Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Willow, Lent and what I should give up...

Tuesday is Meals on Wheels delivery day for me.  It is a privilege to have the opportunity, and the folks are pleasant and grateful.

By far, the highlight of my day is Willow. She is a Lab mix who lives on a farm, and is a little over a year old. And while there are numerous four-legged residents on the farm, Willow is the only one who goes in the house. Her face is adorable, but that isn’t why she has her own wingback chair in the television room.

It’s her joy. Every week I am moved by it. The absolute delight that is seen in her face, her eyes, her life. Some people believe animals do not have a soul and cannot possibly have any notion of God. I don’t know how anyone could watch Willow and not believe she is in touch with her Creator, each taking great pleasure in the other.

Today is Ash Wednesday…the beginning of Lent for Christians. It is a time to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross and on our own journey. Traditionally, people give things up sacrificially– chocolate, snacks, alcohol, social media.  

Some years I choose to do that, some years I don’t. I was thinking about it yesterday while delivering Meals. The past year has been difficult in many ways. Unresolved financial litigation continues to drain me. A riding tractor accident cost me part of two fingers.
Often I find myself facing the day, or ending the day, with fear and despair rather than hope and joy.
The notion of doing something sacrificial hasn’t been inviting.

Then I turned onto Willow’s lane yesterday. One hundred yards away I could see her coming from behind the barn, half running, half leaping, up the hill toward me…never on the road, just beside it. When we met, she turned around and made another circle around the house and the barn. By the time I got the meal out of the bag and made my way to the door, Willow was there. Tail wagging, mouth open like a smile. She walked in with me, followed me back out and escorted me to the car – then she took off back to the barn or the work shop... and later back in the house if she wanted to sleep.

As I drove away, it occurred to me…maybe I am not called to give up something I like. Maybe, instead, it would be a great time to give up something that I fall into but shouldn’t. Fear. Despair. Doubt. Lingering over questions that have no answers.

Maybe this should be a time of turning my back on those emotions that drain me…turn my back on them and RUN the way Willow does - with wild abandon, with joy.

Fear and despair feel natural in the face of financial disarray. Doubt creeps in. “WHY” kills many hours. And the challenges are still present.

I want to write more, weigh less, do so many things that require focus, which is an elusive commodity most days.

I have been at my wit’s end. I have gnashed my teeth. I have cried and shouted and cried some more.

So maybe for the next forty days, I will try it Willow’s way.

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

I could use some strength these days. And joy.

I might also benefit from running, but I don’t want to get too crazy.

Walk with me through Lent…maybe you will find some joy and strength too.

We will talk again soon…

BP

Beth Painter is, among many other things, a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.

Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Being like Rocco and other high goals!

My friend Rocco wears a gray Fedora every time he leaves the house. He likes it, so he wears it.

I want to be like Rocco.

Not wear a gray Fedora. I will pick blue and white plaid.

I want to be like Rocco because he just does his thing. He’s
five years old, so he doesn’t care what people think. He hasn’t noticed looks that can sting. He hasn’t heard comments that can make him question. He’s blessed with parents who are teaching him not to care about what people think, and not to be afraid.

I want to be like Rocco.

Not uncaring in a selfish way. Unmoved by idle opinions. Steadfast in my purpose. Focused.

Not fearless in a way that makes me oblivious to real danger. Unable to be intimidated. Audacious in my pursuits. Brave.
I want to be like Rocco.

I want to put on my blue and white plaid Fedora when I write, so I can be authentic, share joy and pain and fear and blessings…because how can anyone identify with something less than REAL?

I want to put on my blue and white plaid Fedora when I think about promoting my blog and seeking speaking opportunities. This has been a call on my heart for as long as I can remember. How can I do less than honor God by using the incredible gifts He has so graciously given me?

I want to put on my blue and white plaid Fedora every time I go out. I want people to know who I am and whose I am. Like Rocco, I don’t want to be afraid to say what I like and what I don’t like, what I will accept and what I won’t accept.

I want to share the love of Christ with people the way He did. With no reservation. With no judgment. Boldy. Some might say foolishly.

I want my life to show that God is first and I am second.

I want to love so well that the people closest to me never doubt their importance and value. I want to tell them the whole truth about who I am, and I want them to feel safe enough to do the same. 

I want to be so filled with joy that people who cross my path FEEL it.

Think about it...who is served when you are less than authentic? Who is served when you don't speak truth about your life and your faith? Who is served when you don't squeeze every drop out of the gifts you have been given?

I want to be like Rocco. I want to put on my blue and white plaid Fedora, stand beside him in his gray Fedora. I want to resurrect my "shiny" self and live life with the spirit of a five year old again. 

I hope you will join me as this journey continues. I would love to hear where you are in your journey to being real and authentic and true to yourself and your God.

We will talk again soon. In the meantime, I need to search the internet for a blue and white plaid Fedora…

BP

Beth Painter is, among many other things, a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.

Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Battlin' Bucs '14 - 1/1/2014

Jan 1, 2014
41 years ago my mom came into my room to wake me. She sat on my bed, and through tears, told me the news.
Roberto had died.
HOW? She told me about the plane crash. The earthquake. Roberto’s mission of mercy.
Then I asked all the questions that are yet unanswered. Why was the plane so heavy? Why didn’t someone stop him? Why did HE have to do it? Why Roberto?
Pirates’ fans were still reeling from Bob Moose’s wild pitch that gave the Reds the pennant. How could we endure this?
Roberto Clemente was, for me, the core of Pirate baseball. I was too young to think about him being a pioneer for Latin players, or to care about sports writers who contended that he didn’t play hard every day and nursed his injuries a bit too long.
He was The Great One. Bob Prince shouted “Arriba! Arriba!” when he came to the plate…”Hooray!” I  shouted the same as I threw a tennis ball off a cement block wall for hours on end, playing out entire games in my mind – Roberto always the hero.
I cried for hours. Cried when the season started without him. Still get emotional when his widow receives an honor for him.
We have gone on. Won the World Series. Lived through 20years of losing.
It is 42 days until Spring Training opens. 2014 holds high hopes for Pirate fans. There is much to love about these Buccos…
But today, we remember the grief of losing #21.
Stay tuned for more Pirate love…there is a project brewing!!
BP J
Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.

Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

One Word 2014: CHOOSE

My friend Melanie (bluemarblegod.com) chooses a word each year that she will embrace, that will embrace her, change her days. 
Last year I admired it...this year I am inspired by it. Big difference.
So I have been thinking for the past couple weeks...

I wanted a FUN word. Joy. Prosperity! 
Or a cool word. Wisdom, maybe.

One word jumped to my mind quickly, but I didn't like it. So I rolled others around in my head. But the first word wouldn't go away. 

CHOOSE

Joshua 24:15 Choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Life is all about choices, isn't it? And choices have to be made again and again....which annoys me.
This is not the word I wanted...but it is appropriate.

CHOOSE.

I share it with a certain amount of reluctance, given the resulting responsibility. So, instead of listing specific goals, I would rather discuss the results as the year progresses.

I will, however, commit to this: 
In 2014, I will choose to clearly speak, out loud, my intentions to whomever they affect.
Maybe that sounds easy for you, but I am pleaser - not accustomed to always being direct, more often smoothing the waters, avoiding conflict.

CHOOSE. 

Dozens of times a day. About health, work, countenance, money, treatment of others...on and on.

CHOOSE.
365 opportunities to be proactive, to steer the ship rather than let the current take it.

CHOOSE.

We will talk again soon.
BP

Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.

Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!






  






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

HOLY {Advent Day 10}


        What words can be used to adequately describe "HOLY"?


1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
2. Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered
3. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly 
4. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose
5. Solemnly undertaken; sacrosanct.
6. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence

With all due respect to Mr Webster, none of these definitions describes the holiness of the God I love and serve...the God who came in the form of a baby.

I have thought about it all day...and decided to acquiesce to Bishop Reginald Heber:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, bless'd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, bless'd Trinity!



We will talk again tomorrow...
BP


I am participating in an Advent photo-a-day exercise. ReThinkChurch.org is facilitating the practice by providing a one word prompt each day. Participants are encouraged to share how we perceive each word. 
You can find out more and join here.



Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!

DELIGHT [Advent Day 9]

Day 9...DELIGHT

The songs reflect that spirit. It's the most wonderful time of the year...Holly Jolly...from now on our troubles will be out of sight...

Maybe that is your experience today. Maybe it isn't.

We are moving toward the celebration of the Savior's birth. A joyous time for sure. A life-changing event for many of us.

I love Christmas. The lights, decorations, smiling faces,  excited kids in line to talk Santa, a increased willingness to help our neighbors in need. Gifts? Sure - who doesn't DELIGHT in gifts!!

It is important, however, to be mindful of those who feel little DELIGHT. The list of reasons is endless-grief, illness, estrangement of family, job loss, etc etc.

It isn't necessary to diminish our own DELIGHT or hide our light. It is incumbent on us to be respectful, compassionate, honoring in any way possible.
A smile and a few kind words can brighten an otherwise dark day.

But how do we know who is carrying such a burden?
HA! That's the kicker!! We don't...best to simply offer those gifts to everyone who crosses our paths.

In that spirit, I offer this face.
A face that DELIGHTS in snow. DELIGHTS in snuggling even when she has been left alone for hours. DELIGHTS in quietly sitting beside me all day, in simply being near me.


Enjoy.
Find DELIGHT in this day.
Share it with one who needs hope.

We will talk again soon...
BP

I am participating in an Advent photo-a-day exercise. ReThinkChurch.org is facilitating the practice by providing a one word prompt each day. Participants are encouraged to share how we perceive each word. 
You can find out more and join here.



Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!



Sunday, December 8, 2013

WISDOM [Advent Day 8]


1. The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.
2. Common sense; good judgment: 

Proverbs 24:14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.


Isaiah 11:1-2 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,the Spirit of counsel and of might

Today's word is WISDOM. 
The NIV version of the Bible uses the word 219 times. Webster provides definitions.

But where do we get it, and how can we know what is wisdom and what isn't? How do we verify?

You can stop reading right here is you think I have an answer.
I wish I did - several areas of my life sure could use some right now. 

I chose a montage of the word because the accumulation of wisdom has, for me, come from many conduits. I am grateful for each of them...dear friends, hard lessons, severe trials. Everything can teach us something.

During this Advent season, I pray the One on whom the Spirit of wisdom has fallen will be very much alive for you.
I pray that Spirit of wisdom will help us - don't we all need that - and guide us.

Short and sweet today.
Study the definition and Bible verses, if you are of a mind. Meditate on them. Pry for wisdom. For you, For your family. For me.

We will talk again tomorrow...
BP 

I am participating in an Advent photo-a-day exercise. ReThinkChurch.org is facilitating the practice by providing a one word prompt each day. Participants are encouraged to share how we perceive each word. 
You can find out more and join here.



Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!