20,000 Days and Counting

20,000 Days CoverI have been alive 19,852 days since entering the world. It’s sobering to think that my days are numbered and my life is finite. I won’t live forever.

I was reminded of that this past weekend when my own sweet Dad was admitted to the hospital unexpectantly. He is okay, they are running more tests, but it gave all of us a scare. I love my Dad, I want him to live forever, but the reality is, he won’t and everyone else I love won’t either. The same weekend my Dad was in the hospital, my cousin lost her Dad as he also ended up in the hospital. Today is the memorial service. He was so young, my Dad is much older. I am so sad for her, but it made me think of what Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” I want wisdom to live each day don’t you? And yet so many of my days just happen randomly with no purpose or plan. I get tired, I get discouraged and the highs of yesterday turn into a reality check of life just plain hurts sometimes. That’s how I feel today, kind of blah, blah, blah. I know I am tired, it’s been crazy busy lately. How do you and I move past those thoughts and feelings living each day no matter what with purpose? God created us for a purpose and His delight is for us to live intentionally every single day!

Robert D. Smith in his book 20,000 Days and Counting gives insight into developing wisdom by measuring our life in days rather in years. He says this, If we learn how to die, we’ll know how to live; if we learn how to live, we’ll know how to die. Wow, that hit me hard. What he says in this short poignant book is that we shouldn’t wait until we have a crisis or trauma in our lives to live life with intensity, we should prepare right now. Knowing our purpose helps us to live life with intention. There are a great number of resources available to help figure out your purpose but I want to give you a simple one just now from his book I finished reading, because it only takes about 20 minutes.

He suggests you grab a blank piece of paper and just start writing, everything that comes to mind and repeat it until you get the answer that gets you excited or makes you jump up and down. That is the start. Everyone has a purpose, you weren’t created to just exist and go through life aimlessly. Even our mundane routines of life have purpose, they make up the bigger picture. It’s how we live out those routines and our attitude approach that makes the difference of living with intention. I am so learning this the past few years.

If you want to go further, find a life coach, grab this book 20,000 Days and Counting or one of the many others available resources by seasoned authors whose mission is to help others find their purpose. If you need some suggestions, I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. By the way, helping others find their purpose, is a passion of mine, it is part of the purpose I know God designed for me. If you go to the coaching part of my website, you can fill out a coaching questionnaire and I offer a free 30-minute consultation to get your started. Then you can decide where you want to go from there nothing more. It’s the message I am passionate about~living life with intention and purpose. www.cynthiacavanaugh.com/coaching/

We have no excuse people. We can choose to live with purpose each and every day. I am preaching to myself RIGHT NOW, because I woke up this morning feeling rather discouraged even when I have a lot of amazing things happening in my life right now, the ugly stuff seems to take over and put a black cloud over it all that keeps me being excited about this day, right now, right here. Tomorrow it will be my 19,853rd day of life. Am I up for the challenge? I hope so, okay, YES I AM!! Will you join me? What step can you take today to move into “carefully numbering your days to develop wisdom in your heart?” What is your purpose?

 

 

 

The Lingering Truth of a Black Eye

Let-Go-Let-GodHere’s the deal. I ran into the door last week. I got a black eye. A week later the pain is gone but my eye looks worse! Why is that? I decided to Google it and I found out that bruises around the eye get worse before they get better. It can take up to three weeks.That explains it, so I have another two weeks to go. Sheesh! I need more makeup.

At the risk of sounding overly obsessed with this phenomenon of my injury I’ve experienced, it has given me some more food for thought about letting go and releasing hurts. I got hurt running into the door last week, but it will get better with time. Pretty soon my eye will look normal again. Along the same line, I have never liked the saying about healing takes time because it feels like we are minimizing the initial impact. The reality is, when we get hurt trying to do the right thing it takes time to heal and it can hurt for a long, long time. The bruise is still ever present. When relationships are involved the bruise can go deep. Letting go, releasing and most importantly forgiveness is the path of following Jesus and understanding the cross. I have no other choice if I am going to be obedient. I have to let go.

Andy Stanley says in his book Enemies of the Heart, “Whenever someone hurts you, there’s a sense in which they’ve taken something from you.”

I’d never quite thought of it in that way before. When I get hurt, somebody has taken something from me. Sigh…

Andy says in his book that most of us skip a very important step when we are trying to let go and forgive. We know what they did to hurt us, but can we identify what actually was taken as a result of the hurt?  What did they take? What do we feel they owe us? We need to name what we think they owe us so we can be ready to fully release it and forgive. He goes on to say, “General forgiveness doesn’t heal specific hurts because you cannot cancel a debt that you haven’t clearly identified.”

Ouch! That quote slammed into my heart today. I realized I have missed this step in fully releasing some hurts in my life. I’ve been focusing on what’s been taken from me and didn’t even realize it. I hadn’t named it and it has kept me from cancelling the debt for good. I hadn’t completed the full cycle. I was making myself crazy because I felt I had followed the steps of letting go and forgiving but I was generalizing it seems. The missing piece became clearer today as I asked myself the question, what exactly has been taken from me in this hurt?

I’ve come to the conclusion, there are many layers to the heart. It’s complicated. God is patient. God is merciful towards me and you as we try and figure it out. He knows I want to do the right thing.  He knows that I desire to choose to forgive because I’ve been forgiven. Really, let me say it again, nobody owes me anything!

I’ve learned alot from a simple bruise on my eye. It will be around for a few more weeks, but when I look in the mirror the next 14 days as it heals, it will remind me of the truth.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

 

 

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When It Rains, It Pours!


Codi
I am overwhelmed, and was flat on my face this past Monday night thanking God for pouring out such an abundance this week. I feel like I’m riding over a waterfall of blessings with all the events and new beginnings. My first grand-daughter was born this past Sunday, Codi Joy. I can hardly contain my excitement after 30 plus years of boys and more boys. I have revelled in being a mother of boys but have looked forward to the day we would have a girl in the family! Watching my kids flourish and start families of their own, my heart is so blessed. Another one is on the way any moment now, a second girl is coming. I am just waiting for that phonecall to go to the hospital. She already is like a typical girl, taking her time getting ready to come!

On Monday, my new book Unlocked:Five Myths Holding Your Influence Captive was released and with it came thoughts and feelings of gratitude to God of a life-long dream fulfilled. It all started when I was in fourth grade. I wrote a book for a class project entitled. “Irene and the Big Ballloon.” It was a simple story of a little girl and an adventure to dream big and to travel. She built a balloon and went far and wide in her adventures.

As I was thinking about that first literary work when I was just 9 years old, I had an epiphany. The dreams and desires planted in my little girl heart back then aren’t that much different today. I still have many of those same dreams, but now it is wider and deeper. I have a dream to encourage others to embrace their significance as God has made and designed them. I have a dream to help others make a difference in their world. I have a dream to impart hope to the hopeless. I have a dream to love well, and for my life to be a fragrance that lingers with the love and mercy of Jesus. I have a dream to live boldly and leave a strong godly legacy. I am still dreaming and will until I draw my last breath! I know it might sound funny that I am describing dreams in this context, but I am really using it as an adjective and believe what Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” For me, dreaming is aspiring to, reaching towards and thinking of attaining something. Not something impossible, but a tangible ideal that will transform my realm of influence. Let me ask, what are you dreaming about these days?

To use a well-worn phrase, it’s been an amazing week! Not all weeks are a flood of emotions as this one has been, but once in awhile it’s great to have a down pour~especially if you have experienced a drought! I am reminded of one of my favorite verses. “When you walk through the valley of weeping there shall be pools of blessings after the rain.”  Psalms 84:5,6

More info on Unlocked and to read an excerpt: http://www.newhopedigital.com/2013/08/unlocked/

 

My Addiction with Cookie Butter

Cookie ButterThis is going to be a totally frivolous post. I am just warning you.  Tomorrow I have a surprise and some newsy items, and will give you the “real” post. But today, I thought I would share with you my love affair with COOKIE BUTTER!

I first was introduced to this sinful and wicked delight when I was on a trip this past year. I had seen it many times in Trader Joe’s, but for some reason passed it by. It just sounded weird! Now I am the one who is weird because I have become addicted (OUCH!) to this delectable treat, so much so that I had been stalking Trader Joe’s for over a month. They ran out. How dare they! They were only getting a case a day and every time I showed up, in the morning in the afternoon, in the evening, I got the same answer, WE ONLY HAVE A CASE AND IT’S ALL GONE! I was tempted to blame my shopping neighbors to the North for stealing all of it, but I confessed. They were entitled to the addiction as much as I was. Sigh….

I finally gave up asking, and last week I was running an errand and I sent my hubbie to TJ to pick up a few items. Guess what he came back with when he picked me up? Two jars, I couldn’t believe it! I told him we had to go back and get more, what if they run out again? He looked at me with that look that says, “I’d better do what she says because she has that wild look in her eye.” So we turned around and we went back. I quickly made my way down the aisle and there it was, rows and rows of Cookie Butter. I just stood there and stared, blocking the path of anyone who would dare to reach over me to grab a jar. I quickly calculated how much I really should buy. What if there was another shortage?  I decided on another two jars. I thought I’d better share and not stockpile. Four jars would take care of my problem for awhile. When I went to pay for it, I told my saga to the cashier, equally she was happy for the many customers who thought they had been deprived for so long.

So you might ask, what is Cookie Butter? It is kind of a sweet and spicy spread made from Speculoos Cookies. It has the consistency of peanut butter which means it is great on toast, to dip with fruit, or on ice cream. The best way is to just take a spoon and dig in and savor it. Nasty stuff, don’t look at the calorie count, but a treat for someone weird like me!

Purging 101

Okay, I have been purging papers, files, old messages, funky junk and it has felt really REALLY good! As I was purging I was lingering. I’m not so sure that is a good thing because as I lingered I debated whether I should toss or keep things for a season longer.

So, here’s how it went down. I dropped a box next to the cabinet I was working on. I tossed the items I could easily say,” naaa…this has to go, can’t believe I’ve held on to this for so long” into the box. Really, Cynthia, airline travel receipts from the last century? Don’t need them, don’t want them and they don’t need to be in a scrapbook. I couldn’t even remember what the trip was even about let alone save it for a memory in a book! Then I made a lonely pile next to the box, which affectionately became the lingering pile. It helped me to get through the mess quicker and not well up with emotion over some long lost trivia. By the time I surfaced totally clean cabinets, I was able to go back to the lingering pile and make a good decision which 85% of what I was lingering over ended up in the box to go. Like the first speaking message I gave over 20 years ago, typed on an IBM typewriter. I guess I just needed a little time to grieve the loss of what was surfacing as I held in my hands things that really aren’t relevant in the present.

Purging and lingering reminds me of what Paul is trying to get across to us in Philippians 3:12-14. His underlying premise is “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (AMP) He makes it very clear early in the chapter that he hasn’t arrived, isn’t perfect, but has made it his life goal to forsake all in order to know Christ in His fullness. He is giving us a prescription on how to know Christ intimately. It isn’t by focusing on our past failures or getting caught up and reveling in past success. It’s pushing forward, being present in the moment and keeping our eyes on the goal, Jesus Christ.

My take away from this is that, it is hard to live in the present and strive for the goal if we keep lingering in the past. A little lingering is okay, but constant living in a lingering mode keeps us from the future God has for us.

As I think about purging and lingering, I have to ask myself these questions. What do I need to purge in my heart so I can press on toward God’s goal for me? What needs to go into the purge box? What needs to be put on the lingering pile to revisit and grieve so I can totally let go? Am I lingering at unforgiveness, hurt and pain? At times I have allowed even the “lingering pile” in my heart to stay too long and it blocks my ability to move ahead. It is stifling and keeps me stagnant. I’ve been there so many times and I am so done with this trap I find myself in. That is why the 3×5 card of my 6×6 for this summer is helping me move forward. ONWARD to the next five on my 6 x 6 list for this summer! Yea for PURGING!!