Be with the people that bring out the best in you.
February was a month of celebration. We celebrated new milestones, explored new places, and enjoyed adventures with the people who bring out the best in us.
(And for optimal growth, I believe there needs to be a balance of work and activity with play and rest. Our homeschooling in January was reflective of these things )
My grandfather, Baba, was one of the best. He was gentle and kind. Intelligent and clever. He delighted in learning and was always up for an adventure. He loved his family and he loved words.
Baba went to the library almost every day and if he couldn’t get there, he would call the reference desk with his questions. The ladies knew his voice and he kept them busy with his burning inquiries. When he wasn’t reading or highlighting large portions of texts, he was creating and writing his own short stories and home answering machine messages. Sometimes the messages made sense, sometimes they did not; but they always rhymed and they always brought him joy to create.
Baba was a special man. It’s because of him I wanted to be a teacher. It is because of him, I will always be a life-longer learner. It’s because of watching him observe and problem solve, that I love observing, exploring, and discovering just like him.
The holidays always bring a mixture of emotions with them- sadness for the ones we miss, joy for the ones we have near, gratitude for the memories from the past and the new memories we are creating. In memory of my grandfather, I wrote the following little poem (true to his poetic style.) It brings me joy to think I might be carrying on a little bit of his “rhyming words and writing “corny” verses” legacy. 🙂
Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
Twas the night before Thanksgiving,
And all through the town,
the pies were a baking,
the dishes strewn around.
The preparations were happening,
the time was very near,
the moods varied from maddening to
“Yay! The time is here!”
In the hustle and the bustle,
its hard to stop and rest,
to remember why we celebrate,
the reasons why we’re blessed.
This day is more than history.
more than moods and the food,
this day is about gratitude,
and the people we include.
The blessings that come in small ways,
through the good times and the bad,
the people who praise and pray with us,
and the communities that make us glad.
Let’s turn our eyes toward heaven,
and thank the good Lord who
gives us life and provisions
daily for me and for you.
And let’s sow some seeds of gratitude,
so our hearts may be renewed.
And harvest a field of hope and joy,
that will last the whole year through.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I am thankful for you! 🙏
How many times a day do you give thanks for the blessing of sight?
Fanny Crosby was six week’s old when she was left blind from a doctor’s treatment to cure an eye infection. Nonetheless, Fanny grew up active and happy surrounded by strong women of faith as she learned how to navigate the world differently than most. At eight year’s old, she composed the poem above and although the poem may not use the grandest of word choices, the wisdom is greater than most people will ever acquire in their lives. To be content and thankful in your circumstances.
Fanny Crosby went on to write more than 8,000 hymns. That’s enough hymns to fill fifteen complete hymnals stacked one on top of the other, enough to cause her publishers to resorts to ascribing to her multiple pen names to make her output more believable.¹
BUT the thing that impresses me the most, beyond her amazing writing abilities, is her attitude and her THANKFULNESS. She was thankful for the blessing of blindness.
“I could not have written ten thousands of hymns if I had been hindered by the distractions of seeing all the interesting and beautiful objects that would have been presented to my notice.” “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation.” A situation that others may see as a curse, Fanny saw it as a blessing!
I wonder about us. What circumstances do we find ourselves in? Maybe we are dealing with situations we may not have asked for or never in a million years wanted?
I wonder what would happen if we could find blessings in what seem to be curses. Contentment in unhappy places. I am not saying we have to love everything that comes our way or we have to be happy every moment in dealing with these things. Grieve, yell, cry, and then breathe. Repeat. When you are ready, try to start to look at things a differently and maybe you will find something, even if it is one little thing to start with, to be grateful for.
Some of the hardest, most difficult circumstances, situations that seemed unfair and definitely most unwanted, have been the situations I have grown from the most and eventually been the ones I have been most thankful for. So, today, I would encourage you to try to look at things with a new view and come up with at least one thing you are thankful for in your current circumstances. I am praying for you!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
¹ Demoss, Nancy Leigh. Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy. Moody Press, 2011.
I am so excited and honored to have one of my talks turned into a podcast! I gave this talk during MOPS International’s Coach training in Milwaukee last fall. The whole experience was humbling and surreal. I praise God for leading me out of my comfort zone and stepping into new things for His glory. I thank MOPS International for believing in me and allowing me to share my heart. I hope you will listen, be blessed and be encouraged. If you would like to know more about MOPS International and what they do, I would love to talk with you.
(Google Play link to the podcast below. It is about 12 minutes long.)
“When Shanna woke up on her 38th birthday, she had a to-do list that didn’t excite her much. So she threw it out and made another list full of kind things she wanted to do that day. With her new list and a new attitude, she spread kindness around like confetti. All year long, we should strive to walk in grace and do good works and love each other in the name of Jesus.”
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40:5 (NIV)
There is a difficult situation that I have been dealing with. It has caused many unsettling feelings and unwanted fear. No matter how much I have prayed about it, talked about it, thought through it, tried to release it, the fear has remained. Like a thick, heavy chain, fear has held me back and kept me where I do not want to be. It has stolen my time and littered my mood. When I have tried to break free and I can’t, guilt brings another chain. Guilt over the fact that I shouldn’t be fearful, only joyful in all my circumstances. An either/or response. What a tangled, emotional mess!
Can joy and fear reside in the same situation?
In my devotions this morning, I read a passage that I have read many times before but today it spoke to what my heart has been needing to hear.
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Matthew 28:1-15
The guards and the Marys were both afraid by the events they were witnessing. Can you blame them? A great earthquake, an angel that looked like lightening sitting in front of them on an empty tomb. Their responses to the fear is what sets them apart. The guards “trembled and became like dead men.” Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were afraid yet filled with joy .(verse 8) Their fear did not hold them back or chained them to the ground, they were able to move forward in joy to the mission they were tasked to do.
I realize that I have been acting more like the guards. Stumbling, falling to the ground, acting like dead
man woman. Fear and guilt have been lying to me. Telling me that I cannot move forward. This passage shows me that it is not an either/or response. Being fearful does not disqualify you from doing God’s work but it can paralyzed and rob you from the freedom and complete joy that the Lord so freely wants to give.
“Our fear lives side by side with our joy” – SHE READS TRUTH
Our joy comes from the Lord.
Move forward and break the chains of fear with joy and the strength from the Lord.
Finding joy in all things
embracing the place where cultures collide.
Gather. Equip. Mobilize.
storyteller, traveler, coffee lover