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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

Running

4th of July race in Cedar Rapids

Though I’ve announced I’ll soon end my tutoring “career,” I’m continuing with my brave adventures. Wish the weather would cooperate.

I’ll soon be back out on the trails, taking those long walks, getting back into some sort of running shape so I can tackle a 10K this year. A year ago I said I’d do a different length race each year. I’ve done plenty of 5Ks so there is no challenge left there (I guess if I cared about speed, I could work on that, but I don’t). After completing a 10K, I’m looking at a pretty big milestone for this late-in-life runner…in the year I turn 60, I want to run a half-marathon. Some would say I’m stupid (that may be the voice in my head, I’m not sure)…I choose to say I’m being brave.

To me, bravery is facing the giants in our lives…no matter if they are just in our heads. What do I fear? What do I see as insurmountable? What do I see as impossible? Do I allow my age to hold me back from potential adventures? Do I think it’s too late to try some new things? Not yet.

I’ve got a few things in the works to stretch my “fear factor” but I’m not going to allow the argument “I’ve never done this before” to be the deciding factor. Now, I’m not silly. I know my limitations physically. I won’t be taking up any extreme sports or gladiator challenges. Not yet anyway.

I hope you are cheering on those around you who are venturing out of their comfort zones to take up new exploits. My inner cheerleader shouts encouragement when I see my friends stand up and go forth and conquer fear.

I hope YOU are taking up new things. Maybe it’s beginning a fitness program, or letting go of an addiction, or learning a new skill. Don’t allow fear or insecurity keep you from reaching out and grabbing all that God has in front of you to do. I’ll be cheering you on!!

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On my desk as a reminder – not a selfie 🙂

I am a receptionist. And very proud of it. I provide the first impression of the company and I take that responsibility very seriously. Answering phones and greeting visitors – with a smile – every day – is not as easy as some would assume.

I’ve given directions to random people who walk in off the street. They have no address, just the name of whatever business they are looking for. Thanks to Google they leave happy. Had a semi truck driver ask me where the post office is (it’s the next block over from my office). Our side streets are narrow and crowded with parked cars, but I was able to help him decide what would be the best route to drive to deliver the mail. You’re welcome.

I had a co-worker who shared this job with me for a number of years. We used to laugh about incidents, phone calls, visitors we would handle. We called it “receptionist humor.” Such as…

I’ve had people come into our lobby assuming we ARE the post office (both addresses start with 615)…one person even insisted. No – I think I would know. I really wanted to be snarky, but remembering I am the face of my company (at least in the office lobby), I kept the snark on the down low.

I always answer the phone with “Good Morning” and the name of my company. Then I pause to hear what the caller wants. One time, the voice on the other end waited a beat and then asked, “Are you a real person?” Sometimes, sir, sometimes.

I’m glad we don’t have an automatic phone service…not just because I’d be out of a job, but because people are so relieved when they can deal with an actual person…someone they can ask questions of…and I feel good about solving their problem or directing them to the person who can.

My side gig is to pass out smiles and encouragement…not just to visitors but also to our own employees. People have enough stress in their lives, they don’t need it from the first person they see in the office.

I love interacting with the delivery people who enter the front door. Jimmy John’s drivers; Lee-Ann, our mail lady; Aaron and Dave from a local printing shop; Don, our dry cleaner driver – they have tough jobs out in the weather year round. Smiles don’t cost me anything and can be priceless to someone else.

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More reminders to keep it positive

Please realize that I am not perfect and don’t claim to be. I have stressful days and often catch myself whining about something insignificant. I have callers who get on my last nerve. (BTW – if you have a problem and need to call a company to resolve it, the person who answers the phone probably didn’t cause whatever is freaking you out. Be polite or I’ll tell your mother.)

I’ve caught myself venting to my supervisor. I often have to apologize for my poor attitude to her and to the Lord. Because, ultimately, I’m not just the face or voice of my company, I’m the face of Jesus, His hands and feet to this world. I need to remember to represent Him well.

So…how may I help you? :)))

 

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I’m taking some time to celebrate genuine girlfriends. No matter how old you are, if you’re a woman, you’ve probably had great female friendships, and a few not so good. Mean girls are not just reserved for high school. Most of those mean girls grow up to be mean women. But today – I want to give a shout out to those women who give unconditional love and support, who celebrate the great times, and stand beside us through the tough times.

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Women from the Class of 1978 – Durand High School

I’ve been blessed to have many wonderful women friends through the years. My high school classmates are still great friends, even though we don’t see each other often. We are planning a couple of “Girls’ Night Out” events so we can come alongside one of our own who is facing a tough health battle. We love her so much and want to show her our support.

“We are friends for life. When we’re together the years fall away. Isn’t that what matters? To have someone who can remember with you? To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?”  Judy Blume

As a young pastor’s wife, I moved to a different city wondering if I’d have difficulty making friends in this new place. It didn’t take long to bond with some amazing women who loved me and helped me acclimate.

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Ladies who brunch!

Friends who threw me a baby shower, babysat my boys, took us out for dinner, gave me homeschooling advice, had us over for family birthdays and holidays, sat with us through sickness and health. Priceless friendships that have stood the test of time!

I have been fortunate to have older women mentor me in ministry, marriage and parenting. I’ve loved the opportunities to mentor younger women in those same areas. They are treasured friendships that now span the country. Thanks to social media we can still be a part of each others’ lives.

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My sweet friend Nichole

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Best buddies Debbie and Jody

As I head toward my 60s,  I’m spending time in reflection…remembering fun road trips, shopping trips, ministry trips…ladies who have hugged me as I cried, ladies I’ve hugged through their own pain. We’ve prayed, laughed, worshiped, cheered, and eaten chocolate together. I’ve tried to stand by them through illness and grief…they have done the same for me. They point me to Jesus and my goal is to be a light in their lives.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate my beautiful sister as a girlfriend. She’s my confidante, my inspiration, my favorite friend. I wish we lived closer physically but I know there is nothing we would not do for each other.

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My sister – my first and best friend

Pray for your friends today. Send someone a card. Give one of them a call. Make a coffee date. Connect. As we get busy, life passes us by. Make time to celebrate the special women in your life.

“I’m so thankful for friendship. It beautifies life so much.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

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sunshine-heartThe sun is shining in Cedar Rapids! After a long, cold, snowy, cold winter, I’m anticipating the arrival of spring a little more enthusiastically today.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! (sing along with me!)

The sunshine encourages me. I work in an office with a lot of windows and that beautiful sun shines in and lifts my spirits. But the opposite is true as well. On those dark, cloudy, gray days, I have to work very hard to stay upbeat and positive. As you can tell, I allow my circumstances to control my mood. And that is not healthy living.

Romans_15_13Every day I’m thankful for the Word of God that is filled with encouragement…verses that lift me up, show me where my confidence should be, promises God will always fulfill. When I read my Bible, I get a large dose of sunshine (even on a cloudy day). Other believers also boost my spirits. I have a very dear friend who regularly puts positive, uplifting, encouraging posts on Facebook. When I see them, I smile. I can’t help it. Encouragement is contagious.

So if you need a little boost – read the promises of God. The YouVersion app is a wonderful tool to put the Word literally at your fingertips. If you are sufficiently “boosted,” won’t you spread a little cheer to someone else today? It’ll feed your own soul too!

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Sometimes I make the assumption that everyone has access to the same resources that I do. But that is not necessarily accurate. Yes – most people now have access to the internet and can google just about anything. But not everyone knows how to search online and not everyone has the time or inclination. And that World Wide Web is a super humongous place…easy to get lost and discouraged. So, today’s blog will highlight a few online devotional sites that continue to create wonderful content for us to enjoy.

Dayspring began as a greeting card company in California by four Christian men. They have grown into more than cards with inventory including gifts, home decor, books and Bibles. They also provide a daily devotional delivered right to your email every morning. Some are very short, such as this morning’s offering. Others a bit longer. All are excerpts from books published by Dayspring. If you’d like a quick devotion, easily read in a couple of minutes, this may be the right fit for you.

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An offshoot of Dayspring is another wonderful resource: (in)courage. Female writers from across the country are regular contributors, designed to encourage and enrich your life with real life, relevant material. The devotions are a little longer (probably will take 5-10 minutes each) but you’ll want to shout “Amen!” when you’ve finished. The authors are engaging, humorous, vulnerable and wise. By the time you’ve read a few, you’ll feel as though you’ve made new friends. They’ve recently published a CSB (in)courage devotional Bible. If I needed another Bible, I would certainly have this one. Sign up here to receive these wonderful daily blogs/devotions.

I’ve just recently come across the writings of Rachel Wojo…Her last name is so long and with so many consonants that she’s shortened it on every thing she publishes…and she publishes A LOT!. I first saw (and use every day) her monthly Bible reading plans. Then I looked through her website and saw so much wonderful, Biblical material. She says she started the website to keep herself accountable to God’s Word and to “help others enjoy fresh faith on a daily basis.” She has so much free material including free Bible study videos. Her testimony is amazing and inspiring. I couldn’t even begin to describe her life’s journey. Please, if you do nothing else today, take a peek at Rachel’s website.

That’s enough to get you started. Happy reading! May the Word of God sink deep into your hearts as you lean into Him more and more every day. I pray these resources will help guide you toward the Source of all Truth…Jesus.

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It’s not even a word – but it so accurately describes my life. I have a lot of unexpectedlies – every day. And so do you. At first, I was blindsided by happenings in my life that I never planned for. Death. Accidents. Job loss. Broken relationships. All these and more kept me off balance, sometimes teetering on the edge of grief and despair. I felt more fear than faith – dreading the next bend in the road.

One weekend TrailI had an epiphany. I came to realize, with the wooing of the Holy Spirit, that these unexpectedlies are opportunities. Opportunities to find blessing in the midst of sadness. Joy in the midst of sorrow. Healing in the midst of pain. Instead of finding the gray on the backside of every cloud, I really do attempt to find the silver lining.

This past month, three close friends have passed away. One was my beautiful daughter-in-law’s father. He was a huge influence in my life, in the lives of my friends and family. Another was a man who helped me navigate the stress of my first radio job, moving from co-worker to great friend. He and his lovely wife gave me support in the hardest time of my life and for that, I will be forever grateful. Just this past Tuesday, another friend entered in the presence of Jesus. We’d only known each other three years but we became the best of buddies, joined together through our love of the Chicago Cubs and our little church family.

Each man was an unexpectedly in my life – unexpected voices of encouragement and affirmation, sometimes challenging, always loving and supportive. I am a blessed woman to have known these three and I am so grateful I was able to run part of my life’s race alongside them.

Takeaway – celebrate the unexpectedlies. Look for the blessing in each one. Grow through the experience. Choose to respond to each one with grace and forgiveness. Love fiercely because unexpectedlies happen…every day.

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Do you ever catch yourself in a mindless fog, moving through traffic without any idea how you got where you are? Me too. Scared myself.

On the other side, I have also over-thought myself into inaction. I thought about something for so long and hard that I came to no conclusions…only saw the situation from every point of view available…and then did nothing. This is a talent for which I’m very skilled.

I have another talent – looking on the bright side. Occasionally, I will get down (who doesn’t?) but for the most part, I’m the person who sees the glass half full. Or as my science-geek friends would say,  completely full…half with liquid, half with air. This particular talent has served me well most of my life. I enjoy happy feelings. I like being the “up” person until…I’m the only “up” person. Then it feels like work. I feel like I have to pull everyone else up and I forgot my weight-lifting workout.

I realize that my natural tendency to look on the bright side is God-given (and annoying to some). God made me with the desire to encourage and exhort others, to help people see the positive side of a situation, to give others indisputable evidence that in all things God works for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

It’s a trait I am most thankful for…

But…

I can’t do it alone. Will you help me today? Will you give others a boost? Will you encourage someone who’s low and looking lower? Thanks – I appreciate it. I’m glad I’m not in this work alone.

And, by the way, if you’re one of those who have a tendency to see the glass half empty, take this Scripture and post it everywhere you can. Think_About_These_ThingsIt will help. Because God promises that He will never allow His Word to return empty and if you have your mind fixed on things above, and not on the circumstances of life that change, and drift, and sink your soul…you will be lifted up.

I appreciate my positive outlook and general happy perspective but God did not give it to me just for me…

He says, “Kris, go pass it along to others. This world needs to know that I haven’t given up on them. I will never leave them. I will never forsake them. I’ve got this all under control. Be salt and light and watch Me draw people to Myself.”

Cool, huh?

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