Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Garbage In, Garbage Out

You know that old maxim?
Whatever you sow, you reap.
Whatever you focus on will increase.

"...for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap... the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." - Galatians 6: 7b, 8b
(Note to self:  Sow to the Spirit.  Sow. To. The. Spirit!!!!!!)

Whatever you put in this earthly vessel is what is produced by it.
Be it the eyes, ears, mind, mouth...
If you put in good and healthy things, good and healthy things will be multiplied, regurgitated, shared with others.

Yep, you guessed it!
If you put in garbage?
Garbage comes out.
(It's all very visual, isn't it?)

Though that last bit is derived from an old computer programming reference - that computers will process the most nonsensical of input data without questioning it (garbage in) thus producing nonsensical output (garbage out) -  it has come to have a double meaning in recent years.
Garbage into my mind, eyes & ears will most probably mean garbage back out to the world.

Anyway, what am I talking about?
And why?!?

It struck me the other day as I was reflecting back on these past months, that, though I still felt connected to my Father in Heaven, since I was not writing regularly or posting to my blog, there was a bit of a distance.  
It wasn't that I was ignoring Him.  
It wasn't that I wasn't speaking to Him.  
It wasn't that I wasn't aware of Him.  
It was just that it was sporadic...early mornings when I got up to greet Him and the day...times when I needed a conversation or a fresh perspective...and of course, those times when I called His name to give me the words, the attitude, the help.

But as I began again to look around me these past few days, gaining clarity on which topics I would share and the obvious or strange places He oft reveals Himself, it struck me.
Struck me HARD.
A scary truth.

If I don't have an expectation of where I'll find Him, 
I stop looking for Him.
If I don't have an expectation that I'll need to share His message, 
I cease looking for It.

(That was the truth hitting me hard, in case you were wondering.)

So as I embark upon this day, this new season, I acknowledge the need to do so with Him ever in my mind...ever in my heart....ever on my lips...ever along my steps.
I do so with the thought that every moment I see Him, hear Him, love Him, 
- search for Him -
I'll be able to put that many more moments back out into the world.

Garbage in, garbage out?
Ouch, yes, it will happen if we're not careful.
Spirit in, Spirit out?
Yes, Lord, thank You, for making this my prayer.

Q: What are the good things you are "sowing" these days? Share here in the comments or on my FB page.  Would love to hear!  (More "good things" in...yay!)

{Thanks for reading.}

Image credit:  Microsoft Word clipart

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Graduated Thoughts

Well, we did it, my family and I.  
We made it through the spring and all the travels...
the surgery and the healing...
the awards ceremonies and end of school year concerts & festivities...
and the BIG event, my daughter's high school graduation.

Can I say it again?

And now that I've put my daughter on an airplane for her three week theater internship in Northern Michigan; picked my son up from his summer tennis lesson; and done a fairly good job of re-assembling the house after hosting family and celebrating my daughter (I just found another M&M on the floor from the candy station), I'm back here.
With you.
Hopefully for good now.
Oh, how I've missed this place.

It's interesting the things we tell our graduates in a last ditch effort to inspire them and guide them toward the right path as they ready themselves to embark upon the journey of life. Truly.  
I've reveled in listening as people I love and admire have shared their perspectives and advice with Colleen.  
And I've enjoyed reading the sentiments - how different...how varied! - of the cards that individuals choose to speak to what's most important in their lives.  
So as I begin again in my sacred space here, please enjoy a few of my favorites.
They affected me, even as I too begin a new chapter...of letting go.
I hope they find you and fill you today as well.

Thoughts & images that spoke to me:

"Dance to the music of your dreams.  
The steps will bring you JOY."
(probably my fave...of course, chosen by my friend, Miley)

"All our dreams can come true if we
have the courage to pursue them." 
- Walt Disney

"Your graduation is a celebration 
of all that you've learned, 
all that you've accomplished, 

"Dreams are the touchstones of our character." 
- Henry David Thoreau

"Whatever you can do, 
or dream you can, begin it.  
Boldness has genius, power & magic in it." 
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

"Happiness is a butterfly, which, 
when pursued, is always just 
beyond your grasp, but which, 
if you will sit down quietly, 
may alight upon you."  - Hawthorne

"For every ending, there's a new beginning.
For every dream achieved, 
there's a memory to hold it.
For every challenge conquered, 
there's a new one to embrace."

Thoughts from the grandmas:

"There wouldn't be a Heaven full of stars 
if we were all meant to wish on the same one."
(Drew's mom, Grandma Diane)

"The future doesn't lie ahead of you, waiting to happen - 
It lies deep inside of you, waiting to be discovered."
(My mom, Grandma Theresa...
or as the girl cousins like to call her "Drams")

Prayers to be remembered as we consider our paths:

"Show me Your ways, O Lord;
teach me Your paths." - Psalm 25:4

"May you receive a lifetime of blessings because God is a giver.
May you have the faith for new adventures because God is an encourager.
May you grow strong in character because God is your helper.
May you bring joy to others because God is your song.
May you know constant fulfillment because God is your life."

"God has a special purpose for each one of us.  
As we seek Him, we discover His way is always perfect...
His plans are always best." 
(And then one of my faves inside...)
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." - Proverbs 16:3 NIV

"Dream big....follow your heart." 
(then part of the inscription inside...)
"...now step forward with wide open arms, eyes & heart."

(The final two were from my sisters, Christine and Theresa and their husbands, Jeff & Curt...all who made the trip to celebrate my girl.  Thanks y'all...we're so blessed and humbled by your love and grace.)

Lastly, words of advice from my sister, Margaret, who was unable to travel out to celebrate with us, but who, as always, was so generous with her creativity, resources and thoughtfulness.  Thanks Marg...

"Treat the people who have loved you and supported you all your life with special care.  
They are the ones who see you with all of your gifts and all of your flaws and love you completely...it's so easy to take them for granted because they love you unconditionally...
that's the best reason to keep them closest to you.

Don't take everything so seriously.  
Emerson wasn't kidding when he penned "life is a journey, not a destination."
Take time to be...and live...in the moment.  
How sad not to enjoy every second in your upcoming adventure.

I'm so proud of you.  
Watching you grow into this beautiful, brilliant, kind young woman has been a joy..."

Yeah, what she said.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Alone With My Thoughts

{Hi.  Yes, I'm here.  Finally.
Enjoying a moment of self-imposed and extremely necessary sacred silence.
Thank you for sticking around in my absence.
Glad you're here with me.}

I was driving to Disney last week, attempting to ready myself to teach class,
instead my thoughts whirling and swirling, 
creating a mental version of the Tasmanian devil stirring up chaos and kicking up dirt all around me.

Taz the tasmanian devil wallpaper wallpaper 19

"Graduation...social media campaign...app...workout...more graduation...family coming to town...clean house...paint porch...investor update...gray hair...party outfit...nothing fits..."
And on and on and on.
The radio was blaring The Fish, beautiful Christian music that, for once, was not acting as a salve on my heart.  That day, it was simply noise.
Anxious and overwhelmed, I thought, "I need a moment alone with my thoughts."

And then I realized how ridiculous it was that I ever thought I had been, would be or could be alone with them.
And why would I want to be?
More importantly, I reflected, when I feel alone with my thoughts, that's precisely when the pandemonium begins and I lose my touch on reality and true priorities.  
Alone, I am a mess.
Together with Him, I am saved.

Saved from myself and my worries.
Saved from the worst case scenario.
Saved from a serious case of "to-do's."

Alone with my thoughts, I am hungry.
I am thirsty.
I am sad, worried and afraid.

Together with Him, I am filled up, 
drinking from the stream of living waters, feeding on His word, His message.
Together with Him, I find peace.

No, I don't need ANY MORE MOMENTS alone with my thoughts.
I need Him -
in every sight, every sound, every plan, every thought, every moment.
Lord, let me never be alone - without You - again.

photo cred:  Cartoons HD wallpaper