“Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.” Welsh Proverb
Why do you suppose grandchildren are so special?
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. (Psa 128:6a, NLT)
Some people are blessed to be grandparents. And then some people are even further blessed to live in relatively close proximity to their grandchildren (but not too close). I’m proud to say that Sharon and I are in the first group, but sad to say that we are not in the second.
Our grandchildren have always been one to two thousand miles away from us…a little more than a Sunday afternoon drive. Our first grandchild was born while our kids were living in Colorado and the second while they were living in upstate New York-a little closer. Well, wouldn’t you know it…they just moved back to Colorado.
Sometimes technology moves in our favor (tongue-in-cheek). A couple weeks ago, with the help of a totally free piece of software (Skype) and a $50 webcam, we had the incredible pleasure of spending close to an hour seeing and talking to our grandchildren–up close and personal as they say. And there was not even a long-distance charge. While it’s no substitute for holding them in your lap and holding their hands while going for a walk with them, it sure beats a three-day old letter…or even a phone call.
Give it a try. Sharon is currently using Skype to coach a missionary in Africa and I have used it in the past to train a number of coaches in Korea and Singapore. How cool!!!
Lord thank You for grandchildren. They truly are an incredible blessing. And given the mobile culture and generation we live in, we thank You for the technology that makes it possible for us to visit with them, up close and personal, even when they’re thousands of miles away. You truly are an awesome God!
Link of the Day
Blessings on you as you enjoy your grandchildren (or somebody else’s).
“Only the pure of heart can make good soup.” Beethoven
What can I do to get more fruit into my diet?
A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate. (Prov. 15:17, NLT)
Most people enjoy eating fruit. I have encountered some folks who never eat fruit, but for most of us fruit is enjoyable. Most people also like soup. A number of years ago, I wanted a pretty, chilled soup that used fruit instead of vegetables. I thought it would make a nice first course/appetizer for a dinner party.
At the time I was teaching a cooking class so I needed to create the recipe with actual measurements and not “a little of this and a pinch of that.” Having grown up on a busy, dairy farm, we never knew how many people would be eating a meal with us. I started cooking when I was in elementary school by following my mother’s instructions of “add some of this and a handful of that.” I rarely follow a recipe nor do I make a food the same way each time. So, I had to actually measure and “create” this recipe.
This is a fun, easy soup to make. It also looks pretty, and your family and guests will be impressed. I have one friend who makes it often for her family. So no need to wait for a special occasion. Enjoy some “Fruit Soup” this evening.
Thank you Father, for all the beautiful and bountiful produce You have blessed us with. May we enjoy the foods that You have created for us to eat.
Link of the Day
Blessings on you as you as you choose to eat God’s type of food.
“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” Tim McGraw
How are you raising up leaders to leverage your message?
You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. (2 Tim 2:2, NLT)
One of the things I love most about training lifestyle coaches is the caliber of Christian leaders I get to work with. Almost without exception, these are forward thinking men and women who are either at or destined to rise to the top of their fields. The incredible (and humbling) aspect of that is the fact that as these folks assimilate coaching into their “way of doing ministry,” they will undoubtedly pass along their new skills and leadership paradigm to those they work with, who in turn, will pass them along to those they work with, etc. Talk about leveraging time and influence. Wow!
At the risk of offending those whom I don’t name, I feel compelled to help you begin to understand the impact and significance of what I just wrote by giving you just one example. About two years ago, I began training John Chasteen, Associate Dean of Southwestern Christian University Graduate School in Bethany, OK. Lest you think John is one of those “lofty” academic types, you should know that his deanship came on the heels of 21 years of pastoring, church revitalization, and church planting. In there somewhere, he also served as a Conference Superintendent over a number of churches within his denomination.
Among other things, John likes to write. When I started training him, he had just been asked to be a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine. (I was impressed.) Now his articles are popping up in Ministry Today as well. But what I want to particularly draw your attention to is the weekly blog entitled “Hey Coach John” that he started writing almost two years ago. Follow the link below and you’ll see the most recent article. (I believe you’ll see why I sometimes feel like a proud papa.)
John took to coaching like a “duck takes to water.” His leadership paradigm was truly transformed. As you might expect, John is making plans to incorporate a coaching track of courses in the Graduate School. He has so embraced the coaching concept that he feels that pastors need to have this training to be effective leaders of their flocks.
There is no way I can ever express to John, or to the 200+ other leaders like John whom God has allowed me to train as they learned coaching, just how much of a blessing each and every one of them were (and continue to be) to me.
Father, I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve great Christian leaders of the caliber of John Chasteen. As I use John as an example of the many you have allowed me to work with, I ask that you bless each of them and their ministries as they go forth and spread the coaching message.
Link of the Day
The Quiet Coaching Revolution
Blessings on you as you minister to others this week.
“You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it. It’s called perseverance.” Lee Iacocca
What am I willing to do to wear the size I want to wear?
But you, Timothy, belong to God; so run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good. Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (1 Tim. 6:11, NLT)
For our daily reflections, our “marketing mentor”, Dr. Randy Peck, frequently encourages us to tell “short stories of changed lives.” Each time he mentions this I think of Sarah and her amazing story. Here is part of her story in her own words. I’ve edited it to make it shorter, but it’s still powerful.
“When I first started working with Sharon, I had been eating the typical ‘American’ diet…junk food, fast food, desserts, soft drinks, juices, pretty much whatever tasted good. It wasn’t excessive amounts–just horrible food. Because of that and the years of eating foods high in MSG (monosodium glutamate), I experienced memory loss, weight gain, and a total lack of energy. I was exhausted most of the time. I had about two to three hours of energy a day at the age of only 25.
“After learning about the foods that were robbing me of my health and through my coaching sessions, I changed my eating habits to exclude most all processed and packaged foods. I now only drink water and rarely eat any of the ‘bad white foods’ such as white rice or pasta, white potatoes, or white bread. I eat fresh veggies, fresh fruits, nuts, berries, salads, meats, and use healthy oils such as extra virgin olive and coconut oil.
“I now have hours and hours of energy, and have lost over 45 pounds AND KEPT IT OFF! I will now be able to serve God for years to come in great health without having to deal with the diseases and conditions that most experience due to poor choices early in life.
“I’m down to a size 10 in ALL brands, an 8 in MOST, and a 6 in SOME!!!! I was a size 18 when we started.”
Lord, I thank You for Sarah and her willingness to make the changes needed to regain her health and vitality! Thank You for her obedience. May You bless her and all who want to live a healthy lifestyle with your grace and provision.
Link of the Day
The Saranese Culture
Blessings on you as you as you seek to be obedient to God’s call on your life.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward
How many presents are you still carrying around with you? Aren’t they getting heavy?
And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:20, NLT)
This may seem to be a little soon to revisit the issue of gratitude (see last Friday, September 28), but this is one of my favorite life principles. Hopefully it won’t show so much that I sound like a broken record. (Hmmmmm…showing my age again. I bet not too many people know what a record is, let alone remember what a broken record does. Oh well.)
Actually, the very day I sent out that Reflection, we got an email (not from anybody on our list) that had a Gratitude Dance as one of the links. This is so good, we couldn’t wait to share it with you. Click on the link below and start practicing along with Sharon and I. Hint…it’s harder to do when you’re feeling down, but you won’t stay there very long if you give it a try.
Speaking of the name, Daily Reflections, we got an email last week from one of our great friends and cheer leaders, Janet Kennon. She called the mail she had been getting her Daily Gram. We loved it! So, we’re officially changing the name. From now on, they’re Daily Grams.
Enough for one day. Have an incredibly fantastic weekend!!! See ya at the dance?
Father God, we thank You from the bottom of our hearts for the past week and the many incredible blessings you bestowed upon us. Please forgive us for the times when we were so preoccupied that we don’t even seem to notice.
Link of the Day
The Gratitude Dance
Blessings on you as you find new ways to express your gratitude for the “little things” that come your way.
“Peace of mind is attained not by ignoring problems, but by solving them.” Raymond Hull
When was the last time you backed up your computer?
I am leaving you with a gift– peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27, NLT)
If you’re like me…in fact if you’re like most of us…you rely on your computer more than you like to admit. Have you ever lost all the information you have stored on your computer? I had it happen once–and it isn’t pretty. Even though I experienced the pain of a disk crash, I still couldn’t discipline myself to regularly back up my computer so that I would be protected when it happened again. Notice that I didn’t say “if,” because the statistics on disk problems are so bleak that “if” isn’t even an issue…the issue is really when.
Even though I’m aware of that fact (and I’ll bet you are too), I still couldn’t bring myself to back up even as little as once a month, let alone once a week or, heaven forbid, once a day.
Technology comes to the rescue again. I recently learned of an amazing company named Carbonite, Inc. who automatically backs up all the files on your computer, no matter what size disk you have, for the incredible price of about $4.00 a month. You don’t have to do a thing except have your computer linked to the Internet. Within minutes of the time you add or change a file, it is backed up and kept safe.
I don’t want this to sound like a sales letter…I’m truly sharing this with you to bless you with some information that may help you avoid the pain of a data loss. However, I do want to be upfront about this, if you use the link below you will not only get the free 15-day trial that you would get directly from Carbonite, but you also get a free month of service if and when you subscribe. You also help us, in that if you subscribe, we get an extra three months on our subscription. Sounds like a win-win.
Lord, I thank You for computers. I thank You for the great assistance they can be to us as we go about our daily tasks. But they can be fickle at times. I truly praise You that technology has made it possible to effectively eliminate the very unpleasant consequences of a computer failure…and most of all for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that all that information is safe.
Link of the Day
Blessings (and peace) on you as you go about your daily tasks today.
“Regardless of how broccoli is prepared, peeling the stems is the secret to even cooking and tasty broccoli.” Marian Morash
When was the last time you made a healthy salad and everyone clamored for the recipe?
I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.. (Gen. 9:3, NLT)
We all know that eating vegetables is a healthy thing to do! We also know that more than likely, we’re not eating enough of them in our daily diets. I’ve chosen a salad that features the pretty, green tree-like vegetable called broccoli.
The name “broccoli” comes from the Latin word brachium, which means “branch,” or “arm.” Americans have grown it in their gardens for less than 100 years. The first commercially grown broccoli was grown and harvested in New York, then planted in the 1920’s in California. This vegetable is highly recognized for its anti-cancer nutrients. It is a cruciferous vegetable and member of the cabbage family, which is helpful in preventing certain types of cancer.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It also contains some important phytochemicals, such as beta-carotene, indoles and isothiocyanates. Phytochemicals prevent carcinogens (cancer causing substances) from forming. They also stop carcinogens from getting to target cells and help boost enzymes that detoxify carcinogens.
When shopping for broccoli, choose bunches that are dark green. Good color indicates high nutrient value. Florets that are dark green, purplish, or bluish green contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than paler or yellowing ones. Choose bunches with stalks that are very firm. Stalks that bend or seem rubbery are of poor quality. Avoid broccoli with open, flowering, discolored, bud clusters and tough, woody stems. I always buy organically grown broccoli knowing it’s grown without pesticides and herbicides. However, organically grown broccoli just plain tastes better! This salad is colorful and will delight even your “picky” eaters.
Father, we continue to be thankful for the overflowing bounty of wonderful, healthy foods that You have given to us. Thank You for Your grace as we become obedient to follow You with our whole hearts!
Link of the Day
Blessings on you as you continue to incorporate more healthy vegetables in your diet.
“You’ve got problems, I’ve got problems, all God’s children have got problems.” John Maxwell
Why is life so filled with problems?
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure. (Rom. 5:3, NLT)
A couple of Sunday’s ago, our pastor, Tom Conant, started his message on “Hope” with the above quote by John Maxwell. It was his usual great sermon, but the quote is what really caught my attention.
You see, Sharon received an email from one of her clients just a day earlier in which the client was reporting the fact that she performed a service for a neighbor who is struggling with cancer. She said, “That made me feel good. I am thinking I miss taking care of sick people.” Incredibly insightful!
I think we’ve all heard that the best way to get our mind off our own problems is to find someone else who has worse problems and reach out and help them. Great piece of wisdom, but–how often do we remember it when we really need it, i.e., when the person with the problem is us. I confess that I don’t.
No, I don’t have any suggestions that would bypass the problems, because I feel that problems are fuel for our growth. As Pastor Tom reminded us this morning, “Mountain tops are great, but we grow in the valleys.” But I do want to suggest that the real issue is our attitude while we’re walking through those valleys.
We ALL need a small number of really close friends with whom we can be totally transparent and who will hold us accountable. We need someone who can remind us that the best remedy to take our minds off our own problems is to serve someone else. Maybe it’s a coach; maybe it’s a peer mentor or peer coach; or maybe it’s just a very good friend…but someone who loves you enough to “shoot straight” and talk some “tough love.”
Have you got someone like that in your life? What’s holding you back?
Lord, we thank You for Your amazing grace that helps us get through those tough issues that come to us in the course of life. We likewise thank You for those You have brought into our lives who can so effectively minister Your love and grace to us when we’re “going through it.” Most of all, we just thank You for not giving up on us when we’re so focused on self that we’re totally ignoring You. We are especially grateful for Your agape love.
Link of the Day
Blessings on you as you walk through your valley today on the way to your next mountaintop.
“Observe your dog: if he’s fat, you’re not getting enough exercise.” Anonymous
What can you do to incorporate more consistent exercise into your everyday life?
For in Him we live, and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28a, NKJ)
Even with eating the best food choices and nourishing our spirit with the Word of God, we cannot reach and maintain optimal health without (you got it)…exercise. We’ve got to move more. Our bodies were designed to move. The body needs water, rest, the right food, and exercise to run smoothly. If we don’t take time for exercise now, we’ll have to make time for illness later.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of consistent exercise. I can’t go into detailed explanations here, but statistics reveal that exercise prevents cancer, heart attacks, and heart disease. Exercise improves lymphatic flow, which in turn strengthens the immune system. Our bodies manage stress much more effectively with consistent exercise. Exercise helps to prevent diabetes and helps to control blood sugars in those with diabetes. Another thing that exercise does is to promote fat loss and decrease appetite.
There are many, many, more ways that exercise provides benefit to us. Something on the mind of many “baby-boomers” is the aging process. Baby boomers are getting old and many don’t like what they see when they look in the mirror. Exercise helps to slow down the aging process. It also aids in building strong bones, even more so than calcium supplements.
Many people don’t sleep well. Exercise can help that. Exercise helps to reduce depression and improves memory retention and reaction time. The list of benefits seems endless. The bottom line however, is to find something that you can do so that you can move more. There are many, many options. For someone who has never exercised, or if it’s been a while since they’ve done consistent exercise, begin with walking. Today’s link is from Leslie Sansone who is a phenomenal “walking instructor.” I’ve personally used several of her DVD’s and find them to be a good work-out. I did the 5-mile challenge this morning and worked up a good sweat! I’ll talk about other forms of exercise at a later time.
When it comes to exercising, don’t look for reasons why you can’t. Instead plan and be intentional on how you can! Your life depends on it!
Lord, thank You for our physical bodies. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by Your hand. Thank You for Your grace as we seek You in how to best take care of our bodies and make them healthy.
Link of the Day
Walk at Home
Blessings on you as you as you seek the Lord for how to bring exercise into your life on a more consistent basis.
“Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” Albert Einstein
How can you be an uncommon blessing to someone today?
The greatest among you must be a servant. (Matt. 23:11, NLT)
Our mentor coach, Dr. Randy Peck, has successfully planted the idea in our heads of seeking ways to be an uncommon blessing to those whom God has put in our path. Seems like a “cute” little idea…until you begin to unpack it and really give it some serious reflection. I confess that the more I’ve thought about it, the more it morphs from a cute little idea into a magnificently powerful God idea.
One of the key reasons we’re on this earth is to glorify God. What better way to glorify God than to be a blessing to others, i.e., to give others a glimpse of the God that is in us. Done with the proper heart, that will not only glorify God, but that will attract people to God, aka Lifestyle Evangelism.
In these times, people are hungry for blessings. They are hungry to have someone smile at them, or listen to them, or believe in them, or challenge them to greater accomplishments, or to encourage them, or to pray with them…you get the idea. These may seem somewhat common and mundane acts, but in our almost out-of-control, fast-paced culture today, they are becoming more and more uncommon. You get the idea–uncommon blessings.
The link today is an uncommonly powerful view of how simple it really is to provide uncommonly powerful service (i.e., be an uncommonly powerful blessing) to people you don’t even know. If it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye or at least put a lump in your throat, your wood must be all wet. To God be the glory!
Lord, You are such an uncommon blessing in our lives 24/7. For that we are not only grateful, but we want to express that gratitude by passing some of those blessings to those around us. We ask that You open our eyes to those opportunities and give us the grace to boldly step out and act.
Link of the Day
The Simple Truths of Service
Blessings on you as you serve someone in an uncommon way today. (Extra point if it is someone you don’t know.)