Raising girls

Based on my learnings (and failures)…I’ve compiled a list of the things I believe all dads of daughters should know to make sure your influence is the best possible kind.

Yes…it is in a list format!

1. Know that from day one, she’ll always be your little girl. But you have to put in the effort to keep it that way.

2. Don’t assume or influence what her interests will be because she’s a girl. Don’t just point out flowers and dolls. Show her cars and LEGOs, too.

3. Let her help you around the house or with your work. She’ll grow up to be a woman who feels confident stepping up in the workplace, no matter the job.

4. Talk to her mom like an equal, not an inferior, and she’ll someday expect the same.

5. Show her your sensitive side. She’ll see that if she’s sensitive, too, it doesn’t make her weak.

6. Have inside jokes or games, just between the two of you. Trust me, she’ll remember them forever.

7. Encourage her to do the things that scare her, because you’ll always have her back.

8. Make her promises, and then keep them. The only heartbreak in her life should come from others who don’t know how special she is.

9. Show her the skills that you know well.

10. Ask her to show you the skills that she knows well and you don’t.

11. Attempt to understand her interests even when you don’t. You’ll teach her that no matter what her talents are — ballet, art or wrestling with the boys— they matter.

12. This is especially true if her interests are more “girly.” Teach her that her interests are just as important no matter what they are.

 

Don’t Leave Wishing You Would’ve Been Happy

When your life is about to end, all the difficulties you’ve faced suddenly become trivial compared to the good times. This is because you realize that, more often than not, suffering is a choice. Unfortunately, most people realize this far too late.
Although we all inevitably experience pain, how we react to our pain is completely under our control, as is our ability to experience joy. Learning to laugh, smile, and be happy (especially when stressed) is a challenge at times, but it’s one that’s worth every ounce of effort.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life – Proverbs 4:23

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things – Philippians 4:8 

Rock Gardens

Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. — 1 Corinthians 3:7

Who is the seemingly impossible person in your life whom you must interact with on a regular basis? There’s someone like that in everyone’s life. Perhaps we work with them, serve with them, gave birth to them, married them, or go to school with them. These people are often socially challenged or just plain self-centered and stubborn. We make various attempts to develop a harmonious relationship, pleading with God to enable us to love this person with His love. Nothing works.

Even if we managed to sow a single seed of love, we sense that a hard heart, disinterest, maybe pain, or even fear will keep that seed from growing or even taking root. But just as plants do grow in a rock garden, we may be surprised by what blossoms in a person’s hardened heart.

Rock gardens are a great solution to sloping land or other problem areas in a yard. The design and installation take a lot of work, but once they’re established, rock gardens are usually very low maintenance. These gardens can also be a great location for more delicate plants that might be overshadowed in a traditional garden. In a rock garden plants have time to develop a root system and grow to maturity with very little disturbance.in a rock garden, the gardener may pull an occasional weed or periodically water, but nature does its God-given work, and a formerly awkward spot becomes something truly beautiful, if not breathtaking. Gardeners don’t need to overhaul the layout or rearrange the rocks in order to uncover the plants’ potential. Instead, their unique characteristics are showcased in the new, colorful growth emerging in the cracks and crannies.

Back to your impossible person…

What might happen if you thought of yourself as a seed sower in that impossible person’s life? Think too about what may be taking root in his or her heart. Remember that you are in each other’s lives for a reason and that God can make things grow in the most unlikely places.

Thunderbirds

I remember watching the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds team. It was amazing.
Of course, whether in a show or in combat, an F-16 requires one vital element to be effective: a pilot who is in complete control. Despite its technical capabilities, without a pilot in control an airborne F-16 would either fly uselessly in a straight line or spiral out of control. Either way, a devastating crash is inevitable.

Like the F-16, if you possess every gift imaginable but don’t allow God to guide you in using those gifts, you could very well become useless. Or worse, you might spiral out of control and crash. God can do amazing and remarkable things.

Imagine what might have happened if Abram had set out on his own way instead of taking the journey God had set before him. Ultimately, Abraham willingly left behind everything and everyone he knew to follow God’s will. Yet as a direct result of his obedience Abraham experienced God’s blessings and the rewards were greater than he could ever have imagined.

God desires the same for you. When you begin a relationship with him, he calls you to leave behind what’s comfortable and familiar to set out on a journey filled with wonder, blessing and the promise of a new life. On your journey to obedience you’ll leave behind old habits, old attitudes, old sins and old ways of thinking. Yet the blessing that awaits you is greater than you can begin to imagine.

Is God the Pilot of your life? When you allow him to guide you, God offers not only a full and satisfying journey through life but a home for all eternity. Like that F-16 pilot, God is ready and willing to take all of your potential into his skillful hands and use it to fulfill his ultimate mission.

Be Strong. Act Like Men.

Do you have six seconds?

Happy Monday! We found another article that was pretty good. Go kiss her!

6 Seconds to Happy Couplehood!
By Theo Pauline Nestor

These scenarios that come along with a busy lifestyle are familiar to most of us: When your date arrives at your place while you’re in the middle of an important phone call, you gesture for this person to come in and finally get around to greeting each other 10 minutes later, still feeling a bit frazzled from your conversation. Or maybe you just spent a great weekend together, but when it’s time to say goodbye, you realize that you’re running late for an appointment — so you rush out the door in a hurry, barely kissing your date goodbye.

These rushed instances are as understandable as they are commonplace, but they inevitably take a toll on relationships, because these transitional moments often set the tone for both a couple’s time together and their time spent apart. Dr. John Gottman, a leading relationship researcher and the author of What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal, asserts that our “rituals of connections are crucial,” because they serve not only to re-establish the connection with our partners, but also to protect our relationships from betrayal. “The parting and reunion [moments] turn out to be really important,” asserts Dr. Gottman. Attention spent on each other in transitional junctures communicates that “you’re important to me, and when you come back at the end of the day, it’s an event. You matter to me.”

How momentary transitions can safeguard your romance from betrayal:
Being present for each other and asserting the importance of the relationship during these transitional moments is part of how couples establish what Dr. Gottman refers to as “attunement” — i.e., a deep level of understanding that couples both possess and lovingly express to each other. In his book, What Makes Love Last, Dr. Gottman asserts that this level of attunement with each other is a way for couples to inoculate themselves against falling down the slippery slope of negative thinking about their relationship that can ultimately lead to betrayal. “One of the other important things we discovered about betrayal was not only about turning away from one another, but it’s also about this negative comparison where one partner is saying in [his/her] mind, ‘Who needs this crap? I can do better,’” Dr. Gottman explains. “And that negative comparison gets people to start detaching from the relationship.”

Six seconds to a better relationship:
The “six-second kiss” is one simple and fun activity that Dr. Gottman advocates couples incorporate into their everyday moments of transition. Described by him as “long enough to feel romantic,” the six-second kiss serves as a temporary oasis within a busy day and creates a deliberate break between the on-the-job mentality (i.e., going to or from work) and a couple’s one-on-one time together. In fact, the six-second kiss makes up just a fraction of what Dr. Gottman has dubbed the “magic five hours,” which is the amount of extra time he’s found that the most successful, happiest couples began devoting to their relationships each week after completing his workshops together. Time spent intentionally focusing on their partners during “reunions” and “partings” also comprise an important component of the “magic five hours” that these couples invest into their relationships on a weekly basis.

Reunited, and it feels so good…
We’ve all heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The same could be said for the moment when you’re reunited with your date. Those first few moments set the tone for your time spent together — either positively or negatively. Greeting your sweetheart with affection communicates this person’s importance to you while reminding your partner of the good feelings you share when you’re in each other’s company, and trigger reciprocal feelings of his or her own.

A number of small gestures can be combined in order to ensure that your reunion goes well:
• Make sure to set aside your phone and any other distractions first, and then give your partner your full attention as you exchange greetings.
• Share a six-second kiss.
• Say that you’re happy to see your partner again.

If you’re used to a more casual way of saying “hello” and “goodbye,” these seemingly simple gestures of affection might feel awkward at first, but letting your partner know that you’re happy to see him or her creates an important, positive transition between your time apart and the time you spend together.

In a long-term relationship, Dr. Gottman says that having a “stress-reducing conversation” is a great way to kick off a couple’s reunion time together. “The one thing research has discovered,” says Dr. Gottman, “is that if they take 15 minutes apiece to talk about what’s stressful about the day, and their partner is an ally in listening — without giving advice or problem-solving — that can be very important. You have to have a time when you really have your partner’s ears; it’s a time when you really can connect.”

How to make saying “goodbye” even sweeter:
Setting a few minutes aside to properly say “goodbye” to each other can make a dramatic difference in a couple’s thoughts about the relationship during the time they spend apart. So before you zoom off into the world going different directions, take a minute to communicate how much you enjoyed your time together — and maybe touch base about when you’ll be getting together again in the near future. If you don’t have a plan for your next date, just establishing when you’ll be talking to each other next (“I’ll call you tomorrow”) can help a couple maintain their feelings of connection with each other.

You should also make a point of asking what’s ahead for your sweetie so you can provide the right kind of support later on. “One of the most important things to do in parting is to find out what your partner’s day is going to be like,” Dr. Gottman says. “Find out about anything that is important that’s going to happen to your partner that day. If she’s going to have lunch with a friend or he has a critical phone call or important meeting scheduled, know about that and what it means to her or him.”

Love is an action

The Bible invites us to strive to understand the measurements of God’s limitless love for us:

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” (Ephesians 3:18)

Do you find this hard to comprehend?

We’ve come to see love as nothing more than an immeasurable feeling or an emotion.  It’s that euphoric feeling that we first feel or see in the movies.  It can be selfish and centric.

Love is first and foremost a commitment.

Feelings and emotions are often involved, but they’re secondary to the commitment. When I’m talking about “measuring love,” I’m not suggesting we can accurately sum up all the nuances of love with something as simple as a quiz you might read in magazine or on a blog.

Real love isn’t about emotion; it’s about action. It’s not just about “connection”; it’s about commitment.

The world’s definition of love seems to be self-centered, but God’s definition of love is selfless. The Bible reminds us that “love does not demand its own way.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) We are often compelled to sacrifice our selfish agendas upon the altar of love, but what we ultimately receive in return is something far more profound than anything we could have concocted on our own. God, as the author of love, has given us a gift of love and the ability to give love.

Forgiveness 

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” – Luke 23:24

Christ said these words while hanging on the cross.  Is that sinking in?

No?

Let’s try it this way…..having been nailed to a cross, hung there, spit on, stabbed, dehydrated and in horrible pain…Christ asked His Father to forgive those that were killing him.  

And yet…here we sit in our lives unable or refusing to forgive those that have wronged us.  I’m not talking about the worst of the worst.  I’m simply looking at being cutoff in traffic or having my breakfast order served wrong.  I’m looking at my kids saying hurtful things or my wife being rude.  What are you refusing to forgive?

Why do we gladly accept the forgiveness that Jesus died to give us but we struggle to give the same for far far less infractions?  In Jesus…we recieve grace upon grace.  Shouldn’t we be giving the same?

Anne Lamott said: “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die”

Forgive.  Forgive like you’ve been forgiven.  Set yourself free.