Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Been Too Long...

Ok, so I started out this year with big intentions and lots of high aspirations for myself! A lot of them didn't end up happening. :) But isn't that the way it always is? So I end up coming to my blog daily but it's usually just to look at my other friends' blogs and never write on mine. I notice the last entry was in March. March??? What the heck! Where did this year go? To be honest, I have no idea. Too many things have seemed to slip away too quickly.

Well first off... since we're almost at the end of the year, let's take a look back at what my New Year's Resolutions were:

  1. Eat healthier
  2. Exercise more... okay, at all
  3. Budget my finances better
  4. Find a new church and attend regularly
  5. Do a better job of keeping in touch with my friends and loved ones other than through Facebook!
Ok, so not too bad. I have been eating healthier and exercising a lot! In fact, I've lost 30 pounds so far! That's pretty darn good! Budget finances? Not so much. I mean, granted I haven't gotten myself into any sort of huge debt, but I haven't exactly racked up the savings either. We'll have to roll that forward into next year. :) I did find a new church and was attending regularly, for a while. But then life got in the way and once you're out of a habit it's almost ridiculously hard to get back into it, but that's going to change. Starting this Sunday, it's back to church! As far as number 5? I think Facebook is about the only way I keep in touch with anybody these days, which is ridiculous really. What ever happened just to calling someone up and talking on the phone? I never do that. Or even hand writing a letter? I think I'm going to start doing that and see how surprised people are to get a letter in the mail!

I think this is always such a crazy time of year with holiday shopping and plans with family, but I hope to not let it get me too crazed and I'm trying my best to keep it from getting hectic. Heck! I'm almost completely done with my Christmas shopping and we're only 2 days in to the month! That's awesome for me!

Well, I promise to work harder on writing at least every week. Finding something worth saying. I can barely remember what I did last week, much less a year ago - so I'd love to have something to remind me in 5 or 10 years of what I was thinking at this time in my life.

So here's to finishing up this year with a bang and hopefully starting off 2010 in a good way!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Commitment

This Sunday was another amazing sermon at church. Our pastor is doing a Lenten sermon series on "Searching for What's Missing" and this week he focused on Mark 8 beginning with verse 27 where Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ." Jesus begins to tell his disciples in verse 31 about the fact that he must suffer many things, be rejected, die and rise again. As our pastor put it, Peter gets pretty upset with Jesus at this point and as the verse says, begins to "rebuke" him. Jesus at this point rebukes Peter and says, "Get behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." At this point at verse 34 Jesus tells his disciples and the crowd, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." Our pastor pointed out that there is a difference in liking Jesus' message and liking what he stands for and believes in and actually living as Jesus does. That was powerful to me. In the days following church I've even read another article on line where many Christians have taken to calling themselves "followers of Christ" rather than Christians because they feel there are too many people that call themselves Christians that don't actually follow Christ. I think too often people just fall into the lull of going to church every Sunday and not actually living life with a Christ-centered attitude.

Our pastor asked, "How often does my going to God involve me wanting something?" WOW! I was convicted right there on the spot. That is so true! How many times do we actually stop on a daily basis to just thank God for our blessings? Or just to talk to him in conversation? One of my friends has told me that her entire day is just a conversation with God. I would love to be able to just be in constant prayer to God all day long, but I know that I tend to get busy and start thinking of other things and the next thing I know, I haven't prayed at all! And I am completely guilty of only praying to God when I need something. As our pastor said, too many people treat God like a Coke machine. They put their money in the top and are expecting something to come out at the bottom. If God removed all of my blessings, would I still seek Him with all of my heart? SUCH a good question! I was reading on another friend's blog the other day about their discipleship material they are reading and she was currently reading the part about miseries and how we all suffer miseries at one point or another in our lives. Then: The degree and kind of misery caused by moral and natural evil varies in each individual's experience. If you are healthy, live in a nice house in a safe neighborhood, have a good job, insurance and enjoy healthy fulfilling relationships, you will experience the miseries of life less acutely than most. Thank God for His kindness to you." Do we do that? Do we do it enough? I know that I don't. I know I don't thank Him often enough for His kindness to me.

Our pastor said there are 3 levels of commitment to God. 1) I'm not willing to put you first. 2) I'll put you first if... (lying to yourself, still wanting to keep control). 3) I'll put you first regardless. I am definitely striving harder now to put God first in my life regardless. I want to work to be in constant prayer/conversation with God and thank Him for His kindness and blessings to me. We have such an awesome and mighty God and I know that I would definitely be in sad shape without Him in my life!!

It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. - John 4:23-24

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wordle

Ok, so I was out there reading my blogs that I read and I came across where someone had posted their "Wordle". I was interested to find out what this was and learned (at www.wordle.net) that you can type in your blog's website and it will create a "wordle" which is an artistic collection of my frequently used words. So here's my wordle:

You know what I love about this? To me it looks like mass chaos. But right in the middle of it all, in nice, calming yellow is the word GOD. How awesome is that? That the word used most often on my blog is the word God? And that right in the middle of the chaos is God. He is always there. Larger than life, ready to take on anything and everything. This really speaks to me where I am right now in my spiritual journey and that's why I wanted to post it. To be a constant reminder that God should always be number one in all that I do and the one that I always turn to in times of chaos and craziness. God knew I needed a reminder of that today. How awesome is He?

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer... Psalm 19:14

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Living In The Moment...

This past Sunday at church our pastor started a new series entitled "30 Days to Live" and it was all about living in the moment and "what if you only had 30 days left on this earth?" It was a very moving and inspiring sermon. The scripture for this series is Psalm 39:4-5 which says "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath." (NLT). Normally the thought of how short our time on earth is brings about the "oh that's so morbid" comments. But seriously? We should be thinking about how short our time is. I think about all the days that I waste doing things that aren't pleasing to God or even things that I don't enjoy doing.

James 4:13-17 says: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it sins.

Wow. I have never before thought of planning for the future like that. I mean, granted we do have to plan ahead for many things in life since we can't do everything spur of the moment, but there is something to be said for living in the moment, you know? Our pastor said, so many times we miss life in the moment. We don't spend good quality time with family, friends and loved ones because we're too busy thinking about all the work we have to do later or how you need to be doing laundry or cleaning the house or 8 million other things that are running through your mind at that minute. We're not ALL there with our loved ones. Psalm 118:24 says THIS is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. THIS is the day. Not tomorrow or 2 weeks from now. We need to live in this moment here and now and enjoy it and thank God for blessing us with the day that we have!

So all of this time that I have kept putting off my quiet times with God saying that I'd start tomorrow or this weekend. That's no more. The time that I've put off reading more because I'm just too busy - forget it, I'm starting more now. I'm going to stop overloading myself with work and busy-ness and start enjoying myself more and spending more time with my loved ones - especially God. So I pray, Lord... please remind me how brief my time on earth will be. I want to make it count for something!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Does It Mean to Be Humble?

One of my favorite websites I visit has a bible verse of the day and as I went to look at the site today the verse is: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. - James 4:10. This got me thinking. Do I humble myself before the Lord? And what does it mean to be humble before the Lord? I looked up the definition of the word humble and this is what I found: not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission.

I think this verse speaks volumes to me today. Have I been approaching God in a spirit of deference or submission? Or more often do I live my days feeling proud of what I'VE accomplished? I think more often than not I end up walking around with a feeling of pride of where I am in life and don't usually take the time to think about the fact that without God I wouldn't have gotten anywhere! I find that usually I only stop and think about God in my everyday life when I'm struggling and calling out to Him for help. I definitely don't want to live that way. I want to be able to walk through everyday and recognize Him in even the smallest details. Today I'm thanking God for speaking to me when I'm not evening listening for Him. I'm thankful for the fact that if I slow down and focus more on life, I won't miss Him in the still moments.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Search for a Savior...

In my life as of late, I really feel like I've been missing out on something. Even though everything in my life seems to be going wonderfully right now, I still feel this hole as if I'm somehow not complete. I know that can sound kind of cliche, but it's true. When I look back over the first 30 years of my life, I can see myself slowly drifting away from God and from any sort of personal relationship with Christ and I hate that.

I was always raised in the Methodist church. I can't remember a time growing up that I wasn't in church on Sunday and when I got to middle and high school, I was actively involved in my youth group - even ending up as the president of my youth group my senior year of high school. I felt about as close to God as I've ever been and I just knew that I was going to go off to college and meet a strong, Christian man and we'd have a wonderful, perfect little Christian family.

Well life doesn't always turn out the way you plan it. Despite the fact that God couldn't have chosen a better roommate for me my freshman year of college (Kendall was most definitely a Godsend), I found myself lost and searching for a place to fit in. Unfortunately, no matter how much God tried on His end of our relationship, I kept pushing Him away. I joined a sorority and God again put the most amazing Big Sister in my life. Beth was and still is one of the most amazing Christian women I've ever known in my life. I kept pushing and pushing Him away because I still didn't fit in at college where I thought I should. In the end, I ended up self-destructing and was back living at home with my parents by the time I was done with my sophomore year of college.

I came home determined to re-establish my relationship with Christ, but I got sidetracked. I was so intent on meeting a man and getting married, that I let my search for God fall by the wayside AGAIN. I met David and within 2 years of meeting we were married. I knew this was it and I had found my place in this world FINALLY. I worked hard in our marriage to meet God again and I threw myself into church and became involved in just about every way I could imagine. Only one small problem, David wasn't having it. I prayed and prayed and prayed to God that He would open David's eyes and his heart so that David too could know God and have a personal relationship with Christ. After 2 years of marriage, I came home one day to a huge surprise. Despite having a contract on a house and getting ready to move in less than a month, suddenly David "didn't love me anymore" and wanted a divorce. I was devastated. Crushed. I was angry with God. I cried out, what did I do to deserve this? I didn't stick around long enough to hear the answer. I dove into the dating scene and suddenly made finding a new husband my god. I stopped going to church and pulled away from my friends and even my family.

Thankfully, I met Joe. Joe was raised in a big Catholic family and this was something new to me. We had long talks about our faith and what we believed. We've definitely had a lot of struggles in our 5 year relationship but throughout it all I've really still believed that this was all part of God's plan for our lives. We've dealt with Joe getting laid off from his job, me changing jobs twice, Joe deciding to go back to school, buying a house and struggling with our finances due to being a one income home. But through it all, I've managed to maintain my faith this time around and know that God has brought me through SO much in my lifetime that I know He's not going to just give up on me now.

So why this long post about feeling lost? Well, despite the fact that I still believe that God is looking out for me and that He has a plan for my life, I feel really far away from Him. We haven't found a church home since we've moved into our house and I really want to find a good church that I can really get involved in and find a good small group. I also want to try and establish a good quiet time with God every day (which is hard because I find my life is so hectic). I also want to strive to have God in my everyday life and be able to see Him in even the small things rather than just being a "Sunday Christian" that goes to church more for the social setting than for getting fed.

So I plan on immersing myself in the Word and trying to reconnect with God. I yearn for a closer relationship with God and desire to grow in my spiritual walk. So there it is. I've laid it all out. I've said this so many times before and I end up getting discouraged and falling away after a few months, but I feel like there is no time like the present to rekindle that loving relationship with my Father.

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. - Deuteronomy 4:29

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Things I've Done...

I stole this list from my friend B who stole this list from someone else, who probably stole it from someone else. I've bolded everything I've done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/DisneyWorld
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (you can longer do this)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept overnight on a train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dippin
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden a gondola in Switzerland
29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (only if you count on Wii)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen Amish country
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (no, but I've bought and eaten my fair share)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check (should I really be proud of this??)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. One cavity or less (I wish)

I guess I better get working on this list! What have you done?