I Blog For Books

08 January 2011

The Walls Have Eyes

One good thing that can be said for working opposite shifts from your significant other is that deciding to take a shower in the middle of the night won't disturb anyone! This morning, I decided that I wouldn't be able to sleep unless I took a nice, hot shower. Imagine my surprise when I turned around to rinse my hair and discovered that the walls had eyes!

Yes, the picture on the right WAS taken in my shower this morning. The green walls in my bathroom were looking at me ... literally! Somehow, the relaxation goes out of the hot water when you're keeping an eye on the corner to see what the lizard is going to do next. My girls will be shocked to find that I didn't even scream at the sight.

What crossed my mind (well, once I got past the idea that I was sharing my shower with a crawly critter the same color as my bathroom walls)? Imagine living your life if the walls did have eyes! Supermarket tabloids bring photos to light that many people wish had never been taken. Imagine someone following you around to see whether or not you dare to step outside the house without being immaculately groomed at all times (what brand of shampoo you use, what flavor ice cream you purchase, what you read ... you get the idea).

Newsflash: someone IS watching you. I don't really believe that God is ogling us in the shower, after all, He made us and is quite aware of what we look like. I do believe, however, that He knows what I think, not to mention what I say and do. Jesus lived his time on earth as an example. By following in his footsteps, am I really following in his footsteps? I will be the first to admit that I stumble far more frequently than I'd like to think that I do. If I would be ashamed for my children to repeat what they hear me say, what on earth is Jesus thinking?

One of the most difficult lessons I've had to learn in my life is one that I should have mastered long before I did, and that is the not-always-so-simple task of thinking before I speak. Words are far more difficult to eat than swallow, and learning to swallow my thoughts instead of speaking harshly is a process that I am still learning. Please note that I am still learning. I try, and the operative word in this sentence is most definitely try, to think before I say something that I cannot take back. While a short answer might make me feel better in the now, what will it do five minutes from now? Five hours? Five years?

There are times that I bite my tongue, swallow my pride, and beg Jesus to keep His hand over my mouth. I ask Him to forgive me for a quick temper, a smart mouth, and a tendency to speak before I think. Before the glib answer or sharp comment falls from your tongue, ask yourself if the perceived hurt will matter five minutes from now. If not, ask for help and let it go.

While I seriously doubt that the National Enquirer will ever be piled up in the driveway at my house wondering what I'm going to wear to Walmart, God is always watching and listening. To clarify things just a little more, this time I leave you with a joke that I didn't create. Unfortunately, I do not know who did, but I feel it is appropriate here:

The robber smiles to himself as he steps into the richly appointed living room, until he hears a voice saying "Jesus is watching you." Frozen for a brief moment, he steps forward and hears "Jesus is watching you." He turns on his flashlight and illuminates the birdcage in the corner at the same times as he hears those four words once more: "Jesus is watching you."

He smirks and asks the bird "Jesus?" The parrot says "No, my name is Moses." "Moses? What kind of idiot names a parrot Moses?" The parrot's reply: "The same kind of idiot that named a rottweiler Jesus."

Father, may I never forget that Jesus is watching me ... and watching over me.

"The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry" ~ Psalm 34:15

02 January 2011

Pay It Forward

One of my friends recently posted a "pay it forward" challenge as her facebook status. For the first 5 people who commented and promised to pay it forward by sending something homemade to the first 5 people who commented on their status ... why does this sound so much more complicated when I try to explain it?!?!?

Here is the original post:
Pay it Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They must in turn post this and send something they make to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011....

In just under an hour, this wonderful idea has blossomed, and makes me think of a way to take it even further. What if we decided each day, to do something for someone who may never know what we have done. Before you think I'm talking spending hundreds or thousands of dollars (which I do not have), I'm thinking simply here. Next time you are at a restaurant, spend a few extra dollars on a meal for someone seated alone. You don't have to tell them, just ask your waitress. Too much? Buy an extra newspaper and give it away. Bake cookies for your next door neighbor. Smile at the next person you pass in the hallway. Do you see where this could snowball into a sea of positivity?

I'm not naive enough to think that everyone, myself included, can do this each day. Taking one day at a time, however, this is quite realistic. For example, tomorrow, I will make an effort to keep a positive attitude toward everyone I meet. How will that affect others? First of all, they do not have to put up with yet another grouch. Second? When you see someone smile, how often do you not smile in return? If I have something that I can share, I will. In sharing we are giving.

I have decided that 2011 will be my year of positive thinking. Life is far too short to be unhappy. By giving Jesus control, I have already made a positive change in my life. By following through and letting Him shine through me, it radiates out to encompass those around me. Will you join me on this journey for change?

God, please guide me in my quest to glorify you. Give me the words to say, one day at a time.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."~Matthew 5:16 NIV

01 January 2011

Black Eyed Peas and Number Ones

What did the first day of 2011 hold for you? Did you make resolutions for your year? I wrote the date over and over today (at work, had to), secretly marveling at the fact that I was writing 1-1-11 ... This year I will turn 47, and like years past, I resolved to make changes for 2011.

Traditionalist that I am, I also cooked. Last night after work, I put my black eyed peas on to simmer with some finely chopped onion and neck bones. I chopped up most of a head of cabbage and threw together some coleslaw using mama's recipe. Before work this morning, I baked a few cornbread muffins to go with my lunch. After much discussion, most of us decided to order from Darryl's (po-boys ... yum!), so the black eyed peas came back home with me to be supper instead.

Let's see, po-boy for lunch (hey, I skipped the mayo), and black eyed peas, coleslaw, and cornbread for supper ... looks like one of my goals is going to be a tough one. I did, however, step on the scale today, and that only defined that particular goal more clearly. Because I know that ridiculous goals stand little chance of being met, I decided to break my weight loss goal into more manageable chunks. I need to lose a big chunk, but know from past experience that saying I want to lose 25, 30, 50 (you get the idea) pounds is simply an invitation to give up when I don't hit my goal. For 2011, my weight loss goal is this: I resolve to lose 5 pounds a month. From January 1 to January 31, my goal is to lose 5 pounds. Put that way, it seems far more realistic, and not unattainable. 5 pounds in a 4 week month is 1.25 pounds per week. Every week I may not lose 1.25 pounds. Some weeks I may lose more, some weeks the scale may not budge. If I manage to keep that goal for the entire year, guess what? Well, most of us can do the math without a tutor (sorry Allen, don't need you for this simple problem!) ... that's 60 pounds! Saying that I want to lose 60 pounds in 2011 seems like such a large number, but saying that I want to lose 5 pounds a month just sounds better!

Another resolution? To do my best to maintain good grades in all my classes this year. School starts back on January 17 so I will be hitting the books again in a couple of weeks. One class at a time, one assignment at a time is how I will keep this resolution.

Resolution three? To write more often. Specifically, to write devotions more frequently. Ideally, I'd like to write every day. Since I began this journey over three years ago, I've not come even remotely close to that goal. Probably not even a third of that, but guess what? 2011 is a New Year, and this is the first day of a year of change.

In the background, I'm listening to Big Dog Saturday Night on 96.9 as Allen plays artists' first number one hits. Guess what is playing? "Jesus Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood. What a great resolution for the new year! Let Jesus take the wheel of your life, because He needs no GPS, needs no atlas, needs no gasoline, and doesn't require inspections stickers, tags, or insurance. In the song, Carrie sings these words:

For the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life
I know I've got to change
So from now on tonight ....

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
Give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel

And that, my friends, is the most important resolution any of us can make. If Jesus isn't controlling the wheel of our lives, we need to let go, and let Him. I'm not giving up, but I am giving it to God. Will you join me in making 2011 the year of the believer?

God, I ask your blessing and mercy on these words, and that you use them as you see fit to glorify you. Please continue to guide my fingers across this keyboard ...

"for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young - let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance - for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise." ~ Proverbs 1:4-6 NIV