Monthly Archives: November 2011

Follow the Bubble When You Are in Trouble

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“Follow the Bubble When You Are in Trouble.”

That’s the questionable advice I received 36 years ago. My novice dive partner and I were strapping on our scuba gear for our first ocean dive in the Gulf of Galveston, Texas, when the dive master gave us these last instructions.

Kevin, my partner, and I were 15 years old. We felt quite prepared to explore a sunken ship in the Gulf along with 3 other diving pairs.

We held hands (quite happily – as instructed). With the other hand we nudged each other to point out various plants, fish, and barnacle groupings growing on the submerged, shadow-swallowed ship.

It got dark – fast! The further into the ship we went, the harder it was to see the fauna, fish, or people. But Kevin and I managed to safely squeeze past the weird,sharp, broken architecture of the ship into its belly. We were the sole occupants of this skeletal space.

All too soon our dive watches beeped. They alerted us that it was time to end our underwater sightseeing tour.  It was then we were also alerted to our predicament: We didn’t know the way out.

We had three problems.
  1. It was dark and our perception of up and down was distorted.
  2. Kevin and I had different ideas of which way to go. He pulled one way and I pulled the other.
  3. We couldn’t see any other members of the dive club. We were on our own.

Panic filled my stomach and thoughts of dying filled my head.

Then I remembered the questionable advice, “Follow the Bubble When You Are in Trouble.”

I gestured toward the bubbles streaming away from our dive masks. Kevin immediately understood what I meant. We both stopped struggling.

We watched and followed the path the bubbles made. Soon this path led us out of the interior of our temporary jail and led us into the light and welcoming air.

As long as Kevin and I trusted our own thoughts, we stayed lost. There was a way that seemed right, but it wasn’t. When Kevin and I trusted this advice that didn’t initially make sense, we were able to find the right path to safety.

This reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6. These verses tell us to seek and trust the Lord and to depend on His advice even if we don’t initially understand why.

So, trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek God’s will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

Are you in trouble or in need of direction? Are you confused, following this bit of advice and then that bit, getting no where? Are you struggling to find safety and freedom from your “jail”?

Then “Follow the Bubble.” God’s Word, His character, etc* will show you the right path to take to “freedom.”

*Related Posts: Go to these links to read . . .

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Traditions – theme for CNC’s Women’s Christmas Party: 1-3 pm, Saturday, Dec. 3rd in Rudat Hall

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“A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present,
with origins in the past” (Wikipedia).

 The holidays are FULL of traditions. Some examples include . . . . .
  • How you dress
  • When and how you decorate
  • The foods you cook/bake
  • What activities you engage in

 While the Christmas Season can be crazy busy, it is important to participate in at least a few of your traditional family times for 2 reasons. 

  1. Traditions help anchor the relationships with family and friends. The laughs, love, and meaningful moments build strong bonds and memories. These positive bonds and memories help the relationships to deepen and to maintain cohesion during hard times.
  2. Participating in traditions also gives a sense of belonging.  It identifies who “my group” is. “My group celebrates this way.  It makes me feel happy and secure when we spend time together doing our family/friend traditions.”

 CNC has traditions too. They allow us time to deepen relationships and build memories which promote a sense of belonging. One CNC tradition is the Women’s Christmas Party.

 All women are invited to attend our 2 hour Christmas party. Bring one of your traditional family’s dishes to our afternoon potluck. We will invite some of you to explain how/why this food is a tradition in your family.

More traditional fun. In addition to eating and visiting with one another, we’ll play a traditional British party game, Pass the Parcel. And in keeping with tradition at our Christmas parties, we’ll have a devotional.

 P.S. Bring a friend to share in this memory-building time.

Your Turn . . .
  • What are some of your family traditions?
  • How/why are they meaningful to you?
  • Do you “have” to do them or do you skip them now and again?
Related Posts . . . 

CNC Women’s Party Features Traditional Christmas Food: 1-3 pm, Sat. Rudat Hall, Dec. 3rd

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What are some favorite foods you have each Christmas time?

Perhaps it’s . . . 

My family, like yours, has ideas about what makes up Christmas Dinner. Baked orangey-yams with butter and a sprinkle of sea salt, mashed potatoes with gravy, and sliced ham are a few of my family’s savory favorites. On the sweeter side we like Green Stuff (similar to Orange Stuff but you use pistachio pudding and no jello), pumpkin pie, and fudge.

Bring one of your family’s dishes to share at our annual women’s CNC Christmas party. We will invite some of you to share a story that goes along with your traditional dish.

Our 2 hours together will fly by. In addition to eating and visiting with one another, we will play a traditional British party game, Pass the Parcel. And in keeping with tradition at our Christmas parties, we will have a devotional.

Not just a fun time. Women’s ministry hopes that all who attend will have fun with friends old and new, put aside worries, and leave with the peaceful truth that God is in control.

P.S. Bring a friend.

Related Posts

101 Ways to Connect with Others

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Meeting people happens all the time. But turning those meetings into something more, like friendship, deep friendship, takes work, commitment, and consistency. Deepening friendships require more than just spending time together or having laughs.

Below are 101 ways to connect with others. Read through the list and see which one or two strikes a chord and then do it. Or better yet, read the list with your friend and pick out one or two things you wish s/he would do. Do these types of actions on a regular basis and you will see  your relationships grow.

  1. Learn their love language and use it frequently.
  2. Pray for the friendship
  3. Keep confidences
  4. Never gossip about them
  5. Encourage them every chance you get through words of affirmation
  6. Praise them in front of others
  7. Get to know their dreams.
  8. Listen to their dreams.
  9. Share your dreams with your friend(s).
  10. Help each other accomplish those dreams.
  11. Support them in their dreams by your words and actions.
  12. Call/text/im them just because
  13. Give them your full attention when you are together.
  14.  Make them a personalized gift (CD mix, collection of pertinent quotes, handmade journal for a writer, homemade vanilla for a baker, detail their car, make a favorite meal).
  15. Write a letter telling them how much they mean to you and why. End it with a blessing.
  16. Write a song or poem, or create an art work for them.
  17. Laugh at their jokes.
  18. Listen well to their stories – even though you’ve heard them before
  19. Never demean or criticize them.
  20. Ask for their help.
  21. Ask for their opinion.
  22. Ask for their advice and then take it.
  23. Learn how to handle conflict constructively.
  24. Confront issues that need confronting in a timely manner.
  25. Learn to deal with the issues you will never agree upon.
  26. Have fun together.
  27. Do something spontaneous together.
  28. Do something meaningful together (like volunteer).
  29. Accept them for who they are.
  30. Don’t try to change them.
  31. Have regular contact.
  32. Laugh together.
  33. Cry together.
  34. Challenge growth in each other.
  35. Talk about God, your walk, and how you hope to grow this year.
  36. Tell them when they are wrong – in a gentle manner.
  37. Accept the same input into your own life.
  38. Act like you are on the same team when the relationship is strained.
  39. Believe the best about the other person.
  40. Keep no record of wrongs.
  41. Rejoice in their good fortunes – don’t be jealous.
  42. Root out any angry, bitter, or selfish spirits in your heart.
  43.  Don’t always make it about you. Make it about them.
  44. Always be polite and never rude, especially in front of others.
  45. Don’t act like you are better than them.
  46. Be patient with their growth areas.
  47. Be kind.
  48. Don’t be a braggart.
  49. When you ask for help or share a need, let the other person have the option of giving you a real “no” without it affecting the relationship.
  50. When there is a misunderstanding, give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Believe they didn’t mean you (emotional) harm.
  51. When it is needed, forgive often, and quickly.
  52. Don’t hold past misgivings against them.
  53. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes in the friendship.
  54. Don’t tease or be sarcastic.
  55. Respect their “no.”
  56. Pray with them.
  57. Do new things together.
  58. Take a class or do a sport together.
  59. Develop rituals together.
  60. Talk about everything.
  61. Don’t hide yourself from them.
  62. Be true to your word.
  63. Don’t do anything that will give them reason to doubt your affection or commitment to the relationship.
  64. Work on your shortcomings.
  65. Give them space and time to work on their own shortcomings.
  66. Secretly do one of their chores.
  67. Help them with an item or two on their to-do list.
  68. Give a back rub or shoulder squeeze.
  69. Listen to/read and return their messages in a timely manner.
  70. Share control of the remote.
  71. Share control of the plans.
  72. Be realistic in your expectations of them and the relationship.
  73. Be realistic of expectations for yourself regarding the relationship.
  74. Ask them, “If you could change one thing I do, what would it be?” If it is reasonable, change it.
  75. Travel together.
  76. Ask for forgiveness.
  77. Give gifts they want to receive not what you want to give.
  78. Write love/appreciation notes to each other – or friendship notes if you are not a couple.
  79. Send cards for several months for once a week or until a hard time passes.
  80. Assure them that they will make it through their hard time.
  81. Remind them of their good traits, skills, potential, and lovely features.
  82. Smile at them often.
  83. Look at them with affection.
  84. Be on the lookout for things that will minister to them.
  85. Give them care when they are ill, overwhelmed, too tired, or in crisis.
  86. Don’t expect them to always be happy, upbeat, patient, or in a good mood.
  87. Allow fluctuations in their mood without taking it personally.
  88. Don’t allow yourself to be treated badly (physically, emotionally, or spiritually) on a consistent basis.
  89. Don’t give advise unless asked for it. If you are a parent this is especially hard with adult children.
  90. Have a few secrets together.
  91. Share your past hurts, failures, and triumphs with one another.
  92. Use your manners: please and thank you never go out of style.
  93. Make a photo album documenting some of your life together. Write the captions as a team.
  94. On the person’s next birthday or other significant event, ask people to submit written statements about the person.
  95. Put all the cards the other has given to you in a binder. Periodically read them.
  96. Write an a-z list of the qualities of the other person.
  97. Initiate contact, especially if you hardly ever do.
  98. Pray and ask God for friends.
  99. Eat a meal together – frequently if possible.
  100. Don’t bicker – relate in a harmonious manner.
  101. Plan a future together.
Related Posts . . .
15 Things Real Friends Do Differently (from Marc and Angel Hack Life)

How Good Books Aid in a Child’s Growth

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In October I attended a baby shower. Shula gave this awesome devotional. 

I love the sweetness of a great story. 

I must confess, I recently was up until 3 in the morning finishing the 7th Harry Potter book.

Erich Fromm, in his book, The Art of Loving, speaks of a child’s basic need for milk and honey. 

“Milk is the symbol of the care a child receives for his physical needs, for his person. Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life, that special quality that gives the sparkle within a person” (Hunt, 25).

Good books are rich in honey! What makes a good book?

“Stories that make for wonder. Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true nature of courage, of love, of beauty” (Hunt, 26).

Choice literature engages the imagination. In experiencing a life beyond our boundaries, we come away changed. Consequently, fine literature can impart a sweet wisdom to us.

C.S. Lewis was greatly influenced by the author, George MacDonald. Lewis felt that MacDonald’s works had “baptized” or “redeemed” his imagination (Guroian, 160). An enlarged imagination helped him comprehend God’s handiwork and love, aiding him in his faith.

Steve Jobs’ biography is slated to be released in a few days. Before he died, he was asked why he had authorized it to be written and he replied, “I wanted my kids to know me” (Cooper).

God, the greatest author of all the ages, has written a story. He has written the Bible that we might know Him – it is one of the ways that He has revealed Himself to mankind.

Within Scripture, God often employs stories and parables to help us see greater truths.

  • King David was confronted of his sin with Bathsheba through a story of a poor man and his dear lamb (NIV, 2 Sam. 12).
  • We are convicted to extend our compassion to others through the parable of “The Good Samaritan” (NIV, Luke 10: 25-37).

God is an author without equal. In Hebrews His Son, Jesus, is called the “author of our salvation”  and throughout Scriptures there is reference to those who believe having their names “written in the Lamb’s book of life” (NIV, Rev. 21:27).

Additionally, “all the days ordained for (us) were written in (His) book before one of them came to be” (NIV, Ps. 139:16).

In light of this divine writer of our days, author of our salvation, and keeper of the Lamb’s book of life, it is amazing how we struggle against His will. I think it is fitting that we put our full trust in Him and relinquish our will to His. Let Him be the grand author of our lives’ adventures.

I believe that a life penned by His kind intentions will be far richer that we can imagine.

Today we welcome and celebrate a new story – that of Baby Bethany. The Great Author has already appointed her days. Filling her life with good literature and, more importantly, God’s word will pass on rich blessing to her.

There is one more bit of honey that can be added to her life and that is family storytelling.

  • In your family, recount stories of the special day Bethany, Emily, and Casey were born.
  • Tell about your early courtship and marriage. Repeat these stories often.
  • Also, speak of how you became a Believer.
  • And, most importantly tell of God’s faithfulness in your life. Share stories of how His hand has led you through difficult times, protected you from harm, and has changed your life.

Scripture urges us to “taste and see” that the Lord is good (NIV, Ps. 34:8).  The Lord is the honey of life and He enriches our lives with sweet stories.

Related Post . . . 3 Encouragements I Needed When My Children Were Young (a baby shower devotional)

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Works Cited . . .

Cooper, Charles, “Biographer: Why Jobs finally opened up”. CBS News online.

Guroian, Vigen, Tending the Heart of Virtue. London: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.

Hunt, Gladys, Honey for a Child’s Heart.  Michigan: Zondervan Books, 1989. Print.

The NIV Study Bible.