I heard recently, “Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” Uh, that’s me — guilty! When the calendar turned from 2016 to 2017, many of us — me included— turned our focus to what we want to “start” doing or what new habits we want to “begin.”
I made a list of resolutions. I narrowed it down to the doable. I chose the one biggie and I tried really hard and… well… my old habits have tagged along into this new year, uninvited, unwelcome, but here they are! I think that is because most of the time, we need to let go of old habits so the new habits can have a place to grow.
I get asked all the time what the hardest thing about being blind is. People naturally assume it’s not being able to drive or read or… well, there are a million things that are really hard about being blind. Bruises. Isolation. Dependence. Those are some things about blindness that are really, really hard. But, then there’s having to constantly manage my frustration with being slow at tasks or even flat-out unable to do something without help.
What a year it has been! When I think about the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens, there’s been this overwhelming theme throughout it all — the Lord has worked and been so very present. I’m so thankful in that what has been a tough year in some ways has also been an opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness. He is so good.
And I’m so thankful for you! Each one of you. Thank you for joining me for Java every week. It feels like we are truly on this journey together, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of sisters to join me. So, as the year winds down, I figured I would feature the blogs you liked the best from this past year! Let’s just sample a few sips of Java from 2016 together — maybe they will be sweeter the second time, and if you’re new to this great bunch of coffee buddies, pour yourself a tall something that is warm and refreshing, pull up a chair and enjoy a cup of inspiration… five cups, to be exact!
I bet your world is full of holiday hustle about now, right? Christmas is just a couple days away and your life may be crammed with parties and wrapping and baking and caroling and shopping and traveling… and… uh…. deep breath… and more wrapping and more baking and… okay, that’s enough!!
I need to stop and breathe. Do you? I mean, I – we — need to stop and breathe in the beauty, the meaning, the radical impact of Christmas. So, I wrote a simple prayer to center me and maybe it will help you too.
Have you ever had one of those highly unpleasant exchanges when someone you love asks, “Is it your time of the month?” Bad idea. Very bad idea.
Let me just say, that is never a good question to ask a woman because usually when that question is asked, it is because she just freaked out or melted down! Let’s be honest — emotions crest and feelings take a dive on any given day of the month! It isn’t always hormones that make our emotions get out of control!
I begin with a confession: when my life feels out of control, I clean something! Yes. A messy drawer, an unruly closet, under my son’s bed — anything that needs sprucing up becomes therapy for me when I am overly stressed! That’s all well and good until everything is clean and I still feel cluttered on the inside!
Even if you aren’t a “cleaner” when you get stressed, you do something to reduce stress and feel more control — you may be an eater or a shopper or a procrastinator or a crier or an exerciser or… well, we all have our ways of managing when life gets crazy.
But recently, I found myself out of drawers to organize and closets to clean! I was still feeling like stress was bigger than me and had more control than I wanted it to, so I decided to clean out my inbox!
Lisa gets it. She’s felt it. She’s lived it. As a widow and single mom of 7, she knows the unmatched power of the words “I love you.” She shares with us today how those 3 words that have sustained her can bring the healing you are looking for. So, pour yourself a cup of java and let’s lean in to Lisa’s story. I just love it when friends join us for coffee! Okay, Lisa… our coffee is poured, our hearts are open… take it away!
guest post by Lisa Appelo
I received a frantic text from my daughter with the news.
We were stunned. Our dear friend’s young daughter had been admitted a week earlier to the hospital without any real alarm. The first uneventful night had turned into several critical days and nights and then suddenly, she began to spiral quickly, her organs shutting down one by one.
Her family – siblings and parents now gathered around her hospital bed – held her in the shocking surreal of her last hours, as she passed from this life into eternity.
When I received my daughter’s text with the news, I hurried from our Sunday evening church service straight to their home. Already, friends had begun to gather around this family.
If you’re not out helping to boost the economy with all the other shoppers on Black Friday, you may just want to snuggle up with some hot chocolate and think about being grateful. So… can I join you? Let’s get real about gratefulness.
But, first, I need to get real about anger… because anger keeps us from gratefulness.
In most cities, fluoride flows through the city water system. But, in Las Cruces, I think the water is caffeinated!! These Fresh Grounded women were on fire! They came from Texas, Arizona and all over New Mexico — different ages, different races, different denominations… but one thing in common… these women were full of the love of God!
Sparks were already flying when Liz Curtis Higgs and I arrived at the church. We were greeted by cheers, hoots and hollers from over 170 volunteers who were gathered just outside the sanctuary.
He seemed like such a sweet guy, but it got kind of awkward when he came to our table five different times to tell us we glowed.
Yes, glowed. He said we glowed.
He was our server and as he handed us our menus, he paused, cleared his throat and acted like he had just been struck by lightning! “I just have to stop and tell you that you glow. If nobody has ever told you, I am telling you now, you have this glow about you.”
Now, if Moses had been sitting there with us at lunch, the server’s obsession with our glow would have made more sense. (Exodus 34:29-35) But, it was just us! My friend Callen and I giggled but he interrupted and told us he was totally serious.