Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Listen Love Repeat

Today is LAUNCH DAY!!! I'm so excited for others to get to read this book now!!!  It is such a beautifully written book, filled with such simple ideas that you can't help but do them.  Everything from giving a bottle of water to your mail delivery person, to loving the prickly people in your life. 

I have gotten so many beautiful quotes to remind myself to "scatter kindness" that I can't help but become more others focused. 

Use your ordinary life for God's extra-ordinary purpose. Karen Ehman in her newest book Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World

I don't know if you noticed all the fabulous videos on Facebook under the tag #5dollardash, but you should totally check them out.  Karen's fabulous assistant came up with the idea of the ladies from the launch team pulling together to surprise Karen with a $5 dash where the ladies would find someone in their life that needed a little pick-me-up, and they would drop off $5 and an encouraging note for them, and then challenge 3 people in their life to do the same.  And OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!  It was so fun.  You should totally search them on Facebook and have a good laugh.  And then go out and scatter that kindness.  It doesn't matter if you've been formally challenged or not.  What matters is that in this world filled with heartache and hurt we go out and be a light to others. 

And if you're looking for a good book to inspire you to love on others, I can't recommend Listen Love Repeat enough. 

Here's a sneak peak at one of the wonderful ladies who did the #5dollardash!


Friday, 28 October 2016

Prayer Prompts

I have been reading Karen Ehman's blog and following her on Facebook for a while now.  And she does something that is just so simple, but so powerful. 

She talks about it in her newest book "Listen, Love, Repeat."  I love how she does it!  She has this daily routine of praying for those around her.  While she is wiping down her kitchen counters, she prays for her family to be able to wipe their slate clean.  She prays for certain people while she brushes her teeth.  These are all times when our minds could be busy with other details.  We as Mom's always have something on our minds.  And you certainly wouldn't have to do the same things, or pray the same prayers.  But wouldn't it be wonderful to have those prayers for those special people in your life become daily?

She still stresses the importance of regular prayer time each day, but reminds us how important it is to be speaking to Him throughout our day.  To come to Him first.  After all, if we made Him the most important, He will make the rest fall into place.  His faithfulness never changes, no matter whether our actions are constant or wavering.

I have struggled with regular prayer time in my life.  I have three small children, a husband who works wonky hours, and I regularly suffer from health problems that can make it difficult for me to get a good night sleep, much less wake up at the crack of dawn.  At this particular point in my life, committing to prayer every day at 5 is just setting myself up for failure.  But you know what I can do?  I can pray while I wash the dishes that God would help me to discover the sins of myself and my family, and for him to help us, and wash ourselves of that sin.  I can pray when I fold laundry that we would be strong.  That we would cling to him rather than the trappings of this world, trying to fold ourselves into the conventional.  I can thank Him each night for all the blessings in my life before I go to sleep, choosing each night to focus on all He has done instead of all that I have not. 

None of these steps are going to be huge leaps.  But they will impact my family.  And every journey starts with a single step, right?  So today, let's do what we can to take a step.  Just one.  And God will surely help us to walk this journey. 

Heavenly Father, I am so blessed in this life.  You have surrounded me with people that draw me closer to you.  Thank you for all of them, even the ones that have "sharpened" me.  Thank you for the process of refinement, and that you do not give up on me.  Lord, I ask that you would work within my heart to make my life in your a priority.  And that you would open my eyes to the opportunities around me to see you.  Those little prompts that are you whispering to our hearts.  Help me to hear those whispers and lift others to you.  In your name.  Amen.

If you are struggling with something, please leave a comment.  I would be honored to lift you up tonight.  I don't need the details if you don't want to share.  He knows them already.  I just need a name as I have faith He will do the rest. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Prickly or Plush

As I was reading (finally!) the chapter for this week from Karen Ehman's newest book "Listen, Love, Repeat", I was reminded of a sweet elderly lady we met a few years ago.

Karen tells us of this curmudgeonly old neighbor of hers that was, well, pretty mean.  He chased animals.  He yelled at kids.  But she made the conscious effort to find out more.  To try and get to know him.  And after a few months, he waved back.  No smile.  No words.  Just a wave.  And she was victorious.  Later on, she found out that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's. 

Well, this man reminds me a little of my Ida.  We used to go visit my GGPa every Wednesday morning at the seniors' home in town.  And my kids would play downstairs in their coffee area, where everyone say waiting for lunch.  I don't know how many of you have ever been in a care home for the elderly, but they always have a gathering place, often in a little coffee room.  Some people go down there with their companions, so chat and pass the time.  Some just sit at a table by themselves looking lonely and forlorn.  Ida used to sit just outside, on a loveseat.  Often, she'd be asleep, or just watching everyone else.  GGpa used to wait in the doorway for us.  Others sat on their walkers, or by the fireplace.

It was such a precious time for me as I look back on it.  It gave my precious littles the ability to see people, not disabilities.  They never really seemed to notice the canes, walkers and wheelchairs.  Or grumpiness. 

Both of my kids (I only had 2 littles at the time), LOVED to share with Ida.  Whether they had brought something for their own version of show and tell, or they just wanted to chat, they always chose Ida as their companion.  And Ida HATED it.  She would push them off.  She would tell them she wasn't interested.  She ignored them.  But they kept coming back, week after week.  They would climb up on that loveseat beside her and love.  I always thought that maybe she sat on a loveseat rather than a chair because somewhere deep inside, she wanted someone to sit beside her.

Little by little I began to find out more about her.  She did not have an easy childhood, with war and famine everywhere.  She was originally from Poland and had immigrated here for a better life.  If I remember correctly, she used to be a camp cook.  She was a survivor of many difficulties.  Things we probably won't ever have to go through.  After her husband passed, her children had placed her into a home.  We understand that after she arrived, she had very few visitors.  Personally, after visiting weekly for almost 5 years, I had never heard anyone mention she had visitors.  Not once.

I think I might be a little angry at the world if that happened to me too!

Her children may have given up on her, but my kids sure wouldn't.  And after about 1 year, she began to let them sit there.  This time, without a scowl on her face.  And about a month after that, she would watch the kids and listen to their stories.

One day, when we walked in, she waved.  And smiled.  Ohmygoodness.  I almost cried. 

I remember the day she waved clearly.  I came home that day so proud that we had worn her down.  She was starting to like my kids.  I mean, who wouldn't?  My kids are adorable.  ;)  I came home and told my husband at lunch what had happened.  I was glowing all that day.  Because I had someone smile at me.  If someone doesn't have a smile, give them yours, right?

After that, if GGPa hadn't made it downstairs yet, or if he'd gone back up to his room, she let us know. 

She started to hold the kids hands when they sat and talked to her.   

Karen reminds of us this old saying, "Preach the gospel always.  When necessary, use words."  I hadn't actually heard that particular saying before, but it certainly us beautiful, isn't it?  My kids didn't have "gospel" words.  They were 3 and 1 when we first started going.  They certainly had a lot of words, or noises.  But their actions spoke volumes.  Their love shined through.

And if we had never invested that time?  If we hadn't shown interest and respect?  I can't say that we changed her life, but she sure changed ours.  

We are all a work in progress, learning more about ourselves, and those around us each day.  Could we make it a mission to soften our edges, and maybe invest in others too?  Could we shine the light within us as a beacon to those that are lost, lonely and hurting?

Heavenly Father, we thank you for all we have.  That we have what we do now because of those that came before us.  That went through harrowing times and just kept going.  Thank you for the gift of knowledge and experience in those around us Lord.  I pray that you would open our hearts to them.  That we would be open to seeing past the exterior and discovering the wealth they have to offer Lord.  I ask that on those days where my exterior is prickly, that you would fill me to overflowing with your love, to lighten all those dark places. We pray for the world, that we would make it part of our daily lives to see the people we interact with every day for who they are inside, not their reactions that day.  Help us to be examples of Your unconditional love Lord, to those who need it the most.  In Your name we pray.  Amen.

If you have someone if your life that you are trying to "crack open", I would love to lift them up in prayer.  Leave a comment and I will make sure to include them tonight.