Word of the Year

Standard

Last year a friend challenged me to pick a word for the year. I used The Word of the Year app that asked me a few questions then gave me a word. My word for 2019 was DELIGHT. To delight in 2019, definitely took work. I had emergency gall bladder surgery. I went back to work full time after being a stay-at-home mom for 18 years. I have 3 teenagers. My oldest went off to college at UC San Diego. Life happened. It does to all of us. Delighting was a choice I made some days but ignored other days. I put the word in my calendar to remind me every day to choose to delight. Delight in the small things. Delight in big things. Delight in the Lord. I am glad I had delight last year. I needed the reminder while life happened.

This year I used the app again but had already come across a word that I wanted. I did the app twice and got two other words. After a few days of sitting with the 3 options, I went with the first one – RISE.

Rise above it. Rise in the morning with a good attitude. Rise and walk – move more this year – be less sedentary. Rise to the occasion and excel. Rise above the level of “good enough.” Rise in the strength of Jesus Christ. Rise up to the be woman God has created me to be. Be my best self in the power of Christ. This is my new word for 2020.

If you have never done this before, try it. It’s not magic. You aren’t choosing a word that has any power in and of itself. It’s a word to remind you. Daily you can be challenged to

DELIGHT or

RISE or

BLOOM or

STAND or

GATHER or

It’s a way to be intentional this year about one thing. You decide what that one thing is. For me, I will rise.

What is your word? Please share your word in the comment section. I’d love to know.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. Happy New Year!

Amazing Possibilities

Standard

In Best Advent Ever by Matthew Kelly, he challenged us to look at our circumstances differently. When Joseph found out his wife-to-be, Mary, was pregnant he planned to divorce her quietly. In that era, he could have had her stoned to death. His plan was a kind plan. Then God steps in, “I have an amazing possibility for you Joseph.” Joseph said yes to God’s plan.

God is speaking to us daily about amazing possibilities. He speaks to us through our circumstances – disappointments, joy, sadness, tears, happiness. All of these feelings can lead to a new amazing possibility if we look at it differently. I personally like to sit in my feelings longer than I should. If I stay in them, I don’t have to act or move beyond them. However, if I see them as possibilities, I can not only move beyond them but create a new path in my life.

Fear is what keeps me in the emotions. Emotions are safe. They don’t require action even though they often prompt action. Do I say in the safety of feeling sad or disappointed or do I ask God to show me how these emotions can prompt me to try something new, make a change or just lean on Him more? Joseph got to care for and raise God’s son on earth. That’s a huge amazing possibility that he could have missed if he let fear reign.

Matthew Kelly ends his video with these words:

What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? What fear is God calling you to step over this Sunday so you can step into your potential, so you can step into the amazing possibilities that he has created you for time?

As we approach the end of 2019, reflect on how God has shown you amazing possibilities. Did you embrace any of them? Will you now? If you are sitting in big emotions, positive or negative, what is God saying to you in those emotions? Look for the amazing possibilities. This Christmas is a reminder of the most amazing possibility we have before us – loving Jesus.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Crunch Week

Standard

This is crunch week for everyone. High schools and some colleges are in finals week this week. Also, it’s the last full week to shop for Christmas gifts.. Decorations need to be finalized, if they aren’t already. We have our tree decorated with lights but no ornaments. The outside of the house has lights and the other decor is up around the house. Last step, the tree. We will get there soon. How can we handle this crunch week? How can we prevent ourselves from being smooshed?

If you are a student and it’s finals week, you got this. Take time to eat well and get sleep. All nighters to study only make you tired not smarter. Parents of students – lots of love, patience and understanding is what they need this week. If they don’t know it by now, they aren’t going to improve that much in time for finals. No need for parental guilt and “I told you so.” A conversation about being more organized next semester (have this after Christmas) would be a better plan.

Still shopping? I’m done.  Woohoo! I still need to wrap but spending money is done. Whew! If you are at the malls or Target, smile. Make it a point to smile at everyone. The clerk in the store, the frazzled mom with a toddler, the dad sitting by the dressing room waiting for his daughter to try on another outfit and even the grumpy lady behind you in line. Don’t be part of the harried group. Set yourself apart. Stop by the Christmas displays around the store to smells the trees and admire the decorations. Soak in the atmosphere of beauty not the one of frustration. Both options are in the mall this time of year. Choose the good one.

The key is not be rushed. If you end up with a gift card for your sister, it’s OK. Make a homemade card filled with childhood memories to wrap it in. If you forget someone on your list, that’s OK too. Plan a meal together in the New Year – your treat. Take time to sit at the manger. How you may ask? Sip tea and listen to Christmas carols about Jesus and Bethlehem. Cozy up with loved ones and watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” that shares about the true meaning of Christmas. Step outside at sunrise or sunset and thank God for His many provisions in your life.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

 

 

Tis the Season

Standard

For Christmas parties. For decorating our homes. For gift giving. For arguing. For stress. For dealing with tough relationships. For denial. For …

Christmas brings out the best and worst in us. This season, let it bring out only the best. It is a choice we can make. I have spent the last several years cutting out the “shoulds” in my life. I should go to the PTA meeting. I should spend time with that friend even though she sucks me dry every time we go out. I should buy that person a gift. One of the reasons the worst comes out in us at Christmas is that we let the “shoulds” rule. Not this year. When you remove the “shoulds”, you remove resentment. If you attend a “should” Christmas party, you are most likely gonna be grumpy before, after or even during the party. If you say no, you may feel a bit of guilt (it takes time to adjust to saying no to “shoulds.”) The guilt will pass faster than the grumpy and the damage grumpy does to others. Say no to the “shoulds” this season and all year through.

The other part of Christmas that brings out our worst is perfectionism. If one piece of the tradition we have done for the past 10 years doesn’t happen, the whole thing is ruined. It’s all or nothing with traditions for most of us. We throw the baby out with the bathwater. None of us would toss our out baby but we do with traditions. This year, let go of the all or nothing attitude. If you normally decorate Christmas cookies but you run out of time to bake, buy some store bought sugar cookies and decorate those. If you like to drive around and look at Christmas lights but the weather is preventing it this year, replace it with hot cocoa and watch YouTube videos of light displays around the world. If one of your family members can’t be there this year, do a video call at some point in the day to let them know they are missed and still a part of the day. The key is to adjust the activity and your attitude.

Tis the Season to do a lot of things. This season, give yourself a break. Let go of the “shoulds” and your perfectionism. Embrace what you do have. Literally embrace those you have nearby. Soak in the moments that are beautiful. Release the ones that aren’t so great. Focus on Jesus and the gift of His salvation to all of us. If you find yourself alone, instead of pity, sit with God. Read Luke 2 – the real Christmas story. Or read a Psalm for encouragement. Tis the Season to do it differently this year.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Friendsgiving

Standard

Friendsgiving is a beautiful tradition held by many. I haven’t ever hosted one or attended one, but love the idea. My daughter just went to her annual tradition with her friends. They were all home from college and got together. They started this tradition in high school. It truly had more significance this year since they had been apart for months. A great way to keep connection when distance normally keeps you apart.

I was thinking of Friendsgiving and friendship after watching the Amazon movie, “Brittany Runs A Marathon.” It was a fabulous movie. I like the message in the movie and the realness of the characters. Friendship is a key theme. Brittany had a roommate who devoured social media and always posted videos of herself living her best life. She was petite, darling and fashionable. The opposite of Brittany. You assume they are good friends until Brittany starts to change. As she grew and developed self esteem, her roommate withdrew. You see, the roommate was just as insecure as Brittany had been. With confidence came conflict.

Have you found that in your life? When you change and grow, you find some friendships struggling. Let me tell you a secret – those aren’t good friends. If they don’t embrace you growing and thriving and changing, they are friends with you for the wrong reasons. Take some time to look at your friendships. Which friends are friends of convenience? When life changes, they will fade away. Which friends are friends who share victim status? The ones you vent to all the time. Your time together consists of complaining. Don’t get me wrong, I need a good vent. But my friends I vent to always point me back in the right direction, dust me off and send me forward. Just sitting and venting without resolve, not a friendship that will withstand change.

It’s almost January 2020. Time for New Year’s Resolutions. Change seems to mark the month of January. I encourage you to embrace change in January, February, March and every month. I also encourage you to evaluate your friendships today. It may be time to invest more in those that send you forward and invest less in those who only wallow with you. Tough choices. Tough to look at friendships in that way too. Not all those friendships need to end. Encourage those fellow wallowers to join you in change. If they do, awesome. A new level of friendship will be found. If they don’t, well, you know what’s next. The fading of a friendship.

Surround yourself with those who help you succeed. Friends who are willing to let you work through the ups and downs of change but keep pushing your forward. Find friends who will cheer you on as you run this race. If I hosted a Friendsgiving, I know who I would invite. Do you?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 

Dream Big! Pray Big!