Tag Archive | inspiration

Velveeta Really?

In the past few months, I have become interested in baking.  Primarily, because our family wished to reconstruct our mother’s recipes.  She was an excellent cook.  One of her sure fire hits was mac and cheese.  Well you know that mac and cheese is just about a cult happening in its self.  So, I  did some research during the holidays into good mac and cheese recipes,  Several of them used Velveeta. As the holidays unfolded, and I attended family gatherings, mac and cheese was almost never omitted from the bill of faire.

At one particular gathering, the conversation turned to mac and cheese and the fact that many restaurants were including it, even making a mac and cheese hamburger! As we dug into the dish provided at this event everyone weighed in about how great it was and discussed the possible combinations of cheeses and spices used. Well, true novice as I was, I asked if anyone used Velveeta. Two of my family members looked at me in sheer disdain, and pronounced that they used a combination of real cheeses.  I felt like a defendant in the court of Judge Judy with Martha Stewart as the the bailiff.

Many days after this encounter, I was searching the “fridge” and came across a box of Velveeta.  My mind went back to the mac and cheese episode. Upon examining the ingredients, it was clear why these ladies dismissed my question about Veleetta.  Velveeta is not real cheese.  Now, I have to say, the recipes for mac and cheese using Velveeta are much easier than the ones using  real cheese combinations, and the preparation time is more shorter. Is the taste that different?  Can the ordinary person really tell the difference? Does it really matter that much?

Of course, my mind took me to the question of the real deal in my christian life. My answer may  lie in this analogy. A genuine christian life requires time in preparation, study, meditation, and sacrifice.  Or, we can take some short cuts and create some very convincing looking christian lives. But upon close examination, do we stand up? Does it matter that much? Can anyone really tell the difference?

God can.

Velveeta, Really?

 

 

 

 

Everyone Has A Story!

Just very recently I went to see my doctor…regular checkup…. no real complaints except for a recurring headache that has been bothering me.  As the doctor asked a variety of questions and simultaneously consulted his hand-held computer, he asked me for my story.  My story? What does my story have to do with my headaches? Everything, he answered.  Your story is everything.  What has been going on in your life?  What are your dealing with, our not dealing with? What is the health of your parents, your siblings, your mate? What is important to you?  What defines your sense of who you are and what you do? It is your story that links the triggers of  your emotions and reactions, and reveals the stressors that hugely impact your physical health.  He went on to say that when you closely examine what is in your life and the stress these things may cause, you have to make some life choices.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Well, this was quite a bit of information.  I really expected to get a more practical approach to solving my headache problem.  Nothing so introspective and intruding as to examine my “story.”  Most favorably, if I was not faced with some serious brain disorder of  other life threatening illness, a good prescription from the pharmacy would suffice.  Why did he want me to look at my life and make some assessments about how I was reacting to or responding to my life?  This was just too much for a routine checkup!

So, as I pondered my doctor’s request to hear my story, I thought about how often I have heard that phrase lately.  It seems that sharing one’s story or story telling is quite popular.  It is offered as a tool in family history and passing on pride and identity from one generation to the next; our Sunday school lesson required that we share our story of salvation as a form of witness; a weight loss group leader asked us to share our story as an introduction to the class, and it appears to go on and on.

So everyone has a story! What makes my story so important?  Is it so important to know my story?  Yes, I guess it is.  I need to know my own story, because then I can deal with what my story says about me.  My story has many strains.  People, places, events…all pointing to the why’s and  therefore’s in my present.  They recount family history, good and not so good, and how I have come to terms with both.   These strains point to the passions of my life; the goals I have set,  the successes and misses. My story is the compilation of the people I have loved and the people who have loved me.  It captures the moments of joy and the moments of pain that all make me who I am.

No wonder my doctor asked for my story. He wanted me to look at the things in my life that perhaps I had pushed aside, yet  were a part of what I was confronted with but not dealing with.  Perhaps these strains of my story were painful or difficult. Perhaps I needed to face some things.  Perhaps my story showed patterns of avoidance, procrastination, or even unforgiveness.  So, the plot thickens. This story  takes a turn for praise. Yes, I have allowed many stressors to overwhelm me, but I know the source of my healing.

Here I look to the love of God and His redeeming grace to grant me the wisdom to know the difference between the things I can change, and the things I must accept.  I know that God loves me and has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me.  Whatever stresses and troubles  in my path, I will emerge in victory.  So as I deal with the difficulties, and let go of the pain, I thank God for all He has brought me through.  He has given be a Blessed Assurance. “This is my story; This is my song; Praising my savior all the day long.”

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

Synced in Purpose

Recently, I have been reminded of the importance of purpose. It seems that throughout the media we are reminded of purpose. Purpose headlines magazine articles, motivational books, and even advertisements.  We are urged to find purpose in living… purpose in learning… and  even purpose in praise and worship!

Technology devices and programs offer sharing of information through syncronization. This process puts all our information, plans, and processes in agreement.  We are told that being in sync makes out world easier to manuever.  This leads me to ask if my plans are in sync with God’s purpose for my life?  What has God designed me for?  What is his perfect plan for my life? Scripture teaches us that God knows the plans He has for us …  plans to give us hope and a future.

Discovering God’s purpose has to be the most vital part of our search for meaning in our lives. The special gifts and talents invested in us by the creator God are precious resources for maximum success.  I think that we do our children a disservice when we tell them they can be anything they want to be.  Through the years, I have come to believe that each of us is uniquely gifted for a particular path of service and living. When we seek God’s guidance through payer and preparation, we find the source of our strength.  Many years ago, I read a book entitled, “Do what you want and the money will follow.”  The message of the book is that when we follow are passion we are so motivated that success is a given.

Could it be that when we live out our purpose as designed by God we touch that part of ourseleves that wraps passion with purpose, and life is made meaningful through our desire to please Him?

Do you know your true purpose?

Holding

It is the beginning of the new year, and I like many of you take time to examine what I hold as important and worthy of holding on to or carrying into the new year.
Looking back on 2011 I admit that I learned that many things I felt were important and that occupied much of my energy and resources proved to be a waste. Experiencing loss of dear friends and loved ones showed me that I had wasted precious time and gifts on meaningless pursuits. Perhaps if I had listened to Solomon and used his experience, I could have redeemed my time more wisely.
But I believe that we can learn from our mistakes. Forgiveness and redemption are precious tools for new mercies.
Holding on to habits, traditions, and beliefs that do not build up and make better are useless.
Even though I crafted a life full of events, people, tasks, and well-doing, as Solomon warns, it’s chasing after the wind.
What then should I seek and hold close to in the new and precious days ahead? Does it require a shift of thinking and attitude? Can this old dog really learn new tricks?
Holding on to the comfortable in my life was a centering factor for me. I enjoy doing what I do. It defines and verifies my existence. But dare I ask the question that looms like the 400 pound elephant in the room. Just because I have become comfortable with the narrow world view created by my self necessity does not mean that it is worth holding on to.
Holding on is the great opposer of letting go. In letting go we relinquish our need for control. Letting go leaves room for God to direct our paths and plans. Even though we may have spent our lives chasing after the wind. We do not have to continue. Letting go is not comfortable. Change of mind and direction require that we hold on the hope of Christ and His design for us. We were created to bring glory to God through our service. Letting go is holding on to the only thing worthwhile.
Hold on to love, charity, hope, and the redeeming power of grace.
What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go?

Where is Your Mountain?

“Go tell it on the mountain” While organizing some music, I came across this song. It traditionally is used during Christmas on my IPOD playlist, but I love this song and the particular arrangement, various artists from My Christmas Album, is awesome. I could not resist listening to it and immediately got caught up in the words which make me want to tell somebody about the love of God that sent His son for us.

My mind began to organize ways I could tell about Jesus. Perhaps I could go to a shelter or maybe to the mall, or while working on some volunteer project. There were so many possibilities! My excitement and anticipation was consuming. I was pumped, ready, and determined.  Just at that point, my husband came in, making some totally unimportant request. My irritation was immediate.

“What do you want?” I asked with impatience and a tone of  can’t you see I am in the middle of something great here? I am planning a sharing   of the love of God project. What, what, what?

He looked at me with a slight puzzle, and a little hurt in his eyes. Then he apologized for the interruption. I recovered momentarily and asked him to repeat his question. But he assured me that it was OK and to forget the question. As he left the room, I felt completely ashamed.  “Where is your mountain?” echoed in my spirit.

Proverbs tells us that every wise woman builds her house, but  the foolish tear it down with their own hands, and that it is better to live in the corner of the housetop than with a contentious and fretful woman in a wide house.  My husband deserved a better response from me.  My priority as a disciple of Christ is to build my own home.  Yes, the world needs love and kindness and the gift of evangelism from us, but if our homes are not places of love, kindness, and peace, we are but sounding brass and tinkling symbols…….hypocrites.

I realized that I do not have to seek out places to show love. Every place I find myself is a place to be a disciple. My mountain of proclamation is the very ground I stand on each day.  It could be as I search the isles of the grocery store; talk on the phone; compose emails; fellowship with other believers in Christ;  teach a Sunday School lesson; or  show love and kindness to the people in my own home. My mountain is my position in Christ Jesus.  As Christ taught, I must take up my cross and follow. Following is a position… a constant obedience to self-denial and complete covering of love and compassion.

Where is your mountain?