Are You Ready to Leap into the New Year?

This new year 2020 is a “Leap Year”. We have an extra day (February 29th). This happens every four years to keep the calendar year in sync with the astronomical or seasonal calendar. My momma and others told me when I was growing up to “Look before You Leap.” In others words, it is best to evaluate the present and prepare for what is next in for lives. Here are some things to consider as we jump into this new year.


Some things need to be the same. Our core values and good habits should be a consistent in order to maintain the base of our overall good health and wellbeing. Other things we do on a regular basis may need adjustments or additional attention to improve the quality of our life.

WE WILL ENCOUNTER SOME UNEXPECTED THINGS.This is just the nature of life itself that we all face. These can be bad things or good things that will happen. Some these things we may have some control over, others not so much. We can however, control how we respond to things that happen.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONAL GROWTH. Look at and consider some options that can help you to become a better person. Then, weave these new opportunities into your schedule. Through the years, this process has helped balance my personal life as I took some time to take stock of all my regular family and work responsibilities on my schedule. I would decrease some, delete some, increase some and start some new things. This would allow me to schedule my priorities first and then make adjustments where necessary. I would write them down, pray through them and then discuss my thoughts with my family to get their input which was also most helpful.

Well, it is time for me to leap on out of here for now. Have a great day and a Happy New Year!

Looking Back Helps Us To Look Forward

What if The Lord had not been on our side? ” Psalm 124:1(NIV)

It is so easy to get preoccupied with our present circumstances and conerns about the future…that we often forget how God has been with us in the past. It is healthy and helpful to reflect specifically about God’s guidance, grace, protection and provision in our lives. It is when we look back, we can see clearly God’s hand as He guided us, protectd us, and provided for us.

Take a few moments to think about how The Lord has been with you through difficult times in the past even though at that time you didn’t know how you were going to make it…but you did! He was with you. When you and I do this, it encourages us to face today’s issues and future concerns with faith. It is knowing that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” ( Hebrews 13:8). That is an amazing promise of God to know that you can always count on Him to be there for you and with you..”He will never leave you or forsake you” ( Matthew 28:20).

We need to learn from our past..

We need to live our best in the present…

We need to prepare as we plan for the future…

And at all times we need to Pray,Trust in the Lord and Follow His guidance each day.

I really like Eugene Peterson’s perspective on this topic: “The whole task of Christian commitment is to wed a connection between God’s past and God’s future in your personal history. Your faith takes the remembered past and the expected future and fuses them together in your personality. Recollect God in the year past. Anticipate Him in the year ahead”. That will happen as you and I trust and follow Him into the year 2020.

Don’t Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle…Coping with Holiday Stress

Is your tinsel in a tangle?…It is so easy to get caught up in the Christmas Rush that we really don’t enjoy the Holidays as much as we should. How can we decompress emotionally from all the Yule Time stress?

Like most things, paying attention to our mindset and attitude is very important into making the most of our Holidays. Let’s untangle some of the negative thought patterns that keep us tense and uptight during this time of the year. One of the things we need to look at is our personal expectations for the holidays. They can be unrealistic. Be careful of the “all or nothing attitude”. We do not need to be a prisoner to such thoughts. This will set us up for disappointment. Instead of getting bogged down by wishing your holidays were different, how about focusing on what it is and accept it… even if it is a little different than what you anticipated.

It is also helpful and important to:

STOP AND SAVOR AND ENJOY THE MOMENTS THAT ARE SPECIAL. Taking time with family and friends with relaxed and meaningful conversations can help us slow down and realize that people are more important than things. There are a lot of churches that offer special Christmas music programs and also Christmas Eve services that help us reflect on God’s love for us in a powerful way.

CHERISH THE GOOD MEMORIES. Reflect on those favorite stories and experiences you had growing up. Sharing those memories with others reinforces the goodness of those in your mind and heart.

SHARE WITH OTHERS. Christmas is more about giving than getting. Remember John 3:16… For God so loved the World that He GAVE us His Son Jesus to be our Savior. We are never more like God’s children than when we give to others. Loving God and loving people is always a recipe for a good Christmas to really experience Peace on Earth and Good Will to Others.

My prayer for you and me is that we will have a wonderful and meaningful Christmas this year.

The Goats…of my Christmas Past

When I was in the 6th grade, I got the opportunity to be a shepherd in a live outdoor nativity scene. I was so excited, especially because I had a crush on one of the girls who was angel in the play. As typical of other experiences in my crazy life, funny things just seem happen when I am around…I had just purchased my first men’s cologne ( I had been told Shepherds didn’t always smell nice because of being around the sheep). I really wanted to impress the angels that night, so I put on my Hi Karate Cologne. I didn’t know how much to use, so I put about a lot of it on me.

When I got there that night I found out that the sheep weren’t available for the performance. They told us not not to worry, they had secured some goats for replacements. We were instructed to stand still and look toward the baby Jesus in the manger. That became increasingly difficult for me when the goats became strangely attracted to my cologne! In fact, they kept attacking me and knocking me down on the ground. It wasn’t yoga with goats… it was more like goats-mug-ya! There was a lot of laughter that night at my expense. When I got home, my mom couldn’t believe all the black and blue bruises I had on me.

It is so easy for us to get distracted when we are trying to focus on Jesus, even at Christmas time. Sometimes we are just too busy or we are distracted by other things that it can make it difficult to keep the right attitude and perspective. That is even more the reason to stop and refocus on Him.

I still have times when it is difficult for me to be still and focus on Jesus. I have learned that even when you get knocked down or discouraged… get back up and keep focusing on Jesus…

Growing Through What We Go Through

The most important thing about you is not the things you achieve; it is the person that you become.” – Dallas Willard

Sometimes, It is helpful, just to hit the pause button in our day for a few moments to reflect on how we are doing on the inside. It is interesting to note that we are more than “Human Doings” going from task to task, we are “Human Beings”. It is one thing to be outwardly successful but how tragic it is when the inside of our lives, our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors are a mess. There needs to be a healthy balance.

Of all the books I have read this year; the most encouraging, impactful and challenging one is about this very same topic. It is…”Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You” by John Ortberg. Reading this book {slowly, underlining highlights and making notes) has helped me to better understand how to keep a proper attitude and focus. That is so important for us to do that, regardless of our circumstances. If we keep the right attitude and focus it will allow us to continue to grow in whatever circumstances we go through in our lives. We grow by having an open mind and trusting in the Lord even when we don’t fully understand everything that we are dealing with in our lives. The end result as we look back later on this time in our life, we will see things like…the lessons we have learned, new opportunities to see God work in our lives and how God can use our experiences to actually help others.

While attending a conference some years ago, they gave us a button with these letters printed on it: PBPWMGINFWMY. The meaning of it, was a very powerful statement: “Please Be Patient with Me God Is Not Finished With Me Yet.” What encouraging words for us to remember and think about. This also reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses: “God is the One who began this good work in you, and I am certain that He will not stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.” – Philippians 1:6 (CEV). We are a work in progress. Do not be discouraged, God has not given up on you and me.

I am still learning, growing, and going through stuff like everybody else here on planet Earth. The key is to not just go through life, but to grow as we go…