Archive for the ‘Make an Impact’ Category

How can a dead thing live again?

March 4, 2011

I found him at a garage sale.  A gangly, sad looking plant.  He was about three feet tall, and was a two leaf wonder.

No matter how many new leaves he grew, he only had  enough life to sustain two leaves.  As soon as a new leaf started growing, the oldest leaf would die.

Then, one morning, about two inches in the middle of the plant became mushy.  Some have suggested that he might have snuck too close to the heater, attempting to end his sad existence. <grin>

I was so sad to see the destruction of my plant.  I really liked him.  So, I cut off the top of the plant and stuck it in water.  I also cut off the mushy part, and threw it away.  I left the stalk in the pot, hoping it would think about growing a new leaf.

About two weeks into this new situation, my husband came home and saw the stalk standing alone in a big pot.  In his witty humor, he dubbed my plant ‘Stubby’.  I felt so sorry for the poor stalk, I pulled him up and stuck him in the water too.

Six months later, my husband started wondering when I was going to do something about the cup of plants still sitting in my sink.  Stubby had turned into two stalks with luscious, huge leaves on them.

I replanted him, and instead of a three foot, two-leaf wonder, I had an 18 inch 8 leaf plant that was beautiful.

In order to bring the dead back to life, you have to admit the thing is dead, cut out the infection, then give it a chance to grow new roots.  Eventually, with love and care, patience and good food, it will grow again.

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Three Super-Simple Kick Start Living Your Dreams – in the next 15 minutes

February 24, 2011

Welcome to guest writer Kathi Lipp.  I’ve been reading her book, The ME Project, this week – pretty inspiring!  Enjoy her post, and read all the way to the bottom for a special giveaway:

Is there a dream that God has given you, but you are waiting until the kids are grown and you have money in the bank before you get started?

You may not be able to enroll in a month long pastry making class or take a week off of work to get started on your novel, but today you can take three little baby steps to making your dream a day-to-day reality.

1. Go Public with It

It’s a little scary to tell the world what you want to do when you grow up—but this is one little step could get you closer to living your dream than almost any other. Plus—it takes very little time and you don’t have to raid your kid’s college fund to make it happen.

When you gather up all your courage and tell your best friend, “I want to learn how to paint,” suddenly she remembers an old art book she has laying around she would love to give you, or her friend from church who teaches art classes. The people you know and love want to be a resource. Give them the privilege of being a part of making your dream happen.

2. Join an Online Group

This is one of the simplest—and cheapest—ways to start exploring your passion. Find out who else is talking about restoring antiques and listen to their conversation. Start by Googling your interest along with the term “online groups.” You will be amazed with the number of people who want to talk about the proper way to care for 1950’s lunchboxes as much as you do.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Pray

I remember the first time I put an offer in on a house—I wanted it more than I had wanted almost anything else in my life. While I knew that I had dozens of other people praying on my behalf, I was too scared to pray.

I didn’t want God to tell me no. I was afraid to pray until my co-worker Kim asked me (in a loving, kind way), why I didn’t believe that God wanted His best for me. Don’t be afraid to pray—as with anything amazing in my life, the path is never what I expected, but it has always been obvious that God’s hand has been on it the whole way.

Author Bio
Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Todays Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website: www.kathilipp.com

Special Giveaway:

By March 4, 2011 send KCWC the name of someone who commented on the blog tour. That person will be entered into a grand prize giveaway.

On March 7, 2011 KCWC will draw and announce a winner of the grand prize.

Kathi Lipp Grand Prize Giveaway:

  • Deluxe Starbucks Coffee Gift Basket
  • Three 2.5-oz. bags of Starbucks coffee
  • (Sumatra, House Blend, and French Roast)
  • Tazo black tea
  • Starbucks marshmallow cocoa
  • Almond roca
  • Almond roca buttercrunch toffee cookies
  • White chocolate and raspberry cookies
  • 2 Starbucks mugs
  • Keepsake black bamboo basket

($62 value)

So, comment away!


Truly Alive

February 18, 2011

What does it mean to be truly alive?

If you are walking and breathing, you are alive – so is a horse.

If you really find joy in the moment, are you truly alive?  That is pretty much how a bird lives.

To be truly alive:

You are not waiting to live.

You are not remembering what it was to live.

You are infusing God’s love and perspective into those around you. You are delivering a message that only you can deliver, because God’s work through you is a masterpiece, a story and living diagram of God’s personality, told to people who desperately need to know Him.

You can be who God called you to be in every situation.  While you are hoping, waiting, grieving, working, changing.  God has a message to give people, and you don’t have to be perfect to deliver it – in fact, it helps if you are not.  You just have to be honest and live in today, willing to let God use you even through the risks.

Even When I’m Old

January 12, 2011

Even when I’m old, I want to have purpose.  God put us each here on earth, and made us for a purpose.  Every day we live, God has a reason for us being here.  However, it is easy to lose that sense of purpose along the way.  Missy Buchanan has a ministry helping people who are in that new stage of life continue finding purpose and joy.  Here is a quick Q&A to discover Missy’s ministry:

Even when age creeps up on the body and mind, and life changes from what it once was, is it still possible to have a purpose in life? When it is no longer possible to venture out and do the things you once loved, can you still find a reason to look forward to each day?  Missy Buchanan, a leading expert and advocate for senior adults, believes that you can.  Buchanan wants to encourage older adults to find their purpose, share their stories, and make an impact on those around them.

Q: What made you decide to start ministering to and writing books for older adults?

Well, as a middle-aged adult, I never had any intention of becoming an author of books for older adults.  But because of the journey that my own aging parents were on, I realized how they had become disconnected from their church as their lives changed.  They started off as active older adults and then that circle got smaller as they had more needs and physical limitations.  As I would visit them at their retirement community, I would also see so many others that were just like them.  They needed spiritual encouragement.  And so that’s why I got started.  The first book began as a project just for my own parents.  I wrote devotions and kept them in a loose-leaf notebook.   But others started asking for them and things just spiraled from there.

Q: What do you think children need to know about their aging parents?

What I realized personally was that I had been so caught up in my parents’ physical needs that I had neglected their spiritual needs.  They were no longer connected to their church, at least in regular worship attendance, and that had been such a huge part of their lives.  I almost made that mistake of just totally missing that, and that was the point where I began to write.  I looked and there were other books written about older adults but not very many that were written to them and for them.  So the first thing I would tell their children is to pay attention not only to their physical needs but also to their spiritual needs.

Q: What is your opinion about role reversal with children and their aging parents?

I hear the whole idea of role reversal where the older parent becomes a child and the grown children become the parent, and I understand what they are talking about because my own parents became more dependent on me.  But I think that when we refer to it as a role reversal, and we begin to think of our aging parents as children, we strip away their dignity.  We rob them of respect and we overlook the fact that they are not children.  They have had a lifetime of experiences that a child has not had.  And I think that is an important difference that grown children need to think about and pay attention to.  It’s more of a role shift in responsibilities and not a role reversal.  I know how much it hurts an aging parent to feel like they are being treated like a baby or like a child.

Q: Other than aging adults, who else has benefited from your writing?

A friend of mine in an assisted living facility asked me to bring some books for one of her tablemates.  Her tablemate explained that these books were for her adult children.  “They don’t understand what it feels like to grow old, and I can’t seem to make them understand, but your books say it better than I ever could.”  My books are all written in the first person as if an older adult is speaking directly to God.  There are a lot of adult children that are buying them for themselves and older adults buying them for their grown children.

And I’ve heard of different youth groups that have been reading my books in order to better understand what it’s like to grow old.  Instead of just mocking their older peers, they are learning that they share a lot of the same feelings—feelings of insecurity, feelings of fear.  As a result of reading the books, one youth group in Tennessee has even adopted the residents of the senior living center across from their church.

Q: How can faith change our idea of growing older?

So many see aging as a punishment, and they dread it so much.  But even though it is difficult to be limited by an aging body, they need to look at it as a gift that God has given them.  They still have so much to give.  They have great wisdom to share and stories to share.  I always tell my older friends that their story is not yet over.

Missy Buchanan is the author of Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms and Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room Books).

Click here to watch Missy Buchanan’s recent interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Roberts’ 86-year-old mother.

Visit Missy Buchanan’s website, www.missybuchanan.com, and blog, http://missybu.wordpress.com/.

Become a friend on Facebook (Aging and Faith) and follow on Twitter (MissyBuchanan).

A Healthy Interdependence by Rosemary Flaaten

October 30, 2010

Dependence. It’s a word that makes me shudder. It conjures up images of the once virile superhero, Christopher Reeves, reduced to a quadriplegic dependence on others for even his most basic needs. It brings remembrances of my barely 60 year old mother having to be spoon‐fed her soft lunch because of the ravage of Alzheimer’s disease. It revives memories of the smothering friendship, once emotionally healthy, deteriorating into a noxious dependency used to bolster each other’s self esteem to validate our worth.

Independence. It’s a word that I easily espouse for I am a fiercely independent woman. Jobs where I have had to toe the line have proven difficult and often terminated prematurely. I become like a once wild lion now caged. I am a pioneer and a starter. This entrepreneurial spirit is a part of my DNA, nurtured and rewarded from the cradle. My personality spurs me to get things done, quickly and efficiently. Being a networker, I am attentive to people around me who can contribute to the success of the project. I make shrewd decisions as to who to involve based upon their usefulness. In my business world, my independence only gives way to those who have proven themselves supportive to my vision without cramping my style.

Recently, my mentor posed a question that caused me to bristle. It was this: “Who do you depend on?” My initial response was “No one”. Upon reflection though, I admitted my dependence on those who could help me advance my initiatives. But this sage, to whom I have given permission to prod beneath my veneer, perceived that I was keeping humanity and deity at bay, and detected the weakness it presented to my character. What ensued was a conquest to understand the meaning of healthy interdependence, why I needed to foster interdependence, and what that would look like for a staunch independent entrepreneurial type like me.

The journey started by going to my closest friends, not business associates, and asking them this question: “How do you perceive that I am dependent or needy of you?” I had idealistically envisioned that their responses would be complimentary and fraternal. In actuality, their responses were damning. The vast majority of them saw me as being so strongly independent that I make life happen on my own. It was not colleagues but friends that saw that people were allowed into my life based on their usefulness rather than their humanity. Although I was surrounded by lots of people, I had to evaluate if anyone was making it past the front door of my life, let alone to meander with me through my emotional garden? Again, the evidence was damning.

Having discovered something about myself that was crippling the development of my soul, I knew it would not be long before it started to also negatively impact my business. I firmly believe that we are not created as compartmentalized beings. What happens in one area of my life will impact other areas as well.

I realized anew that in my attempts to be strong and independent, I had become fortified. My independence had become a threat to emotional and spiritual health and ultimately the health of my business. Despite my ongoing aversion with dependence, I more fully understand my need to open my heart and allow people to speak into my life.

It is in the arena of healthy interdependence that my perspectives will be sharpened, reshaped and refined. Authenticity fosters accountability. Things kept in the solitude of independence risk derailment. The ancient wisdom of King Solomon states “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”2 It is in the milieu of strong interdependence that life‐giving change is spawned.

Dependence can stifle. Independence can isolate. Neither end of the spectrum is good. To reach my fullest potential as the business woman God created and purposed for me, I must become interdependent. I must surround myself with true sojourners, who give more than platitudes. I must invite different perspectives, authenticity and accountability. The people with whom I become interdependent will be the ones that I allow past the front door of my life and welcome into my emotional garden. Then I will harvest the benefits in my personal life and my business.

Rosemary Flaaten’s successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships helps women process their outside-of- work relationships, so now she’s delving into these 9-5 relationships in A Woman and Her Workplace. Her Relationships book won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada’s top Christian literary honor. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada

Stilettos and Integrity? How about Sneakers?

September 13, 2010

Friday is wear your sneakers to work day!  Welcome guest blogger Rosemary Flaaten with this fun, provocative article.

By the fifth block I was done. Although my four-inch stilettos made my legs look long and lanky, they also made my previously innocuous little toe scream with pulsating pain. Walking to and from my business luncheon in fancy high heels had been my biggest mistake of the day. Where were my sneakers when I really needed them?
The craze started over 20 years ago when women, following the lead of the Silver Screen, started donning their sneakers in place of stilettos. The wise woman prized comfort over fashion, elevating her “right” to wear sneakers from her front door to her desk without anyone giving a second glance. It didn’t matter how matronly she looked or how disjointed her business appearance, functionality was given prominence.
So why have my sneakers been collecting dust in my front closet while my stilettos need new heels?
As I pondered this question, I realized that my choice between stilettos or sneakers is indicative of a greater question regarding my integrity at my workplace. Sneakers are stable, no nonsense, functional and take-me-as-I-am footwear. Stilettos are representative of my desire to fit the business mold and improve my appearance. In essence, I hope to portray a version of myself that looks better than reality. Likewise, how often are the choices I make around telling the truth or shading the truth based on my desire to fit in, to make myself look better or to prop up my lagging competency?
It has become socially acceptable to fudge the truth (even just ever so slightly) in order to increase our likeability.  Robert Feldman, in his book The Liar in Your Life, quoted a study indicating that the average person lies three times every ten minutes in a conversation. The intention of these lies is not to manipulate. Rather, people lie so that they come across more interesting, likable and desirable.  Sounds a little like stilettos.
Our propensity to shade or embellish the truth has strong ramifications in our workplace. When the boss calls to see if we’ve done the big project and we respond “Yep, just about” when we know that we’re only about 25% finished, we may find ourselves in a situation where we must continue to shade the truth in order to save our skin. One lie is seldom enough. When (not if) our untruthfulness is discovered, we will have a much more difficult task rebuilding the eroded trust.
If deception is telling and living a life of lies, then living honest is conveying truth no matter the consequences. Living honestly means we live authentically; but integrity takes this a step further. Unlike children who lie to get themselves out of sticky situations, integrity calls out greatness and gives evidence of maturity. In the workplace, we start with honesty, add authenticity, and then our character culminates with integrity.
In defense of all stiletto-loving working women, please don’t interpret my use of this metaphor to suggest that stilettos are wrong and sneakers are better. Rather, on this “sneakers at work” day, may it be a reminder that being a person of integrity will always be better than trying to make yourself look better. In the long run, sneakers will take you further than stilettos. Not just my feet will attest to that truth!
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ROSEMARY FLAATEN’S successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada’s top Christian literary honor. Now she writes A Woman and Her Workplace to help women process their  9-5 relationships. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.

Trained for what?

August 3, 2010

A quick look through the bible finds that the word “train” is used most often in the context of training for war.

Trained soldiers, trained men, “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”

Wow!  In my little world, this seems pretty harsh.  However, here are some things that come to mind:

  • Without training, the uninitiated lose in battle.
  • We can choose to not engage in the battle – we live life being ineffective.  Kind of like a people under domination.
  • God wants us to free.  Jesus came so that we might have life, and life to the full.

Freedom means that we don’t live under domination.  What is dominating you?  Do you need God to train your hands for war and your fingers for battle?

Daily Routines

July 30, 2010

Jesus sat on a hillside with 5000 men plus their families all listening to his teaching.  About supper time, the disciples realized these people would be hungry.  I imagine the cranky children tipped them off.

“How are we going to feed all these people?” The disciples asked Jesus.

“You give them something to eat.” Jesus answered.

Then, Jesus directed the disciples to have the people sit down in groups.  Each of the disciples had a basket.  Jesus filled the baskets with bread and fish, then the disciples took their basket out and distributed the food.  Back and forth they traveled – giving all of their provisions, then returning to Jesus for replenishment.  Out to minister, in to gather resources.

All evening the disciples worked, giving out what Jesus gave to them.  When they were done, they discovered that five loaves and two fish had morphed into enough food for all the people with 12 basketfuls left over.  Can you imagine how tired they were at the end of the day?

Sometimes God has us in ‘training mode’.  We go through life doing the same activity over and over, feeling like things aren’t changing.  However, God is training us.  He wants us to learn to rely on Him.  He is our source.  We take what He gives us, and give it away, then we return for more.

Why I love middle and late adapters

April 29, 2010

Early adapters only need to see and hear a plan of action that coincides with the cry of their heart.  They are then willing to throw themselves into the work and help push the cause forward.  Every leader loves and needs early adapters on their team.   However, a good team is made of up a mixture of personalities.  Not everybody is so quick to jump on board

Middle adapters need to see a clear path from what is to what will be.  For this group of individuals, a clear plan of action is important.  They need to understand the problem, as well as the solution. This group is only resistant to needless change.  Therefore, it is important to spend time explaining the problem, as well as how the solution will improve results.  You need to know what it is you want to do, why it needs to be done, and how you plan to get there.  When you can show a clear plan of action, middle adapters will be on board.

Late adapters need to understand the connection from what was to what will be.  This group relates on a much different level.  To understand them with compassion, consider a railroad.  No matter what you do, your engine is going to go where the tracks go.  People who are late adapters have a very strong railway system in their heads.  In order to help them adapt to change, you have to discover where they have been and connect that to what will be.  In this way, you add a switch to their railway system and provide them with the tools and capability to move to the new track.

Let’s say you want to change the color of your sanctuary.

Early adapters will be on board the minute you mention it.

Middle adapters will need to understand how you plan to choose the new color, and make sure that you have a process in place.

With Late adapters, it might be best to lead with questions.  Ask them about the last renovation. Help them remember why they did all that hard work. Take them into the sanctuary when it’s not full of people, and let them really look at the chipped, discolored paint.  They have always wanted the sanctuary to look nice.  Then realizing that there might be a need for a new paint job, send them on a foray to the paint store to discover what colors say about a building and report back what they found.  Do certain colors help people stay awake and alert?  Are some colors more warm and inviting than others?  (Be careful about the sort of questions, making sure you make it clear that the ultimate decision is in someone else’s hands because their railroad tracks are pretty much cemented, and if they decide on a paint color, they will wrestle anyone to the ground for it.)  When your ‘research team’ is done with their project, they will not only be in full support of a color change, they will most likely have procured the funding.

True, this is perhaps a bit of an easy thing.  The fact remains that the deeper the emotional attachment is, the harder the change will be.  Just try moving a teen across the country, or similar involuntary transitions, later in life.  The key to helping people who are reluctant to change is to identify their emotional barriers, and address them.  Find ways that the new situation will address their concerns and even meet their needs.  Late adapters will be your strongest supporters if you will cultivate those relationships and take the time to respect their views.

Truthfully, middle and late adapters are a great gift.  They cause us to review our plans from every angle so that by the time we have everyone on board, we are ready to go forward, avoiding flaws and obstacles we would have missed otherwise.

Are you an early adapter?

April 28, 2010

When Baskin Robbins comes out with a new flavor, are you one of the first to try it?

Or are you like the big brothers on the Life commercial (oooh I am dating myself) – “let’s get Mikey, he likes everything”, waiting to see what others think before you waste your precious coin and calorie count?

What about in life?

Do you jump on a new idea?

Do you wait to see if it has validity?

Do you wait to see if it will develop history?

Do you like your life the way it is, thank you?

This morning, I noticed that Frank Viola is coming out with a new book, this one with Leonard Sweet.  This should be remarkable.  Both are fantastic thinkers.  Both are voices that should be listened to.

It got me to thinking about my response to Viola’s book on house churches.  My heart said ‘yes! Vulnerability in the church’.  Wisdom and experience told me it needed a bit more structure.

I tend to be on the tail end of early adapters, or the first wave of middle adapters.  One of my giftings is the ability to speak multiple cultural languages (as opposed to actual languages.)  It comes from being born in 1965.  A Gen-Xer before there were any, in a world of Boomers, educated by early Boomers.

I had this conversation with my son just recently.  He is 12, and already experiencing the frustration of interacting with late adapters… actually I think he was just frustrated with middle adapters.  It was such a joy to explain this concept to him, and impart to him how to go about getting other people on board a process.

Life is changing all around us.  We can change every minute and become chameleons, we can listen to the Spirit, and jump onto what He is doing today, or, we can hold onto yesterday for dear life, hoping it will come back.

That should be a song – Yesterday is gone, my friend.