Lesson 3: I DIDN’T EXPECT THAT!

I recently released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s meant to be light-hearted but with a serious message. Throughout the summer, I’m going to share some of the book with you. Only some–if you want all of it, you’ll have to buy it! Click here for the link.

LESSON 3: I DIDN’T EXPECT THAT!

Proverbs 16: 9 (NIV)

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

 

After finally gathering up my courage at age 58 to buy a hula hoop, the next morning I went down to the basement all excited about it I slipped the hula hoop over my neck and positioned it on my waist and I whirled it and…

It fell to the floor. Plop! Just like that.

I sure didn’t expect that!

I stepped back inside the hula hoop a second time and twirled it and that thing just dropped to the floor like a bag of rocks—again. So, I picked it back up and tried again and again.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy relearning to hula hoop. I didn’t expect it to come to me as naturally as it did when I was ten years old. I thought it might take a week or even two before I was hula hooping, but even after a month or so, I wasn’t improving.

I didn’t expect that.

Life is like that as well. The unexpected happens—just when we don’t want it to, right? We don’t mind the unexpected as long as it’s a good thing. But that’s called a surprise, a lucky break; or a blessing.

It’s the unexpected problems that usually throws us for a loop.

Bad things happen.

That is a fact of life. Jesus even promised that we’d have troubles in this life in John 16: 33. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we won’t have bad things happen to us. But what it does mean is that when they happen, we have a choice.

A choice to react in such a way to honor God or not?

I’ve been thinking about choices lately. As Paul said, the things he wants to do, he doesn’t; and the things he doesn’t want to do, he does. We’re all like that at times

We’re all spiritual beings but we’re also a physical being. Our physical self doesn’t necessarily want the same thing our spiritual self wants. In fact, most of the time they are at war with each other. That’s the source of much of our conflict.

So when they found brain tumors, I had a choice to make. Live out the spiritual principles I’d been learning or give into the fear and self-pity? Walk the walk or fall apart?

Most of us know the story of Peter walking on the water. Just to refresh your memory, you might want to read Matthew 14: 22:33. When Peter walked on water it wasn’t during calm times at sea. It was during a storm. When he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water in spite of the turbulence all around him.

When he took his eyes off Jesus, he sank.

It’s the same for us during a storm. We can’t always determine our circumstances, but we always have a choice how to react to it.

Keep our eyes on Jesus or sink!

Share a time when you had to make a choice to trust or to sink? What was the result? What did you learn from it?

Until next time… GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

Lesson 2: I’M A SNOWFLAKE!

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

I have a confession to make.

I’m weird! But so are you! And by weird I mean different from everyone else. We’re all unique. Not one of us is the same as anyone else on this earth. Not even if you’re an identical twin, triplet or whatever.

Just as every snowflake is different so are each of us!

And we’re just fine and dandy with that until somewhere around the age of five or six. Something mysterious happens at about that time. We start to want to be like everyone else!

What happens when we start to remake ourselves in the image of the “cool kids?” We lose our snowflakiness. We forget who we were created to be. Instead, we work hard at imitating everyone else.

But that’s not what God wants for us.

He created us just the way he wanted us to be. He loves us just the way we are. I’ve spent most of my life trying to hide the fact I was a snowflake. Or at least I’d like to think I was able to hide it. There might be a good chance that I wasn’t quite as good at hiding it as I thought.

After all, I did have a book in my hands almost all the time. I felt like I never quite fit in with the people around me. But still nobody wants other people to think they’re weird or to have people look at them strangely, so I made the attempt to blend in.

To be like all the other snowflakes around me.

Now, I understand that those weird parts of me are what allow me to be a writer. And since I love being a writer, I’m learning to accept and even celebrate my weirdness…oops, I mean being different.

We aren’t who we are by accident. God designed us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. And he made us just the way he wanted us to be! Isn’t that an awesome thought? I hope that changes the way you think about yourself.

Give yourself permission to be the person God created you to be.

I’m a snowflake—and so are you!

Isn’t it time to celebrate your specialness, your uniqueness, your snowflakiness?

Share with us something you hated about yourself as a child that you’ve since discovered is really a blessing.

Until next time… GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

Lesson 1: WHY THE HULA HOOP?

I recently released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s meant to be light-hearted but with a serious message. Throughout the summer, I’m going to share some of the book with you. Only some–if you want all of it, you’ll have to buy it!

Lesson 1: WHY THE HULA HOOP?

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.

 

Now why would an overweight, old woman (sort of old—60) with brain tumors get it in her head that she should start hula hooping—again—after more than 40 years of not hula hooping? Maybe it was the fuzzy thinking from my brain tumors? I have no idea, but I can tell you how it happened. I was sitting in my chair one day thinking about my weight loss journey or actually my lack of weight loss.

Anyway, back to the hula hoop. One day I was sitting and thinking about the fact that I wasn’t always fat. For a bookworm, I was fairly active as a child. I loved to jump rope, ride my bike, and….wait for it…hula hoop.

Mmmm…when I thought about those activities, I realized all of them helped keep me fit without me realizing it. I was just having fun, but those activities did a lot more than that. It seemed to me I needed to get back to having more fun while being more active.

Jump roping? NO. Bike riding? NO. But hula hooping? That sounded fun and doable!

But what a ridiculous idea. People in their late 50s don’t start hula hooping after forty years of not hula hooping. And certainly fat people in their late 50s with brain tumors do NOT hula hoop.

But the idea had popped in my head, and it wouldn’t go away.

In a way, our dreams can happen that way as well. An idea pops into our psyche out of nowhere or at least it seems that way.  When I was forty, a dream was born inside me that just wouldn’t let go.  Sort of like the hula hoop thing.

The dream to be a writer.

I truly believe God created me to be a writer. I stared writing before I reconnected with God, but it was only afterwards that writing truly became a passion.  As drew closer to God, I began to understand that my desire to be a writer was a God-given dream.  Some fortunate people know what their dream is at an early age.

And for some of us it takes us longer to figure it out. Either way, following that dream will add and enrich your life in more ways than you can imagine. It brings me joy and peace and purpose. What more could a person want?

God-given dreams may seem impossible, and yet you can’t stop thinking about it, dreaming about it, fantasizing about it.

Just like I couldn’t stop thinking about hula hooping. I knew it was ridiculous to think I could start to hula hoop again at my age, but the idea wouldn’t go away.

So, my question to you is do you have a big dream? Take a minute to share it with us and where you are on the journey to it.

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS

Joshua 1: 8

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written it is. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

I recently released a short non-fiction book entitled GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS: SPIRITUAL LISTENING LESSONS. It’s mean to be light-hearted but with a serious message. God will prepare us for the battles we face–if only we will listen to him. I share some of the lessons God taught me that have helped me as I face bilateral brain tumors.

So, I’m going to share a few of the lessons here as well.

As a retired speech pathologist I know the importance of being a good listener. Being a good listener is a necessity for becoming a competent language user. And being a competent language user is a necessity for being successful in this life along with a lot of other things, of course.

Spiritually speaking, for many years I wasn’t listening, and as a result my life was one BIG mess. But no more. I love my life—in spite of the brain tumors and all the issues I have because of them.

During my thirty-four years, I developed several checklists that broke down listening skills into smaller steps. Some of these checklists contained up to 60 to 70 mini skills. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that to you. I’m only going to talk about two spiritual listening skills: listening for God; and listening to God.

The key to hearing God is to listen for him. We can’t hear the message if we aren’t paying attention. To hear from God more, we’ve got to focus on him.

It’s like when you buy a bright red car. All of a sudden, you notice every bright red car on the road. Once you become tuned it to something, it’s so much easier to notice.

Spiritual listening works exactly the same way. The more we practice listening, the better we become at it. The more we practice, the more tuned in we become to God’s messages for us. So exactly how does God speak to us? God’s primary mode of communication is the Bible–it’s not the only way, of course. God always wants the best for his children. And he communicates how to get that in His Word.

Once you begin to listen for him, it’s time to listen to him. Listening to God is all about obey him. Jesus once said if you love me, you will obey me. That’s pretty simple and direct. Nothing hard about understanding what he meant. Of course, actually doing it can be a lot harder than understanding it.

But as I said, God always wants the best for his children. What he tells us is for our own good.

Joshua 1: 8 tells us all we need to know to have a successful life—the life God planned for us. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written it is. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Want a formula for success? You just found it: read the word; meditate on the word; follow the word; then you will be prosperous and successful.

Amazing things will happen to you when you begin to listen FOR and TO God.

I’d love for you to take a moment and share with us your own experience at listening FOR or TO God.

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEACE

John 16:33,

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It’s not easy to stay in peace in this crazy world of ours. I don’t know about you, but if I watch the news for more than five minutes, I develop a stomachache, a headache. or start crying. If that’s not enough, then we have jobs, family responsibilities, church, and community activities to keep us so busy we can’t breathe.

 And let’s not forget about life. Just when we think we’ve got everything under control, life happens and proves us wrong. Life happening might take the form of a broken washer, a tragedy, or a brain tumor. For me, it’s actually two brain tumors that were diagnosed in May of 2012.

And yet, Jesus promises us peace. So, how do we get the peace Jesus promised us and keep it in the midst of tragedies? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share how I’ve done it as I struggled and continue to struggle with my health. For me it comes down to 3 key principles:

GOD IS GOOD.

GOD LOVES ME.

 I TRUST GOD.

 If you believe that God is good and that He loves you, then how can you not trust God in whatever situation you are struggling with? Romans 8:28 promises us….And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love this promise. This verse gives me hope. I know that whatever happens to me God will work it out for my good. I believe this with all my heart. I’m approaching the third anniversary of my brain tumor diagnosis. Unfortunately, things aren’t going the way they were supposed to go.

But I know God’s got my back. 

Nobody likes problems, but they are a fact of life. If you’re facing a difficult situation (and we all do sooner or later), isn’t it wonderful to know that the Creator of the world is on your side? Just knowing that gives me hope.

Peace!

YOU RAISE ME UP!

You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban has become my most recent theme song! I’d heard it before, of course. But when I heard  heard it after all the struggles I’m having because of my brain tumors, it struck a chord with me! I’ve been asked how I keep on going in the face of difficult circumstances.

In a word–GOD!

Here’s a version that includes the song being done in American Sign Language. Hope you enjoy it!

You Tube video:  https://youtu.be/x44BQUU_Tmk

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS!

God still speaks…but are you listening?

As a retired speech-language pathologist, I know the importance of listening. Good listening skills make a difference. Good listening skills can help you be successful in school, in relationships, and in life.

And who better to listen to then God!

God can speak to us in many different ways. The Bible is the main way but certainly not the only way. There may be weirder examples, but God used the hula hoop to speak to me.

Yep! I said a hula hoop!

When I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors in 2012, my life took a dramatic turn and is still topsy-turvy. Fortunately they were benign, but there are two definitions for benign. One being non-cancerous, the other meaning harmless—which my brain tumors definitely are not!

In spite of that, I love my life!

I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but it’s true.

Anyway…a while ago I started trying to hula hoop. Now why would an overweight, sixty year old woman with brain tumors want to hula hoop? If you want to know that, you’ll have to read the book!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what about writers? When the going gets tough, they write! And so I have. GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS is the result. Simply put, in the book I share some of the listening lessons God taught me that have helped me face my new reality with brain tumors.

And the book is FREE today! AMAZON BUY LINK:  http://buff.ly/1DVLGZZ

HulaHoops_lg

 GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING