Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Perfect

I was thinking about this word this morning.  I realize that I have a hesitation in starting (and finishing) things because I am afraid of the response of others and that I won't feel that they are perfect.  What is perfect?

The idea that dawned on me was that since I am not perfect, I can't define perfection.  God is the only one who can do this.  He showed us many examples of perfect through His Son, Jesus, but I know that, because of original sin, I am only perfected when I meet my Creator in the death of my earthly body.

That doesn't mean we don't try, but I have to stop hesitating doing/finishing things because of "my" definition of perfect.  God has put me here for a purpose.  Sometimes I will make mistakes.  Most of the time things won't be perfect.  The joy is that God is always there for me. 

One thing that our pastor eluded to this weekend in his sermon was the concept that we must not work to invite God into our plans, but we must ask God to invite us to be a part of His plans.  This was profound for me.  God is perfect, His will is the right/perfect choice 100% of the time.  When I look to Him to seek His Will, that is just about as close to perfect as I will ever get...

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Working from Home

I am so thankful to be given the opportunity to work from home with my current job.  I have standardized on working from home every Friday unless there is a major meeting in the office.  In my old job, I could work from home, but there wasn't the flexibility that I have where I am now.  I get so much more done at home.  I am able to work on things without interruptions from others.  I also have the ability to throw the occasional load of laundry in or put something in the crock pot for dinner at the right time :)  One of the biggest bonuses to working from home occasionally is not having to battle traffic into downtown.  It saves me 90 mins of commute time each day that I work from home.  I save on gas and it is better for the environment.  I am so blessed to have this opportunity. 

Another side benefit is that when I am in the office, I am making the most of my face-to-face connections.  People don't seem to mind that I am working from home occasionally.  I frequently am involved in conference calls from home and am immediately available via email or instant message.  Since email/instant message is the most frequent form of communication amongst the people I work with, that works out great!

Working from home does take discipline though...it is important that I lay out a list of objectives for the day in order to stay on track.  If not, I find myself wandering around the house doing a craft or watching the latest episode of whatever I am watching on Netflix.  I build in breaks that help keep me focused when I am working on an item on my list.  I can tell myself to work for say 50 min and then I get at 10 min break...

It also works because, unless it is a school holiday or one of the kids is sick, I have the house to myself and it is quiet.  :)   In case you are wondering, if I had my choice, I would work from home 4 days a week and go in one day for meetings, but the world doesn't revolve around me, so I'll take that 1 (and occassionally 2) days a week and be happy with that!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reverse Culture Shock

It has been going on since I returned from my mission trip to Guatemala in October of last year.  I just can't seem to find the same passion for work that I had before I went on the trip.  There are a lot of things that really just don't matter as much in the grand scheme of things anymore.  Someone recently told me this was more clearly defined as Reverse Culture Shock.  It makes sense.  I spent so much time preparing myself for how I would feel in a new culture for the 1 week I traveled to Guatemala.  I wanted to be open to the experience, God allowed that.  However; I didn't spend any time leading up to the trip or even during the trip trying to anticipate what it would be like to come back to a world where not much had changed.

Sounds sad and depressing...right?

Wrong.  As a matter of fact, I am happier than I ever have been.  Burdens have been lifted that I didn't even know existed in the first place.  I have been able to devote more time to living in the moment.  I would like to think that I anticipate less and enjoy every minute a little bit more.  I have made progress on cleaning my house, dedicating time to crafting and exercise and spending more time with my husband and kids (not in that order :)) and each minute counts for so much more than it used to.  I do enjoy my job, but it has been put in a different priority...the means to an end, not the end itself.  (another whole post in itself)

Sure it is stressful at times when I look ahead (or back) and realize what is coming (or what I missed), but I just try really hard to look to God with joy and thanksgiving for the opportunities that I have.  It all comes down to perspective.  I could choose the cynical perspective and see everything as "out of place" in my daily life, or I can choose to accept that as long as I continue to pray to God to show me his will and respond to his urgings I will be amazed at the blessings that come.

My main struggle is that I try to "fit in"...My wallpaper on my desktop at work has a saying "Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don't have to do what everyone else is doing."  I love this.  Most of my frets are about trying to figure out what everyone else is doing so that I can fit in, so that I can feel like I have made a contribution, so I feel like my idea isn't dumb...I need to keep reading my desktop and remembering that I am only 1 part of the Body of Christ.  As I heard from Joyce Meyer this morning, (paraphrased)...some of us are made to be noses and some of us are made to be armpits...we all belong to the body, but sometimes we shouldn't get to close...we serve different purposes and need to rely on each other from time to time and it is critical that we work as one body.

I do slip up, I am not perfect, I do say things that I don't mean, I do take things out of context, I do fret about things out of my control, but I am a child of God and in Him I am made whole.  Through Him, I will be shown His Will for my life...God grant me the courage to hear the call and live it.

Thanks be to God!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Review - Invasion (by Jon Lewis)

Comic books come to life and earthly secrets are revealed in this fiction selection from Jon Lewis

I really enjoyed this book.  I am a big fan of Twilight and The Hunger Games so a fiction book about a teenage boy adventuring into an experience involving non-human characters appeals to me.  I read this book in the span of less than a week.  I couldn't put it down.  It wasn't too deep, but it covered all the bases of a good wholesome adventure. 

Even though it was published by Thomas Nelson, it wasn't a "churchy" book.  Sure there were themes in the book where you understood that the characters involved were Christian, but it wasn't a major theme.  I think that this book would be enjoyed by a teen/young adult audience as well as the adult audience that likes this genre of writing. 

The characters were developed well and the writer's descriptive words gave me the sense that I could picture the major players and scenes in my head so I felt like I was following right along with the book.  I love it when an author balances descriptiveness with content as to allow the reader some imaginative license but gives good enough details that not too much thinking is involved.  Jon Lewis did just this in Invasion. 

I am looking forward to reading the next installation of this series which came out this month.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm Thrilled on Thursday - 01/19/2012

Yes, I guess the Daily Word themes will have to stop someday, but they are too fun to do so I will keep being a dork and putting words together with the day of the week...:)
  • I am Thrilled today because I won 2 tickets to the NFL Experience downtown Indy next Friday the 3rd...
  • I am Thrilled because I will be avoiding 90 min of traffic tomorrow by working from home
  • ok...no more...
  • In all seriousness, I am so happy that we had a good turn out at the small groups open house last night at my church.  I am looking forward to great things to come this year in coordinating this ministry area :)
  • It is odd that 90% of the "things we have as major initiatives in 2012" are things on MY plate...pressure, no way, I will take the challenge...God is on my side!
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wow God Wednesday - 01/18/2012

  • Last night, like Jacob, I wrestled with God...I tried to give him something and "he wouldn't take it"... I know that he will take what I am not capable of handling according to His Will so apparently his "not taking it away" meant that I needed to do some more processing...Processing for me means prayer and sleep...I get sleepy when life gets blechy...
  • Upon awaking, I knew what I had to do.  I have done the things that God has shown me to do and I have been blessed by response after response to my prayer...my heart is light, I know He is with me and is pleased with me.
  • The biggest lesson that I have learned from this is that sometimes doing God's Will will result in blechy feelings (we are only humans after all), but with fervent prayer and dedication to hearing God's Will for the next steps (only in His timing might I remind you...frustrating to my human mind :)) blessings will pour out abundantly.
  • God is so much bigger than anything I could ever have imagined and He continues to prove himself bigger and bigger each and every moment I live and breathe on His Earth.
Blessings to you today!  May you hear God's Words and Will for your life and I pray for your courage to live It!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Monday...la la...la la la la... 01/16/2012

  • Feeling good about my exercise and eating...downloade My Fitness Pal last week and have lost .5 lbs.  I only set it to lose 1lb per week so it is working!  My first week isn't done until Wednesday, but my weigh in is on Sunday.  Good stuff! 
  • Working on developing more discipline and self control.  I have asked God to help me prioritize the things I need to do so that I am not doing busywork and am doing His Will.  A hard job that I can't do alone, but only through the grace and love and power of Jesus Christ working through me, the goal will be accomplished.
  • Watched the pictures of the cruse liner that crashed and capsized off the coast of Italy and realized that it was the same size as the liner that my family and I took to Alaska a couple of years back.  Wow. 
  • I also watched a video on MSN today...get the tissues...it is awesome:

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Words - 01/11/2012

  • The Firm...Hard Core Fusion...Kicked my behind!! 
  • Downloaded My Fitness Pal...wow, really puts what I eat into perspective
  • Trying to manage things minute by minute today...crazy how things are going at work.  Good stuff and year is kicking off right, but man, it is busy!
  • Still haven't figured out what to knit yet.  Thought I had it and then I realized that a goal I set this year was to use the craft stuff that I have and not buy anything new until the yarn surplus that is taking over my craft room is gone!  Thus, still thinking...
  • Looking forward to not having to deal with traffic Friday when I work at home...it is getting crazier and crazier and when the weather gets worse...watch out!
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - 01/10/2012

  • Caved in and downloaded Angry Birds last night on my phone...I feel like the last one to the show, but I am totally addicted.  Austin and I had fun going through the initial levels last night...Balance Ashli Balance...it's all about balance...(keep telling myself that as I reach for the phone again...:))
  • I am listening to someone tell another co-worker about an email that came out today with a crazy deadline...I am smiling (and sad for this person at the same time) because right before Christmas I advised the person doing the complaining that I had a feeling that it was coming...maybe she will start listening to me :)
  • I did a new FIRM workout this morning.  Crazy moves...it was fun, but it is going to take me a time or two..like the others did...before I am in a groove with it....so glad I re-discovered these workouts...they are right up my alley...
  • We got new carpet at my office, it looks awesome, and because we had to shift the cubicles around to get it put in, our area changed a bit so my cube is now a lot more private and bigger :)  BONUS!
  • I love listening to Joyce Meyer Devotionals every day on my Daily Bible App on my phone.  I listen on my way to work...good stuff... a great way to start the day!
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Musings - 01/09/2012

  • Back to work today...haven't been in the office since 12/23.  They replaced carpet so I worked from home for a few days and then took a week vacation :)  The carpet looks great and they even re-worked my space so that I have more privacy at my workstation. 
  • I have been doing The Firm TransFIRMation workouts for about 10 days now...I love them.  I am starting to notice changes in my body...no pounds lost yet, but I am sure that if I would have measured to begin with, I would notice a decrease in inches...Good stuff!
  • I have stew beef, green beans and ro-tel tomatoes in the crock-pot for dinner tonight...served with rice...yummy!
  • I am trying to find a new project to knit.  I want to knit something big like a sweater this time...
  • I am excited for an upcoming women's retreat I am part of a planning team for at church...should be a great time.  The planning team is a great group of women to work with.
  • I am also looking forward to leading small group ministries at our church this year...a lot of ideas I want to implement.  I keep reminding myself to take it one step at a time...but move in faith and not be paralyzed in fear :)
  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get):  Keep things in perspective...choose a perspective of faith and not fear! 
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