Ahhh…a new year. A fresh start. A clean slate. A blank slate.
Have you chosen a word for the year yet? Nope? Same here. I am finding that choosing a word even if it seems as if the Lord has guided me to it just does not seem to work with me. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the rebellious side of me as well as not being able to focus in on one word for a whole stinkin’ year!
Starting a new workout or eating program? Nope? Me either. Never seems to work in the long run. I am still living in the tension of wanting to physically look younger (in my face/hair/hands) and dealing with a belly that appears as if I am preggers. Oddly enough, however, I recently have taken the attitude that I really don’t care. As long as my stretchy pants from Chico’s and Eddie Bauer fit, who really cares?! Drink the wine (not to excess Ephesians 5:18), eat the dessert, whatever you want to do as long as you do it unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). People will remember not how you physically looked (if you had an extra 20 lbs. etc.), but how you treated them. Did you treat them with kindness and respect? Did you actively listen to them without interrupting? (Still working on this one, the first one also!) Did you build them up or put them down (1 Thessalonians 5:11)?
Now, I do not find it wrong to want to improve yourself in any way. I just find that mere resolutions do not work for very long. We are weak creatures, (will share one of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis at the end of the blog.) A former professor of mine in seminary, Dr. J, was all about the end goal, “implementation steps” or “actionable steps.” Meaning, tangible, doable albeit sometimes difficult steps to achieving a particular goal. For instance, here is a simple idea. Say you would like to eat more fruits and veggies this new year? How about creating a chart with 8 circles or squares per day of the week and check off each day how many servings of fruits and veggies you had that day, the goal being 5-8 servings per day (according to Dr. Oz anyway). And, maybe reward yourself for eating well each week…with a mani/pedi or slice of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar -free chocolate cake? [Shout out to Dr. J! Although intimidating at first and challenging, you made class entertaining and fun! You were extremely purposeful in your goals and you loved each one of us in an unique, winsome and salty way. You shaped us to go out into the world and care for others in a truly Christ-like fashion. You will never be forgotten; I wish you the very best in your future endeavors. You have many more stories to tell and lives to enrich in this fallen world, go get em’ Dr. J!]
I heard the saying once, “What you say comes your way” and it truly stuck with me. Think about it, when you say, “I will try” instead of “I will…” with actionable steps to take after that…better potential for success, yes?! Just some advice from my seasoned years (JK). There is still SO much more to learn, amen? So, go out there with a teachable heart, a listening ear, and an eternal purpose and live the life the Lord created you to live. All for His Glory and our joy.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” --C.S. Lewis (Weight of Glory and Other Addresses)
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.
In mid-March, Kansas declared that schools would close for the rest of the school year. Other states soon made the same determination.
Very quickly we started hearing terms like “Shelter at Home” and “Social distancing.” “Quarantine” was a word seldom heard these days…until now when we hear it daily.
The words “Pandemic” and “Plague,” although foreign and strange to the younger generation, engender memories giving rise to fear in the minds and hearts of the oldest among us.
Businesses and churches closed,
The economy faltered,
Violence at home is increasing,
and Deaths from the virus are reported daily.
Many of us have only seen times like these in movies or read about them in books.
and Discouragement is on the rise, exacerbated by the news reports and accompanied by weather fluctuations from cold and wintry to mild and spring-like and back to wintry again.
And we are all wondering, "How long???"
Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.
I always love it when I read those words “But God” in my Bible. Often they follow bad circumstances or evil, offering hope to a situation that would otherwise seem hopeless.
As I pushed forward and backward the seemingly heavy vacuum and saw the white pup hair that was being taken away little by little, I lost it. Literally had a breakdown right there in the living room. The room was quiet except for the hum of the vacuum. It did not matter that no one was around, I could not help but bawl uncontrollably thinking of our beloved Gidget and the fact that we had to put yet another dog down...
What do you do when you lose a beloved pet? Kelly Sue shares her and her husband's journey through their grieving process of losing their beloved dog, Gidget, and how Barkin Dogs Rescue found them not one, but two new pups to adopt and love!