October 31, 2018

DAY THIRTY ONE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

The Wrap-Up & Release...
I can't believe we made it! 

I hate to tell you this... but
now is when the hard work truly begins.  

Now, the call is to take what we have been learning here,
and be intentional in putting it into practice out there!  

Sidenote: You know that after all of these words, for all these days in a row... Imma take a little break for a few days! However, I wanted to let you know that I'm oh so honored that you have joined me on this journey toward Becoming a (King* or) Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! (*I see you male readers!)

It's counter-cultural... and it doesn't come naturally to us, I know! But if the world is going to know us by our Love... man, you guys, ...we've got to get better at majoring on the positives and what we DO have in common, rather than pointing out the negatives and focusing on all the ways we are different!

I will never tell you this will be easy. 

It is always a choice... and not one that our fleshly heart
pushes us towards. But the more we choose it... 

October 30, 2018

DAY THIRTY of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... Links & Inspiration

Links & Inspiration... 

Yesterday on the blog, I posted a ton of ideas and tips on how to be kind... We separated it out in categories, but really... a lot of it should easily overlap!

Ermergherd... Berks!!! Yes, today we are talking BOOKS, people! (Well, books, and a few blog posts and songs) because, of course!  

Y'all know I love books and I have quite the collection so this, as I stated for yesterdays' post, this is in no way an exhaustive list, and I would love your input in the comments below if I left off an obvious Must Read when it comes to learning how to put this series into action in our real, actual lives! 

So... here goes! But I am counting on you, sweet readers, to add to this list! 

October 29, 2018

TWENTY NINE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

Tips on Being Kind...

I know?!  It doesn't seem like we should need this, right?

I mean... Kindness is always a good idea and it seems like we should have a running list of ideas on how to show kindness to family and friends and strangers alike! 

We have been talking all month long on how to become queens and kings of giving the benefit of the doubt and a huge part of this journey is simply remembering to be kind.  Some of the best ways have already been covered here! However, I thought maybe I could get us started on some fun ideas and then, my hope is, you can add to the list in the comments below!

Kindness simply means: 
"the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate."
See? This should be easy... Being friendly, generous, and considerate should be a no-brainer! 

It's the following through and actually DOING it that can be slow to start! 

October 28, 2018

DAY TWENTY EIGHT of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


Sunday: Our Sacred Gathering to Pray!

By now, you know how this works! 

I hope you are enjoying these times of prayer together!  

October 27, 2018

DAY TWENTY SEVEN of 31 Days of Becoming Queen... Scriptures & Pictures


Happy Saturday, Sweet Readers...

We made it to another weekend and I hope you are enjoying our time together as much as I am! 

These Saturday posts have been intentionally written to slow you down and give you the opportunity to ponder on a scripture and a quote and to drink in some beauty!

Hunters of Grace... Finders of Beauty...

October 25, 2018

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


This is Day Twenty Six of the #Write31Days series, 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt. Let's see where this goes! 

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: MOMENT


This week we have dealt with some of the heavier and harder aspects of Becoming Queens (and Kings) of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... topics like Forgiveness, Making Amends, and Letting Go... all necessary parts to work through if we are going to Be Kind and be less offended.

As we reflected back over these issues, it's quite possible that there were Moments that rose up to the surface! Snapshots frozen in time and somehow they seem to carry with them all the pain and sadness and a sense of loss in some sort of amplified way! But they're not real.

Like a mirage that is not really there, with the passing of time and the offering of the benefit of the doubt, those old wounds should no longer be bothersome. They may still be there... but they are no longer gaping open or bleeding out.  

They are scarred over... faded... healed. You can see them and remember the whole reason why they are there but you don't have to relive the pain of the moment every time you look down!

DAY TWENTY FIVE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

Letting Go...

We wrapped up yesterdays' post on Making Amends saying that sometimes, after forgiveness and after attempting to repair the brokenness of a relationship or situation, we are called to simply let it go!  

This can be regarding a person or simply an offense...
and if we are doing it right, letting go of the offense should be the easier choice!

I mean, right?

We've all been in the flesh and it felt easier to just write off the person rather than the problem! But if we're letting Love lead us and if we're putting into practice all that we have covered so far (like not jumping to conclusions, not making up stories or ascribing intent, not being unwilling to listen and hear...) then we are acting on the high value that God puts on relationships.

The best solution is to release the Hurt,
not the Human... 

But there are times when you have done all you can do and in order for you to move on
--you have to let go!

October 24, 2018

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

The Follow Through of
Making Amends!

This week we have already covered big topics like the importance of forgiveness and also the need for healing prayer (for ourselves and for those who have hurt us.) 

Today, I want to touch on the idea of making amends but I want to be clear from the very beginning: this is not always required or even advised.  

While our God is a God of relationships and He wants us to live in Community and unity... while He does graft us into the family, He doesn't always insist on us making amends with broken relationships --especially if they have included unhealthy boundaries or abuse.

Of course --the verse that I immediately think of is found in Romans 12:18 and reads:

"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (NASB)
In The Passion Translation, it says to "Do your best to live as everybody's friend." and in The Message, it reads, "If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody."

Sometimes we are called to work at repairing that relationship after forgiveness has begun its work, and the ministry of making amends must begin. 

Sometimes, however, I don't have it in me! 

Now, God can help me to do it... to tap in to His peace and His love and I can do it. But there are also times that God gives us peace after we have done the forgiving (because, as we discussed in an earlier post --that is required!) and He frees us to let go and move on without making amends!

October 23, 2018

DAY TWENTY THREE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...


Yesterday we dug into the importance of Forgiveness and how it is so vital for our own healing and health! (...for our own forgiven-ness, even!) 

My hesitation in writing the post yesterday was, more than anything, I didn't want to make it seem like I'm saying Forgiveness is easy. 

It's a choice... yes. It's not a feeling... 
but it stirs up ALL THE FEELS, am I right?  
It's not easy! 

It's one of the hardest things He tells us to do,
yet doesn't give us any wiggle room in not doing it!

We know that unforgiveness can quickly turn into bitterness and resentment... and that can make us sick --literally physically and/or emotionally. 

It weighs on us and can seemingly re-wound us over and over and holding on to it does us NO FAVORS!!! Even if/when we know/remember this, it's still no easy task to forgive when we've been wronged.

Enter the need for the power of Healing Prayer!

Because... he doesn't give us a choice NOT to do it!

October 22, 2018

DAY TWENTY TWO of 31 Days of Becoming Queen...

Forgiveness is VITAL, my friends!


But... but...!?

I know... honestly... I do! I get it! 

This is one of the hardest things we are ever asked to do!  
But here's the deal: We actually aren't asked to do this... we are clearly told, right?

As in, "if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.” (Matt 6:15) and Jesus' answer, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven." to Peters' question about forgiving seven times. (--Sidenote: you just know chances are good that he had already forgiven someone 'seven times' and he wanted to just cut them out!)

Forgiveness is a big deal... 
  It's a bigger deal for 'us' 
    than it is for 'them'
      --we've learned this, right?

October 21, 2018

DAY TWENTY ONE of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


Sunday: Our Sacred Gathering to Pray!

By now, you know how this works! 

I record a prayer... we pray it together... and we take a few moments to lean in and listen at the end to hear what God is speaking to our hearts!  

October 20, 2018

31 Days of Becoming Queen... DAY TWENTY


Hey there, Saturday...

You know we love you! You're so flirty and fun... and draped in scarves and cozy sweaters and offering up yummy Fall flavors... well, just know: You had us at Hello! 

Fall reminds us of CHANGE everywhere we look... and this series is all about a Change I believe is desperately needed! But we won't go in depth or go on and on today... because,
it's the weekend, Y'all!

October 18, 2018

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


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


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


  (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


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

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


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


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


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.


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


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...


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


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


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


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!

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