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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

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A serious neck problem.

Good Monday morning,

Since Tuesday, I’ve battled a stomach bug. It’s been a week of feeling terrible, weakness, concern, and at times discouragement. In my grandson, it lasted one day. But at 65, I’m officially on Day 5 and still not 100%.

What a perfect time to let someone else do the “talking” in my Mimi blog this week. And with that I introduce you to Ann Wilson, a regular contributor to the Opinion section of Fox News. She and her husband Dave are co-founders of Kensington Community Church, a national, multi-campus church that hosts more than 14,000 attendees every weekend. They are also the hosts of Family Life Today Radio that broadcasts on over 1300 stations daily.

For you…a thoughtful and thought-provoking column by Ann, published March 9.

This article speaks to so many things we each deal with on a regular basis. Read on and let me know what you think.

Please use this link to read Ann’s great column.

Mimi

How one little “owie” hurts the whole body.

Greg and I were talking recently about how important each member of the body of Christ to each other. In my part of the conversation I brought up a recent owie our son-in-law experienced and how it affected…everything!

Here’s what happened.

Turns out Chris somehow got an infection in his big toe. Not really sure how it happened but it took a few days (or a week) to figure out the hurt he was experiencing wasn’t going away. And, in fact, the toe started getting red and warm more and more each day.

While visiting with us, his mother-in-law (me!) looked at that toe and told him on the way home he MUST MUST MUST go to the urgent care center, he was not to pass go, he was not to collect $200, etc. Instead, he had to have this thing looked at.

Next thing I know, he’s doing a live stream video showing the toe being lanced so the “icky stuff” could escape and the healing could begin. He was also told to expect the nail to turn colors and eventually come off. Which, weeks later, it did.

During this entire process, Chris experienced pain which finally turned to soreness and then discomfort. The toenail came off recently and he admitted it’s still quite tender. I imagine it will be until the new nail grows in.

So, what’s my point anyway?

The point is, this shows the perfect illustration of how important each member of the Body of Christ is to each other. That one toenail on Chris, which seems rather insignificant, disturbed everything. It caused pain in itself. It also affected the way Chris walked. It limited his activities. He became mindful of it because of the pain.

So, too, in the Body of Christ, the Church. We all have an effect…positive and negative…on each other. Even if we feel we are unimportant, we are actually quite important to the well-being of each other, to the proper functioning of the Church. And when one of us is hurting, the rest suffer as well.

So, just what function do we serve?

Today the hubster and I were talking about the apostle Paul and one of us commented “I’m not sure we’re all called to be Pauls.” Well, duh. Of course not. But we are indeed called to a function just as important. We may be a foot taking the gospel to foreign soil; we may be a mouth speaking God’s word as an evangelist; we may serve in a supportive role as we pray and monetarily support others in the Body. Kind of like a toenail that only serves to protect the toe underneath.

Still feeling unimportant and insignificant?

Using The Message, let me share quite a few Bible verses below. In very plain language they detail the beautiful way God created His Church to function. (I am quoting most but not all of 1 Corinthians 12.)

You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink.

I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.

I love the verse that states “I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less.” That’s powerful. And that’s for us.

So, no matter your function, your calling, your gifts, you matter to God, and He has big plans for you. Plans no one but you can fulfill. Plans to show His glory to others. Plans that will testify of God’s beauty. Plans that will draw others to Him by the demonstration of Christ in you.

Be encouraged today. Use your gifts for God’s glory. Unsure what they are? Ask Him to reveal to you His purposes for your life.

Much love to all,

Mimi

When is “too much”…too much?

 

Recently, while taking a shower, I had a big lightbulb moment…when I realized having too much of something may, in fact, simply be “too much.”

Let me explain.

Last year I asked Greg to replace the rather weak shower head in our master bath. It was adequate but that’s about it. I desired a really good spray where I could rinse off and feel squeaky clean.

A replacement shower head was ordered and in no time installed by the hubster. And boy was it great! Powerful, full coverage. Just a delight. It was so strong that you could often imagine your tight muscles totally relaxing under the additional water pressure.

But soon what I thought was delightful and perfect turned out to be painful and unwanted.

The new shower head was so strong that I found myself, hmm, how do I say this…having to cover up my front chest area while showering because those once-perceived strong points of water were instead like piercing darts to my more delicate areas. Ouch.

I could no longer face the shower head but had to have my back to it. And to add great insult, when at the dermatologist in January I had about 8 spots frozen. Within a few days they began to scab over and I couldn’t stand the strong pressure of water on those spots…most of which were on my back. So, I still couldn’t face the shower head and now I couldn’t turn my back to it either. I was miserable; something had to be done.

Time for a change.

Another replacement shower head was ordered and installed and can I just say…wow! The new one is everything we need without being more than we need or want. It allows plenty of water to get through but instead of feeling like I’m being stung by sharp points, the pressure is just right, like being in a soft rainstorm. Nothing hurts and I can once again face the shower head without having to protect myself. (wink-wink)

So, the question has been answered…

Yes, sometimes too much of a good thing is way too much.

What this means in our daily lives is we can enjoy great foods, but too much of those great foods hurts our health. We can love hard and enjoy doing for our kids and other family members, but too much of that and we smother them, possibly causing them to remain dependent on us rather than becoming independent.

How about with God…is too much ever too much? It all depends. My in-laws would say yes. In ignorance as excited new believers, they attended church every time the doors were open: for services, for prayer, for dinners, for special events, etc. But it caused them to miss their kids’ ballgames. The “too much” they were doing seemed good and right but they missed the balance of being able to love and serve God while also making time for family. It wasn’t one or the other; it could have been both.

I think the same can be true if we just simply feed ourselves from what God offers and never share what we gain. Becoming stronger in our faith walk is imperative but if we never use what we learn, if those good works talked about in Ephesians 2:10 never manifest then I wonder if instead of building strong spiritual muscles we have over-indulged and simply become fat lazy believers who have become more “I” focused.

Hey, I’m preaching to me here.

Feeling uncomfortable? Me, too. Today’s thoughts come from my own life. That shower head story coupled with our Bible study last night in Ephesians, really spoke to me about the good works God wants me to share with others.

We should never stop growing in Christ, never stop pursuing Him. We absolutely must become strong in the Word and strong in our relationship with our wonderful God and Savior. But that wonderful God who lives within us has also designed each one to show forth His glory as we do the good works He so thoughtfully planned for us to do.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

What are some of those good works God wants you to perform?

Mimi

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Happy Monday!

Today, I’m sharing another great post from Joshua Rogers.

Using a very personal experience of lying when he was 18, Joshua reminds us that God has provided forgiveness through his Son and removed our shame along with the penalty for our sin.

Read on and see what you think.

Joshua Rogers learns a big lesson about lying.

Mimi

God’s perspective is something to celebrate.

See him? Do you see my sweet grandson way, way up in the tree? Look again. He’s there. And boy, is he up there!!!

When I watch him scamper up the tree in person, I hold my breath and pray for his safety. Without a care in the world, he’s up in the top branches in no time. And the word that comes to my mind is FEARLESS. While perhaps the word that comes to his mind is “FUN.”

As a grandma, it’s difficult to watch an almost 8-year-old climb so high. I fight the urge to yell “Be careful, look out, take your time…” Even if his physical ears can hear me, his “listening” ears are totally tuned out at the moment. So, I keep quiet, watch, and try to enjoy seeing him have a blast.

When I was his age, I was climbing trees all over the neighborhood. It never dawned on me that it could be dangerous. It was just so much fun to reach a perch above the neighboring roof lines and get to enjoy the view and perspective only attainable by being so high above the ground.

On the ground and looking up, I have no way to really assess how Callan is doing. I can’t possibly know if he is as secure as he thinks he is.  I can’t judge if this is a good idea or not. I can’t predict if a limb will snap, falling to the ground along with him. And that’s because I just don’t know.

From experience, I can have a rough idea…

…remembering how I felt when I used to climb trees. I can use math to try to calculate weight and mass. I can make an assessment based on his athleticism. And I can even project my own insecurities and make him come down. The fact is, my perspective is too limited to make proper assessments.

But I have a Father in Heaven who has full perspective, the right point of view, because He is over all and He sees all. He created us and the world and knows exactly how it all fits together. Because He can see the big picture.

God knows the beginning from the end and all the in between goings on in our lives. He knows when we’re in dangerous territory, and He knows when we’re safe. He knows when we can stretch our wings safely on a new adventure, and He knows when we need to stay on the ground.

God can ensure all aspects of our lives fit together for good.

He can take a bad situation and turn it into something beautiful. He can pick up the broken pieces and create a masterpiece.

As our Master Designer, God has created a great plan for each of us. So, when He watches from a distance, He is completely aware of everything. Nothing is left to chance. We are His and He is ours. Our lives are in His hands and we can trust Him with everything.

We can be assured that God has a plan for us that will be fulfilled, and that the plan is a good one.

From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago I told you things that have not yet happened. When I plan something, it happens. What I want to do, I will do. (Isaiah 46:10 NCV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Experiencing some things right now that don’t seem to make sense?

Praying that even if your own perspective is off, you’ll still be able to rest in the Lord, trusting Him with every aspect of your life.

Mimi

Happy 40th to my first born.

This week I’m writing my story on Sunday because today is my son’s 40th birthday. We got to spend a wonderful weekend with him and my heart is overflowing with thankfulness to God for this precious gift to Greg and I. So, I thought I’d share a little about him with you.

Tim made me a mom.

Tim came along when I was 25. I thought I remembered how I felt during his pregnancy and birth, but after finding my handwritten journal notes from that time, I realize my memory had faded quite a bit.

Tim was our first. My only childcare experience came from having a much younger brother and doing a little babysitting as a teenager. So, I guess I felt ready and prepared. After all, back in those days, you took classes in “prepared childbirth.” Since I took the classes, I must have been ready. But it turns out I wasn’t at all prepared.

One journal entry a month before his birth mentions we had a crib and one or two onesies but that was it. There hadn’t yet been a baby shower and I hadn’t bought anything else including diapers. My notes mention wanting to meet this little one (didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl in those days until out they came!), but they also mentioned we weren’t exactly set up for the new arrival.

And once he did arrive, the notes talk about being depressed and feeling inadequate. My heart aches for the 1979 me. I can’t remember how it was, but it must have been lonely. I know I was thoroughly in love with my new baby, but I also read about how much of a failure I felt.

Thankfully, the depression lifted and Greg and I fell into our new parental roles with great, great joy.

About Tim

Timmy, as we called him, was adventurous, fun-loving, a sweet friend and protector to his little sister, and a delight. He had his own sense of style and on any given day his over the knee sox were either pulled completely up or rolled perfectly down to his ankles.

As a man, he takes amazing care of his family, loves them fiercely, continues to enjoy a great sense of style (though his knee sox gave way to black no-see-um ones), thrives on workouts at the gym, probably knows the songs to every Disney movie as his own little princesses watch them over and over again, and all in all makes this mama very proud.

Don’t blink.

Really, don’t blink. The growing up years are so hard at times. You want to do everything right but often do it all wrong. As a mom, you lament your mistakes and hope and pray your kids will forgive you and turn out ok. Sometimes you wish ahead, wondering what they will be like in their teens or 20s. You imagine them finding a special someone to love, having a great job they like, and then having children of their own. But if you do too much of that, you can miss the special every day moments that are precious gifts from God.

So, to other young parents, be careful about wishing time away. Treasure “the now” each day. Love hard on your kids. Forgive yourself, knowing your kids have a great capacity to forgive, too. Enjoy their sticky hands and artwork…even on the walls. Be understanding and sympathetic. Enjoy silly times with them dancing like no one’s watching, telling stories in bed at night or making shadow shapes on the ceiling.

Go to their ball games and listen to them make music, even when they choose drums and play loudly! Smile at first dates and give plenty of limits when they learn to drive. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and have high expectations. But don’t let those expectations keep you from enjoying the smaller successes along the way.

There are no do-overs.

This mother, at times, wishes she could have raised her kids with the knowledge and experience she now possesses. But there are no do-overs…until you have grandkids. Then you have that opportunity to shower all your “I-love-you-no-matter-what” kind of love on them and on your adult kids as they navigate parenting.

Tim is one of my great joys in life and I’m cherishing the opportunity to spend his 40th birthday weekend with him. To hear about one of my other great joys, stay tuned…because my No. 2 turns 40 next year!

Love to all,

Mimi