Dear Younger Self…

One of my friends on Facebook, posted something interesting yesterday. I’m sure she had seen it somewhere and thought she’d repost. The gist of it was, if you could go back and tell your “younger self” something, what piece of wisdom that you’ve gleaned from your experiences would you

facebook engancha

now share?

Hmmmmmm……….. I thought I’d give this a try.

Dear Younger Self,

Younger Self, I have so many things to tell you. You probably won’t listen, because you think you know everything and have it all figured out. Um……your Older (and hopefully wiser) Self has to tell you that you do NOT have any real idea of what you are doing. OS is going to give you some advice. Keep your mouth shut and just read it!

1. You do not know all the answers and that is okay. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to always know what to do. Most people are in the same boat, just trying to figure out life, one day at a time.

2. Do your best and let the rest go. Striving for perfection can cause stress related illness. It’s not worth it. Most of your real learning will come from living through your mistakes, anyway. If you get knocked down, stand back up.

3. Be kind to yourself. You have to live in your own skin, why not be comfortable with it?

4. Be a friend, enjoy people. Make memories.

5. Be thankful for what you have. Open your eyes to even the smallest miracles.

6. Laugh a lot. Laugh out loud. Laugh until you can’t breathe. Even snort if you have too!

7. Accept that there is always happiness mixed in with sadness. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

8. Love. The greatest of these…..

9. Find a mate that you like hanging out with. Make him your best friend.

10. Spend time with God, get to know Him……without Him there is nothing else.

11. The girls in the magazines are airbrushed.

12. Read a lot. Never stop learning.

13. Children will change your life, forever.

14. Don’t go through life in a rush, you have to slow down to really enjoy it.

15. Do what you love, and the rest will follow.

16. Pray daily.

17. Play music often. It speaks to the soul.

18. Help others that can’t help you back.

19. Listen. You learn more by listening, and no one wants to hear you talk all the time.

20. Eat ice cream without guilt. Don’t ask questions…just do it.

Love, Your Older Self

 

It Hurts

U Anáše chapel in Římov, passion tour depictin...

U Anáše chapel in Římov, passion tour depicting suffering of Jesus Christ. South Bohemian region, CZ help (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today at A Holy Experience, Ann asked each of her readers to write on:  The Practice of Suffering…. What does it mean to pick up a cross? How do we walk through hard times? How do we participate in the sufferings of Christ?

Suffering…pain…heartache…devastation.  Never an easy topic to discuss. I, like many, don’t enjoy spending a lot of time thinking about suffering, much less enduring it. It hurts too much.

But, I live in a world that knows suffering. It groans under the weight of it. There are so many times when I am silent in the presence of others pain…because I don’t have the words. I can’t answer the why questions. I don’t know why. When the heart aches, the answers aren’t always going to make sense anyway. Just emptiness.

Sometimes, during times of suffering, all I can do, is be present. Be there. Hold a hand. Calm a spirit. Love a person.

To this very day, I still cry when I hear of someone losing a loved one, to death. I don’t even have to know the person, and it still makes me cry. I know that particular suffering from personal experience…..and it changed me. My heart aches for the widow and the fatherless. The tears flow as a parent’s heart breaks, knowing that their child won’t be coming home. A child, no matter how old, feels empty when their parent is no longer there.

Suffering is hard. It hurts. It changes people.

I do know that if I had not been widowed at a young age, if my father had not died, if all my family members were still here….I would not feel the same way that I do now. I would not be able to share in the suffering. I would not be able to comfort others, like I can now, because of what I have been through.

Because of Christ‘s comfort given to me, I can comfort others. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

I believe, as a follower of Christ, I am called to be His “hands and feet” to others who are hurting. To be honest, it isn’t really what I would have picked for myself, had I had opportunity to decide. I mean, would any of us choose suffering? Ever? If there were any other way?

I am so eternally grateful that even though Jesus knew the suffering that was ahead for him, he said, ” Abba,Father everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Mark 14:36 NIV   It is because He chose the cross, that I know suffering will not be forever. It will one day cease to be.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 NIV

Thankful For So Much

Thankful for so much.

Country Lane

Country Lane (Photo credit: Pat Dalton…)

The more I say, “thank you” for what I have, the more things I can think of to say thanks for…

Life is inspiring and messy and chaotic and peaceful. It has its ups and downs, good and bad parts.

It can be awe inspiring and boring, giving contentment and always wanting for more…..

Life is interesting to say the least.

Yesterday I was driving home, down a quiet country road. No other traffic, so I slowed down.

Slowing down is the best way to live life. Too often, I speed through life and am frantic to get to my destination….in a hurry to get things completed. When I forget to thank, life becomes a merry- go- round that won’t slow down. It is only when I say thanks that I am truly enjoying this life God gave me.

Now, our God, we give you thanks,
    and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:13 NIV

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*beautiful fields of soy bean, burning yellow in the autumn afternoon sunshine

*white farmhouses dotting country lanes

* barns that blot the horizon with stains of faded red

* black and white cows chewing their cud, munching on grass

* side roads I’d like to explore one afternoon

* the open road and adventures waiting

* wishing I had my camera with me, to capture fleeting moments in time

* cooler autumn weather

* warm jacket

* brightly colored mums

* pumpkins at the store already

* the smell of baking banana bread

* chores completed

* time with my children

* my husband’s voice over the phone line

* the realization that I have a good life…not perfect…but, good

And, I am so very thankful.

How Deep, How Wide?

http://lisajobaker.com/

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Wide…

 

This week I had been measuring.  Getting a new cabinet, well not new, but new to me, cabinet from  a friend. I was checking to see if it would fit on one of the walls in our living room. How high is it? How wide is it? How deep is it?  Width is an important factor.

Isn’t it, always?

My niece stretched out her arms as wide as she could….. ” I love you this much”

The children’s song echoes in my mind….”Deep and wide, deep and wide….there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.”

“Open up wide!”  I’d say to my infant son when I played food “games” with him. Stuff like here comes the choo-choo train or airplane or whatever else I could think of to get the food in his little mouth:)

Wide does matter.

How deep, how wide, is my love?

English: Twinkle Twinkle little star (English)...

 

Not Getting What I Deserve

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane),...

I’m glad I don’t always get what I deserve.

Oh, sure. I am a law abiding citizen and a productive member of society. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter and a friend. I am a special education teacher, many times assisting those that have no voice. I believe people would tell you, if asked, that I am a good person.

But, what does that mean? Being a good person?

Society calls me a good person….but, I know that I am a sinner. I was bound by my guilt. Even if no one else knew my heart…I did. I knew, and the picture wasn’t always pretty. My thoughts aren’t always pure. My anger sometimes boils over and I say words that I wish I could take back. I am chained to my sin, it is a part of me…..but, it no longer defines me.

My sin condemned me to death. I was not worthy to stand before a holy and just God. What I deserved was separation….but, instead He gave me redemption.

I was redeemed. Saved. Changed.

Yes, I still sin. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I do things I shouldn’t and don’t do things that I should.

Jesus stepped in. He took my place. It is HE that covers my sin, so that when the Father sees me…..He sees me through the filter of His perfect and blameless Son.

I didn’t deserve this, it was because of His love for me, that I am one of the redeemed.

Thank God, I don’t always get what I deserve.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  Romans 3:23  NIV

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8 NIV

 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23  NIV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  Romans 10:9-10  NIV

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Today I am thankful for:

* grace, amazing grace

*redemption

* love, always love

* things I don’t completely understand that leave me in awe

* sunny Monday mornings

* hot tea to soothe a sore throat

* a box of tissues for a stuffy nose

* a warm bed, messy with sheets and blankets

* family time and shared memories

* smiles…the best accessories

Along For The Ride…

I had family visiting this weekend. It’s always good to be around family. We decided to go for a ride around the country side. My aunt and uncle had never been to our new house in Ohio, so it was a treat to play “tour guide” as we meandered through the rural landscape that my husband and I, and our children, now call home.

You want to come along and see the beauty in the quiet back roads of Ohio farm land? The solitude of a small country church. The hardworking Amish out in the fields…. Jump in and come along for the ride!

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Etched In The Hearts Of Millions

This day, etched in the hearts of millions, is remembered…..

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

That day eleven years ago looked much like today.

A Tuesday, clear blue skies, and a complacency that came from thinking that we, as a country, were untouchable.

My heart remembers….

May we stay vigilant. Now and forever more.

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From my archives…….

A Different World

11 Sep

The day was normal. Just like any other. Elementary school children chattering with each other. My teaching assistant and I were working with our reading groups on that Tuesday morning. A sunny day, nothing out of the ordinary…and then a fellow teacher popped into my classroom to tell me to go and watch the TV in the school conference room. I excused myself, leaving my kiddos with my assistant for a minute.

I stared at the television, not comprehending what I was looking at. The plane, the World Trade Center, the fire and smoke. People everywhere. The second plane hitting the building. News anchors eerily silent as, even they, had no words for what they were seeing. Chills ran across me as I stared in disbelief.

I numbly walked back to my classroom. Knowing that life was different now.

I told my assistant to go to the conference room.

I looked at the faces of all my young students and realized that life as we knew it would never be the same. These children would grow up in a different world than I had.

And it made me so sad.

September 11, 2001