Archive for December, 2013

31
Dec
13

Starting Clean in 2014

ColonscopyColonoscopies are tremendous. That’s right, you heard it from me. After achieving a milestone birthday this year, I promptly scheduled a procedure that showed I had finally arrived in the second-half-century club. What a happy coincidence that my procedure was scheduled for the second-to-last day of the year; a fitting metaphor to say the least.

Toxins are just as lethal in your heart and mind as they are in your body. No matter how hard you try, life includes the build-up of contamination; it’s just a fact. You get discouraged, people say mean things to you, and you get hurt. But sometimes you must make a conscious decision to cleanse yourself.

Joyce Meyer has a great quip: “Complain and Remain.” So take this ctjwisdomthumbsuckeropportunity at the start of a New Year to wash out all the crap, and work each day to ensure it stays away. There’s more to foul language than four-letter words. Any kind of negativity or whining is toxic to both the transmitter and the receiver.  The good news is that you can flush your mind daily by filling it with positive people and tremendous reading material. Ignore negativity, gossip, and good old-fashioned bitching and see how quiet and peaceful your life will become.

Your body is a temple, not a dump. Treat it that way and remember to Flush It in ‘14!!

24
Dec
13

Alone at Christmas? You’re Never Alone!

Stars_wallpapers_189My most powerful Christmas happened in 1990, when I was in a faraway land deployed as part of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It was several weeks before the first Gulf War kicked off, and as a young Air Force Officer I was not sure how long we’d be there and if—or when–we’d return home.

But that Christmas in Tent City, far away from my family and my surroundings, in the cold, barren landscape not far from the physical birthplace of the Christ child, I experienced Christmas in a whole new way; with solitude, quiet reverence, and a singular introspection. I was alone with the birth of Christ in a way I had never been before.

It’s so common in today’s society to pity those who are physically alone or are separated from their families on Christmas. But after that experience in December 1990, I pity those who’ve never experienced the sanctity of celebrating Christmas alone. I got to have a private and deeply personal birthday party with Jesus.

We all lament that the holidays are too overwrought with consumerism and we dread the inevitable dysfunctional get-togethers. Yet we also cry over how hard it must be for people who can’t buy presents, which have no meaning in Christmas. And God forbid someone is alone and without family when the fact is our heavenly father resides right in our hearts.

As an extrovert from a large family, who was once even married, I got the whole family vibe and the excited wonderment in children’s eyes as they tear into their gifts, and I relished it for many years. But all of those earthly bonds I once had eventually faded over time due to death, disagreements, and even divorce.

It is my hope that those of us who find ourselves out of the holiday “norm” can relish the fact that we have everything within ourselves to have our own individual Christmas miracle. The quieter you are the more you can hear. So this Christmas, get yourself alone.

Take time to quietly contemplate how the creator of the universe took the form of man and was born a child laid in a lowly manger. Worship and adoration of the King is a vertical experience, not a horizontal one. So keep your eyes up and your heart filled with praise because with Christ, we are never alone!

12
Dec
13

All I Want for Christmas is Humility

C_S_-Lewis-Humility-is-not-thinking-less-of-yourself-but-thinking-of-yourself-less_I’ve been a huge advocate of acronyms since my time in the military. I came across one years ago that has been one of my favorites:  SLICC—self-licking ice cream cone; n. a process, department, institution, or other thing that offers few benefits and exists primarily to justify or perpetuate its own existence.

When I refer to someone as SLICC, it’s not a compliment although, true to form, that person or institution probably thinks that it is. SLICCs aren’t just found in the bureaucracy of the military, they exist everywhere! And the more downtrodden our sense of respect for hard work and humility, the more this trait takes root. The amount of self-aggrandizement throughout the media and everyday life is staggering. I feel like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers as I seek to find one truly authentic and humble soul.

When I was a little girl my older sister caught me looking at myself in the mirror and called me conceited. I was mortified and vowed to never spend an inordinate amount of time fixated upon myself. And perhaps this remembrance irritates me the most around Christmas time because self-absorption is the antithesis of the Lord’s arrival.

Christ was born in a manger, an actual feeding trough. He was gentle, he was approachable, he was worthy of all the entitlement and adoration in the universe, yet demanded none. Here’s how you can get your “Christ” on this holiday season and stop considering yourself God’s Christmas Gift to the Universe. That blessed event already took place in Bethlehem several millennia ago.

Stop Quoting Yourself: This includes taking pictures of yourself, otherwise known as selfies. These are a definite no-no in professional settings but equally weird in personal settings. If your LinkedIn profile pic is a selfie, take it down now. I find it strange when people put their own quotes on memes and then put their name on them and then put them on their Facebook page. I can understand if a third-party fan page does this, but for someone to do it on their own seems a bit braggadocious to me.

The Narcissus Syndrome: This egocentrism manifests itself in many forms, but beware of giving one of these birds a microphone unless you’ve got a hook handy and are prepared to use it. If it’s all about you, then just start a cult and hang out with your own special weirdos. Please don’t assume I’m one of them.  I was once at an event where someone was asked to give a two-minute presentation. When the time came, he delivered his assigned talk, and at then proceeded to speak for 15 minutes about his pet project—a topic that was not on the agenda. He finished and the meeting got back on track, but everyone in that room will remember his inappropriate display of self-importance.

My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, was a world-renowned author, speaker, and motivator. If anyone had reason to be a little big for their britches it was him. But his humility was a huge part of his attraction. He knew what Christ had done for him and it was woven through every word he spoke. One of my favorite lines of his is about men who would come up to him and proclaim, “I’m a self made man!” To which he’d retort, “Well, good for you! That relieves God of that responsibility!”

But perhaps the best illustration of humility comes in the form of this anecdote from his speech The Price of Leadership:

Remember the young minister writing his first sermon, spending his time in seminary preparing for that great day when he would stand before the congregation and lower the boom, telling them how to start living. He polished the sermon. He refined it. It was really getting better, week after week, month after month, and then the great day came. After two or three minutes, he realized he was in deep trouble. He began to feel around on the podium for a button he could push that would open the trap door and let him slip out of sight. But there wasn’t any push button. Within five minutes he realized he was whipped and that things were different in real life than they were in seminary. He said a hasty benediction and went down off the platform beaten, broken, and dejected. As he departed the podium, one of the old gray-headed warhorses slipped his arm over the young minister’s shoulder and whispered in his ear, “Son, if you’d have gone up like you came down, you could have come down like you went up.”

Here’s wishing everyone a gloriously blessed Christmas this year. May we all find our stockings and hearts so filled with humility that they overflow far into 2014!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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