Monday, June 28, 2010

Life is Like a Book ~ ~ so don't tear out any pages

Have you ever noticed that life is a lot like a book? If you think about it they are similar in quite a few ways. Understanding how they are alike may be able to help us enjoy life a little more.

Let's see.....
...both have a beginning and an end (duh- easy one there).
...a book is divided into chapters as the story unfolds. Life is divided into stages, seasons and phases.
...both life and books have plots and subplots.
...they both have a cast of characters (some we love and some we'd love to forget).
...a storyline is composed of a combination of events & emotions - good & bad, joy & sadness, hope & regret.

I'm thinking that living life is a lot like reading a book.

Some other ways life and books are similar are: we may turn the pages of a book and go on to the next chapter, but it doesn't mean we have forgotten what has gone on in the previous chapters. In fact, we need all those details to help us see where the storyline is going. All of the events and characters are woven together to complete the story. The same applies in life - we may turn the pages to start a new chapter, but what we have lived previously will still be a part of our story. The events and people in our lives are woven together to make up our life's story.

So, the whole book is the story. Our whole life is a story.

Now, wouldn't it be silly to take a whole chapter of a book and tear it out or skip over it all together? We'd probably miss some good stuff and may not understand what is going on in later chapters. Sometimes in life we want to do just that - forget or deny (tear out) those pages that we don't like. You know the ones. They're the ones that deal with the grief, pain, failure, regret, etc in our lives.

To be honest, I had thought that when I started this new chapter in my life's story, the one titled "Finding Hope & Joy", that I had closed the pages on the last chapter titled "Living with Grief". I believed that I was somehow leaving the grief behind. Not the memories of my Kyle or his life, but the pain. That now the grief would be replaced by hope & joy. But, ya know what? It just doesn't work that way. We can't deny (tear out) the parts we don't like. Believe me, they will still be there. It's part of our story.

We all have a story to tell. I want my life's story to be one of encouragement. A story where the main character {that's me} never stops believing in the grace & mercy of God. Not even in the face of disappointment & pain. I really want others to see that Jesus is faithful, chapter by chapter and through the whole story of my life. So, to do this I can't go tearing out that chapter about grief. And boy would I like to! But, it is part of my story now. In order for the next chapters in my life to have meaning, it really needs to be there. It makes the joy after the pain so much more precious.

So, friend, I'm wondering - what do you want your life's story to say? Do you have a chapter that you'd like to tear out? I pray you will see how it is part of your story. I hope you can find joy and see how Jesus can weave it all together to create a wonderful story. The special story of you. And believe me when I say - He is faithful to be by your side through all the chapters of your life.


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Gift of Gab

Something I've been considering is whether or not to change my blog's address (URL) to match the title of my blog. I've read how this is a good idea. The reason for them to match makes sense, but it's not a must. It's just that, me being me, I want to do things the right way and not get in trouble. I've always been this way. Just ask my mom - her Debbie "was always such a good girl". Honest, that's exactly what she'll tell you. However, that is not what my high school history teacher would tell you. I believe she wrote in my yearbook something about how "class certainly would have been dull" without me. And she wasn't talking about my sunny personality. It was more likely my chatting during class that caused her to write that comment.

OK - so back to my little dilemma.... I guess it's ok to leave things the way they are. What would happen if my blog's title and address don't match? I mean, really - would I get a warning notice from blogger land's HOA?! Silly me!

So, I guess it's safe to keep the address I have. I really do like it - debgab. It consists of the first three letters of my first and last names. And I do think it's kind of cute. It's also fitting because I have been told (more than once actually) that I have the "gift of gab". I guess I've just always loved to chitchat or gab.

Let's see - let me count the ways....
- hanging around and chatting after church,
- gabbing on the phone,
- email
- FaceBook
- I even have been known to gab with the stranger in front of me on line at WalMart (which confused my boys when they were little, because we "aren't supposed to talk to strangers are we?")

And now there is blogger land! A great new way for me to exercise my gift of gab. I love leaving comments on other blogs, getting comments here at Finding Hope & Joy (aka "debgab") and commenting back when you leave a comment.

Whether you call it chitchat, gabbing, or sharing - it's all a way we can connect with others. We all need that don't we? To feel we're a part of something. A part of a community. We need to know that we're heard and understood. I wonder why that is......

So friend, what do you think - do you like to gab? Leave me a comment and I promise to sit down for a chat with you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gathering for Blessings

About ten months ago I became an Independent Consultant with Blessings Unlimited. This is a wonderful Christian company that offers the opportunity for women to have their own homebased business. Think - Mary Kay, Pampered Chef or Tupperware. But they offer more than just a business - it's also an opportunity for ministry. At first, I wasn't sure how I could blend the biz & ministry, but it sounded appealing.

Blessings Unlimited offers amazing inspirational products. Our parties are called "Gatherings". The idea is to gather together with family & friends to share the blessings of God. At my Gatherings I start & end with prayer and read a short devotional. We play games, have a door prize drawing and of course I bring some chocolate. I mean what's a party Gathering without chocolate?!

At first I figured the prayers and devotional time would be the "ministry" part of my new little biz. However, I think it could and should be more than that. Hopefully, it will become much more than that as I make new friends and reach out to my hostesses and their guests.

So far at my Gatherings I've seen:
~young moms exchanging parenting ideas,
~a few ladies stopping to pray with one who was weeping,
~someone pausing to listen to the stories of a precious widow.

And I've come to realize:
~as we encourage, pray, listen, share, laugh - we are blessed.

As I sit here and write this, I feel the Lord speaking to my heart. As I prepare for my Gatherings I need to spend more time praying for ministry opportunities than how many people will attend. I feel the Lord truly cares more about my actions and heart towards the ladies than how much fun or how interesting my presentation is. I think He cares more if everyone feels blessed afterwards than if they got some chocolate. Whoa! Now that's pretty extreme - no chocolate?!

I'm seeing my new little biz in a fresh way. When I typed the title to this post I wasn't sure if I'd keep it. But, I now feel that Gathering for Blessings is the true meaning and purpose of my biz ministry within my biz. Whatever and however the Lord chooses to bless us as we gather together is what I desire.

Wishing you many blessings and some chocolate,