Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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How are you doing this year? 

What are the voices you are choosing to listen to? 

I sometimes find myself drowning in the media chatter out there. The messages are conflicting. They mostly do not bring peace nor do they encourage self-control. These messages come from a worldview that directly clashes with what the God of the Bible calls me to do. 

Over the years, I've learned to mute worldview voices so I can make room to hear what God has to say to me. Lately, I'm encouraging myself to "courageously continue."

The work God started in me is not finished yet. It takes courage to live what we believe. It also takes determination to live a life completely dedicated to the Savior. 

Let's make this more practical. 

What did God ask you to do last year? What were His priorities for you? Did you complete them? I know some seasons are not over in 12 months. Marriage and parenting for example. We get to courageously continue to be the spouses and parents God is calling us to be. 

God is always available to guide us with His wisdom and love. It is up to me to get on my knees and pray. It is up to me to open my Bible and read. 

Some of us got another chance to live on earth thanks to God's providence. I remember when my health was poor and God allowed me to change my habits so I could walk away from a lifestyle of high blood pressure, stress, and the things that go along with all of that. I took that chance and I try to be a good steward of the health God so graciously gives me. I can also add that to the courageously continue category. 

How about any goals and dreams you have for this year? You can still reach them. It takes courage to take the steps that will lead you there. 

Today I want to invite you to consider the voices you are allowing to crowd your thoughts. If they are not helping you, mute them. 

Remember the voice of God always needs to be the loudest voice we hear. 

I also want to invite you to courageously continue to follow God's commands. Obedience to God's will and His ways is what Christ did Himself. We get to do it as followers of Christ. 

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Lessons for a Busy Spring

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Listen to the Podcast here.

I was driving one of my kids to a class one evening and she reminded me that this is the most "chill" season of the year for us. I'm glad she is starting to notice how our lives flow throughout the year. Mind you, "chill" means multiple classes, rehearsals, performances, church responsibilities, and such. We also spoke about how we get increasingly busy as the Easter season comes along. 

I believe in learning from my life. As I think back to busy seasons, here are a few things I am reminding myself: 

Don't reinvent the wheel 

I first thought about this when I was wracking my brain trying to come up with new year goals. Why reinvent the wheel if I can do what works? I believe in pushing myself. I'm a fan of achieving more and growing exponentially. I also know that I can keep going and doing things that work well during busy seasons. 

Prepare for the busy season

Preparation is my superpower. While it does not guarantee that things will be perfect, it will help me have a smoother ride. 

Master short cuts 

Have you been in a car with someone who shows you a shortcut they're proud of? In your head, there is a better shortcut. If you are kind and considerate, you will celebrate the person's discovery without sharing your personal preference. Shortcuts are just that: personal preferences that make sense to us. It is good to know which shortcuts will make your life easier during busy seasons. For me, anything that helps me get a healthy dinner on the table is worth the investment. I know that when I invest thought and time, I make good choices in this area. 

Schedule rest 

We often think of burning the midnight oil when we are busy. Scheduling rest guarantees we have the energy to complete our tasks. The best way for me to get rest is at night. I focus on getting enough rest at night so I can wake up with energy. I also try to get downtime when I'm off work. Pushing myself to produce without any rest is unproductive and unhealthy.   

Get in line early for important appointments

I learned last year to call beauticians and request hair appointments for the kids early. Everyone is booked silly during Easter. It does not hurt to get in line early. I also decided not to wait until the last minute to get everyone's outfits. It was one of the best decisions I made. 

Preparation works for other areas of life as well. I invite you to consider the next couple of weeks and pinpoint your busy season. How will you prepare? 

The most important preparation we can all make happens in the heart. Starting each day with prayer and Bible study is the key to facing a busy season. God knows what each season holds. We can always find guidance when we go to Him. 

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Sunday Seven

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Psalm 37 is one of the most popular Psalms if you consider the amount of wall art out there. Considering Scripture is about God, I am thinking about how we can focus on the Lord no matter how challenging our circumstances may be. 

  1. Trust in the Lord (v.3) - God has a good ending for us. It is hard to see it from the battlefield thus trust is essential. Trust in God is a decision. 
  2. Do good (v.3) - I appreciate the practicality of David. When we do good, we do exactly what God would do: bless others. I personally take a break from the stressful part of any challenges that come my way. I ask: Lord, how can I do good to someone today? He always shows me.   
  3. Refrain from anger (v.8) - While feeling angry about our problems is natural, it only leads to evil. In the past, I spent a long time in simmering anger and wrath. It was awful. It did not lead me to righteousness. God knows what He is doing when He tells us to turn from wrath and anger. 
  4. Commit your way to the Lord (v. 5) - It is up to me to commit my way to the Lord with all my trust. It is up to God to bring about righteous reward and vindication that are brighter than the strongest light we know as humans. When I commit my way, I say: "I dedicated everything I do to you with trust." Then I act in a Godly, Biblical way. 
  5. Be still and patient before the Lord (v.7) - Even when we don't see it, God is working on our behalf. When we see evildoers succeeding, God calls us to be still before the Lord and with patience. No, this is not easy but following the Lord is about obedience, not convenience. 
  6. Give generously (v.21) - I apply this verse as a way of life. There is a clear difference between the people of God and evildoers. We are as generous as our Heavenly Father is. The difficulties we face in life shouldn't affect our generosity. It's not always about a monetary amount. I can be generous with the time I spend listening to someone else's burdens. I can be generous with my talents. These acts of generosities are best done when we remember it is the Lord God whom we serve. He is our role model. Jesus was never too busy to be generous. 
  7. Keep the law of the Lord in your heart so you can utter wisdom (v.30, 31) - True wisdom comes from a heart that keeps the law of the Lord. In seasons of distress, it is very important to continue to read and study the Bible. I'd say it is more important to do that than to be fooled by mindless scrolling. We can't give what we don't have. What comes out of my mouth was first in my heart. May we love the Bible more than we love worldly knowledge. 

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2024 Goals: Week 6

Monday, February 12, 2024

 2024 Goals: Week 6 

“If we did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” —Thomas Edison

When I wrote my 2024 goals, I did not know how the year would go. I just decided to cast vision. I then looked for a way to make that vision come to pass. I ran into the 12-week Year Method by chance. The book made sense to me so I've been applying it to my goals. 

The interesting thing about this year is that I started pursuing my goals in mid-January. I've done that before, and it's completely okay. 

I always thought that January was the rehearsal. February is when the curtains are open and the show starts. 

Achieving goals is not seamless. There are so many barriers. The good thing about the 12-week Year approach is the way this framework considers barriers while providing a solution to this common goal-achieving problem.

"We have found that top performers— whether athletes or business professionals—are great, not because their ideas are better, but because their execution disciplines are better. These fi ve disciplines are: 1. Vision 2. Planning 3. Process Control 4. Measurement 5. Time Use."

  • from The 12-Week Year

Execution disciplines are my focus for each one of the goals I have set out to accomplish this year. 

Out of these five, I've been hanging out with process control and measurement quite a bit. 

I take time to plan and correctly divide my time before the week starts. I'm making peace with process control and measurement. 

“It ’s not what you know; it ’s not even who you know; it ’s what you implement that counts."

This new goal-setting approach allows me to take ownership of my year. Sure, things don't always go my way. A flat tire can throw a perfect schedule off track. Ask me how I know. The thing is, we pick up from where we left and we keep going toward our desired outcome. 

I am choosing to believe that we can accomplish a lot this year if we choose to follow the process that leads to implementation. 

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Sunday Seven

Friday, February 9, 2024

 Sunday Seven

1. Love is a decision. Love is also sacrificial. 

2. I spent time with a new friend as well as friends who know me for a while. I truly enjoyed connecting with them and learning from their wisdom. 

3. Family is where my heart completely belongs. I know kids grow fast and the time to launch them draws near. While we are all together, we are treasuring the time we have as a family. I appreciate the simplicity of our days, the difficulties that help us grow, and the unconditional love we share. 

4. I'm learning to make few statements about the estate of the world. I'm learning that serving others as a child of God is a better use of my time. 

5. My husband is the best human being I will ever know. I thank God for Zeke. His love and dedication to us are without comparison. I am grateful to God for blessing me with Zeke. 

6. Total forgiveness is a life sentence. I am grateful to God for the guidelines He gave us to forgive as we have been forgiven. 

7. Some dreams seem outside of reach. Believe any way. 

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