Enjoy the Moment

Dear One,

Right here, right now.   If I could give you one bit of advice, based on everything I know about you, this would be it:

“ENJOY THE MOMENT”.

If I could, dear Seeker, I would take you for a  long, slow walk just before sunset and have a conversation with you much like the one I had with someone yesterday and remind you of the simple things.

I know you want to trust God.  I know you’re tired of being stressed and fearful and feeling responsible for a future that you really have no real control over.   You believe that the LORD is Sovereign; so…

“The path of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.” Isaiah 26:7

Relax

Take a deep breath.  You’re alive.

Don’t let disappointments and frustrations control your day.  Days may feel long, but life is short.

  • Internet connections will run slow.
  • Computers will crash.
  • Health will come and go and come again.
  • Appointments and deadlines will be missed.
  • Events will be cancelled.
  • Kids will break things.
  • Appliances and vehicles will break down.
  • Traffic will back up and you will miss a turn.
  • Things will be misplaced.

It’s going to be alright.  You already know it: God is on His throne, and you are not.  Do you really think any of those unexpected-to-you, no-surprise-to-Him, things can thwart the plans of the Almighty?

Even “big deals” are not “big deals” unless we make them into “big deals” by forgetting about our bigger than we know God who made all things.  And, if what’s on your mind seems like a big deal to you, it’s time you put things back in perspective and relax. 

God can handle it.  He has offered to take all our cares if we cast them on Him:  off your mind, off your back, and on to his.

Don’t be shocked by these not so strange and unusual happenings.  It is what it is, and it’s not the end of the world.  He’s got it covered.

  • Things are just things. 
    • Things can be replaced, if they even really need to be.  Most things we can live without, and often living with them makes our lives simpler.  No “thing” will last forever, anyway.  And, remember, “nothing (no-thing) can separate you from the love of God”.
    • Appointments can be rescheduled.  Plans can be altered.  And, you’ll never know what you really missed/avoided by an inconvenient divine intervention.  Commit your day to the LORD, interruptions and all.
  •  People are just people. 
    • Kids will be moody and grumpy and disrespectful every now and again, just like you were when you were in the “still becoming” season of life.   (By the way, you’re in a “still becoming” season of your own.) 
    • Spouses will say things that can be taken the wrong way.  (Whether they meant it that way or not, they need to be graced and forgiven, just like you do for your own “speak before you think/pray” comments.) 
    • Friends will irritate and offend.  (Need I mention how this proverbial shoe fits you, too?)
    • You are just a person.  And, if you’re replaying something from yesterday, ask forgiveness or forgive yourself, or let it go if that is what needs to be done.

So, whatever has a tendency to upset your day, look up and say, “Thank you.”  Maybe it is an opportunity to build your character or your faith, but maybe it really shouldn’t be a big deal at all.  Maybe it’s just something you should let go and over look.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”  Proverb 19:11 (ESV)  … and I would add that faith makes us slow to fear, and it is also glorious to overlook an inconvenience or interruption or a disappointment, choosing to trust the LORD instead.

“Above all (NLT “Most important of all”), keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

“Bear with each other” (NIV)  “Make allowances for each other’s faults” (LNT)  Colossians 3:13

 

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18

Rejoice

Your blessings far out number the things that you are calling “not a blessing” at the moment.  And, in the brilliant light of tomorrow, you’re “not a blessing” may wear a new label.

And, in the meantime, thank Him for the obvious.

“In everything give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Like one of my favorite old Evie song my parents played when I was a wee thing said, “Just be thankful for the good things that you’ve got…  The good things that you’ve got are for many just a dream; so be thankful for the good things that you’ve got.”

“give thanks for everything”  (NLT)  “always giving thanks for all things…”  Ephesians 5:20 (NAS)

Start thanking Him, now, in this moment.  Out loud, on paper, or in your head,… always, all through the day, for everything.   This is the secret of contentment and really living in and enjoying the moment.

  • for stained carpet, wobbly tables, leaky faucets, squeaky doors, pealing paint, …  find the beauty and the blessing in it, remember the memories made and the people you made them with…
  • the old neighbor with the long-long stories, for the town gossip, the kid with the runny nose and holes in his shoes, … for all the interesting people in your world.  Every book, every movie, and every life is better with unique and well-developed characters. (I’m thinking of Anne of Green Gables’s  Marrilla and Matthew Cuthbert, and Rachel Lynn, and Anne Shirley, of course.)

A bit blurry picture, but a favorite moment of my evening.  We stood silently for quite a while watching the doe on the middle of our wooded path.

P.S.

I thought you might like to know that I was on the receiving end of this conversation, and though Handsome’s words have been expanded upon by the Holy Spirit in the past 24 hours or so, the core wisdom and truth of his message to “enjoy the moment” are probably applicable to all of us women.

“ENJOY THE MOMENT.”

Tuck that away in your heart.

Slow down.  Look around.

This is where the LORD wants you to live… right here, right now, in this moment.  Trust Him.  God’s will for you is more than just enduring life.

He has yesterday and tomorrow all under His Sovereign reign, and He really does have “the whole world in His hands”… that includes you and me, sister…and your itty bitty baby, and my not so little 6’4″ baby

…and the doctors, and the politicians, and the teachers, and the bankers, the soldiers, the college professors, the tech support, and the UPS man,  everybody here, and everybody everywhere.

Knowing God is in control means we really can enjoy life, every moment, every day, and in every season.

It’s the enemy, not your heavenly Father, that would want you to shroud your spirit with gloom, worry, anxiety, fear, bitterness, doubt, insecurity, anger, frustration, hatred, resentment, tension, strife, or any other unsettling emotion that would smother your faith or douse your joy.

Remember who God  is, enjoy Him and enjoy this moment with Him.

He is “I AM”, living and ever-present.


Dear Seeking Friend,

If you’re reading this, I am praying for you.  May you remember that you are safe and secure “in Christ” and nothing can take you out of His hand; so may you rest peacefully in Jesus tonight, wake up refreshed  in Jesus tomorrow, and walk in abundance in Jesus all through the day.   May you see the handiwork of God all around you and hear the heavens declaring the glory of God when you look up.  May the Holy Spirit quiet your heart, calm your spirit, help you to slow down, and enable you to view your circumstances with an unhurried gaze.  May you have a twinkle in your eye and a happy expression as a result of your Heavenly Father’s love and the hope of eternity in your heart.  May you be a source of contagious blessing to others as you choose to enjoy your moments, one by one.  And, may you find yourself enjoying a divinely appointed walk with the LORD and hear Him say to you the words you are most needing to hear.

Keep Seeking Him… and enjoy the adventure, moment by moment.

beautiful: a temple, a body, a home

beauty –

defined by an 11 year old:  “feeling good about yourself; good looks”

Beauty is so much more than that!!!!

defined by Webster (contemporary):  "quality attributed to whatever pleases the senses of mind as by line, color, form, tone, behavior, etc."

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defined by Webster (1828):  "an assemblage of graces, or an assemblage of properties in the form of the person or an other object, which pleases the eye... beauty consists in whatever pleases the eye of the beholder, whether in the human body, in a tree, in a landscape, of in any other object... beauty is intrinsic,... or relative,  a particular grace,... a particular excellence,... in person... in the arts,...joy and gladness, order, prosperity, peace, holiness."

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Q:  Who gets to decide what is beautiful?

A:  everyone.

A:  you.

A:  me.

A: and God.

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Your Temple, Your Home:  Your Beautiful Style

  • Modern,
  • French Country,
  • Old World,
  • Southern Coastal,
  • Western,
  • Rustic,…

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Your Temple, Your Body:  Your Physical Beauty

  • blonde hair, dark brown hair; curly, straight, widow’s peak
  • fair skin, rich chocolatey tan; freckled, beauty marks, cleft chins
  • tall, petite; willowy, lots of curves
The LORD’s Temple, Your Heart:  Your Unfading Beauty

Beautiful friend, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

You are.

God says you are beautiful.

He sees you; He beholds you and calls you “beautiful”.

He made you uniquely, with preferences, with favorites.  And, His expert, all-seeing, all-beholding, all-knowing word on “Beauty” carries more weight than any myopic human opinion.

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Beauty in My World

I’ve spent the last year focusing on the book of Hebrews as part of a group Bible study led by my husband, intensely studying the Tabernacle (and the Temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod ) for a ladies’ study, and personally developing a thematic study related to running a race (on faithfulness, endurance, perseverance, discipline, freedom,…).  — In the most timely way, the LORD wove these studies together in to one deeper theme for me.

And, now, as I start a special year of “Beauty” with my maturing Little One, creatively pouring out these studies combined on my daughter, a fun “Girl-Time Study” for two, I’m hoping to go even deeper and more intentionally and practically apply all the knowledge I’ve accumulated about being the Temple of the Holy Spirit and discover more of what it looks like for me to be a beautiful and holy dwelling place for the LORD.

I am so looking forward to our Girl-Time!!!  Today, as worked on our outline for the year together, we read about  Esther and chose Esther 2:12 “…she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments…” for our cover verse (Tomorrow we will make our notebooks/journals.).

12 months of beauty treatments, sounds delightful!!!  If it was good for a future queen, it couldn’t hurt two Princesses, daughters of the King of Kings.

We are counting our unit-study of “Beauty” as a part of our homeschool education, which helps me take our activities to a whole new level by outlining a framework schedule of Bible Study, Scripture Memory, Cosmetology (a study of cosmetics, What pre-teen wouldn’t love that?!), career exposure (Fashion and Interior Design, Fashion/Beauty/Image Consulting, Spa Therapy, Massage, etc.), and more.

I do hope to share with you some of the tools I’ve accumulated and favorite insights from the year, but don’t wait for me to post (As you probably already know, this season of my life is primarily about my family, and less about internet and blogging.). So start seeking for yourself!

  • find a theme that interests you
  • start a notebook or folder (physical or virtual)
  • collect quotes, books, magazine clippings, lyrics, outlines, charts…
  • memorize a few key verses
  • do a chain reference or word study in the Scriptures
  • about pray over it!!!
    • ask the LORD to guide you in a seeking adventure, and He will!

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If you’re reading this,

I’m praying for you right now, that you will know deep in your soul who you are, how beautiful you are, and your great worth.  I ask the LORD to inspire you to be more creative and thrill in the wonder of who He made you to be with all your favorites, preferences, passions, and artistic interests.  May you find a unique way to seek the LORD for yourself and share what you find with someone special.

May you enjoy your journey as you keep seeking and finding, friend!

Marathon Training – a journey of faith and prayer

My prayer life has significantly chanced since November 27, 2016.

I imagine this unhurried and exhaustive way of praying about everything and for everyone that is a special concern or blessing to me to be more like how Jesus might have prayed when He slipped away to be alone with the Father.

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Last fall, I confided in my dad that I had been contemplating running the 25th Walt Disney World Marathon in 2018.  His immediate response was to mark the dates of the race weekend on his calendar with a note one year out (January 2017) to call and make hotel reservations.  What a supportive father!  Before I could even register for the race, he already had our rooms booked.

Oh, to be that kind of an encourager to my own children and to cheer them on in their “impossible dreams”!

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The images in this post are from the spiral notebook I made to contain all the information I collect pertaining to the Disney Marathon.

I have fallen back on his confidence in me several times since registering in February.

Since then, I have had a surgical procedure that corrected my heart issues which has allowed me to come off all my medications.  What a grace filled and faith building experience this journey has already been!  But, it also required me to take a significant break from running and then to begin again, building up my miles from a slow walk.

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I had to adjust to a normal heart rate, which felt abnormally fast when I  started to run, but with that came the blessing of higher blood pressure, which meant an end to the lightheaded and slightly tired feeling I had grown accustomed to.

Two months later, feeling unprepared and uncertain that I would finish before the course closed, I ran my fastest half marathon, thanks to a dear friend who paced me every step of the way, taking more than 10 minutes off my previous times.

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What is extra special to me is how I ran it.  This was the first half marathon I ran without music.  Instead, I meditated on scripture and prayed.

This approach to racing began for me one Sunday afternoon while running at the school track.  I began to pray, but my mind was racing.  My rambling rabbit-trail conversation with the LORD felt rushed.  My thoughts hopped around like a frantic bunny chased by an unseen enemy, bounce on and off of every thought and concern as if to tag it with a blessing.

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I stopped.

Standing still for a moment, I asked myself, “What is your hurry?” 

I had planned to work on a run/walk ratio for an hour and a half to two hours.  I wasn’t in a rush to go anywhere and neither was God.

I pulled out my phone and wrote a start of a prayer to the LORD as I walked.  It began like this:

note prayer

And then I ran.  I ran and prayed about all that I wanted the LORD to be for me as I set out to pursue a dream.

After a while, I’d walk again, quiet my mind, ask the LORD to guide me in my prayers; type out the next theme that came to mind, and set off in prayer and in a run again.

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What developed from this list is my go-to prayer pattern for when I exercise.

  1. LORD, this is what I need You to be today…
    • LORD, be my Personal Trainer.  Push me, pace me.  Write my training plan and outline my cross-training workouts for me…
    • Great Physician, be my Physical Therapist.  Help me to strengthen my supporting muscles and keep me from injury…
    • Creator of all things, my body and all the food I will eat, be my Dietician.  Help me to know what to eat, how much, and when…  protein, carbs, etc…
  2. Head to Toe blessings (literally from my hair to my toenails)
    • my brain/thoughts – naming distractions and concerns
    • senses & emotions – starting by asking the LORD to sort out how I “feel” and then naming all five senses in this order:  sight, hearing, smell (concentrating on each one to take in my surroundings with thankfulness), taste (to even include the water/fuel I’ve carried along), and saving my sense of touch for last (focusing on the temperature, sun, and wind on my skin); which also brings me to…
    • my body – naming every organ, muscles, tendon, ligament, function, form, common injury, etc. that I know of (for an increase VO2 Max, to efficiently breaking down fuel into energy, from short to long muscle fibers, to thankfulness for a steady heart rate,…).
  3. Blessings on family and friends.
    • Since registering for my marathon, I chose a person to pray for on each of the 26.2 miles of my course.
    • My “mile 26” has more than one person.  Here I pray for all my friends who are training for a marathons.
    • Matthew DobsonMy “.2” to finish is for Matthew Dobson, an amazing Christian role model and the only American to win the Disney Marathon in 2004 with an amazing time of 2:27:58(Just as a reference, my best time for a half marathon was 2:26:26.    That was really moving for me, and a pretty fun number for someone dreaming of  running 26.2.)  Because his blog and books have  been a real encouragement to me  and  because I have tired to copy many of his tips, I also pray for him when I lace up my shoes.

I have also chosen a verse for each of the 26.2 miles, for a total of 27 verses/passages, which I turn into prayers for myself and for the person I am praying for.  I don’t always start with “mile 1” (the first person or verse), rather on different runs, I pretend to start a different mile on the Disney course.  It is also a fun discipline of my thoughts to think through the various parts of the Disney property I would be on and pray for the LORD to give me strength for each specific mile.

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I made prayer cards to give to the people I am praying for as a reminder that I am praying for them. The card has the mile, the verse I am claiming for them and for myself, and a few of my running prayer concerns.

At first my 27 scriptures were for memorization, but now I just take phrases and turn them into rhythmic mantra to meditate on.

For example, when I’m running up a steep hill and wanting to walk, I’ll tell myself to say the phrase 10 more times and count them on my fingers, “Strong and Courageous” (Joshua 1:9) or “Consider Jesus.  Do not grow weary; do not lose heart”  (Hebrew 12:3) .  Or on the final stretch, I push myself as hard as I can repeating, “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Before I know it, I’m concentrating on that spiritual truth and the hill is behind me or I’m across that imaginary finish line.

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This is the list of verses I carried with me for my last half-marathon. The font is just large enough for me to read. On the back I have a copy of the course map. I covered it with packing tape so it would hold up under sweat and rain over all my training miles

(When I’m running I’m running with someone, I have a much abbreviated version of this.  It I’m running with a family member, I often pray aloud but keep it brief.  Though I sometimes pray with my friends and even share the verse I’m on if they’re interest, but usually I try to cover most the first two parts while I’m getting ready or while driving to meet them or before they arrive at my house.  Then, I mentally tuck in prayers for others when there are lulls in the conversation.  But, when I am running alone, this is my favorite mental discipline!)

I still use my prayer notebook first thing most mornings and other prayer tools on days I’m not running, but I feel such a new fellowship with Christ in this season of life.  I imagine this unhurried and exhaustive way of praying about everything and for everyone that is a special concern or blessing to me to be more like how Jesus might have prayed when He slipped away to be alone with the Father.

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Though it may sound very structured, it really pretty free flowing for me.  Having a frame work to get me started and to return to when I’ve reached the end of a rabbit trail in prayer is such a help to me.

If you’re reading this, I’m praying for you…

for your physical discipline to tackle your responsibilities while still taking care of the temple God has given you, for physical activities that you are able to do safely and enjoy, for the discipline to start and the perseverance to continue, for the mental discipline to make the best choices for your health, for spiritual disciplines that thrill your soul and that you can make intimately your own, for contentment without settling for mediocrity, for the God’s truth to inspire you in the areas you seem to have the most excuses, for friends to share with all the wonders you find as the LORD answers these prayers specifically and practically in your life.

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May the LORD help you to begin something wonderful today!

And, may He give you the desires of your heart as you delight yourself in Him!


The following images are included incase anyone is interested in the type of information I’ve gathered to help me mentally prepare for the race:

 

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The historical weather conditions for the previous Disney marathons (starting temperature, high and low for the day, humidity, and wind speed).
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Pace charts for various finishing times

 

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chart to log my miles and cross training exercise for the entire ye

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Maps of the Parks:

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a pocket in the back for loose papers and maps of the course from previous years
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pages to journal and log times from long runs
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LOTS and lots of quotes, many from Disney, but many more from famous athletes and trainers and others from articles and books I’ve read
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a list of thoughts for the night before the race, another for the morning of race day, and a page of thoughts that might be an encouragement when considering the second half of the race
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a small section for each mile of the race to log prayer request for the person I am praying for, details of that section of the course (what to expect, locations, elevation water, food, etc.), and any thoughts I want to journal that might pertain to this part of the race  (Several people have worn cameras running the marathon or in ride-a-long videos from wheelchair racers; so a lot can be learned about the course on the days I run indoors on the treadmill.)

I’m sure this might seem over the top to some, but I love to research and study everything that interest me.  This first marathon  is such a stretch for me (my longest run previous is only 14 miles); so the more I learn about it the more excited and less nervous I become.

I hope, as I share this side of my personality to you, that you are encouraged you to be yourself, live deep and indulgently enjoy what you love, and chose to become an expert in those things that interest you.

And, remember, you can make anything and everything a matter of prayer“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”  Proverbs 16:3