I finally sat down this afternoon to catch up on the past couple of days on my blog list.  I have love/hate feelings about the fact that this list is growing....so much ~good~ to read, so little time!

I was well aware of the fact that today was the first day of Lent, but as I dove into some of my favorite blogs, I found that the way other people described it and how they felt about it brought me to tears.  (I am also well aware of the fact that I've been quite "tender" emotionally, so the tears weren't that surprising...)

If using the period of Lent to sacrifice "something" as a means of refocusing or identifying with Christ is something new to you, Edie has wonderful decriptive post on the concept here.

This quote from Tara at between you & me describes exactly why I've chosen to give something up during Lent for the last several years:
There is a clarity that comes when you sacrifice the things that you run to for comfort.
I'm amazed at the things that I run to that I don't even realize I run to until I'm not running to them during Lent.

Since the very beginning of time we have all been wanderers.
We are the sheep and he is our shepherd.
Sheep are in constant need of being redirected to the right path, and we are just like them.
We can be walking right along, focused & determined not to stray, and then we find ourselves
distracted by some bright and shiny object off in the distance.

Christine at coffeeanddaisies added this beautiful verse as she reflected on Ash Wednesday:

"Come back to the Lord with all your heart; 
leave the past in ashes, 
and turn to God with tears and fasting, 
for he is slow to anger and ready to forgive. " 
(Joel 2:13)

Reading Lysa Tykerst's book "Made to Crave" has caused me to think a lot about sacrifice and what I would be willing to give up for the sake of not everything being beneficial (though everything is permissable). see 1 Corinthians 10:23.  Her blog post today took the words right out of my mouth!

And as I sit and listen to Kari Jobe sing her song "Beloved" (a love song from the Lord to his child) and can't help but wonder, if I really believe this is how the Lord feels about me ~zephaniah 3:17~ what wouldn't I give up for Him?



how 'bout carrot ON a stick?
what motivates you?

the carrot?

or the stick?

the reward?

or the punishment?

I can honestly say, in most of areas of my life, I am motivated by the carrot.  I'm one of those people who enjoys the feeling of a job "well-done" (even better if someone says it to me!) and will work for that positive result.

When it comes to my home, the peaceful atmosphere of a clean and tidy home motivates me to scurry about, dusting and washing, sweeping and mopping.

In my relationships (including my walk with the Lord), I like to keep short accounts, if possible.  Touching base with someone regularly is much more pleasant than feeling like you have to make up for lost time, and makes me feel more ready to be authentic - less surface-y, you know?


There is one area of my life in which positive results have never really motivated me.  My health.  Shameful, I know.  Maybe it's because I choose not to can't deny myself the foods I love; maybe it's because I don't like to sweat, or get red in the face, or sweat, or wear excercise clothes, or sweat.... Maybe it's because I've never really "struggled" to maintain a relatively healthy weight - thank you very much, genetics.  Even though I've had some periods of obsession with my body image and weight, anything I did wasn't motivated by being healthy and treating my body well, just by outward appearance....which was never enough to keep me going for the long run....(oh, that's funny - I've never done a long run!)

That is, until The Stick recently came into the picture.

I tried overlooking the racing and palpitating heart, but she would not be ignored.  I've adjusted my diet (somewhat) to include less beige (it's ok, cock an eyebrow if you must) because my research has shown the most colourful foods are the best for reducing stress (which possibly could be an issue for me) and great for the heart.  Think spinach, blueberries, red peppers....  It seemed to help for a bit, but now with the tightening in my chest increasing to the point where I notice it more when it stops, the stick is beating me again.  So I phoned my doctor (who I've been avoiding for a variety of reasons) and will see him this week.  I'm not sure if I hope he tells me it's all in my head or not....

Until then, here's what I've learned - for there really is more of a point to this post than to complain about my sad little problem:  Carrots are yummy and sticks are a nuisance; intentional living includes every area; the Lord gave me this body to care for and treat well as a sacrifice of praise to Him.    I may be drawn more to food that is processed to feed my need for immediate gratification and I may not like to sweat, but as the Lord calls me to His service I don't want this body to be unable to perform because of how I've treated it.  Plain and simple.

Now, I generally assume that most people take better care of themselves than I do, and maybe healthy living isn't something you spend too much time thinking about, but I hope you'll be encouraged today to give every area of your life to Him.  

I don't know about you, 
but I'm running hard for the finish line.
I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! 
I'm staying alert and in top condition. 
I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. 
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (Msg)

and feel free to offer any tips that work for you! :)


waiting for spring

It's never good to live in the past, but today I'm lamenting celebrating one year since I took two very special trips out to the West Coast.  My March blog header has just a few images from the sights and experiences I had with two dear friends within two months - I know, it was a real treat!

The snow is still piled so high up here, just slightly above the 49th parallel, and I've had enough.  I thought I would escape the winter without too much SAD-ness (seasonal affective disorder), but now that it's March - MARCH! - and it looks and feels like January, I'm struggling.  I know winter can be difficult for many people and I talked about it last year, too.  It is a little mind-boggling to me how connected the weather can be to my mood.  I really dislike that - I wish I could always  rise above external circumstances...

I do my best to focus on the good - I know there is plenty!
~the days are getting longer, that really helps
~there's often lots of sunshine
~the birds continue to find my feeder, watching them from inside is how I prefer it anyway!
~I still have time to: plan the flowers for my planters, register the kids for soccer and camp, pretend like I'll exercise my body for swimsuit readiness....

And the best thing of all is that my Lord is not affected by the weather.  His warm love surrounds me, fills and flows through me, no matter how cold it is.

Desperate, I throw myself on you: 
      you are my God! 
   Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, 
      safe from the hands out to get me. 
   Warm me, your servant, with a smile;
save me because you love me.
Psalm 31:14-16 (Msg)

As I long for spring, waiting in anticipation of parka-free and sock-less weather,
I decided to give myself a pedicure using the colour I bought on one of the trips last spring...

*not the "springiest" hue, I'll acknowledge, but it works for me!
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