Monday Encouragement

Happy Monday!!!

 

Okay, if you’re anything like me, Monday may not be your happiest day, so a little encouragement may be in order.

I know some Mondays require a rousing energy injection, but this week I have a tight deadline on a big project, so energy isn’t a problem, but peace and tranquility are in short supply.

So on THIS Monday, I offer a quieter, gentler encouragement for anyone feeling a similar Monday strain.

One of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands: REST

 

On this Monday, I wish you the opportunity to feel that what you must do matters, and to enjoy doing it.

Be well. 

 

 

If you are not familiar with Skillet, you can check them out here:  http://www.skillet.com. A word of warning though, REST is an unusually quiet song for Skillet!! 🙂

(If you’re one of those folks in need of an energy injection today, you might try Monster.)

Monday Pondering: the real reason

crocus-292306_640   HAPPY MONDAY!

My small group is working through a book called The Artisan Soul, by a guy named Erwin Rafael McManus.

There is a splendid little section in the third chapter that says:

“Religion is our response to God from a perspective of coercion and compliance. … God is, however, profoundly misunderstood.

Worship is not something we are called to so that God can reinforce his status. It is his way of calling us near. …

He wants us to realise that while we thought all he wanted from us was the work, it was actually an invitation to come near and know his love.

Whatever your week holds, may you find rest, and blessing, in laying down the unnecessary work and knowing the necessary love.

Be well.

 

 

Monday Inspiration: Never Give Up.

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Ever have those weeks where it

just

doesn’t

end? 

That is the last two weeks for me.

So, in honour of utter fatigue, I present a video that I watch whenever I’m exhausted or discouraged, because it reminds me that everyday miracles are real.

I don’t believe in comparing my struggles or flaws or pain to others’. What is a huge crisis for me might not be a problem for you, while you might be stressed out by something I would enjoy.

However, I find great value in taking inspiration from each other’s victories and discoveries, so I am grateful for Arthur’s story:

Never, ever, give up! Arthur’s Transformation

 

Be well. 

There is also a longer version, with more of the story (it’s about 9 minutes) if you’ve got that kind of time on a Monday! 🙂

Monday Encouragement: Lay it down

 

Happy Monday!!!

And a safe and blessed Memorial Day to you.

This past week was tiring. And it capped a busy, stressful three weeks of disorganised project + tight deadlines. Not to mention that my current life is kind of tiring, being in transition and longing to move forward!

By the time the long weekend loomed ahead, I was in need of some refreshing and repair. I saw that my verse for Saturday was Matthew 11:28, and BOY did that sound like the right verse for me!

So my inspiration for this new week is laying some burdens down.

 

I’ve noticed that even after perfect weekends or holidays, I can walk back into the week hefting the burdens of past, present, and future right back on to my shoulders – as if the pause never even happened.

This week I’m going to try to be intentional about leaving them where they belong.

Be well. 

 

 

(If you are not familiar with Disciple, you can find them here: http://disciplerocks.com. They are a wonderful bunch of guys, and while most of their music is a bit less gentle than this, it’s all awesome!)

 

Monday Survival: Just START

tree-trunk-569275_640     Happy Monday!!

I hope that your weekend was delightful and your week is starting well.

I mentioned a few weeks ago a book I’m going through in my small group, The Artisan Soul. In the back of the book is a section for each chapter with ideas on how to take action on the concepts in the book.

One I just fell in love with was:

“Make a list of things in your imagination that would make the world better if they became a reality.”

Mr. McManus doesn’t specify this, but I suggest writing them in the present tense, as if they have already happened.

(There are related actions in the book, but Monday is definitely not a day for homework; so take a look at the book if this sparks a strong interest!)

I don’t know about you, but I had never done that exact exercise. I’ve dreamed things. I’ve whined about things not being how I KNOW they should. I’ve even set written goals for what is ‘possible’.

But I had never sat down and said, “Possible or not, this is something I know would make the world a better place!” then listed that down.

Just as with our goals though, once we have paid attention to those dreams or inspirations, and written them down, we are in a better place to start making the world better.

It doesn’t require all our time, or a billion dollars, or even the favour of the rich and powerful to START, and it isn’t necessarily any one of our jobs to FINISH changing the world.

We could take the simple step to begin praying for these changes in the world. Or change one aspect of our lives or attitudes to make us a better part of the world!

No matter if you make an effort to create the change or not though, take a couple minutes to make the list. It tells you a lot about you, and it can be pretty encouraging!

 

Be well. 

 

Hope for a Monday: More Faithful

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In case you hadn’t yet noticed, Monday posts tend STRONGLY toward ‘what I need to survive the week’! 🙂

I DO hope, and intend (whenever I can dredge up the time and energy) to locate a wider range of topics, things that can appeal to non Christian as well as Christian readers, for example.

But in this current season … alas.

This week I face big steps across my own battle scars, and I face them with fear and trembling, so you can bet I’ll be coming back day after day to this, one of my favourite songs of all time: More Faithful, by my beloved Skillet.

Whether the week ahead looks like a tough one, or happens to be a blessedly peaceful one for you, I wish you a glorious week, and the constant assurance of faithful goodness and provision.

 

Be well. 

 

Monday Encouragement: Next Time

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Over the next few  weeks I’ve got to pick back up on a process that went very, very badly the last time I tried it.

I’m hoping I’ve learned enough in the intervening years to make this time come out differently. I’m hoping that the horribly ill-fated house move of 2014 was part of a bigger picture plan that I’ll understand someday. But until then,  trying it again is a scary prospect!

As I’ve been looking back through the lessons from 2014, I came across a quote that I collected at some point in the chaos of ‘back then’ which I think it such a helpful perspective shaper.

When you fail, instead of saying ‘if only’, say ‘next time.’ Next time is a subtle reminder that we have learned something from our pain. Ron Rose. 

Isn’t that a great way to look on failings? I’m giving it my best shot.

Unfortunately, I had scribbled it on a little scrap of paper, so I have not the slightest clue where I got it, and cannot, therefore,  give full credit where credit is due.

But I AM grateful. 

 

Be well.

Monday Delight: All I Need

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You ever fall in love at first sight?

I do.

All the time.

Well, not always at first sight, though that too is a problem, but I frequently fall in love at first sound. One such occasion was a delightful little song called All I Need.

For the longest time I’ve had to enjoy All I Need only when near my own computer or CD player, because it had not made it to YouTube or any other ubiquitous source.

But JOY!!!

The other day I was wishing I could share it with all of you, and THERE IT WAS ON YOUTUBE! Not the most compelling video, I admit, but that’s okay because the song is SO COMPELLING.

If you are in need of life, or peace, or hope this week, this one’s for you! 

 

I think we all have those periods where it’s a struggle to trust that the light IS there at the end of the tunnel, and there IS a home at the end of the highway. I know I do.

This song is a perfect reminder that hope IS real, and is the right choice.

This is my ‘It is going to be okay. REALLY.’ song. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Be well. 

 

While I don’t know this band personally, I corresponded with them briefly in my search for a CD of All I Need and I found them to be really lovely guys. They were, at that time, mostly disbanded because half of them had rushed off to assist in the Hurricane Katrina crisis, which was enough on its own for me to love them. You can find them at https://www.facebook.com/Steadwack/

Monday Motivation: The Moment We Come Alive

Happy Monday!!

How are you?

I hope everyone is well and safe on this Independence Day Holiday!

I’m doing all right. Still having ups and downs in this little moving research adventure I’m on, but I’ve survived thus far.

In the spirit of this adventure – which this weekend included a northerly trip to check out the last of my ‘possibles’ areas, and an afternoon with one of my dearest friends from grad school – some excellent traveling music is in order!

 

I am LOVING this song just now. Not that you can go wrong with any combination of Road Trip + RED.

 

 

Be well. 

 

And of course, if you like your Mondays a little more energetic, there will ALWAYS be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH-k_6tU9Wc 😀

While we are on the topic: Congratulations to RED on the tenth anniversary of The End of Silence! Thanks for all the blessing you have been!

Monday REST Reprise

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Oy! What a difference a week can make!

Last week I was enjoying the lovely state of Washington where it is cool and grey far more than it is hot and sunny, and very seriously debating whether I could move there in the next month or two. This week I learned that my job will end on the last day of September.

SO, I won’t be relocating just at the moment!

I’m still trying to adjust my mind to all of this. I imagine it will take a little while. I am grateful for a lot about the timing of this, but I still wish it wasn’t happening at all.

So, though this blog certainly isn’t old enough to be rehashing ‘oldie’ posts, today’s ‘Monday’ is going to be all about Skillet again.

Because I’m gonna need some Rest in these coming weeks!

 

On this Monday, I wish you peace and security.

Be well.

If you are not familiar with Skillet, you can check them out here: http://www.skillet.com. A word of warning though, REST is an unusually quiet song for Skillet!! 🙂

 

Monday Pondering: the time and effort to help us grow up

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I just love Eugene Peterson. Especially for spearheading The Message translation of the Bible.

Now yes, I am that uptight structure nazi who had to get the ‘Remix’ version because having no verse references whatsoever made me completely freaking mental. But once poor Pastor Peterson was browbeaten into that one change, his book became such a useful tool.

So often he translates things in a way that thwap me upside the head and make me see them rather than just read them, or give me a new perspective on them.

One such passage is 1 Corinithians 4:15:

“There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up.”

I have noticed this a dozen times or more, and it impresses me more each time. It impresses me far more than the million or so times I had read it in other translations.

I can understand JUST what my man Paul is talking about! I have been on the receiving end of both the ‘good father’ instruction, and, alas, the ‘I just want to tell you what you’ve done wrong’ instruction.

I imagine you have too. They have a rather different impact, don’t they?

I fear I’ve also been on the GIVING end of both.

But this verse, coupled with SO MUCH that I’ve seen, heard, learned, makes me want to do better. I have finally figured out, at my advanced age, that it actually IS true that people need more mentors than they need critics.

I am ALL about accountability, confession, and helping each other grow, but this reminds me that there are effective ways to do that, and ineffective ways that just don’t do it. I want to be on the right side of that equation, don’t you?

So, today, why not look for situations in which we can build each other up, support each other in needs, and contribute to each other like good fathers or mothers contribute to their children’s development by investing and caring?

I think we’ll be a lot more successful in the end, and a lot happier on the way.

Monday hope to carry on: It’s going to be okay.

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Happy Monday!!!

It’s been a rough few weeks. As I’ve talked with colleagues about our job crisis, or friends about other crises,  or anyone about the US election, one thing I’ve noticed is that we frequently pause and say something along the lines of

“I don’t know HOW, and I know it may not look like we expect, but I really  do believe it’s going to be okay.

And I don’t think we are saying that to each other just to make ourselves feel better.

I think we really are, with whatever sliver of faith we each can muster at any given moment, speaking a truth we believe.

And you know what?

IT HELPS. 

 

Hearing someone who I trust to really know that things are not always okay, say ‘It’s going to be okay’, it lifts my spirits just enough that I remember, and I believe.

The first person who said this to me during this latest bit of chaos was my friend Amber. And when I said I hoped so, but I was struggling to have faith in it, she hugged me and said “Well, you keep praying and I will have faith for you.

And I believed she would. And that was enough to renew MY ability to believe.

So I encourage you today, to remember, that at some point, even if it doesn’t look exactly like we expect, really, it is going to be okay. 

And if you can’t believe that right now, you are not alone. But SOME ONE of us CAN. And we’ve got each other covered. 😉

 

Be well. 

Just Monday…

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Happy Monday!

Honestly, as I write this, it’s been a rough week, and I’m in the midst of a rougher weekend, if you can believe it! How did THAT happen? So I’m all out of encouragement. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a good Monday, with a good week ahead.

I’ve been reminded a LOT lately to think of the many, many blessings I have, even in this fairly tough time.

And it is definitely the right thing to do. I’m not saying it smooths all the paths and turns every stress into a delight, but it DOES improve ME at least, in that moment.

So may I encourage you to take a few moments today to notice, and really enjoy the blessings surrounding you?

Even if they are tiny! Though, sometimes the tiny blessings are the best anyway.

Blessings I am especially grateful for today:

True friends. Man, if this season has shown me nothing else it’s shown me how blessed I am in really GOOD friends.

Revelation. I’m SO struggling with the promises of God in this season, but the more I understand them the more hope I have!

Inspiration. With so much bad news, I still manage to see wonderful people doing lovely things on a pretty regular basis. Whether it’s Bernie and Jane Sanders being who they are, strangers helping strangers, communities sticking up for those who need support, or my closer-to-home loved ones helping me make it through … it gives me hope, and lightens my days.

Spring Rolls. When nothing else can conquer the summer heat AND the chronic stress induced lack of appetite, I can count on rice paper and peanut sauce wrapped around yummy fillings to save the day.

 

Be well. 

 

Monday Motivation: At the center

Don’t fret or worry.

Instead of worrying, pray.

Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians  4:6-7 The Message

Easy? Intuitive? Perhaps not. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

And it doesn’t mean it won’t make all the difference.

Go ahead, give it a shot!

 

BE WELL. 

 

 

Monday Encouragement … say no

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My favourite encouragement this week was one of TobyMac’s delightful SpeakLife posts:

You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no. 

If you are anything like me, this is completely obvious, but I’ve learned there are many, many, MANY people who are NOT like me! And they run themselves ragged trying to be good, kind hearted people without ever benefitting from the invaluable blessing of NO.

In my case, NO is the only hope I have of being good or kind with any regularity.

Chronic exhaustion and overwhelm lead, inevitably, to resentment and eventually to breakdown. Healthy boundaries, on the other hand, allow for recharge, regeneration, of all the things that keep us healthy, stable, and loving.

NO is the single most important key I’ve found to healthy boundaries. Therefore NO is a thing of beauty in my eyes.

I may not always love it when your NO happens to compete with my whim, but you know what? I’d rather have your heartfelt NO than either your slow building resentment, or a false YES that is going to leave me in the lurch later on.

I’d also rather have your heartfelt NO protecting your soul from too much wear. From spending yourself on trivia rather than investing yourself in what matters most.

And I while I tend to value the fact that NO protects the giver from too much responsibility, it also protects the receiver from too little responsibility. Both protections are gifts. Both are necessary.

NO is the only way to ensure there will be time, energy, money, sanity enough left over to embrace the important YES around the next corner.

 

BE WELL. 

Monday Encouragement: Stars

Happy Monday!!!

How is everyone?!?

I’m pretty well. All weeks are a little surreal these days, but at least this last one ended with less chaos it started with.

In the midst of the oddness, my beloved Skillet has once again written an album perfect for my life. I am loving the whole thing, but this week I find Stars especially encouraging.

And perfect for facing Monday!

 

One of the, er, special blessings… of having most of my world shift at once has been the sort of ‘put up or shut up’ testing of my recently rebuilt faith.

I’m not saying I’ve quite enjoyed it, but it honestly IS a blessing, because I need to know whether my faith is truly recovered, whether I really will be able to withstand, if things get really bad.

And so far, I feel pretty confident. Every day is a bit of a roller coaster, but more often than not I find I can return my mind, my trust to the One I need to be centred on.

That you,  Skillet, for a timely reminder!

 

Be well. 

 

Monday Encouragement: Move Forward

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Happy Monday!!

 

How are you?!? As this Monday rolls around I’m on a very short, but MUCH NEEDED spot of holiday, so I’m remarkably well for a Monday!

I mentioned a while ago a splendid little book by Brene Brown called The Gifts of Imperfection.

In it I found the most delightful quote, by artist Terri St. Cloud:

“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.” 

What a splendid perspective!!

I don’t have a lot of regrets, and they don’t plague me all the time thank God, but neither am I completely lacking in them.

And I have my moments of heartbreak over some of the messy ‘details’ that I can never replace with better decisions …  different choices… kinder words… more positive outcomes.

What a fabulous reminder this quote is that the whole is something far beyond its parts! A stained glass window is certainly a far cry from the shards that form it.

If I, you, any of us, continue to move forward, the whole can be a tapestry of true beauty, even with the occasional worn, bent, or even shattered part woven into it.

Sounds good to ME! 

 

Be well. 

 

More of Terri St. Cloud’s work and intriguing thoughts can be found at http://www.bonesigharts.com 

 

 

Happy Labor Day

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Happy Monday!!

If you are in the United States, Happy Labor Day!!! (It takes some concentration, but I’m even trying to spell ‘Labor’ the American way.)

Most of my life the ‘smaller’ holidays, like Labor Day, haven’t meant that much to me. I cherished the ‘day off’, appreciated the history, but they didn’t have the rich detail of Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Labor Day, if anything, I associated with annoying sales ads – a rather profound irony. But it’s becoming so much more real to me as I get older, and as I understand the world better.

Labor day, more than any other American holiday, celebrates efforts by the people, for the people.

Goodness knows the American workers who –  in MANY cases risking their lives – made America great, did not do so for the glory of amazing discounts on TVs or washing machines. They fought to free themselves, their families, their fellow Americans from a tyranny of corporation plus government whose concentrated power had made it impossible for the 99% to realise the American Dream.

Sure, in the past several decades we have lost a lot of the ground that was gained by those whose fight Labor Day commemorates. But that need not be our end game: what Americans managed once, we can certainly do again.

So, I’m going to spend a little of this much prized ‘day off’ better understanding the people, and the work they did, that made America great, and appreciating their sacrifices.

 

Be well.

 

 

Monday Musings: Anything worthy of praise

 tulip-123794_640    Happy Monday!

I hope you are well! I am well enough.

I’ve pondering lately Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

It has come to be remarkably convicting in my old age.

‘Convicting?’ you say.

Well you might say that if you are anything like me. I always read this as one of those warm fuzzy verses that filled in between the ‘meat’ of Paul’s serious instructions.

At most, it was narrowed to I should find something better to do than watching horror films or thumbing through the Enquirer.

As I’ve moved through these past couple years though, I’ve realised how much is packed in this tiny instruction manual.

Whatever is true…

Does that mean God’s providing for my every need? Even when my job ends? If I believe that is supposed to be true, then I guess it does. Then it seems I’m supposed to think on that, rather than the what ifs.

Or that nothing I do can separate me from the love of God? Nor separate anyone ELSE from it?

Even people I don’t like, or respect, or think they SHOULD be able to get a share of God’s love? Kinda looks that way. Pondering required.

Whatever is lovely …

I think peonies are lovely. And a perfectly browned loaf of bread. I think raindrops on leaves are lovely. I’m really supposed to think on these things?!?

Well, apparently God thinks I should.

Maybe stopping to smell the roses is a bigger deal than we realised.

It’s become quite the education!  And it clearly isn’t done with me yet. 

 

Be well. 

Monday Encouragement: Don’t sacrifice who you are

beach-917336_640  Happy Monday!

I hope everyone is well!

I happened upon an admonition this week that I wish everyone could take to heart:

“One thing is for sure: If you give too much power to the opinions of others, you will become their prisoner.  So never let someone’s opinion alter your reality.  Never sacrifice who you are, or who you aspire to be, just because someone else has a problem with it.” 

I love that!

I see people, all the time, sacrificing who they are for reasons that just aren’t good enough. And the worst such reason has to be JUST because someone else has a problem with it.

If you sacrifice who you are, we miss a treasure. Don’t go there! Don’t fail to make the contribution that only you can make.

It’s the only way God’s design for you will ever be complete!

And don’t give me that ‘But it’s different with ME… ” drivel!

It isn’t different.

You ARE unique, but I do not believe that you are SO unique as to be  the One Single Person in our multi-billion-person community with nothing whatever to contribute!

God knew exactly how you were going to mess it up, or fail to do it, or not be ____ enough,  or be far too____, long before you ever hit the stage.

So seriously, he’s got that covered.

He’s always had that covered.

Being you is STILL the right thing. Don’t sacrifice who you are.

 

Just NICE news for a Monday

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Happy Monday!!!

I hope everyone is well!

I had to take my elderly Mac into the shop last week. A simple thing: needed a new battery, drop off at lunch, pick up after work.

Then The Call came.

When the technician turned it on after replacing my battery, the display no longer worked. The 500-some-odd-dollar display.

YIKES. This was not news I wanted 10 days before the end of my job.

But his next words were : “We will take care of the cost of replacing the display, because while we can’t figure out what happened, it could have been something I did while doing the repair, but I’m calling to get your permission to replace it.”

After recalling my jaw from its plunge to the floor, I assented with thanks.

I vaguely remember customer service like that when I was a kid, but it’s been a long time since it was something I looked on as the norm.

And it reminded me that there really is a lot more good in the world than I generally hear about.

I want to take a moment  here at the start of a busy week to just savour the simple reality that people are so much more kind, generous, and amazing than our sound bite culture usually implies.

These stories bring me hope and joy this week:

Rebuilding a neighbourhood, one homeowner at a time

Rebuilding a town, one business at a time

Bridging generation gaps

Education for life

 Rebuilding the the climate, by creating a different path

Leaving this life in STYLE

Be well. 

 

(I should point out that this same Apple Store, the week before, had spent several hours finding out that I did NOT need a $200 repair in addition to the battery, but only needed some FREE service to my software. Apple is by no means a perfect business, but they have MY loyalty.)

Monday delight: The Little Things

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Happy Monday!

I have two glorious weeks off between the end of my job and the start of my writing contract!!!

Now, the stress has done curious things to my sleep schedule the couple weeks, so I admit that I MAY spend more of this time than I’d like catching up on rest so I don’t get sick. Sigh.

BUT what I HOPE to do, mostly, is enjoy the little things that aren’t as accessible when working full time.

Cooking a real breakfast instead of multitasking through my usual  toast, tea, and tofu without even noticing them. 

For that matter, drinking a whole cup of tea while it’s STILL hot, rather than tossing it in the microwave each time I remember its existence. 

Making the dreaded COSTCO run in the slow, peaceful middle of the week … in the middle of the day … with NO HURRY whatever.

Having enough time for the light easy reading-that-keeps-me-sane, AND other fun reading that I’ve been looking forward to, but that usually drowns in a sea of More Important Things. 

Workouts that aren’t crammed between … anything! 

Spending a whole delicious morning at the LIBRARY…

We are even supposed to have nice, cool, rainy weather for a tiny part of the time, so God willing, I’ll have a hike or two!

My tastes are pretty simple, and even rather boring, I freely admit, but I KNOW I’m not the only one who needs more time to enjoy the little things sometimes.

What are your ‘little things’?

 

This Monday, I wish you ALL the little things that bring you joy!

 

Be well.

 

 

Okay, this is, EMPHATICALLY, not a music Monday post, because my favourite ‘little things’ song is EMPHATICALLY not a peace inspiring tune of cheery encouragement.  (Unless, like me, you have quite a messed up perspective and relish less-than-kinder-gentler music!)

But how can I possibly ignore my beloved Danny Elfman on a blog dedicated to The Little Things? Especially when it’s SO MUCH FUN? Enjoy at your own risk! 😉

Monday Encouragement: Promise in the chaos

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Happy Monday!!!

The past weeks, and yes, the past year, have been some rough and stressful times – in the US, in Haiti, across the world.

Today I thought I’d just share some verses that I’ve found especially … helpful… in the midst of the madness.

Take a moment, forget that they are nice-Bible-verses-you’ve-read-a-hundred-times.

These are promises given by God!

They are powerful.

And, I’m finding, they are true…

I wish God changed everything – my situations, and me – in the blink of an eye.

And it’s scary and stressful that he doesn’t. But I am finding that as I DO what he says to do (which frequently, is just trusting him) HE does what he has promised!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalms 37:5

You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. Proverbs 3:24

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? Matthew 7:7-8 

God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help. Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. II Corinthians 6:2

He’s got it covered!

Shalom. 

Monday reality check: being YOU

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Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone is well!

I’ve recently ‘found’ Joyce Meyer. I had heard of her long ago, but for years she was just Random Celebri-Christian; No-Big-Hair.

Then a friend suggested one of her books, which I found remarkably sensible and real. So, I’ve read a couple more. 

Most recently I was reading The Power of Simple Prayer

In describing her dismal failure at trying to pray in a way that suited a hero of hers, but did NOT suit her, Mrs. Meyer says

“I encourage you to be all you can be, but don’t try to be what only someone else can be. God will never help you be anyone but you!” 

I SO get that.

For the longest time I tried to cultivate the gift of Hospitality.

Now, I’m an extreme introvert:

  • I passionately dislike small talk,
  • don’t really enjoy being with more than one other person at a time,
  • there are few people I actually enjoy having in my space,
  • and even having THOSE people over requires recovery time.

I am most peaceful and productive when I’m by myself, and having anyone but my closest friends over makes me a wreck.

Are you seeing failure looming here?

It took ages for me to recognise that not only was this ‘GIFT’ not one I had been GIVEN, but it was probably the last gift I’d ever operate in successfully!

Sure, like any Christian, or decent member of a community, sometimes I’ll need to extend hospitality beyond my normal comfort zone. Not a problem.

But that doesn’t mean I should focus the majority of my energy on becoming something I have no talent for!

Being a prayer warrior, a counsellor, a truth teller, a trustworthy friend .. these are things God helps me be, so it makes sense to focus my energy there!

What are the gifts you have, that deserve the biggest, best part of your time and attention? 

 

May God grant you the grace to pursue those with all your heart!

Be well. 

Monday Musing: What if we left more up to God?

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Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone is well!

I’m doing well. It’s been raining and cool for most of the week, and ALL of the weekend, which makes my vampiric little heart just glow with joy.

I was reading in Philippians last week, and the coolest thing stood out to me:

… And if there is any of this that you don’t agree with, God will make it clear to you. 

I love Paul’s quiet assurance. No worries, no need to argue, God will clear everything up in due time.

I think a lot of Christians are sure it’s our job to make God clear.

And, certainly, we need to be clear, and teach what we know.

But too many of us think we also have to change those who disagree with God’s word, or at least our interpretation of it.

And that’s a BIG job!

Too big, in fact.

So, I find comfort in the reminder that GOD has that job, not me!

His Spirit is a far better teacher than I’ll ever be:

  • he’s got more experience,
  • he understands the situation better,
  • and goodness knows his motives are purer than mine!

I can tell the truth to any who ask, but then I must rest in the assurance that my work is done, and God’s work is in good hands.

THAT is good news.

It got me thinking. I suspect there are a lot more things that I’m meant to leave up to God. I’ll have to ponder that.

 

Be well

Happy. + Monday.

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Happy Monday!!

Boy, it’s been a rough couple of weeks, hasn’t it?

I don’t know about you, but I can use some added joy and peace in the chaos that is this month.

I found myself thumbing through a folder I have of encouraging articles and what-not, and I was reminded of a short list from one of my favourite magazines of things that are scientifically proven to increase happiness:

10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

 

Now, I definitely support focusing on what brings you joy regardless of what science says about it.

But, in case you’re struggling to remember ANYTHING that brings you joy just now, it’s handy to have a few tried and tested options!

My personal favourites on the list are

Savor everyday moments

Make friends, treasure family

Say thank you like you mean it

but all of them look pretty legit to me.

And if none of them work today, there is always

 

Have a peaceful, hope-filled week.

 

Be well. 

 

And if you REALLY need a constant reminder right now, they have a handy little poster too.  Complete with a cute little smiley latte!

What are you thankful for?

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Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone is well, and if you are in the United States, I wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving Day Holiday!!

I think I’m a generally thankful person. I certainly shouldn’t want to restrict all my gratitude to one day a year!

Yet, it is nice to have one day set aside to pause and truly reflect on all I have to be grateful for.

What are you thankful for? 

 

Have a very blessed Monday, Thanksgiving Day, and week!

 

Be well. 

Abound in Hope

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Happy Monday!!!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

 

That’s all.

(Oh, except: that’s Romans 15:13.)

 

 

Be well. 

 

 

 

Monday holiday survival guide

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Happy Monday!

How you holding up out there?

I know,  it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

But let’s be real: the holidays can dredge up pain, flare up tempers, magnify loss, and drown us in overwhelmed fatigue.

I hope sincerely that is not you! I hope you’re that person harmonising with Bing Crosby while adding touches of tinsel to any last neglected corner!

But on the off chance that some part of your holiday season tends more toward grim than glittering, two reminders:

During the holidays, if at no other time, take good care of yourself!

  • Drink plenty of water! (Yes, coffee may be needed, and vodka considered, but add the water in too. Really.)
  • Exercise. “WHAT?!?!”, you say, “Has the girl gone mad?!?” I’m not talking about an hour of powerlifting. Stretch decadently for 5 minutes, stroll aimlessly for 10. Dance through White Christmas. (Or White Wedding, if like me, you’re already far beyond your carol endurance.) Just anything to move your body. It heals your mind.
  • Be REAL. About who you are, what you like and don’t like, and how much you can handle just now.
  • AND about what you can afford to spend! Debt never lightened anyone’s heart.
  • Say no if you need to! (It’s absolutely fine.)
  • Do one less thing. (If you find that works for you, do it again!)
  • Or perhaps do one MORE thing, but only something that feels like a glorious escape for your soul. (And cancel something draining to make the time! Repeat as needed.)
  • Cut yourself a lot of slack.
  • Cut other folks some slack too, if you can manage it. Perfect people don’t happen, and requiring them just ups your cortisol.
  • Avoid people and things that drain the life out of you. (Yeah, even if they are relatives.)
  • Pause, meditate, pray –  whatever looks like peace to you  – once a day. Even if it’s just 3 minutes.
  • If you need more support than you have, during this season, PLEASE reach out for it! Here are a few options.
  • And if you’ve already hit crisis level, darlin’ this is SO not the time for stoic endurance! Save that for late spring or something. Here are some  more immediate options.

AND we are not in this alone:

Be well. 

Shalom

Shalom.

I love the concept of shalom. I wish we had an equivalent word with the same richness of meaning.

Peace is how it is most commonly translated into my language, but there is so much more…

Peace.

Wholeness.

Harmony.

TRANQUILITY.

Health.

Fullness.

REST.

Prosperity.

Completeness.

Each with the implied modifier “Perfect….” in front of them.

When I started this journey toward abundance, a friend asked me what an abundant life looks like in practice. Of course I couldn’t give her a universal answer… I’m still working on how it actually looks for just ME.

But SHALOM, is what I seek:

To be completely, wholly, well; in perfect harmony.

One thing I find in many other cultures that I miss in my own is the habit of greeting people with words that mean Shalom.

What a wonderful way to live; wishing fullness, wholeness, tranquility on each person you meet, and having it constantly rained down on you as well!

So, on Monday, more than ever, I wish you

SHALOM. 

 

 

Be well. 

 

The last Monday of the year!!

My goodness, what a year this has been!

I hope this last Monday of 2016 finds you well.

As this year comes to a close,

What are you thankful for? 

What are you excited about? 

What concerns you? 

What is your most delightful memory of 2016? 

What is your greatest hope for 2017? 

 

I am thankful for SO many things! For my friends and family, for my writing project, that I had enough savings to weather my job disappearing, that my health is improving, for tea and bread, for BOOKS, for the blessings my gracious God has showered upon me. The list goes on…

I am excited to see where this next chapter in my life will take me! I was distressed to lose my job, but I trust that it still can be a blessing in my life. I am excited to finish this manual I am writing and see it in print! I am looking forward to visiting my family and friends back home after the first of the year. This list too, can go on and on…

Yes, of course this coming year is one of many concerns. Will the new Powers That Be in my country do as much damage as I fear? Will my hopes for a modern healthcare system be dashed utterly for 2-4 additional years? Will I find my next work quickly, or will it take a long, frightening time? Where, oh where, will I live 6 months from now?!?!

So yes, I have concerns. But I have hope again, too. 

 

My most delightful memory of 2016 is a hard one! While things have been tough this year, I tend to have a lot of delightful experiences! Well, one that comes to mind:

After I started on this medication and began to feel SIGNIFICANTLY better, it was raining and I opened the door and just stood and listened to the rain.

For once no one was driving by, or making a racket; there was only the gorgeous sound of the rain, the glorious colours of the courtyard against the grey.

After being so sick for so long, I couldn’t even remember when I had last just stood and listened to the rain with nothing wrong, nothing to worry about, and nothing urgently needing to be done. It WAS delightful.

And my greatest hope for 2017? For the blessing of more and more evidence that my trust in God is a safe bet, and that this last few years truly IS a part of his loving plan. Not the most noble hope, perhaps, or the most profound, but it’s important to me just now.

 

Be well. 

Monday Challenge: First Monday of the Year!!

Happy first Monday of the NEW YEAR!!!

In pondering this brand new year I’ve been brought again and again to a verse that seems to grow richer and fuller for me each year. (I imagine by the time I’m 100 I may start to have a handle on it.)

Each version of it has some special value, but I think we should start this particular year with Eugene Peterson’s translation from the Message:

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Imagine a year based on that plan.

The BEST, not the worst. What if that formed our expectations of ourselves and others, and even events? What if that was our image of God?

The beautiful, not the ugly. What if we devoted more of our energy and time by that priority?

Things to praise, not things to curse. What if each day we kept a tally on those lines, instead of the other way around?

And meditated on things …

  • True
  • Noble
  • Reputable
  • Authentic
  • Compelling
  • Gracious

I think it’s a richer, fuller path. I think it’s worth testing!

Will you join me?

 

 

Be well

Monday Encouragement: What’s required?

I want to wish everyone a good Monday, and share my favourite pondering of this weekend: Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

That’s not that hard, is it?

I love that while we’re supposed to behave  justly, it is MERCY that we are supposed to love.

And walking humbly with my God sounds pretty appealing to me.

 

Be well. 

Monday Sentiments

 

Ah, Monday. And this particular Monday.

Having no words with which to greet the impending United States Presidential Inauguration, I must again fall back on music:

 

Yep, that about covers it. 

Be well. 

 

Monday Delight: Well Watered

 

Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places… You’ll be like a well watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew…

 

Doesn’t that sound NICE?

I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty much everything I desire in a nutshell.

That’s Isaiah 58, most of verses 10, 11, and 12, from The Message.

The really cool thing is, most of the rest of the chapter explains how to get that!  It isn’t even really hard stuff!

I’m thinkin’  it’s worth looking into.

 

Be well. 

Last Monday / First Monday

Happy Monday!!!

I hope everyone is well.

TODAY is the LAST DAY of my writing contract!!

I will be getting a few last minute revisions from my team (I HOPE, at least, that it’s only a few!), running through a final edit, and sending my last material off into the world.

Exciting, intimidating, satisfying, horrifying.

And with my LAST Monday of this contract comes yet another FIRST Monday of the rest of my life.

What is next for me?

I don’t know.

What a bizarre thought!

So, I’ll be taking a lovely week off to spend time with family and enjoy COMPLETE freedom, then I’ll begin on The Great Search for the Next Chapter.

SO FAR (… at the moment… as best I can… in my best moments… pretty well today, thank God… ) I am trusting that there IS something next, and that it is GOOD.

 

One day at a time. 😀

 

 

 

Be well. 

 

 

 

Just Monday

Happy Monday!

If all has gone well, by the time this posts I’ll be in Arizona with some of my favourite people!

So, just a quick note to wish everyone as delightful a Monday as it’s possible to have, and a splendid week.

 

Be well. 

Monday at the beginning

Happy Monday!!

I hope that everyone is well.

I’ve had a lovely (if somewhat exhausting!) road trip / holiday with my family, and now am ready to begin the NEXT Chapter! (Oy!)

With that in mind, I’m thinking it’s time for another Skillet reminder:

 

🙂

 

 Be well. 

 

Monday Peace

Happy Monday!!!  I hope everyone is well.

Peace be with you!

I’ve mentioned before my deep regret that my language culture doesn’t include the standard of wishing peace as part of greetings and goodbyes.

I could certainly do with more blessings of peace!

I’m feeling a ‘Strong Tower’ groove to this week’s pursuit of peace.

It’s a gorgeous grey, misty day, and I love the gentle, almost wave-like peace of this tune.

And the reminder, when I forget, of who my peace is founded on. 🙂

 

 

 

Be well 

Monday Inspiration: Stand

Happy Monday!!!

I hope you are well!

Today’s song came into my head late last week, and provided, as it always does, a ridiculous lift to my spirit, with resulting dorky perma-grin. I love this kaleidoscope of serious, important concepts, wrapped in the most absurdly bouncy melody of our time.

In honour of that perfection of goofiness, I think we really must enjoy the original, official, profoundly 80s, utterly REM, quintessentially Stand, video.

 

Whether you need encouragement to continue to stand – for, or against, or with, in a tough time …

or a little inspiration to let go and descend into utter silliness for three minutes, this one’s for you:

Can you possibly NOT dance to that?

 

Be well.