Happy Memorial Day

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Today as we honor our veterans and those still fighting the fight so we can have freedom in our great country, I want to say Thank You!

Thank you for your commitment.

Thank you for your service.

Thank you for giving your life so that we can have ours.

Thank you for giving so selflessly so that we may “have.”

Thank you for giving up time with your families that we may have time with ours.

And thank you for the ultimate sacrifice of YOU.

Today, let’s honor, pray for, and give thanks to the men and women of our great country who are too often forgotten as we live the life we have because of their sacrifice.

Happy Memorial Day!

 “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

 

 

Seize the Day

Seize the Day

When I was on my morning run today, it occurred to me how much of life is spent waiting for something to get here. Whether that something is:

  • Vacation.
  • A loved one coming for a visit.
  • Payday.
  • A movie you’ve been waiting to come out on the big screen.
  • The good part of a book you’re reading.
  • Summer (Winter, Fall, Spring).
  • Cleaning to be done.
  • The rain to be over (or the thunderstorm to come, for those who enjoy cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea while the thunder cracks, the rain pounds on the roof, and lightning bolts illuminate the sky).
  • The wedding day (conference, reunion, anniversary, holiday, etc) to arrive.
  • The weekend alone to do whatever your heart desires.

And so on and so on…

While waiting, however, one’s focus is on the event waited for, and so much living is missed during that waiting. All that time up to the moment is lived mindlessly, tasks performed without a second thought, or if thought be given, it’s often rife with anticipation of getting it done so we can get to it.

Days and years go by so quickly, that if we aren’t truly living every moment we’re given, it only results in speeding by even faster. The view outside of the window we’re looking through blurs as we’re focused on what’s not even here. And truly, do we even know it will get here? Tomorrow is not guaranteed, but only the here and now is. What we hold in our hands at this very moment, what we are experiencing right here, right now, is all we really have. Do we want to waste that precious time and experience for what may not come?

We are always getting ready to live but never living.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

These thought have crossed my mind before, and I have had good intentions of changing. I tell myself, “from now on I’m going to…”

But then life happens, I fall into the old habitual rut of mindless living, I forget to appreciate the here and now, and I forget to truly live in this moment. Exactly where I am with what I have right now.

I’ve heard it said that it takes two weeks of consistently doing something to make it a habit. What if…

Each morning upon rising, I tell myself that this day, just this one day, I’m going to pay attention to each moment I’m living. I’m going to truly live, just this one day. And what if I do that consistently for two weeks? After all, “One Day at a Time” are not only words of wisdom for maintaining sobriety, but a guide for life in general.

Afterall, in the scheme of things, each event we wait for is only a miniscule of time in our lives, provided we live a full life.  If that event in time actually arrives at all. And when I do come to pass, I want to know, and I want others to know, I’ve lived each God-given day to the fullest, experiencing everything possible there is to experience, whether it’s:

  • My hands in warm soapy bubbles, washing away any stress as I wash the dishes.
  • The feel of a snowflake melting on my eyelashes, or on the tip of my tongue.
  • The scent of a fragrant oil, carrying me back to a favorite memory, as scents have a way of doing –  it’s free transportation that allows me to live favorite moments more than once through memories.
  • The exhilaration of running in the rain or feeling the warmth of the sun caressing my shoulders.
  • Appreciating the stillness and beautiful silence of early morning before the rush of traffic and chatter become the majority of the day.
  • The satisfaction that being of service can bring, whether that service is keeping a clean house for my family, preparing good, healthy nourishment for them, or making a difference in the life of another, no matter what that looks like.
  • Truly feeling the presence of God, hearing His still, small voice, that can only be heard in silence, and in the here and now.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -Buddha

I will begin day one in the morning when my eyes open to see the first light of daybreak. But why wait until then? Right now, right here, I have a book to read, words to write, prayers to say…life to really fully live.

 Seize the Day. (Click for an awesome music video.)

Carpe diem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“M” is for…

Mamounata.  And Alex and Amede.

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These three precious children have changed my life. They’ve taken me out of my own self-centeredness by sharing their lives with me.

Mamaounata is 9 years old, from Burkina Faso, and likes dolls and group games; Alex is 14, from Tanzania, and likes soccer and singing; and Amede is 8, from Togo, and likes soccer and group games.

Before I had begun sponsoring these kiddos, I had been praying for some time that God lead me to an area in which He wanted me to serve. A way to serve that would glorify and honor Him in the way that would make the biggest difference to His children.

And He led me to Compassion International, where I looked at these three angels and my heart was so deeply filled with a need to love them, that I knew it was right.

Sponsoring them has been such a gift and a blessing, receiving their letters in my mailbox turning a difficult day to one of gratitude. Hearing that they are praying for me? Wow! Reading that they bought clothes, rice and beans with the birthday money I’ve sent them? Again, Wow!  They tell me their favorite bible verses, what they’re doing in school, who their best friends are, ask me how my family is and that they pray for me, they draw me pictures, and on and on. The blessings are endless.

I have had people ask me why I choose to help children in another country when we have so much need right here in our own. To that I say “Each of us is called to serve in our own unique way.  I was called to this, and it’s not for me to say ‘No.'” As long as each of us is serving in some way, helping in some area of need, the world will be a much better place.

Being of service isn’t time taken from us, it’s life given.  Giving to those in need isn’t giving money away, it’s an investment.  For me, there is no better investment than investing in the life of a child. And I have so much life to live and so much more investing to do.

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Peace.

An Opportunity to Pray

Prayer
Last Saturday I worked an event for Compassion International in a for a movie showing of Son of God. My duties were to show up an hour early to set up the display and hand out information cards to all movie goers as they entered the theater and then display child sponsorship cards as they exited. During the movie, I was able to sit and watch with the rest of them, and it was the best portrayal of the story of Jesus I believe I’ve ever seen. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

But I digress…

As I was handing out the cards before the movie, one man looked at it and asked, “What is this?” After I gave him a very brief explanation, he handed the card back and said, “I can’t even afford my own kids. Thank God for the complimentary tickets.” Initially I was taken aback, but it quickly turned to compassion for this man. Thank God, indeed. His statement demonstrated such humility. And, yes, thank God he received a complimentary ticket so he would be able to share the story of Jesus with his children.

I had an opportunity to pray for that man, and for the others as they accepted the card I handed each of them. I prayed that God would speak to each individual heart in that theater as only He knows what each needs most.

I had another man tell me the people coming in behind him were atheist. My answer? “Wonderful!” with a broad smile. “Welcome!” And another prayer sent up to a loving Father who welcomes all.

After the movie, as I was displaying child sponsorship packets, I had an opportunity to speak with others who already sponsor a child. One woman told me of her trip to Tanzania to visit her sponsored child. As she spoke of the poverty, a level she admitted she was nowhere near able to comprehend or prepare for, her eyes lit up as she told me what a life-changing experience it was.

As I drove the 45-minute drive home, I had time to consider the opportunities that were given to me that evening to pray. As if I need an opportunity at all.

And it struck me that as I was praying for God to speak to each heart in that theater, he didn’t miss mine. He spoke to me in a way He knew I would hear.

He blessed me as I reached out to bless others.

He showed me that there are so many areas to serve, and no one way is the right way. As many people as there are, there are at least as many ways to serve.

The man who admitted he couldn’t afford his own children? He served by blessing me with gratitude for what I have. He reminded me to be grateful for what I have rather than want what I don’t.

The atheist? He served by giving me a chance to love without discriminating. To accept and not judge. And to be welcoming rather than drive him away. The fact that he was coming to see the movie Son of God? Beautiful.

The woman who spoke to me of her life-changing experience in Tanzania? She served by moving forward, if only an inch, the recent plea of one of my sponsor children of when I will come visit her. My sweet Mamounata in Burkina Faso. And that inch is one inch closer to making a child’s dream come true.

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Peace.