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A Special Little Treasure

Happy Friday to you all!
How are you today?  What’s going on in your personal world today? 

Well… whatever it is, I hope you have a good day, filled with energy and purpose.  I pray you have good clarity for what needs your attention today, and peace in the decisions that must be made.  I pray you have strength and good health to meet your obligations today, and friendship, love and/or companionship to help along the way.

Most of all, I pray you have sweet communion with the One who made you and created you, for all things good; who knew you and loved you, before you were even born. 

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

I know, I can hear you saying it.  These days it does seem particularly hard to rise with a good, positive attitude and be upbeat & hopeful for the day.  I know.  With the “war on terror,” mean-spirited politics, flailing economy, job losses, etc, it’s hard to find much to celebrate in the news, isn’t it?  And frankly, most of us are pretty stressed out with trying to provide for our families, right?  Yikes, so much negative emotion going on!  

Well, let’s take this moment to regroup, to recharge – as I pray peace for you today. Wherever you are, I pray that you’ll feel God’s peaceful presence with you, giving you energy and discernment for the things that truly matter, whatever they may be in your life, and help you let go of the things that don’t.

Let’s just let down and de-stress – for a moment.

Okay, think about when you were young, did you ever find a shiny penny, a pretty little rock or seashell, some little item that was a special little treasure to you?  Treasures for Blog framed Remember that feeling, that excitement in finding, in holding that little treasure?  I pray today that you find a special little treasure – a feeling, an emotion, a relationship, a trinket, a friend, a memory – that brings a smile to your face, a joy to your heart, like that special little treasure when you were young.  I pray for something or someone to be that special little treasure in your day.  

See what you can find in your day today, to be that awesome little treasure, bringing a little piece of positive joy to brighten your day.  Even if it’s just a happy memory hidden in your heart. Find it, pull it out and live it again!

And if you’re able, I invite you to go out and be a special little treasure for someone else today – or how about this weekend?  Take a moment, an hour, a day – whatever you can, and give a compliment, open a door, buy a cup of coffee, help a friend – or even a stranger.   Try making a positive difference in someone else’s life.  You might just feel a little piece of joy stick you right in the heart. (grin)

For it is written, 
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

Or in today’s words: Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.  Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.  (Philippians 4:8-9 The Message)

So, for today, for this weekend, let’s take a time out from all the wars, the anger, the backbiting and cursing going on everywhere.  Let’s instead, find or be a treasure!  How about it?  Are you in?  Let’s make a pact to concentrate on positive thinking today.  Let’s dwell on the good things in our lives and some good things we can do or get involved in around us.  (Remember that “thinking of you” card you were going to send? Or that caring phone call you were going to make, or neighbor’s lawn you were going to mow, or invite to lunch, or helping chore you were going to do? Or how about that prayer you were going to say? Ooooooohhhhh.  Or maybe that book you were going to read, that walk in the garden, or church you were going to check out?) 

Well, today’s the day!

Let’s set our hearts and our heart-longings on things that really matter, things that truly might make a difference, in our lives, or someone else’s.  Let’s forget about all the haters and hate-filled stuff going on and instead fill our minds and words with affirmation and kindness.  Let’s find the positive instead of the negative. Let’s try to build up instead of tear down. 

Let’s ourselves be a special little treasure today.  

Come on and join me?  Let’s do this!

God is My Bowl of Cream of Wheat

Full Fur Lined Slippers   After experiencing my first dry, HOT Nevada summer, I am definitely enjoying this week’s burst of cooler, fall weather – yay!  How about you?  Waking up to a brisk 49 degrees (and after pulling out my warm, fur lined slippers), I find myself longing for a bowl of hot, satisfying Cream of Wheat! Mmmmm…Rich and creamy, made with milk and a touch of pure maple syrup for just a hint of sweetness, topped with dried cranberries and cinnamon toasted walnuts or pecans – oh yes! Just what my tummy is hungering for. 

Cream of Wheat for Blog 2

Mmmmm…that was SO good! Soothed me right up!

     As I was eating, I got to thinking this: my rich, delicious, soothing bowl of cream of wheat does for my tummy and body, just what my relationship with God does for my soul and my life. Oooooh yeeeeeaah!  Here’s how:

The thick, hot cream of wheat itself serves as my breakfast foundation; it’s the soothing, nutrient rich filler that lines my tummy and satisfies my hunger.  Just like my relationship with God.  Believing in God, allowing myself to love Him, and having deep faith, fills me up with goodness, satisfies my hunger for belonging and self-worthiness, soothes my battered soul and creates the rich foundation for everything in my life.

Maple Syrup 2The little touch of pure maple syrup serves as the wholesome little bit of sweetness I need to not crave delicious and tempting super fats like fried donuts and pies in the morning!!  This is like prayer – my conversations with God.  Talking with God fills me up with sweet love from my Maker, satisfying my craving for acceptance and love and all the very tempting but bad-for-me things in this world.  After imbibing in a little prayer time, I feel loved and renewed and good about myself, and relieved of the need to go out and seek the wrong kind of acceptance socially.Cranberries 1 comp

The cranberries lend a little bit of tartness just to liven things up. They get my orneriness and backbone going, just like God’s Word or Scripture does.  When I need a little strength and courage to do what needs to be done, I can always go to the Book and find that encouragement and backbone, and even a little direction for my day to day living.  Plus, cranberries are loaded with anti-oxidants and help improve immune function.  Scripture is also loaded with anti-oxidants for life, and applying God’s words to my life definitely improves my immunity to temptation. (smile smile)

Cinnamon compThe cinnamon adds a little spice for variety and flavor.  Just like my Christian service and ministry work.  I love the sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy flavor of cinnamon, and I love the sweet feelings and spicy variety I find in helping/doing nice things for others.  People and physical work can be great fun, but they can also be quite spicy!  But like cinnamon, mission work is full of variety and adds so much robust flavor to my life!Pecans

And, finally, the nuts give a little shot of protein, a little “meat” to cling to my tummy, which helps the rich cream of wheat fill me up, making me feel that much more satisfied and content.  This is just how I feel when I visit (fellowship) with other believers, whether socially or in church.  They back up and affirm my faith, helping to enrich and shore up my confidence and satisfaction in serving God.  And when I might falter, they are there to help carry me through the empty spots. These friends are God’s little helpers in making my life rich, happy, full and satisfying.

So there, you have it – God is my bowl of cream of wheat 

Yum!

Light Bulb Moments

Remember the last time you had a light bulb moment, an ah-ha moment, an epiphany?  That moment when a thought, an experience, something you just read, or something someone said, becomes an extraordinary, maybe life-changing revelation to you? I had one of those yesterday.  It was something very simple, really, but, for me, it was powerful indeed!

I was born the second of 5 children, and was raised mainly by my mother after my parents divorced when I was about 8.  We didn’t have much growing up but the one thing we did have was love.  Though we didn’t spend a lot of time with Mom – she worked long hours to provide for us, attended school full-time to earn a nursing degree, and spent countless hours doing homework – she made sure we knew we were loved.  And as she showed us love, she also instilled in us a deep love and caring for others.  No matter how bad we kids might have thought we had it, we knew there was always someone, somewhere who had it worse.

Therefore, I grew up being aware of others’ circumstances around me and helping others became second nature. I grew up believing that other people’s needs were more important than mine, and if need be, I could lay aside my circumstance to help them. So, caring for others has always felt good to me.

As a result of growing up without a father figure influence, and having a very busy mother, I have struggled with control and self-esteem issues, manifesting into eating/food issues, such as bulimia (for which I have had treatment and celebrate recovery, J for many years), but still struggle with sweet addictions, and the pull of old, bad habits from time to time.  However, I have always felt that my issues impacted or hurt no one other than myself.  If I chose to live like that, it was ok because no one else would be hurt by it.  I could live like that and still be a loving, caring person, willing and able to help my neighbor when needed.  Sounds good, right?

Yesterday I realized how wrong I have been in thinking that way.  Contemplating a few questions in a book I am reading (Wonder Struck, by Margaret Feinberg**) it hit me.  These questions basically asked:

What does loving your neighbor as yourself, as described in the Bible mean to you?

Do you think you can truly love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself?

When have you not taken care of yourself and, as a result, found yourself caring for other people less?

First, I have always thought I loved “my neighbor” more than myself, and thought that was a good thing.

Second, of course I answered yes, I can love my neighbor fully with the love that God put in my heart for them.  It doesn’t matter if I love myself or not.

Then on the third question I of course began to answer that I haven’t cared for people less because of not caring for myself.

But, a little voice inside me said, “Wait – let’s think about that a moment.

Is that really true?”

Hmmmm….well…when I am not caring for myself the best, and am in a period of “catering” to my food issues, when I’ve had some binging days and I’m feeling “fat” or guilty, I do tend to hide in my house and not take part in social activities until I feel less fat or guilty or whatever.  But that doesn’t hurt anyone else, does it?

Well, let’s see, when I am hiding in my house, not wanting anyone to see me, I am not seeing anyone else either. If I am not seeing anyone else, then how am I to know if “my neighbor” is in need, and care for them?

Hmmm…well, I guess you could say then, that catering to my not-so-healthy eating/thinking issues, from time to time, and as a result, hiding myself in my house and not dealing with people –though not really harming anyone else –actually might be a little selfish behavior. And if I am being selfish with something – that means someone else is doing without that thing I am being selfish with and keeping for myself, right? Hmmm…thinking a little deeper…

Can this really mean that in my not-really-meaning-to-be-selfish behavior, I am actually caring for other people less?

Yes! I can see now that when I am not caring for myself correctly, I really AM caring for OTHERS LESS.  Not purposely, but yes, it’s true!

Lightbulb!!!!!

 So, now I understand that even though I think I am doing no harm to anyone but myself on those days that I want to binge on sweets, the result of my binging does affect others.  It does cause me to be less caring of others, because in my feeling bad and my guilt, I am hiding myself away from them, taking away the chance of my ministering to them – or them ministering to me!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to knowingly be less caring; I, nor anyone else, can make any good difference in the world if we are practicing being less caring, right?  In catering to my bad food cravings, even if not every day, and thinking that doing so affected no one else, I was wrong – my results do affect others, and not in a good way.

So, now I have new incentive to resist those tempting urges to binge on sweets instead of healthy foods, and to get proper exercise, not too much or too little.  In resisting those tempting little urges, not only will I be taking better care of myself, I will actually be caring for other people – more!

In closing, and as a thought for this week, I would invite you to ask yourself those same questions that Margaret Feinberg asks in her book study, “Wonderstruck” and see where you stand.  Will it be a lightbulb moment for you too?

Blessings and much caring to you,

Mindy

** WONDER STRUCK, AWAKEN TO THE NEARNESS of GOD, © 2013 Margaret Feinberg,

Published by LifeWay

http://margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck/