Plan to Finish

JonathanChristmasTree

Jonathan is standing beside several unfinished projects.

 

Each year starting in 2013 I have been choosing a word for the year. In fact it was a blog post by a fellow Tribe Writer called “Why you should have One Word for 2013” that got me started. Picking a theme word each year has really revolutionized my goal setting and how I keep up with it all.

I won’t bore you with all the details on how I’m not a list person and how before starting this method I gave myself way too many goals thus becoming overwhelmed and hardly accomplishing anything on the list at all. (Yes, I did just say all that in one breath!) 

Now I pick one simple word. A word that all my goals and aspirations can snuggle up to and get comfortable with. 

In 2013 my word was “Determined”. All that determination helped me get my writing off the ground. I finished my manifesto “Don’t Quit! Build a Legacy of Commitment“. Which you can download the pdf for free right here on my site. It was a really good year for my writing. 

That year I wrote a post about how my Life is Like a Boat. Despite all my determination I still felt unbalanced. I decided maybe if I chose the word “Organize” for 2014 I would find that balance. 

My family and I accomplished a lot in 2014. We got most of the house cleaned up. We traveled a lot without losing too many things. It was a very good organized year (at least organized for me). Even though things aren’t perfectly organized yet, it is better. I feel this past year was a successful year. We did so much more that we wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t even tried.

Now you are probably wondering about my word for 2015. 

I struggled to decide on a word. I started thinking about it in December as I was trying to do last minute organizing. One of the things I need to work on is making sure I keep my priorities straight. It sounds very noble. Make a list of the things that are the most important and focus on those things this year. However I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t quite feel that word working for me. As I tried to write down some things that I wanted to do this year using “Prioritize” as my key word my goals just looked flat.

My husband and I had our children list some things they wanted to accomplish this year. They wrote some pretty good goals and some lofty ones that will take them a lot of work to accomplish. Most of them were very good goals and they can achieve them all if they work hard at it.

New Year’s Eve my husband and I sat down with the kids and talked with them about their goals. I told them that one of the things I would like to see this year are goals actually being accomplished. I told them that if they set out to do a project I want to see those projects finished this year not just started.

Then my word for 2015 hit me between the eyes…”Finish”. My children are not the only ones that need to finish things. Suddenly my mind went to all the unfinished projects I have laying around the house. 

I never finished crocheting a blanket I started around 10 years ago. I’ve worked at it off and on (more off than on) but never finished it. I have a lot of blog posts just from this past year that I started writing but never finished. I have books that I planned to write and some I even started but never finished. 

I look back on my life and realized that a lot of those unfinished projects stem from a problem in my mind. Somewhere in my life I got into the bad habit of assuming things weren’t going to get finished. 

For way too long I have set myself up for failure.

This year I’m going to finish. I’m going to finish that blanket. I’m going to finish getting organized. I’m going to finish cleaning my house up. I’m going to finish writing a book. I’m going to finish the writing courses I started. I’m going to finish reading my Bible through. Everything I start I’m going to make plans to finish.

I’m going to help the kids finish their projects as well. This year will be very productive and I’m going to keep a list of every project we finish. 

I already know our Rock Solid Family will finish this New Year out strong. 

How about you? Do you have some goals for this year? If you were to summarize them into one word, what would that word be? I can’t wait to hear from you. Please share your word for the year in the comments

Together let’s make 2015 the best year yet!

Right now? I am going to finish taking down that Christmas tree!

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Do You Like Me?

Elijah2015

“Do you like me?”

“Mommy, do you like me?” my 4 year old asks me as I wash the dishes.

“Of course, Elijah, I love you!” I respond.

“But do you like me?” he asks with his big brown eyes peering into mine.

A question like that begs for reflection as I try to figure out why he would question whether I like him or not. Surely he knows I love him!

Then as I thought about it I realized what he is really asking.

He knows I love him. He has no doubt about that but deep inside he just wants to hear that I like him too. How can you help but love someone you like? So in his mind if you like someone it’s automatic that you love them too.

You have to realize a little bit about this sweet boy of mine. He’s a friend to everyone. He doesn’t go anywhere without having made a new best friend. He has always been that way.

One year at a large meeting of churches there was a time for Missionaries and their families to stand up in front of the crowd. They invited anyone that wanted to go up there and pray with the Missionaries during a song to do so. Elijah in all of his young excitement burst up there to find a new best friend to pray with.

Yet the question still lingers, “Do you like me?”

We all want to be liked. Don’t we?

That’s why we are afraid to make mistakes. We want people to like us and be our friend and the friends we already have we don’t want to lose.

Elijah’s question reminds me of the question Jesus asked Peter.

Peter was going through a rough time in his life. He had chopped a soldier’s ear off in order to defend Jesus from a whole army. Jesus told him to stop and healed the man’s ear. Then Jesus went with the soldiers without a fight. While outside waiting for Jesus’ trial, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Then he ran away as Jesus was killed.

Jesus rose from the dead and revealed himself to the apostles. 

Peter must have still harbored doubts as to his purpose on earth. He was at a point of wanting to give up on his ministry. What good was he after he had denied Jesus? What was he supposed to do now? Finally he throws his hands up in the air and announces to the others, “I’m going fishing!” And his friends followed him.

Then Jesus shows up. The apostles are in their boat and Jesus shouts to them from the shore. Peter jumps overboard and swims to the shore. Then this conversation took place.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?’

He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’

He saith unto him, ‘Feed my lambs.’

He saith to him again the second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’

He saith unto him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.’

He saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’

He saith unto him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?’

Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, ‘Lovest thou me?’

And he said unto him, ‘Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.’

Jesus saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ “ – John 21:15-17 KJV

Peter was sad when Jesus asked him this 3 times. Peter knew when he returned to fishing he was giving up on the ministry that Jesus called him to and he was influencing those around him. The other apostles that returned to fishing were following Peter not Jesus.

So Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me? Do you even like me?”

Things changed for Peter that day. He rededicated his life to following the Master.

Do you love Jesus? Do you like Him?

Don’t just tell Jesus you love Him. Show Him by following Him everyday. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do for Him yesterday.

Today is a new day. Start now!

If you want to know how or where to start feel free to contact me. I would love to show you from the Bible how to have a closer walk with the Master. 

Do you already have a close relationship with God? How about your family? Would you like your whole family to draw closer to God and each other?

I’m working out my blogging plans for 2015. If there is a subject you or your family are struggling with that you would like me to talk about in a future post please don’t hesitate to ask. We have big plans this coming year for building up our Rock Solid Family and I would love for you to join us.

~~ Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~~

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 KJV

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Drowning

swimmingpoolI can’t swim!

I sputtered trying to grab the edge of the pool but it was too slippery.  My head went under. I splashed and reached for the concrete that I should have been able to hold onto. I never thought that concrete could be so slippery when wet.

“Help!” I whimpered as the water covers my head one last time.

I was 8 or 9 years old when I jumped off the diving board into my dad’s outstretched arms. He set me safely on the side of the pool.

“Don’t get back into the water,” my dad warned. “Walk over to the shallow end with your mother.”

I looked and saw my mother waiting with my sister all the way on the other end of the pool.

It is much warmer in the water.

I disobeyed my father.

All these thoughts flash through my young mind as I sputter my final cry for help.

Cry for help? It sounds more like a whisper to my ears. Why can’t I project louder when I really need someone to hear me?

But someone did hear me. Strong hands lifted me up and set me back on the side of the pool. I was rescued. I was saved.

Grateful for the second chance at obedience, I walked to the other side of the pool.

This wasn’t my last time to mess up. However I learned to be quick to repent and ask for help when I need it.

This story parallels another time I was rescued. I was 7 years old when I first began to realize I made mistakes. I was not perfect.

I knew what sin was. I knew I should repent. Repent of what? That was my problem at 7. I didn’t know what I was repenting of.

How can you ask someone to help you if you don’t realize you need help?

I was 10 years old when I finally figured out that I couldn’t figuratively swim by myself. I was miserable from guilt of the sins only I knew about. I remembered every lie. I remembered every time I stole. I remembered every time I fought with my siblings.

These things weighed on me and I was miserable. I wanted to get out from under the pressure of guilt.

At church camp I cried out for help. Finally I admitted I couldn’t take care of this problem myself.  I gave my life to Christ and He immediately rescued me from the deadly waters surrounding me.

That burden of guilt has been lifted off me. I am forgiven.

I am free. No longer drowning in a sea of guilt and shame.

Many times people hear that word “free” and think it means, “Oh, I’m okay now I can just do whatever I want.”

No. It means I am free to do what God wants me to do. It was His grace that gave me this new life. I now want to obey the rules He gave me in the Bible.

Yes. I still mess up. I will always make mistakes.

My dad still loved me even after I disobeyed and could have drowned. In the same way God still loves me even when I mess up.

Just like my dad wanted me to obey after I was rescued, my Heavenly Father wants me to obey now that He has rescued me.

No more getting back in the water to drown. Now I am walking the good path that God has laid out for me to walk.

Do you remember a time that you disobeyed? Did you learn a lesson from the experience?  You can either share them in the comments below or reply by email. I would love to hear your stories.

The school year is almost over and the rest of the year will be pretty jam packed with activities. However I am making it my goal to get back on track with my writing and take you along on our journey. Thanks for not giving up on me. :)

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

 

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Would You Throw the LifeSaver?

A person is walking along the banks of a large lake. As he does he happens to see a man who looks as if he is swimming in the water. However upon closer inspection the man walking sees that something is not right about how the swimmer is behaving. He is splashing a lot. Every few seconds he sinks under the water for longer periods of time and splashes back up to the surface only long enough to take a quick breath and sputter.

The walker just happens to have a lifesaver in his hands. He starts to throw it to the swimmer but then he hesitates.

Should I throw this to him? What if he gets upset at me?

You know he might think I’m suggesting he doesn’t know how to swim.

Will it offend him for me to throw this lifesaver out to him?

I wouldn’t want him to feel bad for being a terrible swimmer.

You know I think I will play it safe and watch him a minute before I throw it just to be sure he needs help.

I’m not a lifeguard. Maybe I should call a lifeguard to come get him out. Hmmm… There doesn’t seem to be any around here.

“Hold on, Mister! I’m calling a lifeguard for you!”

Meanwhile the swimmer goes under and the opportunity to save him is lost.

Unsinkable

The above story probably sounds a bit absurd.

“Just throw the lifesaver already!” you’re probably saying.

And yet the above scene is what a lot of us do everyday.

We hear people complain about those who have thrown lifesavers out. They say things like, “Why doesn’t everyone just leave me alone?”

“I’m not interested in what you have to say.”

“Mind your own business. I don’t want to hear it.”

“You live life your way and I’ll live life my way.”

To us it sounds like they are saying, “Just keep that lifesaver to yourself. I enjoy splashing in this water of life.”

However if we see them struggling and yet don’t throw the lifesaver to them, we are to blame for their drowning.

On the other hand, if we throw the lifesaver to them despite the fear that they might reject it, we  give them that opportunity to grab on or not. We have done our part.

The rest is up to them. We are not responsible for their decision to hold on or let go.

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

“Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman,’

‘when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people,  then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.’

‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

“Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”

~~Ezekiel 33:1-9 NKJV

Here I am throwing the LifeSaver to you.

I know what it is like splashing around trying to get out of the water. I couldn’t reach the shore alone either.

Someone threw me the LifeSaver. They didn’t wait to see whether or not I wanted it. They threw it out there for me. I chose to accept it.

Now I’m offering it to you.

God has the strength to pull you to the shore and change your life completely.

Will you let Him? 

If you have already accepted God’s LifeSaver and are wearing His Life Jacket please share your life changing story with us in the comments.

In my next post I will share with you the story of how I was saved from drowning. Literally and figuratively. Be sure to check back later this week for that. Until then…

Who will you throw the LifeSaver to today?

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Mother – Daughter Tea

Today, Ruth and I went to a Mother-Daughter tea. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the skit and the presentation brought by a Mother and her 19 year old daughter. It was so inspiring. The whole theme was that our daughters need to trust God and wait what God has in store for them.

This is a message that I want so badly to get out to the young girls out there. Just like the mother said to us mothers, these girls need to learn to trust God and make the right decisions while they are very young, so that when they reach the age where they must make their own decisions then they will be able to make the right ones.

Another lesson in the skit that I found very good, was that when our daughters do get to be older and teenagers that we need to give them the chance to make their own decisions. We should be there to help them and guide them as best we can but they will have to decide for themselves whether they will follow God or not when they are older. They cannot just go to heaven on our faith in God but they need to trust Him and make the right decisions to follow Him for themselves.

Ruth also got something good from the skit. She said that the girl in the skit made the right decision not to go to the party that the other girls were going to. When I asked her why, she said that there might be bad people at the party and they might do bad things there. If Scott and I keep working with our children, with God’s help I know they will grow up to make the right decisions.

I was so inspired by the whole event, I came home all excited and jabbery. I practically talked Scott’s ear off. At least I didn’t overload him with the details on what everyone was wearing or what all the different tea sets looked like. All I know is that I feel more than ever that I need to get serious about my writing.

I want so badly to have an influence on children, not just my children but all children. I want to help them while they are young and before they make life-changing decisions. The decisions these kids make in their youth can affect their lives for the good or the bad. They need to be reached before they take the wrong path. It’s so much harder to take the right path after going down the wrong one. If these children can be directed down the right path before they get off it, they can live a life led by God and walk forever in His care. They will be ready for the good things that God has in store for them.

I’m not very good at speaking, however, I love to write. I believe the way the Lord would have me reach out to young people and to help them is through the words I write on paper. David said in Psalm 45:1 “…My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” For me, my pen is the tongue of a ready speaker. Take my pen, Lord, I’ll write for You.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)

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