October 18, 2018

DAY NINETEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... a Five Minute Friday post.

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This is Day Nineteen of the #Write31Days series, 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt.  It's Friday, so you know the drill! 

This is a Five Minute Friday post, which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt of WHO

{GO}

So, deciding ahead of time to attempt to make these Five Minute Friday word prompts work in with the series is always a bit tricky! It usually works out fine... or at least I can tweak it a bit and make it work in there... but this? 

This time... it is perfect!
Because --Who?  
Isn't that the question?


We are on Day 19 of 31 Days of talking about Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt and you guys... I don't know about you, but for me:

"Who?" is such a timely question!  

I see the prompt and I get a brilliant idea...

31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... DAY EIGHTEEN


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GRACE...
  (It's free... and it's not just for us! It's for 'them', too!)



Yesterday we dug into the importance of learning to give grace to ourselves! This is vital... 

But we can't stop there.  

We can't give in and receive the gift of grace from God, knowing full well that we don't deserve it and we didn't earn it... and not also realize that He extends that grace out farther, stretching out to even those whom we may think it shouldn't reach!

October 17, 2018

DAY SEVENTEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


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Don't Forget GRACE...

I was out walking with a friend the other day and we were discussing the importance and desperate need of giving Grace... we were talking current events and headlines and real life, small-town drama, and we were noting how little it seems people are willing to give Grace anymore... outward or inward!

It's then that I made a statement just off the top of my head but I felt the weight of His heart all over it:

You MUST learn to give Grace to yourself first, before you are truly able to give it away to others!
 You guys? This may be the mystery that helps solve at least some of our problems! 

Now when I say Grace, I don't mean excuses or lack of consequences or not having to take responsibility. But when we talk about Being Kind and Focusing on the Positive and all that we have covered so far --it includes giving it to ourselves. 

Sometimes our harshest critic is the sound of our own thoughts about ourselves. We attempt to be kind to others but we forget to be gentle with our own hearts as well!

October 16, 2018

31 Days of Becoming Queen... DAY SIXTEEN


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The Importance & Lost Art
of Going First...


Listen... I get it. I do. 

Throughout this series, I'm sure there has been a time or two that the Holy Spirit has snuck up on you and whispered some truth... corrected a thing or two... 

I'm only guessing this because He has done that with me, too!  And if you are like me, your inner four-year-old self may have risen up and said, "Yea, but..."


We all have excuses or reasons why we haven't given the benefit of the doubt or why we have jumped to conclusions or have been snarky or unkind... (Listen... for real... I'm fluent in sarcasm. This is a thing --and sometimes a problem.)

We can let our flesh boss us around and the division and frustration that rides the waves of injustice and (self)righteousness can cause us to get swept up in the storm of emotions and we accidentally forget our ever-lovin' minds!

And we forget that we are called to be kind...

October 15, 2018

DAY FIFTEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


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Oh, the Golden Rule...

Can you believe we are already halfway through the month (and this series) and we are just now getting to the old Golden Rule concept?

Well... we're not really, because we started out the first week talking like Mr. Rogers when we talked about Being Kind, Believing the Best, and Focusing on the Positive. Then last week we talked about not Jumping to Conclusions or Ascribing Intent, and we touched on Empathy, Sympathy, and Perspective, too. So really, all month long, the Golden Rule has been sneaking around the edges of all that we've covered so far!

I mean, we've heard about it since we were kids! Whether it was your parents telling it to you regarding sibling rivalries, or teachers or coaches talking about it with fellow students or teammates, it seemed this was constantly being repeated to us as children:




Do Unto Others As You'd Have Them Do Unto You...

Many of those familiar old sayings (like 'Cleanliness is next to godliness' for example) are not actually in the Bible, but the Golden Rule most definitely is.

This pretty much sums up the Sermon on the Mount, right?

October 14, 2018

DAY FOURTEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

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Let's not just talk...
Let's Pray!

On Sundays during this series, I record an audio version of me praying for us. I'd really like for you to join in with me! I strongly believe in the Power of Prayer! 

I believe in the power of praying in agreement, too! 

So whether this is a challenge for you to pray this way, or if you, too, talk with God all the time... please listen and pray with me!  


For most of us, if we're being honest, this whole topic may be something we know we need but aren't sure if we can make the change to extending the benefit of the doubt consistently... 

Because, Humans, man! (It's hard!)

October 13, 2018

DAY THIRTEEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

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Oh, Saturday...

We are all about taking is slow(er) on the weekends around here, so our Saturdays during this series are very simple!  We just post a quote or Scripture or two... and a couple of pretty pictures! 

Easy Peasy... because, you're welcome! We all have lives and the level of importance of NOT being in front of a screen on the weekends is SUPER high! 

October 11, 2018

DAY TWELVE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... a Five Minute Friday post.

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This is Day Twelve of the #Write31Days series, 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... this is also a Five Minute Friday post, which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt which this week is: PRAISE



{GO}

So how are we doing, sweet readers?

This is a much needed, timely topic and I know it can feel a bit heavy because --gah! We all need the reminder to give the benefit of the doubt!

I saw our word prompt and knew immediately the direction we would go because when I am the most frustrated or angry, hurt or feeling misunderstood... it's praise and worship that can adjust my attitude the fastest and help snap me back into my right (read: Christlike) mind!

DAY ELEVEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


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The Real Game Changer:
The Gift of Perspective...

Yesterday we talked a bit about Empathy and Sympathy and how we are in desperate need of extending both!

We talked about how there are so many (many) lines drawn in the sand that divide us --in so many (many) different ways.  The lack of willingness to be open to a differing perspective builds walls on top of the lines drawn and before we know it, we are trapped, walled up, and blinded to what is all around us.  



Our beliefs or rights or passions become a fortress that may have started with standing for justice or righteousness or protection but they can quickly become a prison of division and lack of perspective.

Here's the thing that we tend to forget when we are fully convinced that we are right:
We only know in part.

October 10, 2018

DAY TEN - 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


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Empathy & Sympathy...

Once we begin to take action and stop ascribing intent... when we are able to take that negative storyline and consider a positive one in its' place... extending grace is the natural result.

When we give the benefit of the doubt, often times it is because we have tapped into empathy and/or sympathy - even if the circumstance has not yet been explained.

For many who are empaths or extremely sympathetic, this culture we are in is oh so draining and exhausting! It's getting easier to unplug and disconnect and not be so present or gracious in giving empathy or sympathy. It costs us so much

But this is not a good thing, because not giving it away costs us so much more!

We're in need of an increase in giving empathy and sympathy!



This world can feel upside down and like it's spinning out of control! It's easy to think and feel like it's never been this bad before... but we know it has.  

We know history - inside and outside of the Bible - proves that as bad as things may be, sadly they've looked this way before. 

October 9, 2018

DAY NINE - 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


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The Dangers and Downfall of Ascribing Intent...



Yesterday we talked about Jumping to Conclusions and this is very similar, and I think most of us do this without even really being aware of the fact that we are doing it! Which makes it tricky to stop... but once we are mindful of it, well --as I said on Monday, 'There's a chance!'

Ascribing Intent... 
  what does that even mean?

It means that we take everything personally... or more accurately, we take everything as a personal attack or slight or offense. It means assuming actions or comments were made with an attitude or rudeness on purpose, when in reality most often they were completely unintentional!

Ascribing Intent is when we make up an entire story due to something that has happened to us or around us and somehow we make it all about us.

October 8, 2018

DAY EIGHT - 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


Today is Day Eight of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Homepage' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!

***

The Bad Habit of
 Jumping to Conclusions...

We all do this, right? 

I mean... we don't mean to, but when an argument, disagreement, or difficulty arises, before we have all (or any) of the facts, we have already gone to the end of the story.

We are storytellers, every one of us, because we are made in His image and He is the best Creative Writer there ever was, or there ever will be.

But here's the problem:



We forget to let Him do the telling... 
  We forget to slow and stop, to wait and wonder...
    to let Him gift us with His thoughts and His ways
      that are higher... to get a glimpse of 'their' perspective
        or His perspective or anyone else's 
          -especially if it differs from our own!

October 7, 2018

DAY SEVEN - 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

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Sundays invite us to enter into Prayer!

I really hope you are enjoying this series so far!  

While I am not great at picking favorites,
Prayer is sort of my Jam!

I love to pray and I pray
all. the. time.

This whole process of learning how to be better at giving the benefit of the doubt and being kind and believing the best... and all the things we have talked about so far, and all the things we will get in to over the next few weeks... All of those things can only happen if we take these ideas and these practices into our actual daily lives! And the only way I know to do that on a somewhat consistent basis is to PRAY!



So, on Sundays during this series, I will be recording an audio prayer and I would love for you to join in praying it with me.  Prayer matters... and it works! It's not magic and there is no secret formula... but it's a conversation between us and a Good, Good Father who LOVES to hear us pray!

October 6, 2018

DAY SIX in 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

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Sabbath means 
Scriptures & Pictures...
Because it is Saturday...

If you have been around here much at all, you know how I feel about Rest and the importance of giving yourself a break! 

Sabbath is a real thing and however you observe it, I strongly believe in lightening up the weekend posts during our 31 Days series. 

October 5, 2018

DAY FIVE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... SHARE: a Five Minute Friday post.

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This is a Five Minute Friday post, which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one word prompt of SHARE.

{GO}

So far this week, we have talked about how this series came to be (read: reluctantly!),  Being Kind, Believing the Best, and Focusing on the Positives... 

All of these things are powerful in and of themselves but put them together and we are well on our way to Becoming Queens of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt!



These Five Minute Friday posts are always fun because I never know how (or if, really!) the One Word Prompt will fit with the series topic!

But I see "Share" and immediately I see Community!

As I have mentioned here over the last several months, we are in this really strange season of Being In Between. We are in between jobs - literally, with zero employment right now - and we are in between churches or community. 

We have been very quiet... small... still.

We feel a bit like we are floating, and yet we are tethered to each other and we are tethered to Him and His Peace is saturating our everyday life with so much grace that if we have even a small temptation to rush on to the next thing... (or ---to 'make' the next thing happen!) we quickly let go again!

It's like a free falling and while it is very much just us two, we know so many others share in a similar season!

October 4, 2018

DAY FOUR of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


Today is Day Four of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Homepage' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!

***

Focus on the Positive...

There is something about
a grateful heart that changes everything.
Well, it can... it can change everything
--at least from an internal perspective.

This world is overflowing with negativity,
mud-slinging, half-truths,
anger and fear, doubt and unbelief...
Everywhere we look,
we find both the wounded
and those doing the wounding!
(Insert: 'Hurt people hurt people' is not an excuse, but it is oh so true!)

It seems the Darkness is getting Darker.
The gravitational pull is strong
to see only the Hopeless and the Hatred.
But something shifts deep down on the inside
when we push against the shadows,
and lean in fully to the Light!



It actually gets Brighter!


October 3, 2018

DAY THREE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


Today is Day Three of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Homepage' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!

***

Believe the Best...

First off, let me just say this: I am well aware that yesterday's post was long with lots of words. Today (and the other days to follow!) I promise to not be so long-winded! Secondly... thanks for coming back and not being scared away!  

Honestly, I would rather not be doing this... 
There are others more capable, talented, educated, informed... 
and yet, because of the way I am wired 
(admittedly annoyingly super positive)
and because of the glaringly obvious
lack of Kindness going around
in our world right now, 
I could not deny the need for
a clarion call to Be Kind!



Somehow we have forgotten! Somehow we have drawn lines in the sand and we have picked sides on so many issues and we have stood up for rights and in the process trampled over others' rights in order to get what we think we deserve... 

I am not referencing anything specific here and I am not saying that at least some of these things aren't necessary and worthy causes.  We have a responsibility and a voice and we should use it!

October 2, 2018

31 Days of Becoming the Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... Day Two


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Be Kind...
  Be kind... it sounds so simple... so easy. 

But you don't need to scroll through your newsfeed or channel surf for very long to see that this is not really happening in our world right now*.  I mean, if it is --it's not making headlines or getting all the retweets, for SURE, right?

My, how I long for the days when life was simpler... less plugged in and 'connected'... less 24-hour news cycle and the rush to have a breaking story or inside scoop without having facts first (on both 'sides' of any given issue)... 

Our society right now... 
Man, we have a serious lack
of giving the benefit of the doubt!

I don't blame technology or the current events... and I am in no way saying to bury our heads in the sand and just be happy.  That is not reality and it is actually not helpful, either!

However, may I be bold enough to suggest that maybe... just maybe... the internets are not the places for all of these hard conversations? (At least not exclusively or incessantly!)

October 1, 2018

31 Days of Becoming the Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt...



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I know!?  No one is more surprised than me, you guys! 

I was pretty adamant that I was not playing along this year!  I refused to even talk to God about it! (Yeah... I'm grown up like that!) But it seems as October approaches, I just can't outrun this challenge!  

If you've been around the blogosphere much at all, then you probably have heard of the annual #Write31Days challenge.  

The Challenge goes out to writers/bloggers everywhere, and the idea is to pick ONE TOPIC and write about that one thing, - Every. Single. Day. - for 31 days (aka October).

September 27, 2018

Because He is the Boss of me... Coming Soon: 31 Days...


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You guys!??!  

You know... I mean, you KNOW how Bossy God gets with me, right?! 

I admitted it in my last post --how I hadn't even prayed about doing the #Write31Days Blogger/Writers Challenge this year because --well, because I just didn't want to do it!

I'm tired... and this season is weird and shifting and full of unknowns right now... so I was just ignoring the topic when talking with God because I didn't want to hear about it!

I saw other friends and writers talking about it online and I scrolled on by.  I prayed all around the issue when asking God if I should try to sit and blog or not on any given day over the last month when finally, in the midst of practicing Centering Prayer, He whispers a hint of a topic and I immediately think of a title and subtitle, and I'm all, "No thanks, Man!"

But God... right?

So here we go... I sat down this afternoon and prayed for an outline and a bit more direction and, wouldn't you know it, it flowed out almost immediately and it seems He has plans for every day in October!  

I'm gonna be honest and let you in on a secret: I'm still not super thrilled about it. I'm not sure what will come out or how polished it will be, but I gave Him my heart and told Him He could Boss me and so here we are! 

We'll get through it together and hopefully, --prayerfully!, we will be better at this on the other side of October!



Coming Soon: 31 Days of Becoming the Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt (aka: Be Kind & Don't Be So Easily Offended!)

I hope you will join me on the journey of rediscovering (or learning for the first time) how to do two things that I truly believe we are IN NEED OF in this country world right now... These two things, I believe, can make a HUGE difference. They are simply (read: only not easily!) to: 
1. Be Kind... and to
2. Not Be So Easily Offended!
I may or may not write a post tonight or tomorrow for Five Minute Friday, but other than that I will be right back here, sitting in this chair, tapping out truths I've learned along the way that have enabled me to become The Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt starting on Monday, October 1st!





September 22, 2018

When Nothing Feels Complete... A Five Minute Friday post.

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Hey there, Sweet Readers!  Oh my, how I have missed you!  How I have prayed for you... Even when words would not spill out in this space, you have remained in and on my heart and His!

Honestly - I had NO PLANS to do the whole 31 Days Challenge this year. To be fair, I'm still on the fence. I didn't even want to pray about it! I mean, Y'all know how He is bossy about it with me every year. I just wanted to not do it... because I'm tired... and He's quiet... and I'm still processing all the things that He is teaching me. And yet... it seems He may just have an opinion about whether or not I do it! I'm still going to have to chat with Him a bit longer before I decide yes or no!  

Until then... here I sit... ready to tap out something that will be somewhat of an offering --for you and for Him! Let's go! Our one-word prompt is: COMPLETE!

{GO}

I am not sure, really, what is going on with me.

I pause longer than usual after I tap out that opening line... because it's true on all accounts.  I am not sure... and while I am consistently preaching about being authentic and vulnerable, this feels like a bit too much of both, thank you very much.  

But what I do know for sure is we are in one of those in-between spaces and we are being called to sit and wait... to not rush it! To Watch and See... before (or maybe so that) we can Taste and See! I've written about the not rushing recently and it seems we are still in the midst of this holding pattern. 

And it's fine.  It is... 
It's fine but
Nothing feels complete right now.



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