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Being held in God’s hands.

Several months ago, I read a devotional that reminded me that we should rest in the Father’s (God’s) hands. His hands can be trusted. His hands are strong. His hands are secure. His hands are comforting. His hands are protective. His hands are all-encompassing.

I was so taken with the image in my head of what this would look like, that I jotted a reminder to myself to search for the perfect image of His outstretched hands. Maybe I could even superimpose my name in the palms of those hands, then print out the picture, frame it, and display it on the wall to serve as a constant reminder that I’m in God’s hands.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Alas, I’ve been unable to find the perfect image or to figure out how to insert my name short of hiring someone to draw the hands with “Cindi” in them.

But just looking at the photo above and reading over my notes about being in God’s hands serves to remind me that God’s got me. He’s never letting go. He chose me with those hands. And with those same hands He drew me to Himself.

You, too, are in His Hands.

There’s very good news, my friend. You are also in those hands if you know and love God. If His son’s sacrifice has been acknowledged by you, if you’ve repented of your sin that separated you from Him. If so, then you are indeed in the wonderful Body of Christ. And securely in His hands.

But that same great news is also available for those who have not yet acknowledged Christ’s sacrifice. If you can imagine God’s beautiful hands outstretched toward you and take it as His call to you to come to Him.

Roman’s 10:13 reminds us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

The how.

Also involved is acknowledging your sin. It’s a condition of our heart and we’ve all sinned. Romans 3:23 states “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Recognize that there is a penalty for that sin. “The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NCV).

Ok, so I’m a sinner and the payment for that sin is eternal death. Now what?

Glad you asked. Accept or believe that the death of God’s son Jesus on the cross was for you. Yup, without even knowing you, Jesus died a horrible death making that totally impossible payment for your sin so you could become part of His family and know that your eternity is secure with God. “God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

WOW. That’s amazing, isn’t it!

Let’s review.

We’re all sinners. But God loved us so much, even without knowing us, that He had a plan. That plan was to have His son, who lived a perfect life and therefore was a perfect sacrifice, die a horrible death on a cross to pay the punishment for our sin. We repent or turn away from our sin-life, believe the death of Jesus was for us personally, and we become a part of God’s family. Eternity starts the moment this happens, even while on earth. So, from that moment and forever, we’re children of God and in His loving, beautiful hands.

What is our response?

I imagine there are two basic groups of people reading this. Those who are already in God’s family and those who are not. If you’re already a believer in Christ, then use today’s post as a launch to praising Him for all He’s done for you. For holding you in His very loving, capable hands.

And if you are not yet a believer in all God’s done for you, then don’t wait any longer. Make today the day, YOUR day, to turn from your sinful ways, to acknowledge all that God has done for you, and turn your life over to Him. Then rest in the assurance you are now resting in God’s hands. The hands outstretched that now carry your name in them.

With ever so much love,

Mimi

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Granny panties to the rescue!

I don’t mean to offend by the picture or my post. Please keep reading. This post is really about our aging bodies and the necessity to adapt some of our daily routines. It is also about how we view others and hopefully encourage them, rather than tear them down.

I’ve actually been thinking of this post for quite some time—namely every morning when I get dressed! While I don’t dwell on some of my changing limitations, I am daily reminded of them when getting ready for the day.

So, what in the world is going on?

For over 63 of my 65 years I’ve been in charge of putting on my own clothes and until the past year or two, it’s never been a big deal. The problem now is that I have some limited flexibility and a few balance issues. Take sox for instance. In the past, I would stand on one leg, lift up the other waist high, put on a sock, then repeat on the other side. Can’t do that anymore. I need to sit to accomplish it.

Same thing holds true with the undies. Every day I continue in my old ways by standing and putting one leg at a time into the opening. Only I find I’m having more and more trouble with it. Most mornings, I kind of fall over because while it’s bad enough to have to balance on one leg and then lift the other, add to it that I need my arms to be several inches longer to get the undies past the foot that gets stuck about a foot off the ground, refusing to go any higher.

Cleverly, I extend the “unders” by using just the tips of my fingers but still inevitably fail, stumble, and finally sit down to accomplish the task, or lean all the way over to the floor to try getting them on in a different way.

PLEASE NOTE: I promise you; I’m always successful even if it takes a few tries. No going commando for this Mimi!

But all throughout my struggle I think to myself “What do women my age do if they attempt to wear thongs? I can’t imagine there being enough material to go through the shenanigans required to get those pesky things on. So, while the younger generations scoffs and laugh at our famous granny panties, I wear them proudly…knowing tough as it was to get them on, they are securely in place and my important parts are firmly (if not completely) covered! (big wink)

Why all this talk about our undies?

Great question. It’s simply to talk about how we change in our elder years. We like to think we’re as young as we feel but the truth is that our bodies betray those feelings. These bodies were not created to last forever here on this earth. They break down, change, and begin to let us down in various activities and in our health.

And while we struggle accepting that, sometimes what hurts is that younger folks really don’t understand it. They can be judgmental and condescending. Younger family members scoff at the granny panties thinking we’re just old-fashioned when as I explained above, they’re just easier to deal with.

Wrinkles and face sags can garner the same reaction when you hear someone younger proudly declare “I’ll never let myself go; I’ll do Botox or get a face lift.”

And there’s not one woman my age or older who isn’t well-aware of cellulite or loose thigh skin when they don a bathing suit on a hot summer day. But just because she is plagued by those things, is she not supposed to enjoy cooling off in the pool or at the beach? And if she actually gets up the courage to take a dip, the last thing she wants to hear are the whispers of some young’un stating emphatically if they ever look like that, they’ll definitely not go out in public in a bathing suit.

It ain’t easy growing old.

I actually love many things about growing old. I like that I don’t have to work at a regular job. I like my completely flexible schedule. If I’m supposed to dust today but don’t want to, I don’t! I no longer wear make-up (personal decision) and am fine with it. I have more tolerance for some things and much less for others. I can have cereal for supper if I want and pizza for breakfast. I get to do lots of jigsaw puzzles and have time to participate in several Bible studies.

But I have to admit, sometimes I find myself lifting the saggy skin around my eyes to see how much better I look. And when I can no longer easily maintain an ideal weight, I can get a little down. (Of course, a little ice cream cheers me right up!) And the lower back ache that plagues when I change position throughout the day is a screaming reminder that I’m definitely in the senior citizen category.

My eyes have been opened!

If I wasn’t aware before, I sure am now…aware of others in my age group. Aware that my small aches don’t begin to compare with friends who have had to have shoulders or knees replaced. I’m aware that I can hop in the car anytime I want to drive somewhere while neighbors are more house bound. I’m aware that each illness or ailment needs an extended recovery time and often someone my age is unable to gain back 100% of what they had (or could do) before. (Sigh)

I’m aware that instead of judgments about something I should do differently to look or feel better are just that…judgments. And I don’t want to hear it. Instead I would like encouragement, people to love on me, and to have others look at me as if I’m still the cat’s meow!

My challenge.

Today, be good to yourself. Don’t be harsh at what you can no longer do but instead find things to be happy about, things you can do and do well. Be careful about jumping to conclusions about others. You never know what goes on behind closed doors or in someone’s mind. And finally, reach out to someone else and encourage them. Do an errand for them, visit over a cup of tea, offer to help with a project, pray for them.

And to any reading this who are younger than me, the above paragraph is especially important. Keep your criticisms and judgments to yourself and just extend love and kindness to me and others in my age group. Your sweet words will mean the world to us!

A few parting thoughts from God’s Word:

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)

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12)

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions (Joel 2:28)

Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18)

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. (Psalm 92:14)

Mimi

The end of an era.

 

The photo to the left marks the end of an era. It’s the last newspaper delivered to us since we’ve been married. For nearly 45 years we’ve been having the daily newspaper delivered but just as we did away with the house phone and switched to cell phones only, we’re giving up the paper “paper” and going all digital instead.

It’s taken some thought.

It may not seem like a really big deal to the younger generation, but it’s really taken some thought on our part. The paper has started my day for all of my married life accompanied by a hot cup of tea, a tall glass of OJ, or a bowl of oatmeal. As a busy mom raising kids, the morning paper was often read in the afternoon or evening. But in retirement, it’s been an enjoyable ritual I looked forward to each morning.

Interestingly enough, I began to notice something.

For about two years, however, I’ve noticed much of the day’s news was actually a bit old. My iPad newsfeeds keep me much more up-to-date than any paper possibly could. And except for a few local tidbits, I found I had already read many of the articles.

But what about the comics or advertisements and coupons? I’ve never been a comic-reading person and while I have to admit I’m a little concerned about missing out on coupons, I tend to subscribe electronically to specific stores that take great joy in keeping me alert to sales and coupons via emails and text messages.

The Ritual Will be Missed

I do still think it’s going to take time to let go of the daily ritual. For instance, I’m writing this on Sunday which is, of course, the day when the biggest edition of the paper is delivered. So, there was no lingering at the table this morning as in Sundays past. Instead I flicked through pages, still finding mostly “old” news, and finished up in record time.

Things Will Change

First noticed is that I tend to read through the paper in about half the time. Secondly, Greg said “We’re going to have to switch to a smaller recycling can.” And thirdly, when working on a project today that required a layer of newspaper for protection from the strong glue I was using, I realized the lack of newspapers would require a different protection strategy in the future.

Way back when…

Giving up the newspaper has also brought back some childhood memories. Newspapers were often used as school book covers until it became much cooler to use brown paper bags. Every October they collected the insides of our pumpkins as we carved them for Halloween. They were used as stuffing in our boots to help them keep their shape while drying out after a fun afternoon playing in the snow. And who can forget the many paper mache projects where newspaper was a main ingredient.

Time marches on.

But time definitely marches on and we learn to adapt to change. Only time will tell if this transition ends up being as easy as it was to give up the home phone. My hunch is that it will. So, tell me, have you given up your paper “paper” yet?

Mimi

Life is like a puzzle sometimes.

Happy Monday!

This week, instead of taking care of my to-do list I spent countless hours finishing a beautiful 1000-piece puzzle. It was like I was obsessed. And it was definitely challenging! At the end, I had about 6 pieces left that had nowhere to go. They just didn’t fit in the spaces available. And that meant only one thing.

Yup, I had some of the wrong pieces in the wrong places.

It took about 10 more minutes to find the ones I had inserted incorrectly and replace them with the proper pieces. But once I did that, voila! The puzzle was completed. And as you can see from the photo, it really is pretty.

But my actions were insane!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I was actually doing just what the above saying talks about. For 15 minutes. I kept trying the same pieces in the same spaces wondering why they wouldn’t fit. I’d remove them, look at them, then try to insert them once again, only to fail. It wasn’t until I decided to stop what I was doing, reevaluate, and try something different that I realized there was nothing wrong with those pieces—nothing at all. The problem was with me: I had incorrectly placed many six of them.

Once I figured out the problem and corrected my mistakes, the pieces easily went in and the puzzle was finished.

Maybe life is a little like that, too.

How many times have I found myself beating my head against a wall (figuratively of course) over something only to discover I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy if I had simply been willing to step back to gain a new perspective. With me the issue is that I can get stubborn and want to finish what I started, thinking I just need to work harder or concentrate more. When all along it might be as simple as realizing I’m doing it the wrong way and need to change my course of action.

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15 NLT)

Here’s to being intelligent and ready to learn as the proverb says. And to being less stubborn while keeping my ears open to God’s direction.

What about you? Ever find yourself in a similar situation?

Mimi

Are you kidding me?

 

Recently, I found myself in the mood to be creative and artsy crafty. Since it’s not my general nature to be this way, when inspiration hits, I like to jump on it. I looked at a few Pinterest ideas and came up with making my dad a spring wreath for his door.

Time to gather the supplies.

Since I already had a grapevine wreath, I stopped at Dollar Tree to pick up a few flower sprigs. While there I came across a cute metal welcome sign and brought that home as well. Next up was some burlap “ribbon” that a friend kindly got me while she was at Walmart.

First up was finding a YouTube video showing me how to make a great bow. Found and watched one a few times and I have to say—the bow looks great! With glue gun in hand I got to work on the rest of the project and in no time at all I had this very pretty, very affordable spring wreath.

Let’s do it again.

After hanging the wreath on Dad’s door and seeing how nice it looked, I decided to make another for myself. I still had the flowers so just picked up one more welcome sign, another roll of wired burlap, and an additional grapevine wreath.

With Alexa playing some great soothing music, I got to work assembling everything. With the leftover burlap from the first roll, I created my second absolutely wonderful bow. I trimmed up the flowers, made sure the welcome sign was clean, and got to work. The first step was to wrap the burlap ribbon around the wreath. But there was one big problem: WHERE WAS THE BURLAP?

The hunt began.

Figuring I must have left it in the car, I checked there first. Then my purse (which is silly because I carry a rather small purse). Then in the office. I looked in the three bedrooms, on the floor, back to my car, over to Greg’s car, throughout the kitchen and dining room. I then checked the tables and under the tables. I went through old, used Walmart bags. All the closets were torn apart. Back to the car for a third time. And I went through the huge garage trash can as well as all the smaller ones in the house. Then a call to the neighbor asking if I brought it to her house for some reason. (Hey, I was getting desperate.) I actually threw in a few prayers along the way, but that roll of burlap could not be found.

What to do?

My quick repeat project was quickly becoming a pain in the neck but I refused to get upset and just figured I’d hop in the car and return to Walmart to purchase another roll of burlap. But at this point I was in no hurry as I had lost my original enthusiasm, so I decided to let everything sit and I would get back to the project tomorrow.

New Perspective

Do you every notice how walking away from a problem often brings new perspective? When the kids were growing up and having a hard time memorizing their monthly Bible verses, I would often have them read through them at night, then simply go to sleep. Somehow, that restorative sleep coupled with getting their minds off the situation, did wonders. Often, by the next morning they were able to recite the verses without a hitch.

Having learned that with them, I try to do the same thing. It’s not always easy because I’m one of those “let’s get it done” gals. Once I start a project, I really like to finish it. But in the case with the wreath, leaving it alone was the perfect answer.

Because once I stepped away from the project, and got my mind on other things, and once I stopped looking for the missing burlap and simply went about my day, I knew what would happen. And that it did. Without any effort at all, I just happened to look over at a small cabinet I have in the kitchen next to the table where I was crafting, and as you can see, the roll was there all along.

So yes, the title “Are you kidding me?” certainly applies. Something that was right in front of me the whole time finally came into view.

What’s the lesson?

For me the lesson is to simply slow down, to not be so intent on finishing something right now that I drive myself crazy in the process. And I share my recent crazy game of hide and seek with you should you find yourself in a similar situation in the future.

Mimi

Awkward…

So, let’s just get this out of the way up front. Today’s post is a little awkward because it involves something that we don’t often talk about. The word begins with “F” and rhymes with art.

I think you catch my drift. So why am I talking about it? Read on and you’ll see.

Back in November, my brother, his wife, Greg and I, and my dad enjoyed a 10-day Caribbean cruise together. We ate great food and even some not so great food. We enjoyed tours on the islands and there was plenty of time in the sun. We even took steel drum lessons which was not only fun but LOUD. Yes, the cruise was everything we anticipated it would be.

But there was that one awkward moment.

The ships are huge and the elevators often crowded so my philosophy is to take the stairs whenever possible. It gets you to your destination faster and the exercise helps offset the extraordinary number of calories consumed through the day.

Typically, you run into other people using the stairs but on one of my stair-climbing expeditions, it was just me and a lady coming down as I was going up. We acknowledged each other with the usual head nod but on this occasion, the lady also acknowledged me out loud. With…you guessed it…a fart.

I didn’t know what to do.

Had I been with my family or in church, I might have snickered or even burst out laughing. But this was a stranger to me and in a flash all sorts of scenarios went through my head. First was the thought This is a completely natural thing; we all fart. And then I wondered if I was the one passing gas, would I have acknowledged it by apologizing or saying “oops?” I had no idea. I even thought about saying “oops” myself with a smile so she would know I wasn’t at all offended.

As it turns out, neither of us said or did anything. There was no acknowledgement, we just continued on our way. Thought, I have to admit I had quite a smile on my face as climbed the remaining stairs. Maybe because it was funny or maybe because I was glad it hadn’t been me.

Awkward moments happen all the time.

We encounter awkward situations all the time and like the one above we don’t always know how to respond. After asking a neighbor how they’re doing we might hear back “Well, I lost my job so not great.” Or “Life is rough now, my drug addicted 40-year old son just relapsed for the third time.” One time I asked the how-ya-doing question almost like saying hello and I was surprised when the person burst out crying instead of saying fine.

While times like that can be a bit awkward, they also open the door to real ministry. When a person bursts out crying right in front of you, it shows me their need for comfort, reassurance, or someone to care. Right then, right now.

And the same often holds true when the unexpected answer to your greeting reveals a lost job, marital infidelity, or a child with drug problems, etc.

What to do?

It can be difficult for people to reach out and ask for that help or to simply admit they’re experiencing a rough time. But if someone takes the time to respond to your simple greeting or if they come to you for help all on their own, please, please be ready to respond. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Be ready for the unexpected. If you ask how someone is doing, be prepared for anything. And respond appropriately. Sometimes all that’s needed is a kind word, some sincere reassurance, a hug. Proverbs 12:25 says “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
  2. Do something. Don’t just nod your head. In addition, offer something and be specific, be practical. I’m sorry you’re going through this. May I pray with you right now? I can see you’re overwhelmed; I’d like to ease the load and provide a meal. Or can I run that errand for you?
  3. Follow-up. Many will vaguely offer help but leave it at that. Or they might even help ONCE and then never check in. Be the one who stays connected, who shows you care long-term. Be the one who digs in for the long haul with the one needing help so they don’t feel alone.

Ministry isn’t always convenient or easy or a one-time deal. You often pay a cost such as an expenditure of time or money. But boy, is the payoff worth it!

Matthew 25:40 reminds us: (Jesus talking) “I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’

Mimi

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I subscribe to a daily newsletter from Only In Your State. Each day I learn about fun things to do or see right here in Florida.

A few months back there this picture appeared followed by a story about these amazing milkshakes. You can find them near Miami at Boca’s House restaurant in Doral, FL. That’s about 4 hours from where I live but I think they might just be worth the drive!

So, what’s the definition of worth of anyway?

I’m glad you asked. If you’re going to drive all the way to Doral to enjoy those fancy milkshakes, it would be good to know ahead of time if they were really worth it.

One definition is the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated. That sounds about right, doesn’t it? At least according to the world. Achieving that value or rating depends on many factors, most of them manmade.

But that’s a problem: if someone decides what has value, it might be arbitrary. And that means, it could change someday. Long ago, it was decided that diamonds and gold were rare and in limited supply so they had value. When given in jewelry, they became symbols of how we view someone else. The bigger the diamond, the purer the gold, the more valuable they were so when given as gifts they demonstrated to someone else the value you placed on them or the relationship.

But thankfully…

…yes, thankfully, that’s not the case with God. But I wonder how many of us can still fall into the trap of placing false values on things or other people. We can spend a lot of time and money pursing things we or others perceive as having great worth only to find in the end, it’s just stuff. It might cost a lot but it’s just stuff. And as the saying goes “You can’t take it with you.”

And that my friend, illustrates the problem with how we can fall into the same trap by believing some of the negative thoughts that bombard us all too often. Thoughts such as “I’m not good enough, I don’t make enough money, I have no talent, I’m a failure as a parent, etc. If we only consider a worldly view of value, we miss the beauty of how God sees us.

Our worth is God-given, God-ordained.

There’s not a big enough diamond or enough gold in the world to measure the value of our worth in God’s eyes. Isn’t that a relief? Here are just a few biblical reminders of the worth God sees in us:

  1. …for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)
  2. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)
  3. Verses from Song of Solomon: You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words (4:1); you have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride (4:9); Oh, how beautiful you are! How pleasing, my love, how full of delights! (7:6).
  4. For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)
  5. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

Enough said! Do I hear an amen?

Those verses are just a sample of what you’ll find in the pages of the Book God gave us to reveal Himself to us.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s not a thing wrong with a pretty piece of jewelry. There’s nothing wrong with being rewarded for hard work with a promotion or a raise.

But don’t make life all about or only about things that hold temporary worth. Instead, rejoice in the amazing love of an amazing God who created you with value and worth to Him and His kingdom. Rejoice in how He sees you and in how much He loves you.

And that…you can take to the bank!

Love to all,

Mimi