Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Here's why I need this blog!

Accckkk!  I haven't done a very good job of keeping up lately, have I?  Typical of me, though, and one of the main reasons I need this blog.  I need the accountability!  I need the sense of responsibility to whoever reads these entries!  When I stumble, I need to know that somebody, somewhere is watching and thinking, "Wow, it's been almost a month and she hasn't made any progress"!

So tonight, I made myself do two things to move forward:
1.  Clean off my computer room desk, and
2.  Empty one of the many boxes of "stuff" in the room.

Deep breath...Okay, here's a couple of "Before" shots of the area I chose to work on...

The desk, overtaken with stuff, piles, and stacks.

Such an inviting work area, eh?  (Sarcasm fully intended!)
 Another view of the desk.  Yes, that trash can IS overflowing into the floor!
The box I selected to empty out tonight...

Cleaning off the desk wasn't too hard, but some of the items in those piles and stacks needed an action taken: receipts to be entered into Quicken, appointments to go into my Outlook calendar, etc.

The box was a different story.  What a conglomeration of THINGS!  I found a cute Hello Kitty framed photo of Donnie and me from our cruise in March of this year; the book and accompanying journal for Joel Osteen's "Every Day a Friday" (which I'd intended to start studying earlier this year!); the title and owner's manual to my dad's vintage 1982 Honda Nighthawk 450 motorcycle; an unopened supply of small notepads (I had planned to buy a refresher set of these next week, 'cause I thought I was out!).

Some of the items are memorabilia I really do want to keep.  I've started a new banker's box just for those items. 

But some of them I just don't have much of an emotional connection to.  I chose to get rid of those things, but I took photos of each one to have an image of them without taking up space in my house.  I know it may sound kind of rude, but sometimes I get things as gifts or "happies", and they don't really have a personal meaning for me.  I find it pretty easy to part with those; I will try to find homes for them as Bingo prizes for our church's nursing home ministry, or to kids who might like a toy I picked up on a vacation whim, etc.

Anyway, in about an hour, I had picked out and evaluated every item in that box.  It ended up being not as horrible as I had been expecting!  LOL

And now I can proudly present my new clean work area:

 The desk.  I can see the surface again!  All that's out in view are things I used on a regular basis and a couple of "cute decor" items.

Left shelf is holding my study books.  I'm going to start the "Every Day a Friday" book over tomorrow.  Also in this little space is the book I'm using for an online study on our church blog (www.calodwc.blogspot.com), Joyce Meyer's "100 Ways to Simplify Your Life".

The right shelf holds just a few things that make me happy (a light-powered dancing flower from my mom, that cruise photo, a Willow Tree figure I got for Donnie and myself last year when our doggie Spike passed away, and a glass peacock photo holder that isn't holding anything right now...).

And what do you know, the trash can is EMPTY!!!!  No papers overflowing onto the floor! 

I'd forgotten how relaxing it is to work at a neat, orderly desk! 

My next challenge is to pull out a metal filing cabinet that is buried in a corner of this computer room.  I want to create a more logical and useful filing system than the random mess I have crammed into one small drawer right now.

But that's for next time! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

The website www.biblegateway.com has a “Verse of the Day” on its home page each day.  I’m sure this was no accident, but the verse they chose for today is:

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12 NIV

Our nation has moved so far away from the first part of that verse, it’s scary.  I found one article in Wikipedia that says in 2009, 76-80 percent of Americans identified as Protestant or Catholic .  So why would I make that first statement?  Because there is a huge difference between a person who believes in God or belongs to a particular religion and a person “whose God is the Lord”, as the verse explains.


Here’s an analogy: I believe with all my heart that losing my excess weight would improve my health, my self-esteem, my outlook, and my energy level.  I BELIEVE that.  But if I don’t act on that belief, if I don’t make every effort to accomplish that goal, it doesn’t matter how hard I BELIEVE.  I have to live that belief. 

Same with God.  Just saying that I’m a Christian and that “Of course I believe in God!” doesn’t cut it.  The verse doesn’t say that a nation is blessed because of their belief that there is a God; it is blessed because its God is the LORD. 

In other words, while there is only one God, there are plenty of “gods” in our lives today.  The scriptures also call them “idols”. 

Whoa, wait a minute!  I’m not an idol worshipper!  I don’t have any golden calves in my house!

Most of us would say that.  But anything that takes the place of God in our lives IS an idol.  Have you ever put off reading the Bible because there’s a great movie on TV tonight?  Ever thought, we’ll skip church this Sunday because we’d rather go to the river?  How about this one, from my own experience: I know I asked God to help me with my overeating, but one more cookie won’t hurt.  Now we’ve made television, recreation, and food idols in our lives.

Now that you see where I’m going with this, you can probably think of a dozen other things we put before God every day.  Money, success, having a big house or an expensive car, our jobs, even our spouses and children.  God has to be more important than any of those things.  When He is, all the other stuff will fall into place. 

You might not be a millionaire, but you will have the money to pay your bills; you might not be successful in the world’s eyes, but a lot of people will know they can depend on you to do the right things; and really now, why dream about a huge house when all you really need is shelter?

I’m as guilty of having idols like these as anybody.  My main idols are food and “stuff” – I usually want the latest and greatest little gadget out there (like a smart phone that I play solitaire on more than I use for calls!).

Our nation as a whole has chosen the gods of money, power, control, and positions over the one true God.  Our government no longer operates on Godly principles; our leaders value power over doing what is right; people want to live on entitlements instead of an honest day’s work.

Until we collectively turn back to God and put Him back in the role He deserves as our spiritual leader, things will only get worse, I’m afraid.

So what does all this have to do with Independence Day?  How about this – begin today to separate yourself from any idols in your life.  Enjoy the freedom that God will give you when He is your LORD again.  Break away from things that have held you down or gotten in the way of your relationship with God.  By doing this, we can make EVERY day an Independence Day!

Until next time…