Showing posts from April, 2017

On finding Abundance in empty places

We normally think of abundance in terms of things. Of having a comfortable home, stylish furniture and clothes, shiny appliances and cars, plenty of money in bank accounts for emergency and fun getaways. Things.

Or, a loved one sharing our space. Or, children playing on that carpet. Or trips scrawled on the calendar.

What if abundance is an attitude? A mindset. A sense of well being and of being enough and of having enough even if meals are meager or possessions are few?

Priscilla Shirer talks of abundance in a DeeperStill Orlando event video. We are watching these videos as part of our current Bible study that uses the book, Faithful, Abundant, True. In this week's video Shirer encouraged thousands of women at the event, as well as the women with me listening in Vancouver, that abundance is possible in any season of life.

I agree with her and appreciate her reminder.

Shirer lives in a season of youth and ministry with her three young children still at home. My children are gro…

At what point do you turn it around?

The leader in the 9:00 a.m. Saturday Weight Watchers' meeting asked, "At what point do you turn it around?"

No one answered.

I would bet my paycheck, if I had one, she knew full well at least one person in that crowded room did not follow the program every day that week. And we all know what that means, don't we?

"At what point do you turn it around?"

Still no one answered.

Finally, she asked for a show of hands. "Has anyone struggled this week?"

Several of us -- yes, me included -- raised our hands. Yes, I did. I lifted my fingers and palm at least a few inches, hoping no one would see me.

Uh huh, it was that kind of week. I'd gained a few pounds. Traveling, a few meals out, bowls of Simply Naked popcorn, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, Pei Wei dinner special in the airport -- these may have been the biggest offenders this week, but there was plenty I'd been eating and not tracking. Too much food.

Not tracking, not writing down everyth…

Distinguished Americans series: Robert Panara

Throughout his life Robert Panara  (1920-2014) served the deaf community with intelligence, creativity and modeled overcoming hearing loss. He was a teacher and pioneer of Deaf Studies.

The 16th issue in the United States Postal Service Distinguished Americans series issued April 11, 2017, honors Panara, as he signs the word "Respect."

Panara wasn't born deaf. At 10, spinal meningitis left him changed. Resources for the deaf in the 1930s were few. After completing high school, Panara learned American Sign Language. The second world war was ending the year he graduated from Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) in Washington, D.C. After earning a masters from New York University in 1948, Panara taught at Gallaudet for nearly 20 years before beginning his career at National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) where he developed programs and taught, helping deaf students thrive on a hearing campus.

Panara is best known for his passion for literature and drama. He…

Simplyfying life isn't always simple

Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, spoke on today's Focus on the Family broadcast "Simplifying Life, Living More Fully."

Becker and his family have chosen to live with less so they could enjoy life more. They wanted to resist the urge to chase after things, accumulating, living in and caring for clutter that didn't add meaning to their lives.

"Eight years ago my wife, Kim, and I came to a life-changing realization: There is more joy in owning less than we can ever find pursuing more," Becker writes in "When Clutter is an Obstacle to Marital Unity."

Becker writes how easy it is to see the clutter your spouse holds onto and overlook your own clutter. He likens this truth to Jesus' warning "first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5).
Becker goes on to write that it takes communication, co…

A Season of Less is More

"Less is More."

In writing classes, we're taught to write lean, trim out the fat, cut all words that don't add power and punch. Less is more.

Recently, in Arizona, I trimmed back palm branches that leaned over our patio, thinking less is more. Now our patio looks bigger, and we no longer have to brush aside fronds to move about. Trimming improved the livability of our small patio. More importantly this season, serious buyers may linger longer and consider buying our patio home.

I've been living less is more for a season. We're moving to Vancouver. Right now more is in Arizona. Less is in Washington state.

At first it was fun. There is nothing like getting in touch with college days when money was tight, jeans were tighter, and skin clung tighter still, than camping out in an empty new home. Only a few material possessions sat here, hung there, or broke up empty spaces in empty rooms and on empty walls.

Can less be more in this season of transition?


Book Review: Never Unfriended

What if you were to become the friend that you always wanted to have?

What if you chose to model your friendship after God's kindness, commitment and forgiveness for you?

What if you intentionally broke down walls that separate you from others and let new friends see the real you even if it was inconvenient or messy?

What if you could grow a friendship beyond the things that hinder intimacy and become the type of friend who would never unfriend others with a casual swipe of a finger?

In her book, Never Unfriended, Lisa-Jo Baker explores these questions and more, offering compelling reasons and practical tools for investing in friendships that can last. Baker shares wise insights and practiced and true strategies that can initiate and nurture lasting relationships.

I found some of Baker's experiences of betrayal and abandonment by friendships which could not endure through difficult life seasons painful to read. But I was glad that she could explain how she initiated nourish fr…