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 ,)

Merry Christmas!!

  
Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, when humanity began a new trajectory with God’s love expressed to us through Jesus’ life. It always takes my breath away when I consider that God became flesh & started His journey like every single human, as a newborn baby. Furthermore, despite being the Son of God, Jesus’ first bed was an animal feeding trough & His mom was a teenage girl, unwed & common, except for her trust & faith in God. 
I pray that your day is overflowing with God’s love & Jesus’ presence! Merry Christmas to you, a Savior is born to us today!

Jesus at Work

  
Happy December to you!! This month can overflow with festivities, activities, pressures & responsibilities on the back drop of celebrating Jesus’ birth. So I like to have some fun with the premise of looking for Jesus, everywhere. 
With this premise in mind, I’ll be blogging about looking for & finding Jesus throughout this holiday season. Some blogs will be playful & kind of dorky, but the challenge I put before you & me is to keep looking for Jesus, a central priority, in this busy & demanding season. Love the reason, Jesus, and manage the season 🙂

people watching

I seriously love to watch people.  I love to watch their facial expressions, the way they interact with others, the creative clothing combinations and lots more!  I love to see that despite our best efforts to fit in, we each have our distinct individuality – reflections of our infinitely creative Divine Designer.  When I listen to people, I hear ideas & perspectives that I’ve never considered before, leaving me sometimes awestruck.

All of this leaves me fully appreciating the reality that we are each fearfully & wonderfully made, in the image of God, valuable far beyond any human estimation or transaction.  All of this originates from the fundamental premise that we are unconditionally loved by our Creator.

Today, I celebrate YOU!!!

🙂

knitting

I have no craft sense, whatsoever, anywhere in me.  I can’t cross-stitch, crochet, color, knit, draw, paint, sculpt, tie dye, . . . . . .  and I can barely sew on a button & do a hem.  I’m not crafty & visiting Hobby Lobby makes me twitch with nervous ticks.

Despite all these deficiencies, I am nonetheless, a result of Divine knitting and weaving as it says in Ps 139:13.  This is important for each of us to ingest for lots of reasons:

  • when we try to look / act like someone else, this is inherently destructive to the unique & divine design given to each one of us
  • your knitting / weaving together that God has done with you is perhaps one of God’s greatest expressions of love to you – you’re not a clone nor automaton
  • don’t unravel or unweave the beauty of who you are by running yourself down – remember that the enemy of your soul is also called the accuser of the brethren, so be mindful of who you agree with about your life 🙂
  • your divine DNA is organized for unique purposes, expressions, celebrations and successes

Whether you’re the knitting type or not, you are wonderfully, fearfully & lovingly made in the image of your Creator 🙂

Celebrate with me!!!

I’m totally PUMPED & God is doing spectacular stuff! I’m celebrating today because I’m part of a magnificent team with Saving Moses! Some of my team is in Brazil, exploring some cool opportunities for us there & some of my team is in Cambodia, introducing our nightcare work to some really fun peeps. The reason I’m celebrating today is because I’m in Denver with my family & not flying everywhere on the planet – a great reason to celebrate!!!!
Here are some things to think about in your life, possibly worth celebrating:

  • Teamwork: God puts us on fantastic teams – we never accomplish our divine mandate without teamwork!
  • Growing – in the past, I’d be all about my independence & doing Saving Moses alone; change is good for me & others 🙂
  • Capacity – when I’m obedient to God, my capacity to be effective grows

Let’s always celebrate God’s work in our lives!!

Introvert thinking about extroverts

Straightaway, let me be clear that stereotypes are inherently inaccurate by their very nature. But with that caveat, I’ve seen a fair amount of advice, blogs & comments about dealing with introverts, those prickly & possibly cranky or awkwardly quiet thinkers who sometimes lack diplomacy or communication skills. 
In contrast, however, I haven’t seen much about extroverts & here are some introvert observations about extroverts, who can be very wonderful:

  • They engage rather than evaporate
  • They communicate rather than go silent
  • Often friendly more than sulky
  • They push comfort zones
  • They usually meet people well
  • Have verbal skills that can be admirable
  • Often do adventures with ease & enthusiasm

Suffice it to say that we are each made with divine creativity, fearfully & wonderfully made for fellowship with God & expressing genuine love in our daily living 🙂

No Cavities!

YAHOOO!!!! I took my kids for their dental checkups today & I’m happy to celebrate that NONE of them have cavities. This is a miracle – approximately 90 teeth & not one cavity!  
So this is a really helpful reminder to me keep a few things front & center with my attention:

  • keep watching: God’s miracles come in lots of different sizes & ways, often unexpected 
  • stay grateful: no matter how big or little a miracle is & no matter the method of the miracle (sometimes God chooses to do things in ways we didn’t want), let’s keep gratitude as one of core values throughout each day

No cavities! 🙂

I like people

People are interesting without a doubt.  Sit in a Starbux, visit an airpot, watch in Walmart, socialize in church, etc & its high grade entertainment value to see what people do & how they behave.  Sometimes I just like to stop what I’m doing, adjust my attention & look at what the people are doing around me – so MUCH FUN!!!!

Here are some reasons why I like people:

  • diversity:  no two people are the same in any way, no matter how much effort they make to imitate & blend
  • creative: everyone seems to see things from unique & often highly creative perspectives, causing them to behave in very creative ways & do creative things
  • beautiful:  each person has a distinct beauty (in their visage, mannerisms, interactions, clothing, makeup, etc)
  • surprises:  just when you think you have a handle on human behavior someone does something entirely unexpected, rogue & outlier-ish
  • community:  it’s always fun to watch the ways in which we interact with each other, endeavoring to honor, connect, communicate & engage

Today, let’s celebrate people, God’s highest & most valuable creation 🙂

I need professional help :)

I have an entirely awesome friend who helps me with makeup & she is totally wonderful! One reason she is so wonderful is because I’m altogether awful with the entire concept. As a kid, when my friends were getting into all of the hair, makeup & nail stuff, I was riding my bike, playing basketball, exploring the creek behind our house & jumping on our trampoline. Even to this day, makeup doesn’t have much interest to me – one of my shortfalls, except for my friend who routinely saves the day for me!! I love my makeup friend for lots of reasons & I wholly respect her talents & skills in the very foreign world of makeup. She knows the vocabulary, is proficient with the tools, has an easy confidence with all of those little round things & never makes me feel stupid 🙂
In some ways, she’s kind of like the Holy Spirit, the ultimate Professional Help:
*the Helper knows the tools & resources in our lives better than we do
*the Helper works to make us look & be our best
*the Helper never belittles us
*the Helper knows how we are made, understands our individuality & revels even in some of our eccentricities & quirks.

I really like Professional Help ,)

Celebrate!!

I’m happy to announce that we opened our third nightcare center in Cambodia this week!! It was extremely exciting to have our team here with this opening so they could see the infancy of a center opening (no pun intended). Our first night we were ready & eager to welcome babies & toddlers & there were a few interested moms but because nightcare is such a new idea, we only had curious moms – which was a really good start because any mom worth her salt is going to check out the place & people who might look after her baby / toddler.
The second night, we had I think like 8 babies!!!!!!!! That was totally AMAZING!!!!! The rest of the week, we’ve continued to visit the neighborhood for this center & the moms are continuing to bring their babies – YAHOOO!!!
During my last night in Cambodia, I visited this neighborhood & invited the moms to come to our nightcare centre, loving on them & I even got to snuggle a newborn, 15 day old little girl. Such hope, life & potential, eager to drink in genuine love, like you & me.

Are clones evidence of unity?

Scientists have been working for many years to create clones – sheep, monkeys, birds, etc. When they announced that they had cloned a sheep & named her Dolly, it was considered an amazing scientific achievement.
In my thinking, the whole idea of clones is nothing less than creepy & anti-creation. It only takes a second to look around & see that God digs diversity. Everywhere, all the time there’s creative expression happening & I think that’s crazy cool. What gets me even more excited is when I think about how much God enjoys not only such creative diversity but even more how God has hardwired into creation synergy, unity & teamwork. In Jesus’ last meal with His followers, He prayed no less than 4times that His followers would walk in unity – not clones but unity:
*teamwork,
*complementary rather than competing strengths,
*mutual building up,
*improvement through diversity more than division 🙂

don’t fix it

I have some home projects that I’ve agreed to work on to get fixed – washer issues, mini-blind stuff & a few more odd jobs.  Truth be known, I’m not very good on the home project front so these things kind of get conveniently delayed.  There are also some things that I’m working on with personal development, like using my time more efficiently, being more confident, communicating with more grace, etc.

Sometimes in our efforts to improve, we neglect to appreciate the distinct & unique qualities that God has designed in us.  Sometimes we wrongly see our distinctions as flaws because we desperately want to fit in & belong.  There are some things, however, that God designed in us that are uniquely & beautifully ours.  Let’s revel in God’s love for us & be really good at who God has made us to be!! 🙂

Hot Topic: Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

YAHOOOOO!!!  Today is Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May (after the official Star Wars May the 4th be with you).  This is a day when we commemorate the history of freedom and democracy, along with celebrating Hispanic culture, achievements and heritage.   Having grown up in Denver, Colorado and making innumerable vacations with my parents in New Mexico, I particularly enjoy this holiday and honor the achievements of my latin amigos!

When I think about cultural diversity on a more universal scale, I think that heaven will be a completely OUTRAGEOUS celebration of diversity, blending of cultural strengths and honoring the amazing diverse beauty that our Creator has designed into the fabric of humanity throughout all time.  Today, we honor our latin friends and we are also reminded that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God – such breathtaking beauty, captivating and consuming!

after resurrection

Easter is a wonderful celebration of life, victory and genuine love!!  And it seems to me that there is often a little bit of a “let down” after Easter. – kind of like, “Whew!  Jesus rose from the dead, glad that He conquered death, let’s move on.”  This year, however, is a little different for me.

I’m reminded what Jesus told His disciples in John 16:7 that it was to their advantage for Jesus to go away so that the Helper could come & give us HELP.  When Jesus was raised from the dead, He breathed on His followers in John 20:22 and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!”

So here’s the overwhelmingly GREAT NEWS about Jesus raising from the dead – not only did Jesus conquer death but we now have the great Helper with us in our daily living!  Let’s never minimize the importance of the Helper being with us!!

I like Him, a lot

Palm Sunday is possibly my favorite Sunday on the calendar.  It’s the day when we celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week.  It’s the day when Jerusalem turned out to hail with great exuberance Jesus’ arrival.  Everyone was shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” (rejoice, hail to the Savior, celebrate, honor & revere), throwing down coats. cloaks and palm leaves on the road Jesus was traveling.  Boatloads of celebration, excitement, anticipation and eager jubilation were the order of the day when Jesus came into Jerusalem.  These are some possibilities that were going on that day:

  • some people thought Jesus would set the Jews free from Roman oppression
  • some people thought Jesus would upend the religious leaders who preyed on their already overcome countrymen
  • some people thought that Jesus would do His cool miracle stuff with free food, healings and cool special effects

It seems to me that everyone on Palm Sunday isn’t that much different than many of us today who expect Jesus to conform to our narrow needs & viewpoints.  Nevertheless, Jesus knew that despite this great outpouring of celebration & honor that human depravity would murder Him with barbaric savagery in a few short days.

Palm Sunday is when we see the greatest contrast between our ever faithful Jesus & the ever fickle humanity.  Hosanna in the highest, our God is consistent, loving and ever faithful!!

Mawwage is what bwings us together

I’m trying to spell out the Bill Crystal line in Princess Bride about “marriage is what brings us together” & you probably think my computers spell check went funky ,)
I’m writing on marriage today as my husband & I are celebrating our 20th anniversary today & I think that’s some noteworthy evidence of God’s grace 🙂
Here are some things I’m learning about marriage along the way:
*lots of grace, patience & flexibility is a foundational necessity toward both myself & my husband
*dont say everything you think – it’s often better to think through my thoughts & feelings before I just let it rip
*relationships have ebb & flow so take off the pressure of expectations & performance & enjoy the moments for what they are
*speak life, hope, honor, grace & affirmation – these words help keep our relationship strong
*when there’s conflict, be mindful to discuss behaviors rather than attacking the person
*pray alot & understand that God is using your mate to help you grow in intimacy & as a person
*be gentle
*love is a choice more than a feeling 🙂

Enjoy now

My kids are on Spring Break this week & we’ve had some really great family time together! We skied a few days & have totally enjoyed some mountain get away time. At the same time there have been a few hotspots & some things with my job that are diecy. If I’m not careful, I could let my mind get focused on the hotspots & work issues but one of my friends gave me some good advice: discipline your mind to be present with your body. For me, this is really good advice & maybe for you as well so that we can fully enjoy what God is doing where we currently are 🙂

You are TOTALLY cool!!

I have some amazing friends who could take virtually anything & make it beautiful. They’re amazingly creative, resourceful & have the most beautiful way or decorating & arranging things. Me, not so much. When I paint at our house or try to do something “craft-ish”, there just aren’t words to describe how bad it usually turns out. But I do have some things that I’m pretty good at – I enjoy cooking & I’m pretty good at picking up different languages (and a few other things).
But here’s what’s totally amazing & fantastic about you (and its not just about your talents or abilities): you are intensely, deeply & infinitely loved by the Creator of the universe, Who knows you better than anyone else & Who loves you more authentically than anyone. You are important, valuable & significant because your Creator loves you & this is what makes you TOTALLY cool!!!

My great “Aha!!”

This school year, my daughter signed up to play her first year of basketball & to say that I was happy would be a massive understatement! Elated, excited, thrilled, joyful, exuberant & more would be more accurate 🙂
As the season has progressed, even though I didn’t want to admit this to myself, her interest & enthusiasm for playing basketball has waned, and this week, I had to have a stern conversation with her about finishing what we start & not quitting when we make a commitment (integrity 101). I hated having this conversation w her because I was very different than she is, in the sense of totally enjoying basketball. I was on the other end of the spectrum, shooting & practicing by myself just for my sheer enjoyment. As I’ve been thinking about this difference, I’ve also noticed that she really enjoys her piano lessons & practice – she will take her own initiative & practice even extra piano. For me, piano practice was a slippery shortcut from purgatory to hell ,)
Having said all of this, I’ve come to the happy conclusion that we are different & that’s totally wonderful! God has made Isabell different than me, in the same way that I am different from my mom & such differences aren’t bad – they are divinely inspired! So, my lesson is that God has lots of ways to express majesty, beauty & splendor, using amazing differences to catch our attention 🙂