Monthly Archives: June 2011

6 Powerful Keys 4 Not Giving Up


Often life is hard. Finances are tight. Health issues plague. Job satisfaction is at an all time low. Or maybe you don’t have a job. Relationships are unreliable. You could add many more examples I’m sure. Because of these events we get discouraged and want to quit.

However Hebrews 11:35-12:4 contains words of wisdom and help. Pastor Rick Warren preached a sermon (6/25/11) and gave the
following 6 keys to help ourselves not give up.

1. Remember heaven is watching me (Hebrews 12:1a). God sees everything I’ve done and am doing.  There is also a huge cloud of witnesses watching as well. Maybe even Abraham and Moses are watching me. Nothing is private in my life.

2. I need to eliminate what doesn’t matter (Hebrews 12:1b). Declutter my life of what’s slowing me down, of what’s causing me to be discouraged. This verse mentions 2 hindrances. (1) Weight – anything that slows me down. I.e. too many activities, memories, traditions, relationships, or unrealistic expectations. If something is not working, do something different.  (2) Sin. This one is obvious. What ongoing sin(s) do I need to eliminate from my life?

3. I run God’s race for me not other’s races (Hebrews 12:1c). Run the race He has custom designed for me, the one He has set for me. If I try to run someone else’s race I will fail and get discouraged. Stop trying to live for others.

4. I must focus on Jesus and not on my circumstances (Hebrews 12:2a).  Life is not a 50 yard dash but a marathon. By focusing on the Master I will not get distracted or discouraged and quit. My hope, strength, and endurance comes from focusing on God.

5. Minimize the pain and maximize the profit of doing what’s right (Hebrews 12:2b). Look at the long-term consequence versus the short-term hardness. Play it down and pray it up.

6. Remember what Jesus did for me (Hebrews 12: 3-4).  Think about the attacks, abuse, cruelty, and torturous death Christ endured for me. Let His actions on my behalf be an encouragement for me to keep on keeping on.

Action Step: What have I started in my life that I need to finish? Which commitments do I need to honour? Pastor Rick mentioned a few possibilities . . .

  • Join or lead a small group
  • Get baptised
  • Tithe on a regular basis
  • Lose weight
  • Declutter (see #2)
  • Finish school
Don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (The Message)

Your Turn . . . Which key is most powerful for you? . . . What action step will you do today? This week?  

I don’t want to be a quitter in the middle of this race. Do you? I am struck by the need to finish the bottom three in the above list.

Be sure to check out this page on the Saddkeback webpage for more internet resources.

 Related Posts . . . 

I’d Like to Buy a Word


Emily, my 2 1/2 year-old niece, and I were having a conversation about food in my pantry. Her words were not coming out as she wanted. All of a sudden Emily stopped, tilted her head and informed me, “Auntie, we need to go to the store!”

Why do we need to go to the store?” I asked.

I need to buy a word” was her serious answer.

Instead of going to the store, I gave Emily some word choices. She decided that “jello” was the word she wanted. Emily didn’t know what to call the product because my jello came packaged in a small, clear, plastic tub. She had never seen it that way before.

Your Turn . . . Share an example where it took some effort to find the right word in order to communicate.

Related Posts . . . 

  1. Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society
  2. Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap
  3. Sometimes a Question is Not a Question
  4. What Surprise Ingredient Do You Put in Your Eggs 

Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society


One year as part of our homeschooling program we studied the American Revolution. Elizabeth was particularly interested in one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, because he is an ancestor of ours.

Elizabeth learned that Rush is called the “Father of American Psychiatry” in part because he instituted many humane measures for people in mental institutions.

After seeing mental patients in appalling conditions [in chains and dungeons] in the Pennsylvania Hospital, Rush led a successful campaign in 1792 for the state to build a separate mental ward where the patients could be kept in more humane conditions.[15]

We had just moved to CO. We were during errands and both checking out the businesses that lined the I-25 Corridor. All of a sudden Elizabeth exclaimed, “That is such a weird place to have a mental Institution! It’s right there alongside the freeway in the middle of all those businesses.

I also thought that would be a strange place for a mental hospital and so looked to see where Elizabeth was pointing. I looked and looked but couldn’t see what she was talking about.

After a minute Elizabeth said, “Mom, can’t you see that brand new building with the bright blue sign? It clearly says Humane Society.”

I did some quick thinking and it dawned on me that Elizabeth thought the humane society was for mental patients. Some discussion between us soon cleared up the confusion we had about the definition of “Humane Society.”

Your Turn . . . Describe a time when you had a miscommunication about the meaning of words.

Related Posts . . .

  1. I’d Like to Buy a Word
  2. Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap
  3. Sometimes a Question is Not a Question

Sometimes a Question is Not a Question


“You all right?”

Every new person that Josie, my English neighbour,  introduced me to asked me that question. Some asked with kindness, some with curiosity, and some with sternness.

At the end of the week, Josie invited my two children (4 and 5 years old) and I to come over for tea. “You all right?” she asked after opening the door to us.

“Josie,” I blurted out, “Why does everyone keep asking me if I am okay? Is it that obvious I’m miserable?”

The surprised look on Josie’s face showed me that I either said something wrong or that she misunderstood me.

“Oh, no, lovey! ‘You all right?’ is just something we say when greeting people. It’s not an invitation to talk about your feelings.

“Oh.” I mumbled as my face turned red. Not only had I let on how miserable I was feeling, I also misunderstood everyone’s intent.

Clearly this question provoked a very different metal image  for me than it did for the people in the British village of Levington. The meaning I attached to it was strongly influenced by my experiences in America. I am so glad that I talked to Josie so that my misunderstanding was cleared up.

We moved to England December 1988. The nearly five years we lived there are highlights in my life. But the first months were hard ones. We moved there in the winter (SAD kicked in), right before Christmas, away from my family, into a village (where it takes time, sometimes years, to get to know your neighbours). And since I didn’t work outside the home, I didn’t have a built-in social network. Thankfully Josie and her family (Robbie is her son) soon became family to us.

Related Posts . . . 
  1. Do You Have a Highlight in Your Life?
  2. Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society
  3. I’d Like to Buy a Word
  4. Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap

Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap


After unpacking and settling into our new home in Levington, England, our first friendly act was to invite some British neighbours to an American Bar-B-Que. Soon our weekend tradition of having a Bar-B-Que for the evening meal appealed to Robbie, our blond, curly-headed, always hungry, 3-year-old neighbour. (This tradition lasted the 5 years we lived there.)

Robbie was usually first in the queue (whether he was an officially invited guest or not) when the bangers and rolls were being passed out. He knew the drill. That wasn’t always the case though. One thing Robbie taught me is that even though people may be speaking the same words, communication is not always taking place.

At that first Bar-B-Que, I prepared plenty of food not knowing what our new neighbours would prefer to eat: hot dogs and buns, chicken, hamburgers, bratwurst, pasta salad, potato salad, green stuff (a fancy jello salad), and a vegetable salad.

Robbie expressed delight over the hot dogs and buns. He’d finish one up and then would ask for another.

After his third one I asked, “Robbie, aren’t you full of hot dogs and buns yet?”

“Crikey,” he exclaimed. “I keep waiting for the buns!”

After some discussion I realized that to Robbie a bun was something sweet, a dessert. The delight I thought he expressed was really surprise and anticipation. He wanted to taste a (British) bun holding an American hot dog. From then on we both made an effort to make sure we were speaking the same language.

I wrote this anecdote in response to today’s RevGal Blog Pals’ Friday Fave.

Your Turn . . . Have you had a communication mishap with someone from another culture? Please share!

Related Posts . . . 
  1. Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society
  2. I’d Like to Buy a Word
  3. Sometimes a Question is Not a Question   

Noticing Some Details of Life


Jan from RevGals offers this Friday Five:

Stairs to creativity always include flowering plants!

I am currently reading a book entitled Stairway of Surprise: Six Steps to a Creative Lifeby Michael Lipson. His premise is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I shall mount to paradise by the stairway of surprise.” Lipson’s book is about practicing or developing six inner functions–thinking, doing, feeling, loving, opening, and thanking.So these categories of attention are a jumping off point for today’s Friday Five:

Pick five of the six actions and write about how you are practicing them today or recently. For a bonus, write about the sixth one you originally didn’t choose!

What or how are you . . .

1. thinking? I am planning how to take my summer bucket list ideas and make them into doable action steps.

2. doing? After I write this, I will do physical therapy exercises and walk.

3. feeling?  I am tired (didn’t sleep long enough as the sun always wakes me up). But I am feeling encouraged by the work I accomplished the last week. It was my first week back after medical leave and  there are lots of “hot” projects to finish.

4. loving? I am loving that my nieces came home from youth camp with memories of fun and a strong desire to love Jesus.

5. opening? I opened my sliding glass door blinds and door to let in the sun and cool morning air.

6. thanking? I am grateful for a daughter who shares her healthy food ideas with me. I.e. Folks with gallbladder issues should eat beets and okra. Now that I have both I am wondering how I am going to cook the okra (no deep fat frying) and eat it. And I am praying I can have a thankful heart as I eat these vegetables.

I am interested in reading the above mentioned book especially the chapter on thanking.

Your Turn . . . Why don’t you share your answers to one of more of the above questions?

5 Blessings from Retreat


In the past 10 years I’ve had difficulties in a marriage that ended in a divorce; in financial stress because of finishing my education and because of unexpected bills; in health regarding a badly hurt back and broken shoulder; and in fearing that my dreams would never materialize. If it wasn’t for being able to draw upon God’s strength, I don’t know where I would be today. But since God is faithful to His promises and His character, I have overcome (or am overcoming) these difficulties.

Because of these strength-buster events, this year’s women’s retreat topic was of special interest to me:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12).

3 women shared their story (at retreat) about how God strengthened them. Their talks were frank and vulnerable. Debbie shared how she found strength to overcome bad decisions which impacted her financially. Pam shared how she found wellness and strength  in her many continuous health issues. Lastly Jenny shared how she trusts God’s truths enough to believe she was created to dream and to see those dreams fulfilled. I saw in each of their stories that God was faithful to them too. I came away greatly encouraged.

Below are 5 more blessings I saw this past weekend.

1. Everyone came home well. There were no accidents, near accidents or illnesses while travelling to and from or while at the conference center. This is always a HUGE blessing. Right, Marsha?!

2. I roomed with my sista. I don’t think we’ve been room mates since I was in high school and we shared a bunk bed. I am glad to tell you there was no fighting or pouting. Instead I felt comforted to room with her since my gallbladder wasn’t too happy and my shoulder gave me some pain. I enjoyed our conversations at weird times during the night. (I did miss Lorna though.)

3. The talks made an impact on behaviour and thinking. I.e. About 9 times I heard a woman state, “I was going to buy xyz, but then I remembered Debbie’s talk and I changed my mind.” At my table-time during Jenny’s talk, I realized that others have the same fears and questions I have regarding dreams. I was encouraged by this and motivated to get to the next step in growth.

4. Women connected with one another. It was so cool to see women playing games, chatting in groups, laughing and teasing, praying and crying, walking in pairs, and intently listening to one another. We connected on a friendship level as well as on a spiritual level.

5. Communion was powerful. Elise explicitly stated what Our Lord went through (bodily) at His crucifixion. Jessica pointed us to the song In Christ Alone where it says we are “bought with the precious blood of Christ.” Singing this song during  communion was especially meaningful. Lorelei signed the words and that moved me to tears several times because it was so beautiful.

It was the prayer of the Women’s Ministry team that the women experience God’s faithfulness and strength this weekend. We also prayed they’d experience connection with the material, the speakers, and each other. I am grateful that God did all this and more.

Share your blessings in the comments or write a post and link up with Susanne’s meme, Friday’s Fave Five. If you went to retreat, PLEASE share a blessing or two (or five).