Tag Archive | encouragement

The Word is “Kind” Part 2

2015 has been quite the year! Throughout these past 12 months I have been on a personal study of the word “KIND”. You can read about that decision HERE. My eyes have been open to the kindness around and in me. However, at first it seemed I was mainly aware of UNkindness.

Have you noticed how negative our society can be?  The daily news bombards us with doom and gloom reporting. TV and social media is full of backstabbing, criticism, lying, and cheating. Workplaces become a battle ground of gossip, jealousy, and sometimes a celebration of someone’s failure. It was disheartening to recognize the magnitude of this ugliness.  In the midst of these observations I was reminded that my word is “Kind” not “unkind”, and Ephesians 4:32 became my verse for the year.

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I soon changed my focus to:

  • Intentionally looking for kindness in others
  • Expressing my appreciation when I witness kindness
  • Working on my attitude and behavior to be kind

Kind is a willingness to do good or give pleasure, a sympathetic attitude towards others, having a good or benevolent nature or disposition, considerate, helpful.

One day as I was subbing, I had a student that was being a pest to anyone that came near him. In fact, he had a girl in tears from his unkind words before the morning bell rang! Our day was not off to a great start, and I dreaded what might take place at morning recess. I breathed a quick, “Thank you, Jesus.” prayer when the boy left the basketball game to play with another student. As the class was lining up to return to class, I quietly told the boy I noticed and appreciated how kind he was on recess. The rest of the day was near perfect, and I have not seen the negative behavior on days I’ve been back in his classroom.

Opportunities to be kind present themselves every hour of the day. Growing up, my mom often said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I oftentimes know very little of the trials others are dealing with. They may be having the very worst day of their life, and I have a choice. I can encourage or discourage.

Love is patient and kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4a.

This word study has been a great and challenging exercise, but more than that it is an ongoing life changer. It takes time and practice to overcome and rise above negativity. My goal was not to merely recognize kindness, but for my life and love to be overflowing with kindness. I have not yet accomplished that goal; I am a work in progress.

Did you choose a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Will you be choosing a word for 2016? What will it be?

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Tumbleweed Alley

Tumblin’, Tumblin’, Tumblin’  O V E R.

A few late summer showers gave the Russian thistles and kochia  the growth spurt they needed to flourish. After winter kill,  the wind breaks them from the stem and sends them tumbling across the Plains. Commonly called tumbleweeds, they roll and tumble where ever the wind sends them. Is it just me, or did we have more windy days from Fall to Spring? It would be interesting to track how many miles a tumble weed tumbles. One day they are all racing south, then the wind shifts, and they head back north. I don’t ever recall seeing ditches full of tumble weeds spilling onto the road, or having to go around or through a roadblock of tumbleweeds. This is the year!

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They have also packed fence rows and shelter belts creating a tumbleweed alley. Left in these traps, the weeds can cause a lot of problems especially to the trees.

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Shelter belts are designed to be a windbreak, so they naturally catch whatever is blowing. The multitude of blowing tumbleweeds continue to pack into the tree lines, and can weaken and smother the trees. Tumbleweed removal has been a daunting task staring me in the face, but I finally got started. Raking and burning is the quickest way to handle these dry weeds, but we are in a burn ban. Plus, a day with no wind is needed, and we sure haven’t had one of those for a while! Instead, I raked the weeds out of a few trees at a time, hopped on the mower, and chased them down. I’m sure it looked quite comical, but I did make progress. Normally this job is much more successful with helpers. However, the men scattered from the farmyard after giving unsolicited advice, telling me how dusty I was, and inviting me to clean their shelterbelts when done here. I was able to get a few rows cleaned, but I have the worst row left.


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They are packed higher than my head! Who wants to come help? Do you ever feel stuck? Stuck in a rut, or trapped in a situation you can’t seem to shake loose? Don’t let the situation smother you! Begin to dig out today. Look for ways to change, grow and/or adapt. Get into God’s word. What is He trying to show or teach you? You may be surprised at the hidden blessings hidden among all the “weeds”!

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Quiet Time

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s quiet time.  Sometimes with a houseful of small children, or even just one youngster, quiet time can be as beneficial to Mom as it is to the kids.

As my children outgrew their afternoon naps, they graduated to quiet time. This time was usually for a half hour to an hour and books were quietly looked at. Each child had a blanket and pillow, and then laid down on the living room floor. I got comfy in the recliner with my own reading material, which was often times my Bible, or journal. Sometimes the kids and/or I would would even doze for a bit. It was amazing how as short as half an hour of quiet could re-energize me, and spread peace and companionship among the children. The children got up ready to play together again. Quiet time was welcome and refreshing.

Our quiet time with God can and should be the same, welcome and refreshing. I especially enjoy spending this time outside, and have several niches in my yard landscape to invite a quiet sit. Out there I am not distracted with electronics or other man-made niceties, but I can easily reflect on God’s abundant grace and love. It is a place I can pray, listen, ponder, spend quiet time with God.

Recently, at a women’s meeting, the speaker addressed the fact that so often we get so busy DOING things, we don’t take time to rest quietly. This does not mean you have to lay down for a nap, but think about it. If we are constantly on the go and our time of prayer is only petitions and telling God what He should do, how are we ever going to hear his quiet gentle voice?

In the Bible, Mark 6, The apostles gathered around Jesus and were reporting all they had been doing. In fact, they were ministering to so many people, they hadn’t even had time to take a lunch break. They were tired and hungry, and Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) I believe Jesus would like to extend that same invitation to you and me.

My speaker friend thought so too. She made each woman in attendance a special invitation as if it were from Jesus, himself. I’d like to pass that invitation along to you.

ImageFind a time and place for some much needed quiet time today. You’ll be glad you did.

Carrying Burdens into 2014

It is with a heavy heart that I make this first blog entry for the new year 2014. The old year slammed shut with a harsh finality for some of my friends. I am left pondering, “How does one sincerely carry another’s burden of grief and loneliness, shock and disappointment, hurt and unforgiveness?”

Three friends with three completely different situations. My heart aches for each of them.

Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” That is what I’ve been doing on behalf of these dear ones, praying for them and asking God to help them through this difficult time. I’ve also been praying for myself. Why? Because I need wisdom to know how to reach out in love, compassion, and gentleness. I need to let each know that I love, care and hurt for them. I need to be available with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, open arms to hug or hold. I may need self-control to keep my mouth shut, or boldness to say what needs said. I need to be proactive in prayer and availability. I need to live out Apostle Paul’s instruction to “Carry each other’s burden.” (Gal.6:2)

As the door of 2013 slammed shut, the cold wind blew open the door of 2014. No matter what happens this year, I know that “the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100:5)

 “Carry each other’s burdens”  Galatians 6:2

Gratitude Attitude

How has your week been so far? Has it been a rough hard week overshadowed with disappointment? If so, how are you handling it? Do you have a gratitude attitude?

We all face problems and difficulties throughout life, and sometimes we feel we are about to be swallowed by the obstacle. When we face these giants, we have a choice: 1) let it ruin us, turn us sour and apathetic, and destroy our spirits, OR 2) let it be a source of growth, wisdom, perspective and patience. Gratitude helps us see God’s presence in all circumstances.

In recent years, there have been two women in my life who made opposite choices in how they dealt with their difficulties. One is a young woman, who has let the results of some poor choices turn her sour and destroy her spirit.  I can’t think of a more negative person. Whenever I see her, I give her a smile and try to encourage her, and I am always met with negative comments. This poor girl has absolutely no joy. The second woman died of cancer. When healthy, she was always a very sweet person, but let me tell you about when she was sick. She was polite and pleasant, thanking the nurses, doctors, and anyone else helping her. She was a favorite among the hospital staff because as they cared for her she cared for them. She would ask about their families, and then pray for them. Next time they’d be on duty, she would follow up on that conversation and again say, “I’m praying.” Visitors would begin asking her how she was, but she immediately turned the conversations to them with sincere love, interest and concern. No matter how much pain she was in, she always had a smile and an encouraging word for her visitors. She was quick to share her love for God with anyone who would listen especially as death grew near.

The second lady had a gratitude attitude. She was grateful for the little things in each day. She did not take them for granted, but saw them as gift and blessing from God.

Whatever your week has been like, it’s time for an attitude check. Do you have a gratitude attitude?

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

 

 

Parenting: Challenging and Rewarding

Parenting is quite possibly the most challenging AND most rewarding job one can have.  Hubby and I have four grown children.  The fourth was born when the first was 5 years old.  That led to having four teenagers for 1 1/2 years.  We were/are not perfect parents, and we did not have perfect children.  We were like many of you – raising and teaching the best we knew how.

For the past several weeks, Hubby and I have had the privilege to lead a study called “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. This study has been encouraging and humbling as well.  Some of the information has come 20+ years too late for us. However, we have been able to share from our experiences with the young parents in this class.

The focus of the study is learning how to speak to the heart of your child. Helping your children make right choices from their heart rather than making those choices simply to avoid discipline. The things your child does and says flows from the heart.

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45 NLT

The parents’ goal should not be a well-behaved child, but one that embraces the gospel and continually grows in relationship with Jesus Christ.

We are concluding our study by making a family bible with Mindy Dunn’s Child Training Bible kit. Don’t be misled, this is not to preach at the kids when they have done something wrong.  It is a tool to help the family learn what God has to say about many topics.  Too many times as a mom, I couldn’t immediately recall Bible verses to go along with those teachable moments.  Dunn’s kit is color coded for different topics, making it very user friendly.  The kit even includes conversation starters for each topic. This can be a great tool for family Bible study.  How I wish I would have had this when my children were growing up! I highly recommend the Child Training Bible kit, you can view and order here: www.childtrainingbible.com

We have had some great discussions in our class.  Would you like to learn how to shepherd your child’s heart? If you are in the Meade, KS or surrounding area, I would be more than happy to lead another class.  Just let me know if you are interested.

Dear God, In Psalms you tell us that children are a gift and reward from you. Thank you for such a precious gift – a child. Give wisdom and patience to each parent reading this blog.  May they seek you and your Word daily as they raise their children. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stressless Flamingo

Arriving at the classroom I was subbing in, I was greeted by this cute little fella.

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How can you not grin when you look at him!?

Sometimes, class does not flow with a substitute teacher as it normally does. Through the years I’ve learned I must be flexible, and I must not get stressed out when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Richard Carlson has written a book for teens titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens. I had a chance to skim through it while students were diligently working on projects.  Carlson has addressed a wide variety of topics that most teens face, and explains how to keep cool in stressful situations. It’s a quick and easy read which I’d recommend not only for teens.

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Throughout my day, the cute little flamingo would catch my attention.  The way he was propped and the light on his eye gave him a happy relaxed look as if to say, “I don’t have a care in the world.”  Funny how this look had a calming affect on me, and encouraged me not to sweat the small stuff. Too often, we let little blunders or uncertainties ruin the moment or day. We stress out rather than remain calm and make adjustments.

God wants us to depend on Him, not our own strength.  Why else would he give us so many reminders in scripture? When you start to get stressed remember some of these verses to keep your focus on God.

1Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Psalm 62:8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.

You may not have a cute little flamingo smiling from your desk, but God is with you at all times.  He will never leave you or forget about you. Isn’t that reassuring especially in stressful times?