Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Resolutions or Goals?

It's the start of a new year and that means "New Years Resolutions." That's the tradition, right? The only problem with it, is more people fail at them than succeed.

So in pondering the year ahead, I decided that I'm not doing "resolutions."  I am setting goals;

  • Those that I know I can reach with minimal effort.
  • Those that I can reach with more focus and effort.
  • And finally those that I would like to reach, though some parts are beyond my immediate control. 
All goals take diligence and effort on our parts. I would rather set them and maybe not achieve all of them, than not set any and end up doing nothing. A friend once told me, just shoot for the stars and if you only hit the moon, that's okay. I agree.

Last year my basic goals were simple, pay my bills each month, plant a garden - which I did, and I learned where I will adjust and improve on things this year, a doable goal. And last was to make fudge for Christmas again, which I also did.

I realize that to some, those aren't really big deals, and that's okay. For me though, since I am still in the process of learning to live life without Glenn, they were significant. I am so much better at balancing life this year than last, those were steps I needed.
The bills, were a blending of faith in the Lord for provision, and making sure I was diligent with the finances He gave me. I can tell you this-- The Lord is faithful!

The garden was a desire to take some control of my food sourcing and it was simple to start. The maintenance wasn't, hard, per-say, but it required me to remember to water it daily and to take care of it... and this year I will build my own tomato cages, lol, I need sturdier and larger than I used last year.

The fudge, well that was an emotional hurdle, but it was something I enjoy doing and I wanted to do it again- in 2013 I just couldn't bring myself to make it since it was something I had always done with Glenn. This year, I was determined to make it, and I did, and I enjoyed it! I took back and area that brings joy to my heart, and that's huge.

At this moment some of my goals for this year, some are easier to implement than others:

  • First and foremost, continue to grow in God.
  • The garden- with improvements in place! 
  • Re-do my yard somewhat, I would like to replace the bark and do a bit of landscaping. This one has so much to it that there will be mini-goals along the way.
  • Lose 10-20 pounds... we shall see, lol. Really what I want is to continue improving my health.
  • Find a way to take a cruise sometime in the next 12-16 months. 
I know I will be adding more along the way, some I will make and others, well, we shall see. No matter how you look at it though, if I only achieve 1 then that is forward progress! 

Remember- goals are doable, resolutions are easy to push aside or give up on.

May the Lord give each of you a blessed and prosperous 2015!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Small Beginnings

Don't despise the day of small beginnings.

As I went out to my garden this morning, to gather some tomatoes, I was reminded of this basic principle of the Christian walk.

It's easy to look at our life from a microscopic view of what is going on at the moment... I have struggled in this at times over the last couple years... but at the same time I try to remember, what is going on 'right now,' is simply that- right now. There is a much bigger picture out there. 

Taken around Aug 10th
When I looked at my tomato plants in August, I wasn't sure how they would do, I had finally figured out how to keep them watered in the heat we were having. That was a huge improvement and they were growing. I thought they were almost as big as they would get, I mean, it was mid-August and they had taken so long to get to this point. But I was fine with it, there was a tomato- almost ripe, some small ones growing and quite a few blossoms. I was pleased with what I thought would be a nice amount of tomatoes, 

I had no idea that just a few weeks later these same plants would be so big that they would be causing the cages to fall over. (next year they will have better support!) I had no clue the true abundance of fruit (or veggies) that I would be getting from these plants. 

Sept 28th
But oh my goodness!! How they have grown. The poor little plants that I worked so hard to get to live through July, had spent August growing and now in September are putting out an amazing amount of tomatoes!! I had harvested a few a day before picking that bowl full this week, and then I gave some to my daughter in law, and there are still going to be a bunch more to pick before the season ends.

It was while I was picking those tomatoes that I began to think about life, my life in particular. Last year I felt like those struggling tomato plants that were in my garden, I was surviving, but a lot of the time I didn't feel like I was growing and I really haven't felt like I was thriving. But I know that the Lord is watching over me, I trust that He is with me and is guiding me, 

I am beginning to feel more like the early to mid-August plants now, I do see growth, I even see some fruit, though I may have to lift some leaves to find it hidden within. I even feel I have a few blossoms... and that is important, the blossoms are reflective of the life and fruit to come! So I will continue to press forward, having faith in Him that eventually I will look and feel more like the abundant plants of late Sept.

When we see a blank or partly done canvas in front of an artist, we don't know what that picture will look like when it is completed, only the artist understands the full picture that he is designing. In this case, the artist is the Lord and He has a masterpiece designed for each of our lives, we can only see the canvas that is near us, He already knows what the final work will look like. I look forward to seeing the masterpiece that He is painting just for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Will or I Will?

More appropriately this phrase might be stated, "I will or will I?"

In the past 15, almost 16 months (how can it be that long?!) I have done pretty well about keeping my focus on Jesus in all the aspects of my life... Yes, I have had my moments, but for the most part I have been able to keep my eye on Him as my supplier in all things. The last couple weeks however, I have been struggling.

I have been stressing a few things, and they had begun to consume way to much time and energy. In chapter 6 of Matthew we are told 5 times not to worry  -- 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

One of Glenn's favorite verses to remind me of when I would stress was that last verse- #34... Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. -- well,  "I've been worrying about tomorrow," and that is what brings me to my statement: I Will or I Will?

This morning I was driving to work and stressing out and I began to ponder one of my favorite scriptures;  Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

As I was speaking the part "in whom I will trust," I felt the nudging of the Lord letting me know that I was not putting my trust in Him lately... putting my trust in Him- that needs to be a decision, and in my stressing, I had allowed it to become a question... I was, by my actions, saying "in whom will I trust?"

Bam! I was shocked when I realized it. The question mark had crept into my life when I wasn't pay attention, or more accurately when I quit my decision to, not worry, and trust in Him.

It's easier to do than we realize, issues arise, situations, expenses... you name it. Stuff happens and we begin to focus on the 'stuff' rather than the solution- God. God is aware, He knows our needs before we do... He knows my needs before I do- He knows what was going on, what is going on, and what is coming. What I have to remind myself, and apparently more often than I was, is that He is watching over me. He WILL take care of me. He has kept my bills paid so far, so I need to chill out from my stress, and trust that He will meet all my needs to come.  My job, is to not worry about tomorrow- I can almost hear Glenn saying it to me.

I am so thankful that the Lord also understands my shortcomings, and that He gave me that nudge this morning, and will the next time I need one. For now I will again say.