Sunday, January 20, 2013

One Perfect Word

A prominent book on my shelf this year.
The fresh slate enabled by the coming of a new year is a welcome reward after surviving yet another year.  It is good to turn the page, start a new chapter, or perhaps even close the book and begin something completely new.  Though I wouldn't consider myself a junkie, I am always on the look out for the next book or program that might inspire.  For the last two years, a sale table has provided such a book.

During the first week of 2013, I meandered my way down the aisles at T.J. Max, one of my favorite places to find hidden treasures.  I have enjoyed 2 or 3 of Debbie Macomber's novels and saw her name on a nonfiction hardback for only $3.  I used to think that cheap meant it was a dismal failure -- not true, just perhaps under appreciated.

The first novel of her massive collection of works I discovered was "Twenty Wishes," a tale of hope and excitement about the future I can highly recommend.  I wondered how her nonfiction would be.

Even with a 20 plus year background in Christian ministry, I find most religious self help books insulting, fluffy and downright useless.  I was afraid Macomber would go the same direction, but she surprised me with a powerful read.  She puts forth her Christian beliefs in a simple matter of fact manner that attracts and disarms rather than the usual "shoving it down one another's throat" approach.  Thank you Debbie.

The gist of this book is that you find a meaningful word that you can live closely with for a year.  You put the word places where you can see it daily, study it, use it, live with it, chew on it, needlepoint it -- discover the depth of its meaning for you in a profoundly intimate way that takes you further on your spiritual journey.  Macomber shared from a number of years of her experience with having one perfect word each year.

I am a word person.  The power of words is unarguable. The power of one word can be razor like.  The power of a word that one has been inspired to grow with can be life changing.

With endless possibilities before me I couldn't wait to find my word for all of 2013.  I pondered the words-- "family," "journey," "love," and a few more.  Much of what I hope to do this year requires me to create and to fully engage in that act.  My perfect word is CREATE.
My perfect word, placed gently in a nest, waiting to be hatched, ready to grow with me.
 So create I shall!  In a multitude of ways I will create.  Already I have begun to see those six letter penned everywhere.  I suddenly hear it in sentences with implications bearing forth that I'd never seen before.  I do love an adventure and there is one being created to last me more than a year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Post Christmas Thoughts

I love Christmas.  I mean I really love it.  I love most everything about Christmas -- the festive gatherings, giving gifts, receiving gifts, baking, eating what I've baked, eating what everyone else has baked, going to a party, making special gifts and on it goes.  As a rule, I get so busy and so excited over the holidays I get sick.  Out of my 50 Christmases, I may have been healthy for five of those.  I just get so wound up and burnt out, that I crash and burn at some point in December.  I really wish I didn't do that, but I don't foresee me changing much at this point in my life.

Even as a kid, I'd get so excited and sick that my parents would give me an early gift on my Dad's birthday (December 16), just to try to let off a little bit of the steam of excitement.  In retrospect, I really could have worked that even more to my advantage.

Not a single post got made regarding the Christmas season and I had a hopper full of ideas.   Here's some of the thoughts I've been hanging on to--

Christmas Thought #1

I haven't watched the children's movie "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" since my kids were small, but I just delighted in letting myself watch the whole thing.  I hadn't remembered that reindeer could be as nasty as pre-teen girls with an attitude. What I did remember was that it wasn't Rudolph that had to change for his uniqueness to be celebrated -- it was the attitude of everyone else.  Once Santa realized what the one thing was that glowing red snozz could be used for, all was well for Rudy. 

So let's not wait for someone to name our worth, let's name it and claim it for ourselves!  I'd wager we each have something that we are harassed for or about, everyone has something about themselves that causes them to not quite fit in to the mainstream.  I say -- let's put the fun back in and figure out what gifts we have to offer.  We, you and I, have something no one else can bring to the world -- what is it?

Christmas Thought #2

Gift buying is both a blast and an awful experience depending on who I am buying for.  There are some people who will love whatever you give them because they are just thankful people who can see the treasure in the gift and the giver.  And then there are those people who won't like what you give them regardless of the amount of time, energy and money you spend on them.  These are the people that keep me up at night!  I've finally decided that this is their problem and not mine.  I do my best to choose something that is appropriate to that person and their likes and I offer it with love.  That is my end of the exchange and I hope for the best.   I'll move my energy on to something a bit more edifying.

Christmas Thought #3

Believe what you believe and embrace it.  I spend so many years trying to keep Santa out of my Christmas because others made me feel guilty.  As children came along, I agonized over the role I would give Santa in their holiday.  I celebrate the whole darned package and love it.  I believe in Jesus as the divine Son of God and I believe in the place of Santa as a chapter in the story of Christmas. 

There's a resale store in Fenton that I love!! I try to visit Fratz once a week just to see what treasures are new.  As a lover of nativities and Mrs. Claus, I kept close tabs on the Christmas section.  Early on I spotted a 2 foot tall Mary and Joseph that looked to be outdoor statues.  But there was no Baby Jesus to be found.  By the time Christmas was over, you could purchase this very nice 2/3 of a nativity scene for about $7.00.  It was a great buy, but a significant part of the set was missing.  Who wants a Mary and Joseph? It's not a bargain if it isn't what you want!  If you don't believe it, there's no use trying to buy into it.

Christmas Thought #4

Be fully present where you are -- not only during the holidays, but always.  It is difficult to fully enjoy a gathering with friends when you are already worrying about the plate of snacks you are taking to another party in two days, and so on and so forth.  One of the biggest challenges in life is to learn this lesson -- to savor each moment when you are in it.  Life will be so much tastier this way!!

Now we are on to the New Year.  This is a time full of new beginnings and new possibilities.  I'm ready.