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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

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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

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

Life is like a camera.

What a great quote on Facebook. I copied the image and found myself looking at it over and over again.

It seemed wise and even sounded easy. Yet the more I thought about the words, I realized what was bothering me. The quote reminds me it’s often easier to come up with memorable little quips about how to do life well than it is to actually live the life you want.

But take heart; there’s hope.

While there is definitely some truth in the statements, the biggest Truth is missing: God. If we merely try to carry out the four directives completely on our own, without God, then we may still end up feeling empty, despite learning to focus on the important things, capturing the good, developing from the negatives, and having a do-over.

Life can be difficult. But God still encourages us to 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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

And yes, we may experience lament and guilt over past mistakes but God reminds us to not let the past hinder that race. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

And finally.

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the difficulty of a rich man entering God’s kingdom, “The disciples were staggered. ‘Then who has any chance at all?’ Jesus looked hard at them and said, ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.’” (Matthew 19:25-26 The Message)

So be encouraged. Today’s quote is trendy and indeed contains truth, but the words alone can’t accomplish anything. Yet with God, all things are possible. Second chances and do-overs abound. And remember, with God, we have every chance in the world of finishing our race if we trust God to do it.

Mimi

Does God look at you and see ugliness…or something beautiful?

My Apple News feed sent me the following blog post by Joshua Rogers. I’m so glad it came my way. Not only is this “guest post” a great reminder of how God sees us, but I’m now subscribing to his blogs. He is a believer who inspires and encourages. Read on and let me know what you think.

You may use the link HERE to read the story as published or simply read on as I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as presented.

From Joshua: If you think God looks at you and see ugliness—know this! 

One day when I was in my 20s, I was struggling with a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like the only thing God ever saw about me was my sin and brokenness. God must’ve told my mother.

I came into the dining room where my mom was and she said, “Joshua, look at that angel up there on the shelf,” and then she pointed to a ceramic angel behind me.

“Do you see anything wrong with it?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

Courtesy of Joshua Rogers’ mother, Paula J. Jones.

 

She went over to it and turned it around, and that’s when I saw that one of its wings was broken.

“I like that angel,” she said, “and that’s why I’ve positioned it so that I only see its beauty. I know that the brokenness is there, but I choose not to focus on it.

“Don’t ever forget that for the rest of eternity, God has positioned you in such a way that the only thing He will ever see is your beauty. That’s how powerful the blood of Jesus is.”

I think that deep inside, most of us believe that God looks at us and sees ugliness. Know this: That is not possible for believers in Christ who have received eternal life from Him. Jesus purchased our beauty on the cross and it can never be taken away.

Praise Jesus that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We can have confidence that “through His blood” we are “accepted in the Beloved” (1 Peter 4:8, Ephesians 1:5-7).

Don’t grieve the fact that you have a broken wing – that wing is reminder, every day, of how much God loves you.

Final Thoughts from Mimi

I hope you found this simple story as powerful as I did. What a wonderful reminder that God sees us as absolutely beautiful.

Mimi

About Joshua

If a little is good…then a lot is better. Right?

Wonder what you’re seeing in the picture? How about a HUGE miscalculation? A big mis-judgment? A plan gone awry?

They just didn’t look good.

The top washcloth is how my old towels used to look. They went with every paint color and were some of the nicest towels I have owned, as well as some of the prettiest to look at.

But over the years they have gotten dingy to the point that nothing was brightening up the white stripe any longer. They looked just as dirty coming out of the laundry as when they went in.

The initial plan.

Into the garage they went, becoming shop towels. They stayed there for months while I searched and searched for new, replacement towels. Didn’t like much of anything but finally settled on some plain blue ones.

But I wasn’t satisfied. The plain blue just didn’t have the wow factor the other towels had. So back to looking online and in stores. Yet I still couldn’t find anything that compared to the striped ones.

What to do?

I know; I’ll bleach them. People do it all the time. I knew they needed more than five minutes, but how long to let them sit in the bleach solution? Thankfully, online videos helped make the choice…about 25 minutes. Perfect.

Got the towels soaking and started doing some house cleaning. The 25 minutes came and went but I thought “Just a few more minutes would work even better.” Cleaning finished, it was time for some computer work.

An hour later I decided if 90 minutes was good, then certainly I should simply let them soak all afternoon. So, I did.

The Uh Oh Moment

Hours later I practically skipped to the washing machine and pulled the knob out to start the rinsing cycle. I waited with great joy for the wash cycle to complete so I could see my finished masterpiece.

But instead of brilliantly colored towels with nice white stripes, I now had what you see in the photo above…still dingy looking, but now yellowy, brownish towels that were no longer fit to dry any human body. (Glad I had one washcloth that never made it into the bleach so you could really see the difference.)

Lesson Learned

Directions are there for a reason. They often assist us in finding the best way to do something. They frequently save us time. And many times, they save us money, too.

As believers, we, too, have a need for directions: to navigate life, to learn about our Lord, to provide clarity and wisdom. And so much more.

Today, my prayer for myself and you as well, is that we will see our need to seek the Master Designer for His plan for our lives. And that we will completely trust Him, knowing His plans are to “prosper you and not to harm you…to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide.
Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.
I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
I have refused to walk on any even path, so that I may remain obedient to your word.
I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well.
How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
(Psalm 119:97-105)

Love, Mimi