Friday, December 27, 2013

It's the Finish That Defines You

With the first of the new year just days away.

I've been thinking about the new year's resolutions I've made during my life.

They're all about......"starting."

But at the end of December.


It's more about finishing, right?

Starting is fresh.

And optimistic.

It's hopeful.

Starting has the best intentions.

But, finishing?

How many things have I started this year.

And finished.....well?


A better question.

How many things have I started.

And quit?

Or started.

Grew tired.

And lost interest?

"It's the finish that defines you."


the finish.

that defines me.

That was an almost completely missed comment.

That slipped out of the mouth recently.

Of personal trainer.

Jillian Michaels.

But like most things that strike a cord with me.

It probably hit me as profound.

Because I needed to hear it.

"Its the finish that defines me."

Apply that to any area of my life.

Do I finish strong?

Do I finish well?

Do I finish.......period.

Or is my life more about.


New Year's resolutions.

Nothing wrong with making them.

But, for me.

My challenge is to finish.

One life.

One chance.

Make it count.

How will my finishes define me?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Say What You Need to Say

I wrestled with making the call for a while.

But there was someone in my life.

That I knew I should reach out to.

But I put it off.


Put it off.

And even as I delayed.

I had a strong sense.

That Jesus was speaking over me.

Do it.

And while I thought about it.

And played out the conversation in my head.

He was patient with me.

As always.

But persistent.

It's time.

Do it.

Pick up the phone.

Reach out.

And call.



I did.

And I said what I felt like I needed to say.

And it was awkward.

And  it felt uncomfortable.

But I did it.

I said.


I needed to say.

And when it was done.

I felt peace.

And that felt........pretty good.

Maybe there's someone in your life.

That you need to say something to.

The holidays may bring someone immediately to mind.

That's what happened to me.

You may need to say.

"I'm sorry."

"I've missed you."

"I just wanted to check on you."

"I love you."

It may not come out just right.

You may do a horrible job of spitting it out.

Don't let that stop you.

And as John Mayer's song goes:

"even if your hands are shaking
 and your faith is broken
 even as your eyes are closing
 do it with a heart wide open
 say what you need to say
 say what you need to say
 say what you need to say
 say what you need to say."

Is there somebody this Christmas.

You need to say something to?

Say it.

You never know.

When the opportunity may pass.

And you may not get it back again.


What you need to say.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Station Wagon Caroling

I LOVE to sing.

Christmas carols!

And I seriously......cannot...... carry a tune in a bucket.

My family would quickly agree.

But, it matters.

Not at all to me.

Me & caroling have a close tie to cars.

My favorite place to sing carols is in my little green Fiesta.


I've been doing it for weeks.

And more quietly.

In my office.

Listening to the Celine Dion holiday station.

On Pandora.

But, countless times this Christmas.

I've remembered.

Caroling in another vehicle.

My family's old station wagon.

In the early 1970's.

Packed in. seat belts.

With the kids I grew up with.

In the Pleasant Grove Community.

One of my best Christmas memories.....ever.

Christmas caroling.

In the cold mountain air of December.

With Rachel.
And Karen.
And Clare.
And Johnny.
And my brothers.

Those I remember the most.

Pile out.

Sing a few songs.

Pile back in.



Pile back out.

Sing again.

Up and down the tar & gravel roads of our community.

We sang for shut-ins.

Sometimes for our grandparents.


I loved that.

Funny the memories you keep.

This one still comes back.

Inspiring me to sing again.

Still off key.

But just as happily.

At least when no one is listening.


And the old station wagon.

A wonderful Christmas memory for me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Cure For Self Pity

Admit it.

I know it's not just me.

We all go through times.


Short ones, hopefully.

Of self-pity.

I'm not proud to say.

I've had one in recent weeks.

The details are so not important to share.

Because details of my self pity.

Wouldn't look much different than yours.

It usually goes like this.

"I'm not appreciated."

"That didn't go as I hoped."

"That hurt."

"If I only had............"


"That's not fair."

"I was slighted."

"She was so rude!"



Self pity is not attractive.


Does it sound familiar?

Many times.

I travel down the road of self pity for some time.

Before it hits me.

This....... is ridiculous!

Not that I feel disappointment sometimes.

But that what starts as a small.

A little.


Picks up steam.

And rolls into a giant!


Downward rolling.

Trip of self pity!

I knew almost without thinking.

How to correct my self pity.

Self pity can't exist with gratitude.

I've heard that many times.

It  just can't do it.

And maybe it would be enough for you.

To "think" of what IS going good in your life.

But for me.

I'm a visual girl.

It means more to me to WRITE it down on paper.


Over the last few days.

That's what I've done.

I found a journal I hadn't used.

And I christened it to be my gratitude journal.

And everyday.

For the last few days.

I've made time.

To write down.

What I am grateful for each day.

And I was amazed.

At how many things.

I could actually list.


After another.

After another.

It's a fact.

When I changed my focus on what's NOT going good.

To what IS good.

I shift.

All of me.

And as I sit in the morning.

In this chair.

And enjoy the lights from my Christmas tree.

In my home.

That I share with my sweet man.

And I recognize.

That my house is warm.

I have food in my kitchen to eat.

And clothes in my closet to wear.

And coffee.......thank you Jesus.....from my new Keurig.

I have a great deal to be thankful for.

Shifting my focus.

As simple as that.

"thankfulness opens your heart to My presence and your mind to My thoughts.
 you may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but
 it's as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective.
 it is this light of My presence that removes the sting from adversity."

 "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young

Monday, December 9, 2013

I'm Afraid of Normal

Do you have a hard time fessing up to what you fear?

I've become a less fearful person since cancer.

There's something about walking through that experience.

You grow.

Good grief!

I certainly hope I grew.

But I still experience fear.


For me.

There's a strong spiritual aspect to fear.

The enemy loves to whisper fear over my life.

And if I'm not careful.

I'll buy it.



And sinker.

So, what do I fear?

Sometimes I fear the future.

What the future might hold.

I sometimes fear failing.

At my job.

Or in my most important relationships.

Because people are counting on me.

And I don't want to let them down.

Sometimes I fear losing Scott.

Or my children.

That's not unusual, I guess.

To fear losing the people I love the most.

But I'm also fearful.

Of not living the fullest life that I can.

Having too normal a life scares me to death.

I guess my view of normal is a bit twisted.

To me, normal plays it safe.

Normal won't go out on a limb.

Or take a risk.

When I think of living the fullest life I can.

I believe that's what God wants for me.

And the last thing I want to do.

Is settle.

For safe.

And risk free.

That's not what Jesus is all about.

Really following after Him can be scary.

His goal is not for me to be comfortable.

He's always leading me to change.




To change.

And that means stepping out.

Being uneasy.

And I don't always like that.

But at the same time.

I'll take my chances with Him.


I'm more afraid of normal.

"Be willing to go out on a limb with Me.
If that is where I am leading you,
it is the safest place to be.

Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief.
Your longing to live close to Me is at odds
with your attempts to minimize risks.  

Your are approaching a crossroads in your journey.
In order to follow Me wholeheartedly,
you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.

Let Me lead you step by step through this day.
If your primary focus is on Me,
you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid.

Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure
of our journey together.
As long as you stay close to Me, 
My sovereign presence protects you wherever you go.

December 9th  "Jesus Calling"  Sarah Young