April 29, 2005

When too much is not enough

I think we all have faced some sort of addiction at a point in our lives. I never considered myself addicted to anything. But I have been.

My addiction? THIS. The internet.

Addiction:
1. Being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)
2. An abnormally strong craving


Let me guess. All you "Christians" out there reading this blog entry are covering your mouths and *gasping* in disgust.

"She's addicted to the internet!" You say about me, pointing at your screens.

Yes, I am. No, I'm not addicted to porn, or any other evil things. My addiction consists of simply sitting down in a chair and reading, surfing for information for my writing, searching for business resources, etc.

As Christians, we sometimes get this idea that we are perfect and don't have any addictions. No man is perfect, although we strive for perfection, Jesus as our example.

Addiction does not include only drugs and alcohol, although that is probably the first thoughts that enters most minds at mention of the word. An addiction is a terrible craving for something, a craving which you don't even realize you have.

An addiction grabs and claims domination of your mind, thoughts, feelings, emotions, decisions. It controls you, most of the time without you even realizing it.

The internet has quickly become a resource of valuable information. With the simple click of a button, we can easily pull up maps, telephone numbers, etc. Need information for a research paper? Just Google your topic and VOILA! 1,046,349,211 websites return at your beckon call.

The internet gives stay-at-home-moms a way to interact with other moms. Surrounded by diapers, bottle-feeding, and potty training, we are isolated from the connection we once had with the outside world. The internet brings that connection to other moms like us without having to leave our home.

The internet makes us lazy. We expect answers at the snap of a finger. We demand immediate responses. What has happened to slowing down and waiting for a phone call or letter in the mail?

  • When too much becomes not enough, you have an addiction.
  • When you are signed up on over one hundred email groups, and still feel lonely, you're addicted.
  • When you have to check your email every three minutes to see if you have a message, you're addicted.
  • When you're constantly looking at the monitor, even while you're busy doing other things, you're addicted.
  • When you feel irritated because you haven't had internet access in two days, you're addicted.


So how do we break this cycle of internet addiction? I have already begun the process for myself. It is definitely a matter of personal reflection and choices. For me, the greatest challenge is that the internet is the lifeline between my husband and I right now. Here is how I am breaking my addiction:

  • Write a list of how I spend my time online.
    1. How many hours am I online?
    2. Of those hours, how many are spent on actual work or school?
    3. Where is the majority of my online time at?

  • Limit my online time.
    1. How much time do I need for my online studies?
    2. What can I cut away from my online time?
      • Extracurricular websites
      • "Free" ventures
      • Chat times with friends
      • Set a limit on email groups & online communities

  • How can I make better use of my time away from the internet?
    1. More family time
      • Family fun night
      • Family scrapbooking
      • Library visits
      • Game night

    2. Bible reading
    3. Prayer time
    4. Church functions (when possible)
    5. Home ministries
    6. WRITING!

Addictions can be broken. You have to be willing to do it, and create new, good habits to replace the bad ones.

What is your addiction? Are you ready to make a change?

April 24, 2005

The Sin of Gluttony

"Don't waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last."
- John 6:27


Over the last week or so my mind has been on overload. I keep making the same excuses for myself:

"I have to stay busy to keep my mind off things."

"If I just add this to what I'm already doing that will take up those extra couple of hours every day."


I've even daydreamed lately about what it might be like if I didn't have so many things going on at one time. Might I actually rest? Imagine that! I made the remark, "Sometimes I feel like my brain needs a vacation," in a joking manner. After the words escaped my lips and the laughter died, I felt sadness. When did I become so wrapped up in things that I stopped enjoying my life???

Even though all the things I keep myself invovled in are good things, when do those very things become harmful to me? At what point does it all become too much?

So I have been thinking. And asking myself tough questions. Like, "If everything (online) was taken away, and I could only have one thing left, what would that one thing be?"

I knew the answer immediately. There were no angels singing. A band didn't strike up a chord. Yet, it is right there, buried deep in my heart. Roots are there, strong, thick, deep roots. I know what that single thing is.

So from this point forward, I will be taking steps to recovering from gluttony. Gluttony of over indulgence in order to keep my mind busy. In fact, I've been so busy numbing my mind with things that really don't even matter, that I lost God in the mix! Sad, but true. And now that I know, now that I see, I can change that. From now on, I will only eat of the food that nourishes me, and gives me life. God will be my beacon. He will direct my paths. And what He gives me to do will be everlasting and fruitful.

April 23, 2005

Love Note

I couldn't resist sharing the card that I received in the mail this week from my Sweetie Pie.

front
(front)

back
(inside)


I love you, Baby!

April 21, 2005

Hey YOU!

This is an open letter to the public. You won't hear me be so brash on here that often, but I am extremely preturbed right now.

Hey, YOU! Yes, YOU--the dingbat(s) that stole my yellow ribbon magnets off the back of my van. I'm talking to you. I hope you enjoy those magnets. I'm sure you got a big laugh out of stealing them off my vehicle.

It's not the magnets that I'm ticked off about. They can be replaced. It's the idea behind the whole scenario. I'm sure family means nothing to you. I imagine you don't have a clue what it feels like to lose someone you love to a war.

You don't know what it's like to raise two children alone. One of which misses her Daddy so much that she cries nearly every day and night.

You don't know the pain of heartbreak. Heartache. Worry. Fear. Anxiety. Loneliness.

One day you will. One day you will know. Read my words and believe every one. I hope you enjoy those two yellow ribbons. I hope they burn a whole in your conscious. I hope it keeps you awake at night.

Oh....and by the way. One last thought. When you lay your head on your pillow tonight, thank your lucky stars that you have a pillow to lay on, a bed to sleep in, a roof over your head. You should say a prayer of thanks that my husband (and many more like him) are defending our country so you can rest your head in peace every night!

Yes, I hope you enjoy those two magnets. I hope they bring you as much comfort as they brought to me and my children. I hope you feel the love that we felt when they were given to us.

Rest in peace. Just remember. You won't get away with it.

God don't like ugly.

What if?

What if we lived today like Jesus could come at any moment? What if we behaved as if we expected Him to appear in a split second?

Perhaps our words would be sweeter.
Perhaps our thoughts would be forgiving.
Perhaps our actions would be productive.

What if Jesus comes today? Will we be ready to meet Him?

April 20, 2005

Notable Quotes

I'm not feeling very inspired today, so here are some good quotes for you and me.


"The strength of a man consists in finding out the way God is going, and going that way."
- Henry Ward Beecher


"An inablility to accept a compliment only feeds your fear of accepting yourself for who you really are, and criticizes someone else's opinion at the same time. You both lose the opportunity to connect and to be seen for the gifts that you are."
- Rhonda Britten


"Our best success comes after our greatest disappointments."
- Henry Ward Beecher


Make a fabulous day!

April 19, 2005

Getting Crafty

Last night I went to a scrapbook workshop at church. For the most part, it was simply an opportunity to get out of the house ALONE. With Robert away, I don't get many chances like these!

I gathered a handful of photos and off I went. It was so much fun! More than just learning about cropping, photo placement, stickers, etc., I had the best time. I laughed. Talked. It was just fun.

So I made a decision. I'll be at the next scrapbook workshop. ;)

How often do we deny ourselves these simple pleasures? I know that I usually talk myself out of them. I don't allow myself to just have fun. Correction. I didn't allow myself to have fun. That's something I'm working on these days. ;)

April 18, 2005

More Inspiration

Since the Cup of Hope website launched, I have received many praises, of which I am grateful for. I must say, though, that it is only by the grace of God that I am able to do what I do. Today I wanted to say a special, "Thank You, Jesus!" for all that He does for me. Sometimes we forget to count our blessings. I don't ever want to be found unthankful!

I added something new and special to the Cup of Hope website over the weekend. They are called "Sip of Inspiration Cards." They are small cards with an encouraging quote, scripture or thought on them. I made them at small sizes so you can print them out and have them handy throughout the day wherever you go. You can even print one out and give it as a gift to someone who might be in need of a little encouragement. And even better--they're FREE! Click here to get your Sip of Inspiration Card!

April 17, 2005

Enjoy It

"The ultimate goal should be doing your best and enjoying it."
- Peggy Fleming


A few years ago I worked at the local popular chain department/grocery store. The only reason I even went to work was because times were tough, and we needed the money. I hated leaving my job as a stay-at-home-mother to give six to eight hours of my time to people who didn't appreciate me.

I didn't hate my job. I enjoyed interacting with the public. "Older" folks were the highlight of my days. They were never in a hurry. They enjoyed swapping stories. I was thrilled about their newly planted gardens at home. They were thrilled about my daughter learning a new word.

I didn't love my job, either. Rude customers. Hateful mouths. The whole "you're-not-somebody-unless-you-know-somebody" political thing. It got old FAST.

Even when I hated my job, though, I still did the best I could. I smiled when I felt like crying. I held my head high, when I felt like running out the front door. I reminded myself of all the good things I enjoyed about working there.

Sometimes we have to do things that we don't necessarily want to do. The true test of our character lies in how we face these times. Do our best...and enjoy it. Then one day we will be rewarded.

P.S. I have earned my reward--I don't work "there" anymore. ;)

April 16, 2005

A Journal of War

One of the local newspapers recently sent a journalist and photographer into Iraq to report news from our local troops back to home. These stories mean so much more to me that the ones that make the "big" headlines because I know they are coming from our men. They are doing a story per day.

Here's today's story:
Day 16 in Iraq: Staying on focus

And if you'd like to read every day, you can go to Journal of War: Northeast Mississippians in Iraq.

If you would like to see photos of our guys, go to the Fulton FRG website and click on "Photo Album."

This is real. These are our family members. Remember to say a prayer for them when you lay your head on your pillow in peace tonight.

April 12, 2005

10 Ways to Inspire Yourself


  1. Smile
    • Humor boosts your immune system, is conductive to each healing process and is a great method for reducing stress and relaxing.

  2. Breathe
    • Slow, steady, deep breaths will promote relaxation and is a great stress reducer.

  3. Clean your house
    • While doing your chores, imagine you are cleaning out the negative things in your life, working out your problems, and scrubbing away your frustrations.

  4. Give someone a gift
    • One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the gift of listening. No interrupting. No interjections. Just listen.

  5. Exhort a friend
    • Know someone who is having a difficult time managing to keep a positive outlook on life? Encourage them! Cheer them on.

  6. Enliven a quiet room
    • Tell a joke. Make a funny face. Throw some life into the atmosphere!

  7. Trust yourself
    • One of the most powerful assets a woman can harness is the ability to trust her own instincts. It allows her to become more aware of herself, as well as others around her.

  8. Move
    • A routine of regular exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress.

  9. Revolutionize Yourself
    • Make radical changes in your eating habits, thought processes or diseasing habits.

  10. Forgive
    • Harboring resentment and grievances toward someone is toxic and consumes your peace of mind. Experience your feelings, then release them. Forgiveness is for you--not the other person.



Resources:
This is important
Self Help Magazine
Yahoo Healthy Living
Exercise and Mental Health
The Gift of Forgiveness
Guilt and Resentment

April 08, 2005

Excellent Lover

There is only One who knows me, inside and out. He knows all my faults. He knows my weaknesses. He has seen my failures. Yet He loves me still!

He was there for me when I made huge mistakes. He encouraged me and gave me the strength to arise and stand once again.

"My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me."
-Song of Solomon 2:10 (NIV)


He watched as I veered from the path of righteousness and stumbled down a rocky road of sin. He nudged me, prodded me, guided me with His gentle hand of mercy, back to a place of morality.

"Generous in love--God, give grace! Huge in mercy--wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down."
-Psalms 51:1-3 (MSG)



Horrific thoughts plagued my mind. Black clouds of depression engulfed me until I couldn't breathe. He commanded them to leave, then peace and joy flooded my mind and soul.

"GOD makes his people strong. GOD gives his people peace."
-Psalms 29:11 (MSG)



I had nothing...NOTHING. Piles of bills stacked higher and higher. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what would happen. But every time He made a way. Just when I thought it was hopeless, He always provided.

"You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus."
-Philippians 4:19 (MSG)



I gave up hope. I stopped trying. I started looking to ungodly things for my own pleasure. He didn't turn His back on me. He didn't leave me standing in darkness. He shook His head and said, "No!" and guided me back to victory in Him.

"The hand of GOD is raised in victory! The hand of GOD has turned the tide!"
-Psalms 118:16 (MSG)



I felt alone. I felt abandoned. I felt as though surely He had left me this time. I couldn't feel His presence with me anymore. I walked through a dry, hot, dusty desert. But He was there. I was never alone. I needed to be separated, in order to think, and feel, and learn.

Jesus is the lover of my soul. He is my dearest Friend. Nobody could ever do for me what He has done. Loving, gentle, and kind. Stern at times, yet accepting. He never leaves me. He is always there for me, even at my worst. Jesus truly is an Excellent Lover!

"I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable--absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
-Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

April 06, 2005

Keeping it Real

As you may have noticed, I am going through some sort of cleansing or purging phase right now. I feel the need to rid myself of the inner doubts and fears that plague my mind. It really is just a mind game.

Fears are:

Foul
Empty
Annoying
Rotten
Storytellers
(I just made that up, how do you like that? *grin*)

One of my biggest Storytellers has been bothering me for a while. She's been telling me that if I share my inner thoughts, my struggles, my battles, that people will think less of me. She has made fun of my honesty and poked at my uncovering truths.

I finally gave that Storyteller a black eye and knocked her out for good. I believe God wants us to keep it real. I believe He wants us to share with others our struggles and triumphs. This is how we overcome! It is by the word of our testimony. Our testimony encourages others, and gives them strength to carry on.

So from now on, I will keep it real. No more sugar coating. I believe God honors truth!


Proverbs 10:9
People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall. (New Living Translation)

April 04, 2005

Kindness

"Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence or learning."
- Frederick W. Faber


I have a confession to make. In times past, have been a judgemental person. I judged people by their mistakes and failures, all the while, overlooking my own. I looked down on those who didn't measure up to my "standard" of worthiness. What a fool I was!

Over the last several months I have fought sickness, depression, anxiety, worry, fear, etc. Perhaps the lesson God has been trying to teach me through all this is that you can't always control your life and the circumstances therein. Sometimes things just happen and we have to take that and deal with it the best way we can.

I learned one thing in my trek through the "shadows." The kindness of others is the single thing that kept me moving forward, when all I felt like doing was giving up.

See, we can obtain knowledge through books. We can speak with powerful language and fluency. If we do not have forgiveness and kindness in our heart, it is all for naught. Kindness reaches down to help another up. Kindness causes us to be sympathetic and understanding.


"Help me, Jesus, to have a heart filled with kindness. Let me talk with gentle and gracious words. Help me to be sensitive, Jesus, that I can support and be of service to those in need."

April 01, 2005

In The Word

It never ceases to amaze me how much power is in the Word of God. Inside the treasure chest I find answers to all my questions.

When I am weary-minded, I pick up my sword and open it to receive rest and energy.

If I stumble and fall, I read stories of amazing men and women of God, who were human in their walk with God and made mistakes, too, yet found forgiveness in God.

And when I am in the mood for something good to read, I turn through the pages and find account after account of mind-boggling, faith-building stories that are so much better to spend my time reading than any fiction novel!

Have you read your Bible today?


"God's Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set in emeralds. You'll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries."
- Psalms 19:10 (The Message)