Sunday, January 12, 2014

he is real...but so is God

Hello dear friends and readers,

I recently had a sort of epiphany, and if you don't mind, I'm going to try to hash it out "on paper" in hopes that you might be able to relate, provide some insight, or just need something to read this evening.

I'd like to start by saying I consider myself a fairly positive person...and "fairly" may not be a strong enough word.  I strive to find the good in all situations and people, find joy in the smallest things (figuratively and literally), and been called "terminally cheerful."  Needless to say, I'm a "glass half full" kind of girl to the core...(this may not come as a surprise to those of you who know me well...or know me at all).  ☺

All that said, there have been times in my life (some more recently than others) that I have found it difficult to maintain my positivity, find my joy, and/or see the good in a given situation.

Examples include:

  • A moment of disagreement causes me to doubt an entire friendship.
  • Missing out on an evening activity causes me to resent my work schedule.
  • A single matter in need of compromise/middle ground rather than being in total agreement in all matters causes me to question the relationship as a whole.
  • A "closed door" of opportunity causes me to throw in the towel and not even look for the "open window."

These seeds of doubt/confusion grow into small ferns...bushes...even trees and cast their shadow on all of the good things in which I'm so accustomed to easily finding joy.  (I feel like this sounds like some sort of depression medication's not.)  My first instinct is to mask these feelings and deal with them myself.  Past experience (and common sense), however, has proven this to be a relatively futile means of coping.

What hit me today is that these negative feelings/emotions/thoughts that throw off my positive groove are not coincidence - this negativity has to be coming from somewhere.  I'd be crazy to not be joyful about the job(s) I've been blessed with...or about the fact I have a job, period.  I'd be out of my mind to think a loved one or friend loves me less because of one little point of conflict.  I'd just be wrong to think God would deny me one opportunity without presenting another.  Right?  Right.

I came to the conclusion that feelings of doubt, confusion, and insecurity are coming from Satan.  I don't really know why it took me so long to realize/articulate/embrace/understand this truth.  I know I should be in the practice of being on the lookout for evil in my life, but I'm not, really.  I attribute this lack of practice to my optimistic demeanor (see above).

As I thought about it all more, I realized how much sense it makes that the things that seem to not make sense in my life (i.e. the doubt, negativity, etc.) are coming from someone who does not have my best interests at heart.  Satan is ever-present in this world, and we must, must, must be constantly on the lookout for him and the lies he spreads.  "...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." -John 8:44

So, what should my(our) plan of action be when (I almost said "if and when," but there isn't really an "if" in this matter) this negativity shows up in my(our) thoughts and mind?

Pray.  Pray, pray, pray.  "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7

Like I said - my first instinct has always been to "deal with it" on my own.  But how can I possibly expect to combat Satan on my own?!  Ha!  Silly me.  Therefore, here I am...♫"standin' in the need of prayer..."♪ (Sorry...I couldn't resist.)  Seriously, though - I can't do it alone.  We can't do it alone.  So, if you're a praying person, I'm asking for your help.  Please pray that I am able to recognize and resist Satan's lies and retain my ability and desire to find goodjoy, understanding, and security in all God has and will continue to bless me with.

I'd also like to encourage you to pray this for yourself...and for your loved ones.  Don't let Satan get the best of you.  "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:11

Thank you, in advance.  ☺

I hope you have a really lovely week!


P.S. I'm sure there are many more passages of Scripture I could've referenced...feel free to chime in if you have any to add...or any thoughts...or anything, period! 

Favorites of the day:
leftover Papa John's pizza
50+ degree weather in January
the movie "Frozen" (Seriously, if you haven't seen it, you need to!)

Monday, January 6, 2014

The end of one...and the beginning of another.

Happy New Year!!

I hope this finds you and yours well, staying warm, and recovering from the busy-ness of the holiday season.

Speaking of that was great here...but so, so busy!  I'd like to share a few highlights with you:

I was blessed with so many wonderful gifts from my students!  I was (am) floored by their thoughtfulness and generosity:
Gorgeous flowers, beautiful necklace, and delicious cupcakes!
One of the families I teach asked me to accompany them to the Lorie Line Christmas concert!  It was such a festive and well-done show, and it was the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit and kick off the season!
They performed "The 12 Days of Christmas" and invited all the kiddos in the audience on stage to dress up in costumes and play the parts of each "item." It was pretty cute...and clever!  Calling birds = penguins with large phones, Lords a-leaping = frogs, etc.

My trombone student (and his family) invited me to the Canadian Brass Christmas concert!  I've played many arrangements by this famous brass quintet, and it was such a treat to see them perform live!  They were ultra-talented...and funny!  What a fun, informative, impressive show!

THEN, this really great guy I know took me to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert (and out to a fancy dinner afterward, no less!  Gotta love Lidia's).  What an amazing and entertaining show!  I would definitely recommend seeing the perform live if/when you get the chance.

Christmas was spent on the farm after a short trip to Topeka (and KC), then I welcomed the New Year in NE, KS, and OK.  Praise the Lord for winter breaks, flexible work schedules, my new car, and safe travels!  ☺

This week brings the start of the new semester...and the new year.  As I've told you before, I don't do resolutions.  I'm sure, however, that 2014 will be a year full of new adventures, growing relationships, and countless blessings.


Favorites of the day:
quality time with loved ones
an extra day to recuperate after the break (today was a "cold" day (as opposed to snow day) - no school...or lessons!)
a free combo meal coupon from Don and Millie's due to putting my business card in the "free lunch" drawing!
playing Scrabble while watching "The Wedding Planner"