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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

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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

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

Labor Day: A reminder of my hubby’s continual labor of love for me.

My hubby is a hardworking man. No matter what the task, he puts his all into it.

I laughingly tell others I don’t even know where the off/on switch is for the vacuum. He’s been doing the floors for decades…and the laundry…and the yardwork…and all maintenance both inside and outside, and so on.

Greg shows his love.

Greg likes to keep busy and shows his love by how he cares for me and our stuff.

While I was running errands the other day in my air-conditioned car, running into and out of air-conditioned stores, Greg was hard at work on an outside project in the intense Florida

After finishing up, he left his wet, sweaty clothes on a chair in the garage so they could dry out before he threw them in the laundry basket.

But as I pulled the car into the garage and saw Greg’s sweat-soaked tee shirt draped over a chair, my own heart melted at how much love he shows me every day.

Hopefully, you are able to see why as you look at the picture on Greg’s tee-shirt…the one formed by his own toil, his own sweat…a big heart.

You betcha I took a picture.

Because as soon as I saw it, I also saw the love behind it. The love that had him working in the yard enduring yet another 95-degree day. This love he has for me!

Greg’s demonstration of love is experienced daily. But there’s another love, an even more important revelation of love available to us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What a powerful, truth-filled statement. Overflowing with amazing love for us, God provided a way to himself through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prayer

My prayer for each of us today is that we will cherish the loving sacrifice that came from the One whose heart of love for each of us is so much bigger than we can even imagine.

Mimi