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!!!

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NCN 2018–Days 3 & 4

IMG_20180614_163032883_LLWell, the weekend is here and that means our regularly scheduled programming will be a little bit different for the next couple of days! It means more time with family and friends (and also some really important football games in the SEC!)…and, therefore, possibly, a greater urge to be challenged…errr…I mean “relax” on this challenge, but…DON’T YOU DO IT! (LOL)

Keep up the good progress that you’ve made over the past two days–even if you you’ve had to start over…multiple times….(grin). This is an opportunity to see if you can get your family even more involved to join in and support you in the challenge. Their buy-in can make a tremendous difference in the atmosphere at home!

One dear friend has instituted a little twist to the NCN challenge at her house. She’s assigned jars to the kids and when they complain, they receive a popsicle stick to put in their jar. At the end of the day, the one with the fewest sticks wins an extra treat like a later bedtime, a special snack, or something else fun. Isn’t that great? I love it!!

What kinds of motivators are YOU using to make this easier or more interesting for you and your crew? Let me hear from you! I’ll be back on Monday with another blog and, in the meantime, stay focused! YOU CAN DO THIS!! Become a person of influence right where you LIVE!!

Weekend challenge: See if you can recruit at least 2 “family” members to join you for NCN! They don’t have to live in your house–or even be related to you, as far as I’m concerned–if you love them, that counts enough for me, so love them enough to help them have a more positive November! Who knows? It might make a difference in their whole life–and yours! Bonus points if you find a new way to motivate everyone to work hard at this challenge. (grin)

Grace and Peace!

“Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (CSB)

(And, RTR!!! 😉 I HAD to, y’all!)

Change of plans

Earlier this week I scheduled an outing with friends as a way to introduce a little Sabbath margin in the middle of our week for all of us. It was great! I had a wonderful time thinking about it beforehand and an even better time doing it. Those involved seemed pleased and happy to be along for the fun. “The food was good and the company was even better,” said one reviewer, so a good time was had by all, I think. It didn’t take more than a few hours and then we all headed home to our regular schedules.

Nothing wrong with that at all.

I thought about it later and decided that I would probably create another weekend challenge for the blog like I used to and encourage all of us to do more of that kind of thing…you know, where our own margin helps create some for someone else…

It was going to be fun.

And then…some someone asked me to do something for them that wasn’t what I would have chosen to do.

My first response wasn’t pretty–or even very nice, so I’m really glad that only God and my cat saw it.

I’m putting it out here, though, because maybe that’s what the challenge should have been all along: create some margin for someone else this weekend…even if it stretches us a bit.

This isn’t the same thing as becoming a pretzel person just to make some unreasonable person happy. THIS is about believing that we all deserve a little more margin…and doing our part to make that happen.

I hope your weekend is wonderful and that everyone you know is healthy and happy and has just the right amount of margin to have to some fun…but don’t be afraid or automatically back away if creating some margin for someone else looks a little bit more like something you wouldn’t have chosen. After all, you can still choose to serve with a good attitude…even if you need time to adjust yours. (Grin)

Grace and peace!

Day 18–NCN2016

I rarely watch commercials, so as we were watching a previously recorded show last night and my husband asked if I had seen “that commercial” (as they sped by thanks to the remote control), my answer was a definite “no” regardless of which one he meant.

He paused, backed it up, and we watched the one he wanted. Apparently, he had seen it while on a recent business trip because I’m pretty sure he hasn’t seen it here. We’re both1118160811a-1 fans of the remote control and its fast-forward button. (it gets you back to the game a LOT faster!)

That tiny little interaction has me thinking about life and wondering what else I might have been speeding past…things that are a lot more important than a commercial. What else have I gone “remote control” over and put on hold until I finished this task or that one? What have I outright ignored or just deleted before it finished because I was in a hurry?

1118160811.jpg“You’re spending too much time thinking about crazy stuff!”, you might say and, perhaps you’re right. I’ve been so focused on “getting through until…” lately that I’ve probably missed more than I realized. That changes today. I’m adding another element to my NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER, and you’re welcome to join me in that, too.

In my efforts to “get through” and “get it done”–and not complain about it!–I’ve missed out a little bit. I tend to get so task-focused that I forget to actually “enjoy” sometimes. Am I the only one? I don’t think so. Oh, I’ve taken some time out to have fun this month. I took friends on a picnic and decorated for the season a little bit and I’ve spent more time writing than I have in a while, but I also know that, while I haven’t complained (often!), I also haven’t deliberately enjoyed things as much as I could have, either.

That brings me to this weekend’s challenge: take time to appreciate who and where you are–and who shares life with you! Look for the beauty around you–in nature and in 1118160817.jpgpeople. Take a photo, write a note, drag someone you love out to enjoy it with you or celebrate the beauty all by yourself, but do THAT this weekend instead of remote-controlling your life while you miss out on actually living it.

Thanksgiving is coming up next week and we might as well start practicing for it today!

Grace and Peace! (and NO COMPAINTS!)

*And yes, I did go out and take these pictures while still in my pajamas today just for fun! The colors are even better in person and that late-blooming hydrangea picture had to be taken from my deck because it is higher than my head! (big grin!) Stopping to smell the roses actually happened today and it was worth every single second! 

 

Days 12 & 13–NCN2016

Good morning! It’s about 4:30 or so (VERY A.M!!) and I woke up thinking about all the angst and rancor of this past week…not so much in a bad way, but in a “I SO wish it had been different” way. I truly think that’s how a lot of us are feeling. This has been a most interesting NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER so far!–and a most necessary one! (and you know, God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect!)

Earlier in the week I posted about some of the ways that my friends were using different items or methods to remind them not to complain. I’m looking forward to exploring that a bit more next week, but for these next two days, I’d like us to focus on expressing our appreciation to the people around us. Let’s DO something POSITIVE in addition to eliminating the negative!!

So, here it is, your weekend challenge: Make a point (and even keep a count, if you’d like!) to let the people around you know that you love them. Give them a hug! Give them a compliment! Give them a lollipop, if you’re so inclined, but make every effort to raise the bar in expressing your appreciation of those who make your life and your day something better. Use your words, for sure, but be deliberate about passing out some hugs and kisses, too, if appropriate–and if not, a good firm handshake WILL DO! (grin!)

Experts in the field of human interaction have long since told us that it takes at least TWO positive interactions to counteract ONE negative. I think we’ve all had more than one negative interaction this week, so that means we’ve got a LOT of catching up to do! Make it FUN! Make it a GAME! Make it HAPPEN! Change the world where you live and bless the socks off the people you share life with this weekend! Be intentional about being a light in the darkness!

Anyone can do this! Will YOU?

Grace & Peace (and NO COMPLAINTS!)

How Deep?

Monday afternoon:
There are times when God steps in and transforms the ordinary physicality of a place into a cathedral of words and song and prayers of praise. That kind of grace (unmerited favor–fyi: auto correct wants to make that “inherited favor” and that works for those of us who are His, right?!) snuck up on me just now. I’m sitting in a hospital. There are no stained glass windows on this hall and no choir and no anything truly spiritual but God…and those of us who believe.

I’ve been waiting. For awhile now. It feels like we’ve been here forever and, maybe, we’ll be here just that long, as well. We won’t be, but after a long night, it kind of feels like it and so I sit on this couch and wait for healing to become evident in this one I love.

Earphones in. Book open with beautifully crafted words and I am deeply involved in the story…and then the music overtook me. David Nevue’s “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” swept in and removed place and time and anything but that realization. The Father’s love is that deep…and it is mine.

Tuesday morning:
There are times (rare, of course) when even hospitals are quietened. I think that’s what woke me up. The unexpected quiet. The delightful quiet in this place of beehive-busy-ness. In the deepest dark of early morning I found myself sitting up on the side of my couch/bed and reaching anew for this modern hymn of old truth. Once again, the simple melody moved me beyond imagining…and with palms laid open before God I asked for His help to choose THIS. And then I laughed…and amended my prayer to, “Forget that ‘help me’-thing, Lord, and just DO this thing in me.”

Ahhh, the hubris that God would need my help…even to change me. And yet, I must choose. I must choose to do, to actively seek Him, to actively live Him. And so I DO choose, God. I SO DO choose…and I also wait on You to do this in me, as well. How deep the Father’s love for me…for you…for us…how vast beyond all measure. Worship. Praise. Peace.

And then someone kicked the hive. It happens.

And He is still good. He is always good.

Lyrics

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart TownendCopyright © 1995 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, songs@integritymusic.com)

Weekend challenge…

I was up until 2 AM this morning…changing things around in my house for fall.  Yes, I know.  It is crazy.

But I love it!—and I look forward to “doing the change” every single season in my house.  Art pieces get moved to new locations, different linens make their appearances, accessories are swapped and—while most of the furniture stayed in the same place this time—the house suddenly looks new again.  Fab-u-lous. This makes me happy. Every. Single. Time.

This year I’ve been waiting to make the changes and get the heirloom pumpkins and the little tiny gourds that I usually use as my finishing touches.  I like to have everything all cleaned and in place before I go pick them out and I like to pick out ones with “character”—kind of like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree-type character. (grin)pumpkin2 I thought it was just something that entertained me—and that’s totally worth it—but this week I learned that it also entertains my husband!  I was talking about how I loved the fall season Tuesday night when my husband asked when I’d be picking up some pumpkins for the season. I told him how I’d gone and looked at some that very day, but then I said, “But, I’ve been forcing myself to wait until October, you know, so they’ll last longer here…maybe even into Thanksgiving.” He just looked at me and said, “Honey, October starts TO-MOR-ROW.”

I felt like an idiot at first, but then I got really excited!  I could go get my pumpkins!!  Well, that didn’t actually happen until today, but last night I just couldn’t sleep because I wanted to make sure that everything was ready for the pumpkins…and more importantly, for my friend Jody who will arrive later today.  I get her for just a couple of very short hours on her way to see her precious daughter!!  JOY!!!

Normally, my weekend challenges involve something about making the people around us a little happier, but this week, I’d like us to focus on making ourselves a little happier.  Do something that is fun for YOU! In case it’s been so long that you’re a bit rusty on this, pumpkin3I’ll share a few things on my list for this weekend:

  • Decorate for the season—no matter what hemisphere you happen to be in at the moment!
  • Plant some new pots for your porch or your kitchen window—something you’ll see coming and going over the next few weeks!
  • Make a big pot of chili or red beans and rice and call in some help to eat them!
  • Watch some college football! (SEC is best, but make do with whatever is closest to you! HA!—that little zinger was for my Ohio State friends!)
  • Make time for a chat with a friend. It’s even better if she brings lunch and you can curl up in big comfy chairs to catch up afterward! (Go ahead and ask me how I know this!  Thank you, Jody!!)
  • Take some time to read a book or make some new art!
  • Have breakfast with someone special—and go somewhere new or unusual.

Whatever you decide, if it makes you happier, it will also make those who are closest to you happier, as well.  That’s part of the joy of sharing love and life and lots of laughter…now, don’t forget to let me know what you do! I might want to add it to my list, too!

Grace & Peace!