Friday, December 30, 2005
As the New Year stretches out before us, we wonder what the next 365 days will bring. We may thoughtfully begin to make some plans for the next year, but we also realize that each trip around the sun brings with it an element of uncertainty—the unknown. Does this stir anticipation and hope in you? Or a twinge of fear? Maybe both.
In spite of the uncertainties or challenges that may lie ahead, there is something wonderful about blank calendar pages. Each little square opens up endless promise and possibility.
With this new beginning, many feel compelled to make New Year’s resolutions. Yet most of those well-intended resolutions to whip ourselves into shape end up discarded before we even turn the calendar to February.
Why is this? Often we set such global goals, so huge we can’t possibly keep them. I will exercise every day for an hour and loose 50 pounds in two months. Yeah, right!
Or we make resolutions so vague we can’t assess our progress. I will spend more time with my family. How will we know that we have achieved this?
One way to insure success with resolutions is to make them things we KNOW we will or won’t do anyway. For example:
Iwill not dye my hair red.
I will not eat liver.
I will not dust my house more than once a week.
I will love my grandchildren.
I will water my flowers, come summer.
I won’t stab anyone!
With these I’m guaranteed to succeed!
Or we can choose just not to make these yearly commitments that seem to sabotage our best intentions. For me, instead of resolutions, I reflect on my hopes and dreams. I ponder the things I value most. I consider what plans and purposes God may desire for me. Then based on these, I set a few small manageable, achievable goals.
Things like: I will schedule a time to teach my granddaughter how to use her new sewing machine. This works better for me than simply saying, “I will spend time with my grandchildren.”
OR I commit to removing my kitchen wallpaper and getting a bid on painting. If I succeed in this, there is no doubt that I will take the remaining steps to give my kitchen a much-needed face lift.
OR I will market at least two articles during the month of January. This feels manageable. And once I have done this, I will no doubt take another step with my writing.
I’ve found that I am energized by even little accomplishments. Success in small things is the impetus to move on to other things. Bit by bit I head in the general direction, I think God would have me to go, knowing full-well that he may take me on a few detours along the way.
Your calendar and my calendar are mostly empty pages at this point. May we accept the adventure of a new year with prayer for guidance, wisdom, and strength. Then take at least one step toward our hopes and dreams. As we make our yearly trek around the sun, may we also make it 365 days around the SON!
(c) 2005 Marlene Depler
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Color my world with hues of pink.(c) 2001 Marlene Depler
Sweet pink frosting on cookies and cake,
strawberry ice cream,
fluffy tufts of cotton candy,
pink lemonade served over ice
quenching summertime thirst,
clouds streaked pink on either horizon.
Weave pink threads into my world.
Pink candles, pink ribbons, pink soaps—
bold or pastel, dark or light , muted or bright,
it doesn't matter as long as they're pink
Color my world with pungent geraniums
and sweet roses—of course, in shades of pink
I cannot imagine my world without a touch of pink!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Still my anxious heart and rumpled spirit
in your divine presence.
Release me from the self-made prisons
of my unrealistic expectations.
Help me say "no" when I need to
without feeling guilty.
Let me feel joy when I am able to say "yes."
This year with your help, I will not fix,
rescue, or control those around me.
Show me what is truly my responsibility.
Help me remember that it
isn't my responsibility to make everyone happy.
Let me honestly acknowledge my needs and my feelings.
Give me the wisdom to know how to take
care of myself in a healthy, nurturing way—
for it is only then that I can truly give
to others from a full heart.
May I enjoy all the simple pleasures around me
and fully recognize the intangible gifts
that are given to me not wrapped in holiday paper.
Give me a glimpse of the eternal.
This Christmas season I choose to rest
in your goodness and love,
and to rejoice in your Son—
the greatest gift ever given.
Oh, Lord, let me experience Christmas
in the true sense this year.
(c) 1998 Marlene Depler
Friday, December 09, 2005
Worried that my tummy might indeed turn to a "bowl full of jelly," I brewed myself a cup of organic green tea. Surely this would counteract the effects of my aforementioned indulgence! I had read somewhere that green tea was good for one's health, though I am not sure just why.
I sat down with my cup of tea to read the morning paper when what to my wondering eyes should appear! No, it was not Santa, his sleigh, nor his reindeer. Better yet—it was an article entitled, "Chocolate: New Health Food? Harvard study finds those who eat chocolate live longer."[i] Well, now! I felt better already! I knew there must be a logical explanation for my love affair with smooth, creamy dark chocolate!
The article elaborated on a study of Harvard male graduates that found that those who ate chocolate and candy lived almost a year longer than those who did not. It explained that chocolate contains phenols, which are known to be antioxidants. Even though the scientists cautioned that the findings are preliminary, I am convinced that chocolate is indeed a health food. No doubt in my mind whatsoever!
Now there is no need for clandestine encounters with chocolate. I will proudly divulge my long-term relationship with the latest health food. No more secrecy, justification, or rationalization. Furthermore, if I combine chocolate with green tea, the combination of two will undoubtedly lengthen my life even more.
To all you other chocolate lovers out there, if you were here with me now, we would lift our mugs of green tea, and I would propose a toast, "To long life and more CHOCOLATE!"
Perhaps I should leave green tea and chocolate for Santa this year! Maybe he could use a little help!
[i] "Chocolate: New Health Food?", Daily Times Call, Friday, December 18, 1998, page C8.
(c) Marlene Depler