NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 30

SONY DSCI’m not exactly certain, but this may have been the most relaxing Thanksgiving of my whole adult life. It started off with a driving trip with my husband to see our Mississippi family, supper and catching up with my sister and her family, and resting in the open home of friends…and that was just day one of our little trip. The rest of it was all about shared food, laughter, catching up and loving on our extended family.

It was wonderful. We were busy, but didn’t try to fit in anything that wasn’t about family on this one. It was what all holidays should be about, but so seldom are. Yes, we loved on a couple of friends and were well-loved in return, but honestly…well…they’re actually family of the heart, so it still counts.

Hey! Did you notice? We made it. Today is the very last day of NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER 2015!

That doesn’t mean we’re all off the hook tomorrow! It means that now we’ve had a whole month to practice and we should be much better at this as we go forward! (You didn’t think I’d let it slide that easily, did you?!)

Here’s some of what I’ve learned this month:

  • It is possible. You can actually set your mind to let go of your “right” to complain every single day.
  • Choosing to participate in this has been a very positive thing for me…and more than a few others, as well! When we focus on being more positive, people are drawn to that and want to participate!
  • You can never have too many people who are choosing to focus on the positive things in life!
  • Encouragement and positivity are contagious–and courageous!–choices in a world so often focused on only the sensationalized negativity that passes for news.
  • Small ideas still matter. What seemed like a single, simple conversation among friends in October mushroomed into something much, much bigger than we ever expected.
  • Sharing our experiences–whether they are our radiant successes or our less than stellar results–brings us closer, deepens relationships, and makes accountability fun.
  • Knowing that you’re not alone in something that may seem impossible at first is pretty good motivation to keep working at it.
  • I’m STILL the most blessed person I know…and I have the family and friends to prove it.

I’d love to hear from you about what you learned this month, about your best days and your worst ones, too, along with how you see this extending out into your future. I’m still excited about this “experiment” of ours and I’m looking for ways to make it even better next time, so share away, please! If you’ve got a focus for December that you’d like to share, please feel free to do that, as well–we’re always up for more blessing!

I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to end this post and I keep coming back to one of the most beloved blessings in Scripture. I’ll share it with you here and pray it for all of us in the month ahead as we celebrate the One who came to bless us best: Jesus, the Christ…no longer a babe in a manger, but seated at the right hand of God making intercession for each of us even in this moment.

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”   ~Numbers 6: 24-26 (NIV)

Grace & Peace! (and still no complaints!)

 

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 25

grandmother hodum thanksgiving poem

I shared this poem back when I started the blog in 2012. My maternal grandmother would recite it during our family’s Thanksgiving celebration every year when I was a child. At some point, my Cousin Suzanne had the foresight to ask Grandmother to write it down, so now we have a copy of her recitation in her handwriting. That’s a precious thing to me. I can still hear her voice as I read it…and that is even more precious to me.

I’m sharing it again this year in hope that it will make you smile and encourage you to enjoy some of your own family traditions this holiday season and, maybe, you’ll want to get something handwritten for posterity in your family, as well!

We can’t bring back those we’ve loved and lost, but we can share our fun memories and make brand new ones with those God has gifted us with today. I’ll be doing just that for the rest of the week, so I’m leaving you with a smile. I’ll be back to blogging here in a few days with lots of great memories of family, friends, amazing food…and no complaints.

You are loved and prayed for today! Have a marvelous Thanksgiving celebration wherever you are!

“Thanksgiving Dinner”

I don’t believe in eating much

of turkey, pumpkin pie and such.

It make me dream bad dreams at night

and then, besides, it’s not polite.

So I’m not going to stuff and stuff

and act like I can’t get enough.

For me a turkey leg will do

with just a slice of breast or two,

then some liver, gizzard, and a wing,

Lots of dressing, that’s the thing!

Mashed potatoes to make me grow

Squash and cabbages, they’re fine, you know,

And I must have some cranberries, too,

And layer cake–two pieces will do.

Then of pumpkin pie so yellow–

One piece, because I’m a little fellow.

With nuts and apples I shall quit

and not ask for another bit.

For it isn’t good the doctors say

To eat too much on Thanksgiving Day!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 24

I’ve seen something similar before, but the message is still a great one and worthy of sharing here with you just as my precious #6 (Thanks, Lisa!) shared with all of us earlier this week. It is especially appropriate for those who are busy in the preparations of the days leading up to the “great day” of Thanksgiving…just TWO MORE DAYS, y’all!!

“Grateful for…

  1. Early wakeups = children to love
  2. House to clean = safe place to live
  3. Laundry = clothes to wear
  4. Dishes to wash = food to eat
  5. Crumbs under the table = family meals
  6. Grocery shopping = $ to provide for us
  7. Toilets to clean = indoor plumbing
  8. Lots of noise = people in my life
  9. Endless questions about homework = kids’ brains growing
  10. Sore & tired in bed = I’m still alive!

Amen

pumpkin1I’ve been thinking about that since Lisa sent it out to us Sunday morning. All of the things we so often turn into complaints have, at their heart, a reason to give thanks. Let’s not forget that this week…or next…or ever. So many people can NOT include those 10 things in their prayers.

That was brought home to me especially by a Facebook post last night from my friend, Linda:

“I heard on the news tonight that 14% of the U.S. population experiences food insecurity and for Mississippi, it’s 22%. Food insecurity in the land of plenty is mystifying. How blessed, and how truly unaware of that blessing, are those of us who don’t wonder how, when, or where our next meal will be.”

That’s pretty sobering, isn’t it? In this month of NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER, and especially in this week of Thanksgiving celebrations, let’s remember those who are less fortunate …and then, let’s do something to change it.

Our mission won’t end at the end of this month. We can choose to be grateful. We can choose not to complain. We can choose to make positive differences in the world and in the lives of those who need our compassion and our assistance…even when they aren’t asking us for a thing. Start thinking now! True ThanksGIVING can start right in the neighborhood where you live. Will it? Will you?

Grace & Peace!

(*Beautiful mini-quilt made by hand and given to me as a blessing by my wonderful #3, Jody! That word “Blessed” sums up my life in ways I can never truly write about well enough to convey the depth of it. My friends and family  know that and generously continue to add to my metaphorical pile of blessings by loving on me every day!)

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 23

The weather is beautiful, the temperature is deliciously autumn, and God is still in control. Could there be any possible reason to complain? (grin)

Well, I’m sure we could find one if we really wanted to, but…seriously!…we’ve made it this far without all the negativity! Let’s not blow that today!

Go for a stroll around the yard. While you’re out there, pick up a few natural beauties to add to your Thanksgiving centerpiece later this week. Just think about it! All this beauty just right outside your door…waiting on you to come share in the blessing!

And, if you can’t get outside today, take a moment to buzz around the internet for a few appropriate blessings or prayers for today…and the day to come. Thanks to whoever shared this one with us on the internet! I love it–and I hope “Marie B Designs” won’t mind that I shared it with you! It’s too pretty to keep to myself!

<b>Thanksgiving Blessing</b>

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 21

I woke up cold and early this morning and couldn’t figure out why. I got up and pulled on a robe and house shoes, turned up the heat, and settled into my favorite chair in the living room. The chair used to belong to my Grandmother and it is old and covered in what is now (and was then, too!–grin) a hideously brown and orange flowered print from the 1970s…and it reminds me of her and how she loved me and it warms me up in ways that have nothing at all to do with temperature.

About an hour later, my husband emerged from the bedroom and I wondered why the heat was still running and I moved through the house looking for another way to warm. Entering back into our room, I noticed that the curtains at the window were gently moving…with the breeze of an open window…left open all night long.

I did that. I did that yesterday to air out the room and I’m the one who forgot to come back and close it up, make it tight against the chilly night air. I did that.

It doesn’t sound like much, but God doesn’t always need big things to teach us. Lessons of the day:

Sometimes, the things that make us uncomfortable are our own fault. It may not have seemed like a big deal at the time, but the effects of our actions–or our inactions–still make themselves known. There’s no point in complaining about things that are in the past or that we can fix today. Fix what you can and move on. (And I pray those things are as simple as shutting my window.) Be careful about where you are and what you do today.

Sometimes, the things that make us the most comfortable aren’t really things, but the emotions brought on by people who have poured love into us in days long ago. It’s a pretty good reminder that to become people of influence, we need to be pouring love into the people around us now…and be more vocal at expressing our appreciation when the ones around us pour back into us. Again, fix what you can and move on. Be careful about WHO you are today and what you choose to pour into those around you now.

Wishing you a warm, dry, cozy day surrounded by love and great memories…with no complaints…

Grace & Peace!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 18

The last few weeks have been “hectic” for us…and for most of the world. When that happens, it’s always good to take some time out to spend with friends and it’s even better when you can do it while using the experience to deepen your relationship with God.

LNO tablesLast night was such a night.

Over 300 women from our church and community gathered together for a delicious meal and some time of praise mixed in with a few stories about what God has been busy doing to make Himself known in the ladies among our community.

LNO 2015The room was filled with tables surrounded by women. All were beautifully decorated–both the tables AND the women. We weren’t there to show off our finery. We were there to use it much like the gifts the Wise Men brought to the newborn King so long ago: we were there to celebrate His coming and honor His place among us.

As I listened to the chatter in the room beforehand, I was filled–as always– with an amazing sense of being blessed. Women in accord. That’s a powerful thing. The program was wonderful. Four women from among us rose to share on themes of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. There were tears. There always are. You can’t get this close to the Christ without it moving your emotions. There was also laughter…because you can’t get this close to Him without that, either. We celebrated His original coming so long ago and we also celebrated that He continues to come and meet us right where we are even today.

Despite the trials that each woman in the room has certainly experienced or might be currently dealing with, no complaints were heard. God was there, and there was no room for anything else but Him. It was a much needed respite for me and the word “grateful” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I came home and joined my husband in viewing a recorded program from the night before. There was nothing sacred about this competition to see who will become the next VOICE and rise to fame and success…right up until one of the contestants, Jordan Smith, took the stage and began to sing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” in an incredibly worshipful way. I love that song! We even had it played at our wedding as our parents came down the aisle. It has such a message of hope and peace for me…that melodic reminder that my God has been and will always be trusted to be faithful no matter what I face in this life. At the end of his song, two of the coaches simply expressed their thanks for bringing a sense of hope into what had also been a difficult week for them, as well.

That’s what God does. He shows up and He’s faithful and He brings us HOPE in a world where there are angry words and unkind actions over everything from red cups to refugees fleeing for their lives. We’ve managed to lump those things into one big pile for public debate…as if they’re equal…or ever could be.

My challenge today is to take some time out to meditate on the faithfulness of God in my life. I’ll do it away from the news and the noise of this day. I’ll make time to tell God how glad I am that He is mine and that I am His…and I hope you’re able to do the same.

Grace & Peace!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 16

It’s Monday again and, as much as I would like to do otherwise, I’d have to say that this one is living up to the traditional reputation of Mondays. That’s not a complaint, so much as an observation. (grin)

News continues to trickle in from Paris and other parts of the globe–and not much of it is uplifting. I have friends who’ve buried husbands and sisters within the past few days and, though the news here in our house hasn’t been heavy on the joy side of things, I have talked to God and I’m aware that I am blessed. Most blessed. So are you.

IMG_20140705_141046_350We are what we choose to be.

What will you choose?

And yes, it is that simple and yes, it is that complicated. It is a process–I’m talking about a long-term strategy!…and those aren’t always easy. We have to choose. Then, we have to choose again and again until the choice to be grateful and to recognize the blessings becomes our first response instead of our last resort.

Imagine if that was the first response around the world? What if we recognized that our “light and momentary afflictions”–regardless of how heavy they seem in the moment!–are not the end of our blessings? What if we recognized that bad day, the bad news, or the bad attitude was simply an interruption–an aberration!–in the midst of our blessedness and not the end of it? What if we could see to the other side of the battle and have an awareness that there’s some glory on the way?

No matter what you’re facing today:  Consider yourself so informed. Consider yourself so challenged. Consider yourself SO blessed.

 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,”  2 Corinthians 4:17

Grace & Peace!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Days 11 & 12

Well. Hello, again! Apparently, I’m on a streak for blogging every other day now! (But No Complaining, riiiiiight? ha!)

God is good. All the time. I’m not sure what it is that you’re facing, but I am certain that God is good. I know that choosing to participate in NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER didn’t suddenly mean that all of your other life challenges suddenly disappeared. In fact, for some of us, it seems that those challenges have suddenly been magnified.

All of that doesn’t change the fact that God is good. I know that because I’ve spent a good bit of the last few days talking with Him. I’ve needed to talk with God! There’s still some pretty hefty “LIFE STUFF” going on around here! I’m not alone in that, either! My email and text boxes are full of examples of that pretty hefty life stuff is happening where you are, too.

One of my favorite texts, however, contained the following update on the prison nurses who’ve joined us:

…she says the nurses found it frustrating not to complain. …as the nurse station is THE place to vent after dealing with the patients/prisoners…the  supervisor even got on board.  At end of shift some big shot came through and thanked the staff for a great shift as it had been a rough traffic one…they got recognition from a higher up…and a “thank you” can sure fuel people.  They will keep trying to keep complaining at bay…

I love that! “They will keep trying to keep complaining at bay.” That’s really the whole point, you know. NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER isn’t about ignoring/refusing to see the hefty life stuff. It’s about choosing NOT TO ADD TO IT! Oh, yeah, and can I make a suggestion about that “thank you” thing? It’s real. Give it a shot when your first instinct might be to complain and see what you can fuel to change the circumstances around you! Whether or not you can manage a “thank you” right now, just making the decision to not linger in the yuck is an amazing step toward dealing with your life in a more positive way.

Golden canopy

Of course, for me–and a whole lot of others–the absolute best way to move through the yuck is to keep our eyes focused on the positive…and the most positive thing I can tell you is this: You are loved more than you can ever imagine by the One who imagined you from the very beginning. Think about that! God deliberately chose to imagine YOU…and then He shifted into making you a reality. Pretty sweet, right? Don’t lose sight of that in the face of whatever you’re dealing with this month–or EVER. The One Who imagined you also knew exactly what you’d be facing this week…and He knows how it will all work out, too. Trust Him. With every single thing. There’s nothing better to help keep the complaining at bay.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—”   Psalm 139: 16-18

Grace & Peace!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 9 and 10

Day 9! We’re almost a third of the way through our adventure! Can you believe that? You may have noticed that I took the weekend off. I thought we could all use the break. (grin)

Over the break, I heard from several friends about their progress. I also heard that several of us were experiencing significant amount of both support from family AND that they were also having significant changes in their circumstances…some of which was positive…some of which was not. I found it interesting that even as their circumstances changed in “negative ways,” many of my friends have become even more determined to keep their NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER intact!

That speaks to me. It says that they’ve found that eliminating complaints is more valuable than voicing negative comments to just “vent” about their current situations.

There’s always more to the story, but it will have to wait. Even now, I’m typing this on my phone with my thumbs…and I’m not gifted at this. It is now Day 10 and what started last night quickly required over 4 hours of my husband’s time with the good people at McAfee as they tried to get my computer to do as it was designed to do. I’m incredibly grateful for my husband’s patient and determined efforts to make things right for me. Today, I’ve accompanied him to an appointment and it is now MY turn to be patient on his behalf. We make a great team!

I hope to return to my regular posting method tomorrow, but hope that you’ll take the time to express your gratitude to those who support you in patient and loving ways while you’ve still got them with you.

Grace & Peace!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 6

They say it takes at least 21 days for humans to develop a new behavior into a habit. We’re on Day 6. Day 21 may seem like a long way away for some of us right now. That’s why placing daily reminders around us makes so much sense. We need to be reminded of our goals in tangible ways until our minds have the patterns really imprinted…even then, reminders are a pretty great thing.

IMG_20140705_141046_350Here are just a few of the things my friends and I are using to remind us of NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER:

  • Audrey is using red & yellow leaves.
  • I’m using 2 bracelets–one from my friend Patty and one from my friend Jody. The purple hearts remind me of Psalm 51:10, which says, “Create in my a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Asking for a clean heart and a right spirit along with the reminder that I am blessed makes it more difficult for me to even THINK about complaining!
  • Betty says she’s being simple and direct with herself by just looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “No complaining!”
  • Patty called yesterday to tell me that she’s finally hit on her reminder, as well. She’s one of those naturally cheery people and she usually wears a bright red nail polish. For NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER, however, Patty has painted her nails black. It is a way to remind her to keep the darkness as far away from her as she can, she says. It’s a simple, but dramatic change for her and it seems to be working.
  • Jody is starting her day off reading Scripture and then she might write verses on a note card to put on her fridge. When she feels herself starting to become complacent, she wears a small bell necklace. The sound of the bell is a good reminder for her.
  • Lisa says that she’s been using all of the texts our group has been sending back and forth…so I guess I’d better go send some more! (grin!) Accountability is actually a lot of fun!

If you’re using something specific, feel free to share it with us! It might help make NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER easier–and more fun!–for someone else!!

Grace & Peace!