Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salute to AA

Perhaps you’ve heard the term army brat… well I’m an AA kid.

Is there a finer philosophy to live a life by than Alcoholics Anonymous? Why? Because it’s the pure, unadulterated message of Jesus Christ. Humility, honesty and hope rolled in one. What’s not to like?

I still remember the day my mom joined AA.. I’d been called by my Dad who couldn’t leave work to go over to their house and let a visitor in. My mom had been in her room for days. When I opened the front door the woman brushed past me saying brusquely take me to her. She entered Mom’s bedroom and came out an hour later announcing she’d be back the next day to pick mom up and take her to a meeting. Before she left very kindly she looked at me, patted my arm and whispered in a soft tone, “It’s up to her, but she can be okay.”

My Mom started attending meetings regularly. The Serenity prayer appeared on our refrigerator door. Sure there were some setbacks like the time I attended an open meeting with her and to my utter embarrassment I realized after we arrived that she’d been drinking. I wanted to disappear through the floor when one of the leaders approached me and suggested I take her home.

The Big Book appeared on the coffee table and Mom talked about Bob and Bill as if they were immediate family members. Anyone within earshot of her heard about the twelve steps, nine of which refer to God/higher power. How fitting since in Him we live and move and have our being. Mom became a Christian for real and startled going to church. The first verse of Scripture that she learned was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13) I was sooo proud of her.

In time the constant inner panic, the fear of what condition she’d be in when I came home, the horrible dread that blanketed every holiday lifted. My Mom’s compassion and sense of humor and enthusiasm for life reappeared. The world changed within our home and a precious aura of peace appeared.

I owe much to the fine men and women of AA who helped Mom and most of all to the God power that makes the program work. Because AA does work. Bill got it right. It’s community and the power of God and sharing love and truth with others that changes minds and hearts. I’m proud to be the daughter of a deceased recovering alcoholic and salute all those who’ve carried AA’s message of hope and healing.

As I go through the motions of preparing for the celebration of this holy, holiday season, I'm mindful of the men and women fighting for their very lives in the throes of addictions and of those in hospital wards seeking to slay the monster cancer. And those facing financial woes in this economy they never dreamed possible.

Life is fraught with challenge, but in all circumstances and every generation these words still ring true: "I can do all things [that need doing] through Christ who strengthens me." There is always reason for hope and victory in Jesus Christ. And sometimes Christ relies on people like AA's founders Bill and Bob and the rest of us to make it happen.




Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Celebrating Marriage

I believe marriage should be celebrated well, it’s such a beautiful, tender relationship. I always like for my wedding gifts to highlight how special this union is. A financial gift in a card is great, but it seems there should be something more memorable. This is what I came up with for a dear couple recently:

Dearest Melissa and Joshua,

Your wedding is so special, as are both of you, so your gifts must be too. There are several:

Three Crosses

The crosses symbolize Christ. Hopefully, at least one will match your d├ęcor. If you like them display all three to remember the Trinity, but only one is needed. This is to be a reminder of the selfless love of Christ who gave his life for you. At times you may feel you are doing a lot of sacrificing for one another. Do it with joy, following the example set before you of perfect love.

Blessing Cups

The ceramic mugs are to be used as Blessing Cups. Once a month on the ninth day, your anniversary day, you may want to use them at your evening meal. As you drink from them, tell one another the blessings you’ve experienced the past month either together or individually.

The Blessing Cups are also Healing Cups

If you should ever have an argument, be the first to take out your Healing Cups and set them on the table as a sign you want to sit down and talk. Be sure you never let the sun go down on your anger. Work out every difference of opinion when it is still little.

Ist Anniversary Dinner

The check is for your celebration of Year One. Please cash the check, but put the money in a special place to use for a lovely dinner. And always honor this special day when you joined your lives together.

Marriage Enrichment

In about a month, you’ll be receiving a collection of my two books: 52 Ways to Keep Your Promises As A Man, Husband and Father and A Woman’s Guide and 52 Ways To Choose Happiness and Fulfillment to enrich your married life.

That's it. I signed the card with love from Wayne and I. By the way, the crosses and cups came from Hobby Lobby and were beautiful but inexpensive. I love that store. Nothing wrong with buying your own Blessing Cups if you never received any. Is there anything special you typically give as gifts to celebrate a marriage? I'd like to know.

“What God has joined together let no man break apart.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rest in Peace – Why?


I’ve been thinking about and praying for Steve Jobs' soul ever since he passed from this life a few days ago. My respect for Steve’s accomplishments is enormous. I’ve been an “Apple person” since the first 2c and 2 e’s back in the early 80’s. I consider my treasured I-phone pure tech genius!

The customary phrase Rest in Peace keeps coming to mind – words used for the dead. I don’t wish that for Steve or for myself! Who wants to rest in peace after having an exciting, creative life? How cool to think of Steve using his supernatural abilities now to create beyond all he dreamed or imagined. My prayer is that this giant of creativity is in the presence of His Creator, the one who instilled His giftedness in Steve. For I’m hoping with all my heart Steve made life choices while on earth that connected him with Jesus. May they be surveying the world together and saying, “What if...”

Steve’s life exemplifies that imagination and creativity are priceless qualities to nurture in children. My book series Adventures of Tommy Smurlee is intended to unleash these qualities so we can have more adults like Steve running around improving human lives.

Adventures of Tommy Smurlee for ages 8 and up is available on amazon.

Proverbs 8:10
Choose my God’s instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Will

Wayne and I were leaving the tennis court at the Landmark Resort in Door County as a little girl and her daddy approached carrying racquets. I said to the brown-eyed pixie who couldn’t have been much more than four years old, “How nice that you and Daddy get to play together on this beautiful fall day. Have lots of fun now!”

“We will!” she replied instantly. I stopped and stared. When had I last heard someone exude such confidence? I can still hear her emphasis, the perfect clarity of her reply. No doubt about it. We will. Me and Dad are out to play and fun is coming.

I loved her spontaneity and assurance. Isn’t that how we’re supposed to approach every day? We have the assurance that our mighty God has a plan for us and it’s always good. We can enter each day with enthusiasm eager to see it unfold and know we’re equipped to meet any challenge. In all things we’ve been instilled not with a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.

Have a great day with your awesome Dad today. I will!

"I will" reminds me of one of the prayer poetry devotionals in my latest Breathless e-book at amazon:

Fullness of Joy


Today and every day Lord, You say:

“I will be your God,

I will be your life.

Celebrate and dance,

The fullness of joy is here.”

Dear God can this be true?

A life of constant joy is pleasing to You?

Dance and twirl with joy?

What about cross-carrying and fasting?

“These too have a place,” You say,

“But they never were meant to take away joy.”

Oh Lord, laughter floods my heart,

That You would allow such delight!

The fullness of joy!

Hallelujah!

Psalm 108:1b

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Soul Clothes

I was thinking today about how much focus goes into clothing our bodies. Finding garments that fit right and are within our budget, then doing the required washing, ironing, and organization. I wondered. Do I put as much energy into clothing my soul?

C.S. Lewis said that many people speak as if we’re a body with a soul, but the fact is that we’re a soul with a body. Soul came first. Our essence is within our soul and that’s what lives forever and should receive the greatest attention.

My next thought was what would I dress my soul in? I’m sure I’d choose something bright, nothing dreary or dark. Might this be my disposition, the positive attitude of faith that I choose to bring to each situation?

Then I’d like the fabric to be strong, yet have a soft texture – the demeanor of a soul that could handle buffeting by occasional disappointment or disillusionment.

I’d want a scarf of gratitude rippling round about me never missing an opportunity of praising God or thanking others.

How else could I make my soul radiant? Perhaps by zipping on a holy jacket of selfless love. I expect my zipper would get stuck now and then. Will I ever totally achieve selflessness? Probably not, but I could come a lot closer than I do.

Which leads me to two questions.

How might you clothe your soul?

And if we walked through our day viewing only the clothing on one another’s souls what would we see?

Breathless Minute Meditations For Connecting Your Heart With God’s was released this month an e-book on Kindle, Nook or I-phones. For the price of an ice cream cone or Starbucks coffee ($2.99) you can carry instant inspiration anywhere. Find it at amazon.com under Judith Rolfs.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Respectfully...

Hi Friends,

I respectfully sent two e-mails out today, one to Stericycle's President. His corporation disposes of the remains of aborted babies and another to Ryder who provides the trucks for this to happen. Kudos to Penske Trucking who will now be my truck rental of choice because they refused the contract.

What I said to Ryder is "I'd like to respectfully request that you consider not being involved with the abortion industry. I know this would be a huge financial loss for you, but God has ways of making that up when we're doing what's right in His eyes. In the past I've personally made financial sacrifices to serve God and his provision has been amazing. Perhaps, in fact, God has placed you in this position to make a statement to our country now that taking the life from unborn human beings is intolerable. I pray you'll have great wisdom as you consider the integrity of your position providing trucks for Stericycle."

I feel it's important to be respectful and aware that often people in upper management don't know every operational detail and contract that's out there. And when they do, they may have been put where they are by God to right the wrong that's before them. This is not an adversarial situation. It's the wisdom and love of God that can make humans change their minds. Now I've put the ball in their court.

These kids in the picture above were once nothing but two cells inside a sheltered womb awaiting the miracle of maturation. They're two of our seven grandchildren. I pray for all the people who have lost the blessings children like these can bring into their life.

P.S. I have a new "book baby" called Breathless Devotionals published this week on Kindle available at amazon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Great Delight


One of my favorite Scripture verses is Zephaniah 3:17 (New International Version). The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; 
in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

I especially love the phrases He delights in me and rejoices over me with singing! What do people passionately desire if not to be loved unconditionally and wildly?

Can you imagine the difference it makes walking through life knowing that the eternal God, Creator of heaven and earth thinks you’re cool.

If a spouse disappoints you, God never will. If a child professes to hate you, a friend abandons you, never jump into the pit of despair. You have a layer of love over you so deep that no human hurt has the power to penetrate your core unless you allow it.

What’s not to like about knowing you’re loved like this? My heart goes out to those children and adults who walk through the difficult emotional challenges of life without knowing how deeply treasured they are by God.

I also like this verse because it accurately depicts God. From the Old Testament some get the impression that God is vengeful and harsh. Just yes, but harsh, no. Our God is an incredible lover. And a mighty warrior who protects us.

How about carrying the words of Zephaniah Chapter 3, Verse 17 in your wallet or purse because it’s worth knowing and remembering forever.

Never despair, never fear, never abandon your joy, God delights in you and, gulp, me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Body, Mind and Spirit

What a privilege it’s been to be a marriage and family counselor for thirty years. My method has typically been to work with clients on three levels body, mind and spirit. We always examine spiritual issues. I focus on these because but often relationship, career or addiction problems are only a symptom of a deep spiritual emptiness.

For some clients my bringing up this topic is a huge surprise. They’ve never given much thought to the spiritual aspect of themselves. I may lighten the subject by asking, “Had a shower or bath recently? Read the newspaper? Great way to care for your body and your mind! What have you done for your spirit today or even this week or month?”

We have to get past the institutional religion roadblock. Often people have been hurt in church situations. God is not a religion, I explain, and I clarify that I don’t mean simply attending church an hour a week but conversation and connection with the living God. It’s amazing and gratifying to see the life transformations that happen when clients sincerely do this. My clients found these truths on their life quest when financial success and fame turns out to not give enough meaning to existence.

The truth is we all need to savor the personal presence of God. His gifts of unconditional love and eternal life can truly excite us. “If any man (or woman) be in Christ, (s)he is a new creation…”2 Cor. 5:17 Is there anything more cool than that!

Breathless Meditations can kick start your contemplation about our fascinating God. Booklets are available at www.judithrolfs.com

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fanciful Thoughts









Fanciful Thoughts

Would you like to play an imagination game? During my morning prayer time I often write mini-devotionals. Today I wrote one a bit different called Fanciful Thoughts. I have no illusion that this is extraordinary writing, but it was fun to compose. I e-mailed it to my young and adult grandchildren asking them to add a line or two or create their own collection of fanciful thoughts. Perhaps you will add a line as well.

Fanciful Thoughts

I’d like to:

Touch the center of gravity,

Ride the winds of spring,

Measure the weight of a snowfall,

Stir the insides of a tornado,

Watch the design of an unborn baby,

Play in the precision of mathematics,

Watch ideas explode inside minds.

A few words about imagination. We all have this treasure trove within us, that comes along wherever we go, and needs recharging occasionally in nature and times of solitude. Opportunities for expression help imagination grow and it thrives in an environment without stress. All ages can play, and seniors should be even better at it than youth with their history of experiences. (Although seniors sometimes forget to play imaginatively.)

You may wonder why imagination is important. What value are fanciful thoughts and actions? Playing games with thought is enervating and fulfilling and reminds us of connection to our Creator in whose image we’ve been made. Movies like Inception, creations like MAC software, and every invention on earth began as someone’s fanciful thought.

The use of imagination requires no wires, cables, it doesn’t need to be downloaded, and it’s totally free. Often children are too busy with organized activities. I urge parents to guard their time and minds for imaginative play like the beach picture above. My Adventures of Tommy Smurlee mystery fantasy books are all about helping children discover the delight of imagining. Don’t let them grow up without knowing Tommy as a friend.

Will you try a fanciful thought or two yourself today? Share it here if you like.