All Things New – The Gift of Now

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (The Words of Jesus – John 10:10b) 

If you’ve read any of my posts lately, you know I’ve been exploring how I might make some positive changes in my life in an effort to achieve a healthier body, mind, soul and spirit.

And new year’s resolutions take on a whole new meaning when you hear stories like the one out of Tucson.

The good news is that Representative Gabrielle Giffords is reportedly making a miraculous recovery! But the lives cut short because of this senseless shooting make you realize once again that the time we have is a precious gift. And we must use it wisely.

I’ve previously talked about the body and mind so now it’s time to think about the soul and spirit. I’ve been reading about the differences between the two and came across the following excerpt from the book, Rightly Dividing The Word (Dr. Clarence Larkin):

The Gates to the Soul are Imagination, Conscience, Memory, Reason and the Affections.

The spirit receives impressions of outward and material things through the soul. The spiritual faculties of the Spirit are Faith, Hope, Reverence, Prayer and Worship.

Today I’m considering the gift of now. And how I am an overseer of the life and breath God has given me in this moment. I must faithfully maintain, nurture and grow the seeds He has planted in me, forgetting past mistakes and missed opportunities.

Because, as C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

So, I will take that class which will stir my imagination and creativity. Sing that song that will lift my spirit closer to God in worship. Do that thing that will have me living life more fully, as my Creator intended. And, hopefully, the result will be finding the inspiring in me.

Right here. Right now.

All Things New – A Simple Message

Remember when you were in elementary school and you and your friend swore you would be best friends forever? Then life happened. The friend moved away and, before you knew it, you lost contact.

Well, I am thinking today about the friends I’ve made in my grown up years and how difficult it seems to keep in touch since my husband and I moved out of state a few years ago.

But I also know how much I value those relationships and so I reach out through emails and the occasional phone call and, today, through snail mail.

That’s right. The “new” thing I’m doing today is going “old school” and exploring the lost art of letter writing.

I discovered this stationery set I was compelled to buy some years ago sitting on a lonely shelf and got it in my head that it had gone untouched for far too long.

Today, I will use this forgotten paper to write a simple message to my friends across the miles. A message that says,

“You are not forgotten.”

Because I know words matter and so do friends. And today, with a stamp and a few strokes of the pen I hope to erase some of the distance between us, which makes writing these letters a truly simple pleasure.

Project Simple Pleasures2

All Things New – Extreme Mind Makeover

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Last week, I posted about my quest for transformation: body, mind, soul and spirit. I talked about the body and my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. But I realize that anything I do begins with what is in my mind to do. So, while the media concentrates on body, money, style and extreme home makeovers, I think I’ll pray for this:

An Extreme Mind Makeover.

Today, like it or not, we live in a high tech, media crazed, adrenaline hungry world dominated by a myriad of booming voices bombarding us with messages of all kinds. And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, they are not all good.

It’s not easy, but our goal, since we cannot escape them all, is to train and strengthen our minds so that we do not become victims, slaves to undesirable and damaging thoughts. How?

Well, we know that drinking more water is good for the body. But sometimes we forget that drinking the Living Water and allowing the Word of God to wash over our mind and heart daily is necessary for sustaining and transforming us into the person God designed us to be.

And just like eating healthier increases our appetite for good food, saturating our mind with good things causes us to crave the good and reject all the junk that threatens to do us harm.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Rejecting the junky stuff. Feasting on the good stuff. Becoming the person God created me to be. This is what it’s all about.

It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. It’s why I am challenging myself and you to accept change in this season of All Things New.

Because even the smallest step in the right direction brings us closer to the bigger picture that God wants us to see.

Heavenly Father, Your plan – Your purpose – Your “good, pleasing and perfect will” is made known to us when we submit ourselves to the transforming power of Your word. So please help us to do just that and make us who you created us to be. For your glory. Amen.

All Things New – Becoming A Renaissance Woman

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” Zig Ziglar

Success is something we are all aiming for in life. Somewhere along the way, we realize that it sometimes means being willing to adopt different behaviors and being open to new things. Even if it’s just baby steps at the beginning, it’s about taking the steps, right?  It’s in the reaching, the doing, the trying that we are transformed.

And transformation requires a personal Renaissance.

Renaissance. I like the sound of it. Among other definitions for this word, revival and rebirth stand out to me. This is what I want to see happen in my life and, in this year of All Things New, I have decided that with God’s help I am going to challenge myself in all areas: body, mind, soul and spirit.

Today, I am concentrating on the body, what the Bible calls “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  I’ve decided I want to aim for a healthier  lifestyle. Here are a few baby steps I’m taking…

More water and more exercise. I bought this new water bottle for my husband. I already had one but this one can be carried on the longer walks we plan to take. Another plus is no longer having to buy disposable water bottles. We can refill our bottles with filtered water and help ourselves and the environment in the process. A win/win!

Better food choices. When I’m out and about, I’ll aim for getting the fruit rather than the fries, like this fruit cup I got from a local deli. Yum! I love fruit and veggies but do not eat nearly enough. So this year the goal is MORE. More of the good stuff.

Learning to be a healthier cook. I want to try different recipes and ingredients that will not only be healthy but tasty as well. So I bought this acorn squash in hopes of making a unique side dish for dinner this week. For some reason, I have never thought to use acorn squash. Now I’m really getting daring, huh? 🙂

I think being a renaissance woman involves a change of heart and attitude. It means rejecting comparisons and status quo and making an effort to aim higher. Taking steps, however small, toward being the best we can be.

How do you define success? What are some baby steps you are taking towards your own personal Renaissance?

All Things New – Finding Our Place

DSCN0203Thank God there is a place for misfits!
Like other Believers, I desire to know how God wants me to use the time and talents given to me. Because I know that,
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
 they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1
I contemplate the life lessons, the hopes and failures that chip away at the person I thought I was to reveal the person I truly am. And, once again, all roads lead to the One who redeems it all.
 The Holy One who says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
On Christmas Day, I sat at the kitchen table next to a family member who has been struggling through the pain of a nasty divorce. In her words, I felt the lonely of her wilderness, the thirst of her wasteland wanderings. And I rejoiced as I heard her declare her commitment to God’s calling on her life. To help other young women.
As she poured out her heart, eyes welling with tears, I understood. Even though I had not been through her exact circumstances, I could empathize with the discouragement, hopelessness and despair that she described. Things that tend to draw us closer to God and to our own destiny.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
On our knees, crying out to God, humbled by life and our own humanity. Suddenly aware that we can do nothing apart from Him.
That’s when it happens.
Looking up, through our hazy mist of tears, we see the door. The door to the house God is building with all the broken, wandering misfits who have been searching for what seems an eternity for that place of belonging.
And there, next to the Cornerstone, we rest.
Feeling safe.
Finally home.
Today, I am reminded that though we are imperfect. Even though we are awkward, weak and flawed – broken stones, all – God has a place for us in His house.
And that’s where I want to be in 2011.
Right next to the One who is able to “make a way in the wilderness”, showing me the path He wants me to take, “and streams in the wasteland”,providing me with a more fruitful life,
mercifully satisfying the longings of a misfit soul.
I was inspired by a beautiful Audrey Assad song titled “The House You’re Building”. I’ve included the words to the chorus below and you can hear the full song by clicking on the video of Audrey singing a stripped down version of the song for radio. I hope you will listen and be blessed!
“All this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger, I’ve been wandering
All my life You’ve been calling me to a home
You know I’ve been needing, I’m a broken stone
So lay me in the house You’re building”