“Forgiveness is a secret that is hidden in plain sight. It costs you nothing, but it’s worth millions. It’s available to all, but used by few. And if you harness the power of forgiveness you will be sought after and regarded highly and not coincidentally, you will also be forgiven by others.” Abraham Lincoln
“Minds are like parachutes. They only function when open.”
— Thomas Dewar
Have you ever seen an idea or a plan and thought, “This is the most awesome logical thing I’ve ever seen,” only to have everyone you share it with shoot your concept full of holes? When as a culture did we stop dreaming? When did we become naysayers and closed minded dream stealers? Aren’t we the nation who led the way on out of the box ideas and thinking? I guess for some a closed mind feels safer, or maybe they’ve been numbed by the programming of our society. As a culture, have we grown to embrace the security of mediocracy?
As for me, I’m ready for a little limb walking. I never want to tell someone their dream is crazy or impossible. I want to be their cheerleader and shout, “You can do it!” I want 2014 to be my most out on a limb year ever, and I want to encourage those who are crazy enough to dream new dreams with me. This year, instead of a resolution list, why don’t you allow yourself to create a dream list? Dare to dream again! It’s not too late.
I was driving down the road the other day and noticed a car coming up on me that made me laugh out loud. The front end of this car looked like a clown with a giant Botox induced smile. Don’t the designers look at their own designs before they put them into production? It was the most bizarre thing I’d seen in a while, a car with a grill that made a huge creepy grin. I thought, “Who would buy that?” Obviously, the guy behind me. I hope he got a great deal. Then a thought occurred to me, “Do I do that?” Like an artist splattering paint on a canvas, each day, we are creating our life, our parenting, our marriage, our career. How often do we take the time to stop, stand back and look at the big picture we are creating? We can get swept up in the act of living and forget the art of living. There was a time when I felt that life was just running away with me and I was just along for the ride. After much prayer, tears, and resistance I finally got it through my head that if I wanted something different, I needed to start a new routine. This has really helped me slow down and let my creativity catch up with me and ironically increase my productivity. I get up earlier and just quiet myself for about 15 minutes. I just sit quietly and reflect and journal. Then I pray, read, and prepare for my day. It’s like looking in the rear view mirror ahead of time. As a result I’m finding that I start my day with more joy and peace and with clearer direction. It’s helping me own the creation of my life by the power of the Spirit. What routines do you have that help you keep the big picture of your life in focus? Do they allow you to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly and make adjustments to keep you on track, or get you back on track? Don’t let your life create you when you can create your life.
Have you ever felt like your life was out of control? At the end of the day do you have more tasks than day? So, do you try to fix it by working late into the night trying to catch up, but you’re not, and falling behind just is not an option for a type A personality. It’s like standing on the shore and watching your priorities set adrift and you can’t swim, or at least you think you can’t, so you just watch them sail into the sunset as you stand on the shore with that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Lately, I’ve been praying about the course of my life for 2013, I want it to be a better year than 2012. Not that 2012 was bad, I just want to keep growing, I want to be a better me. I want to touch more lives, impact people in a more meaningful way, and make a bigger footprint in the sand. The problem is, I’m out of time. I feel like I’m running from the time I get up until late into the night. So, how can I ever get to this better me? Well lately, the Lord keeps bringing vessels my way with what I believe is the answer. I always think of myself as a “night person” I hate, let me repeat that for emphasis, hate getting up early. Well, that is about to change. First, I listened to a blog by Michael Hyatt on why you should get up early. It struck a cord in my heart, but I resisted. Then, I got the opportunity to review a book for Andy Traub called “Early to Rise.” It was a fun and compelling case for being an early riser that broke it down into easy to follow steps. It was one of those “Ah Ha” moments. I realized that if I were going to regain control of my shipwrecked priorities it was going to require some change, so this is the first day on the way to the new me – the early riser. I invite you to sail with me on this journey and see what exotic ports we discover. I’m expecting to find some beautiful places called peace and joy!
When I was a little girl life rolled along at a dull steady hum. A big time for me was getting to go to the grocery store with a parent, or making mud pies in the backyard. But Christmastime that was a different story, it was a special and magical time for me. It was filled with lights, the aroma of fresh cut evergreens and activity like parties with ladies in sparkling sequined gowns and gentlemen in handsome tailored suits. And the food . . . oh my! Appetizers were the centerpiece all our holiday festivities. My favorites were the smoked oysters. Yes, I know I was a strange child. But like any red-blooded American child, the highlight of the season was getting to visit Santa at Macy’s to deliver my wish list. I was not a greedy child, I usually just told him that I would love anything he brought me, but it was always good to touch bases with him to make sure he didn’t forget me altogether. On Christmas Eve we always had a big party. It was one of the best days of the year for me because I got to stay up extra late and my father always came. My parents were divorced and I never gave up on the “Parent Trap” syndrome. After the party, I would get in my jammies, and put out Santa’s cookies and milk, then I would go to bed to wait. At least my parents thought I was in bed, but as soon as the lights were out, I leaped into action and took my place for “the wait.” My room had a glass door that led to the patio and you could see into our living room from certain angles. I remember kneeling by my door peeking into the living room waiting for Santa to arrive. What a thrill when I saw a tiny light dancing around the Christmas tree! “Santa!” I strained as hard as I could to catch a glimpse of the jolly fat-guy, but he always alluded me. But knowing he’d been there allowed me to hop back in bed for a peaceful night’s sleep knowing my gifts would be waiting under the tree for me in the morning.
I remember when I discovered that Santa was not real, I was absolutely crushed! When we had children of our own, we elected to let Santa be a part of our celebration on a more honest level. We wanted our children to know that Jesus was the reason for Christmas. We felt if we lied to them about the jolly fat guy that they might think we were lying about Jesus as well. Our children never felt slighted and they always knew they could trust our word.
What are some of your favorite Christmas rituals?