Set the Tone

I recently went on a family trip to Texas with my entire side of the family.  After months of feeling like my family had been working REALLY hard at life, I was SO ready for a relaxing vacation.  Even before we left for vacation I felt God telling me that I would need to set the tone for the week.

I knew that there would a meeting that, if we weren’t careful, could cause hurt feelings or frustrations.  Add to that the 4 different families represented all living in a room who lived life and liked to vacation a bit different than one another…well, there was just a lot of potential for emotions to run a little hot.  So I found some GREAT quotes to print off and then placed them in each room.

Now, I could have gone into the vacation all defensive and ready to fight when someone got upset.  But really, is that any way to live?  Not at all!  Many of us have lived our lives this way for years.  I wonderful how much frustration and anger we have let come in our hearts that really didn’t need to be there at all.

All of us have the opportunity to set a positive tone in our lives.  Perhaps it’s just one area that needs help or the whole thing!  Each of us can lead the way somehow…a look, a smile, a great word, or a kind response.  Really the options are limitless!  Even in the hardest times, we can find a way to set the tone.

As we prepare for a new day tomorrow, what is something you can do to set the tone for those around you?  Even if you start with just one thing, what would it be?

 

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It’s All Worth It

Where do you find your worth?  

God has really been messing with me on this topic lately.  I have found myself without a full “worth” bucket.  As that bucket has felt empty I’ve honestly struggled to keep up with the rest of life.  I know that sounds crazy, but it’s so true.  I don’t care to meal plan, grocery shop, clean the dishes, or wash the floors because in my mind those things doing prove my worth.

My worth has been found in what I can contribute.  I want to help others move forward.  I want to help them move past their hurdles towards the dreams and goals God has given them.  I want to know that what I am creating and doing has a long-term effect on lives.

So right now I’m retraining myself.  I must focus on finding my worth in other things…such as the joy of my kid’s company, the loving eyes of my husband, and a sweet word from the Holy Spirit as God shares a small word with me.  These things fill my bucket and bring joy into my heart.  These are also the things that never change.  They are my constants and my most favorite things.

So where do you find your worth?  Are you finding worth in the right place?  If you are not being filled, what can you do about it?

Let God remind you of the great things you have in your life.

Don’t Push Me!

Do you ever feel like you are running, running, running and can’t catch up for anything?  You can’t get on top of that pile of things that need to get done?  Your pushing so hard just to keep up or better yet, get ahead?  That’s how I have been feeling lately.

A few weeks ago I had an appointment with our tax lady.  I was in the car racing up to Bloomington to get the taxes done after spending the night before gathering the last few pieces of information together for our meeting.  I felt really, really scattered and pushed.

Now, I had planned ahead on my taxes and put the documents in a folder as they arrived at the house, but I had not fully gotten prepared.  We left on vacation with a few pieces (one large!) needing to be put together and then we lost a day between getting home and getting our taxes done when our flight was cancelled due to bad weather.  So we pushed again to get all the final documents pulled together.

The morning of my appointment, I was pushing to get to the appointment on time.  The GPS said I was going to be 1 minute early if I kept going but I hadn’t eaten breakfast.  Could I really handle pushing myself and not eating?  No.  Why hadn’t I planned ahead and gotten groceries so I could eat at home?  So, I decided to pull off and pick up a breakfast sandwich on the way which would guarantee my late arrival.  But that decision was also going to push my budget.

I hate it when I don’t plan ahead and get things in order.  Now, can you plan for everything?  No, not really.  But you can plan, prepare, and be ready for most things.  You can make sure to plan the menu, buy the food you need, and make time for even a quick breakfast.  You can get your groceries BEFORE leaving for vacation so that you don’t have to push when you get home.

Plan ahead…so that you don’t have to feel behind and frazzled like I was that day.  Break the cycle.  There are little decisions you can make to help them work for you or work against you.

What About A Cow?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your first reaction was to TOTALLY trust God?  Honestly, the only way I came into our present situation trusting God was because He prepared me with a sweet moment that turned out to be a promise.  In October of 2013, life was going good.  We were killing our Dave Ramsey budget and paying off debts (yay!!!).  So I was totally taken back when I heard God say, “Cattle on a thousand hills, Jill.  Cattle on a thousand hills.”  I knew exactly what He meant.

For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalms 50:10

He owns it all and He alone would be our provider.  We were going to need to trust in Him.

A month later when we were seeing Bryce’s work slow down significantly.  I was reminded of that moment in October…He owned the cattle. For the last 6 months those words have carried me.

So here we are today and I’m struggling to want to PUSH things through and make things happen.  I know it’s totally me wanting to make something happen.  I’m fine with that.  I know my personality.  I’ve chased after every job posting I can find…it’s exhausting!  But you know what I haven’t done recently?  Asked God what job He wanted us to pursue for Bryce.

Today I stopped for a few moments and tried to clear my head.  I tried to create an open space of trust so that I could hear Him.  That, today, is my act of trust because I know there is NO better place to find myself.

This is the reading today from Jesus Calling.  I’m telling you that book slaps me upside the head nearly every day!

B&W

What things do you need to release to God?  What fears are paralyzing you because YOU WEREN’T MEANT TO CARRY THEM?!?!

God, please show us your ways.  Show us the things we need to put down.  We trust you.

Have You Found Your Best Shade?

My husband and I have had a lot of hard conversations lately.  We have a son getting ready to go into 4th grade next year.  It seems like that is a big step for him so we are working to get him prepared.  Our son, Mr. L, has also had some rough conversations with us lately.  The one that stands out to me the most is that he feels different from everyone else in his world.

These days different is praised especially when it comes to being the real you.  However, in a school setting different = defective.  I HATE THAT!  I hate that in his precious mind that he feels defective.

Let me remind you of some ways he is different.  He is smart, yet creative.  He’s a leader who is determined.  He is a sensitive feeler.  He is a gifted planner.  He is an extrovert who loves to engage other people.

He is a mix of traits and characteristics so wonderful I can’t imagine how they are all contained in one body.

With all these strengths, we know there are also weaknesses in ourselves as well.  These weaknesses are effecting his school work and learning.  So we must stand beside him and work to find the proper solution so that he can be the best he can be.

To a boy who already feels different we have to very carefully explain WHY we are going to be actively working to help him in areas that are taking over his learning at school and interaction with his teacher.  We thought through the words ever so carefully.

Here’s what we finally came up with:

We are looking to find just the right shade of each color that makes up the masterpiece that is Mr. L.  Each time we need to find a newer, better shade it is because it will only enhance the picture being created.

We want him to know that he is loved and who he is may be different, but it’s not defective.  If you could just see the picture I see being painted by his life you would know how amazing he truly is.

So paint your picture.  Take a moment to sit back and evaluate your color choice.  Is that the best shade?  Could it us a little more of one color or the next?