When Did Kindness Become Unusual?

I don’t blog a lot. In fact I gave it up for a while, but my experience this morning warrants sharing. I ran out to the grocery store to pick up a few last minute things before going to Mom’s for an early Thanksgiving lunch with my family. At such an early hour, the store had one cashier working the front of the store. I’ve encountered this woman many times before while grocery shopping, and well, she wasn’t hired for her out-going personality. I recognize this as part of who she is and not an effort to be rude because I have encountered many people like her in my lifetime.

I tell you all of this to set up my story. When I got to the check-out line, Miss Check-out Lady was at lane five filling some helium balloons. There was an older gentleman purchasing said balloons and an African American couple in line behind him. I proceeded to get in line behind them. Miss Check-out Lady tied off the ballons, looked up at the four of us and with what could be construed as a myriad of different emotions – none of them good – said, “Four, ” indicating that she was working on lane four and not lane five. As I was at the back of the line, I reached lane four first; the older gentlman walked around the front of the check-out lanes to regain his “I’m getting out of here first position”, and the African American couple proceeded to get in line behind me.

I didn’t have to think about this situation. I instinctually knew that the kind and the right thing to do was to let the couple go in front of me. They had been there ahead of me; why wouldn’t we regain the lane order we had been in previously? As this couple checked out, Miss Check-out Lady asked if they had one of the store’s frequent customer cards. They did not, so I offered to let them use mine. Again, why not? It was in my hand, ready to use, so it just made sense to use it. At that point, the young man – and by young I mean 30-ish, looked at me and said, “Thank you, you have been kind to me all around today.” His words really resonated with me. I share this story with you not to say I did something nice today, but to ask, why was it so surprising? Why is this not the norm?

Perhaps we as human beings need to set all of our differences aside and remember to treat everyone we meet with kindness and respect. And if that isn’t a ceaseless habit in your life, simply remind yourself to treat others they way you want to be treated.

A Time For Everything

Time, if you think about it, is really all we have. We sometimes become so busy with the “busyness” of life it seems there is not enough time to do everything we want in a day. However, God set aside a day of rest for us because He knew we would need it. We can read in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”(NLT)

A time for every activity. Other Bible translations say “a time for everything”. I’ve thought a lot about this specific segment of the verse lately. The timing is not ours; it’s God’s. He will use His timing to teach us patience; to use our experiences; to turn teach us wisdom; and to prepare us for our next steps.

Using our time wisely is essential to a happy and successful life, for ourselves and our family. We must focus on God and our family; not on the opinions of others. When our time is concluding at the end of life’s journey, what will matter more? Who we impressed outside of God and our family? Or our relationship with God and our family?

There is a time for everything. We simply need to prioritize our time for ourselves, with our family, and prioritize our relationships in order to make time for those who are important to us. As we can see in Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 “He has made everything beautiful for its time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.” So, take time to enjoy your family, your friends, and your life!

Resolutions or Goals?

It’s January 1 and most of us have made resolutions or set goals for 2014. The question is do we really know the difference? A goal is a hope or a dream we strive towards, many times without a plan. A resolution is a plan, a resolve to do something in our lives. With that in mind, create a plan to achieve each of your resolutions for 2014. Write them down; journal about your progress; find an accountability partner, and most importantly choose resolutions that are meaningful to you and the people in your life. Good luck and happy New Year!

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What is your goal?

There was a time in my life when making money was my goal. I thought success was measured by how much money my husband and I made and how much “stuff” we accumulated.
Then one of my best friends and her family moved to Nicaragua to work in the mission field. That was when my life began to change. I started to question the purpose of my life and career.
While I had been a volunteer at our church for most of my life since accepting Christ as my Savior, I began to think the things I was doing weren’t enough. I felt like I needed to do more, but I didn’t have a clear answer as to what I should do.
A few months after our friends went to Nica, I felt the unexplainable and compelling urge to visit them. I rationalized that I was going to help my friends, and to take them some much-needed supplies.
As I was planning for my trip, I had no idea that God was working in and thru me. I had friends who had been on mission trips, and while I supported them both prayerfully and financially, I felt mission trips were not for me. I liked the luxuries we find as necessities in the States too much to sacrifice them. Things like air conditioning, hot showers, and dependable cars seemed like things I couldn’t live without.
I had never been outside the US before, with the exception of a cruise to Puerta Vallarta. Being on a luxury cruise ship and visiting resort towns hardly qualify as visiting a third world country. It was an exciting and frightening thought. It was also part of God’s plan for my life.
To make a long story short, going to Nicaragua, spending time with my friends there, and assisting them as they ministered to the local people changed my life completely. I came back a different woman. My goals were no longer based on accumulation of money and things, but on what I could do for others. Enhancing relationships, my renewed purpose in life, and utilizing my time to serve those less fortunate became my goal.
I thank God every day for showing me He had a greater purpose for my life. My hope and my prayer is that in some small way, God will allow me to use my experiences and my new-found purpose in life to show others His love for them.
Fear and uncertainty held me back for many years. God showed me that there is no fear when you look to him for hope and strength.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james%202&version=NET

What Can You Do Today?

As I write this, I’m tired, sore and covered in dust and dirt. I spent the day at a Habitat for Humanity site with some friends and co-workers. We were all given the opportunity to help someone realize the dream of owning their own home. Today has been the most tiring, yet most rewarding day I’ve had in months.

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I believe in serving others and it’s one of the greatest pleasures I have in life. In James chapter 2 we read:

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

How can you serve someone today? You don’t have to help them build a house. Simple, small gestures can often be monumental to the recipient. A cup of coffee and a few minutes to listen to a friend may be just what they need. Sending a few snacks and a card to a college student will brighten their day. Serving food, folding clothes or planting flowers at a local shelter is fantastic! Find something you love to do, and do it for someone else. Then step back and determine who benefited from your act of kindness more. Many times, the answer is you.

A Letter To Miley Cyrus

A Letter To Miley Cyrus.

The Long Road Behind

Ever look back at your past and think, “Was that really me?” I’ve been through numerous changes in my life; some changes were really good and some were really bad. Would I do it all over again? Probably not, but then I wouldn’t be who and where I am today. Everything in our lives molds us. I believe we constantly evolve within ourselves.

The past is behind us and the future is only a moment away. We should always strive to make wise choices in our lives, but never look back at the past and think “what if”.

We are who God made us to be. Our human nature, free will and the influence of others can mold us, but can never take away from who we are in His eyes. Look forward to your future and strive to be all you were created to be. The long road behind us can’t be undone, but it give us experience and knowledge to continue to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.

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