Need a Stocking Stuffer?

If you are looking for a unique gift that will stir thoughts and memories worth discussing, check out my new devotional for women, When I Was Five, I Blinked–Then I Was Fifty, available on Amazon Books. It makes a great gift for that special person in your life. Check it out!                                                                                                         https://www.amazon.com/When-Was-Five-Blinked-Then-Fifty/dp/B08NDT5P3X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=amy+wildman+white&qid=1606336952&s=books&sr=1-1

Reimagine-Your Life, Your Purpose, Your Future-A Personal Journal is Now Available!

A Great New Resource! A Personal Journal, the  companion to Reimagine-Your Life, Your Purpose, Your Future, is now available on Amazon.com! A Personal Journal is a life-planning tool which addresses each major area–spiritual, relational, vocational, recreational, physical, and emotional. It is designed to be used by  individuals or in small groups who desire to move forward. Helpful exercises are included providing insight and steps  for achieving desired outcomes. For more information or to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Personal-Journal-REIMAGINE-Purpose-Future/dp/B08JLQLQZ2/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords

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WHO DO YOU TRUST?

I was walking with my two youngest grandchildren the other day, and a car was driving down the street. My almost-three-year-old grandson said with high alarm, “Car!” That was warning enough for my one-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter to run, hug my legs, and then lift her arms for me to pick her up. She felt afraid and was needing protection from the danger she anticipated. My grandchildren trust me. So far, I’ve not done anything too wrong to cause them doubt!

For all of us, trust is a persuasion. We choose whom we will trust based on the evidence given. I don’t entrust my finances to someone who has a history of gambling and losing money. I don’t share my inner-most self with someone unable to guard my heart. And so on. Trusting others has been complicated of late. It seems so many folks have proven themselves to be untrustworthy. The world feels more chaotic, unpredictable, and confusing, and we feel off balance. Frustration and anxiety levels seem to increase at the least provocation.

Perhaps we need to take a deep breath and redirect our focus to a familiar, but profound truth: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do we believe God is trustworthy? Has he not proven himself? Can we not see the evidence all around us, throughout history, and in our day-to-day lives? While there are things we do not understand from a human perspective, God is quite capable of controlling both the distribution of good and the limit of evil. Trusting God does not mean we step out of the picture. God has given each of us an assignment to complete, and while we are to do so ever so boldly, we are to do so only in love and with a servant’s heart. We, as my grandchildren did with me, can run to our heavenly father. His love, and his plan for all of us, is perfect. He is at the helm, and he’s got this.

THE SOFA

We moved in November. Unpacking left us with over 100 empty boxes. I posted them for free, but as you might imagine, not many folks are moving around the holidays. About a month later, we finally had a taker. A lovely woman and her husband brought their truck and took them all! I let them know we were also selling the beautiful sofa in the garage, which was in plain view beside the boxes. I explained it would have been perfect in my basement family room, but it wouldn’t fit down the steps. We had even thought about taking it apart and rebuilding it once we had it downstairs! She sympathized and said she’d let her friends know.

I later posted my sofa for sale on social media. After a couple of weeks, no one had responded. I changed the ad and made it available for free. I quickly had a taker who was coming the next morning. When the truck pulled in the driveway, the same woman who took the boxes emerged. I greeted her. “I recognize you!”

“I feel bad for taking it,” She immediately responded. “I know how much you wanted to use it.”

“Please, don’t worry,” I replied. “I’m glad you can take it.”

We chatted while her son and husband loaded the couch. She shared some of her life experiences. Her first husband died when she had four small children at home. She supported them all as a nurse. She later lost her twenty-seven-year-old daughter to a stroke and a twenty-year-old son after a car accident. There was more heartache she described, but she was doing well now. What was so impressive was how kind she seemed, despite having more than her fair share of life’s burdens. She did not appear bitter or angry. She was thankful. She said she had remarried a wonderful man, and her son, although permanently injured, was home from military duty. We hugged good-bye, and I wished her all the best. I realized, once again, my priorities need adjusting. Was I upset over a piece of furniture?

This dear woman also reminded me of the outstanding qualities we humans often possess—strength of character and an indomitable spirit. We’re going through a rough patch, but so have generations before us. We’ll come out of this, and my guess is more appreciative of our blessings and less focused on the things that matter least. God bless us all during this challenging chapter.

COMMENCEMENT SEASON

Graduation season is upon us and commencements abound. I, for one, am a fan of the whole thing. In spite of long lines, scorching heat, and waiting forever to exit the parking lot, it’s a thrill to see the students cross the finish line.  How can we not join in celebrating the culmination of years of hard work, victories won and challenges overcome? Nights of cramming, tears over assignments, final exams, and the struggles dealing with difficult professors—it’s all over!  It’s joyful and we want them to go forth and prosper.  Secretly, though, I wish I could talk to each graduate the next day. I’d want to encourage them not to forget the lessons learned.  I don’t mean the subject matter they studied, but rather the truth about who they are:  how they patiently persevered; endured and showed true resiliency; rebounded when they achieved less than what they had hoped for or even failed; grew in understanding people and relationships; perhaps survived times of loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, and maybe even despair.  I would want them to know when the rainbows fade or life throws them a curve ball, that they have what it takes to keep on keeping on.  I’d also ask them to tuck away three words for when they really need them:  “JUST HOLD ON”. There may be days when that is all they’ll be able to do, and that’s quite okay, until they can once again get back in the race.  For us onlookers, we have an assignment too. We have to continue to show up, to be that still, small voice that whispers truth when they have bought into the lie about who they are or what is possible.  We have to listen, guide and always celebrate when there is opportunity to do so. Graduation is the end of a chapter. There is so much more of each book to be written. How exciting it is!

MIRRORS IN YOUR LIFE

photo-book-coverWho and what have been your mirrors, and what have they said about you and about life itself? When we embark on a journey of discovery, to acquire knowledge and apply wisdom to separate truth from untruth in the mirrors of our experience, we have enormous potential to grow into all that we are called to be in order to live a transformed life.  Read and learn more: Reimagine: Your Life, Your Purpose, Your Future: https://www.amazon.com/REIMAGINE-Your-Life-Purpose-Future/dp/1799073009/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=REIMAGINE+YOUR+LIFE%2C+YOUR+PURPOSE%2C+YOUR+FUTURE&qid=1552239299&s=amazon-devices&sr=8-1-spell

PITY PARTY ALLOWED

I recently attended a training program that met a couple days a week over several weeks. On day two the instructor asked if we had done our homework and how the process went. A young woman responded quite candidly. She had not completed her assignment.  Instead she described that she had a major meltdown followed by an elaborate pity party. She was doing much better and was proud of herself for just showing up for the meeting. Everyone clapped.

I could identify with her. I’ve been there, haven’t you?  Life is often a roller coaster.  We have highs and lows and can land in a tough spot. So, if we find ourselves in such a place how do we make it a short visit?

  1. IDENTIFY AND CHALLENGE. Identify the source of the negative messages that are overwhelming and controlling us. Are they internal or do they come from an external source—or both?
    • For example, consider a common belief and/or feeling that we are inadequate for the task at hand. What does the evidence of our life choices and experiences tell us? We can’t just look at how far we still have to go. We have to look back at where we started and how far we’ve come. Competency and confidence come over time and chances are we’re in a stronger place now that when we started. That’s who we are and determines what we’re capable of in the future.
    • Perhaps we have a special person in our life—someone who likes to remind us we’re pretty much a loser. Why are we giving him/her permission to define our reality? Why does his/her vote count so much? We need to decline the invitation to see ourselves as less than and perhaps even remove him/her from our circle of influence.
    • We may benefit greatly by scheduling time to talk and listen to people who will be supporters, encouragers, and even mentors. These folks will help us stay on the right track.
  1. TAKE ACTION. Create an action plan for how to get from here to there.
    • Doing nothing results in nothing. “Just do it!” We’re not to let fear, anxiety, or other counterproductive beliefs and emotions win the day. Even if we go shaking and trembling, we’re to move forward!
    • Don’t underestimate the value of taking even one small step—making a phone call or setting up a meeting.
    • There is usually no such thing as an overnight success. Success is the culmination of many, many small steps, lots of practice, and multiple failures.
    • Set realistic expectations. When we overestimate outcomes, we set ourselves up for disappointment and discouragement.
  2. SELF-CARE. If you’re exhausted, hungry, or isolated you won’t have anything to draw from. Take care of the basics first and maintain that level of self-care; otherwise, we work from a deficit and our goals are much more daunting.
  3. ENDURANCE. Challenging times may last a while. Commit to doing what it takes to make it over the long haul.
  4. APPRECIATE AND VALUE. Difficult times tend to grow us up. Sometimes the process is far more important than the goal. We may even determine this particular path is not ultimately right for us. That’s okay. It gets us ready for what will be.

So, have a great self-pity party if you need to but don’t let it last too long. It may be part of our journey, but we don’t want it to be our final destination!

SAFETY NET

My eighth grandchild, Grace, recently came into the world. She’s beautiful.  As I held this tiny little girl in my arms, I was keenly aware of how fragile she is.  As the days, weeks and years pass she’ll get bigger and stronger as did her older brother and cousins.  One day she’ll be able to take care of herself.  Grace doesn’t realize it but many folks have already rallied around her to provide support. During the sleepless and exhausting first few weeks of life, her mom and dad have been blessed by encouraging messages, visits, meals, and gifts.  There’s a team in place to watch over and enter in when there’s a need.  I’m grateful for that. The truth is, no matter what our age, we’re all a bit like Grace.  We human beings are a bit fragile, at times more so than others.  We need a team around us. They become our safety net, locking arms and preventing us from falling or catching us when we do. They cheer us on to be our very best self.  So, how are you doing?  Do you need to build or add to your team?  No time like the present to surround yourself with caring people who will help you and whom you can support as well.