Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"I Am A Promise"

Have you ever watched those TV shows where they are interviewing little kids about what they want to be when they grow up? They are so cute!! You hear astronaut! Fireman! Ballerina! You can hear the collective "ahhh's" in the audience as each kid is cuter than the one before. It's not just that they are cute..they are innocent. That four year old really believes they can be what they say. How awesome is that? They aren't weighed down with fear and worry and the hurtful words of others or just the plain pressures of life. But we all know that life happens! It happens to each one of us. Nobody sets out to lose, to struggle. It isn't the hopes and dreams of someone to lose thier job or to get turned down. No one wakes up and says I hope today is the day I really get addicted! Nobody stands at an altar during their wedding ceremony, saying their vows, secretly hoping that it won't last and they can be divorced! But all too often, this is where we as grown ups find ourselves.
Going through this painful episode in my life has been a real eye opener. I was the cute little blonde girl with the pigtails singing in my first grade talent show! I was the kid hopeful for who I would one day become. Now I am that adult looking back at the journey of my life thus far and wondering about the choices that have brought me to where I am today. Have I made good ones? yes! Have I made some doozies? definitely yes! Do I wish I would have done some things differently? absolutely yes! Do I regret my life up to this point? 100% No! Dreams are the hopes that we hold on to. Life is the seasoning that makes us who we are. Choices are the roadmaps that determine the direction that we are going to take to get to our destination. Some things we can control, but others we can not. When my sister and I used to argue when we were little, I would always feel "compelled" to let my parents know when she did something wrong :) I was the Mills family "reporter". My dad used to say something to us that would drive me nuts!! He would say sis! you run your railroad and let her run her railroad! Aaarrrrggghhh!! Didn't he know that I was the older and the wiser? It was my sibling duty to show her the path to follow, to keep her on the straight and narrow? :) No, he realized something that I didn't as a child. And that was I could only be responsible for me. That I had to learn right and wrong, good and bad for myself and the same for my sister.
This has been so true as I have grown up. People can give you good advice, you can hear words of wisdom, you can learn from others mistakes. But ultimately YOU are responsible for where you end up. Nobody else. Bad things happen to good people. That is a fact! Life will sometimes deal you more than you feel you can bear. Absolute fact! But God has placed inside of each of us the innate ability to rise above. He made us. We are His workmanship. We are resilient. We may not feel like it, but we are. Man CAN NOT define us! Only God can. He says that we are His! I want to end this blog today with the lyrics of a children's song. I would like to say I was the cute little blond with the pigtails singing this song in church when I was little, but actually I was the preteen with the horrific 70's hair and the bad skin teaching it to my children's church kids :) I don't know why it came to me this morning, but as I was getting ready, I looked in the mirror and these words came to me!! Just maybe I needed to be reminded! And just maybe you do too....

"I am a Promise! I am a possibility. I am a promise with a capital P! I am a great big bundle of potentiality! And I am learning to hear God's voice, and I am trying to make the right choice. I'm a Promise to be anything God want's me to be!"

Let those words run through your mind today as you endeavor to be who God wants you to be! Me? I am going to be the best conductor I can be of my own railroad! :)
Much Love- April

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

I was walking through Walmart the other day doing what I love to do..people watch. I was trying to hurry past the candy aisle (my kryptonite) when I spotted a lady who caught my attention. She was wearing spandex pants and stilettos. First of all mad props to anyone that could walk in those heels. She looked to be about 30 years old. Judging by the size of the spandex pants, she had probably had them since she was 13 hahaha! Wow, talk about leaving nothing to the imagination! It solidified what I had always known. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. I know that I have a "right" to wear a bikini but I have enough "sense" to know I shouldn't :) Can't see how it would be beneficial to me or my fellow man. I would be making a statement but in the end, I think I would pay a high price for that statement. Sunburn in all the wrong places!! :)
God gave us all free choice. It was a gift. He didn't want our love or devotion by force, He wanted it to be a choice. How awesome is that? The only problem is sometimes we don't use the gift of choice wisely. We learn by making choices..some good some bad. Maturity comes from practice. God allows us the "growing room" to learn how to make good choices. I have never been accused of being a soft spoken person :) But I have learned that just because I have an opinion on something, that does not mean I am required to share that opinion. Maturity has taught me to know that there is a time and a place and a way to say things. Maturity and a good deal of putting my foot in my mouth!! :) Eating a ton of chocolate and fried foods was my choice. Had every right to make that choice but when I look in the mirror I see the results of my choice. Was exercising that choice really worth the outcome? I was out shopping with my sister the other day. We were browsing the clearance racks when she picked up a pair of black pants and was reveling in her good find. "Sis these are only 6 bucks!" Yes they were a good deal. Only problem was if she purchased them, we would have had to drop them off at the nearest nursing home on our way back to work. They were $6 bucks but entirely wrong for her! We laughed about it. But it really represented a true point. We all have made "clearance" choices in life. Quick fixes, temporary solutions. We have all made the mistake for settling for an obvious choice or for jumping on the band wagon and joining the group's decision.
But God gave us each a mind to think with, a mouth to speak with and a life to live with. Maturity and time help us to grow into the people we want to be and more importantly into the people He made us to be! May God help us all to learn to make wise choices. Next time you are in a situation, ask yourself if just because you can, should you? If we all took just an extra minute to think about our choices before we made them, what a difference that would make! Here's to wiser decisions, smarter words and clearance buys we can actually use!!
Until next time my friends, I remain...a Walmart shopper in jeans and tennis shoes!! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Built like my Buick"

Today's blog is just going to be bluntly honest! I have always been taught that honesty is the best policy so here goes. I have nothing funny or witty to say. I have been racking my brain to come up with something that would grab people's attention, make them laugh and then drive home a point. I'm just not in the mood :) Is that ok? Is it ok to tell people that you don't feel like it? Why do we hide when we are in those moods? It's ok!! It's normal. Everyone has those self doubting moments. Those times when you are like what in the heck? I thought I knew you better or I never would have thought... Life happens period. Sometimes we are prepared for it, sometimes we are blind sided by it. That's why we have to take time each day to prepare for it. You can't get something from nothing. If you haven't put "deposits" in your spiritual tank, why are you so surprised when there is nothing to draw from when you need it?

I swear there have been days lately when I feel like I am "running on fumes". I feel like my Buick...it runs..but not everything is working. It's not pretty to look at...but it gets the job done hahaha. You all have heard the adventures I have in my "old people" car. No offense to my older friends, nothing but love for you, but that is what it is. I have seen a similar version of my car all over town and noone under 65 is driving it :) The car was given to me, so what right do I have to complain? NONE..but I will anyway. I'm not here to talk about how all four "power" windows don't work anymore. So the windows are permanently up..stinking boy smell in my car and all. There is a short in the lights so I had to take the fuse out so the overhead light would not work at night. It stayed on so I felt like as I drove around town I should wave because I was spotlighted for all to see! :) But now I am rambling...my real point was the gas gauge. It quit working a month after I got the car. Fortunately for me however, the gas light still works. The gas gauge always looks like I am full, but out of the blue, the orange light comes on. I know I have about 40 miles when that light comes on.

Spiritually we can be like my gas gauge. Assured that we are full! We are good people right? We said hello to a stranger today, opened the door for someone handicapped. Doesn't that make us a good person, therefore we can check off our good deed for the day? Sometimes we think we are full, but mostly we are just full of it :) We feel so sure that we are heading in the right direction, then a warning light comes on. If we are smart we heed that light. We realize that a change is needed, that something is missing or needs replaced. I will be the first to be honest and say I have ignored that light more than once. And you pay the price when you do that. God will always give you a "warning" when something needs to change. We have all seen the people stranded on the side of the ride walking with a gas can. It's easy to look at them and say how did they let that happen, how do you not know you are running out of gas? If we could see through our spiritual eyes, how many people are "stranded by life" around us? It would be so easy to judge them, to wonder how they allowed themselves to get into certain situations. But then we all remember, we have been there and done that. We put in $10.00 when we should have just filled it up. We do the same thing spiritually. We say enough prayers and go to church just enough to give us something to run on when we should be "filling up". The Bible says to seek ye first and all shall be added. You have to pull into the station to fill up! It takes a few minutes, but then you run for a long time. Taking just a few extra minutes to invest in yourself spiritually really does pay off in the long run. When those life moments happen to you where you just don't feel like it, you will actually have something in reserves to pull from! Just don't let it get too empty!! You never know when you will need it!!

Here's hoping that my gas light don't quit working!! :) hahaha
Your Friend - April

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep - April Style :)

As many of us of the Christian Faith do this time of year, our church is doing a 21 day Fast. There was not a particular regiment or diet we were to follow, but each of us were encouraged to find something that we love and fast from it during this time and of course increase our prayer time as well. I thought really hard and thought well I could sacrifice working out, eating sushi and listening to country music...but then God called my bluff because he knows I hate those things! :) So it was time to get down to business. I really need this time. Not that I feel like there is anything more special about right now, I just want to start this year right. A fresh outlook for a fresh start. So here is my feeble attempt at making this a little humorous :)

AN ODE TO MY FASTING
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Hold me fast within your hand
Give me love for my fellow man
As I sleep please make me new
A few pounds less and hair of blue
Put in me a desire to care
To stay away from sweets if I dare
Help me make it through this fast
Let it go quickly and quickly pass!
First this week it sweets I can't eat
Next fried foods that can't be my treat
The last part will be the hardest by far
Its not pasta, pizza or a candy bar
It's the thing that I have taken everywhere I go
Through the good and the bad, the high and the low
You have been my friend for many a year
But we will part ways for seven days I fear
Diet Coke how I love thee, I cant imagine a week!
But it will be worth it while His face I seek :)

Pray Saints!! :)
Your Friend (remember that when I'm caffeine deprived!!)
April

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I never said I wasn't crazy!!! :)

Let me write a disclaimer before you read any further in this blog...I never said I wasn't crazy! Part of what I am putting in this blog was going to be a post on Facebook but I couldn't do it. All I could see was my sweet mother's face saying "April Michele..TMI!" But hey then again I wouldn't be me if I wasn't real! And I can not say why my mind works like it does or why I get spiritual insights at the weirdest moments!! :)

Ok ladies, let's be honest. We are not, how shall I say, quite as diligent about keeping our legs shaved in the winter. After all your legs are mostly covered up and not the focal point like they are in the summer. However, you know that you have waited too long between shaves when the tub looks like it is lined with fur when you are finished! :) hahahaha As I looked down at the tub tonight and saw the "effects" left behind a thought came to me.

We often can not "see" the true effects of our situation while we are in it. It doesn't seem that bad to us. We look from a poor angle and only see part of the effect that something is having. We develop an "I can change it tomorrow" attitude. It's only after we have "shed" those habits or things, that we can truly look back and see the negative results that it had on us. I don't know about you, but I have had many of those moments where I was shocked to see what I had allowed to attach to my life. Surely it hadn't been that long since I prayed, or that many days since I had reached out to someone. Who knew that complacency grew that fast?!

The biggest problem I think lies in that our human nature is prone to focus on what we feel is important at the moment. We become too singular focused instead of working to be well rounded. It's in allowing the "little things" to slide that we end up with a big problem! You have heard it said "out of sight, out of mind". It's only when we are forced to face certain things do we get the courage to change them. My prayer lately is that God would make me "whole". Aware of what is going on in my life and vigilant to keep myself where I need to be. With His help and daily awareness, I know this can happen! Now I'm not promising that I will be eligible to be the next Nair Model :) But I won't have to go through three razors next time! Just kidding! Living life day by day my friend...and so happy to have you on this journey with me!! Until next time....Signed, Furry in Fort Smith! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ready, Set.....Snooze!!!

Sometimes I crack myself up! I wonder if I will ever really learn or if I am doomed to repeat the same things over and over again. This morning was the first morning in about two weeks that I had to be up early again. Christmas Break was awesome! Sleeping in was such a wonderful thing! (Keep in mind - sleeping in to me is 8AM hahaha! I had set my alarm for 6AM. My alarm went off and I laid there. I told myself you set your alarm early enough that you can afford an extra 15 minutes. I closed my eyes to return to my slumber, only to open them every 2 minutes fearing that I would oversleep my allotted time! When I did get up, I felt rushed because "I had lost time". Now how fruitless was that? I would have probably just been better off to get up when my alarm went off the first time! Things can seem so different from a different perspective. Last night, when I was winding down my day, setting my alarm was no big deal. I thought I have a good 7 hours or so to rest, so I will be good. But when that alarm went off this morning, 7 hours or so did not seem so long at all!

I am challenging myself in this new year to see what "perspective" I am viewing things from. One part of me is losing it right now because I am not busy. I am so used to having multiple jobs and deadlines and special events to plan for. I am used to having students who count on me to plan thier day! I am used to being motivated by a calendar. Things to do, places to go, people to see!! To say that I have had a radical shifting from that is an understatement :) I have gone from the go, go, go to the wait, wait, wait! I have relinguished my duties as holder of the giant key ring and book size calendar to being the bearer of three keys on my ring and the calendar on my iPhone. I often hear myself in my sleep..."Hi, My name is April and I am addicted to work!" :)

I have to shift the perspective here. Do I begrudge the downtime or do I see it for what it is...a rest. Do I give into the feeling of panic that the best is behind me or do I realize that God is smart enough to know that everyone needs a reprieve every once in awhile. Do I "see" my value as being less because I am not what I once was? Or do I wait in anticipation to "see" what God is going to make out of me next? It is a daily challenge to keep the right perspective. Sometimes lately, I feel like a Spiritual Schizophrenic. So full of faith one moment, and so filled with dread and fear the next! I have determined that the perspective that I feed into will be the one that wins!! And I choose to rest upon the promise of Jeremiah 29:11. It doesn't say he knows the plans He has for me sometimes...It says He knows the plans that He has for me PERIOD! I choose to believe this and stand on this until I start to doubt again! hahaha ...I told you!