Trying to make it through life with His help.

Archive for December, 2013

Being Thankful

I have always had a blessed life.

FamilyI have two wonderful parents who are still married after almost 60 years, who love me and want to see me succeed, a big brother who knows all things car-related, with whom I am thankfully growing closer, who is raising a nephew who is so smart and well-rounded and a joy to watch grow up and an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins that for many people might be just a little ‘too much’. But for me, they’re exactly enough. We are an eclectic and FUN! bunch, to say the least.

I know Thanksgiving has passed, but I have so much to be thankful for that I just felt like writing about it.

Christmas Eve is my absolute favorite day, and has been for as long as I can remember. This is the one time that, guaranteed, practically my whole family gets together. Of course the only other times this happens – as in most families – is for weddings and funerals. But at least this one night a year, we eat and talk and generally just have a great night of enjoying each other’s company. This Christmas Eve, we even had a snowball fight indoors. One of my cousins had bought a container of 40 snowballs, fake ones of course, and right before we ate, he and some others started throwing them around the room at people! Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera in hand, so I didn’t get photographic evidence. But it was hilarious. I’m guessing this might start a new ‘tradition’, but we’ll have to wait until next year to see.

After we’ve eaten, and the little ones have opened their presents, it’s time for the annual Dirty Santa game to start. If you don’t know what that is, then just click on the link for Dirty Santa and read the rules. What goes on during the game is hilarious! The more ‘stealing’ of presents that goes on, the better the game. It’s a lot of fun to try and figure out what will turn out to be the best gift of the night. This may or may not be a gift that is appropriate or even something most would want out on display… but it’s the one that either most people want, or gets the biggest laugh. Either way, it’s a lot of fun. This I do have photographic evidence of, but, I can’t post them here in order to protect the ‘innocent’.

Christmas is and always should be primarily to celebrate the birth of Christ. I mean, that’s what started it all, isn’t it? Not some jolly man who lives at the North Pole making gifts to give out to children. It’s a nice concept, but truly, if Jesus hadn’t been born, many of us would be living WAAAAY different lives. Some of us live a Christian life, go astray for a while, then find our way back, and are, (thankfully!), accepted into the arms of our loving Lord again.

But it’s hard to celebrate Christmas and not think of getting together with friends and family or the giving and receiving of gifts. But I think the giving of gifts may have started with the birth of Christ, with the three wise men. As long as we remember the Reason for the Season, I think we’re doing ok. However, wouldn’t it be nice if we could remember the reason for the season all year long, not just one or two days of the year? If we would live like it was Christmas every day, then I think our world, and possibly the world around us, would change dramatically.

Maybe we could each come up with a little reminder, print it out and put it somewhere we would see it every day to remind us to act like every day is Christmas. You could put it on the mirror in your bathroom, in your car so you could see it on the way to work, at your desk at work, on the refrigerator door… just any where you think you might need a little reminder during the day. It would remind us to treat those we see each day as we would during the Christmas Season. The reminder could be something as simple as the word Remember, or Christmas! or even a short phrase like Every Day is Christmas or Treat Every Day as Christmas or what ever you might come up with that would work for you.

This world is hard enough to live in these days, and in my opinion having a better attitude during the day can only help. If something as simple as putting up a personal reminder for you to see during your day helps you, then I say go for it! Then, if someone asks what it is, you can tell them and maybe it will help them, too.

Print me:

Treat Christmas

Hi, my name is Beth, and I’m a Procrastinator…

procrastination

Oh my gosh, I wish that wasn’t true! But it is. I have always been a procrastinator, and I guess I will always be a procrastinator. Some of my earlier memories are when my Mom or Dad asked me to do something and I would wait until the last second to go do it. Mom would call me by my full name, (so I knew she was serious!), and then start to count out loud. I knew I’d better get up and run do what ever it was she had asked me to do. {grin} You’d think I’d learn after a few times to just do what was asked of me when it was asked, but nooooooooo… that would have been too easy! So, to this day, with SO many things, I procrastinate ’til the last minute to get something done.

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For now, procrastination is just a part of my life. So far, God hasn’t seen fit to just snap His fingers and cure me of it. When He asks me to do something, I dare say I have done the same thing I used to do when my parents would ask me to do something. I have waited until the last second to get up and get it done. I haven’t heard him use my full name or start to count yet, so, I’m hoping that’s a step in the right direction.

Can you still be obedient and be a procrastinator when God asks you to do something? You might think, as long as it gets done, then sure. But, I’m not so sure. I don’t think He likes to wait any more than any other parent would. I mean, He IS our Heavenly Father, isn’t He? So, why would He be any different than an earthly parent? Oh, sure, He probably knows whether we’re going to do it or not already. But the faster we do what He asks, the sooner we’ll get the blessing for it. And the blessing is always better than we could ever imagine it to be.

This is something I struggle with. I try to be better about it. The only way I can deal with doing something I just REALLY don’t want to do is to put my earbuds in and listen to a book. That, or having a friend over to talk to me while I do what ever it is I don’t want to do, are the only two ways I’ve found – so far – that help keep me focused enough to where I can finish the task. When it comes to my work, I rarely procrastinate. But then again, I enjoy what I do for a living. So I guess that’s the difference. If I didn’t mind doing something it wouldn’t be a chore, and I wouldn’t procrastinate about it.

You’d think that I could change the way I think about something and make it into something I would enjoy, thus no more procrastinating. But, that doesn’t work with me. My brain isn’t easily fooled like that. So, I guess I’m stuck with friends and earbuds.

What does God say about procrastination? Interesting question. There are a few scriptures on the subject, but my favorite is Luke 14:16-24 which tells the Parable of the Great Feast that basically says, those who procrastinate lose out. But verse 24 is the kicker:

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.  17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’  18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’  20 Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’  22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’  23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.  24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

So, you see, if we don’t do what He asks us to do when He asks us to do it, we miss out on something great. And, I would hate to miss out on something that He has planned for me. Wouldn’t you? I’ve learned enough in the last few years to know that what ever I think I might be blessed with is nothing compared to what He has in mind to bless me with. And, at the risk of sounding greedy, I want everything that He is willing to give me. All we have to do to get it, is just do what He asks us to do.

Don’t miss that opportunity.

Are you a procrastinator? Do you feel like you’ve missed out on some of His blessings for your life? If so, you can start right now and do what He’s asked you to do.

Proverbs 4_13

Moving and Change

Oh my goodness…. I do NOT want to go through that again any time soon. It is the most stressful thing I’ve gone through since my divorce eleven years ago. And, if I’m honest with myself, I’m not sure which was worse. Both were bad, but I’m leaning towards the moving being worse than the divorce at the moment.

Since it was all my stuff, I was the one who needed to say where it should go. My standard answer became, “In a box!”. I mean, that was logical, wasn’t it? Ok, so the answer was a bit snarky and definitely borne of frustration, but, as long as the item in question ended up in a box, I didn’t care which one it went in.

My parents, God love ’em, were such a help. I don’t know what I’d have done if they hadn’t come to help me pack. Well, that’s not true, I do, too. I wouldn’t have gotten it all done by the time the movers had come and gone! The guys who came to move me were so great. They were both fun and funny and knew exactly what they were doing. And neither complained – at least not to where I could hear it – when they discovered I had packed things into the drawers of some of the furniture, and even in the washer and dryer. Such good guys. AND I was on the third floor, too. So, that made it even worse on them.

I tell ya, I had to pray big time to try and keep from becoming even more overwhelmed than I already was. And I know my friends were praying for me. For a week, the three of us were busy packing all day. We took very little time out to do anything else, other than eat and sleep. My apartment was only 860sf, but I had so much stuff… things I didn’t even remember having! I took at least 3 car loads of things to Goodwill. And, probably should have taken even more, but that’ll have to wait until I move into my new space once I find a job.

I still have no doubt that God has somewhere special for me to work, and I’m not worried about finding it. I just wish it would hurry up and find me! (I have a bit of a problem when it comes to being patient…) I wonder where the job will be and what I will be doing. I am very skilled at what I do, and would love the opportunity to learn something new. So, I’m pretty open.

Since having to pack my life up and move it back to Tennessee, I have figured out that I do not want to have to do this again any time soon. Which just goes along with the fact that I believe I will be getting a house, instead of moving into another apartment. The last time I came home for a visit, I went looking at some apartments and found a beautiful complex that just felt right. While looking around the property and thinking how much I liked it, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Why are you limiting Me to an apartment?” Whoa. Really?! 

It was just a natural thing for me to look at apartments, since that’s where I’ve lived for the last eleven years. The fact that I would be able to afford a HOUSE when I get a new job, hadn’t even crossed my mind. It’s actually something that is hard for me to wrap my mind around… Me, with a house……On my own! A house, not a condo. Why buy a condo? To me, it’s going to be the same as living in an apartment, it’ll just be mine.  And, they’re harder to sell than a house – from what I understand, anyway. The only kind of condo I would consider would be a ranch condo. All on one level. They do exist, but they’re harder to find. Heck, my friends used to make fun of me because I told them I would LOVE to live in a retirement community! I love older people, and they’re quiet! No thumping music out in the parking lot at 2am. Oh, AND they watch out for their neighbors. Some may call it being nosey, but, if you have nothing to hide, why worry?

Anyway, I don’t want to have to move more than once. So, unless something happens to change my mind, I want to find where I’ll be living for a while. Getting rid of clutter from your life is so freeing. I don’t mind doing it, it’s just the sitting down and doing it that gets me. I am easily distracted, so it’s hard for me to stay focused on what I’m doing. If you think about it, de-cluttering is a lot like being a Christian. A few years ago I read a little blurb about how cleaning out a pumpkin is like becoming a Christian and it’s stuck with me, because it’s so apropos.

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I think that sums up the concept pretty well, don’t you?

I don’t know about you, but even after all these years, there’s still a lot of things that need to be cleaned out of my life. His goal is to get us as close to being like Him as He can, which isn’t going to be an easy task. (Him being perfect and all…) So, that means many things in our lives must change. Change is a scary thing for some of us. But He works on us constantly IF we listen to him.

Do you know of things in your life that need to change? Has He asked you to do something differently than you usually do? Go ahead and make that change. You’ll be better off. Don’t take my word for it, take His. He makes us all KINDS of promises throughout the Bible. If you don’t know where they are, Google it! (Google is a wonderful thing!) Or, here…. Here’s what I found when I Googled “Biblical Promises”. Click the link and start finding your promises!

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