Thursday, July 29, 2010

Think on this...

Just this evening, I was watching "The Flintstones" cartoon with my children - surprised? Yes, apart from the fact that I enjoy watching it as well as Tom & Jerry (do you know someone else who does?) - it's an opportunity for Family time. I also try not to miss opportunities to watch stuff with my children in order to both screen what they watch and maximise teachable moments. Maybe, no - most likely,  we'll talk about teachable moments another time. For now, let's get back to the point of this posting....

After all their usual "adventures" and "mishaps", at the end of this episode, Fred Flintstone was dancing with his wife - having a good time. Then just before his signature "Yabba-yabba-do",  chuckling he said:
"People like having some fun in their lives,
and like having some life in their fun."
Do you agree with him?

Well, I do. So here's wishing you a wonderful weekend as July 2010 wraps up. God bless you with a fun-filled Godly life and His abundant life in your fun. AMEN!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hungry or Greedy?

Recently as we drove past a fast food place, one of my children, who had just had lunch a few moments before we left our home said: "Mummy, I'm hungry". A quick look around and my eye caught his target so I responded: "Are you hungry or greedy?" My husband laughed and said, "You should write about that on your blog." It sounded like an strange suggestion and even stranger topic but as I put it down in my little "spur-of-the-moment" notebook. The more I thought about it against the backdrop of some of my observations and experiences, it became a viable topic - so here goes...

Let's start with the question I ask(ed) myself - "in our everyday lives, are we able to distinguish between hunger and greed?" I remember when we were growing up, whenever my Mum was dishing out our food she'd ask us to "come and say 'when'". In other words, it was up to us to tell her when the food in our plates was sufficient...generous and considerate won't you say?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Necklace

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw it - a fake white pearl necklace in a pink foil box. "Oh Mommy, please, can I have them?" she asked. Her mother checked the back of the little box and then looked back into the little girl’s pleading eyes. "They’re $3.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and you can save enough money to buy them for yourself."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her piggy bank and counted out 68 pennies. Over the next week, she did more than her share of chores and soon earned the needed $3.00 to purchase the pearl necklace.

Jenny loved those fake pearls. She used them for dress-up and they made her feel so grown up. She wore them everywhere - Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?" "Oh yes, Daddy! You know that I love you," she replied. "Then will you give me your pearls?" he asked. "Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection. She's my very favorite."

"That's okay, Honey, Daddy loves you. Good night." And he kissed her cheek.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The book of life (author unknown)

Got this in a powerpoint slide by email - reformatted it for sharing...added other comments in green.

Each day, life offers you a blank page in the book of your existence. Your past is already written & you can’t change that; in its pages you can find your history, some pages have soft colors, others darker shades…

Beautiful remembrances of happy times or pages you wish you could tear out forever...

Today you have the opportunity to write another page. It’s up to you to choose the colors it will have, for even in adversity you can add soft pastels of serenity to turn it into a beautiful experience.

Today... How will you write your day?

It all depends on your will & optimism to transform today’s page in the book of your life into a page that you will treasure as a beautiful remembrance in the future.

If you knew you had only one more day to live, what would you do?

No doubt you would make peace with God and with those around you, you’d enjoy the golden sunrays, the gentle breeze, the love and affection of that special person, & the many blessings the Lord has given that we sometimes take for granted.

Enjoy this new day! Take mental inventory of all the good things in your life and live each hour with cheer, giving it your best. Do not harm others & be happy to be alive and able to give a smile & offer others a helping hand.

It’s never too late to change course, start anew & write fresh pages of happiness & peace in the book of your life! God allows U-turns..today is an opportunity to make that U-Turn - don't delay.

Thank God for His gift of Today and the opportunity to turn this day into a beautiful new page in the book of your existence.

Remember that in spite of adversities, problems and difficulties it’s up to you how you live today... as if it were your first day, as if it were the last ...the ONLY day in the book of your life!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Letter to "Jackie"

Dear Jackie,

As your "name sake", I can imagine some of your challenges so I'd like to share some resources that have blessed and benefited me enormously. I mean, if we share the same "name" we might as well share a few other things - especially as there is joy in sharing.

You would have heard (or at least, read) me say/type that: Readers are Leaders and the converse is true...Leaders are Readers (I'm not even sure who authored either or both of those sayings - maybe someone who owned a bookstore).

Well, the point is that how busy I find myself, I do try to actually "find myself" despite all that busy-ness. You must never feel "bad" about being busy - it's only the dead that aren't busy so we must do our best to make the busy-ness work for us. It's got to be profitable busy-ness - in life, unprofitable businesses go bankrupt - likewise, unprofitable busy-ness can make you bankrupt - physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.

So we don't go bankrupt, I'd like to share some investment tips that yield high returns. There are a few of the books I hold dear to my heart/recommend when it comes to "finding myself" in the midst of my busyness - it's a 3-2-1 pattern...

I read these 3 books at different times in my life and their contents have stayed with me. I read "More hours in my Day" before I got married; "The Proverbs 31 woman" a few months or so after I got married and "Life Management for Busy Women" earlier this year - I told you about that one didn't I?


Two that I haven't read but will start looking out for them...so I can read them.
I learn a lot from Elizabeth George...so can you


and 1 that gives me every reason to say:

It is a delightful, down-to-earth book - it's an easy and breezy read.
You know, you could even use any or all of them to start a small study or book club with other ladies - you'd be amazed at how much spiritual, social, psychological and physical energy that will generate.

Let's know how you're doing...drop us a line.
Yours truly
Jackie 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Walking works

I recently walked more than I've ever walked in my life...and suprisingly, at the end of each day, I was still standing. Then it hit me that walking works and I better work it into my lifestyle asap - remember HEELS?
As usual, I decided to share this new found activity with you all. The best thing about walking is that it is not expensive and does not require any equipment or special clothes but I won't recommend walking in high-heeled shoes though. All it needs is you on your feet, landing heel first as you move forward.

I went on to look for the benefits of walking - really more to convince myself of this lifestyle change that my husband has been talking about for a while. Hopefully, you will also be convinced. Here are 20 things I found out about walking
According to Feet for Life (The Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists), it:
  1. Promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of stress and depression
  2. Reduces tiredness and gives people more energy for everyday tasks Not too sure about this because I was pretty tired after that weekend I mentioned but maybe I'll experience this as I stick with my new lifestyle
  3. Promotes better sleep No doubt about that, I slept like a log each night that weekend and still managed to wake up early the next morning - wonder how that happened
  4. Helps the muscles and ligaments in the feet to work more efficiently, and keep them supple and flexible
  5. Reduces depression and anxiety I already know how to eliminate it - casting all my cares upon God  
  6. Helps people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight That's an attractive benefit - definitely cheaper than trying to fit into girdles and drinking all sorts of weight loss remedies

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WPA

Recently during my quiet time (my time with God), the piece “A Worry List” in my devotional caught my attention. It was interesting that we are all encouraged to:

1. Develop a worry list: At first I wondered why or even how this can be considered to be good advice. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Can you imagine being worried and possibly stressed out without being sure what you’re worried about? Not a nice feeling. I remember a few weeks ago when I was really angry…and stressed – in fact now I’m not sure if I was stressed because I was angry or angry then stressed or just angry and stressed or just I don't know what. Needless to say, I had to talk myself back to “sanity” and of course a life of joy irrespective of my circumstance/challenges. So it does help to develop a worry list at least that way you know what you’re worried/worrying about – it even helps with the next step the writer (who by the way is a woman) recommended.

2. Turn your worry list into a prayer list: I suppose for this, in addition to referring you to previous postings on “Worry” and “Prayer” we might as well include this verse that has been referred to time and again on this blog: Philippians 4:6 (emphasis mine)-
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns." (The Message)
3. Turn your prayer list into an action list: Determine if you can do something about what you are worried about – it could very well mean that you should pray some more or confront the issue.

This piece helped me renew my commitment to graduate from Worry –> Pray –> Act (WPA). I feel as usual, God's timing for bringing this to my attention is impeccable - we're in the second half of the year - a great time to take stock of where we are with regards to resolutions made earlier in the year. God bless.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Birthstones?

How many of us know about birthstones? Well, I started researching into the history of birthstones and found some interesting information.

As always, it all started with God and then man stepped in and diluted it....

When God gave Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, He asked that they design a breastplate with 12 precious stones embedded in it because He wanted to always have the people of Israel presented to Him.

God was very clear in the purpose of the breastplate:
"So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them in continual remembrance before the Lord." (Ex 28:29)

The design of the breastplate was very clear in Exodus 28:17-20: "You shall set in it four rows of stones: a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle shall be the first row; The second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond [so called at that time]; The third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; And the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree." (Amplified Bible)

Then in Revelation 21:19-20, we have: "The foundation [stones] of the wall of the city were ornamented with all of the precious stones. The first foundation [stone] was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony (or white agate), the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst." (Amplified Bible)

I guess jewellers will know more about the details of each of these gem stones but that's not the point...let's move on to see what my research turned up (emphasis mine)...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

CBC.ca | Dispatches | June 17 & 20: from Los Angeles - Kabul - Sochi, Russia - Port-au-Prince - Jerusalem

CBC.ca Dispatches June 17 & 20: from Los Angeles - Kabul - Sochi, Russia - Port-au-Prince - Jerusalem

"Don't move...improve"

That phrase got me thinking after I heard it on the radio. I seem to be hearing a lot from the radio these days...most likely because I listen to the radio more - must be.

A little more about the context and how it applies to us.

They were featuring Watts, a city in Los Angeles, where that is their saying is "don't move...improve". 2 women - Miss Ware and Miss Williams - who started a Project Jordan in the 1960s. Both women didn't have much money but gave (& still give) what they had to help the children in their community. A classic example of "Connection in your community". The ladies are well past their 80s but have invested in teaching the children in their community their way out of poverty. They don't provide scholarship, just supplemental spending money.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jackie of all trades

I know that "Jack of all trades, master of none" is not a very positive term but I just got a fresh thought - all women need to be Jackie of all trades, master of self.

As women, we have no choice but to know a lot of different things in various areas of life and still master ourselves. We are, at least I am, drawn in so many directions and if we do not have a good grip on and of ourselves otherwise we'll be very unhappy and unfulfilled in life. The challenge is...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

God's requests

God makes three requests of his children: Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now”
 African-American Proverb

When I stumbled on this proverb, I found it rather basic and yet profound and progressive.
Let’s break it down:
1. Do the best you can

Doing your best requires an effort - a conscious one too. To make sure you're not misapplying your effort, you need to first assess where you are in life and then go the extra mile. You have to be honest to yourself - noone can do this for you. Until you come to a realisation (& accpetance) of where you are and how close or far you are to/from your target you cannot progress. Then you can take the next step even if it means stretching yourself. Yes, you need to stretch yourself to do your best...and stretching is a continuous process.

There are lots of books that give guidance on how to assess oneself and move to the next level. Some that readily come to mind for me (and which have helped and continue to help me) are:

Understanding your potential
                                                                              Releasing your potential
by Myles Munroe

 
 You’re born an original, don’t die a copy
An enemy called Average
by John Mason   



There are several other books there but it doesn't end with reading them...you need to do something. In summary, “You are doing your best only when you are trying to improve what you are doing” (Author unknown) 
Let's move on...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Psalm 23:1

I don’t know if you’re like me, but we grew up having to memorize Psalm 23. At that time, it was just another spiritual activity enforced by parents - (sound familiar?). However, as I matured and developed my own relationship with the Lord, this Psalm took on (& has continued to) a new meaning for me.

Let’s dig into verse 1 and see how different (popular) versions put it:

What's holding you up?

Or should I be asking, "Who is holding you up?"

Sometime ago, a family friend shared a funny true-life story with me:

She said that a couple of years ago, there was traffic hold-up. Being compliant drivers, each person that came to that spot waited "patiently" of course wondering what the hold-up was all about. It was interesting that even the person at the front of the hold-up was also waiting "patiently" until shall I say, common sense kicked in. He got out of his car and did something about removing the "road block". Actually it was more than one "road block"...

Friday, July 2, 2010

On the radio

A couple of weeks ago, while listening to the radio, I just had to get a piece of paper and start scribbling. They were talking about a not-so-popular topic - Humility.

The speaker said that Humility:
  • is confidently knowing your strengths and weaknesses
  • sharing your knowledge and skills without arrogance
I'd like to add, humility is knowing who you are in God, especially that:
  • without God you can do nothing!! (John 15:5)  and
  • with God you can do all things (Phil 4:13)
Whenever I'm feeling "unhumble" (if there is such a word), the Holy Spirit reminds me of James 4:6 “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” [NLT].

On the flip side, in being humble, I do my best to not be like the person I heard about who said: "I'm proud of my humilty".

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sharpen your axe

Today is the 182nd day of this year - we are already half-way through the year. This is a great time to look at the past 6 months to review how you have done and to come up with a plan for the remaining 183 days.

Got this in an email and had to share...I pray you find it helpful


If I were to summarise this in one Bible verse, I point you to Ecc 10:10. I've even included it in 5 versions...who ever said the Bible is incomplete?

Amplified:
If the ax is dull and the man does not whet the edge, he must put forth more strength; but wisdom helps him to succeed.

New International Version:
If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.
 
New Living Translation:
Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

New Century Version
A dull ax means harder work. Being wise will make it easier.

The Message:
Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle.

In closing, to reiterate the message, improve yourself; get better at something or even dare to step out of your boat to walk on water and learn something new. It takes courage to want to and to learn (see http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2009/12/secret-3-courage-5-courage-to-learn.html)

Everything is possible to him/her who believes - sharpen your axe. Wishing you a more productive second-half of the year. God bless