Thursday, December 25, 2014
Many may wonder: "How can decorating a Christmas tree become a life lesson?" This is the revelation I had this year while doing just that.
You see many of my decorations/ornaments are gifts: gifts from former students, my god daughter, family members and so on. Others are decorations that have been in the family for almost 40 years. Then again there are others that were bought by myself. Some ornaments are shiny and glittery yet the most precious ones of all are not.
I have many favourite ones, but one that has become especially special (given to me by Tanya over 30 some years ago) is a little Frosty snowman within a glass bell. Some would say not much to look at especially now that the bottom of the bell is broken. Yet when that bell broke last Christmas I could not throw it out. In fact it is still in the tree this year. Other favourites are little macaroni angels made for me by students many years ago.
So you ask what does this have to do with my revelation? It is simply this that the greatest gift God has ever given us came in a very simple package. He did not come with glitter and gold, in a fancy home with maids and servants. He was born of a very young girl who had very strong religious beliefs and who knew how important it is to obey Her God. Yet many people choose to ignore this fact and focus on the glitter, the money spent, the decorations, the fun, the parties, the short lived joys. All things that can and often times will disappear in the light of day soon to be forgotten as we trudge through more dull and dreary days. Many will continue to live in the darkness of our world, focusing on materialistic values, the next dollar, the next deal and miss the joy this little baby boy brings to us. A little baby boy born in a very plain and simple way. A baby boy who gave up His life of comfort with His father in heaven to come to earth so we could know Him and through Him his Father.
As I finished decorating the tree this year there were a lot less decorations and a lot more meaning. In fact as I was decorating the tree, I started a box for decorations I had not used in years and probably would not use again. A box that once Christmas is over, I will take to a local charity store so others can buy them or get them for free it is not important. This led me to rethink those unused decorations and to re-exam my life. Why was I holding on to them? There were many reasons: habit, not ready, laziness, selfishness (I bought these so why would I give them away) etc.
Reflection upon this made me realise that it is time to let them go. Right on the back of that question came the next one. Are there things in my life that I am holding onto, areas that need to be re-evaluated and if needed to be discarded? Are there things that I need to let go of and start refocusing on the essentials of life? As I pondered these questions, while decorating the tree, it came to me once again that what is important in life is my relationship not only with God my Father but with others here on earth. How can I truly say I am a follower of Jesus if I do not continually treat my fellow humans as Jesus/God would? Does this mean I will be perfect? NO as only God is perfect. Does this mean I will never sin again? NO as only God and Jesus are totally without sin. Does this mean that I will try to see others as God and Jesus see others? YES and on that note that is how decorating a Christmas tree taught me a lesson I hope I never forget!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL
Thursday, February 21, 2013
At first glance this title does not seem to mean much but let's look at the two words as I share my revelation about them.
As I was doing The Feasting at the Lord's Table bible study the word "overeating" kept coming back. The question "Have you repented of overeating?" was also asked a lot. I began to wonder why this question kept coming back as repentance goes along with sin.
Overeating does not at first appear to be a sin. However, while doing the bible study, the words "overeating" and "gluttony" are both used alternately. Yet, I do not react to the word "overeating" as I do to the word "gluttony".
I began to wonder why this could be and so I checked the dictionary to see their definitions. According to the Miriam Webster on line dictionary both "over eating" and gluttony mean the same thing "to eat to excess". So why such a different reaction to these two synonyms?
After a lot of soul searching and praying over this, I came to understand my reaction to the two different words.
Overeating is a socially accepted word. It is something we all do at some point and time. It is a slip up, a mistake, something we don't do often. Gluttony is not as accepted. It has a very different connotation. When I see the word gluttony, I see pig, stuffed pig, lazy, decadence etc.
Overeating is not a biblical word, it comes from the secular world. Yet gluttony is in the bible and it is listed as a sin. Once I made this connection, I understood the question of "Have you repented for your overeating"? Of course if I am guilty of "gluttony" then I must repent and confess this sin.
For myself this was quite a personal revelation. With this revelation came the knowledge that I needed to repent for this sin. The amazing thing for me, is that with this repentance came a lesser desire to "over eat" or to be a "glutton". I honestly believe this comes from the knowledge that by being a glutton, I am breaking my relationship with God. In order to rebuild this relationship, I must repent of my sin and ask forgiveness. I can't speak for everyone but I can say that ever since I look at it this way, I have cut down drastically in many areas of my eating. I do not go back for seconds, I do not stuff myself as I did in the past, I am truly grateful to God for all the good food that I can eat. I have come back to saying grace before my meals and not just for the food that is on my plate but for the entire process from the planting of the food, the tending of the animals, to actually being on my table. This simple change has helped me to lose weight this past week. Every morning I thank God for his help and ask Him to give me enough strength that I will not be a glutton.
Friday, February 01, 2013
So a month has gone by already and what have I accomplished to date?
Although the scales have not gone down by much at least I have not gained. I have continued to make healthier food choices and limit the amount of processed foods I eat.
I have walked or exercised every day in January. Of course setting a goal and having a purpose for walking has definitely helped. Since I meet my younger sister for coffee every morning and the coffee shop is only three blocks away I decided to walk there every day. Of course since I walk there I then have to walk back. I have yet to stick to a ten minute walk. The average length is 25 to 30 minutes. I have seen and felt an increase in the time it takes to walk places. When I started, it would take me 15 minutes to walk the three blocks. I can now do this in 10 minutes or less (depending on how cold it is). One morning, they were calling for rain. Rather than take the car, which I normally would do, I found my umbrella and walked there. I was quite pleased and proud of this. On days when it was too cold or miserable to walk I would pop in a DVD and do a 30 minute routine at home.
In order to keep me focused, I have printed out a monthly/daily calendar with my goal(s) typed into each day. This calendar is stuck on the door of my apartment. Every time I reach a goal a sticker is placed over it. This way every time I leave the apartment, I see how I am progressing with my goal(s). I have decided that every time I reach a small goal I will reward myself. This months reward is a bouquet of bright sunny flowers to brighten the gloomy days of winter.
Will I continue this ? Yes as I am committed to becoming healthier in 2013. Since I have over 100 pounds to lose, I will take it in 25 pounds increments. Once I lose the first 25 pounds, I will go for the next 25 pounds and so on until I reach my goal.
February's goal? To walk 15 minutes every day and to lose 2 pounds. My reward for February a new pair of earrings.
Stay tuned as I continue this journey.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
This entire blog was presented yesterday (Monday) to the ladies in the TOPS group I attend.
However, before proceeding a little background information to explain this as I cannot take credit for the entire idea. Last week, in fact the entire month of January, The Dr Oz show was focusing on getting rid of the fat pants. I was watching the Friday show where he had the trainers from The Biggest Loser as well as some of the past winners on the show. One of the winners impressed with the idea of a goal bracelet and so I decided to borrow her idea.
The first part of the program was to present the goal bracelet idea. This young lady wears her goal bracelet on her right wrist (right because that is her dominant hand) and so every time she uses her hand she sees her goal. I now have my own personal goal bracelet that says "Lose 25 pounds" (by Dec. 31, 2013). Although I have only had it since Sunday, it really does keep my yearly goal up front and in obvious.
After explaining the purpose of the goal bracelet, we reviewed how to set up goals. The emphasis on goal setting was that these must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Time Related) goals. Of course many of us have done this in the past with little to no success. I explained to the ladies the I wondered why although we are all intelligent, we often forget or do not reach our goal. I finally conclued that for myself it is because the goal is overwhelming. So in order to make this more attainable, for myself I devised a pledge sheet. I have completed mine here online and am asking people to hold me accountable. My commitment is to update this pledge monthly here online.
So here goes.
MY PLEDGE FOR 2013
I, Joanne Othmer pledge to attain the following long-term goal(s) in 2013. My goal(s) will be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound).
1) To walk 45 - 60 minutes 3 to 5 times a week by Dec. 31, 2013
2) To lose 10% of my body weight (25 pounds) by Dec. 31, 2013.
Every time I reach one or all of these goals, I will reward myself by getting a new outfit.
In order to complete this pledge, I will complete the following short-term goal(s). Every time I reach one or all of these short term goals, I will reward myself by getting a CD, a bottle of perfume, a manicure or pedicure.
Every four months, I will review my short-term goals in order to determine how I am doing and what I can do differently in order to reach my long-term goals.
My short-term goals:
1) To walk 10 minutes seven times a week. This can be outdoors or indoors during commercial breaks.
2) To lose 2.0 pounds this month by tracking my food, exercising and eating in a mindful way.
How am I doing? What can I do differently? Who can help me?
How am I doing? What can I do differently? Who can help me?
Year end review. Was I successful in meeting my pledge?
If yes then CELEBRATE
If not then what can I do differently in 2014 in order to reach my long-term goal(s)? ____________________________________
So friends this is the pledge I have made for myself for this year. If you feel the pledge could help set or meet your goals feel free to use it. In the meantime I can say that since I have started this pledge I have walked for 10 minutes every day. I have done this by walking to the coffee shop which is three blocks away from my residence. Since it takes me 8 minutes to walk there I end up walking 16 minutes which is okay by me.
Stay tuned for my progress reports.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
I know that sounds like a strange title but it comes from our pastor's sermon this morning. We are doing a series on "Shalom, what it truly means and how to attain it". This week's title was "Shalom and how you think" based on Philippians 2:8 - 9.
Did you know that how we think is based on two laws? The law of cognition and the law of exposure. The law of cognition means simply that what we think and what we know is more often than not what we are. However, this law is greatly affected by the law of exposure which means that we become what we expose ourselves to. The greatest danger of this law is that often times (as was stated in a short video we saw prior to the sermon - a man speaking as satan was telling us how he works and thinks) we are exposed to these negative influences without even realising that we are being desensitized in the process. For example, we listen to music and say but its the tune I like I'm not listening to the words yet the words are entering our minds. We watch a television show and say I know it's not real yet we are exposed to the violence, language etc that can once again desensitize us. The examples could go on and on but I will stop there.
How does this apply to me as a person? Well as Ken demonstrated there a many types of containers but basically they can be broken down into to categories. Positive ones (ex. a tea or coffee pot) which we use when we engage in pleasurable activities such as good time with friends and negative ones (ex. toilet bowls) which we use to flush away dirt and other filth. His question after using these demonstrations was what am I putting in my container? Am I making my container into a teapot or a toilet bowl by what I am putting in it? Am I allowing myself to become desensitized to the world around me and not getting involved as Jesus would ask us to do as His followers or am I taking an active part in trying to change the world around me? Ken was not saying that we need to go out on a mission trip to do this. Rather as he put it this can be accomplished in simple every day actions such as a smile to a stranger or a homeless person, bringing a homeless person a sandwich, lending a helping hand etc. Do we choose to listen to garbage on television or radio or pop in a CD, an audio book or even a DVD? It is all in how we choose.
These comments made me think not only about my daily spiritual life but my physical life as well. Am I feeding my body with good healthy nutritious foods or am I feeding it junk? Am I treating it with respect or neglecting, abusing and defiling it? Am I making conscious choices that will give me a healthier body or simply allowing my body to be. Right now as I struggle to change unhealthy habits to healthier ones, I can say that I am no longer the negative container but am a work in progress working hard at changing negative habits and becoming the person God wants me to be.
My question to you: What container do you choose to be? No need to answer but think about it.
Take care and God bless you all.
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