Is your perspective skewed?

I walk once or twice a day as it’s the only way to get in 4 miles of total walking distance. That’s because walking more than 2 or 2-1/2 miles at one time seems to be more than my body can manage at this point due to those pesky aches and pains.

I try to be productive with the time by listening to a podcast, my Bible Study Fellowship notes, or a medical mystery. Sometimes I pray my way through my walk, and sometimes I just look around and enjoy the beauty of where I live.

What I didn’t realize was that I often walk with my head down. I believe it’s because of the sun’s glare. Despite the protection of my visor, the only really effective way for me to avoid the sun’s harsh rays is to tilt my head toward my chest. And that creates an issue.

As you can see…

When walking with your head down, all you see is the road immediately in front of you (Pic 1). That’s okay for ensuring my feet are on level, unobstructed ground. But this position hinders me from seeing what’s ahead down the road and from preparing for a possible deviation in my path, should one become necessary.

Of course, to compensate, I peek down the road every few minutes to get the view ahead (Pic 2). Sometimes, I even see enough to anticipate a possible issue such as the truck parked in the third picture (Pic 3).

But the other day, despite the occasional glimpses that kept me informed of what was ahead, I still missed it. With my head down, I pumped my arms and forged ahead only to go “BUMP” and head straight into…this truck (Pic 4).

How did THAT get there?

The truck had every right to be there. And with my prior glances, I should have been prepared to avoid it. And I assume part of my brain must have registered it was in my path. But without constantly keeping my eyes focused on that all-important object, and with my head mostly aimed at the ground, I missed its nearness until it was too late.

This happens way too often.

With the resounding bump bringing me to an abrupt halt also came a resounding revelation that this happens way too often in our everyday lives.

Minding our own business, not keeping our eyes on the prize (our Lord), or in the busyness of life, we miss warning signs and plow right into trouble.

And that is not something I want to do!

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:12)

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live…(Deuteronomy 4:9)

Here’s to all of us becoming more vigilant in our daily lives. Purposeful in putting God first. Careful in where and how we walk out our Christian experience. And mindful of all God has done for us so that we do not forget His goodness and mercy.

Love to all.

Mimi

Advertisements

You are a beautiful creation.

I had to laugh when I read the saying on the picture in today’s post. I thought, that’s the perfect way to turn a negative into a positive. And a great example of thinking outside the box.

Creativity isn’t one of my strong suits.

Thinking outside the box really isn’t one of my strong suits. My organized mind loves pre-planning, thinks in a linear fashion, and serves me well. But I do envy quick-thinking people and those who can come up with alternative methods to accomplish something.

And that makes me so very grateful to have some of those people in my life. In fact, it makes for a great match-up when someone like me can pair with a more creative mind. Much can be accomplished.

Let’s rejoice in our differences.

It’s easy to be envious of others who inherently have an ability you wish you had. But I bet there are plenty of those out there who feel the same way about you. They envy your own talents.

God has created each one of us uniquely and specifically. He has specific calls on our lives and has taken care to equip us through God-given abilities, desires, and experiences to accomplish those tasks.

That should make us appreciate the “who” God created each of us to be. It should also make us appreciate the “who” he made others. And grateful for our differences.

When we come together we are the body of Christ.

Together we become the body of Christ. We function as one. Instead of being envious of others, we are content. We all use our giftings to accomplish God’s will. This both pleases Him and draws us closer to Him and to each other.

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)

Today, let’s acknowledge that God knew exactly what He was doing when He fashioned us, oh so precisely to accomplish every good work He has set before us. And let’s be grateful for the beautiful body of Christ He has created and that we are a part of it.

Love to all.

Mimi

Let’s be Positive!

As a post-menopausal, past middle-age woman I really appreciate this little saying. And boy can I relate.

A closet full but nothing to wear.

Often a closet of a lady my age has a wide range of clothing sizes. The “hope to fit into again someday” clothes, the current size, and maybe even the slightly bigger ones “just in case.” While I admit there are some who through the years seem to stay the same size, I know of more women like myself who tend to fluctuate.

But still…

It’s because so many, like myself, can relate to the expressed thought in the pic, that we laugh. But let’s take to heart the last two lines, shall we? “But still. Let’s be positive here.”

Often, we can be positive and encouraging toward others, but we’re actually much harder on ourselves, aren’t we?

When we see those clothes that don’t fit, or that unfinished project, or realize we haven’t made that all-important phone call, we can easily move into self-condemnation. We lament not being able to stick to a diet or remember to make a phone call. We think If I was a better person, I would finish the things I start.

At times we do the same thing with others, especially those we care about. We want the best for our kids but end up disappointed when they make mistakes and wrong decisions.

Likewise, we want the best for our friends, but when we see one remain stagnant at work because fear keeps them from returning to school for more training or presenting their own ideas to their boss, frustration at their inability to embrace change creeps in.

But that, is looking only at the negative.

And I don’t want to be like that. I want instead to look for the positive in a person or situation. I want to think the best of them and be their greatest cheerleader. We all appreciate positive reinforcement so my desire is to be less disappointed and more motivated to encourage, to pray for, and to offer wise counsel.

Being positive in a good way.

Genuinely caring for others and offering an optimistic outlook is not a fake attempt at being positive. It’s actually encouraging. Just like when our kids were young and fell repeatedly in their attempts to walk. We didn’t berate them for falling. Instead we clapped and laughed, holding out our arms so they would be inspired to keep on trying.

As believers, we all fail at times. We all make mistakes and disappoint ourselves, others, and even God. But when we are in Christ, we know He can use everything yes EVERYTHING to refine us; to make us more like Him. And that, my friend, is very, very positive indeed.

If that’s the case, then we, too, can find the positive in our circumstance as long as our eyes are on the prize, on Him. Then He can use our mistakes to reveal His Lordship and He can use all our experiences, both good and bad, to teach us to depend on Him and reveal His power.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

So be encouraged my friend. Remain positive toward yourself and toward others. God is not yet finished with you. Hallelujah and amen!

Mimi

10 random things I’ve noticed as I age.

Thought I’d share a few thoughts that have been swirling around my head lately. Perhaps you can relate. And please, please, use the comment section to share your own thoughts.

  1. I no longer get eyelashes stuck in my eyes. Good thing cuz I’d have to remove my glasses to get them out and if I remove my glasses I can’t see a thing so I wouldn’t be able to remove it anyway.
  2. Same with losing my glasses, which I do more times than I’d like to admit. I have a very difficult time finding them because…well…for obviously reasons. I’m not wearing them!
  3. Hair sprouts in places I don’t want it, while I lose it or it thins where I’d like it to stay.
  4. I used to love to sleep in a bit on a lazy morning or take a long Sunday afternoon nap. Now that I have the time to do those things, I find I have great trouble sleeping period, even at night. Of course, put me in front of a terrific action movie at 8pm, and I’m nodding off within 15 minutes.
  5. I have much less patience for stupidity.
  6. It doesn’t bother me that I have to repeat some activities throughout the day, every day such as eating. But it does bother me when those repetitive activities include laundry, dusting, and vacuuming.
  7. When I was young, I couldn’t stand being in a theater and having the person behind me kicking my seat. Turns out, I still can’t stand it!
  8. I miss the days when my young daughter would sweetly call my wrinkles “crinkles.” I wish anyone would call them crinkles today. Of course, they’re more like fissures now, but you know what I mean.
  9. Cereal boxes seem to have gotten much harder to open. First, it’s the cardboard. Despite my being ever so careful in trying to loosen the glue under the tab, it generally rips in half along with the slot rendering them useless. And forget the plastic bags inside. If I don’t use scissors (and who has time for that?) I power pull the corners until the bag explodes showering me and the kitchen with flakes or puffs. Geesh.
  10. Everything hurts. Not all at the same time. Bits and pieces of me take turns on any given day. I try not to complain…too much. I think I do a good job. You can always ask the hubster.

I could probably go on and on but you catch my drift. Any of you have any pet peeves that have become even more pronounced as you get older?

But despite my pet peeves, despite some of the changes in body or ability, I am encouraged that God isn’t finished with me yet. He has things for me yet to do while at the same time He continues refining me by fire. And since I want to be more like Him, I can rest in His faithfulness to continue His work in me.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Mimi

Be nice.

That’s it in a nutshell.

No really, that’s it…BE NICE.

I found this sign online and realized simple as it was, it’s not practiced nearly enough. By me, by anyone. Some would say it takes no effort to be nice. But I have a feeling many others would say the opposite.

Why is it so hard to be nice?

The only answer I can come up with is that self gets in the way. What we want, when we want it. My way or the highway mentality.

Case in point. Last week I made a quick stop at Walmart. Really, only needed 5 things. Three were in the pharmacy and two in the grocery. So easy peasy.

Our Walmart has solo check-out lines in the garden center and in the middle of the front section, all with cashiers. Then there are two areas, one near each entrance/exit with lots of self-service registers. I love using them as it’s generally very quick.

Remember…I was in a hurry.

Being in a hurry was my issue, no one else’s. I was trying to jam too many errands into a one-hour timeframe. Big mistake.

After picking up my items from two opposite sides of the store, I purposely walked past the first set of self-service registers, opting instead for the ones at the other end, closer to my car. That was my second mistake.

None were working. In fact, the entire section was closed. WHAT? There were no signs posted so other people like me walked up to the registers only to see the out of service logo on the monitor. After looking at three different cash registers, I finally realized I was out of luck.

No problem (or so I thought).

No biggie, I just walked further on to the registers in the garden center which were packed with all those people who typically check their own items in the now non-working self-service section. After waiting five minutes and realizing the lines weren’t moving, I decided to walk ALL THE WAY BACK to the other end of the store to use the other self-check area. (The ones I purposely walked past ten minutes [or so it seemed] prior!)

Along the way, as I walked by the usually very busy single cash registers, I actually found one with a very short line. I chose that and got through quickly.

But at this point I was a little…hmmm, steamed shall we say. Quite possibly there was a little of it coming out of my ears. And to top it off, the cashier never greeted me and actually never said a word until I asked, not too politely, why the self-check area was closed. She mumbled a one-word response I didn’t understand at all.

As I walked away, my first thought was that she was rather surly and I wondered why she just couldn’t have been nicer. (And no, at that moment I didn’t at all think that I should have been nicer.)

But later…

The Holy Spirit spoke to me later, not about the nasty cashier but ABOUT ME. Yes, ABOUT ME. Of course, I immediately saw my biggest mistake. I was expecting a better attitude from a stranger and yet my attitude was the pits. Instead of wondering why she couldn’t be nicer, I should have been asking why I couldn’t be nicer.

Here’s what it takes.

No, it really doesn’t take much. It just means dying to self. Ugh. Really? Yes, really. It’s both that simple and that hard.

It means thinking about others. It means putting them ahead of you. It means rising above my own wrong motives, thoughts, and attitudes and considering someone other than myself.

My prayer.

Father, when others look at me or my actions, I want them to see you and not me. I want others to be impacted by your “wonderfulness.” I don’t want to be a stumbling block to someone else, that thing that interferes with them finding you. I ask you to continue working in me so the Christ in me outshines any of my sinful, selfish ways.

And I pray for that “surly” cashier, asking you to bless her with revelation of Who you are and how much you love her.

Mimi

Praying for each other.

I got to do something this past weekend I haven’t done in a long, long time. I prayed with a stranger.

I was attending a women’s retreat with my friend who was the guest speaker. We knew no one except each other.

The praise and worship were wonderful, reminding me of sweet times I had experienced in the past. It had, in fact, been years since I had had an opportunity to get lost in worship and simply enjoy the presence of the Lord.

Prayer Time

At one session, recognizing there were people in need of prayer, the leader said she wasn’t going to do an altar call. Instead, she was asking those who wanted prayer to raise their hands. The ladies around them were then encouraged to pray for and with them.

I looked around to see if there was a hand raised nearby. Not seeing any, I kept on worshipping the Lord. But for some reason I knew God was asking me to pray for someone in the room, someone I didn’t know.

I looked again and simply chose a lady nearby, walked over, touched her shoulders to let her know I was there, and just started praying for her. Afterwards we shared a hug and I returned to my chair.

It’s so important.

I love moments like these, moments when I hear God speak and respond. Moments spent with my sisters in Christ. Moments spent praying for one another.

Back in the day, this was more the normal scenario. During or after service, we would gather near the front and pray for each other. When someone prays for you, they are actually picking up your heavy load or burden and helping you carry it.

I’m not sure why churches have stopped doing this. Most likely it’s because service times are getting shorter. There’s just not enough time to “tarry around the altar” as we used to.

The illustration says it all.

I don’t even remember where I found this picture, but it sure does show why we pray for each other, doesn’t it? We pray for each other because it’s tough to do life alone. And when we have a burden or problem or situation that weighs us down, that’s when we really need the help of the body of Christ.

We are exhorted to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Today I got to share someone’s burden. I hope she was blessed. But one thing I know for sure: I certainly was.

Be a blessing.

My encouragement today is to look for a need, look for a burden to share. Pray for someone. Hug a friend and allow her to cry on your shoulder. Run an errand for them or provide a meal. All are very tangible ways to help carry their load.

Much love to you.

Mimi

New uses for old things.

Ever cry “do over” when growing up? Or perhaps called out “mulligan” when playing golf?

Who couldn’t use a bit of a makeover from time to time. (I think I see a few hands being raised out there.)

A few years back when I was first introduced to Pinterest, I was fascinated by the many ways people “upcycled” items to look better or to serve a new purpose; especially old stuff. Even without being particular creative or crafty, I started pinning those links for future use.

And while I’ve only tried a few things, I have to say they’ve brought great results.

I found some great ideas.

Shower hooks: I had a bunch of plain ones I had just tossed when I read about using them in your closet to hold jewelry, purses, scarves, etc. Out of the trash they came and all 12 are evenly divided between my closets, all serving purposes other than what they were originally designed for.

Wooden pallets: Being a rather frugally minded individual, I get a kick out of seeing what people throw away and what others are willing to rescue and reuse. Pallets are now used for all sorts of crafts, even furniture. It’s basically free wood, so why not!

Pinecones: And dropped pinecones are all the rage. I made a wreath out of painted pinecone “crowns” as well as miniature Christmas trees. Free, plentiful, and going to waste, they became a coveted commodity in my crafting closet.

I’m becoming more aware.

I have personally become more aware of waste and in a few small ways have jumped on the bandwagon. The picture above? That was a half a loaf of bread that I put in the freezer months ago when hubby and I started cutting down on our carbs. On my way to tossing it out, the light bulb went off and voila! With a little olive oil and seasoning they became croutons.

Ever feel like you’re that old thing?

I turn 65 in a few months and for weeks the Medicare sign-ups have been arriving almost daily in my mailbox. To some, they can be reminders of getting older much like your grey hairs, wrinkles, and muscle aches.

Maybe we, too, need to think about some new uses for our older selves. Ways to challenge or reinvent our brains. Ways to use our experience and knowledge to help others. Establishing new traditions or learning new things.

If nearly stale bread can be repurposed into delicious croutons, I think there is some hope for this slightly worn out Medicare-eligible body to be refreshed and repurposed.

  • I’m just starting on this quest but so far, since I’m musically inclined, I sang for a season in our community choir and even bought a recorder so I could learn a new instrument and make music. Sadly, it’s not yet in use but at least it’s now in the house. And it IS on my to-do list.
  • Greg and I took a long car trip. We haven’t done that in years and wondered if our older bodies could handle thousands of miles over a two-week period. I’m happy to report we did just fine and look forward to future car trips as well.
  • Recently, I joined Bible Study Fellowship. This may not seem like a big deal, but after being retired three years, it’s not always easy for me to make a long-term commitment. This study is for the entire school year and requires 6 days of homework each week.
  • I also tried (and failed) to start of ladies Bible study in my home. This was definitely outside of my comfort zone because while I enjoy being a participant, I didn’t necessarily want the leadership role. The Bible study fizzled out but I made a terrific new friend!

How about you?

How have you been reinventing yourself? Tried anything new lately? Online courses? A part time job? Volunteer experiences? Hobbies?

Please comment below. Your new thing might turn out to be the very next new thing I want to try!

Be encouraged.

Even if you decide the old is fine, remember there’s one sure re-creation awaiting you.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Mimi