Friday, April 30, 2010

Life is a Buffet Speaking Event

My next speaking event is a Mother's Day Banquet, May 1st, 2010 at Unity Free Will Baptist Church. The church is located at 360 Hickory Road East, Chesapeake, VA 23322 and the banquet begins at 6:00 PM. If you are in the area and wish to attend you can contact the church at 757-421-2394.

I will be signing copies of the "Life is a Buffet" books after the event. Bring a friend and enjoy good food, laughter and a little food for thought as well. This is a great opportunity to share a fun time with your mother or your daughter. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peace Beyond All Understanding

Well, there's less than a month left until we head out for our trip to Uganda, Africa. I have to admit I'm getting a little anxious about being on an airplane for more than 30 hours. I don't sleep well when flying and reading a book for 30 hours doesn't tickle my fancy either. I just have to think of a way to keep myself occupied without loosing it and threatening to jump from the plane mid-way there. No, I'm not a good flyer. This is something I've noticed as I've gotten older. I no longer have the patience for flying or driving long distances. After about an hour I'm asking, "Are we there yet?"

To add to my stress level, Robbie (my sister) and I have decided to put our home on the market for sale. We are interested in finding something a little bit larger than what we currently have. We couldn't have picked a more difficult time. Here we are in an economic time that is great for buying, but not necessarily for selling. In addition, we're getting prepared to for our trip to Uganda. Trying to coordinate the selling of our house and the buying of a new house along with the time we're going to be out of the country is nothing but fun. Do we close before we leave or do we wait until we get back home? Will anyone be able to reach us while we're out in the middle of nowhere to answer questions about home inspections and so on? I don't want to think about that right now. I just put it all in God's hands. Not that He's not busy, but He has pretty big hands.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Why is that such a hard thing to do? To rest in the peace of God and not be anxious about anything would be such a great feeling, yet we worry, struggle, fret and wring our hands over every detail of our lives. In a way it's like we're saying to God, "Sorry God, but I just can't trust you with my life. I'm afraid you will steer me wrong. You may not understand all the fine writing or know just how I am feeling inside. No, I can't take that chance." But what's the alternative here? To just do everything within our own knowledge, power and strength? I don't want that either. To me, there is no other alternative but to trust God with every aspect of my life and to believe that He knows what's best for me better than I know myself.

The verse uses the phrase, "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding..." In other words we don't have to understand everything up front. We just have to trust that God has it all under control and He will make sure it works out for our good. Wow, there is peace in that. Our job is to present our requests, to thank Him for what He's done and is going to do, and then trust Him beyond all of our own understanding. God has the job of taking care of the rest. I want to walk in that kind of peace. I don't want to struggle with understanding every detail of how things are going to work out in the end. I want to release my problems to Him and rest in the knowledge that He has broad shoulders and that He created me and that He can handle anything I give Him. Who else am I going to trust like that? I can't think of anyone who is willing to take on that kind of responsibility.

So selling, buying, traveling all at one time? He can work that out for me. I'm just going to rest in His peace and rely on His nature and character. He's never failed me yet. I know He won't fail me now. It's all yours God.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Flip Side

I’ve been in a hair-growing mode recently. I’ve worn my hair short for most of my adult life and loved it. However, I woke up one morning and decided I had to grow my hair longer. I’m not sure what brought on this new adventure, but it has not been an easy one. Perhaps it was a photo of Gweneth Paltrow and her beautiful flowing, locks.
My hair was cut in very short layers and so it was going to take the rest of my life to grow it out. My hairdresser said to me when I broke the news to her, “I hope I live long enough to see your hair all in one length.” Okay so she doesn’t have the gift of encouragement. Of course, no hairdresser wants to hear that you plan to grow your hair longer because that means fewer trips to see them. At least, that’s what I thought. It seems that growing your hair longer also means cutting your hair along the way. You have to cut the longer layers to match the shorter layers and so on. This can go on for quite some time.
After many cuts to match up the different layers and deciding on a style to match my wild hair, I finally made it to the point where all of my hair was one length. Yet the length was not below my ears yet. It was at the dreaded “in between” length. You know this length? Your hair won’t stay behind your ears but it looks awful over your ears. I tried to keep at least one side behind one ear while wearing the other side over my ear, but this requires regular sweeps of the hand through the hair to keep it that way. I know people are saying to themselves while we’re talking, “Why does she keep sweeping her hair back? What’s wrong with her? Why doesn’t she see she needs a hair cut?” 
Some mornings my hair looks great when I first leave the house, but after an hour or so it starts falling in my face and driving absolutely nuts. Yet I was determined to keep growing it. It was a goal that I set for myself. Even though most women my age have shorter hairdos, I was determined to be different; to break the mold; to grow my hair down to my shoulders. 
I saw many beautiful longer hairstyles on other women that made me determined to keep growing my hair. However, I did not realize that as I grow my hair, I get into the dangerous flip zone. You know, when your hair flips in places you don’t want it to flip. I discovered I have a flip right in the back of my hair that will not lie flat no matter how hard I try. I have used a flat iron on it. I’ve sprayed it with various straighteners, which seem to work for a while, but then the flip just springs back into action. It must be in my DNA to have a flip back there. 
One morning as I was sitting at my computer, looking through some photos, I saw a picture of me with short hair and I thought, “My hair looked really cute in that picture.” I loved the texture and the different layers. And then, just as suddenly as I decided I had to grow out my hair, I decided it had to be cut into short layers right away. I phoned my hairdresser who pleaded with me, “But we’ve come so far. Don’t turn back now. Just be patient. A few more months and your hair will be long and down to your shoulders just like you’ve always dreamed about.” 

But I was determined. “No,” I answered. “I have a flip in the back and you know it. My hair will never grow out properly. I must have the short layers back. Please, cut my hair again!”
When the day came to cut it, I went back and forth again. “If I cut it short, it will take longer than I have left to grow it out again,” I told myself. Of course on the day it was to be cut, my hair fell into place perfectly as if to say, “See? I can behave sometimes.” But I  knew it wouldn’t last. The hair had to be cut. I was destined to have short hair. The flip in the back would disappear and all would be right in the world. It had to be done. 
Now, as I stare back at the mirror in the mornings, I still wonder what it would be like to have long, flowing hair. I turn my head from side to side and ponder it still. But I always grab my hand mirror and look at the back of my head. Lurking somewhere underneath my short hair was a flip waiting to show it’s ugly face again, determined to ruin my dream of long hair. I am content with my short do for now. Who knows what new hope tomorrow will bring. The memory of the flip may fade and then I’ll jump right back into growing mode again. But for now, I will sport my short hairdo with pride. 
We pay a lot of attention to outer appearances most of the time. We probably pay more attention than we should. We worry about how we look to others and what others judge about us from our appearance. And we should care how we look. We should strive for excellence in every area of our lives, but we should be more concerned with our inner beauty than with our outward appearance. 
1 Peter 3:3 says, “What matters is not your outer appearance-the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes-but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
God sees what’s on the inside. He looks beneath the surface and into our heart. He knows our motives, our thoughts, our desires and our feelings. If we spent more time on our inner beauty I’d dare say more people would find us attractive. 
When we look in the mirror we see a reflection of only our outward appearance, but if we hold ourselves up to the Word of God we see a reflection of who we are on the inside. The Holy Spirit shows us the areas that need a bit more grooming and attention. 
So the next time you’re considering changing your hairstyle, fashion style, or maybe just  your makeup, look at the flip side and consider  cultivating your inner beauty, the kind that God delights in. Then you will be radiant, no mater the length of your hair. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pass The Salt Please

I love to eat fried cornbread. I grew up with it on our table at almost every meal. My grandmother very rarely cooked a meal that we did not have either baked or fried cornbread with it. I’m not talking about the sweet flavored type of cornbread many of you may be familiar with eating. The cornbread I’m talking about is made from plain, white corn meal and water. The water and meal are mixed together until it becomes thick, almost like a pancake batter. Then it’s either baked in a cast iron skillet in the oven or made into small patty cakes and fried in oil until golden brown. 

We’ve had friends over on different occasions and when we put the cornbread on the table they almost always ask, “What is that?” When I tell them it’s cornbread they usually ask to try a piece. However, the response is nearly always the same. “This is very bland,” they say. They’re right. With just a mixture of corn meal and water you shouldn’t expect a burst of flavor. We eat it with salty meat or mashed in with a good flavorful stew. The bland taste of the cornbread is not very tasty just on its own, but when combined with something salty, it’s great. I know it’s not healthy, but sometimes I actually put a little salt in my plate and dip the cornbread in it as I eat. The salt enhances the flavor of the cornbread, making it the perfect combination. 

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. We, as Christians, add flavor to an otherwise bland world. We are the seasoning of grace and knowledge to those who do not know Christ. People can’t see the saltiness at first glance, but it’s there. As we mix with others, the salt in our lives begins to mix with the bland flavor of their own lives and they notice a difference, maybe even for the first time. 

If we lose our savor, our seasoning, then how can we add flavor to the lives of others? We may be the only seasoning of godliness that someone gets to experience. 

Matthew 5:13 says, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (The Message)

Each time we reach for the saltshaker while we are cooking or eating a meal, remember our lives serve the same purpose. So let’s go out there and share some seasoning with the rest of the world. Once they taste the difference, they won’t want to live without it. Now, pass the cornbread and the salt, please. 

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly D. Boyette. All rights reserved.