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

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

Spiritual Renewal Day: Scheduling Margin

Last week I blogged about “Margin” – you can read it here. Our Pastor, Dale Robble, with Highland Park Church is doing a series inspired by the book Margin, Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson, MD.

Margin is defined as: the amount available beyond what is necessary. The difference between what you have and what you need. This could be time, money, relationships, food, meetings…you get the point.

So how do you schedule margin? How do we schedule WISELY?

We need to learn to say “NO” to many GOOD things, so we can say “YES” to the BEST things!

Read that again…absorb it. Yes! Sometimes we need to say NO to something GOOD so we can say YES to something BETTER!

“Busy”ness does NOT equal productivity. Boy…this is a lesson that’s been reinforced many times over to me. I am learning to focus my own “busy”ness with the goal of increasing my productivity by diligently using a consistent to-do list. When my children were young and very busy with extracurricular activities, in addition to driving the Mom-taxi, I was also a working mother, my husband was growing our retail business…I thought I was a great multi-tasker. In fact, I was phenomenal!

I don’t know the key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. ~Bill Cosby

What I have since learned is that multi-tasking is a myth. It’s literally impossible to give your full and undivided attention to more than one task at a time. Sure, I was doing a lot. I was accomplishing much. But was I doing ANY of it to the best of my abilities? I bet NOT!

I remember in the ’70’s when personal computers were being developed and envisioned with awe by many…we were told that our lives would become so much simpler. We’d be able to accomplish MORE in LESS time.

In fact, today, I’ll argue that the reverse is our current reality. The bar of expected productivity has been raised. And raised HIGH. We now have multiple computers in our homes, we have cell phones, most people have smart phones, our jobs often expect us to be accessible 24/7 . We are yoked constantly to the electronic gadgets which were supposed to bring us REST!

I have learned through experience that I cannot be all things to all people. And if I try, I will certainly fail. Instead of being a source of support, light, energy and love…I become a drain. And that is not fun for anyone involved. Me included.

So back to Dale’s lesson…too many people are being robbed from a life of meaning NOT because they are UNCOMMITTED, but because they are OVERCOMMITTED.

Some thoughts:

  • Just because you COULD do something…does not mean you SHOULD do something.
  • “No” – IS a complete sentence…I love this!! You don’t have to say it rudely…just smile and say “No”.
  • You HAVE time for what you CHOOSE to have time for!

Finally…there are two things that are phenomenally important to your success and your relationship with God…and we are nothing without our relationship with God.

  1. We must have intimate TIME with God.
  2. We must have intentional times of REST.

Again…I amazed at how the universe (God for me) is speaking to us all the time. We have but to listen. In all of the self-development work I’ve been doing with mentors such as Anthony Robbins, Dave & Yvette Ulloa, Rich German…I’ve been learning the importance of spending time in prayer and meditation. This time of bible study, intercessory prayer, mental and physical quiet…allows me to listen and rest. It’s very centering.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear; and the burden I give you is light”.   ~Matthew 11:28-30

God wants us to live a life of peace and rest. Even God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. Jesus took time for Himself when he was on this earth. He spent time in prayer. He got away from the crowds. He found rest.

Dale challenged us to spend 10 minutes a day in quiet communion with God. I have been spending time in prayer and meditation on an inconsistent basis. I will be adding this to my to-do list. I WILL be scheduling this time. I CHOOSE to find the time.

I choose to yoke myself to my God instead of all my electronic gadgets.

I encourage you to do the same. Let me know how it goes for you…

And remember,

YOLO!

Jan

Lesson in Triggers…It’s NOT What You Think

Today has been an interesting day in the use of “triggers”. Even though I’m from the “patron state of shooting stuff” – I’m not talking about “those” triggers.

I’ve been learning about and teaching myself to use triggers as a reminder to look at my to-do list throughout each day. I’m doing a 30-Day Challenge with Chalene Johnson in which she’s teaching me to create the habit of using a to-do list on my phone and create the habit of checking it frequently…with the goal being to master organization so I WILL accomplish my goals.

A “trigger” is something that you can use to remind yourself to check your list. I use the number 9 as one. Anytime I see the number 9 – which should be at least once per hour – I check my list.

I’m honestly struggling a bit with the trigger idea and applying it to checking my list; however, I noticed today that I use a trigger readily in another aspect of my life and didn’t even realize I was doing it.

We live in a complex that faces a busy street in a main part of town. Throughout the day, sirens can be heard rushing by. They might be firetrucks, ambulances or police cars. Sometimes, it’s all of them.

As I was out doing my Saturday errands today, I noticed there were an unusual amount of emergency vehicles with sirens blaring going up this street. I found myself praying for the safety of whomever the vehicles were responding to; the safety of the emergency responders themselves and that the general public would get out of their way so they could pass quickly and get where they needed to be.

Then it dawned on me…I’ve created a trigger in response to the emergency sirens. Without thinking, I began praying for all concerned. And I did it repeatedly as I was confronted by another siren. THAT’s how a trigger is supposed to work!

Now if I can just apply it to my to-do list I’ll be another step closer to creating habits that will lead me closer to my goals! Perhaps I need to change my trigger…hmm…gonna think on that tonight.

Do you use triggers? I’d love to hear your stories so I can learn from you!

YOLO,

Jan