Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who am I?

 
"Who do people say you are??"  Have you seen that game on Facebook where you write one word to describe a person and post the first gif which comes up?  It's pretty telling. People are seeing what others think of them. Now here's the second question..."What do you WISH people said about you?"  

I asked these questions in Sunday School before I taught on Judges. And then we looked at what God said about each judge.
Othniel--went to war
Ehud--left-handed judge who killed a king
Deborah--judge, prophetess, liberator, carried the presence of God, led army to victory
Gideon--mighty warrior, led people into idolatry
Jotham--prophet
Tola--judge, defender of Israel
And the list goes on and on...

If your life was reduced to one or two words, what would it be?  Would you be remembered as a warrior?  A good mother?  A businessman?  A sports addict?  

What do you WANT your legacy to be?

Now...are you pointed towards that target?  Or do you need to adjust your aim?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

To Young Moms

 

What would I say to a young mother?

I'm watching you young moms out there and appreciate what a hard job you have.  I want to encourage you today.  It's been rolling through my mind as I read Facebook what I'd want to say to each of you if I had the opportunity.  So...I'm taking the opportunity.

Enjoy your children.  I know as you're changing diapers, potty training, trying to get kids to clean their rooms or trying to get teenagers out of bed, it seems like this job will go on forever.  While you'll be a mom forever, this part won't last long in the great scheme of things.  Enjoy it while you're on this leg of the journey.  Laugh...a lot!

Take the time to train your children--it's time-consuming, but the payoff is great.  I remember how hard it was to train kids to clean their rooms.  (I pretty much gave up.)  But training your children how to sit at the table with good manners is huge.  Training them how to be a good friend will have long-term payoffs.  There are so many ways you will train your children.  Just remember that you're investing in our society in a huge way when you train your kids.  And...because there's such a lack of training among a lot of homes, your children are going to really stand out and be leaders.  Remember that.

Relax!  Don't be so hard on yourself or your kids.  Looking back, I spent way too much time trying to impress others with my parenting skills instead of just pleasing God.  He's so much easier to please!   

Remember these are little people with real feelings.  If I'd been thinking of how my words or actions might affect my children long-term, I might not have said or done a lot of them.  You may be rearing the next world-changer.  Take that in mind and treasure their little hearts.  Kids may be resilient, but how many of us look back on our childhoods and can pinpoint one situation that killed a part of who we were?  We have a lot of power as parents.

Take time for yourself.  Make time to develop friendships!!  This is so important.  You need a sounding board or just being away from the fray.  Expect your kids to whine as you leave them with dad or a babysitter while you go have coffee with a friend.  Be strong!  Don't let it keep you home--go get that coffee.  You'll be a better mom when you get home.  Have fun while you're out!

Date your husband.  I can still remember my kids giggling as I told them I had a date with their dad.  This brings comfort to their hearts knowing that their parents enjoy being together.

Spend time with God.  Maybe this should have been at the top of the list, but I know as a mom it was hard to find a time alone with God.  I usually found time during the kids' naps to do it.  God knows how hard this is!  But just make your conversation with him go on all day long.  His Word is hidden in your heart, after all.

Along that line, ask God how to parent.  He's the best parent and knows your children inside and out.  And He's given you the best counselor--the Holy Spirit!

Spend time getting to know each child.  They're all different!  Consider this a privilege with long-term results.  Take them out individually.  Let each of them get to do things the others don't get to do.  (This will also make for some great feuds when they become adults!  Ha!)  Let them know they are each special and dear to your heart.

I know this may look more like a list of what-to-do instead of encouragement.  So if I could sum it up in one word, it would be this--ENJOY!!!  Enjoy those tiny people.  Enjoy each stage.  Purpose in your heart to enjoy the children God has entrusted to you.  Don't strive so hard.  Don't make it a pain. Don't pressure yourself and them.  Just...enjoy.  You're doing great, Momma!  No, really...you're doing GREAT!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Victim or Victor?

 

Victim or Victor?

It's so easy as a pastor's wife to adopt the attitude of victim. "Unless you've walked in our shoes, you just don't understand. I don't even WORK at the church, but there are so many expectations placed on me!  Everything my children do is scrutinized, analyzed, and discussed. People come to me with sweet-sugared criticisms of my husband--and sometimes not so sweet-sugared!"

Is that REALLY who I want to be?  A victim?  Actually, I'd rather be a Deborah. I want the confidence to know who I am and who God has called me to be!  I want to be that person who KNOWS her giftings and walks in them--not manipulated into things I have no desire to do. Deborah was a force to be reckoned with. She sat under a tree--HER tree--dispensing wisdom with which God had gifted her. She was a prophetess and I believe she was fearless. In a day when women were right above the family cow in the pecking order, she was fearless in telling people--even men--what God was saying. She was a judge deciding between right and wrong. And then one day, she sent for Barak and asked him, "Hasn't God told you to take on Sisera?(The captain of Canaan's army who held Israel captive--and had chariots of iron.) Go ahead!  God will deliver him into your hands!"  But Barak makes an interesting comment, "I'll go if you go with me."  My sister gave me insight here. She said she believed Barak knew God was with Deborah and wanted her to carry the presence of God into battle. Deborah agreed to go with the understanding that a woman (Jael) would get the credit for killing Sisera. And it played out exactly that way!  Deborah led the army into battle fearlessly--against strong men with iron chariots--and won!!  

Deborah didn't get sidetracked with the numerous "womanly" duties around her. God called her to prophesy, judge, and lead an army into battle--and even share the glory with another woman who just happened to put a tent peg through the head of Sisera while he rested in her tent. 

Yes, I want to be victorious!  I want to be filled with the presence of God, walk in the ways in which he's gifted me, and go into battle when necessary. I want to be fearless and confident. I want to have laser focus. How about you?

The Profit


Marcus Lemonis stars as The Profit on CNBC.  I stumbled upon this reality TV show recently and it has reeled me in.  Marcus is a real-life millionaire (billionaire?) who rescues failing businesses with a financial investment, taking over a percentage of the company, and declares, "I am now the boss."  The rest of the hour is a summary of how he brings about change to make the company solvent.  As I began to watch episode after episode, some things began to stick out to me.  Some things which are common to life...not just business.  So I took some notes and these are the things I've learned from The Profit.  As you read the list, don't just think about business...think about life!

  • You can't grow if you resist change.  In fact, you may be destroyed.
  • You have to have emotion for your business to succeed.
  • People fear loss of control.
  • When people refuse to change, they become argumentative (at the least), manipulative, subversive, divisive, and destructive (at the worst).
  • Someone must be in control--someone who knows how to grow the business.
  • You MUST get rid of the old to make room for growth and change.
  • A good leader acknowledges where you are, asks questions, LISTENS, but stays focused on the vision.  He's not afraid to speak truth to get you where you need to be.  
  • A business should know their numbers.  If they don't, they have no plan for success.
  • A leader must be able to see what is wrong.  They see weaknesses but play to the strengths.
  • A business should know their strengths and capitalize on them.
  • A business should surround themselves with people who are different--to fill in the holes of their weaknesses.
  • A business must VALUE their employees.
  • A business should reward faithful and helpful employees.
  • Negativity will kill a business.
  • There MUST be quality control.
  • You must admit mistakes and rectify them.
  • Strive for happy customers.
  • Be organized!
  • Make the most of your space.
  • Your business should be pleasing to the eye.
  • Praise a job well done.
  • Honor employees.
  • Prove you're better than expected.
  • Fix what's broken.
  • Make your name visible.
  • Don't be a know-it-all.  Be teachable.
  • Expand wisely.
  • Deal with your past and your hurts in order to move forward.
  • Expand wisely.
  • Get counsel from people who can see your blind spots.
  • Put "like" products together.  Get rid of products which have nothing to do with your business.
  • Have the right people in their right places.
  • Be willing to let go of perceived strengths when they actually may be a weakness which is killing your business.
  • LISTEN!!!
  • Don't waste money with unnecessary jobs, misused space, or products which have nothing to do with your main business.
  • Make a plan.
  • Observe.
  • Learn from successful businesses and people.
  • You don't have to understand product to understand the business of the product.  But you CAN research and learn!
  • Be efficient.
  • Obey laws.
  • Use the right equipment.
  • Create partnerships when you can and when it's wise.  If you already have a partnership, don't try to be a Lone Ranger.  
  • Believe in yourself!  Listen and receive the praise and encouragement others give.  It may lead to a new understanding of yourself.
  • Work hard to leave every customer satisfied.
  • Don't undervalue your product.  You've invested yourself in this product and it has value.  Believe it!
  • Don't leave anything on the table.  Give 100%.
I always find it interesting that people will call Marcus needing help to rescue their business and they know change is imminent.  But then most of them resist him every step of the way.  WE DON'T LIKE CHANGE!  But it's a rule of nature....if you're going to grow, you're going to have to change.  Change is all around us.  God even created us so that we have to change.  So when we resist change, do you think maybe we're resisting God?  God is the only one who never changes. He designed it this way so we have a point of reference--a focus--in the midst of our change to keep us balanced. Change is inevitable. Resisting change slows you down...and can even destroy you. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

 

David & Evie are appointed to a task force by the governor to solve cold cases. They have no idea how close and personal Evie's case will become. Five college girls have been missing for years and they all seem to have one connection--they all attended a Triple M concert starring David's girlfriend, Maggie. David & Evie partner in closing in on the killer--which involves a dangerous and life-threatening situation for Maggie. 
Dee Henderson is one of my all-time favorite authors. She knows how to create suspense in a believable way and keeps me guessing the whole time about whodunnit. This book is no exception!  I loved the book and I'm already anxious for the next in the series!!
I'd give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255