Not Gonna Worry Tip 185: Understand Prayer

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 184: Keep Your Mind Active

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 183: Turn Expectation Into Anticipation

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 182: Receive God's Grace

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 181: Be Careful of the Word "Should"

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 180: Pray the Serenity Prayer

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 179: Find a Good Quote on Worry

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 178: Symbolically Release Your Worries

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 177: Spend Time Alone with God

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 176: Reach Out to Others

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 175: Find Contentment

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 174: Rephrase Your Worried Thought

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 173: Adjust Your Body Language

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 172: Visualize Jesus with You

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 171: Stop Trying to Please Others

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 170: Plan Time to Relax

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 169: Develop a New Healthy Habit

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 168: Wait with Faith and Trust

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 167: Limit Your News Intake

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 166: Keep Your Emotions in Check

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 165: Cast Your Anxiety on God

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 164: Embrace Laughter

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 163: Let Situations Change You

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 162: Ask for Prayer

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 161: Call Out Worry as Fraud

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 160: Build Resilience

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 159: Be Real with God

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 158: Stop Using Worry as a Crutch

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 157: Give Generously

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 156: Let God Transform You

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 155: Come Up with Counter Statements

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 154: Experience New Life Now

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 153: Balance Your Health

 

 

Not Gonna Worry tip 152: Do Something Courageous

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 151: Fight!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 150: Rid Yourself of Entitlement

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 149: Humble Yourself

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 148: Share Your Success Story

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 147: Lighten Up Your Attitude

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 146: Stop Spreading Worry

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 145: Focus on God's Promises

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 144: See Worry as a Red Flag

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 143: Look for Ways to Bless Others

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 142: Set Boundaries

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 141: Trust in God's Timing

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 140: Pick a Word for 2017

 

NGWTip140

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 139: Get Moving

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 138: Immanuel, (God With Us)

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 137: Seek Out Truth

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 136: Prioritize

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 135: Turn Scripture Into Prayer

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 134: Share Your Thankful Heart

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 133: Say Your Worries Out Loud

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 132: See Worry as a Rocking Chair

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 131: Trust in God's Sovereignty Over Our Country

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 130: Help Someone Else with Worry

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 129: Forgive

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 128: Memorize Philippians 4:6-7

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 127: Make a Plan

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 126: Get Away

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 125: Communicate with Your Creator

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 124: Try Something New

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 123: Focus on Today

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 122: Drop to Your Knees

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 121: Entrust Your Loved Ones to God

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 120: Develop a Calming Word or Phrase

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 119: Embrace God's Promises

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 118: Squeeze Something In Your Hand

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 117: Face Your Fears

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 116: Be Thankful for All Peaceful Moments

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 115: Be Ok With Discipline

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 114: Pray More

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 113: One Step at a Time

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 112: Ask for Prayer

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 111: Bless Someone

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 110: Rest in What God's Already Done

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 109: Foster Relationships

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 108: Call on the Name of Jesus

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 107: Sit Up Straight

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 106: Receive God's Grace

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 105: Use an App

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 104: Be Vulnerable

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 103: Have Faith

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 102: Spread Joy

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 101: Go For a Prayer Walk

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 100: Keep Learning

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 99: Choose Jesus!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 98: Detach From Things

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 97: Get Up and Go!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 96: Embrace Possible Change

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 95: Interact with God

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 94: Take Risks

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 93: Check Your Attitude

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 92: Trust in God's Goodness

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 91: Listen to Christian Music

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 90: Doodle and Draw

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 89: Repent

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 88: Make a Fresh Start

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 87: Look Back at Your Progress

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 86: Celebrate Jesus

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 85: Hear the Good News

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 84: Manage Your Busyness

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 83: Light Therapy

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 82: Be Thankful

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 81: Journal

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 80: Be Teachable

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 79: Stop Expecting Comfort

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 78: Lighten Up

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 77: Let God "Make You Over"

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 76: Stop Complaining

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 75: Use the ACTS Prayer Model

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 74: Stay In the Now

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 73: Practice Peace

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 72: Say, "I Trust You, Jesus!"

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 71: Ask For Help

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 70: Join a Bible Study

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 69: Look Back at Past Worries

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 68: Change Your Perspective

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 67: Surrender Your Will

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 66: Take A Walk

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 65: Listen To Music

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 64: What Would God Say?

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 63: Eat Well. Worry Less.

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 62: Make Way For Joy

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 61: Believe In God's Goodness

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 60: Accept Uncertainty

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 59: Be Aware of God's Presence

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 58: Get Outside

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 57: Love God With All Your Mind

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 56: Reign In Your Imagination

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 55: Take Some Deep Breaths

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 54: Focus On the Eternal

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 53: Share Your Story

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 52: Review and Rehearse

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 51: Remind Yourself Who God Is

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 50: Say Your Worries Out Loud

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 49: Hope

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 48: Celebrate Easter

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 47: Don't Be Afraid of Failure

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 46: Go To Your Happy Place

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 45: Memorize Scripture

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 44: How Is Your Worry Affecting Others?

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 43: Beware of "Dr. Google"

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 42: Find Solid Security

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 41: Show Love For Others

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 40: Replace Your Worried Thought

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 39: Prepare

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 38: Trust God's Daily Provision

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 37: CATS

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 36: Resolve To Worry Less

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 35: Reflect

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 34: Celebrate your Prince of Peace

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 33: Apply Christmas Truth

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 32: Be Still

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 31: Expect Imperfection

 

 

My Phases of Christmas

 

It seems the same pattern plays out for me every Christmas season. I go through these phases: the "Dreaming" phase, the "Busy Bee" phase, the "Delusional" phase and finally I fall into the reality of what Christmas is all about. Here is my story in a "video song kind of thing". Maybe it will help you stay focused this Christmas season.:)

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 30: Reconcile

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 29: Thank God In Advance

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 28: Tap Into God's Power

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 27: Be Okay With Discomfort

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 26: Be Kind To Yourself

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 25: Keep Moving Forward

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 24: Pray With Open Hands

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 23: Ask "... and then what?"

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 22: Smile

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 21: Find a Creative Outlet

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 20: Believe!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 19: Grow Spiritually With Others

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 18: Valid Concern or Needless Worry?

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 17: Find a Relaxing Activity

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 16: Be a Blessing

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 15: Remember God's Faithfulness

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 14: Sing!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 13: Worry is a Thief!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 12: Stand Tall

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 11: Look to the Bible

 

 

A Message For Which I'm Grateful

 

Do you ever sense you are receiving a repeated message in your life? Maybe a common theme or specific instruction? Over the last few weeks, I have undoubtedly been experiencing this. The theme of gratefulness keeps subtly creeping into various moments of my life.

It all started with One Thousand Gifts, a book about how the author, Ann Voskamp, took on a dare to write down 1,000 things she's grateful for. A few days later, the speaker at a ministry event I attended shared about joy. True joy, I learned, is a gift from God that cannot be sought after. Because it is a gift from God, only He can decide when to give it. There is one practice though, that you can do to make way for joy - and that is gratitude. 

About a week later, I ran into a friend/acquaintance of mine, someone I've served with, someone I admire for her amazing faith and energetic spirit. She told me she had recently been diagnosed with a rare life-threatening disease. "Oh I'm so sorry," I choked out.

Her response shocked me. "Oh don't be sorry. I'm excited! I can't wait to see what God is going to do through this situation." What?!Was she grateful even in the midst of what the world would claim as devastating circumstances? 

Okay, God's got my attention now! Maybe I should do something with this newfound gratitude idea. I decided to make a gratitude board. Nothing fancy, a piece of tag board with G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E spelled out across the top. Okay I did use colorful markers but that's the extent of the fanciness. I taped it up on the laundry room door and told the family about it. I didn't expect any contributions from them. It seemed more like a "girly thing" to do, but I wanted to at least explain my new decor. However, within a few days, my husband and sons had written things on there like duct tape, bunnies, ladders, etc. 

That night, my senses were wide open to practicing this new act of gratitude. I had a nice dinner with my boys and as I was cleaning out the garage I heard my 17 year-old ask my younger son to play mini-baseball. Mini-baseball is a game my 13 year-old made up that uses mini-bats, balls made out of duct tape (now you know you wrote duct tape on the gratitude board), and cardboard taped to a dollie with a smiley face made out of you-guessed-it duct tape for the strike zone. They played, laughed, and acted goofy while I, as mom, took it all in. I wrote another entry on the gratitude board - "when my big boys play little boy games together". I was so grateful I almost burst, and my heart was filled with joy. 

As I work on my Bible Study lesson the next morning, I page to Ephesians to find the verse about the fruits of the spirit. My eyes move instead right to a passage I have underlined, only it's not the fruits of the spirit verse (turns out that one's in Galatians) but it's a verse about music. It appears I had really been moved by these verses when I originally read them years ago. They were underlined many times over and over and I had noted beside the verses that it was 2003 and that I had just discovered my passion for writing Christian music. 

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20

Here in the middle of what could be a "life-verse" for me, was the gratefulness message again - "always giving thanks to God for everything..."

Later, I coninue my reading in One Thousand Gifts and what Bible verse does she quote? Ephesians 5:20! Okay, now this is getting funny. I grin once again with gratitude for the repeated messages God sends me in many different ways, over and over again, until I finally get it. For this I am grateful!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 10: Be Grateful Take 2!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 9: Be Grateful!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 8: Trust God

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 7: Dream!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 6: Don't Isolate!

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 5: Write Out Your Worries

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 4: Exercise

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 3: Pray

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 2: Stay in the Present

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Tip 1: Breathe

 

 

All I Could Do Was Laugh - What a stray dog taught me about trust

 

DezifaceAll I could do was laugh. Here we were, my son, Tyler, and I in the veterinary office with a captured stray dog. Was I actually going to be taking her home? I envisioned the moment we caught her. What would we do? What would SHE do? She was so afraid of people. I pictured her growling, showing her teeth, nipping at whoever handled her first. Instead, I watched as she timidly walked out of the animal trap, then gently took treats from Amy, the vet tech, then from Dr. Cotton, then me. Within minutes, she let us pet her and jumped up on our laps. What? This dog that had wandered into my yard at first as a nuisance, was now wandering into my heart. It was like I had been told I was going to have another baby at age 46. We never dreamed of getting another dog but here she was and I felt like she was begging for us to take her home, at least for a while. All I could do was laugh! Deziatvet


This dog had been seen in our neighborhood numerous times over the last year but was now specifically hanging out around our property. It was annoying at first because our dog, Walle, begged to go outside every chance he could get – even 12:00 midnight to play with her. (I later figured out she was in heat at the time. That explains a lot!) She would prance into the boundaries of our invisible fence and as soon as Walle was too much for her, she’d jump back out. They had a blast but I was still a little perturbed at the owner for letting her run loose like this.


She had no collar and was out in the frigid cold temperatures sometimes as late as midnight. But then I noticed some things weren’t quite right if she indeed had a home. The patio furniture pillows on our front porch were messed up every morning. As soon as I let Walle out the front door he would passionately sniff the patio couch. “Hmm, was she sleeping here?” I also noticed she would run off to my neighbors shed and disappear. Days later, after tracing her footprints in the snow, I discovered she was indeed finding shelter under this makeshift shed. Was it enough, though, to endure the below zero temperatures being forecasted?


I tried so hard to get close to her, but she would run at the first sight of any human. Finally, I did get close enough to zoom in for a picture to post on Facebook. That’s when my whole perspective changed.


The Facebook comments from neighbors as well as reports from Animal Control revealed that she had been a stray for over a year now. Our neighbors found her sleeping on their patio furniture, snooping in their garages and playing with their dogs too.


We were in the middle of a cold spell with temps dropping to minus 20, even minus 30 degrees at night. This had everyone concerned. Fellow dog lovers, people I had forgotten I was even friends with on Facebook, started rallying behind this orphan dog, offering help in catching her- loaning me their kennels, giving encouragement and advice. I wasn’t the only one caring about this four-legged survivor. She had an instant following! Everywhere I’d go, people would ask, “Have you caught her yet?”


Now that I knew her sleeping and hiding places, I was on a mission to build her trust. I love watching the Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan and I remembered a few things from that show in dealing with fearful dogs. I also searched the Internet on how to approach a shy dog. So I must have looked like I was completely nuts, but here’s what I did. I walked down the driveway, past the shed, pretending to eat something out of a little ziplock baggie. I made smacking noises while crouching down, dropping bits of food on the driveway. I would then pretend to pick those pieces of food up to eat again. She never did come to me when I did this, but the next few times she appeared she was getting closer to me and not running off as fast. In fact, the next day as I walked Walle down the driveway she crawled out from underneath the shed, stood totally still and stared at us. It was as if she wanted to follow us into the house but just couldn’t muster up enough trust and courage.


I started putting dog food out on the porch as well as a kennel with warm blankets for her to sleep in. She gobbled everything up and slept in the kennel at night but I couldn’t for the life of me trap her or get her to come near me. Again, I think she wanted to, but in her mind that was just too risky. There was one day, she even stood outside the glass storm door looking in at Walle and I. She was right there! At least I was able to finally get close to her, but only because of the door between us, offering her protection.  


Finally, we rented a live trap as our last chance effort in catching her. I didn’t want to do it this way, but knew it was ultimately the best thing for her. We baited it with a hot dog and peanut butter but it was so cold and no sign of her so figured it was useless.  We brought the trap inside that night and put out the kennel with blankets and patio pillows to simply help her survive the upcoming below zero night.


The next morning, I was met with a blast of cold air as I opened the front door to let Walle out. All I could think about was if I would see her today. Walle went over and immediately sniffed the kennel on the porch. “Oh thank goodness! She must have been there last night,” I thought.  He kept sniffing and sniffing though, until a little head peaked out of the kennel! She was still in there! I was standing with the front door cracked open only a few feet from her! She slowly pranced out of the kennel, I’m sure her body half frozen. She walked passed me and stopped. We had never been this close! I opened the door a bit more and tried to coerce her inside. She again just looked at me, thinking about it, I’m sure feeling the warm air drifting out from the house, but then took off back into the neighbors shed where she perceived it to be safest. 


That morning we put the trap out, but again, no luck. I figured she was finding shelter in the shed and it was just too cold to leave, even for food. I checked Facebook and was met by messages and posts of all her followers wondering what her status was. I posted the latest happenings but this time I added, “Please pray that we catch her, or if nothing else she survives another frigid cold day and night.” I walked away from the computer unsettled about her situation, but hopeful and glad I finally brought God into it. Why do I wait so long to do that, thinking prayers like this one are trivial to Him? I know better! Nothing is too small or little to bring to God. As I continued to walk into the kitchen I heard some crying and whining noises.  I ran to the laundry room window and looked out at the trap. We caught her! God answered our prayer in a matter of minutes!


Tyler and I carried the trap into the garage to keep her warm while we waited to get to the clinic. You already heard what happened at the vet but let me update you on what’s happened since. We obviously brought her back home and she has instantly become part of our family. She is a complete sweetheart with a loving, gentle temperament, always looking for a lap to cuddle up in. I don’t know what her history is. She had no collar, no microchip and has not been spayed. The vet estimates her age at about 1 ½ - 3 years old -so young to be out on her own! This little puppy, however, has taught me so much already, about trust.


She was afraid of people, but she didn’t let her history or time in the wild keep her from trusting us and because of that she will have a warm home, with plenty of food, a family that loves her and a much more joyful life. She is an inspiration, a survivor and has especially shown me how trust in God, my Ultimate Provider, Caretaker and Father is always worth the risk. Whether you bravely walk through the front door, shyly seek Him out, or even if you have to let Him catch you first, trust that You will find a warm home and better life when you are rescued by Him.


As I finish writing this, she is nestling on my lap looking at me with those cute little brown eyes. All I can do is laugh!


DeziatcomputerDeziandWalleDezisleeping

 

Light Therapy

 

lighttherapypicI am currently undergoing light therapy. I have 10,000 lux of light shining on my face and it’s making me happy. You see, after coming home from a week in the sunny Caribbean, I found myself battling the “blahs” of cloudy Minnesota grey. I was amazed at how my mood was so affected by the light, or lack thereof. Could light be that powerful? After doubting and fighting it for several days, I decided to invest in a therapy lamp. The manual for my sunlamp says just 15-30 minutes a day of light therapy can make a difference in your mood, especially if you do this repeatedly for more than three days straight. Even though I was still a bit skeptical, I tried it, and am now a believer in the light! 

I am also a believer in the light of Jesus. If I can soak up at least 15-30 minutes a day of His light; learning about Him, praying to Him, trying to be more like Him, I bet that would also very positively and powerfully affect my mood. Then, what if I reflected that light onto others?  What if I could be light therapy to someone else? Just 15-30 minutes a day…  Here’s three ideas I came up with in how I could do this:

1.  Pick up the old-fashioned phone and call a friend who is struggling instead of just sending a quick convenient text.

2.  Invite someone to coffee that I suspect might be fighting the blahs too.

3.  Greet my family cheerfully when they walk in the door, attentively listening to them instead of nagging about things they should do.

Speaking of family, what if I shined light on them for 15-30 minutes a day for more than three days straight? I think my house might become brighter, despite the grey outside!

Yes, light is powerful and positively affects your spirit! Get your light therapy every day and be light therapy to others!

 

 

Finding Your Passion

 

cindyatpianoFinding Your Passion

Do you have a passion?  This is one of my favorite topics to speak on because I watch people go from being confused and frustrated, “I don’t have a passion,” to getting a twinkle in their eye, to talking fast and furious, about something they discover they are passionate about. I guess I’m passionate about helping people find their passions because I’m typing really fast right now!

 

Four Steps to Finding Your Passion:

 

1.  Inventory your gifts and talents.

These are the natural talents and abilities you were born with and the spiritual gifts God gives every believer. Don’t know what your spiritual gifts are? Google “spiritual gifts inventory” and find out!

 

2.  Evaluate your experiences.

Think of your life experiences and don’t forget about the challenges you’ve endured. Many times, God will use you to bring hope and healing to others based solely on a trial you went through and survived.

 

3.  Dream

What are your desires, hopes, interests and ambitions? Don’t forget to dream big!

 

4.  Go to God, your Creator.

He is the one who made you and knows you inside out.

 

I discovered my passion for songwriting after reading The Purpose Driven Life  in a Bible Study group at our church. I got stuck on the question “What are you doing when you lose track of time?” I couldn’t think of anything and was jealous of others in my group who knew what their passions were. Author, Pastor, Rick Warren, suggested doing something if you weren’t sure what your passions were that I thought was so profound. He suggested going to God. 

God? Hmm. Up until this point I had looked everywhere for what I was made to do or be in life; society, personality tests, talent surveys, self-help books, Oprah. These were all helpful but I never thought of going to the One who made me in the first place, my Creator.  So I did this. I started praying for a passion, which seemed rather trivial at the time.

 

A few weeks later, while my husband was away on a fishing trip, I got my two boys to bed, put in my new Eagles CD and plopped down on the couch to finally have some down time.  Paging through the CD jacket, I started reading the lyrics and what inspired the artists to write each song. Then I began to write “searching for a purpose…wishing for a passion…God reveal Your plan for me.” I walked over to our new piano and clumsily plunked out a melody. Feeling a bit tired, I glanced at the clock. It was 2:00 am! I had lost track of time! God had listened to my seemingly “trivial” prayer by giving me an answer I never would have dreamed of - a passion to write music!

 

I tell you that story first, to encourage you to keep an open mind. Consider things you’ve never considered before and secondly, don’t forget about your Creator in the process. He knows you better than anyone.

 

Finding your passions is an exciting lifelong journey. Have fun with it!

 

By the way, those lyrics I mentioned eventually developed into my first song called, “Searching For a Purpose.” I’d like to give you a free mp3 of this song just for reading this blog. You can get it by clicking the link below.

 

Free mp3 “Searching For a Purpose”

 

 

 

My Faith Story

 

I was recently asked to give my faith story at Westwood Community Church. Rather than blogging this month, I thought I would share the video with you. If you don't have time to watch and listen to Pastor Brian's message on "Worry and Anxiety," click about 3/4 of the way in to find my 4 minute deal. Here it is... 

 

My Four-Day War

 

question markMy Four-Day War

 

I teach, preach and even sing about finding victory over worry. So imagine my dismay when I found myself face to face again with this ugly troublemaker.


The dreaded letter came indicating there was a “finding” on my latest mammogram and that I needed to go in for further testing. I would love to tell you my first prompting, upon opening the letter, was to go straight to God – thanking Him that I live in a world where He has provided state-of-the-art machinery and wise doctors to detect these conditions; that I immediately basked in the peace of knowing, no matter what the outcome, He would be with me and that is enough. Or at least, even if my first thought was not to go to God, it would have been something positive; “I’m a healthy woman. I’m sure it’s nothing and even it if it is there’s no use worrying about this.” 


But no, I don’t remember exactly what my first thoughts were, but I know they weren’t anything I just mentioned. I’m pretty sure, and embarrassed to say, they most likely began with the two poisonous words “what if”, and I went straight back to my worry game, the one I know so well how to play.


One thing I did do right, at least, was to immediately take action. I called and made an appointment for my tests, but I wasn’t able to get in for four days. Four days – plenty of time to ramp the worry up to full-blown incapacitating anxiety. But here is where my story changes. Years ago, the “worry path” is what I would’ve taken. This time I knew better. This time I was equipped and prepared to go to battle. Time to go to war against my evil arch enemy, worry! Game on!


It may not have been my first inclination, but I did end up going to God. I prayed to Him out loud, quietly in my thoughts and even through journaling. Worry fought with a vengeance! It is a powerful and controlling beast, but I battled back with God. Here are some other things I did that brought me little momentary victories:


Positive thinking
–“God is with me. God will provide. I will be victorious over this situation, no matter what, as long as I keep my confidence in Him. I will learn and grow from this.”

Envisioned Jesus with me – in my present and future

Staying in the Present – focus on what I was doing, what was happening in the here and now, guarding my mind from going into the future where worry thrives

Distraction - spent time with my family, did my writing assignment for an upcoming speaking conference, watched some old funny sitcoms

Exercised – ran, lifted weights, paddle-boarded


The four-day war was frustrating, overwhelming, even brutal at times, but there were also times of peace, reassurance and rest. God gave me a good nights sleep each night. He offered me healthy distractions like watching the NBA basketball final with my son, laughing and having fun at the racetrack with my family.


Finally, results day came. I walked into the exam room scared but ready. I got great news! Everything was fine. I thanked God for that blessing but more importantly I thanked Him for all the victories throughout the four-day war. I still have a lot to learn about battling worry. Full victory will never be achieved this side of heaven, but momentary victories will always be yours and mine in Christ Jesus! 

 

The Only Perfect Hero

 


When I think of heroes, especially around Memorial Day weekend, my mind immediately goes to the men and women of our military, those who are willing to risk their lives for others. About a year ago, I made a music video for the song "My Hero" in which I meant to honor such people. 


Now, as I've reflected another year on heroes I want to also bring it down to another level. Many of us have not chosen a job that puts us in harms way, but that doesn't mean we can't also act heroically. A hero or heroine is defined as a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.


Those of you who have watched my video know that the song "My Hero" is written about Jesus. He is the only perfect hero. He acted with perfectly distinguished courage and ability to bravely and nobly give up His perfect life for you and me. You and me, whose lives are anything but perfect. Wow! That whole concept is still hard for me to fathom!


Therefore, we can all be heroes whenever we show courage or nobility in the way He modeled for us. That means you having the courage to share your faith with a friend, or you having the nobility to not participate in gossip, or you having the courage to forgive someone who's hurt you, or... (you fill in the blank).


How can you be a hero to someone today?


My Hero Music Video


 

Meet My Dog Walle

 

 

Meet Walle, my 70 pound fuzzy dopey golden doodle. Walle has the best temperament of any dog I've ever owned. Despite his easy-going nature, however, he like most dogs does not like to be put on his back. This is a submissive position that goes against any animal's instincts. As his owner, though, sometimes I want to cuddle and give him a nice tummy rub, something that I know he will enjoy, so I pick him up and flip him over on his back.


This does not start out as a very graceful process, as you can see from the picture. Hilarious, but not graceful! His legs stick straight up in the air like sticks. He is obviously tense!

 

 

 


But then I start scratching behind his ears, talking softly to him, rubbing his belly and soon his body starts to melt. His legs fall down one at a time until he is completely at rest enjoying every minute of his spa treatment.

  

 

 

So I don't know if this is self-denigrating, but I many times see similarities between my dog and myself. Do I trust my Master? Enough so that I would let Him put me in an uncomfortable, submissive position? And do I even think of the possibility that He might want to bless me through that process? How do we become more receptive to God's leading and available for His blessings? Here's what I came up with.


1. Know your Master

Learn about God, His character, His ways.  In so doing, you will see that He is always faithful and always trustworthy. He loves you and always wants what's best for you. In fact, He is the only one in this world that is qualified to earn 100% of your trust. 


2. Surrender your steady footing

When you trust your Master, it's easier to let Him pick you up off your perfectly grounded feet and take you into an uncomfortable or unknown situation. You may be afraid or tense at first but trusting that He knows what's best for you will help you go against your instinct to run or fight. What would happen if you let Him put you into that room of wild girls and boys to teach Sunday school? Or call that new neighbor and invite her over for coffee? Or arm you with a spirit of humility to reconcile with a loved one?


3. Rest in His blessing

After you surrender to His leading, don't be surprised if He blesses you in abundance. Amidst the rambunctious Sunday school class, you might end up leading a child to Christ, that awkward phone call to your neighbor might result in a new best friend, what you thought was going to be a humiliating encounter ends up in a restored relationship with a loved one.


Now this doesn't mean that every time you let God do this it is going to have a pleasant outcome but one thing you can be sure of, it is always for His glory and your good.  One of the meanings of blessing is having a sense of God's presence. You can ALWAYS rest in that blessing. He is there beside you, always has been, always will be. So enjoy Him! Get to know Him, trust Him and don't be surprised if in so doing He blesses your socks off!

When have you been blessed by letting God take you into unknown territory? Leave a comment below and share with us.

 

Blooming In New Life

 

yellow rose  

Well,  God is sure testing us Minnesotans this year. I'm writing this blog entry on March 24th while snow is falling, the lakes are still frozen solid and there is no hint of green. Ugh!  I am so aching for that thermometer to register over 50 degrees, to hear the birds chirp and to see that first sprout pop up out of the filthy muddy ground. New life!  That’s what I am yearning for. It does make me thankful, however, that we don’t have to wait for new life to spring into our spiritual souls. It can begin as soon as we ask for it.

Do me a favor and pretend you are a flower bud still closed up. Go ahead, I’m sure no one is watching.smiley face  I'm guessing you are probably crouched down all tightened up. How does that feel?  When I do this I feel uncomfortable, uptight, tense, focused inward. Okay now open yourself up and bloom like a beautiful flower. I assume you put your arms up, held your face to the sky and maybe even smiled. I’m also assuming that you are really doing this! lol But doesn’t this blooming position feel so much better?! God wants us to joyfully bloom like this –to open our hearts, lift up our arms, turn our eyes to Him so we can see Him, soak up all His glory and goodness and become beautiful to all those around us. 

We will have spring; we can be assured of that, despite our doubts, just as we can be assured of our new life in Christ. He promises to grow you into a beautiful budding flower. Open up and let the blooming begin!

In Christ you are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Ice Fishing. I Don't Get It

 

 

Ice Fishing.  I don't get it.  We used to live along a river channel in Chicago, where I would look out the window at people sitting on buckets, hunched over a hole for hours in the cold blustery wind and I would wonder, "Why?" I'll admit I might have even made jokes and judged them for doing this seemingly mundane activity that looked like such a waste of time.  

Now years later, as I walk my dog on the lake around the huge community of ice-houses, I still don't get it.  I guess I'm not quite as baffled.  At least if you are in an ice house it provides shelter from the cold and from what I hear, some of these "shanties" are pretty decked out with heaters and tv's. I would also guess there is some sort of feeling of community and belonging.  But still....are there really that many people that enjoy this?!

Then I thought about being a Christian.  Sometimes people looking in at the Christian community probably don't get it either.  "Why are they getting up early on Sunday mornings to go to church?" "Why do they want to change their lifestyle, just to be judged and made fun of?"  "Reading the Bible sounds so boring."

But as I was walking my dog on the lake today, along the outskirts of this ice-fishing village, I thought of the picture my son's friend sent him of the 34" northern he caught with his dad, the smile on his face, the feeling he must have gotten when he pulled that gigantic amazing creature out of that little hole.  As his dad says, "At some point in their past, fishermen have all had their moment"that 'hooked' them on the sport.  Most of them probably don't even remember exactly where they were or what they caught but it's that experience that drives them back to sit for countless hours with patience, perseverance and confidence.  It's not a matter of 'if' they catch the next trophy fish but 'when'."  

As Christians, we do all these seemingly boring, crazy things but we do it because of the rewards of joy and blessing that we pull out of the hole of our worldly lives.  There is nothing better than a place where we can go to feel like we are accepted and belong. And when we get a taste of the new life that comes from Jesus, we are "hooked" and we can't stop coming back to Him for more and more.  

Ice Fishing.  Hmmm, I think I'm starting to get it.

 

 

Not Gonna Worry Vlog 3: The Worry Voice In Your Head

 

Do you listen to the worry voice in your head?

 

Not Gonna Worry Vlog Episode 2: Have a Worry Session

 

screenshot vlog 2

Fight away worry by having a "Worry Session."

 

Not Gonna Worry Vlog Episode 1: Be a Worry Warrior!

 

 

Speaking to Middle Schoolers about Music & Overcoming Fear

 

So I tell me son (a 9th grader in High School) that i will be speaking to the 8th grade choirs (in middle school) about music and performance anxiety and he freaks!  "Can you get out of it mom?" 

 

Car Dealer Inspires "My Hero" Video

 

God was involved in the making of the music video for "My Hero" and one crazy way was through my husband's car dealer.

 

Eagle Picture in "My Hero" video

 

Our goal in making the video for the song "My Hero" was to honor those who put their lives on the line for others, whether it be soldiers, firefighters, policemen, and then relate that sacrifice to what the Greatest Hero of all time did for us. 

 

Video Shoot - like having a baby

 

The video of "My Hero" will be released any day now and a lot of people have asked me what it was like to shoot a video.  I have a great analogy for you- It was just like having a baby!  

 

My First Blog....Oh So Exciting

 

My first blog...oh my!