Thursday, January 24, 2013

Be Encouraged - My New Perspective On Discipline

Have you ever thought, "God just has me here for a season"?  I know I have.  I justify so much time away with lines like this.  "I just haven't found where I am meant to be yet."  "I know God has a plan, and he will reveal it to me soon."  Why do we do this?  What is innate in us that makes us feel that we need to justify away anything that isn't our perfect dream path?

I had a different direction planned for today's blog, but today something happened that effected me and made me sing a different tune.  I have never revealed where I work on this blog, and I still do not intend to, but I will say it is in the realm of Real Estate in a global company.  You would most likely recognize the name.  Today, I went to a huge meeting, where everyone (including myself) were in black and navy suits discussing market research, 2013 goals, and overarching values we represent as a company.  Normally, I would pick at my split ends in the back of the room and eat my free lunch and dip out the back door unnoticed.  However, today was different.

Today, I felt inspired by women who have found a work life balance I aspire to with their level of achievement.  Today I realized with discipline and hard work, I have the world at my fingertips.  Does anyone else sell themselves short?  I have been everyday for a long time.  I think when I first got a job in this company I was looking at it as a means to an end.  I needed to work, and I took the first administrative job offered to me.  I had no idea I would be here for two and a half years and counting with goals and aspirations to continue to push up the chain of command.  I thought I would have a mom-profit position helping people in a third world country contracting sickness and writing about my heart sick cause with my first book on the shelves.  However, what I am realizing is not only did that not happen, but that God used this opportunity to show me I am valuable in ways I never realized.

January 1st I began a journey, that I believed would only be physical, but what I am discovering is I needed a mind rejuvenation.  I cannot believe I have doubted myself so deeply for so long.  Whenever I set a goal for myself I do not believe I can meet it.  I have a friend who is the opposite when it comes to physical goals - sometimes I think she thinks there is nothing she can't do.  I want to charge after so many things, and today I started to believe I can.


Discipline.

I am learning that with a little bit of discipline I can do whatever I put my mind to.  Sure, sometimes it will be difficult, and sure you may be reading this and are thinking about how obvious it is, but even if you are, can you dig deep within you and decide whether you believe in yourself in every aspect?  Lately, I tell people I am training for a 10k (which I still can't believe) and so many people respond with, "I couldn't do that" - seriously?  

I think you mean you don't want to do that... They do not believe they can!

Sorry to drag on and on - I'll wrap this up.  Today I saw something in myself I have been in denial of for a long time.  Today I had a refreshing of believing in myself again.  Today I realized that with effort and energy I can be a runner, a painter, a professional, and a loving wife and all it takes is discipline and devotion, which I have.  

I am ready to fall in love with life all over again.





      


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chicken or Fish? - My Little Brothers Wise Words on a Controversial Topic

I guess you could say my family is expressive, but that would be an understatement.  We are a verbal group who, among other items, enjoy quiet contemplative conversation in direct contrast with exuberant celebration.  We sing and dance and laugh and cry and are comfortable with our emotions and antics.

All this being said, my younger brother Stephen contacted me recently and asked if I would be willing to let him guest blog on here, and my first thought was absolutely.  Then he let me know the topic he wanted to write on, and while I was still excited, it is definitely a topic that holds massive amounts of tension and opinions.  However, as he indicates in his words below, I by no means want to push his (or my) opinion on you, rather merely to have you take a look at his heart.  His intentions are pure and I support his processing with my entire being.

So, without further ado, please read what his heart has been turning over and his brain can't seem to let go of.


"Recently my beautiful girlfriend and I were having a discussion concerning the last election. For those of you who do not come from my home state of Maryland I am not sure what was on your ballot, but one of the most controversial and talked about questions on the ballot was concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage. I will not tell you how either my girlfriend or myself voted, because that is not the emphasis of this post, but out of this conversation came an incredibly profound question that I have been pondering for a few weeks now. In the middle of the conversation Nikki (my girlfriend) looks at me and asks, “How do you think Jesus would respond if He received and invitation to a gay wedding?”

Being someone who went to Bible college and studied scripture I have thought a lot about the subject of homosexuality, and I have looked at it from a variety of angles, but I must admit this isn’t a question I had ever been asked before. I could tell you what a lot of scripture says about homosexuality, I could tell you how I would personally react, but since this is something that never surfaces in Scripture, it is not a question I have ever asked myself (or at least not from this angle).

Now here is where this becomes a touchy subject. If you know anything about me or have ever met me then you would know that I am one who does not want to offend anyone. I almost didn’t publish this because this is a very hot topic of debate right now, and I didn’t want my sentiments to become lost in a message board of comments, but in order to get to the bottom of things and to set up my argument I must first share what I find in scripture.

Being a student of the Scripture I will say this, it is clear to me that scripture does not condone the acts of homosexuality. This will open the debate about whether someone is born a homosexual or chooses it as well as many other questions. All I can speak to is the fact that Scripture condemns the acts of homosexuality, but it does not condemn someone who would be born homosexual it merely condemns the acts, in the same way that lust or sexual sins are condemned in scripture (which are sins that could be committed regardless of sexual orientation). So we will use that basis in going forward.

So here is the situation. Jesus walks to his mailbox in Jerusalem and opens the mail and there is a hand addressed envelope for him. He opens it and it is from someone whom he knows well, a friend even, and as he open the envelope he finds an invitation for a wedding ceremony between two members of the same sex. Inside the invite is a response card. They will be serving the standard Chicken or fish, and knowing who Jesus is they even offer him a plus 12. How does Jesus Respond and which box does He check? Is it the “Yes we will be there and we want the chicken,” “Yes we will be there and we will all be eating fish,” or “No we will not be attending.”

Christ was not one who went marching around picking fights. In fact the only people who he usually got into fights with were those who perceived that they had everything figured out (christians). As for the rest of everyone Christ was invited to the homes of tax collectors (crooks and thieves of their day) he came to the defence of the woman caught in adultery (which by the way how did the Pharisees happen to “catch her in the act”), and his disciples were a bunch of tax collectors, religious school drop-outs, and not to mention some of them even had rage and other issues. Mark very clearly states that Christ came to save the sick, and the lost, he did not come for those who were doing just fine (or at least perceived they were). Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) We see time and time again that Christ went and was around those who the religious would look at as the most lost, and what did he do for them. He loved them.

Christ meets you where you are. It is very seldom seen in scripture where Christ walks into a room and starts spouting off what He thinks of a situation. He attends dinners in the homes of tax collectors and after having dinner with them is able to speak truth to them. God is a God of love and also a God of relationships. The reason I set up the situation in this manner is because I want there to be a delineation. This invite is not coming from someone who didn’t know Jesus and thus didn’t know what he believed. This invite comes from someone who knows who Christ is, and thus knows everything which Jesus holds as truth.

As we look at the life of Christ from Zaccehaeus who was a corrupt tax collector, to Mary Magdalen who was a prostitute, to Matthew his disciple who was a tax collector, Peter who had severe rage issues, to Timothy who struggled with unbelief. Who is to say that any of these sins are not as bad or separate you from God less than homosexuality. I will not ever tell someone their sin is worse than mine. We all are in need of a loving God who meets us where we are, and loves us where we are and holds viciously to what he knows is truth.

In short, Christ would respond, “Yes we will all be attending, and we will all be having the Chicken,” because I am pretty sure they have grown very tired of fish.

Until Next Time

-Stephen"

Honestly, I grow to respect him more each day. Sometimes it jumps up and takes you by surprise when your little brother grows up, forms his own opinions on matters such as these, and continuously attempts to challenge his faith and the word of God until he can wrap his head around it as best he can and move forward. I'm proud of you Stephen, keep sending your writing over - it's gold.

I encourage us all to process this way, write it out and approach it from a scriptural perspective, instead of just asking what you would do/say. Please. process with us and feel free to send me anything you would like me to share on here. I am open to any and all expressions.








Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ces't La Vie - A Lovely Little List


If you have read any of my Ces't La Vie posts, you know that their intention is to bring relaxation.  This artist's work brings me a sense of calm.  I really love this list as it reflects where my head is lately, but also makes each item less stressful in a way.  Maybe it is the doodles, maybe it is the simplicity, but overall it is just a lovely little list.

Honestly, this is the collection of things I am working on facilitating in my day to day life.  I love each item so much and am going to be printing this out and putting it on my fridge.  Take a moment to read through each one and begin to take them into your lifestyle.  I have found each of these items at separate times bring down my stress level and  promote healthier living mentally, physically and even spiritually at times.  

I believe God wants us to take care of ourselves, and this list will absolutely help me to achieve that. 

(Thanks for the list Joy Noel!)


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Missing Caffeine and Sugar

Bill and I took a look at our diet and exercise and decided it was time to change it up.  While New Year resolutions may seem lame to some people, we made a few goals, and started going after them on January 1st.  I like to think of them as an overarching "healthy living" goal.   Cutting out some things that just aren't helping us to stay healthy and active was an obvious first step.  Two of those items for me are sugar and caffeine.


Now, I will be the first to admit that this is entirely necessary because I have an eating issue, in that I love food.  I love snacking.  I love cheese and crackers and chocolate and chips and cheetos and cookies and soda and everything bad for me.  While some people do not have to be extreme and can just cut calories, I have to take care of business the hard way.  It has to be all or nothing or it will simply be all.  

I am learning to exercise self control and have one cookie instead of 6 or have coffee with milk and not heaping spoonfuls of sugar and cream.  However, I am not there yet, and I am no longer in denial.  I have to remove the temptation from my life.  Although, as an adult, you have to enforce your own positive reinforcement and cannot wait for someone else to offer you a reward for hard work.  

So, that being said, we allow sugar in the house as a reward for running and exercising.  Sure you can have a cookie...after you run three miles!  Hey, if this is the way Bill and I can get motivated, I say go with it!

So I guess all this goes to say, I am entering into a new chapter with Bill.  We are running together and learning what living and cooking healthy really is, and I am really looking forward to this journey together.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Season of Reading - A Long Way Gone


I guess this is more than a season of reading, as this post theme has lasted awhile.  In fact, I intend to make this a lifetime of reading!  I've decided it has a nice ring to it though, so for now I am going to leave this title alone.  Besides, seasons can last for years  :)

This book was kind of indescribable because you can't believe it is real.  It is all about a child's life being overtaken by war and fighting against it with all his might, and then just as quickly he is in the thick of it participating.  Not only can I not relate (which is incredibly obvious), but I also can't believe that the world we live in has encountered this reality so recently.  

As it opens up, it is bleak.  A small village is described and you begin to picture a desolate climate and simple lifestyle.  Although the picture is different than my reality, there is still happiness and love in their family and friendship.  Just as you have started to wrap your head around how different their lives are from your own life (which even when you have experienced an African lifestyle first hand is hard to keep in perspective), it starts in on the story of Ishmael.  Soldiers come upon his village and everyone runs.  

The chaos ensues for the rest of the book.  He is always running and trying to escape the rebel army who attacks village after village, pillaging and raping and attacking and burning and killing everything and everyone in their path.  It is so intense you cannot wrap your mind around that being anyone's life.  I just kept thinking, "This is so insane," and I couldn't believe what I was reading.  Death is a theme.

As he becomes a child soldier and begins a lifestyle of murder and drugs, I felt not just sad for him but sad for the situation.  Perhaps the most intense part of the book was when he was rescued from the war and brought to a rehabilitation center.  He and the other boys brought out of the war were like animals who had no idea how to control themselves or function in society.  

This is reality
This is truth.
This is what war does to people.
This is what war does to a nation.
This is not just a book written to entertain.

Honestly, this book effected me.  It gave me a better understanding of what was going on with the rebel armies, while also giving me a more significant fear of what is possible in the modern world and the ugliness of human kind.  Free will really leaves a lot of room for interpretation and people really are free to do as they wish under God's kingdom, it just breaks my heart that this allows people like these to remain free.  

If you want a book to rock your heart, I think this one really took hold of mine.  It gave me a new understanding of post war victims.  What they go through is something I pray I will never understand, I just wish that this world did not have to operate off of anger in the ways that it does.  Maybe that is naive, but all the death and loathing that comes in war seems to me to not be the reason God gave us all free will at the beginning of time.





Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Penny For Your Thoughts - Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Every time a new year starts, I get struck with so much inspiration.  I have always wondered why I cannot have this kind of enthusiasm when I think of something in the fall, but I accept it and move on.  This year, like many others, I have pledged to eat better, but I have also pledged to run a 10k.  While the first can be arguable, I can either do the second or I can't.  So when May comes around and its time to jog it up, I better be ready for what's to come! Long term goals seem to create the right environment for me to challenge myself.  Do you feel the same way?

This has all gotten me thinking a lot about promises.  New years resolutions are promises we make to ourselves, but how much more important is a promise we make to each other?  I have found that I am much more likely to follow through on something if I promised someone I would be there.  This makes me think I should probably make more promises as it will get me motivated to do more things and actually follow through on them.  However, it also makes me realize how careful I need to be with throwing around my word.  It is an important thing to respect and take seriously.

In just three short weeks, I am going to start a mentoring program, but for the first time, I will be the mentor. My Alma Mater, Vanguard University, is starting a program where students can sign up for a mentor and alumni and staff can sign up to foster a relationship with the youth we are paired with.  I immediately jumped at the opportunity to get involved, and am really excited, but all this promise talk made me realize how powerful words are.  When I tell the person who I am paired with they can always call me, I better be available to them.  When I tell this young impressionable girl I will drop anything to come and help them, I better be willing to do so.  Promises can make or break a relationship.  If you let someone down more than once, you better believe they will start to count that against you or at the minimum note it as a part of your character.

Ok Ryan, what are you trying say?  In short, take your words seriously.  Don't make promises you do not intend to keep.  Always process what is coming out of your mouth before it comes out and attempt to filter everything until it is entirely truth.  Use promises to motivate yourself to do things, I honestly believe it works!

January is bringing lots of change to the Rogers family this year :)  
Tell me your New Years Goals!