Sunday Seven

Sunday, January 29, 2023

This Sunday Seven is all about the advice I'd give myself. 

  1. Finish what you start. If you are surrounded by unfinished projects, create the habit of finishing what you start. Don't read a book about it: simply pick it up from where you left off. Don't feel bad about the reasons why a project wasn't finished before. Feel hopeful that this time, you will complete this task. Good things happen, inside and out, when we finish what we start.
  2. Get savvy in recognizing the people who do not listen to you. During the week, you have a lot of conversations. Not everyone listens to you. When you recognize who those people are, you can better manage the amount of energy you put into those relationships. Why invest in unyielding ground? Definitely be polite and kind. Recognize those who use you as a token, take you for granted, or simply speak to you because they have to as relationships that are not worth the emotional investment. No hurt feelings here, just wisdom from years of needless tears. 
  3. People truly give what they have. It is not wise to be mad at those who have little room for friendship. You've learned this lesson before. You know what you want from a friend. You have a lot to offer too. It is okay to use your standards as a way to wisely determine what the other person can receive from you. If this is a toxic friendship, you know how to quickly exit. If a person is not able or willing to be the friend you desire, you know how to let them be themselves while you pursue what is important for you: deep and meaningful friendships that encourage the heart. Most of all, remember you already have plenty of folks who love you for who you are and who are willing to dive deep into the waters of authentic, God-designed friendship. 
  4. It is wise to have self-discipline. Most people despise it because it is not sexy, cool, or, instagrammable. Self-discipline brings freedom. You find peace, joy, and contentment when you are free to be everything God called you to be. Self-discipline is not easy but it is a fruit of wisdom. If you practice it God's way, you will find favor, even in difficult moments of character development. 
  5. The 'YOLO' (you only live once) message does not take into account the wisdom of preparation. Sure, we have one life given to us by God. I believe He expects us to be good stewards of the one life He gives. This past week I practiced preparation. I could have chosen YOLO and wasted time doing selfish things. I decided to take small moments to prepare for the week ahead. When a sudden change of plans happened, I was so glad I took the time to prepare. I didn't have to feel stressed or desperate. Preparation paved the way to a peaceful place where I could take care of my family's needs. The wisdom of preparation lies in reaping what you sow. She who sows selfish exorbitance should expect emptiness as bitter fruit. 
  6. Reflection brings deeper lessons. I am learning to be an expert in navigating difficult weeks. Yes, I can complain about them but I know that gratitude is my banner. What do you do with difficult weeks? You learn what works. When I insert extra rest, I find peace. When I drink enough water, I find diligence. When I take a 5-minute walk, I find stamina. 
  7. It is okay to stick with what works for me. When everyone has an agenda for me (from what I should buy to what I should believe) it is pivotal to stick with what works. Waking up early works because it fits the life I am choosing to live. Cultivating gratitude works because it is my joy and duty as a Christian. Standing on my confidence works because insecurity is not my inheritance. I'm going to stick with what works. I hope you do too.

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Learning and progressing towards your goal: exercise and home organization

Thursday, January 26, 2023

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Sunday Seven

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Reading the One Year Bible is a rewarding experience. Today, I want to tell you why. 

  1. I chose a physical copy because I use screens all day to work. Looking at God's Words on paper gives me a break from the blue light so the Light of the World can enter my soul. I can also highlight anything I find interesting. 
  2. I remember small details of stories. For example, Esau was already married when Isaac left after stealing his blessing. An angel appeared to Laban and told him not to say anything good or bad to Isaac when Isaac was escaping with his family, animals, and servants. I treasure the opportunity to notice small details in these stories.
  3. I love Proverbs. Each day I get a small morsel of wisdom. Each day I act on the truth I learn. Can you imagine, acting on wisdom 365 days this year? The Bible gives us this great opportunity.
  4. God speaks, even when my human mind doesn't think it can happen. I'm not how He does it but God speaks through books such as Numbers and Leviticus. Recently, I was convicted of how much I complained, thanks to reading the book of Numbers. No other book is alive as the Holy Bible. Jesus did say His words are spirit and life. 
  5. The Bible is a book about God. Before I read, I pray. I repent from sin. I give all my problems to God. Then, I focus my attention on what God has to say about Himself. This is a different approach than when I used to open the Bible and make it all about me and my issues. No doubt, I will change if I choose to do what I read. It is imperative to come to the Bible in humility knowing it is about God and not about me.
  6. I have hope when I choose to read the Bible day after day. I find that a hopeless life often is accompanied by a lack of Scripture Reading. We all experience hopelessness from time to time. None of us is immune from it. The truth I found is that the more I come to God and read His book the farther away I'm removed from hopelessness. I guess that's why it is called the good news. 
  7. It is not too late to start reading the Bible this year. Start today. You won't regret it.
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How to sustain good habits

Friday, January 13, 2023

 Sometimes, it;'s not about how you start your habits but how you sustain them. 

Starting is fun, exciting, and the thing to do. January is all about starting. The problem is, not everyone finishes. In honor of national quitters day, I want to offer a few solutions on how to sustain the healthy habits we all started these first few weeks:

• Break it down into small steps - we should dream big but we should start big at the time. Breaking your goals into small steps will guarantee that the task won't get too overwhelming too quick. 

• Find accountability - I heard someone say, "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." The right people will help you account for your ability to finish the task you set out to do. They will encourage you and push you to keep going. 

• Watch your words - "Sometimes the vocabulary we hide behind is also the jail cell you choose to live in." - Donato Russo said this and I couldn't agree more. I'm convicted to watch my words because they weigh heavy in the results I get. 

• Wash, rinse, dry, repeat - We have to be okay with repetition if we want to continue to work towards our goals. We have to show up and write another page. We get to lace up and go on another run. No matter the activity, it needs to get repeated often.

I hope this time you don't give up. This time, you give yourself a chance to succeed.

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January is a rehearsal

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The year is like a marathon and most people treat January as a sprint. I've made the mistake of running the first mile of a marathon too quick. I got burned out towards the end of the marathon. Yes, I crossed the finish line. It was then that I realized that I should have paced myself better at the beginning. 

We feel the same way about our goals. We want to overachieve. We throw away all the "bad" food. We fill our refrigerator with foods we will not likely eat because we don't even know how to cook the thing. We invest in a gym membership and we go to the gym 5 days a week. The problem is, it hurts too much to sit anywhere. The toilet included. 

We go hard. We have great intentions. We just don't know how to maintain such a place. Self-doubt creeps in too. We ask, what if this doesn't work? What if my muscles never adapt to this type of exercise? What if I can never eat birthday cake again? It is tough to imagine the life we want based on the life we are currently living in January. 

It feels easier to celebrate National Quitters Day but I'm here to tell you, there is a better way. 

Consider using January as a warm-up month instead of a full-out sprint to the finish. 

When you warm up, you slowly condition yourself to start your exercise. We gently warm up our muscles to move a certain way during the time we are exercising. 

Warming up is like prepping ingredients before you start cooking. 

I recently made fajitas for my family. I'm not sure about you but the most fun part of having fajitas, other than eating them, is hearing the sizzle. Every head in the restaurant turns to that amazing looking, hot platter. 

You can't have the sizzle without preparing those ingredients. 

If your goal was a recipe, what would be the major and minor ingredients you'd need to prepare for it? 

The first year I ran a marathon, the major ingredients were:

A training plan 

Running shoes 

A water bottle 

Minor ingredients were:

running group membership

Chapstick (running with dry lips is painful to me)

There were more ingredients such as mental toughness and the correct clothes for the correct type of weather. It took 18 long weeks plus the many months I built a running base but I got my medal. 

January is not the finish line, it is simply the beginning of that journey. 

January is a rehearsal. I tell you what, I spend a lot of my life at rehearsals. 

Tonight, I'm taking my kids to piano rehearsal. Tomorrow is orchestra rehearsal and french horn rehearsal. Let's not forget about vocal rehearsal that night at church. 

Why do we rehearse? Because we want the actual performance to go well. 

Before rehearsal, we practice on our own. Practicing does not make it to social media reels. Why? It's not impressive. 

What you do find is that when the cameras are off, the camaraderie of those of us practicing grows. 

January is all about the silent grind that builds that beautiful end in December. 

I'm here to tell you this: don't be so hard on yourself. Take a deep breath and reassess who you want to be by December. Start practicing. Get to rehearsal. 

Whatever you do, do not quit. You are worth the effort. 

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