This morning, a story came on the radio of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, along with hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.
She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season--overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every house-warming, baking (and tasting) all the holiday food and treats, as well as getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list. Of course, mindful not to forget anyone on our card list, along with the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card, getting them all off into the mail in ample time.
Finally, the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd inside. She pushed her way into the elevator, dragging her two kids and all the bags of stuff in behind her. When the doors closed, she couldn't take it anymore and stated to no-one, yet everyone, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be strung up and shot!"
From the back of the elevator, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, "Don't worry-we already crucified Him."
For the rest of the trip down the elevator, it was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. Don't forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.
So, what do you want to be when you grow up? That question may appear a little trite, but think about it for a moment. Are you-right now-who you want to be, what you dreamed you'd be, doing what you always wanted to do? Be honest. Sometimes people find themselves achieving victories that are empty-successes that have come at the expense of things that were far more valuable to them. If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.
Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default. It's about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill it. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
One of the best ways to incorporate Habit 2 into your life if to develop a Personal Mission Statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.
What's so special about this table setting? It was taken pre-feast on Thanksgiving Day. We acquired the unfinished version of this table a few months ago and it has been living in the garage awaiting stain and finish. Since I promised Peggy to have it done by Thanksgiving, I got real serious about finishing it the week before. Here is the final product. It did a wonderful job of holding all the food and plates and providing a place for eight hungry people to give thanks for all God has done in our lives this year.
One of the COOL benefits of living in the mountains is shopping for our Christmas tree. Having a live tree in the house the day after Thanksgiving has become important to our family. In Florida, we always bought one from the Boys and Girls Club (and paid way too much!). In NC, we have found a Christmas tree farm in our little burg that has beautiful trees (for about half what we paid in Bradenton). Here are some pics of Jennifer and Austin and I picking the perfect tree.
I found the coolest tool a few weeks ago and I use it all the time! It's free, and you should consider using it too. Jott is a way to send yourself reminders. When someone at church or at rehearsal or while driving tells me something that I need to remember, I call Jott on my cell phone and give myself a message. I set the time of the reminder and it both emails me AND texts my phone! Did I mention it was free?
Third Day is truly one of the great Christian rock bands of today! They rocked Asheville Civic Center last night. The highlight of the night happened shortly after Mac Powell walked off the stage during a sizzling, Mark Lee guitar solo. Suddenly, he appeared in the middle of the floor seats - we were just 5 rows away - with his acoustic and started singing. The rest of the band soon joined him and did a short, acoustic set just a few feet from where we were! We loved it. Of course, I forgot my camera, but got this shot on my phone.