I was having coffee w a friend the other day & this lady walked into the coffee shop w some very loud shoes – her shoes were the 1st thing to catch anyone’s attention. Right away my friend commended to this lady on her super cool shoes, encouraging her that she looked cool wearing those shoes. I was really proud of my friend for being so encouraging & made a mental note to myself that I want to be that way, even if something isn’t my personal style or preference.
Here’s my line of thinking: our planet needs some encouragement because it seems to me that we are living in a time when there’s a fair amount of negativity. With this in mind, a great way to counter-act any general negativity is to be encouraging to people & even creatively encouraging. So here are just a few ideas you might consider & please feel free to leave more suggestions so we can all help each other 🙂
- consider telling a co-worker that you think they’re an incredible person, without the intent of trying to get something from them ,)
- wave & smile at your neighbor when you drive by them
- look at the cashier & ask them if they’re having a nice day, with sincere interest
- send a kind email to someone & thank them for who they are as a person (consider telling them what characteristic you like the most about them)
- tell your mate that you think they’re great
- let a friend, neighbor or co-worker know that you appreciate them with a quick text message
- drop a note in the mail (snail mail) to let someone know that they are special to you
Those are just a few ideas, but the principle of being encouraging is super powerful, even though it may seem rather small 🙂
What are some more ideas that you would suggest?
Over the last few days, I’ve done a little bit of traveling – specifically to Dallas & Phoenix. Why I went to some of the hottest cities in America in August is still somewhat comical to me, but I had a great time in both places & enjoyed the people immensely 🙂
With that being said, it helps to know some traveling tips from people who travel alot – you know the stuff like:
- if you bring alot of books your luggage will be really heavy,
- don’t forget deodrant when you go to places with high temperatures,
- put your toothbrush in one of those toothbrush covers so when the shampoo explodes you won’t be foaming at the mouth when you brush,
- be nice to the TSA people, they’ve already had their quota of complaints & harassments for the day
Here’s some travel tips for the journey called, “life”:
- enjoy the journey – love your kids & husband / wife all along each day of the journey so your life will be rich
- be generous with kind words & encouragement, even to strangers for the selfish reason that giving to others always leaves you with a contentment that exceeds words
- the various paths & directions that you life take aren’t as important as the people on the journey with you
- the presence of Jesus on any path is always better than the destination or achievement – maybe that’s the whole point of the journey of life: getting to know Jesus 🙂
The last few days have been kind of a whirlwind – traveling to a few cities, lots of driving for end of the season swim parties, ministry opportunities, car challenges, etc. Sometimes when we are in those super busy seasons, it can feel like we’re running on fumes. If we’re not careful, we can get impatient, sharp & dismissive.
It is particularly helpful in these seasons to do our best to keep our eyes on God and we can do this in many different ways:
- good worship tunes
- reviewing Bible verses that have been helpful
- talking with a friend about God
- endeavor to find some quiet from time to time
Job 20:20 says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires”
I have the great privilege of getting to lead our amazing women’s ministry at our church – we call our ministry Jesus’ Chicks & I really dig what we’ve been doing this year, connecting with the women who interacted with Jesus in the Gospels. Today, we had fantastic time looking at the Syrophoenician woman (try spelling that 6 times with no errors) in Matt 15, the one Jesus called a “dog”. This woman takes my breath away for many reasons. But perhaps the most powerful reason that I find her to be so magnificent is because of her astounding faith. When you get a chance to check out this story, please note that Jesus’ silence caused His disciples to get irritated & annoyed. In contrast, Jesus’ silence revealed the thoroughly outrageous faith of this woman.
So here’s my point, we will all go through seasons of silence with Jesus, but we get to decide if His silence will reveal our dysfunction & irritation like the disciples or if His silence will reveal a faith that is nothing short of breathtaking – the choice is solely ours 🙂
The attraction distraction is a fun play on words & my mind can go all kinds of fanciful directions with these words. Nonetheless, I’m thinking about these 2 words as they relate to people in our lives & connecting with Jesus. If I’m gut level honest with you about myself, you’ll discover that I’m keenly passionate about knowing Christ. For me, knowing Christ is the central “attraction” throughout my life, in all of its different contexts. With this in mind, the relationships that go through my life (some permanent & others being more temporary) can be a distraction or an enhancement to this attraction. Likewise, I can either distract people from Jesus or possibly make Jesus attractive by my interactions with others.
To attract or distract all depends on your goal. What are you trying to achieve? When you are clear about the goals in your life, then you can figure out the attraction & distraction challenges. May God give you the wisdom & focus you need for this day 🙂
Seems like you can always find bad news & sometimes, it seems like bad news is determined to you. Whether you look on a nat’l or int’l scale or down to our individual lives, there can always be bad news. But the real issue isn’t always what the bad news is, but maybe moreso how we handle bad news.
When I was growing up, my dad could have a major melt down with a small piece of bad news, but if there was a MAJOR piece of bad news, he was a rock – stable, solid & steady. So here are some ideas & thoughts on handling bad news:
- pause & take a deep breath – take some moments to assess the bad news & evaluate it with some perspective: is this momentary bad news? does this have a permanent effect? in light of the big picture & eternity what does this news mean? what is my responsibility in this news?
- don’t let your mouth loose without some “paused” reflection – this helps us to avoid the foot in mouth syndrome
- find a safe place to let your hair down / vent – in your car, with some exercise, taking a walk, riding a bike, etc
- pray – when you vent, don’t leave God out of the picture. If you’re mad at Him, don’t shut Him out. The main person this hurts is you.
- be mindful of any destructive escapes or habits you might turn to – these would include: addictions, co-dependencies, food (dysfunctional behaviors), entertainment escapes (sports, movies, gaming, etc) & others
- if you’ve received some MAJOR bad news, try not to make any MAJOR life decisions in crisis times
- consider what Paul said in Rom 8:28-29, all things work together for good to those who love God & are called according to His purposes – our main responsibility is to stay in love with God & in His purpose for our life. From there, He will work it all out
Always remember that God is in the business of converting bad news to good news – hence the term “redemption” 🙂
I always like to hear encouraging stories about how a person has been persistent & the great rewards that they experience from their endurance – some truly great people have become great, in part due to their persistence.
There is, however, an ugly side to persistence & its called stubborness. I’ve heard many stories as well about people being stubborn & the bad things that have happened because of their unwillingness to change. It’s interesting that the words “persistent” & “stubborn” can have similar meanings but evoke different responses in us. So I’ve been thinking about what the difference is for me with these words & here’s my perspective:
When I am stubborn, I assert my will & desires at almost all costs. But when I’m committed to asserting God’s will in my life (conversations, attitudes, actions, etc) over my desires, then perhaps I could consider that I’m being persistent. For me, one word is all about me & the other word is all about Jesus. So I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will dismantle any & all “stubborn” scaffolding in my life & replace those structures with His persistence & endurance to work out God’s will through my daily living. Persistence gets God’s results & stubborness get’s my results
I’m a big fan of being proficient with forgiveness – after all, we get to practice almost everyday! ,)
There are LOADS of benefits that go with maintaining a lifestyle of forgiveness, but the point for this blog is to refresh a few tips & to give you an opportunity to share some effective tips you’ve learned as well. So here’s a quickie sarah forgiveness primer:
- be ready to forgive more than you’re ready to take an offense – sometimes it helps to have a forgiveness mindset
- fast forgiving is easier than elongated forgiving: anytime I’ve nursed a hurt, the forgiving process gets quagmired & almost moribund before I know it
- some people require more forgiveness than others; some of us are proned to the foot-in-mouth syndrome so please don’t make us squirm as we try to get better
- forgiveness is about personal liberty: for those of us who are Americans, its hard for me to understand why we are so adamant about our external freedom, but we can be virtually oblivious to our internal incarceration
- I want to be super generous with forgiveness because Lord knows He gives me more than I can comprehend; people who are stingy with forgiveness are usually mean & lonely 😦
What are some more suggestions?
I had an interesting experience a few days ago with a very unhappy person. This person was extremely upset about a difficulty & she was upset beyond what the circumstances called for. I began to think about the possible reasons why she could be over reacting:
- maybe she was having a rough day,
- maybe there are other pressures in her life where she vents her frustrations in unrelated situations,
- maybe she has some medical challenges that cause her to be easily upset
- worst of all, maybe she is an angry person
There’s a difference between being angry about something & being an angry person. One is based on situations but the other is an identity. The person who finds their identity in anger brings dissension into his conversations & relationships based on Prov 29:22 & 15:18. An angry person tends to lack control over their behaviors & conversations. And an angry person, based on what Proverbs says, is a fool (29:11).
In contrast, a person who is slow to anger tends to have a better life – they have great understanding (14:29, 17:27), they’re not easily offended (they overlook offenses – 19:11), they have more self-control than an angry person and a person who is slow to anger is better than the mighty (16:32).
Let’s be angry for the right reasons (against injustices, wickedness & evil), but let’s not be angry people 🙂
This summer I’ve been grilling lots more than a normal Summer, probably because we didn’t really turn on the air con for the Summer. Consequently, I’m more interested in keeping the heat outside rather than raising the heat inside 🙂
Nonetheless, I thought I’d pass along some thoughts & a few little recipes from the grill:
- chix breasts – marinade in italian salad dressing overnight if possible & grill (very tastey). This idea also works well w skewers
- grilled peaches, but not so whippy on the grilled apples; the peaches are nice w balsamic vinegar, but the apples I’ve got to work on & figure out how to improve
- veggies – any & all; I tried grilled beets last night & they weren’t too bad; all with olive oil & salt
- garlic – I tried grilled garlic last night (with olive oil & a touch of salt); they were ok as long as I made sure that they were really well toasted
- fish – my weak spot is that I can overcook the fish & make it dry
- flank steak – again marinated in salad dressing & grilled to medium rare
- pork chops marinated in soy (tastey)
Things I’ve thought about grilling, but decided to forego: celery, lettuce, carrots, avocados, cucumbers & eggplant.
One of my kids favorite things to do with my husband when the coals are pretty spent is to whip out the skewers, grill some marshmellows & make smores.
Can you please help me with some more ideas? As you can see, I’ll try just about anything – very few things are too zany for us ,)