Colorful Book Spines

Focus in the Fog

You're doing great.

My kid does that too!

No...that's not crazy.

This season will pass.

You are loved.

You have no idea how talented you are.

These are some simple words of encouragement.  


Maybe, like most of us, a little bit of encouragement helps you keep going.  You can find that here.

 

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Writers Read is something I will be doing once a month or so. If you've ever taken a writing class, you've heard someone say, "Good writers read". It seems so obvious but it's something that's easy to lose track of when we're busy.

It actually makes me think of a funny story about my 7-year-old son. Hudson is a gifted athlete, but when he started playing basketball, it was rough. If the ball accidentally landed in his hands during a game, he would look around panicked and throw it to anyone near him. It occurred to us that his lack of understanding of the game probably came from the fact that he's never seen a basketball game. (He likes playing sports much more than watching them.) We made a plan to go to the local high school game that week and he was really excited. But there was a snowstorm and the game was canceled. I told him that bad news and asked him if he wanted to watch a game on TV. He said, "No! At home we don't have hotdogs or suckers!" So, his interest in seeing games live was mostly just his interest in concessions. We bought some hotdogs and suckers and watched a college game. Suddenly, he understood the game a little better. He figured out that the play moves similarly to lacrosse (which he has a better understanding of). The next week in his game, we saw a huge improvement because he had seen people playing basketball on TV.

As a writer, I've made it my mission to read more. And I'm a grown up now, so I don't even have to have hotdogs or suckers to talk me into it.

In these "writers read" posts, I'm going to let you know something God is teaching me in His word and or something else I'm reading. Hopefully, you will be inspired to read more and maybe even pick up a book I'm recommending.

In the Bible: I'm reading Acts right now. I'm telling you what. Nothing lights a fire under your butt like reading Acts. The apostles in the early church were crazy! Good crazy, but still.

If you haven't read this book in a while, pick it up right now. It reads like an adventure novel. They go everywhere healing people and talking about Jesus the Messiah. And people love their message and repent. Or they don't. And when they don't, they really don't. These heroes of the faith get run out of town, or beat, put in prison, or in Stephen's case, stoned. And do you know what they do? They move onto the next place and start talking about Jesus and healing people again.

American Christians sometimes talk about persecution. But we often get it wrong. I've literally heard things like, "My kid's teacher never leads them in prayer. He's being persecuted for his faith." Or how about your neighbor who does not want you to talk about Jesus to her kids. That's is not persecution. Read Acts. That's persecution.

Get online and search modern day persecution and you'll find countless stories about Christians around the world who are being persecuted. Click on the bible below for an article that sheds light on what our brothers and sisters in Christ are dealing with in other parts of the world.

Click here to read about some modern day persecution.

You'll also find stories about Christians persecuting people of other faiths. That's so far from what Christ commands us to do and there's no excuse for this kind of behavior.

Persecution isn't when you feel comfortable or embarrassed. It's hostility or ill-treatment. While you're online, do some research on how you can help people in those circumstances. Click on the picture below to get started.

Paul, Barnabas, Stephen, these guys were persecuted. People wanted them dead and do you know what they did? Check out Acts 5:1 "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name."

Let's do this! Let's stop complaining when living our faith makes us uncomfortable. Let's support people around the world who are being persecuted. And if we get persecuted ourselves, we should rejoice to be counted worthy.

Shannon


We've all had those weeks where we don't remember having a minute of quiet. Something is always demanding your attention. These things range from important i.e. "I need you to sign this paper for school" to less important i.e. "I need you to never take your eyes off me as I reenact the entire movie of Frozen complete with scene and costume changes."

I'm home with the kids all day, so I obviously interact with them more often. My husband fields much of the attention giving as soon as he gets home because it's exhausting. When he's out of town for the week, it all falls on me and I realize how lucky I am to be a part of a team.

If it's an occasional week here and there, that's okay. However, if these weeks are the norm, it's time to make some changes.

1. Find your team.

Join a play group or a bible study. Meet your neighbors or reach out to friends. Once you feel you can trust them, work out a time where you can swap kids for the afternoon. That'll give each of you an hour or so of quiet which may be just what you need. The solution may be as easy as a gym membership that includes childcare. Or, it may also be time to reconcile with a family member who's dying to know your kids better. If it's safe, allow them access to you and your kids.

2. Use your alone time to do something you love.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom graciously offered to take my two youngest overnight on a Sunday. On Monday morning, I put my older two on the bus and the house was deliciously quiet. I was tempted to catch up on laundry or clean up, but I stopped myself. This is MY TIME. I'm going to use it doing what I love. Something that gives me energy. What did I do? I took a long bath listening to soft music. I got dressed and curled up with a great book by the fire. The chores would still be there in a few hours when the kids got dropped off. No need to do them now. You know what gives you energy because they're the things you long for when days are hectic. Think of these as your "energy-giving" hobbies.

3. Don't have energy-giving hobbies? Find some.

For me, I love reading, being creative, or getting outside. Most things that fall into those categories are good for me. For some, it's a guilty pleasure TV show, time with a great friend, a coffee shop, shopping, or ax throwing? I guess that's a thing now. If nothing comes to mind, it's time to explore. Hit a craft or sporting good store. Walk around and see what strikes you. Unless it's an ax. Feel free to enjoy ax throwing, but don't let it strike you.

The truth is, we can't run on empty too long before things start to fall apart. (Hence the title "so you don't commit a felony") That's only kind of a joke. When we don't get necessary time away, we do things we regret. Safeguarding against that is necessary and fun. Don't just do it because you deserve it. Do it because the people you love deserve to get the best version of you.

Shannon

 
 

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