Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jesus Among Other gods 9/9 Ravi Zacharias



This moved me to tears...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oops!

Do you guys want to "hear" something hilarious?

Well... tonight after work I went on my usual Friday night excursion to Whole Foods. I went through my normal rituals of doing my shopping first and then carefully selecting my delectable favorites from the salad bar, along with organic chocolate covered almonds and spring water for my dinner (I do this every Friday btw... it's my treat to myself:)


Okay, so normally I have the cashier ring up all of my groceries first and then my supper items, so they can be placed in their own little handled bag.

Tonight, I happened to grab my supper items first and I watched as she rang them up... much to my surprise, my supper was $27.53!!! I ALMOST DIED! I never noticed when they were rung up last because they were just added to the rest of everything I bought.


I think this was the first time ever that I actually had an unhealthy experience at Whole Foods. I also think this was God's way of saying, "My child, I really think you could make this stuff at home A LOT cheaper!"

The moral of this story is... there's a healthy balance to everything. Even at Whole Foods it's possible to cross the line of what's acceptable and what's not (at least for me:)


On that note... I just ate my last glorious meal pre-made by Whole Foods! Oh... and please don't tell my husband!!

Marisa


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Mindful Shopping

Are there certain places you gravitate to?

Every Friday after work I travel to Whole Foods for my weekly grocery shopping. The minute I enter into heavenly bliss, I'm blanketed by the warmth and friendliness of the employees. The aromas are like none other to me... it's like home baked Cinnamon rolls, freshly picked herbs and spices, newly bundled wild flowers all sprinkled with pure essential oils... my inhales do not go deep enough to take it all in.

I support Whole Foods for many reasons. Oh, I'm sure some of the foods I buy are cheaper elsewhere, but I liken this kind of commitment to the same reasons my husband is devoted to a particular political party. He says there are positives and negative within both parties, but which party consistently tries to keep God out of our country and which one works arduously to honor the Christian principles on which our country was founded?

On a smaller scale, I ask myself the same kinds of questions to determine where I do my shopping. For me, it's important to look at the big picture rather than being concerned about saving a few dollars here and there. Which stores are supporting sweat camps, slave labor, and harsh chemicals in our foods by the products they purchase and which ones work tirelessly to eradicate these problems in our society?

Whole Foods' mission is to be kind to our planet. There are organic farmers struggling to survive because of strict mandates imposed on them by our government and Whole Foods go out of their way to support the "little guy" even if that means higher spending. Their meats come from farms who treat their animals kindly and humanely and who feed them as they were intended to be fed (what's up with feeding cows animal by-products? God created them to be vegetarians... personally, I wouldn't touch beef unless it's organic and grass fed, and my chickens... only organic, free range will do for me, and finally, pork is completely out of the question whether organic or not, they are filthy animals...they eat their own feces... there's a reason why God suggested we don't eat pigs. This piggy is TOXIC:)

Anyway, I choose Whole Foods out of a heart for God and preserving the gifts with which He's showered me. I guess I feel I'm doing my little part to contribute to the Big picture... being eco-friendly is being God-friendly :)

And, by golly, God is blessing me in return with my own little slice of Heaven (not to mention you'll rarely find a stray cart in the parking lot:)

Happy Shopping!!

Marisa

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Handmade With Love

The last issue of Better Homes and Gardens featured a wonderful article about a group of women who gather together to make and share crafts. They have found that crafting and spending time together is so enjoyable that they've continued the special occasion now for 17 years. They began in 1994 with simplicity as they rubber-stamped stationary to give to others as gifts.
As we begin our 14 days of showing our love and appreciation for others, how wonderful would it be to gather with our "gal pals" for a night of crafting gifts we can give to others?? Some neat ideas for easy Valentine's Day projects are cookie (heart-shaped) decorating, gift tags, greeting cards...

... not only will the fellowship be good for the soul, but we will have precious hand-made gifts to share with those beloved people in our live.

Express yourself through creative art and the act of giving!

Marisa

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let's Show the Love!

I know we have a few more days left in January, but I'd like to devote the next few days to encouraging one another to give 14 days of love to those around us... beginning February 1st through the 14th.

There are endless ways we can schmooze those we adore. I will share a few ideas of my own and I would love for you to share your ideas with us. It would be great to develop a habit of showing those special people in our lives how much they mean to us every day and not just on special occasions.

Personally, I would like to become better at showing love and appreciation to others I'm around every day through random acts of kindness. The more we focus on what we can do to make someone's day a little brighter, the better we will feel about ourselves.

As an ending thought, our acts of kindness should be meaningful to the receiver. Often we give based on our needs or wants without giving consideration to the needs and wants of others... for example, we may know a buddy would love tickets to a Colt's game, but because we don't have the money for such an extravagant gift, we give him/her a random cheap gift instead (just for the sake of giving something). Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to give this person an evening over to our home for dinner and to watch the Colt's game on television. This would be cost-effective and meaningful at the same time for everyone.

So, in a nutshell, lets spend the first 14 days of February showing love to those around us, let's make what we do or give meaningful for the receiver, and let's share our ideas with others!

Here are a few ideas:
  • Dinner and movie of choice
  • Massage (a personal favorite of mine:)
  • Flowers
  • Chocolates
  • Babysitting
  • Home baked goodies
  • Heart sticky notes ;)
  • Bath & Body Works (travel size in favorite scent)
  • A hug
  • A smile of encouragement
  • A note of appreciation
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

Blessings to you... you cheerful givers!

Marisa

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Gal Pals Are Good For My Health!

I read a recent Facebook post from a friend about a study conducted at Stanford University. This study found that one of the best things for a man's health is being married to a woman. For women, on the other hand, one of the best things for her health is maintaining and nurturing her relationships with her "gal pals."

Apparently, men center their relationships around their activities, such as sports, jobs, cars... Women share their feelings with each other and help one another to deal with stressful life experiences. According to this study, this type of relationship produces serotonin in our bodies, which brings about a general sense of well-being.

The aspect of this study I love the most is spending time with my girlfriends is just as beneficial for me as working out at the gym. Interestingly enough, there's a tendency to think that working out at the gym is worthwhile, whereas, when we're hanging out with our friends we feel as though we should be doing something more productive instead of wasting time. This study went so far as to say that "failure to create and maintain quality relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!"

Last night I got together with my "gal pals" and we had the time of our lives. We laughed til it hurt, we worked on our vision boards, my daughter entertained us with her Coffee Talk impersonation, and we looked ahead with hope for a very bright 2011.

So every time we hang with our "homies" we can say, "WOO-HOO!!" we're doing something positive for our holistic health!!

Marisa


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Friday, January 21, 2011

God Uses Others to Bless Lives!

I had a Facebook conversation yesterday with a wonderful friend... here's how it went:

Hi Marisa,

How are You? I've been wanting to say something to you about Wayne Dyer, but held myself back. Now the Holy Spirit is prompting me to speak up, even at the risk of ruffling feathers!

Several years ago (after being born again), I got into New Age philosophy quite heavily. I couldn't get ENOUGH of people like Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, etc....There's a lot of intriguing, enticing stuff out there....that, on the surface sounds really good. My advice to you as my sister in Christ, is to BE CAREFUL. As you know, we have been warned that in the last days there would be many false teachers and prophets. I believe that New Age philosophy is in many respects antithetical to Biblical Christianity. It took me down a path that led to my ultimate demise, crying out to God for refuge. I don't want to see any of my friends go there!!!

I'm not judging you for the quotes you've posted. They are all good and make sense. I just don't want to see you get "hooked in" like I was.

Praying for ya, Sista!!!!!

Love in Christ,

Rosie

P.S.

I don't know if you're aware of this, but I came out of Mormonism almost twenty years ago. Deception is rampant in this day and age. If someone's teachings do not align with God's Word....BEWARE! 


Rosie,


Thank-you so much for thinking about me and caring enough to confront!


Wow! I don't even know where to begin and to share with you in a way that you will see my heart... a heart that is passionately and completely in love with Jesus.


Though I find God's message of the fruits of the Spirit comforting, I haven't always seen them actualized in the Christians around me. My father was battered mercilessly by the church, as was my husband, I watched dear friends be viciously attacked by fellow Christians (a great friend of mine was fired from her youth pastorate position 3 days before this last Christmas by the lead pastor of the church), and both of my children have been ostracized by their Christian peers.


All of my experiences have sent me on my own little quest.


I often think of a statement made by Shane Claiborne that satan has us so busy doing the "church thing" that we miss there is a dying and oppressed world out there. I have concluded that I don't want to busy myself with contention in the church. We are now a part of a small home cell group and this is our church.


Many years ago I began eating organic foods and living a more green lifestyle. I also began to learning about the Ayurvedic Principles and my dosha type because I do believe everything is energy. There is much of Eastern philosophy that I agree with and espouse for my own life. For me, finding a balance and a peace has been essential for my health and well-being. Having said that, I believe I'm nothing without the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit living within me. I pray every day that the Lord will unleash His power within me, so others will see the His fruits. As Wayne Dyer said, "I don't think that Jesus was teaching Christianity, Jesus was teaching kindness, love, concern, and peace. What I tell people is don't be Christian, be Christ-like." I don't believe this can happen in our own humanness without God's help, but I completely agree with this way of thinking.


I have Wayne Dyer books and I've listened to many of his lectures and Rosie, if I'm going to be very honest with you, I agree with much of what he says. I believe many of us Christians would lead better, more productive, healthy lives for Christ if we would incorporate some of Wayne Dyers principles in our lives.


Having said all of this... I'm probably an out-in-left-field kind of a Christian. I believe God gave us our earth to care for and not abuse and so I'm an avid recycler and am as eco-friendly as possible. I believe in energetic balancing... that when we are out of sync, we are more susceptible to illness. I look to prayer and holistic medicine for healing. I don't think I'm your average run of the mill Christian gal. I know I'm way out there, but it works and makes sense for me.


As you've already said, the quotes I've used on Facebook "are good and make sense." I think what I'm trying to convey is I always try to stay in tune to what the Holy Spirit is saying to me and look to His Word for the only true answers. This doesn't mean God won't use others to inspire me... like Joyce Myers, Joel Osteen, Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, Wayne Dyer, Rosie Parry...


Thanks again my friend for caring enough about me to share! You are a very special gal and I hope we can always have the open lines of communication we have now. We need one another gravely (at least I need you)!!


♥ U


Marisa

Wow!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and unique perspective! I was so afraid that you might be upset with me, and am so delighted you're not!

I wish we could chat over coffee (or that tea you like...can't remember what it's called!) I have so much more I'd like to say, but no time to say it, unfortunately.

Maybe I'm being overly 'fanatical' in my approach; I don't know. I only speak from my frame of reference which is a bit different from yours. My parents are not Bible-believing Christians like yours are/were.

Regarding the good health you've enjoyed, I'm both impressed and ENVIOUS. I've really struggled in this area, but am also taking Ayurvedic herbs like holy basil and triphala(?).

I guess I feel a bit conflicted over all of this. I've been a fan of Oprah's for quite some time, and know she subscribes to Wayne Dyer's philosophies - among others.

Anyway, I've got to get going....time for my BowFlex workout, but just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to respond. You are a very wonderful and interesting person--and are such a blessing to me!

Love Ya,

Rosie

Rosie,


If you'll go back and read the comments under the posts I've quoted Wayne Dyer, you will see that his words struck a chord and they have meaning to these devout Christian folks. The cool thing is we can take a highlighter to what others say and pick and choose what we like and what we don't. We can't do that to God's words, but we can with one another... I'm thankful I can draw from the wisdom of others :)


Marisa

Regarding: "Rosie, if you'll go back and read the comments under the posts I've quoted Wayne Dyer, you will see that his words struck a chord and they have meaning to these devout Christian folks. The cool thing is we can take a highlighter to what others say and pick and choose what we like and what we don't. We can't do that to God's words, but we can with one another... I'm thankful I can draw from the wisdom of others."

Good point. Take what you need and leave the rest, in other words, right? :)

Rosie,


I just received this message from a wonderful Christian friend of mine:


I have always loved reading and listening to Wayne Dyer. He came and spoke at Beech Grove once at a place where I worked. I didn't get to listen to him, but I spent the day thinking about him. He just has a calmer way of looking at life, I guess. When he writes, it all just makes sense. So, yes, I agree with you.


Whether we agree with all of his philosophies or not, he truly has a calm, peaceful demeanor we all could take a lesson from... on that note... off for an evening of yoga and meditation (on GOD's Words:)


Marisa

Thanks for sharing this, Marisa! I must confess, I enjoy listening to him too. He's a fascinating person, indeed! He used to live in Boca Raton, which is where I'm from. I thought I saw him at a health food store one time. I wasn't 100% sure, until I saw him drive off in what looked like a car that cost 100K...and thought, "Yep, it's him!"

Rosie

Hehehehehe!! That would be one area he and Shane Claiborne would collide :) funny... they both inspire me! Perhaps that's what I'm talking about when I refer to "balance."


Hey... if you haven't heard of Shane, you should Google him. He's quite a character and I love him!


Marisa

I've never heard of him until now.....THANKS! I will definitely Google him... :)

Rosie

I think I'd like to walk away from this conversation with the notion that God can use people in all sorts of ways to inspire and encourage us to live Spirit-filled lives. I thank Wayne Dyer for encouraging me to lead a more peaceful, calm life. I thank Shane Claiborne for showing by example how to be the Hands and Feet of Christ. I thank Rosie Parry for caring enough about me to make certain I don't veer off the path of righteousness. I mostly thank God for giving me His wisdom and discernment as I muddle through life and the promise of eternal life with Him!

Marisa








Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wayne Dyer - When you change the way you look at things



I love this man's insight!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blessed Sunshine!

I'm going to be honest... I don't like winter at all! I used to love a fire in the fireplace on a cold winter's night, but I've been fighting with ours like we're a couple of knights in a jousting match and I've got the battle scars to show for it. We purchased firewood that was too wet and if I use pieces that are too big I have a reverse chimney... so, I find myself fanning the living room like crazy and jousting the logs like mad (branding my wrists on the frame) in hopes it will give into my persistence and just WORK like it's suppose to.

I love the warmth and the healing power of the sunshine. I dream of laying on the beach next to my soul mate, allowing the sun rays to envelop me in all of their vitamin D glory. God didn't make a mistake when He created the sun... it is essential and life-giving and I long for it on these cold, dreary winter days.

In the winter, I'm freezing all of the time, especially my extremities. Here recently, the tips of my toes have been incredibly painful and I thought it was the result of a new pair of shoes. But, after retiring the shoes my toes never recovered. As I did more research, I learned that I have the symptoms of Raynaud's Syndrome. Apparently, there is a vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the extremities. It occurs most often in the hands and predominantly in women. In 40% of the cases the toes are affected. The condition is exacerbated by the cold weather and emotional stress... As the blood supply to the area is restricted there tends to be a "deadening" at the very tips of the toes. It feels like blisters beneath the skin and very tender to the touch. Some of the remedies include staying warm and reducing emotional stress...

I guess I need to make the necessary preparations to move to St. Thomas :)

Well, in a nutshell, I miss the sunshine and the warmth and I long for those balmy summer days... Thank-you Jesus for showing me your smiling face... it puts sunshine in my soul!!

Marisa

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Time to Check Out

My husband told me the other day that he was "checking out" of a relationship. My initial reaction was he can't forgive this person. I've since come to believe that this simply is not the case. I know Ron and his middle name is grace and mercy. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body and doesn't have an enemy that I know of.

Ron has been in the restaurant business for years. He is an excellent manager of the employees. He is consistent with enforcing the rules and handles himself with integrity. It's more than that though... Ron takes a vested interest in the employees. They are people to be respected.

Years ago, Ron shared a story with me about a customer who had a food complaint. This complaint turned into a personal attack against the waitress. My husband resolved this conflict very quickly by merely stating that he could correct any mistakes made with this customer's food order, however, he refused to allow this, or any customer to disrespect his employees. He kindly asked the customer to leave.

I share this story with you because I think Ron is reacting similarly to this most recent situation. He doesn't mind helping out when he can (in fact, he often goes the extra mile) and being there for his friends, but when disrespect slithers in like a striking cobra, it's time to move quickly to safety.

Does this mean Ron can't forgive? Absolutely not! How do you forgive a snake that attacks its prey? How do you forgive someone who doesn't see there's a problem... someone whose venomous responses come as naturally as breathing?

On a bright note... Ron doesn't dislike this person and he wishes this person only the very best... it's just time for him to "check out" of this relationship and move to find his new cheese :)

I fully understand now!

Marisa

Monday, January 17, 2011

Canine Bliss!

Golden Globes Awards 2011 : Angelina Jolie at the Red Carpet



Personally, Angelina Jolie was my favorite "best dressed" at the Golden Globe Awards. She was simplistically beautiful... and green :)

Marisa

What Happened to Miss Independent?

Well, it seems as though a broken heart is a little bit immobilizing. It has been about two weeks since my boyfriend dumped me. He was my best friend. We did everything together. My life for some time now has revolved around him and his plans and his needs. I would have done anything for him and to make sure that he was happy. We were good friends before we started dating, and now... we don't even speak to each other. He felt his life going in a different direction and will be moving to another state here in a couple of months. There I was, motionless, thinking about my life and how I am stuck in the same place. I will still be living in the same apartment, keeping the same job, and I plan to do all of the same things I usually do. Not only is he moving away, but he is leaving me here and doesn't want me to have any part in his new life. For a couple of days after he left me, I moped. I wandered around my apartment and I slept a lot. I went out with friends a couple of times, but it didn't seem to help much. All I wanted was for him to call me and tell me he didn't mean anything he said and that he wasn't ready to move on... but, this is the real world, right? This is no romantic comedy... unfortunately.

One week had passed and I still had not heard from him at all. I started to get angry. I started to get upset. Not only had I lost him, but I had also lost the amazing group of friends that I had become close to through him. What a jerk! He did not care about my feelings at all! I cared about him so much and he couldn't have cared less! Ugh...

Well, its been two weeks now, and yes... I do still miss him. Even mentioning anything that has to do with him still makes me tear up a little. However, at this point... I will be taking the high road. I will choose to embrace the independent woman inside and do things for myself and that will make me happy. It is much more difficult said than done, but it will happen. I am trying to give myself time to heal, but yet... there is still that little hurt inside that does make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. But, once I do make it out of bed... I just get myself a grande hazelnut latte with an extra shot made with soy milk and a very small amount of whipped cream and everything seems ok again. :)

I am making plans for my future, watching movies that are encouraging such as: legally blonde, the devil wears prada, and eat pray & love, and listening to music that I can't help but dance to. I have found that avoiding sad songs and movies, wearing cute sunglasses even when it's cloudy, and finding time to just relax, can be some of the best therapy.


I'm sure there will be more to come on the subject. But for now, all I ask, is that you keep me and my heart in your prayers.


-Brittany :0)







Dr. Oz's Seven-Minute Workout



I happen to be a huge fan of Dr. Oz! If you're anything like me, I have a hard time fitting in exercise every day. We all lead very busy lifestyles. In this video, Dr. Oz gives his suggestions about which exercises to include in a 7-minute workout first thing in the morning to jump start our day.

I was encouraged to learn I don't have to do my hour routine all at once. Spending small amounts of time a 3-4 times a day will give me the same benefits. I also find that if I spend a few minutes exercising instead of giving in to a snack craving (I promise myself I can have my snack after I've gotten up and moved a little) I feel so much better and more often than not, my craving goes away as well... a double blessing for me :)

Let's encourage one another... especially during these winter months when it's easier to sit around the fire eating bon bons than it is to lace up the aerobic shoe and get moving.

Remember, we're all muddling through this "mess" we call life together...

Blessings,

Marisa

Goodbye Senior Moments!!


If you're anything like me, you're probably asking yourself things like, "Where did I put my keys?" or "I don't remember you giving me (this or that)!" It can be scary to think as we age...we go through cognitive changes. By age 40-45 we may experience memory loss, a delay in processing information, and being distracted more than usual (yep, that's me!).

Fortunately, there are ways to maintain mental health and fitness as we age. Whew!! Am I thankful! This advice will definitely be useful for me! On a positive note, as we take care of our bodies by eating the right foods and exercising, our brains will benefit as well and help to prevent that slippery slope of cognitive decline.

Okay...here are some excellent ideas we can embrace to sharpen our minds:
  1. Stay connected and make and sustain healthy relationships ~ Living alone may be dangerous to your brain health.  A study released in the medical journal BMJ suggests that living alone significantly increases the odds in developing dementia later in life. This study adds to a growing evidence that suggests social factors play a major role in brain health. Engaging in and planning social gatherings and sustaining strong relationships through phone calls, dates out, and emails do wonders for our brains...so, include time with those you feel especially close to...your brain depends on it!
  2. Meditate ~ Meditation can help cognitive damage caused by stress. Check out this short relaxation exercise. Regular meditation will help us to be less scattered and to think more clearly.
  3. Exercise ~ Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain and encourages brain cell growth. Regular exercise also reduces stress and helps to keep our bodies at a healthy balance.
  4. Read ~ A UCLA study suggests that reading increases the activity in the language part of the brain. In subjects 70 years of age and older who regularly read books, it was found that there was a significant decrease in the risk of cognitive decline when compared to individuals who did not read.
  5. Eat whole foods and less sugary foods
  6. Eat a Mediterranean diet ~ This includes a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, olive oil, raw dairy products and grass-fed, organic meat. Studies conducted by Piero Antuono from the Dementia Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin suggest this diet may help reduce inflammation in the brain and support blood vessel health.
Now is the time for me to step up to the plate and replace the "dumb" things I'm doing with "smart" choices to enhance my brain power...join me in saying, "Goodbye senior moments!!"

Be healthy, be social, and be positive!

Marisa

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vision Board

After reading Who Moved My Cheese, I thought it appropriate timing to begin working on our vision boards. Brittany and I went to the local bookstore and leafed through magazine options until we found a handful that made us smile. We then went to Target to purchase poster board and other necessary supplies to embellish our “visions” like golden embroidery on deep blue silk… stunning!

Vision boards have images from magazines that reflect who we want to be, where we would like to live, places we’d like to visit, jobs we’d like to have, and anything else we want to include. It’s our vision, so anything goes… there are no rules other than to keep focused and to listen to God as He unveils a “picture” of who He is molding and shaping us to be.

As we deliberately went through each and every page of our magazines, we opened our hearts and minds to whatever crossed our path. I’m still putting together my compilation of images and Brittany excitedly clipped, glued, and organized until the final presentation was complete. Her board is truly eclectically beautiful. It speaks of how she envisions (with God’s help) her life unfolding. She now has something tangible to remind her daily what she’s working so hard for. Each image she carefully selected has meaning for her and she spoke with purpose as she shared her vision with our Bible Buddies group last night.

Brittany's Vision Board:


I am very proud of Brittany and it’s exciting to me to watch ladies across generations have hope for bright, Spirit-filled futures (we’re like bright-eyed little girls mapping out our futures with much enthusiasm).

When my vision board is complete, I am placing it in a prominent location in my home as a constant reminder to dare to dream…

If you readers decide to take on a vision board project, be sure to share it with the rest of us. Let’s share in the excitement together! Check out this website to help you get started:

 Vision Boards

All the best to you as you begin this quest to make your life as fulfilling as possible!

Marisa

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who Moved My Cheese?

I just finished reading the book "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson. It's just what I needed at this point in my life.

The characters in the book are Sniff and Scurry (two little mice) and Hem and Haw (two little people). The mice have simplistic minds, whereas, the little people have minds that are more complex (they are constantly over-analyzing everything). The characters are released in a maze and are expected to find their cheese.

The "cheese" in the story represents what we want in life and the "maze" is a metaphor for where we spend time looking for those things we want. There is certainly nothing wrong with spending time deciphering what we want and seeking direction, however, once we find it we become too settled with what we have and when change is imminent we resist. We don't want to change for one reason or another. Therefore, when our "cheese" moves we don't move with it.

The premise behind the book is we will lead a less than fulfilled or mediocre life when we resist change and opt for a cheeseless situation instead. The antidote for this resistance is to continually "sniff" out the possibilities of change and be ready when the circumstances arise to "scurry" to find our new cheese (rather than to be hemmed in by our situation and do nothing).

The author attributes much of our inactivity to fear. The book challenges us to think, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" Fear can be a good thing if it prevents us from doing something that is harmful. However, if fear prevents us from doing anything we become imobilized and really no good for ourselves and others. When we ask ourselves what we would do if we weren't afraid it prompts us to look at the endless possiblitities God has for us and opens the door to a much better way of living.

I would encourage everyone to read this little book. It takes about an hour to read and though it is very simple it is truly life changing!



Blessings to you as you enjoy your new cheese :)

Marisa


Saturday, January 8, 2011

My One Word Resolution

A great friend recommended this sight to me as we're heading into the new year. I love the idea of focusing on "one word" as we formulate our resolutions. Is so easy to be cumbered by the load of our every day lives that we often neglect those promises we've made to ourselves at the beginning of the year. Check it out, I think you'll find it helpful too as you desire to make changes toward a better YOU this year:

My One Word

My best to you!

Marisa


New Year's Resolution

Since writing for this blog, I've become much more reflective about the people in my life. I find the varying dynamics of my relationships very interesting. There are those who have been a part of my life since my birth, some who have come in and slipped out of my life like the morning fog, and others who have left a lasting imprint on my life. All of my experiences have contributed to molding me into the person I am today. As a Master Potter shapes his masterpiece, God is shaping me into a vessel He can use to further His Kingdom (if I allow Him to do so).

As I've continued this reflection, I've found I often busy myself with the wrong priorities. Is it just me, or do we all find ourselves focusing more on the dysfunction in our lives rather than on that which will add growth and development to our spiritual walk with the Lord? The old saying, 'the squeaky wheel gets the oil' sure is characteristic of how I relate to others. Perhaps it's my innate need to fix things. I'm not a fan of leaving things broken around the house. I immediately solicit the help of the handy-dandy Bernard clan and voila... the shattered is mended :)

Unfortunately, people (including me) aren't easily fixed... at least not according to my "fix-it" pocket manual. So, there are masses of hurting, less-than-perfect people out there giving ditch efforts to make and maintain relationships. Every once in a while we are blessed by those out-of-the-park relationships that fill us to the very brim with the goodness of life and these are the very people I want to gravitate to, but guess what?? Often, they are keeping my back burners warm.

Satan is masterful at realigning our sights onto that which is unhealthy for spiritual and emotional health. My resolution this new year is to spend more time with those who "want me" as much as I "want them" and less time trying to "fix" that which cannot be mended.

My husband has been delivering God's message about the Fruits of the Spirit in church over the last few months. I have been praying for God to unleash the power of His Holy Spirit within me, as I realize I can't show others His fruit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) without His help.

God, help others to see your fruits in me and help me to discern the dysfunction that hinders my walk with You, as well as my relationships with others... Amen!

Namaste!

Marisa

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Will This Work?

First let me say for all to hear, I am about as able a blogger as the mythical Big Foot if he was given a laptop. Fat chance. I'm not even sure I'm doing the right thing at the right place; I think I'm going to need help, partners. Marisa... Brittany...

Life has been more than a little distressing for me the last couple of weeks. Longing for years for a position in full time ministry and having been lead to what I believed was the very position where I could truly be God's hands and feet, all of my hopes and dreams and prayers (and position) crumbled and fell around my ankles like "twin towers" concrete and steel.

Tired, hurt, broken, I asked God "why", and I instantly "feared" the weeks ahead with no job, no prospects of a job (a commodity hard to come by these days), and no earthly comprehension of how I was going to pay my bills, including my mortgage, past January.

My head has ached and my stomach knotted with the prospect of losing everything I had built (maybe acquired is a better word). And I wondered, how could the senior pastor and a committee of church members do such a thing to me when all I had ever wanted was to serve -- the church? How could they release me -- fire me, actually -- three days before Christmas when I had worked so hard for them? What a kick in the pants. Merry Christmas to me.

Then I remembered a conversation I had had with God several weeks earlier that has stuck with me like expelled chewing gum on the bottom of my sneakers. Two little nuggets of scripture raced through my thoughts like tag-teaming squirrels racing nuts up a tree -- "where your treasure is" and "no one can serve two masters". A realization had become instantly clear to me in those moments of quiet-- I couldn't take any of my possessions with me when I died, so why was any of it of any importance to me while I was here?

The fact is, in my heart I had been longing for a simpler, less complicated and encumbering existence. How much more could I give God if there was less in my life to deal with? Was God setting the stage for that "simpler life of service" even through a dismissal from the very place I thought I was meant to serve?

It hasn't been easy, these last two weeks. But just when I think I can't handle one more thing -- you know, the mortgage, the bills, the job -- God pulls me close. This morning, it was through TV evangelist Joyce Meyers. The remote flipped to her speaking directly to me. She didn't know that but I did. Take a few minutes to read Deuteronomy 8 and all three chapters of Habakkuk:

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the live crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes me feet like the feet of the deer, he enables me to go on the heights."

God riches blessings to all who seek Him! Nance

Oh, SHOPPING....

Well, here I am... I am wondering about my life and where I am going. I don't make a lot of money and I don't really like my job very well.  I struggle to save money and I don't have a very big savings account.  I am on my way home and I am stressing about work and money and bills..... when my good friend, Kim Iverson, comes on the radio. It just so happens, that Kim is talking about the recession on the radio tonight and some comforting advice begins to come out of her radio show.  After all the stressing and being ready to pull my hair out over my bank account, she manages to calm me down and make me realize that I could be worse off, or that I could be a man. ;)  In fact, it just so happens that I have a video clip to share! Hope you enjoy "Your Time with Kim Iverson":





-Brittany :0)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good Morning, Readers.

I realize that it is not actually morning, I just was able to sleep in for the first time in months and it was wonderful.  Giving my body the chance to wake up on its own time makes for an amazing day. :) A bowl of cereal at 3 in the afternoon never tasted better than after a long night of sleep.  I have been tired lately and it has been difficult for me to get things done.

It is winter. Winter makes it difficult for me to find inspiration and I am continually trying to place myself into situations that make me happy, doing things that I enjoy, and observing things that came out of someone else' inspiration.  I find that when I immerse myself in positive situations and relationships, my winters are so much more bearable.

Last night was the first night of a new bible study that mom and I have recently started. We laughed, we cried, and we learned a lot about one another in just one session.  I was able to have coffee with my friend Derrick last night.  He is one of the most musically and philosophically artistic people I have ever met.  I appreciate his intelligence and his creativity. I look forward to making time for writing and painting.  There is a peace that I find within myself when I pour my insides onto paper or canvas.  I look forward to my weekly outings with my mom. We always have such a good time shopping, finding new restaurants and coffee houses, and experimenting with new ideas.  

There is so much to look forward to.  Having just graduated from college, I have the rest of my life to figure out and I have plans to make.  Although I still struggle with being apathetic in the winter,  coffee and slippers make planning so much easier.  

So God, bring on the future.  I can't wait to see what you have waiting for me!

-Brittany :0)