Thursday, December 30, 2010

Little Things...

An unknown person wrote, "Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts."

Being aware of others is important...I think most people like to be noticed. Not in a spectacular way, just noticed...knowing someone recognizes they are there...they are something, they count!

It seems to me that the 'stars' of the world always get the most acclaim, the most attention. There are many others who never seem to be noticed...or acclaimed. I think it hurts...I can identify w/that. My life was full of being the girl no one knew was there...okay, I was the girl w/the ink spotted leg and very shy. Also I went to school w/the likes of Debbie Reynolds in California...big competition huh?

I've changed...oh how I've changed; I'm no longer the shy one or the one no one notices. I've made it through many life-changing incidents...believe me, I was really banged-up...guess I'm a survivor but with help from God and my my determination to do better...I survived. I want to make a difference.

That includes doing little things...I suppose you've heard the old line, "little things mean a lot"...haven't heard it before, then you have now. I don't need to wait 'til I can do something grand for someone...that isn't important. Nor is it important for others to know how great a thing I've done. I can do it anonymously...that's a fun thing to do...and it can make a difference.

I love Dr. Seuss and this is just one of his jewels, "I'm sorry to say but sadly it's true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you." They do, every day...every day something comes along to bang me up...if not every day then certainly often enough to try to get me off balance.

M and I had been home from China for a month when quite unexpectedly my youngest sibling, Johnny, died. Two months later my mother died. M and I were living in our 5th wheel, we didn't know when we would settle down...our lives were in a turmoil. Friends did a lot ot little things for us...that helped. We needed help...lots of it...loving, tender care...we were fragile...we were banged-up and hung-up in a big way.

I've failed to notice...(but I have been working on that)...failed to notice the aching of others...they need noticing. They've been banged-up and they hurt.

Look at others, really look...not just a slight glance. Looking at their eyes, I can see what's going on ~ sometimes I can see tears hiding there. So I do something very can do the same...remember, little things mean a lot...they can make a difference. Think about it...

balanced and unafraid...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Better Watch Out...

How many times have we heard those words...'specially this time of the year? Watch out for...Santa Claus 'cause he knows if we've been good or bad, pouted or cried? Ouch. I will say I've been much better this year than last...that's progress on a bevy of fronts. I very much had room for improvement with a capital I.

Christmas is coming...this week! I love it! And before we know it 2011 will begin; which means lots of people will make resolutions about everything from soup to nuts...almost..and most of them will be quickly forgotten...what do you think? Along those lines, here's something I am going to build on for the coming year:

I will watch my thoughts; they become words (Fill up with kind & positive thoughts)

I will watch my words; they become actions
(Learning to control my tongue...okay but that's a real biggie)

I will watch my actions; they became habits (No hateful stuff...
no turning green with envy...loving actions and reactions)

I will watch my habits; they become character (Difficult to correct habits/lots of work to do)

Last but not least I will watch my character; it becomes my destiny.
(Okay, I'm a character I know, but a Character like His? Can I do it?
If I try I know I can and He will help me; what an awesome destiny)
Adapted by Vasca...original by Frank Outlaw

Michael has a book "The Jesus Habits" and I want him to read it to me...a group of men have been studying it's good. What better habits could I have, could we have than those of Christ himself.

So..."you'd better watch out, you'd better not cry...better not pout, I'm tellin' you why? He's makin' a list, checkin' it twice...gonna' find out who's naughty or nice"...

Not concerned about pleasing Santa...he's goin' back to the North Pole. I'm concentrating on pleasing the one 'higher up'.

Balanced and unafraid...

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have lots of warm, fuzzy feelings all year but my spirit sort of goes on high burner this time of year. Love it. Not many days 'til Christmas and as usual, there's a big question making the rounds...what do you want for Christmas??? Hmm...let's see. I didn't make a formal list...but our family says we have to give them clues/hints. Okay, I need a hand held can opener w/a good grip handle and a new night light.

That takes care of our family here...but...we've 'Chinese children'; Andrew Beall plus Ken/Debbie Beall. We go through this exercise every year; they call and e-mail from China. "Michael and Vasca, please send us your Christmas gift list"...they continue asking until we come up w/something. One year we tried calendars. Okay, how about a family picture...attached to an e-mail? No, No. Last year, Andrew wouldn't give it up so M finally told him I would like a small pair of pearl earrings (we thought that was a good suggestion since in China they're most inexpensive). How were we to know he would order our gifts from Sears which meant they were made in China but not China priced. The invoice came with the gifts and the little pearl earrings (surrounded by diamonds) cost him several hundred dollars...I almost passed out and rued telling him anything. So what to do this year?

My sweet Michael came up with a brilliant idea. He e-mailed Andrew the following, "For our Christmas please surprise us by finding a person (where you live and work) that you can surprise with a gift and with the good news that there is a savior who loves them and wants to have a relationship with them just like your relationship with HIM. If that person becomes your friend then you can surprise him/her with the 'book' that was written by spirit inspiration and you can be the bearer of 'goodtidings'. Now you may have to look that up in the dictionary as the words are old English." Same message for Ken and Debbie.

Okay, let's jump over to China for a lesson in physical warmth/lack of warmth. Have you ever worked when you were so cold you could hardly move? I have and I'm a very warm natured person. In China the government regulates when the heat will be turned on and when it will be turned off...for all of China. It's only on for a few months ~ that's why, if you'll notice, when you see pictures of classes, etc. everyone is bundled up...head to toe. I taught classes dressed in warmest jammies under my warmest pants, warm shirts, my warmest coat, scarf and gloves...students dressed the same...brrr! The only equipment I had was Chinese chalk and a wall mounted blackboard...not even a desk. Sometimes I was so cold I wondered how my feet would carry me home. So very cold...but there was a inner fire!

Love, lots of love. The Chinese don't know/practice a love like God's love...they're wonderful people though. Our cultures are just so different. As He often does, God worked so many learned of His love, talk about heart-warming? Kept our fire going...on and on. If you'd like, I could share some wonderful love messages with you...leave a comment and let me know.

Mother Teresa said, "If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it." Frankly, the decision to move to China was not easy by any means...but after all, Michael and I had always prayed to be used by Him and to give us opportunities to shine His way we could back out of way! To say that changed our lives is an understatement...He deluged us with opportunities for 2-1/2 years...we never had to go looking. HE brought them to our door wrapped up and tied with His love...and we didn't even give Him a gift list!

My fire was lit in 2002 and we returned home during Christmas season 2004...we're less than two weeks away from Christmas 2010 w/M and I still on fire. Oh sure, we've sputtered several times...but He held us up and kept filling our lamps. The following quote from David Brainerd is worth thinking about: "I longed to be a flame of fire continually glowing in the divine service and building up of Christ's kingdom to my last and dying breath".

Flaming, building, serving while remaining..
Balanced and Unafraid.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giving and/or Getting

Our 1st Christmas in China 2002

I'm looking at my calendar and it says December the first...oh, how could it have come so soon? A piece of cake...absolutely slid in under my nose and everything is in full-swing for a special season. God's son is the 'reason for the season' but it tends to be diluted w/the giving and getting.

I love giving (okay, getting is neat too) and sharing...warms my heart. This year I'd like to give something personal, something special that is an original from me...I'm working on it. In the process, I read something that really touched me...from Colonel James Irwin, one of our astronauts. See what you think...

"As I was returning to earth, I realized that I was a servant ~ not a celebrity. So I am here as God's servant on planet earth to share what I have experienced that others might know the glory of God."...Colonel James Irwin.

Astronauts really could get the 'big head'...'cause zippin' around in space is a huge biggie. Col. Irwin was awed by his experience and thankfully, wanted to share it w/the rest of us. It would be a truly magnificent experience...I can only imagine.

On a much smaller scale...Michael and I were constantly treated as 'celebrities' in China. One of our most humbling experiences occurred during the Christmas season...China's big into that now. The university where we were teaching scheduled a Christmas program w/M and I participating. We were given 'free rein' as to what we'd choose to do/perform...hmm!!! An opportunity for a God Work? A natural for us and we ran with it.

There were thousands in the auditorium...quite an awesome gathering...w/the two of us the only foreigners...what to do? Simple...we walked onto the cold heat, you know...and we told the story of Jesus' birth. Then the two of sang 'Silent Night'...unaccompanied. You could've heard a pin drop and believe me, that's an accomplishment in China. It was AWESOME...a wow moment. Did they love it? And how...they got 'the message'. Honestly, it was an honest-to-goodness 'ethereal experience'.

"As we returned to earth, we realized that we were servants, not celebrities. So we are here as Gods servants on planet Earth to share what we have experienced that others might know the glory of God." ...adapted by Vasca.

Thank you Father for presenting M and I with the opportunity to share your glory with so many who had never heard of or met you..and allowing me to be...

Balanced and Unafraid.