Thursday, January 28, 2010

ai inspiration...my worst nightmare

though i'm usually not a fan of the early episodes of american idol, i watched anyway last night. i'm glad i did. in walks this ball of energy wearing an outfit that would give richard simmons a run for his money. i was not surprised to hear that pink was her favorite color. i swear she missed her calling as either an aerobics instructor or motivational speaker.

the judges asked what she has planned to sing, and she said, "at last." i thought to myself, "this should be interesting." and interesting it was.

she opens her mouth and proceeds to butcher this beautiful song! oh my ears! and oh my abs...from laughing so hard!

i couldn't help but smile! there was something that i liked about her...not her voice, mind you...but her personality. simon, with his usual wit and quips, told her that if he were to describe his nightmares, this would be it. ever the optimist, she smiled and said, "at least you're dreaming about me." and she bounded out of the room.

as soon as she met up with her supportive friends, she let them know that she wasn't going to hollywood. but before anyone had a chance to get sad, to cry, to throw a tantrum of epic proportions as is not uncommon on the show, she announced that simon said she was his worst nightmare, and all had a great laugh!

though her voice leaves much to be desired, her optimism and joy touched a place in my heart, and this morning when i got up, i decided she would be my role model for the day. in every cloud there is a silver lining. thanks, crazy pink girl! you are an unexpected inspiration!

Monday, January 25, 2010

my heart still beats fast

tonight, david and i ended up in different cars going in different directions. he was headed home, and i was headed to my grandfather's home to spend the night. i was still on our road when my heart began to beat fast. i looked at the approaching car, and i realized why my heart was acting the way it did. my hubby was about to pass by me. and a smile crept over my face as i had a very happy thought. after all these years, i can still feel his presence even before i see him. how sweet.

ministry: vision

i've been thinking a lot about vision lately in regards to a church vision. i saw recently a great vision that i bought into. we were going to reach out to the community, be focused on the things that made us unique, be contemporary in our worship style. i was sold...until i began to notice that i was fighting more for that vision than the one who was originally given the vision. and when i tried to discuss our getting off-track, i slammed into a brick wall.

my point? a real vision, one that you truly believe is from GOD is one you are willing to fight to the death for. in a new church, the vision is non-negotiable. it shouldn't change in order to hold onto a few disgruntled who leave one church to find the latest, greatest new church.

it's ok and it is necessary for church leaders to say to people, "this is our vision. this is who we are. this might be the right place for you, but it might not be. if it's not, if you feel you can't support our vision, then we will bless you and help you find the right church for you. no hard feelings. we're in this together. but this is who GOD has called our particular gathering to be. this is who we must be."

there are plenty of churches around. there's something for everyone. no one church needs to be all things to all people. find your niche. fight for your vision. and if you're the pastor and your staff is fighting harder for your vision than you are, it's time for a "come to JESUS" talk with that person in the mirror.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

i got the joy

i believe we're seeing some dreams at the beginning stages of being realized, and i couldn't be happier. truthfully, i haven't laughed so much and haven't felt this much joy in years. that doesn't mean that everything is perfect. far from it, but that's ok. my perspective and attitude are different. life is so much better when you let go of the extra baggage weighing you down.

and that's all i got this morning...=)

be blessed and laugh a little today, even if others think you're a few fries short of a happy meal!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

that which does not kill us makes us...

"that which does not kill us makes us stronger" -- friedrich nietzsche

i used to say that a lot, but then for a while i got stuck emotionally and couldn't get out of that funk i was in. therefore, i added a little to it..."that which does not kill us makes us stronger...or bitter" -- nietzsche and hammond.

and it's true. we do have a choice...to be stronger or to be bitter. now, i choose to be stronger. i use my experiences to help others and to add value to their lives as well as my own.

i figured that i might as well take the crappy stuff in my life and use it for good. it's my choice.

this new perspective has made me feel more at peace and more in control of my life and situations. sure, i don't have the innocence and naivety i used to, but i'm better for it now. i'm smarter and wiser. and my experiences keep me from getting blindsided so much. they help me see the path before me a lot clearer. i choose to be strong today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

3 questions? happy, sad, mad

i've been working on some teaching sessions lately, and i came across a few questions that i decided to include.

what makes you happy?
what makes you sad?
what makes you mad?

i've given this a lot of thought. i wouldn't ask these questions of others without first having given them a lot of thought myself. so here goes...

what makes me happy?
spending time with my family, watching my kids play sports

what makes me sad?
those commercials about abused and neglected animals...i have to turn the channel. i cry. i can't watch the updates on haiti and similar tragedies either. they tear me up inside.

what makes me mad?
double standards (particularly in the church world) and injustice in general.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

be yourself; turn up the volume

i came across someone's link the other day. it was about having fun. and there was one thing that stuck out in my mind ever since. i'm probably paraphrasing a bit, but here goes...find out who you are. be yourself. and turn up the volume.

and so that's what i've been doing. i'm tiring myself out trying to live up to the standards that others have for me. it's time i reconnect with myself. it's time i accept myself for who i am. it's time i start to like me again. and it's time to turn up the volume... and i've had a blast these past few days.

i'm hope being hope. i do feel like myself again. tonight, someone told me they enjoyed talking to me yesterday and although my name is hope, i am full of joy. and she's right. i am. at least the real me is. and it feels good to be me. i've had some wonderful conversations with some fun and nice people who have taken the time to get to know the real me and accept me.

i'm not perfect. i don't always say and do the "right" thing at the "right" time. but i don't have to be perfect. GOD just expects me to be the best me i can be. i am not going to please everybody, but i think it's time i narrow my list of those i truly need to please...to one. that would be GOD. and if he's happy. i'm happy. and probably so are many of those around me. =)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

momma stuff- stages of life

i love being a mom. i admit those first few years were long and hard. sleep deprivation that lasts 5 years straight will make you feel like you're losing your mind, but i loved my little ones learning something new just about everyday, growing almost overnight sometimes. the first word, the first step...all those wonderful new discoveries! i thought that this was as good as it got, until...

the day i watched david and my two little men walking into a store together. they were pre-schoolers, and they were so adorable. for no apparent reason, my eyes teared up a little. my babies were growing up. i thought this was better than the early years.

and then they all got out of diapers and off formula, and i thought "PRAISE JESUS!" surely it didn't get better than this! the older ones were starting to play sports and go to school. how fun! they were beginning to have lives of their own. everyone told me this would be the best season of our lives together. they were wrong.

as of march 14, i will have 3 teens and 1 tween in my home. my kids are starting to dream about their future: where they want to go to college, what career choices they are entertaining. yes, we have challenges. the bigger the kid, the bigger the challenge. but i love watching my kids come into their own. i have only a few short and precious years left with them at home. i am determined to enjoy every moment. i love that my kids are becoming wise and independent. it means we've done a good job preparing them. and i pray just about everyday that the favor of GOD will rest on them. i believe i'm already seeing the results of those prayers.

i do have to give a shout-out to the wii! it has brought us together in ways that surprised me. and for once in my life, i can actually say i'm better at something than all others in my family...wii bowling! i sooo own that game, hand cramps and all. i remind my family all the time that the crown next to my name means i rule that game! (insert evil laugh) so, rock on, momma hope! and enjoy those not so little babies. they grow up so fast.

Friday, January 8, 2010

it's not you, it's me...or is it?

sometimes you have to get really uncomfortable to change. i think i'm there on an issue. i take things too personally. i don't want to be insensitive, but seriously, something's gotta give here. sometimes things happen. they just do. why? is there a reason? yes. no. maybe. who knows?

my first thought anytime something goes wrong where i'm concerned is "what did i do?" or "what's wrong with me?" it's ok, even good to be introspective, but not when you take it as far as i do. though it's not the case all the time, sometimes i think it's self-absorption to be this introspective. i do it to a fault. i know this. i am aware of this. i blame myself anytime something goes wrong. i can't seem to forgive myself. that's an unhealthy response.

and i always think i'm a horrible person...but what if i'm not? what if sometimes it's not me? what if it's not my fault? what if i didn't do anything wrong? what if the other person is having a bad day? what if they have issues?

a healthy perspective is needed here. sometimes things just happen, and it's nobody's fault. sometimes things happen, and it is my fault. but sometimes...maybe once in a blue moon or so...something happens, and it's not me. it really is you. could it be? it's worth a thought or two.

i'm not a bad person. i'm not a mean person. overly sensitive? i would say so in many areas of my life. not all. i'm confident in a few areas, so i'm not a complete mess.

but i think i had an epiphany tonight. it's not always me! and so what if it is sometimes?... life goes on. i try to make amends. i do the best i can... but whatever the case may be...life goes on. and i'm tired of hurting. life goes on... and gives the gift of a new start with each new break of day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

personal: i am determined

i think i've found a kindred spirit in the book of job. i have felt much of the anguish he expressed. it's all too familiar. don't get me wrong. i am not nearly the person he was nor have i experienced the depth of pain and loss, but i know those feelings well nonetheless.

though i haven't finished reading his story this time, i know that it ends well. there is hope for me, i know. and i am determined to be happy and fulfilled.

these last few years have been tough. i've been wounded, gotten bitter, seen my anger turn into hatred. but last year, i started a journey to become whole, to love, to find peace. i'm more aware when i have my porcupine quills out, so i try to chill and allow people to get close to me. i've noticed that my heart closes up when i fear being hurt. i'm finally at a place where i can stop midstream and evaluate my reactions and in many cases try to react in healthier, more positive ways. i don't always succeed, but at least i'm aware. that's a huge step for me.

i am still trying to find my place in the world. i'm still looking for the place i belong. i'm having visions of the show "cheers" where everybody knows your name. i know how that feels. i lived that for a while, and now i know i'm missing it. i want that again.

i feel like i've dug out the bitterness and woundedness, and now i have divots in my heart. now it's time to fill those holes with happiness and peace. i am determined that i will this year. i can feel it. this will be a good year for me. by the end of 2010, i will no longer be living in a deficit. my life will be overflowing and at peace, and i'll be able to give that peace and fulfillment and happiness to others around me. i am determined.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

personal: rough day

i had a rough day. my eyes still sting and my head still hurts from the crying i did this morning. as i am usually open, honest and transparent, i'm just not really comfortable disclosing the details. i just need to write. i need to process. i need to work through this.

i know in my heart that GOD has a really cool plan for me this year, and i'm trying to remain positive and not let doubt or discouragement distract me or get me off-track. something hurt me this morning. and the potential for more hurt is very likely. i am at a bit of a crossroads, and neither option seems like a good one. i don't even feel comfortable choosing the lesser of the two evils, so to say. in one day, i went from feeling like this is going to be my best year in a long time to already feeling alone and sad. against my better judgment, i put a brave, yet plastic smile on my face and acted as if i'm ok with the situation. i just needed to buy myself some time.

maybe tonite, in the silence and in the dark, GOD will come and visit with me for a little while and show me what to do. i could really use his company right about now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

personal: 4 in 4

4 things i am working on for the next 4 weeks:

  1. lose 7 pounds: exercise regularly, eat smaller and healthier portions. get back to walking 3 miles.
  2. bible reading: stay current on my reading plan
  3. emerge ministry: put finishing touches on powerpoint and sessions; plan worship sets
  4. home: organize and down-size (declutter) living room, dining room, kitchen, and laundry room

i decided to break down my resolutions into smaller, easier-to-handle pieces. each month, i plan to evaluate and plan my next set of goals. so here i go!