Sunday, January 18, 2009

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The other day I was taking my youngest son to the video store when he asked "Mom, where do stars come from?"

First, let me say that I love when one of my boys asks a question like this one. It tells me that they are thinking, contemplating, meditating on something that is out of the ordinary. Secondly, let me say that I have forgotten everything I learned in school about astronomy so I responded by saying "Well, I think God made the stars solely for His enjoyment and for ours too. Since He is a God of splendor and creativity, I think He is revealing His mighty hand at work through creation".

My son looked at me and said " Well, I think God creates a star every time a baby is born. It's His way of celebrating a baby's birth". Wow!!!! What an awesome answer from a little guy but he didn't stop there. Next he said "Just think about it mom. Since God put the biggest star in the sky the day baby Jesus was born, wouldn't he put a star in the sky for every baby that is born?"

To tell you the truth I never thought of it that way. More and more I find that my children are teaching me biblical truths instead of me teaching them. Maybe this is why God said we should all have child like faith. To see things through a child's perspective can teach us a thing or two. My son hasn't spent years doing in depth bible stories like I have yet he sees God's fingerprints in the world around him and then takes time to share what he sees with someone else. That someone happens to be me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finishing Up Resolutions

I'm going to make this brief. After all, the last time I posted was on January 3rd. Days go by and I have a hard time keeping up. Can you relate?

The third part to my 2008 resolution was having a daily consistent quiet time with God. A lot of times women ask me "What does your quiet time look like?"

I can tell you with confidence that it is never the same. Sometimes I will read a devotional from Proverbs 31, Walk in the Word Ministries, or one from a favorite devotional book. Other times I'm in the middle of a particular study and just complete my assigned homework for that day. Another option would be to read a chapter from the Old Testament and New Testament. There are times when I put on a cd and just sing at the top of my lungs ( that's if nobody is home ). I may look over my pack of index cards that have scripture verses on them. There are even times when I just sit and talk with God about my "to do" list for that day. I ask Him to show me how to prioritize and plan then I wait and listen. I don't always receive a response right then and there but often times I do. It's the sitting still and not talking that is challenging for me. I'm working on that too.

I have to say that out of the three resolutions, this one is the most important to me and the one I have done the best at keeping. When I don't have my quiet time in the morning I can definitely tell the difference! So can my family or anyone that encounters me that day.

At first I really struggled with staying consistent but now I really look forward to this special time every morning. It sets my day off to a great start and helps me to remember what's really important in life.

As for 2009, my goal is to keep my 2008 resolutions and just improve on them. Especially the scrap booking and photo organization. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of mine who sells Creative Memories. She gave me some helpful ideas on how to organize my photos. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Personal Resolution

O.k. On Thursday I told you about my practical resolution for 2008. Today, I'm going to tell you about my personal resolution for 2008. There were two parts.

The first part was to just take care of myself a little better in 2008. Ya out, eat right, take my vitamins, and drink my Mona Vie every day. Blah, blah, blah. There's nothing remotely special about this resolution. Everyone on planet makes this resolution each and every year. But, to my surprise, I actually stuck to it. Well, not exactly. Not every day. What was I thinking! Every day!!!

The second part to my personal resolution was to start a blog. I guess you can say I accomplished that too, but not really. Ya see, I wanted one of those pretty blogs with all the cool colors, awesome images, fancy fonts, clever video clips and soothing background music.

As crazy as it may sound, I searched for months, looking for just the "perfect" image for my blog. I checked all the popular web sites too. Do you have any idea how many images are on just one of those sights? ZILLIONS OF THEM!! The more I searched for that "perfect" image, the more choices I would find. Instead of being satisfied with one, I became increasingly compelled to search for more. It was a vicious cycle! One that I created and one that only I could stop.

Many of my friends created blogs in no time. Why was I having such a difficult time completing mine? Why couldn't I just choose an image and move on? My good friend, Renee kept telling me, "Leah, just start writing and don't worry about the other stuff". But, I couldn't get past the "other stuff".

I'm going to confess something to you. I have issues and one of them is perfectionism. Perfectionism breeds procrastination. When I can't do something perfect, I tend to put that something off until I feel it can be done just right. Well, that's silly! Who does everything perfect? Do you know anyone who is perfect?

Actually, I do and His name is Jesus Christ. How I long to be more like Him. He lived a completely perfect life without sin. Boy, wouldn't that make life a lot easier. Or would it? Jesus received a lot of persecution for living a life of perfection. People didn't understand Him at times. His actions were sometimes unorthodox to the majority. He often times came under much scrutiny. Talk about pressure! Pressure like that would cause anyone to sin, but not Jesus.

Although I'm not perfect, I serve a God who is and He is always there to help me. I just need to ask Him and then receive His help. What I've also learned is that I can go to God with big things and small things (like taking care of myself and starting a new blog). He is ready to help me no matter what my request is.

Just so ya know, I've forwarded my practical resolution for 2008 over to 2009 and so far I'm doing pretty good. Not exactly perfect though but that's o.k. with me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What Resolution?

New Year's resolution.... do you make them? I do!

I love setting small goals for myself. They keep me accountable and focused. Without them, I could just wander around aimlessly with no drive, direction or motivation. I love creating a "to do" list and then enjoying the satisfaction of scratching out each line with a pen or pencil. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small the task.

Last year I made three resolutions for myself. One was practical, one was personal and one was spiritual.

The practical resolution was to go through all of my children's photos and organize them once and for all! You know how it is, you take all those pictures, download them for developing at your favorite photo place, drive to the store, pay for them, bring them home, look at them, then stick them in a big box marked "family photos" and forget about them. At lease that is what I do.

Ever since I purchased my first digital camera (which was years ago), it became a lot easier to just look at the photos on my computer screen. I got real lazy and never bothered to get them printed. Now I have THOUSANDS of photos on my laptop and camera. I'm completely overwhelmed!

This could cost hundreds of dollars to have all these photos printed out! I don't have the time to sort through them! Which ones do I print and which ones do I pitch? Should I put keep them on my hard drive and save storage space in my closet for extra shoes? Would my kids look at them anyway?

All year long, I thought about my practical resolution. I planned time on my calendar to begin the sorting of photos. I dreamed of how nice the photos would look in those cute little albums. I imagined sitting with my boys and telling them stories about when they were little as we looked at the photos.

The only problem is that the photos never were sorted, picked, paid for, organized, placed in albums and enjoyed.

F-A-I-L-U-R-E!!! Not really, but that's how I felt, at least for a while. Then I realized that it was my choice not to follow through with my practical resolution for 2008. It wasn't that I didn't have the time, I just chose to do other things. It was my choice.

Those pictures are still available anytime I want to look at them. I have placed them on a portable hard drive for safe keeping and have saved a lot of money in printing costs. Maybe one day I will print them all out and put them in albums but for now, I'm choosing to do other things.

Believe it or not, I've learned something very valuable from my failed resolution. Although I chose not to follow through with it, I also chose not to beat myself up because of it. That's because I've hidden a very special scripture verse in my heart which is "For there is no condemnation (blame, disapproval, accusation, guilt) for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1 (NIV). That includes me! God doesn't think less of me because I didn't get my pictures sorted all pretty and perfect in a photo album and neither should I.

I'm so glad His word has freed me not only from sin but also from my silly thinking. What about you? Are you hard on yourself? Do you expect too much and then get frustrated when you can't fulfill your own expectations? Are you your worst critic? How is God changing your way of thinking so that you freely receive His grace and mercy? Please write and let me know.