February 20, 2015

I took the gift of reading for granted.

How is your February going? Have you been finding little things to do for others? I will admit some days are harder than others, but I always get a giggle when I am able to find things to do. Almost as much as when small things are done for me.

In my last post I had talked about how I had been procrastinating in the book I was reading. I have to admit, I never really considered it a gift that I could read. I took it for granted and didn't appreciate the ability at all. I have moved on in the book, so excited to tell you more about that, but today I simply want to talk to you about reading.

I honestly don't remember when I learned to read. I vaguely remember doing phonics cards with my mother, but my memory places us as visiting my maw maw and paw paw so I can't place the timing. But I learned along the way of growing up, and as I got older I learned to love books.

Did you know that there are 250 million women in Asia who were never given this gift? They can't read and it puts themselves and their families in harms way often. Whether in the market or on the roads, the inability to read puts them at a disadvantage. There is also no way they could read scripture, even when they want to.

I know so many want to know the why of something. Why can't these women learn? Why didn't they learn as a little girl? I believe each story would be different if told. You can see one woman's video here, but the fact is it really doesn't matter why they can't read. The fabulous part is they have the ability to learn to read.

Gospel for Asia has a literacy program for women where they teach women to read and use basic math skills, so they can provide for their families. This gift will not only open doors for safety and protection, it will also open the door to allow them to read scripture on their own. Another thing I have fully taken for granted.

If you haven't found your little thing to do for someone today, would you consider sharing to help a woman learn to read. Truly, the result will not be little, but your gift of ONE dollar teaches ONE woman to read. Please, consider giving a little to make a huge difference in the life of another.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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February 17, 2015

Let's choose to listen to God about that spark.

AKA: Are you scared to say what it is that maybe you would consider doing because the idea puts a little spark in your step but you are scared someone will notice and blow the spark out?


This was supposed to be the book I read last week and what I said about it on Facebook. I am still moving through it at a snail's pace. Why? (I heard you, I know you asked.) Why is it my own fault that I'm not done with it? (Aside from not picking it up on a more regular basis, of course.) It's because of fear.

Here's the fact, jack. There is a part of me that wants to learn to coach people. I know what it's like to feel as if you are going through things alone, and I don't want others to have to feel that way. I want people to know they have a cheerleader, and I want to do the best I can, so I'm reading about it, which is the same things as learning, don'cha know. I'm not saying there will be a time when I am a professional coach, though please know I am playing with that idea as well, actually going to school for this goal, but right now I simply know that to be the best person I can be, to be the best friend I can be, then I need to have these tools in my belt. And I am so thankful I am learning from this awesome book.

But here's the thing.

Fear. Fear of what others will say. When someone laughs at me and tells me this is not something I should look into and I need to get off the path because it's not for me, what do I do with that little spark that is burning in my heart then? Do I let it burn out? Do I relocate my corner and just stay there. ("Nobody puts baby in a corner.")

That's the real question, right? Not if someone will belittle my spark, but what will I do when someone belittles my spark.

And that's when I fall back on my (incomplete) study of fear I did several years ago. The study I think I don't need anymore because I learned from it. The study which truly is done, at least my part of it, but apparently refreshers are a good thing.

Hezekiah (go check out the link above) had a choice to make. Did he believe the threats the Assyrians were making, or the truth God sent through Isaiah?

I have a choice. Do I believe those who would belittle and blow out my spark, or do I trust that if this is the plan and the good work God has for me to do then He will finish the work in me.

See, sometimes I mistakenly think that it's all up to me. But it's not. God put this spark in my heart, and He will help me figure out how to fan it into a fire. God has created me to be such a person who is sensitive to others, empathetic, and wants to be helpful. And He will help me find the tools to use these things in the best way. But I have to trust Him most.

So, there's the little spark that has been growing in my heart for a little bit. I'm going to finish this book this week. Not just for the 52 books in a year goal, but because there is so much within it that I need to know. And it doesn't matter if someone comes and makes threats to blow out my little spark.

And it doesn't matter if someone comes and makes threats to blow out your little spark. Trust that God has placed it there for a reason, and His words are so much more powerful than threats from some underling.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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February 12, 2015

A little helping hand...

Sometimes this world can get dizzy or confusing. The chaos gets so loud we can't hear our own thoughts. We question ourselves, others question us, and sometimes we simply need help from someone who cares.

Let me tell you, friends. There are so many who DO care! There are so many who will give you a helping hand. There are so many who would love to reach out, and are reaching out, and maybe you just don't know it?

prov 27 17

Today I want to share a few places who are willing to give a helping hand, and I know these are simply a small smattering of everything that is out there in this big wide internet and world.

Brave Girls Club: If you have been around here for any length of time, especially if you follow me on Facebook, I am sure you have seen me share tidbits from BGC before. I have probably blogged about them before. I love the organization, the heart behind it, the people within it, and the love they pour out. Their classes range in wide variety: Brave Girl Soul School is a monthly subscription which gives you access to monthly classes. They have different prices, but each level brings you more goodies. They also have ala carte classes which are fabulous: Soul Restoration, Life Restoration, Body Restoration, The Walk, and more! Go check them out and see all the ways they may be able to help you. They are highly journal intensive.

Jeff Goins: He has a new book coming out, which I totally purchased and took advantage of his special price. Can't wait for the free things to begin! It's called The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What you are Meant to Do, and more information can be found at this site.

Brandyglows: Next week Lent starts, and if you are looking for a sweet class to take through that time period please check out Brandy's class BE: Bare It and Bury It. I have to say I haven't taken any of her classes, but I can say the little I know of Brandy I like. But most importantly, I know or know of most of the instructors in this upcoming class, and I can only say that I KNOW you will take something away from it. Truly.

Jeanne Oliver: Her network is definitely artist driven, but there is a lot offered here. I am still in Becoming, nearing the end of it I guess, but it has been a joy to see how she has reached out to others with this idea. In her and others sharing their stories of their becoming, they reach a hand out to others who are also becoming... because it never quite stops, does it?

And maybe this is the time in life where you have a friend walking by you as well, or a mentor, or teacher, or coach, or whatever title they carry. But maybe it's not, and that's okay. There are a bazillion books and other websites both general and specific which can help you along your way, just like the above classes, websites, and people do.

One thing before I leave you: I have learned a lot from all the above in a variety of ways. I'm still learning, and as I love about Jeanne's class. we are all becoming. It could become an obsession (*ahem*) trying to find the right path, make the right choice, be the right person, and I think we need to be careful of that. God created us all so uniquely, so one of the above may help you right on the spot, or none of them will, I get that. I believe God will help you find someone to walk along side with you, but mostly I believe He is always walking beside us guiding us. We can't close our mind to Him because we are taking in from others. It's easy to do, so be careful on that one.

I hope one of these amazing opportunities is just what you were looking for right now. And if not, may you soon find a helping hand to guide you along the way.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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February 9, 2015

My heart cries out

I woke up this morning and my eyes were heavy. I should have been up an hour earlier. I missed a text from one son. I needed to get the sheets in the washer. I needed to have breakfast. I needed to drink some water and coffee. But I laid there; heavy eyes, heavy spirit.

Little things happened over the weekend. Have you ever noticed that little negative things can add up so quickly? Well, they piled upon my spirit and this morning I was simply heavy. The little positive things had apparently been swallowed up and I had lost them. Completely.

Have you ever had a day that wasn't bad, but it was hard. There wasn't a list of things I could look to for blame. There wasn't a huge problem which seemed unsolvable. There was no reason except the little things which had happened.

I decided to get up and start my day. I fought the desire to stay home and went to the gym. I sat and talked with a friend later in the day. I ran to the grocery store where I spent as little as I could, but still got a cherry pie, and a snickers, and a root beer. Because sometimes... food.

Yesterday I remembered a verse I read on Friday. Today I held onto it even tighter.

Dan 9 18

This comes at the end of Daniel's prayer after he has spoken about the transgressions the nation of Israel has done, and the consequences of those actions. He acknowledges that God is their only hope and nothing they do can make Him listen to their prayers, but they pray because they know of His great mercy.

I am grateful to be able to know that God sees me as righteous because of Jesus, but some days I don't feel that. Some days, like today, my heart hurts, my spirit is heavy, and my brain is reeling. And so on those days I'm grateful to know that God still hears me because of His great mercy.

And He hears your prayers for the same reason.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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February 6, 2015

little things to do for strangers

Okay friends, so I decided to write out a few small things we can do here, and if nothing else it will be a place I can come back to on the days my mind goes blank. Remember, these ideas are not going to be huge or big. They are simple thoughts and ideas we can do for another for no reason whatsoever except love.

Oh! And did you see on Facebook? Yesterday after I wrote the post I was at the gym running, and one of the older gentlemen I ran past handed me a small gift one time. It was a cross necklace in a plastic bag. Nothing expensive or crazy, and we didn't even talk, but how sweet, right? And then I realized it was JUST what I was talking about here, and it totally made me giggle and smile. That's our goal, right? To make someone else's day a little better?

And before I get started on this list, which probably wont be extremely long, but I wanted to say that the most important part of this is learning to keep our eyes and ears open to what is around us, and our heart open to God's leading, so that we can truly be used by Him through it. Okay?

feb challenge

First, let me tell you about an ebook that is free which fits this category perfectly. Jennifer wrote 31 Ways to Brighten Someone's Day during the 31 day blogging which going on every October. Then she got the gumption up to put it all together in a lovely ebook for us. Truly, the ideas within it are great, and easy, and lovely. Grab it so that you always have a reference to fall back on. And yes, it is free, so go get it.

Now, for strangers I always feel a little.. careful in what I do. I don't want to scare anyone, or freak anyone out. Maybe that's my own issue, but it's something I try to keep in mind. So these ideas are sweet, but innocuous at the same time. At least, that is my hope.

  • pick up a $5 gift card at the coffee shop when you get your drink, and hand it to the last person in line
  • leave a book you have read and loved in the doctor's office with a note on the outside (sticky note) to let the next person know it's theirs for the taking
  • smile
  • hold the door
  • say a kind word
  • pick up the tab of the car behind you at a drive-thru
  • leave an encouraging note at a fast food table for the next person that comes by
  • help someone who could use an extra hand
  • say something loving to a mom whose child is having a melt-down
  • pick up random gift cards and give them out as you think best
  • tip well

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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February 5, 2015

An upside-down thought brought a challenge to me.

I had an epiphany, my friends. And maybe it wasn't really a new thought, because is any thought ever really new? But it was a twist on what I have been thinking and doing, and one that I thought needed to be shared with the world. Because that's what we do when we have blogs, yes?

I have been keeping track of little things over at my instagram account; a way of counting things to be grateful for. I have known some who went to 1000, but as I have said before I always fail miserably at the counting. But it seems we are all wanting to count, keep track of, pay attention to the small little things in our world that happen -- and I think it is brilliant and important.

But then the idea stood itself upside down in my head.

What if, just consider it, what if we started doing little things for others? Not to count, or keep track of, but to simply do for others? What if we intentionally chose to do something, anything, some tiny thing for someone else?

Now, before you think, "Oh that's so easy!", you need to know it can get hard sometimes. It can be a challenge. Sometimes people wont notice when we do the little things and we will start to wonder if it mattered. Or we wont hear back about the results of the little thing. Or someone will complain about the little thing, or tell us the little doesn't really matter. And our motives can get crossed, mixed up, and all confused. They can, I know. But this challenge came to me, and I knew it was something I wanted to try to do.

The challenge is simple:

feb challenge
Do one little thing a day for someone (anyone) for the rest of February.

Do not stress about trying to do all the little things you think about. Do only one a day or you will burn yourself out. Write down those fabulous ideas, share them with others, or simply wait for the perfect day to do each one.

Do not try to do little things for everyone in your life every day. That isn't the point here either. That will overwhelm you, and you will want to quit for the bad feelings which start up which obviously is not the goal.

Don't keep track of what you do for others. Don't weight it on a scale and compare it to what you did yesterday, or what someone else did.

Do listen to the nudge in your heart and gut when looking for a little thing to do. Do what you come up with as soon as you can, within the one a day rule.

Start today, with no planning, just keeping your eyes and ears and heart open. Do try to walk away from the little thing without attention to yourself. Do imagine you are being the hands, feet, mouth of God as He directs you.

I imagine this can make a huge difference in relationships, and next month I will focus on one person, but I wanted to kick this out there, with a simply challenge to do something little for someone else. Anyone else. Can you send your love out into the world in small little ways?

I'll share some ideas I have found, considered, thought of, but for now I'd love to hear what ideas just popped in your brain after simply hearing this challenge for us all.

I would love for you to join the conversation through 
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