What’s Your Story….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been involved with Open Hearts Ministry (www.ohmin.org) for the last 16 years or so…..

Open Hearts is all about knowing and embracing your story. Open Hearts is not about getting stuck in your story, but it is about looking back, evaluating today and looking ahead.

Open Hearts provides you an invitation and opportunity to look at what you believe about God, yourself and others as a result of key events that have unfolded….

I find story very fascinating….

I find story work to be very productive….

I find story work to be a freeing experience of understanding why I think/act the way I do.

I find story work to be one of the places I deepen my roots in my love for God, my love for myself and my love for others!

I wonder if you have taken time to consider your story.

Who are the key people in your story and what did you learn from them? Consider this question at various ages in your childhood and young adult relationships.

What are the values you take from your story?

Where did you first believe in God and when did God become real to you?

I encourage you to start thinking, writing, talking, sharing your story…..it is valuable time spent and priceless conversation shared!

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do”. Brene Brown

sleep…

I know of the importance of getting enough sleep. It helps with many things, but right now my focus remains health and wellness. And being a girl who likes graphs and charts, I wear a Lark to bed each night. The Lark tracks how much sleep I get and the quality of my sleep.  At first, in all of my good planning, I was doing great with getting to bed on time and adjusting my sleep and schedule to ensure my goals were met.

But then life gets busy and I enjoy people and I start making plans that infringe on my goal to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. And soon I see how my averages are dropping and soon I am pushing five to six hours each night. And I begin to calculate that in a week that leaves me almost 14 hours short of sleep.

And so, I realize that maybe we have it right when we encourage young children to get to bed on time and ensure that they are well rested…

How are you doing with your rest routines. Are you getting enough sleep? Consider joining me this week in scheduling your sleep to ensure you are sleeping for at least 7.5 hours each night. I am embracing this as one way to be kind to myself and those who hang out with me during the day.

And on that note, it is time for lights out and deep sleep!

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord….

Do you ever have it when you know a song and sing it often, but on a given day, in a given moment, the lyrics take on a whole new meaning…

Today I was at the funeral of an 11-year-old boy who died from brain cancer. His journey has been amazing in so many ways, but the weight of grief was evident today, even though we all believe in the hope of heaven and all of those spiritual truths! I am grateful that I have learned that grief is one of those things that can be difficult and painful even when we know and believe in heaven and eternity!

And so I sing this song today and I feel the words come from a deeper place in my heart.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

I think of the land that is plentiful in my life and in the world around me. This is one of the easiest places to sing Blessed be the Name of the Lord….

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

I think of the desert place and the wilderness and how perhaps I cry out why more than I sing Blessed be the Name of the Lord….

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

I marvel at when the suns shining down on me and my world feels as it should be….May I never forget that every good thing is a gift from the hand of God….

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

I wonder when I will encounter the road marked with suffering again. It is my hope and prayer that I will confidently sing:

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

I reflect on the words He gives and takes away and I think of what I have lost and what I have been given….

And I know that it is a prayer of my heart that I will live the words of this song with all of my being….BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD

Celebrating life in three very different ways….

I am struck tonight how I am participating in  life being celebrated three times but each is uniquely different….

One celebration was with 12 people who were baptized in Lake Michigan today, each for their own reason, but a cheer of celebration went up with each one…..there was laughter and there were tears…

One celebration was tonight as I listened to the changes that occurred in the lives of the many who attended The Journey this past week. I heard many stories of small groups who loved each other well. There was life found in community where truth was spoken and kindness was generously shared. There was lots of applause, laughter and tears….

One celebration will be tomorrow at the funeral of sweet 11-year-old Gerrit. It will not feel like the same type of celebration. But when you see this picture of Gerrit, and you think of his new and perfect body, there is much to celebrate.  I am sure there will be some laughter and lots of tears….

Each celebration is about life in some way….

Each celebration includes a community of people….

Each celebration includes laughter and tears, looking back and looking ahead…..

Each celebration includes faith….

I am keenly aware tonight that each of the celebrations are about life and they are all because of Jesus…..

 

New life in Lake Michigan….

Tonight I spent time with a few good friends who will be baptized tomorrow in Lake Michigan. I believe there may be 13 people who are planning to be baptized!

The temperature will be chilly and the water likely numbing, but the experience will be unforgettable. 

For some it may be a first time baptism, for others, it is a re-commitment, but regardless, for all it is a celebration….a celebration of spiritual birth and spiritual maturity!

I am thankful for celebrations on ordinary Friday’s. It makes tomorrow very meaningful for my friends and all of us who love them! I am delighted for the new life that will be birthed in Lake Michigan tomorrow. Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Baptism is faith in action.”  ~ Watchman Nee

 

She stayed for a moment…

Today a family member came by our office. We cared for her Mom back in 2008. Yes it has been almost four years since we have been in touch….

We cared for her Mom for only a few short weeks before she passed away from breast cancer.But her daughter stopped in today to say THANKS.

She stayed for a moment and shared words of kindness and affirmation.

She stayed for a moment but came in with joy and deep gratitude.

She stayed for a moment and because she came, we were reminded why we do what we do…..

It only takes a moment to bring encouragement, hope, kindness, clarity!

It took a moment…..

She stayed for a moment….

She offered us a gift we will remember for a long time!

She lived out on of my favorite quotes and we were blessed: “Never suppress a generous thought.”

An App for Everything….

This morning I found out that something must have happened to my hair dryer over night and it no longer worked. A bit distressing in the morning and you can be sure that I set out this evening to replace it. As I was considering my options, I was surprised to see that one of the hair dryers has an App at the app store. I began to wonder what that App might do? And then I chuckled as I set that box down, I do not need an App for my hair dryer.

I remember when I was doing adoption training to families and we would discuss how much stimulation there is for a child in the cereal aisle. The images they recognize from TV, the colors, pictures and prizes that lure them to this cereal box and that cereal box. And when a child thinks they pick the one they want, they see another one and the difficulty of choosing starts all over again. For children who grow up shopping those aisles, they learn to process the stimulation, but for an orphan from another country, the experience of the cereal aisle can be physically painful.

And now children and adults alike are navigating the App Store on their productivity tools (Smart Phones, Ipads, computers). 500,000 apps to choose from. Honestly, how can a choice truly be made?

Within 500,000 apps there are apps that list 7800 Beer Brands, 170,000 Recipes, 18,000 jokes, 50,000 baby names, 9,999 ring tones….

I think you get my point. Has this also gone to far? Do we really need so many options?

I recently was told to shop at Aldi’s because the best thing about it is they keep it simple. I read this on their home page: At ALDI, our philosophy is also the foundation for our less-is-more approach to grocery retailing.

I wonder where all the choices we face ever day, from cereal to apps (and many other spaces of our day-to-day life) create more confusion than freedom…..

I will be considering this in my life and commit again to simplifying where ever I can! And tonight that was by drawing the line on not buying a hair dryer that has an App…..

Choose well and live freely!