Short and Sweet

Who are some of the people you admire from afar?

Is it a favorite author? Pastor? Speaker? Teacher?

One of mine is Bob Goff. Check him out on Instagram, his posts are remarkable.

He wrote a book called Love Does that will inspire you.

Today I learned…So much, but my brain is tired. So my fail safe is pointing people to Bob as he is brilliant and wonderful. I keep asking for him for Christmas, but Santa has not complied. (For the record, I just want to hang out with him for lunch).

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Man Dates

I know, odd title.

As we get older, we have odd situations that pop up by well intentioned people. Sometimes we even put ourselves and/or our loved ones in odd situations.

Let me give you an example. When we are young, we hangout with the people who live around us. Those in our sports programs, from our schools…etc. As adults, we hangout with people from work, or our families. If you are a woman and become a stay at home mom, you go through times of feeling extreme loneliness so you try and join mommy groups

As men, you try and connect with those at work, which can be a challenge if you don’t drink as that seems to be the easiest way for men to connect. Second being working out or a sport.

Living in Orange County, California…most time spent is in making enough money to continue living in the OC. That leaves little time for being around others.

As a couple you dream of other couples you’ll connect with. Generally you like either the man or his wife…rarely both. I say that fairly confidently after a lot of discussions with others.

As soon as you find someone you like, it’s a prayer that the spouses will get along.

Let’s back up. I have always had a hard time finding and keeping friends. My problem is twofold (probably way more than that, but we’ll stick with 2). I don’t trust people. I assume as soon as I like someone they will leave.

With 2 issues like those, it’s been difficult. As I learned to work on my relationship with God, more than any other. I would cry out to God that I wanted a friend that I could trust. One that would stick with me, even when they found out all the ugliness inside of me.

God answered. It did take time, but as I learned how to be in relationships, through what I was learning in the Bible, He brought me an amazing woman who is just about as opposite of me as you could get.

We started a relationship in a ministry we were both involved in. (I had met her through our kids being in a small group together and talked her in to joining the ministry). Though we were so different, we started leaning on each others strengths and supporting each other through the weaknesses…and then we decided…as our relationship grew…it was time to get our husbands together.

We setup a double date to try and maneuver a “man date” to happen between our husbands. Thankfully, conversation flowed throughout the evening and the guys were able to find something THEY could connect with.

This started a great relationship between families.

Are you feeling isolated? Do you wish you had someone to hangout with? Call and shoot the breeze with?

You aren’t meant to be alone. You aren’t meant to live life by yourself. You aren’t meant to be around people who don’t love you enough to hold you accountable.

You can try getting set up on “friend dates” and having your relatives and other well-meaning friends try to connect you for coffee, or time out together.

The best way to find friends? Church. Now you might think that is a completely lame suggestion, but it works.

For example, our church has over 500 “ministries” you can get involved with. Everything from Basketball and Volleyball to Hula Dancing and Landscaping. When you find a ministry that sounds good, you join it! You aren’t tied to it, you can come and go as you please…but it is a great way to find people like YOU.

It’s kinda like when you were young and joined soccer…suddenly, during the soccer season, all those players became your friends. You liked soccer, they liked soccer so you became friends.

I promise…joining a ministry and meeting people who like to do what you like to do, will give you the opportunity to have great discussions, bond with others and give you an activity to GO OUT and do.

This my help prevent any uncomfortable man or woman play date that someone might try and set up.

What I learned today…I am so thankful for my friend and her family. And I am so thankful that people around us think enough of us that they want to introduce us to others that they think we might connect with. AND that as you get older, your circle of friends will get smaller so you can spend more quality time with them while you spend quality time with your family. It’s better to have quality than quantity.

 

Good and Bad Day

So I absolutely do NOT feel like writing today. However, I can’t give up on day 7.

It was a fairly difficult day physically as I have had to work through some pain, a good friend was in a 6 hour surgery on his heart and I learned that I have been a slacker mama.

It was a good day as my friend came out of surgery with flying colors, I was crazy blessed to lead a monthly meeting with some pretty fantastic leaders and I had an eye opening discussion with one of my boys.

That seems to happen. Hopefully you have seen the movie Inside Out by now. It beautifully walks through how, usually, it’s not all sad or all happy, but a mixture.

The goal is to do the best we can as we learn through this crazy life.

Today I learned…I may not like to do things, but for others, I need to put my feelings aside and learn to just be there.

I learned…to really stop and enjoy where God has me. I was in a room with 36 people who I can honestly say I admire, and I was allowed to lead them. And I’m allowed to do it every month! It just slays me and I pray that God gives me the wisdom  and discernment I need to steward it well.

I learned…even though I have teenagers that pull away, I need to keep pushing in. My kids are some of the most remarkable PEOPLE  I have ever met. I can’t forget I am their MOM for the rest of their lives. It is my job to push, pull and wear them out with questions and love. To show them how much I care and WANT to know them as they grow.

Praying, if you read this far, that God can show you what He wanted YOU to learn today. That you think about it, process it, learn from it and that you ask Him to help you be a better YOU tomorrow.

 

EXCITED!

I had the BEST meeting yesterday.

Phase 1 –

Our pastor lit a fire under our staff, reminding everyone that we NEED to be connected with God. Nothing is more important than our relationship with Jesus. (Can I get an AMEN?!)

If ministry is keeping you too busy…so busy you don’t have time with God, STOP YOUR MINISTRY.

Personally, I am a completely ordinary and broken woman. I am selfish and prideful. I am whiney and weak. If I am not talking to AND listening to God daily (usually LOTS-O-TIMES during the day), I – Julie – will be coming out in my ministry, not Jesus. That is NO BUENO.

Now I know it might be different for others, who work outside of the church. And you can excuse it with how you can’t talk about God at work, you talk to Him before work or after work, knowing the Bible won’t logically help you at YOUR job.

That is WRONG.

God actually wrote – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” Colossians 3:23-24

That was written for people working EVERYWHERE! It was even written for those working IN the home. No excuses!

Think of what it would be like, if more of us – wherever we are, are reading the Bible to learn more about how God wants us to live…and then being a LIVING testimony to those around us. At all times! Before, during and after anything we are doing!

Having people watch how YOU are behaving in good and bad situations – You being that example someone needs to influence them to start their own relationship with Jesus. That is powerful. That can forward the kingdom. Just by your actions!

Go to church! You will not only learn what the Bible says, but you will learn to get along with others. How? When you really belong to a church, you realize it is truly a family. The good that bad and the crazy. AND you can grow in learning how to deal with it all more than you could ever imagine.

And it’s worth it.

Phase 2 –

Walking out of the meeting I saw a co-worker I hadn’t seen in a while.

Now let me first say, I LOVE that God has given me a gift of seeing how beautifully people were built. But with that comes the burden of seeing when people are doing something they are NOT built for as well. That part is no fun.

When I saw this guy, I immediately remembered the last time I had seen him as he was getting comfortable in a new position. At that time, I had seen clearly that it was a temporary position for him. Something he COULD do, but not necessarily what he SHOULD be doing.

I asked how his new position was treating him, (a NewER position than the last time) and his response was AWESOME. His eyes automatically lit up and he said he loves it. When I probed a bit, he said he knew the position would be opening and he might be asked about it. It wasn’t anything he had ever thought of, but went to God with it and asked if that was the direction he should step in. God said YES.

As he was talking, he became more and more animated and excited, then proceeded to bring out his phone and started excitedly showing pictures of all they are doing.

It was AWESOME! By being obedient to God by going in to a position that he wasn’t built for, and stewarding it well, God was then able to open a position that was a perfect match.

Are you in a position you are not built for? Do the BEST YOU CAN as if working for the Lord, not man…as HE does have better for you.

And my prayer for you is for you to find that job that makes you excited to wake up and go to work. That is the perfect fit for you. I pray that you don’t waste time where you are at now. That you use this time to learn as much as you can to prepare you for the next step.

If you never get to that next step, I pray that when you appear before God, He has the biggest smile on his face and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” and you get the HUGE reward that is promised for your hard work.

What I learned today…Stay connected to God through the Bible, Church services, small group and prayer. That way HE comes out in my work and life. AND keep in mind who I really work for. That He has my best interest at heart and I just need to be the best ME I can be in any situation He puts me in.

Depressed, Heartbroken and Angry

I am both heartbroken and angry as I write this.

Losing 4 friends, their kids or friends spouses in the last 6 months, due to suicide or overdose is breaking my heart.

Are they doing it because they are trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”?

Because they can’t find happiness?

Because they aren’t connected to authentic friends?

Because they don’t feel like the best man/woman, husband/wife, son/daughter?

Some of the people were connected to small groups and a church! If we are telling people that helps, why didn’t it?

The only thing I can think of, is that it takes AUTHENTIC living with others in community to help. Will that cure all problems, of course not. It is HARD.

Letting people in to see the ugliness, self-doubt, depressed, frustrated, whiney person we can all be is not easy. Some people will let one or two in, but not everyone.

I am part of a group where there are 3 people who battle extreme depression. The one I have seen make HUGE strides, attends small group, completed a step study (a Celebrate Recovery program that goes down to the roots of the “why” we are feeling what we feel) and continues to grow reaching out to take any class he can to try and learn more information to better himself and his situation.

Yet another one has gone the route of getting a psychologist, and is making great strides, if not totally comfortable opening up to the group.

And the third has chosen some friends to confide in but leans mostly on their family. Has not reached out, YET, for help as doctor’s haven’t worked in the past, nor has sharing it with others. And the depression comes back in a crushing way with each difficulty in life. The only thing that seems to help lesson the intensity and/or frequency is by staying busy being needed. It doesn’t take it away, but isolation, though sought after, makes it so much worse.

As I talked with my husband about our friends who have passed recently, we started talking about the men. How I wished they had mentors to talk to, like my husband. He, of course, responded how he is no one special. How could he lead other guys as a mentor, he still doesn’t know what he is doing and is on a day to day struggle with his life.

I replied, “You WENT through what some of these guys are going through. You were at a point you felt so guilty you couldn’t ‘keep up’, and you weren’t enough for your family. You KNOW that desperation and loneliness and you made it through. All you need to do is let them know they CAN get through it. You did. And then listen.”

If you are battling depression, talk to someone who has been there. Talk to a doctor. Talk to a friend. Talk to a pastor. Talk to someone. If that doesn’t help, talk to someone else.

There are people who have been there and made it through. You can too. It is worth it.

And if you feel that your family is better off without you, THAT IS A LIE. It is SO much worse for your family with you gone. If you can’t stay here for yourself, do it for them.

If you have battled depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and have conquered them and/or continue to conquer them…help someone by sharing it! You don’t know who around you needs to hear it. You might save someone’s life by having the guts to share your story.

What I learned today…life can be hard. But others have gone through what we are going through and made it. There is help. We need to find it. Hike up your britches, and ask for help…and then put in to action the direction you get. You are LOVED.

**Please don’t be offended by this post. I have only felt the pull of depression for the first time in the last year, and can’t begin to imagine what it is like on a daily, monthly, yearly basis. Praying for each and every person that reads this post and fights this battle constantly. XOXOXO

 

Arrogant or Confident

Had a terrific talk with my husband. We were discussing his search for a new position and I explained how he needs to walk in with his confidence high to any interviews he gets.

He said that he doesn’t like people who walk in with arrogance…it irritates him. That threw me. I had said walk in with confidence not arrogance.

As we dug in to the difference, I realized that part of my job continues to effect my life in amazing ways. In my job, I have the privilege of helping people walk through how God has created them, and show them that their talents and experiences have helped shape who they are, and how they are is AMAZING.

As I sat looking at my husband, I though, Holy Guacamole!, this guy still has no clue how amazing he is!

I explained, walking in to a situation, fully confident in who God made you to be AND confident in knowing that He has the absolutely best position ready for you, is different than walking in full of himself and arrogant.

When you KNOW how God built you, the good – bad and indifferent, there comes a confidence that I find it hard to explain in words. I KNOW what I am not good at. That doesn’t mean I excuse it, or that I won’t pitch in where I’m not gifted, but it means that I can confidently say, “I suck at _____”.

Let’s take something easy, like organization. I am HORRIBLE at it. I LOVE chaos. Now I CAN organize, I just don’t like it and it takes me 10times as longer than someone who is BUILT to organize. At the same time I am BUILT to find solutions to problems. I am BUILT to look ahead and navigate different scenarios that can occur with options that are available.

Others can put my gifts down, and have. They can say I’m “just” friendly. They can say I’m “too busy”. I ignore those.

I know God built me to encourage others.

I know God built me to lead and influence in turbulent times.

I know God built me to run at 1000 miles per hour and be able to assess situations quickly.

I am not arrogant in saying that. I am confident that God made me this way for a reason. And I am thankful God has put people that are strong in all the ways I am weak around me, so I can be blessed by having them use the way they are beautifully built to help me.

Today I learned…It is not arrogant to be confident in the way God made you. Own it. That will influence others to be confident in the beautiful way they were built. THAT can bring less comparing in life, which will bring more happiness.

It’s All Useless

My small group is starting to go through the book of Ecclesiastes. As I start to glance at it, my encourager’s spirit is a bit put off. I am reading the headings of the chapters as, “Everything is Meaningless”, “The Futility of Wisdom”, or “The Futility of Pleasure”.

I have a friend that echo’s a lot of what Solomon is talking about in these first few chapters. The “it’s all useless” mentality.

Have you ever thought that?

I have.

Though I do have an extremely optimistic point of view, since becoming a Christ follower, I do have those days where I just want to throw up my hands and say, “REALLY, God?! Why __________??” Fill in the blank with whatever works in the moment…

What Solomon is really doing is showing, that regardless of what happens here on earth, it will be gone as soon as we are. The generations that follow us will have no idea who I am, or what I said or did. The house I had, the grades my kids received, whether or not I married, what kind of car I had…NONE of it matters in the long run.

What does matter?

The legacy we leave with our actions.

If I am kind to someone, that can change the direction of their day.

If I teach someone something new, they can go on to share that knowledge.

If I learn something new, I have allowed someone in to my life to teach me something that will impact me AND I have given someone else the opportunity to share their knowledge.

If I do the little acts of kindness we see all over the internet.

There are so many things we can do each day, both big and small that can have lasting impact. We all know of the stories all over the web of a couple kind words CHANGING lives.

Whose life are you willing to impact this week?

Whose life could you change with your words or actions?

Are you willing to do something? Even if you don’t see the reward for it?

Try.

I will make it a goal this week to challenge a couple of my “it’s all useless” friends to try and find the meaning in the little moments and take action.

Take action by reading their Bible and asking God to direct their steps to someone that could use a lift in their day. I pray that at some point, when I need a lift, the acts of kindness of one – will effect so many – that I will then receive it when I need it.

What I learned today…I need to stop striving for more or better “stuff” and try and be a better person to those God has put around me.

What Am I Doing?

So in 2016 I have decided to goal myself to post at least one time a day.

I will be posting whatever I have learned or something that I have been thinking about that day.

This will probably turn in to a horribly written journal that only I read…but I am okay with that.

If you happen to fall across this and you don’t like it…don’t tell me as I have HUGE inadequacy issues, so I don’t want to hear it.

If you like it…feel free to let me know as Affirmation and Gifts are my Love Languages (5 Love Languages) – Feel free to lean heavy on the Gifts.

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Post 1

Today I learned that sometime you need to throw tradition out the window.

I have always been excited to wake up January 1st and watch Bob and Stephanie bring the Rose Parade to life in the quiet of my home as the rest of the family slowly wakes up.

Change of Tradition

  1. This morning I woke up to find our downstairs body to body with teen boys sleeping, so turned it on in my room.
  2. I turned it on in my room, while my husband was NOT snoring next to me…;-)
  3. My husband woke up and did NOT go to start making us our traditional Jan.1st breakfast, but instead said, “Let’s go to breakfast”. And started to get ready.
  4. We went to Denny’s.

All of this was a PUSH for me! What happened to watching the parade?!?! Sure, it’s on 15 more times…but it’s TRADITION!

Instead of pushing in with my whine and thinking only about myself, I looked at my husband…the guy who LOVES breakfast anytime of the day…and saw that breaking this tradition, this one morning, would bring HIM joy.

So I shut my mouth, tossed on some clothes and went to breakfast.

Good decision, as the happiness I saw on his face, and the conversations around the table were worth it. I wouldn’t remember what float was what in 3 days…but now I have a memory of discussions and my man’s face that will last a lifetime.

Today I learned to – Make good choices when looking at traditions and make sure you can bend if needed.