Celebrate Genuine Love!

Being that today is Halloween, the last day of October, it’s a great day to celebrate genuine love!  I say this because Halloween was always a scary holiday to me, with all the skeletons, tombstones, ghosts and macabre images.  When I was a kid, this day often left me fearful.  In contrast, 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear.  So instead of accentuating fear, today I choose to celebrate genuine love!

Here are a few suggestions that might help you celebrate genuine love today:

  • Look for people to encourage throughout today – what they’re wearing, nice hair, friendly smile, beautiful eyes, witty wisdom & LOADS more
  • Let Jesus love you throughout today – reject the enemy’s lies that say you’re inadequate, have no hope, going to fail, or that you’re a mutant
  • Smile & watch for gratitude opportunities – clean air, warm sun, nice coffee / tea, clean water, beautiful trees & HEAPS more!!

Happy Genuine Love day to you!!

Doing Difficult

What is difficult for you to do?  Do you struggle with self control on various things like eating, sleeping, Netflix or something like that?  Is it difficult for you to engage with people or do time alone?  All of us have things that are difficult to do. And sometimes we just flat out don’t do what’s difficult even though we know we should. 

Here’s some help, possibly, to do difficult:

  • Start w what’s most difficult & finish with what’s easiest. This can help you keep going
  • Coach the mental game – recognize that your thoughts play a role in doing what’s difficult
  • Pray for Heavenly Help – Holy Spirit helps us do difficult things
  • Celebrate progress & not just completion 🙂

Here’s to doing difficult stuff!

Anniversary Celebration!

My husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this week & that’s a noteworthy achievement!  It’s noteworthy for lots of reasons such as:

  • lots of seasons and changes to navigate: doing hefty careers, an intense baby season, growing in our careers, raising teenagers & a few medical challenges along the road
  • distinct personalities:  we are very different in our personalities, so this requires us to give each other lots of grace, space & affirmation to be unique but complementary rather than combative
  • prickly insecurities:  just because we’re married doesn’t mean our individual insecurities don’t get triggered from time to time; so it’s helpful to recognize such weak spots & decide to nestle into genuine love 🙂

I’m definitely a better person from being married to Reece & there’s no doubt that God has helped us to grow in our relationship over the last 25 years!  Let’s remember that being a person who is growing in character, love and strength is a decision we make one day at a time!  And be certain to celebrate the milestones along the journey!

Happy Rest Day :)

In the US today, we celebrate a national holiday called, “Labor Day.”  The official year that it was started in America was 1882 & laborers had to strike to get the day “off” for a pause or rest from work.  And I think it’s the universal human experience that we all need a pause from work.  Perhaps we agree on this because of Divine design.
If you think about it, even God took a pause on the seventh day of the Creation week, when He rested.  And to reinforce the need for rest, God established the Sabbath as one of the Ten Commandments.  The Sabbath is one day a week to rest from our work & set our attention / affection toward fellowship with God.

So let’s celebrate not only success and productivity, but also rest because without rest our souls become thin, weary, unsettled and broken.  Happy Labor Day!

Being Wasteful

My dad grew up in the Depression, so i was raised with a firm appreciation for not wasting anything.  To this end, he composted kitchen scraps, saved leftover paint remnants in addition to finding bargains at garage sales, etc.  In Matthew 26:8, Jesus’ disciples had the same mindset when they asked Him about a chick wasting expensive oil, since she poured it on Jesus’ head, as an expression of worship.

And worshipping Jesus is never wasteful, regardless of what people may say.

Indeed, let’s be extravagant in how we worship Jesus!  The chick in Matthew 26 was extravagant in worshipping Jesus, using expensive oil.  And in our modern culture, we can be extravagant in worshipping Jesus by:

  • spending time with Jesus, giving Him our attention
  • being generous with our finances in church, with ministries and to the poor
  • choosing to wholeheartedly participate in the worship time at our churches whether we like the songs or not
  • expressing gratitude and worship to God before we go to bed each night

 

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!

 

Chose to Celebrate

Do you have any bad things in your life? Of course that’s a stupid question. Everybody has bad stuff, little, big, occasionally & hopefully not continuous. As much as I want to avoid the bad stuff, it’s still there. So what to do?
Here are some ideas about what to do with bad stuff:

  • Pray – let’s not assume that prayer with bad stuff is a given. Praying is a resource that strengthens us, can change the bad stuff & even change us
  • Focal Point – what gains our attention usually gets magnified in our lives. So keeping Jesus scoped as our focal point helps us to keep perspective
  • Outcome possibilities – in Paul’s epistles & various places in the NT, we frequently read that hardship & bad stuff is often the pathway to really great things like lasting glory, perseverance / endurance, maturity, fruitfulness, (2Cor 4:17, James 1:4, Gal 6:9, Rom 8:17-18)

Bad may come & even linger but it will pass.  Let’s chose to celebrate the faithfulness, provision, strength & presence of Jesus, even when we’re in a bad stuff season 🙂

A Lavish Feast

Jesus told a parable about a rich dude who made an elaborate feast, with abundant food. The dude went to extravagant lengths to prepare, complete with invitations, massive amounts of food & loads of servants to facilitate this magnificent party. When the servants went out to let the invitees know that the party was ready for them to attend, none of the invited peeps showed up. This was very rude because the dude hosting the party had killed several animals to abundantly provide food for his party. Now, he’s stuck with all these provisions & no one to eat them. Rather than letting everything go to waste, the party host sent out his servants to invite anyone & everyone to come to his party.
Here are some important take aways for us from this parable:

  • God has made an extravagant feast for everyone – there’s more than enough!
  • As God’s servants, let’s keep inviting people to experience God’s lavish love for them
  • There’s room at the table for you, your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, . . . .
    “Come & Dine!”, the Master calls!

Happy Fourth of July!

Today, is Independence Day for the United States. This is a day when we remember the foundations of our country, the sacrifices that have been made & we express gratitude for our freedoms & blessings. It’s indisputable that America has flaws & failings. But on this day, let’s choose to focus on these things:

  • Unity with diversity can be a strength when respect is kept as a core value
  • Freedom from tyranny was the premise on which our nation was founded – let’s not be tyrants nor bullies 🙂
  • Pray for our nation & its leaders – this day reminds me of the importance of continually praying for my country
  • Jesus says that greatness is grounded in humility, so let’s endeavor to serve & bless the world!

Happy Fourth!

Outrage!!!

In our modern world, outage is common & I think even expected sometimes. It seems like we can get massively incensed at almost anything: driving infractions, mistakes on paychecks or bills, government shortfalls, moral failures in Christian leaders, etc
But here’s something to consider: if sin is the common human experience, why do we allow ourselves to be outraged when people sin or make mistakes? Wouldn’t we be more constructive to celebrate the moments when humans don’t behave sinfully? What about when a driver makes space for you instead of cutting you off? That’s noteworthy! What about when a government does something positive that exceeds your expectations? This might not be often, but that’s exactly why we should celebrate it! And when a Christian leader has a moral failure, let’s not be so much outraged as we should pray for them & have sincere compassion because we identify with our own shortfalls.
Let’s aim for less outrage & more celebration 🙂
Selah

Heroes

When I travel, I often meet people whom I admire & my weekend in New Zealand was no exception. To be sure, the country is entirely magnificent with its natural beauty, but her citizens are equally as enchanting. I met folk who are respectful in their conversations & engagement with diverse cultures. I met people who have overcome adversities that would make your hair stand on end. I met people who have a deep love for Jesus & carry His heart in their daily interactions, eager to serve & express genuine love.
We all meet people who have warts & flaws, but let’s have the courage & determination to see past those shortfalls & see each person as a glorious creation of our loving Heavenly Father!

Broken Again

This is a picture of our jerry-rigged dishwasher this morning. I have to prop the door closed so it will keep running & I still have to check it occasionally to make sure it’s still working.
Sometimes life is like my dishwasher. I like it when everything works smoothly, but we know that this isn’t always the case. Joseph working in pharaoh’ house seemed to be in a good place, but I’m sure that when his brothers showed up, things felt broken again. Just when we think things are moving along smoothly, something can break or even seemingly regress. This can be discouraging so let me hopefully give some help here:
1 – keep going: setbacks happen, but keep going, even if it’s a slower pace
2 – fix it: sometimes a solution is permanent but don’t be surprised if you have to circle back & work on the problem again
3 – celebrate: even with what seems small, celebrate! Any progress is helpful!
Feel free to pass this on to your friends who are struggling w broken stuff 🙂

Celebrate the Victories!

Did you make some resolutions for 2017? How’re doing on keeping them? It takes some definite commitment to hold onto these resolutions & seem them become reality. Indeed, sometimes we can fall short on our resolutions. But here’s something that can be helpful: celebrate the incremental victories to keep up some momentum & continue making progress!

Consider what David said to Saul in relation to killing Goliath: I killed a bear & I killed a lion, so this giant will be like those vanquished foes! David strung together seemingly smaller victories to encourage himself about conquering Goliath!
Let’s remember to applaud the steps & not just the destination, lest we get discouraged on the journey & quit.

Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who’s made some resolutions for this year to encourage & applaud each victory, no matter how small it may seem!

Happy 4th of July!

I love America!  I love our heritage, roots and history.  I love the way we celebrate our nation on this day with hot dogs, barbecues, baseball, fireworks, watermelon, grilling, swimming and the stars and stripes.  We live in a wonderful country!

I know this because I am extremely fortunate to get to travel around the world and I see nations that are very different than ours.  I go to nations where the absence of freedom is normal.  I visit nations where it can be dangerous to express a dissident opinion.  I visit regions where being a woman is a burden of survival in the most depolorable conditions.

We live in a very great nation and today we celebrate freedom, one of the core values on which our nation was founded.  May we also recognize that freedom is tethered to responsibility.  Without maintinaing responsibility, our freedoms will erode and become an elusive memory.  We are a great nation today because of the sacrifices made in the past.  This makes me pause to consider if we are making sacrifices today that will keep us great in the future.

Let’s be sure that we continue to pray for America 🙂

wool socks

I have a friend & our feet are always cold, so we give each other wool socks.  In Denver today, it’s cold so we are both celebrating our warm feet because of the gracious gift of wool socks!  I have another friend who wears flip flops in Denver even when it snows, almost.  This friend doesn’t have a cold feet problem but maybe has the opposite end of the spectrum.  I totally love both of these peeps & I love that they see and experience life through different lenses, each vibrantly beautiful & wholesome.

This makes me appreciate our Heavenly Father all the more for His immense and unique love for each one of us.  We don’t have to match up to a marketing profile to be loved by God.  Indeed, it seems to me that we are most thoroughly loved by our Heavenly Father as we revel in His unique design for us individually.  Based on Romans 5:5, you are fully loved by your Heavenly Father, full stop.  The Holy Spirit can help you live in this reality day by day 🙂

Fun Thoughts About Spring

Spring is a wonderful season! Ive noticed some little buds on the trees & flowers poking through the cold earth. Spring is like a celebration of life in contrast to the dormancy of Winter. A few things to thing about today:

  • Spring Forward: time to get moving! Shake off the Winter hibernation & LETS GO! Gal 6:9
  • Spring Cleaning: be sure that you take some time to clean out the cobwebs & in particular celebrate Resurrection. Perhaps it’s time to get rid of some dead weight – Heb 12:1
  • Spring Break: I love that there’s this thing called Spring Break. It helps me to remember that in all of the Spring flurry of activities, it’s still important to rest! Matt 11:28

Celebrating the Leap!

Happy Leap Monday! I’m super pumped that we get an extra day this year & that’s TODAY! Here are some fun reasons from the Bible to celebrate leaping:

  • Acts 3 – a lame man was healed in the temple when Peter said, “Silver & gold have I none but such as I have give I to you!” Think of some places in your life that have been healed (physical, emotional, financial, etc) & this gives us great cause to leap & celebrate!
  • Luke 1:41 – John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb, when Mary greeted Elizabeth. Jesus’ ongoing presence with us is great cause to leap & celebrate!
  • Ps 18:29 says that God gives us strength to leap over walls. When I trust in God’s promise here to overcome various obstacles, it gives me great cause to leap & celebrate!

Happy Leap Monday 🙂

Happy Birthday!!!

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I’m super pumped to celebrate an amazing birthday throughout this whole year!  Saving Moses is five years old this year & I’m incredibly amazed at what has happened in the last five years:

  • we have four nightcare centers currently in Cambodia with almost 100 babies receiving genuine love and a chance for a different future than their moms
  • we have six malnutrition clinics in Angola that provide malnutrition formula for babies and toddlers, many of whom are literally at death’s door
  • we are doing phenomenal work in rural Afghanistan with immunizing babies and helping educate families for safe birthing practices
  • numerous smaller projects like assisting babies whose parents died from ebola & providing earthquake relief for babies & toddlers in Nepal

So here’s a special invitation for you to celebrate your birthday with us this year.  Take a brief moment to go to our birthday club link and join our celebration on your birthday this year!

Happy birthday to you and Saving Moses!!

Celebrate Progress :)

The other day I was packing my suitcase for a trip & sometimes packing makes me discouraged because I often forget something. Things I’ve forgotten include: makeup, my passport, entrance visas for various countries, my notes for preaching, various clothing necessities & the list goes on without limit. But I’m choosing to celebrate progress because lately, I’ve forgotten less than usual 🙂

And this is my encouragement to you today: celebrate progress more than conclusion. So many times I’ve been discouraged with myself for not having everything together. Discouragement can often become disheartening & ultimately depressing. So let’s chose today to celebrate progress rather than discouragement. Here are some ideas for celebrating:

  • Maybe your less late than usual
  • Maybe you gave someone a complement when usually you’re awkwardly quiet
  • Maybe you said less than what was running around in your mind & emotions
  • Maybe you showed up when you wanted to disappear
  • Maybe you chose courage rather than fear / intimidation
  • Maybe you listened instead of talking mindlessly to fill what seemed to be an awkward quiet 
  • Maybe you prayed a little more than worried
  • Maybe you chose to be vulnerable rather than amored 
  • Maybe you purposely gave without expecting a complementary payback
  • Maybe you chose to walk out your stress rather than eat the chocolate ,)
  • Maybe you chose water instead of coffee

Progress my friends – it’s a good thing ,)

Celebrate Progress :)

The other day I was packing my suitcase for a trip & sometimes packing makes me discouraged because I often forget something. Things I’ve forgotten include: makeup, my passport, entrance visas for various countries, my notes for preaching, various clothing necessities & the list goes on without limit. But I’m choosing to celebrate progress because lately, I’ve forgotten less than usual 🙂

And this is my encouragement to you today: celebrate progress more than conclusion. So many times I’ve been discouraged with myself for not having everything together. Discouragement can often become disheartening & ultimately depressing. So let’s chose today to celebrate progress rather than discouragement. Here are some ideas for celebrating:

  • Maybe your less late than usual
  • Maybe you gave someone a complement when usually you’re awkwardly quiet
  • Maybe you said less than what was running around in your mind & emotions
  • Maybe you showed up when you wanted to disappear
  • Maybe you chose courage rather than fear / intimidation
  • Maybe you listened instead of talking mindlessly to fill what seemed to be an awkward quiet 
  • Maybe you prayed a little more than worried
  • Maybe you chose to be vulnerable rather than amored 
  • Maybe you purposely gave without expecting a complementary payback
  • Maybe you chose to walk out your stress rather than eat the chocolate ,)
  • Maybe you chose water instead of coffee

Progress my friends – it’s a good thing ,)