Friday, January 19, 2018

The Danger of My Comfort Zone

I like cozy.  I like comfortable.  I have to admit...I like my comfort zone.  Comfort zone: a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.  Even the definition sounds nice.  At ease, without stress.  Isn't that often our goal?  Not only to create a comfort zone but to stay close to it.  The busier our lives become and, ahem, the older we become, our comfort zone (whether loosely or clearly defined) becomes even more important.  If you are like me, a comfort zone is framed by routine and familiarity keeps in defined.

And while there is certainly nothing wrong with routine or even activities and relationships that allow us to "feel safe and at ease," our comfort zones can easily become stagnant and can cause us to become complacent, or satisfied with the status quo.  This cannot be the goal for a Christian.  God's word is often encouraging each of us - exhorting us - to move forward.  To consistently be making spiritual progress.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
I Thessalonians 4:1

If we are to abound more and grow spiritually and, ultimately, to become more like our Heavenly father....we have to live intentionally.  Making purposeful choices - choosing what is best and denying ourselves whatever might be keeping us too settled in our comfort zone.  Being intentional is key to abounding more and more.

Its Five Minute Friday and, yes, the prompt is intentional.  As most often is the case, five minutes are up.  However, knowing I want my life to be abounding - to be moving forward - in the Lord, and for the Lord, begs the question of how?  What intentional choices can I make to help me do just that?  I plan to look at that question, and some answers, more in my Tuesday post.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tortilla Soup, Actually

This blog is in no way a food blog.  It really is not even a good place to look for recipes.  I know my strengths - and my weaknesses and I am not a great cook.  However, I can follow directions and easy to follow recipes are my friend.  So is Pinterest.  I love to look through recipes (a genetic thing from my mom, I believe) and I enjoy trying new ones...and so, I pin.  And pin a lot.  There are so many pins, and so many different boards on my Pinterest, it is beginning to feel like clutter - and clutter drains all my joy.  I am trying to actually make the recipes that I have "neatly" filed away on my boards - and then keep the winners and, well, delete the losers.  But organizing my virtual file cabinet is another post altogether.  This post is for sharing a delicious recipe I have made repeatedly in just the last few weeks. 

Yesterday, we had a Sunday school class fellowship - a soup and subs type of afternoon.  Perfect for a winter day.  And, I brought this soup. (I'm pretty sure I referred to this as Enchilada Soup all afternoon - but it is technically called Tortilla Soup.  Potatoe. Potato.  Let's just call it yummy!)   I tend to think that the longer an ingredient list, the tastier a recipe will be, but this soup has a rather short ingredient list (yeah!) but it is very tasty.  The directions also include steps to make this a freezer meal.  This soup would be perfect to have on hand for snow days (we might just have one tomorrow!) or whenever you might need to take a meal.

The website link is here.  You can also find it on my Pinterest boards - both Soup's On and, the brand-new and waiting to be filled board, Recipes: Tested, Tried and Tasty!!  My Pinterest is linked on the sidebar.  There are plenty of soups just waiting to be tried and tasted.  I think there might be plenty of winter days, as well, ahead in order to try them all!  Sigh.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Two Ways to Better Enjoy Today

It's Friday.  I love Kate's description of Five Minute Friday....

We take a deep breath and bravely post our five-minute scribblings for others to read.
It’s really not about the quality — it’s about showing up. It’s about sitting down, setting the timer, and doing the work. It’s about the discipline and the practice of letting the words flow. It’s about releasing fears and embracing imperfection. And we do it together.
For me, it is definitely about embracing imperfection and simply doing the writing.  I am an over-thinker.  I over analyze and over-critique.  It's actually one reason I am late "showing up" this week.  After I read the prompt - SIMPLIFY - there were so many ways I wanted to apply this to my life and ways to approach this post.  I was completely over-thinking it.  Totally counter-productive to Five Minute Friday.  So,without further ado...some of my rambling thoughts on SIMPLIFY.
GO - To simplify is to clarify.  To make plain or easy to understand. And, for me, easier to appreciate.  In order to best appreciate and enjoy this life I have been blessed with is to keep it uncomplicated.  Often it is my own thoughts, and thought processes, that way over complicate life for me.  That snare of over-thinking and, especially, over-critiquing traps me way more often than I care to admit.
One way to avoid this is "to live in the moment" - which is not to be confused with "live for the moment" or an "eat, drink and live for today" mentality that I think is contrary to Bible teaching.  To live in the moment, I believe, requires two things.  Forgetting the past and refusing to constantly look toward and wait for the future.
The days gone past have their share of regret, disappointments (even shame) but, as well, hard to forget victories, hopes fulfilled and a multitude of sweet moments.  If I use the past as a lens to view today's choices and activities, I not only miss opportunities but, undoubtedly, miss many of the joys that could be mine right now.  Simplifying, for me, includes letting go of the past.  Yes, I enjoy the memories but I am not living in the memory but living today in order to create even more memories.
On the other side, comparing today's moments with my perception of tomorrow can also rob me of today's blessings.  It may be something as simple as the weather.  The temperatures today were unseasonably warm and extra delightful after our bitter cold snap.  I heard a statement similar to "it is so beautiful today....what a bummer that it is going to be lousy again tomorrow!" more than a few times today.  I may have even thought it myself:(  Why not simply enjoy today?!  
Similarly, I often fail to enjoy the beauty of the day, the time, the phase I am currently living because I am convinced tomorrow will be the better time to pursue a dream, make a bold choice or any number of things.  I am way too guilty of this.  Simplifying - or removing all the extra that over-complicates and squeezes out the joy - also includes a proper focus on tomorrow.  I want to savor all that today offers.
STOP - I must say that this post was not written in just five minutes.  I was just beginning to write when my husband invited me to enjoy a cup of coffee on the porch.  Something we usually do in the warmer months.  What a treat!  Pausing to stop and enjoy a simple pleasure of today was the perfect "note to self" for living in the moment!