A Fresh Perspective

I love to share great things that encourage me to live my life better.

Sometimes, we just need a fresh perspective.

Here’s the best personal story that I’ve heard lately.

Watch this:

http://lifetoday.org/video/holding-on-to-life-2

 

 

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Family Driven Faith

There’s something I value so highly. Of all the time spent raising children and homeschooling, I see what has made a tremendous impact: the time we have spent watching, listening, reading, and discussing helpful teaching that helps us navigate through life and become better people.

There are many ways children can learn about faith and getting prepared for life. We have so much excellent teaching, from anywhere around the world now, and it’s available right at our fingertips. So cool! Are you taking advantage of it?

I have realized as I have gotten older that alot of people depend on the 1-2 hours spent at church each week to teach their kids the basics about faith and other important life issues. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good. But, I see how being intentional about spending time together as a family, discussing important life issues, has brought such rewards. I see that the benefits far outweigh just letting the lesson at church do all the teaching.

My highest goal of homeschooling high school was not having a straight A student, a high SAT score, or the best athlete on the team. It was for my son to spend time reading in the morning to strengthen his faith. One day, God whispered to me, “If you get nothing else accomplished for school except devotional time in the morning, it was a successful day.” So. Very. Glad. I. Listened. (This is far from what the world says. There are many voices out there. And they are more than happy to guide you.)

It took lots of reminding and redirecting to get in the habit of devotion time in the beginning. But, as we got in the routine, no more reminders were needed.

We also gather as a family weekly to watch helpful teachings for relationships, marriage, finances, etc. There’s so much great stuff out there. I’d love to share some recommendations, if you’re looking for something in particular. I may do that in a post very soon.

All you have to do is be intentional, set a time, choose a resource, and stay committed to it. We’ve done this for years, and I can’t tell you how much we have benefited from it.

I feel like we will reap the rewards of taking the time for those important conversations for a lifetime. It has built such strong bonds of relational trust and allowed us to continue to have an influencial voice throughout the teenage years. We’re not perfect, but we’re always working on getting better.

Ruined. In A Good Way.

There are so many excellent, powerful, encouraging resources at our fingertips now. So thankful for all that I have learned in the last ten years because of technology!

We try to be intentional as a family to watch videos together on a weekly basis that are helpful in our marriage and family relationships, as well as helping us to become better people, in general.

This is one of my passions – to share great teaching and resources. Sometimes, I get a little excited and overwhelm my family and friends with so many recommendations!

I discovered this about a year ago while reading Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted. That book ruined me. In a good way.

Watch this 10 min. video and you will see what I mean!

(If you get hooked, welcome to the club! There are 5 parts. Go to YouTube and search “Interrupted Hatmaker.”)

P.S. I am sorry to ruin your life too. Not really. In a good way.

 

 

Important Over Seemingly Urgent

There are a lot of things competing for our time these days, now more than ever. So many choices of how to spend our time. So many opportunities. It can be pretty overwhelming.

Over the last number of years, I have felt so compelled to strive for a simpler, healthier-paced life. This is much against the norm, against the grain. I have learned that this life is temporary, fleeting and every day is a very important day, especially if it happens to be your last, or the last of someone you love dearly. Things can change so fast.

Earlier this month, we went from this view:

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to this view, in only 5 days.

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If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life can change so fast, and I want to be living my priorities. Every. Single. Day.

Prepare Him Room

 

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I love new beginnings, a clean slate, an erased white board, starting from scratch, and brainstorming the possibilities a new year may bring. Every year, January is a breath of fresh air for me, a preparation, a kind of renewal.

I think about my priorities often, what they should be, and am constantly recalculating based on the season of life we’re in, and the circumstances we are faced with. More often than not, my plans are not God’s plans. As the years go by, I am learning what the verse, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” really means. In a profound way.

As time marches on and unexpected twists and turns in life become reality, I am reminded how important it is to renew my mind with the truth of God’s promises on a daily basis. It is the only thing that satisfies my soul. It brings great understanding in all things. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Well, I do. I still experience the repercussions of failing to spend adequate time. I struggle. I doubt, I become discouraged. I expect other people to make me happy. I don’t want to go in that direction. Pain and hurt always follow that road.

During December, during my reading of that ever so famous story, what rang clear over and over was, “prepare” and “prepare Him room.” I am amazed at the condition of Mary’s heart when the angel came to tell her what was going to take place. Can you imagine having a heart so prepared that your response would be, “Let it be so. Let everything you have said about me come true.” The conflict and ridicule she was facing was life altering, life threatening, and life changing. It threatened every relationship she had. I want a heart like that. I don’t want to miss anything God has for me. I cannot navigate on my own. Any attempt at life otherwise is destined for struggle, hurt, and pain.

So, I will remember there is no need to hurry, no need to rush. My relationship with God is my top priority and He Is patiently waiting for our time together every day. There is nothing more important. There are many seemingly urgent things that I can attend to, but they will have to wait. Preparing my mind is critical and I want my heart to be ready for what lies ahead.

First Things First

Life is a of myriad of limitless possibilities these days. There are so many great things to see and do. Technology has brought entertainment to a whole new level. Yet, in our attempt to find ways to spend our time, we lose sight of spending precious time with the most important things.

We live in a busy, anxious, overwhelmed world. All we can think about is all that needs to be done. The reality is that we could work from the minute we wake up til the minute we fall asleep at night and never be finished. We will never get everything checked off the “to do” list, all the dishes done, toys put away, laundry washed, dried, and folded, closets organized, garden planted and weeded, and the yard perfect. Not to mention the school work, showers and toilets scrubbed, pantry fully stocked, refrigerator cleaned, floors mopped, animals fed, etc. Our families do need to eat too, right? Oh yeah, they pretty much expect three meals a day and would like to have some undivided attention. Then, there’s a marriage too. I could go on and on. But I won’t. We have to decide how much is enough but more importantly, how much is too much.  When you stop to think about it, some things are just not that important.

If we follow culture, “the norm,” we will end up somewhere in a fetal position, sick, diseased and alone. Our culture is breeding workaholics and I believe that is far from what God intends for us. Psalm 62:1 says, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.”  Notice it didn’t say Facebook, Netflix, or the latest phone app. Oh, the time we waste searching, searching, searching online but never finding what we’re really longing for – rest from the One that is charge of it all.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

When I think about how I should be spending my time – putting important things above the seemingly urgent, I think about how I want the story to read when my life comes to an end.  Do you ever think about that? How will the story of my life be told? I want it so be simple, yet one of sacrificial love and encouragement for those around me. I want to have enough margin in my schedule to be able to see a need and meet it, when it is in my power. I don’t care about titles or success by the world’s measure. I want my story to be much different than that. Some days, my story reads better than others. We’re all a work in progress and God is working daily with each of us to polish our imperfections.

We’re all writing our stories as we choose how to spend our time.  We only have a certain amount of time and there are no do-overs. I woke up this morning thinking about what I would do if I had 30 days, 3 months, or 6 months to live. How would I spend that time?  I’m sure many of us wouldn’t be so concerned about mortgages, cars, or money.  Yet, we spend a huge chunk of time working just to have those things. When you think about what it costs you in time, the old “American Dream” is not so dreamy after all. How do you want your story to to be told?