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I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I'll let you know.

– hat tip to Judy Gatehouse who shared this meme on Facebook

One of the drawbacks of working in a creative field is that I often come up with more ideas than I can possibly execute—at least not with excellence if I’m rushing to do a lot of things in a short time. It can be difficult to settle down and focus on one project when there are other possibilities jumping around in my brain and vying for my attention. So then I think, “Which of these projects would really please other people? Which ones would impress them or inspire them or help them?” And then I get overwhelmed again because I don’t always know the answers to those questions so I feel like I should do everything just to cover all my bases, even the not-so-great ideas.

This is insanity. I’m not calling anyone else insane, but I suspect I’m not alone in grappling with these types of questions. Especially around the holidays, even the calmest people can feel stressed as they try to figure out what gifts to shop for, what social events to attend, who to send cards to, how to manage extra housework and cooking before family members and friends visit, and so on. We lose sight of why we even have this thing we call Christmas. 

A lot of us suffer from FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out), but God didn’t design us to be frantic circus performers, juggling ten balls in the air while trying to stay upright on a unicycle! So how do we know what we’re supposed to be doing? How do we maintain our serenity and keep overwhelm from stealing our joy?

I recently remembered something I heard Phil Vischer (the creator of VeggieTales) say at a conference many years ago: “The impact we have for God doesn’t come when we pursue impact, but when we pursue God.” Wow. That really spoke to me. It reminded me that I can be too worried about the outcome of my efforts and whether or not people will praise me for what I do. Instead, I should be pursuing deeper intimacy with my Creator who loves me—without worrying about where He’s leading me or what kind of impact my life will have on others. 

*deep breath* There. That's better. :)


What are you pursuing? Will it get you to where you want to end up?


MOVIE: I cancelled my Netflix subscription several months ago, but when I heard that Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes were starring together in a Christmas movie set in a Scottish castle, I could not resist reactivating my account. If you need a break from sugary sweet predictable Hallmark movies, check out A Castle for Christmas. Okay, so it's a bit predictable, too, but also funny. And, I mean. . . CARY ELWES. (And all The Princess Bride fans replied: "As you wish.") ;) 

Although I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years, sometimes I still struggle with my quiet time with God. I’m a restless, creative person so I find it hard to stick to a steady routine like other people do, and when I interrupt my own flow, it can be hard to get back on track. Based on conversations with friends, it seems I'm not the only one who sometimes has trouble making time for reading, prayer, and meditation. 

I recently addressed this topic at my church's ladies' meeting and we had a great discussion. I won't share all of it here but I wanted to pass along the hand-out we looked at during the meeting in case there's anyone else on this mailing list who could use some encouragement, inspiration, or a little nudge. It includes a free sample journaling page I designed that you're welcome to print out and use for yourself or to glean ideas from to design your own page. Download the PDF HERE. 

There's just one thing I want to emphasize: The outcome of our quiet times is more important than the activity itself. Our goal shouldn’t be about how many chapters we read or how long we pray, but about really connecting with God and becoming more like Him. One person can spend two hours every day reading and praying, but if he or she is not really connecting with God or learning something that can be practically applied to everyday life, that person is not going to get much further than someone who spends only 15 minutes a day doing the same thing.

None of the methods listed on my handout will do any good if our goal is just to make ourselves feel good that we did our devotions. The goal should always deeper intimacy with God and spiritual growth.
 

whimsy & wisdom from the world wide web

I confess I'm not one of those people who turns into a cookie making, cake baking machine before the holidays. But every year I save recipes I want to try (the easier the better). I have good intentions! Anyway, in case any of you are in a similar situation, here are some treat recipes that are supposed to be quick and simple.

Every time I'm tempted to think I've waited too long to accomplish a goal, I come across a story like this one. Way to go, Stelios! 

Karen Stiller is a brilliant Canadian journalist and writer and I really enjoyed her book The Minister's Wife last year. She knows what she's talking about when she shares these tips on what to do when you feel like the bug that hit the windshield ("splat, blech"). 

COZEN

(v) To mislead by means of a petty trick or fraud; deceive.

He who buys what he does not need steals from himself.

– Swedish proverb (i.e. from the same people who created IKEA) 😄

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