Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Monday, March 02, 2015

Lessons in Football Tickets

Image Credit  from here

I have been toying with buying season tickets to the Detroit Lions.  If you are wondering “does she like the Lions that much?”…  why yes, yes I do.  I really love football, professional football.  I have tried to do a lot of justifying to buy them…  it’s “my” money…  I work hard for it…  I can sell some of them to offset the costs…  

Isn’t that how it is when we want something, we start justifying it?  Well maybe just me.
Let me say this to you, if you have season passes to any event, I am not judging you.  I think it’s great! I wish I did.  I do.  I could sit on the couch and watch football ALL day on a Sunday if I let myself.

But then I think about what I could do with that money…  what $2100 could accomplish and I say “no thank you”.

And it’s not easy for me if you really must know.  But my house needs new windows, and a new roof, and a new furnace, and I’d like to move…  Or I really could feed the people at MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) once a month some really great meals for $2000.  Imagine what I could do with $2000 working on a community garden.  

I know that THE MOMENT I start to justify something that I want, it’s time to turn down my “wanter”.  I am working on my budget and paying things off.  

I ask the question…  Proposed by Andy Stanley…  Is this a wise decision based on my past experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams?

It’s not the right time, and maybe someday it will be the right time or maybe it never will be, but I know right now, the answer is “No”.  And whether I like it or not, that’s the answer I am going with.

It's funny, I feel like I've been kind of quiet lately, I do a lot more praying about situations, a lot more listening, and I feel a whole lot more peace.  And in this time, I feel like my heart is being stretched, my faith being strengthened... and it's pretty great (but not always easy).

Proverbs 31:10-31
A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her

    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Living beyond

I'm ashamed to admit this but honestly I didn't think much about those that are risking their lives to spread the gospel. Those who don't argue over who does it right or wrong, those who don't point fingers at others, those who live and die for the sake of Christ. Who live far beyond themselves. Those who pick up His cross and carry it.  Until yesterday when my eyes were opened, and filled with tears. 

Today this verse hit me that is part of my reading plan.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:8-10 NIV)

If that's true, which I believe it is, I better really start living and stop being afraid of what people will think or what could happen to me. Lives matter. I must love far beyond myself. It's not about me and this life passes quickly. 

I just think about how I need to come before Him every morning, every hour, every moment, humbly and just say "whatever You want Lord" and sometimes that seems really scary. I can't imagine being called to the Middle East or somewhere that Christians are persecuted. Sometimes it's hard for me to be kind to people I don't like (how's that for the truth).

I know that for me, I need to stay close to Him, do what He says, pray, LISTEN, and obey. 

Yesterday I prayed that God would prepare hearts for His word and that people would obey, and I said "me too Lord, don't forget me". 

Not sure what He's up to, but I'm here, so send me. 

Please join me in prayer

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My girlfriend posted an article about how crazy one can get while wearing their fitbit. The truth is that I may be one of those crazies.

I originally purchased a pivotal living band which was a piece of junk and never synced correctly to my phone. But the $15 I paid for it did make me aware that I only get about 5000 steps a day (also note that it would often reset itself mid day which was frustrating). 

I decided to bite the bullet and get the fitbit charge. It is the one with the display on it. In my opinion, it is worth the extra $30 for this feature :) I love that my fitbit links to myfitnesspal app which I have always loved for tracking. 

Yes, it may be true that I have been outside at 10:30pm getting my steps in, or that a few times during the day I go walking to make sure I get my steps in. 

When I first started walking at night I'd laugh at myself about how crazy I was (am) but now I take that time to get my thoughts organized but not only that, I pray. I pray and pray. It's quiet and I am not distracted by anything. The time outside makes me thankful for lots of socks, boots, and a warm house to always get to come home to... 

So maybe I'm a little crazy about my steps, but it's been such a great thing for me! It gets me moving, gets my heart in line.  What a great little gadget!

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Looking for a mess

The other day I was doing a bible study and a question was posed:  Which has most hindered your faith recently:  
Fear or familiarity.

Easy peasy.

Fear, right?

Nope, not even close… Familiarity.  Hands down
I truly believe that if God is in it, I might pause for a minute, pray, see if what is ahead of me lines up with the Word of God, but being afraid doesn’t typically stop me from doing something.  What do I have to lose if He is in it?

That doesn’t mean it’s easy or that I don’t wonder “what the heck?” but fear doesn’t hinder my faith.  I just suck it up buttercup, put my sass pants on, say a prayer and remember Josh 1:9 

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I think what most hinders me is that I know God is going to show up. I forget about the wonder of His love for me, because I’ve come to expect it.  I forget that His dying for me so that I can have eternal life far outweighs whatever provision is coming my way.  His death was the purpose of it all.  

I just got a new book The Grand Paradox that was suggested by Chilly Chilton and i tell you, I read the forward and I wish I could have got back in my pajamas and snugged up with a blanket and a glass of iced tea and devoured this book.  

Here is an exerpt from the book:
We want answers from God. We have a ravenous appetite for clarity in life. And often, we desire justification or, at least, some kind of explanation for why He allows certain things to transpire. God, however, is more mysterious than we think He should be or wish He were. Most of the time, we don’t receive the desired answers or the clarity for which we clamor. In spite of our seeking, God seems just out of our reach. Try as we might, we can’t pin Him down.
In short, the truth is: life is messy, and God is mysterious.
We struggle with these truths. We spend our energy, often wrestling in prayer, hoping to attain that place of peace in which our life is less difficult, painful and challenging.

So how do we live, grow, flourish, and remain content in the mess? How do we trust, follow, and continue to obey God when He seems to remain elusive? (xix-xx)

The truth is that maybe my familiarity is laziness. I trust God but I don’t always want to deal with the messy.  I want God to use me to solve the cuddley problems like helping kids read and believe in themselves or growing a community garden because those things are “easy” for me.  Sure I could fail, but I don’t usually focus on that.  But the tough things, like helping my city turn from it’s current state of mess to a little less messy, or the mental health crisis we have going on in our state/country, or how about GMOs? Oh the ugly problems, those are hard, messy problems and they require a Faith.  

So… I am excited to read this book, maybe get a little messy and lose the familiarity that binds me…

Here I am, send me.  Isaiah 6:8

Even if it's messy 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My crazy steps!!!

This crazy fitbit... It's motivated me to keep walking! Ok it's motivated me to get walking.

I never would have guessed that I didn't walk 10000 steps everyday, but probably on a good day I got in 5000 but now I make sure I get in a minimum of 10,000 and let me tell you sometimes it's 10:30pm when I do. 
The weather has been awful and I can't walk or run outside because I'd surely bite it. I know that walking with my fitbit probably doesn't seem like much, it's not working out with a trainer or hours at the gym, it's not insanity of beach body workouts but if there is one thing I've learned in my old age, it's important to be consistent. 

I log my food in everyday, get my steps in, drink my water, and stay connected to Jesus. In this time I've learned to better deal with my emotional eating, and I've found healthier alternatives to deal with stress, walking or stairs instead of vending machines. During that walking or stair time, I pray, I find out what the heart of the issue is.

I've always planned a lot more veggies into my day and meals. I just made a crockpot chicken cacciatore and so when I get home there isn't a lot of snacking or wondering what's for dinner. And most of the dish was made with organic ingredients (sometimes I just can't make the whole organic work - so I do the best I can).

Small changes I can live with my whole life. I still have meals (instead of days) when I eat what I want but I'm strategic about it. 

It's been good for me. I feel better, my clothes are fitting better. 

This crazy fitbit has really been a great tool for succeeding.

Success = doing the right things over long periods of time

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Random Thoughts!

Well the scale is finally moving. And I put on a pair of pants I couldn’t wear before Christmas (though they are TIGHT).  Good gravy, it’s slow. No, I am not eating gravy. Gravy has gluten, gluten is horrible for me… no gravy.

I’ve made some small changes at every meal, these aren’t things that I didn’t know to do, they are things I chose not to do.  One thing I promised myself is that I would not make myself crazy.  Well… crazy-er.

I am not going to do insanity (you can though and I will cheer you on). I am going to make sure I get 10,000 steps in every day.  I hurt my back so exercise has been walking, stretching, that sort of thing, I make no apologies for taking care of myself and not over doing it.  I will get back to the elliptical and then to running… but for now…  

I eat normal food.  I just really choose what I am going to eat and plan well. I have really cut back on dairy, it’s full of fat and calories…  I do eat it but just not a lot.  I have learned over many years if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.  Yes, I carry celery and carrots around with me in case I get hungry.  It’s crazy and mostly I don’t eat them, but sometimes I do,  and I am thankful I have them… just in case.  Did you know I used to know a kid named Justin Case.  True Story.

I am little crazy about my steps.  Today might be difficult, I have a 3.5 hour meeting that I have to sit through.  HOLY MOLY.  Again, planning, I walked .75 miles this morning in the tunnels below my office.  I love walking out in the peacefulness of the night, but it’s cold people, I prefer NOT to have to be out there for an hour.

I eat A LOT of vegetables. I mean a lot of them. And after eating organic carrots for quite some time, I discovered when I ate regular carrots – GROSS!  I could taste the chemicals. No thank you. But I don’t always eat organic, it’s expensive, and I do the best I can. And that’s ok with me.  

So here I am again, refusing to get my exercise in by beating myself up, I have to take care of myself so I can be around my whole life  and I’d like to be happy.  But know if you come over for dinner… there will be vegetables…  but you don’t have to eat them, I will make you something else too!

There are my crazy thoughts!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Lessons of yesterday

Yesterday was a crazy day!  I think my blood pressure might have shot up a point or 100.  But in all that, I learned a few lessons.

11.      I was so mad at my city.  Actually at our previous mayor, she did a poor job of managing our city’s finances, and because of that we have less city services, and it makes me crazy!  It’s no shock that I don’t like my city that much, but I can either sit by and do nothing or I can do something about it. I am smart (though sometimes not always wise) and so I am going to gather data and try to do something about it.   I know…  you can’t fight city hall, but I don’t want to fight…  I just want to see if I can help.  And so I will

2.      Sometimes we need to have really great friends in our corner cheering us on.  Yesterday I was having a rough day when it came to wanting to make good choices, and I was low on my step count because I worked from home and it’s not a very far walk to the bathroom and that’s pretty much all I did yesterday except digging out plow mess!  I made a delicious dinner but I didn’t even want to eat it! I wanted to go out, probably eat something I shouldn’t! But instead I had a great cheerleader friend who said “yes you can go out” which really only made me want to eat at home because I made the food, and it made me stick to my budget.  Also she cheered me on as I was a little down about my steps, and she reminded me to keep track of the good things/choices I made yesterday!  Made me feel like a winner!

3.  I have a friend that I have known since High School but probably haven’t seen or talked to since 10th grade. We reconnected on facebook (see it’s not all bad!) and it was nice to catch up, and I hope we can meet up soon and really catch up!  He told me that when we were in high school I often lifted his spirits when he was having a bad day.  Which really shocked me! I had absolutely no idea!  I think we make crazy impacts on people’s lives (good and bad) and sometimes we never know.   I can only imagine all the times I didn’t make a difference for the good, but I am thankful for the times when I am reminded, be kind. Take good care of people you know, and those you don’t.  It matters.

Though at some point I would not have chalked yesterday up to a good day, as I walked around the block (trying to get in my 10,000 steps!) I was reminded how there are lessons in every day.  That God uses us even when we don’t know it.  That it’s important to do the right things even when no one is watching.

It just sometimes takes time.