hot topic: laughter

Life can be very serious & ever so often, we all need a good laugh.  So today’s hot topic is an attempt to provide some comic relief.  Here are just a few brief & funny traveling stories:

  • wrong week:  last year, I was scheduled to go to Dallas & had a 7am flight (which means that I leave my house no later than 5am).  When I got to the airport, I was having trouble getting the kiosk to print my boarding pass.  When I went to the airline person to help me, she ran my confirmation number through the computer & helped me to see that I was a week early – my flight was booked for the following week;  I chalked it up in the “practice” column.  Consider my husband’s surprise when I walked in the house less than an hour after I left, ready to take the kids to school that morning ,)
  • buddhist monks:  one time I was in the waiting lounge in the Calcutta airport & there were around 6-12 monks who were all seated together.  My friend dared me to jump in the middle of them so he could take a picture of me with them.  I took the dare & the monks scattered faster than cockroaches running away from light.  I learned that they had all taken a vow not to touch a woman & I almost caused them to break this vow with my silliness
  • chief safety officer:  I flew on a commercial plane once (oversees) when the pilot came out of the cockpit on an active runway to close the front door of our airplane – he seemed pretty casual about the whole thing

speak, think, feed

I’m not a big fan of onions – when I chop them, they make my eyes water and sometimes they can have a really sharp odor & flavor.  But they can serve as an interesting metaphor with some helpful thoughts.  If you think about it, onions have many layers – you can keep peeling & peeling, ulimately finding that an onion may have up to 20 layers!

The layers of an onion are a little like our lives, with the first layer being what we say.  The things that we say are very important & since I’ve had children, I’m more convinced of this than ever.  Our words can give life, encouragment and be uplifting or they can be negative, discouraging and death oriented.  So our words are important, but our words are often a reflection of what we think, which is another layer of the onion, so to speak.

Second layer – Have you ever thought about what you think about – a thought inventory?  Many of our thoughts are about getting stuff done and general maintainence thinking (cooking, grocery lists, auto repair, etc).  But we also think about many other things – conversations, what we think people think about us, priorities, time management, how we feel, reactions to various people & interactions, etc.  What we let ourselves think about is very important because our thoughts affect our actions, words, decisions, etc.

But here’s the center of the onion:  what we feed our hearts is what affects our thinking & ultimately our words & actions.  So let me encourage you to take a few minutes to consider the things that you feed your thoughts, emotions & heart.  What are the inputs that you allow in your life?  Do these inputs give life?  Are they uplifting?  Are they truthful?  Do they have genuine love?  Our words are shaped by our thoughts which are shaped by the inputs we allow – so let’s chose these inputs with discernment, discretion, wisdom & love 🙂

when facing a challenge

We all have challenges in our lives of varying sizes and strengths.  Some challenges are relatively short & minor:  getting the chicken unthawed in time to bake it for tonight’s dinner.  Some challenges are massive:  nightcare with Saving Moses.  Regardless of your age, responsibilities, gender, season in life, etc, we all have challenges & it’s what we do with these challenges that’s important (not necessarily the challenges themselves).

So here are some helpful tips for dealing with challenges:

  • can do:  keep in mind that God in you is bigger than any challenge;
  • try:  don’t quit, give up or get discouraged;  a baby step is better than no step & a misstep is better than a regress ,)
  • selective nutrition:  feed the positive & starve the negative
  • timely inventory:  it can be super helpful, from time to time, to take an inventory of your overall progress rather than focusing on the lack of slowness of progress
  • encouragement:  encourage someone else in their dreams, goals & challenges – it’s good for you! 😀

Babies, babies & babies

I think that it’s really important from time to time to get some fresh perspective on life & the world in which we live. Today has been a day of fresh perspective for me. I’ve met heroic & legendary moms & dads who are doing everything in their power to keep their babies alive. But I also met a mom today who was extremely discouraged & I’m deeply concerned that she may have given up hope. Her baby, Josephine, is only 10 months old but is extremely sick & close to dying. Her mom, Miciah, brought her to our malnutrition clinic to receive milk & medical help but was herself not feeling well. We took a short break for lunch & upon returning to the clinic, I started looking for Miciah & Josephine but couldn’t find them. As I asked around, the nurse said that Miciah had left the clinic w Josephine & the nurse strongly encouraged mom to stay. Miciah left, regardless of the nurse’s appeals & we don’t have a way to track them down – no address or phone number. I have tremendous concern for Josephine because she was not doing well at all. Please remember to pray for her – I’ve attached her picture so you can please remember her. The lesson for all of us is to never surrender hope.

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Better thoughts

I’ve had some interesting interactions with people of late. Some of these interactions were in the intimidating & bully category. Being on the receiving end of the intimidation efforts, I can’t say that it was a pleasurable experience. And there have been more than a few occasions where I wanted to return some of that bullying.
Nevertheless, I decided with God’s help to look in my mind for some better thoughts & here are a few ideas for better thoughts:
*if God is for me, then who can be against me?
*I am more than a conqueror because of Jesus’ resurrection
*love never fails
*in God’s hands, a temporary affliction can turned into some heavy duty glory
*all things work to my benefit as I
Continue to stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes in my life 🙂

Make the decision with me to choose better thoughts 🙂

Hello from Angola!

YAHOOO!!! We visited our first malnutrition clinic today & I saw LOTS of encouraging things!! I saw about 40 babies & toddlers drinking our therapeutic milk. I saw moms getting help for their babies. I saw some of the milk supply for this malnutrition clinic & I saw hope!!
To add onto all of this excitement, we were able to follow up with 2 families that we met last year: Manushe & Celestina (Augustino died last year) and we saw Angelina & Desorae! Both of these moms & their babies are doing GREAT & it was totally heartwarming to get to see them again this year 🙂
Thanks LOADS for all of your prayers & support – we are making a difference & changing the future today!! The attached picture is of Angelina & Desorae, who we were able to see today!! 😀

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en-courage

  I want to be a person who inspires courage, faith & strength.  In my mind, courage is an opposite for cowardice & I don’t want to be a person who’s influence causes others to be timid, scared, cowardly or insecure.  I want to put “courage in” people – to be an encouragement.

With this in mind, I’m real keen to hear your thoughts on what en-courages you, what puts courage into you???  Thanks for your help!!

aid for charades

Charades is a fun game to act out lots of different things.  If you’ve played this game in a group, you know that you’re supposed to act something out & help your team guess your word(s) based on your acting.  This game can be lots of fun, but unfortunately, I think we play this game in our life, from time to time.  Here are a few examples:

  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be humble, when the reality is that we’re merely insecure.
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be confident when the reality is that we’re arrogant
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be peaceful when the reality is that we’re apathetic
  • Sometimes I think we pretend to be strong when the reality is that we’re scared
There are lots of other ways we live the charade game & ultimately, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be humble, confident, peaceful, strong, etc.  But my sense is that we can’t really have these things well integrated into our lives as a normal reality without God’s help.  Just some food for thought 🙂

hearing God speak in a LOUD world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our lives tend to be really full with activities, relationship, things we have to do, twitter, facebook, concerns, etc.  If you’re like me, sometimes I have a hard time hearing God in the midst of the noise of life. Indeed, sometimes His voice seems so small that it is a stark contrast to the loudness of everything else.  Here’s something that you might find useful in listening to God:

H – help!  Ask God to help you to hear His voice (it’s interesting to note that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper)

E – eliminate distractions.  Is there some “noise” you could eliminate? Switch off some unnecessary noise & perhaps this “off” could be an “on” switch for hearing God better

A – available.  Make some time on a consistent basis (I’d suggest daily) to be available to God – for Him to speak with you on whatever topic He choses, or even just to be in His presence, if He choses to be quiet.

R – revere.  It is often true that whatever we honor & revere tends to grow in our lives & the reverse is also true.  I find that I express my honor & reverence in lots of different ways, but very often by how I spend time.  Time can be a very honest reflection of what is important in our lives, especially our discretionary time

Have fun listening & watching for God 😀

God Helps Us

Today we had the privilege of meeting some really great & totally fun pre-schoolers, as well as some great moms looking after their babies who we are helping. One of the things that I’m wrestling with is the moms that I’m meeting who have lost babies. The majority of the moms whom I’ve met have lost anywhere from 3-10 babies. When I began to discover this, it simply takes my breath away because I can’t imagine how a mom processes such losses. When you meet the majority of these moms, you wouldn’t know that they’ve endured such tragedies. So as we are now taking a bit of a drive, I’m writing this blog & trying to talk w God about this and to let the Trinity help my heart. I will think & pray for a bit now.