Sunday, January 8, 2012

Who Am I?

I go to a very culturally diverse church. We have Chinese, Karen (pronounced Car-in), African-American, Japanese, Russian, Indian, Sudanese, Spanish and White.

A group of us have taken a test to see how culturally sensitive we are with the goal of functioning better in the congregation. After the test results were in, we were asked to write our "Identity Story." Who am I and what or who shaped me into who I am?

Understanding who we are will help us to understand others. To interact properly with other cultures, we need to know our own identities.

Now I am embarking on the journey of discovering who I am and putting it down on paper. It's not as easy as it sounds. I am a past middle-aged, Irish-German-English white Christian woman who grew up in New York. You would think that was all there was to it, but it's not. What is my culture? Do I have a culture? How does my culture define me?

Have you ever explored who you are and what your culture is? I think it will be a most interesting exercise and I am excited to get started.

When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Beginning - 2012

Saying a New Beginning seems redundant. Who ever heard of an Old Beginning. That aside, I have been reflecting on what I learned in 2011 and how that will benefit me in 2012.

1. I lost 17 pounds (on purpose) and feel great. I have clothes I can now wear more comfortably and clothes I could not get in to that I can wear again. I feel good about myself - much less middle aged complacent. What I will carry in to 2012 is a new eating life style and a new sense of self.

2. My job, which I love, can be all consuming and keep me from doing the other things that bring me joy. What I will carry in to 2012 is to make sure my priorities are correct. My job is important but it is not my life. I had forgotten what joy blogging brought to me and I plan to return to it on a regular basis. Just reading other's postings makes me smile.

3. I was over committed in many areas of my life - job, church, PEO, friends. I need to step back. learn to say 'no thank you' and have time to smell the roses (I know that is cliche but it's true even in the winter!) What I will take into 2012 is a commitment to drop some of my commitments and only keep those that allow me free time.

4. I found my long lost book that I was writing and have done nothing with it. What I will carry into 2012 is a renewed passion to work on my book and get it closer to completion.

Boy, that's a lot. I sense a theme though. Make time to relax, do the things that bring me joy and make the most of my time.

I think I can do this. Pray for me in my weakness!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

There is Hope coming

We had a guest speaker today. That is sometimes an anxiety producing event for me. I love my Pastor and, in my mind, no one can preach as good as he does. He touches my soul.

But this guy was close. He was articulate and passionate and had a great message.

He started with John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

He said that was the passage he felt was the essence of Missions. That God loved us so much and Jesus paid the redemptive sacrifice that we were directed to go out and tell others the good news.

He talked about redemption using S&H Green Stamps as an example. For those who remember, cashing in your stamps at the Redemption Center was an exciting thing to do. But it cost something to get those stamps. The redemption was not free. Christ paid the ultimate price for our redemption. And he is still waiting for us at the Redemption Center.

He wants us to bring that redemption to all the world. It sounds overwhelming but it only takes one person. We saw a clip from "Schindler's List" and heard about how one man made such a huge difference and even then he did not feel he had done enough.

His last point was that hope is coming. He talked about Simeon (Luke 2: 25-35) and what he said when they brought Jesus to him to be consecrated. He knew that Jesus was the person he had been waiting for and knew that the world would be changed by him. He was filled with hope. Again, his message was that we were to take this hope out to our neighbors, our friends, and our co-workers.

It was a powerful message and I was so engrossed that I forgot to take notes! I'll do better next time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weight Loss

A few months ago it became apparent that I needed to lose a little weight. Not a lot - 15 - 20 pounds. On my 5 foot 6 inch frame, it would be hardly noticeable.

But my clothes were tight and I was beginning to get a "belly." UGH.

That was when I found out that I have no will power or self control. All I had to do was think the word "diet" and I was immediately eating everything that wasn't nailed down. I would get so disgusted with myself. It made me mad at myself and a little depressed.

I did try to lose weight on my own with no success. I thought about Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig but just did not feel motivated. I didn't want to get up in front of a bunch of ladies who were struggling with 50 pounds or more with my measly 15 pounds. I would feel like a fake.

Then I saw a friend who had lost 46 pounds on a particular program and I knew I needed that help.

I started 3 weeks ago and I have lost 8 1/2 pounds. I eat regular food, nothing pre-packaged except for 2 protein drinks a day. It is hard and requires the discipline that I was sure I didn't have.

I am thrilled. I have more energy, my blood pressure is going down, my clothes are beginning to fit better. And all of that keeps me going.

I wore a pair of jeans yesterday that were way too tight a few weeks ago and now not only do they fit better but they seem to have gotten longer, go figure!

I know that God gave me this body just the way it is but I need to take care of it so it functions the way He designed it to function. I feel I am doing that now.

What little self improvement issue do you struggle with and just can't seem to conquer? God will help you find the way and the friends he brought you will be a big support.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Are You the One?

As part of the Hear it on Sunday group, this is my first post.

Sunday we had a guest speaker. He talked about the event where John the Baptist's disciples went to Jesus and asked (at John's request), "Are you the one, or should we look for someone else?"

I have always been amazed that John the Baptist would doubt that Jesus was "the One." But he apparently was expecting Jesus to organize a great army to defeat their enemies and free the Jews. That was not happening so he wondered if there was someone else they should be looking for who was going to do that.

The speaker turned the message around and asked if, when Jesus calls on us, does he have to ask "Are you the one or should I look for someone else?" That really hit me hard. I know there have been times that I sounded like Moses with all my excuses. God probably has been frustrated with me. Actually, more than probably. Most certainly.

So today, I am trying to be open to his call and direction and not have Him wondering if he needs to look elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Growing Older with Grace (who's she?)

Growing older is something I cannot escape. I'm not sure I want to. It is all part of God's plan and I am enjoying every confusing, aching, exhilarating moment.

It is confusing because most days I feel like I did 40 years ago and then I look in the mirror and wonder what happened.

It is confusing because sometimes I forget people's names, I can't find quite the right word, I stutter over what I want to say but most of the time my mind is as good as it was 40 years ago. I guess it's more full of stuff!

It is aching because there are times I hurt in places I wasn't sure you could hurt in. Who knew?

It is exhilarating because life is wonderful and I am still here to experience it.

I have discovered a few things that might be helpful to others:

1. When putting on blush after a "certain age," don't smile to make that little apple. Because when you are not smiling, your blush will drop next to your mouth.

2. I find I look better without mascara than with. It keeps me from having that smudged look. You know like the football players on TV! And it makes my eyes look bluer!

3. There may be more aches and pains but the joys are deeper, sweeter and more appreciated than when I was younger.

4. My husband still sees me as young and attractive no matter what I do. I thought about checking his eyesight but decided against it!

5. I know what matters in life much more than I did when I was younger. God, love, friends, family and a good cup of coffee. Possessions are not as important and sunrise is.

I plan to live a long, long time. God may have other plans but as long as He isn't calling me home, I am loving every minute of my life.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let it Snow, Let in Snow, Let in Snow

We have not had much snow to speak of this winter. It has been quite cold but without snow the cold seems worse.

It is now snowing and will be for the next couple of days. We are to get up to 10 inches, if the weatherman is to be believed.

The snow looks beautiful. It covers the brown of dormant grass and naked trees. I think of the movie Dr Shivago and the snow somehow is romantic. It is soft as if floats down from the white sky. It covers the deck with a comforter of white.

On Monday, when I head out to work, it probably won't seem nearly as romantic as I slip and slide and worry about someone else running in to me. It won't seem so romantic when I am scraping my car's windows and freezing my face and hands.

But for now, I am enjoying watching it come down and cover the ground and thinking that a nice hot cup of coffee would be perfect right now.