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The Choice Is Yours

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Have you made any resolutions for this year? Millions of people write down plans every January they hope to follow but statistics show that 92% don’t follow through. What does this have to do with you? Whether you’ve made your list or not, I think you’d agree it’s important to have a plan. But even with a plan, often the business of our day and unexpected circumstances can easily get us off track. It’s easy to find ourselves floundering and spinning our wheels. If you’ve been there before, you know it’s difficult to do much of anything when you’re stuck.

 Stuck never gets the same result as passion.

 So, how do you get unstuck and develop a plan? While there’s a chance I can persuade you to write out a plan, it’s not probable that one article will cause you to follow through with your new plan. However, if you were to recognize the importance of a simple plan, that’s just the start you need. So, here’s my encouragement. Take time this week to find a quiet place. Bring a pen and paper and let your thoughts run wild. What would you do if you had time? Resources? What’s one thing you’ve neglected because everything else got in the way? Write that down. Now what would it take to get there? This is a great way to get your thoughts out of your mind and down on paper. Your plans don’t have to be an over the top, blow your mind, type of plan. It can be really simple. Yet with simple still comes the need for follow through that helps plans become reality. Most often, our ideas never get off the ground and we find ourselves back in the 92% bracket. Regardless of what you write down, make finding your way to God’s presence an every day occasion. Fill your heart and mind with His word. Pray for wisdom as you follow out your plans. Choose to be one of the 8% and there’s a great chance you’ll have a great year.

Another One of Those Days

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Have you ever had one of those days? You know, thinking you should be something more than you are? Or at least more than how you see yourself? Recently, I texted my wife to see how she was doing and she was having ‘one of those days’. It boiled down to her feeling like she hadn’t gotten anything accomplished all day. Does that sound familiar?

If you feel that way too, let me remind you of a few things that are often overlooked: Every book you’ve read. Every Disney movie you’ve watched 100 times. Every smile you’ve shared. Every football you’ve thrown. Every meal you’ve prepared. Every bicycle you’ve pushed. Every lunch you’ve made. Every homework assignment that left you feeling like you were back in school. Every field trip. Every school play. Every trip to the bus. Are you with me? Not to mention every text or email you’ve sent to someone who needed it. Every idea you’ve ever written down. Every door you’ve opened. Every letter you’ve written. Every time you’ve listened to someone else in need. Even on the days when you feel less than your best, you’re more than you can imagine to someone you’ve touched along the way. And, by the way, that list above barely scratches the surface.

There’s someone on the end of every one of your smiles, hugs, handclaps, encouragement, tears, emails, meals, and conversations who needs what only you can give. Go with that and you’ll be everything you need to be to everyone who comes in contact with you.

Our Eye On Home

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by Kimberlee Stone

I was sitting on the front porch when Roxy and Sable started sniffin’ the air. Instantly the rain came at a downpour, even leaking through a few of the boards overhead. I scooped Roxy up and ran inside. Sable looked at me with weepy baby browns. “You’re not making me go home in this are you?” As I curled up in my favorite chair, both dogs ran circles of delight around each other that they’d found shelter from the storm. I propped the heavy front door open but kept the storm door closed so I could enjoy any outside light that snuck in.

Sable appeared right at my feet when I went to make a cup of coffee. I practically tripped over her more than once but was giddy with excitement at having a big dog in the house (note to self: begin big-puppy shopping soon). After I made my way back to my comfy spot, the dogs were ready for a nap. Roxy relaxed in her bed and Sable plopped down in front of the storm door. Thinking she wanted back out, I opened it all the way even as the rain pounded the ground. She didn’t budge. She was content as long as she could do one thing…

Keep an eye on her home.

The front of our cabin has a perfect view of the back of Sable’s house. On the typical day she saunters up a worn pathway to the front porch after her owner leaves. She spends warm afternoons lounging beside me or underneath the shade of the cedar tree. Oh, but let her hear the crunchy-crunch-crunch of her owner’s tires along the gravel and I’m all but a memory. I can’t blame her; her heart lies with her master. He provides food, a place to rest, and keeps the local coyotes from approaching. You can be sure I tempt her with treats throughout the day, but no milk bone has ever been enough to outrank the loyalty she has for her owner.

How about you? When was the last time you thought about Home? Not your pitiful earthly dwelling made from fancy stone and expensive brick; you know the Home I am speaking of. When was the last time you felt like Sable who eagerly waits and watches everyday for when her Master will return?

I’ll be honest and say that life gets in the way. Storms come over the mountain and my problem makes me take my eyes off Home. Or better yet, when circumstances begin going my way. Things I’ve prayed for appear on my doorstep. A dream comes true. I go a week without losing it in front of the kids. The bills are paid and there is money left over. The boss gives me the employee-of-the-month award and the best raise I’ve ever had—and a beautiful haze lures my eyes away from Home.

Yes, our present circumstances must be taken care of. We can’t sit on the front porch and gaze into the clouds all day. But can we afford to get so sidetracked with the hardships or beauty of life that we avert our eyes for even a second? I think not.

I urge you today to take heart—this world is not our Home. (That should be the best news you hear all day!) What about you? Are you expectantly waiting? Are you hopefully watching? Can you hear the pangs of this world that echo He could return for us any time?

You better believe that people are in the fight of their lives at this very second. I know some who are sitting in ICU right now believing for the healing of a child. I know a family warring against the terrible sickness of cancer taking their loved ones life. Someone is fighting for their marriage, someone is praying that grief doesn’t overtake them. And yet, someone has never been richer or more successful than they are today, and someone is fortunate enough to be living out their greatest dream. However, midst the trial, midst the full extent of the joy, I hope we all find the strength to be like Sable and…

Keep our eye on Home.