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Archive for February, 2010

I am in a club. (Or is it really a support group?) Perhaps you are in the club also…the List-Maker Club. Here are a few of our rules:

*Honor System…ignoring the list won’t make it go away and only when a task is completed can it be checked off as done!
*A list-makers pen is sacred…it must always be ready for new additions to the list or to cross something off.
*What we deem as list-worthy is all that counts…your input/ridicule is not helpful or wanted.
*Don’t even think about combining your list with mine…I don’t have time to complete my own list let alone yours.
*Don’t judge us if you aren’t in this club…at least we don’t have to run back to the store for more butter.

Whether it is a grocery list, a to-do list, the Christmas gift list, or a Before-I-Die List, we find a sense of security in writing out each bullet point. After accomplishing a task I take genuine pleasure in crossing the finished item off the list. In fact, this is so fun for me that I have even been known to write something on the list that I have already done, just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off as completed. (Yes, this is definitely a type of sickness!)

Lists in real life are harmless, and can actually be helpful in saving extra trips to the store or preventing embarrassing moments at Christmas with in-laws. But what happens when we keep a mental list of grudges, methodically remembering grievances and past hurts but not doing anything about them? When we never arrive at a place of forgiveness? When we never get to the point of crossing an offense off the list and moving on?

Like your grocery list, ignoring items on a mental list of grudges won’t make the need go away. Forgiveness, be it ever so challenging and sometimes exhausting, is vital to moving forward in personal freedom and strength. Over the next two weeks our Daily Devotionals will focus on the topic of forgiveness…what it looks like and making it personal. None of us have arrived, and circumstances can make forgiveness quite complicated, but together we will push ourselves towards understanding true and healthy forgiveness.

Daily Devotionals on this topic can be found under the category of Forgiveness at  www.gttdaily.wordpress.com.  

And if you find something that you like on this site, be sure and pass our link along to a friend or a neighbor.  It might be just the encouragement they need for their day.

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Transitions

The Sixties…

The Seventies…

The Eighties…

Many things transition as women make their way through life, not the least of which are hairstyles.  And may I just say how thankful I am that the styles for women’s hair DO in fact change? (Did you own a crimping iron too?)

But is there a real purpose for transition in our lives, beyond just changing the scenery around us? And isn’t “transition”  just a euphemism we use when talking about all sorts of change in our lives that we may or may not be ready for?

Take, for example, Janet.  One day Janet is a single woman with limited cares in the world and time on her hands, but next thing she  knows she has transitioned to married-with-a-career and household responsibilities.  Before she really gets her arms completely wrapped around the new arrangements, Janet transitions into mommy-hood and finds herself looking backwards at career and forward to PTA meetings and Little League.  She takes a second to blink, and her sweet angels are teenagers responding to her “wise” parenting with rolled eyes and grunts.  Eventually Janet hears the call of her career,  transitioning her back into the career world of clients, boss and co-workers.  The kids are grown up and move away to establish their own lives. Janet transitions yet again to the very quiet house and dinner-for-two, and then…the kid’s yo-yo.  They rebound. They come back home to live with Janet and her husband as adults.

There are all sorts of transitions that can happen throughout a woman’s life, and by definition, those transitions all involve change.  Change can be challenging, uncomfortable, and at its worst, it can be debilitating.  Change can also be positive, enriching, and at its best, an adventure. (The lady spotlighted in the “Our Stories”  tab above, is a great example of this. Her story speaks to a life filled with the positive adventure of many transitions.)

In our daily devotionals we are looking at some of these major transitions that happen in women’s lives.  Click here to find those Daily Devotionals. 

And if you find something that you like on this site, be sure and pass our link along to a friend or a neighbor.  It might be just the encouragement they need for their day.

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You want happiness? Me too!

There are so many cliche’s that speak to this common desire. The pursuit of happiness is the American way. Find your bliss. Are we happy yet? Take care of Number 1. Don’t worry…be happy. Still not happy?  Well, find a party! God wants us to be happy.

These are commonly held beliefs in our culture of fun and ease. But are we really just settling for second best? The emotion of happiness is a very nice thing, but isn’t it just a bit elusive?

I have a loved one who is living with cancer and all the discomfort, decisions, and fear that cancer involves for him and for me and for the rest of the family. My neighbor has been looking for work for many months and there is nothing yet to be seen on the horizon. I have an friend who admits her life feels empty and meaningless and so she buries herself in her career and tries to find the remedy in personal pursuits after happiness.

Perhaps what we truly crave in our heart of hearts is not happiness, but really joy. Like happiness, joy is a positive emotion, but joy runs deep and remains accessible even in the most challenging circumstances. Joy has a spiritual component that happiness can never attain. Joy can be contagious, spreading good to all those around. Which leads to the big question…why settle for the elusive second best when joy is a quality that God wants to richly bless us with.

We will take a “real life” look at what the Bible says about joy in the Daily Devotionals at  www.gttdaily.wordpress.com. Just look under Categories and click on What I Really Want…Happiness.

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, “love is in the air.”

I received an email with these cute examples children gave when questioned on love:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That’s love.”

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” 

Upon seeing a neighbor, recently widowed, crying on his front porch, a little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed on his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, Nothing, I just helped him cry.

And just recently I overheard a father and son talking about appropriate gifts to give on Valentines Day. The father steered his son away from the $5.00 chocolates towards the higher priced shelf, telling his son to not go half-way when it comes to love.

There is a lot of wisdom in each of these bits of advice, and not just for teenage boys buying for their sweetheart or for married couples. Whether it is a family member, a neighbor, or the person who drives you crazy, we all have people in our lives who we are tempted to just love with half-way effort.

We are going to look together at how the Bible says we can love with our whole heart. Go to Categories at www.gttdaily.wordpress.com and click on What I Really Want…Love.

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