Life is for Living Every Day

Embracing Faith, Family, Friendship; Love, Laughter, Life


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Much has been given

the journey is the destination

 

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” ~ Luke 12:48 (NIV)

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Crop Over is in the air, and I heartily agree with a comment made once by Father Austin Carrington of the Christ Church Parish Church who encouraged Barbadians to embrace the positive aspects of our Festival while casting away the not-so-positive ones.  And here therefore is my “Once-Upon-a-Crop-Over-Long-Ago” story … which of course stars Nathan and Gale.

That particular year we went to the beach one Sunday afternoon with friends and family to enjoy some “Pan pun de Sand”. It was hot hot hot and very crowded but the sweet sweet sweet steel pan melodies soon distracted us from dwelling on the humidity. The musicians were talented and passionately threw their bodies all across the pans, reminding me of the reason I particularly loved this time of year; when I am so very proud to be a Bajan living in the midst of so much local creativity.

Unfortunately, the evening was slightly marred by an interesting interaction involving Nathan who, when it was time to leave, could not be contacted on his cell phone. We knew he had gone off with one of his friends soon after arriving on the beach but by 8 p.m. it was more than a little dark and even more crowded; yet he hadn’t returned to our group. After many frustrating moments of unanswered calls, a close friend contacted us to advise that Nathan was with his family and would be taken home. This was good because it meant Nate was safe, but it was also disappointing because as we found out later on, Nate never even had his cell phone with him! Apparently the battery had died so he simply left it in his room at home, jumped into the car and never once said a single word as we made our way to the venue.

Needless to say, Nathan could not understand the cause for concern.  As we argued, a thought unexpectedly popped into my mind: “to whom much is given, much is expected / required”.  Years ago, I worked and paid for my first (about the size of a flat, extra-large cucumber) cell phone.  I had no parent to gift it to me and yes, times were different since Nathan had his own (high-tech) phone at a much younger age but it is expected that by having this convenient communication tool one should be better able to reach him, especially in an emergency – not so? With this acquisition therefore came the responsibility of keeping it charged (Nathan) and topped up with airtime (Gale).

As Nathan further failed to see the point, both his phone and his I-pod were eventually confiscated by his big bad momma.  Why the I-pod? Because it was always charged so he could listen to music and as a result permanently attached to his hip.  The I-pod had of course accompanied him to the beach, but no phone … were we to call him on the I-pod then when it was time to leave? Was it supposed to ring? Who would have answered? But in reality, what could he have been thinking? And I don’t know why, but as the confiscator proceeded to confiscate items from the confiscatee, another verse sprung to mind, admittedly not in the truest context as presented in the bible: “the Lord giveth … and the Lord taketh away”.

I am still not sure all these years later if Nate has learnt his lesson i.e. the importance of being more responsible and accountable. Parenting is a continuous work in progress and sometimes it looks as though there is no progress at all but I do know that on that night way back then as we went to bed (very very early) I was able to acknowledge that in the same way I had been blessed in abundance with good friends, loving family, basic health, home, car, job and the ability to write creatively, so was I required to share these blessings with others whenever I could, and before for some reason they were taken away.

So here’s the question(s): what about you? What talents or material possessions has God given to you? What testimony is He expecting you to share? Is He expecting much of you as a result of His blessings? Definitely something to think about.

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” ~ Job 1:21 (NIV)

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Because Better Days Are Coming :)

 

“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” Genesis 39:21-23

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One day I overheard this conversation between two girlfriends.

“Do you know why you are in this prison of a pit right now?”

“Because God is trying to make me stronger?”

“Yes and no.  You are here because if you do not experience the pit, you will not appreciate the palace when you get there.”

Interesting concept but do you agree?  And I’m asking because I know that some days it can look as though the palace is way way out in the distance somewhere, never to be found. Maybe that’s just me.

So let’s shift focus a bit. Do you feel as though you are in a deep dark pit right now, the circumstances of which have you locked down in a serious vice grip? Well so did Joseph but he trusted his God to be there with him no matter the circumstances. God knew he was going to be in pit, followed by a prison, so He must have had an escape plan plotted out as well. How did Joseph confirm this belief? Because the bible tells us that God was with him and gave him success in whatever he did.

Similarly so does God have a plan mapped out for you. The pit may be dark, the prison darker still. But your heavenly Father has not forgotten you! Let God’s word and love be a light to your mind and body, and never forget to hold on tight to your faith … because better days are coming and soon you will be in your palace.  Amen!

Have a Happy Monday and a great week ahead.

Photo by Gale E


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We Are God’s Awesome Delight

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“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

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What a beautiful verse! And I admit I strongly feel the need to really hold on to God’s promises – like in a vice grip of sorts, if only to keep me from tumbling over the cliff of life and into a deep valley of overwhelming despair which means it’s comforting to know that God is indeed living right here among us.

For example, I once travelled to the Dominican Republic to attend a quarterly management meeting with an awesome team of ‘movers and shakers’. As we got started I felt it was truly great to have an infinite supply of ideas, yet my enthusiasm was tempered by this little fact: execution can more often than not become a challenge when resources are finite rather than infinite. We shared our various views around the table and I took as many notes as possible but gradually, I felt as though my poor heart was going to explode out of my chest (quietly however, so as not to disturb the meeting but explode none the less). How would the items on our extra-long To Do List ever be completed within the stipulated deadlines? Continue reading


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10 Rules to Success by Oprah Winfrey

2 kettlebells 20 lbs each

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

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Do you believe Oprah Winfrey is successful? What’s your yardstick? What do you think is hers? I know that mine is hard work followed by hard work. That’s what it took for me to be able to swing two 20 lb kettlebells at the same time. When I finally got it right it was: “Success folks! Go me!”

I am not as famous as Oprah but here are 10 of her ‘Rules to Success’ – thanks to Evan Carmichael – but do they match yours? Would you add any others? Leave a comment and get this successful conversation started 🙂

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ~ Golda Meir


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Let There Be Light

Photo by Gale E

 

“Too often, we complain about the darkness, “I don’t like this job. These people are so negative. Nobody has a good attitude.” Ask yourself, why do you think God put you there? They don’t need more light in the bright places. That’s an opportunity for you to shine.” ~ Joel Osteen

Well, do I really have to say how much I related to this word by Joel Osteen? Anyone else agree? If you are still working and not enjoying retirement as yet, it is a fact that we spend more of our waking hours on the job than at home with our families. And we all know how these hours can quickly expand just like that into extra hours when trying to complete deadline-driven projects.

I think it would be great to have a job where everything simply fit into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. We would get to work on time, take our lunch break on time and leave our office on time. We would get adequate notice about projects and be able to complete them on time. Everyone would be friendly, cooperative and committed as well as supportive team players. Best of all our pay would be unbelievably generous! Yup, that would be wonderful but an ideal job is much like an ideal life: it’s not going to happen.

The world is full of dark places and dark people … as Joel suggests, both need our light. Let’s ask God to show us how we can shine even brighter exactly where He has placed us and by extension to transform a few life negatives into positives.  With Him on our side it can be done.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin”. 1 John 1:7 NIV

Please share your thoughts with us:
– Are there negative people in your life? How do you manage them?
– How is your job right now: good, bad or ugly?
– If you are retired, is there more light than darkness around you?
– Is there anything you could do differently to shed a little more light around you today?


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The Lord Will Provide

Tokyo food

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV)

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Today I am looking back over the past few days and acknowledging that although it was mostly a time of frustration and inconvenience, it was also a time of great provision.  God never forgot me, especially on those days when I literally told Him: “God I have no idea how I am going to manage today; please send somebody (or some bodies) to help me!”  As one day merged into another I didn’t only ask for help but found myself relying on God to make decisions for me.

Have you ever found yourself saying: “Ok God, there are these three things I need to do.  Please ease the tightness in my chest and show me which one is the real priority here while giving me the peace of mind in knowing that this is what I should be doing at this exact time.”  Or maybe you used these words instead: “God, I have absolutely no clue what to do in this situation!  I can’t think straight and I just can’t decide … so you’re going to have to take the steering wheel on this one while I sit in the passenger seat.”  Can you relate?  I am sure it’s not just me that has these types of conversations with our Father.

A friend told me recently that God builds and tests our muscles in the valley so that we will be fit enough to make the trip to the top of the mountain.  She is so right!  I guess all we have to do is focus on being obedient to God while resisting the many temptations that the devil sends to distract us from staying on the true path.

Our heavenly Father is our Yahweh Yireh, a name which means ‘the Lord will provide’ and as I encourage myself to stand firm in the knowledge that God will provide for me whether I am down in the valley or up on the mountain top, so do I encourage you to stand firm and to look for that ram in the thicket just as Abraham did – because it will without a doubt be right there waiting for you.  Do I hear an ‘amen’?

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)

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