Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Focus for the New Year - Stop the Negative Talk!

Although I think that goal-setting is important, and that we should all know how to determine, develop a plan, and work to attain our goals, I must admit that I gave up setting New Year’s Resolutions year ago.  Too many times our resolutions end up falling by the wayside for whatever reason, and I certainly don’t believe that does a lot for our self-esteem.  But this is the time of year when our minds begin to think about bettering ourselves in some way, having a clean slate, incorporating some kind of change, starting over, or beginning something new.

I heard someone talk this week about a New Year’s “Focus”, and I like that idea so much better.  The devil tries to keep us focused on how much we have failed, or how miserable we are – but we need to take a good look BACK and see just how far we have come and how much we have changed.  As Christians, we will never be completely transformed until Christ’s return, but we do need to learn how to shift our focus.

Just like any other bad habit, the habit of negative thoughts and words is a very hard one to break.  I challenge you this new year to begin with baby steps.  I challenge you to stop gossiping and stop your negative self-talk.  In fact, don’t even dwell on the negative thoughts when they come into your head.  Begin to learn how to “counter” those negative thoughts with positive ones.  Remind yourself how special you are and how much Jesus loves YOU.  Get up and (physically) do something in order to get your mind off of those thoughts and on something else. 
Ask the Lord to help you and to convict your heart when you speak words that are not pleasing to Him.  He will do it!  And when He does bring that conviction to you – in mid-sentence make yourself stop and change the subject.  Ask God to forgive you.  As you continue to do this, you will eventually find that He will begin to convict you even before you start to talk negative or gossip about someone else.  When I was trying to break myself from gossip and always being so negative, I would stop mid-sentence and say out loud “Father, please forgive me for gossiping (or speaking negatively) about so-and-so.”  That way the other person that I was talking to knew that I was convicted of it and then I could usually successfully change the subject. 

If you are in a group of people who are being very negative or are talking about someone else and you speak up but it doesn’t seem to help – walk away!  You do not have to stay and participate in that conversation.  If you have a friend that is ALWAYS in a negative frame of mind – you may have to have a talk with him/her to let them know that you are trying to break this bad habit and need their help.  I have actually chosen to end friendships with people because it seemed that they did not want to be anything other than negative all the time!  I found that I needed to surround myself with people that encouraged me to grow and strive to become a better person – not people that were constantly bringing me down or causing me to think and speak negatively. 

In closing, I would like to leave you with two wise old sayings.  One you’ve probably heard from your mother, and the other is from the Bible:

If you don’t have anything nice to say – say nothing at all!

...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family!

May God richly bless all of you in 2011 and may He give you the desires of your heart as you seek, follow and serve Him....


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What an exhausting week!

Wow!  What an exhausting week!  The week-end before my State Board Medical Exam for my massage license, I moved!  Now, the move was only from the Gahanna area to the Westerville area, but whew - I'm glad that it's over!  Thanks to some GREAT FRIENDS and members from my small group at church - I was able to get it all moved between Friday evening and Saturday!  And the best part is that after 2 weeks of bitter cold weather, GOD made sure that the temps on Friday and Saturday got up to almost 45 degrees!  I was able to move houseplants and all. 
I was then able to spend Sunday and Monday studying for my test which was on Tuesday at the Fairgrounds.  It was bitter cold in the Celeste Center which had a concrete floor and very poorly heated!  But I feel good about the tests and think that I passed both of them.  I'll know in about 4-6 weeks because it takes that long for the State Medical Board to get the exam results back to us. 

Now I can relax and begin to get my apartment in order.  It's small, but cozy.  I can't wait until I can get it together and have company over!!  

Friday, December 3, 2010

What gift are you going to give Jesus for Christmas this year?

Several years ago I read about a woman that “gives” a gift to Jesus every year.  She prays about it, and asks Jesus what He would like for Christmas.  And He tells her!  In the article, she was sharing her testimony of the different things that He has told her over the years.   That just blows my mind!  Not so much the idea that I could ASK Jesus what He wants, but that He would tell me AND THEN I COULD GIVE HIM THAT GIFT!  We often ask our family and friends “what do you want for Christmas?” and I’m challenging you to pray and ask that question of Jesus this Christmas Season.  

 So I ask you Jesus, what would YOU like for Christmas this year from me?  I love you with all of my heart and want to give you a very special gift of self this year.  Please speak to me and tell me what You want this year for Christmas.  And help me to hear and understand what You are telling me.  Amen.”

Please leave a COMMENT and let me know what YOU are going to give to Jesus this year! 

And, like the cute little song says, "Happy Birthday Jesus". 

My Christmas Prayer:  “Jesus, lover of my soul, You are the real reason for this season.  Help me this Christmas to really LIVE a life that shows others the peace and joy and love that I have because of You.  I pray that Christmas this year is about more than just decorations, more presents, hectic schedules, family drama, and more credit card debt.   Help me to have more patience and to show more of YOUR love – not only with my family, but with every stranger that I meet in the mall or at the Customer Service desk, or driving on the road.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have so much to be thankful for...

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I have so much that I am thankful for. But this year, I'm especially thankful for my mother.  She has always believed in me, loved me in spite of my headstrong and even sometimes defiant attitudes, and never gave up on me.  She brought us to church when we were children and made sure that we were there every time the church doors were open.  She had a lot of problems in her life, issues, hang-ups, quirks, attitudes - don't we ALL?  But she has ALWAYS been there for me and kept on trusting in God no matter what.  Thank You God, that You chose HER to be MY mother.  Here she is with both of my sons at Tony's wedding this past summer.    
Tony, mom, and Aaron

Anyway, I'm so grateful for all of my family and just wanted to take a few minutes to say so.  We don't normally get together on Thanksgiving day because my sister and her family go to Canton to see her husband's family and my son Tony and his wife and children go to her side of the family for the actual turkey day.  So, for the last 5 or 10 years or so, we have been getting together either on Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It's not that big of a deal to me - because it's all about being with family and loved ones anyways - so I would much rather wait until they can all be there rather than try to rush through dinner, or have someone now show up at all.

Last year on Thanksgiving day, mother invited me to come and have dinner with her!  She cooked a big spread and it was just her and I.  We had such a nice time just talking the afternoon away.  We might do it again this year - except that she has a touch of the flu or something and is not sure that I should come there.

Families are very special and we take them for granted - don't we?  We never know when a holiday season with a loved one might be our last - so we shouldn't take anything for granted.  Take time this Thanksgiving to tell the people in YOUR family how thankful you are and how much they mean to you.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Well, it's official!  I have my own place.  I'm moving in about 3 weeks to an apartment in the north end of Columbus.  It's time.  My roommate has been terrific, and we get along GREAT, but it's time for me to be back in my own place.

     These next 3 weeks are going to be a blur - I'm moving the weekend of Dec 10th and then right after that (Dec 14th) I have my Ohio State Medical Board Licensure Exam (yes, that's a Tuesday!).  My roommate will be in and out of town with her travels and helping her mother move to Florida - so we will barely catch each other coming and going over the next 23 days - but I can't wait.  Just please PRAY that that week-end in December will be VERY MILD so that I can move my jungle of houseplants to the new place without all of them dying!

     My family also gets together in December to bake Christmas cookies, and although I'm really not feeling it this year (yet), I know that the grandchildren all look forward to it and have to find time for that in December as well.  I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is a little over a month away!  Wow.

     For Thanksgiving, I'm going to my son and daughter-in-law's home in Newark.  They are the only ones that have a home big enough to hold all of us.  We don't really get together (the entire family) any other time of year, so this time is very special for me.  Plus, it seems like the "kick-off" for the holiday season and we talk about how we are going to decorate and when we are going to get together to bake cookies, etc.  The women in my family get together the first or second week of December to bake Christmas cookies with the children.  We all try to make 1 or 2 dozen of something different and then we "exchange" with each other so that we have a wide variety of cookies to take home.

     This year I am going to start a NEW TRADITION.  I have a World Vision Catalog, and on Thanksgiving Day, when the whole family is together, we are going to look through the catalog and decide (as a family) what we want to "give" to a needy family in another country for Christmas.  We can purchase a pig or a goat or 2 bunnies or 2 chicks or a combination or variety of animals to give to a family in a less-fortunate country. 

~~ Check out World Visions website to make a one-time donation for the holidays ~~

So, what are YOU doing for Thanksgiving this year?  Are you traveling or having family to your house?  Let me know! 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Growing Closer to God..

I read a new friend's blog tonight and it really spoke to me.  She recently finished a 40-day fast and talked about how she really felt the closeness of God through it.  I have thought about doing a 40-day fast a few times over the last year or so - but have always let "busyness" keep me from doing it.  I think that I too am ready to go on a fast to not only grow closer to God, but to take back spiritual ground that the devil has stolen from MY FAMILY over the years.  And what better time than heading into the holidays! 

I remember when I delivered the Columbus Dispatch newspaper (for about 1 & 1/2 years), I used to get up through the week at 2:30am to go down to the warehouse and fold and bag the papers so that I could walk the route and be finished and back home to shower, change, and be at work by 7am.  I would walk for those few hours in the early morning and pray, asking God for a closer walk with Him.  I had been a Christian almost all of my life, yet I didn't feel very close to God.  I just knew that there had to be something "better".

Sometimes I would walk and just listen to my GoBible (it's like an MP3 player but with the entire Bible on it instead of music).  Eventually I gave up that paper route because I felt God was dealing with me about working on Sundays.  I thought about trying to find a sub or a "partner" that would do Sundays for me, but I made almost half of my paycheck on Sundays because that paper was so big and there were almost twice as many people that got the Sunday paper than the weekday paper.  Financially, it wasn't worth it - so I gave it up entirely.  That was a little over 2 years ago, and I have to say, I have grown closer to the Lord in these last 2 years than I ever would have thought possible. 

Gosh, now that I'm thinking about it, I've also spent these last 2+ years living with a roommate so that I could go to school for my massage license (I wanted to be able to pay cash for my classes as I went so that I wouldn't have any school loans to pay back).  I've been able to do that, and now I've graduated from Massage School, and am ready to move back out on my own! 

But now I'm ready to go to another "level" in God.  Pray for me as I pray and seek God's direction for my life.  I can truly say with all of the honesty in my heart that I want to be in the center of God's will more than I want ANYTHING else in my life.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall is my FAVORITE season...


     Fall is my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love the colors of fall - the rich reds, orange, and browns of the trees; and the chill in the air.  I love the smell of firewood burning (the neighbor's because I don't have a fireplace), the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas being right around the corner, and football (my STEELERS won today - whoo hoo!) And of course I wouldn't be a true Ohioan if I didn't make mention of the Ohio State Buckeyes!!  I enjoy carving pumpkins with my grandchildren, and watching their excitement as they talk about their costumes for halloween.  And Thanksgiving is the only time during the year that my whole family gets together - I really look forward to it all year.    

     I love my life right now - the Lord has truly blessed me so much.  I'm blessed with a wonderful family - including two terrific boys (Tony and Aaron) and 4 incredible grandchildren - Kayla, Alizia, Austin, and Kellan (pictured).  I'm anxiously awaiting my licensure exam for my Massage Therapist license with the State of Ohio and getting as involved as I can with New Life Church in Gahanna, Ohio.

     I am wanting to go on some upcoming missions trips with New Life Church next year - I can't make up my mind which - there have one that is going to Haiti in Jan 2011, another to Costa Rica, and yet another to Uganda.  Pray for God's continued direction in my life.  God is so good.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

GOD is not only GOOD, He is SMART too!

I know that God wants us to learn how to lean on Him.  As single women, we learn that we have to do everything ourselves - that we can't really count on anyone but ourselves.  But God wants us to learn how to DEPEND on HIM. 

For literally MONTHS I have cried out to Him and prayed about a raise at work that I was supposed to get back in the spring for a job that I started on April 1 !!  I couldn't understand all of the 'red tape' and why they just couldn't get the upper management signatures that were required and push it through.  I called myself trying to be patient, but after 6 months went by, I was starting to see red.  THEN, if that wasn't bad enough, I found out that the raise (when it DID come) wouldn't be retroactive!  Are you kidding me??  I began to be obsessed about this situation, even speaking myself to members of my upper management.  The best I got was "I'm so sorry" and "I understand your frustration."  Really??  

After being promised the last two paydays that it "should be on your next check", and finding that it was not - I came home last week and just cried.  I prayed and cried and read my Bible, hoping the God would please tell me SOMETHING!  I said, "God, I don't know what You are doing, so please help me to understand, because whatever it is - I'm NOT getting it!!"  

The Lord showed me that night, (about 9 days ago) that I was clearly becoming obsessed about not getting this raise.  I felt like He was telling me to 'give it to Him'.  At first I cried and said that I didn't understand what that meant.  The more I prayed and cried, the more I felt like He wanted me to give him the raise - I mean, give Him the entire situation about NOT getting the raise.  I struggled with that for awhile longer, but was finally able to come to the point where I could give it to God, and mean it in my heart.  I said, "Lord, I don't care if I NEVER get this raise - it's YOUR money and I am going to just "give" this raise to YOU.  Besides, if the company is 'stealing' from anyone, they are stealing from God, and not from me!"  I decided that night to not speak of it again - not complain or gripe, and not to even ask anyone else to pray with me that I would get my raise.  That night, when I went to bed - I had peace.  
 It wasn't until I was able to 'give it to God' and mean it in my heart, that He moved. 

Yesterday - 9 days later - I was called into my boss's office and notified that I finally got my raise!  It had been approved and PRAISE GOD, it is truly exceedingly and abundantly above what I could have asked of or even thought of!!  My raise was over 25%!  And it is retroactive back to 8/1/10, which upper management tells me is absolutely unheard of in this company!!   and that’s not all……
the raise that they gave me was over and above the amount that my supervisor put in for!!  Is that incredible or what!!  The great news about this is ….. had they just made the raise retroactive, I would have received a one-time lump sum for the back pay, and that's all.  With it working out THIS way, not only will I get a lump sum check for an amount back to 8/1/10, but I will also get the new (higher) hourly rate going forward!! 

God is not only GOOD, but He is really SMART - isn't He??   Ultimately, He always has our best in mind…….

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Encounter Weekend

I just returned from a week-end get-away with the ladies at my church.  I'm exhausted, but it is a 'good' exhausted.  The "Encounter Week-end" was an awesome time of experiencing God's forgiveness and learning how to re-claim the freedom (in Christ) that is rightfully MINE!  We learned about the price of sin and the POWER of the cross! 
We have a choice, and too many times, we CHOOSE sin!  Romans 5:15-16 says: "So since God's grace has  set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning?  Of course not!  Don't you realize that whatever you CHOOSE to obey becomes your master?  You can CHOOSE sin, which leads to death, or you can CHOOSE to obey God and receive his approval." (emphasis mine).

We need to evaluate what we are letting into our lives - the tv we watch, the people we hang out with, even the computer sites we visit!  What we are doing is so subtle, but we need to recognize that we CANNOT continue to "flirt" with sin and live the GODLY life that we desire to live.  God wants to replace my sinful habits and depression, anxiety, etc with His joy and peace.  But we continually CHOOSE to 'dabble' with sin.

Sin will take me down a road I didn't want to go down - I will end up staying longer than I wanted to stay - and I will pay a cost that is much higher than I wanted to pay.  SIN ALWAYS LEADS TO DEATH!

"To depart from righteousness is to choose a life of crushing burdens, failure, and disappointments, a life caught in the toils of endless problems that are never resolved.  Here is the source of that unending soap opera, that sometimes horror show known as normal life.  The 'cost of discipleship', though it may take all we have, is small when compared to the lot of those who don't accept Christ's invitation to be part of His company in the way of life." (from The Spirit of Disciplines by Dallas Willard).

We must constantly turn our minds towards God.  We must feed our spirit with godliness and stay away from whatever feeds our flesh.  Ephesians 5:3 says "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." (emphasis mine).

I met some great new friends and it was truly a life changing experience.  I'm so excited about the things that God is doing in my life!