Joy will not find you … go find it and bring it back.

Confused about the way you should go? Me too. In fact I was contemplating this morning and before I had a chance to stress about it, I decided to write to God. As I was writing out my prayer “Read Psalms” came to my mind. I chose Psalm 32 and look what it says in verse 8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

You know what? Nothing catches God by surprise. He has our life all mapped out for us. I’m going to make the best choices I’m capable of, and trust that God has his loving eyes on me. If I mess up, He’s going to cover for me because he knows I’m not perfect – but I’m loved.

What’s on your mind today? If there are any embers of worry and doubt, maybe you can take time to talk to God about it and find confidence instead of conflict. I didn’t want to bring this up, but well, here is is in verse 9. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

Don’t worry though. God isn’t going to hold that against you. See? Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Look for the good in every day. I know. It can be pretty tough, but there is something to be thankful for, there is some element of joy in every day. Joy is not going to find you. You have to go find it and bring it back. Then share it – lavishly share it!

Treat yourself to joy every day!

The more I notice …..

A few weeks ago friends on Facebook started talking about closing their account because all they saw was negativity. I couldn’t relate because at that time I saw none of that. This past week has changed everything. It’s been a struggle to find the diamonds in all that black coal, but listen – I’m still trying. I’m not going to quit trying either.  I’m not going to close my accounts or stop using Social Media. The negative things of this life will never go away, but they don’t define me or my attitude.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God, clear my mind of any negative thoughts today, so I may see the designed plan You have for my life. Amen!

I’ve noticed a lot of hate and I silently pray for the haters. This is my response to what I’ve noticed although I could think of more:

I’ve noticed the more I think of others, the less I think of myself.
I’ve noticed the more creativity I practice, the more creative I become.
I’ve noticed the less I compare, the more content I am.
I’ve noticed the more I try to find the good in every day, the less I feel like the world is bad.
I’ve noticed the more I focus on joy, the more joyful I am.
I’ve noticed the more positive my attitude, the less my heart is darkened by doubt
I’ve noticed the more I pray, the less I worry.
I’ve noticed the less I worry, the more faith I have.
I’ve noticed the less I think about what others think of me, the more I like who I am.
I’ve noticed the more I focus on what I have, the less I focus on what I’ve lost.
I’ve noticed the more I develop my strengths, the less time I waste on things that are futile.
I’ve noticed the more I trust God, the stronger my faith becomes.
I’ve noticed the more I love God, the more I love all people.
I’ve noticed the better I am at putting God first in my life, the more I stay on track.
I’ve noticed the more I stay on track, the less I feel like my life is a train wreck.
I’ve noticed the more I think about things that are good, honorable, pure, and lovely, the more peace I have.

What about you, what have you noticed lately?

Philippians 4:5-9 “Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Dear Lord, God, Help me to remember that everything I have comes from you. Impress on my heart a true spirit of gratitude. Please give me pure thoughts, a gentle spirit, wisdom to know your will, and discernment to make wise choices. Keep my eyes on you, my heart from idols, and my mind steadfast against perils of the world. Shine your light on my path and give me feet that follow you. Give me opportunities to show your love to people who feel like they don’t matter. Help me to notice when things aren’t right and give me courage to correct them. Every day is a gift, dear God. Please help me to treasure it. You deserve my best. Help me to notice when I’m selfishly reserving the best for myself. Be my true north, Lord. Thank you for my family, my friends, my life. Thank you for nature, thank you for holding everything together with your power.  I love you, Lord. Amen

Kari Jobe: The More I Seek You

Wired for Authenticity – book review

Lately I’ve been reading and hearing about authenticity. I don’t mean on occasion or now and then. I mean every day. So when I saw the title of this book I was intrigued. Wired for Authenticity, really? This book is full of lessons on the truth of how to live your life in authenticity. You can’t be your authentic self if you are trying to emulate someone else. You just end up being the second rate version of someone else. Wired for Authenticity Book CoverNow the author, Henna Inam, had my full attention because I already believe that. I settled in to find out more about this subject of being authentic.
Why do we even care about being authentic? Authenticity sees inside your hard shell exterior and opens your eyes to what you really want from your life. Authenticity means you aren’t exhausted trying to be the person you think you must be instead of who you were meant to be. Authenticity means you can trust yourself – others will trust you too.

Before you even finish reading this book you can start to practice authenticity. Read the review here


Let’s get started!

Dear Daddy,

I’ve been blogging now long enough that I’ve passed a few Father’s Days. If you’ve read this before, or reading it the first time, I hope you can identify with my story and had a dad like mine or that you are a dad like mine.

Dear Daddy,
It seemed longer back then, but I only had you for 19 years of my life. You died before my own kids could experience your life as a grandfather, but I know you would have been a gentle, godly role model for them.Family 1960  It’s Father’s Day and in just a few days you would be 96! I’m getting older too.  But here are some of my best memories of life as a small town preacher’s kid.

First, my best memory was waking up to the sizzle of frying bacon and the warm aroma of eggs, toast and coffee in this aromatic symphony that told me morning had arrived. I’d wander out to the kitchen and there you were reading your Bible at the table, with your small loose leaf notebook propped up in front of you.  I remember how you wore work clothes all day because you were always building or fixing or working on projects for us or for someone in the community.  When someone needed a spiritual leader to visit with them or officiate a funeral, you were the only preacher in town, so you got the call. You would never visit anyone dressed in canvas, you always dressed in your white shirt and dress-up clothes. You said it was being respectful to the other person.  I understand that now. Thank you for teaching me that there is more than one way to show respect.

I remember listening to baseball games on the radio and the commotion in our living room during games.  Remember when Vance used my stuffed rabbit for a football, reenacting football games during their broadcast? There was no instant replay back thdn. I think that’s where the Nerf ball got its start, in our living room. If there was a team who never seemed to get it right, I remember how you always rooted for the underdog.  Thank you for teaching me that everyone deserves a cheerleader, especially those that aren’t the best.

I remember when David climbed up on the roof of our house to find you working up there.  Instead of yelling at him like so many other dads would do, you gently and calmly persuaded him to keep walking toward you until you could grab him and carry him back to safety.  Thank you for teaching me that being gentle and staying calm diverts disaster.  I remember when you raised your voice, it was always in supportive coaching – and well, I have to admit that sometimes from behind the pulpit, you got your point across.  I guess you had to amp up the volume a little then.  Thank you for teaching me that angry yelling solves nothing.

I remember how you loved the young people at our church and you were always trying to find ways to bring them together to learn about God and to assure their eternal destiny. I remember you talked mama into letting us have a ping pong table in the living room so the teens could come over and play ping pong during the winter. I remember going to youth rallies, sledding parties in the winter and going to Lake Michigan in the summer. I remember begging to swim when the temperature in the air was barely 55 degrees outside.  Mama said no, but you said yes.  Thank you for teaching me that sometimes it’s OK to do crazy things.

I remember when our church pianist quit coming to church and you said, “Well, Janie. I guess you’re just going to have to learn to play the piano.” I remember Janet teaching me the notes before she got married and moved away and with that knowledge and a piano, I practiced hours every day and you didn’t complain.  I remember the day you said I was good enough and you wanted me to start playing in church. We had a guest speaker a few weeks later and I remember how you beamed when he said I was really good.  I’m certain I wasn’t that good, but that gave me confidence. Thank you for having confidence in me and teaching me that getting results is the effect of hard work and lots of practice.  I may have given joyful noise a new definition but you were proud of me.

Most of all, I remember how compassionate you were to everyone. Even when cantankerous people swore at you and put you down, you prayed for them. I remember when you picked up hitchhikers and brought them home for some hot chocolate and toast with peanut butter…..our meal of champions at our house.  When I started bringing friends home I remember mama saying that now we were both bringing home strays. Thank you for teaching me that everyone needs to know someone cares about them. I didn’t get the deep compassionate gene, that you had, daddy, but I learned enough about how to use the small portion I did get, from your example.

I wonder if it’s Fathers’ Day in heaven. If not, someday I will see you again and I’ll tell you all these things.  You taught me the most important thing in life is to accept Jesus as my own personal savior with my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Thank you for teaching me that the only way to live a successful life on Earth is to assure I have an eternal home in heaven.

I still love you, Daddy. I’ll see you someday.

A friend who is like a sister to me asked me to repost this from last year.  Here it is – and Happy Father’s Day to all the daddys out there.

Overcoming an Imperfect Boss – book review

Why is it so hard to work for someone else? Karin Hurt attempts to answer that in her book Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. “The boss-subordinate relationship is unnatural by design. We look to a person we have not chosen (whom we may or may not respect) for affirmation, evaluation, and reward. Then we have to figure out what will make that person happy. Further we take this unnatural structure and make it even more awkward through performance feedback systems.”

Let’s admit right off the bat that your boss might be flawed. Nobody expects perfection in a boss or in a subordinate, but there are ways to ease the tension and work through the issues anyway. Karin describes some ways to help navigate the labyrinth of boss-subordinate relationships and in the process build a better workplace.  I won’t cover all of them in this short book review but when you read the whole book you will recognize that you have lived in nearly identical situations.

Speaking from her knowledge as a boss and as a subordinate, Karin’s presentation of experiences will grasp your attention and, like me, you won’t want to put the book down.

Read the full review here.

Breaking Through: Discovering the Riches Within – Book Review

When this book was given to me, I didn’t realize how well I would relate to the author’s story. From the first page, I recognized it as one of those books that has all the elements of a memorable experience told as though I could have lived through it myself. It was a tough book to read at times because the story tells the life story in raw detail of a man whose life revolved around alcohol even though he had a family, home, and steady employment. At many points I wanted to say “Wake Up! What are you doing?”

This book really tugged at my emotions, but not in a sappy sort of way. I didn’t grow up in an abusive home ruled by an unstable mother, and alcoholism never became a personal demon, but I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of lives in turmoil by disease and mental illness triggered by addictions. I hope you read the book because it’s infused with hope that there is possibility of a new beginning to those who are tormented and being destroyed by addictions. This is inspiration with instruction – a book that really does travel the path from tragedy to triumph and proves that an amazing life is possible on the other side of addiction.

Read the full review here.

You Are What You Tweet – book review

I was given a copy of this book to read and was immediately drawn in. If there’s a book that covers the topic of social media, especially Twitter, in so many aspects, so far it’s unknown to me. I’ve been reading books and writing reviews for a couple years but until today have not posted them on my personal blog. Why not? It’s a mystery. I’ve never considered it until now.  I hope you take the time to read the full review posted here.

If you are overwhelmed by Twitter or social media in genera this book is for you. Germany Kent recognizes that the world of social media is dynamic and pushes more at us than our minds can absorb. If overwhelm is a word that describes your experience with social media this book is for you. Through it readers are taught how to use the powerful platform of social media to discover how to share their individuality through self-expression.

You Are What You Tweet: Harness the Power of Twitter to Create a Happier, Healthier Life by Germany Kent