Posts by Julie:
Kick Off Fall with September Self-Improvement Month
by Gail Goolsby
Goodbye to lazy days of summer and vacation leisure. Hello to set schedules for kids and adults. Time for school and daily routines. Fall is here.
Freshly sharpened pencils. New clothes and unscuffed shoes. Sports teams with unblemished records. Blank report cards ready to register best grades ever.
Fall presents new opportunities. Make the most of Self-Improvement September by focusing on areas of your life left unattended over the summer or needing a reboot. Here is a brief checklist to get you started.
- Take inventory. Identify dissatisfaction with your current life patterns and habits. Ask God what could be working better in your relationships. Physical and emotional health? Career activity? Home tasks? Spiritual growth?
- Recognize feelings but focus on actions. Feelings are important and you need to read the signals they send. But, in truth your actions impact your feelings and so behaviors should be assessed with sound reasoning. Feelings change easily and can form a trap and hindrance to life satisfaction. What actions need to be ramped up or altered to feel better about your life?
- Check self-talk. Do you constantly criticize or speak negatively to yourself? Do you cheer yourself through hard tasks or easily give up and then berate your poor performance? Taking on new challenges requires a positive attitude and ongoing encouragement. Remember past accomplishments more than recent failures.
- Set steps for reaching goals. Once a plan of action is formulated toward self-improvement, smaller, measurable steps are needed at regular intervals. This requires commitment and work, but gives motivation as advancement is documented and you inch closer to your goals.
- Utilize resources. Prayer and God’s Word offer powerful inspiration and reminders of Who is always working for your good (and His glory!). Friends, co-workers, life coaches, and family members can be earthly gifts of accountability and encouragement. Let them celebrate with you as they support your efforts (and maybe join you in their own self-improvement goals).
- Embrace hope. As you develop new activities, relationships, and daily disciplines, keep your head up and recognize each day signals possibility and hope for better. Look for God helping you in small and big ways. Tell yourself this truth, you can improve.
Kick yourself into gear and make September a trophy month of self-improvement!
About the Author:
Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 39 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. Read more at www.gailgoolsby.com.
Matthew wrote his new album All In with the goal of encouraging himself and others to get up off the sidelines of their faith and really live it out – to go all in in your time with God, all in with your family, all in with your community, and all in battling your fears that may hold you back from becoming who God made you to be. Along that same theme, Matthew will be launching a 6-week All in Challenge on his social media starting 9/18, and each week Matthew will be challenging his fans to go all in in a different part of their lives. What does it look like when a heart that knows Jesus takes a step and holds nothing back? How can we go All In in the places that mean the most?
Matthew West’s music is something I can recognize without a lot of notes or voice. He has a style musically I’ve come to know and certainly appreciate, and ALL IN maintains for the most part the sound you would associate with him.
Lyrically, it is much the same. When I think of his music, I think of songs that will play on K-Love with a pop like feel with lyrics that uplift and challenge. ALL IN keeps that consistency.
One song that felt a little different is “Amen.” The tempo and energy is a little out of the box, but a whole lot of fun. Other than that, “All In” is a positive challenge and “Mercy is a Song” was one of those a-ha moments. It really is true, and it was something I never thought of before. There are also personal songs and those that minister. My favorite is “Broken Things.”
All in all, there isn’t a whole lot outside of the box here, but that’s okay. I like what I’m getting when I hear Matthew West, and his “All In” message is one we all need to hear and live out. Whether he is new to you or not, I believe All In will be a wonderful listen for you.
Guess what? Propeller Consulting, LLC is offering one copy of All In to one US winner. Leave a comment on what Matthew West song has impacted you the most and I will choose a winner via random pick September 24.
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Honoring the Unborn
by Dana Bridges Stout
“You want me to what?” I said as my defenses exploded in anger. “No way, no how! I purposely never wanted to do that because I knew it would be too painful, too real.” My Abortion Recovery Bible study facilitator assigned us to name our aborted babies and prepare for a memorial service for the babies represented in our class. I struggled for several days with even the thought of completing this task. Eventually, I prayed for the Lord’s help and began looking at baby name books. Through some tears, I decided on names for the son and daughter I never held.
The memorial service was one of the most holy, reverent and bittersweet services I’ve ever seen. Filled with symbolism of the uniqueness of each mother and child, we gave our babies dignity, recognized their personhood, introduced them to the world and released them to God. Mothers honored their children in special ways such as singing a song, writing a poem, releasing balloons or reading Scripture. Through the truths of the study, the support of the group and this final sacred moment, I was able to connect to these babies as mother and child. Honoring and remembering my children was crucial to healing my heart from the grievous choice of abortion some ten years prior. I have since walked many women through the same study and presided over many of these services. Each time I am deeply touched to watch the intense struggle for healing come to completion as the mothers timidly but proudly call out their babies’ names, announcing their personhood and lineage to the world.
The second Saturday of September is National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. September 9, 2017 will be the forth-annual event. It was organized as a service over the grave of 1500 aborted babies and the movement has spread throughout the United States. Pro-Lifers gather to honor the babies with dignity. You can find more information and a service near you at www.abortionmemorials.com.
Perhaps you have chosen abortion and now regret that decision. One step towards healing is honoring your child. And the biggest step is one towards the Lord, allowing Him to heal you through His Word. The wonderful ladies at Abortion Recovery Assistance at www.piedmontwomenscenter.org can help find a recovery program near you.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
(In honor of Joshua Daniel and Delilah Starling.)
About the Author:
Dana Bridges Stout founded Flourishing Life Ministries to minister restoration to women and direct them to truths that help them accept the Flourishing Life that Jesus offers. Dana speaks, leads worship, writes, and teaches live and online Bible studies. Connect with her at www.flourishinglifeministries.com or Flourishing Life Ministries on FB.
One Proposal for An Improved Marriage
by Lori Lipsky
For the first time in our marriage, we decided to read a book at the same time so we could discuss it together. Credit for the idea goes to my husband, but I was excited about the plan and in total agreement with our book choice.
My husband had once asked a well-read acquaintance we both respect to recommend several books that had been most influential in his life. One of the authors this man mentioned was Dostoevsky. We decided to choose Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I’m a bit ashamed to admit what happened next.
I could make excuses, but the quick truth is my husband read the book right away and then patiently waited for years for me to complete it. I started in several times but got bogged down in the early pages by the long Russian names. Prior to this I had read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and some Chekhov stories so I’m not sure why I struggled. I guess I allowed myself to be distracted by life and by other books, and I put off the Dostoevsky. As I look back, I regret not making The Brothers Karamazov more of a priority. I eventually purchased an audio copy of the book and completed the novel.
After I finished listening to the book, we shared our impressions with one another. Remarkably, my husband remembered details of the book quite well. Since then, we’ve read or listened to dozens of books and discussed them. We have different tastes, but our interests intersect with authors like David McCullough, Louise Penny, and David Baldacci. When it’s time to order another Audible book, we’ll sometimes collaborate to choose a selection we agree on so we can both listen on our own, but then have the book in our shared reading history.
Our book talk is informal and brief, but it’s a treat to talk books with my husband. We’ve found discussing books often sparks interesting conversation. Good books teach me more about who I am, but each new book we share helps me learn more about my spouse, too. We’re learning together as a couple. We discuss dreams and ideas. Books get us talking, and in marriage, communication is a good thing.
About the Author:
Lori Lipsky is a writer and teacher. Her poetry and short fiction pieces have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines. She lives in Waunakee, Wisconsin with her husband, where she teaches piano at a private music school. You can find her at lorilipsky.com and on Twitter @LoriSLipsky