Categories
Emotions Recommendations

Helpful Little Hack of the Hour: Lightheartedness

Today’s helpful little hack of the hour is lightheartedness. At first blush, one might think this character trait would be dependent on circumstances. But I have found that it doesn’t have to be!

Definition of lighthearted

light·​heart·​ed | \ ˈlīt-ˌhär-təd  \

1: free from care, anxiety, or seriousness HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, a lighthearted mood

2: cheerfully optimistic and hopeful EASYGOING, they can be lighthearted in the midst of misery— H. J. Forman

http://www.merriam-webster.com

As mentioned in definition #2 above, we can be lighthearted, even when things aren’t going our way. When you’re feeling down, smile! It might seem fake at first, but the face muscles inform your mind and can actually help you feel lighter.

A photo of sky and tress with a poem by Mama Lava that says "Laugh more, frown less. Whenever possible, say 'Yes!'"
Choose lightheartedness!

“Laugh more, frown less. Whenever possible, say yes!”

I wrote this little ditty to help me remember. And just to clarify – don’t say “Yes!” to an overwhelming number of commitments or things that would be wrong for you. This is phraseology. It means to frame things, even to yourself, in a positive light.

From restrictive to permissive

Instead of saying “No cookies”, say “Yes, I will enjoy a piece of fruit”. Replace “No more staying up late” with “Yes! I get to sleep”. It helps to shape the way you feel about things.

This little hack of the hour might take some practice, so why not start today? Smile and say yes! You might uncover a perspective that is more free and lighthearted.

“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

Psalm 32:10

Wondering why am I publishing these helpful little hacks of the hour? Read the Introduction and Intent post here.

Categories
Reflections

What Breakthrough Does Your Mind Miss When You’re Too Busy?

Have you ever been too busy to notice what was happening around you? Can you recall a time when you were so deep in thought you completely overlooked details that were right there? I sure have! And it makes me wonder.

What Breakthrough Does Your Mind Miss When You’re Too Busy?

Blinded by busyness, Example 1

I have an example from recent experience. My apologies if this is TMI (too much information), but I was seated on the porcelain throne next to the bathtub. The shower curtain was closed and hung mere centimeters from my right shoulder.

I lingered there, physically. But my thoughts were elsewhere, occupied with mental lists, strategies and plans. When my business was done, I leaned over to flush. Because of the tight space, my face practically brushed the shower curtain.

My mind suddenly dropped all other thoughts and joined me in the moment. Something was not right! You know that feeling? My scream was choked into silence by my heart as it jumped into my throat to hide from the hockey puck-sized black spider just chillin’ on that white curtain.

Black spider on a white surface
Photo by Paul Knut on Pexels.com
Not the actual spider. I didn’t have enough wits about me to think of taking a photo.

Had it wanted to, it could have reached with one of its long legs and touched me as I sat, I’m sure. My eyes frozen wide, I stared at it. How had I not known it was there?

There was certainly no missing it now!

I had been too busy ‘in my mind’s eye’ to see it, but now that I had, I couldn’t take my gaze off it. I am not a fan of spiders, especially big ones! I gathered my wits, a wad of toilet paper, and all those legs. A second flush and my heartrate returned to normal.

Blinded by busyness, Example 2

Maybe you can relate to another, less creepy, example. Have you ever had trouble with a word search puzzle? With so many letters creating busyness on the paper, sometimes a word can seem impossibly hidden. Then, once someone points it out, it almost appears to jump off the page.

Word search with one word found and highlighted.
As if this puzzle understood it was an object lesson, I had to ask my son to show me where “Memorable Impression” was. I couldn’t see it until he showed me. Now it is obvious!

The breakthrough my mind missed when I was too busy

I missed a breakthrough last week. Well almost. The two examples above helped me understand how it happened.

I cannot write all that was going on in my heart and mind – the busyness on my life’s page, if you will – so I am leaving that to your experienced imagination. I am just going to point out the pertinent, connecting letters. Let me know when you see the spider. (Can I merge my two examples that way?)

  • My husband and I have been talking and praying about a way to serve at our new church. We’ve been hesitant to dive into anything because our fall season is full of uncontrollable unknowns (medical procedures, travel, etc.).
  • The Youth Pastor asked my husband and I to take part in a Vision meeting for upcoming year.
  • Cindy Dawson printed the following quote in her realchristianwomen.blog.

“If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.”

D. L. Moody
  • We attended the Vision meeting. We saw a need we could fill. We were assured our help would be welcome, even with the uncertainty of our schedule.
  • We left the meeting, still praying for God’s direction. (I’m sure you see the spider. We didn’t yet. We were preoccupied.)
  • Meanwhile, I walked the trails. God showed me his amazing wildflowers and I wrote the “Something to See” mini-series.
  • I had hurriedly written the rough draft of post #4 just before attending the Youth Group meeting. I wasn’t sure it made sense. I almost erased it, but I didn’t have time.
  • The next morning, I opened the blog to “fix” what I had written. When I read what was there, I broke down and cried. One paragraph stood out especially.

And, just like a summer blossom, my time to display His wonder will fade away. It is imperative that I invest in others, especially those younger than me, while I may. I need to sow seeds of my own.

Mama Lava, Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #4

Suddenly, the dots connected, the letters fit in order, and I saw the spider in front of me. We were supposed to get involved in youth ministry.

God had practically paved the way in neon. Looking back, I could see the signs. But until then, each was isolated. My busyness obscured the connection.

Now, it seems so obvious!

God was answering my questions and I didn’t get it because I couldn’t focus. My mind missed the breakthrough because I’d been too busy.

Instead of scolding me, my Heavenly Father directed my attention to His beautiful flowers. He showed me the seeds in various stages of their lifecycle. He stirred me to write what He ministered to my heart. And then He used those words to inform me as He unveiled the breakthrough.

I published that post, exactly as I had written it. Turns out, it resonated with some of you too. How great is our God!?

What about you?

Are you busy? I am not only referring to the errands, commitments, and chores of life. It could be anything which drowns out the voice of God.

Music, screens, and people provide constant distraction. Worries, daydreams, and replays of conversations fill our heads. We can barely finish our own sentences, let alone listen while God completes His.

Are you too busy? What breakthrough might your mind be missing?

Categories
Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #4

Thank you so much for joining me today for the last post in the “Something to See” mini-series. Education by conversation and collaboration is the most enjoyable way to learn. Thank you for the interesting discussion!

I’ve been posting a handful of photos each day for a few days. In case you’re new to the series, you can catch up on the other articles here: Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #1, #2, and #3.

I’m hoping you might be able to give me some insight about the stunning summer flowers I’ve encountered while hiking around my new hometown. I’d love for you to comment the number and name of any blossoms which you can help me to identify. (Click the pic, if you like, for larger view and scrolling capability.)

Consider for a moment what it takes for a flower to bloom.

  • First a seed must fall from its parent plant to a place where it can be nourished.
  • It has to grow many times it’s size, sending roots down, stems up, and leaves out.
  • Then it must develop buds.
  • Finally, with light, water, and God’s miraculous touch, the buds explode into stunning splendor.

The size, shape, color, and fragrance of each blossom was coded into the tiny seed from the beginning. But it could not fulfill its purpose if it stayed in seed form. It had to die to what it was, undergo amazing growth and transformation, and bloom. Next, it will wilt, drop seeds of its own, and start the process again.

These flowers are not only stunning in their surge of summer shimmer, but they are also superior object lessons. I want to be radiant and fragrant, showcasing the splendor of my Creator. But it isn’t as easy as just saying so.

  • I have to start small, die to myself, and submit to God.
  • I must embrace the process of learning, stretching, and growing.
  • As I am nourished by Him, I begin to develop opportunities to showcase the person He intended me to be.
  • In His perfect time, His beauty and fragrance surges through me in a burst of His stunning splendor for all to see.

Related Post: Angry and Convinced Someone Should Die? Make It Quick!

And, just like a summer blossom, my time to display His wonder will fade away. It is imperative that I invest in others, especially those younger than me, while I may. I need to sow seeds of my own.

Then those seeds, when planted, will follow the same lifecycle and the Savior will be showcased again and again, spreading joy and faith exponentially. That, my friend, is how you and I can leave legacies of eternal importance.

Let’s be perennial flowers, if you will, surging with stunning splendor in our respective spaces. May the seeds of our faith and obedience bloom through the generations and be something to see many years from now.

Categories
Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #3

Welcome back to the “Something to See” mini-series. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m excited to share today’s photos with you! They have me singing a song from my childhood.

Consider the lilies and how they grow, blossoming there in the field 
‘Tis not for their labor they flourish so, flowers of beauty to yield. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

I hope the pictures don’t take too long to load. Your time is precious, and I’m so blessed that you’re spending it here with me, admiring these spaces which are surging with such stunning splendor. I sure wish you could see these colors up close! Feel free to click on any pic to enlarge and scroll through them all.

If you’ve been following these posts, you know that I’d love your input on what kinds of plants these are. Please comment the photo number and any knowledge you have to share. So many of these flowers are new to me.

This isn’t a flower, per se, but this photo is also in my thoughts today.

Large bird with a stunning view from atop of a tall tree
Do you see the special tree-topper?

I took this picture, wondering what it would be like to sit atop the tallest trees. What a stunning view this bird must have had! I suspect this photo came to mind because of the second verse of the song in my head.

Consider a moment the birds in flight, everywhere filling the air. 
With never a worry they seek the height, nourished in bountiful share. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

While the spaces surging with stunning splendor are something to see and savor, they should point us to something even more spectacular. They should remind us that God really cares about us. He knows the details of our lives and gets intimately involved. I leave you with the third verse of the poetic song I just can’t seem to shake today.

For more than the lilies that bloom and grow, more than the birds of the air, 
Your Maker forever your need will know and feed you with heavenly care. 
Through the grace of God above, tending all in constant love, 
Every want shall be supplied, for God the Lord will provide.

Consider The Lilies, by Natalie Sleeth

Blessings, my precious friends. You are loved!

Categories
Conversations

Spaces Surging with Stunning Splendor are Something to See #1

Yes! I’m so glad you’re here! I have something spectacular I want you to see. The open spaces around me are absolutely surging with stunning splendor!

Spring seems to have sprung late where I live. It’s already the end of July. But this whole area seems to have suddenly exploded in joyful bloom.

I’ve tried to photograph several varieties of the flowers I’ve encountered the past few weeks. Most are growing wild in open spaces. I have guesses as to what one or two of them might be, but I’m hoping some of you are more botanically inclined and can help me out!

Will you teach me? I’ve numbered the photos below. Hopefully the different reading platforms are all capable of displaying captions.

It takes a beat to load photos, so I’m going to post just a handful a day for a few days. I’d love for you to comment the number and name of any blossoms which you can help me to identify. (Click on the pic, if you like, for larger view and scrolling capability.)

Aren’t they gorgeous!? What an eye God has for decorating, huh? His open spaces around here are stunning in their surging splendor. My photos really can’t compare to the natural thing, but I hope you enjoy them just the same.

Oh, and one last picture just for fun. Do you have dandelions this big where you live? This is something I had never seen before moving to Northern Arizona. I’m used to them being the same size as the face of my watch. I had to put my hand in this photo for reference. This one is more like the size of my actual face!

A dandelion as big as a human head
Look at the size of that dandelion!

Spaces surging with stunning splendor are certainly something to see, aren’t they? I look forward to learning from you. Let me know what you know about these wild and beautiful plants!

And if you’re a novice admirer like me, will you tell me which are your favorites? I know, it’s hard to pick! But I’ve chosen mine. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Categories
Devotions Emotions

Angry and Convinced Someone Should Die? Make It Quick!

When my blood starts to boil, and I feel myself getting really angry…

(I know you’ve been there too!)

It’s like fire raging from deep within, bursting out of control…

Aaarrrrrrgggg!

(Know the feeling?)

Someone needs to die!

(Yes, definitely!)

And that someone is me.

(Wait, what?)

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”

1 Peter 2:23, 24

To be clear, I am not advocating for suicide. This is not about physical death. But there are many natural instincts, with which I was born, that need to die. My need to be right, my desire for revenge, and the longing to have things “my way” are just a few.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do it alone. When I gave my life to Jesus, He gave me a Helper. The Holy Spirit convicts me of what needs to die in me and provides strength and motivation to put it down.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Galatians 5:24-26

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Romans 8:13

Someone once pointed out to me that a dead (wo)man has no preferences. (S)he may have wanted certain things while (s)he was alive; enough to stand, strive and fight for them, even. But not anymore. Once (s)he dies, (s)he no longer has rights or desires, and therefore can not be imposed upon or offended.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:2, 3

If I have truly died to myself, and Jesus is living in me, there should be no struggle for control. I shouldn’t be consumed with pursuits of things I used to want. I am no longer relevant. My life is His.

A tiny plant in a handful of soil
Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com
Just as a seed will die to live as something much greater, so must I.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Colossians 3:5-10

I committed my life to Christ many years ago. The Holy Spirit has been hard at work. But friends, I’m not there yet. My sinful flesh does not quiet quickly.

In the words of Paul, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12) And it sure is on my mind! By God’s grace, I hope to resemble Him more, and me less, every day.

When I feel provoked, angry, and convinced someone should die, I need to make it quick. I’m the one who needs to die. My sin, my fleshly desires, my arrogance, my rights – I need to lay them all down for the joy of the Lord.

“We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 

Romans 6:2a, 6-8, 11, 13, 14