Friendship is Unnecessary …personal case study

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ~C.S. Lewis

As I pondered the whirlwind of a year I had just survived, several things occurred to me. First, I did it. I had made it to the end of an era…sometimes one week, sometimes one day…and I’ll admit there were a few episodes when it was simply one moment at a time, but I am here, my children are healthy and doing well…and we are on the flip side of one crazy year. I am thankful for that.

Secondly, it occurred to me that there was one main theme to each milestone and achievement made in those 365 days of endurance – a crutch, if you will, and I had used it to the fullest (sometimes two, three or a half-dozen at a time). No, not the chocolate…that helped too…but that’s more the cause of my generic resolution, blah. The wine. It was the wine. Ok, no, not that either – and thankfully I did not consume a half-dozen of anything in the wine sort! Which brings me back to what I was originally saying, because this crutch would have never allowed for me to do that to myself.

FRIENDS

The entire box set – not so much – but almost. These were mine, in the real, without scripts or millions of dollars in residuals (hmmmm, maybe I need to rethink this). They simply showed up. That was all I really needed…but my friends were truly amazing. They held my hand when I was afraid, made me laugh when I wanted to cry, planned get togethers, loved my children, supported my ventures, endured my wild ideas (less Janell’s birthday plans – a story for another time) and some even started running – for fun and with me! They showed up.

Instant Messaging
Voicemail
Text
Inbox
Mailbox
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Autumnwood
Random Hashtag
and sometimes sitting right next to me…even in simple silence.

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. ~Donna Roberts

Because of amazing friends willing to love – even in less lovable times – my heart is able to recall a tune. I might be a bit off-key for just a short while, but do know that like philosophy or art…I now know the fullness of that unnecessary thing called FRIENDSHIP.

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. ~John Leonard

As for the many other thoughts which suddenly occurred to me…stay tuned…it’s just the first day of an unbelievable 2013!

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Key Factors in Aligning Values & Actions

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
~William Shakespeare

Worldly pressures, images and persuasions can be confusing and often misleading. If we are not careful, we can quickly stray from our original goals. We are continually exposed to media, social ideals and various other forms of information and unsolicited feedback, but thankfully, we have some insight and knowledge of these pressure pits which can help us thwart the mass of it…unfortunately, our children are still young and not as well prepared…but we are here to help them along their way!

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

This transitional time of year is a perfect opportunity to help remind ourselves – and our children – of what our values and priorities are, and take a closer look at our goals…in order to reevaluate our cause. Learning more about who we are wonderfully made to be will help navigate this wide open space. Discovering more about who we *want* to be and less about what the world is *pressuring* us to be can be the key to true happiness.

So, how do we help our families achieve these ideals?

It helps to start with a list of values. Prioritize your top ten values and have your children do the same. The below list can be used to generate ideas, but choose your list according to what is most important to you.

Family
Spiritual Growth
Social Interactions
Sports
Education
Money
Health
Service
Career Advancement
Hobbies

There are no wrong answers on the values assessment list because every person is a unique individual! If we all shared exactly the same values and strengths, we wouldn’t be nearly as effective in working together.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. Romans 12:4-6

Do your actions match your values?

Once you’ve determined your priorities, it’s helpful to check that you are appropriating your time accordingly. I like to do this using percentages, but you can simply rearrange your above list according to your current schedule. Now, compare the two lists and see where adjustments need to be made. Being aware of what we are doing and the reasons why can help in setting positive long-term goals.

Now that we know our values and can see where we are spending our time, we can use the information to set new goals and align our daily lives to reflect our beliefs. It’s not uncommon to slip into a bad habit of doing too much of that in which we would rather not…a whole lot less of that in which we should.

Goal Setting

One of the best ways to get back on track and moving toward the original goal is to set a main long-term goal with several, reachable short-term goals along the way.

All goals should be SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

Your goal setting sheet should look something like this:

Main Goal = _____________ (keep it positive)

Short-term Goal #1 (include specifics and an achievable date)
Short-term Goal #2 (cross s-t goals off as they are accomplished!)
Short-term Goal #3 (almost there…stay on track)

Motivators: (I like to put encouraging words and helpful reminders here – something to keep the focus. Sticky notes on mirrors, in the car or somewhere they will be viewed daily can help too!)

I think you might be surprised at the many things you can learn about your children and their amazing, loving hearts as you help them set and keep their goals. They may be surprised to learn some pretty cool things about you too (and gain some wisdom into the reasons *why* you do the things you do!) …so in whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

Loving Our Children as Christ Loves Us

“Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.” ~Tim Keller

How do we raise strong, confident children, preparing them with the tools and values to achieve God’s will in their own lives? Simply by loving them as Christ loves us. To accept, love and reassure our children for exactly who they are – not for who we wish them to be – is at the essence of healthy of parenting. Forgiveness, grace and abundant love.

Concepts from Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel:

Sometimes our love is incomplete because…
Our children feel they have to COMPETE for it.
Or they feel they have to EARN it.

Making love secure…
We can ACCEPT our children for who they are.
Provide them with AFFILIATION with a loving and honoring family (without an idealistic view of what that must look like).
Give them regular, generous amounts of AFFECTION (from both parents/all family members – pretty much until they’re 120 yrs-old!).

It’s not always easy to accept the quirks and rebellions of our children, but a biblical view of right and wrong tempered with graceful lessons in repentance and freedom from guilt will allow our children the power to confront the challenges of a sinful human nature. It’s all too easy to be tempted to punish harshly for innocent annoyances (especially when overdrawn and underslept) but it’s vital to the success of our children’s personal/spiritual growth that we allow them to be the silly, sometimes obnoxious individuals they were made to be…and one day, all that crazy energy will be alloted to the very purpose they were sent here to serve. So, as you attempt to prepare a healthy meal to the beat of wooden spoons on metal pots and pans – paper airplanes whizzing past your head in a near miss to the hot burner and boiling water – just remember that your little musician and your future pilot will thank you for loving them as Christ has loved you.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss ~ Movie Review

What do you do with an animation alluding – possibly a little too much – to controversial issues of conservation, politics, religion and various other propaganda distracting from the message in the original text? You pay a little extra to watch it in 3-D!

Let LOVE save the world…I think Dr. Seuss might like it. Is it really so bad that Ted might find his passion for a green initiative in school-boy twitterpation? What better reason is there!? He heard “I’d probably marry him right on the spot”  …in the voice of Taylor Swift. That was a boy on a mission – he can’t help it that he might save the world too – give him a break, movie critics.

AND if you don’t care for the twists in the movie plot or silly, creative animation, you certainly won’t care for the funky tunes ~ but you might like this humorous video!

Ode to the criticism of a greed-driven capitalistic system and the evils of excess (caution against putting me into a socialist/semi-socialist box, wink)…a massive ruse alluding to the absurdity of, um, bottled water (don’t pay for what ya might find for #free)…and yes, for goodness sake, plant a tree (the ladies will love ya for it!). I should also admit: I cried, yes real tears, at a 3-D animated film – which was made it a little more difficult to notice all the welling up of tears #benefitofhuge3-Dglasses. See the flick, hug a tree, call me a hippie (grandpa) but I loved this film!

The Lorax – Movie Quotes – Fav Picks:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. The Once-ler

A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean. The Lorax  

‘Cause when a guy does something stupid once, well that’s because he’s a guy. But if he does the same stupid thing twice, that’s usually to impress some girl. The Once-ler

Its not about what it is, Its about what it can become. The Once-ler

 

Where Fallibilism Meets Laminin, #MolecularFav

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  ~Henry S. Haskins

I heard a true pessimist once say, in response to the sharing of joys, “This too shall pass.” The tidbit of glass-half-empty insight was shared in good spirits, meant to entertain, but a resounding truth remained in the words of twisted wisdom.

It’s one of my most challenging feats *in the midst of sufferings*: finding true joy and thanksgiving. [CONFESSIONS OF A WORK IN PROGRESS]. So, I suppose that knowing, along the path of life – both the good and the bad – too shall pass is of little comfort to me.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

In a position of seeking answers – real, concrete, unwavering, steadfast laws – for the unpredictably, ever-changing world I often find myself in, I turn to ScIEnCE. It is, in fact, “a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.”

This form of rational, dependable information – keeping fallibilism (the philosophical principle that human beings could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of the world) at bay – brings great comfort to me in tumultuous times. I can rest my head at night knowing that there lies truth in the laws of nature.

LAMININ…it’s a cell adhesion molecule, the glue of the human body, a protein chain vital to survival…”an integral part of the structural scaffolding in almost every tissue of an organism.”

…and with Laminin, I can sleep at night. Yep, I find amazing, profound comfort in molecular science (might not guess that about me at a first impression, huh?)…but before you write me off as an under-slept keyboard warrior voicing fervent and fanatical hypothesis via mom blog…CHECK IT OUT:

And watch this excellent video: Louie Giglio, Laminin

Sources: Wikipedia, Quote Garden
Photos: ocopoligist, andrasic

The Heart’s One, True Desire…LOVE

The power of the human mind is a profound mystery but even more interesting to me is the persuading influence of the human heart.

Broken Heart Syndrome, as it is commonly called, tends to draw its share of media attention in the month of February. Disuvo is a more technical term for the condition…and Octopus Heart will pull Google hits – the reference being drawn from the shape the heart takes as the left ventricle balloons similar to a pot used by Japanese fishermen to trap octopus, the “Tako-tsubo.”

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

The peculiar condition mimics a heart attack but without the presence of an actual blockage. The sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart is caused only by a surge of stress hormones! Patients are generally in good physical health – suffering only from an increased amount of sudden stress.

So, can the heart be truly broken? Well, I’d say [shaking my magic 8-ball] signs point to yes. Ok, fortune telling toy unnecessary – my heart has most certainly been broken and more than once…evidence it also can be healed, right? Every heart experience leaves an impression – some bigger than others – all contributing to the perfected strength and endurance intended for that individual, providing astounding abilities to prevail in L-O-V-E. The heart is, after all, a muscle and to prevent atrophy, one best find ways to use it!

This Valentines Day, guard your heart with truth, fill it with love and let it guide you as if your life depended upon it…because it does.

 

Read more about Broken Heart Syndrome in this detailed explanation I wrote for Littleton Hospital (the “don’t quit your day job” side of what I do, lol!).

Other articles on LOVE:

The Greatest of These is Love

A Valentine for All Seasons

Making Love Potion

Choosing Abounding Love

Think About Such Things

Kids Remember

What Are You Thankful for This Year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make YOUR Life Count

“You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing… You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things – or one great all-embracing thing – and be set on fire by them.”  ~John Piper  don’t waste your life

Is God a Broncos Fan?

It was a topic of discussion at a dinner I recently attended. No, not with my girlfriends – we generally don’t discuss sports at GNO, sorry Broncos. Someone had asked during the meal if we believe that God is helping Tim Tebow. I found the question intriguing, and with my general lack of opinion, I shared my thought immediately…

Tim Tebow is helping God.

I have to admit I’m not a very supportive Broncos fan – no jersey, no logo flag – no offense to the uber-talented athletes on the field, it’s just that it’s simply not in my genetic makeup to focus on the television for 3+ consecutive hours when I can just catch highlights later (and I have two busy young children). That’s exactly what leaves me awe inspired with the works accomplished by Tim Tebow…

I’m watching FooTBaLL!

Ok, so I still don’t sit down for the entire game but I do find myself wandering over, standing a few feet from the screen and staring in wonder. I actually paused in Costco to watch a Tebow replay. I had chills after a couple of games – and then, this last Sunday – I got teary. Ya, all choked up over a football game…What Is Going On?

Not only am I weepy over a Bronco’s miraculous victory, I’m witnessing a whole new culture…thanks to the example of Tim Tebow. Our pastor wears his jersey on Sundays, people are talking about this stuff in *public* schools, and somehow it became acceptable to embrace Christianity, even kneel in prayer, because one bold football player lead the way. Prayer requests are being circulated for support of this team player’s mission. People are taking notice. So, do I think God is helping the Broncos? I think God is helping Tim Tebow do exactly what he intended for him to.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Tim Tebow is the first to give the credit to the Lord. Thanks to humility, truth and God’s provision of an impressive spotlight (on and off the field,) people everywhere are talking about Tim Tebow, about the Broncos and most importantly…about God.

Girls Night Out – I didn’t think I’d be momblogging about Tim Tebow OR the Broncos…so I’m guessing we just might cover the subject of “sports.”

Is God GREAT or what?

Check out these other articles on the subject: Jon Gordon Blog, Mile High Mamas

 

photo: thechristianrepublic

Surviving the Wake of the Holiday Season with MomPower

Fruitcake and Antidepressants. They were two of the top “trending now” items on my Yahoo mail page this morning – along with Matthew McConaughey and Mitt Romney. I’m not really sure why this caught my eye but it did.
 
It’s one of the most sought out Christmas gifts in our culture…TecHNoLoGY…and yet with the many gadgets and gadgets received this holiday season, the millions of web surfers, the infinite number of topics to spark our curiosity and all we can come up with is fruitcake and antidepressants – with a little Matt and Mitt in the mix?
 
We’re still vacuuming pine needles and recycling Christmas wrap and these are the things we’re obsessing about…strange eats, fab abs, politics and holiday blues.
 
I don’t know about all of you but I want something more – for my family, for our country and for the entire human population. I want for the billions of dollars spent on megabytes, gigabytes, 4Gs and whatever else is fueling this Internet searching to be an investment toward powerful ideas and knowledge that leads to astounding results. I wish to find my children Googling healthy, helpful topics on ways they can improve, help others and do the most good with they have been given.  I certainly don’t want my family – or anyone – feeling depressed. 
  
I believe that BIG changes happen in small ways and I suppose that’s my hope with this little article. I think moms are some of the most influential people in the entire world and always have been. Just one of us can make a monumental impact…and all together we can most certainly change the world. So what can we do to help our families survive the wake of the holiday season? We can start with a healthy example: take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.
 
We can use our MomPower to tip the scales on happiness, joy, fulfillment and encouragement in our country. Our hugs, baked goods, handwritten notes and forehead kisses can and will be the spark that ignites amazingly influential people. Next year…MomPower top trend.
 
 
 
How do you keep yourself and your family healthy this time of year?
 
 photo: lovedetouradvice
 

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Comes to Colorado

It’s the first day of winter break – kids are out of school and parents are wondering what to do. Following the whirlwind of class parties and gift exchanges, you may be lacking in creative ideas. Start your vacation off right with festive cheer and show your children the importance of giving to others. Toys for Tots will benefit from donations at this event AND Choose Outdoors had a great suggestion – donate outdoor toys and help our youth stay active and have fun…OUTDOORS!

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for the 2012 Holiday Season to come from Colorado Join Gov. John Hickenlooper, Undersecretary of Agriculture Harris Sherman, the U.S. Forest Service, Choose Outdoors, John Fielder, the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of Colorado and many more this Friday for an important holiday announcement. The REI Denver flagship store will host the kickoff event for the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which Colorado will provide for the first time in more than a decade. Learn more about participating throughout the year for the chance to accompany the tree to Washington, D.C. for next year’s lighting ceremony at the Capitol Building, hosted by the Speaker of the House. One lucky youth will get the opportunity to flip the switch to turn the lights on the tree. Toys for Tots will be at the event, ready to accept your donation for this year’s holiday season. Choose Outdoors recommends donating outdoor toys to encourage youth to spend more time outdoors.

What: •Press Conference for 2012 US Capitol Christmas Tree – “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors”

When: •Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Press conference begins at 11a.m. Join us at 10:30 a.m. to get into the holiday spirit with music, refreshments and festive celebration.

Where: •REI Denver Flagship Store – Between main entrance and Starbucks 1416 Platte Street Denver, CO 80202