Happy New Year…More and Less

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

It’s no secret I adore beginnings and fresh starts.  Here’s another opportunity to dream, plan, grow, create a beautiful life.  If you’re a resolution junkie (I can’t be alone!) check out this post or this one.  

This year I’m focusing on more of the good stuff and less of the yucky.  

  • More authentic connections. Less superficial or forced. 
  • More relaxation.  Less zoning out. 
  • More real food. Less processed food. 
  • More love, acceptance, and mercy.  Less jealousy, pettiness. 
  • More experiences. Less stuff. 
  • More Jesus. Less me. 
  • More joy. Less drama. 
  • More gratitude. Less complaining. 
  • More Bible time. Less iPad time. 
  • More praying. Less worrying. 
  • More forgiveness. Less resentment and grudges. 
  • More compliments. Less criticism. 

Happy New Year! My prayer for you is more of the good stuff and less of the yucky. As always, I wish you MUCH JOY! 

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Another Easter Resolution

 I love, love, love Easter season. When I allow myself to be still and absorb the enormity of His sacrifice, the horror of His death, the miracle of His resurrection, the beauty of His love for us…I am undone. I am completely undone. 

Last year I wrote about Easter resolutions. I’m making one again this year. I actually find it easier to do this now (vs. in January), because I’m so humbled and full of His love.  I want to bless and honor my risen Saviour. My resolution is to forgive –and forgive quickly. When faced with the cross, how could I not? If He can forgive me for my myriad sins, I can certainly forgive others. 

I’m thinking of a woman I know. She’s what one pastor calls a growth opportunity. She has hurt me in many ways. Oh, how I would love to know her story, because I’ve learned there’s always a reason for why we are the way we are. But, I don’t know why and I probably never will. I just know I have to forgive her. Some days it’s easy. Other days it’s an hour by hour battle. 

I imagine you have some “growth opportunities” in your life, don’t you? Forgiveness isn’t an option for God’s girls. Matthew 6:14 tells us, “… if you forgive people their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” If we want to bless and honor our King, we must forgive. Forgiveness honors Him and sets me free from bitterness and sin. It frees ME.  It does not excuse her (or his) behavior. It does not say what the other person did is even remotely acceptable. It simply says I’m not hanging on to the offense any longer. I’m giving it over to my Lord. I’m emulating my Jesus. And it’s hard!  Forgiveness is not for sissies, but it’s worth it. Obeying God is worth it. Letting go is worth it. Being free of the anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness is worth it. 

Will you join me in making forgiveness your Easter resolution? Please prayerfully consider it. As always, I wish you MUCH joy. Happy Easter!  He is risen!

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said….” Matthew 28:6 (NIV)


Did you ever stop to consider that the decisions we make today determine what our tomorrows look like?  I’ve determined that, with God’s help, I will start seeing each today with tomorrow’s eyes. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. 

 Choosing to spend 15 minutes cleaning up my work area means I can start tomorrow fresh.

Choosing to have the salmon instead of the chicken fried steak, opting to walk this evening before plopping down on the sofa may well translate into weight loss and better overall health.

Determining to spend 20 minutes of face time with  my husband rather than playing games on my phone will bring us closer, benefitting our marriage and our entire family. Resolving to spend two hours tackling the closet (or garage or basement or . . .) this weekend before napping or  hitting the theater will make me feel calmer and more in control. 

 You see where I’m going. . . .  I’ve chosen the most obvious areas we all seem to work on year after year, largely without success. There have to be so many others — resolving to hold my tongue, turning the other cheek, seeking out an enemy to pray for him or do him a good turn, giving generously and without expecting anything in return, stopping to spend time with my friends instead of always saying next time . . . 

What are YOUR thoughts on this? What are areas you need to rethink? I’d love to hear them.

Disclaimer:  I DO plan to occasionally (rather than regularly) opt for the chicken fried steak and nap!

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

I’ve finished unpacking and decorating my new classroom. I LOVE it! Yes, I gave up two days of vacation to do it. Yes, I got up earlier than I like. Yes, it was hard work. And yes, it was worth it. I’m soooo grateful for two things I’m learning (shared in earlier posts): (1) Don’t complain, especially when you cannot change things. (2) Accept sincere offers of help. My husband and dearest friend spent 9 hours with me, doing grunt work. I literally couldn’t have done it without them. And they helped me on New Year’s Eve! We celebrated with a lovely dinner out and not one of us made it to midnight.

Back to our list! There are hundreds of things I could add, but I’m concluding with just three things to consider.

8. Do good. Make it a point to do ONE good thing for one person every day. I love this! I try to do more than one, and the ones I choose are often quite simple.

A friend was going through a very tough time a few months back. I loathe talking on the phone, but I made it a point to call her several times a week for a couple of months. Letting her vent and process was my gift to her.

My husband has several things that make him feel loved (making the bed every morning, running errands with him, etc). You’d better believe I try to do these things regularly. What an easy way to bless him.

Because of the new wing and so many teachers moving, our custodians have had double the work load during our holiday. A coworker brought doughnuts one cold morning. I bought lunch another day. Little things mean a lot.

Many times, the simple act of listening, of being in the moment is the greatest gift of all.

9. Enjoy. Breathe. Look up. Look around. And remember, this is YOUR life, so take a moment to enjoy it.

10. Declutter. This is an issue near and dear to my heart-at school and at home. I’m a work in progress. My guiding thoughts: if I don’t use it and/or love it, it goes. Period. If you’re anything like me, it’s often painful. Some things I can easily give away. Others go into a holding closet until I can make a decision. I’m also learning to make sure I truly love (or need) something before buying. No more things in my closet just because they were 70% off!

Make 2015 Your BEST Year Yet (part 2)

As I share some thoughts on resolutions, I’d love to hear from YOU. What are you resolving to do in 2015?

Here are some more ideas for us:

4. Take care of YOU. You know exactly what your heart is whispering to you. Is it telling you to lose weight, make that appointment, floss, go to the gym? Perhaps you need to slow down. Only YOU can take care of you. I know how difficult it is. I fight these battles, too.

My newest thing: I’m taking one bite less. Every. Single. Time. Sounds funny, I know. What’s really happening is I’m retraining myself. I’ve allowed my flesh to set the rules for far too long. Taking one less bite just occurred to me recently. I’m embarrassed to tell you when I first tried it, my flesh rebelled. Okay, fine. My flesh has thrown a hissy fit almost every time. It’s been an eye opener I sorely needed.

5. Unplug.

6. Journal. It’s important to record your thoughts, feelings, and insights. It doesn’t have to be in diary form. Journal in your iPhone’s notes section or with photographs. Create a private board on Pinterest of things that speak to you. Be creative.

According to The Health Benefits of Journaling by Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP, “There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being.”

Journaling leads to reflection, which can lead to positive change. It’s a stress reliever. It helps me get perspective. It’s also helps me dump my bad days.

7. Forgive. Oh, I know! But He tells us to forgive. And I’ve finally learned it’s for OUR good. You’re not excusing their behavior or allowing them to repeat their crimes against you. Nope. You’re just refusing to hold yourself hostage to bitterness.

More next time.

Make 2015 Your BEST Year Yet (part 1)

Do you love beginnings? I do!! I relish the start of each school year, dreaming of my new students and the magic we will create. Not surprisingly, I do the same with each new calendar year. I adore Christmas, but I also adore clearing all the Christmas decor, stashing it away until next year. I love the cold, crisp mornings readymade for quiet introspection. I enjoy making resolutions. Yes, I’m one of those people!!

Here are some ideas for us this year:

1. Make a resolution. Or don’t. Or make several.

No one knows you and your life better than you, so do not allow this post, an article, or segment on GMA dictate what your life should look like.

Some are choosing one word for the upcoming year. Hope, Health, Courage….Love the idea, but it doesn’t work for me at this time.

It might be that you choose one passage of scripture to memorize and live out for the year. I rather love that idea. I’m sure of one resolution: practicing gratitude instead of complaining. I mentioned this in a previous post. This is something that has been on my radar for years! Oh my, it’s difficult, but it’s important for my health-my mental, spiritual, and physical health. As I’m learning to truly embrace this, I must surround myself with like-minded people and people who will hold me accountable if I spiral off into a full blown rant. And I’m clinging to two passages:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV), “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Phillipians 2:14-16 (NIV), “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

2. Say no. I KNOW your life is filled with endless obligations. I challenge you to find at least one thing you can say NO to in order to make your life a little nicer. For now, I’m saying no to chopping veggies. I know it sounds silly, but buying bagged salads and bagged veggies is a time saver and little blessing for me at this time. For now, the extra cost is worth it. For now, I’m saying no to joining a book club. I long to do it, but I know my limitations. Realistically, I can’t squeeze it in. I will do it later. I know those are two silly examples, but they are very real decisions I made, based on my life at the moment. A bigger NO is my refusal to stress out and make an idiot of myself over things I cannot control. I have a dear, dear friend who has suffered from myriad health problems and hospitalizations. One of her issues is diabetes. I’ve noticed she indulges in quite a few poor dietary choices. Hmmm. Well, I’ve taken her to task, offered advice, shamed her. I know… Nice friend, huh? Truthfully, it all came from my love, concern, and fear. Thankfully, she knows my heart and loves me. And thankfully, I’ve realized her battles are not mine. I cannot control her diet or her choices. I’ve tried-and failed miserably. I almost ruined our friendship. Deep sigh. So, I stopped. I still cringe at times, but I don’t say a word. I am saying no to destroying our relationship and I’m praying for the Lord to have mercy and help her change. What can YOU say no to at this particular moment in time?

3. Say yes. Say yes to something you’ve wanted, whether it’s trying that scary looking sushi, accepting that date, taking a night class, or taking a solo road trip. My YES is to accepting sincere offers of help. It took me YEARS to finally accept help from others. I thought I had to be perfect, to have everything under control. Oh my, WHAT was I thinking?!?! It was my mom’s heart attack in the last month of a school year several years ago that finally broke me. I really feared we’d lose her. I was packing up my room for the summer, making substitute plans, posting grades, getting end of the year gifts ready, reading up on cardiac diets, spending days at the hospital….I needed help. Ordinarily, I would’ve turned it all down but a very sweet, persistent friend wore my down. And I bless her to this day for teaching me that we need each other and it’s okay, in fact it’s HIS plan.

You know what you secretly long-and fear-to say a resounding YES to. Take a deep breath and say yes.

More next time! Be blessed!