Archive for the ‘outlook on life’ Category

Which Mirror Are You Using?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Mirror, mirror, always in sight—

please confirm that I’m alright.

If there is one item that we all have in abundance—it is the mirror.

We don’t limit our mirrors to glass alone, but purchase glossy plastic for babies, and tiny, shiny, metal circles to keep in our purses.

We check our style in store windows as we walk down a sidewalk, and seek our face amidst the ripples, as we stroll beside a lake.

We create mental imagers from words people say and are subjected to the glaring speculum of unrealistic, media dramatization.

Mirrors are reflections that tell us literally and psychologically a lot about how we see ourselves.

We are obsessed with the mirror. What we really want from the mirror is for it to tell us that we are alright—over and again—as many times as we look. Or at least to never confirm our biggest fear—that something is wrong with us.

We tend to live out our lives as we see ourselves to be.

Be aware that voices around us, the past within us, and our circumstances before us, can reflect a cloudy and distorted view of our true potential.

You need a mirror that gives a clear reflection of who you really are. So invest in good mirrors!

 Accountability partners call you to stick to your goals and a circle of friends assure you that failure is not fatal.

The mirror of God’s Word boosts our confidence by clearly establishing our constant true worth. Inviting God’s presence to live within us allows us to reflect true beauty from our inner souls and to remember and relax in who we are.

You are more than the latest style, the absence of wrinkles in your skin, or every hair in place. You are more profound than size, color, or race.

You are beautiful, loved, and created by God.

If your mirror says differently—invest in a new one!

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Psalm 139:14 NLT

Dis Distractions

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I have to keep my guard up every day to keep from getting side-tracked—or derailed completely—from my mission and goals. It’s just so easy to get pulled aside to work on projects that are good and need to be done but are not part of my top priorities. I am multi-talented and am tempted to try many new activities, but are they important enough to use my energy on? Distractions beckon around every curve. One more activity might be OK, or even fun, but I have to ask myself if I will be able finish strong that which I’ve prioritized and planned.

 

I love the spontaneous. There is a certain freedom in knowing that life isn’t so structured that things can’t be changed, tweaked, and enjoyed at a moment’s notice. I must know that I am not a slave to some printed schedule that has to be acted out in robot fashion.

 

But being in charge of the direction of our lives and ultimately making it to our destination means not succumbing to distractions that are unworthy of our time when they appear. I must know the difference between nice and necessary. 

 

My self-dialog and conversations with others have the ability to distract me from reaching my goals. Stopping to visit or check on a friend is encouraging and uplifting. But trash talking, gossip and arguing, drain creative energy and draw me aside from my schedule. I must maintain control over the words I speak and discern whether to engage in a confrontation. I don’t have time to waste trying to prove that I am right. I must conserve my energy to speak up when my voice needs to be heard because it is the right and relevant thing to do. 

 

Baby animals are led astray by just nibbling and following the next patch of desirable green grass. Boundary fences of safety are pushed over with the thought that the grass is greener on the other side. Most of the time it is not.

 

My prayer for today: God, give me wisdom to know what is real and relevant for today, enough common sense to know when to speak out or to shut up, and the confidence and integrity to be satisfied with being right and real—without having to prove it!

 

“And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.” 2 Timothy 2:4 (NLT)

I’ll Never Wash My Hand Again!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

An usher had just shown me to my seat in the Starlight Theater in Branson, Missouri. It was the opening night of Toy Shoppe. The producer of the musical was country music legend Kenny Rogers. As I waited for the show to begin, I made small talk with two ladies on my row.

One lady seated beside me was overly ecstatic because she had talked her 84 year-old friend Emma into coming with her. Emma looked quite healthy. She was dressed neatly, and had a gorgeous smile. Emma shared with us that after she and her husband celebrated 65 years together, he had passed away. Afterwards, she decided her fun times were over and she would never go out again.

However, tonight, Emma’s friend persuaded her to get out of the house, and here they were! Our conversation was cut short when we were asked, “Excuse me ladies, would you like to move up closer?” Leaning over the seat in front of us, the theater manager offered us seats that were located on one of the first several rows. The seats had been blocked off for Kenny Rogers and the cast members’ families.

We were elated, but as we celebrated our good fortune, another­­­­ usher leaned over our row and said, “Excuse me ladies, but we will need to move you. The family needs these seats.” The theater manager on the opposite side urged us to move out more quickly—offering apologies and free popcorn. We crowded into the aisle and stopped…unsure of what to do next.

Kenny Rogers BransonWhile we fought to maintain our dignity after being asked to get up and move, the unexpected happened. We all looked up to discover we were blocking the aisle for Kenny Rogers himself! Out of our group, I was the first to maneuver out of the aisle. I smiled and slid past Kenny on my way back to our lovely, (now second-rate) row.

I stood and waited for Emma and her friend to take their seats beside me. Emma’s friend consoled us with a reminder of free popcorn. All Emma could say was, “I’ll never wash my hand again!” Kenny Rogers had taken the time to greet Emma, and patted her gently on the arm before going on stage.

As Emma returned with her popcorn during intermission, I couldn’t help but ask “Did you wash your hands before eating your popcorn?” She simply smiled and shook her head “no.” There was a new sparkle in her eye that looked like a fresh hope for living.

I respect Kenny Rogers for his kindness, and I honor the friend who encouraged Emma to take that first step out of the house and attend the event with her.

We can’t all be celebrities, but we can all be encouragers and befriend someone else. Be assured that your acts of kindness will bring new life and fresh hope to someone.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

It’s Not Normal

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

 Hunger made me search for food and thatched umbrellas, shading a cluster of tables on the sidewalk, helped me choose a Bistro café.  A gentle breeze and warm sunshine lulled me to slow my pace and enjoy a sandwich while observing people coming and going.  The noon hour brought a mix of young professional women in cute shoes and men in creased khakis, who mannerly held the door open for them. Some ate inside, some grabbed a bite to go, and some joined me to savor the weather and dream on the sidewalk.  The conversations mingled and overlapped into a melody with high pitched laughs, baritone voices, and the click, click rhythm of footsteps on smooth concrete.

The picture-perfect scene didn’t last long.  I began to hear a child’s voice rising above the hum. At first I couldn’t make out the words.  But the fervor and pitch made it very clear this child was passionately desperate about something.  I soon glimpsed a cute baby girl, possibly 2 or 3 years old, holding the hand of her mom near the door. The child was half crying now and the words were heartrending.  Each time the mom tried to lead her little girl into the café; she would pull back and say, “It’s not normal. It’s not normal!”  The mom would stop to explain that it was perfectly normal to go inside and eat. And yet the daughter was never convinced.  The mom had to physically lift the child into the store.  Even as the door was closing behind them the child continued to say, “No, it’s not normal!”

I love children and am always amazed at their perception of the world around them.  It was easy to see she was really saying that it wasn’t what she wanted. Normal and want had gotten confused in her vocabulary and understanding.

Smiling, I returned to the thoughts that had been going over in my mind before the distraction. It was quite shocking to find that many challenges I was fighting against was because I was saying, “It’s not normal.” I too was struggling over things I didn’t want or like. Perhaps I too had become confused on what was normal.

Just yesterday I prayed for a friend’s mom to live. By evening she had passed.  Once again I wanted to say, “It’s not normal.”  But death is a normal occurrence on earth and even a sure appointment.  Life is filled with many seasons of both sunshine and rain. Yet I so often embrace good times and pull back from discomfort.  I say that life isn’t normal when it isn’t what I want. Then God, like a good parent, somewhere in the midst of my complaints gently lifts me over the present threshold of fear and quiets me with His love.  If I should stop to listen to His wisdom, I’m pretty sure I would hear Him say, “Yes, it is earth’s normal. It is just something you don’t like.  Come on, I will take care of you.” 

I think I may always struggle and argue with earth’s definition of normal.  But I do believe that heaven is a place where what I like and normal always mean the same.

No More Detours

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

The count is definitely in, and everyone I know is glad for the past year to go. I too welcomed a new year because I wanted a fresh start.  But this New Year is now into its second week and life is throwing me some pretty fierce distractions to deal with. I wonder if what I did last week was done any differently than this time last year.

Distractions don’t go away. They must be dealt with. I can’t drive down the main street of our small town or log onto my computer without the possibility of getting sidetracked. But I can become stronger and make wiser choices.

Our paths are strewn not only with distractions but also opportunities. So the question to ask ourselves when things pop into our world is, “Is this a distraction or an opportunity?” When distraction comes and opportunity knocks, we have the power to choose which one to answer and entertain and when to just stay focused on our present path.

If you plan ahead what you would like to accomplish in your day and upcoming year, it will make right choices clearer.

Decide where each new “unexpected” will lead your day. Distracted days add up to months, and soon another year has come and gone. We do have the core strength to do things differently. Be courageous and push pass that first uncomfortable moment of taking charge of your life – choose opportunity over distraction.

Give yourself an internal boost of energy by taking some time upfront to define your goals clearly, rid your path of proven distractions, and quiet your mind each morning.

Know that if you follow distractions, you will take a detour yet again this year.  But if you face the ongoing distractions, choose to stay the course, and keep going forward, you will enjoy great success in the coming year.

“For I can do everything through Christ,* who gives me strength.” James 4:18 NLT

A Fresh Start

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

on the WINGS

uplift for your world

Yesterday, at a get together in our home, after most of the guests had said their goodbyes, we three girls gathered around the bar to chat.  We three girls were those closest to me, one ahead and one following on the road of life – Mom, me, and my daughter.  After sipping yet another flavor of coffee, and tasting just one more bite of cherry pie, we talked about life.  Mom wished she knew what she knew now when she was my daughter’s age.  My daughter thought this wonderful concept could be achieved if mom’s wealth of wisdom was just downloaded to her immediately. It was a great idea of how becoming wise as an elder while still being young, could indeed be accomplished.  We laughed knowing that wisdom principals can be taught, but each person must then know when and how to apply those principals in his/her daily life.  Each path has different twists and turns that have to be personally walked out.

I have sometimes thought that if I could start over I would do things differently.  But after starting over, after many bummer days, I’ve found that it wasn’t just a second chance that was needed, but wisdom. Sometimes the wisdom ingredient to success was additional planning. After not being on time or prepared yet again, it became evident that I must avoid the trap of procrastination on a daily basis, to be wise.

I also had to let go of the myth that today’s fresh-start-path would somehow be easier than yesterday. Sometimes life is hard whatever the path. But hard is not always bad. Sometimes our greatest victories and highest joys are only realized by pushing past our comfort zones.

To totally embrace a fresh start, make peace with things in your past that cannot be relived or redone. Forgive, let go, and untie negative people and circumstances of yesterday.

Write down your goals, dreams, and ambitions and keep them before you. Surround yourself with people you would be happy to become more like.

Today is the day for a fresh start, whether it is your second or hundredth chance to live how you would — if you could — do it over.  Be diligent to live by wisdom principals that will bring the results you want in your life.  Learn something new each day, love well, and enjoy those before, beside, and behind you on the path of life.

Would you like a fresh start in any area of your life?  If so, then I pray today that you will commit to searching for wisdom, going past your comfort zones, and planning ahead.  May the God of all wisdom be your guide as you spend time in reflective silence before Him today.

By Reba Wilson (c)2012

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Pro 4:7 NKJV

See the big picture

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

It’s important how we view single events during our day.  If we only see the small clip of what’s happening just during a specific moment then our picture is lacking and way too small.  We could be tempted to believe everything we’ve ever done is horrible if we dwell on a single negative word about us during the day.  Dwelling on, rehearsing, and replaying this single phrase can soon become what we think we accomplished for the entire day.

Look at each day at least as an episode.  Factor in the great things accomplished, the good comments and not just that one miniscule sound bite.

Something done or said wrong can be used to learn new and better ways of living.  Learn by mistakes and then move forward quickly.  There are great reasons that a person gets back on a horse after being thrown or drives soon after being rear ended.

Fear, exaggerated thinking, undue stress and excessive pain can be stopped by looking at the big picture, readjusting and then getting back into the game right away.

Life is more than just one misspoken word or bad day. Life is meant to be a beautiful journey. It’s so true that woven into the tapestry of our days there are knots and gray shadings from time to time.  These brief snubs were only mean to be indicative of normal weaving and not deemed as a flawed or castaway life.

Now, smile, and go ahead living the God life!

Wisdom to Live More Peaceful and Prepared

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Fresh water has been added to the waterfall in our back yard.  Streaming down the rocks and overflowing the top pool, the sun sparkles through the clear cascade rushing into the lower pool.  What a beautiful picture, filled with peace, purity and order.  I love the fountain most when it is free of algae, leaves, and debris.

So, today, I tell my husband that we must purchase chemicals right away. We must add product to the water that will keep it clean before we see a need for it.  This year I have determined to purchase a floater that will continually release germ killing, algae burning, sparkle rejuvenating elements.  When the green shows up it’s already too late for easy clean up. The war is on and I have to fight hard to just get back to murky clear.  Extra chemicals have to be used and the pump has to work harder to filter- what I should have ‘kept out’ of the water.

I’m finding life for me is a lot like my soothing waterfall. Things that I put away when I’m finished leaves my work area clean.  Clothes hung up, put in the hamper, or washer each day, creates a closet that is prepared for any occasion that might arise.  Mail gone through each day and filed allows bills to be paid on time.  If I pray daily I have more confidence when a challenge arises.

Waiting until there is nothing to wear, mail covers the desk, or a tragedy strikes before taking charge of our lives leaves us in an overwhelmed, ill prepared state.  Every aspect of the day becomes doubly hard as if fighting a losing battle.

Continual ordered days are much more effective and reward us with a much more, peaceful life.

Wisdom: “Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace.” Proverbs 3:17 KJV

Snow Declares a Power Greater than Earth

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
God is still in control

God is greater

Outside the snow is falling, and falling and friends are face-book-ing you.  I love it.  When it really snows enough to drag the wheels of the daily grind to a halt, or at least make the train take alternate routes, I smile.  There is proof there are things still beyond ‘people’ control.  It definitely settles that big things are smaller than we think, and that appointments can be cancelled- and rescheduled.  Snow gives me reasons to get out of my box and still appear normal.  When it snows, the Divine dares earth to count the number of flakes. The greatest of the world’s design teams are not even in the running, for all the different ways to create the cold, crusty, icy manna- more proof that heaven is still in the lead.  Let the doubter shake their fist and shout above the swirl of white that man is in control…. They’ll all come in soon to warm a bit.  The stormy fury that havocs also heals as the white blanket covers our houses, and shushes us to quiet our spirit, even close our eyes and rest- maybe slumber.    The winter created, causes me to search out food for the less fortunate, the helpless birds and animals of the wood.  And, as I stretch my hand to the hungry, I am changed, suddenly rich, and willing to share.  I become generous- giving freely now from my heart.  As walls of selfishness drop, I am liberated, begging the wayfarer to walk through the opened door and share in the warmth of my fire.   There is peace, there is wonder, and there is a reason to reflect.  There is a power greater than man can ever produce.  There is higher learning, never ever tapped.  Heaven touches earth, covering ugliness, leaving a purity kiss. All is well. There “is” a God…  He calls me friend.

Improve the picture quality of your world

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Most phones have the ability to take pictures that are likely of better quality than the new digital camera that you so eagerly unwrapped only a few years ago.

But, if the lens is smudged or dirty the picture quality will be terrible no matter how great the camera. I remember snapping a great view and yet it came back totally black except for a blurb of white on the edge.  The light was great and the setting worthy of remembering- but my finger was over the lens! Nothing that I did could improve the quality of my photo until I removed my finger.

What we take away with us each day is much like the camera.  Everything we see comes through the filter of our internal lens. If we are hurting physically, emotionally or spiritually our personal lens becomes smudged.  Every snap we take of life that day will end up poor quality- no matter how desirable the setting.  When life is perceived as really bad, we pull away in depression, which begins to cut off the light to us.  The picture we have at the end of the day is a black memory.

To make our day’s picture better- and hopefully wonderful- is not always to change the light but to let it in by tearing down walls of fear and distrust.  Lens can become dirty from unforgiveness, abuse, or simply neglecting to rest and reflect.  We could have a smudged view because we need vitamins, help with a medical condition, a spiritual experience, or a change of pace.

How’s the quality of your pictures today?  The sun is shining and there are beautiful people and wonderful food.  Get help and hope. With God all things are possible.