Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

motives & truth

Do you know what it is like to have someone question your motives?  It is one thing if they ask you personally, but usually they just discuss it with others under the assumption that they know all there is to know about the situation.  Such harm is done when people start jumping to conclusions about why someone did or didn’t do whatever.

Here is truth.

God knows our motives. It is possible to do the right actions but do it with wrong motives. It is not about ‘what’s in it for me.’ It is about bringing glory to God by how we live. It is about pointing people to Christ as they watch how we handle things. God will shed light on our motives.  He does know all there is to know about every situation.

“For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NASB)

It is important that we allow God to reveal to us areas that need attention. Maybe our attitude needs to be changed or a habit that is unhealthy needs to not be ignored anymore. Maybe an apology is due for something that was said or done.

Make amends.

One of my goals going into a tough situation is that I will not say or do anything that later I will need to apologize for. Succeeding at this (only happens with God’s help) means I am letting God work through me and saying no to my flesh.

Getting into the truth about my actions, words and part in a conflict is vital to being able to be a vessel God can use.  Staying in the truth is necessary if I want to continue to walk in victory.

I am a work in progress.  So are you!

til next time

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June 1, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

get in the truth

Recently I witnessed drama to the tenth degree.  I hate that feeling of helplessness when you see what’s happening and you can’t stop it. Like a snowball rolling downhill – it gains momentum and debris as it rolls.

However, this is where truth comes in.  Truth sets us free.   I may not always like what truth reveals about me, but it is then that I can choose to allow Christ to change me and help me handle it different next time.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

The ultimate truth is found in John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life – no one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus dwells in our heart by faith (Ephesians 3:17) and shines a spotlight on areas that need attention.

When we are in the truth about our hang ups, we are a position to be freed from them. Walking in the truth is a life long process. However, if we refuse to get in the truth or if we play the blame game – we stay stuck.

So much drama would be avoided if people took a long hard look at their own actions and acknowledged their role in the drama.

Years ago I prayed a simple, yet life changing prayer. (I pray it often, especially when I know I will be in a difficult situation.)

“Lord, help me to not say or do anything today that I will need to apologize for later.”

It makes me very aware of my behavior. Sure there are times I fail miserably. It is then that living in the truth causes me to own up to my actions/words. Owning up to it helps me next time to be more careful.

 

As for the drama situation mentioned at the beginning of this blog, God answered my life changing, simple prayer.

Let’s walk in truth.

How.Very.Freeing!!

til next time

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May 23, 2016 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

look out pride – the fall is coming

Arrogance is not a godly trait.  It is seeped in pride.   As a minister of the Gospel of Christ I have had numerous opportunities to extend grace and/or mercy to pride filled people.  It is not my job to change them.

It is my job to love them anyway.  It is my job to be an example.   However, it is also appropriate for me to set up boundaries. After all, God’s Word says to ‘guard my heart, above all else.’  (Proverbs 4:23)

This morning I was doing the dishes and just so happened to have K-Love on the radio.  Usually I listen to Joyce Meyer while doing dishes but not this morning.  I was thinking over a particular event that had recently occurred.  I really have an inward struggle with people who belittle other people or show superiority by making someone else look bad in public.    It breaks my heart when I see it happen to others and it hurts when it happens to me.

We are called to encourage, to come along side each other, to build up and not to tear down.  So when it happened to me I saw it for what it was — a little dig from the enemy.

So there I was doing dishes and thinking about what, if anything, I should have done or should do about this incident.  I do believe that as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  (Proverbs 27:17)   Yet, what is it God would have me do?

Then it happened.

God spoke to my heart and said ” Look at what happened next.”

Huh?  What?

What happened next?

Then it hit me.

Look out pride, the fall is coming. (Proverbs 16:18)   I wasn’t the one falling so I hadn’t recognized it.  Look out pride, there it was- the fall.   Yes, God loves this individual and He is working in their life and He is dealing with the arrogance.   I will continue to love and extend mercy and grace.  Why? Because we are all in need of it, including me.

Then this song came on:

“No matter what I face
You’re by my side
When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.”

Lauren Daigle

til next time,

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February 29, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

reminders are good

Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

Some days getting out of bed is an accomplishment.  Yet, it is important to remember that I only have one opportunity to live this day.  When the day is done I want to look back on it and know that I chose wisely, that I didn’t let my ‘feelings’ control my day, that I didn’t let my physical pain have the upper hand, and that I walked with God.

P1080733

This next lesson is one many people could benefit from.   When my life is seeming to resemble chaos, when stress is high, and it seems I just can’t get a handle on things — God leads me beside still waters.   He leads me but this means I choose to follow or I choose to continue down the stress highway.  God’s path is so much better.   Which path are you choosing?

still waters

Sometimes things happen that are out of my control.  The thing to remember is nothing takes God by surprise.  The question is – how long will I allow my heart to be overwhelmed before I cry out to God?   The sooner the better.

psalm 61

Anxious, worried, stressed, this is a good ‘go to’ scripture that is powerful to meditate on.

daisy

Sometimes people can be hurtful.  Recognizing that how I treat them is a reflection of me and my walk with God.   Yes, sometimes I badly need to remember this prayer.

my prayer

Finally, remembering that the center of God’s love is where I want to stay means exchanging my will for His.  What a wonderful trade off.

word pic 5

til next time,

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February 5, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

674

674 and counting

Awhile back I was at a PW retreat and was challenged to start a gratitude journal.  I have great respect and admiration for the woman who challenged me.  She even went as far as to supply us with journals.  I had no excuse.  (Shortly after that I read the book  1,000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp.  I highly recommend this book.)

The idea behind the journal is to list three things that you are grateful for each day – no repeating.

My first three:

1. The love of God
2. My husband
3. My children

I am up to 674.  While that is a lot, if I had in fact listed three each day there would be so much more.  However, this is not about guilt or self- condemnation when I don’t write in it for a few days.

It is about getting me to focus on what God is doing in my life.  It is about keeping a record of the little things that I would have missed if I wasn’t looking for the beauty around me.  It is a tool to help me cultivate an awareness of God’s presence in my day.

“Let us cultivate an awareness of the presence of God.”  Curt Girod

Another benefit is that on those days when life seems to have kicked me in the teeth, I can open up my journal and read through it.  I can’t adequately express just how encouraging that is!

“God is good.  Life is good.  Life can be hard but God is still good.”  Curt Girod

What about you?  Do you find yourself rushing through each day?  Is it easy for you to be dragged down in negativity?  Do your days seems to be ‘same old, same old?’  Do you recognize the fingerprints of God in your day? Do you struggle with gratitude?

I encourage you to grab a pen and notebook.  Start your own gratitude journal.  If you keep at it, it will change you.

Here are a few of my entries.

Sand between my toes,
Greenish blue water meeting the bright blue sky, dotted with white fluffy clouds (just reading that takes me back to that moment -makes me smile)
Vastness of the ocean,
White keys –black keys flowing into music,
Smell of the air after a downpour,
Great hair day,
Bad hair day – have hair!
Alexander snuggles,
Encouragement of a friend,
Tree lined highways,
Cake for breakfast!!
Belly laughs,
Crisp bacon,
Wading across the Mississippi,
My husband’s smile,
Alexander’s really long hug while my tears flow – life is precious!
Peace in the midst of sadness,
Heating pad,
Apple fritters that remind me of mom,
Hope,
Just so happens moments – when God lines things up (there are many of those listed)
Peppermint mocha creamer,
Crying with a friend,
Alexander walking in my shoes,
The sound of my children laughing,

What are you grateful for?  Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  What a great time to start your own gratitude journal.

til next time

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November 25, 2015 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

perspective – gratitude – wonder

live out loud

Some songs are as powerful the 100th time you hear it as it was the first time you heard it.    I hope you  still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.   PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

the Badlands of SD

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”

This year we took our ’83 Yamaha on a Parks Run.  There weren’t any oceans on this trip.  There were lots and lots of mountains, hills and prairies.  I still felt small.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

climbing

thought I was going to have to slide down on my behind but my knight rescued me!

thought I was going to have to slide down on my behind but my knight rescued me!

I did some climbing and found that the Badlands are made up of lots of loose rock.  It was a snap to climb up, but it was getting down where the challenge came in.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

Mt Rushmore

Depending on the angle that you are viewing  the presidents and whether or not you have binoculars – will determine how big they seem.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

in comparison

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.  Never settle for the path of least resistance…….. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance — I hope you dance.” 

I take lots of pictures because pictures are right up there with my most favorite things.  Pictures tell the story.  Keeping things in perspective reduces stress.  Does it really matter?  Is it worth getting frustrated?  In the scope of the next five years – will it even be remembered?    Don’t fear those mountains.

Every time we take a long motorcycle trip, God does a deep work in me.   It is one of the things I love most about our trips.  — 13 days of just me, my hubby and God!  It is the closest thing we seem to get to a sabbatical.

blue skies, green grass and gorgeous scenery

blue skies, green grass and gorgeous scenery

“Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along.  Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone………”

I don’t want to miss out on living because I was too busy to notice.  I have heard it said that “life is what happens while you are making other plans.”   I challenge you to stop, look around you, and really take in the moment.   Allow yourself to be right where you are, not looking ahead to the next thing on the agenda or playing the “I’ll be happy when” game.  This is a flower from my garden that was blooming whether or not I took the time to notice.

look what was hiding

PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!  The flower is now in a vase on my dining room table.

mighty close

 

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”

We had a number of these close encounters with Bison.  He is just out for a stroll.  I have not lost my sense of wonder.  I am ever grateful that he kept strolling.  It certainly put things into perspective.

be careful where you stand

be careful where you stand

There were many signs warning you to stay on the path because the earth was unstable.  There were many places at Yellowstone where I felt small and would just stand quietly in awe and wonder.   What a vast area of land filled with beauty that words or pictures just don’t do it justice.  Our God is so very creative.  PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!

postcard perfect

beautyOn one side you could view the top picture.  The next picture shows the view on the other side.  So many thoughts filled my head as we would walk the trails viewing the upper and lower falls.  I have not lost my sense of wonder.    Have you?

elkLast picture.  This one I had to climb over fallen trees to get to a spot where I could truly capture the beauty.  Sometimes in life there will be  obstacles that  stand in our way.

I received a bracelet from a friend that says “When God guides, God provides.”    He will enable us to conquer the mountains that come along our path.  2 Samuel 2:30 and Psalm 18:29 both say that — For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.    Sounds like taking life by storm and making the most of all that God has for us!!

If you haven’t listened to this song in a while – here it is.  I hope you Dance!

Til next time

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August 3, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, motorcycle, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

one month later

saying 2

It dawned on me today that it has been one month since I quit my second job.

In  my first week a dear, precious friend of mine went to be with Jesus.  That week was filled with preparations.    Note to self, make the time to run through the song on the organ before the funeral.  There were three keys that did not work that I needed.

That first week and a half was hard.  I didn’t anticipate just how difficult the re-entry would be.  I also did not expect all the demands that would come my way.    Thankful for a dear friend who helped it make sense to me.

Certainly it has not gone according to my original plan.  Yet it has gone according to my plan.  You see, whatever God’s will is for my life is what I choose  (that becomes my plan) and I know that nothing happens without going through Him.  Therefore God has allowed the circumstances for reasons I sure do not understand, but in acceptance lieth peace.

In acceptance lieth peace.  Peace = calm and quiet or the absence of war and strife.  So in acceptance lieth a calm and quiet heart or a heart without war or strife.

Acceptance is not the same as approval. It is the recognition that God is in control and I can trust Him to work all things out for my good and I don’t have to allow frustration, strife, or stress to take over.  All of this is extremely important for me as I deal with the issues that keep coming at me.  

God offers me  peace that goes way beyond my understanding.   A calmness washes over me when I quit struggling to make sense of it all.  Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense, but God is not taken by surprise nor is He on vacation. 

It is what it is and God has it under control.

Vacation came a week after the funeral.

The plan was to spend only two days with family.  The rest of the time was scheduled for much-needed rest and relaxation for both of us.

Again, things did not go as originally planned.

My mom fell on Tuesday.  She was playing kick ball unsupervised with a small child, at the memory unit where she is living.  She fractured her pelvic and was at the ER.

We were closest.  We spent the rest of our vacation going to see mom.  Seeing your mother in such needless extreme pain  was emotionally draining.

This time it took me a bit longer to get to the ‘in acceptance lieth peace’ frame of mind.   Praise God He is an ever-present help in trouble.   (Psalm 46:1)

Later others have said to me that it was good that we were on vacation because we were there and didn’t have to figure out how to get there.  (Hmmm, sounds kind of like Spring Break.)

What they don’t understand is that we would have figured it out.  However, we won’t figure out how to plan another vacation of rest and relaxation this year.  Yes, it took me awhile to get to the acceptance part this time.

It has been quite a first month.

A few things I have dealt with this past month.

pray

Grateful for those who are there giving me encouragement and support and learning how to accept those who aren’t.

With Christ I am stronger than I ever imagined.  When I reached the point where I thought, “God help the next person who asks something of me,”  and yet had God’s strength to carry on and give even more.  Praise God for the power of the anointing!

Guard against being offended.    (Psalm 119:165)  Really?  This again?

Jealousy will change a relationship.  Still haven’t figured out how to fix this.  All I can say is that I would gladly let someone follow me for a week  and then maybe they wouldn’t be  jealous.   Ministry is work.  Work that I love but it comes at a price that many are not willing to pay or even realize there is a price involved.   Yet they  want the ‘glamour’.   Jealousy, you are a wicked companion.

Doctors, social workers, nurses, administrators, policies, and decisions as to what to do next with my mother.  At one point the doctor gave me the option of hospice.  He thought a week.   She was dehydrated.  Therefore her kidneys were failing, oxygen low and she was in extreme pain from the fracture.   Yesterday she was released from the hospital to a nursing home for rehab.  This roller coaster continues…..

One month — what a month.

I look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store.  Getting to this point came with a high price tag but that just makes me know that it was worth it and the best is yet to come!

Proverbs 31:25 (NASB)

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

til next time

August 31, 2013 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ordinary things

If I asked  how are you, what would your answer be?

Busy?  Stressed?  Overwhelmed?  Bored?

What are the demands on your life?

Do you find that you are in a constant state of ‘rush’?

Does it seem that one task is not even close to being done when the next task is demanding attention?

Sometimes life meets us coming and going.  Sometimes I eat on the run.  Other times I find myself with more to do and night has come.

Awhile back I was talking with a friend about the importance of answering the call to  “Come away” and how easy it can be to ignore that call or put off that call.  Who has time for that anyway?

Mark 6:31 (NASB) “And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)

In our Impact class we were talking  about using ordinary tasks to incorporate more time in prayer.   Driving to work is a wonderful opportunity to talk with God about the day, the issues you are facing, and about the people you will come in contact with that day.  God is already on the scene but we must learn to cultivate an awareness of His presence.

A long time ago I started working in my kitchen with Joyce Meyer.  It seemed that  there just never was enough time/energy to cook and clean up.   My attitude reflected this.  What was I to do?  Continue to struggle?

LIghtbulb!!

I receive a new CD every month from Joyce.   I have numerous CD sets of hers that someday I was going to take time to listen to,  so I decided to pop one in.  Wa La,  the kitchen is no longer an issue.  Thus Joyce Meyer and I do dishes together.  Taking an ordinary thing but making it extraordinary.  Win win!!

Another ordinary task that has become a moment of solitude in my day is the restroom.   Might sound kind of strange to you, until you try it.  When I need a moment to remind myself that God is greater and He is already working on whatever it is I am facing, I close the door, take a breath, and connect with Him.   What a difference a couple of minutes makes.

Going for walks is another ordinary task that can easily become a prayer walk.  It is amazing how your neighborhood changes when you begin to pray for your neighbors.

Yet while all of these things are helpful, the call to me to “come away to a secluded place” was greater than just the ordinary places.     Maybe that will mean getting up a half hour earlier.  It could mean turning off the tv and going to a quiet place instead.

I thought when I  was no longer bi-vocational that time would just present itself.  After all, I was not going to fill up my calendar.  Dropping into bed at night dog tired would be a thing of the past.   The plan was to take the first two weeks to regroup and adjust.

The first week was horrible.  I actually found myself wishing I was working.   The down time I had so desperately looked forward to was not going as planned.  Life was still coming at me fast.

It was then that the call came in loud and clear.  “Come away with me to a  quiet place.”

And I did!

What ordinary things do you turn into extraordinary?

When was the last time you went away to a quiet place?

til next time

August 18, 2013 Posted by | Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

golden rule played out in my life

Some people have a funny way of encouraging.  In fact it isn’t encouragement at all but sarcasm disguised as lightheartedness.  I don’t know about you but when I am struggling  – what I need is a listening ear or an encouraging word or the assurance  that the person has my back. 

You are probably familiar with the saying walk a mile in my shoes.   It is meant to remind us that we do not see all that is going on.  Instead of offering judgment or ridicule — give grace – offer encouragement –  recognize that each person is dealing with some sort of challenge.  The Christian life is filled with opportunities for growth.  Just because it is not our battle does not mean that it is not a battle.    

To us, it may look like no big deal but that is because of our perception of what the situation is.  Sometimes  that little thing  is the final straw in a whole host of challenges that have been piling up in the individual’s life.    Instead of making a harsh or flippant remark, we are called to come along side and encourage.

Do unto other as you want them to do unto you.  This does not mean if you treat people well that  they will in turn treat you well.  It doesn’t say Do unto others and they will likewise do the same to you.  It is not  some formula. 

There are times in my life where this truth has become crystal clear.  Oh if only those people would treat me the way I treat them.  However, that is not what this scripture is talking about.  It is addressing how I treat others which is not the same as how I am treated. 

Let’s look at the placement of this scripture.  Jesus is talking in Luke 6:27-36 about how we are to deal with people.  He is talking about loving our enemies – doing good to those who mistreat us.  Then he states to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’    It is about our behavior.  It is about how we express God’s love to those who mistreat us. 

He goes on to say that loving those who love you in return does not set us apart.  It doesn’t take any effort on our part to love people who treat us great!  As Christians we are called to a higher standard.  We are called to love our enemies.

When we love those who are unloving, when we treat people decently even when they are mistreating us, when we extend mercy and do good – we are letting God’s love shine through us.

For me it is harder when the person who is mistreating me is a Christian.  David addresses this in  Psalm 41:9  “Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”   Yet David speaks about his own integrity and that he will be in God’s presence forever. 

So, I will continue to love and treat people the way I want to be treated because that is what my Lord asks of me.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not.  But I refuse to fall into the trap of making excuses for unkind behavior.    I can and do  trust God to give me the strength and the ability to walk in His love.   

The Golden Rule is played out in my life when I walk in love not just to those who love me but to those who just may need my love the most.  

God cares about the lost and so should we.

til next time

June 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

livewell, laughoften, lovemuch

You’ve probably heard the saying Live well, Laugh Often, Love much.  It seems to be  one of those sayings that has gotten over used and in turn seems to have lost some of its meaning.  This is unfortunate because it really is a simple yet powerful reminder of how we should live.

Live well

Life is all about choices -choices we make. What kind of choices we make depends on our convictions,  our priorities, our responsibilities, our resources and/or our desire to please others or God.  Life is also about the choices that others make that impact us.  How we handle this is a reflection of what is inside us.  No one can take away our inner joy and peace but we can certainly set it aside because we choose to let what someone else has done affect us negatively.

I have said it often.  Either God is in control and bigger than whatever is going on or He isn’t.  The One True Living God is ever-present, ever-knowing and all-powerful.  Nothing takes God by surprise.  He is not off on vacation somewhere but is very much aware of ALL that is going on.  And even more important, He has a plan and is working all things out somehow, someway for good!  I don’t have to understand it, nor do I possibly think that I could understand the mind of God.  How small would God have to be for man to grasp all that He is?  How sad that some people just don’t get how mighty God truly is.

What do your choices say about you?  (Joshua 24:15)

Laugh Often

This is currently what I have been thinking about today.

I love my office.  Yet it seems that I sure don’t get to see it much.  Isn’t it pretty?

At  the clinic we have been  short-staffed since the beginning of September.

This week there is no way I will see my office as we are short one more person.  To say that this was going to be a challenge to my sanity, my joy, my peace and my attitude would be correct.    Yet I know that it is how I choose to handle situations that come my way that is the key to walking in peace and joy.

So this morning before heading off to work I purposed in my heart that there would be laughter and lots of it.  I love to laugh and I am entertained easily but this morning I was in search of any and every reason to laugh.

Again I realized that laughter is contagious.   (Proverbs 17:22) I am confident that sticky situations were averted all because of light-hearted laughter.   I would much rather be a carrier of laughter than crankiness.  Sadly I have been a carrier of the later a time or two.

Laugh often – yes I did.  I came home from work very tired but in a good frame of mind.  Laughter does make a difference.   It is my plan for tomorrow and Wednesday.  (Yes, I even get to go to work on my day off.)

Love much

This one comes naturally for me.  I love people, even people who have stomped on me.  Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am not a door mat.  I have learned the lesson of tough love and that boundaries must be in place.  There are people out there who are selfish and will take advantage of you or try to manipulate you.

Wisdom is needed.  Praise God that He is the giver of wisdom.  We just need to ask Him.   He will help us to best know how to express love to others.    God is love and He has called His children to love others!  It is easy to love those who love and treat you well.  Yet we are also God’s hand extended to a hurt and lost world.  May God’s love flow through us. (I Corinthians 13)

Well I am off to go do some painting at the kids new house.

til next time

November 19, 2012 Posted by | relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment