we focused on this well known passage during our sunday sermon and my mind has been fixated on it! i love fresh reminders and i always appreciate fresh encouragement. i wanted to share a few key elements that were impactful to me. i hope they are meaningful to you as well:

SEASONS

honestly, the concept of seasons has always seemed slightly cliche to me... you know, "oh, there's a season for everything...this is just a season!" hearing that from well-meaning friends a family members can seem trite or tone-deaf, at times. but in truth, it is a beautiful thing. a freeing thing. understanding that EVERYTHING is a season. it begins. it ends. there's a stopping point. there's a turning point. AND there's a point to all of it. good or bad or whatever, each chunk of time has been designated. it serves a purpose. and then, it ends. and we are ushered into a fresh season. that really does help you to be mindful and enjoy what is in front of you because, there's a expiration date. and you don't know what's going to be in front of you in the next day or season so eat, drink, and be merry!

furthermore, when a season is coming to a close, you need to leave those goals and dreams for that season behind and adopt new goals and dreams that are appropriaet for the season at hand. sure, some things carry forward but a lot of things don't AND THAT'S OKAY! it is good and appropriate to leave things in their own season and take on new things. it's good to freshen up. it doesn't mean you are a quitter. it means you are wise. you don't get caught up in what happened before. you don't allow yourself to get stuck. you don't live in the past. the only thing you need to carry into a new season is the wisdom harvested from the prior seasons. you don't take baggage with you. you don't all prior hopes and dreams and actions and accomplishments to taint or cloud or create bitterness. you adjust. so what is wisdom? the ability to identify which season you are in. wisdom is recognizing what time it is. knowing that okay, i am in this season and it is wrapping up or okay, this is a new season that is starting or okay, i am in the thick of this season and need to keep my eyes fixed and stay faithful until it is complete. 

BEAUTY IN ITS TIME

"He has made everything beautiful in its time"

AMEN. this really stuck out to me too. it is so easy to dissect and get fixated on elements of life or particular hardships or life. OR to glamorize seemingly beautiful seasons of life. BUT, life is not about the parts. there is beauty in the whole. it is like a beautiful woman. she is beautiful because of the composition of various parts. if you were to cut off her toe or arm or ear and view it in isolation, it might not look so hot. but, when you put it all together, it is a thing of beauty. that's life. so even if you are going through something that looks like a severed toe, there's more to the story. so don't let a severed toe kill your mojo! (i am thinking about putting that on a sampler) life is about the way that God assembles the parts and moments and elements and seasons to create the beautiful thing. and it is HIS JOB to put it together and create the thing of beauty. HE HAS MADE EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL. we just need to live life well in each season and let him to the beautifying.

SHALLOT

"eat and drink and take pleasure in toil"

the hebrew for that is SHALLOT which means: the ability to enjoy a gift that is given. we are all given gifts but the beauty is in the shallot. the illustration was: if you have all of your teeth pulled and in response, someone decides that they want to treat you to a big, juicy, buttery steak...you will have a problem. the gift of the steak is amazing! but you need the teeth to enjoy the gift. you need the shallot. without the shallot, the gift is a curse. i'm sure you know people who seem to have it all. they have ALL THE GIFTS. but, they might be miserable. why? no shallot. on the other hand, you might know people who have a few gifts. seemingly meager earthly pleasures. but they have an ample supply of shallot. so their enjoyment and joy is off the charts. why? the beauty and power is in the shallot. the ability to enjoy a gift is a gift in itself. life is about seeing the gift in front of you and asking God to allow you the ability to shallot. eat and drink and be merry! enjoy what has been given. 

COMPARISON and CONTENTMENT

this was another KEY piece of the puzzle. comparison and being content with what you have and what's in front of you because God has given that to you and he knows what you need. this life is a journey. we don't know the roadmap. but God does. and because he knows what we will encounter on our journey, he packs our bags for us. he packs our bags accordingly. and he gives to each person according to what he knows he/she will need on his/her journey. he packs our bags. but our tendency is to stick our noses in other people's bags. and we are like why does that person get that? why do they have so much of that? why don't i have that? their bag looks pretty great...i wish i could get a bag of that! but we need to keep our noses in our own bags. we need to trust that what we have is what we need for our journey. we need to enjoy these gifts, enjoy what he has given for our moments, purpose, journey, season.

there's nothing better than to be joyful and to do good as long as we live.