When the clock struck midnight, and we said goodbye to 2013...many were realizing that the New Year's Resolution has arrived.  Oh No...now we have to "follow-through" with what we have been yapping about for the past 6 months.  "When the New Year rolls around, I'm going to ________...(fill in the blank)!" 

A saying that comes to mind at this point (you probably heard it from your mom or dad)..."The world is full of good intentions."  You intend to lose weight, you intend to exercise more and eat less, you intend to be kinder, you intend to study the Bible, you intend to pay off the bills, you intend to patch up your marriage, you intend to do your job "as unto the Lord", you intend to spend more time with the kids (family)...the list could go on and on (and it does for a lot of folks)  All of these are good intentions and listen to this...Very Doable!  They don't have to be hard...we just make them hard. 

Consider these 10 things:
  1. Plan to be a success...don't just hope things will fall into place.  Proverbs 21:5 "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance...."
  2. Be "sticky"!  What do I mean by that?  Learn how to "stick to it"...even when you don't "feel" like it.  Our feelings have to be taken out of the equation. Galatians 6:9  "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
  3. Have an accountability partner.  It is amazing how important it is to have someone to share your successes with (imagine how it would be to share with someone your success in something you have been struggling with...whether it be diet or work,  or whatever it may be).  Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works..."
  4. If food is your Achilles Heel ... Learn to reward your successes with something other than food.  That is something I have to learn big time...my hubby and I love to eat - but because of that, we will have to come up with something.  If you have suggestions...be sure to share them.  
  5. Don't be hard on yourself when you mess up...just chalk it up as what it is...then get back on track of doing the right things.  Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
  6. Take advise from the right people...not everyone has your best interest at heart.  Psalm 1:1-6 
     "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked"
  7. Use time wisely.  Use the social media to help you and entertain you...but don't let it take over your life. (this one was just an afterthought...but a good one.)  Ephesians 5:16 "Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
  8. Delight in the Lord...Do you desire to keep your New Year's Resolution.  God wants only "good" things for you...so apply this verse to your life.  Psalm 37:4..."Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. "
  9. Commit all you do to the Lord.  Don't you love it when a plan comes together?  Here is how to make that happen...Proverbs 16:3   "Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established."
  10. Be thankful!  One of the most difficult things to do is to have a thankful heart when things aren't going as planned, but it is an important part of your success.  Being thankful doesn't mean you have to want or even understand your circumstances...It just helps you be able to see things more clearly.  Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
These 10 things came to mind for me as I change my intentions to actual resolutions.  I hope they help you too...blessings in your new year.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2.

You usually hear the statement, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" on television commercials about going to college.  Today, I want to put a different twist on what this could mean in your life.  Where do you spend the majority of your life?  What kind of things do you spend your time thinking about?  Are you at a place in your heart and mind that those things do not affect you?   Does being around certain people or places affect you in a positive or negative way?

The pattern of this world can be a scary path if not drenched with knowledge of God's perfect will.  God only wants good things for each of us meaning His will is for good and not for bad.  His will is not only good...it is pleasing.  It pleases God to be a part of your life and He beckons us to be a part of His plan.  When you look at how things have turned out in your life with you at the helm...don't you think it is high time you yield to His guidance?  His will is not only good and pleasing...it is perfect. 

That is why I believe with all my heart that God does not "cause" bad things to happen.  In His good, pleasing and perfect will He would never "kill" babies because He wants them in heaven.  He allows us to make mistakes or have victories.  We are so quick to jump on the "where was God?" band wagon when bad things happen and yet leave him totally out of the good things.  I do believe that in the midst of "bad" things God is there to pick us up and right our path..."if" we allow Him to be our guide. 

How do you get to the point of understanding what God's perfect will is for your life?  The verse above tells us that it is by "renewing our mind".  If you don't put good things into your mind and feel the guiding force of your Creator, you will be the person that is always questioning God and being "mad" at Him for the events of your life. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve a Loving and yes a Just God that wants good things for me...not bad. 

Don't waste your mind on things that only pollute...your mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Think on good stuff...read good stuff and watch good stuff.  You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes...now choose to steer yourself in the direction that will bring you happiness.  Choose to renew your mind each day.

I remember when I was a little girl, I used to sing these lyrics..."Oh be careful little eyes what you see, Oh be careful little eyes what you see...for the Father up above is looking down in love...Oh be careful little eyes what you see."  That was followed by being careful little ears what you hear and be careful little feet where you go.  As a child, those words didn't really resonate with me...but they did resonate with my parents who were responsible for me.  They knew how important it was for me to see what was appropriate, to hear what was appropriate and to go to the appropriate places.  Granted there weren't as many temptations to guard against during my growing up years as there are now, but nevertheless, they were cautious during my "raising."  In other words...They protected my innocence.

As a parent, you should be doing the same for your children - protecting their innocence.  You must protect what goes into their young minds.   If a movie or activity is not appropriate for them, YOU as the adult and parent need to make the decision to not allow them to view or participate.  A violent or sexual image can be embedded in their mind causing all kinds of issues.  It could quite possibly cause things like trouble sleeping, acting out or worse.

Don't give a child the freedom to choose whether or not to watch something...you make that decision because it is your responsibility.  There is a reason that some movies are rated PG13...it means "parental guidance".  Don't fool yourself into thinking that just because you attend with them or watch it with them makes it all okay.  You have no idea what kind of trouble you could be causing for your child.  If you are the type of parent that uses these as teaching opportunities, I can see where that could possibly make sense to you.  Just be careful... Protect those that are put in your charge...they aren't prepared or ready to protect themselves yet.

Jesus loved children...He never wanted anyone to keep them away from Him.  If He cannot view or participate in what you are doing...why would you think your child should?  Make wise choices for them...they will be making choices for their own children someday.

I recently saw a quote on facebook that caught my eye enough to share with my facebook friends.  "What consumes your mind, controls your life."  I cannot begin to tell you how true that statement has been in my life.  There have been times when that consumption was so intense in the wrong direction, that I totally lost control of my life.  I lost the ability to make sane or logical decisions...I lost a big chunk of Paula.  I found her and shook her back to her senses, so that she could see what's important.  I didn't do this alone, I did it with the help of scriptures, family, church leaders and praying without ceasing.  But hear me when I say that this was a very dark time for me and it happened so gradual that I didn't see it until I was consumed.

There are so many things that we come in contact with each and every day of our lives...through television, school, the internet or even at our workplace that can become an obsession and remain on our mind.  We can use those things to become a better person or can let them become temptations to cause havoc in our lives.  Recognize that anyone can become entrapped and not realize their situation until they are looking up from the bottom wondering what just happened.

When you allow your work, your addictions or even your talents to consume you...you are on a slippery slope.  The blessings that you have - aren't just happenstance...they are yours to enjoy, but impossible to see if you are controlled by other things.

I am so happy that I serve a God of second chances.  I am so thankful that in my life I was given a second chance to be who I was created to be.  I love my family!  I love being a mom and a Gma and love that I am loved.

I have decided to do a series on "What's on your Mind"...hope it helps everyone. 

Since Thanksgiving falls in the month of November...this month has been a month full of "thankfuls" for me.  I took the challenge to write down something everyday that I was thankful for and share with everyone on the social network of Facebook.  There were several of my friends that were doing the same thing and I enjoyed reading what causes those feelings of thankfulness to surface in their lives. 

I thought that today's post would be the perfect opportunity to share with you what I have shared throughout the month.  There are way more things that I am thankful for than the thirty that will be listed because...there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

If this is too many to read in one setting, I encourage you to read one a day...and apply what you read from my life to yours and be thankful for those things in your own life.

Day 1: Thankful that I am thankful
Day 2: Thankful God loves me and cares what happens to me even during those times I'm not so lovable!
Day 3: Thankful for Bobby Maupin who has loved me and continues to love me in every situation, we can disagree about "stuff", but his love has never changed.
Day 4: Thankful for my 3 sons, my daughter in loves and my grandchildren. Brad, Holly, Cooper, Margo, Sloan, Everett, Blythe, and Owen (on the way). Bryan, Stacy, Joseph and Jonas. Brandon, Ashley, Nora, Lawson and (baby Andrews on the way). They are all blessings that make my heart smile. Love and miss them!
Day 5: I am thankful for my 2 stepsons, Jonathan Maupin and Will Maupin and Jonathan's wife and my daughter in love Kathryn Maupin. They are definately blessings and I love them.
Day 6: I am thankful for my mom. She will turn 91 in January. In November 2011 (last year) she was fighting for her life. The day after Thanksgiving I was traveling to Missouri from Kentucky to see her because she had made a turn for the worse. My sister was on the phone with me saying the nurses were wanting us to decide what we would want to do if she were to start to slip away from us. Wow, I knew she was almost ready to hit her 90th and had lived a long eventful life, but was still not wanting to let go of her. Here we are a year later and she is now in a Nursing Home and has one leg, but is still one of the strongest people I know. Have we always agreed on everything? No. Does not agreeing change how I feel about her? Absolutely not. She is my mom and I love her more with each day and am thankful for being able to talk with her over the phone and visit with her when I can.
Day 7: I am thankful for my dad!!! He left this earth way too soon, but what he taught me in those precious years he was here are so much more than I can possibly write in this post. He was fair, honest, funny, respected, sweet, kind, strong, loving...the list could go on and on. He showed me how to live a life that is honorable in every situation. I have failed miserably in this area, but he also shared with me that God loves us through every circumstance of our lives...our successes and our failures. William T. Tollison was one in a million and I am honored to have been his baby girl and for that I am so thankful!! (He used to tell the best stories too!!)
Day 8: Thankful for my brothers, sisters and their spouses, plus the multitude (and I mean that literally) offspring...just ask mom how many grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren she has. I love each and every one of you. Distance doesn't change the heart strings. I miss those Christmases where Dad would play the harmonica, Jim would play the banjo, Ron would play the guitar, Sondra would play the piano, Linda would play the spoons and I (believe it or not) would play the jug (which was really 16 oz Pepsi bottles with different levels of water for the pitch) The Darlings had nothing on us! :) Larry would smile and cheer us on ;) What great memories!
Day 9: I am thankful for all of my friends. Some of you I have known for many many years and some for just a few months, but each of you play an important role in my life. We have reunions for school and family...wouldn't it be awesome to have a friend reunion? I guess social media has done that in an odd sort of way. Reconnecting with friends near and far is wonderful. My favorite quote has always been, "In order to have friends, you must first be a friend." I hope I have been that for each of you. Love y'all and am thankful you are my friends!
Day 10: Thankful for everyday (even Mondays). God has blessed me to understand each day comes from Him. "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD's name is to be praised." ~ Psalm 113:3
Day 11: Thankful for all the Veterans that have selflessly served their country. This is my handsome dad during his time on the USS West Virginia...he was away from his family for 2 full years with the only communication being letters between he and my mom that took weeks to arrive. Thank you dad and all other veterans and those currently serving...you have not gone unnoticed...we appreciate you!
Day 12: Thankful for technology! Get to Skype with Brad-Holly Andrews tonight! Love me some Brad, Holly, Cooper, Margo, Sloan, Everett and Blythe! It is always a wonderful adventure.
Day 13: Thankful for understanding that having faith in those things unseen makes the things that are seen more enjoyable. God is so good.
Day 14 - Thankful for the abilities that God has given me. I catch on to things quickly thus making life easier.
Day 15: Thankful that I love to cook and looking forward to baking that turkey with all the fixings this time next week. Kinda makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Day 16: Thankful for the girls that work alongside me at FOX17 - they are so sweet...inside and out! Amanda Barbera Mary Blair Johnson Rachel Smith Donnette Hawkins - Stamps Jessica Crawford Kelly Williams Love y'all bunches!
Day 17: Thankful for the beauty that I see outside my window...the various colors of the leaves on our tree in the front yard with the sun shining through is amazing (God's just showing out...LOL)
Day 18: Thankful for those that have studied their trade and know more than I do about a variety of subjects...such as medicine. Mom is back in the hospital in Missouri and I am thankful that she will be well taken care of by those that can get her medicine regulated.
Day 19: Thankful for memories...they help us grow into who we are becoming.
Day 20 - Thankful for transportation. We are down to one vehicle, but I know that provision to get the other one fixed is inevitable ;) God has always been faithful...I just trust that faithfulness and He provides.
Day 21: Thankful for our home. 1 1/2 years ago...We were able to purchase our first home together because of the blessings too many to count. I have changed in many ways over the years. I have learned to be content with what I have...big homes and fancy cars can bring short term happiness, but unless they are filled with love...who cares how big and fancy they are? Our home that we have been blessed with isn't fancy or big...but it is awesome and we hope that all who enter will feel loved.
Day 22: Thankful for being reminded how much I have to be thankful for each and every day. Taking the time this month to share just a few of those things has pushed my appreciation to a new level. Happy Thanksgiving y'all ...you are loved!
Day 23: Thankful for the meal we will have today with Will, Jonathan and Kathryn. My mom was a great cook and I learned by watching her cook for big crowds of company. She was always in the kitchen while most everyone else was visiting. To give you an idea about the size of the crowd...the potato salad would be in a big ole punch bowl (a punch bowl people LOL)
Day 24: Thankful for a lazy morning with a cup of coffee and conversation...ahhh!
Day 25: Thankful for important discussions about eternal things with people we love.
Day 26: Thankful for hugs...they give you an awesome feeling of being loved.
Day 27: Thankful for the friends in my life. No matter what I've done or haven't done, you have remained faithful in my life. You know who you are and just know on this day in 2012...I love you and am so thankful you have been and are a part of my life
Day 28: Thankful for the freedom and opportunity to share things in this medium. Not everyone has this freedom...I don't want to ever take it for granted.
Day 29: Thankful for coffee with peppermint mocha creamer...it's a real "eye opener" ;-) Do ya'll know that typing what you are thankful for everyday actually opens your eyes in a different way? ... It helps you see that there are so many things to be thankful for...even the seemingly little things. Be thankful in all things!
Day 30: Thankful for the peace and quiet moments in my day. Don't get me wrong, I love people and being around "most" people, but it does me good to be able to relax with no questions. Relax without anyone needing ANYTHING. Ahhh...yes, this is good!

The title of this post should really be "The Attitude Factor" .  This is the second post in my new series about Attitude.  I wanted to continue to lay a foundation for the series today by helping you learn the importance of taking responsibility for your own attitude.  I know that a bad attitude can affect how we treat others just as a good attitude can affect how we treat them.  The quote used here is by William James..."Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it.  That factor is attitude."

So often, we see folks that just can't for the life of them put someones needs before their own.  No matter how many times they claim to be unselfish, their actions prove otherwise.  Look at the picture below...could this be you?

The truth is...this is exactly how most folks operate...if you rub them a wrong way, their "attitude" is blamed on you.  A person's attitude should not depend on other people...it should only depend on whats living on the inside of them.  Jesus gave his very life that we could have what we need to live in this world...this includes the right attitude.  He doesn't just want us to have a place in the sky in the by and by...he wants us to enjoy the life he has provided here. 

When you have an attitude that other people owe you, then as we say in the south, "Bless your heart"....you just don't get it.  Look at Philippians 2:5..."Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"  What do you suppose would be in Jesus' mind concerning the right attitude?  You got it!  He would treat others fairly ... He always considered their needs in how He talked with them.   If you want your day, or better yet your life to go smoother...take a minute to change your attitude.

“In one minute you can change your attitude and in that minute you can change your entire day.” — Spencer Johnson

If you want effective relationships...you have to understand that they begin with having an attitude that nurtures them.  Winston Churchill once said, "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."  For some folks having a good attitude is huge...they have gotten so used to being "mean" the idea of changing their attitude has never occurred to them. 

So how's your attitude?  If you are a Christian, there should be no question on how you look at life and how you treat others, because these things should come from God's work in you.  If you are blocking that by behaving in a way contrary to what the Bible teaches, then life will never seem fair or right.  Ephesians 5:8-10 says it better than I could..."For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord."  Having a good attitude is both important and essential if you want to have good relationships with others.  Instead of blocking that good attitude, it is important to block bitterness and anything else that stands in the way of living in the "light"...goodness, righteousness and truth.

When you face a difficult task in your life and you want it to turn out for the best...the first thing that you should do is make sure that your attitude is where it should be.  Be assured that when you don't care how you treat others, when you don't care what you say or how it will affect others, and when you get angry and stay angry with others...relationships will fall apart and life in general will eventually seem more than you can bear. 

Why wouldn't you want to develop the best possible attitude in your life when you know it will help you in your relationships and your life?  So...how's your attitude?  Let it be covered in light...the God kind of light!

Being a good citizen is important and as Christians, it should come natural.  The same things that help to make someone a good Christian are some of the same things that help make a person a good citizen.  One of those things is respect...we should have a healthy respect for those in office, no matter what their party affiliation.  We should also respect our friends whether they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever.  If you are of a different party affiliation than me just means that we disagree on what is important.  It doesn't make me love you any less and I would hope that would be the same for you.  We shouldn't want bad things for each other, but respect our differences.

One way that you can be sure that your voice is heard without any misunderstanding is to exercise your right to vote.  We are facing one of the most crucial times in our American History and your voice should be heard more than ever.  Vote for someone that matches your values and for the individual that you believe can preserve the America that our forefathers intended.  Vote for the person that you feel in your heart of hearts loves our country and wants our children and grandchildren to enjoy the same freedoms that we enjoy.

More than anything, our country was based on "One Nation Under God" and we should want our children to always have freedom of worship.  Please pray for our country and the election on November 6th.  As I write this, the people on the east coast have suffered the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.  I pray for them right now as they pick up the pieces of their lives.  God be with you.

We mentioned wisdom when covering the character of teach-ability, but there is so much more to know and "understand" about wisdom.  Having wisdom in most cases comes with age.  There are times when you hear the phrase, "he/she is wise beyond their years."   Even from that phrase, you can see that age is a factor.  So many times I have said that if I could go back now to my earlier years and know the things I know now, I would do things differently.  Why is that?  I have gained wisdom that only comes from having experienced many things...good and bad.

Not all of those experiences came while I was young, many of them were experienced after the age of 40.  Yes, that's right 40!  There was a period of time in my life when I allowed emotions to run a muck and dictate how I handled situations.  I was foolish and selfish with how I dealt with my emotions causing grief that would never have taken place if I had allowed the opposite of these "feelings" take over.  The opposite of being emotional, selfish and foolish is wisdom.  Wisdom is a treasure for all time and for every situation that you face. 

So how do we develop wisdom and get rid of those ugly "fruits" in our lives?  We replace them with the fruits of the Spirit and walk in them.  We are to be realistic, yet bold and daring, be shrewd and cautious with the realization that with God all things are possible.  ALL things not some things...ALL things are possible with God.  He can make the ugly pretty again...I know that in my own life.  He has taken those ugly selfish things and made them new again by giving me a fresh start in my walk with Him.  It is never too late to be wise in your relationships and your decisions.  Realize your wisdom comes from above and is pure and without hypocrisy.  Allow that wisdom to replace all the foolishness.  Develop that character of wisdom in your life so that you can make good solid decisions every single day of your life.  And remember...Wisdom is a treasure!

How is confidence developed in your life?  I've heard it said before that confidence breeds winning and winning breeds confidence.  But if that is true...which comes first?  Confidence or winning? 

I believe that confidence comes when you are willing to go through with something even if you could possibly be wrong.  Taking that fear element and putting it in it's proper place is the first step.

Most people don't develop the confidence they need to succeed because of being afraid of how others will react or fear of failing.  I'm sure you have heard the definition of "fear"... False Evidence Appearing Real.  You have been fooled into believing that if you step out and face your fear to accomplish your goal, you will fail.  Your mind runs wild and you begin to believe those nay-saying voices telling you, "you'll never amount to anything."

You have to turn off those voices by replacing them with scripture that speak strength and courage into your life.  When you replace the fear with strength and courage, you will have the confidence you need to face any situation that comes your way.  The entire book of Psalms 27 is excellent to keep marked in your Bible.  The first verse says...

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life--
    of whom shall I be afraid?"

And my favorite scripture comes from Psalms 27:13-14...

"I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord."