NCN 2018–Day 27

Today is #givingtuesday, a time to be generous and contribute to worthy causes. I don’t know when it got started, but I definitely applaud the whole idea, and it makes me wonder…

  • What if we decided to be make every day a giving day?
  • What if we made a plan (not a wish, but a PLAN) to support worthy causes with regularity…because our priority was to become more worthy, too.
  • What if we looked at our resources with an eye toward blessing those whose needs we’re aware of long after “the season of giving” has passed because we realized that the Source of all blessing has promised to never leave or forsake us…and others need to see that promise in action so THEY can believe it, too?
  • What if our whole lives centered around making those around us know they matter, that they’re loved, and that their gifts are needed to help others, too?
  • What if we decided to become walking, talking, giving billboards for grace and peace and the One whose idea they were in the first place?

What if…?

What will you choose to do today…since you’ve given up complaining…and have all that extra time on your hands? (grin)

Grace and Peace!

Romans 12:21!!

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NCN 2018–Days 23-25

IMG_20181123_105324483_HDRI always find it interesting that immediately following a feast of giving thanks for all they’ve been blessed with, some people rush out to push and shove and “beat out the other guy” in an effort to acquire even more. Does it mean that they’re actually also “more” thankful as they fight to add to their piles? I wonder.

I vividly remember the first time my mother and I attended a Black Friday event. I was about 12 years old and I stood in awe and wonder as I watched grown women fight–in public!!–over sheets! I mean they literally exchanged blows and yelled at each other over SHEETS in the JC Penney! My mama would have whipped me on the spot for such behavior. It was immediately official: I was DONE with Black Friday sales.

I have friends who do Black Friday as a social tradition with friends and family, and while I can’t quite figure out why that is enjoyable for them (since I am usually happily at home sleeping in and having a late breakfast! Yes, Lord!!), I applaud their determined pursuit of family, friends, and fun. I’m also incredibly grateful that they remain friends with this blog-writing hermit despite her lack of participation in such things! (seriously grateful!)

The husband and I did manage to  venture out into the world of “Black Friday” today…to purchase the world’s largest Sharpie marker and some hot pink flagging tape. We’re preparing for a specialist’s yard sale tomorrow and I’ll need to make directional signs and cordon off parts of my yard so I can keep some of my smaller planting areas safe.

After much deliberation, my husband has decided to pare down his hobby list to create some margin for himself in the areas of shop space, time, focus, and need for supplies. The hobby he’s “giving up” (for now, at least) is wood-turning. He was gifted at it, enjoyed creating functional art, and was fully stocked to participate in this hobby…and hadn’t had time to do so in a very long time. Choosing to walk away from something he’s REALLY good at was a difficult decision for him, but he’s taken his time, considered his options, and made the choice to focus his creativity in different directions more aligned with his current goals and schedule.

Last weekend, I challenged you to review your family calendars in an effort to make sure the events and appointments on it matched your current agendas. This weekend I’m challenging you to consider letting go of events, hobbies, and “stuff” that no longer fits who you are or who you want to become. This will be harder…because you will need to think about where you are and where you want to go as a person.

Make sure you don’t rush this and don’t be afraid to ask yourself some difficult questions. That’s they way we learn, improve our focus, and make room for the things we can enjoy in the time we have. In short, it’s another way to eliminate yet another reason to feel guilty and complain.

Does something immediately come to mind that you need to eliminate? If so, how can your changes benefit others (and maybe even your pocket book!) as you pare down and share those resources with others? OR, maybe, this is your wake-up call to get busy working with the things you already have and doing the things you LOVE to do!! Either way, make the most of what you have and take advantage of the next few days to have SOME FUN!!

Grace and peace!!

Romans 12:21!!!

NCN 2018–Day 19

I inched my way forward, stuck behind a couple of semi-trucks and wondered what all of the delay was about as I headed toward home. I looked over at the map on my phone, saw a streak of red and made my decision. I would take the next exit when I got there. It wasn’t far and I had already planned to take it to top off my tank and grab a bite to eat. No need to stress about this delay.

As I pulled into Panera (I love their tomato soup!), I found easy parking for the big red truck and checked out the delay a little bit more. Twelve minutes, according to the app, so this was perfect. I went inside and found my place in line. One of their ladies began to assemble my order for bagels (I also love their Asiago Cheese bagels–and they freeze well!! happy dance!! Bagels for the future!). The other lady at the front counter concluded the business in her line and we smiled at each other.

“How are you today?” I asked.

“Can’t complain!”, she replied.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to tell her about NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER…the short version:  some friends and I are celebrating NCN and choosing not to complain for the entire month.

“It will change the way you think!” I promised.

She looked at me with widened eyes and slowly said, “Yes!! I think it WOULD change the way you think! I like that!” She kept nodding and smiling as she gave it more consideration. It was evident that she was already a pretty positive person, but I loved that she was willing to consider a new way to improve her thinking process. That’s all it takes, you know. THAT is what NCN is really all about: a willingness to change for the better…and it doesn’t cost a thing.

As I enjoyed my soup and checked the map app again, I found that my interstate wait time from that exit forward had almost tripled, so I re-charted my route and took off down through the country. The recent rains had knocked the dust off of the world and I saw mountains and farm country prettier than I would have ever found along the highway. I took a new way home and, although I missed a turn and had the “opportunity” to go for a jaunt down a really muddy logging road at one point, the journey led me through places I will want to see again despite the notice that told me at one point, “You can’t get there from here. Choose another route.” (LOL!!!)

IMG_20181116_125324424

All it takes is a determination to move forward, a willingness to try something different, and a predetermined plan to enjoy the journey…just like NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER…and life.

Grace and Peace!

Romans 12:21!!!

 

NCN 2018–Days 12-16

Happy Monday, everyone! I woke up very suddenly Sunday morning about 4:30 AM and realized two things: God had just given me a solution for a “problem” I had been considering…and I had forgotten to post my weekend challenge. I decided to celebrate both of those things. Naturally, I’m celebrating the first one, because–although it wasn’t a big problem (how to wrap some gifts for the holidays)–I now have an answer that works for me. (no brainer.) I decided to celebrate the second one, though, because I just figured God knew that y’all probably needed the break, as well. (HA!), and NOW, that means that I’m actually ahead! I have a post written for next weekend! (double HA and YAY!) Perspective and choosing to look for the positives are great gifts, y’all. Great gifts!

On this Monday of the week before Thanksgiving I find myself celebrating quite a few things early. Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday because we always celebrated it by gathering with family we hadn’t seen in awhile. Distance from childhood homes, work, and modern busy schedules have made that impossible the past several years and, to be honest, it won’t happen “on the day” this year, either. HOWEVER, if you’re determined to celebrate the reason for the holiday, it really doesn’t matter what day you choose to do that, does it?

Although we can’t all be together in one place again this year like we used to when we were growing up, I have the opportunity to celebrate and see most of my immediate family THIS week instead of next week. I’m choosing to celebrate the GET TO instead of the departure from the traditional. Because I’ll be celebrating, I’m choosing to make this post the main one for the week. If inspiration strikes and there’s opportunity, you might see another post, but if I’m too busy being happy and enjoying the hugs and catching up, feasting my eyes on faces I’ve missed, and getting to see my youngest nephew play basketball, well…I think we’ll all manage just fine.

To give you something to think about and, hopefully, something to do while I’m taking this little break (because I just KNOW you need something else to do! LOL) I want to share something our #5 (hey, Judy!) sent out the other day (and for context, she’s the one who suggested we do NO DIET NOVEMBER–LOL!!!):

So the “cure” for negativity… help someone. Buy a cup of coffee for a young man in need. Feed a homeless cat. Help pay for someone’s groceries. Give until it hurts. Get uncomfortable. Every day. Goodness…. those in need are EVERYWHERE!! You realize how blessed you are and there is so much joy in seeing joy in others.

Although it may cause me to diet… bc I’m broke!!! 😂😂😂😂😂

Judy’s suggestions are a natural extension of her beautiful heart and I think they’re a MARVELOUS way to kick off the holiday season, so that’s your challenge for the week and a great way to get into the Thanksgiving mood: See how many people you can help/bless this week! Bonus points if you can do the helping and the blessing anonymously. (If you’ve never done that before, TRUST ME, you’ll be amazed at how much FUN it can be!! And, when you can pull it off…GLEE, people! Pure GLEE!! Doing it enough can actually make you giddy!–a term you NEED to get familiar with, if you’re not already aware! grin)

So, go have fun, overcome evil by doing good, bless others, have a great week wherever you are and with whoever you’re with, and if you’re doing all of that…well, then you’ll have no cause to complain!

Grace and Peace!

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 

 

NCN 2018–Day 8

Well, hello! I know this may sound funny, but I’ve been having the best time this morning preparing for some upcoming venues, trips, and holidays that I got a bit sidetracked and almost forgot to post today! I think that’s part of the joy of life–the preparing to do part! Oh, I love the DOING, but I also love the PREP–and since holidays are often spent apart from loved ones, my holiday prep has to start a lot earlier than it used to so I can get things where they need to be before “the big day” arrives.

I looked up some quotes earlier this morning and the first three I saw actually inspired this post. Here they are so maybe they can inspire some action on your part today, as well.

“If you’re not lighting any candles, don’t complain about being in the dark.”

“If you’re not helping to make it right, then stop complaining about it being wrong.”

“Don’t complain about things you’re unwilling to change.”

I’ve already heard some mumbling about people being behind this year on their shopping–and compared to where I normally am in the process, this year, I’m behind, too, but I believe this might be my favorite year yet! I’m having the best time rediscovering things I’ve bought for people throughout the year and thinking about what still needs to be done. While Thanksgiving is normally my favorite holiday, I’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit for several weeks already!

Speaking of holidays, gift giving, and mumbling, perhaps today is a good day for YOU to start planning ahead, as well. If it is still WAY too early for some of you who love to do your gift planning at the “last minute” every year–OR, if you’re already ahead on that score, then that’s fine, too! Today’s challenge is for you to take a look around you and see what needs “fixing” where you are. Look for those things that bug you–or others around you!!–and DO SOMETHING about it! Make it your gift to the world where you live to reduce a CAUSE of  complaint today!

What can YOU do today to make someone else’s load a little lighter? Think about it and then get busy lighting those candles so others can find their way in the dark, as well! Make it a Romans 12:21 day and do something GOOD for the people around you!! You can do this. You just have to choose.

Grace and Peace!

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 

 

NCN 2018–Day 7

As of today, we’ve been at this NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER-thing  for a whole week! I’ve been highly entertained by many of the comments I’ve gotten, saddened/frustrated by a few others (mainly those who would rather stay firmly glued in negativity and take pot shots at those who’ve made a different choice), and found a few others who are celebrating it on their blogs, as well. Many of those who have posted/commented there are people who won’t ever know me or my friends and aren’t aware that this NCN movement started here, but that doesn’t matter, so long as the influence toward the positive is out there. Becoming a person of influence doesn’t mean becoming a person of popularity or even being known. It does mean, hopefully, that more people were able to see and recognize a step toward the positive and then decide to take it for themselves.

That’s been a theme for some interesting conversations with some of the ones who DO know me lately, as well. The ability to see a need for improvement and take steps to make it so, isn’t as common as we’d would all like to think. I’ve been questioning some things in my own life and wondering, “Am I operating under learned/accepted behavior here or is this something I really want to think/say/do?” Asking that simple question has naturally led me to the next step of requiring me to decide for myself: “What kind of person do I want to be when ____?” and then start to act accordingly.

While you might think most of that would have already been decided by now as a Christian and having been on the planet this long, there are always new areas of discovery that have to do with the kind of activities I desire to pursue and the life I hope to lead in the future. For instance, a conversation with a friend the other day revealed that one of her family members with a influential and demanding job has begun considering how to share their knowledge and influence the future by becoming a lecturer in their area of expertise. Exploring that option means adding even more to the already-demanding schedule, but brings a payoff of being able to share knowledge and prepare for future options. How delightful is it to explore new possibilities in life? Extremely! Knowing someone else is thinking about how to reach for the next possibility has inspired me to start thinking about the options available for me. See! Becoming a person of influence is contagious! (smile!)

My own husband has been modeling this type of behavior for the past several months as he’s begun to sort through his current options for limited leisure time and decided to release some of his hobbies/skilled-abilities (and the equipment/tools that go along with those things–a MAJOR decision for an engineer who loves tools!) so that those items can be used by others who are pursuing those paths. It’s been an amazing process to watch as he’s carefully considered the time available now, the skills he already has, those he still wishes to acquire, and what the best path forward to accomplish his current goals instead of being overwhelmed by past goals/equipment to the point that there would be no room to move forward. It hasn’t been an been an overnight process, but one carefully considered and implementation is in the works as I type.

So, why did I share all of this…and on a WEDNESDAY? I wanted to get you thinking about the future. If you’re going to be positive, you have to plan for it and get busy making positive changes in more than just your verbal communications! What new possibilities await YOU? What skills do you need and what opportunities can you take to move in directions that will impact your future and allow you to positively influence others?

Just some food for thought…on this day after the US elections…when you have time to think about the implications of what happened yesterday and what that means for our future…and you’ve got ALL this time left and have chosen to participate in NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER.

Timing is everything, isn’t it? (grin!) Have a wonderful day of possibilities!

Grace and Peace!

NCN 2018–Day 6

Good Morning! It’s barely 5 AM and I’ve been up for quite a bit already today–many things running through my head and lots to do, so this post will be a short one today. Among the many responses I’ve received to NCN this year, one of my favorites is a quote sent to our Line by our #12 (hey, Marsha!), as an encouragement for those who were struggling with the challenge this year. This quote has reminded me that complaining is never just about me…or them

“Complaining is never just horizontal. Every complaint has verticality to it. Embedded in complaining are questions of God’s wisdom His nearness, His compassion, His faithfulness, His goodness, and His love.” ~P.D. Tripp

I needed that.

There’s nothing quite like a dose of truth, is there?

Praying for each of us to have a wonderful, complaint-free day because we’re so very busy remembering the provision, the nearness, the compassion, the faithfulness, the goodness, and the love of our great God. Getting to know the truth of Who He is makes us more aware of how very blessed we are…and leaves us little room for complaint.

Grace and Peace!

Romans 12:21–Can you say it from memory now?