Navigating Turbulent Times

I find that life has seasons of serenity and contrasting times of turbulence.  The danger of serene seasons is that we can become stagnant or let our values get highjacked by comfort and convenience.  In relation to turbulent times, here are a few ideas that you, or a friend, might find helpful:

  • take a walk – I find that walking and talking with God helps me unload anxiety and gain some helpful perspective
  • pay attention to your choices – it’s not uncommon for us to seek comfort in turbulent times & sometimes what “comforts” us can actually be detrimental
  • get some help – this can be a variety of things such as exercise, making a praise & worship playlist, having lunch with a friend, reading a good book, etc
  • anchor in the Bible – it always helps me to find a few key Bible verses to keep in the forefront of my thoughts.  Here are some helpful suggestions:

Ps 55:22, “Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.”

James 1:2-3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Matt 6:33, “Seek first God’s kingdom & everything will be added to you.”

Luke 1:37, “With God, nothing is impossible”

Philippians 4:11, “. . . , for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

 

Loving Well

I received a text message from a friend this morning with a totally fantastic prayer & this has made me smile almost continuously!  I’m smiling because her prayer was very personal to me & deeply encouraging. As I’ve thought about this, it’s brought to mind that her text prayer to me is an expression of genuine love, which makes me think of lots of different ways we can express genuine love today!!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Encouraging words – meaningful compliments & heartfelt affirmations are great ways to communicate love! 
  • Post some kind words in a friends FB wall. 
  • Run an errand that could free up some time for a friend / family member.
  • Send a nice card in the mail to someone who wouldn’t expect it.
  • Be friendly & engaging with the check out person at the grocery store.
  • Do something meaningful for your mate or a family member that lets them know you love them, unique to their preferences (not just what you would like). 

Let’s love well today!!

What Do You Think?

I seriously want your feedback!!  Every Christmas season, I do a blog series about looking for Jesus & I post goofy pictures of baby Jesus in various settings, to reinforce the reminder to look for Jesus in the busy-ness of the Holidays.

So where would you like to see Jesus in the upcoming Holidays?  Please give me your suggestions in the comments below, on FB, twitter, etc.  Last year, I took Jesus to the ICU at a local hospital, He drove with me in my car (Jesus take the wheel), I perched Him on a park bench & did lots of other creative things.  So what would you suggest for me to do this year, in the theme of looking for Jesus?

Thanks LOADS for your input / help!!

Let’s Practice

Since we are really close to Halloween, that means that Thanksgiving is fast approaching. So let’s get an early jump on being thankful. By starting to practice gratitude now, we’ll be certain to have maximum proficiency by the time Thanksgiving lands. Another benefit to practicing gratitude now is that we increase our chances of creating a lifestyle of thanksgiving rather than the seasonal experience. Finally, the Bible tells us to be thankful, not only for the obvious & good stuff, but also for things that are difficult. Let’s be sure to practice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

your feedback please

Greetings!  I made a concerted effort in 2011 to blog more consistently & I’ve found this I like this format quite a bit.  If you’ve noticed, I try to do a couple of things:  stay brief, relevant & insightful.  At the same time, I’m not very interested in jumping into uber controversial subjects (politics, etc).  Sometimes I’ve done this better than at other times.  So what I’d like from you are suggestions:

  • are there topics you’d like me to write about?
  • do you have suggestions of things you’d like me to do or not do?
  • general thoughts?

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and thanks MUCHOS for reading!!  I want to get better this year & I appreciate your help 🙂

dealing with discouragement

We all have things & times that are discouraging – a job that falls through, a relationship that goes sour, a poor grade at school, etc.  I don’t think that anyone is immune from having some discouraging moments in life.  But the key is what we do with those times & situations.  Here are some things that have been helpful to me with the discouragement topic:

  • just because I failed at something, that doesn’t make me a failure
  • keeping my eyes on God & His promises are more helpful than fixating on the discouragement (we can’t ignore problems, but we can’t let them own us either)
  • keep going – if I’m not careful, discouragement can get pretty heavy & bog me down, so I tell myself to take one step at a time, even if they’re baby steps
  • working out – physical exercise is a great way to burn off some discouragement
  • laugh – sometimes it helps me to be goofy, it lightens me up which is helpful because I tend to be pretty serious in my normal living
  • listen deeply – I find that God’s voice can really help speak light & truth to the discouragement that can try to reside in my thoughts

May you be strongly encouraged today that you are deeply loved & highly treasured!

some easy lovin’

 I really enjoy telling my kids that I love them.  I like to tell them in lots of different ways with lots of different adjectives.  When they were little, my favorite book I liked to read them was “Guess How Much I Love You”.  I like to think of creative ways to let them know that I love them, but I’m not always as creative as I want to be.

I also feel like God is challenging me to love people better.  When I think about loving people, sometimes it spins me out because it seems like such a massive impossibility.  In truth, without God’s help, it is impossible.  But even with God’s help, how do I love people better?  Here are some easy ideas that we can all use on a daily basis:

  • smile:  giving a person a smile is an inexpensive way to brighten someone’s day
  • be patient:  hold off on honking the horn when you’re driving, let a person being trained in their job make a mistake without magnifying the error
  • give the benefit of the doubt – don’t assume that someone in intentionally being malicious, cruel or has harmful motives
  • listen – time for many people is the same as love
  • drop the sarcasm
  • be gracious
  • check in with God for His help:  there are alot of times when I don’t know how to love a person & I’ll make a quick, silent prayer asking for help & wisdom on how God would have me love that person
What are some suggestions you could add???  Please help me!

fasting – mistakes & suggestions

The picture below is my Ethiopian friend, Menelik, trying to teach me about Ethiopian culture & protocol before I met the Mayor of Gondar.  He did a GREAT job & I didn’t mess things up too much.  Because of Menelik’s help, I had a good experience w the Mayor & I am less intimidated because of this good experience. 

With fasting, all too often we may have a bad experience, or it didn’t go like we wanted it to, so its easy to quit & not fast again.  Ever had this experience?  Instead of quitting, could I suggest that you consider learning from the mistakes to grow & try again w God’s leading?  Also, I recently spoke in our church about fasting & thought you might find some practical advice below to be useful.  Pls be sure to leave a comment above to help others w things you’ve learned as well!  🙂

menelik_coachingMistakes & Suggestions:

Physical

Be mentally prepared for possible caffeine / sugar withdrawals

don’t neglect your appearance, Brush your teeth more often

Be mindful of your physical activity level while fasting

Consider pre-fasting:  get body ready for fasting (half decaf, cut back on soda)

Be ready to increase your fluid intake

Personal Mistakes: trying to workout, lift heavy, while fasting, trying to snowboard A LOT during a long fast, eating wrong food going into / coming out of a fast

 

Mental

Attitude check:  Is 58 says that fasting can be a bright time – even though its uncomfortable to your flesh

do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do,

Motive check:  why are you fasting?

        Various reasons:  to be noticed by people, to lose weight, to manipulate God

Don’t Try to fast more than what your body can handle

Relationships – schedule socializing around coffee / tea & not meals

Ask God to help you!

Plan – look at your calendar & work on a plan

Personal Mistakes:  Being sharp & impatient w my kids & husband, trying to fast for dual reasons – lose weight / slim down & sense God, trying to go longer than the grace God had given me, trying to fast when God hadn’t directed me to

 

Spiritual

It’s really helpful to increase your prayer & Word time during a fast

Keep a journal – questions, thoughts, the things God speaks to you

Personal Mistakes:  Not letting God direct me, Not asking God for help during a fast

 

Fasting Rewards:   your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matt 6:18)

Greater clarity w God:  Hear Him more clearly, Greater sensitivity / awareness of God’s presence, Decreased self-reliance, Help in coming through tough situations