The Art of Community

Thank you Today God is First for today’s message…

I have a friend who spent three months living in Israel with Jewish believers. During one of their conversations the Jewish man noticed how often my friend came to visit him only to discuss a project. He turned to my friend during dinner and admonished him: “You western Christians! You always seem to need a program or an event to get together. Why can’t you fellowship with one another just because you love each other!?”

My friend was convicted by his assessment. They began to talk about how Jesus modeled love for the disciples and how they simply hung out together because of their love for one another. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

Jesus often spent unhurried times of fellowship with the disciples. They shared countless meals together. It is often during such times we get to know others at a deeper level.

Love for one another is one of the greatest signs of faith in Christ. However, the pace of life often contributes to a life being lived for the next event instead of a relationship rooted in the love of Christ.

How many relationships do you have in your life that would allow you to fellowship simply because you cared for one another?

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

 

Hump Day or Workaholics Day?

Do You know what time it is?  Yes, it is Wednesday, traditionally known as “HUMP DAY” but today probably feels like a Monday since many people had a LONG weekend for the 4th of July.

There are lots of “special days” celebrated for many reasons but this was definitely a new one for me!

rtc_june_5_workaholic_fullAccording to Punchbowl which helps you plan a party from start to finish – July 5th is Workaholics Day!  By definition, a workaholic is a person who is addicted to work.  Generally it implies the person enjoys their work and they feel compelled to do it.  According to an article on Webmd, a workaholic is a life out of balance with key signs to when you are in trouble.  Does this sound like you?

  • Trouble delegating work
  • Neglecting other aspects of your life (family, special events, vacations, etc) to work
  • Incorporating other aspects of your life into work (turning a hobby into a new business)

So, if I have just described you – TODAY is dedicated to you.  It is a time for you to step back and take it easy.  Do some mindless activity you enjoy – read a book for fun, take a nap, take a walk on the beach or spend some time watching YouTube videos.  If you are the friend or family member of a workaholic, CELEBRATE – ENCOURAGE – REWARD them for their accomplishments today.

As for me, I am a struggling recovering workaholic.  Family and friends used to take a back seat to my job – I thought it was my calling or passion.  Now, my passion is owning my own business.   Yes, I always have a catalog with me.  Yes, I am always ready to share about the way Thirty One has changed my life.  Yes, I love every time I go to work – I get to PARTY!  The difference is now i take time to spend with hubby on his days off, or play hookie to hang out with my best friend or spend the day with my mom.  I still slack in the family time area but I am a work in progress.

I challenge you to look at your life and do a double check – do you have a healthy work-life balance?  If not, what are you ready to do about it?  Please share how you will be celebrating today

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Celebrate the 4th of July

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According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

For me, the 4th brings up all kinds of memories which are bittersweet…

Life in Ocean Grove over the 4th of July was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. I can remember many July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with the family. Belinda was always in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, hats…

Sitting on the side of the parade route on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and has lot of memories for us. I mean there was a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Believe it or not, I miss living in Ocean Grove… Yes, I squirreled!

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family celebrating today…

Homeland Security

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

“A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels, and her value is far above rubies or pearls,” ~ Proverbs 31:10

I just got back from seeing the 9/11 Memorial. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

After the horrific events of that devastating day, President George W. Bush appointed the new cabinet position of Homeland Security. It is defined as the deterrence, prevention, and preemption of, and defense against, aggression targeted at United States territory, sovereignty, population, and infrastructure as well as the management of the consequences of such aggression and other domestic emergencies.

In a speech on July 16, 2002, in the Rose Garden, he explained how Homeland Security would deal with the threats of the 21st century in our country. “Our unity is a great weapon in the fight. And by acting together to create a new and single Department of Homeland Security we’ll be sending the world a signal that the Congress and the administration will work together to protect the American people and to win the war on terror.”

As I read President Bush’s description of homeland security and the perilous dangers that threaten our country, I was reminded of the danger that threatens our homes as well. There is a war going on to destroy the God-ordained institution of marriage in this country and around the world. Interestingly, Webster’s dictionary defines marriage as “the institution under which a man and a woman become legally united on a permanent basis.” Almost every word of that definition is under attack today. We need our own “homeland security” to establish the deterrence, prevention, and preemptions of, and defense against, aggression targeted against our marriages.

For a man to guard his heart usually means he must guard his eyes. For a woman to guard her heart, it means she must guard her emotions. “My coworker really listens to me,” Barbara mused. “My friend, Peter, truly cares about my problems,” Clare reflected. “Bob at the post office likes me in this red sweater,” Mary pondered. Each of these thoughts sets off the “homeland security alarm.” Homeland security begins in our own hearts.

Homeland security also means that we work to protect our families.

The Proverbs 31 woman has represented an ideal for women throughout the ages. While she intimidates some, all would agree she is a role model worth emulating. Scripture describes her as smart, skillful, thrifty, and strong. She’s a good cook, a savvy money manager, a contributor to the community, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a blessed mother, a faithful friend, a loyal wife, and a devotee of God.

As Proverbs 31:10 states, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” The New International Version calls her “a wife of noble character.” But I personally like the Amplified version that describes her as “a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman.” The Hebrew word that’s translated “excellent” or “virtuous” can also mean “wealthy, prosperous, valiant, boldly courageous, powerful, mighty warrior.

She fights Satan on her knees in prayer, she fights her hectic schedule to keep her priorities in proper perspective, and she fights to guard her heart against ungodly influences of the society in which she lives.

In verse 27, we see that the Proverbs 31 woman “watches over the ways of her household,” or as another translation states, “she carefully watches all that goes on in her household” (NLT). The phrase “watch over” means to “hedge about as with thorns,” much as a mother bird might protect her young with the thorny rim of a nest. These same words are also used in the Bible as a military term, such as to watch over a city.

I envision the wife of noble character walking around the wall fortifying her home, fully equipped to take on any enemy that threatens to invade her marriage. But lest we imagine the enemy is always some outside force, I believe the greatest enemy can be what happens in our own hearts and minds.

Homeland security? I believe it begins in our very own hearts and homes.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Throwback Thursday – A Holiday Weekend

Yes, I know it is only Thursday but I am sure you are already planning for a long holiday weekend, right?  This post was originally written back in 2013 (when I was a newbie to blogging).

Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Memorial Day weekend was filled with mixed emotions. It was the start of the summer season which meant the “bennies” (or shoobies as we called them in South Jersey) would be invading for the next few months.

In high school, I worked at Kohr’s at Third Avenue so this was the first BIG weekend we got to work. Typically, we started working on weekends when it was nice around Easter. This was the weekend we were able to reconnect with old friends who came home from college or those who traveled to work for the summer. We enjoyed days on the beach and long nights on the boardwalk – working and hanging out with friends. The summer traffic was never really thought about nor did we really think about the people invading our beaches.

Fast forward to my mid-20’s when I moved to South Jersey – living just outside of Ocean City and working in Atlantic City.  I came to dread this weekend. No longer did it hold the joy of traveling to the beach and long nights of hanging on the boardwalk. Now it was filled with shoobies/ bennies who congested the roads and littered our beaches. It made parking impossible. The joy of the summer was replaced with dread. Honestly, we spent more time at the beach from Easter to around the middle of June then we did the entire summer. Those were the days filled with sunshine, quiet moments on the beach and only a little bit of traffic mostly caused by locals.  

Yes, I know it is great for the economy and a definite plus for all of the small businesses in the area. For many businesses, the summer season is what carries them through the long cold winter.  As for me, I will wait until the mid-week between now and mid June to enjoy the warmth of the beach and strolls on the boardwalk. Then I will wait, patiently, for the crowds to go home before I head back to the beach. The pool at the complex will be my haven during the day and on an occasional mid-week night, we may travel down to take a stroll on the boardwalk.

Last Sunday after we celebrated our wedding anniversary at the Wharfside in Point, we rode along the beach.  I will admit, the excitement of seeing the rides going, people walking on the boardwalk and some traffic brought back so many memories. I actually can’t wait this year to enjoy some of the craziness.

What are your plans for this weekend at the Jersey Shore? Do you have any tips for avoiding the crowds and still enjoying our wonderful beaches? I would love to hear them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!