Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Saying

My prayer today ... 

"Do the things you know, 
and you shall learn the truth you need to know."
- Louisa May Alcott

It reminds me of this saying ... 
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quiet Time - Poem

Before you read this poem, please know that I know that I am not a poet - but I do like to string words together in a poem every now and then. I wrote this about 3 years ago and found it again recently. 

Quiet Time
I’m one of those seekers
I’ve read the books, heard the speakers
Even asked my mentor how’s it’s done
Decided it's time for me to do one.

A quiet retreat, alone with God
Some might think it is rather odd
But I know that it will be good
Just like they all said it would.

I’ll sit, be still and wait
It will be just great!
I’ll get answers and advice
I might learn how to be really nice.

So away I go with a friend
Two days we will spend
Our wish we will fulfill
To be still, very still.

We came armed with a plan
Made before we even began
A few hours each day
We'll go our separate way.

Off I go by myself to find a spot
I settle on the porch hoping there's nothing I forgot
Because once I start being still
I don't want to stop!

I’m ready to have a go at it
The candle is lit
On the table I have a leaf and a rock
And a feather from a poor bird in some flock
(I collected them this morning on our walk
Back when we could still talk)

Okay, thank you God that I can be here
I really want you to be near
Nothing will interfere, my focus will stay clear
Not a distraction, no other thoughts will cross my mind
As I think of you all the time.

What was that, I heard some thing
I don’t want a bee sting
Ah, look a humming bird
That’s what I just heard.

Oops, this is a distraction
Was my first reaction
But I’m sure this is okay
It won’t ruin my day
Because God and a hummingbird
Are really close, I’ve heard :)

The amazing thing was
The wings make quite a buzz
And what vibrant colors on it
I watch for a bit - and then he’s gone.

But he’ll be back, I presume
And my camera, it’s back my room
God, just a minute or two
I’ll get right back to you.

Okay, now I’m set
God, you there yet?
Thankfully I do know
There’s no where you will go.

I want to show my desire for him
And not give in to my every whim
But my toe hurts, this splint is killing me
I better see with the trouble might be
Ah, the tape is too tight
I need to wrap it right.

Why do I need this dumb splint?
Why does my whole leg hurt?
Why can’t I even wear a skirt?
Why did it have to happen, God?
And now my legs look so odd!

Wait a minute, Janet, stop!
This path you must drop
Not going there today
Won’t go back to that day in May
You’re not here to complain
Don’t think about the pain!

I focus again, it’s not too late
To be still and wait
God, your peace I want to know
And my love I want to show.

Speaking of love makes me think
Of that leaking kitchen sink
Yes, when will that husband of mine
Repair that broken filter line?

He can be gentle as a dove
And that fills me with love
But the same things I like
At times make me want to take a hike.

Whoa, how did I go there
And I didn’t even leave my chair
Janet, you need to beware
So that you stay in prayer.

But this chair is really hard
I can’t help my butt is scared
But it would be easier to be still
If I just popped a pain pill.

But I didn’t bring them out here
But never fear, the kitchen is near
Another short interruption
Won’t lead me into corruption.

And while I’m in here
Since pillows are near
I’ll get one of those
Plus a fluffy blanket I chose.

I’ll go back out there
And forget about the chair
I will lay down and be comfy
Then I’ll be able to think of thee!

So back out I go
With everything in tow
Now I’m comfy as can be
And God is waiting on me.

Wow, the sky is really clear
And it’s getting hot out here
I could strengthen my tan
Now there’s a plan.

Back inside the house I go
This will just take a minute, I know
To put on my swim suit
Oh, this does not look cute!

But Janet, remember, don’t go there
Get back outside in prayer!

God, I’m back again
I’m here to be your friend
I desire to honor you
In whatever I do.

I decide not to stress
But just be still and rest
I need never fear
God will always be near.

I see his creation all around me
As close as the squirrel in the tree
And the wind blowing across the bay
On this lovely day.

I take a deep breath or two
And without much further adieu
I remember the love God has shown me
And I have to agree
The best thing I can do
Is to God and myself be true

Even if that means my ADD
Keeps me busy as can be
And quiet time … is not so quiet
God loves me this I know
And that makes my face glow!
- Janet Oberholtzer '06

Winning Wednesday Winner

This week's Winning Wednesday winner is
Janet Nolt  from PA 
She will receive a copy of "Same Kind of Different as Me"

To enter a Wednesday giveaway, you leave your name in the comments of the Winning Wednesday blog post or on the link to the post on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009



I'm not a holiday person (I've tried, but I'm just not)
Most times, holidays annoy me
There's often too much hoopla surrounding them
And I don't like the stress they can create.

But I realize I'm a creature of habit
That does best with a pause in the rhythm of life
An interruption to my normal schedule
To force me to stop, consider and reflect.

So this Thanksgiving day, I pause
And consider all the good things in my life
Life isn't perfect, but its feeling lighter
As I realize the many things I have to be thankful for!

thanksgiving celebration

Winning Wednesday

Winning Wednesday is back!

Today you could win a hardcover copy of 
Same Kind as Different as Me
by Ron Hall & Denver Morre with Lynn Vincent

  The book's website describes it like this ...
and also has a short video about it.

A dangerous homeless drifter - 
who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer - 
accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

This is a great book - a true story, with alternating chapters written by Ron and Denver. Two people whose world normally wouldn't connect became friends through an interesting series of events, started by Ron's wife Debbie.
I love how different Ron and Denver write - you feel like you are really hearing their voice, plus you never lose track of who the author is for the chapter you are reading, because the writing is unique to them. Both authors are real and honest about their ups and downs. The honesty of Denver and his life as a homeless person has changed the way I look at someone that is homeless. And I love how Ron pokes fun at himself, talking about how he usually didn't notice the homeless because he was too busy checking how good he looks in the mirror of his latest BMW.

You will laugh and you will need tissues! There's some major sadness in the book and yet it's filled with hope - especially about God's love for everyone and the change that is possible in a person's life. Even though this book is packed, it is an easy read. I got so pulled into the story, I finished it in a few days. A movie based on this book will come out next year with Samuel L. Jackson playing Denver - that should be good.

Ron and Denver have written a second book - What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing. I will be giving a copy of that away in a few weeks - maybe you can win both! Leave your name in the comment section for a chance to win Same Kind of Different as Me today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Want a new Story for this Holiday Season?

Us humans are funny ... when we go 'home' (especially for the holidays) we can easily revert to the roles we've filled for years. And if our roles stay the same, the story is basically the same, or close to the same every year. Sometimes that is okay, other times it's frustrating and we want things to change. I like this idea from the Monday Morning Memo for an idea of how to write a different story this season.

We Americans have idyllic, Norman Rockwell-type expectations of the holidays. We go home with an idealized memory of a place where everyone listens and cares and loves us for who we are, a place where we're known and everything is okay.
And what we find when we get there is our family. We’re never quite prepared for the selfishness of Carol, the laziness of Lee, the assertiveness of Sarah and the insensitivity of Bob. And Gary, well, he’s just a jackass.
I've heard Dr. Richard D. Grant, a clinical psychologist, say ... "The opposite of depression isn’t ‘Yippee!’ The opposite of depression is gratitude."
So this year I have a plan: Rather than trying to have a good Christmas, I'm going to make sure that everyone around me has one. My plan is to be silently thankful. Constantly, consciously thankful.
I'm going to see past Carol's selfishness and like her anyway. I'm going to accommodate the laziness of Lee. l plan to submit to the assertiveness of Sarah and understand the insensitivity of Bob. I'm even going to seek out Gary and show an interest in whatever he wants to talk about.
If my plan is to serve rather than be served, and to give understanding rather than receive it, how can I be disappointed?
I'm going to join Roy H. Williams and set a goal to be more thankful this season and to use that gratitude to help me serve those around me. This doesn't mean I'll be a doormat and allow others to walk all over me. No, to help others have a good season, I need to love myself as Jesus instructed, so I can love others also. Helping others means listening, doing acts of service and loving them. It also means making sure I'm not stressed out, so I can aim towards being constantly, consciously thankful. For some reason, it's hard for me to be sleepy and thankful and kind to others - so sleep is key, along with eating well (give me a few dozen sweet cookies and 'Carol, Lee, Sarah, Bob and Gary' all tick me off) and taking time to "be still" before I hit the family scene will go a long way in helping me be grateful.

Your thoughts ... have you ever noticed if having an attitude of gratitude makes serving others easier? 
If you are aware about being more grateful, think you can write a different story (or at least change a few of the yearly lines/acts) this holiday season? 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recipe - My first in a blog post

Need something fast, easy and healthy for breakfast? 
I just finished making four of these for our Monday morning breakfast. I got this recipe years ago from a group I joined as I was trying to lose weight after having three boys in five years. I've used it off and on over the years for quick, healthy breakfasts. My husband and boys like it also, so I make a few at a time.

Oatmeal Bar
(makes one bar - about 200 calories)

1/3 cup quick or rolled oats
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 package diet hot chocolate mix
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons water
1 pack artificial sweetener (optional)

Mix everything together (will be thick and sticky) and shape into a bar (roughly the size of a granola bar) Place on a piece of waxed paper, then wrap in aluminum foil and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw about 10 or 15 minutes before you eat it.

Sunday Saying

We learn and grow by taking time to reflect on our days. In ten years, when you look back on this day - what memory do you want to have of today? Step back - take a look at your life and see if you like what you see now and try to envision what you will think when you look back on this day. 

“Because how we spend our days is, 
of course, 
how we spend our lives.” 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today = good day!

Yesterday I wrote ... tomorrow will be better than today - right?? I didn't have a crisis yesterday or have anything major go wrong. It was just a combination of waking up in a funk, a house that needed organizing, being in pain, too many scattered tasks that needed completing, annoyed at life, blah, blah ...

Thankfully today was better!!

It wasn't anything super fantastic, but it sure beat yesterday. I still woke up in somewhat of a funk, but after spending the morning looking back over the past 5 years, I had an attitude adjustment. Miracles happened and I've come a long way! I was fine-tuning what I will be saying at Lancaster Christian Writers (LCW) tomorrow morning. I've attend LCW monthly for the past year or two and have learned a lot about writing from the workshops and the critique groups. They were looking for people do workshops and I offered to share some hightlights from what I learned at STORY in Chicago in late October. Jeanette Windle, the founder and director of LCW, asked me to also share some of my story with the group.

Then this afternoon, I went on a bike ride with two friends ... it was a sunny, cool fall day. I loved being outdoors - and felt good after conquering the hills we rode on (well, almost conquering - I walked up the last half of the steepest one)

Tonight its dinner out to celebrate my sister's birthday!

So all in all, a good day!

PS: Decided to wear this dress to the wedding next weekend, so I don't even have to go shopping :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chuck Norris was here!

Most days, I'm in a good state of mind - today is not one of those days. I'm annoyed - annoyed at my body, both the way it feels and the way it looks. I need a dress for my nephew's wedding in VA next weekend and I don't even feel like going shopping because of my limited options. Plus, it's a dreary, damp day and that makes my legs/hips ache more than normal. And I find myself asking "Why?" all over again.

Wonder if I'd feel better if I wrote this on my leg today?

 Maybe something like this ...
Yes, I feel better already ... time to tackle the day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winning Wednesday

Ugh ... I hate even writing this, because I don't like making excuses, but I do like setting some boundaries on my time. Life has been busy and I can't seem to get more than 24 hours in a day (actually, won't really want to!) so what this rambling really means is that ...

Winning Wednesday will return next week 
at its regularly scheduled time!

Any tips on how to get everything done you need or want to do?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Community - Blog Carnival

It's Carnival time again and this week the word is Community.  I love this topic and there was at least ten different directions I've thought of going in with my post - it was hard to settle on one.

On Sunday, we had an exceptionally nice fall day - sunny with temps in the low 70's. Thankfully the planets in my world aligned and I had time to myself from noon to 6PM. My oldest son attends West Chester University and I was meeting him for dinner, so I headed to Brandywine Creek State Park in Wilmington, DE a few miles from West Chester.

This was a new park for me to explore on my bike. I like trees and water, so I was happy to see the bike trail surrounded by trees, the path covered in leaves and the Brandywine Creek flowing swiftly beside it. The majority of the leaves had fallen off the trees already, but a few striking ones remained.  

As I saw leaves all around me and rode over others already on the ground, I was struck by something. This community of leaves had many things in common, but they also had differences. Obviously they were a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Along with that, what struck me was how they lived the stages of their lives at different paces in different ways - much like people.

Some things were the same - none of the trees were budding or growing new leaves this fall, that happens in the spring, just like people all start life as a baby and grow to be old (except in movies) But the stages of turning color and letting go of the branches varied and that is why there was so much beauty surrounding me - because of the
diversity in this community.

Thank you God, I whispered as I biked. Thank you for the lesson about appreciating and celebrating diversity in whatever community of people I'm involved with - whether that community is a team, family, friends, church or others. 

Have you found that diversity can bring beauty in a community you are involved with? If so, how?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Dailyness of Life

I'm not a real scheduled person - I like to go through life living spontaneously, but I've learned there are certain routine things I need to do for my mind, body and spirit to be their best. And all three are connected, so it affects all areas when one area is out of sync.

When it comes to my mind - one thing that keeps it sharp is good, challenging and new thoughts. And that can be from books, speakers or online information. (sometimes the challenge with online info is figuring out which is any good :)

When it comes to my body - unless I constantly think about and monitor what and how much I eat - I eat lousy and too much. I enjoy running and biking, but have a hard time working it into my days sometimes. And a big thing for me since I've been injured: I need to stretch morning and evening to keep my body flexible (well, as flexible as possible with injuries and now age working against me)

As for my spirit- reading and studying scripture is one key. Prayer is also important. I love talking to God when I'm outdoors - this is usually in a relaxed, rambling sort of way. But at times I like when my prayers are more focused. I tend to think sloppily when I pray silently. So I've discovered that writing on my computer is one of the best ways for me to have focused communicate with God and/or process life. I type with my eyes closed (he never complains about the mistakes) and it's like I'm having a conversation with God. Typing the words I am thinking forces me to think in more detail - so what I am thinking becomes clearer to me and what I am saying to God is more focused.

And with my busy schedule recently, none of the above happened!

None! Zip! Zero!

Oh, my mind was challenged in a few directions - great talks at STORY and a few challenging talks with a counselor concerning some issues. But I didn't have or give myself enough time to fully process either one.

I had some physical activity - walking at conferences and some while on the cruise, but not as consistent as I need to be. And the stretching - hardly did any and now I'm paying for it. And monitoring (or lack thereof) my food - I don't even want to talk about that!

I talked to God through-out the past few weeks (often saying thank you for these sweet opportunities!) but never took the time to open my computer and write to him.

So this morning I'm thinking about the 'dailyness' of life - and to be honest, I'm slightly annoyed that most things are best when done daily. I would like if life worked this way (after all, I know best - right?) after being consistent for a few weeks, I could then totally relax and forget about it all for a week or two and not slip backwards in any area (the muscles won't weaken, the connection with God would be as strong as ever, etc) Then when I'm ready and/or have time, I could just pick up again where I left off.

But I've discovered again and again - it doesn't work that way!

As I type this I'm reminded of the six days God worked and then he rested. Why do I want to do life week by week - when the creator of all took life day by day? So maybe if I'm consistent for six days, I can relax one day a week. Hmm, that's a thought ...

Gosh, think the story of God and creation could show me the best way to live without getting frustrated about the dailyness of life?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Saying

In our family, we've been doing too much of this ...

Argument is the worst sort of conversation. - Jonathan Swift
or this lately ...
There is no reply so sharp as silent contempt. - Montaigne 

So, now I'm trying to do more of this ...

To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well. - John Marshall

Any advice on listening well? 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bermuda Cruise

Recently, my husband and I left the comfort of our house with it's solid, steady floor to live in a room only slightly larger than our bathroom with a rolling, swaying floor for five days. And to top it off - we paid money to do this. Yes, it was a furniture cruise, but we still had to pay some.

And to top it off even more - Hurricane Ida met up with us and rocked our world even more!

We went on our first cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship,
called Explorer of the Sea.

I love experiencing new things, so that fact alone made it a good five days. Some of the highlights included having time to relax with Jerry and time to be alone. Another great perk was having an array of good food to choose from each day and having a wonderful waiter serve us and then someone else clean up!

Yes, they had excellent not-so-healthy food also, but I must have been too busy devouring the chocolate to remember to take pictures of it.

Cruising from Bayonne, NJ to King's Wharf, Bermuda (located about 600 miles off the South Carolina coast) took from 5PM on Saturday to about 8AM on Monday. The water was slightly choppy and while Jerry felt great - I did not! I was nauseated whenever I went outside and/or in a room with windows - which is awful, because I love being outdoors :( I tried to go on the outside decks every few hours, but whenever I did, I got sick. Thankfully the waters were calmer around sunset on Sunday, so we went on the front deck to take some pictures.

Formal dinner night

I looked forward to seeing Bermuda again - I had been there about fourteen years ago with a girlfriend to run a half-marathon (ah ... back in the day!) Bermuda is often referred to as one island, but is actually made up of over 100 islands, with the main area being about 21 miles long and 2.5 miles at it's widest point.

Aerial of Bermuda - courtesy of Wikipedia
The weather was so-so for the 30 hours we were there - temps in the high 60's and very windy. Not great beach weather, so we rented a scooter and toured the whole island.

Bermuda is beautiful!
Love the color of the water - which is visible from most anywhere.

Traveling home, as I mentioned Ida showed up - for about half of the 30-hour cruise, the waves were between 9 and 11 feet high :( Not happy sailing. I looked at my lovely dinner entree and couldn't eat more than a bite - thanks to the waves.

While feeling lousy on the ship, I thought about the first sentence I wrote in this post and seriously wondered about my mental health. Why was I subjecting myself to this?

Now that I'm back home on solid ground ... what's my take? Did I enjoy the cruise? Yes. The service was great, food was delicious and meeting new people was fun (from as far away as CA and as close as Lancaster, PA :)  Will it be my first choice for a vacation? Don't think so. The casino took up a large portion of the ship - I don't gamble. The nightly shows were good, but nothing I felt a need to see. There's a bar in every corner and while I love a good glass of wine, I have no need to hang out in a place where most don't know or care about limits.
Did I enjoy having time to travel?  YES! Will I travel again?  Duh ... 
And if I ever go a cruise again - I'd go south further, so I'd have warmer temps. It was almost too cold to sit by the pool most days and too windy to play miniature golf or tennis (which I'm lousy at anyhow!)
I didn't work-out as much as I thought I would, because I felt lousy more than I thought I would! In Bermuda, we walked a lot one day. I walked the track on the ship one day when it was calm enough to and I cycled and worked out at the gym one time. (I don't like gyms, especially in swine flu season - I must have used a hundred of the disinfecting wipes while there)

My favorite picture ... taken at Tobacco Cove
All in all - how can I not be thankful that I got to see this in person and now have a picture to remember it by?

For more pictures ... see my Bermuda Album on facebook

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My Furniture Cruise

I live in the house I live in for about 2 years and 7 months and its only in the past 6 months that our living room is finished, as far as furniture goes. When we first moved here, I had a old set of wicker furniture in our living room. It worked for a place to sit, but it wasn't comfortable. So after we lived here about a year, I finally got some better furniture - a nice Flexsteel couch with a recliner for hubby and a Stressless Ekorne recliner with a laptop table for me.  Finally, we both had a great place to sit. But we had no where to put the necessary coffee and/or other cup of drink. So finally a few months later, I went end/coffee table shopping (why am I so slow in getting settled in a house? Wonder if it's due to commitment issues and/or ADD?)

I saw an ad for a local furniture store that said ...  
"Buy furniture, win a cruise"

I said, "Really?"

The ad was right - I bought furniture and now we are going on a cruise.


Sailing on the Royal Caribbean - Explorer of the Seas
from New Jersey to Bermuda today -
Hubby and I are both excited for our first cruise!

Not sure if I will update while on the cruise or after I come home - check back to find out ...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Winning Wednesday Winner

 And the winner of this book for this week's Winning Wednesday is #9! 
Which is ...  
Melissa Nesdahl

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Be careful - there's alligators in this water ;)

While reading a post on Flowerdust by Anne Jackson about not feeling good enough and insecurities, I was reminded of a day when I took a risk to overcome a major insecurity.

A year or two ago, my husband Jerry and I, along with our friends, Ty and Loretta, took a chance on a late summer day to kayak the Brandywine Creek. As the name would suggest, it's not a big river - but we had rain earlier that week and checking the water levels online assured us that we wouldn't be hitting bottom all day.

The day was perfect - nice warm temps, sunny and better than expected water levels. The scenery was great, as the creek wound its way through pastures, farm land and small towns. We stopped at a small alcove to eat our packed lunch. A few times, we had to get out and drag our kayaks over low spots, but there were also some areas where the water flowed nicely over rocks and we had some rapids to conquer.

(video courtesy of
Successfully going through or around areas like that is an adrenaline rush and a thrill for me. Thankfully we all did well and stayed dry (expect for the one time, on calm waters, when Loretta bent over too far to avoid a low-hanging branch - but that's another story)

After an hour or two of this perfect day, I was feeling like all was right with the world. I was outdoors doing something physical with great people and shooting rapids. (yes, they were small compared to what my teenage sons do, but they were perfect for me) I felt like I could conquer the world!
The day really was perfect ... did you get that? 
Perfect!  Excellent!

Except ... for one thing ...
Isn't there always something? 
Always an "if only"...
Always a "but"...

I was loving the day ... except for the major disappointment in my life that I couldn't do a darn thing about and the insecurities it caused me to live with. I didn't think I could ever fully enjoy life again, because this hounded my every moment. I felt helpless to move beyond the insecurities it gave me.

We all started the day wearing layers and as the temps rose in the afternoon, everyone began peeling long pants and a shirt or two. My layers of shirts went, but I couldn't bring myself to peel off my long pants. I had pulled on shorts first that morning, but hadn't really planned on taking my long pants off.

Loretta noticed, "Aren't you hot with your long pants on?"

"Yes!" was my instant reply. "But ..."

"Ah, Janet - come on, you can take them off. You're in your kayak, no one will notice and if they do, who cares?" She encouraged. "Come on. Live life for yourself, don't be concerned about what other people think!"

She laughed and continued, "Actually, have some fun with it. Tell people to be careful, there's alligators in the water."

I laughed ... a little - still annoyed and wishing I could shed my fear and fully enjoy the day. I was frustrated at how restricting it was and how helpless it felt to live in the grip of what I thought others would think.

Because of that blasted accident, if I took my long pants off, I'd be looking at this ... and maybe others would see it too.

I talk to myself as I process things and suddenly I said,  
"Who cares?!"
"Who really cares about what my leg looks like? I'm here. I survived the accident! My almost-amputated leg healed. Why am I letting my concern about what others think rule my life?"

My long pants came off and I continued floating downstream - surprised that the world didn't stop. The sun still shone, the water still flowed and the cows still ate grass along the banks of the creek!

We passed a few kayakers taking a break and nothing happened. We exchanged greetings - just like normal. I chuckled to myself realizing how narcissistic I must be to think that the world would stop and/or be different because my deformed leg was now exposed to it.

After getting over myself - I realized I felt freer than I had since 2004.

I liked the feeling of being fully me - fully alive! 

Since I was having a good time, why not take it a step further? I saw a few teens swimming along the bank, so I waited until I floated beside them and said, "Looks like fun!"

Then lifting my leg above the side of my kayak, I added, "But watch out for the alligators. Look what happened the last time I swam here."

Yes, the looks on their faces were priceless!

I fairly sure they googled "Alligators in Brandywine Creek?" when they got home. I hope they've gotten over it by now - Loretta and I were laughing too hard to explain anything as our kayaks floated on downstream.

I still struggle with it at times, but I realize that life is too short to have it and/or what others think rule my life. So thanks Loretta - for helping me take a major step in fully enjoying life again, even when living with disappointments and insecurities.

Any 'alligator bites' in your world that 
cause you to be insecure and not fully live?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Winning Wednesday

Today I'm giving away a book I was given at STORY - the conference I was at last week. When I walked into a workshop there taught by Michael Hyatt, CEO for Thomas Nelson Publishing, there was a hardcover book on each chair. I love receiving books, even if it's a book I already own, because then I can give it away!
I read this book about a month ago - and then thought that I hope many people read this book, so I'm happy to have a copy to give to one of you.

It's a great book - it has statistics and numbers about poverty in our world, but it's not all about that - it has stories of real people dealing with poverty. It's not guilt-producing for the sake of making one feel guilty - but it does help the reader take a second look at life, money and stuff. It also includes the personal journey of the author, Richard Stearns, from being a CEO of multiple companies to president of World Vision. This book is endorsed by many people who care about the world's poor, like U2's Bono. No matter where you stand as far as religion goes - this is a good book to read.

I've always believed in helping others - it's what makes the world go around - but after reading this  book I'm revisiting some of my thoughts on the poor and my responsibility to them. In an ideal world,  I think God, the creator of all, should be taking care of anyone that is starving, but obviously he has left it in our hands - we are his hands/feet to help each other.

I relate to this quote in the book ...
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty,  
suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it."

"Well, why don't you ask Him?"

"Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question." 
- Anonymous

What can you or I do to help relieve someone's poverty and suffering?
Do you think your worldview and/or your understanding of the gospel of Jesus has a hole in it?

Leave a comment and/or your name to be entered in the drawing for this book.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Remembering - Blog Carnival

Remembering ...
And missing being.
A few years ago, I spent hours outside in silence and stillness.
I remember feeling like I could
reach out and touch the creator of it all. 
I remember listening to my breath and being in awe of it ...
Realizing how close I came to not having it.
I remember being in awe of life.

                                               Fall in southeast PA
I miss that feeling.
I've been busy - its been good,
but I haven't taken the time to be recently.
I don't want to live on memories.
I want to experience my creator, savior and sustainer today.
So enough of remembering ... time to live this day by being! 
Because today is what I have - not the past and not the future.
Remembering is good...
And so is being fully alive in the present moment!

Blog Carnival – One word at a time: “Remember”

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pendulum Swinging?

I continue to process all I heard at STORY. As I look back at my notes, think about them and share with my husband, I thank God that I was able to be there! Love all the thoughts and wisdom that I heard. The idea of telling our stories was everywhere ... which it should have been given the name of the conference. I love stories, whether hearing one in person or reading one. And I love the attention being given to the importance of each person's story.

Why is a favorite word of mine - and I'm now asking why about one aspect of the conference. I'm wondering if the pendulum is going to swing too far in the story direction now. I'm looking forward to an explosion of good stories being written and/or spoken, but I'm wondering if we should strive for a balance of good stories, along with direct teaching, etc. Will we all get sick of hearing about stories and the value of them? Right now, I'm not interested in reading a book or hearing a teaching with 3 or 5 or 7 bullet points - been there, done that, too many times. But having said that,  can everything be taught in story form or are there certain things that are still best taught with a few good points? 

The teaching at the conference was excellent, some of the best communicators I've ever heard - entertaining, real, inspiring, eloquent and a joy to listen to. STORY was all about communicating stories, yet only a few of the teachings were done in story form. Could they have taught the good stuff they did about telling stories in story form? Pondering that tonight ... 
Your thoughts?

History has always been a series of pendulum swings, 
but the individual doesn't have to get caught in that. ~Robert Johnson

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday Sayings

Sayings from Cultivate and STORY this week ...

The best stories restore our faith in God and remind us that we are not alone. -Nancy Beach

Get inspired, encouraged and excited by other people’s stories - but don’t tell them. Tell your own story. -Jon Acuff

Too often, we don’t have time to listen to others; but if we do, we can help people find healing.  It’s not one-size-fits-all ... people are complex. -Dave Gibbons

When the authors of scripture wrote down the oral stories they had heard, I don't think they were thinking about the fact that we would dissect scripture word for word in this century. - Ron Martoia

Don't read the Bible so you can argue better. The Bible is not a sword to pick up and hit people with – it’s meant to do surgery on our own hearts. - Chris Seay

Too much of the teachings today say there is a pill, program, or person to solve your problems. It reduces Jesus to a commodity. We’ve made Jesus into the equivalent of a DuctTape, WD40 Combo pack - just about all you need to fix anything. - Skye Jethani

Maybe the Bible wasn't meant to be relived and retold by following it word for word, but maybe the stories were meant to help us live our own stories in our own way.  - Ron Martoia

How do we live with the fact that we pick and choose what we want to follow in scripture? Don't believe me - how much of Acts 2:42 - 47 do you follow? - Ron Martoia

Finding the right answers is not as important as asking the right questions. Jesus told parables that He didn’t explain. Are you asking the right questions? -Phil Cooke

These are comments taken from 30 to 40 minute teachings, so they might make more sense to me since I heard the whole teachings. Any questions/thoughts about them? Feel free to comment.