Thursday, February 27, 2014

Birthday Celebration Ideas

This product expresses how many feel about birthdays. Birthdays can be tough, especially milestone birthdays. My milestone 40th is close and I've had very mixed emotions. I was feeling sad about it and I couldn't figure out why UNTIL I had a pedicure last Saturday. As I talked with "Helen" and mentioned that the mani-pedi was part of a special treat I was giving myself to celebrate my 40th, she replied, 

"Oh no, never tell anyone you're 40! Never over 35." 

I shut my eyes and sat there reflecting on why she would say that. Why should a woman's age be such a secret? What's the shame in being a certain age? Some people online have posted that we: 

  • are ashamed of getting old/don't want the reminder
  • like to pretend we are younger than we are
  • compare ourselves with Hollywood standards of others who "age well"
  • don't like to be labeled or categorized
  • believe our greatest value is in beauty and looks

Let's face it, most Americans cling to the goal of "anti-aging" and we are attacked daily by "not young enough" messages but we know deep down that each day added to every year is a blessing!!!

So when your next birthday rolls around and you happen to be feeling blah, here are some birthday celebration ideas of ways to celebrate LIFE and your birthday no matter what your age:

  • Dare Me Birthday: I heard one woman share that to celebrate her 30th birthday she completed 30 adventurous dares from friends/family and finished the month with a birthday party to share photos & her stories. [I'm sure there were guidelines of the dares she'd accept- ha]
  • RAK: Spend your birthday doing Random Acts of Kindness for others. One RAK for each year of your life then do one for yourself as your one to grow on!
  • Epic Vacation Birthday: Save up and go on a vacation of a lifetime. Is Hawaii, Italy, Australia on your bucket list? Maybe your birthday is the perfect time to go epic and celebrate?
  • Givers Birthday: "donate" your birthday to an organization like Charity Water or contact a local children's home and organize a party for a child that shares your birthday. You may even decide to throw a birthday party to celebrate all the children's birthdays that share the same birthday month as you.
  • Routine Break: Go camping, stay at a B&B, find a cool place to stay on VRBO, escape to a neighboring city or book a last minute travel deal. 
  • Relax the Day Away: Maybe you are exhausted and don't feel like a big fuss. If so, go ahead & unplug for your special day. Go completely off-line. Treat yourself to a spa service you haven't tried before...seaweed wrap? Fake eye-lashes? Have you always wanted to pour a whole bottle of bubble-bath in the tub? Do it. Or maybe join a relaxation retreat where no electronics are allowed.
  • Get Crafty: Have a private celebration or a day with your closest friends and do a creative project you've been putting off. Vision board, dream list, crafting...whatever un-ruffles your feathers. 
  • Favorite Things Birthday: Since your birthday is about celebrating life and celebrating you, get a pack of note cards, count out one for each year of your life. Now write one thing on each card that is niffy, unique, and wonderful about you or your life. If you get stuck, update your fb status asking for people to describe you in one word. Tape the whole block of cards up on a wall in your home for the month of your birthday.
  • Person Touch: Ever heard of the Free Hug movement? In the spirit of community encouragement, go online and make an inexpensive, personalized shirt/button/hat/sign for your birthday that reads in large letters: "It's my birthday - I need a hug." Or if you are a bit more reserved, "It's my birthday. High-five me!" Don't be shy to let people know it's a special day for you. 
  • Unique Lodging/Spa Retreat: Reserve a spot at the local "dude" ranch, join a yoga retreat, stay in a hotel that has themed rooms or like me, decide to have a girlfriends weekend get-a-way birthday at a boutique hotel matched up with a spa day of massages and facials!
  • Dare Devil/Experience Birthday: Sky-dive, I-Fly, visit a "float spa", take archery lessons, go hot-air ballooning, take golf lessons from a Pro, go to a cooking class, do a behind the scenes tour at a local zoo, take a helicopter tour or flying lessons. [internet search for 'gifts of experience' to find things in your area] 
  • "It's a Wonderful Life" Birthday: Grab your smartphone [or camera/video] and use your camera/video app to record "a day in your life." If making a video, show your typical day and as you record it, share about what makes you grateful for your life. Consider posting it on YouTube or having a DVD made for posterity. If snapping photos is your thing, then create a "Mixbook" album of those pictures with captions about all the great things that make you - You!
These are just a few ideas that I hope will inspire you. :) Aging is a blessing - may you be blessed with many, many, many birthdays and celebrate your life!
Psalm 139

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


It's a tough week. After the particular drama of yesterday, I had to steal away and get some restful time with God before bed. So I grabbed my organic black tea, my journal, and probably the one book I've read 15+ times since I became a Christian. [Even God Rested - highly recommend!]

I was reading the sections about "Ceasing from Stress" & "Feasting on Balance." I know deep down that what is going on in my life is out of my control: There are some financial troubles at the university I work for and everyone is stressed, I'm waiting on news from my adoption specialist about if CPS will accept or reject my home study for two sibling groups, my immediate family are all 'under the weather,' friends are struggling and friendships are changing plus my endo is flaring up this week. But I must keep placing these things gently in God's hands...and I tend to have to do this over and over again because I'm hard-headed...and beautifully human. The blessing of this at least is that it does tend to keep me in a constant conversation with God!

In my nature, I want to help, do more, be more. So as I read last night, these words in the book get in my face like someone who wants to fight, "...retire from superwoman status....The overcommitter and perfectionist in us will crave superwomanhood, but we will have to allow those beasts to go hungry while they are being tamed."

How about you? Are there any things in your life right now that you need to place in God's gentle hands? Do you need to hang up your cape and toss your shiny boots into the closet? If so, I've prayed for you just now. I've prayed you'll put on your comfy clothes, slip onto the couch next to God and whisper into his ear all the things in your world that are on your mind as you place each one in His open, Mighty hands.

Psalm 116: 1-2 "I love the Lord for he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath." 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I began the weekend strong but started feeling a bit under the weather Saturday night. So Sunday I pulled a comfy chair into the backyard to grab some rest, write poetry and "lean into the restlessness" until my spirit calmed down enough to relax into the warm day. After a messier than usual Texas winter, this weekend was the perfect time to breathe easy in the fresh air and sunshine.  

"My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass." ~Terri Guillemets


"I think you might dispense with half your doctors if you would only consult Dr. Sun more."  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Rest, Sunshine, Fresh Air...God is so good to me!
"Fresh air impoverishes the doctor."  ~Danish Proverb

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jesus, You Are "I Am"

I'm reading through the book of Mark. Recently a section of chapter 14 made me stop in my tracks and sent me into awe. Consider with me the weight of these statements and imagine... 

Mark 14:60-64, "Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”

John 8:56-58, Jesus answered the people, " 'Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.' The people said, 'You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!' At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple."

John 18:4-9 states that, "Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. “Jesus the Nazarene,”they replied. “I Am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I Am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” “I told you that I Am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”

So I imagined these particular scenes where Jesus stated, "I Am." In the Mark 14:62 & John 18:5 a subtext is written that the optional translation would be, "The 'I Am' is here" or "I am the Lord"; Greek reads, "I am"; also in 18:6, 8. See Exodus 3:14. John 8:58 subtext states,"or
before Abraham was even born, I have always been alive; Greek reads before Abraham was, I am." See Exodus 3:14.

The Exodus 3:14 reference is when God says to Moses, "I Am That I Am." 

Now, I've studied out the debate on the Greek and Hebrew used since some don't believe Jesus was referring to himself as I Am. I'll let you study it out and decide for yourself. 

For me, the responses of others after Jesus speaks those words moves my heart and tells me a lot! People wanted to stone him and kill him while others drew back and fell to the ground when he spoke them. That's powerful! 

I'm reminded of John 1 -

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.
God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us."

On that note, I have a song to share! :) It gives me chills every time I hear it in the car and I always have to crank up the volume. Enjoy! 

You're the one who conquers giants; You're the one who calls out kings; You shut the mouths of lions; You tell the dead to breathe; You're the one who walks through fire;You take the orphan's hand; You are the one Messiah; You are I Am.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Lamp Unto My Feet

Reading Through the Bible by Amos R. Well

I supposed I knew my Bible,
Reading piece-meal, hit or miss;
Now a bit of "John" or "Matthew,"
Now a snatch of "Genesis."
Certain chapters of "Isaiah,"
Certain "Psalms,"—the twenty-third,
Twelfth of "Romans," first of "Proverbs."
Yes, I thought I knew the Word.
But I found a thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.
You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book—
Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look—
Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible THROUGH.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Wise Bring Healing - To Married Women in Christ for Encouraging Your Daughters/Single Sisters

Proverbs 12:18 - There is one who speaks rashly like a piercing sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 

*whew* (Long title - ha) Since it's getting close to Valentine's day, I thought it might be beneficial to share an old Facebook "note" I posted. :) I added the "Daughters" part because I started thinking...many women with daughters might not realize that their young girls could be hearing these things as well. I also know it's beneficial to single women to read because we don't tend to speak up on this subject and we often make excuses after hearing them as though women are justified in saying these insensitive statements. 

I found an old DPI book this morning that had an interesting section. It’s titled “Things Not to Say to Single Women.” I don’t believe people are intentionally trying to say inappropriate and hurtful things but that sometimes people just don’t know what to say nor do they really think about what they are saying! A lot of the time singles are just going along happily in life when suddenly someone shines a spotlight on the fact that we are single in a marrieds world. So out of love, I hope you'll consider not saying the following statements & questions that make single sisters cringe and start saying the 10 things that single women long to hear.

Please don't say: 

10. “Some people were just meant to be single, like Jesus, like Paul.”
9. “How’s the dating life?” (Seems an innocent question but if anything exciting were happening, she’d tell ya)
8. “How come you’re not married yet?” (Implies something’s wrong with her. We usually get this question enough from our families so you can just skip it please)
7. “What’s wrong with the single brothers?” (This encourages huge attitudes toward the guys)
6. “I’m sure there is SOMEONE out there SOMEWHERE.” (Then where is he? Please put this statement in the trash along with your crystal ball.)
5. “Since you are not doing anything this Saturday, would you keep our kids so my spouse and I could go out on a date?”  (How about maybe finding her a date so you can have a double?)
4.  Said at a wedding, “You’re next!” (wow, I didn’t even catch the bouquet!)
3. “Don’t worry; I was single for three lo-o-o-ong years before I met my sweetie.” (Ouch! These types of statements are a killer and have sent many single sisters running to the bathroom to cry. Especially those who have been single 8, 10, 15+ years.)
2. “There must be something you need to change in your character, something God’s trying to teach you…when that happens, God will bring him along.”  (Really? My sisters, married women didn't figure out the secret formula! You don’t do XYZ and boom-bam you’ve got a husband. Marriage is a blessing from God and no one does anything to deserve it.)
1. And the number 1 unappreciated comment “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn't stay pure that long. I’m so thankful I’m married. “

My personal true experiences:
  1. Bridal showers, weddings, and baby showers are NOT the time to talk to single women about their dating status. I’ve practically sworn off bridal and baby showers because for years I've left these events, holding back my tears until I get inside my car, due to feeling like road kill that was just picked apart by buzzards. Just saying.
  2. When a single comes into your family group at church, please don’t say, “Alright, Babysitters!” or ask, “Don’t you struggle not being married?”
  3. “Trust me, marriage is hard.” Telling us how hard marriage is doesn’t help…no matter how true that statement.
  4. “Guys are just intimated by you because you’re so spiritual.” (uh, okay. *sigh*)
  5. “I think you should consider freezing your eggs…ya know…just in case for later.” (Now, to this sister’s defense, I know her heart was not trying to hurt me; this sister in Christ is SO awesome and she did apologize later. Still, it’s a good example along the lines of what not to say.)
  6. To my younger single sisters in the Lord, be mindful of off-the-cuff statements like: “I sure don’t want to be over 30 and just starting a family.” or “This wedding is so exciting – let’s pretend that we’re the ones getting married!” or “I hope I don’t have to date as many times as you.”
Okay, now the BEST PART!! Things we LONG to hear:
10. “Anything I can pray about for you?” (Lets her know that her overall life is on your heart)
9. “I know your life is busy but would you have time to ____?” (When someone recognizes that we have full lives too, that’s very encouraging! If you assume singles have ALL this free time, then we need to have a talk.)
8. "Thank you for doing _____. You are so valuable to the fellowship."
7. "You are beautiful." (Some single women haven’t heard that from anyone since their mom or dad said it to them in 1st grade.)
6. "You are a great friend. I admire the way you _______."
5. "It would be fun to do a double date with you. When are you available?" (Actually make it happen.)
4. "I respect how faithful you are to God."
3. "I would never want you to marry anyone who didn’t realize how special you are."
2. "You are enough." (I actually don’t know any woman who doesn’t need to hear this!)
1. And the number one, "I’d be so happy if my daughter grew up to be like you."

Ahhhhh. Thanks for reading and for your understanding especially if you are married.

My next statement is hard to take but here it goes…being a single woman is a choice. We choose to be single. I didn’t believe that for a long time but it’s true. I could be married - right now! All any of us would have to do is let go of God’s standards and dreams for us. BUT since we love Him, we don’t let go and, I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s not a thing wrong with a woman who makes that decision!!

To my amazing single sisters: I’ve learned from some of the best faithful sisters out there!! Drop me a line or give me a buzz if you’re struggling with being single. I want to encourage, inspire, and lift you up, 'cause girl, you might not know it, but you are rock’n it!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Poem to Inspire

You Can If You Think You Can!

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.

~ C. W. Longenecker ~

One of my new year's resolutions was to memorize a new, inspiring I'm on the hunt. This is a contender. :) If you have an inspiring poem you love, please share it!!