When’s the Last Time You Twirled?

I took a day off yesterday to go to the beach. I haven’t had a real beach day for close to 5 years and my heart has been crying for one, but it’s just not fun to go alone. Every year I talk about it, and every summer ends with the disappointment that I didn’t make it to the beach. Again.

So, when the opportunity arose, I jumped. My schedule was rearranged and my lunch was packed.

Emotions flooded my mind as we walked through the tunnel under Pacific Coast Highway and reached the sand. The beautiful, wonderful, warm soft sand. I brought along the usual “things to do” for a beach day: magazines, book, journal, phone and even some work, along with my swim fins and a towel.

And then my niece and I decided to walk down the beach to look for life in the tide pools.

As we were hopping from rock to rock, she suddenly put her sandals down and started dancing. And singing. And leaping, and twirling. On what little patch of sand there was between the outcropping of rocks, my little joyful Jenna saw her opportunity and she couldn’t contain it. So she danced.

IMG_0351

Photo by Tami Romani

IMG_0342

Photo by Tami Romani

I moved closer to catch a better glimpse of her joy… and she was TWIRLING!

Photo @TamiRomani

Photo by Tami Romani

I’m ashamed to admit I can’t remember the last time I danced, or twirled like that. Or even hummed a tune without there being some professional version of it playing in the background.

Just me sending my voice into the atmosphere? Nope. Not in years. Just me dancing and twirling for the joy of it? Nope again.

As I watched her joyful outburst, I was saddened that I wasn’t more like her. I’ve let the cares of my world and my pursuit of all the good things get in the way of pure joy. But the thing is, being surrounded by that kind of joy is contagious.

I smiled as I thought of all the ways I could prompt myself to twirl and dance. How I could learn to push aside that pursuit now and then and just BE. How I could enjoy life, instead of hurrying through it.

Twirling is not so much an act, as it is an attitude. Especially for grownups like me.

It occurs to me I don’t need to be spinning in the grocery store, arms flailing, to be able to see the beauty of a young mom and her laughing baby. I don’t need to sit on the beach watching the fun. I can join in. I can choose to twirl.

The shore breaking waves were not right for body surfing, so I had the thought to stay in my chair on the sand, but when my nephew Jack coaxed me into jumping in the waves by saying, “C’mon! It’s just not fun without you!” it was time to twirl. We laughed so much, Jack said his new nickname for me was going to be “Mrs. Fun Time.” Really. I’m gonna have to hang out with kids more often.

Mrs. Fun Time. It’s got a lovely ring to it. And I guarantee you, living up to that name involves more twirling.

When’s the last time you twirled?

“Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music to him with timbrel and harp.”

Psalm 149:3  

0

God is in Control

I don’t know what I would do without God in my life. Life is tough and throws curve balls at us, but life would be much harder if God wasn’t in it.

 

Without God, I would not be following my passions and having him pave the way.

Without God, I would not be the joyful person I am today!

Without God, I would be worrying about the day to day.

Without God, I would be stressed about my future.

 

I can think of many times I planned something and it didn’t end up happening. I wanted to get my EMT and move to Tahoe to be ski patrol. I wanted to go grad school to get my doctorate in Physical Therapy. I have planned to do many things that have not worked out, but God ends up making them even better. Instead of moving to Tahoe, I lived in San Diego and met amazing, life-long friends. Instead of going to grad school, I traveled to 11 different countries.

God has better plans for us then we have for ourselves, we just have to give him complete control of our lives and be willing to say YES to what he wants us to do.

Life without God is hard. Life with God is so much easier. I don’t know where or who I would be today without Jesus. I would probably be super stressed, not know where to go in life, and I wouldn’t be living a life of abundance.

Giving God control and trusting him is something we must do daily, hourly, every second. We have to choose Jesus over wanting to have control of our lives. If you think about it, there is not much you can control so why not have someone who is greater than anything in all the earth be in control? Let go and let God take over.

 

God knows what he is doing…Do you trust him enough to give him complete control of your life?

 

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

 

“TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

384634_10151965571645158_872959301_n

(This picture reminds me of joy and celebration in living a life with Jesus. This was taken after winning a volleyball game on the beach in Nicaragua.)

0

Wedding Day

‘Tis the season for weddings! I went to my 2nd wedding this summer (and it’s only June!) for a dear friend yesterday and there are many more to come.

Weddings are a fun celebration of two people joining together. I love it when a wedding is a perfect representation of the couple getting married. The decorations, the ceremony, reception are exactly the personality of the bride and groom. Wedding days are happy days!

The moment I love during the wedding ceremony is when the bride walks in and looks as though she is glowing and radiant, and then I turn to look at the groom. His face is of pure joy and excitement and love for his gorgeous bride who is before him.

groom at alter

Picture yourself as the bride (yes, it’s harder for men to picture this). And standing before you is Jesus. His face is of pure joy, excitement, and love. The way a groom looks at his bride as she comes down the aisle is how Jesus looks at you. However, Jesus doesn’t care how you look, he loves you just as you are. He loves us with an unconditional love that we may never completely understand. But marriages here on earth and the representation of a bride and groom, help us to understand a little better.

 

“As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5

 

I am excitedly looking forward to the day I marry the man God has chosen for me on earth, but I am especially looking forward to the day I get to see Jesus face to face.

0

Perspective Overhaul

Lately I have been doing a lot of work on myself.

Personal development.

I am learning to shift my focus and my perspective (a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view). After 40 years on earth, it seems an automatic reevaluation has occurred.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and I would not change any of it. However, there are personal callings I have not fulfilled because I have settled in.

Am I doing what I’m good at, and where I have the most impact? Is there a great future for me, or am I going through the motions and living someone else’s dream rather than my own? Am I learning and trying new things? Or am I comfortable and stagnate?

I don’t know about you, but it seems that life just continues to speed up the older I get. Besides that, we live in the Information Age and everything is “instant.” We work on a second to second basis and I believe as a whole we have lost the ability to just sit still and relax, meditate, pray and recharge. Somehow if we are not “busy” we feel like we are not accomplishing anything.

I have come to realize that is a lie. We need to be still sometimes. Do nothing. Being busier does not equal being better. We need to work smarter, not harder.

I think many of us end up settling for what we are “supposed” to do in life, and then one day we wake up and we have wasted years being unhappy. We decided not to “rock the boat.” We decided to just put our heads down and grind away the years.

We feel like the road we are on is the only choice. Like it’s too late to change direction. Like playing it safe is better than risking a perspective overhaul.

Well, we don’t have to settle!

We can in fact change our perspective and shift our focus. If you see a dead end ahead, you don’t have to continue toward it.

IMG_6139

Turn around. Go another way.

God has offered an abundant life – but we must be willing to trust Him, set our goals higher and then take risks to make them happen. If we want change, we can make it happen. We must only be willing. We must face our fears.

With God, ALL things are possible.

Talking about changing won’t make it happen.

Thinking about changing won’t make it happen.

ONLY taking action will cause change in our lives.

How do we do this?

First, we must change our perspective. We must look at things from a different angle.

We must be willing to do things differently even if they seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

We must change our mindset. We must DREAM BIG like my cousin Nikki challenged us to do a couple weeks ago!

We must trust the God who gave us breath to give us the life we desire. If we remain in Him, and dream big and work hard, He will reward us with more than we could ever imagine.

Our God is bigger than any problem we may have. Let us hold fast to Him, and with Him, we shall overcome! He wants you to have LIFE abundant in love and joy!

For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17

Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

0

In Over My Head

I am WAY in over my head. What am I doing?

There is so much to do for the kingdom. So many people to reach. So many hearts to be transformed. What am I doing?

I think of the ways God has used me, and the divine appointments he has set up, and think, “Wow, God used someone like me to touch the heart of his child. There is so much more to do!”

It becomes overwhelming when you think about the big picture. But God is telling me to focus on the person in front of me. Take one step at a time.

When I was in South Africa, I went to the gym with 2 other teammates, Zach and Kyle. We went every Monday- Friday morning at 5:30 to get a workout in and be done in time to shower and be ready for the rest of the day with our team. There was a personal trainer at this gym who took a liking to me and my friends. Every morning this man greeted me, and as the mornings progressed we shared more and more. I told him I was a missionary here in South Africa, and he told me of the many other jobs he had. Zach, Kyle, and I smiled at him, said hi to him, talked with him, and our last day at the gym we prayed with and for him.

Two months later I received a message from this personal trainer that he had accepted Jesus into his heart and it was because of us that he saw Jesus and wanted what we had!

Praise Jesus! God used me, Zach and Kyle to meet this man where he was, give him our time, which lead him to Jesus.

IMG_5982

I think about all the millions of people who don’t know Jesus yet and I ask myself, how am I going to reach all of them? I am in over my head. There is so much to do and only God can help us accomplish it. What does he ask from us? To be a vessel. To say “Yes God, use me!”

But it takes boldness. It takes stepping out of your comfort zone. It takes being uncomfortable.

Smile at the next person you pass. Take time out of the busyness to talk with someone you may not normally talk to. You never know how God can use you. He could use you to plant a seed of Jesus in someone.

I love Jesus so much and I want everyone to experience him and love him too! I want to tell the world who Jesus is and what he has done for me and for the world. I want to scream it from the rooftop, however that may not go over well so… every person I come into contact with I need to smile at them, ask them their name, take time out of my day to talk with them.

The truth is my days are not mine, they are the Lord’s.

What are you going to do with your gifted day?

0

I’m Weird.

Many people have told me I am weird and I take it as a compliment. I respond with, “Life is more exciting when you’re weird.” Who wants to be normal?

What is normal anyway?

That is a great question and one I don’t know the answer to. All I know is that by being “different” from the world’s standards you are considered “weird” and I’m ok with that. To many people Jesus is weird and I want to be like Jesus. That is my number one calling and goal in life is to be like Jesus.

Since I have been home from the World Race, I have noticed some things about America that I am not practically fond of. The fact that people are so ridiculously busy they don’t even have time to stop and see the beauty around them or the people they are passing by. The fact that it is all about immediate satisfaction, “I want it and I want it NOW.”

Every other country in the world does not work like this. They are more concerned with relationships and taking their time. They are not concerned about getting to a place at a certain time. I was talking to a lady in South Africa and she was talking to me about visiting America. She said she was sitting down to eat dinner, ordered wine and didn’t have time to sit and enjoy it before her meal came out. Here in America we don’t allow ourselves time to enjoy anything. No one knows what it means to slow down.

God has been challenging me with slowing down since I have been home. He tells me to take in all that he has for me. I don’t want to get caught up in the busyness of this country. I don’t want to be so focused on my task that I miss out on what God has for me or the person standing in front of me that may need prayer or a smile.

I am currently reading the book Weird by Craig Groeschel (how appropriate), and in it he said, “If the devil can’t make us really bad, then he’ll try to make us busy.”

This is so true. I used to be a very busy person, so busy that I didn’t have time for Jesus, and during that time I wasn’t as close with Jesus or experiencing him in the way that I am now. That’s just silly! Jesus is the most important person and we need to make room for him in our days! The devil’s scheme was working and making me so busy that I didn’t want to wake up early to spend time with Jesus because I was so tired from being busy. But I want to change that. I don’t want to be so busy I don’t have time for Jesus.

 

“When we follow Jesus, we’re about our Father’s business, not about the world’s busyness.” (Weird, p. 35).

 

People may think I am weird because I am not running around like a crazy person trying to fit in everything and anything I can. It’s ok to say “no.” The most important thing in life for me is to have intimacy with Jesus and the only way to do that is to slow down, sit, and be still with him; to read his word and to listen to his voice.

 

What is the most important thing to you in life?

Do you want to experience Jesus in a way you have never before?

Do you want to stop being busy?

Do you want to have intimacy with Jesus?

Do you want to be weird?

 

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

“He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He restores my soul.”

Psalm 23:2-3

     10314729_10203086052380156_7372882538463097771_n

Be weird and laugh on the floor! Experience Jesus in a way you have never before! Have INTIMACY with JESUS!

(Holy Spirit Laughter…It’s a real thing.)

0

Let’s be Hilarious!

Today I would like to make a case for humor.

Have you ever met someone with no sense of humor? You know the type – those who find it difficult to laugh at themselves, at life, or at circumstances. I feel sorry for those people, for there are so many times in life when nothing helps quite like discovering the funny side of things.

There is nothing as infectious as the laughter of a child. The pure innocence of it! their laughter is not caused by innuendos or suggestions of vulgarity, but by their simple delight. How refreshing it is!

Photo: "Laughter" by Pete Stacey

Photo: “Laughter” by Pete Stacey

Jesus stated we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Could there be anything in his statement that has to do with the things that make us laugh? I wonder.

Some people laugh at other’s misfortunes; some at ethnic jokes; others over risque areas of life. It seems our society has lost its innocence. We are becoming a fierce people and our humor, vividly expressed in the media, graphically reflects the change. Gloom and sadness are prevalent.

But there is a special blessing in being around Christians who can find humor in the ordinary things of life. These believers follow the apostle Paul’s suggestion to think on the things that are of “good report.”

The scriptures never record Jesus laughing, yet they do inform us that little children loved Him and were drawn to Him. Our Lord must have had a quiet, pleasant, smiling demeanor. Jesus even said He came that our joy might be full. The Bible talks a lot about joy, and I have never seen it without a smile or a pleasant face, have you?

Nehemiah wrote, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Wouldn’t the opposite of that be, “A gloomy countenance (disposition) will rob you of strength?”

We are even told to be “hilarious” in our giving (2 Corinthians 9:7) Have you lost the joy of giving? It could be a key to gloominess in your life.

I AM NOT making a case for silliness. I AM making a case for joy and good laughter. Joy ought to bubble from our innermost beings like rivers of living water. As the surroundings become darker, let our hearts become arenas of light and joy, always looking for the blessed hope, the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Allow me to share this prayer with you:

The Lord bless you.

May you carry the glow of His presence with you. May He meet every need in your life. May He richly provide you with the abundance of his blessings.

May the Holy Spirit who comes alongside you be your Helper, and minister to you the things that are of God, for those things will not ever pass away.

May you walk in glorious victory. May there not be a day when you say, “It’s dark today,” but may there always be the light of Christ shining in and through you, brightening the lives of others.

AMEN!

(This post by Gladys was originally published in Foursquare Advance magazine, June, 1989)

0

CONTENTMENT

My niece, Nikki, wrote a beautiful tribute to her Grandma Johnson on her Monday blog (hope you read it!). Mom was “the real deal”; no pretense about her at all. Mom was always concerned about everyone else’s needs above her own.

But, Mom also had a delightful sense of humor! She would giggle and laugh at herself and anything that “tickled her funny bone”!!! I am happy to say that I inherited the same “funny bone.” Mom told me her Mother, my Grandma Pearson, and her Mother’s Mother, my Great-Grandma White, all were gigglers. (And I have noticed that my daughter and niece also are gigglers!)

What I am sharing with you today is a thought I had a few days ago that made me giggle out loud even though no one else heard it but God, since He was the one I was talking to.

This is my second summer in the North-Central part of the Florida panhandle. The heat here is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I am renting a mobile home with no air conditioner, just a window unit and many fans.

florida_sign2

There are days and even nights when I cry out to the Lord for relief. Sure, a tropical rain storm will come and the air will cool down a few degrees, but afterward it is even more humid than before. And there are bugs you’ve never even heard of or seen before, and they all seem to like me!!!

I asked God about His wisdom in sending me here (not a good thing to do!), and He reminded me of His servant Paul the Apostle. In chapter 4 of his letter to the Philippians he is instructing them to be content. As I brought to memory the 11th verse and quoted it outloud….it tickled my “funny bone” and the giggles began.

I giggled and laughed with God when I realized that verse in the King James Version says to be content in whatever state you are in! I know; different kind of state! But, as I write this I am giggling at even God’s sense of humor because I am in the state of Florida and complaining about the heat, humidity and bugs.

Paul endured much for the spreading of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. His encouragement in his letter to the Philippians is a check of my attitude. That I am content no matter where I am or what I own is a freedom in my innermost being. I love where I am! God is using my gifts in so many ways. That kind of joy is so deep it causes me to giggle.

Philippians 4:11 (New King James Version)
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have LEARNED in WHATEVER STATE I AM, to be CONTENT.”

Philippians 4:11 (New International Version)
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have LEARNED to be CONTENT whatever the circumstances.”

I like the NIV translation of verse 12, “I have LEARNED the SECRET of being CONTENT in any and every situation.”

‘NUFF SAID!!!

Anyone with me on this checking of my CONTENTMENT BAROMETER?

0

External Hard Drive

Do you back up all of your important files and pictures regularly? I do. Ever since I learned in 2003 what happens when you don’t. If your hard drive crashes, you lose everything. No problem to get a new PC or restore the old one. The problem is, if you don’t have all the data saved and organized, it costs A LOT for a Data Recovery center to search for it and recover it. It is possible, but it is costly.

What did I learn from this? To back up my data regularly and to keep it organized so that I know exactly how to access each file when I need it.

And such is our experience with computers on a day to day basis. We back things up. We save things in a way that makes sense to us, and we add to our files daily.  The document I am working in now, for this blog, is in a folder on my desktop. And that folder is inside another folder. It’s like a hierarchy or family tree sequence. This begat that, et cetera.

One of the best ways to keep important data and pictures is to back them up on an external hard drive.  Techopedia.com defines it like this:

An external hard drive is a storage device located outside of a computer that is connected through a USB cable or wireless connection. An external hard drive is usually used to store media that a user needs to be portable, and for backups. These devices have a high storage capacity and are mostly used for backing up numerous computer files or serving as a network drive to store shared content.

 External-Hard-Drive

Let’s say Jesus is like a PC and we are like external hard drives. Jesus IS The Living Word. We should be connected to Him so we can access His files and download them. We should each be a carbon copy of Jesus. A mirror image. Love, Joy, Self-control, Patience….all characteristics of Jesus that we should copy.

How do we do this? By spending time talking with Him, reading The Word, being in fellowship with other believers and singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to Him. We should add to our files daily by backing up everything on that Master PC.

Notice also in the definition above that part of the function of the external hard drive is to be portable. We are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth.  We must let the love and light of Jesus be etched into our minds and our spirits so that we can easily access it and share it everywhere we go as we travel through life.

1 John 2:5,6 “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” NIV

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” NIV

Let’s go plug into Jesus and be the best copies we can be!!!

0

JOY

Joy is an attribute of God. It is a part of who he is and he created us in the image of him. We have joy in ourselves we must tap into. God is a god of fun. He wants us to enjoy life. He will give us the desires of our heart if we delight in Him. He wants to give us the things we are passionate about.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Two ways I describe finding joy are, first, give God permission to have your whole life. Trust him. Joy will come from the obedience of trusting God.  Second, find what makes you happy; what brings a smile to your face; what gives you excitement. Mine is going to the beach! Seeing the ocean brings me great joy and brings me closer to God. As well as being adventurous and doing outside activities such as hiking, snowboarding, surfing, riding my bike on the boardwalk, stand up paddle boarding, pretty much anything active and outdoors… God and I love to go on adventures together. He blesses me with his creation all around me. He created beautiful places in this world for us to enjoy. I am currently on an 11 month mission trip, going to 11 different countries. I get to see God’s beautiful creation in 11 different countries. I have been to Guatemala, Honduras, and I am now in Nicaragua. Central America is a very tropical place with beautiful trees, flowers, monkeys, geckos, and people. (And lots of cows that cross the road!) The people are very hospitable, generous, kind, and despite some of their living situations still have a joy that from the outside wouldn’t be understood. Yet some of them have lost hope. They don’t have much, but God has something more to give them, to give us. God has blessed me with the opportunity to spread his love, joy, and hope to the nations.

“Therefore go and make disciple of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

What brings you joy?

IMG_1253

 

Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. Jumping for joy on the shore of Lake Nicaragua with a volcano in the background. God’s beautiful creation : )

0