Wednesday, April 4

Thoughts to ponder...

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)

Back when I was in High School, I had to memorize almost the entire book of Philippians. At the time, it was a daunting thought to have to complete this assignment because I have never been good at memorizing. Eventually I was able to at least paraphrase the entire book in order to pass the class in High School.

Now years later, these verses are so helpful as I am tempted to think about past events that I can't change, or I have anxiety about my future. All we have is today. We can't change the past, and worrying about the future will prove counterproductive.

I have found that only thinking about things that fit these descriptions can have a positive effect on my entire day. When I do the opposite, and speculate what I think might be true about a person or an experience, it is easy for my thoughts to ruin my day. They may or may not be true, but I tend to read between the lines when things happen, and my mind gets stuck in a downward spiral of "what if" thinking.

I have noticed that the more room I leave for the positive things to fill my mind, the less trouble I have with feeling down.

The New American Standard translation of verse 9 says, "practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." I will take that any day over a day characterized by worrying.

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Italy trip

I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!