Flexible and Responsible

This week has lots of moving parts.  My kids are finishing out the schoolyear, taking finals and doing work to get moving toward Summer.  My daughter is graduating high school this week, so we’re hosting a graduation party at the end of the week.  Additionally, there are some things at work that need some flexibility because of deadlines and workload.  So all of this is requiring me to be flexible to adapt to these moving parts.

At the same time, being flexible doesn’t mean I get a free pass to be irresponsible.  Indeed, being flexible lets me do what’s responsible in different and creative ways.  So I’m adjusting my schedule, shifting days and events, so that I can continue to be responsible and attentive to the things that are priorities in my life:  God, family and work.  With God’s help, we can be both responsible and flexible in ways we don’t always consider 🙂

Happy Monday to you!

Short Supply

“Can I borrow some milk?” My former neighbor & I used to always borrow ingredients for cooking. Both of us were always busy, so it was abundantly helpful that we could text each other & have one of our kids run over whatever was missing (eggs, flour, sugar, milk, cumin, celery salt, etc). And we would often talk about how we had run out of patience, or run out of time, so it was very nice to have a friend who could sympathize with the “short supply” challenge.

Sadly, she moved a few years ago and my cooking has never been the same 🙂

And I’m super grateful that Jesus is never in short supply of everything I need! Indeed, Jesus has an oversupply of patience, grace, wisdom, time, energy, faith, genuine love, help, strength, . . . . To be sure, Jesus is the ultimate Provision for everything we need for all of this week and beyond!

Not Ideal

We all have different ideas about perfect or ideal. Some of us would be perfectionists & we struggle to navigate sometimes in stuff that’s less than perfect. Some of us are kind of the middle of the road – we like ideal or perfect, but we can figure stuff out when life is imperfect. And for some of us, perfect is almost a joke & an elusive ideal. 

I find myself frequently in less than ideal situations & sometimes I flounder but other times I can flourish in the imperfection. Here are something’s that I’ve found to be helpful for flourishing in less than ideal situations:

  • Focal point: keeping my eyes on Jesus helps me not get so ruffled
  • Choose trust: it helps me to actively choose to trust Jesus & His love for me
  • Identify lemons: what are the less than perfect challenges?
  • Make lemonade: it really helps me to ask Holy Spirit how to make improvements in situations & experiences that aren’t ideal or perfect. Lots of times, the feedback I hear from from Holy Spirit is to shift my point of view & opinion 🙂

Will You Grow?

It never ceases to amaze me how much we grow, as humans, in our first two years of existence. Not only do we gain weight and increase in height, but we also massively grow in our cognitive, emotional, relational and identity capacities. And we continue the growing experience when we go to school, learning lots of stuff related to communication, fine motor skills, organization, moral quandaries, computational proficiencies and the list goes on.

Just because we become adults, doesn’t mean that we should stop growing. May we never limit our capacities nor abilities to:

  • be compassionate,
  • explore new things,
  • learn new communication skills,
  • get more proficient with forgiveness,
  • become more loving,
  • take on new ideas,
  • meet new people

Let’s keep growing!!

Changing Times

Presently, I’m in Cambodia & yesterday I was in Dubai.  Tomorrow, I fly back to Denver so I’m changing lots of time zones.  I’m hopeful that I’m not a babbling idiot as I interact with various folk, since my sleep is a little bit whacky.  It’s understandable because Dubai is 10 hours ahead of Denver, Cambodia is 13 hours ahead of Denver & Friday I’ll be back in Denver – so I’m going around the world in 7days.  This means lots of geography changes & navigating time zones.

And times are changing around the world.  In the US, the generational shifts are obvious & sometimes difficult for adjusting. Furthermore, time seems to change as we age – maybe it speeds up?  Here are some ideas that might be helpful for changing times:

  • be present today:  yesterday is over & tomorrow isn’t here; so now is a wonderful place to reside
  • trust that our times are in God’s hands, based on Ps 31:15
  • time is irreplacable so let’s be intentional about how & where we invest our time
  • let genuine love be our top priority regardless of how the times & people are changing!

Convenient, Comfort & Cushy

I wonder how many wonderful experiences & people we miss because we make these 3 C’s our endgame. Presently, I’m riding in a Tuk Tuk in Cambodia & I can decide which filter in my thinking will be my perspective. I can choose the 3C’s & everything will be hot, noisy, smelly, loud, annoying & repulsive. Or I can choose the Adventure filter & my ride will be informative, interactive w the people around me at stoplights, breezy & bright.
So let’s consider how we think & the possible filters that we use to affect our perspective. And above all, let’s love lavishly & authentically since this is how we are loved by our Heavenly Father 🙂

The Flexible Factor

I’m sitting in a room with extremely brilliant people & everyone has various areas of expertise. And in this meeting, regardless of what we’re individually good at, we are all working to contribute past just our expertise. The contributions we are making in this meeting require us to be flexible – to go out of our comfort zone & expertise rather than just staying in our niche. 

I think this is also how we walk with Holy Spirit in our daily living. Generally, when we are experts in a specific area, we can forget to ask for Help or Divine input. But when we keep a flexible mindset, I think we stay more available for input from Holy Spirit, which we need everyday!

Not Finished

As much as I don’t want to admit this, I’m concerned that I have a disturbing pattern in my life:  leaving things half done :/

While I don’t leave everything half done, there are definitely things that I don’t finish, such as:  not completing my bookshelf project, starting innumerable books but not finishing them, doing half of the ironing, writing part of a story, etc.  Of course this could be very discouraging if I let myself quagmire in this awareness, but I have a fail-safe solution:  God doesn’t quit!

In Philippians 1:6 it says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”  Be encouraged that you’re a masterpiece in the making & the Holy Spirit is continuing to shape & grow you, never quitting, getting discouraged or giving up on you!  God’s not finished!

 

When Plans Don’t Work

Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years.  I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality.  So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work?  Then what?

In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e,  the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing.  It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question:  why plan?

When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:

  • plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams.  No planning = no progress
  • planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
  • consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Take a minute to order a copy of my newest book that can help you to stay

In Step with the Holy Spirit!

Right Side Up

Looking at this picture, you would likely tell me to fix it & turn it around since it looks like Jesus is upside down. However, sometimes I think the Holy Spirit wants to turn us up on end so we be right side up, based on the Holy Spirit’s perspective. Some areas where we might need some adjusting could include:

  • Money: getting is never as blessed as giving
  • Time: sometimes I need to remember that prayer can be the key for productive rather than staying busy
  • Mercy: being judgmental appealing to our flesh, mercy wins with Jesus!
  • Leadership: serving is the model Jesus gave us if we’re going to be the Jesus-kind of leader

Topsy-Turvy my friends 🙂

Changing Things

Changing Things

Normally, the day before Thanksgiving our family goes skiing since we live fairly close to some epic vertical. But alas, today we are electing for the flatland because there’s almost no snow & the few runs that are open don’t tempt us enough to take the plunge.
Seems to me that change can be challenging to navigate but we need to change for lots of reasons:

  • Change indicates that we’re alive & not moribund in static rigamortis
  • We don’t grow if we’re unwilling to change
  • Change affords new adventures, delights, joys & discoveries
  • Our souls stay supple when we are willing to change, letting God love through us more thoroughly

Cheers to change & happy Thanksgiving!

Planning and Non-Planners

My husband is really good at planning all kinds of stuff.  Currently, he’s planning our family vacation, a roadtrip from Denver to Washington DC to sightsee and explore our nation’s capital.  I deeply appreciate his skill in planning and there have been innumerable occasions where his planning abilities have bailed me out, thank ya Jesus!

On the other side of planning is non-planning, or maybe the euphemism is spontaneity.  This can be a fun way to do life, but risky to be sure.  Whether you’re a planner or non-planner type person, let’s be sure that we are endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit, full stop.  Sometimes in our planning we can get so locked into the plan, that we shut out any guidance or direction from the Holy Spirit along the way.  On the other side, the lack of planning can leave us in a place where we can’t follow the Holy Spirit, due to a lack of resources, time, energy or ability.

For the people who are planners, be careful to allow the flexibility in your plans to make adjustments should the Holy Spirit lead in a different direction.  For the people who are non-planners, be careful to keep yourself with the resources where you can follow the Holy Spirit.

 

Stubborn or Steady?

One of my kids is very steady & generally unflappable. They don’t freak out easily & I love that they are so level. The other side is that they can also be stubborn & resistant to change. I’ll totally give you that not all change is good. But being hostile to change can prevent a person from growing, learning & maturation. 
Let’s be people who get the good stuff out of being faithful & steady. But let’s also be people who can learn, adapt & grow! Seems to me that we become moribund & zombie-ish when we refuse to learn & change. If we are perpetually changing, however, we risk the danger of not being committed, the lack of roots & absence of fruit 🙂

Balance, my friends, is the wise choice!

Making Change Good

My daughter & I are talking about all the changes happening for us currently. We’ve got school changes, friend adjustments (saying goodbye & meeting new friends), neighborhood transitions and heaps more. 
We just talked about how Jacob in Genesis underwent huge amounts of change: his family relationships, place where he lived, job functions, marriage & children adjustments and even moving to Egypt at the end of his life. Here are some things to help make change be positive in your life:

  • Prepare rather than deny: just because you may want to deny some impending changes doesn’t make them evaporate; preparing is more proactive than denying
  • Keep positive: it always helps me remember Rom 8:28-9, that as long as I stay in love with God & locked into God’s purposes, all things work together for my good
  • Be practical: maintain routines & schedules, drink more water & less coffee / soda, eat healthy, exercise & get good sleep
  • Trust God: always keep in mind that God gives us what we need or God changes our needs

In God’s hands, change can be awesome 🙂

Changing Plans

  

Ever make plans only to see everything hit the fan & splatter in messy chaos? This is why I’m eating spicy pizza at the Los Angeles airport at 10:15am – not exactly what I’d planned for this moment. Nevertheless, the pizza is fantastic & I had a very lovely chat with Giovanni who made my pizza. He’s born & raised in LA but would like to travel & experience a wider cross section of cultures. 
Anyways, my point is that in the middle of changing plans & with uncertainly aplenty, let’s be sure that we hold more tightly to God than our plans, trusting that God works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with God & surrendered to His purposes & will 😉

Please be sure to stay tuned to my blog – I’m doing some really fun travel in the next week with Saving Moses & I want you to come with me so we can have fun together on this adventure! Remember as well that you can easily subscribe to my blog – some kind of button things in the right & it’s easy ,)

Speeding & Tickets

America has this very civilized concept called speed limits & they’re very nice in theory. Speed limits are supposed to keep us driving at a safe speed & help us get to our destination in an orderly fashion. 
Me, not so much. It’s not that I’m rebellious, I just like to go fast & not only with driving. With my “go fast” mentality, here are a few things I’m learning lately from God

*Slowing down isn’t failure it’s the space you need to marinate: time is often a necessary ingredient for a thorough outcome & not just something that’s half-baked, or good enough

*pacing enables me to go farther, longer & finish rather than burning myself out with each beginning

*sometimes I speed to excuse a lack of discipline in my life or to compensate for not being proficient at something; some people use the same idea but for going slowly & maybe being obstinate 🙂

*I’m learning to trust God for the various seasons & paces in my life – growing & learning 

No, I didn’t get a speeding ticket today ,)

BE READY!!

When my kids were very little, they trained me to get better at being prepared.  Truth be known, I’ll often get super excited about something & throw preparation out the window for the sheer pleasure of adventure – but with babies & toddlers, this strategy backfires more often than not.  A mom with babies & toddlers has to be prepared for all kinds of unexpected twists, most of which you probably don’t want to read about ,)

So my kids have helped me with that whole being prepared concept, mostly.

When it comes to Jesus, it’s also important to be prepared and here are a few helpful thoughts on what that might look like.  Be prepared:

  • to love well – far beyond your natural limits, letting the love of God be poured out in your heart through the work of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5)
  • to give an answer for your faith & belief in Jesus – be that through rationale apologetic defense, philosophical rigor, miracles (1 Cor 2), prayer and / or personal experience (1 Pet 3:15)
  • to surrender to God’s plans & priorities – Jesus modelled the surrendered life with the Gethsemane prayer, “Not My will but Yours be done.”
  • to resist temptation – Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations in Matthew 4 & Paul encourages us that God always provides a way of escape in temptations (1 Cor 10:13)

Let’s stay READY! 🙂

secrets for making progress

I like progress, improvement and growing.  I like being better today than I was a few months ago – and this is in every area of my life:  physical health, intimacy with God, quality relationships, effectiveness with Saving Moses and LOTS more!  I don’t like to be stagnant or stationary and I totaly LOATHE going backwards.  So here are a few things I’m learning of late about progress:

  • sometimes progress is incremental and gradual rather than gigantic and massive
  • progress can happen in different contexts:  doing PT with a recent shoulder surgery, I’m learning that progress happens in several ways (getting stronger, more flexible, getter ability to use, etc)
  • progress requires committment to change – if you don’t want to change, don’t expect to make progress
  • celebrate progress no matter the size or context:  acknowledging progress breeds more progress
  • sometimes what seems like a step backwards is actually progress moving forward – don’t get discouraged
  • encourage others who are trying to get better
  • keep going:  sometimes progress seems to be stagnant, but often these seasons of pause are nothing more than plateau set ups for greater progress if you’ll just keep going
  • progress requires truth;  deception is the enemy of genuine growth & development 🙂

Comfy, Cozy & Upended

We all gravitate to what is comfortable to us, often at the expense of trusting & depending on God – pause & think about what that means in your life. 

For me, this means that I enjoy experiencing God in a sunrise, hearing the whispers of God’s voice in the Bible alluring me to come closer & losing my self in experiencing God on a snowboard or walking among prostitutes in a red light district in Asia. What isn’t comfortable for me is being intermingled with hyper extroverts, amped up on caffeine & red bull. It also stresses me out to have innumerable “weather conversations” without some deeper anchors & topics that get my feet in the dirt with substance & authenticity. 

Even though I like a conversation that’s earthy & grounded, often when I want to walk closer with Jesus, I have to leave the ground & boat, joining Jesus on the water – away from whats comfortable & cozy in my natural leaning. 
When we walk with Jesus, it’s not always where we are most comfy & cozy but rather upended & transformed. Let’s keep walking, even when it’s on the water, as long as it’s with Jesus 🙂

Blessed are the flexible

Ok I’m totally adapting from Jesus’ beatitudes so don’t think I’ve suddenly become a heretic – I just think there’s a boatload of value in staying flexible. I think it’s important to be flexi in lots of ways: time, our talents & how we use them, relationships, various foods & even how we use our money. Being flexible is easier in life than rigidity & the unavoidable breaking that goes with being inflexible.
Some things, however, aren’t up for the agility treatment, things like Jesus staying number 1, loving well, forgiving proficiently & keeping a generous heart – all of these are deep pier non/negotiables
So how to stay flexi? Here are a few ideas:
*be up to try new things (foods, experiences, meeting new people, reading different books, etc) without a negative predisposition
*think of mistakes & failures as practice rather than options to quit
*consider some ways that you could do things a little different than what’s common or normal (fasting, come to Cambodia with Saving Moses this July, volunteer in a way that you can’t be repaid)
This picture is my breakfast 🙂

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