Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspire and Replenish!

A friend of mine recommended the article Surround Yourself With Passionate People. As I read it, I couldn't help but think these kindred spirits and I share the same life goals and that I would love to know them personally.

It's true that when we surround ourselves with people who are healthy and live life with vitality and passion we become inspired to do the same (or, at least we should be inspired).

I'd like to add to this by saying it's important to be in relationships with replenishing people. The stressors of life can rob us of our energy and stamina and when we commit to only draining relationships and experiences, we too become depleted.

So, in a nutshell... be inspiring and replenishing for others and YOU, my friend, will be the one others gravitate to :)

Blessings!

Marisa

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Go Ahead... Make My Day!

I went to a backyard sale with a friend last summer and as we approached the driveway, I noticed a man standing off to one side. I made eye contact with him and smiled and said hello. He said hi back and as I strolled by him I told him with a smile to have a wonderful day and that was the end of that. There certainly wasn’t anything formal about our interchange.

After my friend and I perused all of the potential bargains and decided there wasn’t anything we couldn’t live without, we made a beeline to the car to head to our next “jackpot” destination. As I was walking with a mission, I heard, “Miss? Miss?” I turned to see the same man walking toward me with much determination to tell me something. “Mam, no stranger has ever talked to me before. I just want to thank-you for making my day!” Well, needless to say I was speechless. I kind of stammered out an “It was my privilege!” and proceeded to my car as if stunned.

The polite conversation I had with this man took all of 1 minute at most and yet it “made his day!” This summer day was a milestone for me, as I realized how important a simple random act of kindness is in the life of another person. The contribution is minimal, yet the effects can be monumental.

As I go about my activities of daily living, I am going to work at being more mindful of the opportunities God gives me daily to “make someone’s day.”

The Word of God says that we will know a Christian by their fruit and those fruits of the Spirit are, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22 & 23).

Let’s take the time to share a little of God’s fruits with those we come in contact with each day. Not only will it make their day… but it will mean so much that our acts of kindness added some sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day for another person.

Go ahead… “make my day!” :)

Marisa

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Not to Wear

I was tempted to swing by New York and Company after work today to pick up a few cute outfits for our cruise coming up in a week. My husband and I are celebrating our 25th Anniversary by cruising the Caribbean. My little temptation lasted only a few minutes when a small voice in my head convinced me to check out what I already have in my closet that would work just as well and save the hundred bucks I would have undoubtedly spent. What was I thinking? Was I thinking I truly needed more clothes? Or, was I thinking I needed to keep up with every cute little bikini bombshell I’d find on this cruise (which was an impossibility anyway)? I sure wasn’t thinking I needed to look cute for my husband… ‘cause trust me, he isn’t concerned with what I’m wearing ;)

So, maybe I’m reading way too much into this because there certainly isn’t anything wrong with going clothes shopping. But, it kinda got me wondering where I find my value. Is it in things? What I wear? What title is after my name? What clubs or groups I belong to? What my status is in the community?

Or… do I find value in solely being a child of the living God? If I have one robe, a pair of sandals, and a Bible (like Mother Teresa) would I be okay with that? Would I see myself as valuable?

I’ve asked a bazillion questions, but I think they are valid. At least they are for me. In our society, we are so wrapped up in what we wear, material wealth, being the star of the show, being at the top of the corporate ladder, being the best athlete that we forget what we were placed on this earth to do in the first place… to glorify God, to further His Kingdom, to be in relationship with Him, and to love others.

The amount of money we have, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, our status in the community, getting the lead in the play... have minimal value to God, particularly if these things distract us from our walk with Him. I think He tells us all of the time to strip ourselves from the things that are roadblocks to a more deep relationship with Him… do we listen? Do I listen? Not as often as I’d like, but I did today and I’m so thankful. When I got home and took inventory of my closet, I have plenty of cute, summery things to wear on my cruise.

So, this story ends with… I’m packing the clothes I already have in my closet because honestly, my husband doesn’t care what I wear (in fact, he’s going to be telling me what not to wear;) and God doesn’t care what I wear, so I’m not going to worry so much about it either!!

Whew… this makes life a whole lot easier and a lot less expensive!

Marisa

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beware of GMO!

Okay, I have to go off on my soapbox just a little okay, A LOT! I recently read an article about genetically modified organisms (GMO). For those of you who don’t have a clue what these are, genetically modified organisms are plants, animals, or microorganisms whose genetic code has been altered, subtracted, or added (either from the same species or a different species) in order to give it characteristics that it does not have naturally. It is genetic engineering that involves crossing species that could not breed in nature. For example, genes from a fish have been placed in strawberries and tomatoes.
I don’t know about you, but this is devastating to me! Dr. Mercola recently published an article about the dangers of GMO foods, in particular GM alfalfa. There are 23 million acres of GM alfalfa fields in the U.S. and any non-GM fields with in a five-mile radius will be contaminated because alfalfa is such an aggressive pollinator. Alfalfa is a perennial, so it comes up year after year for at least 7 years. Contamination will be wide spread over time. Alfalfa is a major food source for organic dairy cows you see how this could potentially be a disaster, especially for those of us who espouse the organic lifestyle.
What is irritating for me is Monsanto (the giant responsible for this outrage and for placing no restrictions on GM alfalfa) is making it nearly impossible for the little guys(organic consumers & retailers) to have a say in protecting and preserving the purity of the organic farms in the United States. Many of Mansonto's employees have infiltrated the FDA and USDA to the point where, as Dr. Mercola said, it's David fighting Goliath" (I do need to be reminded of who won that battle... with God on our side, the giant doesn't have a chance:) Once again, it’s about bigger, more appealing products, and most importantly the almighty dollar and little to no attention is given to the harmful effects of GMO foods on the American public (as if our diet isn’t poor enough!).
I’m not going to go into all of the harmful effects all one needs to do is Google search the “dangers of GMO” and a plethora of articles appear. But, if you’re at all concerned about this topic, I would highly suggest you take the time to read Dr. Mercola’s article. It’s very insightful! I’ve never really trusted the Government any farther than I can throw them, but it’s truly maddening when they work so hard to take our rights to choose away. This is why I will continue to work diligently to support Whole Foods and the “little guys" who support organic farming.
If we don’t collectively take a stand who knows what our food will look like in the future tomatoes with fins and beady little eyes eeewww!
Take a stand with me and let’s make a difference!
Marisa

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Believe I Can Fly!

I believe God is who He says He is and I believe He can do what He says He can do, but do I really believe He WILL do what he says He will do in my life?


A friend of mine recently stated that we don’t have to look at the whole staircase; we just have to take the first step. For me, having the faith to take that first step to live differently is the most difficult. When life becomes comfortable, it’s easy to settle for mediocre and to tune out God’s prompting toward a Spirit-filled life.

Fear is my biggest road block. As the hurts and pains in life build and lessons are learned I tend to cower in the face of change, even though change could lead to a more fulfilled, blessed life…

Since my husband spent several Sundays preaching on the Fruits of the Spirit, I have prayed every day that God will unleash the power of His Spirit living within me, so others will see His fruits in me (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control). This power, according to God’s Word, can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). If I have the power of the Holy Spirit living in me… there should never be an excuse to live a mediocre life and there should never be reason to fear.

I have always loved the song “I Believe I can Fly.” At first I’m sure it was because the tune was catchy, but as I listened to it again more carefully during an American Idol episode last week. My attention was immediately drawn to the Holy Spirit living within me. With His power, I can fly… with His power, I can touch the sky. I think about it every night and day! I want to spread my wings and fly away. Do I believe I can?? Read these words. May they inspire you, as they have me to take that first leap (step) of faith:

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I'm leaning on the everlasting arms

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly

See I was on the verge of breaking down
Sometimes silence can seem so loud
There are miracles in life I must achieve
But first I know it starts inside of me, oh

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it.

Do you believe God WILL do what He says He will do in your life? Do you believe you can fly? I want to have that kind of faith. I want to take the next step to really believe God is working in my life. God has promised never to leave nor forsake us and He has also gifted us with His Spirit. It is up to us to believe it and then to tap into it. Think about how much more we can experience in life “soaring” as opposed to “wallowing.”

Won’t you join me in the sky??

Blessing to you my friends!

Marisa

Friday, March 4, 2011

Beautiful From the Inside Out!

I’m so sad that women, particularly young girls, are so wrapped up in body image. Our society is doing such a disservice to women by placing unrealistic expectations on what’s acceptable for a woman’s appearance the skinnier the better (even at the expense of one’s health).

I recently had an adorable little girl in elementary school tell me that she’s too fat. WHAT?? She said her peers have made fun of her and have called her names insinuating obesity (like “whale”). I was appalled! First of all, she’s far from obese and secondly, these cutting words create wounds and define self-esteem for a very long time, if not a lifetime.


As a girl grows and develops into a woman her philosophy, beliefs, and mindset are tainted by this nonsense. If she’s less than “perfect,” obsession sets in and this obsession leads to depression, diet pills, lack of nutritional eating, narcissistic behaviors, and it’s satan’s playground! He would love nothing more than to create a “monster” of low self-esteem in all of us and what better way than to make women believe they fall way short of the mark society deems as acceptable. The media, of course, has an answer to all of "her" problems... try botox or plastic surgery like her role models do... Whew!! How pathetic!


One thing I catch myself doing at school is complimenting a student’s outfit, a new haircut, or a cute pair of shoes and I’ve recognized I’m contributing to the global problem of placing too much emphasis on appearance. It’s not a bad thing to pay a compliment, but I have a responsibility to instill far greater morals and values in children than merely the way they look on a given day.

I have to wonder if we focus more on great work ethic, serving others, a loving heart, and a healthy lifestyle as superseding outward appearance if many of the struggles women have would dissipate. The reason I say this is the more self-centered we become, the more depressed and the more depressed, the more we eat for comfort and the more we eat, the less healthy we become you get the picture. It’s truly a vicious cycle. On the other hand, if we’re working hard, serving and loving others, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle all of the rest will fall into place I think we will be right where God wants us to be... BEAUTIFUL from the inside out!

We have a responsibility to God, ourselves, and others to not get side-tracked from what's really important in life... remember, God said in His Word - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7...

God Bless!!

Marisa