A Real Presence – Pope Francis’s TED Talk

Single-Individual-Pope-Francis

One of my childhood neighbors died this week. Faye was only 47 years old. She had been battling a brain tumor for the past three years.

I don’t like these things. 

  • Why does one person get cancer and another doesn’t?
  • Why is one person born into wealth and another into poverty?
  • Why does a car accident destroy one life but another person walks away?

I wish bad things didn’t happen to anybody.

I listened yesterday to Pope Francis’s TED Talk (yes, Pope Francis did a TED talk!). He addresses the “why them and not me” question.

“As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: ‘Why them and not me?’ 

I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people. 

And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?”

He says these questions remind us that we all need other people. No one goes alone. Everything is connected.

Each person matters.

“Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The ‘you’ is always a real presence, a person to take care of.”

Despite sickness and heartaches and disasters, our presence in each other’s lives gives us reason to hope and move forward.

Faye was a real presence. Her light will be missed, especially by her son and her parents and her sister and her nieces.

But Faye will never be forgotten.

“Each and every one of us is irreplaceable in the eyes of God. Through the darkness of today’s conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around.”

Watch Pope Francis’s TED talk here. Or read the transcript.

pope-francis-ted-talk-2017

* * *

Update:
Last week I told you about Joe. Yesterday I was shocked to hear that Joe had been taken to the hospital, fighting for his life. Please pray.

Please share your thoughts here.


7 Books I Recommend – April 2017

Books-Recommend-April-2017_Lisanotes

Here are seven books I recommend from what I finished reading in April. Each month we share what we’ve been reading at Jennifer’s.

7 Books I Recommend

1. Deep Work
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport

Deep-Work

Can you focus for long periods of time without getting distracted? If not, Deep Work might be a book for you. The author stresses that we’re losing our prolonged abilities to concentrate, and the world is suffering by that lack.

It’s not the most ground-breaking book I’ve read, but because it gives many tips and steps, it’s worth reading.

2. Grace Behind Bars
An Unexpected Path to True Freedom
by Dudley Mitchell

Grace-Behind-Bars

An inspiring real life story. This excellently-told narrative is by Bo Mitchell, businessman and chaplain for the Denver Nuggets, who ends up in federal prison for a white collar crime he was unaware he committed. His wife, Gari, also shares her perspective sprinkled throughout the book.

The book will encourage you in your Christian faith, and also make you more appreciative of your freedom. I first heard Bo and Gary on a Focus on the Family podcast here. I recommend both the book and the podcast, in either order.

My review here of Grace Behind Bars

3. Democracy in Black
How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Democracy-in-Black

This book will enlighten you on both the history and the present of black lives and politics in America. Author Eddie Glaude made me think of things I hadn’t considered, and challenged me to go forward in more productive ways.

My review here of Democracy in Black

4. Invisible Influence
The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior
by Jonah Berger

Invisible-Influence

A very intriguing and well-written book. If we think we make only rational, independent decisions about our lives, we’re wrong.

We’re influenced by more factors than we’re conscious of (and it’s more than just which news channel we watch). This book reveals many of these influences. Awareness is powerful.

5. Disrupted
My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble
by Dan Lyons

Disrupted

I started this book because it was funny. I laughed out loud over and over at this true story. Dan Lyons was a top writer in his early fifties when he was suddenly laid off from Newsweek. The next job he can get is at the tech start-up, HubSpot. (If you saw The Intern with Robert De Niro, you realize how funny this scenario can be, an older man working with all younger people.) Except this time it’s not fiction.

As the story progresses, it turns a little dark. But it provides interesting insights on both age discrimination and young companies.

6. Practicing the Power
Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life
by Sam Storms

Practicing-the-Power

Are the gifts of the Spirit still active today? Sam Storms says yes. He uses this book to show how the Spirit can work in a church and other settings. Another thought-provoking book. And one to pray about for action.

My review here of Practicing the Power

7. The Naked Now
Learning to See as the Mystics See
by Richard Rohr

The-Naked-Now

I already know I need to read this again. It’s too much to get in one reading. Rohr explores what it means to live in the present and to let go of dualistic thinking.

2 Novels I Don’t Recommend

The Good Father
by Noah Hawley

The premise is good: a father’s son is accused of assassinating a presidential candidate, and the father goes on a quest to acquit him. But it didn’t progress enough for me. It’s okay, but I like Hawley’s novel Before the Fall much better.

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher

The topic of teen suicide definitely needs to be talked about. But I didn’t like the “let’s-blame-everybody-else” approach that the main character uses in this book, especially blaming other teenagers who are struggling, too. The tone of the book just rubbed me wrong. I’ll skip the Netflix series since I didn’t like the book (and since I don’t have Netflix).

Reading Now

  • A More Beautiful Question
    The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
    by Warren Berger
  • When Everything Changed
    The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
    by Gail Collins
  • The New Jim Crow
    Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
    by Michelle Alexander
  • The Versions of Us
    by Laura Barnett

* * *

What good book have you read lately? Please share here.

Whats-on-Your-Nightstand-at-_5-minut

My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists


Democracy in Black – Is Race Enslaving Our Souls?

White people often seem surprised when black people are angry.

None of us think we’re racist.

  • We don’t use the n-word.
  • We have friends of all races and colors.
  • We don’t sell our house if someone different moves in the neighborhood.

And as students at Auburn University proved this week when Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader, rented a space to speak, students of all races joined together as #AuburnUnites. With one voice they spoke out to disapprove of racism of any kind.

Author and Princeton professor Eddie S. Glaude puts it like this,

“Overly racist acts [like calling an innocent child a n*****] are increasingly rare in this country; after all, it is decidedly out of fashion these days to be a racist.”

Maybe things are better. But we’re not there yet.

Just because racism may be more subtle in some ways (while in other ways, it’s still blatant), it still exists.

And just become some may tire of hearing it, racism won’t go away just because we don’t want to talk about it.

Or just as bad: if we refuse to believe it even exists.

“Our segregated lives and our deep fears keep the problems of black folk from coming into full view. And even while hidden, the devastation spreads like cancer. This is the way we deal with race matters in this country: willful blindness. Any other approach threatens our national sense of morality.”

How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul is the subtitle of Glaude’s new book, Democracy in Black.

Democracy-in-Black

It’s a hard-hitter. It’s not a feel-good book. But it’s an important book if we’re serious about wanting to change.

Are whites valued more than blacks? Glaude proposes that this “value gap” still exists in America, saying that our racial habits reveal a belief that white people are valued more than others.

Inequality comes from the habits we exercise daily—habits that aren’t revealed in racial slurs or blatant acts of discrimination, but in the choices we make and the lives we live, even when those choices and lives seem to have little to do with race.”

And even if not overtly, these soul-shattering habits still operate, often from leftover systems still in place from 50 or more years ago.

“These assumptions about black people and homeownership, about black folk and work, about crime, sex, education, health, and politics, are all rooted in an ugly racist history that we like to believe we’ve put behind us.”

What can we do about it?

Changes need to occur at broad levels: governments and institutions and businesses and schools.

But while we work on that, we can do things right where we are, in our own communities.

Some issue, concrete and right in front of us, should be our focus.”

As always, listening is a great place to start. Have face-to-face conversations. Read widely from those outside our circles. Work for change in our local districts. Suspend our current beliefs to open up to more accurate ones.

And stop fearing young black men. One statistic quoted from Daily Kos contradicts the idea that white people are in danger from black people:

The odds of a black person killing a white person are about 0.0000212. With those numbers, ‘[y]ou really have far more reason to be scared of say, getting on a ladder, than you do of getting murdered by the hoodie wearing teenager you see on the street. The fear is irrational.’”

As Glaude says, “White fear is the danger. Not black people.”

White people not only can change how they see black people (which, too often, is as failing). But white people can also change how they see white people, too.

All our souls are at stake. 

* * *

Please share your thoughts here.

Related:

My thanks to Blogging for Books
for the review copy of this book.


Encounter Another Human Being

Encounter-another-human-being_Schweitzer

I hope it goes both ways when I call Joe my friend. He is one of the residents in the apartments where Kay and I deliver meals on Wednesday.

I don’t know much of Joe’s back story. Maybe one day we’ll talk it out.

But I do know that Joe cares about his neighbors.

And in the past two weeks, neighbors on both sides of him have died: Walter (you met him here; he taught me so much) and Amy.

Both Walter and Amy were precious to me, too. Walter loved singing about God more than anyone I knew (hear him here, 30 seconds). And Amy is one of the residents who would ask how she could be praying for me. I can’t imagine not seeing either of them here again.

We often think we don’t have time to know our neighbors. Jeff and I rarely see ours. We think our lives are too scattered, too busy, too full as it is.

But Joe knew his neighbors.

Joe tells us each week if someone in the hospital. He often has an extra dog he’s keeping while another neighbor is in rehab. He keeps his hands and heart open for those around him.

Joe is living out a purpose.

And that purpose is loving people.

When we forget that life is all about people instead of projects, when we see others as distractions to our calling instead of the calling itself, when we think we lack the time or resources or confidence to touch others, we’re robbing both ourselves and others.

God plants a piece of himself in each person. When we see other people, we’re seeing another side of Christ.

  • People are what brings us joy.
  • People got us here.
  • And people will always be with us until we’re gone.

When we honor the piece of God in others, we are honoring the God of all of us.

I don’t know who the people are in your season and circle of life right now. But I know they are there for a reason. Just like the people in my life are.

We each are strategically and uniquely placed where we are and with the people we need to be with for a God-reason.

May we each reach deeper into our circles this week. Listen to each closer. Linger with each longer.

  • If we hear a need we can fill, let’s fill it.
  • If we see a heart we can touch, let’s touch it.
  • If we meet a friend to pray with, let’s pray with them.

I thank God that Walter and Amy had Joe in their lives while they were here.

And I thank God that I have Joe in my life right now.

* * *

Do you know your neighbors? Is there a Joe in your life? Please share in the comments.


Who Do You Quote?

Colossians_3_17-Whatever-you-do

Last week Jeff and I listened to Richard Rohr interviewed by Krista Tippett on the On Being podcast.

We noticed how he often quoted lofty authors like Thomas Merton or Latin poets or foreign phrases like “Sub specie aeternitatis” (“in the light of eternity”).

How do people do that?

Well, we all can quote things. It depends on what we put in.

What goes in is what we quote out.

Jeff and I can quote all the words to . . .

Maybe Richard Rohr can also quote Sheldon Cooper’s “Bazinga!” and fill in this blank from Forrest Gump, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of _____; you never know what you’re gonna get.’”

Likely he can. I don’t know.

This is what I do know: years ago when I heard an “ordinary” lady at church spill God-truths out of her mouth like I could sing song lyrics, it moved me.

Granted, I knew my memory verses growing up. Bible Bowls and sword drills? Bring on the competition.

But I wanted something different. I wanted line after line of God’s beauty and love. Words I could say in my mind, over and over.

Words I could quote when I needed to think better thoughts and believe bigger truths.

So with a group of friends in 2004, we committed to memorizing Colossians 3 together.

Colossians-3-1-2

And now, 13 years later, I’m going to renew those words in my mind with the memorizing community of Hide His Word with Do Not Depart.

And those 13 years in between? I learned that memorizing chapters of the Bible wasn’t as impossible as I had once thought. [See “10 Tips to Memorizing a Bible Chapter” ]

And the benefits have been life-changing.

How many times have I been awake at night and recited a chapter over and over to help me return to peaceful sleep? Or said the words in my mind while undergoing a medical procedure? Or prayed the words to myself or for a friend when other words seemed to fail?

  • Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.
    Isaiah 12:2
  • I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
    Psalm 27:13
  • Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
    Matthew 6:34
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
    James 1:5

I’m thankful that I don’t remember all the words I’ve learned in my past. There are many that I didn’t need to hear to begin with.

But the words from Jesus’s mouth or words about God’s everlasting love are words that I want to remember.

Time spent memorizing isn’t time wasted, but time invested.

If you’d like to join us in this no-pressure challenge, choose from two options:

  • (A) memorize all the verses in Colossians 3:1-17, one to two verses a week, or
  • (B) memorize five of the best verses in Colossians 3, one verse every two weeks.

We’ll begin May 1. You can sign up today. You’ll receive resources to print and short email reminders on Monday mornings.

Colossians-3-Memory

I may never be able to quote things as well as Richard Rohr. But when I do quote, I want it to be good.

14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3

* * *

Related:

Do you have favorite authors or movie lines or song lyrics that you remember well? Any favorite memory verses? Please share in the comments.


When You Want to Pray WITH Others, Not Just FOR Others

Praying is personal.

When our friends are struggling, we pray for them. And they pray for us.

But how often do we pray with each other, not just for each other?

Pray-With-Friends-Not-For

Can praying with our friends be a better way to be a friend?

Read the rest here
+ 5 Tips for Praying Together
+ Downloadable Prayer Template

* * *

We’re discussing how to be a better friend this month at Do Not Depart. Please join me there.

How to Pray WITH Your Friend, Not Just FOR Your Friend

And get your free prayer template, “Pray Together.”

Pray-Together-Thumbnail


Holy Spirit – Still Active Today or Not?

“If little else of practical benefit comes to you who read this chapter, I pray that you will move forward in your Christian life and in whatever ministry God has given you with a newly found and biblically grounded confidence in the authority and power given to every believer in the name of Jesus.

Don’t live in fear of the devil and his minions. Stand firm.”
– Sam Storms

Stop or Go with Gifts?

Do you believe the Holy Spirit still works today in miraculous ways? Or instead do you believe he stopped moving supernaturally near the end of the first century?

Whichever view you hold, this book might interest you.

Practicing-the-Power-Sam-Storms

Sam Storms (also the author of One Thing: Developing a Passion for the Beauty of God), in his newest book, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life, says this:

“I believe that one of the reasons why spiritual gifts are less frequent in certain seasons of church history than in others is due to the fact that people didn’t seek, pursue, or passionately and incessantly pray for these gifts. And often the reason they didn’t pray for them or ask for them is because they had a prior conviction or belief that they did not exist or were not available to them.

In other words, they had not because they asked not, and they asked not because they believed not!”

In other words: if you don’t think it will happen, it’s less likely to.

So chapter by chapter, gift by gift, Storms writes why he does believe that the Spirit still works through humans with special gifts.

I agree with him on many points, and disagree on others. My views are still in flux.

But whether you agree or not, you won’t feel pushed in this book. Storms writes with humility. He includes scriptures and personal experiences to back up his claims. The tone of the book is positive, not prideful for those who do believe or condemning for those who don’t.

Worship in the Spirit

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 12, “The Importance of Worship in the Spirit.” Storms doesn’t say worship itself is a gift of the Spirit. He does say worship can be awakened, sustained, and energized by the Spirit.

He differentiates between . . .

  • those whose greatest fear in worship is emotionalism and those whose greatest fear is intellectualism,
  • those who only sing about God and those who sing to God,
  • those who mostly cultivate fear and reverence and those who aim for joy and love.

I’ve worshiped in both types of churches. The differences are real. I have a preference. You likely have one, too. It’s not a right or wrong choice.

This happened yesterday at our church as part of Palm Sunday. I call this expression of worship a spiritual gift. It’s a gift I’ve not been given. But it’s one that moves me when others share it.

[click here if you can’t see the 1:27 video]

Lists of Reasons

The book ends with two appendices, An Alternative Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, and Are Miraculous Gifts for Today, derived from Storms’ previous writings.

The latter appendix includes this list: “Twelve Bad Reasons for Being a Cessationist” (one who believes certain gifts have ceased, stopped). One of the reasons is:

“If signs, wonders, and miracles were essential in the physical presence of the Son of God, how much more essential are they now in his absence?

. . . In other words, if the glorious presence of the Son of God himself did not preclude the need for miraculous phenomena, how can we suggest that our possession of the Bible does?”

Storms follows that list with another list: “Twelve Good Reasons for Being a Continuationist” (one who believes that all the gifts of the Spirit continue to be given by God today).

This list includes reasons like #3, the extensive New Testament evidence of miraculous gifts among Christians who are not apostles, and #5, the fundamental continuity or spiritually organic relationships between the church in Acts and the church in subsequent centuries.

Read them for yourself in Practicing the Power to form your own conclusions.

Quotes

Here are a few quotes from selected chapters in Practicing the Power.

  • Chapter 1, Welcome the Spirit

Regarding embarrassing examples of faith healers on TV (or in person), Storms says, “I resolved in my heart that I would never justify my disobedience to God’s Word because of the abusive or embarrassing practices of others.”

“God is far more pleased with our obedience than he is with our success. Success is not something we ultimately control. I can’t guarantee that my prayers for the sick will result in healing. I can’t promise that my word to you will be spot-on accurate. But I can control whether or not I am willing to step out and take a risk. And the risk is worth it.”

  • Chapter 3, Praying

Pray for people-Sam-Storms

“When God wants to bless us with a miraculous answer to our prayer, he will take the initiative to cultivate and build into our hearts the fulfillment of the condition he requires.”

  • Chapter 4, Fasting

“Fasting is about spiritual indulgence! It is not a giving up of food (or some activity) for its own sake. It is about giving up food for Christ’s sake.

We are always driven to fast because we hunger for something more than food.”

  • Chapter 5, Healing

“The primary reason God healed through Jesus prior to Pentecost was because he is a merciful, compassionate God. And the primary reason God continues to heal after Pentecost is because he is a merciful, compassionate God. God is no less merciful, no less compassionate, no less caring when it comes to the physical condition of his people after Pentecost than he was before Pentecost.”

  • Chapter 9, Deliverance

“Don’t ever think of yourself as at one end of a rope and Satan at the other, both of you struggling to overpower the other. No! You are in Christ who is over all. Satan is beneath you, in Christ’s name.”

  • Chapter 11, Ministry

“We are to pray, ‘Come, Holy Spirit,’ and be confident that he will, whether or not manifestations follow. If they do, we should not prevent them from occurring. But neither should we take steps to artificially induce them.”

Conclusion

I recommend this book be read with an open mind. You may or may not change your mind on anything you believe, but in the challenge, you’ll still learn and grow.

We likely can all agree on this prayer offered by Storms in his conclusion:

Pray yet again that God would increase your spiritual hunger pangs, that he would intensify your thirst for godly power, that he would never allow you to settle for the status quo.”

* * *

Do you believe the Spirit is still active today, or that he now speaks only in the words of the Bible? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

My thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of this book.


Don’t Stop Looking

Continue-to-ask-matthew7-7

I couldn’t find one of my favorite books on prayer.

  • I looked on my “favorite books” shelf in my bedroom. Not there.
  • On my “recently read” shelf. Nope.
  • On the “retired-to-the-basement-but-too-loved-to-get-rid-of” shelf. Not there either. At least not the first time I looked.

But on the third look, it was there in the basement. On the shelf I had looked at twice earlier.

Do you ever do that? Look right over the thing you’re looking for?

I know I do that with God.

As I’m looking for peace, I sometimes look right over God. Or in my search for contentment, I’ll ponder truths about Jesus, instead of look at Jesus, who is present with me all the time.

With my book, I thought I remembered it with a white cover. So I looked for white.

But it was blue.

Only when I stopped looking for white and started looking for any color with the right title—the true words—did I find it.

Sometimes Jesus doesn’t look like I what I’m searching for either. If I’m not careful, I’ll look right over him.

But he is what I’m looking for. What I need. Every time. When I see him, he is life. He is healing. He makes me whole.

To continue discovering more about him, I hope I’ll never stop looking.

And finding.

* * *
Does Jesus ever show up differently than what you expect? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives


Links, Books, and Other Things I Love – April 2017

Here are favorites from March and what I’m looking forward to in April. We share once a month at Leigh’s.

1 Second Everyday

[If you can’t see the 1 Second Everyday video, click here]

~ * ~ * ~

Around the Web

• You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths
by Anya Kamanetz
Take this quiz from NPR to see how well you understand what good learning looks like. “Ulrich Boser says, probably not very well. His new research on learning shows that the public is largely ignorant of, well, research on learning.”

• No, Stay At Home Moms Don’t ‘Waste’ Their Education
By Anna Mussmann
I officially used my accounting/finance degree for only a few years before I quit to stay home with my daughters. Was my education wasted? I’ve never thought so.

“Anyone who castigates a woman for failing to cash in on her degree reveals a complete misunderstanding of two things. 1. The nature and purpose of education, and 2. The actual needs of society.”

no-waste-education

• When You Need a More Creative Way to Pray
by Betsy de Cruz

Great post by Betsy on using prayer mapping to liven up your prayer life.

“Last year, I asked God to show me seven Big Things I could ask Him for. I made a list: Greater Faith, Healing, Joy, Anointing, Provision, a Life that Honors God, and Passion for Christ. I mapped these out on paper and included scriptures, song quotes, written out prayers, and specific requests.”

When-You-Need-a-More-Creative-Way-to-Pray-Prayer-Map

• 9 Things That Are Still Great About Facebook
by Cheryl Magness

“With all of its problems, Facebook still has a lot going for it, and I for one am not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

• Google Has Finally Killed the CAPTCHA
by Rhett Jones
Yay! Anybody else glad that CAPTCHA is gone?

end-captcha

~ * ~ * ~

On Books and Podcasts

• 5 Books I Recommend

Here are excellent books I recommend from what I finished reading in March.

5-Books-I-Recommend-Lisanotes
Books I’m Currently Reading

  1. Democracy in Black
    How Race Enslaves the American Soul
    by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
  2. The Naked Now
    Learning to See as the Mystics See
    by Richard Rohr
  3. Invisible Influence
    The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior
    by Jonah Berger
  4. Practicing the Power
    Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life

    by Sam Storms
  5. The Enneagram
    A Christian Perspective
    by Richard Rohr
  6. Grace Behind Bars
    An Unexpected Path to True Freedom
    by Dudley Mitchell

• Podcasts – 6 Podcast Episodes for Cultivating Compassion
by Sara Schairer

“Here are six podcast episodes that will open your heart and eyes to not only the power of compassion, but also the need for it. Watch how your own capacity for compassion grows.”

man-listening-to-a-podcast-with-earphones

My Favorite Podcasts This Month
These five episodes were particularly instructive to me.

  1. The RobCast
    Episode 145: The Importance of Boredom
    Do you pick up your phone when you have a spare second of boredom? What’s a different way to use that space?
  2. The World in Words
    How Christianese Became a Thing 
    If you understand these phrases, you might speak Christianese:
    too blessed to be stressed, spoke into my life, called to move, felt led to, ….
  3. Pass the Mic
    Truth’s Table & Pass the Mic Crossover
    A lively and godly conversation on males and females in the church.
  4. Hidden Brain
    Episode 65: Tunnel Vision
    “When you’re hungry, it can be hard to think of anything other than food. Explore the psychological phenomenon of scarcity and how it can affect our ability to see the big picture and cope with problems in our lives.”
  5. The Elite Advisor Blueprint
    Episode 18: Ian Cron on The 9 Personality Types
    Understandable information on the 9 Enneagram personality types, exploring why people think, feel and act the way they do.

~ * ~ * ~

Things I Love

• My Bracket Won!

I usually lose. Jeff usually wins. I was dead last for most of NCAA March Madness this year, too. But thanks to Gonzaga’s continued wins and Kansas’ early loss, my basketball bracket won Saturday night in our group of 4 this year! So I get to choose where we all go out to eat, regardless of which team wins the championship Monday night.

espn-tournament-challenge-march-madness

• Vacation with the 4 Corners

We had a fun girls’ getaway in Gulf Shores. Laughing, crying, talking. We did a StoryCorp interview one night about our friendship. I’ll treasure that for years to come.

lulus-4-corners

Kathy, Julie, Lisa, Alicia

• Spring Flowers

I don’t have much blooming yet, but this hardy tulip managed to come back again. It’s put in its time. The remaining tulips I planted years ago at my mailbox finally stopped returning. This lone survivor still stands.

tulip

• Freedom Group

I only knew one lady in this group before February (that’s Jenna). But now we all know so much about each other. I’m loving getting to grow in Christ and in freedom with this group of sisters.

freedom-group-highlands

~ * ~ * ~

On the Blog

• Do a Reframe
I needed a reframe. When we can only see one side of something, it’s time to flip it around.

• Hey, I Have a RIGHT to Complain! Oh, Really?
Excuses we use for complaining and how to counteract them

• 7 New Ways to Say I Love You
What words do you like to hear? We all love hearing, “I love you.” But sometimes we need to hear it said another way. To make it more personal.

• God’s Math of Little Things
It was just a little thing I saw. But maybe a lifetime of big love is really a lifetime of little loves all added together.

* * *

What was one of your highlights from March? What are you looking forward to in April? Please share in the comments.

previous Links and Books


Do a Reframe

eeyore-do-a-reframe

Outer Life/Inner Life

Poor me.

I was sitting on the beach last Thursday with three of my closest friends. We’d driven to Gulf Shores on Wednesday to spend four uninterrupted days together, catching up on each other’s lives.

But it was windy. And it was cold. And I was growing miserable.

It’s easy to depend too much on our surroundings to make us happy. When they turn sour, we can, too. Our energy drains away. We focus on our discomfort. We have little positive to share.

As the sand storm blew fiercely around us and on top of us (y’all, sand was literally filling in the pages of my magazine), I finally decided to go up. Poolside. Surely it would be calmer.

But while it was less windy, it was also colder. I inwardly vowed, “I’ll never come back to the beach in March.”

Get a Reframe

I needed a reframe.

When we can only see one side of something, it’s time to flip it around.

“Reframing is changing your mental and emotional responses to people and events.”

I recently participated in a 21-day e-course, “Reframing.”

Reframing-ecourse

It was designed to walk us through areas of our lives that need a new perspective, see other people and events as spiritual teachers, and become less judgmental. Topics included:

  • Reframing Negativity
  • Reframing Anger
  • Reframing Fear
  • Reframing Worry
  • Reframing Waiting

It challenged us to make a list of things that needed reframing. Then encouraged us to set an intention, and actively find new meanings behind events.

So I decided to reframe my Thursday afternoon.

I took my Kindle, a snack, and a jacket to the balcony of our condo. I poured myself a Diet Coke and read and ate. I was no longer on the beach, but I could still see the ocean, still hear the waves.

And joy returned. Despite the wind. Despite the temperature.

Receive New Gifts

I realize that reframing our situations are rarely that easy. Especially when circumstances are out of our control.

Our stories don’t unfold like we expect.

But instead of fighting against the differences, maybe we can open our hands a little wider, and receive the new gifts that God is giving us instead.

  • Pray for reframed attitudes.
  • Invite the Spirit to give us new perspectives.
  • Claim hope for God’s grace in the moment and grace in things to come.

On Friday morning?

You wouldn’t have called me a beach fashionista, but wearing a warm sweatshirt, a cap cinched tight on my head, and a beach towel wrapped around my legs, I sat on the beach with my friends with thankfulness, laughter, and grace reframed.

Poor me no longer.
Blessed me instead.

* * *

What situation do you need to reframe? Please share in the comments.


%d bloggers like this: