One Decision

What do you want? Are you interested in having a better education? Do you want to exercise more? Do you want a healthy marriage? Do you want a vibrant & growing relationship w God? What do you want?
Desires that we don’t achieve can become frustrating & discouraging. So it’s important to think about what we want, our end goal, in smaller steps like one decision at a time.
When we consider what we want & align that to our decisions, then we can make progress towards achieving our desires & goals. Les walk towards our goals & desires one decision at a time.

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 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 ,)

Let’s Pretend

Honest truth, I’ll never be Martha Stewart, no matter how hard I try or how much I pretend (nor do I want to be Martha, but that’s for another blog). But here’s something to think about:  sometimes pretending can be a helpful way to start making changes that we want. For example, if I wanted to be more patient, it would help me to think about how that might look in my life. “Sarah, if you pretended that you were more patient with Benji (my 11year old son), you would smile rather than snap when he blurts out something without thinking.” Then I can choose to start acting on that “pretend scenario” to make it more real & concrete. 

Or if I wanted to be more physically fit, it would look like I exercised with weekly regularity (rather than yearly) & my eating choices would have fewer “fake” foods.  So yesterday, I went jogging outside for the first time in forever.   

Consider that our ability to pretend can be a God-given gift to help us along the path of personal progress 🙂

Time Is Your Friend

“Sarah, it just takes time & you’re making great progress; remember that time is your friend & not an enemy.” My physical therapist for my shoulder keeps telling me that it just takes time: this to a person who wants to GO FAST, have fun, play some basketball, go swimming & be active. I’m learning that maybe I’m kind of impatient, possibly ,)
If I try to do too much or go too fast with my shoulder, I just hurt myself & delay my recovery. 

These lessons can apply to lots of areas:

*learning to manage our money

*improving our physical health

*growing in our walk with God

*relationship challenges

*learning a new skill, sport or job

*parenting adventures ,)

Be patient in the process & don’t get discouraged. You’re doing great 🙂

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 🙂

Making progress & shoulder recovery

Progress is something we all seem keen to experience. We all like to get better, do better & make progress – super appealing. But sometimes the tricky part with progress is the pace – slow progress can be maddening & fast progress can be scary. But I choose to celebrate progress regardless of the pace 🙂

So my shoulder is making progress compared to when it was dislocated a few months ago & compared to the surgery on it two weeks ago. Is it the speedy progress where I can start swimming & playing basketball now?  Not quite but with some physical therapy & a few months work, I should be better than where I started even before I dislocated my shoulder. 
Sometimes we have to go back before we can make progress 🙂

some help with opposition

I’m currently reading the book of Nehemiah & I was encouraged this morning when I read about Nehemiah’s reaction to his enemies (Sanballat & Tobia) when they severaly opposed Nehemiah & the Jews.  Instead of quitting, Nehemiah split up the people & let half of them keeping working to repair the wall & posted the other half to protect those who were working on the wall.  By splitting up his work force into 2 groups, he probably lengthened the time it took to finish the project, but my point is that he didn’t quit.  They kept working, even though their progress slowed down, but they didn’t quit.

Slow progress is better than no progress 😀

Success, Progress & Opportunities

What an amazing spectrum of experiences today. I’ve finished this day at our present nightcare facility, playing with one of our toddlers before he went to bed & enjoying our warm, safe & healthy haven for the babies of prostitutes while their moms work. Shortly before this wonderfully satisfying joy (we’ve been running for more than a year & have really acquired the trust of these moms to look after their babies), we negotiated the rent on a new nightcare facility in a new neighborhood & this is also super exciting!! We hope to be up & running there in about 2-3months 🙂
But here’s my struggle as I finish this day – we visited two brand new areas that desperately need nightcare & one of the areas we visited was really overwhelming for me. Even though we were there in the daytime, it was indescribably dark & felt very actively evil – the last face I saw before I left this area was a baby & if the truth be known, I’m having a rough time with all of this &I can’t seem to find words to go along with my feelings.
So friends, thank you SO MUCH for taking some time to read this & for being interested. I’m celebrating our successes & achievements while absorbing the opportunities that lie in front of us as well. Perhaps there is no one that is more “least of these” than the babies of prostitutes.

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Making Progress!

I like to accomplish things & can sometimes get discouraged when it seems like I just slough along seeming not to get anywhere. I’ve had some really big projects on my plate for several months & I finally seem to be making progress & this is WONDERFUL!! Nevertheless, I’m learning some important lessons for “in between” trying & achieving:
*persistence & patience – nothing worthwhile is achieved without these important pieces
*stay encouraged – this is no one else’s responsibility but mine
*teams are important – I can achieve WAY MORE on a team than by myself
*keep your eyes on Jesus – a great immunization for distractions & discouragement 🙂

keep going

Earlier this year, I began to write my first Saving Moses book.  When I’ve written books in the past, I’ve found it to be most helpful to take several days by myself and to totally submerge myself into the writing and then come up for air three or four days later.  It sounds intense and it is 🙂

With my Saving Moses book, however, I’ve been trying a different approach.  Throughout the first few months of this year, I would take one day a week and devote it to writing about my journey along the incredible adventure of growing with Saving Moses.  Truthfully, the one day a week approach isn’t as efficient for me as the totally submersion technique, but at this time in my life, this is how I can make some incremental progress and that’s ok 🙂

The glitch came in April when I had to take a pause for various reasons.  I knew that this pause would be for a few months, but now finally today, I get to pick up where I left off with my writing.  So here’s my point – just because you have a pause on a goal doesn’t mean that you have to give up and quit.  Sometimes a pause can give you some time for reflection, course correction, better focus and greater effectiveness.  Don’t quit!

why wait???

 I’m presently in the middle of another painting project & we’ve just finished the first coat of paint.  My kids are helping me with these projects & we are eager to have our painting adventure over.  Of course we’re excited to see the outcome & to see if it will look as cool as we hope.  But there’s a bit of a hitch on our anticipation.  I’ve noticed that because we’d like to be finished with the Summer’s painting adventure, we are kind of rushing our efforts.  So far, my take away is that painting & rushing shouldn’t be used in any combination – carpet problems, baseboard problems, angst, relational stress, etc.

As I was carefully trying to edge the ceiling, I felt like God was showing me that often times the best results require patience, being steady & attentive.  I want these words, patient, steady & attentive, to be an accurate description of my walk with God.  Indeed, those of us who endeavor to follow Jesus must let these words shape our decisions, values & desires in our lives.  As Nietzche says, “, . . . a long slow obedience in the same direction.”  🙂

do a little bit

At the beginning of Feb, I slipped on the snow as I was walking home from my neighbor’s house & I banged up my ankle really bad.  I don’t consider myself to be very wimpy but I knew that I had hurt myself pretty bad – like having to crawl instead of walking bad.  After xrays, the Dr said it was just a bad sprain & that it would take time to heal.  When she said “time”, my mind translated this to mean a few days or maybe 2 weeks, because that’s a LONG time!  Now that we’re almost 2 MONTHS later, I’m still having some challenges.

But here’s the good news & this is where I want to encourage you:  even though I didn’t go very far nor fast, I ran outside yesterday & my ankle did pretty well.  Afterwards, I was talking w a friend & we encouraged each other that a little bit is better than nothing.  This idea about “a little bit” has huge value in LOTS of areas of our lives:

  • a little bit of forgiveness is moving in the right direction
  • a little bit of patience can be more constructive than impatience
  • a little bit of exercise can help to set us up to do a little more
  • a little bit of genuine love has immeasurable power to transform

When we start with nothing, a little bit can help us to get moving in the right direction 🙂

Nightcare progress!!!!

YAHOOOOO!!!!! I’m totally excited about the progress we’ve made today w nightcare – like I’m more than giddy!! More than a year ago, I felt like God dropped the idea of nightcare into my heart & I’ve had a few challenges to see this idea turn into a reality. But today has been nothing short of amazing!!! I’m presently in Cambodia & it looks like we can have our 1st nightcare program up & running in a little more than a month!! Today, I toured a few facilities, spoke w some very strategic people who are keen to see nightcare become operational & I’m experiencing tremendous favor!
Thank you again & again for praying for Saving Moses. God is doing some thoroughly amazing & miraculous things. I’m completely in awe of His wisdom & work

I’m really excited!!

There are times & seasons in our lives that are all about doing the daily routines, maintaining healthy habits & disciplines as well staying consistent w schedules, etc. there are other times when I can feel excitement in my bones & this is one of those seasons.
I’m excited because I feel like we are beginning to turn the corner with making some significant progress w Saving Moses. We are beginning to see some fantastic opportunities & doors opening for getting to help small people 5 & younger. To be specific, our nightcare program is on the cusp of getting launched & implemented. We are also looking at expanding our malnutrition feeding program in Africa along w a few other cool things on the horizon.
This is all to encourage you that sometimes what may seem mundane & boring are essential ingredients that often need to be stable before some exciting opportunities get to be revealed. Be encouraged my friend! God has good things around the corner!

the path of progress

As we finish up 2011, many of us will take a few minutes to reflect on the events of this year & possibly consider some plans / thoughts for 2012.  Sometimes its easy to get stuck on the past, but something that helps me to keep moving forward is to be thankful – thankful for the events that have helped me grow, thankful for the relationships that have encouraged me to love more genuinely, thankful for the achievements that couldn’t have happened without God’s help & more! 

Another thing that helps me to grow is to not always think of the massive projects that I want to accomplish, but to rather think of things in smaller sizes.  I most certainly have REALLY BIG DREAMS in my heart & if I’m not careful, the size of these dreams can be overwhelming.  But when I consider these dreams on a day-by-day basis, making little steps toward these dreams on a daily basis, they’re not so overpowering.  Indeed, perhaps the journey is equally as important to God as the destination.  Happy New Year!!