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 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!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 5

1029141336I have the BEST people in my life!! I may or may not have mentioned that before…HA! It is true, however, and you’ll probably read it here again at some time in the future. I’m just putting it out here again today because you’re here to read it and that makes you one of those “best people!”

Yesterday was a very good day. No major breakthroughs or revelations, just a long day of relaxing and getting chores done. That may sound a little oxymoronic, but it’s true just the same. It was also a day filled with phone calls and texts from loved ones and even a text that said an anonymous someone had blessed us with an anonymous gift card to one of our favorite little restaurants! We haven’t been able to follow up on that yet–and I’ve been seriously amused by the concept of an “anonymous gift card!!”–but just the very idea of it makes my heart sing, so whether it is true or not, I’ve been fully entertained–and that was worth a lot!

Among the many communications I’ve been a party to since we started talking about NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER, I wanted to make sure I shared a special one from my friend Jody. She was addressing another of our friends who had shared about how someone who hadn’t been the most pleasant person to be around had suddenly become a significant link in the chain of blessing for her. (She didn’t say it that way–that weirdness is all mine!–and I’m not sharing the other friend’s name on purpose so no fingers can be pointed at the previously unpleasant person! ha) ANYWAY! Here is Jody’s texted response (with some minor editing since we all take shortcuts in texting):

Woke up thinking about our decision to replace complaining with gratitude and praise. Reminded of Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie reading 1 Thessalonians to her “rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for that is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”  and Corrie having a fit and refusing to thank God for the fleas in their barracks. But later she realized those fleas kept the guards away from them, they weren’t preyed upon, were free to worship, study and talk which would not have been possible without the blessing of the fleas!

What a great reminder! As we go forward with this NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER (and beyond!), we are GOING TO HAVE “FLEAS”–at least every now and then. Don’t fight it or them! Accept it and start looking for the blessing behind it! Chances are if we began to treat our “fleas” like blessings, they might decide to actually BECOME blessings! And, OH! What a legacy that would leave! Talk about becoming a person of influence? THAT is what it is all about!

Praying that your day will be filled with beauty and a minimum number of fleas! (grin)

Grace & Peace!

(By the way, I also received notice that there is a group of prison nurses who have joined our ranks for NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER! I’m thinking that is pretty amazing and if THEY can do this, we can!!” Don’t you just love that?! God does SUCH cool stuff!!!  Best people, I tell you! BEST PEOPLE!!)

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 3

“You ok?

“Yes.”

“You’re not saying anything. Are you sure you’re ok?” My husband was doing what he always does: he was taking care of me and trying to make sure–no matter what else happens–that I’m alright.

“Yes,” I replied. “I’m just sitting here repeating this verse over and over right now.”

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

I told you. Yesterday was a really rough day for the two of us. Sometimes you just need to be quiet and lean in on the things you know soul deep…and on the One you trust completely.

No matter what we’ve faced together, my husband and I have always known that God was in control and that we could trust Him with anything. Some people don’t have that and, quite honestly, I’m not sure how they survive on regular Mondays, much less the difficult ones.

1029141355And now, suddenly, I had another example for the lesson I would be teaching for my Tuesday morning Ladies’ Bible Study. Yipp-ee. “That wasn’t really what I had been going for, God. What are You up to? How can we glorify You in this, God? I know. I just wrote that prayer that said, ‘Whatever You choose, I’m in.’ And I meant that. You know I meant that, God,…but this didn’t even occur to me. Help me honor You in this. Help US to honor You even as we honor each other in this difficult thing.”

My prayer was honest and it wasn’t said with anger or even frustration–it was said out of a heart of genuine shock and a “what’s next, God?” mentality. I really want to know. I mean, I REALLY want to know what He’s up to and what His plan is and why this was necessary. He’s got me curious, I tell you. I’ve got experience, you see, that He always works things out for my good. I know He’s faithful and I know He’s got a plan, but, right now, we’re still in the dark about it. We’re waiting. That isn’t always easy. Who am I kidding?! It’s NEVER easy for me! I’m way too much of a control freak. Talk about a plan? I can make you one of those in a heartbeat. For this, however? Well, we didn’t even see it coming…so I (we!) didn’t have a plan for it. This one is all on HIM.

I was talking with one of my best friends today on the way home from Bible Study and she said, “I’ve got to tell you, when I read your text yesterday, I thought, “Oh, MY! And she’s just started this NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER thing!” We both laughed and it was a great tension reliever for me. This is someone who knows me well. I know she chuckled about it, but I also know she prayed–and then prayed some more!

The great thing, however, is that I got to share with her that I haven’t been the least bit tempted to complain about our situation. I’m too busy praying and asking for help from the only One Who can fix it–and Who can fix US in it! We’re doing as well as we can be physically, and we’re loving on each other, and praying up a storm over here. It’s what we do–whether we’re in a tight spot or not. We’re just loving and praying, loving and praying, while we do what we can with the mundane things that are still left to do whether you’re in a tight spot or not.

I’m just putting that out there in case you’re still having a tough week, too. Or just in case, you’re dealing with something that is really hard–whether it started yesterday or not. Find you someone close by to love on and pray with and let the temptation to complain about it just wash away. Complaining won’t fix most things that are really wrong and it just ties up energy that’s better spent elsewhere.

I’ll see you back here tomorrow! Maybe we’ll have something great to celebrate! It could happen!

Grace & Peace!

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 2

How are you doing with this challenge so far? Is it easier than you thought? More difficult? Hopefully, you’re still going with it! Our group is hanging in there and actually thriving, I think, based on the texts and emails from today. I know. It’s only Day 2 (some of you just grinned; others of you just groaned! ha!), but keep at it even if you’re finding it more challenging than expected! Great things are ahead!

My husband read the first blog post on Saturday evening. He liked it…the writing, I mean, and he was impressed with the response to it, but he was less than exuberant about joining in with us at first. I asked him if he was in a bit later and he said, (and I quote!) “Sure! Right up until I have an epic fail!” and then, he laughed. Actually, we both did…and then I reminded him that it would certainly be ok to start over at that point! I’m putting that in here because you need to know the same thing! Even epic fails at this challenge aren’t reason enough to quit! They are simply signposts that we need to take a big breath and start again.

LeavesYou may also need to know the following: While we were getting ready for church Sunday morning, my husband suddenly exclaimed, “Why do ALL of my shirts have spots on them?!” Before he could go any further, I simply asked him, “Is that a query or a complaint?” He was quiet for just a bit and then I heard (in a much quieter voice), “It’s a query…and I really DO want to know WHY?!”

Not all questions are complaints, We need to remember not to be touchy with others as we’re in this challenge and not let our perceptions get in our own way…or in someone else’s.

It’s Monday now, and if ever there were a day for my husband to have an “epic fail” for this challenge, today would certainly qualify. I haven’t seen that happen, however. What I’ve seen is that he has personified grace under pressure, calmness of spirit, and resolve. I wish I could tell you that all of that came just from participating in this challenge, so it would be the same for you, as well, but it doesn’t. It comes from his personal relationship with God.

Today has been ROUGH for us. It has been a lot rougher than I can share right now, but here are some things you might want to know that we found out a long time ago and they are what is getting us through today:

  • God is still in control.
  • He is never surprised or taken aback by our circumstances.
  • He is good.
  • He is faithful.
  • He has a plan–and it is for our good.
  • We are loved by Him…completely, permanently, and unconditionally.

If we didn’t know anything else but that, we’d still be ahead…with no reason to complain.

Praying that you know these things already, that you’re relying on them (and HIM!) fully, and that you’ll jump in right where you are today share your blessing with those around you. See you back here later!

Grace & Peace!

(By the way, the leaves are for Audrey (my #9), who shared that God has been using red & yellow leaves to remind her of His faithful Presence during this challenge and make her aware of her blessings. If God is using something to remind you of YOUR blessings during this challenge, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to contact me in the comment section and share with the others who have joined us, as well!)

NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER: Day 1

Well, OK! I guess my last blog really hit a nerve! I just checked the stats, and I’m amazed at what is happening! So many shares for the post and private notes for me and for friends texting to say that they’re joining in and bringing family and friends with them–looks like God is up to something! What fun to get to participate!

One of the first things I saw this morning was a text from Patty (my #2). It was a cute Charlie Brown thing that said, “What if today we were just grateful for everything”…and I sighed really big and said, “Yes!” That’s exactly where we need to begin this journey!

My friends and I have been texting a bit and laughing at all of the negative thoughts/complaints that have run through our minds in the days leading up to today. Seems like the old saw is true about trying NOT to do something makes you focus on it even more than you would normally…and we’ve certainly been the rule, rather than the exception for this one.

So, whether you’ve made it this far into Day 1 without complaining or not, take Patty’s advice:  just pick up right where you are and start being grateful. In fact, it might do you good to make a list of a few of the people you’re grateful for, a few of the blessings you’re surrounded with, or something you’re good that you’re working toward or looking forward to over the next month.

If you’re stuck, let me get you started:  You’re alive, have internet, and the ability to choose at least a few things in this life including what you choose to focus on today. So CHOOSE to celebrate YOU today! Choose that for the rest of the day…and then we’ll meet back here tomorrow.

And we’ll celebrate you and me and a whole lot more in the days to come. This is just our first day.

This NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER-thing? We CAN do this–and there are lots of reasons that we should!–including the opportunity to change the world in a positive way and become a person of influence.

Now, who wouldn’t want to do that?

Grace & Peace!

Mercy drops…

It started off slowly. Drop…drop…drop…so slowly that you could almost ignore it…except for those few wet blotches on the wooden banister of the back porch landing.

“There’s nothing on the radar,” he called out, and I decided right then to just tell God a big old “THANK YOU!” for each and every drop.

We need them. Every single one…and we need them to bring their friends.  We’ve been dry. For awhile.

The week has been challenge-full. It started with an accident. Crashing, folding metal right at my driver’s side door. We were all mobile under our own power at the scene, however, and that was all God.

A few days later, we watched a second tow truck haul away the second vehicle…in need of a pricey new fuel pump, but at least it happened here in the driveway and not where I couldn’t get to the rescue.

Brakes in need of repair on the motorcycle…it seemed God’s suggestion that we just stay put.

And so we did.

We had quiet week nights here at home prepping for upcoming tests and waiting out the healing while bruises faded and peace reigned and ease of movement began to return.

All in all, it’s been a good week. Maybe others wouldn’t think so, but I know better.

We’re all still here and there’s the gift of rainfall coming down right now, the ebb and flow of drops making it too fast now for me to count blessing for each drop…and trying to just the same.

I curled up on the ancient glider on the screened-in porch and just rested in the cooling rain-breeze telling God “thank you!” for all we know (and all we don’t!) as our little bird friend took refuge in the front porch corner once again.

Welcome back, bird. We’ve been missing you.

Oh, Father, help us not to miss You. There are puddles in the driveway…with standing water on the ground…praise!

“Mercy drops ’round us are falling, but for the showers we plead!” ~Showers of Blessings, lyrics by D.W. Whittle, 1883