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

Luke2_19b

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Coffee Date…

One of my favorite things is to have a good cup of coffee and visit with friends & family. It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down (you can’t drink hot coffee quickly) and be present, in the moment, sharing all the good in our lives.

I’d love to have a virtual cup of coffee with you! Venti pumpkin spice latte’s (with an extra shot) are my favorite fall splurge. The cost of one pumpkin spice latte (approx $4.86) will provide 18 MEALS for AT-RISK CHILDREN! Just 27 cents will provide a nutritious meal for a hungry child.

Our church – Highland Park Church is sponsoring a Feed the Hunger Pack-a-Thon on October 17th and 18th. Our goal is to pack 60,000 meals; half of the meals packed are being designated for FREM orphanage in Haiti…8 members of our church visited them last spring and discovered that they currently receive ZERO outside support and they were praying for food. HPC Haiti Relief was born.

Here’s where you come in…we NEED donations to meet our goal of 60,000 meals!

We need donations IMMEDIATELY! 

Will you please meet me for a virtual coffee date and buy me my favorite fall splurge – or two – or even three?! My life, and  most importantly, the lives of the children at FREM, will be enriched and blessed by YOUR generosity!

Donations are easy peasy: go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fthdonate and donate with credit card or pay pal. Scroll down and select “Nashville Pack-a-Thon” as the special purpose to designate the funds.

I’ve already bought YOUR cup of coffee…will you please buy me one?

Haiti Relief Bucket Cover

Blessings to you!

Yolo!

Jan

I have been driven to my knees…

I have been driven many times to my knees, by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.

Abraham Lincoln

It’s been a difficult, emotional day in our household, for a variety of reasons…some involving family, some involving friends and yes, some involving our nation…

Faith. Hope. Love. and Prayer…get us through. To my knees I go…

YOLO,

Jan

A little chicken drumstick…

Settling on a motivational topic to blog about today has been difficult. It’s 10:59 pm as I begin writing this…I’ve been pulled from one topic to another throughout the day…

And then…I saw a video posted by a friend on facebook. Memories came flooding back…I met this man…I believe it was 2009, probably Keller Williams MegaCamp in Austin. I was lucky enough to be in the audience and hear his story and teachings. What an inspiration. And then I had an opportunity meet this amazing man and hug him. Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m a hugger. I hope I never forget that memory.

Watch and be amazed…

As Nick says…

  • Be Thankful
  • Dream Big
  • Never Give Up

YOLO!

Jan

God Bless America

England cannot definitively determine a date of origin. It is simply too long ago.

China struggles with the same problem. It was developed long before history was seriously documented.

But we are extremely fortunate to know EXACTLY when our land truly became a country…July 4, 1776

~George Will

Happy Birthday, America!! I’m proud to be an American!!

YOLO!

Jan

Motherhood

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.  ~Linda Wooten

On this Mother’s Day I am thankful for my mother. She is my rock, my mentor, my guide in this journey called motherhood. I am forever grateful for the life she gave me and the principles she instilled into me. I hope I am doing her proud as I parent my own children.

Mom/Mimi

I became a mother with the birth of my first child, Meghan. Then just when I thought I had it all figured out…along came Alex and I realized there was much yet to learn about being a mother! Motherhood is filled with every emotion imaginable; highs and lows like a roller-coaster. The depth of love we are capable of is unbelievable. It is something you have to experience, trying to explain it doesn’t do it justice.

Motherhood is my highest calling. I’m forever grateful that God entrusted Richard and I with these two precious souls to raise. They are both beautiful, inside and out. I like to think I had a tiny bit of influence on that. I am so very proud of them.

Meg & Alex

I am richly blessed!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

YOLO!

Jan

Chili day…

Today started with an awesome day at church, hugs from friends (a favorite perk), wonderful music and the Christmas message was unlike any I’ve heard before. It really touched my soul…has made me think all day…bottom line…all was NOT peaceful, silent and right with the world when Jesus was born. Yet he brought hope to this world. I need to listen to the podcast to absorb more of that message – I’ll see if I can post a link here when it’s available.

The Last Minute Toy Store began today; Rich and I have volunteered for several years. I won’t be able to spend time working there this year; however, I’m cooking chili today to send to help feed the volunteers on Tuesday. I’ve loved putting the chili together and stirring it with love every 15 minutes for 3 hours now. I hope it’s very yummy and warms and nourishes some hardworking volunteers who are serving so that thousands of Nashville children will have Christmas gifts. It’s an incredible experience to serve at this annual event. I encourage you to learn more about this wonderful ministry!

While my Last Minute Toy Store pot of chili (required recipe) simmers on the stove, I’m making another pot of chili for my family. Since we been focusing on eating more organic foods, I’m making my “traditional” black bean, beef chili with a few modifications. I’ll post the recipe separately if you’re interested.

I hope you’re enjoying this week leading up to Christmas. Take some time for yourself. Reflect on the year past. Reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy time with your family. Love and be loved.

Blessings!

YOLO,

Jan

Today is a Gift & the ONLY Response is Gratefulness

This meditation, featuring Brother David, a highly-respected Benedictine monk, author and spiritual leader, is a BLESSING to all those with “eyes to see and ears to hear.” Look, listen and be inspired by this powerful message on grateful living. Please visit gratefulness.org.

It is INDEED a good day!

Blessings.

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