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Are We Giving or Doing Business?

December 26, 2016

 

 

Thinking today about giving…and GIVING. We do a lot of giving during the Christmas season. We drop a little money into the red kettles. We give gifts to those we love. We even give gifts to those we do not know…and boy do we feel good about it. Giving is good. Giving blesses those who receive. The truth is, giving feels good. So often we give a little…or even a lot, depending on what we have…but we rarely give more than what we deem ‘extra’. When was the last time we gave more than what we felt we could spare…or gave up something so that someone else could have what they need?
Don’t get me wrong, giving is always good. I’m not suggesting we not give. I’ve just been thinking about how we like to pat ourselves on the back for giving from our excess…or giving something we have already used.
I wonder what would happen if we gave more than what we feel we can do without. I wonder what blessings would flow if we met a need without thought to what we were giving up or how great others would think we are. I wonder what amazing things God would do with our giving if it were sacrificial…if it meant we had to do without something…
What if we gave without deeming the recipient of our giving worthy of receiving it? What if we just gave.
I believe it would change the world. Moreover, I believe it would change us. It would change who we are at our core if we just met a need and didn’t put ourselves in the judgement seat about whether or not a person deserved to receive.
Please don’t read these thoughts and believe that I have arrived…that I am giving sacrificially….that I don’t enjoy a worldly pat on the back for the pittance I give. I haven’t and I’m not and I enjoy kudos as much as everyone else. But it’s on my radar and I want to improve. I want to do better. I want to be less self centered and more others focused. God has proven to me over and over and over again that He will provide and meet my needs. I can loosen my grip on what I have. If I have what someone else needs and I feel led to give it…I want to give it. If I really need it, He will make sure I have it.
I don’t know how this will play out over the next year but I plan to be more conscious of what I can do…what I can give…that I have previously thought I could not. I’m looking forward to seeing where God takes me.

My Crazy Life Uncategorized

Becoming One With Myself, Even if it Kills Me

February 21, 2016

This is my yoga goal

 

As I rapidly approach 50, I find myself to be stiff and creaky. I practice a couple seconds of Lamaze breathing when I stand from sitting. Oh sure, it’s attractive and all, but I want to change it.

I started walking last September and have enjoyed the benefits of that. I enjoy the time outdoors and I love to walk with Dexter, my Standard Poodle. I’m not setting any land speed records but I can at least walk THE HILL without crying. The hill is not exactly a mountain but there is some degree of mild elevation which almost killed me the first time we walked it. When my husband suggested we walk it again I froze with fear and actually yelled, “NO!” Since then, I have conquered it and walk it often. If I were to tell you where this slight rise in the earth’s surface is, you would laugh at me so just picture something slightly shorter than Mt. Everest and that will suffice.

When I was in my 20’s I was very active and did a lot of aerobics. Mmhmm…that’s right. It was the early 90’s. We were all leotards, headbands and leg warmers. Truly, a sight to behold. Thankfully, cell phones with cameras were still a distant dream and therefore no mirror selfies floating out on the interweb. But I was limber and didn’t creak when I walked. The only Lamaze breathing I did was in actual childbirth.

Fast forward a whole lot of years that contained lots of children with needs like daily meals and clean clothes and any time to focus on my own fitness went by the wayside.

Now that all but one of those birdies has flown the coop, I am determined to focus on regrouping. My focus is not only on the physical, but also on sharpening what is important in my life. Being more calm and quiet is topping my list. I’m sorry, was I the only one who heard my husband cheering when I said quiet???

To this end, I set my sights on yoga. I wanted to go to the local yoga studio and be calm and centered and flexible and strong. As is often the case, the idea is much different than the reality.

I roped my friend Elizabeth into attending a beginners class with me last week. Given that we are both chatty and, truth be told, enjoy our own humor way too much, we were mildly afraid we would not be able to be quiet. Yoga is quiet, right? Neither of us is good at quiet. So we went and got in the way back row in case we got the church giggles and couldn’t stop.

Class began and I was immediately too stiff to do whatever we were instructed to do. Being naturally competitive, I determined in my heart that minute that I WILL conquer Yoga. Elizabeth and I followed along pretty well. We didn’t look at each other, which helped. At one point when we were lying on our backs, I started to snicker because I could hear her chewing her gum. The curse of ADD is we attend to EVERY noise in the room. I made myself focus on something other than her gum chewing and the giggles passed.

Just as I was getting the hang of following along we struck a pose that may or may not have had something to do with lizards. There was some silliness about reaching back and taking hold of our opposite foot. Now, the reaching back was hindered by my back fat that bunched up and I couldn’t even find my foot regardless of how much I swung my arm back and forth. My resolve to master all things yoga intensified.

We used our straps to hold our foot out in front and then to the sides. While the instructor used her hand to hold her foot out with nary a wobble, Elizabeth and I toppled like bowling pins. I was awed by the grace and calm strength the instructor displayed. I want that!

Towards the end we sat on our bolsters with our legs criss-cross-applesauced…except we stacked our legs. Well others did. My legs were all, “No way, Hosea. Remember that back surgery you had a few years ago and then were too afraid to bend or stretch afterwards because you were scared you would goof up something? Well that means that we, your very own hips, are now locked in the standing position. Sorry.”

I silently cursed my stiff hips and lower back and again, determined in my heart, that I would conquer yoga.

At the end of class as we lay on the floor in what I can only assume is supposed to be a relaxing pose, the instructor came around and massaged our necks with lovely peppermint smelling hands. I’d go back for that alone.

I now have a new goal. I am going to show these stiff hips and back just who is boss. I am going to become one with myself…my limber, strong and calm self.

dead man's pose

Current level mastered

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