End of the Day…

At the end of the day, when we’re slipping away,
I wonder if we’ll wonder what we did today.

My daddy always asked, did you leave it better than you found it?
When I’m hurtling to my death, I’ll wonder that. Did I leave this earth better than I found it?

If we all leave this earth better than when we found it, this world would be a lovely place.

What am I doing right now to leave the world better than I found it? What did I do today? We all know that the sum of our days equals our life. Each day left unchanged will one day equal a life without change.

So what on earth did I waste my day on?

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Wife Training – Eh, no…

When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying, “We’re training you to be a good wife.”

I thought of that today, and I don’t agree with the ideology behind it. If you raise children to be good adults, they will be a good wife or husband. No special training needed. 

Venting moment: Don’t train your daughters to be “good wives.” Good wives come in all shapes and sizes, to fit husbands, who also come in all shapes and sizes. Try to show your children (by example) how to follow God and be a caring spouse, pray for them, teach them what they need to know, and let them go.

Feedback for “The Artist”

So one of my old friends recently bought a book (Yaayyyy!!) and emailed me the other day with this:

“We have been really enjoying reading it at bedtime and any other time momma’s hands are dry!  I love the art and the note to your readers at the end especially,  it made us feel like you, as the author, actually cared and you weren’t just some distant random person out to make a buck! God bless you on your adventures.”

Thanks so much, Gwyn!!

I Want Your Fears (or Adult Monsters)

The mother of a child is crying for her baby. A monster lurks outside her halo of blankets, intent on gobbling her heart.

But her child peeks out. She hasnt yet learned pain. She trusts in her mommy, who has always kept her safe. “Why do you tremble?” Her innocent eyes see no reply. “The fog is so beautiful, it’s a fairy land!”

When do we learn that the unknown is scary? At what age do we stop trusting the One who holds us safe? Is it when we first fall down and see blood on our knees? Fear keeps us from touching the fire again, but it can also send us to our graves, frozen in dust.

My Father isn’t one to always keep me from running. He even watches me fall sometimes. But He’s always there to pick me up. Always there to teach me better. And who knows how many times he’s kept me from toppling over?

Years teach is fears. Monsters become letters in the mailbox or empty accounts hiding in the closet. But the One who protects us from giant spiders doesn’t grow less powerful with the passing of years.

Give me the worst of your fears. Compare them to an eternity without God. How small are my monsters compared with eternity. Relax. Be at peace. God is on His throne. Trust the One you know.

Adult-Monsters

Simplify: Cleaning out your Closet

I’ve spent the past 2 years carrying my possessions on my back. I now have a massive collection of 3 pairs of shoes and my clothes might be able to fill up a school backpack! (gasp) Now, as Matt and I prep for the next leg of our life, we’ve been accidentally inspiring people to get rid of things and simplify. I’ve done this so much, deciding what to keep and get rid of, so here are my tips for cleaning out your closet.

1. For 2 weeks, put the clothes you wear in one side of the closet (or the clothes hamper). The clothes that are left in the closet/drawers are clothes you don’t wear very often. Some things are seasonal, but look at your jackets/coats. Pick one or two you can wear with everything and get rid of the rest.

2. When buying new stuff, be really picky. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this go with most of my wardrobe?
  • When would I wear this?
  • Is this comfortable enough to walk 2 miles in?
  • Would I wear this for 4 days in a row?

3. “Nice” clothes. How often do you wear nice clothes? I have one “nice” outfit, because I’ll only wear it to weddings or uppidy churches (of which there is an increasingly low number). I’m living proof you can have one dressy outfit and survive. HOWEVER, I know some of you have to wear nice/formal clothes on a regular basis (for work, etc.). So here’s what I do: How many times per week do you have to wear a business/formal/”nice” outfit? That’s how many outfits you should have. Formal shoes should be half that number, at least. Unless you’re a fashion model, people don’t usually notice what you’re wearing, honestly. I also like to leave room for one special outfit that just makes you feel cute, a “date” outfit, so to speak. That’s my church/”nice” outfit.

So how did you do? How do you simplify? What’s your criteria for keeping clothes?

How to be Confident

This is the second in a series I’m doing on the top 4 Google results for “How to be…” 

Realize that most people don’t think about you too much.

971664_10200223032887550_1818749354_nThe people who do care about you do it regardless of your faults. My freshman year of college, a girl told one of my friends that she hated the way I dressed. I was hurt. But she wasn’t the type of person I’d become friends with, anyway. The close friends I had, and still have, love the unique way I dress, giggle at my eclectic hairstyles (and take pictures) and love and respect me for who I am inside, regardless of if I was a beauty or a beast.

Think about something else instead. Regardless of what you know in your head, your self-confidence is shaky at best. But when you have another purpose, something else to think about, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to be confident and at ease. I know many people who are really fun to be around just because they try to make sure everyone is doing okay. They ask about OTHER people, say encouraging things, listen, and contribute only when it will be good for the whole group. These people, no surprise, tend to have a LOT of friends, but not even realize it.

Regardless of how you set it up in your head, though, if you go out constantly thinking about yourself and what others think of you, you WILL be self-conscious and timid. I’ve tried this so many times. The best remedy that I’ve learned is to:

a) realize it doesn’t matter what most people think. They’ll never see you again.

b) have an overriding purpose that trumps being socially successful, beautiful, smart, etc. The fact that God came to earth and saved us is mine. Everything else slightly pales in comparison. When I can focus on that, and what I can do for him (which isn’t always or even most of the time :p), then I’m confident and what others say doesn’t matter. 🙂

That’s all. Are you confident? What helps you have unshakable confidence?

Yoga for Christians

This is in response to a really controversial post that I saw on FaceBook about yoga. It was on a Christian group, and honestly, I really understand both sides, but, after some thought, came up with this. Would love to hear any and all objections/arguments. 🙂 

So here’s the basic objection some Christians have against yoga (please correct me if I’m wrong). Yoga has it’s roots in pagan rituals and meditation, i.e. Hinduism/Buddhism. Therefore, yoga is a pagan ritual that, no matter how it’s changed, should not be practiced by Christians. It is like worshiping a pagan god. We have to be really careful about what kind of spiritual influences we let into our lives. Yoga, because of its pagan roots, could be a way for bad spirits to enter our minds/spirits.

I was doing some random mindless work today and I started thinking about this. To me, this seems to be similar to the “food offered to foreign gods” issue that the disciples were dealing with in the New Testament. Basically, in religions like Hinduism or probably a lot of the other religions they had in Jesus’ day, it’s “good luck” to eat food offered to foreign gods. Now, we all know these idols have no power of us. There are demonic forces at work, but we are under Jesus’ protection.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 “So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

Now, from what I see, the NT believers had an issue with this. Some weak believers might eat the food because they still kind of believe in the idols, or because they’re afraid of what their family might think, or they just want to make sure they have good luck. Or if they see strong believers eat the food, they might think that those believers don’t actually believe in God and worship other gods on the side (“cheating” on God, ha ha).

But, the point that Paul makes above is that there are no other gods. That our God is supreme and rules everything. So eating the food is okay, it’s nourishing. But if you can cause another believer to stumble by doing it, or if your hosts think you’re eating it because you believe in the gods, than it becomes wrong.

I think this is the same deal with yoga. Many modern versions of yoga are just stretching and relaxation. Because of that, it’s just something that’s good for the body, not worshiping an idol.

YogaNow, I’ll add a HUGE distinction here. There’s a big difference between the types of yoga depicted in these two pictures:

SONY DSCThere are classes that emphasis the traditional spiritual aspects of yoga. These can be questionable, especially when the teachers are Hindu or Buddhist. India is filled with these, tagging off of the tourists that come on pilgrimages of sorts to the land of Buddha and Hinduism. This is the type that the first picture depicts. But the classes that are simply stretching, with a focus on building your core, are fine, in my opinion.

However, as always, if you are doing it to get the blessing of a god besides the True God, or if going to a yoga class would stumble a fellow believer, it’s definitely wrong. 🙂

If I’m missing something here, please let me know! This is just my opinion based on what I’ve learned. 🙂

How to Be Happy

I asked Google “How to be…” and the top 4 results were “How to be… happy, confident, smart, a good wife.” So I’ll be doing a series where I attempt to answer these questions. This is #1. 

Myth #1: Stuff/money will make you happy. Stuff makes you happy only for a short time. And money buys stuff that can make you happy for a short time. But people with exuberant amounts of money commit suicide, too. Money doesn’t make you happy.

Myth #2: Happiness is a destination. One day, if I have this or that, I will be happy. Nope. Sorry. Stuff is like a drug: you build up a tolerance after awhile. So, if you’ve been saving forever so you can take a trip, and then you go, it won’t make you happy forever, even if you stay on that trip.

So, how do you actually be happy? Don’t chase it. Happiness is overrated and not the purpose of life on this earth. People who get the most out of life don’t chase happiness. They chase a purpose. That doesn’t make them happy all the time. But that makes their moments of happiness worth it, and goals attained make life worth it.

So chase your purpose. I started seeking my purpose when I was 8, because I saw all the suffering in the world and I thought, “What’s the point of going through all this if there’s no reason?” And then I thought about killing myself for awhile, fell into a pit of despair, and eventually called out to God. I asked if He was really there, and if He was, to show me why we were here.

And, obviously, He did. We were created to be in relationship with God. To love and be loved. And our hearts come to peace when we rest in Him.

So, while happiness is, in so many ways, an ill-defined myth, I truly have learned the secret of being content.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13