Thursday, April 28, 2011

Things that Matter

I like to blog about all kinds of things, but when I can pass on things that matter, things that might help you in your day, in your life, in your seeking for God and his Kingdom; those are the posts I am happiest to write.

So today I thought I'd share a few sites that are inspiring, helpful and encouraging.  May you find some gems within them that will make the kingdom come richer in your life today.

A Holy Experience - Ann Voskamp writes heartwrenchingly beautiful words, honest words that acknowledge struggles, but always end up facing the Father and offering hope.  She lives and writes a thankful life.  I've written about her before and recommended her book; I get daily emails with her blog updates, and they are one of the few things in my inbox that I read faithfully.  I've been meaning for a while now to blog about her Ten Point Manifesto for Joyful Parenting - I printed it off and need to get into the habit of reading it every morning!

Inspired to Action - the introduction that Kat writes about this blog says "Inspired To Action is dedicated to practically helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world."  She's got an ebook called Maximize Your Mornings that's worth a read, and if you're into twitter, they've got a morning community to help you start your day off right.

(in)courage - those first two are individual blogs; (in)courage is a site with a number of contributers.  Many are authors themselves, but (in)courage is a community, and all the members are able to write for it. Check this one out - I'm betting you'll find encouragement of some sort here!

May you be blessed and encouraged and strengthened today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What a great family.
For more photos of the family and our Easter and  birthday weekend in Winnipeg, clicking here will take you to the album on facebook.  (Click on the first one to see them all large.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sorry for neglecting you, Dad.

(sitting in my parents living room, Dad watching hockey, me on my laptop)

Dad:  What are you looking up?

Me:  Nothing.  Just reading blogs.

Dad:  You haven't been blogging much lately.  I understood when you were working out, but now that you're not...

Me:  We only took a break for a week - we're back at it.

Dad:  You should have written that - how were we supposed to know?


Sorry, folks. Apparently I've been leaving you in the dark.  P90X update - Sean's bout with BPPV was minor and short lived, thankfully, so we've been back at it for a couple of weeks.  Three weeks left!  I did take the disc and workout in my hotel last weekend, but we also left them at home this weekend and are just skipping them completely.  In the ultimate compliment, my mom said my shoulders are looking like the boys' - my wiry nephews.  Made me laugh. 

In other thoughts, here's a thread from the blogs I was reading that resonates with me.  It's along the lines of what and how we think of ourselves.  Seth Godin had a post last week called Turning the habit of self-criticism upside down.  Why do we put ourselves in the best light possible when dealing with teams and bosses, but beat ourselves up in our own heads about all kinds of things?  He suggests taking responsibility for the things we 'learned from' at work, and, what struck me was be more supportive of yourself. 

In the same vein, my friend Jackie has been posting lately about making changes in her life - she wrote a post about how thinking about the things you are working towards is far more effective than the black hole of focusing on the negative things you are trying to move away from.

Focus on what I want to be & where I want to go.  Be supportive of myself & encourage myself that I can do it.  Life ends up being so much more positive... these are reminders I need again and again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

good things come in threes

On Tuesday, Madeline had her Battle of the Books.  BotB is where teams from a bunch of schools have to read the same 10 books from January to April, then compete to see who knows them most thoroughly.  Her team did very well - 5th out of about 20.  To make this event even more fun, they had a bunch of door prizes for the kids.  M won one of them - a nice bag full of goodies.

They also had two door prizes for spectators, and I won one of them!  Hooray for great books - I got one that I just finished reading and really enjoyed, and I already have plans for it... just don't tell my book club - they might all fight over my offering knowing I'm bringing the Hunger Games to our year end book swap!

This weekend I went to Saskatoon for a writer's conference.  They had door prizes, and I won again.  They had lots, and I think just about everybody took something home.  But still, I came away with something that I will actually use in my house.

Along with my registration, I send in an entry to the writing contest; a short work of prose, 2 pages, that included 4 specific words.  They announced the winners after lunch; I came in second.  Yay!  I even made a bit of cash for that.

So there's my run of three - it's been a good week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

10 000 Hours

I experienced a parenting fail again this morning.  A parenting fail is where the kid goes out the door to school and she doesn't have a smile on her face and on this side of the door, I'm thinking, "Why?  Why do I lack patience?  Why do I frustrate her and why do I let her frustrate me?  When will I learn???"

This happens too often for my liking, but thankfully, not as often as it used to.  And the negative effects didn't even last too long, amazingly, because I remembered something I read recently.  It was the "when will I learn" question that did it - that gave me the answer.  10 000 Hours.  That's the answer.  If you want to be good at something (like managing mornings with children??), it takes lots of practice and hard work.

I read this quote in Michael Hyatt's post on Why Real Creativity Requires Significant Work: "In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the “10,000-Hour Rule.” The basic idea is that success in any field is, to a large extent, the result of practicing a specific task for 10,000 hours—or more." That has stuck with me all week, and rather than being a downer and causing me to think that I'll never get there, it has proven to be a motivation.  Keep trying, keep practicing.  Yes, I'll fail, but then I get a clean slate to try again.  To keep working on it, whatever the 'it' of the moment is.

I hope this encourages you.  Lots of what we do in life is hard work - keep at it.  Keep working hard at the things that are worth doing well...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

I felt like myself.

Yesterday morning I went with a handful of other women to serve at the Chili for Children program.  We had a fun time getting to know each other over setting up and chopping veggies, walking over to the second location and finding a hobbit door...  None of these women had been to C4C before, and they were all quite impressed with the people who ran the show, the children that they were able to serve, and excited about the possibilities of doing this again.

Last night I went out on the Love Lives Here bus with 13 great people from church.  The bus hits the streets of North Central and the Core, offering warmth, food and drink and Jesus' love to anyone who needed it - there were a good number of 'divine appointments' and our crew got exposed to a whole range of what the crew sees on a regular basis.  None of these friends had been on the bus before, and by the end of the evening their eyes had been opened to a whole new side of life in our city; a side where spiritual forces do very real battle, where prayers and our availability and Jesus' name are powerful weapons.  Many of these friends are interested in going back; all were grateful for the experience.

These were two of the projects offered through our Westhill Serves weekend, and having just been to three of them (our whole small group went out to paint at the camp today), I am fully content that the reasons we put on this event is sound, and was met in a very successful way.  We do it because serving is one of the three main purposes of our church (Love God, Love Others, Serve the World), to give opportunities for people to serve, and to expose them to new ways to serve.

I was also struck by something else.  Feeding hungry inner city children is great, and I'm glad there is a group who does that; it's not my thing.  Loving on the street workers and gang members is important, and I'm so glad to know this bus is out on our streets while I'm safe in bed.  It, however, is not my thing either.  My thing - my thing - is getting other Christians to go and serve there with me - my thing is taking people to places they have not been, exposing them to what more there is in life and faith.  I want to see Christians 'get it' - to know how they can live an abundant life, fully loving and serving, fully experiencing all that God has for them.  I'm thankful for the chance I had to go on those projects yesterday; I'm trusting that the friends I took along were changed by God because of their experiences.

Sometimes I forget, in the details, that this is the part that fills me.

I'm thankful for this reminder of who I am meant to be.

Monday, April 04, 2011

On Hold

Our P90X workouts have been put on hold.

All those downward dogs and other movements and positions have given Sean a case of BPPV - Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.  He's got a good case of the dizzies, and we're going to take a break for a week to let that sort itself out, then get back to in.  Hopefully it will be gone before then.  We went in to the clinic Thursday after the second morning of waking up to the room spinning; he's got an appointment with our doctor this Thursday, so we'll see where it's at then.

We did just take our two month photos, and there are definitely some changes from our day one shots.  I'm trusting the short break doesn't get us too far off track.

Hmm... maybe since I'm not working out right now, I should go find some chocolate to eat instead...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Stuff & Materialism

I hate waste.  I don't like when I have to throw out leftovers; I'm uncomfortable with starting the shower or the vehicle early to warm it up.  (Yes, my ride came with a command start: yes, I sometimes use it.)  I don't buy a lot of clothes, and even at the grocery store, I usually only buy what's on my list.  Only the stuff we need.

My main reasoning for this is a sense of justice and awareness of what life is like around the world.  We in North America are consumers.  We take and eat and use and buy and throw away and replace, and think nothing of it.  It's normal.  It's sad.

I got a new phone this week.  My old one was not dead yet, and I was fine to keep it longer, but we went to the store just to browse...  The latest, greatest was on sale *free!* (because the other company just had a $0 promotion); they even threw in a $100 gift card.  How could we pass that up?  (And it was only on for one more day!)  So I got it.

I'm not opposed to getting stuff.  There is a time and a place for all kinds of different things.  But needs vs. wants comes into play, as well as the questions of where was it made and with what and by who, and were they paid enough?

I write about this because I have a need to sort out my thoughts on the subject, and maybe to see if anyone else thinks this way.  Partly, too, it's to encourage more people to think this way.  Do you need that item?  Does all your money go to stuff, or are you spending any of what you have to make life a little easier for those who don't have what they need, let alone what they want?

Some things to consider.  As for me, I will enjoy my new Blackberry Torch in its shiny blue case, but I will also stay aware of those in the world around me who don't have, and do what I can.

The Week That Was

Books - I just devoured book two in the Hunger Games trilogy.  So good.  If the library wasn't already closed when I shut the cover tonight, I might have run right out to see if I could find the third...  I saw it last week on the new 7 day renters shelf, but hadn't got the second book yet.  I picked it up yesterday and yeah, devoured is the right word for it.

I am still waiting for Ender's Game, which is our next book club read.  We meet this coming Thursday, so I hope it comes soon!  Another futuristic youth science fiction...

Movies - We saw two movies this week.  Sunday night Sean & I watched The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.  It was fast paced, kept you guessing and wondering, and had some good surprising twists.  I quite enjoyed it.  Last night the three of us went out to see a show, and took in Hop on opening night.  The previews were inappropriate for the age of kids that were there, and lots of the humour in the movie itself was too old - I know they make these movies so that the parents will get some laughs, too, but if I take my kid to a movie, I don't want to be hoping she doesn't get some of the jokes.  It was a silly movie; parts of it were cute, and parts of it did have me laughing.  Overall I'd say don't waste your time and money, and play a game together instead. 

Disappointment - I talked myself into signing up for a triathlon this spring (a super short rookie women's event), and had the registration opens date of April 1 in the back of my mind for a while.  Friday rolls around, I think "Ok, I'm going to do this" and then see this: Registration for the See Jane Tri for the Cure is NOW CLOSED. Thank you for the quick sell out!!!!  Sigh.  On to other options, I guess.

Have you read those books?  Seen those movies?  Liked?  Disliked?  I'm curious to know what you think.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Ever Feel Blue?

I just read a good post from Michael Hyatt about things to do to get yourself out of a funk & thought it was worth sharing.  Hyatt is the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and blogs almost daily with lots of quality stuff.

I hope you find this helpful, but really, I'm posting it here just so I can find it again when I need it.