Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Where have I been?


I knew it had been a while but didn't know it had been almost two weeks since I blogged.  Sorry about that.  A lot going on.   Let me tell you about it.

1)  Easter.   The picture above is of Gabby, Wilson and Carlos because Wilson was the Easter bunny.  We didn't have anyone extra here, but our worship service was spectacular and we enjoyed those who were here.  Bart cooked an amazing meal which I didn't eat much of because I was leading in a 30 day No Cheat Challenge on Facebook.  I made it thirty days without cheating and lost 6 more pounds.    Posting a picture of everything you eat five times a day is time consuming :-).

(I know I blogged for a couple of days after Easter, but wanted to share this picture above so I threw in something about Easter)

2)  I am in charge of a committee that is having our first gala tomorrow night.  I loved the gala when I was branch director at Bethany because I delegated everything and had very capable people handling the details.   This year, I'm the one with the details and that's not anywhere close to my skill set.  We are in great shape and have 370 people registered to attend, unheard of for a first event.  Super excited but anxious as well.

3)  My kidney stones returned to visit for a couple days.

4)  My mom has been having a really hard time and that is unusual.  She has been my rock for my entire life and now approaching 89 she is needing me more than ever.  Physical problems that are causing falls and a lot of anxiety have her a real confused and it's frightening.  She doesn't want me to come there, so the stress is handled from here.

5)  Dominyk is planning to leave in 3 weeks.  His buddy bought him a ticket back to Minnesota and we feel like it's a really bad plan for him to do that.   He only has housing for a week which is "plenty of time to find a place to live and a job."   We are worried about him and he is anxious and has no motivation to comply ... very similar to the last week Tony lived with us.   It's caused some stress.

6)  It is April and in my life April has had some pretty icky things happen.  Yesterday in particular was filled with trauma triggers and I ended up having a very hard time falling asleep last night and woke up way too early.  Which is the purpose of this post.

None of us chooses to have anxiety.   It creeps up on us and it doesn't always make sense.  The human psyche is very complex, and our anxiety can be tied to things brought up by our emotional memory which aren't even thought of cognitively.   And when it hits it can be awful.

Last night, as I lay in bed, words I memorized as a kid from Philippians 4:6-7 went over and over in my mind.  I can't even find the Living Bible online anymore -- I think it has a new name, but this is how I remember it:

"Don't worry about anything.  Instead, pray about everything.  Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers.  When you do this, you will experience peace which is far more wonderful than the mind can comprehend.  His peace will keep you quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus."

So last night I spent some time praying.  I told God my needs, and I thanked Him for the times He had answered my prayers.     Eventually, peace came.   Not peace I could find for myself somewhere, but peace from God.

And this song started to play in my memory and I fell asleep to it.  A song that has been reminding me of God's peace since 1985.








Thursday, April 05, 2018

Tired of Doing the Right Things with No Results?


Ever get discouraged because you keep on doing what you're supposed to do but you don't see results?

Jesus and the Apostle Paul both used the analogy of sowing and reaping.   Jesus told a parable in Matthew 13 about a guy was scattering seeds.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 
If anyone knows what it is like to sow a bunch of seeds that are wasted, it is Jesus.   He routinely and daily gives his love and his best to people who reject him in a multitude of ways for a multitude of reasons.

Then Paul told the Corinthians,  "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow."


Putting those two passages together reminds us that we need to keep doing what we're supposed to be doing.... sowing seed.  Or possibly watering it.  But the results are up to God.  It's only God that makes it grow.

So, if you are discouraged because someone is not responding the way you want them to when you continue to sow and sow and so, don't be.   

God is not asking us to grow plants -- that's his job.

All he's asking us to do is to sow the seeds.

If you replace the word swimming with the words sowing, I hope this song gets stuck in your head not just today... but for the rest of your life.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Skipping the Middle


As a child I grew up in a denomination that skipped Holy Week.   It wasn't that we forgot that Jesus died, it's just that we didn't have special services to talk about it.   We went to church on Sunday and we celebrated Palm Sunday and then the next week we might have Wednesday night regular stuff where it might get mentioned, but basically we jumped over the next few days and came back the next Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection.

We skipped the hard, gut-wrenching icky stuff.   We knew what happened, but we didn't talk about it a lot.  And I never noticed.

Until I married a man a man who had changed denominations and was a United Methodist minister and he pointed that out to me.   Since then, I have spent the last 22 years slowly walking through the week that long week where Jesus went from crowds shouting "Hosanna" to crowds screaming "Crucify Him."  I listened again to Scripture about a Man who had dinner with and washed the feet of men he knew would deny and betray him.   I listened to the prayer that this Man prayed to His Father, begging that he be let off the hook, concluding "Not my will but thine be done."    I heard the court trials where this Man was accused but chose not to defend Himself.  And I heard every word of all of the things that happened to Him physically as he died.

I was forced to feel the pain, not just physically, but emotionally that He endured.  I was face to face with the raw emotion of disciples who betrayed and denied Him and those who were faithful to the end, but then devastated by what they thought was the end.

This week I was in church on Thursday night, and Friday noon, and Friday night and on those days over and over again I was reminded of the price paid for me.

Yesterday we gathered together one more time.  But this time it wasn't to talk about pain, betrayal, denial, suffering or death.  It was to celebrate the One who conquered death itself.  I must say that celebrating resurrection when you truly walk with Jesus through the torture of the week is much more meaningful.   I could barely choke out the words, "He is risen indeed" because of tears as I recalled not just the glorious thought of the resurrection, but the powerful pain of the week before.

Aren't we like that as humans?  We love to skip the middle.  We want to go from mountaintop to mountain top and never pass through the valleys.   But Jesus invites us to share in it all.  In Romans 8:17 it says,
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory."
The next time you enter a difficult period of your life I invite you to experience the middle.  Seek for what you can learn during the hard times.  Embrace, if you will, the pain, the betrayal, the suffering, because you know that if you share in His suffering, you will share in His glory.

And when you rise again, which you will, the victory will be sweeter, deeper, and more profound than if you try to avoid what leads up to it.

He is Risen!

And so will you.

Indeed.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My Bad....

After the "marathon" I came home and thought I updated everyone.  But apparently, the blog got neglected!  Sorry to those of you who don't follow me on Facebook and didn't donate -- I forgot about you!   Everyone else heard lots about the race.

But here you go.  I'll fill in what was on Facebook from Saturday until now.

On Saturday morning I walked with some of family members on a cold cloudy morning right here in Danville.  We had a good time.  I ended up walking 3.09 miles.... I know, weird number, but apparently you have to be int he inner circle to have it be an exact quarter mile on the track, and I was in the outer circles most of the time.  So, according to my fitbit, it was 3.09 miles.   Pretty cool huh?  We went out to lunch afterwards and had a great time.

Then Sunday morning at 4:22 a.m. I woke up in severe pain and an urge to urinate like nothing I'd experienced before.   I thought it was just a urinary infection and was standing at the door waiting for it to open at Urgent Care on Sunday morning at 8.   After an hour and a half, the Nurse Practitioner having seen the X-rays saying.   "you definitely have Kidney Stones -- more than I can count."  She gave me heavy drugs, told me to make a urologist appointment and sent me home.

I was miserable for 24 hours ... except when I was asleep and heavily medicated.  But today I'm much better.

Did that answer everything?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mountains and Valleys


If you are my friend on Facebook (and you haven’t stopped following me or snoozed me :-) you know that I finished that walk I promised I would on Saturday.

Three of my friends here and my husband and daughter and her boyfriend and kids had agreed to come all the way to Lynchburg to support me. When our office in Lynchburg had to cancel the Do It 4 The Kids Day event,  I knew that I had about 125 people who were going to be very upset if I didn’t do the walk.    So we had our own impromptu event.  There were no bouncy houses, no food was served, but it was really fun.   I had said I would walk 25. and ended up walking 3.09.  Some of us went out to lunch afterwards.  It was such a great day.

Then yesterday, when I should have been walking around church collecting remaining pledges and being congratulated, I was instead at urgent care and in bed with kidney stones.

The reason for this blog entry, however, is not, to have it be all about me.  When I share my own personal story, it is to remind you of something similar that you have gone through and tie in spiritual connections for you and for me.

So, when was there a time when you had a huge victory and the next day you found yourself feeling completely defeated?   Peter, James and John sure knew what that felt like.  In Matthew 17 they were with Jesus on a mountain when suddenly Jesus was transfigured — his face shown like the sun and his clothes became white as the light.   Suddenly, Elijah and Moses appeared.   Peter was in the middle of trying to convince Jesus to let him put up shelters for them to live in when they heard God’s voice and fell to the ground terrified.  Jesus encouraged them to get up and told them not to be afraid.

Wow, what an amazing experience!  To see Jesus transfigured, to be in the presence of Moses and Elijah, and to hear the very voice of God all in one day.   That had to have been an awesome experience.  They headed down the mountain and the first thing they came across was a man whose son was possessed by a demon.  Ugh.  Can you imagine how their euphoria suddenly disappeared?

Life is like that.   We have highs and we have lows.  The key is believing that God is with us, no matter what.  Today I share two songs, one of which I have shared before.  One brand new one, and one very old one, that talk about this idea of mountain tops and valleys…






Saturday, March 24, 2018

I'm ready!

Today is the day.  And I'm writing about it everywhere because I have told so many people about this 2.6 mile marathon that I'm walking/hobbling through this afternoon.

If you aren't on Facebook you will miss out on all kinds of updates like this one:

One hour from now, on this very chilly morning, I will be walking 2.5 miles. Five months ago I don't even dream of that possibility and here we are. I know that I will be in a great deal of pain, but I believe I will do it and am stronger, lighter and have more muscle than I did back then. I feel a lot better too!

THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored me and encouraged me on this journey. This very morning I broke the barrier I had been stuck at and have now lost over 20 pounds. I couldn't have done it without you.

Stay tuned to Facebook for live videos and updates during the race. Once it is over I will post one more time and then close down these updates ... for this year any way.  

I'll save the emotions for that post (assuming I can crawl to the computer this afternoon :-)

And if you are a person who was waiting to see if I actually did it before you sponsored me, you can do that this afternoon. Or you can do it now as a statement of confidence!

Or this one:

Ready for the day.
Neosporin with pain relief recommended by Beth Van Deusen Swenson for my foot pain.
Very cool Contigo Autospot Water Bottle my daughter Mercedes Lee Soto Fletcher bought me.
Finished some Kashi cereal on the food plan by my very cool and super many trainer Dave Gluhareff who was recommended by my friends Ralph K. Hawkins and Cathy Hawkins.
Bombas socks, my new favorite thing. (If you've never tried them, I can get you a discount.... let me know).
All of the support and enthusiasm of the 125 folks from all over the country and from all different periods of my life who have donated to sponsor me and to help kids and families. I would tag you all, but that might be exhausting and soak up my energy
The example of people like Mary Beth Bova-Burgess and Mercy J. Clements who have done so much more than this and been my inspiration.
And looking forward to being surrounded by my amazing husband Bart Fletcher and my granddaughter, my daughter, my grandson, and my amazing friends Cathy and Kelly, mentioned above, Michelle Cox LarkingKen Larking, and Nicola Parrish
Finally, I've got a really big God who has been with me through all of my journey. 
Can you think of anything else I might need?





Friday, March 23, 2018

Fully Alive


What does it mean to you to be fully alive?  Maybe it means noticing every good thing around you -- nature, relationships, fulfilling work, and celebrating it daily.  Maybe it means experiencing the heights and depths of this life without running away from the hard times that always teach us more than the good times.   Or possibly you have your own definition.

This verse in Habakkuk 2 (the Message) tells us how to get there ... how to get to fully and really alive:

“Look at that man, bloated by self-importance—
    full of himself but soul-empty.
But the person in right standing before God
    through loyal and steady believing
    is fully alive, really alive.

Be in right standing with God, be loyal, believe steadily.     It's a place that we can live in most of the time, but once and a while we recognize that something has slipped and we need to head back there.  Being fully alive, which sounds exciting and adventurous is actually made possibly by things that sound relatively boring .... loyalty and steady believing.

I invite you today to do those things which Scripture say make us "Fully Alive."  

Will this age me if I say this is the way I remember them?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

News Flash: You're ruining your own life.

Sometimes I write blog posts primarily for you, whoever you are.

Today I'm writing it for me.  I need to give myself a little talking to.

Here's the verse from Proverbs 19:3 that caught my attention:

People ruin their lives by their own stupidity,


so why does God always get blamed?

Now obviously my life is not ruined.  But there's some truth packed in that little verse.

I have made choices.   Big choices like who to marry, where to live, which children to adopt, where to work.   But I also make little choices every day ... what I put in my mouth, how much exercise I get, how I respond to the things people do and say, if I'm going to have a good attitude or a bad one, if I'm going to say positive things about others or negative ones.

After a series of these choices, all mine, I can end up in a place I didn't want to be.   Whether it's overweight and out of shape or miserable and crabby, I end up there.   And my response?   WHY LORD! 

I'm not calling myself stupid.   Nor, as mentioned above, do I consider my life ruined.  But I gotta own some of my choices and make better ones.  

And instead of blaming God for the consequences I have brought on myself, I need to be grateful daily for the undeserved blessings He gives me -- regardless of how many dumb things I do.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Really? EVERYTHING?


As you look ahead toward today, what is on your to do list?   Think about the tasks that don't even make your to do list -- things like showering and getting ready, preparing and eating meals, driving in traffic, an argument with a child who seems to schedule them daily.....

Are you excited and looking forward to everything on your list?  Most of us, if we were being honest, which some of us always are to a fault, would admit that there are many things we do each day that do not give us joy.

So this verse tucked away in Deuteronomy 12 is a little convicting

in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.

Everything.   That whole list.   We should be able to rejoice in all those things.

We read the same idea in I Thessalonians 5 where it simply says, "Rejoice always."  But these verses in Deuteronomy give us the why and the how.

When we are in the presence of the Lord, which is our opportunity all the time, we can rejoice because He has blessed us.   Choosing to be in his presence and remembering his blessings are the key to rejoicing in everything.

I don't know what your day or week is like, but I do know that joy is available to all of us if we accept God's invitation to be in His presence and remember all the blessings he has given us.

In His presence there is joy beyond measure..... rejoice in Him today!






Monday, March 19, 2018

Too Difficult?




I love these verses in Deuteronomy 30:

 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

They remind me of Jeremiah 32:17:

"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

That makes a lot of sense doesn't it?  Nothing is too difficult for us, because nothing is too difficult for HIm.

Bank on that today!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Be Strong and Courageous.... and Wait! There's More!


How many times have you heard the words “Be Strong and Courageous”?   If you grew up going to church,  you know that these words were spoken to God by Joshua.  They are quoted in multiple sermons.  From Joshua chapter 1:
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go
I found it interesting, while listening to those verses this week, that there were so many other commands in those verses — as well as some results we can expect if we obey them.  So let’s break it down
  1. Be strong and very courageous.
  2. Be careful to obey all the law
  3. Don’t turn from the right or to the left (of what God says)
  4. Keep His words on your lips
  5. Meditate on God’s words day and night
  6. Be careful to do everything written in it.
  7. Do not be afraid
  8. Do not be discouraged.
The results:
    1.  You will be successful wherever you go.
    2.  You will be prosperous and successful.
    3.  The Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go.

Like those results?  God’s explained how to get those to happen.  In his time, according to His will, but definitely an outcome of doing the 8 things on the list above.



Monday, March 12, 2018

Don't Wait Until You're Better


Yesterday we sang in church a hymn I was not familiar with (Come Ye Sinners).  It had a line in it that caught my attention.  I'm including the context:

Come ye weary, heavy laden, bruised and mangled by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better, you will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous, sinners Jesus came to call.

How often is that our thinking?  I can't go to Jesus right now.  I'm a mess.  I'm going to wait until I can present myself better.   And yet the truth is very clear in this hym.  If you wait until you're better, you'll never come.  He came to call us.... sinners.

This is a really awesome contemporary version of the song that I just found....




It reminded me of a story I heard a long time ago.  Our Dean of Students when I was a freshman stood to speak in chapel.  He said, "This is a chapel service you will never forget as long as you live, because it will be the shortest chapel you will ever attend."

And then he read this.

There is a story in the Talmud about a king who had a son who went astray. The son was told, 'Return to your father.' The son replied that he could not. The king then sent a messenger to the son with the message... 'Come back to me as far as you can, and I will meet you the rest of the way. 

and then he said "You are dismissed."  And he was right.  I never forgot it.  Bart hasn't either.

I have also never forgotten the message of that day:  That God is a loving Father who tells us -- come as far as you can, and I will meet you the rest of the way.

If you have not heard this song, take time right now.  It always brings me to tears.



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Do You Donate to Strangers? Understanding Crowdfunding


Since October I have had an interesting experience as I did what is referred to as "Crowd Funding."

I work for an amazing organization and I also needed to get in shape just to walk 2.5 miles because of years of inactivity due to a back injury.  It's been quite a ride.  I've raised over $10,000 which as I look over some of the campaigns on Go Fund Me is quite a bit.  However, not a single "stranger" donated.  All of these are people I have met in person or who have read my blog or books or heard me speak.    It may be that some of my Facebook friends have never even seen the posts due to Facebook's algorithm... but that seems crazy since I've posted at least 3 times a day for months.

I have one simple goal in the next two weeks.  I would love, before it is over, to have just one stranger give me a donation....

The link is here if you would like to be that stranger.  If you have donated maybe you'd like to share this and see if your friends, who are strangers to me, might be willing to donate.

I have a couple of friends who had way more creative posts than I and they have not raised nearly as much.   My friend Jim had a super creative idea but only has 107 Facebook friends, so that makes it tricky.  My friend Mary Beth is actually running a full marathon and has spent a lot of time training, not as much time posting.    My boss, Mr. Day, has an amazing life story and has written several books, so I don't know why he hasn't had more donations.  He refers to himself as a recovering orphan.

However, there are some campaigns that go viral and money is raised in the hundreds of thousands.   Only when people are willing to give money to strangers does this happen.

You may have clicked on this because you wanted to understand crowdfunding... and I wish I could explain it.  Some things take off, some things don't.   Think Ice Bucket Challenge which had 2.4 million tagged videos on Facebook and raised over 100 MILLION dollars.  We all want an idea like that.

If something catches on or it is picked up by a news service or if there is something clever that gets attention, the power of all kinds of people giving a little bit takes over the world.   But taking that to that kind of level is very unusual.

I have been surprised at some of the people who have given to the cause -- people who are acquaintances but believe in the mission.   I have been surprised that many of the people I consider close friends chose for one reason or another chose not to give anything.

I have closely watched my friend Jeff Green and his wife who have worked many angles in trying to get his story to go viral.  His cancer story is compelling and he has lots of friends coming up with clever ideas and sharing his post repeatedly, but he is only half way to his goal.

The organization that I am a part of is serving children and families very well, with a great amount of passion, and with a huge vision.   I wish I could find that creative idea that would go viral.

But in the meantime I thought I'd just ask you -- possibly a stranger -- to consider a small donation.   We are a couple weeks away from the end of the campaign and have a lot of folks who have tried and raised very little.  I would hate to see them get discouraged.

What do you think?  A few people working for a great organization that haven't come up with THAT idea would be very encouraged by a few strangers saying -- Hey, what you're doing looks cool.

No gimmicks.  No brilliant ideas.  Just a small place with a few people who are doing big things for kids and families.

Check out our website.   Then click here to give.  

Do You Give Money to Strangers? Understanding Crowdfunding


Since October I have had an interesting experience as I did what is referred to as "Crowd Funding."

I work for an amazing organization and I also needed to get in shape just to walk 2.5 miles because of years of inactivity due to a back injury.  It's been quite a ride.  I've raised over $10,000 which as I look over some of the campaigns on Go Fund Me is quite a bit.  However, not a single "stranger" donated.  All of these are people I have met in person or who have read my blog or books or heard me speak.    It may be that some of my Facebook friends have never even seen the posts due to Facebook's algorithm... but that seems crazy since I've posted at least 3 times a day for months.

I have one simple goal in the next two weeks.  I would love, before it is over, to have just one stranger give me a donation....

The link is here if you would like to be that stranger.  If you have donated maybe you'd like to share this and see if your friends, who are strangers to me, might be willing to donate.

I have a couple of friends who had way more creative posts than I and they have not raised nearly as much.   My friend Jim had a super creative idea but only has 107 Facebook friends, so that makes it tricky.  My friend Mary Beth is actually running a full marathon and has spent a lot of time training, not as much time posting.    My boss, Mr. Day, has an amazing life story and has written several books, so I don't know why he hasn't had more donations.  He refers to himself as a recovering orphan.

However, there are some campaigns that go viral and money is raised in the hundreds of thousands.   Only when people are willing to give money to strangers does this happen.

You may have clicked on this because you wanted to understand crowdfunding... and I wish I could explain it.  Some things take off, some things don't.   Think Ice Bucket Challenge which had 2.4 million tagged videos on Facebook and raised over 100 MILLION dollars.  We all want an idea like that.

If something catches on or it is picked up by a news service or if there is something clever that gets attention, the power of all kinds of people giving a little bit takes over the world.   But taking that to that kind of level is very unusual.

I have been surprised at some of the people who have given to the cause -- people who are acquaintances but believe in the mission.   I have been surprised that many of the people I consider close friends chose for one reason or another chose not to give anything.

I have closely watched my friend Jeff Green and his wife who have worked many angles in trying to get his story to go viral.  His cancer story is compelling and he has lots of friends coming up with clever ideas and sharing his post repeatedly, but he is only half way to his goal.

The organization that I am a part of is serving children and families very well, with a great amount of passion, and with a huge vision.   I wish I could find that creative idea that would go viral.

But in the meantime I thought I'd just ask you -- possibly a stranger -- to consider a small donation.   We are a couple weeks away from the end of the campaign and have a lot of folks who have tried and raised very little.  I would hate to see them get discouraged.

What do you think?  A few people working for a great organization that haven't come up with THAT idea would be very encouraged by a few strangers saying -- Hey, what you're doing looks cool.

No gimmicks.  No brilliant ideas.  Just a small place with a few people who are doing big things for kids and families.

Check out our website.   Then click here to give.  


Friday, March 09, 2018

Feedback please .... no.... wait .... no thanks :-)


Does less than extremely positive feedback make you feel attacked or threatened or a whole bunch of other words that aren’t warm and fuzzy?   Embracing feedback is certainly something that happens as a part of the growing and maturing process.

Let me take you back to my first job.  I was a Residence Hall Director at South Dakota State University straight out of college at the age of 21.  I had a staff of 21, including a secretary, RAs and maintenance and janitorial staff.   I was responsible for 375 college students, some of them older than I.   Each year it was our practice as an institution to have we had all of the residents evaluate their hall director with a short questionnaire that they could fill out anonymously.   Year one I probably only had spoken in person to 200 of them, and only about 50 of them knew me very well.  But that didn’t stop them, when given a pen and a piece of paper that their name didn’t have to be written on, from writing all kinds of things about me.

I breezed through the 340 of them that marked Agree or Strongly Agree and set them aside.  I did that because I really needed to focus on the 30 of them who wrote wrote some disagrees and a few comments, and I needed to read the 5 that wrote Strongly Disagree with lots of commentary at least 23 times each.     I obsessed with figuring out who they were and trying to decide how to make them think I was awesome or at least pretty good like the 340 who said they did.

Isn’t that human nature?  We focus on the negative and forget to see a balanced view.

Fast forward to now.  I still don’t enjoy having it pointed out that I was less than awesome in any situation.  But now I can listen, talk it through with a few people to see if the feedback is shared by others, and make a decision about how I will do it differently next time.  That doesn’t mean that I always enjoy hearing it, but I have at least learned its value.

Proverbs 12:13 says:  Fools are headstrong and do what they like;  wise people take advice.

To some degree, with my personality, I will always be headstrong, but hopefully I will not take it to the extreme of being a fool.  It’s my prayer that I can accept advice and move towards becoming better.

It is also my prayer that I can view people in my life …. my kids, my coworkers, and even my spouse as iron that will sharpen this iron will that God blessed me with in order that I may become more of the person He wants me to be.








Thursday, March 08, 2018

Put them everywhere!


Can you imagine what life would be like if everywhere you turned you were reminded to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?   if it were written everywhere, maybe it wouldn’t be so easy to forget this as a priority.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Says this:   
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
What if this was our lives:  God’s commands everywhere…. His will, His way, everywhere you looked.  People talking about them continuously.   On doorframes, and gates, on our hands and on our foreheads. Sure, there are times our minds would tune them out, but they might just catch us off guard and jolt us back to reality if they were everywhere.

I think that it’s interesting that the first two things listed are that they are to be on our hearts and that they are to be impressed upon our children.  And our children aren’t just the ones born to us, but the ones entrusted into our care in any arena.

My guess is that if they are truly on our hearts, they wouldn’t need to be everywhere else.   So my prayer today is that we ask God to write His name and His story on our hearts.





Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Are your thoughts all over the place?


Do you ever have a bunch of thoughts come bombarding you — uncertainties?  Frustrations?  Problems too complex to solve??

When the Psalmist wrote these words in Psalm 139, it seems like he is talking about physical places.  But I haven’t gone anywhere lately and yet it seems I have been everywhere.  My mind seems at times to be going in a zillion different directions.   So what if these words pertain to that as well?

I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!

Wherever we go physically and wherever our minds take us, God is there.   Right there providing assurance, peace, and wisdom if we seek it.

Above and below me

Before and behind me….

Christ be all around me….