Sunday, December 30, 2007

Necessary Decompression

Christmas is always a busy time for most folks. Our family also celebrated a wedding. So after Midnight Mass, Christmas Tea, and lots of out of town guests...we had a wedding.

The bride and groom above are preparing for a ministry over in Africa this summer. We are all very excited for them!

But now that our holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus, and wedding parties are over, we slept through church. We hadn't planned to. We all planned to get up and go in as usual on a Sunday morning.

Sometimes, your body just gives out. Sometimes you just have to listen inside to the sound of your own heart and the sluggish response of your system. That is why God gave us one day a week to pull out of the rat race. He knew way ahead of time that we couldn't keep going full speed without time to regroup.

As I lay on my pillow this morning, I realized I needed to honor the gift of my body. I needed to refuel just like my car. I was out of gas;-)

So today, I am letting myself sit and reflect on all the parties and events from the last week. I'm also looking ahead to the future. I'm doing it with a recognition that a new part of life has started for my son, his wife, and our family. Soon there will be grandchildren and our other kids will marry.

But for now, I get to decompress by reflecting on all that has happened in such a short time.

Take some time to reflect on your last week. That time allows your mind to file away everything that needs to be stored. Without reflection, you stay too wired emotionally. It's like leaving live wires exposed until they spark a fire. Emotional fires just aren't worth the damage.

Reflection allows decompression for your emotions. A very important factor for learning to rest. It's a great way to prevent an emotional flare up at a time when you want peace and love to surround your family.

So honor the gift God gave you. Get a little bit of private time to rest by reflecting.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

How do friends help you rest?

Today while Christmas shopping, a long time friend called to say she was in town. Man, was I excited! And tired! I was in the mall with my step-mom, had been all afternoon, when my friend called.

Both of us were getting pretty worn out and thirsty.

Janet happened to be visiting from out of state and stopped to eat at a restaurant in the mall. How cool is that?

Somehow, in seeing someone I missed, I walked out of the restaurant completely refreshed. My step was lighter, my heart felt giddy. I'd just had a couple of hours of respite from the rest of my stresses. In fact, there wasn't enough time to visit before she had to go on for all the others that wanted to see her. I felt so selfish wanting to keep her with me.

Even that little bit of time rested my mind. I'm so much more relaxed.

If you haven't taken time lately for your friends, find a way to work them into your schedule. Time may pressure you, but the load is lighter when you giggle and share life with someone who cares.

A great gift too, time. :-)

PS You can visit me over at for my daily blog.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Relaxing into Laughter

Life is so busy for everyone these days. We run, run, run from one appointment to the next. We race to work, through work, and to all our errands after work. Then we rush through dinner and off to whatever activity or commitment we have that night.

I once was told that I had an addiction to adrenaline. Huh? Turns out I must have because I raced around so fast no one could keep up. I was constantly on auto speed mode. I worked full time plus extra shifts regularly. I thought I was just doing what had to be done.

After recognizing that work-a-holism isn't necessarily more productive, I had to decide how I wanted to live. I didn't want to spend all my time on work.

It became important to me to decompress. I didn't know how. I only knew one speed-ultra fast, full force. What could I do?

I also realized I hadn't laughed in an unknown amount of time. What happened to that happy, laughing girl I had once been?

I needed a richer life, not a busier life. Something I think others might need too.

Any change is hard. The best way isn't always cold turkey. Consider baby steps to learning how relaxation can fit into your life. For me, it was wishing I could laugh again. One step at a time. I began going to movies that I wanted to see. I literally snuck away from everything. I went by myself.

Alone? Go to a movie alone? Yep! For me, this is an awesome way to unwind. I don't have to worry about being heckled for tears at a sad spot or bugged if I hide my eyes. I don't worry about if someone else wants to see it. I also don't worry about how to fit anyone else's schedule around mine.

One of the most fun things I do now to relax is play hooky from everyone else! I love sneaking off to see some movie I want to see without anyone knowing. It's part of the fun:-)

I've learned one thing. I relax, laugh, and sometimes hilariously get caught by a friend or family member. When I do, I "swear" them to secrecy with a wink. Each time, the person has smiled and enjoyed joining in on my secret.

I'm sure there are a lot more people in my hometown that are "in" on my secret than are not by now, but I've learned that laughter is something I need to make sure is in my life. Going to a movie, my first baby-step, was a leap into a new me that I like a lot better. I am able to find new and more varied ways now, but it all started with a matinee.

Do you feel all tensed up? What about cramped shoulders and neck? How long since you've really laughed? Do you get accused of being too serious or working too much? Hmmm, is it time to consider some alternatives?

Try it, just once. Go to a movie YOU want to see. Go with the idea in mind that you are going to enjoy private time. (You don't need anyone else to enjoy private time) :-D

Please visit me over at my daily blog

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Spirit of Giving

I've never been famous, but I have had the opportunity to observe growing fortunes and draw some conclusions:

Wealth accentuates a person's weaknesses -- I know many say that money changes people, and that's true, but not to the degree that I think people believe it's true. But wealth does accentuate a person's core weakness: money is the tool that allows them to give in to their selfishness, misplaced ambitions, idiosyncrasies, (it also allows the opportunity to highlight their strengths…but who pays attention to that. ;0 ).

Which brings up point 2: Nobody cares what the poor man does. If he is condescending and rude we chalk it up to personality flaws and dismiss him, but it's hard to dismiss a wealthy person. By virtue of their fortune we give them our attention. Yet though they have our attention, our attitude toward them changes as their wealth increases. And this was the most surprising observation I made.

Point 3: The perceived wealth of one individual changed the attitude of the surrounding friends before it wrought change upon the wealth holder. The rich person's intimidating zip code ended friendships without any other instigation, his good suggestions were tolerated (whereas before they'd been eagerly considered), and the financial help offered was received with a sense of "entitlement". People were no longer as grateful for his kindness...because many believe that a gift from a wealthy person doesn't really cost the giver that much.

This last point is worth dwelling on as we enter the Christmas season: "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."(Emphasis, mine.) And even though God owns the cattle on every hill, the gift of His son cost the Giver more than we will ever understand.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Tree Day

Today our family introduced our Japanese exchange son to the tradition of putting up the Christmas Tree. We went to an old tree farm here in town. Chose, cut, and brought home our chosen beauty.

It is really fun looking at our traditions through the eyes of someone who has no idea why we do them. Things we take for granted like is it always a pine you decorate or the simple act of hanging ornaments.

Having someone who doesn't know-and asks questions-really reminds us not only why we do things, but helps us examine our reasons for some of the traditions we do as a family.

The most restful time for me though, is sitting by the tree with all the house lights off and all the tree lights on. There is this sense of fullness, peace, and awe. For the next few weeks, I will find reasons to send everyone off to bed so I can sit by the shining tree all by myself.

I'll rest there, safe in the waiting of Advent. I'll ponder the future and past. I'll wonder what God has in store for me, my family, my friends. I'll anticipate, dream, set future hopes.

Advent-a time of anticipation. Anticipation is an excited waiting and expectation. The beauty of it is that you cannot DO anything, but wait. Slow down, anticipate, and hope with a sense of awe.

Somehow, that is a glorious way to rest in this rushing, racing, roaring world. Do you think that a few times this season, you could settle in to anticipate the Lord by your tree?

Twinkle little lights, imitate the sky, point my heart to the true hope of the world.

Visit me over at my daily blog too:-)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Wanna Play?

I'll give you the first line; you give me the title and author. Ready?

I'll start with the easiest one in the history of good first lines, but after that, I'm going to make you pay attention.

1. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

Okay, now let's get serious! No more freebies!

2. "As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where there was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream."

3. "How dreadfully old I am getting! Sixteen! Well, I don't see as I can help it." 
(If you need help with this one, visit my blog. This is my favorite book. It's one of those books women should read once a year, and men should read to understand women.)

4. "Lee Chong's grocery, while not a model of neatness, was a miracle of supply."

5. "In an old house in Paris that was coved with vines,
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines."

Bonus question: (If you get this one, I will give you serious kudos! I only know about five people who have actually heard of this book. But it was written by one of the greatest [and most famous] Christian writers of all time. Fell in love with it in high school.)

Bonus: "I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods."

Have a great weekend thinking up your own history-making first lines. :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

What's Your Mission?

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On this Mission Impossible Monday, what are your thoughts centered on?
Do you have a mission?
Sometimes we get caught up in all the things we need to do, especially at this time of year.
Christmas cards, Christmas shopping, parties to go to, places to visit, people to can get overwhelming.
Even more so if you're already struggling to get through hard circumstances, or just get through today.
I really treasure the verse 'I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.' Phillippians 4:11
I love the book of Phillippians - what encouraging words we have to hold to when things seem to be unraveling!
How wonderful that He didn't say we can do a couple of things, or some things. He tells us we can do ALL things!

As writers, we're often on an up and down course that sometimes seems never-ending. When rejections come,
it's hard not to be discouraged. When good news comes, we ride the waves with glee.
One thing I've learned over the years is perseverence. Don't give up! You have a dream, stick with it and follow
it wherever it leads you. But only if you know for sure it's God's dream for you too. If it's not His best, then I suspect
you may find it slipping out of reach. But if you keep your thoughts focussed on Him, I know you'll hear HIs voice and
be able to discern His will for you.
I pray today, whatever your mission is, you will give it over to God.
As we go into the Christmas season, remember the Reason.
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He came to us in the flesh. He came to set us free.
Through Him we can do ALL things.