Sunday Seven

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A gift from my neighbor's backyard

1 • While it is tough to accept not everyone likes us, it is freeing to accept we are loved by family and God. This is a lesson my children learned this week. We told them the same thing happens to us too. You discover someone treats you as if you are less than and you make the decision to be yourself (polite) but refrain from further engaging with the person.

2 • Silence is wisdom. I avoided a lot of needless disagreements by being silent. It didn't mean approval. It didn't mean surrender. It meant space. It meant a pause. When I calmly wait, God can come through and act. 

3 • When it is time to speak. It is good to use words of wisdom. It is good to use clarity. It is good to affirm the commitment to excellence because that's who we are. 

4 • Prayer paves the way for the righteous. I'm not sure what the past year would have been without constant prayer. It became more than a laundry list or a Christmas list. It was about humbling myself under the mighty hand of God and finding help in times of need. It was about honoring who God is and remembering who I am. 

5 • When people expect little of you, let them. I'm learning people do not determine every good thing God planted inside of me. They do not determine my stewardship of the gifts and talents God gave me. So, let them expect little because the development of potential is up to you. They get to be and remain bystanders. 

6 • Good neighbors are blessings that need to be cultivated and encouraged. I'm blessed with great neighbors. I thank God for them and I pray for them often. I don't without kindness. I share it as God leads. I receive the same kindness as God leads them with gratitude.

7 • Sometimes, less is more. If you are too overwhelmed right now, try doing less. We tell ourselves we can't but I bet we can cut down on needless things, people, and activities so we can focus on more of God in our lives. 

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Thursday, May 25, 2023


Failure is a great servant but a bad master. I've failed more times than I care to write about. After failing while attempting to complete a recent project, I decided to leave my feelings aside. I decided to explore the concept of navigating failure.

The only prerequisite for failing is being alive. Everyone goes through it, few grow through it. I want to be one of the few. 

I learn best when I ask questions. What if this failure is an opportunity in disguise? What if it could serve as a step in the right direction? 

I kept reflecting. The lessons we learn from failure are subtle. I believe that's why we repeat the same mistakes. I decided to turn the volume up on my failures. 

I'm learning to detach myself from negative feelings so I can better learn from failure. Learning happens best when my mindset is positive. Even if I need to wait for a day or two, it is great to wait and ask: "what can I learn from failure?" 

If I learn from failure, I win. I win because I become wiser and stronger. 

Failure is an event, not a person. Wisdom finds an avenue into our lives when we make the event a learning opportunity.

Consider everything I just told you when you think of your last failure. Consider failure as a servant, not a master. 

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Summer: I'm not Disneyland

Monday, May 22, 2023


I hope you enjoy this episode!

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Lasting Freedom from Stress when you've tried everything

There's a grace when the stressed heart cries out to the Lord for help. When all earthly help ceases, God in His masterful knowledge, gives us the answers our heart needs. 

I've been there, more times than I care to admit. I do all the preventive stuff. I plan. I prepare. I reflect. I rest. I work. I take all the breaths a human can take. I stress my body, I stretch my body. I don't miss a day of exercise. I feed my body good nutrients. I give my body the extra sugary treats it wants. Still, none of these things effectively stir the stress away. 

The body doesn't forget. The nervous twitches become uncontrollable. Except for a few decisive times during the day. I wish I could make them last. 

I pray in sincerity. My request is, can you help me? God answers. 

As a Christian, my problem is never questioning if God hears me. My problem is also not doubting He will answer. I'm guilty of not wanting to obey what I hear. 

The one-word answer I received was, forgive. The root cause of all the side effects bothering me was unforgiveness. 

We've been through this before, God and I. I forgave before. Yet I was living a life void of the fruit of forgiveness. 

So I forgive again. I ask God to live as if I was never hurt. In my own strength, I can't do it. God is the only One who can supernaturally empower me to make that decision. 

The thing about nervous twitches is that I don't miss them when they are gone. I felt quite relieved and at peace. No more eye twitching. I was still tired from all the activities of the week. The wonder is not so much in the void of stress but the fruit of obedience. 

Freedom is something obedience brings. Sometimes, those nervous twitches don't leave immediately. Obedience to God brings immediate alignment with His word and His will. To me, this is a freedom no earthly activity can give me. 

I'm learning to stop being afraid of side effects. I'm learning to ask God what I can do to find His best for me in that situation. 

I spent too much time worrying about the fruit of stress without considering the root of stress. Oftentimes I can pinpoint the root cause. Other times, I find myself at a loss. 

My loss is a Godly opportunity for gain. Gain of God's guidance. I'm learning to ask God for help. I have complete trust He hears and answers. I'm learning to quickly obey.

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Sunday Seven

Sunday, May 21, 2023

As the school year comes to a close, I want to share a few observations with you. 

1 - I didn't force friendships with the parents of my kids' friends. I'm doing the opposite of what I used to do. I'm allowing friendships to happen slowly. Slowing down allows me to see what sticks. 

2 - We prayed fiercely and daily for the kids' teachers, school staff, and the kids. God is so good and faithful to hear and answer us. 

3 - I saw each one of the kids work through difficult matters. I saw growth. I saw them flourishing. I also saw discouragement and the like. That's when the love and nurture of family kick in with steroids. 

4 - The older the kids get, the more I am reminded of the importance of prayer and the study of the Scriptures. We spent some intentional time doing that during the school year. Academics are important. Godliness is where the real gain happens. 

5 - The more the kids grow, the less access we have to visit their school. We enjoyed our kid's last year of elementary school. I enjoyed going and having lunch as well as other special events.  I'm not part of the "don't grow" camp. I believe growth is a necessary blessing. I rejoice and marvel at it. I enjoyed each year that was. I have hope for what's to come.

6 - The fruit doesn't fall too far away from the tree. I say this because if you watch my kids, you see me. That's both encouraging and scary. When I heard of the behavior some of the kids' peers were displaying, I thought about where they could have possibly learned it. I tremble at the fact that my kids are the same way. More is caught than taught.

7 - I'm grateful to God for education. I never expect the system to be perfect. I expect God to be. I expect Him to be faithful to His word. My full trust and hope is in Him. I'm glad to be in a community where education is taken seriously. Opportunities are available. Shinning and succeeding are not reasons for punishment but encouragement. It's not like that everywhere. I'm grateful it is the case here.

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Pound Cake

Saturday, May 20, 2023

There aren't enough gifts on earth to appease the unfulfilled needs of some people. Two decades ago, I found myself in a situation where I said, "There aren't enough pound cakes I can bake to convince you I am sorry." That was the moment I also noticed a third party was trying to manipulate me. It wasn't about the apology, it was about making me suffer without end to pay for a need I couldn't meet.

Appeasing unfulfilled needs can be a trap. I describe it as a trap because there isn't anything I can do but get trapped in the person's inner world. In a normal friendship, an apology firmed up with the commitment to walk together in better understanding would suffice. Every time I encounter someone whose unfulfilled needs need to be appeased to no avail, I'm the only one who suffers.

Still, there aren't enough pound cakes I can bake. There aren't enough words of repentance I can say. What I know for sure is that there is enough love in the heart to love the person as she is, where she is.

I'm learning that I don't have to change someone who does not want to be changed. They are comfortable walking around with that bottomless pain emanating from their unfulfilled needs. When I'm at that point when I realize there isn't a bottom to the pit where the person decided to dwell, I pause.
I reassess my approach. I remember I dwell in peace and self-control. I ask myself, "What is the best way to love this person?"
The answers I received were:
• Take them to God in prayer.
• Listen without having to give answers.
• Watch them. Affirm the goodness they have. Speak words of hope and encouragement.
Walk away in complete peace. Only God can change someone. Only that someone can decide to accept the journey of change.
The price of unforgiveness is too hard to bear. It takes courage to forgive. It takes a daring spirit to leave the consequences to the God who requires me to forgive.
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