NCN 2019–Days 27-30

IMG_20171125_071335337Well, it’s here! We’re right at the end of NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER 2019. This will be my last post for the month because I am choosing to celebrate Thanksgiving and LIFE with people who hold the biggest part of my heart. I pray that your days will be spent in much the same way. I pray that they are GOOD DAYS and, even if they are less than you’d like them to be, that you will choose to make the most of them.

I have been truly honored to share this month with you and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how well we all do carrying the lessons we learned into December and beyond. Despite all of the faults we hear so loudly proclaimed, God has given us a good world and plenty of opportunities to make the difficult places better simply by choosing to respond in positive and healing ways.

We will be people of influence…no matter what responses we choose. I hope we all choose the best ones.

Thanks for joining me this month! May God be praised by your life, your witness to the world, and your choices to make life better for those around you!

Remember: you can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Grace and Peace!

NCN 2019–Day 19

Have you found your purpose yet? Do you know who you were created to be? These are some big questions. The answers can be even bigger. IF you’re still not sure at this point, maybe this verse can help you clarify some things.

“For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of God.” Galatians 1:10 (CSB)

This little gem just arrived in my email and I think it came just in time. There’s nothing wrong with making other people happy. In fact, I think we’re actually supposed to care about others in ways that make their lives better. Doing so will, quite naturally, help us to feel at least a little bit happier about our own.

The problems come when we make the happiness of others a higher priority than making sure that we’ve first been pleasing to GOD. Being God’s servant doesn’t mean living a life of unrelenting, punishing service. It WILL mean that we’ll be called to do some things that we’re not always comfortable doing, but AS WE DO THEM God generally comes alongside us and brings His sweet peace and joy and, before we know it, we’re feeling better and being grateful for some of the very things that made us wonder if He really knew who He was asking to do them in the first place! (grin)

And what, exactly, does this all have to do with NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER? It’s a reminder that when we live in a way that is consistent with our calling we won’t have as much time (or the desire!) to complain. Consistency in living out our purpose. That’s the key. It is the very fitting definition for our “progress, not perfection” theme this year.

Yes, we all get out of alignment with our calling from time to time, but if we look closely enough when that happens, we’ll see that we’re trying to please people instead of trying to please God. Don’t take my word for it! Take HIS:

“When a person’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 (CSB)

Sounds like another great way to eliminate some complaining to me! Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. The peace with others may take a little time to get here, but the peace between you and God (Who is really in charge of everything!) will be immediate and healing while you wait on those around you to catch up and find who THEY were created to be, as well.

Did you need to see this today? Maybe someone you know does, too! Spread the peace! Share the Word! Reap the rewards of pleasing God.

Remember: You can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!

 

NCN 2019–Day 14

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

I read this quote the other day and I’ve thought about it several times since then. Naturally, I trust the source. I mean, after all…it IS the internet. (grin)

Whether or not this is an actual quote by Abraham Lincoln, the intent behind it is still powerful. It illustrates a strength of character that we could ALL use when we run up against a situation or someone we “don’t like.” We need to look beyond the surface of what is annoying and find out the WHY of things.

THAT knowledge can help us decide whether a situation actually REQUIRES “fixing” or is a simple adjustment (on our part, perhaps?) might just be the ticket to making it work or helping us work together in greater harmony. Life is too short to live in continual chaos and disorder, anger and frustration, but getting some more information before we run off–either literally or at the mouth!–about it might make the situations we are frustrated with better for EVVVeryone involved.

I am a classic illustration. I can name on way less than my two whole hands the number of people that I’ve “disliked on sight” and just never got over my initial impression. That’s a good thing. It means I’ve met a lot of great people! I learned early on, however, that when someone strikes sparks off me that hard from the start…well, it means I need to look a little closer. Sometimes, those people are just _____ (fill in your own blank here!) and SOMETIMES it is because God is showing me how I appear to others.

That’s not a comfortable thought, but it is a truthful one.

With very few exceptions, I’ve found that the people who frustrate me the most are the ones with whom I have an attitude, a habit, or a character flaw in common. I see in them the things that need to change the most about ME…and it’s sometimes annoying when God points out that we need to change. (insert very heartfelt eye roll here) I am convinced that when He’s tried other unsuccessful methods of helping me improve in an area, God often sends me a visual aid. It’s not comfortable when that happens. Unfortunately, for me, He’s had to do that more than once–to the point that now, when I meet someone who is a “visual aid” for me, I immediately want to know them a little better as quickly as possible so I can find out what we have in common…and what I will need to change…in me.

If I can also help them to learn or change in the process, so much the better.

God is funny about that stuff. He rarely wastes an effort to make us better.

So…who or what do you need to get to know a little better today? Think about it, but don’t take too long. It’s always more comfortable to be the one who needs the clue than to find out you’re the one who is the visual aid! You do NOT want to be THAT person of influence! (ha! ask me how I know this!)

Remember: You can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.

Grace and Peace!

 

NCN 2019–Day 11

Happy Monday and Happy Veteran’s Day!!

It’s been quite the weekend for us. We got our new-to-us vehicle checked out (a wayward deer took out our old faithful Blue a few weeks ago…may she rest in peace), we took some time off to do something that fed our artistic souls, and we watched some football that wasn’t on the DVR! Both of our teams lost and, to be perfectly honest, I did a personal suspension of NCN during the Alabama game, but other than that, it was an amazing weekend.

We did simple things that fed our spirits and we laughed and we talked and we REVELED in the luxury of it all.

I realize that may sound way too simple for some people, but our schedules have been so consumed with family, travel, health issues, and finding a new vehicle that our weekend filled with football and art was truly a treat. We kept talking about how luxurious it felt to not be on the road or in a medical setting or in the middle of a family medical crisis. It’s the simple things that bring the best blessings sometimes. We just have to stop complaining about things and start celebrating how very blessed we are!

Today, here in the United States, we celebrate our veterans. For those who have volunteered to stand in the path of what would cause us harm and shoulder the burdens of protecting a nation…the celebration ought to be more than just one day, right? They are the ones who make doing our simple schedules possible.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy in his 1963 Thanksgiving proclamation

In their honor, I’d like to propose a challenge for the week: Let’s honor those who serve us so well by living out our appreciation! Who can YOU serve and Whose life can YOU make easier to just do the simple things this week? Go beyond NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER and choose to be a blessing to someone near you. There’s no limit to what good we can do if we try and I’d love to hear what you come up with to bless others, so feel free to let me know–even if you keep it a secret from the ones you choose to bless!

What simple thing will you choose to celebrate today and what simple thing will you choose to share so that others can be blessed, as well? Who will you serve? Let’s have some fun with this!

Remember: You can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!

Grace and Peace!

NCN 2020–Day 6

My husband and I were reminiscing over breakfast yesterday. One year ago we were coming off a great and successful show with lots of plans for our business future. Now, we no longer have a business. By it’s very nature, life changes. We had no clue how much that would be true for us this year. You may be in the same boat with us.

Our season for this year has been a difficult one, but we’ve learned a lot. While some of it is stuff we’d really rather NOT know, we now have a pretty solid base of knowledge and  friends/resources with additional information on the subject for reaching out and helping others who also find themselves loving a person with dementia/Alzheimer’s. Our family is blessed in that we’ve continued to work together to figure out the solutions that work for us and be as supportive as possible in the process.

Along the way, we’ve had legitimate times of despair and frustration. That, too, is life. As I walked along the road and talked to God about this yesterday, I absolutely loved that as I ran through the mental list of difficult changes during the past year, I had a corresponding list of blessings that we are now seeing or that have emerged as a result of those changes.

LAMENT IS NATURAL AND NECESSARY, but COMPLAINING DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A PART OF IT.

That’s right. Read that again. (Seriously. READ IT AGAIN. It’s important.)

No matter what changes have come your way since our last NCN, you get the choice about how you’ll react to them…and choosing to acknowledge the losses–even when they are deep and devastating!–without wallowing in the negativity of complaining about them IS possible.

As I type this, I have a list running through my head of friends and family who have faced devastating losses this year. Please know that I am praying for ALL of us as we hurt and as we heal! Whether your loss and lament involves changes at home, at work, at church, or within your circle of love, it is critical that you acknowledge it to heal, but equally critical that you stop complaining about it so that you can move forward.

Lament is NOT just complaining. Look it up.

Mourning the hard losses and difficult changes is natural and is a phase to move THROUGH. Complaining about them keeps them fresh and rehearsing the hurt keeps you bound to it. We need to find ways to use what we’ve learned to help and bless others. Let’s start moving forward toward healing instead of just moving in circles of complaint.

I know. This may seem like an odd post for NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER. I wasn’t planning to write a post like this, but somehow it just seems necessary today. I don’t know who this one is for, but I’m asking God to bless you. I’m asking Him to be especially close to you today and I’m asking Him to start helping you move THROUGH to the other side so that you can begin to see your own list of corresponding blessings as a result of the changes you’re dealing with today.

You are loved more than you can imagine. God adores you and He wants the best for you! Complaining about it won’t change a thing and, aren’t you ready for a positive change today?

Remember:  You can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.

Grace and Peace!

 

NCN 2019–Day 5

Yesterday, I wrote about becoming a person of influence. As I posted the article to my Facebook page, I asked the question, “What kind of influence do YOU cultivate?”

I’ve thought about that word a good bit…“Cultivate.” The dictionary defines it this way:

  1. cul·ti·vate      /ˈkəltəˌvāt/     (verb)
    1.
    prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening.
    synonyms: till, plow, dig, turn, hoe; More2.
    try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill).
    “he cultivated an air of indifference”
    synonyms: try to acquire, pursue, court; try to develop, work hard at, foster, nurture, encourage
    “her father had cultivated Maud’s friendship”

Basically, it means “WORK!” 

My parents always taught me that work gets a lot easier if you enlist some help. The same is true of our NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER challenge. It will go a lot easier and be a lot more fun, AND even have a longer-term impact on your life if you enlist a few friends to join in the challenge and keep you accountable.

Accountable. That’s another word that sometimes gets a bad rap, but is really important of you’re truly going to make a lasting change. You NEED people around you to hold you accountable! Even if they SAY they’re not going to participate in the challenge personally, but they’re willing to help hold you accountable while YOU do it…y’all! That’s a really great (and sneaky! LOL) way to get them involved in the process. HA!

I’ve seen it happen before. While they’re watching you and holding YOU accountable, they’re also made more aware of what THEY are doing, as well.

That right there? That’s you being a person of influence.

Try it, you just might like it…and do some good in the process!

Remember: You can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!

Grace and Peace!

 

NCN 2019–Day 4

Happy Monday, y’all! Welcome to our first full week of NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER 2019! I hope your weekend was a blessing…or at least “quieter” than you expected. I read an article the other day that talked about how loud society has become. It mentioned that between the news, commercials desperately hawking goods (that we don’t really need), and our complaints about those things on social media our world has gotten louder–and not necessarily in a good way. While all of those things don’t have to make actual noise, they can fill our minds and spirits with dissonance and disquiet–making it more difficult to hear the good news that is most surely present, as well!

NCN 2019 is ALL about trying to change that! Exercising our wills (and our “won’ts and wants,” as well!!) to move us individually toward a quieter and more peaceful spirit can actually help our society move in a more positive direction. Remember, our secondary theme this year, is PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.

That theme in an encouragement to me all by itself! It’s a reminder that I can take my time and do something well and incrementally instead of rushing and stressing myself out in order to present a perfect (impossible!) product to those around me. Speaking of “them”…we are most often surrounded by people who love us and are important to us. Isn’t THAT a motivator to make life better and, hopefully, more harmonious? What if we looked at this challenge as a way to bless THEM in addition to changing US?

Excuses are only for those people who are unwilling to find the solution, who find greater solace in the loudness of their complaints rather than in the action they are taking to implement the actions that carry them steadily forward to their achievement.     ~Bryon Pulsifer

Well, ouch.

Unfortunately, I have resembled that remark at times. While I was raised to see the positive side of things, I’ve had a few people in my life who tended toward the negative side of things. I love them! They are marvelous people…and I find that my heart sometimes hurts after I’ve been with them for awhile. I also find that I need a little space after we’ve been together to “shake it off”–even when I’ve been encouraging them to become more positive.

That makes me even more determined to be grateful, to be cheerful, to look for–and CREATE!–a more positive outlook. IF we’re going to do the job that God put us here to do, we need to become people of influence.

I want that influence to be a POSITIVE one! How about you?

What attitude will you CHOOSE today to become a person of influence right where you are? Seems like NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER 2019 is right on time…and right on target!

Remember: WE can do this! PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!

Grace and Peace!