Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fruit of the Month

the fruit of the spirit

The gift of fruit   

When I was first in private practice, my partner and I would receive many gifts at the holidays, both from patients and from other physicians. One of the most memorable presents I got, my first year out, was a gift that kept on giving: a  membership in a Fruit-of-the-Month club.  Each month a box would appear at my doorstep carefully packed with a  luscious seasonal fruit:  oranges one month, apples the next, then pears, plums, grapefruit, kiwi, etc.  Delightful.  There was always more than I could possibly eat, and I would share with the staff and friends.

 God has given us beautiful fruit to enjoy. 

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. –(Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)

 What if I decided to BE the fruit of the month this year?   What if each month, I focus on just one of the fruits of the spirit—learn to better understand, absorb, embrace it–and then share it with those around me?

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self-control

 What a great thing to deposit on someone’s doorstep every month!

Care to join me?

February’s fruit is fitting:  LOVE

How can we better understand, absorb, embrace, and share God’s love?  How do you box it up?  How does it get delivered?

 I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

the fruit of the spirit is love joy peace

Joy = Love + Laughter

Everyone loves to laugh.  Why is that?

  • Laughter is infectious.  If you are around someone who is bent over laughing  (and also maybe about to pee their pants if they are a certain age), you immediately smile.  And if they keep on laughing, even if they don’t say a word, you start to laugh with them, and try to get their attention to find out what is so funny, so you can share the joke.
  • Laughter, like a good cry, is soul cleansing – but unlike tears, laughter doesn’t usually leave you exhausted or melancholy.  On the contrary, it is invigorating.
  • Laughter is bright. Not in an ethereal-lumninous-sort of way, but in a blinding-flash-of-light kind of way.  In fact, you could say

Laughter is audible sunshine. 

  • Laughter is refreshing, especially when someone is laughing at themselves.  It reminds you not to take yourself too seriously.
  • Laughter is a game changer. When your sense of humor is tickled, and you start to laugh,  whatever foul mood, or pity party, you might be experiencing tends to evaporate.
  • Laughter is a gift from God.  Think about it: God invented laughter, just as He did everything else we know and experience.  He programmed us each with our funny-o-meter. And here’s an interesting concept: God laughs.Jesus_laughing

God laughs?  Of course He does. In fact, I bet He laughs a lot.  No one could create some of the amazing quirky creatures in our world without a lively sense of humor.   He surely chuckles, as any loving parent would, at the many funny things we say and do.  And He must certainly laugh – in that deep satisfied way – when his children step into joy.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

                Psalm 16:11  NASB

Joy is the hallmark of a person who lives in God’s presence.  Such a person loves. And smiles. And laughs.   

 You might say

 Joy = Love + Laughter.

Laugh Out Loud

what makes us laugh?I have noticed recently that my husband Andrew is fast becoming a Facebook Junkie.  This puzzled me for awhile.  He has always been a weather watcher (9 inches of snow here yesterday!)  And sports enthusiast (did you know that Drew Brees throws more accurately  than an Olympic archer?)  But Facebook?  Andrew?

Then the other day I was in the next room and heard him laugh out loud.  Please understand:  Andrew has a keen and very dry sense of humor (in my opinion one of his most endearing traits).  He finds many things amusing, but doesn’t often laugh out loud.  So when I heard him cackling, I wandered into the living room to find out what was so funny.  He was sitting in front of his computer reading this post from our friend Shannon in South Carolina. My lightbulb went on. Mystery solved.  Andrew enjoys Facebook because it makes him laugh.

Laughter is one of the most enjoyable things in life, isn’t it?  Sunsets On the Beach are spectacular, of course, and  a Shared Moment with a Friend is priceless, but a good belly laugh?  That has to be right up there on the List of Life’s Best Experiences.

What makes us laugh?  The ludicrous, I suppose. The unexpected.  The Quirky. I don’t know. I’m no a humor expert. (Is there such a thing?)  But I am an expert at “funny.”  As are you.  We all know “funny” when we see it, because we each own a built-in funny-o-meter.  When it goes off we laugh out loud.

Laugh Out Loud

Share your laughs with us.  Please send us clips/pictures/etc that trigger your funny-o-meter.  We will do our best to pass them along.

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Here is another “funny” we ran across recently:

A Prayer for the New Year, by Lydia Floren

A Prayer for the New Year

by Lydia Floren

Instrument of Peace

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

Lord, thank you for loving me through the words and actions of those around me.  Thank you for loving me when you have sent someone to:

  • Lend a hand with a car stuck in snow.
  • Listen to a triumph or heartache.
  • Bring a meal.
  • Give an unexpected gift.
  • Write a message of hope.
  • Speak encouragement.
  • Give a hug.
  • Share a smile.

Thank you that we each have something to give, something that has been given to us, and that we each give to others in our own unique way.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Tune and polish me, and then play me with your Maestro’s touch.  Lift a melody of your love through me, for those who cross my path.

Sarah McLachlan – “Prayer of St. Francis”

Pushing the RESET button–Donuts and Do-Overs

God's grace

One of my happiest childhood memories started out poorly. I was 6 years old on Saturday morning. My two siblings and I were already squabbling. After several minutes of screaming (and crabby parents) my mom made a dramatic announcement:

“Y’all listen up. We are all going to start our day over. Everyone go back to bed and stay there. In a few minutes I will let you know when it’s time to get up.”

Our arguments gave way to giggles as we climbed back beneath the sheets, curious at this unexpected turn of events. Sure enough, after a little while she called down the hall “Time to get up! breakfast!” We jumped out of bed, and bounded into the kitchen to discover my dad had snuck out and gotten donuts — a rare treat in our house back then.

It turned out to be a great day.

Many years later I still remember the rush of excitement, the dramatic shift of mood that morning — the power of choosing to starting over.

The power of starting over—a picture of God’s grace.

Every day God invites us to a “do-over,” to get our day going with the joy of a fresh start. He doesn’t want us to rehash old problems and issues. He wants us to let them go, just as He has let them go for us.

We never have to be stuck in our old habits of condemnation, defeat, worry, addiction, unforgiveness, perfectionism, or people-pleasing. God does not want us to be. That is why He came: to set us free.

I have to admit, it is hard for me, a recovering perfectionist, to push the RESET button of God’s grace every day. I want to get it right. Do it myself. Without Him. I have to remind myself that “getting it right” can only happen WITH Him — if I get it right in His timing, His power, with His presence. Receiving His grace, starting fresh, requires that I acknowledge to myself and to God that I need Him. Every day. Throughout the day.

God’s Grace is the RESET button that releases us from condemnation and frees us to truly live in joy.

As this new year begins, resolve to push the RESET button early and often.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1-2 NASB

This is the day that the lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:34 ESV

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-20 NASB

We would love to hear from you:
• Do you have a “do-over” story?

• What helps you remember to push the reset button?

Share your ideas/pictures/stories!
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My reminder to push the reset button!

My reminder to push the reset button!