1. Call A Friend. Just because.
2, Write your grandma, your great aunt, your favorite teacher. On paper. Mail it with an actual stamp.
3. Watch a good movie. Try The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
4. Play with Play Doh.
6. Read the book of James in the Bible.
7. Memorize Galatians with Beth Moore
8. Follow Jon Acuff on Twitter. He's Funny.
9. So is Chris Pratt.
10. Read a book: Fahrenheit 451
11. Hug someone.
12. Take a bath. With bubbles.
13. Make Cookies. Take them to a retirement center, hospice house, or the emergency room.
14. Tell your pastor thank you.
15. If you don't have a pastor - find one.
16. Take a class. Khan Academy
17. Go for a run. Don't stop just cause it hurts.
18. Buy some sparkly fingernail polish. Paint the nails of the cutest 3 year old you know.
19. Figure out how much you spend on your favorite indulgence. Skip it for a month and donate the money.
20. Text your friend who you miss. Tell her why you miss her.
21. Buy milk and bread and broccoli. Drop it off for a new mom.
22. Buy an extra pair of gloves. Give them to someone standing with a cardboard sign.
24 Do a puzzle. If it drives you nuts give yourself permission to quit and put it back in the box.
25. Read an old comic book. Peanuts. Or Calvin and Hobbs
26. Buy those really nice wool socks.
27. Invite friends over for dinner.
28. Try a new food. Bonughts in Nashville.
29. Learn how to fold one really cool Origami animal.
30. Spend a week with absolutely no electronics.
31. Pet a dog.
32. Go try on the nicest pair of shoes you can find. Don't buy them.
33. Buy a nice pair of shoes.
34. Donate a nice pair of shoes.
35. Find a special olympics competition and cheer. Loudly.
36. Tip a waitress who seems harassed. Tip really big.
37. Write a thank you to your doctor. Or your child's doctor.
38. Send flowers to someone you know is feeling lonely.
39. Get rid of that thing. You know the thing that makes you feel bad when you see it? Get rid of it.
40. Take a teenager out to coffee. Listen.
41. Take a grandma out to lunch. Listen.
42. Ask the oldest person you know their best advice for life. Listen.
43. Put together a lego kit.
44. Donate a lego kit.
45. Cuddle with a cat.
46. Read the entire Bible.
47. Get a pedicure.
48. Forgive someone. For reals.
49. Clean out the drawers under your sink.
50. Go for a walk. Take photos.
51. Get up early and watch the sunrise just for the joy of watching the sunrise.
52. Rent a kayak and spend an hour out on a lake by yourself.
53. Have a game night. Invite someone you don't know very well.
54. Try something you've never done before.
55. Ask a preschooler to tell you her favorite joke. Laugh.
56. Take good photos with someone you love.
57. Sit quietly and listen to water.
58. Turn the music up really loud to your favorite song from high school and dance like a crazy person.
59. Plant some daffodil bulbs in an empty lot.
60. Plant a tree.
61. Color with crayons.
62. Have a tea party.
63. Go to the dentist.
65. Quit a bad habit. You really can.
66. Go to a high school band concert.
67. Go to a high school track meet.
68. Go to a high school debate tournament. Cheer.
69. Sell something.
70. Write a post for Wall of Faith.
71. Write a letter to someone who makes you really angry all the time. Burn it.
72. Do a prayer fast. Really pray.
73. Learn a magic trick.
74. Think about who you know with the worst schedule. Offer to babysit their kids so they can get a break.
75. Take someone dinner who has been sick. The flu this year stinks.
76. Clean out your closet.
77. Go swimming.
78. Have a picnic.
79. Sew something.
80. Say sorry.
81. Save up and go to Disneyland. Pay cash.
82. Cut up a credit card.
83. Give a present to your cousin. Just because.
84. Buy art.
85. Make art.
86. Learn all the words to a favorite song.
87. Write a haiku. I love them. Kinda silly but fun.
88. Go to a kid's birthday party. Eat the cupcakes.
89. Sponsor a refugee.
90. Watch for rainbows.
92. Say something hopeful on Facebook.
93. Encourage someone to continue.
94. Tell someone you appreciate their hard work.
95. Don't complain.
96. Don't fight with people online. For the love.
98. Go to the parent night at your local school.
99. Volunteer for a local river clean up.
100. Pick one of the list. Do it today.
Most self improvement books preach a similar them "More More More". How to do more, earn more, pack more in. This book was a refreshing change. It's a practical book, full of tips to help you figure out what's most important in your life and how to thin out the excess. It made a difference in my life. Overwhelmed? Try this book and get more done. Just kidding. Less is more.
What makes you feel most overwhelmed? What helps?
The resident chef put us to work and we spent all yesterday baking. We started with Candy Cane Cookies. These ones are the baking tradition from my childhood. We sampled and then plated up the rest and drove them down to the local hospice house. Its important to us for our kids to remember other years and the care we felt when people loved us.
We walked into the family room at the hospice house. A man was sitting huddled up to the far wall. I quietly asked if he’d like a Christmas cookie. He said no. The girls unwrapped the plate while he watched. He asked if they were homemade. I smiled and said yes and walked the plate over. He took a cookie and said “ok. I’ll have a candy cane cookie”. He bit in. As we walked out, he shouted “these are delicious”. Christmas cookies don’t solve the world's problems. But they can serve as a reminder that joy exists.
We also made Gingerbread cake. It’s made with dark molasses, lemon zest and crystalized ginger. Marscapone frosting. This cake is a serious declaration of war on mediocrity.
We made Cinnamon rolls. I love how our arms intertwine as we cut the rolls. It takes some coordination. 24 years making rolls together and we've got the rhythm down.
Cherry pie. Hand rolled pie crust. The instructions stated if you add too much water it will not look pretty. The key was to stop adding water when its a shaggy mass. This piece of advice is good for other areas of life as well.
I cleaned my sewing room and set up the blow up bed. Cleaning the sewing room enough to fit in a bed is a Christmas miracle all by itself. The first year I put my parents on this blow up bed they froze. I've added extra layers over the years. I rolled out quilts. Some are treasures from family. My great grandmother made one as a wedding present for my parents. Some of the quilts are estate sale scores. I buy every quilt I find at estate sales. I can't hack the hours of work and love poured in from some random persons' relative. So the quilts stack up and join my family heirlooms.
I watched my kids open their advent calendar. Only one more door remains. I don't want to miss out on a single second. Squeeze out every ginger infused and cinnamon scented flavor. I want to slow the time.
There's also an overwhelming awareness of blessings and grace. We went to dinner last week with my family. I sat next to my husband and across from my father. My dad paused. He looked down the table at his family and grinned at his wife. Looked at me and said "I just can't wait until Christmas".
Christmas makes me cry. Its the combination of the desire to slow down time and the I can't wait excitement. The tension between the two overwhelms me sometimes. You remember the wistful wishing from childhood? Its grown up into a homesickness for heaven. Imagine the Christmas's there. All the loved ones at the table. No empty chairs. And the guest of honor - the baby himself.
I have spent the last week battling the flu. A couple of days ago I headed to bed early and took my girls with me. My little one said her tummy hurt. A few hours later my husband came and picked up our five year old to carry her to bed. I heard him holler from the stairwell. I made it to his side just in time to watch her puke all over his face. She had already drenched his arms and legs. I was so impressed as he calmly patted her and told her it was ok. The gentleness of a father was a perfect picture of Christmas.
That first Christmas included some pain. A Loss of reputation for the newlyweds. Exhausting trip, no room at the inn, childbirth. And Jesus? He set aside all the glory of his title and joined us. O holy night. Mary pondered these things in her heart. I think this is where my tears come from. It's when the bows and baking settle and I ponder.Jesus left perfect to join our mess. Christmas isn’t perfect. It is holy.
I'll be honest. This was a hard book. But hard can be good. Sometimes hard can be best. In this case, the author argues marriage is supposed to make us more like Jesus and not to fulfill our dreams. So here's the question. If marriage was to make you holy and not necessarily happy would you respond differently? Thought provoking.
What do you think?
God’s Spoken Word
Today I am grateful that I was brought to a place where I understand what it means to venerate, revere, fear the LORD. I think that I live in the world and know who He is, but in the distraction of my life, I forget, or could I humbly say, disregard His omnipotence. I shudder and cower at the thought that those words are true for my heart. Bowing at His Holy feet for forgiveness, brings to mind a concept I never fully understood, but I believe I do now, to Fear the Lord.
Based on the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest ruler that had ever ruled. He had a kingdom of Gold where all the forthcoming kingdoms were reflected in lesser metals or in clay. He lived in prideful luxury over what he considered his great accomplishment. His power came at a costly prideful price. God made it known through a dream that his kingdom would be crushed and he would be reduced to one of the beasts of the field. One day as he strolled in his palace living in the lap of true luxury God spoke. His grandiose delusion that he was like god or perhaps a god himself was snuffed out with a word. “While the words were still in the king's mouth (the words from his mouth were glorifying his own majesty), there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar.” Daniel 4:31-32. The italics are mine. His mind was removed and he was made like an ox, IMMEDIATELY WITH JUST A SPOKEN WORD. A true display of Gods sovereign omnipotence.
God Actions are Just
After King Nebuchadnezzar’s ruling came his son, King Belshazzar. He was also haughty and ignored the Lords decrees and majesty. One day when he was celebrating in revelry he pushed the Lord too far. He brought out the vessels of gold and silver that Nebuchadnezzar has taken from the Jewish temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and filled them with wine and drank from them. It feels as though he stole precious heirlooms and discarded them with carelessness at an all night party. Who can blame the Lord for His anger. His outright blasphemy was his last act of kingship. “Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, opposite the lamp stand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king's color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.” Daniel 5:5. He was terrified. Can you blame him. Imagine if before you fingers appeared and wrote foreign words on your kitchen wall. Once again after his enchanters, Chaldeans and astrologers failed Daniel was brought in. The king offered him robes and jewels for his interpretation, but Daniel refused the gifts of debauchery and suggested he give them to someone else. He interpreted the inscription of MENE, MENE, TEKEL and PERES. “Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:26.
What I found immediately striking was that the King didn’t really acknowledge the words. He seems to celebrate and clothe Daniel with purple and chains of gold and announced that he would be the third ruler in the kingdom. His weakness and trembling had apparently disappeared now that some interpretation was given. Not much else is said about King Belshazzar, other than Gods forecast came true that night and he was killed. GOD FOLLOWS THROUGH WITH WHAT HE SAYS, SO HEED HIS CALLING.
God as Parent
I have read this story before, but never has the Lord brought to my attention the greatness of His power. How He chooses who He gives grace to and who He snuffs out with a single act. King Nebuchadnezzar was given grace. He was given great power and authority for many years, and he was humbled by his mind being removed from him and being made to live like an animal for 7 years. Then at the end of his 7 years he was transformed and he revered the Lord. The shocking part is the immediacy of the Lords words. He spoke and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his palace. With King Belshazzar he wasn’t given a second chance. He was killed the day he was told his days were numbered.
The Lord is loving and forgiving, but He is just, sovereign, omnipotent and intentional. He wants all of us as His children forever. So to fear Him means we follow and obey Him, which means we can receive forgiveness, which means He gets to have us and we get to have Him for eternity. So fearing the Lord allows a real relationship with Him. For us as parents we can understand this loving act. We hope our children have a bit of fear of the wrath of mom and dad causing them to obey. Disobedience equals consequences. King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar are clear examples of strict parental consequences. I pray this understanding can be embedded in all our minds and heart as we make choices every day. That we make choices that God chooses for us. From the words of Beth Moore, I pray for God “to perform miracles over your mind and to utterly invade your subconscious.” I pray this as a prayer for my mind and yours.
It is wise to fear Him and to acknowledge His ways. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10. “Then he charged them saying, “Thus you shall do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and wholeheartedly.” 2 Chronicles 19:9. “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” Psalm 34:7. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” Deuteronomy 13:4.
When I found out I was pregnant with each of my babies the first thing I purchased was a beautiful leather journal. I'm not a fancy scrap booker but I do love to gather memories, words and thoughts. As each pregnancy progressed I tracked doctor appointments, gifts given, blessings bestowed.
When my babies arrived I was a stickler about making each visitor write a message to the newest family member. Occasionally I drag out the book and read their stories to my girls. We talk about their beginnings. My goal was to write words of honor and legacy onto their souls. My five-year-old is enthralled. She loves her book.
Last night we were sitting around chatting before bed while the eldest did homework and the youngest was drawing. She paused and said "Oh - I want to write this in my book like I did earlier.".
Wait a minute.
I gave her a look. "Are you writing in the baby book?" My brow did it's furrowing thing. Was she really scribbling in her baby journal? Wrecking my labor of love?
"Go get the book". I said. "I want to see it."
Her eyes welled up in tears and her voice squeaked out. "I didn't want there to be blank pages".
She handed me the book and sure enough, she'd spent much of the day drawing in her baby journal.
I took a deep breathe as God spoke into my heart. He whispered. It's her book you know?
Here is a drawing she did of Mr. Grinch and his lesser known wife Mrs. Grinch. That was me. Mrs. Grinch. Sigh.
I gave her a hug. I asked about her pictures. We went through the drawings and labeled her work. She talked about her people. Big sister cuddling her as a baby got me.
The journal is a good thing. The legacy and blessings are a gift. They are not a script for her future. I was crabby because I was holding on to ownership of something that wasn't really mine. Truth is my daughter isn't mine either. She's entrusted to our care for a time by her creator. He has much better plans for her life and I hope the words she really listens to are His. At some point I have to let go of the plans I have for my children and let them write their own story.
Last night my youngest was my teacher. Happens all the time. I agree with the little one. I don't want her book to have blank pages either. I can't want to see what she writes.
Brilliant. Obviously, it won a Pulitzer. But its not high brow in the way you tilt your head and wonder why it won an award. This book is lovely. It's sit and ponder, soak into your soul, write the words on your heart kind of lovely.
"Love is holy because it is like grace 0 the worthiness of its object is never really what matters".
Have you read it? What's your favorite quotation?
We decorated for Christmas last week. Nativities set out, presents wrapped and stockings hung. When we were done the four year old immediately ran up to his room to take a nap. I was thrilled thinking he was tired and I was going to get a little break. He stayed in bed and was very quiet for an unusually long time that afternoon.
What I didn't realize was he was convinced his stocking would be filled when he woke up.
He was staying in bed so Santa would come.
It was a sad moment when we pulled out the calendar and he realized he had a long, long time to wait for the big day. We bought him a chocolate advent calendar to count down the days. Chocolate helped. Waiting 30 days for Christmas feels like an eternity when you're four.
Waiting is hard.
Lauren Daigle's Christmas song titled, "Light of the World" beautifully announces the good news-
For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who've prayed
For all who wonder
Behold your King
Emmanuel means "God with us". He came at Christmas. Santa comes once a year and brings tangible things that waste away. Toys break, sweaters pull, socks get holes, new cars lose their shine. Weeks pass and we lose interest in the things Santa brought. We have a hard time recalling what we got last year and the year before that. Christ came and brought love, joy, peace and forgiveness. He came and gave his life. He rose and gave the gift of hope. He ascended to heaven and gave the gift of his daily presence-the Holy Spirit. His gifts do not disappoint and they are eternal.
This year when you count down the days to Christmas know He is with you every day of the year. He is waiting for you to come to him.
O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold him
Born the king of angels
Oh come let us adore him
Oh come let us adore him
Oh come let us adore him
Christ the Lord
And as you worship and live and breathe continue To wait. For He is coming again.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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