Monday, December 31, 2018

Goals vs. Resolutions

Happy New Year, Readers!

I have written blog posts on my philosophies on New Year's Resolutions.  If you missed that, the summary is that I don't make new Year's resolutions because if there is something I want to change about myself, God gives me a new day, new hour, new minute, or new second to change something about myself.

This past week, I led a discussion with a group of elderly people.  We discussed New Year's Resolutions and what the most common ones are.  Of course, number one was losing weight.  The funny thing about that resolution is that it isn't a resolution at all.  It is a goal.  During our discussion, we began to wonder what the difference in resolutions and goals.  So I looked it up.  Resolutions are permanent changes to your life that you will keep doing every day and not just until a specific achievement is reached.  Goals involve specific achievements.  Goals can be tracked and accomplished.  Goals are real, actionable, trackable plans.  Resolutions are hopes.  Goals are plans.

Losing weight, going to the gym three times per week, reading the Bible through in a year, running a marathon, etc, are all goals.  They are finite.  They are achievements that are trackable and with a reward with the accomplishment.

Being mindful, being present, caring enough about yourself to limit sweets, cultivating joy in everyday life-these are resolutions.  You may want to lose 10 pounds but it isn't about fitting into skinny jeans.  Fitting into skinny jeans is a goal.  A resolution is to eat healthier because you love yourself.    Being more patient, kind, gentle, good, loving, joyous, being at peace, more faithful, trusting, and acting with self control are all resolutions.  They do not have a measure of achievement like goals do.  Fitting into your skinny jeans is not a sign of inner peace.

There is nothing wrong with goals OR resolutions and I think that both have their place in each of our lives.  It was just interesting to me that the majority of common resolutions are not resolutions at all.  They are goals.  What are your goals and resolutions for 2019?

May you all be blessed in the new year!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Puzzled by Life

Another day on the beach and another blog post. If you are still reading, I’m glad. I used to blog a lot more until I got a full time job as an activities director at an old folks home. Now I blog when I have time or like currently, when I’m on vacation. 

I brought a 1500 piece puzzle to work on while we are here. We have it spread out on the kitchen table in our condo. It occurred to me while working on some of the harder parts of the puzzle that a puzzle is much like our lives. It’s a lot easier to figure out what part of the puzzle goes where when you use the picture of what it looks like when it’s finished. Unfortunately in life, we don’t have a picture to look at when times get hard and our pieces of our lives don’t seem to fit just right. We just have to trust that God has the picture and we just keep turning the pieces this way and that until they fit. Sometimes we get satisfaction in figuring out pieces of our lives and putting them together into a beautiful picture and other times, we work and work to no avail. 

It just looks like an overwhelming mess. God has the picture in His hands and knows how the pieces of our lives go together. One day, He will sit us in His lap and show us the picture and it will all make sense. Until then, we have the written picture of the Bible that will help us along the way. Ultimately, God holds the picture. He knows how all of it fits together. 

All we need to do is keep plugging at it. Turning the pieces of our lives this way and that until they make something recognizable. Sometimes our lives are harder to put together than others, but one day it will all make sense. May we all have faith to keep on keeping on even when the pieces don’t fit or make sense. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Even the Wind and the Waves Obey

As I sit on the beach, I reflect on the power of the ocean. It’s sound is mesmerizing. It’s smell is intoxicating. It’s sound is rejuvenating. Hurricane Michael is wreaking havoc on the panhandle of  lorida with 140 MPH winds and surfs as treacherous as the panhandle has ever seen. Here in Gulf Shores, we are far enough west that we are not bothered by the hurricane. However, the wind is incredibly powerful here as residual from Michael. The waves are as high and as spectacular as I have ever seen them. They are crashing at a rate that I have only seen on tv. Yet, here I am, live, witnessing it with my own two eyes. I am blessed and highly favored. 

As I sit and reflect, Jesus’ teaching comes to mind. Particularly in Mark chapter 4 where Jesus was teaching and he went out in a boat to teach so that the people on the shore could hear and see him.  Later in that same chapter, he goes away with his disciples and takes a nap in the boat. In a panic, they wake him saying paraphrased, How can you sleep when the water is raging into the boat?  They were human. Worriers. 

Jesus Stills the Sea

      35On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” 

Worrying gets us nowhere. It is not a profitable use of our time. These guys were worrying and Jesus sits up and calms the sea and the wind with his words. Just like that. As I sit here on the beach watching the fury of the waves crashing in and the wind blowing so hard and marvel at the fact that not only was all creation spoken into existence, but the wind and the waves obey his command. Jesus could walk up on this beach right now and command the waves to stop and the wind to cease and it would happen. Incredible and yet, I believe. As we go through life together on this earth, may we always remember that the One who can speak the world into submission loves us enough to die for us and we live for Him. Faith over fear. Prayer over worry. Peace over turmoil. It’s a gift we receive without deserving. Take advantage of it and skip the worry. God’s got this. He can speak the waves into submission, He has your little part of the world covered also. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New Every Morning

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve had a lot of thoughts but haven’t made time to write them. I’m at the beach this week and I feel my most creative and reflective at the beach so here is the fruit of that reflection. 

We can dig the biggest holes and build the largest sandcastles on the sand every day and each morning, the beach is smooth and magnificent and perfect and new. The waves and tide come in and wash the sand back into the holes and flatten the sand sculptures back to perfect beach every day.  It reminds me of a scripture. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. 
Lamentations 3:22-23

No matter what holes we may dig in our lives or what elements we add to the top that may not belong in our lives but are pretty to look at(much like sand castles), God wipes us clean every morning. The waves balance the beach back to center. Perfect North. Ready for what the new day will bring. A new kid with a shovel, a new artist with an idea for the sand, a new family to have fun. No matter what the day may bring, the beach is smooth and ready and fresh every morning. 

We are like the beach and God is the ocean. We can make a mess of our lives or build things that are beautiful to look at or catch our eyes. But in the morning, God has made it all new again, smooth, fresh, a new beginning. A new day, a new start, a renewed sense of hope for the future. Let’s all take advantage of God’s gift to us each day of a fresh start. Leave behind yesterday and it’s follies and look at today. Tomorrow may never come, yesterday is gone, all we have is today. Fresh and new. Make it the best day ever!



Thursday, March 8, 2018


I noticed today that a gorgeous piece of undeveloped property close to where I live is now being built upon.  What are they building is a valid question and the answer to that is a storage facility.  A place with rows and rows of storage garages of various sizes to rent for your excess stuff.  I think these places are great for people who are in transition of some type who need a place to store things until they are settled somewhere else.  Or the family with a boat may need that to store their boat, or a car or recreational vehicle that won't fit on the property at home.  For those people, there is a storage facility just around the corner from the one that is now being built.  Two storage facilities built within two miles of each other.
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There are shows on television about people who go to storage facilities and buy the garage contents sight unseen hoping there is something valuable in the unit.  The storage owners are actually having to auction the contents of storage units that have outstanding rent, abandoned units, etc.   WHAT are we storing that we can't keep at home??  Are we at a point in life where we keep so much "stuff" that we can't even keep it all in our home and we even forget about what is in the unit?  Are we buying so much junk that we don't really need that we end up with an overage that warrants an extra monthly payment to store it all?
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WHAT are we doing??  This all occurred to me as I noticed this new storage area being built. Clearly there is need for two storage facilities two miles apart or they would not be building it.  We have THAT much junk to warrant such building.  Bless.

In a world of overindulgence, I long for simplicity, crave less, am satisfied more, and am blessed more than I deserve.  The more stuff you accumulate, the more stuff floats around in your head producing anxiety, stress, breakdowns, and a sense of general unhappiness.  We have so much that we need a storage unit for the excess and we can't even remember most of what is in the unit.  Enough that a show has been made to chronicle the auctions and what is found in abandoned storage units.  I pray that my storage unit is full of peace, happiness, contented feelings, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, and good works.  May we all have an overflow of those things that our bodies can't hold all of it so we need a hypothetical storage unit for the abundance.  Not clothes.  Not furniture.  Not earthly possessions.  But love.  Peace.  Happiness.  And the ever hard to achieve-contentment.

Simplify.  Start small, and get the excess of stuff in your life completely away from you and you will find that contentedness and peace will overcome your feelings of stress, anxiety, and being in the rat race.  We don't need a storage facility on every corner.  We don't need that much junk to clutter our lives.  Let's store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves will not break in and steal.  Let us store up our fruits of the spirit and drown out all the excess earthly stuff that brings out the worst in all of us.  Stay simple.

Make today the best day ever!!

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Good Decision

Chocolate chip or Sugar?
Red or Blue
Go or Stay?
Snack or wait?

Decisions decisions...

There are actually a few decisions that are disguised as feelings.  Love is a feeling.  It is something you fall into.  Something you feel in your soul, and heart.  Something you get butterflies over.  It is uncovered when you find your soulmate. I am suggesting today that love is not a feeling at all.  It is a decision.

I have been married for 26 years.  27 in May.  We met at college in Nashville, TN. He was from Georgia, I was from Nashville.  It was love at first sight.  I told my roommate after I met him that I had just met the man I was going to marry.  There were butterflies.  There was giddiness and laughing.  There was excitement to see him.  It was the same on his end.  We dated.  We loved.  We had fun.  We got married.  What if I had gone to school at Texas A&M?  Would I have found this man I married?  hmmmm

No.  I would have married someone who was in my pool of eligibles at the time I was ready to get married.  This does not minimize my love and adoration for my husband, it just means that I picked him out of the pool of eligibles within proximity to where I was at the time I wanted to get married.  THIS, my friends, is why so many marriages are failing nowadays.  People think that love is a feeling.  Something they fall into, and as time passes they fall out of.  Do I feel butterflies when I see my husband now, 26 years later?  hmmm no.  Am I glad to see him?  yes.  Do I miss him when he is gone?  absolutely.  But do I burn with passion for him?  no.  Did I? yes.  You see, love is a decision.

When butterflies go away in time and it's kids and bills and commitments, you don't burn with passion anymore, Yes, desire is still there, but more of a comfortable desire and the desire may not be for the dude who passes gas on the couch.  People give up here.  They divorce here.  Because they saw the secretary at work and felt butterflies for her.  They saw the dude at the local honkytonk that gave them giddiness and rumbly tummy.  It's fun to feel that way. But that isn't love.  That is temporary endorphins that make you feel good for the moment.  It passes.  Even with the secretary or the dude at the honkeytonk it will pass.  Feelings are temporary.  Love is forever.

Love is a decision to commit to your husband even when he is undesirable.  Love is a decision to stick with your wife even though she went and got her entire arm tattooed because she wanted to.  Love is a decision to accept your husband even when he was too hard on the children or you don't agree on which house to buy.  Love is commitment even when your husband blew through $5000 at the poker table.  There are no butterflies in these situations.  No desire.  Just a decision.  A decision to love even when you are unlovable.  A comfortable commitment in sickness and health.  Butterflies are temporary, love is eternal.

When you wife breaks her arm and leg and you have to serve her and put her shoes on for her and snap her bra on her because she can't do anything for herself, you choose to love.  There are no butterflies or giddiness in this situation.  Just love.  A decision to put someone else's needs above your own.

Love is a decision to place someone else's needs above your own.

We love our children but when they draw all over the white couch with sharpie marker do we adore and get giddy over how cute they are?  NO. We decide to love them anyway and purchase a couch cover.  We don't divorce our children or put them up for adoption and make another one that won't do that.  So why are we throwing away our marriages?  Because the world has taught us that love is a feeling.  And when we fall out of it, we throw in the towel and find someone who makes us feel alive again.  Love isn't something we fall into or out of.  It isn't some out of control feeling that lasts forever.  It is a decision.  A decision to love when he plans the most amazing anniversary getaway ever and also to love when he forgets your birthday.

Love is a decision to place someone else's needs above your own.

Share my blog with anyone you think needs to read this.  I hope it touches your heart.

Have the Best Day EVER!