Review by Rayna: Find the Good

Finding the Good:

Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer

 

Find the Good was written by Heather Lende a long time obituary writer.  I really enjoyed this unusual book.

Re-framing situations and events is a skill taught in coaching.  Re-frame means to look at something in a new perspective.  I was impressed with Heather’s ability to re-frame the tragedies that brought her into these people’s lives at that moment.  Her 30,000 foot view of the person’s life brings such comfort and wisdom.

Find the Good is filled with wonderful stories and golden nuggets of truth.   Heather was asked to write a short essay describing one piece of wisdom to live by.  After spending time thinking about what would important to share she boiled it down to Find the Good.  From this simple concept Heather wrote this book.

After years of interviewing families during one of the most difficult days of their life she developed the knack for finding the good.  Though the end of someone’s life might be tragic for any one of many reasons, she has found the power of discovering how to find the good in their life and share it in a wonderful way.

Some of the chapters included in this book are Stop and Smell the Fish, Draw Lines in the Sand So You Can Move Them, and Listen to Your Mother.  Each chapter has a story of an obituary and ends with the conclusion that brings it down to the title she gave the chapter.

I can’t say I have ever read many obituaries in my life.  And I know I have never read ones written with so much care and desire to honor.  Heather’s unique view of life and death brings great perspective. I hope you enjoy this fun read as much as I did.

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Review by Rayna: Anxious for Nothing

Anxious for Nothing:Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

I just love Max Lucado.  If you have not read his books this is a good place to start.  Max has a relaxed friendly style of dealing with some tough topics.  Anxious for Nothing is a book that addresses the struggles many face with anxiety in this crazy day and age.

Most people would agree, you are anxious.  Max assures us that anxiety and fear are cousins not twins by clearly laying out some contracts between the two.  Fear sees a threat, anxiety imagines one.  Fear results in fight or flight, anxiety creates doom and gloom.  Anxiety can twist us into emotional pretzels.

He then goes on to encourage us to use the scriptures to help us move out of that state of anxiety.  Philippians 4:6-8 tells us to be anxious for nothing.  This verse is written in present active tense, implying this is an ongoing state.

 

Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually breathless and in angst. (Lucado’s version of this verse.)

Paul’s words give us a plan for being anxious for nothing:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-8

This book examines this verse in bite size pieces with many great real-life stories that help to bring the truth of the scripture to life.  I will share just a couple of my favorite things from the book.

 

First Max lays out the acronym CALM.  Using Phil 4:6-7 to find CALM:   Celebrate, Ask, Leave, Mediate

Celebrate on

Ask God for Help

Leave your Concerns with Him

Meditate on good things, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise.

So why don’t you try it?  Write CALM in a place you will see it, so when you are feeling less than calm, you can use it to celebrate, ask, leave and meditate.

Last there is a great section in this book is where Lucado explores choice. 

He states, “you can pick what to ponder.  You did not choose your parents, you cannot determine the weather but you can choose what you think about.”  He goes on to challenge.  “Do you want to be happy tomorrow? Then choose happy today…. Count your blessings, sing hymns, pray, spend time with others who are positive.?  These things will set you up for happiness.  I Love this.

If anxiety is a struggle for you then I highly recommend this read to help you find an alternative to living anxious.

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3 Ways an Observer Hat Helps Me Love Better

The Think. Question. Change. Workshop just finished up.  One of the key concepts we discussed was Marilee Adam’s Question Thinking.  During a two-week time period, we exercised getting into an observer mindset to interact with our world.

As an observer, you are detached from your own thoughts and feelings.  Being able to move into an observer mindset opens up the possibility of making choices rather than reacting to the world around us.Love one another John 13:34-5

Wearing my observer hat got me thinking about how I can best live out the command to love one another. 

Give the benefit of the doubt.

When I am wearing my observer hat, I don’t judge others. I can give them the benefit of the doubt.  My nature is to judge whether I have any knowledge about the person or situation.

For example, when I see someone who is not dressed appropriately I can judge them or begin to ask questions that might lead me to love.  I have been volunteering with an organization called Dress for Success for a few years now.

The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.  Through working with these women, I have found that there is so much more going on in their lives than I can even imagine.  Offering them support by helping them with their resume or interview skills is really an act of love which will do more for them than judgement ever would.

Now my goal is to extend others that love without having to understand their situation.

Do not withhold forgiveness.

When I have my observer hat on I can’t jump to the conclusion that someone is hurting me on purpose versus just acting in ignorance.

I don’t think I have thin skin but I can get my feelings hurt, like you can I’m sure.  When we are observing someone’s behavior and looking to respond in love then we will extend grace. Giving grace beyond the place we would have if we weren’t being intentional.

Forgiveness is not fun to ask for so don’t make someone ask.  I have found that if I can offer love and forgiveness immediately I just need to do it.

If the offense needs discussion then opening the conversation with questions about what was going on when the offense took place is helpful.  Just learning the back story can often give me the understanding I need to overlook it.

Keep my word.

The other side of the coin of offering forgiveness is behaving in a way that doesn’t require others to need to forgive you.  In this busy world, we can often overlook our commitments to others.

Jesus said let your yes be yes.  Loving others includes respecting them enough to do what you say you will do.  Take the time to consider your words and actions before speaking.  Once your word is given the decision has been made- in love follow through.

I have found being a person, someone can count on is one of the most loving things I can do for others.


What areas of your life do you see that wearing an observer hat and being intentional in your actions can be loving to those around you?

 

My Questions Helped Me Lose Weight

I need to get some of this weight off, how about you?

Gaining weight as we get older is something I think most people struggle with.  I had been letting a little creep on year after year and it had gotten rather ridiculous.  I knew I needed to pay more attention and do something about it for a couple of years now.

Some of you may know that my dad is suffering from late stages Alzheimer’s and he requested that he stay in his home as long as possible so close to 4 years ago my sister and I were faced with a new season where he could not be alone at home at all.  We had to do something.

In order to honor his request and to provide the best care for him my husband and I made the decision that I would spend half of my week with him 220 miles from our home.  This was not a small commitment but it was one that I felt had to be made.

That being said, when I thought about my weight and trying to find a way to release some of it .  Here are 2 different conversation I had with myself:

2 Years Ago~

Do I need to lose weight? YES.

Will I feel better if I lose weight?  YES What can I do to lose weight? NOTHING.  I have no extra bandwidth and I just can’t worry about every little thing I put in my mouth.  It will just have to wait.

BUT this Spring, I changed my questions.

Do I need to lose weight?  YES.

What if I tried this plan that my friend is on?  MAYBE, I could do that.

Will I like drinking shakes 2 times a day?  I don’t know, I usually only eat 2 meals a day now, I think I can do shakes.  It will be nice to not have to think about what I am eating at least.

Can I do 1 meal at 4-600 calories only?  DOUBT IT… at least I can try.  If I go over it will be better than what I am doing now.

Can I give up all the things I love? NO but I think I can give this a try and just see what happens.

Why have I been able to drop 35 pounds in the last 4 months?   I am still taking care of my dad, though it is only every other week, so I don’t have a lot more bandwidth than I did at this time last year.

The key is, I asked different questions which lead me to a new answer.

I started in the same place but I had a new option to consider.  That one new question changed the questions that followed.  I was also more open to new answers because of the new question.

How can question thinking help you find new answers?


Join me in a 2 part workshop which will help you to explore your internal questions to make changes you didn’t know were possible.

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Do You Think in Questions?

What are you wearing today?  Why?  When you got ready to get dressed this morning what caused you pick out what you have on today?

If you are anything like me most days I do a pretty good job of dressing myself considering what my day has in store for me.  I usually consider the weather, if I will be doing anything special and even what I wore last time I saw the people I will be seeing that day.

Do you think in questions?

I would have said no when I first heard that question and about Question Thinking by Marilee Adams but the more I think about it I realize I do, in a way.

When I stand before my closet a ton of questions come to mind.

What is the weather supposed to be like today?  HOT.

Do I want to wear pants or shorts?

What shorts are clean?

Will I be working in my office all day or do I have appointments? If I’m in my office the air-conditioning can cause me to be chilly at times something I don’t have to worry about if I am going to be running errands or going to an appointment.

What shoes do I want to wear?

Comfy or cute?

Will those shoes go with these shorts?

The questions go on and on.

So yes, I think in questions much more than I realized.  One reason I had not realized how often I think in questions is because I usually just hear the answers in my head not the questions.  Since I usually just hear the answers I thought was thinking in statements rather than question.  How about you?

Join me for the Think Question Change Workshop to learn more about how your internal questions impact your life.

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I would love for this to be a discuss. I want to know your thoughts on Questions.  Please share below.