It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 18, Book 14

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The more I think about it, the bigger waiting appears. It fills so much of our lives.

We’ve all made rash decisions when our impatience got the better of us. We’ve left lines that were barely moving only to get into an even slower line. We’ve taken the pizza out of the oven two minutes early because we just couldn’t wait. 

We may wait patiently or impatiently. Waiting for someone to finish the sentence, we want to shout 'Spit it out ‘

Only with winter patience can we bring
The deep desired, long awaited spring. 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Life seems to be rushing past us and yet when we are asked or expected to slow down or even stop to wait for someone or something, we get impatient to keep moving on.  We hurry through everyday mundane things like eating, or washing dishes, or driving home, just so that we can move onto the next part of our lives.

Advent gives me a reason to stop and consider the moments.  To touch base with the present and to remember that waiting is part of being in this world with other people.  People we love and we care about.  Sometimes waiting can be wonderful when you are with the right person.

Slow Down Therapy

Slow down; God is still in heaven. You are not responsible for doing it all yourself, right now. 

Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past. Rest there. Each moment has richness that takes a lifetime to savor.

Set your own pace. When someone is pushing you, it's OK to tell them they're pushing.
 Take nothing for granted: watch water flow, the corn grow, the leaves blow, your neighbor mow.

Taste your food. God gives it to delight as well as to nourish.

Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set. They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.

Quit planning how you're going to use what you know, learn, or possess. God's gifts just are; be grateful and their purpose will be clear.

When you talk with someone, don't think about what you'll say next. Thoughts will spring up naturally if you let them.

Talk and play with children. It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you. 

Create a place in your home... at your work... in your heart... where you can go for quiet and recollection. You deserve it.

Allow yourself time to be lazy and unproductive. Rest isn't luxury; it's a necessity.

 Listen to the wind blow. It carries a message of yesterday and tomorrow and now. NOW counts.

Rest on your laurels. They bring comfort whatever their size, age, or condition.

Talk slower. Talk less. Don't talk. Communication isn't measured by words.

Give yourself permission to be late sometimes. Life is for living, not scheduling.

Listen to the song of a bird; the complete song. Music and nature are gifts, but only if you are willing to receive them.

Take time just to think. Action is good and necessary, but it's fruitful only if we muse, ponder, and mull.

Make time for play, the things you like to do. Whatever your age, your inner child needs re-creation.

Watch and listen to the night sky. It speaks.

Listen to the words you speak, especially in prayer.

 Learn to stand back and let others take their turn as leaders.There will always be new opportunities for you to step out in front again.

Divide big jobs into little jobs. If God took six days to create the universe, can you hope to do any better?

When you find yourself rushing and anxious, stop. Ask yourself WHY you are rushing and anxious. The reasons may improve your self understanding. 

Take time to read the Bible. Thoughtful reading is enriching reading.

Direct your life with purposeful choices, not with speed and efficiency. The best musician is one who plays with expression and meaning, not the one who finishes first.

Take a day off alone; make a retreat. You can learn from monks and hermits without becoming one.

Pet a furry friend. You will give and get the gift of now.

Work with your hands. It frees the mind.

Take time to wonder. Without wonder, life is merely existence.

Sit in the dark. It will teach you to see and hear, taste and smell.

 Once in a while, turn down the lights, the volume, the throttle, the invitations. Less really can be more.

 Let go. Nothing is usually the hardest thing to do - but often it is the best.

Take a walk, but don't go anywhere. If you walk just to get somewhere, you sacrifice the walking.

Count your friends. If you have one, you are lucky. If you have more, you are blessed. Bless them in return.

Count your blessings, one at a time and slowly.

Author Unknown 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 17, Book 14

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.

Earl Nightingale

You've heard it said, Hurry up and wait! But learning to wait calmly is an important part of living. I think we don’t mind waiting if we have learned that there is a reward for that wait. A big chunk of one’s life is learning to have confidence in the darkness of winter, in the times when things look bleak, to know that there is something out of our sight that is coming into being. And that isn’t always just Christmas, but it’s all those rebirths in our own lives that require a period of waiting. Advent is just one of the times that waiting is tough.  The great thing is that we can wait together.

Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.  Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right and sometimes it feels like everything is about to fall apart when in reality things are just about ready to come together

Just as winter darkness draws us closer, Advent offers a paradoxical promise to our time:  that peace really is possible, that hope flickers in the darkest places, that crisis can draw us closer together, and that the humble of the earth will outlast the dark.  

The Christmas Ten Commandments

Thou shalt give thy heart to Christ. Let Him be at the top of thy Christmas shopping list.
Thou shalt prepare thy soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that thy soul is forgotten.
Thou shalt not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
Thou shalt not burden the shop girl, the mailman, and the merchant with complaints and demands.
Thou shalt give thyself with thy gift. This will increase its value a hundred fold, and he who receiveth it shall treasure it forever.
Thou shalt not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold.
Thou shalt not neglect the needy. Share thy blessings with many who will go hungry and cold unless thou are generous.
Thou shalt not neglect thy church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season.
Thou shalt be as a little child. Not until thou has become in spirit as a little one art thou ready to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
Thou shall not forget to share your joy, peace and faith with those around you.

 Author Unknown 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 16, Book 14

Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.

Dr. Seuss

Dream it and do it.  You can move mountains when you put your mind to it.  Direct your life like a blockbuster and make things happen. 

 I've learned . . . .
that everyone wants to live on top of
the mountain, but all the happiness
and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts…will wipe away the tears from all faces.

Isaiah 25: 6-8

There are days that the climbing seems endless and we never arrive.  The day begins and ends in exhaustion.  Our busy lives have no deeper purpose. Try to see the bright side of things.  It’s a great day for up, when you can see the sunny side of things.  Sure sometimes you’ll have to work at it, but positivity is a skill.  Do it daily.

Remember: Miracles are waiting everywhere.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:6-9

In Advent I set out to find myself on God’s holy mountain.  Here everyone is welcome. 
To Believe

To believe... is to know that every day is a new beginning.
It is to trust that miracles happen,
And dreams really do come true.

To believe... is to see Angels dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky,
And the wisdom of the man in the moon.

To believe... is to know the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child's eyes and the beauty of an aging hand,
For it is through their teachings we learn to love.

To believe... is to find the strength
And courage that lies within us.
When it is time to pick up the pieces and begin again.

To believe... is to know we are not alone,
That life is a gift and this is our time to cherish it.

To believe... is to know that wonderful surprises
Are just waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.
If only we believe.

Author Unknown

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 15, Book 14

Every day's a perfect gift of time for us to use. Hours waiting to be filled in any way we choose. Each morning brings a quiet hope that rises with the sun. Each evening brings the sweet content that comes with work well done. 

Author Unknown

I found out the hard way that if you want to say something, say it. Don’t wait for a good time. Life is beautiful and cruel in that it doesn’t tell you when your last day on earth will be.

Waiting and waiting and waiting for the right time to come is exhausting. And false.

I found the little poem below that seemed to fit the moment.  I wanted to give something to all my friends this year and says it all so well.

Friendship is a Golden Chain,
The links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel
It's treasured more each year…
It's clasped together firmly
With a love that's deep and true,
And it's rich with happy memories
and fond recollections, too...

Time can't destroy its beauty
For, as long as memory lives,
Years can't erase the pleasure
That the joy of friendship gives…
For friendship is a priceless gift
That can't be bought or sold,
But to have an understanding friend
Is worth far more than gold…
And the Golden Chain of Friendship
Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together
As the years go passing by.

Author Unknown

I've learned . . . .
that you should always leave
loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

A little smile, a word of cheer, A bit of love from someone near, A little gift from one held dear, Best wishes for the coming year--These make a Merry Christmas! 

John Greenleaf Whittier

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 14, Book 14

I am ready any time. Do not keep me waiting. 

John Mason Brown

We all tend to get very impatient when we have to wait on someone.  When they are late, we tend to worry or wonder why.  But I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason.  There are many stories about those that have just missed an accident because they were running late.  

For years I ran a very tight ship here at my house.  In order to get everything done, schedules had to be kept.  Working and taking care of a house and family kept me so busy I rarely had anytime off for myself.    I laughingly now look back at those days because now nothing has to be done, nothing runs on a schedule and nothing is done in a hurry.

When I retired I decided it was time to sit back, rest, and enjoy life more.  I figure it’s a reward for many long years of work.  

Anyway back to the subject at hand.  Waiting on others to show up.  I learned that if I had to rely on someone else’s time schedule, I’d never be on time or get much done.  Other people’s timeliness or lack of it shouldn’t effect how I spend my days.

Focus on today and handle things as they occur. Know that what’s happened in the past is water under the bridge. Remember that what may happen in the future is, for the most part, out of your control. Live, happily, in the here and now. It’s the only way to thrive!

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. 

Oren Arnold

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 13, Book 14

There are those of us who are always about to live. We are waiting until things change, until there is more time, until we are less tired, until we get a promotion, until we settle down -- until, until, until. It always seems as if there is some major event that must occur in our lives before we begin living. 

George Sheehan

Lessons learned from the apple trees:

One year there was huge harvest of apples. The branches hung heavy, and some were cracking with the weight of abundance. Never, in many years, had anyone seen such a harvest.

When asked why, they said that the previous year there was a late frost in the spring, and all the buds froze. When that happens an apple tree does a miraculous thing: It stores up its energy in thousands of small bumps, or nodules, called scions. All that energy pulsates through that network of scions until the spring of the following year, and then, BAM! You have an exploding riot of buds, as an apple tree unleashes all that stored up energy.

This description made me think about our own lives. Sometimes the harsh frosts of this life like cancer, death of a loved one, bankruptcy, trauma, depression that can cause our hearts to freeze.  During certain seasons of our life we feel our hearts waiting, longing, and even aching for those frozen places to burst into life like the apple trees.

Lord, my patience is often lacking and my timetable

often does not match Yours. Forgive me for my times
of doubt, and help me to trust You more.
Thank You for Your faithfulness.

Some lessons of patience take a long time to learn.

I’m almost done filling in the pages here in this final chapter of the book of 2014, with the season of Advent, the beautiful season of peace, patience, hope, joy, and waiting!   We are pretty good at the joy and hope, but the peace, patience, and waiting, maybe not so much!

Peace is the gift of this season and you can’t get it on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or by waiting in line for an hour with a Kohl’s 30% off coupon.  

Time is precious, so consider this powerful thought that I ran across in one of my Advent meditations: each 24 hour day has 1,440 minutes.  If you spent just 6 minutes in prayer each day over the days of the Advent and Christmas seasons,  you would invest 1,440 minutes in your relationship with the Father and the Son he sent to this world as an infant to save us.  Good investment, don't you think?

Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. 
No matter how we may dread the rush, 
the long Christmas lists for gifts and 
cards to be bought and given — 
when Christmas Day comes there is still 
the same warm feeling we had as children,
 the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes. 

Joan Winmill Brown

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chapter 12, Page 12, Book 14

We all have the extraordinary coded within us... waiting to be released.

Jean Houston

Extra ordinary things happy every day.  Extra ordinary sights in nature.  Extra ordinary people that bless our lives.  Many of us take pictures to help us remember a really good moment like a holiday or a gorgeous sunset or something cute one of our kids has done. We want to hold onto all that goodness after the moment has ended. They are like glimpses of heaven.

There’s one word that describes the night Jesus came—ordinary. It was an ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who loves to hook an ‘ extra' on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed. But God dances amidst the common. And that night, He did a waltz! The night was ordinary no more.

Max Lucado

All of these blessings give us little glimpses of heaven that sustain us, as springs in a desert refresh a weary traveler .  We need them so that we can find the strength to press on.  Without a sense of heaven, we would quickly lose our joy and gratitude

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.

Charles M. Schulz

We can all do a little extra, go the extra mile and take extra time in order to make every day extra ordinary!

Every gift which is given, even though is be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.