Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Words that are Kind

I woke up this morning wanting to share an email I received from my mommy-in-law yesterday regarding Brent's job situation. It was just what I needed and did my heart good; we'll talk more about kind words afterward.

Just wanted you to know that I've been thinking and praying for you. I know you have a lot on your plate right now with the condo & Brent's job situation. Just want you to know that it'll all work out and even better yet, it'll work out for the best. God's best! We'll trust God together that one day soon you'll look back on all this and see His mighty hand at work as He places you right where He wants you. You can never truly enjoy the mountain top until you've been down in the valley. Sometimes it's a heck of a hike (like our family camping trip) but in the end you will be so glad you made the trip. Don't lose heart, write it down (testimony later), & praise Him all the way through it. He inhabits the praises of his people.
~Love you, Rose

What a blessing to receive a message like that when I'm full of doubt. Wouldn't you love to receive a letter everyday filled with encouragement? I know I would. Good news! God in His goodness gave us His Word that we can read at any time, over and over, to give comfort to our heart daily. He knows what our hearts long to hear because He created them. As His children, we also have the ability to soothe someone's heart with kind words.

We can easily underestimate the power of our words and their impact upon the hearer. I am reminded from Proverbs 16:24 that "kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Isn't it amazing how a comment, either positive or negative, can make or break your day? It bothers me to think of how I may have inadvertently cast a shadow on someone's spirit with a terse remark or tinge of sarcasm. Likewise, letting someone know that we appreciate them or have prayed for them can give a heartfelt boost to get over a hump. May we seek to edify others daily with words of encouragement, love, and grace.

Using BibleGateway, I did a quick search on "words" which yielded 307 different verses. I have selected a few that detail the qualities of kind versus unkind words.

  • Proverbs 10:11, "The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions."
  • Proverbs 10:32, "The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words."
  • Proverbs 12:18, "Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing."
  • Proverbs 15:4, "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."

Life-giving fountain, helpful, healing, tree of life...could these be describing my words? If we are considered to be godly people, then yes! What beautiful imagery these descriptions evoke. I am challenged as a believer when James (2:9-11) writes about our tongues, "Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?"

Sisters, let's challenge ourselves to have kindness on our lips for this week. Oh, we could call it the "Kindness Campaign" even :) And even when there are times that we have to deliver correction or advice, may our words be sweetened as honey. Best of luck!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just a Spring update

I realized that I haven't been blogging as frequently as I started out, but I tend to only blog when I feel it's worthwhile or at least amusing to me. I figured I'd give an update as to what's happening in my life at the moment :)

Kitchen Remodeling: It's hard to believe but my kitchen is finally finished (except the flooring)! I meant to take some pictures this weekend of the final product, but forgot. I still have all the "during" photos, but unfortunately none of the "before." I have enjoyed it a lot so far, in fact I told Brent yesterday that this kitchen relaxes me. It seems odd to think of a "relaxing kitchen," but everything is organized and I have actual countertop space to work on now. This entire process of renovation has truly convinced me that my environment impacts my mental state. And while I don't buy into the whole Feng Shui ideology, I do believe that your surroundings can be an outflow of your mind or heart, and vice versa. Photos to come shortly, and you'll see the disorganized chaos that ruled our home as well as my attitude :( Next tasks: Choosing paint colors and installing flooring throughout the entire home.

Resurrection Sunday: Praise the Lord for He has risen! This year our normal routine of visiting my parents' church service was replaced by serving at two different services and enjoying our own church's service, just Brent and myself. We did however maintain the tradition of having a delicious lunch at my grandmother's house with some of our relatives. Below are some pictures that we took following lunch. My precious niece and nephew were quite the scene-stealers.

New Bible study: I am looking forward to getting back into Bible study mode, especially with the ladies from my Sunday school class. We will beginning Shaunti Feldhahn's "For Women Only: what you need to know about the inner lives of men." From a sneak peek of the workbook, it already looks challenging from a wife's standpoint. Ironically, it's coming at a time when I think I need it the most.

Job concerns: This pertains to Brent instead of me, but essentially he will be letting his employer know today that he will no longer be working for them. It basically comes down to traveling time away from home (he is typically home only on the weekends). It's hard on me emotionally, and he doesn't think it's favorable either. Unfortunately, he approached his managers last Thursday and discussed the amount of traveling he has been doing, and they did not appreciate his comments. They essentially informed him that come Monday (today) he would need to make a decision of whether or not he was 'serious' about his current position. I wish I could say that I was 100% on his decision of leaving the company because of his priority for family, but I'm not. The wife in me who needs a provider is worried about the mysterious future; namely, unemployment. He has already applied for a couple of opportunities, but we're in that tricky waiting game phase now. Please pray for wisdom for us and courage, as well as job offers. Thankfully, we have enough savings to cover us financially if need be for awhile.

Matthew 6:31-34, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Glorious Sunrise

On my way to work this morning, I was mesmerized by the beautiful sun rising before me. The sky had taken on a pinkish-orange hue, but the sun was pure gold. It was just bright enough that it didn't hurt my eyes to gaze at it. It was one of those moments where everything else around you seems to fade into oblivion. It was so breathtaking, I didn't want to look away. I knew that God had painted this celestial scene for me this morning; a divine "I love you" and "good morning" spoken without the use of words.

It is times like these that I cherish and that refresh my soul when it seems to be parched. I wonder how many people fail to witness the magnificent beauty of the sunrise every morning. It is too easy to live our lives running to and fro without ever taking a pause or even a breath to see the creation that God has created right before us. There is no denying that God clearly reveals Himself through His creation.

The Message version of Romans 1: 19-21 reads, "But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand."

They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand...that phrase brings tears to my eyes. How many times do I fail to recognize the blatant presence of God even in the small, seemingly insignificant moments of my day? How many times do I inadvertently cheapen blessings from God by not realizing they are directly from Him? Worse yet, how many times do I run from His Holiness and pursue counterfeit happiness? We will never find true joy apart from knowing God and living for Him. I fear that lesson will be a lifelong challenge for me. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love; here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

God is right before us providing everything our souls could ever want, yet we continually walk away. Is He not worth it? Is He not enough? Is He not who you thought He'd be? He is not a cosmic Wizard of Oz where a phony little man hides behind a curtain deceiving you. He is the real deal.

He causes the sun to rise every morning, and He alone gives you a new breath every few seconds. Embrace Him, embrace the reality of Him!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Camisoles are a girl's best friend

Ahhh, camisoles. Thank you Lord for whomever invented that precious gift. Silk or cotton, colored or neutral, I adore them! Plus, they really help a girl out by maintaining modesty. I owe one of mine special gratitude today.

I learned horrifically that my pretty teal button-up collared shirt's top button somehow loosens itself at inopportune moments. The worst part was the audience I wound up accidentally exposing myself father-in-law. I was mortified. Okay God, learned that lesson pretty quickly.

So this morning, like every morning, I spent about ten (dilly-dallying) minutes standing in front of my open closet gazing upon a myriad of clothing, all the while finding nothing to wear. Teal shirt caught my eye and I quickly buttoned her on. Oh wait....forgot the it worth it? Oh okay...fine. (I swanee this is what happens every morning).

I put on a black camisole underneath my teal shirt and continued my day.

Work was work until about 2:00 when I just happened to look down and notice that dern top button had managed to loosen itself again! I have no idea how long it had been unbuttoned, only that I've been interviewing patients and chatting with doctors all day.

Teal shirt on clearance: $5.99

Camisole: $9.99

Not walking around the office oblivious that your chest is exposed: Priceless!

1 Timothy 2:9 - "And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes."

Cable TV: A compromise

One of the first posts on this blog discussed my goals for 2008. One of them being "watch less tv." I think I've done pretty well with that goal, especially during our renovation project when the tv was buried behind cabinet boxes and appliances. I really hadn't missed it that much. Because of that notion, I began wondering if we could cut the tv out altogether. This would free up some money to possibly buy a gym membership. But alas, we can't do it. Both Brent and I discussed that despite the fact that we watch little tv, there are some great channels like Food Network, Discovery Health, HGtv, etc that we enjoy watching.

So the dilemma switched gears a little and became more about the plethora of channels we have that we either A) don't watch or B) have voluntarily blocked ourselves from. And while I love having all of the music channels to put on in the background, sadly these channels were located below all of the "adult" film channels (while viewing the Guide function). So many times we have wondered why the Guide can't simply contain the channels you actually receive. Unfortunately, as you're scrolling through to the music channels, you're still able to view the titles of these adult films. Yuck!

Someone once said that "most discoveries happen by accident." And that's exactly what happened yesterday afternoon. I was on the TimeWarner Cable website when I happened to discover something called "Family Choice" programming. It included 15 channels with the aforementioned ones, DIY, FitTV, Noggin, CSpan, Toon Disney, etc. Essentially it provided the channels we really enjoyed but without all the extra frills. My only complaint is that TvLand is not included. I will miss my "I Love Lucy" shows :O) Interestingly, it noted that the channels were selected because they generally had a G rating 24 hours a day. Plus, it's only $12.99 per month plus basic which is only $8. I'm so glad I discovered this. It will definitely cut down on our monthly cable bill.

When I called Brent to tell him, he wanted to sign up that instant! I think it's interesting to note that of all the TimeWarner commercials that air, this Family Choice plan has never been plugged! Go figure. We are relieved to find that our tv won't be spewing its usual amount of filth to ourselves and visitors to our home.

All of this to say is that I'm not plugging TimeWarner specifically, but go ahead and check your own cable provider's options in your area. You might be pleasantly surprised that there's some middle ground to be found.