The Dailey Dose – Happy Leap Day!

Leap

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Leap right up onto the mouse’s shoulder #5; Huzzah!

Happy Leap Day Friends! Today in social media circles it’s all about living out today with extra kindness, but are we really relegating goodness and mercy to such little importance that the spotlight only shines on them one day every four years? Is grace so insignificant it’s a gimmick assigned to #DayitForward?

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Galations 6:9 (New Living Translation)

I believe we were created to be a blessing everyday. That’s why we get such an emotional boost when we’re kind to others, and especially when we bless someone generously. Put it to the test today: see what happens when you genuinely smile at someone and say hello. Don’t worry about looking foolish!

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Say cheese! XOXO for my sweet #3

Take it one step further and suppress the urge to capture acts of kindness on social media.  Be a private Good Samaritan!

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others…But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:1,3-4 (New Living Translation)

Blessings today and everyday,

CED

Note:  This is the final edition of The Dailey Dose, which was a 90 day trial blog running from December 2015 through February 2016. Thank you everyone for all your constructive feedback and support. Did you enjoy a blog in particular?

The Exceptional Life would like to introduce a new biweekly series. Weeks one, three (and five) will feature Thankful Thursday and Saturday Scripture posts, and weeks two and four will offer Monday Musings and Wednesday Wisdom. Enjoy!

 

 

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The Dailey Dose – Identity

Say Your Name

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last week’s writing prompt asked us to write about our first name, and the story or association behind it. Also, if I had the choice (which I do) would I rename myself?

Names are important to us! The great lecturer and self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie  teaches that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  Principle #6 from How to Win Friends and Influence People.

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My inner Neo stopping bullets with an ice-cold pose.

 My first name’s Crystal, and a feminine name originating  around 19th century England.  Derived from the word crystal, a very clear, brilliant glass, or a clear, transparent quartz. It’s also κρυσταλλος (krystallos) meaning  “ice” in Greek. So (dramatic pause) I’m a brilliant woman, transparent in word and deed, exuding a calm, cool and collected strength? Love it! That explains how I flawlessly channel my inner Neo  through camera poses. Click the link and catch my drift… The Matrix

Easter Sunday, 1973
What terrible two’s? Posing in my Sunday Finery.

My Mom insists on being reasonable, and tells me I’m named after her high school classmate.  She was pregnant with me her senior year, and friends were few and far between. Girls “in that condition” had two choices in 1970: drop out or go to an alternative school. Mom stood her ground, stayed in her neighborhood school and graduated (walking across the stage a full nine month’s pregnant)! A girl named Crystal carried her books between classes, and would help her out alot.

As a woman of faith, I then turned to my Bible to find out if God calls us by name?  Yes, He does in many passages!

…Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.  Isaiah 49:1 NIV

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”  Exodus 33:17 NIV

I read on, discovering that God not only knows us by name, but also reveals Himself by name so we can fellowship in the most personal way. Whatever the need and in every situation, when we call He promises to answer. He is El Shaddai (the Lord God Almighty) and so much more!  Throughout the Old Testament, there are many beautiful  Names of God. After all this research I’m on cloud nine, and feeling like a physical and spiritual superhero.  So who am I?

Crystal, a child of the most high God and gifted to earthly parents for a season. When my Lord saw fit, He rewarded me with a husband designed just for me, who KNOWS me and LOVES me (flaws and all). Together we have our children and inheritance. My babies are a beautiful promise of a legacy that will live on long after I’m in Heaven. So would I rename myself?

Absolutely not. I’m living The Exceptional Life!

Blessings, CED

Banner credit: http://www.todaysword.org

The Dailey Dose – Happy New Year

5-4-3-2-1… Happy New Year!  What’s your focus for 2016?

A few days ago while out walking by a pond I saw a crusty, musty old barn and silo through a clearing.  What a fantastic piece of history!  Its sturdiness and majesty amazed me.  If a few stable hands got in there and applied some elbow grease, I thought, this old place could be AMAZING!  Sadly, it just stands there unused and silent, with untapped and unlimited potential.

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Barn and silo across the pond.

Sitting on a cluster of boulders by the water’s edge, I focused on the barn.  When there was life inside you: strong horses and other farm animals along with men and women tending the surrounding land, you had such purpose and meaning.  While hauntingly beautiful now, many may only see a demolition in your future.  Who decides if you’re worth saving?

Funny to go around talking to empty buildings, but in some ways this old barn and I were alike!  My old thinking and past actions focused a lot on my physical appearance or moods.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instead of living life using my God-given gifts, talents and abilities, I stumbled around for years wishing for lucky breaks, or worse, blaming others when my plans failed again and again.  I felt spiritually empty inside, and was self-destructive.  Thankfully God pierced right through my façade with love and kindness.

…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.  1 Sam 16:7  (NIV)

Once I made the decision to trust the Lord completely, I began to stop rationalizing all my failures and shortcomings as “that’s just who I am.” Life bloomed with possibility!  No more blindly navigating through life frustrated by unrealized plans and missed opportunities.   Now closely aligned to God’s Word, my future has stability and security.  Through my children I have both a gift and a reward from Heaven.

What are YOU trusting God for in 2016?  A new job.  Financial freedom.  Healthier relationships.  Perhaps all of the above!  Let’s agree today:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and kindness!  I honor You and praise You, for You are El Roi, the God who sees me.  You faithfully and continuously watch over me, and establish my steps. PC301135.JPG

Let 2016 be the year of fundamental change in me, as I trust You completely to do the impossible in my life.  Strengthen me when I am weak Lord, and increase  my faith daily. Thank you for my life God!  Use it to Your glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Blessings,

CED

The Dailey Dose – Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we wish you happiness and joy as you make cherished memories with friends and family this season.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

I pray that you enjoy peace, good health and prosperity in the new year!

May 2016 bring with it an abundance of great ideas, and your faith and courage increase to see them through,

and beloved may your silent dreams and hidden talents finally begin to spark into fruition.

 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”   Luke 2:10-14 (NIV)

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love and Blessings!

The Dailey Dose – Generosity

Today I’m buzzing hither and yon with excitement, and reminding anyone who’ll listen: Christmas is ONE WEEK AWAY!

Yes dear, that’s me wearing the mistletoe earrings and blinking reindeer antlers to work. Did you miss me as I sped around the office after eating waaay too many sugar cookies? Water, must have water to offset my sugar overload!

The gifts are all wrapped and on their way to loved ones, the cards are finally labeled and ready for the mailman, and the decorations? Let’s just say they’re outside, and everywhere indoors!  Toilet paper anyone?

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Photo credit: http://www.handmadebymother.blogspot.com

But that just scratches the surface doesn’t it?  What makes me happiest is when I’m able to give my time, talent and resources to bless others as my Heavenly Father gives to me:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father…” James 1:17, NKJV

My children and I often talk about the gifts of God, and their discussion will drift towards the tangible: presents, money and such.   This is when I teach them that God has given us the best gift of all, the gift of salvation through His son Jesus, and it doesn’t stop there! His Word is full of enough provision and promises to last a lifetime.

imagesH6JZ0RBZPhoto credit: http://www.redeemingriches.com

 Everyone has an idea of what a prosperous and generous life resembles, and I’m no different! This site is called The Exceptional Life, and to me that life is one where friends and family have good health, a strong spiritual connection with God, blessed relationships and happy careers.

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Photo credit: http://www.45conversations.com

Deep inside I believe we’re created to be givers, and that’s us being our true, generous selves. How are you investing in the lives of others around you? What is your idea of generosity?

Blessings,

CED

Header photo credit: http://www.generositygut.com

The Dailey Dose – Adoption

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Photo credit: http://www.turnbacktogod.com

2016 is almost here! In the midst of all the cooking, shopping and celebrating I like to do two things: plan for the future and reflect on the past. It seems as if I’ve spent most of this year in reflection. So far we’ve shared stories about a loved one passed on and her wonderful legacy Grandma Personified in Cambodia, a small peek into my childhood The Daughter’s Song, and the “why” when it comes to being brave in this new blogging world Finding Your Why.

Bringing us full circle to this week’s topic: adoption. Until recently only those closest to me knew I was adopted as a young child. Early memories of my parents were disturbing, and I’m staying politically correct here. My Dad would show up sporadically then disappear for long stretches of time, which either depressed or infuriated my Mom to no end! One of the saddest memories I have as a kid is of me at the babysitters daydreaming about my Dad, and suddenly a man with an afro wearing an Army camouflage coat turns the corner. I cried as I ran and hugged his legs, saying  “Daddy,” but he was not my father. The sitter grabbed me and apologized to the stunned man as he hurried down the street, and I stood there shocked, confused, and just heartbroken.

Eventually my Mom married the man who would become my “new Dad” as they explained it. “Forget your old Dad” I was instructed along with promises of a fresh start. Siblings arrived between periods of happiness and dysfunction, and three years after the adoption ink dried new Dad left. This time I was neither naïve nor confused, but a pissed-off-with-a-capital-P teenager. Abandoned again, and I blamed everyone from myself, my parents to God. Bitterness and anger took deep root in my heart, and would snap to the surface like a whip whenever I allowed thoughts of the dear old Dads to surface.

Enter my husband! We’d been friends and classmates since our teen years, but even he knew very little about my childhood. I didn’t share, and bless his soul, he was too polite to dig. The traits of our early friendship: loyalty, commitment and kindness became the bedrock of our marriage, but even his love couldn’t erase the issues of those early years. Our children arrived, along with the chaos of parenthood, and the cracks in me were temporarily filled by the constant neediness of little people and our busy home. Now I’m the mother of adult children, who have their own feelings and childhood perspective. How ironic!

This spring I sat in church thinking about my children leaving the nest, and our Pastor started talking about the beauty of forgiveness. The point of the message was that forgiveness starts with the one offended, and not the person who creates the offense. At the end of the service we were asked to write the names of those we needed to forgive on a piece of black paper (no peeping eyes), and to place the folded paper at the foot of a cross at the altar. I wrote and prayed that God would heal my heart, and allow me to forgive those who hurt me in any way as a child. There’s really no way to describe the lifting in my spirit since that spring morning, and all the many, wonderful changes my family’s experienced since that heartfelt prayer ascended to the heavens. There’s true peace now as I continue to work on my relationships with my Dads, and great comfort knowing my heavenly Father not only loves me but unconditionally accepts me as I am: cracks and all.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 NLT

Blessings,

CED

The Dailey Dose – Renewal

Renewal is defined as the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.

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Photo credit: http://www.csdixon.com

Renewal is also called renovation, restoration, modernization, reconditioning, overhauling,  redevelopment, rebuilding and reconstruction.

www.risingabovereallife.com
Photo credit: http://www.risingabovelife.com

Let’s take this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the remainder of the year to recharge, refresh and RENEW!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Blessings,

CED

The Dailey Dose- Thankfulness

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Okay, I confess my little one and I are a bit ahead of ourselves ushering in the holiday season, but we’re still singing and laughing as we go up and down the store aisles, oblivious to any stares from fellow shoppers. We’re not THAT loud, and it is a wonderful time of the year.

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Happy Thanksgiving

I’m getting happy boosts every time I turn on the cooking channels, or see my one neighbor who breaks out the lights and wreaths weeks before Thanksgiving. High Five for initiative!

People are generally kinder during the winter holidays, and I have such tender memories of cooking, laughing, and family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My Grandma would take me to church, and my Aunt would have so many friends and family over that the “kid’s table” was generally in some separate space where we’d binge our pint-sized bodies on pineapple coconut cake and sweet potato pie, among other delectable sweets.

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Moving Up to the Big Table!

I’m truly thankful to be alive and raising my family in the 21st century. You have to admit it was pretty different just one century ago. My Grandma’s stories of how she gathered eggs and churned butter as a preschooler, then stored them in an icebox (precursor to the refrigerator) still has me shaking my head.  Then there was her talent in wringing chicken necks and de-feathering them, which left me slightly traumatized when first witnessing her technique. Yikes!

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Family Gathered: Near and Far!

Finally, and most importantly, I’m thankful that my Heavenly Father loves me, and through His Son has given me an example of how to live a life of compassion and forgiveness in my everyday relationships. I’ve experienced both great joy and heartache in my life, but the Lord has been the source of strength in all my circumstances. So, please share with me and The Exceptional Life family this week…

What are you thankful for? Share stories, pictures, video, the floor is yours!

Blessings, Crystal