Finding Hope in a New Decade

When the clock struck midnight in the wee hours of the morning, we all found ourselves facing a new day, a new month, a new year and a new decade. January 1, 2020, launched a new beginning.

It also launched new opportunities, too. January 1, 2020, is the fresh page in the story we’ll begin to write for the upcoming month, year and decade.

Oh, wow!
Blank pages can seem intimidating;
they can seem exhilarating;
they can seem empty;
they can seem full of chances.

Not a writer? It’s okay; most of us aren’t. You’re still writing a figurative story as you live your life, even if you don’t put it down in words.

It’s only fitting that we spend a bit of time reflecting today on what we’ll “write” on the pages of our 2020 story. What we want to write CAN be what gets written, but we have to look within to get it done.

Read that one again: What we want to write CAN be what gets written, but we have to look within to get it done.

It’s been said that the only things that are guaranteed in life are death and taxes, but I think change is inevitable, too. Change can present opportunity, and opportunity is a part of what lies ahead.

Certainty may come in change, death and taxes, but how can we control what 2020 brings, while we begin writing our story? As much as we want to be able to control our circumstances (and therefore, our story), we often aren’t able to do so.

What we CAN control are these:
Our choices,
our words,
our actions,
our deeds,
and our thoughts.

If you’ve read the writings on this dot-com for any period of time, you know this is a frequent subject of mine. It’s a frequent subject, because when the struggles of life clash with our desires of life, investigating the next steps often takes looking within for answers.

The answers and the path forward always lie within our own choices, words, actions, deeds and thoughts…no matter what our life, job, spouse, family or circumstances seem to be.

This new day, new month, new year, and new decade are ready to be written. Here we go!

If you’d like to read more about choices, you can search it in the search bar on the home page of Hope Surrendered, or you can click hereherehere or even here. [There are other writings, but if you’re still clicking on those re-direct links, you’ll find them.]

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what lies ahead for you as you begin living your 2020 story!


The Purifying Fires of Suffering in Your Story

I am fortunate to be digging into a thorough study of the book of Revelation with some incredibly amazing women.

We’re examining the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 right now, and one of the commentaries I’m referencing is by John F. Walvoord.

Walvoord’s quote about the suffering church of Smyrna really got me thinking about the challenges I’ve gone through.

What about your own sufferings? What about your own choices, words, actions and deeds in your agony? What about the story being written about your next steps?

We all have a story.
We all have sufferings. 
We all have an opportunity to have our story be used for a greater purpose.

In time and when you are ready, be encouraged to let your story burn brilliantly like a lamp on a stand.

Someone out there needs to see the Light.

Monday’s Musings — Creating a Better Fit

Sewing Shirt

One of my sons is a baseball player. All season I’ve been wearing the fan t-shirt. I only like t-shirts if they have a very loose collar, and this one doesn’t. It rubs my neck, and it makes my round face look even more round. Ugh.

For weeks, I’ve been thinking, “I should do something about this collar.” I wear the shirt a few times a week at games to support his team, and I think about that collar every time I put it on. It’s one of those SHOULD DO things that doesn’t get done. But…it did get done this week.

Using a seam ripper, I carefully took the collar off the t-shirt. I then pressed and rolled the ragged edge of the fabric twice so it would not unwind –that would not be at all attractive, even for a t-shirt. I then ran the new collar’s hem through my sewing machine. The whole thing took me less than half an hour.

My altered t-shirt feels so much better on me now! The slightly-scooped neck is much more comfy than the tight crew neck, and I’m astonished at how much slimmer my chubby cheeks look with this simple alteration! I should have done it at the beginning of the season, as it would have saved me a few “should-a-would-a” thoughts.

How many aspects of our life could use a slight tweaking to create a better fit?

What if I would get up 15 minutes earlier each day? What if I made a pact to have an empty kitchen sink before heading to bed? What if I would deal with every received email on a check-it-once basis?

Hmmm…the possibilities:  a few extra minutes for Bible study — I’m always craving more time anyway; a pleasant feeling when walking into the kitchen in the morning; no more dread wondering how I’ll get through 2800 emails — someday.

Slight alterations. A better fit. An opportunity. A new outlook. More productivity.

There are blessings all around us. Too often, we feel that CHANGE has to be big. No. A quick and simple alteration can create a better fit in our life, in the Word and in our walk in just a few moments. Imagine the trickle-down effects. Blessings are waiting to be realized — with or without a sewing machine.