Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Investment ~ Be Someone That Makes Everybody Feel like a Somebody


Natalie was a new mom and finding her new role a bit lonely at times.  

She left the job she was great at, didn't have extra money for baby sitters, she felt stuck at home, and alone.  By the time her husband arrived each night, he was drained from the day and wanted to unwind watching TV.  

Most of her friends were still single, working, and their idea of fun was going out to places that Natalie no longer felt comfortable with.

I met Natalie at a church sponsored writing group. 

With more than two decades separating us in age, that didn't stop us from becoming friends. 

We found that we not only enjoyed writing but we enjoyed the same genre, enjoyed the same music, and fast food.  

Remembering what it once was like to be at home with small children, I decided to help Natalie.  I offered to pay for a babysitter so she and I could go to a new writing critique.  After her initial declines, I convinced her that I didn't want or need to drive in the dark.
  
She drove, I talked.
I drove, she hung on for dear life.

We shared our childhood hurts and pains and something amazing began to happen.  

I would give her advice on being a wife and mom; she would give me advice on being a wife and mom.  

Both of us had the same heart... what about that!  We both wanted to be the best we could possibly be.

We became each other’s accountability partner.  

When those ugly unforgiving or bitter feelings would show up, we would confide in each other and encourage each other.  

Natalie helped me to move past my feelings of resentment and inadequacies; I helped her to accept and embrace her uniqueness.  

I began to see past experiences as just that, experience that helped me to be better.  

I began to see that I wasn't alone in desperately wanting that story book relationship with my own mother.  I realized that though that relationship may never be possible; there were other people out in the world that I could invest my time in.  

People like Natalie, wanting to have a mother-daughter relationship and knowing it may never be possible as well.

You may be here reading this, tearing up, and thinking of your own circumstances.  God sees your tears, he knows your heart.  He tells us to come to him with all our hurts and pains and He himself will carry our burdens.

Ask him for direction, wisdom, discernment in finding or being a mentor.  

You may be at a place of giving up today.  You've prayed and asked God to restore that relationship, but so far, nothing.  Never give up on it but while you are waiting, why not invest in someone else… someone who needs a person in their life that will take the time to care.  

You’re never too old or too young to be a light in someone’s otherwise dark loneliness.   Ask God for direction right now. He wants you to invest your time in others, let him direct you to the right person or persons.  You may be surprised at how awesome it turns out. 

I moved a couple of years ago.  

Natalie and I are still close friends.  In fact we are online critique partners still trudging toward our dreams of becoming novelists. 

I thought the day God asked me to help Natalie, I was doing her a big favor.  Turns out God was doing me a favor... bigger than I ever imagined.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dealing with People that Annoy You


Who annoys you?  


Veiled Chameleon, Walknboston/Flickr Creative Commons

Is it a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or employer? 

Have you found yourself rolling your eyes, avoiding people, talking about them behind their back, even venting on social media? 

It’s easy to get frustrated with anyone but what if that frustration turns to dislike or even hatred?  

That’s never a good thing.

I’ve noticed in myself that a couple of factors exist that compel me to get annoyed with people.  If you can pinpoint what bothers you, it’s possible to change your attitude about that “annoying” person.  

 FAST FACTS:

1. We see imperfections or weaknesses in others that we ourselves are guilty of.

2. We have been offended by them and are still allowing that un-forgiveness to cause a root of bitterness.

3. We share different opinions, beliefs, morals, values and began judging them for not holding the same standards.

There is a common core that ties all of these together.  It’s PRIDE.  

I remember the day that I felt convicted in this area toward one of those “annoying” people in my life.  The more I wanted to point a finger at them, the more I felt convicted. 

Pride is one of those snicky emotions.  It can camouflage itself like chameleons in a flower garden.  It looks good, feels good, everyone talks about having it.

How do you get rid of pride and actually stop being annoyed?  

It doesn’t happen overnight.  It can take days, months, years even, but it’s worth it.  


Why? you might ask, because unlike a chameleon, people can’t change to accommodate every person in their life and that’s exactly what we are asking of them.  

We are asking them to become like us.  Not going to happen ... and if it does, run away.  (Remember Invasion of the Body Snatchers? 


Being exactly alike didn't turn out well for them.
And it won't for us either.


If we want to be accepted for who we are, we need to give that same GRACE to others.


"...be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out."
1 Thessalonians 5:14 The Message





Thursday, January 22, 2015

No More Excuses...Impact Someone's Life

Recently I've joined an online Bible Study, www.MoreToBe.com.  It's been such an eye-opening experience.  The study is actually about becoming a mentor, see Elisa Pulliam's book, Impact my Life: Biblical Mentoring Simplified.




This week we have been looking at excuses.  Excuses of why we as Christian women don't take the time to influence, encourage, and teach younger Christian women.  I am sad to admit that I've got plenty of excuses.  After this week's study, I'm more determined than ever to be a light in the darkness, take the time to be a blessing to  someone, encourage someone, help someone.  

It's not easy for us in this independent world to reach out to others.  But you'll be surprised at how many women, young and old, desperately need  to know that you care.



So what are your excuses for not stepping out in faith and making a difference in someone else's life?


Here are my top three excuses, see if you can claim any.

  1. I am SOOOOOOO busy, and just don't have time.  (It took 5 minutes at break to send 5 text messages)
  2. I don't have anything to say to encourage anyone, look at me, I'm a mess myself. (So what, do you have to be perfect to say, "Hey, I was just thinking about you.  I hope you're doing well.  Maybe we can get together for a cup of coffee one day.  Anyways, wanted you to know how much I appreciate you.")
  3. No one wants to hear what I have to say.  They'll think I'm weird.  (Replies from text messages:  "Oh, I am so glad to hear from you, I miss you too.  Thanks for thinking of me : )."  "I know about busy! Going through my 2nd graduation, I know you know how that is. Miss you too."  "You don't know what your words meant to me today!  I'm really going through a hard time and could use your prayers.  Thank you so much for the text!")
What are your excuses for not stepping out in faith and making a difference in someone else's life?

Stop it, whatever they are.

Get out there, be seen, open your mouth, get those fingers moving across a keypad or textpad, send a card, an email, phone someone.... or for goodness sake, put a giant smile on your face wherever you go.  You'll see the difference in no time.  

You can start small. I started with a few simple text messages.  
No weirdness.
I did have something to say. 
It was well received and appreciated.  
Simple, time efficient, and I think I made some people smile.  

So worth it!

You're not hopeless.
God can use you, but you have to take the first step.

I believe in you!
Now March, Onward Christian Soldier!  Make some people Smile.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

3 Simple Prayers that will Change your Life



This week has been particularly tough. Things at home, things with kids, things with work, things with finances, everywhere I turn... 

PROBLEMS, TROUBLES, FRUSTRATIONS, ANXIETY, FEELING LIKE A FAILURE, FEELING HELPLESS.

After several confrontations, I was feeling a little gun shy, you know, wanting to hide from everyone.

Too many had blown up in my face taking their frustrations out on me.  Even though I knew they were going through difficult times themselves, it was still hard, it hurt my feelings, it made me mad.

People can let you down, disappoint you, hurt you.  
A teacher in school once said to me, "Cindy, you don't have to let people hurt you. You get to choose what to do with OTHER'S words and actions."

It was a new experience for me. 


Maybe you're having a tough week too.  Below is a simple prayer guide.  Those 3 second prayers that you whisper under your breath or scream in tears, either way they work.



Thursday, January 1, 2015

WALKIN IN MEMPHIS ~ FLYING PIGS & JUNK YARDS



Memphis reminds me of Birmingham... lots of traffic and lots of great restaurants.  This last weekend my husband, Bryan, and I made an emergency trip to Memphis.  It was one of those love/hate, excited/dreading, I can't wait to go/I can't believe we're going kind-of trips.

Our son was car-less, walking the streets, (interstates), of Memphis.  Talk about a near melt down.   If I did not have the deep relationship I have with God, I would've lost it.

 Ever been there?

But instead of focusing on the negative, we decided to enjoy our trip, enjoy our son, and enjoy all that Memphis offered.

Amazing what a change of attitude can do.  You don't have to give in to your feelings or let them carry you away with fear, anger, hate, unforgiveness, hopelessness, or any other emotion.  You get to decide how you act or don't act, what thoughts to let in or not.  You're in charge!

My son took us to several local restaurants, all terrific.  We toured some of the neighborhoods, and if you are from one of them please let me know.  Some of my favorite areas included; Germantown, Midtown, and Collierville.  Many of the homes were beautiful and reminded me of our previous home in Trussville, Alabama, and all the neighboring areas such as; Homewood, Moutain Brook, and Hoover.


For our fist night, our son took us to Huey's in Germantown.  I had the chicken sliders with fries and loaded potato soup on the side.  The food was delicious, the atmosphere dimer and louder than most family restaurants.  Definitely targeted toward the young single career crowd.  But for the three of us, the price was very affordable, $10 per person, with everyone full afterwards.


After visiting the place where we had to "junk our ride," we ate at a local's favorite, Central BBQ, in downtown Memphis know as Midtown. I got a kick out of the flying pigs display.  It wasn't a disappointment and worth the extra travel time.  The pulled pork sandwich was my choice and the boys raved so much about the baked beans, I had to try them as well.  I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant where the backed beans were my favorite.

Finally, Mr. Larry at Midtown Auto Parts took great care of our dead Volvo.  If you need any towing or parts around the Memphis area, be sure to look him up.  He made a stressful situation smooth.

As far as our son walking around in Memphis again, it happened sooner than we expected as the Tahoe we left behind for him blew out a tire.  But so many strangers gave him a helping hand and that makes a mama that's several hours away very grateful.

It makes me think twice when I see someone walking after passing a broken down vehicle.  I wonder whose child that is and how can I help.

One things for sure, he had someone watching over him.  Hopefully my next adventure of Walking in Memphis will include more restaurants and less junk yards.  Until then, keep your fingers crossed and your prayers going for no more broken down vehicles.