LIVE: Thoughtful - Whatever!
Thoughtful, defined: contemplative; meditative; reflective; heedful; mindful
True - conforming to reality or fact; genuine
Noble - of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence
Right - in accordance with what is good, proper, or just
Pure - wholesome and untainted by immorality
Lovely - very pleasant or enjoyable; delightful
Admirable - arousing or deserving respect and approval
Excellent - extraordinary
Praisworthy - commendable
...think on these things.
This wonderful admonition doesn't just come from the sweet plaque gracing the shelf above my kitchen sink, it comes from the living word of God in Philippians 4:8.
According to Google, the ultimate authority (hee), a person has approximately 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, which is approximately 2,100 to 2,900 per hour, which is approximately 35 to 48 per minute. WHOA AND WOW! ...that's exhausting!!
STOP FOR JUST ONE MINUTE. STOP! THINK - it comes so naturally - WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS HAVE BEEN FOR THE VERY LAST MINUTE. YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD ABOUT 35 TO 48 OF THEM!
What did this simple exercise reveal about your thoughts?
Are they contented? condemning? critical? complaining? cheerful? compassionate?
It's six a.m., and as usual, I am thoughtful, contemplative, mindful -- or more appropriately, random and all over the board: (my thoughts are in pictures and my thoughts are in blue)
Mail Alex's (first son) birthday gift on time. If I were a good Mother (that's what he calls me), I would fly down to St. Augustine and surprise him...he will be 25, after all.
Yay, it's sunny today.
Downton at the Biltmore was so much fun!
Really need to plan Andrew's (second son) graduation party. If I were a good Mamma (that's what he calls me), I would have already planned something super elaborate...he is graduating from the Air Force Academy, after all.
Excited for Mom 2 Mom leaders' retreat!
Going to miss my Mom 2 Mom girls! Love, love them!!
Off work today, yay, I can walk the dogs and see spring.
I pray, Lord, for my friend whose daughter is struggling.
Oh, and remember to transfer some money for Ben’s (third son) college expenses. If I were a good Mom (you guessed it - that's what he calls me), I would just write a check for his college so that he didn't have to work and search for scholarships to help pay for it...he works extremely hard in school and he is in the honors college and he just made the Auburn Engineering Honor Society, after all.
So thankful, Lord, for Ben's (my youngest son) internship and that he’ll be home for the summer.
Get going, Tami! Edit Dr. Smith’s deposition, it's due Wednesday, you've had two weeks to get it done; don’t forget to pay the electric bill or else you'll get a late fee and they’ll cut your power off and you’ll be living on the street with your two dogs; and the dogs need dog food...yesterday. Why are you such a procrastinator?
Really need to finish my blog post.
Hair appointment...your roots are hid. de. ous.
David’s waiting for me - morning coffee!
What’s for dinner? I don't have a plan. What kind of wife am I? Quinoa burgers?
And all of that, all of those illogical and nonsequential thoughts, in less than 30 seconds, before I have even gotten out of bed. Imagine what the rest of the day holds! Imagine the “thoughts” I have while my feet are on the floor, when I’m surrounded by traffic or happy people or unhappy people or deadlines or difficulties or FEARS!
Thoughts, I don’t know about you, but they’re inescapable. Try as I might to clear the screen or close some of the open thought tabs in my brain...for us women with the nail in our heads (must watch, viewed over 10 million times), it's an impossible task.
Sometimes the thoughts aren't daunting, just random and relentless.
During my season of grief, however, the thoughts were not only daunting, but so loud, so alarming, that my solution was to turn the worship volume up louder than the thoughts so that I couldn’t hear them! Ingenious - and much better for my soul! Amazes me how at times I can hear the Lord through turning up the sound - of His truth (whatever is true, whatever is pure) - to replace the thoughts that don't align, as well as through turning off the sound of my life so as to hear His still small voice as I describe in my last blog post on fasting from noise!
But to live, not simply with thoughts, but to live thoughtful as referenced above I’ve known requires some work, requires some attention and intention - some thoughts can stay but others, they got to go! I suspect you know the ones I’m talking about! The thoughts of comparison, the thoughts of self-pity, the thoughts of how life is out to get you, the thoughts of that person that just plain gets under your skin.
The thoughts are coming regardless, so I challenge me and I challenge you, either replace some with: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is excellent, whatever is praiseworthy - or crank the volume up!
I don't know about you, but I've got some work to do! Would love to hear from you!
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Self-denial defined (obviously): the denial of one's own interests and needs; self-sacrifice.
I did not grow up a girl observing nor understanding the season of Lent but have always found it somewhat mysterious and intriguing. Like the ash on the forehead of my high-school friend on, of course, Ash Wednesday – that made me wonder why. Like fasting associated with the season of Lent – that makes me wonder why.
I’ll keep it simple and skip the theology, mainly because I know it would be an injustice.
Lent - expand, for me - one-tenth of a year, the 40 days approaching and in preparation for Easter.
Fasting - expand, for me - voluntary self-denial for a period of time during any point in time and for any length of time to gain a deeper fellowship with God.
This year when the season of Lent was approaching, I thought to go a little deeper, because as Ginny Owens’ lyrics ring in my ears, sometimes I feel like I’m stuck on the shore and I desperately want to go a little Deeper.
The Upper Room gives a great Lent 101 explain for those of us who are simple minded.
“Are you searching for more? Tired of running in circles…”
And GotQuestions.org reminds fasting is not a command but that the Bible presents it as something that is good, profitable, and beneficial.
Fasting = self-denial = good, profitable, and beneficial??
Benedict of Nursia (480-543) – a way, way, way long time ago – talks about “continuous lent” – I LOVE THAT - and puts it this way, “Let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.”
The Generosity Monk sums up Benedict in that “self-denial is “spring training” for disciples of Jesus who desire to follow Him through the seasons of life.”
How unnatural for one of this world to “self deny.”
And yet I’m in search of more - the deeper I mentioned above - to gain a deeper fellowship with God.
What? I can’t hear you. I’m paying attention, I’m trying to hear – really. I’m on the shore…
I’ve fasted on occasion chocolate or soft drinks, or in an effort to clean my palate or give digestion a rest. This time? Chocolate? Soda? – This time, for me, fasting “noise”! Extraneous noise which makes it nearly impossible for me to hear.
What? I can’t hear you. I’m paying attention, I’m trying to hear. Really? Turn off the noise.
I LOVE a great podcast - good noise, but sometimes it makes it hard to hear. I LOVE music – worship music, radio, or Ellie HolcombThe Broken Beautiful sending a blessing my way on CD - good noise, but sometimes it makes it hard for me to hear.
So for me, for now, no noise.
With the amazement of Easter and its approach next Sunday and one week left of Lent and my personal fast, the discovery of this self-denial has surprised. I’ve had “more hours in my day,” feels like; I’ve had intense prayer time, clarity and organization of the thoughts all crazy and random running around UP there (I once heard a woman’s mind described as ALL tabs OPEN at the SAME time across the top of a computer); I’ve made intentional phone calls, sent intentional emails and texts with those that have come to mind - when I’m able to hear; I've searched my heart and sought my Savior with focus and strange regularity as each time reaching for the "noise, " instead I was reaching for Him.
What say you on Saint Benedict’s thoughts on fasting written 1500ish years ago??
Of food? Maybe.
Of drink? Maybe.
Of sleep? Not on your life, you’re thinking, if you have littles.
Of needless talking? Interesting.
Of idle jesting? No problem.
Of? Of? Of?
Please, I can’t hear you. I’m paying attention. I’m trying to hear. Please comment below.
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Purposefully, defined: resolute. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal
Once upon a time, I raced quarter-midget go-carts, I could wrestle with our boys using incredible moves like the full nelson and the scissor hold - lessons learned compliments of my brothers - I played hide and go seek on three streets in my neighborhood - in the dark, no less - back in the good ole days when it was safe to roam the neighborhood in elementary school. I was an adventure!
Using this seemingly unrelated story might seem an odd way to convey my assessment of what living “purposefully” looks like to me. I mean, do I really care if I'm viewed as a fun-sucker? Parenting aside - because that involves an entirely different set of rules - in all honesty, I've come to the realization that I do care how I am viewed. I do care how I make others feel and the impression they leave with after our encounter. Not in a weird life-is-about-me-sort-of-way care, but in the way that I want people to view me, not in light of me, but in light of Who lives within me. I want to represent well!
Pause with me for a sec: Have you ever left a conversation or an encounter feeling agitated, feeling “less-than,” feeling, well, as if the life has been sucked out of you?
I'm not talking about the friend who is in a hard place and rightfully so needs you to lock arms with them and walk the difficult path; I've been there myself when I've had absolutely no life to give. I'm not talking about the occasional times that we all experience where our take is greater than our give. I'm talking about the chronic-choice case...the person who chooses to live negative with the glass half empty, the person who consistently chooses complaint over being content, the person who lives with tunnel me-vision and can’t have a conversation without taking life.
Conversely, have you ever left a conversation or an encounter feeling, you guessed it, better afterwards? Encouraged afterwards? Life afterwards?
Living purposefully, I've decided for me, means living with the “intent” and "goal" of hopefully making a difference in the encounters of life, of being a giver in all of its many forms and not a taker in all of its many forms, in the view of those I know and love best to the view of those that are difficult to love to the view of those I know least.
Living purposefully, I'd love to hear what it means for you...
Intentional, defined: done with intention or on purpose; intended
Whether we choose to admit it or not, no matter our age, every girl's dream is to dress up beautiful and to then be escorted to the ball by none other than her dashing prince!
I was so encouraged - no, thrilled - no - what's the word I'm looking for? MOVED, INSPIRED, CHALLENGED by the faces in the myriad of pictures posted on Facebook of my friend-daddies with their precious daughters (of all ages) at the Rolling Hills Daddy-Daughter Ball! One of my favorite favorite things about my church, Rolling Hills, is their passion to live intentionally, to live on purpose. And the impact I see to that type of living is none other than profound.
What really caught my attention in those pictures, however, was not just the beautiful dresses on the beautiful girls with their beautiful smiles and their beautiful hair, but the dazzling smiles on their daddies' faces. Just see for yourself!
So what does a Daddy-Daughter Ball have to do with the price of tea in China, or how I, the empty-nested mother of three boys, live my life intentional? Everything! Those smiles, remember, aren't just on the faces of the daughters, they're also on the faces of the daddies. Intention makes all the difference! It makes not only a difference in the recipient, but also the benefactor.
So whether it's the Daddy-Daughter Ball right there up close and personal in your world or whether it's the homeless street-paper seller on the corner who who needs money for lunch, whether it's the heart of someone in your very own family or the heart of a complete stranger, let's choose to be intentional, let's choose to make someone smile today! I guarantee you'll reap a smile yourself!
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Fully, defined: completely, entirely, or to the furthest extent
Since embarking on my mid-Mom crisis, I've started asking myself these really crazy questions.
Amazing when you don't have the schedules of five family members to contend with and there's quiet in the house the things that begin to stir in your heart and head. And I do ask the questions - and I am asking the questions.
Have I lived fully thus far?
Am I living fully now?
I’m pretty positive I didn't think this way in my 20s. For one thing, not too many years to retrospect then since I was a mere child! Not sure my brain was fully developed then either, for another. Life then for me began the great adventure! Life was full, day by day submerged in learning so many new and exciting things - things like how to be married, for example; things like how to cook; how to entertain three rambunctious little boys while keeping them free from injury - from each other, of course; things like learning what lake-effect snow and freezing rain were after this born-and-raised Florida girl moved to, of all places, the frozen tundra of upstate New York. All of this was quite the learning curve, and in the midst of this full life, it didn't occur to me to think about whether I was living fully.
What about the 30s? Hanging by the proverbial thread in my early 30s. With tragedy in the loss of my husband to cancer and simply putting my feet on the floor taking every bit of me, my daily to-do list didn't include, “Today, learn how to live fully.”
Later 30s? New season, new special someone in my life. I called him my silver lining. Now instead of making every effort to put my feet on the floor, I was making every effort to keep my feet ON the floor (ground) and my head out of the clouds - to keep my very clear reality in check. Thinking about living fully, here again, was not at the top of my list.
Okay, yes, now that 50 is closer than 40, I confess, the serious assessment has begun.
Have I lived fully so far? I know it’s a bit of a downer, but just humor me.
I'm happy to report that some answers have come. Shall I hang my head in shame at my conclusions? Or shall I celebrate with one of my favorite Nothing Bundt cupcakes? Although I wasn’t asking these questions out loud in my 20s or in my 30s, as I look back over my shoulder, I'm encouraged that I have been asking these questions all along. Give me to cupcake!
Live: FULLY. Eyes on Jesus. Heart surrendered. Motive pure.
Whether serving in the children’s ministry week after week or walking through the Groundhog-Day daily grind yet again, with joy, whether teaching the study Lord Where Are You When Bad Things Happen or on my knees crying out that very identical question, whether loving my family well or maybe even at times not so well, whether on mission in Africa or mission at the office or mission at the grocery store, whether choosing joy instead of complaint or choosing others instead of self, I see the answer to those questions so very clearly. Yes! Fully, yes! Fully, for me. Always fully? Hardly.
Am I living fully now?
You’ve heard the scripture about running the race well? That’s it - living fully! I want to run the race well. I want to make a difference. I want to! Don't you? Not just a difference in the lives of the expected - in the lives of the three sweet young men I call my own, in the lives of my family and closest friends, but in the lives of the unexpected: complete strangers, by offering a smile; in the hearts of young moms who need a word of hope or a word of encouragement; how about in the lives of the unlovely or the difficult - we all know them - by killing them with kindness when a retort would feel much more appropriate?
Live: FULLY. Eyes on Jesus. Heart surrendered. Motive pure.
I suspect you are living fully too - or perhaps truly long to, as I?
What does living fully looks like to you? What is full in your life? What is wanting?
Comment below, I’d love to hear...
So my husband has been "encouraging" me to start a blog for, well, years! He sweetly took the initiative to locate my name as a website address, tamiwebb.net (I'm sure there's some technical name for that), and even to design the framework of the website (of course it has undergone a makeover).
Since becoming empty-nested, I've realized I'm in an entirely unfamiliar new season of life! I'm no longer "primarily" Mom. I have some time that I've decided to "call my own." Like many of us at a change-of-life season, I'm sure, I've embarked on this journey to discover who I am this side of raising kids and what I want to be when I grow up! This journey I have decided to affectionately refer to as my "Mid-Mom Crisis."
Weaved throughout my husband's continual encouragement to blog were words of affirmation - who doesn't want to hear that - such that I began to wonder if this just might be something to consider.
Questions I'm asking now:
This idea of this blog thing was beginning to grow on me. I could share the "old" me with the peaks and valleys and explore and share the "new" me - writing, cooking (maybe not so much), chalk painting - I could share my thoughts and words on just plain living: humbly, simply, fully, presently, intentionally, purposefully, expectantly, authentically, hopefully, gratefully, freely, joyfully - well, you get the picture - and maybe, just maybe, my words could make a difference somewhere somehow some way. And it's much cheaper than a new sports car!
I'm no one special. Although I might think I have a few things to say, I'm still unsure if anyone will want to listen. And yes, there are a million blogs out there. But there's something to be said for stepping out in faith, stepping out of my comfort zone, for allowing myself to be vulnerable in the hopes that someone else might be encouraged by a thought that came from this tiny little brain, and for knowing I'll learn something along the way.
So here goes, I hope you'll want to listen...