Friday, September 27, 2013

A Forest of God’s Promises

I often think about how much energy, time and moments I throw away by being concerned with things which don’t really matter. Like when I over identify with negative feelings… or I allow my bad, fat feelings to diminish me… or when I am sweating the small stuff… or when I make a mountain out of a mole hill. Yeah, those things tend to taint my perspective long enough to waste and squander precious time; not to mention, my self-worth.

Once I snap out of focusing on those things which don’t really matter, I feel a little silly because I know better. I know the enemy plants those little seeds and sometimes I choose to water them until they grow into oak trees.

There are other seedlings that I could choose to water… the ones that God plants. Like the seedling of being His child… the seedling that I am forgiven… the seedling that I am beautifully and wonderfully made… the seedling that He has plans to prosper me and give me hope and a future… the seedling that I am loved. What if those seedlings were watered into a forest of giant oak trees? I bet the enemy would have a difficult time finding ways to hurt me if I was protected by a forest of God’s promises.

I also wonder how silly and sad I will feel when I get to heaven… if I will even have the capacity to feel those feelings there. When I reach heaven I will see how much I wasted on those things which don’t really matter.

An eternal perspective brings everything into focus. With an eternal perspective I can see through the enemy’s forest of lies and choose to water God’s seedlings of truth. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Moment at Dunkin’ Donuts

Once a week my son and I go for a breakfast date before school. It breaks up the week and gives up something to look forward to. We switch between Dunkin’ Donuts (his choice) and Einstein Bagels (my choice). Well, one morning my son was adamant about his choice. So, I compromised and we went to Dunkin’ Donuts. Oh, darn!

When we walked up to the door there was a homeless man sitting out front with a cup of coffee. I nodded and smiled as we walked by. My son and I walked inside, ordered our breakfast, and sat down. I quietly spoke to my son about the man sitting outside. I pointed out how I knew he was homeless and stated the facts that lead me to that conclusion.

I asked my son if he felt comfortable giving him money. My son said he didn’t feel comfortable approaching him, but he did feel like we should do something for him so that he can have a meal. As we are whispering this conversation, a lady walked up to the man and gave him money. Then, a few minutes later another woman brought him a breakfast sandwich. I made sure my son was aware of what was going on… so many people giving and pouring blessings on this man.  

When it came time to leave, we decided that we would tuck money into this man’s shopping cart as we walked back by. We decided, sometimes an anonymous gift is better anyways! I could tell my son was a little nervous to do this… but I encouraged him to do so anyways. I was proud of him for being out of his comfort zone for the benefit of another person.

We have about a ten minute drive to school from this location. The entire drive we spoke about that man’s life, how we are called to help and love others regardless of who they are, how we are given much therefore much is expected of us, and we talked about how God’s word says “…whatever you do for the least of these… you do for me”. We talked about how we don’t know what he will do with the money and how that’s not our business… we are called to only give… not to question.

My son wanted to know if it was appropriate to offer that man to come live with us. Oh, how I love this child’s heart!!! I had to tell him to do so could put us in harm because we don’t know if he has the capacity to be dangerous. I followed with… if he has a heart for reaching the homeless; there are resources we could use to help them… such as homeless shelters.

At the end of our drive to school, I told my son that I didn’t think it was an accident that we went to that location for breakfast… I didn’t think it was an accident that we were placed there to help that man… I didn’t think it was an accident that God worked through us on this very morning. 

We were given a gift of a moment… you know, those moments I often talk about? Those moments where I get to teach my son about being a child of God. I love how those moments arrive at the most random of times and places… like on a school morning at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Confession Wednesday

Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

My goal is to spread love and encouragement and a touch of humor on Facebook. As you are well aware, some people’s goal is the exact opposite… bless their hearts! But I take my goal to the extreme. I want to comment on and like everyone’s posts because I don’t want them feeling badly if I ignored them or over-looked what they had to say. If you post it on Facebook then it must be important enough to you… after all, it is what you are sharing with the world. And, if it is important enough to you then it is important enough to me as well! Think of it as a Facebook support system!  
I do think we have the ability to reach people in a way we never have before. We can share our thoughts, our moments, our ideas, our theories, our beliefs with hundreds of people all with the click of a button. Our posts are our stories to the world.
 What story are you trying to share?
 So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

I share my story through social media… I am trying to make it a loving, encouraging, and positive story. I am welcoming you to my world… it is a blessed place to be! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bad, Fat Feelings

I had a fat morning… you know the kind… when you put your pants on and you can barely zip them. Once you do finally wiggle inside them and do a couple of squats to zip them… your muffin top explodes over the waistband. If you have no idea what I’m talking about… then I am probably going to have to reconsider our friendship!
I changed out of my muffin top pants and put on a comfier, looser pair. I wish my attitude was changed just as quickly.
So, my fat morning left me feeling… well… fat. That feeling left me feeling diminished. That feeling left me feeling not worthy. That feeling left me feeling sad. It was an avalanche of bad, fat feelings. I allowed those negative feelings to define who I am. I believed the lie that was reflecting in the mirror and, in turn, I reflected those feelings on the world around me. This avalanche snowballed for about an hour. 
In that hour… I made some mistakes that I am not proud of. Before we left for school, I yelled at my son. I am not a yeller! Once we got to school, I yelled at a student; although he was clearly in the wrong, I had no right to do that!  I was spewing my bad, fat feelings on those around me. Bad, fat feelings are like a virus… they infect others... if we let them! 
After realizing what was going on, I attempted to make amends. I apologized to my son before he went to class. I snuck in to the lunch room to apologize to him there as well. My son lectured me for carrying that burden around with me all morning long. I found the student I yelled at and asked for his forgiveness too. They both accepted my apologies… they gave me grace.

I thought about how I acted out my feelings. I prayed for God to meet me in this place. I was reminded that I am not perfect, I am forgiven, and that I am beautiful because I am God’s child… not if and when my pants fit… I am all of these things NOW… even with my exploding muffin top. I scared away those bad, fat feelings with my big, fat faith in God. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Confession Wednesday

Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

There are moments in my life that I thought I was made for great things. Of course those great things involve fame and fortune. I thought about how I would handle interviews and what I’d wear on the red carpet. What can I say?! I am a creative person and I have an active imagination. Those moments are fleeting and rare now days because I have settled into my purpose and my place in life. I feel like I have arrived at the point that I was made to arrive. I may not have the fame, but I do have the fortune of being blessed with wonderful friends and family… and to them… I am kind of a big deal!

My red carpet walking daydreams are over. But, God does have a sense of humor… so, He gave me a different kind of red carpet. This red carpet is an actual 3 feet by 2 feet red carpet in my son’s bedroom. This red carpet has taught me a lot… so much more than a red carpet walk would have ever taught me.

My son loves to leave Lego’s out that are a “work in progress”. In order to keep his mess… oh, I mean “work in progress”… in a contained area, I gave him a red carpet in his bedroom. My rule is if it fits and stays on the red carpet then he can leave it out. If it is off the red carpet then I might spontaneously decide to vacuum his bedroom. It’s a pretty good system. It has worked for about 5 years now.

This actual red carpet has taught me:

1. I don’t have to force my neurotic organizing onto my child.
2. I too can have a “work in progress” pile.
3. Not all red carpets are meant for walking.

I have sat around that red carpet with him for many hours allowing him to show me his latest creations and helping him dig for a specific Lego pieces that he can’t find… which is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I admit, I’ve also sat there and tried to organize for him… my efforts never last long. That is his space and I am learning to respect it.  

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

My purpose is not to walk down a red carpet, but to sit around an actual 3feet by 2feet red carpet. I am making a much bigger impact on the world by investing in a sit down than I ever would with a walk down. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Honor Roll

My son and I both had a hard time waking up on this Monday morning. So, we were running late to begin with. Then, he started a conversation that I knew was an opportunity for me to teach… so we spent an extra 10 minutes talking. Was I late to work? Yes. Does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? No.  What really matters is that when a moment knocked, I answered.

I could have said, “We are running late. We’ll talk about this later.” Or…“We are running late. Eat your breakfast.” I have learned a thing or two about moments… they are meant for now… not later. Moments are meant for catching and cherishing… not putting off for later… that “later” may never arrive. These moments are the right moments.

The conversation was about honor roll at school. He said he worries about that a lot and said how important it is to him to be on honor roll. He also shared that in his mind if he is not on honor roll then he did not pass that quarter perfectly. He went on to say that his friends get on honor roll and he wants that too. I listened. I heard what he was saying. I repeated it back to him so he knew I understood. Then I told him…

Because he has ADHD he has to work 3 times as hard as all of his friends. The fact that he gets A’s and B’s is remarkable! And, I bet those A’s and B’s come a lot easier to his friends. So, he must be 3 times as smart as them. And, anyways… there will never be another Shelton in the world; therefore, he cannot compare himself to anyone… EVER! To do so is not an equal comparison.  

We do not expect him to be perfect. Nobody is perfect! We expect him to be good enough and to do his personal best.

His job in this world is not to get on honor roll. His job IS to bring glory to God.

He is not defined by his grades or by honor roll. He IS defined by being God’s child.

When he arrives in heaven, God is not going to say, ““Well done, good and faithful servant! Way to get on honor roll in the 5th grade.” Nope! He is going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have lived your life to bring me honor and glory! You have love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. You have also loved your neighbor as yourself.”

When we were done talking he said, “Why haven’t you told me all of that before?”  I questioned why he asked that… "Was it because it helped?" He said, “Yes!” My answer was, “I didn’t know you needed to hear it! I didn’t know how important it was to you.” I suppose that was a good reply. But, now that I’ve thought about it further… I think another reason I haven’t told him that until now was because it hadn’t been the right moment until now. He wasn’t fully ready to hear it until now. He couldn’t fully process the reality of all of those words until now. I had to wait until the moment was right.

What is your “honor roll”? What are you worrying about that doesn’t really matter in terms of an eternal life? Is it to lose ten pounds? Is it the approval of others? Is it how many people “like” your post on Facebook? Is it how many followers you have on Twitter?

We all have battles that rage inside us. These battles tell us lies that we believe. Like… you must be on honor roll. We have a choice in what to believe. Do you believe the lies of the world? Or do you believe the truth that is found in God’s Word and promises? As for me and my family… we choose the truth.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Confession Wednesday

Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

My husband and I have very different perspectives on money. I would spend every last cent on I have on life experiences and gifts for others.  My husband, other the other hand, is a “saver”… he is frugal and prefers to save his money rather than spend it. We definitely live beneath our means. I see money as a renewable source… he sees it as a dwindling resource.

After 19 years of living my life along side this man… he is starting to rub off on the way I handle money. His rubbing off on me wasn’t just over night. Nope! It was gradual!

I’d like to think I’m rubbing off on him too. We balance each other in all aspects of life.

If you have a spouse like mine… then you need to be aware of the warning signs that you too might be turning into a “saver”. Here are some of the symptoms I have displayed …

Instead of buying a cute new pitcher for your tea and lemonade you reuse plastic juice containers as pitchers.

Instead of buying a paint palette for your crafting needs you reuse egg cartons as paint palettes.

Instead of buying little travel sized containers for your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash you reuse empty water bottles.

Instead of buying a bag or two of ice you refill plastic bottles and juice containers with water and freeze them to help chill things in your cooler or ice chest.

Instead of paying your hair dresser to color your hair you color your own hair at home.

Instead of buying a new sun visor for your new Lexus you use chip clips to keep the old sun visor up in the windshield… even though it doesn’t fit and it is like a fat man wearing a half shirt. (I did end up buying a new one when my dear friend made fun of me! She shamed me into it!)

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…

I think I need an intervention! I am becoming a “saver” like my husband!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Red Light, Green Light… continued

 My son had an appointment across town this morning. The only way there was to drive through the surface streets.  At first I thought it was unfortunate that we had to drive in rush hour… then, I saw it for blessing it was because it gave me a chance to talk with my son about my most recent  Red Light, Green Light  blog.

I told him what my blog was about. I explained the rules of the game and asked him to play with me. As we approached a red traffic light I said, “Okay… first person who pops into your mind.” He’d give me a name and we’d pray aloud for that person. I would say, “Ooohhh… good name!” He would say, “Ooohhh… good prayer!” He even prayed one of the red traffic light prayers. Beautifully so, I might add!

Instead of dreading the red lights… I looked forward to each one of them… I even started hoping we would hit more red lights. The fellow drivers on the road probably would not have appreciated that hope.

Not only did we enjoy this new game but, I was given another chance to teach my son to think about others. I was allowed another opportunity to teach my son about prayer. I was presented another one of those small moments that life is made of.

The moment knocked and I answered with a game of “Red Light, Green Light”! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Red Light, Green Light

Do you remember playing the game “Red Light, Green Light” when you were younger? Our goal was to be the first one to get to the person calling the colors… that was our destination. We ran so fast when “green light” was called. Then, we stopped and froze in place when “red light” was called. But, if you moved during the “red light” mode then you were out of the game.

You know… childhood games had a lot of life’s lessons embedded in them.

The life lesson about “Red Light, Green Light” came to me while driving one day. This lesson transfers literally!  

Just like the game… the traffic light turns green and we all go. Then, the traffic light turns red and we stop… or we are supposed to stop and freeze… except I didn’t used to freeze in place at the red light. Whenever I would stop at a red light, I would check my phone…  text, facebook, email, etc. Once the traffic light turned green, I would put my phone down and go. The cycle continued until I reach my destination. I should have been out of the game. I was cheating at “Red Light, Green Light”, really.

A red traffic light is a moment to just be… stop, breath, relax, and be still… frozen in place. Just like the game. 

So, now when I come to a red traffic light I pray for someone. I say a red traffic light prayer for whoever pops into my mind first. Then, when the traffic light turns green… I go. The cycle continues until I reach my destination. I think I am winning the game now.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Confession Wednesday

Welcome to Confession Wednesday! I believe that sometimes admitting our behaviors is the first step in correcting them…or laughing at them…either way…here’s what I am confessing to this week:

Just like everyone else, I struggle to keep balance in my life. But, lately I have been in a groove. My relationship with God has never been better. My marriage is wonderful. My son just accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. My friends are amazing. My school year is going great. All the way around… I am in such a good place!

There was a time in my life when I’d suppress my joy because I was worried about what could and would come along to steal my joy… what could and would come along to knock me off balance. Not anymore. Now, I just soak in the joy. Now, I just allow myself to feel the joy all the way down to my core. When I feel it that deep… I start to cry joyful tears.

So, here’s my confession for this Wednesday…
I am in such a good place that I have started high-fiving God!  I say “Whoooo! High-five, God!” and smack my hand in the air. I imagine God high-fiving me back and fist pumping with enthusiasm!