Widmayer Wellness LLC

Encouragement in Your Wellness Journey

Category Archives: Thoughts

The Perfect Father

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I am very fortunate to have been blessed with an earthly father who loved me and poured into me.  I don’t know if he was a “typical” father. Is there is such a thing? There are worldly stereotypes and expectations.  I grew up in a time when the role of dads was a defined differently than in today’s world; it was also a time when dads’ roles were being challenged and changed.  There was the working dad of the 50’s, who came home to the housewife who did all the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing.  And dad was the disciplinarian.  In the 60’s and 70’s when women were spending more time working and women’s roles were being expanded through the Feminist Movement, more focus was placed on dads helping out in the home.

In that, I believe my dad was a quiet ground breaker.  I grew up seeing my dad pitch in with dishes and cooking.  Of course, this was more in my teenage years. In my early years, my dad traveled for work a lot, and my mom was on her own with my siblings and me.  But in my later childhood, my mom and dad worked at the same place, rode together every day, and shared household and childrearing responsibilities.  My dad was not too expert of a cook in the kitchen, but he rocked at grilling. And he gained skills in the kitchen over the years. He could fry an egg, and he made a mean pot of chili. But generally, he participated in the kitchen by peeling vegetables and washing pots and pans as my mom prepared meals.  He helped with grocery shopping, too; although, he would sometimes come home with the wrong stuff. He also paid the bills and kept up the lawn.  He planted and tended our backyard garden. And he addressed all the Christmas cards. He had gorgeous handwriting.

One of my favorite memories is working with my dad at the beginning of each school year to cover my books. I don’t know that kids do that anymore; however, we were required to cover our books to protect them and make them last longer.  Instead of buying covers, my dad always made them.  A brown paper bag, some scissors, and a marker were all that he needed to make me great covers.  He would cut and fold, and then script the name of the subject on the front of the book with his calligraphy style handwriting.  “It’s all in the wrist,” he’d say. “You have to move the wrist when you write, not just use your fingers.”

However, my dad was not the mechanical type or Mr. Fix-It type. My theory for his less than stellar skills in this area is that he had two older brothers, who were both very good at tinkering and fixing, and as the youngest of five children, he didn’t need to learn these skills.  Or, it may be that his bent was more toward academic things.

I once wrote an article about my dad saying he should have been a college professor.  He had the look, the pipe, and beard, and he loved expounding on topics.  His business experience made him a grammarian, and I believe that is where my obsession with grammar began.

Perhaps you were not as fortunate in your earthly father.  Many grow up with absent fathers, and today it is epidemic.  You may read this and feel cheated in some way.

My father was not perfect. No earthly father is.  But there is a Father who is Perfect and who is a Father to all.  He specifically says He will be a Father to the fatherless. He promises to defend widows and set the lonely into families. (Psalm 68:5-6) When we lack earthly parents through absence or failure, we can depend on God to be Our Father. He provides all we hope for.

We hope for love from a father. Jesus demonstrated that love by dying on the cross for our sins that we might be restored to a relationship with God the Father.  John 15:13 says, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 1 John 4:16 adds, God is love.  The love from God is a perfect love. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

We hope for security and stability from a father. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5) He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4)

We hope for provision from a father. God is Our Provider in all things.  He assures us we shouldn’t worry about food or clothes because our heavenly Father knows we have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:26-32) My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

We hope for guidance and advice from a father. Proverbs 3:5-6 assures us guidance. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. And James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

We hope for mentoring and direction. Isaiah 30:21 is one of my favorite verses. It assures us that God is providing direction. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,This is the way; walk in it.” And further in Psalm 37:23, The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way.

We hope for teaching. Good teachers give us instruction and then let us try.  God promises to teach us and keep a watch on us.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8)

We hope for gifts. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. (James 1:17)

We also should also expect discipline from a loving father. A father’s responsibility is to train children and help them learn as they mature. God has given us His Word, the Bible, and all of it is given to instruct and discipline.  II Timothy 3:16-17 says, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We will make mistakes, but God the Father also forgives. We expect forgiveness from a Father, and God has promised forgiveness.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

God, the Father is the Ultimate Father.  Regardless of our earthly fathers, we can count on God to provide all we need to grow up in Christ.

Like any loving parent, God has plans for us.  We are allowed to choose our own way, but when we follow our Father’s plans, we are acting with wisdom. God assures our future. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 When we follow His plans and His guidance as Our Loving Father, we will flourish. This promise is in Psalm 92:12-14. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.

As we approach another Father’s Day, find joy and gratitude in honoring your earthly father. And if you do not have an earthly father, or even if you do, remember to give thanks and praise for your heavenly Father, the Perfect Father.

 

Spring Break is Coming…But Oh, the Packing!

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Travel! We like to get away, but the packing. . . For me, packing takes #alltheoils for focus, courage, and stamina!  I admit it; I am high maintenance, and I like to have all my creature comforts when I am going on a trip.  Computer, phone, books, Kindles, notebooks, pens, coloring books and pencils, calendar, travel journal, crocheting, and snacks…lots of snacks. And let’s not forget oils. Wait, I haven’t packed the clothes yet, and the suitcase is full.

Last fall I took two long weekend trips to Chicago—one by car for business, one by train for pleasure. I took a carry-on suitcase, my purse, my backpack, and on the train trip, my crocheting project.  All the bags were heavy.  Everything I couldn’t fit in a suitcase ended up in my purse. Carrying all of it took some creative lifting and maneuvering.  Lifting my suitcase onto the train, while my shoulders and arms were loaded with my other bags, was impossible. My back was not happy with the weight of my backpack. I returned from those trips stiff, sore, and determined to be a lighter packer. However, wanting to pack lighter and following through on it are two different things.

Our spring break is coming up, and this trip is by car. I will be gone almost a month. The good news is the car holds a lot. The bad news is I still have to load and unload at each new venue.  We will be traveling through various weather zones, so I need outfits for all seasons. Maybe hotels should offer extensive wardrobe collections so people don’t have to pack. 🙂   Or maybe I need a personal assistant to carry all my things.  My husband has resigned from the job permanently.

Short of hiring a personal assistant, I am resolved to taking only few favorite outfits since there will be a washer and dryer available. And some of the creature comforts will have to remain behind.

Toiletries take up a lot of space, too, but I have found a great solution. Young Living’s Bon Voyage Travel Pack.  This little gem is really going to help me. It contains travel sizes of all my favorite things in one little zip up, and it has room to add more.  I am so excited about it.  Though I have tried making my own small containers for my personal items for previous trips, the quality of the bottles discouraged me.  Packing full size bottles of toiletries is not realistic when you are trying to save space.

The Young Living Bon Voyage Travel Pack provides TSA-compliant personal care products. Ten Young Living favorites come in an attractive toiletries bag, including

  • Thieves® AromaBright Toothpaste
  • Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier
  • Thieves Dental Floss
  • Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash
  • Young Living Toothbrush
  • Lavender Shampoo
  • Lavender Conditioner
  • Cinnamint Lip Balm
  • Morning Start™ Bath & Shower Gel
  • Genesis™ Hand & Body Lotion
  • ART® Light Moisturizer

Having a great solution for my toiletries is a good start to packing lighter.  For the rest of my packing, I’ve been reading up on tips.  Wish me luck!

Saying Thank You

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Expressing gratitude is a healthy habit that has been shown to increase a person’s life satisfaction.

Thank you—two little words that mean so much. They are among the first words we teach our children. And when we teach our children and grandchildren to express gratitude and appreciation, it reminds us to keep those words active in our own vocabulary.

But what about thank you notes?  It seems in this age of texting and social media, the art of writing has been lost, or at least diminished.  And while thank you notes are special, just remembering to say thank you is key.

Most people acknowledge gifts for weddings, showers, and graduations, but what about Christmas  presents? Are we in the habit of always practicing thanks?

I admit I often fail in this area.  If I receive a gift in the middle of the year or for a birthday, I am usually good about writing thank you notes; however, during the holidays with so many things going on, somehow the gifts that family give, while appreciated, don’t always get the proper thanks. Our immediate family members may not expect a hand-addressed stamped envelope to arrive in the mail, but expressing thanks to our family and extended family builds in us a habit to express thanks to others. A simple note stating thanks for the gift and appreciation at being remembered is adequate.  If the friend or family member is someone you saw at the holidays, expressing pleasure in having seen them is another nice addition to the note.

Writing thank you notes is just one way of expressing gratitude in our daily lives.  The decorations have been put away for another year, and many will return to work on January 7.  That marks the official end of holiday celebrations.  Take time to finish the season by expressing appreciation for the gifts you have received if you haven’t already.  Write a note, or at least take the time to make a phone call.  Be an example to your kids and grandkids.  No matter what their ages, a reminder about those two little important words—thank you—is a good idea.

And while we are on the subject, THANK YOU to my blog followers!  I appreciate you.

Happy 2019!

 

 

 

Did You Have a Good Christmas?

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“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” — (Scrooge)  Charles Dickens

Did you have a good Christmas?  This question is asked from December 26 through mid-January.  But asking people if they had a “good” Christmas or a “good” holiday requires them to evaluate it. And what rubric do we use to measure whether or not our holiday has been “successful”?

Christmas and holiday celebrations focus on traditions and provide the warm fuzzy feelings we associate with the satisfaction of a holiday well spent. We may measure experiences by our past Christmases, comparisons with others, or the perfection of a holiday movie celebration.  And often we come up short by comparison, which can lead to discontentment, disappointment, and depression.

Our disappointment comes from having created in our own minds a picture of what our holiday will or should look like, and when the reality doesn’t match the picture, we are disappointed.  Our emotions are close to the surface.  We may cry, we may argue with family members, or we may withdraw because things are not going the way they were supposed to.

The problem is no matter what picture we may have in our minds about what our holiday should look like, other family members likely have a different picture.  Even siblings have memories that differ or hold varied significance.  One may cherish the memory and smell of fresh baked cookies that are prepared before the holidays. Another may cherish the Christmas Eve candlelight service.  And a third may cherish the gathering of family and the games played around the dining room table after the food was put away.

Going in to the holiday season with an evaluation mindset sets us up for failure.  Our rational minds can process that that attitude is unhealthy, but our childlike wonder of Christmas is still looking for the emotional high, no matter how old we get.

Holidays and the traditions we expect, even when successful, will not remain the same forever.  Loved ones die, children grow; families may be spread out across the country instead of in the same town.  Christmas cannot be celebrated based on external trappings.  It is kept, as Dickens says, in our hearts.

What should we do to spare ourselves disappointment?  First, we should cast off expectations and approach the holiday with a mindset to experience whatever joy and pleasure the season offers.  Second, we should take responsibility for creating whatever traditions we hold dear, and not rely on others to fulfill our expectations.  And finally, and most importantly, we need to focus on the Reason for the Season. Jesus.

The first Christmas was a simple birth. A mother and father, likely tired from travel, disappointed in the lack of accommodations, excited about the birth of their first child, and worried about provisions.  We look at the stable birth and focus on the lack of physical provision.  But do you think Joseph and Mary had emotional needs as well? I certainly do.  They were no doubt at the end of their own strength; and therefore, totally looking to God and trusting Him for their needs. And God did provide.  He provided, among other things, a heavenly, angelic choir!

Jesus, God Incarnate, is available today to meet our needs.  Whether those needs are physical or emotional, He is able to help us.  We can find joy in the simplest expressions of marking a holiday. We can find peace in the Presence of the King of Kings. We can find love in God’s sacrifice of His own Son for us!

God extends forgiveness to all.  And we can extend that same forgiveness to our families and friends.  Our families love us, no matter their expression of that love.  Their love is imperfect.  Their love may disappoint.  But God is love. His love is Perfect.  He can fill those empty places where expectation and disappointment reside.

This year as we approach the week of Christmas, let us set our minds for success. Let us anticipate responding to “How was your Christmas?” with, “Christmas was great!”  It will be great because however we celebrate, Jesus is here. Not just for today, but for eternity.  Let us celebrate all our Christmases past, present, and future with a joyful heart.

Time in His Hands

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord. . .” (Colossians 3:23)

I don’t have enough time. We are all guilty of expressing this sentiment.  Sometimes it is frustration, sometimes it is weariness, and sometimes it is an excuse not to do add more to an already busy schedule.

Colossians 3:23 reminds us to work at all we do with our whole hearts. We might find encouragement in that verse when we are teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, or taking a meal to a sick friend.  We are serving others when we do those things, and we know that work is for the Lord.  But what about the tasks we work on at home or our jobs? Do we take pleasure in housework, laundry, yard work, and grocery shopping?  Do we enjoy our jobs? Are we doing those unto the Lord?

And what about the added work that comes with the holiday season? Do you take pleasure in the extra cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, and shopping that comes with the season, or is it just something you do because of tradition or expectation?

I have always enjoyed preparing for the holidays, but I often resented my “regular” work because it was taking my time from doing the holiday things I enjoyed.  However, as I now have more time on my hands, I find those chores more pleasant, or at least less irksome.  That led me to the realization that it isn’t really the chores themselves that are the problem.  The problem is my possessiveness of my time. MY time! Do you see the problem with that attitude?  My time is not my own time; and if I operate in that mindset, of course I will be frustrated.

If we are walking the path God has set before us and being led by the Holy Spirit, our time is in His hands.  Psalm 31:14-15 says, “I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord. I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands. . .”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there is a time for everything, and we generally interpret this verse to realize we have seasons in our lives.  But what if we read it as there is time for everything?  Would we be less stressed and possessive of our time if we really believed we have plenty of it? What if you really do have plenty of time?

We know times goes quickly, and as we get older, the time seems to race by even faster.  We all have a list of things we want to accomplish—whether it’s today’s to-do list, this year’s goal list, or a lifetime purpose list.  But if God truly has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and He orders our steps, we do have time for everything.  Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,” but can you quote the second part of that verse?  “He delights in our way.”

If God takes delight in our way—in our daily steps, our mundane tasks, we can rejoice in Him and delight in our way ourselves.

Does that sound too easy?  Are you looking at your holiday to-do list and thinking there is no delight in it? It really is all about mindset. It takes a proper outlook and practice. It takes believing God’s Word about time is as true as everything else He has said, and then acting on that truth.

Here are some steps that may help you cooperate with God’s timing and bring the joy and delight back to your busy holiday season.

Set your mind. Cultivate a positive mindset. Rejoice in the day God has given you. “This is the day God has made! Rejoice!” (Psalm 118:24) You get to spend the day with God, the King of the universe!

Pray. Before you start your day or any of your tasks, ask God to order your day and give you strength. I have found, time and time again, that this is the best way to approach a day when I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks I need to complete.

  1. Ask God to order your steps. He has promised to do that. Remind Him of His promise. (Psalm 37:23)  Claim it for your life. “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but God establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
  2. Ask God to keep you from distractions. Explore these promises.
    • Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of every opportunity…”
    • Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
    • Proverbs 4:25 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
    • Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow…”
    • Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
    • Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Let your words match your mindset. We know words have creative and destructive power, so eliminate negative sayings, like I don’t have time; express positive things: I can do all things through Christ; My steps are ordered of God.You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Psalm 16:11)

Combine things you like to do with tasks you find challenging. Listen to music, a podcast, or a book as you work.  Count your blessings as you shop, thanking God for the provision to purchase groceries and gifts.  Check your email or social media while waiting for an appointment.

Rest and recharge. When your task list is long, make sure you schedule times for quiet, reflection, prayer, or just something you love to do. Don’t neglect that workout time, coffee date, or favorite holiday movie.  Psalm 23:2-3 reminds us God cares about our rest. “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides quiet waters; he refreshes my soul.”

When we look forward to time with family and friends over the holidays, it is rarely about what we do. We just take pleasure in being with them.  If we take that same approach to our time with God, then we can enjoy His presence regardless of the tasks we need to accomplish. And we can take pleasure in the tasks because we take pleasure in Him.  We can rest confidently in the knowledge that He is aware of our time and our to-do list, and He will make the most of it, helping us to redeem the time we have efficiently. There is a time for everything.

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