Ramblings

Life, family, business


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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger…or does it?

That seems to be the catch-all answer for anyone who’s having a hard day or going through a tough time in their lives.

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  It makes sense, you survive the trial and you’re a better person because of it.  We all have trials in our lives that tax us, hurt us, and make us learn something, even if its painful.  Sometimes we lose loved ones, and have to learn to live without them in our lives.

But what about situations that just wear you down?  What about the problems that never get fixed and never go away?  Do they make you stronger too? Or do they just keep beating you down?  What about people who don’t even realize that they are sabotaging their dreams by the choices they make? Do they get stronger?  Or do they just keep getting further and further in the hole?  What about harmful addictions? They really can kill you, and its not making you stronger.  What about your attitude toward life?  Are you grateful? Or do you only see the bad things in life, never giving thanks for the good things?

I think the true answer here, is that you have to realize there is a problem and define it before you can do anything about it.  You have to face the reality that something is happening over and over in your life, and the only way to make it stop is to acknowledge it.  If you keep hiding from these problems, and pushing them away, they never get fixed.  And if they never get fixed, they can’t make you stronger.

Instead of pushing away the things that bother you, go ahead and introduce them, feel them, hold them in your heart and ask yourself, “Why?”.  Make yourself aware of the fact that this problem is in your life for a reason, perhaps to teach you something, perhaps from poor choices you have made in your life. Nonetheless, it is there, and you are the only one who can make it leave.  It could be a bad habit, an addiction, or choosing friends and significant others poorly.  It could be a dead-end job, or a career path you wish you wouldn’t have followed.  It could be your health and diet, and having a body you don’t like.  It could be school and family problems that you can’t see a way out of.  There are so many things it could be, but if you don’t acknowledge it, and realize that YOU CAN CHANGE THIS, it won’t change.  Nothing changes unless you want it to change.

NOTHING IN THIS LIFE CHANGES UNLESS YOU DECIDE TO CHANGE IT!

You are the only one who can take the initiative to choose something else for your life.  You are only in control of you, and no matter how much you want it, you can’t change other people.  Believe me, its taken me awhile, but I’ve learned this.  You are in charge of you, everyone else is not your business.  Its great to be supportive to others, but you have to realize that you can’t change them or even make them see what they don’t want to see.  They are the only ones who can change themselves, just as you can only change you.  Sometimes its hard to watch someone you love continue to keep choosing the destructive path, the path that keeps them stuck.  But all you can do is point it out, keep them in your prayers, and hope for the best.

How does one initiate change?  You have to want it.  You have to choose the other path.  You have to say, “I’m going to change”, and then do it!  Choose to be grateful.  Choose to see the good things in life.  Choose to see that you are a beautiful person.  Ask for help for things you cannot do by yourself.  Get counseling. Get help.  Stop the reckless behavior.  Stop putting yourself down.  Stop wallowing in self pity.  Love yourself.  Love your life.  And try your hardest to choose love in everything you do.


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Blow like the Wind

The wind is unseen, yet its force causes the leaves to flutter and the branches to bounce.

The wind is invisible, yet one can feel it, on their skin and in their hair.

The wind is hidden from our eyes, yet our ears can perceive its presence.

The wind can be gentle; a breeze lightly teasing the grass.

The wind can be ferocious; tearing apart buildings and blowing down trees.

We can be like the wind; we can do many things without anyone seeing us.  But the results of our actions can be momentous.  Good or bad depends on the one who discerns, and the one who acts.

 

 


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Where Does Creativity Come From?

phone 906Sometimes I struggle with finding inspiration for my creativity.  I paint, I draw, I write, and I play music, I sew, crochet, and make jewelry.  Some days, the ideas roll through my mind like waves on the beach.  I have to write the extra things down so I don’t lose them.  Other days, I can’t come up with an original idea to save my soul.  That’s what makes me wonder, where does creativity come from?

There’s so many theories about this, but it still doesn’t make me able to turn it off and on at will.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  There’s nights where my brain can’t shut off, coming up with ideas for blogs and painting ideas;  color combinations and ideas for flower beds and planting things.  Other nights I fall right asleep.  Some days I start painting or writing, and I’m disappointed when its time to put things away and go back to work, or to bed, or to do chores.  Other days, I can stare at my painting supplies and feel nothing.

I do believe that creativity comes from a place deep within us, within our brains and our souls.  But its not an all-access place, it can only be opened with a key.  Sometimes, the key is in the lock, ready to be turned by the lyrics of a long forgotten song, or the flash of a bird flying through the brilliant blue sky.  Sometimes the key has been hidden, and the lock doesn’t open.  I can try to force it open, but it usually doesn’t work.

I have learned that, in my mind anyway, creativity needs inspiration, and that inspiration is my key.  I can be inspired by many things, or sounds, or songs, or pictures.  I can  be inspired, but I can’t make inspiration.  I have to find it outside myself.  I have to be adventurous.  I need to see, and hear, and read, and sing, and be open to the possibilities all around me.  I need space, and quiet, and look deep within my heart and mind to find it.  I need to experience life in order to find inspiration to be life and express life.

But I also need to be able to look within myself to make that inspiration come to life.  I have to look within myself and find where it fits, what it’s doing, and what it stirs inside of me.

Art is life, and life is art.  Everyday of our lives is a picture we paint with our actions and thoughts.  We write the story of our lives on our hearts, and the hearts of those all around us.  We can choose to be an inspiration to others.  We can choose to be a song, or a story, or a picture, or all of those things in one.  Our lives are the one thing that we have to express, and we should make the most of it.  Every one of us is unique in our own way, and no one is going to have the same story or song, or picture as anyone else.  Each of us has our own perspective of life, the art of life; and each of us is an artist.  You are the ONLY ONE who can write your story, paint your picture, or sing your song.  No one else can do it for you.

So what will you write today?  Or paint? Or sing? What will inspire your life?  And what, pray tell, are you going to do about it?


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Baptism

My sermon from Sunday, January 10th.

What is baptism?  A baby comes to mind, all the family and sponsors dressed up and smiling, as the minister drips a little water on his or her head.  The baby usually cries or fusses a little, we all read a liturgy together, pledging to help raise this child in the family of God.  Some churches baptize people as adults instead, plunging them into a tank of water or submerging them in a river. Either way is fine since we only baptize with water, Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of baptism is to show the world we are accepting Christ as our Savior.  If we baptize a baby, we are welcoming him or her into the family of God.  Baptism itself is simply a ceremony of identification with the Christian church. But the true meaning of baptism is rebirth, being born again in the presence of Jesus, and accepting His resurrection for the life-changing thing that it is.

I remember awhile back, Pastor Brian Dixon gave a sermon on baptism, and during the sermon, he presented a bowl of river rocks and invited each congregant to come up and take a rock to remind each of us of our baptism.  I took a shiny black rock and listened to the rest of the sermon instructing us to use this rock to remind us of our own baptisms.

I kept that rock in my pocket for months.  Each time I felt the rock, or became aware of its existence, I made to sure thank God for something. I was reminded that God is the rock I build my life upon. God is my foundation, and all things come from Him.  I would thank Him for my family, friends, coworkers, and all the blessings He brings into my life.

“Thank you for this beautiful day, God!” I would think as I felt the rock. Sometimes I would hold it in my hands as I prayed and I would thank God for giving me this rock so that I thought of Him more often.  When life would get chaotic and my brain was thinking of a million things at once, all I had to do was hold the rock and I could stop and thank God for any and all things.  The rock became almost like a security blanket.

Then, one day as I got ready for work, I stopped to grab my rock and my lip balm to put them in my pocket, and the rock was gone.  I looked all over, under the couch, in the bathroom, in the laundry room. Where did I put my rock?  I had to go to work without it.

That night I continued searching for my rock, but it was gone. I questioned my husband and children if they had seen it.  But alas, the rock was nowhere to be found.  I told my wise friend that I had lost my rock, and she said to me, “Maybe its because you don’t need it anymore.”

God gives, and God takes away.  I thought about this for awhile.  Its true, I was thinking about God on a regular basis, and every time I noticed my rock was missing from its place, I would still thank God for something.  My thanking God had become a habit.  But a good habit at that!  I may have not had the physical reminder, but I still remembered to thank God for everything in my life.

I realized that I truly didn’t need the rock to have God in my life.  And I realized that the rock helped me become a better person by helping me to remember that God is with me in all things.  When I feel God in my life every day, I am more at peace. I know that God is in me, and I am in God.  I know that God works all things together for my good.  I trust God to take care of me, and in this trust I have learned to have less fear of the world and the circumstances of life.

God tells us to ask Him for everything we need, and He will provide.  I worry less about the future and take the time to experience the present.  I ask God for wisdom and knowledge when I have a problem, and He gives me what I need.

When I strive to see the world through God’s eyes, its an entirely different place.  I tend to look for the good in people instead of the negative.  I see the beauty of nature which is God’s creation.  I understand that God’s will prevails over humankind, and no matter what I do, God loves me the same.  I know how much I love my children, even when they make mistakes, and to think that God loves us more than we love our children is amazing.   I am one of those children, and so are you.  God loves us no matter what we do.  When we place our trust in our Father, He always takes care of us.  He is the ultimate definition of love.  God promises us all these things when we become His children, and so much more.

So if any of you want to become more aware of God in your life, I invite you to find some thing that makes you think of God.  Think of it as continuing your baptism.