Luke 2:19 “but Mary kept all these things in her heart…”

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image from 4catholiceducators.com

In my Bible study this morning, as I was reading through the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, chapter 2, I was struck by verse 19:

“…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” ~Luke 2:19b NLT

And then again by verse 51:

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” ~Luke 2:51b NLT

My role as a mother has changed as my children have grown into adulthood; however, my concerns and love for them has only deepened through the years…if that’s even possible.

I’ve always prayed for and over my children; for their health, well-being and happiness, for them to grow up strong and confident, for them to be righteous, honest, people of integrity, contributing members of society, for them to realize God’s purpose for their lives, for them to lean on their faith in times of difficulty or trouble and to be grateful in the good times, for them to know that I love them unconditionally and so much more.

So much I have stored and pondered in my heart. So much I will continue to store and ponder in my heart.

So much like Mary.

God has instructed us to pray; I believe this “storing and pondering” is prayer. I love that prayer is my touchstone and conversation with God. And one of the most important jobs I have as a mother.

I’m thankful that while my children are grown and discovering all that life has in store for them, I can continue to pray over them…even though it’s no longer at their bedside each night. It’s my gift as their mother.

YOLO!

Jan

New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.

tree_jeep

 

New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…

YOLO!

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

Vision…

As humans, we hunger for a vision. If we are unable to create a compelling vision for ourselves, we will latch on to someone else’s vision. With no vision for our future, ours or someone elses’s, we extinguish our powerful internal fire.

The GOOD news? You can re-ignite it at ANY time.

~Ray Higdon

Mother’s Day…

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Mom & I with our buddy Jack!

It’s Mother’s Day afternoon and I’ve enjoyed a beautiful day already: mother/daughter night at the ballet last week, church today, brunch at our favorite after-church-breakfast spot (free box of candy for all Mom’s – too bad I’m not eating sugar…my office will benefit tomorrow!), sweet texts from family & friends near and far, phone call with MIL, a tear-jerking, heart tugging, loving email from my son who is traveling and plans for dinner cooked by hubby, daughter & SIL! My life is full of love indeed.

I’m so very grateful for my mother, who among many other things, raised me to love God; to be kind towards others & treat others as I would want them to treat me; to be a woman of integrity; to serve others; and she instilled in me her love of travel, big cities and sandy beaches! I hope that when I grow up I can be a small measure of the woman my mother is! I love you Mom!!

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson proclaiming Mother’s Day a national celebration in the United States, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes.

  • “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning
  • “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.” ~Robert Brault
  • “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.” ~Lionel Kauffman
  • “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” ~Irish Proverb
  • “Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” ~Marilyn Penland
  • “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” ~Chinese Proverb
  • “A Mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep
  • “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.” ~Lisa Alther
  • “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” ~Rudyard Kipling

I am a mother only because God chose to give me the blessing of raising two beautiful children. I truly believe that is my main purpose in this dance called life. I am learning as I enter this next phase of motherhood…as my children are grown and living out their life’s purpose…that while the role of being their mother changes…the love I have for them only deepens. I can only imagine the love my mother feels for me and my siblings. Wow!

Blessings to all the Mom’s out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

YOLO,

Jan

 

 

If you want something…

“If you want something, go get it. Period.”

I absolutely love this video clip. Don’t let anyone steal your dreams.

In honor of Father’s Day – I’m sharing this clip of this wonderful advice given by a father to his young son.

We had an amazing Father’s Day here! First church, then lunch with our son, a wonderful phone call to my Dad, followed by dinner with our son, daughter and her fiancee. Our children claim they did NOT collaborate on gifts for their Dad; yet the gifts were perfect compliments to each other. An amazing coincidence? Or children who actually KNOW their dad? I choose to believe the latter. No matter what, the house was filled with smiles, laughter and love.

Richard has always been a dreamer and has followed his dreams without regret. I hope our children have learned the ability to do the same. Life is to short to do anything less. Enjoy.

YOLO!

Jan

 

The same wind blows on us all…

Listening to a Jim Rohn book as I walked today I was struck by the following thought…

All of us are in like a little sailboat. It’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination, it’s the set of the sail.  The same wind blows on us all.

The wind of disaster…

the wind of opportunity…

the wind of change…

when the wind is favorable…

when it’s unfavorable…

the economic wind…

the social wind…

the political wind…

The same wind blows on everybody.

The difference in (where you arrive) is not the blowing of the wind, but

The set of the sail…

Something to think about…how are YOUR sails set? Do you adjust them periodically to keep on track?

YOLO!

Jan

mindfulness…

working hard at this mindfulness thing…it requires constant readjustment of my thinking…which is the point I believe…

I did a great mediation this morning via myyogaonline…the intention of the meditation was perfect for me today.

“Meditation on Mindful Living” – by Bernie Clark

Some thoughts I took away:

When a loved one talks…listen…really listen.

To live mindfully means to just live.

The purpose of living is not to get the end of our life.

But if we’re not aware of living we are missing our life.

If we’re not aware of our loved ones, they’re not a part of our life.

If we’re not aware of our joy, we’re missing our joy.

Live and love mindfully!

YOLO!

Jan

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Donkey in the Well

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

—anonymous

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

  • Free your heart from hatred
  • Free your mind from worries
  • Live simply
  • Give more
  • Expect less
Shaking some dirt off my feet today and stepping up and forward…
YOLO!
Jan

Create a vision for your life NOW, don’t wait!

Does that sound urgent? It should!

There are now ONLY 100 days left until the END of the year! Where has the time gone? How is your progress towards achieving the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

Honestly…my goals have changed and morphed much this year and I’m perfectly OK with that! It’s called LIFE!

We should all be fluid enough to allow ourselves to change our goals as needed without feeling guilty or like we have failed. They are goals…they can be and often are MOVING targets. The important thing is to keep your goals in FRONT of you and revisit them OFTEN. When you see your life taking a path away from your goals, either act purposefully to get back on track OR create a NEW vision and path. The point is to be aware and act with purpose.

I’ve had enough changes in direction that I’m going to re-visit and revise my vision board. Here’s a great video by Dr. Josh Axe to walk you through the process.

I challenge you to revisit your own vision board, revise it if necessary…if you DON’T have a vision board, I challenge you to CREATE one! You can use poster board, pictures cut out of magazines and a glue stick.

I’ll post pics of mine after I revise it…I’d love to see pictures of yours! Share them on my fb wall: spiritofyolo

My “main” attack goals are to 1) incorporate more organic foods into my diet, 2) meditate/exercise daily and 3) to spend one dinner per week with my entire family!

Leave a comment of a goal you plan to attack in the last 100 days of 2011. Now what are you waiting for? Go create a VISION for your LIFE!

YOLO!

Jan