It's Christmas, a very traditional time of the year when we give - and receive - gifts.
Did you know that gift-giving is a two-way street? First and foremost, giving a gift is an act of love. Someone gives you something, whether its a huge toy, expensive jewelry, a card or a compliment, because they care about you and want you to be happy,
Sometimes, though, our ability to receive gifts could use a little boost. What is your "normal" response when someone says, "You look pretty today," or "My you look good?" Isn't our response often, "Oh, this old dress" or in some way we sort of shrug off the wonderful offering just presented (see the word present in there?). We have a hard time receiving compliments, a hard time accepting presents, a difficult time receiving love.
Sometimes, in our eyes, the actual gift falls short of the mark. The sweater isn't the right color, the ring isn't quite what we were hoping for, or the whatever - it just .... isn't .... quite....right. But, we say to ourselves, "It's the thought that counts, right?"
Well, actually, it is.
In both scenarios above, the gift giver put some thought into the gift, whether words or otherwise, spent time picking it out, paid some money to purchase it, or built of courage to give you a compliment. So, yes, it is the thought that counts.
So... what should we do?
Here's a simple suggestion: Whenever you are given a gift, a present, offering, hand-out, donation, or award, take a deep breath and look inside for a moment before responding and instead of saying no (in not so many words or funny facial expressions), look inside and then say yes! Say, "Thank You" and enjoy the spirit of the moment!!!
Receive the gift and the thought behind it, receive the joy that comes with it. Receive graciously.
In today's Faith & Yoga class we will be meditating on receiving graciously. Move a little, and receive God's gifts graciously. 4 pm today in the Family Life Center.
P.S. Thanks Pastor Mark for another wonderful sermon. I hope you don't mind my paraphrasing and adding my 2 cents.
This weekend, the Children’s moment was the shining star of the service. Henriette Myers reminded us that the Holy Spirit Lives in our hearts! Not exists, not sits there like a lump on a log, but lives, resides and takes up residence. And she asked the kids (bur really, she was probably talking to all of us!) “What happens when you have Joy?”
Her response was so special.
Take a moment in a quiet place and picture in your mind, follow along with feeling.
Thank you, Henriette, for reminding us that Joy is in our hearts, we just need to look inside, listen and feel, and then let it out, let is shine forth!
Have a joyful day!
Vicki Schneider leads Christian Yoga and Meditation classes at Calvin Christian Reformed Church located on Norton Avenue. Join her for a class today!
I lost my cool. I got upset. I got angry. And then I wasn’t nice.
Let me tell you the story.
I was trying to get a new email set up and during this process a note from the provider popped up that said “it is required to update to version 16.” I thought to myself, “Ok, no big deal” and I clicked the button. The computer did its thing and I’m thinking, “This isn’t so bad, I can handle this.” And then the worst thing in the world happened when I opened the program. All of my existing emails were gone!! Just like that. I could feel tension building in my shoulders and anxiety as it crept from my shoulders to my head and face.
Then the flush of thoughts ran through my mind, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? 5 years of history, gone in an instant!” “This is awful!” etc., etc., etc.
I got on the helpline phone with the provider. Three hours later there was no solution. The next day, 3 more hours and we might have pinpointed the problem. Enter in our IT consultant. More time “wasted” just trying to figure out the issue.
Four (4) days total to be exact. 4 days of dealing with a mess, 4 days of non-productive down-time. All the while I’m losing my cool. I could sense it, I could feel it, but I was not able to stop it. I was aware that intense feelings of concern and anger at the computer system were arriving full force.
One might think that after years of yoga practice, that I would remain calm and wouldn’t lash out when things are not going well (also translated as “my way”). But that’s why we practice. We practice so that we don’t just go through life half-cocked - unaware of our emotions and our impact on the world.
One positive effect of my practice is that I know how I felt (horrible for being less than kind) and what I did (used strong tones and being angry at people who were just trying to help). I was aware that I wasn’t handling the situation very well. Maybe I didn’t completely stop some bad behavior, but at least there wasn’t a meltdown. And, I now know that the sensation of tensing shoulders is a message. It means to me that I am moving from frustration to anger and I need to take a moment and a breath to center myself and re-gather my composure. A personal time-out before I say another word.
So I did that. I took a moment for myself to breathe, to step away from the issue (figuratively) and find that calm place within myself (inner resource) where there is space. Space to ponder, space to regroup, space to allow a new or different way to respond to develop.
When I did that, I was able to redirect my thinking to find a solution to the real issue, life became manageable again. Although the computer system was down and unusable, that wasn’t the issue. The real issue was my work wasn’t getting done. Time pressure, time constraints were the real issue. Simple fix. Find another computer to use and enlist some help to fix the computer.
I’m going to consider this a practice round. Next time, I will handle the situation, whatever it is, better.
I’m sorry I behaved poorly. A little self-forgiveness goes a long way. Now I will apologize to the other people involved and hope they will forgive me too.
See you at practice!
Blessings & Namaste,
Rev. Howard Vugteveen gave a riveting sermon on the "Power of Identity" this week at Calvin Church. He began by telling a story about how people long to be close to God. And he did it in such a simple, elegant way and in laymen's terms. He related to our very personal human nature. It is something all of us feel, whether we can place a finger on it or not. Call it longing, perhaps, but it is there.
He asked simply, “Why do we do the things we do?”
His answer to that question was, "because we think the things we think."
And, the reason we think the way we think is because we have a self-image that was defined by someone other than God.
Our self image oftentimes is (or was) defined by hurts from others and disappointments that we experience often as a child, but just as often throughout life. We do what we do based on this image, and our actions are designed to prevent heartache, sorrow, and sometimes physical pain. We do what we do because we think we aren’t good enough, and this thought is based only on a perception. It isn't even true.
And when we do what we do over and over again, we develop beliefs in the image, and habits. Habits that keep us moving through life without even being present. We become unaware of what we do or why we believe what we believe.
Have you ever driven to work and wondered, "How did I get here?" It was like the car knew the way to work and how to pick up your coffee on the way.... It's as if we're living in a fog, or like there is a veil over our eyes.
But, it doesn't have to be that way. As the pastor said, we have choices. God gave us free will. We get to choose how to live.
When we practice yoga and meditation, we relearn to listen, we relearn to focus. We remember that we are all Children of God. When we remember who we are, we are impacted. We can change our thoughts, we can affect our emotions and we can act differently.
We have an identity that no one else gets to influence or can take away from us. All we have to do is reach into our hearts and feel the presence of God - and the fog dissipates, we lift the veil, and we open our eyes.
Blue Horizons Wellness is opening a yoga and wellness studio in downtown Lakeside in March 2017.
Join us for mind-body practices for health, healing and well-being. BHW will be offering Yoga, mindfulness, movement classes, meditation classes and workshops all to inspire you to be the best you can be!
Watch for more news!!
Blessings and Namaste,
In this bustling season of shopping, decorating, visiting family & friends we often forget to be joyful.
Joy breathes - Take a moment to slow down and breathe.
Joy surrounds, enters, lifts and supports each of us. - Take a moment to notice our blessings and feel how fortunate we are.
Joy is happiness over-flowing. First it fills all the nooks and crannies of our bodies and souls then spills over to be shared with others. - Share a moment with a friend or family member, maybe someone you haven't spoken with in awhile.
According to Rev. John DeBoer, "Joy is the reflection of Christ's presence within us." Allow your spirit to be surrounded and supported and Be the light this holiday season!
Have a Very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. See you next year on the 10th.
Blessings and namaste,
Yesterday, Pastor Jerry’s sermon and the songs we sang remind us that we have the ability to experience God in many ways. We do that best by opening and using all our senses. The song “Open Our Eyes” begins with open our eyes so that we may see, reach out and touch so that we may feel your presence, open our ears so that we may listen. But, often we close ourselves down. We stop seeing, we stop listening, we stop feeling. And when we do that, we forget.
Jerry’s sermon reminded us to refocus ourselves so that we can hear God’s voice among all the other “voices” in the world today. To hear God’s voice above all the other voices.
Jerry beautifully described how we all want to:
Help us to have a humble wisdom, a searching wisdom, an inner knowing that comes from you so that our perspective of the world and our own lives is true and right so that we have confidence to take the next right step along our individual personal life journeys.
Source - Summary of Pastor Jerry’s sermon 11-6-16.
The Tuesday Calvin Faith & Yoga classes will be held at Lake Harbor Park under the pavilion on Tuesday 7/11/16.
See you there!
Classes at back at CRC