The Answer to Quieting Drama

Of our three little fur friends in our house I could never name one that’s more dramatic than the other.

Eli the older of the two Yorkies is accident prone—to the point it almost seems he does stupid things on purpose such as running into doors. He also dreads bath-time and gets so worked up that he’ll pace around in the house until someone picks him up and forces him to have proper personal hygiene. P.S. He’s the one that’s actually diagnosed as special needs so no worries he doesn’t need to see a vet for any of this, he’s already being medicated by one.

Max the younger Yorkie gets ridiculously fired up if he lays eyes on a balloon, the vacuum, or a pair of scissors for a haircut.

And Taya our chihuahua yips and yipes anytime she gets bumped or hurt in the least bit.

And they all equally identify as guard dogs when someone comes to the door..like their little single-digit weight will take someone down…Actually Taya usually tips the scale to 10 or 11 pounds…she likes her food in large doses and several times a day.

This morning Taya’s back paw lightly got caught on the baby gate that separates our living room and my oldest daughter’s room. (I could call it a dog gate rather than a baby gate because that’s the role it plays in our house.)

She got so riled that I wondered if she had a splinter or if something more had happened. I picked her up and was consoling her and comforting her and spoiling her while she was whimpering and whining…then low and behold here came her mama (my youngest daughter) down from her loft bed to the rescue. When Taya saw Mc the dramatic whining immediately stopped, the tail began wagging wildly, and Taya flew into Mc’s arms and the smothering kisses began!!

She was absolutely, perfectly fine!!

When I think about this I’m reminded of a little child happily playing one moment—oblivious to accidents or danger, followed by a tiny topple and then resulting in an inevitable bumped knee or scraped elbow. The over-the-top, dramatic wailing starts right away and then comes a desperate cry for help, “Mommy! Mommy!” Mama comes to the rescue (just like Mc did for Taya) and she simply scoops her child up, kisses the owie, and maybe covers it over with a band-aide and it’s soon forgotten about.

The recovery time is almost instant…all because of a mama’s love and comfort.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gotten way too dramatic in life…emotionally, physically, or mentally but always, always, ALWAYS God is there for the rescue. Every. Single. Time.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. —Psalm 46:1

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them all from their troubles. —Psalm 34:17-18

In our brokenness, with our hurts, even when we’re in a dramatic state of mind God wants us to come to Him.

Knowing God leads to loving Him, and trusting that He is capable of healing anything.

Being in love with God means that when the drama or owies in life come (and they will) we have a Rescuer we can call out to anytime, anyplace. The recovery time God offers in times of hurt and heartache is unbeatable and beautifully life altering.

I pray we would passionately seek Him out regularly in the good times and the undesirable alike.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!!

Lessons From a Fair Warning and a Dead Chicken

A few months ago a neighbor had staked down a rather peculiar sign in her always pristine front yard, it read:

‘Any chicken found in my yard will be dead meat’

Y’all I wish I had a picture of this but I guess I was too “chicken” to take one, nevertheless you get the idea.

The sign only stayed up a very short while and then it was replaced by warmer days, green grass, and this woman’s crazy mowing obsession.

These houses out where we live are part of a subdivision located outside of town. My husband explains it like we live in a pasture which I would concur. Quite a few people own chickens, some have goats, and there’s even a family with a cow or two at times.

At the beginning of this month, early on a Sunday morning, Nathan and I woke up to gun shots and sprung out of bed to see what the ruckus was. Farm animals out here are normal but gun shots right out in the residential area aren’t at all.

So we’re peering out our windows and much to our surprise we spot a group of chickens on the loose splashing around in the sprinklers of one neighbor’s yard and we’re oohing and ahhing for a second because it was cute and comical but still trying to figure out the gun shots.

I look over to the next neighbor’s property (the one who had a chicken slayer sign up a few months before) and wouldn’t you know there was a large cluster of what appeared to be white feathers on the far south end of her yard. Nathan ran and grabbed a scope from out of his gun safe and like a creep he’s spying out our front window, zeroing in on the lump of white and confirms…a fresh poultry kill…

Chicken dinner anyone?

The red is the chicken, the blue is the trap… Sorry I couldn’t resist adding a picture.

Come to find out, apparently this woman with the insanely well kept yard had an issue with a nearby neighbor (who owns free range chickens minus a white one now) and was not impressed when those chickens would show up at her place and this day she took vengeance.

She actually ended up leaving the dead chicken on her yard for the next two days before chucking it onto its original owner’s driveway. On top of that, immediately after the kill, she created a trap system in the middle of her yard which consisted of a plastic dome container that was propped up and then had a rope connected to it and that rope lead right into the front door of her house. I guess if another chicken was brave enough to step foot into her lawn and happened to make it’s way under the trap she’d pull the rope and the chicken would be trapped inside the dome. More humane than meeting it’s uneven match with a gun I suppose.

Although I don’t agree with how she handled the situation, I’ve gotta give her a little credit because she did after all give a forewarning with the sign..

And here’s where I want to point us to Jesus.

When we read God’s word, all throughout we find truth, promises, hope, grace, mercy, and even forewarnings. The Bible represents all these things.

Pieces of scripture warn us of the consequences and fate of not following Jesus and when we choose to believe and follow then we experience the blessings and joy of a relationship with Him, plus an eternity spent in Heaven.

The deal with my neighbor has brought about some laughs. I joked with my son one day, “hey I dare you to run over and set off the trap unless you’re too chicken.” He didn’t go for it but we did “crack” up over it.

The thing is when it comes to the warnings we read in God’s word that’s one thing my family always takes seriously. There’s no jokes to go along with it.

We all are given the opportunity to read scripture and accept every word of it or reject it.

That chicken trap has now long been taken down from my neighbor’s yard just like the warning sign was removed before the slaughtering ever happened. She followed through just like her sign warned:

‘Any chicken found in my yard will be dead meat’

When we compare this to the way God operates we’ve been given the chance to study scripture and make what we want of the warnings. God will one day judge the world and by our choice we’re either walking toward Him or headed for destruction as the end will inevitably come.

As long as we’re living it’s never too late to turn to Him and take His warning for the benefit it longs to bring and the glory it provides for His purpose.

Have a blessed Memorial weekend y’all. I’m fixing to take my kids tent camping by myself as Nate is out of town. It should be interesting…and no worries my chickens are always locked safely away!

Overcoming the Lies of ‘Not Enough’

Insecurities are no fun, plain and simple, and unfortunately they can fester when least expected.

I’ve made progress in gaining confidence in a couple of “big to me” things over the past few years…

The two newest achievements:

1. I’ve graciously embraced my graying hair—determining it’s much easier to just go gray instead of maintain and apply color to my roots every three weeks to try and conceal grays. And I finally don’t mind how it looks.

2. I’ve reconciled with my height—the fact that I’m short and any hope of a growth spurt is decades past me. I’m now good with the idea that I won’t even make five foot with heels on because I’m clumsy, usually in a hurry, and quite frankly flats are much more comfortable! I’ve also learned to give grace to my oldest daughter who constantly rubs it in that she’s “reached” her goal and passed me up by a few inches!!

But after way too long of wearyingly tackling those self-made acceptance boosts, unsurprisingly Satan’s blind-sided maneuvers have discreetly slid in (almost like clockwork) with growing irritation in an unavoidable way.

I’m not sure how this came about but in more recent months I’ve now traded the above issues and instead began “picking” on my intellect. I’ve noticed that whether in a small group or large group setting, if the spot light is on me, I’ll give very brief descriptions or answers out of fear my words or stories don’t make sense otherwise.

This is a problem because it causes me to feel self-conscious. I begin feeding into lies like I’m not educated enough for this conversation. I don’t have enough knowledge to respond. My feedback isn’t going to be interesting enough…and as a result I shutdown.

Coming to grips with the idea of this new anxiety I realize I can’t allow it to continue.

I refuse to give Satan the satisfaction of messing with me.

I’ve had to dig to understand where this is rooting from and how to overcome…

I struggle with PTSD from my childhood and in those moments where I wrestle through flashbacks from those younger years it can be tough to not get stuck in the negative memory of it all. Because of my faith in Jesus I’m usually able to quickly identify when my mind is nearing a dark memory lane and I can cut to a happier path mentally.

In those instances I’m able to consider that my life is new because of Jesus. I’m not that old person anymore. I’m forgiven because of Him. None of the yuck from my childhood was what I asked for BUT God has been able to use it for His purpose. Those truths transition my focus toward a positive mindset.

When I think about getting over this new hurdle, this one where I’ve been beating myself up about feeling “not enough” I know that I can only overcome the lies through Jesus and what He says is true about me, similar to the way I handle those childhood flashbacks. I have to remember that God does the following things for me:

He loves me unconditionally. (Romans 8:37-39)

He equips me. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

He gives me wisdom. (James 1:5)

He defines me. (Psalm 139:14)

He has chosen me. (1 Peter 2:9)

These things are not up to me to come up with on my own, they’ve been offered by a loving and compassionate God—all things from and of Him.

Image from YouVersion Bible app

The same way that I can move and think past any negative I experienced as a child, will be and is the same way I can escape from Satan’s deceptive practices…focusing on the truths (not the lies) ushers in a positive mindset.

Maybe you can or have been able to relate to what I’ve been experiencing. Honesty and sharing our struggles with others speaks volumes of healing. I pray you would join me in fighting against the lies of “not enough” and embrace the steadfast truths felt in God’s amazing love and throughout His unfaltering word.

Side note: Here’s how awesome God works…in the heat of really discovering I was battling these new “not enough” lies, God provided. I had only shared with my very-supportive husband my struggle, so no one else knew. In that time, I showed up to a women’s event (a hidden mess inside) and was sitting at the same table as a sweet friend of mine who handed me a gift bag, inside was this t-shirt with much needed words of encouragement!!

Isn’t it awesome how God works? He used my friend’s love to speak exactly to my situation…only He can perfectly put things together in this way…only Him!!

There’s no reason to ever give up because God out-does the hardship every single time…if not now then Heaven-side.

Always Be Ready…

I spent last week in the beautiful sunshiny state of Florida.

Without even a close contender following, Florida is my most favorite place in the whole wide world. I try to go there every time I get to choose a vacation spot.

This time I was with my mama and my childhood best friend and then my best friend had invited one of her friends.

I’m a little apprehensive to write this post but for the sake of the point I’m trying to make from it I’m gonna go ahead…

I had a conversation while on vacation regarding faith…my Christian views were opposite from this other person’s beliefs. It’s easy and natural for me to discuss my beliefs when others are in agreement with what I believe but when their beliefs oppose mine the conversation that ensues can be kinda difficult.

I won’t go into large detail but there was talk of their “belief in Buddha” and also mention that they’d “never read nor want to read the Bible because it was written by man…and often times pastors are hypocritical.”

You guys!! The coolest thing happened right then and there though…I was actually able to respectfully share my view without stalling on my words. I’m forever saying that I’m a much better writer than talker but this day the Holy Spirit was all over the moment.

I simply (and kindly) responded something along these lines, “I actually don’t agree with that, the Bible notes that it’s the inspired word of God. Yes, true that pastors can be off because they’re only human, but a good pastor will challenge you to get in the word yourself and find out how it’s speaking to you. For me when I read in the beginning of the Bible and it talks about creation of the world and everything in it and how people came about, and I read about sin entering and forgiveness of sins because of Jesus’ mercy and grace, then I can’t not believe every single part of it. When I read it everything just makes sense to me. It’s like a puzzle that fits together perfectly from start to finish.”

I really don’t know if my words at the time made a difference but I can trust God to do His will and way with how He used me and in His own timing. Ultimately it’s always up to an individual to choose how they will respond to God’s invitation when they hear a message. Without being pushy I can only do my part and then leave it in God’s hands afterwards.

I wasn’t really expecting to have that conversation while vacationing in Florida but in the time since I’ve thought about how incredibly important it is to truly live out the verse from 1 Peter 3:15.

And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. —1 Peter 3:15

Situations like what I described above are why verses like 1 Peter 3:15 are included in God’s word.

As Christians we must be able to open up about our faith and sometimes even defend it, to know and trust what we believe, and be able to share that hope with others in a compassionate way.

As long as we’re breathing and communicating with others the opportunity to share our hope of Jesus always exist…doesn’t matter if we’re in the comfort of our own community or vacationing at our favorite getaway…as Christians we must be ready and willing to share our hope in Him!!

APPLICABLE VERSES:

But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. —1 Peter 3:16

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. —Colossians 4:5-6

Shining Like Stars

Subbing on Fridays seems to be a theme for me lately and that’s what I’m doing today. I like to be able to write and publish blog posts on Fridays too though, so in keeping up with that idea I’ve got a quick one to share!

My Bible reading plan has me in the book of Philippians right now and there are some verses in chapter 2 that have grabbed hold of my heart.

Philippians 2:14-16a—

‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.’

I’m not gonna spend tons of time breaking down these verses because I feel like they’re already as plain and simple as can be, which makes it easier to understand Paul’s point—it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to achieve but it’s definitely a good basis for positive instruction.

(You Version app pic)

I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes grumble and argue in the minor and major of life and I know I’m not alone in this…those (above) verses though pull us to veer away from that path and the result is that we “become” blameless and pure.

That word (become) reminds me that this is an ongoing process, we may not get it right every time but by “becoming” blameless and pure we’re headed in the right direction.

We don’t have to grab a magnifying glass to see that we live in a world that is exceptionally warped and crooked. Our obedience to God’s word can make such a difference; the verses I’ve noted go on to say that when we choose to abide, not grumbling or arguing, then we shine among unbelievers like stars in the sky!! And don’t we know that the light we shine is fully capable of pointing those who are without hope towards Him!!

Such a beautiful image!!

Have a blessed weekend—and be encouraged to follow those words from Philippians chapter 2 so that we may illuminate His amazing light for His purpose!!

My Own Testimony of Hope in God’s Easter Plan

Through some really traumatic childhood experiences, where blame could be directly targeted to certain individuals, I’ve learned forgiveness by the grace of God in ways that only make sense through Him.

Things that many would’ve deemed unforgivable I was able to humbly hand over to God who replaced those hardships with divine peace.

When I reflect back to those early years of my life, with the wisdom I’ve gained since, I now recognize numbness must have began building as the afflictions happened.

Finding faith years later actually made it very easy to forgive those who were guilty because I was so far-distanced from feeling the hurt I had experienced. God’s goodness in my new-found faith was so powerful and contagious that it exceedingly outweighed the darkness.

The only way I can understand it is because I believe in the beauty of God’s mercy and grace and I see his work upon it without a shadow of a doubt, plus I consider how desperately I’m in need of his forgiveness for my own self-imposed errors.

Forgiveness in those major adversities from my younger years just isn’t something I struggle with.

BUT somehow lately I’ve felt a small nudging of bitterness within me from petty offenses done to me by others more recently.

Subconsciously I guess I’ve tallied them up and now they slowly ooze over me. This is not an experience I wish to have linger around, and quite possibly it reverts back to PTSD from my little girl years unfortunately.

I’m more aware of hurtful feelings because my mind and heart are grounded to Jesus these days. Words or actions of betrayal are something that don’t just go unnoticed on my radar. I can actually feel and process my hurts at this point of my life, it’s a good thing but God has shown me that often times I react negatively.

That negativity that I’ve started to compile transfers as sin and doesn’t fit the necessary mold of Christianity.

I actually tried to avoid writing this post and even went blank last week to come up with a different post as God continued to gently prod me in this particular direction while I fought against it. I’ve wrestled through the words but have realized the timing of digging through this is perfect.

Because it’s Easter week I’m doing a Bible reading with my family in the mornings and evenings, recounting the last days of Jesus’ life. The lessons to be taken in are refreshing reminders.

When I think about the cross my mind inevitably races to Jesus — his willingness to take our sins upon himself out of a love meant to glorify his Father is the most amazing of phenomenons. Man I just never want to be comfortable enough to take that truth for granted. I don’t ever want to feel like I’ve (personally) allowed him to suffer in vain.

The reality of it comes down to the very fact that Jesus shed his perfect blood and died for those big sins I experienced when I was too young to know better — and he also died for the sins of others that I call petty but still get bent out of shape about. On top of that he died for the sin of bitterness I try and tuck away among my other character flaws.

He died for ALL sin. (1 John 2:2)

Had Jesus’ life completely ended at the cross I would be pointlessly seeking a freeness from my sins…we all would.

But the FULLNESS of the life-giving, glorious hope of the Easter story isn’t nailed and halted at the cross like our sins were…we can’t end therebecause when we look at the big picture we move on from a sacrificial cross that served a holy purpose, to an empty tomb that provides and points to a sacred resurrection celebration!

God doesn’t want us to hold onto sins of any sort, no matter their size or place on our life’s timeline — if he did, there’d have been no reason for Jesus’s death to begin with.

If (as Christians) we are to replicate Jesus’ example of love, obedience and glory to God then my sin-issue of clinging to offenses must give way (John 14-15). Anything other than that takes advantage of God’s mercy and grace.

My goal is to do better in recognizing my irritation in the small things (and the big) before they have a chance to negatively impact my emotions. And to remember that the cross shows the commitment of forgiveness and love our victorious God has for us — in whom there is no place for sin to be found at all.

With every single breath of life I’m blessed with, that’s something I want to continually place my hope in and follow after wholeheartedly!!

He is risen!! Happy Easter!!

Ready to Spread Gospel News Like Covid News

I’m subbing today and happen to have a quick break, so not much time but enough to share a thought I’ve had this past week…

Has anyone else considered how quickly the news of covid spread?

I’m pretty sure there’s not a soul on earth who hasn’t heard of it. Babies born at this time will probably read in their baby book years from now that their first word spoken was “covid.” Hopefully not, but I feel like it’s presence is that common in our everyday lives and language.

Here’s what has really grabbed my attention thoughif we can spread the details of covid so rapidly why can’t we do the same with the good news of Jesus? Why aren’t we fervently sharing to the ends of the earth the greatest news ever? This is exactly what we’re called to do as Christians!

Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This piece of scripture is referred to as The Great Commission and it was given to the disciples from Jesus himself. The Gospel has indeed spread since that time (2000 years ago) but there are still sooo many who haven’t heard and these verses apply to us to follow through in an effort to get the word out!

When we back up a few chapters in Matthew we find a heads-up glimpse of an end times warning, chapter 24:12-14 says this:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Those words are also straight from Jesus’ lips to His disciples’ ears and they’re just as much meant for us.

That beginning part doesn’t sound too flattering does it, but I see it rampantly these days, don’t you?

Instead I want to be one who ‘stands firm to the end’ clinging to the hope in Jesus, knowing I’ll be saved. But I want take with me a multitude of others and I’m sure you do too. This will only happen if we as Christians pursue in our mission to share the Gospel message with great intention!

I feel like if we truly take this verse seriously and live it out to the fullest we will be closer yet to seeing it fulfilled — perhaps even in our own lifetime.

Like it or not, we’ve all seen how covid news has spread like wildfire…yet even this should give us great hope in understanding that it really is possible then to get the BEST NEWS EVER out and about and to the ends of the earth, but we have to be aware and responsive to our Jesus mission!

For some of us that might be through evangelizing, others through the blogging world or a form of social media…it could be physical mission trips for some. And with covid presenting travel issues it can simply mean we’re witnessing to our neighbors right next door by showing Jesus’ love in tangible ways — a meal, a church invite (even online), helping with snow removal or yard work. There are a ton of ways to show Jesus‘ love and share His message of hope to the ends of the earth.

Praying you’ll join me in spreading the good news of Jesus — that God so loved the world he sent his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16)

#readytospreadgospelnewslikecovidnews

No More ‘Pain in the Neck’

I could probably write every one of my posts each week sharing about an experience from substitute teaching. Maybe that means it’s just that entertaining at times or there are an endless amount of life lessons offered when I’m at the schools.

Just yesterday I was teaching p.e. again and we were in an intense game of line tag when a little brown haired gal (cute as ever) quickly but cautiously made her way to me. She was holding her neck with both hands and the words that poured from her panicked voice were this:

“My neck is hurting and I can’t move it!! It hurts really bad!!”

She paused for a few seconds and seemed to examine my expression and then without wasting another moment she dramatically blurted out, “I think it’s broke! I think my neck is broken!!”

Side-note: You guys here’s why I shouldn’t be allowed to adult most days because for a half a second I entertained the idea; I was like “oh shoot what if it actually is!?”

I’m a bit sensitive about neck injuries ever since my dad’s dirt bike racing accident that left him a quadriplegic, so I’m gonna give myself the benefit of a fair excuse.

I gathered myself and asked her what happened and if she could turn her neck slowly from side to side. I’m assuming she must have strained her neck a bit when she was running and that was the cause. Calmly and rationally we made ‘headway’ and determined her neck was in fact still intact and she’d be alright. After the reassurance, off she ran for more line tag just like that!!

Boy can I ever relate to the symbolic storyline of that whole deal when I compare it to the things I’ve freaked out about throughout different stages of life.

I was a skilled self-diagnosed hypochondriac for years…worrying about anything from my children’s health to well-being, to what people thought of me, to finances, to my premature gray hair which by the way was probably multiplying rapidly because of my worrying…the list “went” on…

And quite frankly it all made up my own definition of a pain in the neck.

I’ve come so far away from those worries…except my soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old driving in a few months…that one I’m still working on letting Jesus take the wheel entirely. I’m getting closer with this too though!

After reflecting on the “broken neck” scene from yesterday and because of the over the top drama I laugh just a smidge and it causes me to ask one question…

How many of our worries are all done in vain?

As I’ve looked back and taken inventory over how God has seen me through my trials, I’ve noticed that not one of the things I’ve ever given worry to have actually prevailed. Ever! The odds of victory are in God’s favor. They’re not for me to chase!

Some of the very first verses that I memorized when I came to faith and realized God’s word is the answer in all situations were on the topic of overcoming worry:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Give all your worries and your cares to God for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Those, among a few others, were such a blessing of truth and still speak to me today when I tend to wander away from practicality.

Just like I had to comfort that young fretting sweetie in my p.e. class yesterday during our game, God is always available and willing to do the same for us, no matter the amount of physical or emotional pain we struggle with. He’s a Perfect Healer and we can find relief from our burdens through worship, fellowship with other believers, prayer, and reading His word!

Tag, you’re it!! Let’s not waste any more time in unproductive worry when there’s so much more to life! To Him be the glory!!

Choosing Kindness in 2021

Each year I choose a word to focus on and this year my word is kindness.

Side-note: Last year my word was surrender because I knew it would help me give up control-freak issues. After covid unexpectedly came along surrender might have subconsciously been anyone’s word. Spritually-speaking I had the opportunity to grow and it ended up being a valuable lesson to live by. I learned to surrender in many ways throughout 2020 and had sort of this give-it-to-God mindset to go along with my word of surrender.

Ok so back to this year, it’s been really cool to see how often I’ve physically seen the word ‘kindness‘ in my presence.

I sub at quite a few different schools and in a majority of the classrooms and hallways I’ve been met by my word. There are posters, paintings, and phrases of encouragement containing the word kindness, all serving as personal reminders to me.

Outside one of the school’s windows that faces the playground is painted ‘choose kindness’ and another one that reads ‘kindness matters’.

It’s interesting to me because those words have probably been plastered all over the schools for years but until kindness became my word (this year) I think it went unnoticed on my radar, so to be aware and take notice has been refreshing.

Kindness isn’t something I want to take for granted. When I see that word I don’t want it to be just a simple reminder of my 2021 word of the year rather I want it to speak deep into my being. I want it woven into my heart and felt within my thoughts and actions. I want it to push me to literally show kindness and recognize it when I see others living it out.

With it being March already I have a few months practice into my word.

Recently I was at the dentist with my oldest daughter who had a tiny cavity filled (her first and hopefully only one ever).

Something I really respected was that the hygienist laid her hand on top of Paige’s hands to comfort her as the dentist used the needle to numb her mouth; it may sound silly but that act of kindness just stuck out so much to me! It was noticeably-caring and that type of thing goes far in this wild world we live in.

From that experience I realized how important it is for me to not only be practicing and showing kindness myself but also to see it in others.

When the dentist reached out to us the next day to check on Paige (yes she does that because she’s amazing) you can bet I made mention of the hygienist’s act of kindness.

Another example of kindness came in the form of a compliment this past week…

I was teaching an elementary p.e. class when a little blonde haired boy complained of his knee hurting. I told him to have a seat against the wall for a bit and see if that might help.

Meanwhile as a crazy loud game of tunnel tag continued that little guy with the hurt knee had apparently traded phys-ed for art class. After a few minutes of resting he excitedly tapped me on the arm and pulled from his pocket the tiniest little notepad and pen and flipped through the busy pages until he came to the one he’d just completed. Amongst doodles it read ‘you are a really kind p.e. teacher.’

It was super sweet and heart-warming.

When I chose the word kindness for 2021 I didn’t know it was going to impact my life in such ordinary ways but that’s exactly what I would’ve hoped for.

In the 3rd through 5th grade Sunday school class I teach at church the curriculum we use has a focus word each month. February’s word happened to be kindness, the description they gave was this:

In our little class we’ve talked about being kinder than you have to be, being kind to those who are different than we are, and being kind to others because God is kind to us. I also told them to be sure and notice how much that word is displayed in their schools!

On the flip side my own kiddos are very aware that ‘kindness’ is my 2021 word so when they catch my irritation in something they quickly remind me to “remember your word mom….” The accountability in that makes such a difference!

Kindness encourages me in a huge way. It’s selfless. It’s a choice. And it truly does matter.

Do you choose a word for the year? If so what is your word and have you seen positive results from it?

If you have a story of recent kindness I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

pic from YouVersion app

Sweet blessings!

Lessons from Grandpa Fred’s ‘Early’ Turn Signal

Every once in a while I reminisce back to the days of my early teen years. Often times that’s a mess of shame but there’s one memory that makes me smile or laugh out loud every time…

My best friend’s grandpa used to take her and I and another one of our friends to youth group a few towns away from where we grew up. I think her grandpa must’ve went to a Bible study group during that same time so it worked out pretty well.

The funny part about it is that he’d put his turn signal on in his classy white Lincoln Town car blocks before we’d ever get to the turn that lead to the church. I’d like to think it was because he was proudly but humbly letting people know where we were headed. Realistically that probably wasn’t the case — but either way (between sips of fruit flavored soda pop that he had treated us to) we’d quietly crack up because of his very early turn signal. I don’t think he ever caught on to our snickering…if so he never let us know.

I wish I could say I remember more about my time spent once we actually got to the church but unfortunately I was too self absorbed at that point of my life and probably present for the socializing more than anything.

Lately I’ve been substitute teaching over in that same little town where I used to hit up youth group and as I pull into town I can’t help but think about Grandpa Fred’s drastic turn signal antics.

It’s amusing to me that this memory comes to mind of all things and so I challenged myself to reflect and dig in a bit.

When driving, a turn signal serves as a warning for good purpose — for safety and protection.

The interesting thing is, that flashing signal before the turn is similar to the way God works. When we read His word, all throughout we see warnings and directions for our benefit, in effort to guide our lives before we step into trouble.

I praise God for that; it helps me navigate on the straight but narrow path.

There are times though when God’s warning signal is flashing and I choose to ignore or reject it. I fail to resort in putting His good word before life obstacles. When I deviate away I’m lost in twists, turns, and dead-ends.

In Psalm 25 verses 8-11 we read, ‘Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.’

Those words above remind me that scripture is the place to find instruction and guidance for my life, recognizing that I’m a sinner in need of His direction.

And then let’s check out Romans 15:4

‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’

I love the inspiration packed into every one of those words.

When we consider the way the turn signal serves as a blessing for not only ourselves but others as well it pairs up with what we find as we read on in Romans 15…

Verses 5 & 6 have this to say: ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Notice how Paul’s words here are portraying the idea that when we are obedient to the Lord’s ways it should show in our behavior towards others. Obedience for ourselves and looking out for others is a way to glorify God, sort of this positive domino effect objective.

The same is true with using a turn signal. The advantage in its use is that it’s causing us to be other’s-focused whether we’ve thought about it or not. It does ourselves well when used, but the benefit it serves to others is just as huge. There’s two-way gratuity in it. Likewise God’s word guides and protects us and then we have the opportunity to share that blessing with others.

Looking back at Grandpa Fred’s early turn signal habit does my heart good.

The whole point in that half an hour drive was to deliver a few wild (and for the most part clueless girls) over to youth group — and himself to Bible study.

At the time we may have been giddy with excitement about a turn signal getting clicked on blocks before the turn but in hindsight Grandpa’s focus wasn’t caught up in a turn signal at all. Instead he knew that the real destination was all about ‘driving our faith.’

…Just as though God’s word guides us with ‘signal warnings’ throughout — the real effort is to navigate us closer and nearer to Jesus and His likeness, with our final destination Heaven-bound.