Christmas Craze!

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Can’t you just smell the gingerbread? My kids put that house together and we had a lot of fun doing it.
I love this season. Egg nog (lactose-free, of course), pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate. (Seriously, I got more chocolate as gifts from my students than any other year, but very little evidence made it back to the house…but I digress.)
Speaking of my students, I got so many Starbucks addiction perpetuators (aka gift cards) and gift cards to Target, Einstein’s bagels, Krispy Kreme, Panera and Jamba Juice. Sweet!
But one thing I look forward to every year is my mom’s Puerto Rican seasonal cooking.

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Mmmm! Yummy pasteles! Sweet rice! And, since I’m of legal drinking age, coquito. What is it about holidays and food?
Anyway, truly I want to share about how this Christmas sort of blindsided us this year. I guess, like many others, we just have been so busy with regular life. Or maybe the tragedies of this year just make it really hard to celebrate. I don’t know if you can relate, but this much I do know: we owe it to the loving people in our lives and the memory of those gone before us to make this one of the best Christmases ever. Not because of the stuff, but because of love.
The reason for the season may be Jesus, but what about him? Christmas is the miracle of a God, who in his infinite wisdom, gave us a living example of love, compassion, healing, overcoming obstacles, and forgiveness in a baby born in less than ideal circumstances who would eventually die in less than ideal circumstances. Why? Call me crazy, but I believe he did this because he knew that our hearts so easily turn dark, insecure and negative and he wanted to show us that it doesn’t matter where you come from, who your parents are (or aren’t), what you do or think. He gave us hope that you can always make a change in your life and you can always make a difference. This Christmas let this permeate your mind and every interaction. Let love, hope, kindness,forgiveness, and optimism be your Christmas craze.
And then make sure you pass the pumpkin pie, please. ;0)

Isaiah 9:6 NLT
“6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Happy holidays. And please, have a very merry Christmas.

Joyfully,
Joyful Pursuit

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HOPE In The Face Of Discouragement

“My enemies’ insults make me feel as if my bones were broken.They are always saying,’“Where is your God?”’ Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I should put my HOPE in God and keep praising him,my Savior and my God.”
http://bible.us/Ps42.10.NCV (emphasis added)

HOPE: I thought this scripture was an interesting twist on HOPE. When you feel beaten down, put your HOPE in God. Hmm, so when something physically/emotionally happens, do something spiritual in return. I don’t think David is trying to “Get over it”, but I do think he seems to realize that dwelling on the negative & destructive things in life only makes matters worse. Maybe he felt God could change his situation. Maybe, having seen God work in his own life, he knew God cared about him & what he was going through. All through the Psalms David is praising, complaining to, & petitioning God. Some of his situations changed for the better, but some, honestly, did not. Still he kept a positive perspective: he had HOPE.
Life is always going to have its ups & downs. Where your HOPE is what will keep you going.

I HOPE your journey is filled with HOPE. The kind of HOPE that is eternal & transcending.

Joyfully Posted from WordPress for Android

Hope!

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Whew! What a month so far! I finally am getting back into blogging mode. I have decided for this month’s theme to be HOPE.

This month’s word is inspired by the birth of my best friend’s daughter Sophie on June 1, 2011. Her diagnosis was so dire that the doctor’s did not give out much HOPE for her to live outside the womb for more than a day or 2. I’m happy to announce that she has survived beyond that & hopefully much longer. Many prayers & fasting went up for baby Sophie as well as love & well wishes, but I think the most inspirational part is the HOPE that her parents have for their baby to be able to thrive.

I have other friends with miracle babies & teach swimming to some of the most amazing miracle stories.  It’s so amazing to see their stories of HOPE unfold.  Preemies, Autism, Cerebral Palsy & other special needs kids that are accomplishing things that the “experts” said they could never accomplish & doing them well!

Today’s post is not one of long-winded philosophy. I merely want to acknowledge that there are some amazing stories of HOPE in this world & they live among us.  Let’s do our part to inspire & inject HOPE in the world around us, & do what we can to surround ourselves with it.  Your story & the stories around you depend on it.

Joyfully Posted from WordPress for Android

What is the PURPOSE ~ Of Faith?

So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post & I’m really determined to keep to my once a week posting, even if it is a really short/long post….& late!

This last weekend is one marked with many different notable things going on around the world. The most laughable: Judgement Day, May 21,2011.  In keeping with the current monthly theme of “PURPOSE”, I felt it would be appropriate to say this:

For the record- not all Christians are loony. Not all churches teach the TRUTH. Not everyone who considers themselves a Christian actually is.

So what is the purpose of church, or even faith? Here is my humble opinion: we all need to believe in something bigger than ourselves. We were designed that way. I believe Christianity (at its core) is driven by sacrificial love & constant growth (maturity).  If you’re going to church & not digging into why you go there as opposed to somewhere else, you are probably compelled by tradition. If you’re not asking yourself, “would this action/thought make a difference in my life & the life of others?”, then you are probably just plowing through life trying to keep your head above water…existing, not living.

I’m not judging. I was just recently in that same spot wondering what happened to my life. We were designed to thrive & live a full life…not for life to live us!  (Hence this Joyful Pursuit)

“Live your life by DESIGN, not by DEFAULT.”~ Dani Johnson

So, what if (like the predictions of apocalypse) this God of Christianity is not really real?  Well, my friends, I can honestly say that the worst that can happen is that I lived a life focused on becoming a better person (wife, mother, friend, employee,etc.), that I did the best I could to treat everyone with respect & compassion, & that I worked hard to find & make peace in my life & the lives of others around me.  If all that happens when I die is that my flesh fertilizes the ground I’m buried in, then at least that flesh was living a life of love.  That gives me peace. Living a life honoring God, gives me hope. Hope that I really can be a different & better person. That is just the beginning of the discovery of my PURPOSE. What will my legacy be? For the record: I believe God is very real.

Why take that away from me? Or anyone else? Why take it away from yourself? Give yourself permission today to figure out what you believe in….& what you don’t.

Who cares what other people think…you’re just going to die anyway right? Live Joyfully…what do you have to lose?

Joyfully Posted from WordPress for Android

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