Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book Review - A Year of Living Kindly by Donna Cameron

This book found me; I didn't go looking for it, and it's message resonates with me deeply. In the Bible we are told to "Be kind one to another... (Ephesians 4:32)." In A Year of Living Kindly, the author recognized that something was missing from her life and challenged herself to be kind for a year.

This book is the result of how kindness changed her and the insights learned along the way. Many of us think that the opposite of kindness is unkindness, but the author discovered that for her the opposite of kind was nice.

"Being kind - truly kind is hard. Nice requires little effort. I can be nice while also being indifferent, critical and even sarcastic. But I can't be kind and be any of those things. Being kind means caring; it means making an effort; it means thinking about the impact I'm having in an interaction and making it rich and meaningful - giving them what they need at that moment without wondering if I get anything in return. It means letting go of my judgement and accepting people as they are. Kindness demands that I reach out and take a risk."

Monday, September 24, 2018

Increasing Your Effectiveness in Prayer

Prayer. Pray. When we pray we talk to God and that talking, that communion is what we call prayer. Praying is one of those things that you can always improve upon, like communication in a relationship. Even with excellent communication, as you learn another facet of the person you're communicating with, your constant interactions will reveal your new knowledge. There's always room for growth in our relationships and our relationship with God is no different. My church recently completed a weekly Bible study on prayer, and I was tremendously blessed. Here are some thoughts from The Battle Plan for Prayer that can increase your effectiveness as you communicate with God.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Lord, Change My Vision

Lord, change my vision so that I see the way you do.

You know I focus on the problem instead of the potential.

I see worn rugs, leaky faucets, dirty dishes and dust that multiplies faster than any miracle You performed, instead of seeing your wondrous provisions.

I see estranged relatives, angry drivers, mean kids, and weird co-workers instead of seeing them as those made in your image.

I see others who are writing books, connecting with authors, speaking at conferences and something ugly rises up in me. You called this envy and I don't like it one bit. Forgive me Lord for taking my eyes off of you.

Lord, help me to stop 'speck'tating but instead to remove the beam out of my own eyes.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Meditation and Marination

When I was a child, my Barbadian mother had a routine that you could set your clock by. Saturdays were dedicated to cleaning and preparation for Sunday, so on Saturdays, my mom spent a significant amount of time preparing and seasoning the meat for Sunday's dinner.

First, she took great care in cleaning the meat - beef chicken or lamb. She lifted skin, removed fat, removed blood and veins, and went through every nook and cranny of that meat to ensure it was clean and edible. Sometimes she would then soak the meat in lemon juice and salt. Next, she would rinse it off and season using herbs and spices: a little salt since my dad had to watch his blood pressure, Mrs. Dash, onions, garlic, thyme, pimento and any additional seasoning that would enhance the flavor profile she was going for. Finally, she would place the meat in a covered bowl and let it sit in the fridge for hours. This was a crucial step in ensuring that the meat was flavorful.

Later that evening she would cook this meat so that all that happened on Sunday after church was reheating.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Woman of the Word - My Mother

If you stay open and allow yourself to experience everything you feel, you just may realize your emotional capacity. The reality is I miss my mother. We weren't always close in that classic mother-daughter sense or the way I am with my daughters because we came at this thing called life differently. From what she shared of her upbringing with me over time it wasn't idyllic, and some parts were hard. It was hard for me to hear but also hard for her to live through. It gave me a new appreciation for my mother.

When I got married and eventually became a mother, I realized that I am who I am because of my mother. I was strict - because of my mother. I was frank and blunt - because of my mother. I was exacting - because of my mother. I liked all of those things. I disliked that I was a yeller - because of my mother. The yelling forced me to become introspective and separate the good from the bad; because overall my mother was a good mother.

And then when I was tired as a mother and only because I was a mother, I realized my mother must have also been exhausted, often.