10 Quick (I Promise!) Things to Do to S-L-O-W Down

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28-30MSG)

Taking a real rest. 

Unforced rhythms. 

Grace.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? I’ve been on this purpose of slowing down for a handful of years now. It’s where my mantra, Finding Sacred in the Simple, comes from. The world is a noisy place and if we aren’t careful, our souls can become noisy too. So noisy that we can no longer hear what we truly need. 

Here are ten quick things you can do to start practicing the art of slowing down: 

  • Chew you food. Really. Is there anything more frustrating than fixing a nice dinner or being out at your favorite restaurant and “horking” it down? Even the rat in Ratatouille knew to savor the flavor of his food. 
  • Make a complete stop at stop signs. Can you believe I’m asking this of you? 
  • Play a board or card game. Not video games with their high speed but an old-fashioned board game that has pieces and dice and squares with pictures. 
  • Drive the speed limit. Now I’ve crossed the line! But seriously. 
  • Set the table for dinner. Use the plates you got for your wedding, fold the napkins, light the candles, dim the lights, and take in time with your family. 
  • Breathe for a six count in then a six count out four times. You’d be amazed at what just doing that will do for you. 
  • Listen without an opinion. Slow your responsive brain down that feels the need to fix the problem, give your side or be right. Simply listen. 
  • Use fewer words. There are so many words in the world today. We don’t always need to speak. 
  • Shut off the noise. The T.V. The Phone. The news. Social Media. The radio. Sit in silence and notice what you hear…both internally and externally. 
  • Carve out time to do nothing. Doesn’t have to be a lot, especially at first, but try it.

Your soul will thank you. 

kw

PS This list is compilation of what many books on Soul Care say to do but mostly from John Mark Comer and his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry as well as Abundant Simplicity by Jan Johson.  

PSS If you enjoyed this post you may like It’s Simply Tuesday or Under the Poplar Tree

Normal is a Setting on My Dryer

Normal: There’s no such thing, dear. Says Helen Hunts movie Mom in one of our favorites, As Good As It Gets.

My “normal” as a young one was spent being raised by my grandparents, which, as I found out once I started school was not normal at all back then. So, my normal wasn’t really normal at all. (Depending on who you ask, of course.) 

My “normal” routine years ago when I had three kids in three different schools playing three different sports, one in a stroller and one in the oven looks waaaaay different than my routine does today. We are down to that one in the oven being almost done proving and baking, ready for college and a career. 

My “normal” now affords me more time to read, garden, golf, spend time with girlfriends, volunteer, write etc.  There are days when I grieve the old days of chaos and running around, pick-ups and drop-offs, potty training, sports watching, the please can I spend the night days. Most days, however, I love my quieter, new normal. 

Then life happens and here you are looking down the mouth of a new normal…like it or not. 

Here’s where I get in trouble: when I hold to tightly to normal. Normal is a shifting sand, subject to change at any given moment. Life is normal. Until it’s not.

Think about it….

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Moses was leading a chill life, hanging out in the pasture with a few of his best sheep friends when God called him to go free his people whose “normal” had gone from…

  • A group of people living prosperous and free in Egypt because of Joseph’s leadership and relationship with the Pharaoh. Being in a foreign land had become very normal for them. Business as usual, blending in, bustling about with the day to days. 

Then Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died…and a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. (Exodus 1:6,8 NIV) 

Their normal was about to be turned upside down. This king didn’t like the people of Israel and in fact thought they would take over his kingdom if something wasn’t done about them. So, their new normal went from prosperous and free to…

  • A group of people living in bondage with slave masters oppressing them with forced labor. They were used and abused ruthlessly making bricks from straw and working in the fields. So wicked was this king that he had every boy born during this time killed so as to cut down the future population that threatened him…if only in his own mind. 

This was this generations normal. They knew of no other way of life. So much so that when Moses left the pastures to save his people, they fussed in their new found freedom and wanted to go back to the way things had once been. Back to bondage. Back to the familiar. This new, unknown normal felt very abnormal and was a scary place. 

Fast forward a few hundred years and we see Jesus standing in the temple courts watching as men sold cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. (John 2:14 NIV)

This was a new(er) normal for them. This selling of sacrifices at the temple. It hadn’t always been this way but no one thought anything about it. It just sort of slipped right in. It was almost time for the Jewish Passover so the town had all manner of people, visitors from out of town, shops and restaurant owners open for business, trying to make a living so maybe it made sense to offer these wearied travelers the ease of buying their sacrifices at the temple gate instead of searching for themselves….the way it used to be…the “old normal.” But…

What started out as a ministry of convenience quickly became an established, lucrative business for the priests. (Wiersbe Bible Commentary of the NT p. 234)

Until Jesus uprooted their normal by turning over some tables and using his whip like a radical Indiana Jones. The business was shattered, people, sheep and coins scattered, doves flew and no one knew…what would happen to their normal? 

And I wonder…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

What if we are living in a modern-day table turning? Sometimes it takes normal being turned upside down for us to realize today’s normal wasn’t normal yesterday but has somehow slipped in unnoticed.

What if we were living as people in bondage to things that we had no clue we were so attached to until it was taken away or at the very least changed dramatically?

What if in our quest for getting back to “normal” we completely miss the lesson? 

Don’t get me wrong, I want to hug my people and not just look at them through the lens of a Zoom call. I miss connecting with real people, doing real things. I want people to see my teeth when I smile not the flowers on my mask or me trying to “smile” with my eyes. I miss walking down the aisle of a store and not feeling like I need to shout “unclean”, so people clear out of the way or worse yet, people avoid the aisle altogether because they see me coming. 

But…

What if we so long for normal that our contentment, joy, peace and comfort depend on the shifting sand of normal instead of our Rock and place of Refuge, the One who is the Giver of all things good? 

What if this is a time to wake up, look up and evaluate our “normal” time, schedules, routines, budgets, brand preference, wastefulness, dinners together, quiet times, conversations, kindness, busyness, game nights, mindfulness…the list could go on and on couldn’t it? 

What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly. Be careful chasing after “normal” or you’ll find yourself in the world’s web. 

kw 

25 Bible Verses to Abide in During Anxious Times

A vineyard in the Ohio Amish country. “I am the Vine…abide in me.”

The world can be a chaotic place and we can sure get caught up in it. These are some of my go to verses to stay connected to the Vine…the One who is truly in control when things seem out of control. I pray they help you as much as they me. Memorize them. Write them out. Have them close by. Put them on repeat.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) 

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge. (Psalm 61:3) 

When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me. (Psalm 94:19)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25) 

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you. (Isaiah 35:4) 

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1) 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) 

So, we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Hebrews 13:6) 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4) 

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

What are some of your favorite go to’s when you’re feeling anxious? 

kw

Women of Means

Platforms, performance and purpose. Competition, comparison and cattiness. We wonder. We work. We worry. 

Bigger is better. Faster is more fun. We fight our way to the top, scratching and clawing anything or anyone that gets in the way. That ladder of success is no longer just in the work world either.

We compare ministries, Mom styles and our mayhem. We compete with Pinterest perfect parties. Our purpose becomes all about virtual friends, follows, likes and heart emoji’s. Busy is a badge of honor.

Buying into today’s culture that screams “MORE” makes us manic with panic and may I go as far as to say..mean? There is nothing worse than a worn out woman whose worth is wrapped up in what she does rather than what’s already been done. 

It’s rather exhausting isn’t it? 

There is a different way. 

The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. (Luke 8:1-3a)s

I love this group of women who follow after Jesus!

There’s Mary Magdalene who has a past spent with seven demons. Seven is a complete number in the Bible and some scholars suggest she was wholly possessed. While you and I may not be possessed or never have had demons come out of us, there are a few of us with a bit of a, shall we say sordid, former life. She was no longer that person because of Jesus and neither are we. 

Joanna was the wife of a highly placed official in the court of Herod Anitpas. She knew people and inside scoops. I image there were dinner parties, dances and functions that kept her in societies eye. Once she knew Jesus, the rest faded away. The power and prestige paled in her pursuit for her Savior. There are those of you who relate to Joanna, knowing people in high places (maybe even being those in high places) but recognizing where real worth comes from…being a Jesus follower. 

Susanna is a bit of a mystery. Mentioned here and no other place in all of Scripture the one thing we know about her is she is a part of Jesus’ ministry and had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Maybe you are Susanna. Ever grateful of what Jesus did for you and in quiet adoration you follow and serve him. 

And many others…I wonder who among you reading this feel as though you don’t have a “big story” to tell so you don’t tell your story at all? You aren’t Mary M. with seven demons or high in the social scene or even mysterious but you adore Jesus and follow him with everything you’ve got. You count too you know. Your story with the Savior is a beautiful one. 

Why do I love this group of women? They are all so different and yet the same because they all recognize their need of Someone bigger than themselves. Each one brought something unique to the table. 

These women were helping to support them out of their own means. 

(Luke 8:3bNIV)

What if this was a group of mean girls instead of women with means? Mary wouldn’t have been allowed in for fear of what others would say about her shameful past. After all, Jesus doesn’t need that sort of reputation! Joanna would never “lower herself” to serve others nor wish to be seen with such people. Susanna would have nothing much to offer so nope, no average folks allowed. 

What a difference that would have made! How much would they have missed out on? 

Thankfully they were women of means and not mean women. They each brought their “something” to support the Savior so he could further his message of hope. 

What if we weren’t meant to be mean women but women of means? Women coming together with all manner of gifts and talents, backgrounds and family histories, stories of healing and adoration for the Healer. We would follow the One we love instead of loving the number of followers we have. We would cheer each other on and be the loudest clapper in the crowd. We would celebrate what has been done so we could stop chasing after do. All for the glory of God.

What if the world saw us women of faith rise up and become women of means? Just imagine it. What if…

kw

The Day After Father’s Day

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It’s Monday. The day after Father’s Day. You can breathe now. You made it. I know it was tough for some. For others, you just don’t think about it too much. I get it. Truly. So I thought I would share the prologue (at this point) to my book in the works, followed by a few thoughts afterwards….

To say that the relationship with my dad is peculiar would be pretty accurate. We do have one, I guess. It’s just…different. We don’t really talk. We don’t spend much time together. We no longer send cards at the Hallmark best times of the year. And yet, I know if I really needed to, I could call him and he’d be there. I could ask him for anything and if it was in his power to do it he would. So strange.

I’ve been so hesitant to write this book because I don’t want you to hate my dad or think poorly of him. I don’t hate my dad or think poorly of him. Our relationship, or lack thereof, just is what it is.

You see, I was born on August 3, 1965 into a marriage that probably should never have happened anyhow. But seeing as how my mom got pregnant her senior year of high school with my brother three years earlier, my dad did “the right thing” by her and so a shotgun wedding took place. And those of us who have lived much life know that if you ever do something because you feel you HAVE to and not because you WANT to…well it makes for a recipe of messy.

So they added another kid. Me.

And then divorced a short few months after I was born. My older brother and I lived with my paternal grandparents from the time we were 3 and 18 months. They provided everything we needed: food, shelter, clothing, stability, love. They were the best. And yet there was always this place within me that was searching. This place that seemed empty. I grew up never quite feeling like I belonged. Like I never quite measured up.

It’s hard to understand big people issues when you’re a little girl. The absence of my father wasn’t so much about rejecting me as it was about his needing to get away, far away; from my mom, from our small town, from reminders of mistakes made. I know that now….years later.

I also now understand why I cringed every time a pastor talked about God as my Father. But I’ve learned, my Father loves me. And I let Him.

This is my story of how I got there… 

Many of you get this. This searching. This yearning. This hole. Maybe your dad was never in the picture. Maybe he left by choice. Maybe he passed when you were young. Whatever the reason, those of us whose dad’s were absent growing up spent some time struggling.

It wasn’t until years (and some therapy) later that I began to understand the role of God as my Father. I was so tenderly stubborn to open my heart to such love. A love that is immeasurable and unconditional. I couldn’t fathom it.

I spent my entire younger life trying to be good enough (or bad enough) to get attention. I wanted to be seen, heard and loved by someone who simply (and honestly) didn’t ever really want kids.

The beauty of this story is it’s not new. The Bible tells us so. There are women all throughout this ancient script that discovered the love of the Father.

He sees you just like he saw Hagar in the wilderness after she had been rejected. (Genesis 16) He sees you in your wanderings.

He sees you just like he saw Leah whose father thought it took trickery for anyone to love her. Leah never measured up no matter what she did, until she turned her eyes on her Father. (Genesis 29) He sees you in your trying.

He sees you just like he saw the woman at the well…thirsting for something more than relationships gone wrong. (John 4) He sees you in your desperation.

He sees you just like he saw Mary Magdalene who had demons. In fact she had seven, which some scholars believe meant she was wholly possessed. (Luke 8) He sees you in your despair.

And so on this day after Father’s Day, breathe and remember…

You are seen.

You are heard.

You are loved.

You are valued.

You are adored.

You are treasured.

You are delightful.

You are beautiful.

You are you.

kw

 

Thankful Before (Questions to Consider: the Purpose)

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I’m not going to say there is a purpose to everything. That just seems so cliché and cold to say to the one who has lost a loved one or to the one whose marriage is falling apart or is living in the wilderness wondering if she will ever get out of there.

I don’t know the purpose to why bad things happen or God’s timing on things. What I do know is God can take everything we experience…every hurt, every painful thing, every dry time…and make something good from it. Every. Single. Thing.

Here’s the question: Can we thank him before we understand the purpose because, let’s face it, some stuff we will never understand this side of heaven. Can we thank him before we see the good that he makes from something bad?

Hard questions to consider for sure. But boy when we come to the place of being thankful in all things, it sure changes our perspective, our attitudes and our worship.

 Sunday November 12           Read John 11:1-43

 Monday November 13           Read John 11:1-16

Have you ever sent word to Jesus, letting him know (praying) about a situation?

Has his response ever seemed like he stayed where he was two more days? (A “delayed” response to your request.)

How did/does this make you feel? About the situation? Towards Jesus?

Tuesday November 14          Read John 11:17-37

 What was Mary and Martha’s reaction to Jesus when he “finally” showed up?

What was Jesus’ reaction to each of them?

Is it okay to be completely honest with how we’re feeling, sharing our disappointment, anger and grief with God (or even towards God)?

What “I AM” name does Jesus use here?

Wednesday November 15              Read John 11:38-43

 What does Jesus thank God for in verse 41?

For whose benefit and for what reason does he do this?

God hears our prayers. God answers our prayers. Sometimes his answers seem delayed but maybe it’s so everyone knows Who it was that was working in the midst of your request. Just something for us to consider.

Thursday November 16         Genesis 1:1-31

 Switching gears a little today. We saw in John 11:25 that Jesus is the resurrection and life, bringing the dead back to life. God is All-Powerful. His word can create something from nothing.

Spend some time today paying special attention to what happens every time you read And God said…

Consider this: Maybe you have something that seems hopeless and you feel helpless. A relationship that is dead. A job. A marriage. Etc. If God spoke into existence all that he did out of nothing, he can surely speak life and hope into your situation…that something that you lay at his feet.

Thank him today that he hears you and that he can speak life into whatever you are facing.

Friday November 17            Read Ezekiel 37:1-14

 Who does the setting in and leading around the Valley of Dry Bones?

All of us experience dry times spiritually. Often times it’s of our doing but sometimes the Lord actually leads into that valley. Verses 13-14 gives us a clue as to why.

We cannot know the beauty of the mountaintop if we’ve never experienced the depth of a valley. A valley is something meant to be gone through not lived in.

Listen for the Breath of Life to breathe into you.

Saturday November 18         Read Proverbs 18:21

 Our words have the power of life and death.

How do you use your words towards others?

How do you speak to yourself? Your family? Your friends?

This week has been one of thanking the Lord before we understand the purpose of the thing we’re going through. Can you thank him in the I don’t know why? Will you thank him in the I don’t understand the purpose? Can you thank him while in the valley of dry bones? Will you use your words to bring life to others and yourself?

I know it’s hard to be thankful in all things, in all situations, with all our words. But if we practice thankfulness before knowing the purpose, we will get better at it!

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Before (Questions to Consider: the Provision)

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There is always something to be thankful for…

 We hear this mantra a lot, especially this time of year and it’s true. There IS always something to be thankful for. Even in my toughest seasons I could muster up something for which to give thanks….some days it was that I opened my eyes or had breath…but it was something.

It’s also pretty popular to take each day in the month of November and write down what you are thankful for. Lots of social media posts give a shout out of thanksgivings. Nothing wrong with that since there is always something to be thankful for.

 But what if…

There are several times in the gospels where we see Jesus give thanks not for something but before. He prays and thanks the Father before the provision is given, before the prayer is answered, before the cross is experienced.

Wow! Talk about upping the thankful game!

Do you have something you’re praying about? Do you have a need that you’ve been on your knees over? Do you long for a breath of fresh air and new life in a relationship, job or maybe even yourself? Is there a season of life you know is coming that’s going to be tough?

Maybe you’ve been begging and pleading for answers with nothing but silence. What would happen if we began to thank God ahead of time for answering our prayer? What would happen if, instead of begging, we asked and immediately began to be thankful before the answer was obvious?

What have you been praying for? What answer do you need? Ask for it, pray about it then everyday from now until the end of the month thank the Father before he answers. I can’t wait to hear what happens!

For the rest of this month we will be looking at those three encounters, learn from them best we can and challenge ourselves to be thankful on a whole different level.

Let’s get started with this week’s readings and questions to consider:

Sunday, November 05       Read John 6:1-15

Simply read the encounter and ask the Lord to give you fresh eyes to see and ears to hear what he would have for you.

Monday November 06       Read John 6:1-15

Think about the different reactions to the need that was in front of them…

Philip said…

Andrew said, here is this but…

The little boy did…

Can you relate to any of these when there is such a great need in your own life or when Jesus asks you to do the (seemingly) impossible?

Tuesday November 07               Read John 6:1-15

How many loaves and fish did the boy have to offer?

Was it enough on his own?

Was it enough when given to Jesus?

Was does this tell you?

Wednesday November 08          Read John 6:1-15

How many loaves and fish does Jesus have when he gave thanks? (I know…duh!…but hang with me.)

How often do we think we don’t have enough so we don’t offer what we have?

Thursday November 09              Read John 6:1-15

What does Jesus do as soon as he gave thanks?

Do you trust your Father enough to hand him what you have (measly as it may seem), thank him for it then “distribute” it to help feed others?

Friday November 10                  Read John 6:1-15

Think about an area that you have a need, something that your resources simply are not enough on their own. Don’t think about just money but about relationships, jobs, contentment, health etc. Write it down.

 

Saturday November 11               Read John 6:1-15

Spend today simply thanking him for the provision from yesterday’s area of need. Each time it comes to mind, thank him for the provision. Each time you catch yourself worrying about it thank him for the answer.

The same God who turned the measly into the miraculous is the same God you are asking today. The same God who fed the masses on a boys’ mere meal can take your not much and feed the need.

What if we prayed like Jesus, thanked like Jesus, trusted like Jesus and served like Jesus…before.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Calendar with an Attitude of Gratitude

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There’s lots of cliché’s that surround having “thankful” be the theme for November. I mean it is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving…giving thanks for family and friends, food and fun, oh and of course God and his goodness. And while it’s not rocket science, it does make a difference when you purposefully set your mind to be thankful. (If you rolled your eyes, huffed and puffed or shook your head…maybe you need it the most…just a thought. 😉

I have been researching and reading lots of verses on words like thanks, thankful, thankfulness and thanksgiving and I’ve discovered something: It’s hard to be angry and thankful. It’s hard to be discontent and thankful. It’s hard to be prideful, hateful or arrogant and be thankful. It’s like thankfulness is a light that outshines the ugly in us.

Maybe you’ve had a tough year and the last thing you want to do is be thankful. For what? you may be asking. Maybe you’re angry at God or the holidays are hard or you’ve lost someone you love. I get it. I also know that it is in those moments, when it is the hardest, that it is the biggest blessing as well.

According to Amy Morin from Forbes magazine, gratitude is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. She goes on to give seven scientifically proven things an attitude of gratitude does which includes improving physical and psychological health, increases mental strength and empathy, better sleep, and decreases aggression (Lord knows we could use that in the world about now!).

What do we have to lose?

Here is your calendar of scripture reading. Simply click the link and the calendar will be downloaded to your device.

November

Because of the busyness of the season, I wanted to keep it simple so there will either be a handful of verses to read or we will hang out in the same passage for the entire week with questions to consider each day. You can choose to read more or the entire chapter if you would like. You can choose to write out the answers to the questions or simply think about them throughout the day. You can choose to do any of the activities listed…or not. Every Sunday you will get your questions to consider for that week.

So grab your Bible and journal and let’s get started! I thought we could do a little warm up these first few days and stay in the book of Colossians where there is something about thanks in all four chapters. (All questions are based on the NIV version of the Bible so some words/wording may be different.)

November 01: Read Colossians 1:1-14

~ List 3 friends you are thankful for.

~ List a person who has been your “Epaphra’s”

send them a note of thanks.

~ List 3 friends you will pray Colossians 1:9 over for the month.

 

November 02: Read Colossians 2:1-12

~ What is Paul’s purpose? (verse 2-3)

~ Does someone you know need encouraged today? Do it!

~ What are we to continue in verses 6-7?

~ Is your thankfulness overflowing? Attitude check here.

 

November 03: Read Colossians 3:1-17

~ There is much to be thankful for in these verses…

~ Write out/ponder on as many as you can…for example…

I am thankful for…verse 1 that I have been raised with Christ.

 

November 04: Read Colossians 4:2-6

~ Lots of “be’s” in these…

be prayerful, watchful, thankful, wise, graceful…

lots of questions to consider…

~ Which of these “be’s” do I struggle with the most?

~ How do I act towards “outsiders”?

~ Do I make the most of every opportunity?

~ Is my conversation seasoned with salt or simply salty?

I want to hear from YOU! Either comment on the blog directly or join the Facebook page Kim Wright Writes. What was one takeaway from this weeks readings?

Happy Thanks Giving!

Fiercely for you!

kw

A Kindler of Kindness

This week has been brutal. The election is over. The malevolence is not. Or maybe it’s not about the election at all. Maybe this is about what has been stirring in people’s hearts for a very long time. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). It just needed an excuse to flow over. On both sides. I don’t know, really.  I do know, I’m tired. Wearied right to the bone. You too?

My man and I, our son, and his sons took a walk around the pond last week. There are treasures to explore, frogs to see and the most perfect flat rocks to skip across the waters. A couple times the rocks landed with a kerplunk instead of a skip, leaving a ripple. One here. One there. On occasion when thrown out in unison here and there the ripples merged and created a bigger one.

The stopping of hatefulness has to start somewhere, so why not with me? And you? It sure feels ominous but if we both try together maybe, just maybe, there will be a trickle of a ripple that will somehow reach out and fan the flames of goodness and kindness.

What if just for today, we all agreed to…

Stop Fueling Fear and Kindle Kindness instead.

There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, says Jesus’ disciple John. Love doesn’t fuel fear. Love doesn’t ignite the what if’s and what are we to do’s, causing an unnecessary roar of a flame.

No. Love shows compassion when times are uncertain. Kindling a flame of kindness by walking beside each other in uncertain times while always lighting the way to Hope.

Stop Hurling Hate and be the Giver of Good News.

It’s so easy isn’t it? In this day and age of technology, one can give their scathing opinion…let it be written, let it be said…without ever having contact with those they are so adamantly opposed to. With a few strokes of the keys we can let the world know what we are for or against. What is right or wrong. What we stand for or won’t put up with.

All the while forgetting, these “issues” are actually people. Loved ones. Those who are also made in the image of God. People who have ears to hear the hateful things said, eyes to see the hateful things done and hearts that are broken by people who have forgotten that we are all in desperate need of the Good News of the Gospel.

This today by St. Francis:

Lord,

Make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is discord, union;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

 

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in the giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen

Stop Spewing Social Media Sound Bites, put down your device and be nice!

You all we are so informed, it does us harm. No one can do anything without everyone knowing, reading or hearing about it. We know who went out with who, what everyone was eating, who’s kids poo’ed, who’s mad at who, who was included, who was left out, who had a birthday, half birthday, un-birthday, who ran, who golfed, who played hoops…you get the picture.

I’m just as guilty.

The problem is we become a sound bite society that’s forgotten what it is to have rich, meaningful face to face conversations with actual people. And when we do have a night with real people we’re so busy documenting it that we don’t see the faces before us.

We’ve become a sound bite people who cannot chew on anything for very long without choking. We don’t look things up for ourselves or study the context in depth. We take sound bites as gospel then backbite leaving teeth marks and deep wounds.

Stop. Please stop.

Can we make an effort to be a kindler of kindness? It’s not hard. I promise. We can…

Open a door for someone.

Load someone’s groceries in their car.

Smile at someone.

Rake an elderly person’s yard.

Take dinner to a shut in and eat with them.

Work at a homeless shelter or an abuse shelter.

Can’t do people quite yet after all the hulabaloo? Then you can…

Work at a pet shelter.

Be a kindler of kindness.

Make eye contact.

Pay for someone’s coffee in the drive thru.

Volunteer.

Serve at your local church.

Rock babies at the hospital.

Handwrite a note of encouragement.

Speak a nice word to the clerk or waitress who’s having a rough go.

Visit a nursing home.

Get creative and be a kindler of kindness.

It starts with us.

What am I going to do today? Be a Kindler of Kindness.

What are you going to do today to be a Kindler of Kindness?

Let’s do this. If only for today.

I adore you!

kw

Thankful for Enduring Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)

What a magnificent way to start this Psalm! Giving thanks because no matter what, He is good and we have this enduring love. Love that is:

Everlasting

                                        Permanent

                                                                             Patient  

                                                                                                               Long-suffering

Not cheap or crass. Curt or unkind. No. This love is the kind that sticks right by your side ‘til the very end. While this script in the first 32 verses of Psalm 107 is written of people long ago, its cries still ring true today. We are a people in desperate need to know the love of a Father.

The desert wanderer doesn’t even realize she’s lost until all of a sudden she looks around and has no clue where she is or how she got there. For those of us direction-ally challenged, you get this. My middle daughter missed a gymnastics meet (many years ago) in Dayton because I didn’t realize we were going the wrong way until we crossed the Ohio/Indiana border.

It’s so easy to take a wrong turn and end up in places you didn’t mean to go. But this enduring Love? He answers our cries in the desert by showing us the way home. He even stops off and gets us something to eat on the way back.

Give Thanks to the Lord.

The prisoner sitting in a cell because of his own doing. His rebellion against God gets him shackled in chains doing hard time and hard labor. I’ve been him too. When the Lord has told me to forgive and I said, Never! Or be kind was met with they don’t deserve it. Bring peace He said. I brought dissension. We become trapped by the hardness of our heart and the bitterness in our soul.

But this enduring Love? He answers our cries in the prison. He gets us out of the darkness and breaks the chains that bind our hearts. He sets the captive free!

For He is Good

Then there are those that made foolish decisions and are suffering the consequences. Anybody? Even then, in our own stupidity, God is merciful when we cry out to Him. His enduring, everlasting, patient and long-suffering love hears our cries and answers. Not only saving us but healing us. We are never beyond his reach!

His Love Endures Forever!

Then there’s this: The job is prosperous. The family well. Life is good. Things are like a well-oiled machine. Out of nowhere a storm like you’ve never experienced pops up. You are at your wits end. So you turn to the One who stirred up the storm.

Wait. What? God causes storms? You know it. Because sometimes we get a little too comfortable and forget. We get a little to independent and think we can do this thing called life on our own.

Those storms bring us back to the reality of our need for the One who calms the storm with a mere whisper and hushes the waves with a single breath.

Though each circumstance was different, God’s reaction was the same when there was a cry for help. It didn’t matter if we got lost by accident or by our own doing, if it was our own bullheadedness, stupidity or us being lackadaisical. His enduring love is good and everlasting and for that and that alone we can be thankful.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)