You Might Be an Introvert If . . .

Solitude matters - Susan Cain

You might be an introvert if . . .

  • You cry easily at commercials
  • You have friends who talk more than you do
  • You prefer texts to phone calls
  • You think small talk is shallow
  • You keep your stories short so you won’t waste people’s time
  • You prefer to study alone rather than with a group
  • You get personal on social media
  • You can’t scrapbook with a group
  • You’ve been told you’re too sensitive
  • You blush easily
  • You leave a party with less energy than you arrived with
  • You become speechless over a piece of art or a poem or a song
  • You’re not labeled a “people person” despite having strong friendships
  • You have fewer hobbies but you stick with them
  • You hate scary movies
  • You can be too tired to talk

It’s been awhile since I’ve read the game-changing book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I’m due for a re-read soon.

Looking back, there were some things I learned brand-new in Quiet. And other things reinforced what I already felt deep in my spirit.

“Introverts may enjoy parties and business meetings up to a point, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas.

They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.

They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.” 
– Susan Cain, Quiet

Introversion Is Not Shyness

Nobody is all introvert or all extrovert. One-third to one-half of us are introverted (but it’s hard to tell because introverts can channel extroversion as needed).

American culture encourages extroversion whereas many eastern cultures respect introversion. (The tipping point for extroversion in America was around 1900; earlier, our culture emphasized the importance of virtuous qualities over having a “good personality.”)

Even though the terms are often usually interchangeably, introversion is not the same thing as shyness.

  • Introversion is also not low self-esteem.
  • It’s not low IQ.
  • It’s not about liking or disliking people.
  • It’s not about the ability to carry on a conversation.

Though these qualities—either negative or positive—are often attached to popular definitions of introversion/extroversion, there is no scientific evidence correlating them to either introverts or extroverts.

“Probably the most common—and damaging—misunderstanding about personality type is that introverts are antisocial and extroverts are pro-social.

But . . . neither formulation is correct; introverts and extroverts are differently social.

. . . Your degree of extroversion seems to influence how many friends you have, in other words, but not how good a friend you are.”

So What Is Introversion?

Introversion is about how much stimulation you need to function well.

For introverts, less is more because they’re more sensitive to stimulation than extroverts. Introverts tend to process the world more deeply, thinking and feeling more thoroughly about what they notice.

In infancy, introverts are high-reactive babies, typically very sensitive to their environments. Extroverts, however, are typically low-reactive babies; it takes more stimulation before their nervous systems are overloaded.

The upside for introverts is they are more empathetic and cooperative. Kind and conscientious.

They have thinner boundaries, able to empathize and focus on personal problems of others instead of considering them too heavy for conversation.

They have greater powers of alertness, seeing extra nuances in everyday experiences.

The downside is they may react to stress with more depression and anxiety (and yes, sometimes shyness) than an extrovert.

They can feel more guilt because of their heightened sensitivity to all experiences—positive or negative.

They are also more easily disturbed by cruelty and irresponsibility.

“It can be hard for extroverts to understand how badly introverts need to recharge at the end of a busy day.

We all empathize with a sleep-deprived mate who comes home from work too tired to talk, but it’s harder to grasp that social overstimulation can be just as exhausting.

It’s also hard for introverts to understand just how hurtful their silence can be.”


Introverts are geared to inspect. They think more and act slower.
Extroverts are geared to respond. They think less and act faster.

Should either try to change? No, except when it’s temporarily appropriate to do so. Otherwise, stay true to yourself.

If you’re an introvert, learn to use it to your advantage. If you’re an extrovert, strengthen your unique skills.

Walk alongside your opposite to complement each other, not compete. Each has much to offer the other.

Whatever your temperament, we all have much to gain by better understanding each other and valuing each other. God uses all types.

Learn to appreciate your type. And watch him use you.

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Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Is your partner the same or opposite? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives

sharing with KristinSue, Jenifer,
Jaime, Mary, Diane,
MegKelly, Ronja

Resist and Persist – An Important Book for Our Times

Resist and Persist

“Our brothers and sisters in the activist community have been telling us the same thing for years about our niceness. Our commitment to being nice, to just getting along, is literally costing lives. They were right then. And they’re right now.”
– Erin Wathen

Women are inching their way toward equality, but haven’t yet arrived. There’s much room left for progress.

“We use slang terms for female genitalia when we want to imply weakness…. Use that word as a symbol of aggression toward women, and it is ‘just locker room talk.’ Use it in reference to a man to imply that he’s weak, and it’s suddenly the worst insult imaginable, as though weakness is so inherent to femaleness that all you need to do is conjure up the image of our body parts and you can effectively make another man worthless. If you use that word as an insult to men, what does that say about how you value women?”

Erin Wathen in Resist and Persist points out that specifically the voice of the church should get louder in calling for more equality.

This book is a moving collection of many different ways that faith can advance the fight for equality for the good of all. Not just for women. Men also benefit when women are empowered. “Good news for women is good news for everyone.”

As Wathen clarifies, women’s issues aren’t only about women; they are humanitarian issues.

“These are matters the church is called to address directly: — poverty — racism — access to health care — family leave and healthy family life — human trafficking — sexual assault and domestic violence, just to name a few.

But all of these issues have one thing in common: none of them should be partisan or controversial. They are not women’s issues; they are humanitarian issues. They are systemic and societal issues that affect all of us—men and women alike.”

Wathen calls for churches to to break free of only “pink ghetto” ministries for women. She suggests that people with privilege learn to amplify the voices of those with less privilege. She says we shouldn’t only make room for others at our table, but we should also show up at theirs.

“But sometimes I wince at the implication that ‘we’ are the ones with the power to invite—with the ownership of the table that entitles us to extend an invitation. I wonder if, rather than finding ways of making room at our table, we would do better to support and lift up what women in other circles are already doing. Then it’s no longer about inviting them to our show, but showing up for theirs.”

This book goes deep in exposing our wounds. It will make you uncomfortable in places.

But it doesn’t leave us there. Wathen shows us how we can use our words as healing properties to move the conversations forward in healthy directions.

“Calling in is more nuanced than calling out. It is constructive. It offers the offending person a way forward without having to put them on the defensive. It puts the onus on them to dig a little deeper, to think more critically about the statement they just made. ‘Hey, Jesus, even dogs get the bread crumbs.'”

This is everyone’s fight. “Women, get other women’s backs. Men, step in more often.”

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to raise their awareness of the systemic issues of inequality in our culture, and who wants to find hope for its improvement, both within our faith communities and outside of them.

“This is about the systemic silencing of literally half of the world—and half of the body of Christ—and it is far past time we ended it, together.”

* * *

My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy

sharing with Caroline, Randomosity,
AnitaMareeJen, Deb

Hope for Later – But Also Right Now

Hope blesses now

Break an Arm

I remember crashing down. The snow wasn’t soft enough. The ice was too hard.

I braced with my left arm.

And my arm snapped.

It hurt. Badly. [See the story here.]

But the pain from a broken arm went beyond physical.

It was my thoughts about the future that also caused suffering.

My One Word 2019

That happened years ago. But I think about it still.

Almost every year when I am searching for my One Word for the year, one word repeatedly makes it on my preliminary list: hope.

But each year, something else overpowers it. And perhaps rightly so. For those years.

But for 2019, my cynicism and pessimism towards the political and cultural divides in America have made “hope” stand out as the only correct choice.

Because even though I eventually gain it back, I can too easily give up hope.

Just like when I broke my arm. I too easily gave up hope.

What hurt the most were thoughts of losing future abilities to play the piano, to type, to use my left arm for anything meaningful. I was worried about the possibility of unimagined losses for a lifetime, not just that my arm would be useless for the next few weeks.

Hope Is Now

When I become hopeless about the future, I also lose my peace and joy in the present.

Hope brings more than just confidence about the future, more than just trust in God’s grace around the corner.

Hope also is grace for today.

I want joy in the now that comes from confidence in God down the road.

It’s right now that I gain peace when I hope.

These present benefits of hope are the ones I want to claim.

Hope on Hand

So with the Spirit’s guidance—a route I can’t fully predict or plot on a calendar—I want to call hope to mind more often in 2019. As a spiritual discipline. As a deliberate practice.

Each month as I hold hope for myself, my friends, our world, I want to cling to hope personified, the person and deity of Jesus. To learn from him. To let him hold my hand.

“I will not be shaken with the Lord at my right hand.”
Psalm 16:8

I know he’s at my left hand, too.

As it turned out, my broken left arm healed fine. Maybe a tad more crooked upon close examination, but it’s as functional as before the break.

So for 2019, this will be my theme:

“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end.”
Lamentations 3:21-22

Hope is not only for later. It blesses me right now.

* * *

Do you have one word or phrase for 2019? Does hope come easily to you? Or like me, do you have to work at it? Please share in the comments.

Hope 2019

Previous One Words:

sharing with Susan, Lyli, Amelia

5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – January 2019

Happy New Year! What are you looking forward to in 2019? What was a highlight of your December 2018?

1 Second Everyday

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

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5 Things Around the Web

•  A Simple Message on One Man’s Door Is Inspiring Thousands
By Tracy Kornet

We’ve listened to Patrick Mead’s sermons for years. He’s a one-of-a-kind minister. Now that his father has Alzheimer’s, we’re also following that journey. Last month Patrick had to place his dad in a care facility. I love what he wrote for his dad’s door because “he’s not just the new guy in Room 14.”

father's story

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•  How Often Did You Use Cash Last Week? 
By William Thornton

I rarely use cash. But I always want to have some on hand. When’s the last time you used cash? More Americans are going a week without using cash.

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•  Here’s How America Uses Its Land
By Dave Merrill and Lauren Leatherby

I love great graphics. These maps of the United States show lots of different and easy-to-visualize statistics about how we use our land.

land use

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•  The 1 Question to Ask Yourself This New Year
By Nicole Leatherman

It’s only three letters, but it’s a big question, especially as you set intentions and goals for 2019.

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•  Package Deliveries

If you spent any of December awaiting package deliveries, you’ll relate to this, too.

Package Tracking

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5 Things with Books and Words

•  All the Words You Couldn’t Pronounce in 2018
By Christina Maxouris

I either mispronounced many of these myself, or avoided them altogether because I knew I wouldn’t say them right.

pronounce words

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•  The Bigger, Badder 2019 Book Tracking Spreadsheet 
By Rachel Manwill

Do you keep track of the books you read each year? I use GoodReads to keep track during the year, then download it into an excel spreadsheet at year-end so I can rank them. The method here seems pretty intense, but also quite useful.

book tracking

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•  12 Books That Every Leader Should Read: Updated for 2018
By Bob Sutton

Two of these are my favorites: Made to Stick and Quiet. Do you see any you want to read? Maybe this year I’ll tackle Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

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•  Talking Tech – Podcast

I love short podcasts. This one is about 5 minutes or less every day. It typically highlights one aspect of technology per episode: what’s the best way to save digital photos; how to cut the cord; video streaming options; etc.

talking tech

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•  Top 10 Books I Recommend from 2018
Here are my favorite 10 books from 2018, from a variety of genres: biography, memoir, politics, psychology, and religion & spirituality. I recommend them to you, too.

Top 10 Books of 2018

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5 Things I Love

•  God Connects

Our dear friends Adam and Amber are moving to Greece next week. They’ll be serving Syrian refugees. When Adam went to buy new tennis shoes for the trip, he met Chris working there. They connected. A few days later—moving day—Chris showed up all day to help Adam. God connections are strong ones.


Tony, Chris, Adam, Jeff


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• Puzzle Mania

I don’t understand it. I become totally absorbed working jigsaw puzzles. It’s been a few years since I allowed myself the luxury. But this year I’ve indulged my craving during the Christmas break. And loving every second of it.

christmas puzzle

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• Through a Child’s Eyes

We loved, loved, loved celebrating our granddaughter’s first Christmas together. And this month? She’ll turn 1. Already!

candy cane


baby jesus

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• Family Photos

We had a beautiful day for our whole family to get a photo together this year. I treasure these moments.

family christmas 2018

And it’s our yearly tradition to get a siblings picture with my brother and two sisters. I’m glad this year was no exception.


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• Christmas with the Church

More traditions are to attend Christmas services with our youngest daughter Jenna and her in-laws (love them!); to help give away gifts to moms at Manna House; to celebrate with our own church.

highlands christmas

manna christmas

rock christmas

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5 Things on the Blog

•  2-Year Bible Reading Plan {Updated}
Instead of 1 year, take 2 years to read the Bible. Get the plan here.

•  8 Lessons to Learn from 2018
What did you learn from 2018? Here are 8 life lessons you can apply in 2019.

•  When Giving Takes the Fun out of Christmas
Are you looking for that perfect gift? Is it taking away your joy, your Jesus, this Christmas? Try these 3 things instead.

•  When the Bad Thing Does NOT Happen
She heard the shots. And saw the shooter. When something bad happens, it gets our attention. But when it doesn’t? Do we notice?

•  Keep Out? Not Always
The writing on the wall said keep out. But there was more to the story. Isn’t there always?

* * *

What was a highlight from your December? What are you looking forward to in January? Please share in the comments.

previous Links and Books

sharing with Deb, Susan, CrystalLyli,
Maree, Jen, Rachel, Randomosity,
Encouraging Hearts

2-Year Bible Reading Plan {Updated}

Do you struggle to finish a 1-year Bible reading plan?

Trying to squeeze all 66 books of the Bible into 12 months is no easy task, especially if you don’t want to just speed through.

Here’s an alternative option:

Use a 2-year Bible reading plan instead.

Get the 2-year Bible reading plan

  • 5 days a week (no weekends)
  • Alternate 2 weeks in the Old Testament/1 week in the New Testament
  • No dates; start anytime
  • Take several weeks off per year as needed (total schedule=95 weeks)
  • Basic chronological order within each Testament
  • Psalms and Proverbs sprinkled throughout

With this plan you only read 5 days a week and take the weekends off. Two weeks in the Old Testament alternate with one week in the New Testament. The blocks aren’t dated so you can start anytime. You can also skip days here and there and still finish on time. Or read straight through and finish in less than 2 years.

I created this two-year plan based on a chronological timeline of the Bible, with the exception of Psalms and Proverbs, which are interspersed throughout the plan. I’ve shared a similar version here, but this year I did significant revisions. I like it even better.

So here’s the brand-new version of my 2-Year Bible Reading Plan. If you try it, let me know what you think.

We should never have to rush as we read through the Bible. But we do benefit with a steady diet, whatever our pace.

Reading the testimonies of God’s encounters with others awakens us to our own encounters with God.

PRINT THE PLAN (not dated, so start anytime)


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Do you have a daily Bible reading plan you like? Please share in the comments.

sharing with Kelly, Meg, Ronja,
Inspire Me Monday, Randomosity

8 Lessons to Learn from 2018

8 Lessons from 2018

What did God teach you in 2018?

Looking back over the year, God taught me things in unique places and people in 2018. I wrote a little about each one during the year. If one resonates with you now, the links are under each picture.

Maybe you can use one for 2019.

1. There are no dead ends with God.

This dead end street in Panama City took heavy losses from Hurricane Michael in October. Charles was growing despondent.


No Dead End Here

 2. Pay attention when the bad thing does NOT happen.

Jenna heard the shots. And then she saw the shooter.

man shooting at traffic

When the Bad Thing Does NOT Happen

3. No prayer is a throwaway.

The quiet Hispanic lady needed to tell me something. She said someone prayed over her 4 years ago. And now this?

No prayer is a throwaway. God is better. Lisanotes

Is This a Throwaway Prayer?

4. Grace always comes with refills.

The wind picked up. The paper blew onto the bottle. All the communion grape juice was now spilled on the ground.

Grace comes with refills

You’ll Always Get a Refill

5. Being in the majority may feel comfortable, but it can be detrimental.

Jeff and I looked around the comedy club. We were definitely among the oldest. And among the whitest.

Being in the majority feels comfortable. But it also can be detrimental.

When You’re the Minority

6. Be a planter, not a shooter.

The grocery store mom was yelling. I was uncomfortable. Words are either bullets or seeds.

Bullets or Seeds

Are Your Words Bullets or Seeds?

7. Raise your hand when you agree.

Averie is 7. She says things like this a lot: “Raise your hand if you know want to play a game” or “Raise your hand if you’re ready to eat.” Then she asked me: “Why do people raise their hands at your church?


Raise Your Hand If . . . 

8. Give everyday grace generously.

The man is clearly blocking traffic as he walks down the road. Yet no one is honking at him. Why not?

God gives grace generously_James-4-6

Give This Kind of Grace Generously

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What’s one lesson you learned in 2018? What do you want to learn in 2019?

Please share in the comments.

sharing with Holley,
Caroline, Good Random Fun,
Inspire Me Monday, Anita