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The big 4-0 has arrived.

Well, the first 40th birthday has nearly arrived. Son-in-law Chris turns 40 on Tuesday and son Tim will follow two weeks later.

So far, I think Chris is enjoying the celebration.

This weekend he got to play paintball and have an evening on the town. Then his parents took he and his twin (along with their families) to dinner.

And on Sunday, his boys presented their gifts. Each had made something for him. Callan went to a ceramic studio and painted a football helmet in Florida Gator colors and Konnor created a broken-glass picture frame. Using a hammer (which was a HUGE hit…pun intended), he smashed up some colored glass tile, then glued the pieces on the frame. A little grout, and a carefully chosen picture and voila! A gift for his dad.

Best of all…

But most fun for the boys was planning a treasure hunt for their dad so he could find his goodies. They wrapped and hid their gifts along with ours around the house, then wrote clues for Chris to follow. Both boys were proud not only of their gifts but in the enjoyable time they created for their Dad in finding his gifts.

Chris came into our family in 2003. And though I call him my son-in-law, long ago my heart welcomed him as another son. Our family wouldn’t be complete without him!

Happy 40th Chris. We sure do love you. Here’s to a wonderful, wonderful year.

Mimi

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Appearances can be deceiving.

We recently received a text from our daughter showing a picture of a shark her hubby had caught near New Smyrna Beach. To me, it was rather impressive.

Then I thought…hmm, wait a minute. That can’t be a real shark; it must be fake. I haven’t heard of anyone catching a shark with a surf rod and line. So, I texted my thoughts back and was assured it was definitely a live shark. And apparently, it put up quite a fight, too.

Of course, it needed to be returned to the sea. So, they opted for the safer method of cutting the line rather than trying to fight the creature to remove the hook from its mouth. (Smart move!)

Then came the next picture…

…and boy did I laugh. In the pic above, it looks like it could have been a 3- or 4-foot shark. I was imagining the strength it took to land the thing. But without anything else in the photo, my perspective was obviously skewed as you can tell with a quick look at the happy fisherman holding his catch!

Without anything else to add information to what I thought I was seeing, my perspective was off. Way off.

It’s just what happens in our everyday lives.

We may blow something out of proportion (like I did with the shark’s size) or we may not pay enough attention to something important. In my personal experience, I see this most often with my initial impressions or reactions. So, I’ve learned I need time to investigate, research, contemplate, etc. And I need time to look to God’s word and talk to Him to get His perspective rather than relying on my own.

This becomes imperative because often I don’t have the whole picture. But God does. If I remain close to Him, if we’re communicating with each other, there’s a better chance my eyes and understanding will see and know what He sees and knows. And that, is a good thing indeed.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Both pictures remind me about the importance of having the proper perspective. And today’s Bible verse reminds me that above all, God’s perspective is what really matters most.

Mimi

Family Love

Family means everything to me. It really does.

There’s not a gift in the world anyone can give me that compares to time spent with my loved ones.

So, I feel especially blessed that the past few weeks were overflowing with family time: Thanksgiving, the Saturday after for our annual Family Craft Day, and three days later a 10-day cruise with Dad, the hubster, and my brother and his wife.

After all that, I already feel like Christmas has already come and that I’ve been showered with more gifts than I know what to do with.

While my Dad, kids and grands live close enough to see frequently, it’s tough being away from my brother and his family as they live in cold country in New York State. That typically means annual or semi-annual visits. And to me, that’s simply not often enough.

Despite that…

I’m very grateful for each and every one of them.

Desmond Tuto said “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”

So, thank you, God. The beautiful gifts you have given me are not found under the tree. Rather, they are flesh and blood. They are the ones who raised me, the ones I grew up with, the one who married in and eventually birthed four more to love, the one I married 44 years ago, the ones I birthed, the ones they married, and the ones born to them. No matter how they arrived, they are my family. My loved ones.

And though I wish I could be with them in person every single day, it’s okay. After all, they really are with me…because I carry them in my heart.

I love you all.

Mimi

When Your World is Topsy Turvy

Check out this gator. How do you see it? Did I accidentally place the photo upside down? Or is the stuffed gator on the ceiling? Got you wondering, don’t I? Well…he’s on the ceiling!

Ever feel like your life is upside down or topsy turvy like our gator friend? If you’re not experiencing that way at the moment, I bet you have in the past. And quite possibly you’ll feel that way again at some future point.

We can’t always avoid those moments but we can be better prepared to handle them when they arrive. Here are just a few ideas that may help during those times.

Be Prepared

Let’s look at Noah. Talk about being prepared. Hebrews 11:7 (NLT) tells us “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before.” Seems like the ultimate in being prepared. God spoke a warning to Noah, Noah responded and obeyed, and he and his family were saved.

Be on Guard

Recognize that there is an enemy who is out to destroy you. At the end of time, he is defeated. In the meantime, however, he is a very strong adversary and is out to cause as much trouble as possible.

But we are told in 1 Peter 5:8 to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.”

Take Shelter in God

Remember that God is always working on our behalf. We can rest in God and find peace knowing God is with us. Isaiah 41:10 encourages us. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

No one wants trouble but none of us can escape it either. Being prepared, being on guard, and sheltering in with God will get us through.

What Bible verses have helped you anchor in during a storm?

Mimi

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

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