“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion) and totally worth the work.

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be as close and as healthy as they can be.  My husband and I have just started doing a few new things for our marriage and we’re noticing this one could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is one experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago (and we’re both loving it!)

Every morning we have decided to say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

(Sweet note: The look on my husband’s face as he speaks is so beautiful and something that’s been hiding for a little while.  It’s really nice to see the thought behind his words as he says something kind about me and to me.  Sometimes he’s just remembering good things from the past and those are good to hear also.  I can’t help but think he may be feeling the same way as he hears me speak good things about him, too.  It’s heart-healing.)

This is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

(And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but we’ve had ENOUGH of that!)

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re BOTH getting to HEAR some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is powerful.)

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious!

We ALL probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)  But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

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Live, breathe, & enjoy today like it’s NOT about you. But IF it IS… (Gossip)

Hey. It’s probably not about you.

But what if it really IS about you?

Why would she say that about you?

She doesn’t even know you. How can she affect you?

But it does affect you.

It’s hurtful.

You know those times when you read (or hear) something and it cuts; like it’s directed at you?  You can hear something and it SEEMS to be directed at you.

Maybe it is personal but maybe not.

We’ve got to give ourselves permission NOT to listen to (or read) vague, passive aggressive comments carelessly tossed AT us or hatefully said ABOUT us.

It REALLY may NOT be about you. Live, breathe, and enjoy today like it’s NOT about you.

But IF it IS:

If someone truly does have an issue with us we need to rest in the prayer that he or she can find maturity, confidence, and grace to come speak with us about it. And we need to give people permission allowing them to be upset if it’s a problem that is upsetting.

Being upset about something doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. The very fact that it bothers you is proof that you DO care.

We cannot assume that someone has wrong intentions toward us. Sometimes people do have bad intentions and during those times it’s important to talk if possible and try to work things out. But even then; working things out does not always mean someone who has hurt you will view things the same way as you see them. And that’s okay.

Nobody in the whole world was created to think the exact way you think. It’s okay (and sometimes necessary) if we agree to disagree.

Sometimes people are just angry at life and you are the closest target. For whatever reason they may feel safer taking out their frustration on you rather than the true issue. They may be afraid to confront or discover the core of the pain because it seems unbearable.

[This being said; if it’s abuse, it’s abuse and that’s NOT okay. You may need to talk to a counselor or someone. That’s healthy. That’s not weak. In my opinion finding a counselor (and yes, I will always advise to find a counselor who is a Christian) works best when I pray over everything first. Prayer first is ALWAYS best.]

We can be a safe place for others to vent and we can do this without taking things personally. We can just listen. Just be there. Just hear someone who is hurting.

…Because sometimes it’s really NOT about you.

When you hear someone say something or read a post online that “feels” personal, try this; “God, this has hurt my feelings. Please let this fall away from me if it’s not intended toward me. If it actually is intended toward me and this person actually does have ill feelings please give me courage to speak with them peacefully and give my words grace so that we may both heal. Please prepare my heart and hers (or his) and please stop words from coming out of my mouth that need to not be said. God, please help me be genuine. Please use my life and words to bless others and bring healing and not pain. Thank You for Your constant love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

Train Wreck (aka Me)

When I see the pain in the world and the choices people make heading in the wrong direction it’s just too much for my human heart to handle. I’m so glad I don’t have God’s job because there’s no way I could do it.

I remember a sweet friend, years after we’d met, describing to me the way she used to see my life back then. She exhaled, “It was like watching a train wreck.”

She just lived life with me and she didn’t hate me. She loved me and was my friend when I needed her most.

I had no idea she saw my life and the things I was doing as a train wreck. I just knew she called me her friend.

People are hurting. Everywhere. Every day. People are hurting at work, school, maybe in your own home, in your neighborhood, church, and think about all the people we sometimes overlook like when you’re just out running errands; at the bank, checking out at the grocery store, getting coffee or lunch, or maybe in the car beside you at the stop sign.

What if you prayed over each person connected to your life every day?

What if you did?

In the morning say a prayer over your day asking God to touch and bless the lives of all the people you see, talk to on the phone, and even your online acquaintances (and don’t forget your enemies.)

They just need you to be kind and pray for them and ask God to lead them out of the dark tunnel (and everyone has dark tunnel times.)  They don’t need you to hit them over the head with a Bible. They need to know what love looks like in every day life.

Just call or text. Send an email when they come to your mind. Just tell them you were thinking of them. Take them coffee or chocolate. Just say, “I love you; but not in a creepy way. I love you with a Jesus kind of love.” Or you could say, “I love you more than cheese.” (Because that’s A LOT!)

It’s not like people go around with a sign saying, “Hey, I’m missing something and you know what that is. I need Jesus but I don’t really know Him and because of whatever reasons you aren’t sharing Him with me so I’m still stumbling all over myself and crashing into everything. Please stop staring at me and talking about me and start lifting me up when you pray. I need help.”

It’s okay to need help.

Jesus never, EVER said to live this life on your own. He says to lean on Him, follow Him, speak His name and He will be near you, fix your eyes on Him, and that He loves you no matter what.

Praise God He’s bigger than problems, broken relationships, the world, and life, itself.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

Please Stand Up.

Praise God there is not a score card or report card saying how we’re doing spiritually based on our age! (In fact, I’m not sure why life should be a race academically either – but that’s for another day.)

I can’t imagine someone saying these things to others yet sometimes even when we don’t say them we kinda act this way.

 

“You’re 25! How come your faith isn’t up to par yet? Why are you still struggling?   We are going to hold you back a year so you can catch up!”  (That would be quite damaging.)

And anyway, what?! Catch up to what?  Your race is just you.  There is nobody to your right or left, in front or behind.  It’s just you – and God sure is patient.

~

“You’re 60! How come you don’t have more grace for others?!” (There’s no “grace” in that at all…)

I know many girls would ask, “What does that even mean?” SO many have not been taught what this looks like.

Ladies, please stand up and teach our younger girls how to be women of Christ! Please stop the gossip and please start teaching girls how to be beautiful from the inside out! Take a look at what the world is teaching them. They NEED you to speak life and love over them!

~

“You have a grown up man’s body! You need to act more like a ‘man’ now!”

HOW? He hasn’t been taught how to do this.

Please, men, stand up and teach our younger boys how to be gentlemen of God! The world truly needs you! Teach them how to stand tall in a world full of hatred and racism.

And boys (and men) desperately need to learn how to treat a woman in the way God says to treat a woman. Love her. Love her as Christ loves the Church.

~

There is honor in helping each other; not in stomping each other into the ground.

Life is NOT a competition!

Please stop arguing who is “righter” and start caring for each other “right where we are” in faith, grace, honor, life, (and academically.)

 

On Purpose.

It’s offensive when people are so easily offended.

Am I living for praise from people?

Am I living for praise from God?

Sometimes they overlap and it’s great when this happens.
Sometimes not so much and that comes down to the true character in each of us.

It’s hard to lose friends when we stand up for something ~ but it happens.

Maybe the word “friend” is a little overused?

We CANNOT please everyone.  Why do people try to please everyone?

Not even everyone loves Jesus.  Think about this.  If every person does not want Jesus, then why in the world would we even begin to think that everyone should love everything about each other?  How much MORE are people not going to love us for standing up and sharing our opinions or even bigger and more importantly; our faith?

I’m not sure WE even love everything about OURSELVES.   So WHY do we think if we disagree on something, it’s a magnificent tragedy?  It seems being offended because someone views stuff differently goes against the very fact that God made us each different ON PURPOSE.  He did not HAVE to make us all different.  He chose to.

If you’re looking for someone who likes, agrees, loves, hates, and is impressed or not impressed with exactly the very same everything as you are you’re not going to find it.  Just love people where they are.  It’s really not so difficult to do this.

 

At the end of my life it may not matter as much if a person is impressed by how I lived but I absolutely, for sure, with every part of me, want to hear from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Just For A Minute

Everyday schedules.

I have to get this done.

The kids need that.

My husband wants me to remember to…

Oh, I need to stop by the store.

Then maybe we can have lunch together.

Wait.

The car needs gas.

Okay time for that appointment we keep putting off.

I wish we could hurry up and get these other things done

so we can get to what we want to do;

So we can get to the “important stuff!”

 

At the optometrist’s office the other day,

it seemed like just one of those errands that needed done

but

if we open our eyes (and hearts) God uses SO many opportunities we sometimes don’t even notice

that we could,

JUST FOR A MINUTE,

plant a seed,

share our faith,

or speak life into someone’s day.

 

We almost overlooked an opportunity placed right in front of us at the eye doctor appointment.

 

We mentioned we are moving to Alaska and why.

“Oh, you kinda feel called?”

“Yes we do.”

“Yeah, the universe does that.”

“God does that. It’s pretty amazing what He’s doing.”

 

Everywhere we go there is a minute to minister to someone.

The way we speak to people matters.

…the check-out guy at the grocery store,

the server at a restaurant,

when we check in at a hotel,

to the new employee trying her best to learn how to do her first job,

to the office staff at the eye doctor.

 

It doesn’t take an hour long “Bible study” to plant a seed.

Sometimes it can lift and change a person’s day if we’re watching for those times God places a perfect opportunity right in front of us in our everyday lives JUST FOR A MINUTE.

 

When a Marriage is Broken

Know what satan wants to destroy?  I mean, besides EVERYTHING.

Marriages.  Because when marriage is great, we can serve others in such a big way.  When marriage is broken, we spend so much time trying to fix it.

Give your marriage to God.  HE is enough.  He has worked miracles in our marriage.  When we can go from not liking each other and wanting to not be together so much to a place of healing and smiling and actually liking each other again within a matter of a day, I believe that is God’s hand in our marriage.

Sometimes it’s easier to “love” and serve someone than it is to “like” him or her and want to spend time together.

Trust Him.

God is in the business of restoring people, hearts, marriages, and a lot more!

ASK God to mend your marriage.  And I’ll be praying over this for you, too.

Here.  Start with this:

“Dear God, I don’t even like my husband/wife very much.  You’ve seen the hurt and pain in our marriage.  I am giving my marriage to You.  Please bless it and show us how to love each other again because we don’t even know how.  I want to ask that You give us eyes to see each other the way You see each of us.  And I want to thank you for the work you are doing even as I ask this.  Please make me into the husband/wife You want me to be.  Specifically please help me forgive him/her for ______________”

Nothing.

IMG_2798 iiaafb nothing

See this picture?

It’s a bunch of “nothing.”

It’s a bunch of dead autumn leaves soaked by rain.

They may LOOK like nothing but when the leaves break down they become part of something bigger and help other things grow.

I may have felt like “nothing” but I have a Jesus Who says I’m VERY SOMETHING (even when I’m broken down.)

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Dallas Homies (Funny Story)

Dallas Homies.

That’s what we call them. They are people who are overlooked and forgotten.

They are some awesome people we’ve met – and they are homeless.

Jeans, shoes, socks, hats, shampoo, soap, backpacks, and pre-packaged foods are some of the things collected and given. (Yes, pre-packaged foods because the rule enforcers and the law stops “the love” when we bring healthy, fresh foods.)

Conversation is AS welcomed as the other stuff (including the ice-cold popsicles) on hot, Texas afternoons.

My kids were 9 and 13 and excited to give out hundreds of cold water bottles.

We saw a sweet woman who looked like she may be about 82. She looked kind and had a sweet face. The years had worn on her and her hair could use shampoo and a brush.

She was at the edge of a large crowd and she hadn’t collected anything yet.

She looked straight at my 13 year old.

In a loud voice she demanded to know, “DO YOU HAVE ANY SEX?”

Um, what?

In the big crowd of people only a couple others heard what she’d said to my child but THAT caught this momma’s attention!

The woman was still intently looking at my daughter and expecting an answer.

My 13 year old daughter smiled nervously and with wide-eyes she calmly and firmly replied, “NO.”

But the woman was persistent. She said, even louder this time, “DID YOU HAVE ANY SEX EARLIER?!”

Again my daughter, trying to be polite, looks down at the water bottles in her hands and at the people around her and shouts a little louder, “NO!”

Now, people know that sex is fun and homeless people like sex as much as anyone paying a mortgage does. But come on! THIS is my 13 year old CHILD she was talking to!

THIS time when she spoke I was watching closer and prepared to say something to her.

ARE YOU GONNA HAVE ANY SEX LATER?!” As she said this she put her hands together as if holding a bag and then pulled them apart a few inches as if OPENING A BAG.

SACKS!

Praise God she was asking for SACKS!

Relieved that she wasn’t looking for “sex” but only “sacks,” we were a little sad to have to tell her we’d run out of the bags earlier. We love hangin’ out with our Dallas Homies!

 

YOU CAN!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say.
How powerful are words?

I know a Guy who spoke the whole world into existence.

Your words matter.

Matthew 12
34b “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You meet people every day someone else will never meet. Nobody has the same path you have. People God leads across your path NEED YOU to speak life about them and TO them.

When we’re tempted to grumble about people (which happens, like, every day)…

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

the person who cut in line when we only have 20 minutes for lunch,

when the kid at school makes fun of our kid and our child comes home in tears,

the mom who has a bad day and desperately wants to know all this work she’s doing matters,

the dad who works hard and knows his wife and kids want some of his time, too, so he spends the evening playing “catch” when he’s wanting time for himself,

…take a breath.

 

And maybe instead of the first (possibly crushing) words that come to mind,

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

You can do this. You got this! I believe in you.

 

Entertainment? (Celebrities and Fame)

When we celebrate when celebrities fail or fall, WE are part of the problem.  When we mock, tease, spread gossip, and laugh when celebrities mess up (or when anyone messes up, for that matter) we are hurting them; not helping them.

If we were 15 (or whatever age) and we had no privacy because of fame (which we may or may not have wanted) all our lives are on display; mistakes included.

Think about how a kid answers questions…

“Want your own show?”  “Sure!”

“Want a puppy?”  “Sure!”

I’m certain that most kids who get into show business do not understand the world they’re now part of and how damaging it can be.

And if we had Hollywood with its lack of any moral compass telling us that this really NOT good stuff IS “right” or “fun” or that we “should” or whatever… how would WE react?

This lifestyle these kids are in just breaks my heart. I cannot IMAGINE.

~~~>  And the adults who promote it and stuff… There aren’t enough words in any vocabulary to say how angry and sad that makes me. Oh, how the adults are going to be held accountable for leading kids away from Jesus!  <~~~

I’m just REALLY not sure anyone could say that these famous kids understand all they’re doing. (Probably no kids understand all the stuff they do.)

I’m NOT saying they’re not accountable. They ARE accountable.
We ALL are accountable for stuff we do and say. (Ours is mostly not in the public eye and THAT would make a huge difference.)

I AM saying that I remember in my 20s thinking that I knew some stuff when I was younger.
That’s funny.

Then I remember in my 30s thinking I knew some stuff in my 20s. That’s even funnier.

But now in my 40s I thought I knew stuff when I was in my 30s… Just wow!

–>  What I know is that God keeps teaching me.  <–  I have gray hair and I’m still learning all the time.

I’m praying for these young “stars” who are made to dance and act and say lines from someone’s script for “entertainment purposes” because I just REALLY don’t think they understand all of it.

If we were in the same situation, I’m not sure we would either.

(Grace and forgiveness. Yes. But we are accountable for all the moments of our lives. All that being said… I’m NOT okay AT ALL with what many young “stars” are doing. I am NOT excusing it.)

I AM praying over celebrities lives instead of spreading the rumors and pictures and I’m asking YOU to do the same.

Because if people stopped calling it “entertainment” and paying for it as “entertainment” maybe stuff would change.  Please be part of the solution.

Be kind ON PURPOSE.

You do not know the stress someone else is under.

Be kind ON PURPOSE. Just be extra kind just in case someone needs it.

The other day I saw a woman be verbally and physically rude to a check out lady at the grocery store just because the equipment was not working at the self check out. There were other checkers open. There was nothing this worker could do to fix the equipment that second. She sweetly apologized to the rude lady. After the rude woman left and took her poisonous attitude with her I walked over to the check out lady and said, “Please don’t let that ruin your day.” She said, “I have a cancer screening this afternoon. There are bigger things going on in my life.”

I wish the rude person could have heard that. Maybe it would have changed the way she treated her. Don’t know. But maybe…

You do not know what someone else is going through. Just be kind.