to babysit for their children so they have a night together uninterrupted. Go visit the elderly for a few hours on the weekends.  Go on a youth-led  mission trip.  Live life as it is supposed to be lived and maybe, just maybe, there might be someone who comes along beside you pursuing the things of the Lord that He has placed in your path.

Trust Him to do with your life the very best thing possible.  Timing is everything.  Don't ever think He has forgotten you.  You are His prize creation.  Deny yourself and follow Him with everything you have and the rest... is already taken care of.    

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Best Irony

Here is a question that will make many of you laugh out loud if you know me at all...

How in the world does anybody live without a daytimer? 

I think I might be addicted to the organization and the fact it yields me a much more organized life.  It only took 30+ years to come to this conclusion.  I think that there might be hope for me yet.  :) 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prayers for Haiti

Please join me in praying for Haiti for today has seen some massive devastation in the 7.0 earthquake. 
Lord, we ask that you be with these Haitian people as a country and as 10 million individuals living in probably the greatest nightmare they have ever imagined.  Wandering around, homeless, no clean water, no food, dirty, no loved ones within arms length in streets littered with bodies cracked and broken by this catastrophic event.  We don't presume to understand why these things happen but we pray for provision both practically, emotionally and spiritually for these people and that after all is said and done, Your name will be glorified in ways we will probably never comprehend.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

"ATTITUDE" - by Chuck Swindoll

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. 
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. 
It is more important than the past,
than education,
than money,
than circumnstances,
than failures,
than successes,
than what other people think or say or do. 
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. 
It will make or break a company... a church... a home. 
The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. 

And so it is with you...
we are in charge of our attitudes."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Best Ways to Pray for the Next Generation (Part 2)

Pray for a spirit of HOLINESS manifesting in Christ-like behavior
...1 Peter 1:16

Pray for a spirit of RELIABILITY manifesting in a depth of dependability
...1 Corinthians 4:2

Pray for a spirit of REVELATION manifesting in learning to listen
...Ephesians 1:15-18

Pray for a spirit of DENIAL manifesting in a sacrifice of surrender
...Luke 9:23

Pray for a spirit of  CONFIDENCE minfesting in a baptism of boldness
...Philippians 4:13

Pray for a spirit of INTEGRITY manifesting in quality of truthfulness
...Romans 12:17

Pray for a spirit of REPENTANCE manifesting in a willingness to change
...Luke 3:8

Pray for a spirit of TRUST manifesting in a fearless reliance
...Psalm 125:1

Pray for a spirit of SUBMISSION manifesting in choosing to yield
....Ephesians 5:21

Pray for a spirit of TEACHABILITY manifesting in a quality of meekness
...Titus 3:2

Pray for a spirit of PRAYER manifesting in a longing to wait
...Isaiah 40:31

Pray for a spirit of UNITY manifesting in a respect for others
...1 Corinthians 1:10

Pray for spirit of RESTORATION manifesting in a ministry of healing
...Isaiah 61:1,2

Pray for a spirit of AUTHORITY manifesting in a capacity to command
...Matthew 16:19

Pray for a spirit of GENEROSITY manifesting in a desire to give
...Matthew 10:8

***Taken from Dick Eastman, President - Every Home For Christ, (C) 1988

This list was originally titled "31 Ways to Pray for Our Youth".... Oh, what I would give to be prayed for in these 31 ways as an adult.  Lord, please let it be so in my life as we pray for our upcoming generation of political leaders, teachers, pastors, community builders and parents.  We need so much of these qualities in our own lives everyday.  Thank you for forgiving us for our character gaps when we don't act at all like how You want us to act.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Best Ways to Pray for the Next Generation

Pray for a spirit of REVERENCE manifesting in fear of the Lord
... Proverbs 9:10

Pray for a spirit of HUMILITY manifesting through the willingness to submit
....James 4:10

Pray for a spirit of PURITY manifesting in a desire to be clean
....Matthew 5:8

Pray for a spirit of PURPOSE manifesting in the wisdom to set goals
....Proverbs 4:25

Pray for a spirit of SIMPLICITY manifesting in an uncluttered life style
....Romans 12:8

Pray for a spirit of COMMITMENT manifesting in a dedication to "the cause"
....Joshua 24:15

Pray for a spirit of DILIGENCE manifesting in the willingness to work hard
....2 Peter 1:5

Pray for a spirit of SERVANTHOOD manifesting in the ministry of helps
....Galatians 6:9, 10

Pray for a spirit of  CONSISTENCY manifesting a quality of faithfulness
....James 1:8

Pray for a spirit of ASSURANCE manifesting it a depth of faith
....Hebrews 10:22

Pray for a spirit of AVAILABILITY manifesting in a readiness to go
..... Isaiah 6:8

Pray for a spirit of LOYALTY manifesting in a zeal for fidelity
.... Ruth 1:16

Pray for a spirit of SENSITIVITY manifesting in openness of heart
.... Luke 10:30-37

Pray for a spirit of COMPASSION manifesting in love in action
....Mark 8:1-2

Pray for a spirit of TENDERNESS manifesting in a willingness to weep
....2 Kings 22:19

Pray for a spirit of MATURITY manifesting in the capacity to grow
....Hebrews 5:12-14

***Taken from Dick Eastman, President - Every Home For Christ, (C) 1988

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Best Fiction

I am a big reader and let it be on record that I think I have identified the best work of fiction that I have read in as long as I can remember...

Redeeming Love
By Francine Rivers

Ladies (and gents), this book is one for the ages!  I know I am dramatic but I have read this book twice and I can't wait to read it once again.  It is one of the most powerful books I have read in that it will bring out emotions that no other fiction book has brought out in me... awe, sympathy, compassion, anticipation, disappointment, optimism, trust, and gratefulness.  It is amazing and one I would recommend to either male of female but it is a HOME RUN with every female that I know has read it. 

It is the fictional story depicting the book of Hosea that takes place in California's gold country around 1850.  It is a story of redemption and selfless love of God that changes lives in the most powerful ways.  I can't say enough about it.  A must read for anyone who likes to read fiction, spiritual books, historical books, love stories, or just interested in seeing how in the world God can take a prostitute and all the baggage that comes with that and changing her from the inside out through the love of a good Man. 

I don't want you to think it is your typical romance because it is far more than that... it is the story of a wandering soul.  A soul like mine that wanders from place to place looking for something that can only be filled by One thing.  A soul that knows deep down that it can never be more than it really is... a dysfunctional and dirty blemish amidst a myriad of pitiful, self-seeking, love starved stains on the garment of Christ.  And yet, there He is... wearing our sin and then washing it away.  A soul maybe like yours who knows there is more but doesn't want to find it there.  A soul that looks under every rock, behind every door, around every corner, in every person, at the bottoms of every bottle, and at the top of every heap always searching for that Thing that will fulfill.  

You will keep looking until you find Him.  

And when you do, He will fill you to the depths that you never knew you had and your cup will be running over.  It's joy, it's safety, it's faithfulness, it's beauty, it's love... nothing can compare.  In this book, we see her learn this life changing truth through the depths of despair to the heights of joy and everywhere in between.

You won't be able to put it down ... and He's not gonna let you leave without teaching you something powerful about Him.     

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who's the Best: A Study in Comparisons

I just heard a sermon recently that focused on comparisons of ourselves to others versus comparisons of ourselves to Christ.  John Piper was quoted as saying to always compare yourself to Christ first because it will humble you as there is a vast distance between you and the great God we serve.  Then, upon realizing our rightful place in comparison to the King of Kings, it allows us to view others as greater than ourselves rather than finding areas in which we find ourselves "blowing out" the competition whether than be in physical appearance, talent levels, personality characteristics, knowledge and wisdom, academic excellence, or spiritual maturity.  It serves us well to remember Who the standard is... and it is not us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top 5 Worst Places to "Travel" (..Again, IMHO)

Not to complain, but there are some places that are just not fun to go... I actually can't stand doing them.  I would rather eat chocolate ice cream than go to these places... and if you know me at all, THAT is saying something!!  Among those are:

The Doctor
(and certain ones are worse than others!)
(typically unpleasant, wouldn't you say?)
(good people, but bad experiences keep happening there)
L  o  n  g, d r a w n out, emotional discussions that don't solve anything
(Oh, for the love...)
Grocery Shopping!
(The WORST kind of shopping!!!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Top 5 Best Places to Travel (...In My Humble Opinion, of course)

I love to travel!  It is such a great opportunity of living in this day and age to be able to travel for relatively fair prices with such ease and accessibility generally speaking... I have been blessed to take time away and travel to many different places - some for school, some for vacation, some for spiritual purposes, some for work.

My Top 5 Travel Destinations are:
(in reverse order)

Alaska, US
(I prefer by cruise, if I get to choose)
Vancouver, Canada
(Lake Louise is worth the trip itself)
Paris, France
(Try to time with the Bastille Day Parade through the city)
Hvar, Croatia
(surprisingly beautiful and not at all like I envisioned)
Ambergris Caye, Belize
(Yep... sweating it out for Jesus in Central American resort)

I have also been to 37-38 states and I love seeing new parts of the country where I live and love but there is something about leaving American soil and seeing the rest of the world... maybe it is the fact that when I finish seeing international beauty and culture, I get to come back to the greatest country on earth!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Seven Best Practices of an Effective Woman

1. She rises early.

2. She maintains the spiritual disciplines.

3. She focuses on relational priorities for every season.

4. She sets up regular times for planning.

5. She develops an effective to-do list system and calendar/planner system.

6. She establishes an efficient routine for managing her home.

7. She organizes her house systematically.

I found this random list that I had written down and stuck in a notebook and I don't know the original source of this list compilation.  It is one which I need so much work on!  Wow... unfortunately, I could get stuck on number 1.  I thought this was an excellent list to get us thinking about starting the new year off right as the best and most effective woman.  Good luck!  

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wisdom in Doing Your Best

Here are a few quotes about doing your best and becoming all you can be and what the Bible has to say on the subject of doing your best:

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.
The good news is that you don't know how great you can be!
How much you can love! What you can accomplish!
And what your potential is! --Anne Frank

God does not judge us by the multitude of works we perform, but how well we do the work that is ours to do. The happiness of too many days is often destroyed by trying to accomplish too much in one day. We would do well to follow a common rule for our daily lives--


Go out and change the world. The more you study, the more you should have
A GOAL you should be pursuing;
A DREAM your should be launching

A PLAN you should be executing;
A PROJECT you should be starting;

A POSSIBILITY you should be exploring;
An OPPORTUNITY you should be grabbing;
An IDEA you should be working;
A PROBLEM you should be tackling;
A DECISION you should be making.
~ Anonymous

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.--Les Brown

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."--Erma Bombeck

People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered (including me).

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down

by the littlest people with the littlest ideas.

Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them.

Help them anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth.

Give the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway. -Kent M. Keith

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men. --Colossians 3:23

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who handles the word of truth. --2 Timothy 2:15

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The BEST...

... is the theme for this month of NaBloPoMo. I tried to do this in November but so many things came up entering into the holiday season, I fell short of posting an entry everyday. I am going to try again to get at least something little up each day in January and I am going to try to stick to the theme as much as I can. However, you know me... there could be some pretty big stretches.

So relax, sit back and enjoy the month of "Best" entries.

It should be fun and informative.... among other things, for sure.

I can't wait to see what I will write.

Suggestions about the theme "BEST"??? Feel free to comment and share ideas of what you would like to see this month.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best is Yet To Come

Do you remember that 10 years and one day ago, we were waiting for "the worst". The worst power outage in the history. The worst power outage that would potentially send the hospitalized into a premature death, allow unfiltered water to pass through our lips, dictate that banks lose all control of our bank accounts (mine most particularly) and our frozen Blue Bell Moolenium Crunch would become puddles of yum and ruin the hardwoods.

So what did we do? We prepared. We bought food, lanterns, batteries, dug a well, got every kind of tape imaginable, bought storage shelves for the garage, determined worst case scenarios and how we would deal with them, and took protective measures against "the worst".

We stopped just short, not by much, I might add, of hoarding and boarding up toilet paper in case of looters struck with IBS.
And then... the worst happened.

Y2K came....

....like a soft breeze in the quiet night.

No fanfare of disaster... in fact, the sick were eventually healed, we drank the tap water, Bank of America still has my accounts in order (maybe better than I do) and heaven knows we've eaten through more than a half gallon of Blue Bell in this decade.

And, shockingly, the looters never came and we are still using the same stash of toilet paper lined up in the garage on storage shelves. The problem now is, after 10 years of storage in the garage, quality has become an issue. Can you say thin and scratchy? Plus, who wants to use 10 year old toilet paper?

My point, and I do have one, is that there are things that we fear that may happen in the future but does not add a single moment to our lives. As my mom has always told us, the things we insist on worrying about, normally never happen and if they do they are never as good or as bad as we anticipate them to be.

She's a smart woman. (I hope I have picked up even a hairs breadth of her wisdom being her daughter. One should be so blessed.)

So to begin the new decade, I anticipate so many things. I hope that some of them happen. I hope that some of them don't. I believe that some of them will and some of them will not. I also trust that the things I want most in the world, will not be as good as I envision them being. I am thankful that the things I fear worst in this world, will never be as bad.

For I know the plans I have for you,
declares the LORD,
plans for wholeness and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
He was there at the beginning and He has planned out the end and here in the middle, He is orchestrating amazing things in each life He created to bring Him glory and to demonstrate His great love for us. He knows we are short-sighted and still He forgives and loves us in spite of ourselves. He sings over us as we sleep and He is prepared for the future He will bring us to and through.
As humans, we prepared for a power outage by finding items and/or procedures needed to meet our basic needs like food and water and shelter, we knew routes to take us to healthcare and how we would get there, we knew who would be there with us and we knew that we would not ever be alone.
Look at the birds of the air,
do they not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet
your heavenly father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
He cares infinitely more for us than we could ever care for ourselves and yet we still worry. Save yourself the time and energy and pour that extra into a life God has envisioned for you. It is way better than things that may or may not even happen. Take it from Mom...
Trust and believe...
the best is yet to come.