How to Find Peace in the Right Places

How to Find Peace in the Right Places

I have had times of profound peace in my life and this isn’t one of them! Because I know what it feels like to have no worry and no hurry, I am determined to find it again. If you want to be able to rest in the Lord, no matter what storms rage around you, I have help for you.

How to Intentionally Pursue Peace

First, I want to share a story with you. I was seriously ill. My chronic nasal allergies were the worst they had been. I had the most severe heartburn I had ever had and I wasn’t pregnant. I had other major GI problems, including trouble swallowing. I was losing hair. My right leg and the right side of my face were numb. One day when I was out running, I found myself going off the road and I couldn’t stop.

I was terrified that I had multiple sclerosis. I hoped that it was related to a food allergy, so I ate only the most obscure foods I had never had before. I lost tons of weight, but the symptoms remained. I took hundreds of dollars’ worth of supplements. I stayed up all hours of the night researching my condition.

I did not have peace.

After prayer and fasting, others’ prayers and fasting included, I knew what the problem was: I was afraid. I was afraid that I couldn’t trust God. I was afraid that I couldn’t trust my husband to stay with me if I did have MS. I was afraid I was going to die. I was honestly afraid of just about everything. I noticed for the first time that my gut was twisted in knots every time I was running late for something, every time someone seemed mad at me, every time I had messed something up.

But when I realized what the problem was, I prayed and repeated “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding” every time the fear came. Not only did all my physical symptoms disappear, but I had a profound sense of peace. I had a speaking engagement at the time and forgot my notes. Normally, my stress level would have been through the roof! But I felt completely and totally calm. I was able to have my son email me the notes and all was well.

In the years since then, I have lost that complete, blissful sense of peace I had. I want it back. I need to practice the principles I described in the article I wrote for Intentional in Life. I pray that you and I are both blessed by pursuing peace in the right places.

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Motivation to Do What’s Most Important Today

Motivation to Do What’s Most Important Today

Motivation to do What's Most Important Today (with free printable)If you don’t do what’s most important today…

If you don’t go to the gym…don’t make a healthy meal…don’t read to your child…don’t put money in savings…don’t encourage your spouse…don’t write a page of your book…don’t work on your business plan…don’t spend time with God…

Then it will be easier not to do it tomorrow…

It will be easier to hit the snooze button…go through the drive-through…surf the internet…spend too much…criticize…get lost in busy work…watch TV…stare at your phone…

And it will make sense to put it off until next week or next month…

When the weather is better…when you feel better…when you’ve had time to rest…when the extra money comes in…when it’s a special occasion…when you’re not traveling…when you don’t have so many commitments…when you’re not so stressed…

When you’ll try to get caught up…

By working out twice as long…eating half as much…spending a weekend focused on your kids…selling something to build your savings…going on a trip with your spouse…writing a book in a weekend…networking at a conference…attending a church retreat…

But months later, you won’t have anything to show for it…

You won’t remember what you did when you weren’t at the gym…what you ate in exchange for a healthy body…how you spent your evenings when you weren’t playing with your child…what you spent your money on…what was more important than your marriage…what you created when you weren’t writing your book…where you spent your time when you weren’t achieving your dream…who you were talking to when you weren’t getting to know God…

So do what’s most important today…

Get a short workout in…eat some fresh vegetables…read a funny book to your children…take the money you would have spent at the drive-through and save it…surprise your spouse with a loving gesture…set a timer and write for 15 minutes…take one small step toward your goal…pray and read a chapter of the Bible…

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Inspired by the teaching of Andy Stanley in The Best Question Ever

For a free printable of these motivating truths, click here.Do What's Most Important - free motivational printable

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15 Minutes Outside: The Last Installment

15 Minutes Outside: The Last Installment

Caleb at the Garden of the Gods

Why Is This the Last Installment?

No, it wasn’t the heat that got to me, although 108 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to have anyone crying uncle. Instead, I realized that while being more mindful of spending time outside and playing with the kids is a great idea, feeling obligated to spend at least 15 minutes outside every single day isn’t a great idea.

Besides, I’ve realized that I do okay with spending time outside with the kids except when it’s cold. I don’t think that Rebecca Cohen’s recommendation in Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids to make sure you have really warm clothes is going to get this cold-blooded woman out there every day.

I also had the notion that I could come up with new and fun things to do with the kids EVERY DAY. Not what I needed to add to an already crowded routine. The fact is we’re going to be doing a lot of the same-old, same-old and I’m okay with that. You might not be! So this is my last installment. Fortunately, it’s a good one.

Caleb with his aunt and uncle at the zoo

We enjoyed some time at the zoo with the kids’ aunt and uncle before the weather got hot. We’re looking forward to seeing the new sea lion exhibit that another uncle helped plan.

Caleb and I went to Colorado Springs for the national homeschool speech and debate tournament before the terrible forest fires ravaged the area. We enjoyed the Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy, and Pike’s Peak.

This shot of a little tree growing reminded me of this Scripture.

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. (Ezekiel 17:22)

View of the road on Pike’s Peak, Colorado

On the way down from Pike’s Peak, we had been advised to use 1st or 2nd gear. I am not a real brainiac when it comes to things like this, so when I saw that our car only had an L gear, I kept it in drive. About a quarter of the way down the mountain, a park ranger checked our brake temperature and found it was more than twice the acceptable limit. We had to pull over and let them cool for 45 minutes or risk having them go out on us.

This incident got me thinking. How many times have I ignored advice to shift into low gear and then I’m in danger of giving out? The last few months I’ve been riding my brakes down the mountain and got sick. I’m “cooling off” before I get back onto the road and when I do, I’ll be proceeding in low gear.

How about you? What gear are you in lately?

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How to Finally Memorize Scripture: Memlok Review

How to Finally Memorize Scripture: Memlok Review

How to Finally Memorize Scripture: Memlok Review

Memorizing Scripture is important to me and to our homeschooling because it makes us less prone to sin, more likely to think the way God does, and better equipped to witness to our faith.

Other Bible Memory Approaches Didn’t Work for Me

My oldest was a preschooler when I started using Bible memory books with him. I was angry with myself for struggling to memorize Scripture with them, but I had a couple problems. First, the memory verses weren’t written in the Bible version I was accustomed to. Second, the books didn’t give me any other memory aids to help me learn the verses. Once the books were closed, the verses were quickly forgotten.

What is Memlok?

Years ago, I started a search for a means of memorizing Scripture that really worked. I looked up every form of software available, because I was convinced that the computer could help me and my children learn the Word the best. I found and began using Memlok, the only Scripture memory program that uses word pictures to help you remember verses.

The pictures were often humorous which meant that emotion aided the retention of the verses. Memlok, then and now, is a computer program (using more than one Bible version) that designed for one user at a time. As I had young children, I chose to print out business-card size flash cards that the kids and I reviewed, rather than use the program on the computer.

When my family grew, the cards were too small to see. I printed the cards out onto 8.5×11 card stock and we memorized them together that way. I posted the newest card in the kitchen where we could see it frequently. We repeated the verses together as a family and then I asked individual kids to say them, too. The real beauty of Memlok is the built-in review system that will help you remember verses forever! I kept the verses in hanging files based on when they were to be reviewed.

How I Use Memlok Today

Memlok has grown and changed just like my family. Today, I use Memlok’s computer review system on my laptop computer that is connected to our big screen TV. My kids enjoy using the new review options together (like clicking words to fill in the blank). I look forward to using the new option of creating your own pictures for additional verses I want to memorize. This means that Memlok can now easily be used in conjunction with any Scripture memory plan. Does your curriculum call for memorizing certain verses? Are your kids in Awana? Memlok is a great tool for learning those verses by heart.

I spoke with the owner of the program, Drake Mariani, by phone and he encouraged me to let my older students memorize on their own using the new mobile option for their ipods. Yep, the owner called me to talk about how I was using his program in my homeschool. Although memorizing together has worked well for us, I think independent learning is a good option, too.

Memlok is just $29.95, which includes use on any computers in your household. I have received nothing in exchange for this review. I just love Memlok and I love having committed many Scriptures to memory with my children.

What’s worked for you and your kids in memorizing Scripture?

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What the Goal Gurus Won’t Tell You About Success

What the Goal Gurus Won’t Tell You About Success

What the Goal Gurus Won't Tell You About Success

I’ve always been a goal-directed person. The other way to say it is I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve dreamed many dreams and I’ve lived many of them. Although I’ve read much about how to achieve goals, I don’t believe that the successes I’ve had are because I’ve followed the advice of the goal gurus.

I achieved my goal of being a “real writer” despite the fact that I had no written goal to this effect. I did not review my goal daily nor did I break my goal down to determine what I needed to do in a year, a month, and a week to make my goal a reality. Apparently I just got lucky because conventional wisdom has it that those who fail to plan plan to fail.

Beyond SMART Goals

Creating traditional S.M.A.R.T. goals doesn’t hurt and I have used the method myself satisfactorily. However, I don’t believe that any of these tips or tricks is an automatic ticket to success. We know this intuitively, but don’t often reflect on it. Did Henry Ford give himself a Stuart Smalley pep talk every day as he sought to build a marketable automobile? Did he do a weekly review to determine his list of next actions? Doubt it. Can we imagine beloved movie character Rocky Balboa setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal after meeting with Tony Robbins to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world? I can’t. Yet they achieved their goals. How?

I believe that God empowers every successful person because Scripture says so. 1 Samuel 18:14 reads:

“In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.”

Much to the consternation of the goal gurus, God doesn’t require goal tracking software to achieve His purposes. In fact, God doesn’t even require us to be motivated to succeed. Philippians 2:13 tells us:

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

As I review the goals I’ve achieved, I see God behind both the motivation and the process that brought results.

Do You Need a List for Your Most Important Goal?

Yesterday I emailed a list of goals for the week to my friend who is trying list-free task management with me. I told her that I wasn’t going to check the goal list until the week was over. As I pondered whether this was a wise approach, I realized that if I need to check my list because I can’t remember the goal , is it really a goal for me? If I’m so unmotivated that I have to be constantly reminded of my goal, what are the chances I’ll succeed? Did Henry Ford and Rocky Balboa need daily reminders of their goals? No. Their goal and their life were one.

That’s what I want , too–to have my life and my goal be one and to have God be the one motivating me onward. If you want a written goal to reflect on each day, try this one on for size:

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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