I named her Betty….

Though she sits on my deck, seemingly lifeless, her flat tires and rusted wheels tell tales of miles spent traveling up and down the jersey shore boardwalks, looking for seashells to fill her basket; Stories of anticipation for young lovers with no other mode of transportation, journeying toward one another in the hot blazing summer, or sisters on their way to get ice cream.

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Betty and I first met through a chance encounter on Craigslist, where a nice, young man in a small, nearby town made a hobby out of restoring old bicycles and giving them to the neighborhood kids.  She was rusted  and dented, with two flat tires, but she brought happiness from the start.   Betty came home with me, and spent a few years under my deck while I decided exactly how she should be restored and brought to a new glory.  I dreamed of a basket on her front, filled with delicate flowers, and even purchased a beautiful hydrangea to use, but i failed to water enough, and it died.  I pinned many pictures of beach cruisers used in various ways to bring nostalgia to a vignette, but when I saw the beach cruiser  dressed in lights at the Garland Hotel in Pasadena while visiting to attend the Rose Bowl parade (similar to the one below), I knew what was in store for Betty.

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Though far from the beach, Betty has brought much joy this year, watching her expression change with varying amounts of snowfall as she chronicles our winter season.  With an ever-so-light dusting of snow, she wonders, “Is this it??  This is not so bad as I imagined.”

But then she exclaims, “Please stop!” as the snow continues to pile on her already weathered seat.  She wonders if her wheels will ever turn again, and remembers the days of her youth, gently gliding up and down boards similar to these, except not covered in snow.   She can hear the gentle surf in the distance of her mind as she settles back into her winter gloom, wondering when spring will come.

Alas, a break in the snow, and for a few days, even slight warmth, then rain, and snow again..

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Longingly, Betty thought about the salt air, and the sand beneath her tires, which were once voluptuously filled with air, and now lay lifeless beneath her.   It is not sand she feels, which warms in the sunlight of the summer air; indeed, the “sand” she feels now is cold and wet.

One day, Betty will once again feel the glory of the warm sunlight streaming on her weathered leather seat, but for now, she continues her journey, bringing joy to those who see her darling blue lights, and evergreen basket.

Thank you, Betty.

Copyright Journey-For-Life 2018.  All rights reserved.

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Make good choices.. Love, Mom

After a brief text exchange with my college son last night regarding various recent events in his life, he replied, “I’m making good choices, mom”.

When our children are young, we make their choices for them, but as they begin to grow up, they need to begin making choices of their own so that we can help to teach them the difference between good choices and bad choices. We’ve all made bad choices, and so will they. It’s funny, though, how our perspective changes once we are the parent. The truth is, we don’t like to see our kids make choices hat we know will lead them through heartache because we know it will be painful. Worse yet, they could make a choice from which is hard (or impossible) to recover.

When the time comes for them to be completely independent (which, although sad in some ways, IS what we want for our children) I want them to be prepared to think through the consequences of all of their decisions. One method I have used is this admonition: MAKE GOOD CHOICES.

Life is all about choices. I have seen people make some very, very good choices in life, and I have seen people make some very, very bad choices. For every choice car we make, there are consequences. If we are forward thinking enough, we can think about what tho consequences might be given choice A or B, which may help guide us to the best choice. Ultimately I know my children will own their own choices, both big and small. Who to marry, field of employment, place to live, church to attend. I want to equip them with all of the tools to make the very best decisions. But how do we do that?

1. Teach them to think and seek advice from wise people.

The Bible is full of wise advice, as well as examples of good and bad choices. Life, too, is full of good and bad choices. It’s important to talk with our kids about choices we see others make, and point out alternate choices that could have been made to affect different outcomes. This process will help develop critical think skills essential in making good decisions.

Finding other people who can be trusted with choices is also important as we teach our children; people other than their parents who they can trust (face it, when our kids are working hard to prove their independence they may not seek our advice).

2. Let them fail. (This is hard)

This advice is hard to execute because we want our children to have everything better than we did. If we can teach them to own the consequences of their choices in the smaller, seemingly insignificant choices , they will be better equipped to own the big ones too. As we’re teaching them, it is important to refrain from the dreaded, “I told you so” responses that do nothing for building healthy relationships. Let them discover, on their own, consequences from negative choices. Again, this helps build their own decision making process.

3. Love them

Most importantly, continue to love them and keep open relationship, even if the choices they make are different than those you would have made. This step is particularly difficult if their choices are poor, but even more important in this case. Our kids have got to know they always have someone who will help them in time of need.

4. Model itWhether we like to admit or not, our kids follow our lead; the good as well as the bad. For this reason, it is equally important for us to model the lessons we are trying to teach. MAKE GOOD CHOICES.

copyright 2018 Journey-For-Life. All rights reserved

Please follow my journey!

New Years resolution flunky?

As January comes to a close, I wonder how many New Years resolutions are still being actively pursued. Oh, it isn’t that we don’t intend to give our best. In fact, I think, quite honestly, sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes in our initial zeal, we start out too aggressively, and pour everything we have into focusing on that resolution. While focus is normally a good thing, when combined with obsession, can lead to burnout. I have experienced this first hand.

My other observation, particularly with fitness goals, is this: the gym-rats art not always welcoming to the “newbies”. Even when I was a regular gym-goer as a new year began, I heard others make negative comments about new people invading their space, using “their” equipment, etc., as if it was a bad thing. I always thought we should be patting them on the back for making a healthy choice, and encouraging them to take it slow enough not to get burned out. After all, the Bible’s tells us to encourage one another, right?

In the past, when I’d become burned out on my venture, I’d simply give up, with an overwhelming feeling of failure that did little for my soul. Perhaps, instead of simply giving up, we should consider that new beginnings happen every day.

If you’re one of the zealous, New Years resolution flunkies, take heart! A new day is beginning, and a new month is about to start! So get ready! Pick yourself back up and let’s get going! I’ll be right there beside you to encourage you every step of the way!

 

Copyright 2018 Journey-For-Life    All Rights Reserved

The Horizon

Out on the horizon of a freshly fallen dawn

Stands a new beginning, willing to forget days gone

Eagerly He beckons, urging me to come

To face uncertain challenges that are confidently won

Majestically He draws a line, dividing dark and light

Promising new beginnings to all who see His might

As far as East is from the West

He casts our sin away

And in Him we can safely start

Our journey of new days

The first step

The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.

No matter how long our journey, it always starts with the first step. The dreaded first step is always the hardest, especially when we believe that the journey will be a difficult one. If we never take the first step, though, we never start the journey. If we never start the journey, we miss out on much that the journey brings. True, the journey will bring trials and tribulations; but through those trials will be learned lessons; and through those learned lessons, knowledge; and through that knowledge, wisdom; and with that wisdom, fulfilled dreams that may never have come to fruition without the first step!

I encourage you, friends, no matter what the journey, TAKE THE FIRST STEP! You can do it! Find someone who can encourage you, perhaps hold your hand as you stake the first step. As you venture out into new territory, find others who will support and encourage you along the way, even if they aren’t on your same journey.

You can to it, friends! The first step seems like a doosey, but I promise that once you take that first step, the journey will begin. It is important to note that the real first step occurs in your mind with deciding that a journey is necessary in the first place. This is where the manic happens, In anticipation of the journey. However, the journey cannot begin until you take the first step!

it is also important to remember that you are not journeying alone. God is always with you, and He will help you along your journey!

Here’s to the FIRST STEP!

SB

Ps. I’m interested to hear about your first step! Please email me about your journey at sbjourneyforlife@gmail.com!

COPYRIGHT 2018 Journey-For-͏Li͏f͏e. All rights reserved,

All Things New!

IMG_5047Many Happy New Year Wishes, my friends!   It’s a brisk, yet refreshing time-of-year when we have an opportunity to begin anew!   This week, the gyms will be over-crowded with people determined to begin reaching their fitness goals; the storage shops are full of people determined to get organized; the travel websites are visited by people intending to travel more this year; the financial sites are full of people looking to spend less and save more this year – all worthy goals.

Several years ago, as the calendar year before came to a close, I made a resolution to fix absolutely everything that was wrong in my life.   My resolution that year was to:  1) get in shape spiritually 2) get in shape physically 3) get in shape financially 4) fix every broken relationship in my life.   I was earnest in my desires – I really was!   And I started like gangbusters, spending at least an hour in the gym every day, an hour doing devotionals, time balancing my checkbook, and trying to reach out to improve every single relationship in my life.  Looking back at it now, it seems ridiculously pie-in-the-sky to make such unrealistic and unachievable goals, but at the time, I genuinely wanted to improve every area of my life!  It’s not an unworthy goal; just an unrealistic one.

Within about 6 weeks, I completely burned out on all of them.  I had to force myself to regroup and focus on ONE area while making smaller, incremental improvements in the other areas.  I didn’t STOP working other areas, but I found it was not very practical to make leaps-and-bounds improvements in EVERY area of life.

I focused first on my spiritual life and began to live my life more intentionally seeking God’s will and plan for my life.  As I did that, I found the other areas fell more into line with His teaching.  As I focused on Him, my compassion for others grew.   I continued to tithe; in fact, I increased my tithe, and He poured out blessings.  I began to budget in a way to make Dave Ramsey proud.  I eventually got my physical self into shape, but then became complacent and let myself go.  It’s time, once again, to get on the bandwagon; this time, a few years later, a few years wiser (hopefully); a few miles closer to Him.

What I learned since my last go-round – to bring God into EVERYTHING we do, putting Him first and allowing everything else to fall into place is certainly a much better recipe for success. He makes ALL THINGS NEW!

Entertaining homeless angels

In the cold, crisp, December air, I see my breath as I scurry about, trying desperately to make progress on my never-ending to-do list. Scampering quickly from one store to the next, I barely noticed the disheveled homeless man holding a cup in his cold, chapped hands. He didn’t say a word, merely sat quietly on a remnant of a crocheted blanket. Dirty, grimy, probably hadn’t showered in weeks. Suddenly my heart was overwhelmed with compassion and I wondered how he might have ended up in such a bad way.

I stepped inside the door of a little shop so he wouldn’t see me, and reached inside my pockets to see what cash I had. I’m fairly disorganized, so I found a crumpled up dollar here, and a folded dollar there. I also found gum wrappers, ticket stubs and store receipts– those would do him no good. Counting, one, two, five, ten… $15. Enough for a warm meal and a cup of coffee. I would offer to take him to the small coffee shop down the road where I happened to know the owner. I knew, too, that she made delightful grilled cheese sandwiches on jalapeño bread, and brewed the very richest, strong cup of coffee around. Yes, this would be my feel-good, good deed of the day.

Feeling better about myself, I turned and pushed the door of the shop, ready to approach my homeless friend. To my dismay, he and his blanket were gone! Where could he have gone so fast? It was literally just moments ago that I had brushed past him! And then I remembered two scriptures. The first, “be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV). And the second, Matthew 25:40 “in as much as you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.”

My heart sank with grief. Had I missed an opportunity to do something for one of God’s angels? Why hadn’t I thought faster, or been more prepared with a message? I was so wrapped up in my own list of meaningless things to do that I forgot about doing things that truly matter. I prayed to ask God to forgive me and help me to recognize more quickly the opportunities He gives to be a blessing to others.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved