Stay safe tonight!
Wishing you joy and peace and health in 2014!
Although my Bible reading this morning included passages from several books, I was immediately struck by a recurrent theme: timing. Proverbs tells us that our plans mean nothing because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Ecclesiastes assures us that there is a time for everything. And Matthew reminds us that although we know not when the Lord will return, we should be found doing his work when he does; we can’t put off charity and service until a more convenient time.
We often think we know the best times for the major events of our lives: education, marriage, children, employment, retirement. We have our life planned out and we feel great disappointment if those plans don’t work out. Some people change and adapt and happily embrace their new lives. Others get stuck in the quagmire of regrets and never find joy. Proverbs 19 tells us that our own foolish actions are most often the cause of our demise, and yet we quickly blame God for everything that happens. I often think back to the first time I went to college in 1968. Had I been able to complete my education at that time I would have pursued a career teaching high school English. Would I have been as content with that choice as I have been in early education? I doubt it and I’m grateful that God changed a series of tragic events into a new and better path for me. I had to wait years and years for the opportunity to return to school, but when I did the timing was perfect and my new career was a much better application of my talents and experiences.
When I reflect back on many of the events of my life I realize that the timing of them was essential and most assuredly miraculous. If I had attempted the same goal or experienced the same event at a different stage of life the results would have been totally different! We talk about change, but we don’t always realize how much WE change. My younger self did some things that this old woman wouldn’t dream of doing. And this wise older woman does some things that her younger self would not have had the confidence or experience to attempt.
At this time of year it’s customary to make plans for a New Year of growth and change, health and happiness, progress and improvement. But some of those goals and expectations begin with the assumption that most things in our lives will stay the same and afford us a foundation of safety and security. We know in our heart of hearts that is not so. This has already been a holiday season of loss and change for many of my friends and family members. Loved ones are gone or disabled. Relationships have changed or ended. Expectations were not met. Goals were not reached. Hopes and dreams were not realized. So they face the New Year with changes and challenges not of their own choosing. The only way for them, and for the rest of us, to plan ahead is to trust the reassurances of Paul that God is in control and working in our favor, because He loves us and wants what is best for us.
Time stretches ahead of us like a new canvas, ready to be painted…just remember who holds the brush.
Here we go again…
Time to change our lives. Start a new diet. Begin the exercise program we intended to start last year. Save money. Get organized. You know the drill.
Each year I ask myself the same question: “Why are you still fat?” I’ve made some great changes to my diet in the past five years. I’m healthier than ever before. But I’m still fat. I know I eat too much. I know I exercise too little. Beyond that I have recently come to the conclusion that while I was diligently eliminating cholesterol and salt from my diet I have allowed my intake of sugar to creep up to an alarming daily total. Instead of the recommended 20 to 30 grams per day, I have actually been getting three times that much from packaged foods. I don’t use ANY sugar in coffee, on cereal, etc., so all of the sugar in my diet comes from food. But before you envision me eating doughnuts for breakfast, let me tell you that I eat very few “sweets”: ice cream, cookies, dark chocolate. Most of the sugar I eat is hidden in ordinary packaged foods, everything from vegetables to salad dressing. And if you don’t think that can add up, consider this fact: the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar a year!
Thanks to Anne Alexander’s book, "The Sugar Smart Diet" I have made only one diet resolution for the New Year: Never again buy anything in a package without first checking the label for sugar. I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me before since I check for everything else, but here is a prime example of my oversight: my current favorite yogurt contains 19 grams of sugar!!! Wow! I might as well be drinking a soda!
I’m not going to make any plans to lose weight. But I am going to make this improvement in my daily diet. My goal is to lower my sugar intake and just see what happens…
I hope your Christmas is merry and that you create some wonderful memories today and tomorrow!
I also hope that 2014 is a wonderful year for you and your loved ones! I have become much more aware this year of the powerful relationship between good health and happiness. So my fervent prayer for you, whether you are a stranger or friend or neighbor or family member is that you will make wise decisions in the coming New Year that will enable you to have a healthy body and mind.
13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
It will be a wild day in kindergarten today! We’ll be playing, painting, and partying…in pajamas. No, not Mrs. Maurer. No need to worry about embarrassing photos on FB. Lol
We’ve learned some important new skills in the past few weeks. All of my students can now make a paper chain and cut out a snowflake. They were especially proud of their snowflakes and several children made about twenty. I’ll give them the option of making a few more today if they want to. I probably need to apologize to parents who will find scraps of paper all over their homes next week!
Of course our letters to Santa were sent away long ago. I was very pleased with the requests of most children- not as many electronic gadgets as I feared. One boy was so funny! He wants a speed boat, any color, but NOT rainbow!
So…one last day.
Please pray for the safety of all of our students as they travel and play these next two weeks. Seems like the holidays always include a few illnesses and injuries.
I know I have posted this before, but this is the kitchen set my grandfather made for me. While searching for a photo of Grandad I realized two things: I do not have a single photo of us together and I could not find a photo of him smiling. I know he did smile, especially when in the presence of a child! But he must have hated to have is photo taken.
Today we are one week away from the celebration commemorating our Lord’s birth. For Christians next week will be a time of great joy and gratitude. But I think it’s important to remember that many people are also dreading next week. No matter how strong their faith, they are only human and next week will be a reminder of heartache and loss- relatives no longer with us, family members in pain, loved ones in the last stages of life. So please take time this week and next to say a prayer for someone you know who will be suffering.
Daily life and problems do not take a holiday and those who are poor this week will be poor next week. Several news stories this week have reported that charitable donations are down this year. Groups that collect toys and food and money are struggling with increased demand and decreased support. So if you have the means to contribute to a worthy local cause please do so today or tomorrow.
I have been struggling with my own little problem this week and while I realize it is a LITTLE problem compared to most, it triggered some thoughts about a very BIG problem in our country and especially in my home county. My doctor suggested that I take one of the “popular” drugs to relieve some of the neuropathy pain I have in my feet. He even gave me some samples. We discussed some of the side effects and the cost. He briefly acknowledged my reluctance to take anything for pain. I’m considering everything before making a final decision, but I think it is far too early in the progression of my condition to start taking something that could create more problems than it cures. But many people are not as cautious (okay fearful!) as I am and they will take almost anything that is suggested for the relief of their pain- physical or emotional. Some are in far more pain than I can imagine. But others are just avoiding ANY and ALL pain, and they do that by taking pills suggested by doctors, OR by friends and family members. It’s the latter that gets them into trouble. Our county has seen more than its share of drug addiction and drug dealing and the problems created by both. An underlying cause of the drug problem is prescription drugs, not those concocted in illicit labs. So many addicts start out on mild pain killers and advance to those that take over their lives. Changing some of our habits and improving our general health might be the best present we can give our families, especially our children. Just a thought for the new year, and another reason to pray for those we know who may be struggling with this problem.
And be careful out there! Lots of harried travelers.