Which Mirror Are You Using?

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

Close to See

October 6th, 2015

Have you ever wondered why we close our eyes to kiss, meditate, or visualize? The answer is simple—we close so we can see. With our eyes closed, we are better able to focus and our sense of touch, smell, and hearing become more perceptive.

My cousin Kenny has an eye disease that is drastically decreasing his vision. Recently, he decided to seek radical training to learn Braille.

Since Kenny still has some sight, the instructor provided him with special goggles that sealed out all the light. He had to be blind to learn to rely totally on his other senses.

Kenny said that the classes included woodworking. And yes, that the instructors are blind!

His story of shutting out his limited vision to see in a new way, reminded me that this concept is also taught in the Scriptures. Shutting out the world around us is a relevant way of gaining greater spiritual clarity in prayer.

We can talk to God anytime, anywhere, with our eyes wide open or closed. However, there are new insights that we can gain by shutting out circumstances—that are overriding our thoughts—thus encouraging our inner spiritual discernment to take the lead.

Time spent in this place of solitude will be evidenced by our greater inner vision, confidence, and creativity. We can develop a lifestyle of relying on—and hearing from—God for direction.

Kenny needed sealed goggles to make the light go away. We too can create a block and break from daily distractions—and focus on—and experience life in a new and more fulfilling way.

Jesus said, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you(Matthew 6:6 NASB)

Crack Petunias

September 30th, 2015

The sight of pink blossoms peeking through and around an old iron wheel caused me to pause. The flowers were not planted in fertile soil or growing in expensive pots of clay. Instead, these plants were the product of seeds that had fallen from petunias cascading from a display of hanging baskets. As the seeds fell, the wind gently blew them into a crack in the concrete. The seeds lay in the crack undetected as the gardener watered the petunias above. And when the petunias had drunk their fill, the baskets overflowed and fertilized water dripped into the concrete crack.

crack petunias in wheel (640x360) (450x341)The petunia seed rejoiced by sprouting—expending a portion of its energy in search of the light above and all the while sending roots down deeper than the boundary of concrete.

This crack petunia is every bit as authentic as those hanging in baskets above. Its DNA had just as much life, wonder, and ability inside its seed. It only had to choose to bloom inside the crack of concrete. Today, the plant was blooming in unexpected places, and encouraging me to do the same.

Have you ever fallen through the cracks of life? Are you surrounded—even now—by cold, hard walls of circumstances and challenges?

If so, remember the crack petunia. Seeds of talents are every bit as profound—and teeming with potential—that fall into the cracks as those whose blooms are on display around us. We only need to humble ourselves and allow the seeds of destiny to open up and sprout, and steady our souls by sending our roots deep into the life-giving soil of God’s Word. We can bloom even in the cracks of life.

If you feel you’ve fallen through the cracks and it seems your lot in life could be to live there—choose to bloom in the crack. Choose to live happy even in adverse conditions that you had no part in choosing. God can give you the ability to prosper—right where you are—right now. Rely on God and release your ways to Him. You contain the DNA to grow and bloom wherever you are.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

Balance Your Day

July 9th, 2015

Crashing metal, thudding, and sounds of heavy furniture being slid across a tile floor brought my husband Garry and me out of our chairs and onto our feet. The noise was coming from behind the closed utility door.

With adrenaline pumping we flung the door open to find the clothes washer thrashing about like a monster trying to rid itself of an unpleasant pest.

Garry began talking to the machine, asserting that he had not put in too many jeans to wash effectively in a single load! The moving slowed after he pushed the off button, and he was then able to open the lid and view all those jeans piled up on one side of the tub. There may not have been too many clothes, but they had gotten completely off balance. In the lop-sided condition the tub simply could not take the ‘spin’ cycle.

Our lives can be a lot like my washing machine. We fill each day to the maximum with stuff. When we get overloaded, it’s hard to do a good job. Maybe we have even calculated the day and it looks like the number of things we have scheduled is a do-able amount. But there is still one more important detail that must be considered. That vital aspect is balance.

A friend of mine, who started his own cabinet-making company, found that his greatest challenge was consistently taking a lunch break. Before he owned the company, lunch was an anticipated joy so he easily kept track of time. But when he became the owner, he tried to get ahead by working nonstop all day long. After many hours of not eating, he felt weak and his hands would begin to shake as his blood sugar dropped dangerously low. He learned that to really be successful he would have to work in harmony with his body.

In the same way, if I neglect the spiritual side of my life by going extended periods without praying or reading the Bible, then I will find myself becoming emotionally unstable, as well. And so will you.

We were made to have balance in our spirit, soul, and body—time to work, play, eat, exercise, rest, create, pray, and contemplate. Balance creates order, focus, and boundaries. Balance keeps us from becoming burned out. Balance allows us to refuel and enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment and fulfillment throughout the day. We may not even have too much stuff. We may just need to prioritize and arrange it differently… especially when life goes into a ‘spin’!

Are you out of balance in the spin of a hectic schedule today? If so, then I pray that you would stop and create balance in every area of your life: spirit, soul, and body. May you live a healthy lifestyle and be strong even in old age.

May your day be blessed and your tub in balance!

“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6 NASB)

Price of Freedom

June 30th, 2015

The price of freedom is not cheap! Oklahoma lost more than a dozen soldiers in less than a year to the war in Afghanistan alone.

Part of freedom’s payment came from my town, Chelsea, Oklahoma. To all of you who committed to military service over the decades, I say ‘thank you’ for risking your life for the sake of freedom.

Freedom loses its value when we quit exercising our right to the freedoms we’re guaranteed. Freedom has been fought abroad that we could live with liberty here.  Are there freedoms that you have but aren’t using? 

You don’t have to travel far to find ministers being killed for the cause of Christianity and the church meeting underground.  Do you have the passion to be at church each Sunday morning and sit on a soft pew in an air-conditioned room where you have the freedom to do so? Do you vote?  Maybe you could run for office or support the local school and advertise in the paper. 

Our nation is filled with countless other freedoms such as free speech, the ability to write books, and the opportunity to further our education. These are all included in this liberty we enjoy.

Even with its faults, America is still an incredible country filled with great good. And America is counting on each of us. 

America—under God—is maintained through each person totally committing themselves to the leadership of Christ.  It’s doing what Jesus would do, in every area of our lives, every day. Although others are giving the ultimate sacrifice, we are all accountable for the future of our country.  I hope you feel a responsibility this year to stand up, pray for our leaders, and do your part to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 My prayer today is that God would comfort the families who have lost loved ones on the battlefield. I pray strength and blessings, and offer gratitude for all of you who have served our country.

May each of us invest our energy into strengthening America’s freedom.

 “First of all, then, I urge, that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (I Timothy 2:1,2 NASB) (From Sidewalk Chalk by Reba)

Power in the Embrace

January 7th, 2015

 I am a hugger. I not only hug my honey, but also pretty shoes, and good books. Yet, when I saw strangers coming toward me with arms extended, my muscles tensed in anticipation. I could tell that the fibers were deciding should they become as hard as steel and prepare me for the emotional impact? Or should they become soft and welcoming? My heart beat faster sending adrenaline to my brain and warmth to my face.

My body language portrays if this is friend or foe. I either stick both hands deep into my pockets, extend my hand, or something in between. If I know you and you are trustworthy friend or family—I embrace.

People, advice, and things to do are swiftly coming toward us daily and begging for our embrace. However, embrace is more than a simple, cultural gesture. To truly embrace is to hold, accept, or support.

There is power in the embrace. What I embrace will either keep me stable, successful and strong, or confused and weak.

I sometimes tend to embrace the familiar, even when it’s killing me, or reject the uncomfortable, and you may as well. It’s time to evaluate what we hold to us and what we affirm—and why. And then decide if we want to continue the hug! Hugs turn into relationships that help create a path on which we live and write our story.

Jim Stowall, in speaking to an author’s group, said that if someone doesn’t have what you would like to own or have achieved, then don’t ask for their advice.

Now that is wisdom. And wisdom is worthy of embrace, whether it is easy or not.

This year I am praying for discernment and wisdom and the strength to embrace that path. Care to join me? Open your arms, it’s going to be one heaven of a ride!

“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you.” (Proverbs 4:5-8 NLT)

Give Thanks

November 4th, 2014

Thanksgiving is the season to focus on the provision and goodness of God

Much of life is consumed with long days and short nights in hopes that our hard work will lead to enough provision to get us where we want to be in life.

The first Thanksgiving living in a foreign land may seem vaguely similar to the past year. It has been a year of hardships, surprises, struggles, and a lot of hard work. However, it has also been a year of new beginnings and God’s blessings. 

New beginnings are wonderful! I love the vision part the very most because the passion is fresh, the picture is clear, and obstacles have yet to be imagined. As with all beginnings, there is an uncomfortable stage that involves the unknown questions and answers that can create doubt regarding where the conquest will truly end. Will we really succeed? Will life ever feel normal again?

And, then, we make it! Through it all we stop and count our blessings. We often find ourselves weary, but blessed indeed. 

When I focus on what I don’t have, I overlook obvious blessings that I do have. But when I focus on my blessings I am able to live in the moment with a greater inner peace and positive energy.

Focus on how far you’ve come by counting each blessing that you truly treasure in your heart. Take time to be thankful that God is God! He promised to go with you and complete the good things He began in your life.

Take time to celebrate your gain and always give thanks.

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NASB)

UPlift (from Out is UP)

September 23rd, 2014

Prayer is my helicopter; praying gives me wings. Do you need a helicopter today? If so, then prayer is your rescue helicopter out of where you are now. Do you need to be uplifted? He can mend your broken wings.

Prayer helped me build a relationship with God, because talking is how we learn about one another, especially our Creator. Not only talking, but also listening—quietly listening to hear what He speaks in a still, small voice inside you, to your spirit.

God speaks many ways, but His words are always in agreement with the Bible. You may find a flower on your path, an unexpected kindness from a friend, or favor with your boss or court system. A song may uplift you, or you may see Him in the sunshine or the rain.

He is near you…right where you are, so listen for Him!

“In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and rescued me.” (Psalm 118:5 NLT)

*Excerpt taken from mychatcard collection “Out is Up” by Reba Wilson. Below is the design on the matching envelope. Out is UP to be released in Oct!OiUlogo-1

 

Dis Distractions

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)

Mind+Set=Me

January 1st, 2014

 Why do I do what I do? Why is it so hard to make lasting change?

These are questions that surface at times of frustration when we once again fail to carry out our good intention

Sometimes, even my own actions have shocked me and left me asking, “Where did this come from?” I know that when I’m confronted with certain situations, my true beliefs show through my actions.

My mindset is much like a thermostat. It predetermines what my responses will be relative to what I believe. When I set my mind on a task, I also shut down and push away anything that doesn’t fit within my mindset. 

The first step to change is acknowledging the need to change.  To question how we think often stops us long enough to evaluate.

Lasting change depends upon how important the desired results are to us. If we can live with how things are, then we probably won’t change.

Change takes effort on our part, and we must be willing to continually get back up when we fail. The good news is that we don’t have to do it alone. God calls us to reason together with Him, and in that place, all things become possible.

“For as he (a person) thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Prov 23:7 (NKJV)