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emotional and spiritual struggles, Inner Sparkle, sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Sparkle By Speaking the Truth, In Love…

My husband and I recently watched a video by John Bevere, one of the themes being “speaking the truth in love.” That is, by the way, instruction from God’s Word in Ephesians chapter 4.

It is not popular to speak truth to people, certainly not to warn people of long-term consequences. But we should love them enough to do it…and by the way…we should accept such honest communication toward ourselves as well. It’s called being wise!

So enjoy this short 3 minute video. Apply your own specific application to it…but do think about it, however God leads you to apply it.

Inner Sparkle, sparkle inspiration

Sparkle by “Keeping it Classy”

I looked up the word “classy” and one definition described it in this way:  “Classy can refer to someone who puts a high standard on the way he/she behaves.”

I recently watch a video by Dominique Sachse entitled “Keep It Classy, Girlfriend” and her thoughts got me to thinking especially about one particular point she made…

b8cae1818c297240723e6d04a4b05260“Class” is pretty much a lost commodity in our society. One reason for that is we, as a society, more and more speak from our emotions rather than from our brains. When people disagree with each other, there is a tendency to begin spewing emotional insults toward the one who dare to disagree. There is very little “exchange of ideas.” This often leads to a “potty mouth” kind of communication, which is not classy!  Also, to talk at someone rather than with him or her is a supreme lack of class.  This birdy picture is cute. I guess it represents the opposite of what the verse in Ephesians 4 is encouraging!

The remedy of engaging in this mindless and un-classy way of communicating is to have some quiet reflection time: reading, praying, thinking…knowing not just what we believe, but why we believe it. And looking into the beliefs of the “other side,” because how can we exchange ideas in a thoughtful way if we only know one side of an issue? Being a good and genuine listener is class par excellence’.

Recently, I had the flu (which I haven’t had in over a decade) But when I was feeling bad, I read a book sent to me by someone who holds a way different religious view from my own. I read the whole book in one day (ahhh, the luxury of being sick). But I wanted to kind of get into the head of someone who believes differently from me.

It was a truly great book with some admirable thought behind it, but in the end, I had to “agree to disagree” on some very major issues. But we are surely more able to have an exchange of ideas in a positive way rather than a condemnation match when we take time to understand the point of view of another person.

Cursing, insulting, bad-mouthing, and in general being a self-centered blaster in communication is a true lack of class.   I don’t mean being a conflict avoid-er. If you know me, you know that I am not that! But conflict doesn’t have to be nasty. Having strong convictions about something doesn’t necessarily mean that those who don’t agree are the enemy.

Trust me, I personally have a long way to go in learning this whole thing. But I usually write about issues where I need improvement, and I do need to improve my communication class level, that’s for sure! Writing about it makes me think twice before I lunge into bad habits.

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We sparkle when we know what we know because we have thought it through, but we aren’t so arrogant as to think that no other opinion is worth listening to. What a different world we would live in if we were all committed to “keep it classy”!

 

 

 

healthy lifestyle, Inner Sparkle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Sparkle By Being “An Outsider.”

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says, Be an Outsider. It’s actually a promotion for the store LLBean, but I liked the message, so I used the bumper sticker they sent me, which is amazing.

For me it had two meanings: first, a person should be who they are and believe what they believe, even if it means being an outsider in the culture in which they live, which it actually often does mean that. The second meaning to me of  “be an outsider,” is that a person will sparkle inside and out if he or she gets out to revel in the Creation that God, the Creator, has made for us to enjoy!

Have you noticed how blaaaaa you feel when you’ve been indoors too long, breathing the stale air, looking at a screen, lulling to sleep because of boredom?

IMG_3466reducedSo speaking of being an outsider, I have another blog, which is actually the blog for our little shop that we own. But on it, I have begun to write some hiking blogs, sharing pictures and experiences from our hiking times. Pictured here is Dream Lake, which is a place as dreamy as it sounds!

Click here to see the blog about our hike there!

So be an outsider! Go against the grain of popular thinking, if that is necessary to be who you really are. And get outside! Because when we get outside, we have an environment to get to know ourselves, and to get to know God, and to think about what really matters in life. Be an Outsider.

getting a little older, healthy lifestyle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body)

Outer Sparkle: Minimize sagging face and neck; it’s fail-proof.

I used to have pudgy cheeks when I was little. People, especially men it seemed, were always pinching them. One of my parents’ friends would grab onto my cheeks and squeeze them and say, “Ooooo, Dolly!” every time he saw me!

But now, many years later, my pudgy cheeks are giving in to gravity and much to my chagrin, are drooping into sagging jowls! I looked in the mirror recently, and just said a quiet, “bummer,” thinking that unless one has a face lift, one has to resign to the inevitable sag.

But then, I remembered something! When I was about 13 or 14 years old, I used to begin my summer mornings, every day at 8:30, watching Jack LaLanne. He did exercises with just a chair, no other workout equipment. And often, he would do face exercises. They made me laugh, because of course at that time, I had no interest in firming up my teenage face.

But I do now! So I googled “Jack La Lanne face exercises” and there it was, just as I remembered. And as I watched the video I remembered that he would call his audience, which consisted mostly of housewives, “students” and would not only do exercises but teach them. In this video, he teaches his students that there are many muscles in the face and that just as if you do sit-ups each day, you can firm your stomach muscles, if you  exercise your face muscles, you can firm those too!

The good news is that results begin to show in just a short while. Why is it that most exercise programs leave out the face? It has just as many muscles just waiting to be toned and firmed as the rest of the body.

Truth is, a 50 or 60 year-old is never going to look 20 or 30 again, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to look as good as we can at the age we are, right?

Take a look at Jack La Lanne. He is the all-time guru of fitness and health. Many workout spas still use the equipment he invented.

 

emotional and spiritual struggles, getting a little older, Inner Sparkle, sparkle inspiration

If I Knew Then What I Know Now…but wait a minute!

I’ve been planning to write a blog entitled “If I Knew Then What I Know Now.” And so over Christmas break, I thought about it. Although there are indeed some things that I have learned and that I do better now that I am older, the very startling realization that I came to in all my thinking is that a better title, in a way, for this blog might be, “If I Knew Now What I Knew Then”!

Why do I say that? Let me give you some examples. When I was younger there were some very hard times, and although I can honestly tell you that having kids with special needs is something I would never change and has been one of the pinnacle blessings of my life, it did come with hard times.

For example, when our second special needs child was born, there were people, even relatives, who made it clear to me that this recurring problem was somehow my fault. It was “the way I carried the child” (in pregnancy) and other such offensive and completely inaccurate comments or insinuations. I quietly nodded my head and ignored the comments, and I have thought in my older years that I should have told these people off!

But really? Is that a better choice? No, I made the better choice when I was young. Yes, a big part of my silence was intimidation and shame, and that should never have been part of my life at that time. But my response was a good one. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus did not answer His accusers. He did not do this out of intimidation or shame, but He did it, because it is the noblest way to handle an insult or an accusation.

And so, as I grow older and hopefully wiser, I may want to change my motivation, but I was right as a young woman to ignore insults and go on with my life. People in general tend to get a little nasty as they age, and I found in my pondering for this blog that nastiness is never an improvement.

cromwell1640So as I thought about the “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” there was yet another thing that came to mind that I actually did better when I was young than now. It is said that when Oliver Cromwell (born in 1599) had a portrait painted of him, he instructed the artist to include “warts and all.” He wanted to be who he was, and as a result, I assume that he accepted others more readily with their “warts.”

I find that as I get older, I am less vulnerable, less willing to let people know who I really am. I suppose that comes with years of being hurt by people. We are all hurt by people when we expose who we really are, but does that mean we should stop? Perhaps it means we should be more selective with whom we share, but we should not stop being vulnerable.

And we should allow people to be vulnerable with us without rejecting or criticizing them. I was also better at this when I was younger. Maybe I’m more discerning now. Yes, I think I am. But discernment should never be a barrier to accepting people “warts and all.”

I could share more examples but my point is this: we do grow more discerning in every way, and more able to see the foolishness of people’s accusations toward us as we age. But if we are not careful, that can result in bitterness rather than wisdom.

1peter2-23I want to be wiser as I get older! And so my New Year’s goal is to have the same gracious responses that I had when I was younger, only now, I drop the intimidation and the shame, and hopefully look more to Jesus, my example, who never defended himself, never stopped being real and vulnerable no matter how much pain that caused Him (and yet, even He was selective with whom He shared His deepest thoughts and feelings), and He never lost His gracious and forgiving spirit, even unto the cross.

So isn’t it interesting that I thought I would have all these things to share about how much wiser I am now than when I was young, and yet pondering it, I am going to look to my younger, more gracious self who was less prone to get offended, for example this year. Kind of humbling, but the prize for humility is wisdom, and wisdom is to be sought over all things!

healthy lifestyle, sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Make Someone Feel Special

IMG_1810edJosh McDowell used to say “Love is spelled T_I_M_E.” He said that as it related to raising children, but the principle applies to all relationships.

Today I went to a friend’s house who invited me over to celebrate my birthday (which we were actually celebrating about a month late due to our schedules).

When I saw the spread at the table, I thought of the time that went into it…making yummies that I can eat with my food sensitivities, selecting gifts, and no doubt cleaning up to make the atmosphere as nice as it could be. Even a lovely Christmas flower to take home, which took some time to shop for.

T-I-M-E. It’s a rare thing. There’s nothing wrong with giving facebook birthday greetings, that can make a person feel special. But it is, after all, just a push of a button.

Rick Warren said this:
“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”

74d4a8929ced5ca40096efb8dad6f979Notice that I mentioned that my friend and I had to wait a month to get together. So I’m not saying that we always drop everything and spend time with people. Rather, we do plan that time into our schedule as it becomes possible. And how wonderfully we can bless someone when we don’t show up huffing and puffing and thinking about the next thing on our to-do list, but rather, we give our full and undistracted attention to the person in front of us.

 

Love is spelled T_I_M_E. In fact “sparkle” is also spelled T_I_M_E. Spend time with God, with friends, with family. Give your full attention, make them know they are important…because they are!

healthy lifestyle, Outer Sparkle (Health for the Body), sparkle inspiration, Uncategorized

Christmas Sparkle Fun Activities

Christmas is a time of joy! We rejoice at the true meaning of Christmas, that the Lord Jesus Christ was sent to this earth as a baby, who would grow up to be our sacrificial Savior.

It’s wonderful to have activities during the holiday season that reflect our joy and light-heartedness. I thought I would share with you a couple of fun things that our family has done in the past. I am in the process of organizing the millions of pictures on my computer. So I will share a couple photos with you that give ideas for fun times.

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This is my daughter-in-law, Emily. As you see, we made “snowmen” with long pretzels, candies, and icing. The ones she is holding happen to have a Mexican hat theme, but the possibilities are limitless.

I have lost my recipe, but click here to see a similar one.

This activity appeals to all ages and gives guests something fun to take home. The works of art will last a year or two in your Christmas box, just to look at…not to eat, of course!

 

 

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Balloon hats are great fun. As you notice, there are no young kids in this group. There’s my mom who is in her 90’s and the rest of us “kids” having a great time. And of course, little kids adore this activity. This was not Christmas (I know that because my neighbors are in the picture), might have been Thanksgiving, but it would be a great Christmas craft!  Balloons can be bought at the Party Store and often come with instructions.

So come the new year, I’ll actually be writing some blogs with actual content! I’ll look forward to “seeing” you then!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New year 🙂

By the way, if you have some ideas to share, leave a comment for this blog and let other readers in on your joyful times!