Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grace Under Pressure

Hi all,

I hope that you're having a relaxing Saturday. Perhaps this is more of a monday post..haha. You'll soon understand. This morning was not a relaxing morning for me, to wake up to my husband irate about the dog having a poop accident in his crate. It wasn't the pup's fault really- it was probably the bone he had the day before and dog's don't like messing their beds so this was like an emergency situation for the little guy. Anyways, it was a mess and my mom helped us clean everything up. But this got me thinking- when annoying situations come our way- do we respond with grace, compassion, acceptance, helpfulness or do we get frusterated, angry, upset, throw a tantrum?

I hope we do the first set of things but I know it's not always true. We're not perfect people and sometimes things just bother us and we can't help but get angry and upset. The key is to not let this happen too often. We can't let circumstance and emotion control our lives. Think of the New testament and how often Jesus was hounded by crowds in the Bible- even the disciples sometimes told him to send the people away- but Jesus didn't lose his patience with the crowds and his lack of privacy- he responded compassionately to them, always willing to help, go the extra mile. I know that a lot of us in Jesus's situation would get annoyed at the constant bombardment of people wanting attention from us that we would eventually snap and freak out at everyone. It's so hard to remain cool under pressure. It's especially hard when we have a plan for the day and then suddenly something throws it all askew. This is one of those situations that drives me crazy!! Or we look forward to something but then a situation inteferes and we miss out, such as on a peaceful morning or a special event.

It seems like there is always a situation around every corner to test our patiences, push our buttons. We make a pact to act better, more easy going the next time around and when the next time comes, we take a fit and freak out. It's really hard to meet life's hurdles with a constant good attitude and mood, not to let it get you down. Sometimes I feel it's nearly impossible to make a decision that next time will be better because I'm always disapointed by my actions when next time does come.

So what's the solution? Is there one? Well, of course, there has to be, God doesn't just leave us hanging with those annoying, frusterating, troublesome moments of life. After all, he doesn't want you to break out swearing when you spill your morning's cup of coffee on your fresh work clothes.

So here are some verses to claim over our lives for when those frusterating moments come:
Colossians 3:12 "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience..."
James 1:19-20 "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
1 Corinthians 10:31-33 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble...even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."

I also think that we are able to deal with mishaps better when we are free from the entanglements of stress. So take some time today to surrender to God, his will and know that he will take care of you. He has everything under control. Then when trouble happens- we can remember that God has control over our lives so we just need to function in an effort to bring glory to him by all that we do. We need to act in compassion, with a humble heart and trust God to sort everything out. It's tough, especially in the heat of the moment. But maybe this is just one of those things where the more you work at it, the more you practise patience and endurance, the better you become with dealing with trouble, and the more flexible you are. Here's to continued effort and patience girls!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Picture Perfect

Hi Girls,
I put a few pictures together- terrible time downloading for some reason. So instead of a long talky post, just look at the pics and have fun!

There is an awesome world for us to explore! So go explore!

Spring is coming! Be happy! The Earth is waking up!

God is always there for you.
God cares about the little things

God wants to give us rest!!

Don't stress today girls. Relax and enjoy the little things. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lost Are The Love Stories

Hi Girls,

I started reading Hosea today in my Bible and because I'm reading The Message version there is a commentary before each chapter. I read the commentary and realized how true it was. Love stories are corrupted. Did you ever think of that?

I wonder if children and youth growing up even understand what love is or know what a true love story should look like. 1 Cornithians 13-4-8 tells us what love is "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." This is a tall order and the love stories we read or watch on TV often fall short.

Think of the popular love stories out there today. I can't think of one story that fulfills all these catagories (if you can, let me know) besides Jesus's life, death and resurrection. Many love stories now show us selfish love not selfless love. Guys and girls pursue each other for their own end, for their own sexual/physical desires. Love is a joke. Sometimes it seems to last, most of the time couples break up and then quite often make up and make out, until someone new and better comes along. Media shows people who seem to care deeply about each other for awhile but it never seems to last- what happened to love always perseveres?? It's so easy to find examples of the opposite of that Cornithians verse.

Love stories are corrupted by sin. And that isn't so shocking because we are all faulty in some way, so our love stories come up imperfect. But yet, the redemptive power of love is not often shown. Forgiveness, no record of wrongs, always trusts- those characteristics very rarely come into play in our movies. More often, it's so and so cheated- or treated me wrong- can't love them anymore, gotta leave, find someone new.

I think this is a sad tale because many non Christian girls, and even some Christian girls, grow up having a very poor idea and example of what love is. Love by itself is hollow, empty, manufactured emotion but God's love, love from God, is everything, is life and hope and real. We have to know God's love in order to live in love, and to treat others with love. God's love is demonstrated in 1 Corinithians. It's demonstrated through the very real example of Jesus. He's the ultimate love story (although, I think sometimes, that aspects gets overlooked in the preaching on Jesus's life). I think we all need to learn and understand this so we can experience the real blessing and fulfulness of love in our lives and not get caught up with believing that love is what we see in the world.

God's love can change the world. Everyone needs God's love. We need to fill our hearts and minds with his love, with true, real examples of love. We can find that by reading the Bible and spending time with God but also there are examples around us if we look carefully. For example, a couple celebrating a 50 year anniversary, people selflessly helping and serving others (like many mothers and fathers do), sacrificing your time to support someone in their time of need, forgiving when you feel more like being angry- that's all good love.

I hope that our lives represent God's love to others. That we live amazing love stories that inspire people to seek God and believe in what love was created to be.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Be Healthy-Be Happy

Hi Girls,

Got that jogging outfit on? No? Well go change right now. This is your encouragement to get up, get out and stretch your legs! Yes, excerise, that 'e' word that causes us so much trouble sometimes. I know girls who would like to get in shape; they admit they're out of shape, overweight, unsatisfied with themselves and wish to be healthier but when it comes to the nitty gritty, the hard part, the doing- something happens. Which is often absolutely nothing! For some reason, complacency sets in and we seem to just accept the way we are even if we aren't happy. Why? To me that sounds really foolish. It's because we have no faith that we can change ourselves and that's okay because it's God we need to have faith in. God can give us the drive and motivation to do well by our bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 tells us "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."  Well, to honour God with our bodies, that means keeping them healthy. God does not want to dwell in a house that's rundown, broken, damaged, deteriorating...and neither would we! God wants to take want is broken and fix it but we need to put out effort to make that happen!

Getting in shape is difficult. It's no easy thing because it takes a lot of determination. Everyone needs to exercise too, not just overweight people. Excerise is more than losing weight; it builds muscle, gives health to our bodies, keeps us active, energetic and increases our mental health. I can attest to this because excersing makes us feel good about ourselves, that we are doing something worthwhile.

Eating right is important too. If we eat junky fast foods a lot, our efforts at physical fitness won't amount too much. Remember the book of Daniel in the Bible? When Daniel and the other Hebrews were captured, they didn't want to defile themselves by eating the food from the king's table (recall that Israelites had many dietary rules) so Daniel convinced one of the palace attendants to feed him and his friends only vegetables and water for a time. In the end, they turned out to be the healthiest men of the entire group! Now, don't think I'm saying we need to become vegetarians. I love meat. I'm just using this example to illustrate how good dietary decisions can have a huge impact on our health.

Okay, so all this is right and good and probably doesn't come as a shock to most of us. We know what we need to do. The hard part is the doing! When is there the time? Or the energy? Well for one, exercise will give you energy if you can just get yourself out the front door. When I was doing a teaching placement, I was pretty well close to burnt out every evening and dreading the next day but I wanted to excerise so I got my husband out with me and we would walk or jog almost every evening. Know what? I consider that a big part of why I managed to stay healthy during the placement and maintain a good mood. Personally, I really want to stay fit but I have to confess, that I miss days, skip them b/c of laziness or tiredness. No routine will turn out to be perfect everyday; sometimes we'll mess up but that doesn't mean we should give up.

And don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away. This is one area where we learn patience and endurance. Change takes time, no matter what we're after- building muscle or losing weight. And neither does it all happen right away for a healthy diet. There is a lot to learn about eating healthy and it takes time but there are some obvious ways to begin- no fast food, no junk food, veggies, home cooked meals, portion control... It also costs money because vegetables, fresh meats, eggs, dairy, it's all more expensive than food from a cardboard box or a can. Yet it is worth it and if you're a person used to going out to eat, you'll actually save money by buying healthy foods and eating at home.

Which brings us to the last aspect of putting this all in place- time. Basically, you have to make it. I've wanted to help my friends who struggle with this stuff, to help them make a plan and follow it and encourage each other. So I'm here; if you need a help!! haha. This stuff goes best when you don't have to go it alone. Then you're accountable. Do whatever you need to do- wake up earlier in the morning (not really my thing cause I love sleeping!! but great for my husband), cut out some TV in the evening to go for a run, take a walk first thing when you return from work (helps clear your mind)...get your friends, husband, kids to go out and join you. Whatever you chose to do, do it consistently, regularily!!! In this case, it's the turtle that gets the prize not the hare!

Monday, March 22, 2010

One Step Ahead

Hey Girls,

Last weekend we hosted a bridal shower for my sister. She's going to get married in a couple weeks so we're going through the pre-wedding steps. Lot's of people love weddings and well, it's really not to hard to figure out why. It's usually a really happy time for people (perhaps more so for those not involved in planning). I say this because stress has a way of sucking the fun out of things and I honestly don't really think weddings are something to stress over.

We played games, my sister opened presents and then I belayed the girls so they could climb (the climbing wall in our house is finished now). It was fun- climbing especially. That kinda stuff should charactertize a wedding I'd think- lot's of fun.

Really, it's kinda sad to see a bride freaking out or her family members. In one way it's understandable because you only get one wedding (hopefully) and you want everything to be awesome, just the way you've always dreamed. On the other hand, a wedding is only one day, several hours and then it's all over. Then you have the rest of your life to think about! Which is more important? So for any almost brides out there- don't stress it, it'll all be a memory no matter what happens and have fun but keep an eye on the real adventure- being married.

So for my sister, after her shower, she is now one step closer to the main event- the tension in the house increases- haha.