Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Live Well, Live Wisely

I love Christmas...it truly is my favorite time of year.  The singular focus of God coming near in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ...well, I would do better to wonder over that gift all year long! 
But, almost as good, to me, is this week.  The afterglow of Christmas...usually involving a little time off and some time with family, and no return to the hectic pace of life just yet.  It's a time of reflection.  I'm not really one to make "New Years' Resolutions", but I do love the idea of a fresh start, a new beginning.  God knows I need one quite often.  There are many processes that God has begun in my heart to transform me into who He wants me to be.  His Word is my guide in that process, and this passage is another reminder for me from James 3 (The Message).

"1-2Don't be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.
 3-5A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!
 5-6It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
 7-10This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can't tame a tongue—it's never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
 10-12My friends, this can't go on. A spring doesn't gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don't bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don't bear apples, do they? You're not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?
 13-16Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here's what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It's the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn't wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn't wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn't wisdom. It's the furthest thing from wisdom—it's animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you're trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats.
 17-18Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Panera is here!!!

If I have talked to you anytime recently, you probably don't even need to read this, because I have been talking non-stop about this...I am soooo excited that our Panera is open now!  And it's not just because they have great food.  They are SHARING their great food with us at Light and Life!  Yes, it's true...after months of checking the website daily for the status of our request, we were approved for their Operation Dough-Nation, where we receive their daily leftovers every Saturday night.  YEAH!!!
So, this past Saturday was our first pick-up, and Makenzie went along with me after our (AWESOME) dinner theatre production at church, "It's a Wonderful Life".  We arrived and told them the reason we were there, and then they offered us a drink and something to eat while we waited!  I love this place!  So while Makenzie gobbled up her cinnamon roll, I watched as they began to load up the leftover bagels.  I'm thinking to myself...that's a lot of bagels.  Then they started boxing up all the pastries, and I'm thinking to myself...that's a lot of pastries.  Then they just got garbage bags for all the loaves of bread, and I'm beginning to worry if I have enough room for it all!  As they come out front to load up all the special holiday breads and cookies, I'm loading up the car and realizing that I have left no room for my daughter in our SUV, and I'm trying to decide what must stay and what must go...You'll be glad to know that Makenzie did make it into the car (by sitting in Jonathan's carseat).
What a feast we had Sunday morning!!!   And even after Sunday afternoon's dessert buffet, we still had quite a bit left over to take to Sojourner Truth Ministries to feed the homeless this week.  So YEAH!!!  Panera is here!!!!

Coming soon...the book I'm working on now...Love at Last Sight...and I'm loving it!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The American Patriot's Almanac

Daily Reading on America is the subtitle of this book, and that's exactly what you get...365 stories from history.  Now for those of you who only studied history because you had to in order to make it through school, this may not be the book for you...but then it may be!  I read through these stories that I had probably heard...with familiar names like Abigail Adams, Frederick Douglass, and Nathan Hale...but I had forgotten how inspiring their stories are, or maybe I never even appreciated them when I was younger. 
Each month also has an extra section of information including such topics as the flag, historical documents, quotes, songs and movies, and a great section on the influence that faith has had on our country. 
If you are weary of seeing our history rewritten to support a secular, Godless worldview, or if you simply enjoy rediscovering the stories that have built our great nation, then you will really enjoy this book.  I plan to read it with my children in order to help them develop an appreciation for history and the freedom and privilege that we enjoy as Americans.