Category "31 Day Writing Challenge 2016"

Day 26: Fostering Friendships Doesn’t Happen By Accident

October 26, 2016
I talk a lot about being intentional when it comes to building friendships or creating a Tribe.  Here is a perfect example of a situation that recently happened in my life that may be able to put this into perspective.  As I have said before, to call me an extrovert is an understatement and yet, I too, have days where I don’t want to make an effort when it comes to friendships.  Friendships can be messy.  Dealing with people is exhausting.  And, sometimes you just want to get into your comfies and park your hiney on the couch. Now there is nothing wrong with getting comfortable after a long day and couch surfing.  However, if you desire to build friendships, or make new friends, or create a Tribe you have to seize opportunities when they literally land in your lap. Recently, my friend Matilda sent me a text asking me if I was ever available on Wednesday nights to get together, within a few miles of my house, as she drops off her teenagers at youth group.  I immediately told her I would not be available most Wednesday as we host Life Group in our home every Wednesday night – minus the occasional night that we cancel based on the hubs’ chemo schedule or being out of town on vacation.  After I responded to her text we both moved on. Fast forward to a few weeks later and God opened my Wednesday nights.  We took the opportunity to move our Life Group onto our church property to open it up to newer church members or families with kids and we changed the night as well. I could have easily taken this opportunity to throw on my comfies, grab the popcorn, and channel surf.  However, God reminded me of Matilda’s offer and I seized it.  See, she works full time and does her family stuff on Saturdays and we both are busy on Sundays.  The only guaranteed time I could spend with her would be on Wednesday nights.  And though this requires me to go back out after being home all afternoon, I saw it as an opportunity to hang out with a friend that God literally dropped in my lap after meeting in Okinawa and living many miles away from each other for over 5 years.  Matilda said she would NEVER move back to Texas and my husband swears we are dying in our home – sometime after we are 80 plus years old of course.  Obviously one of us did not win that battle and we are living within a few miles of each other under the same state flag. Would it have been easier to let Matilda believe I was still busy on Wednesday nights?  Yes!  Would cruising on the couch with the world’s cutest bulldogs be easier and not require freshly re-applied makeup and driving several LONG miles back into our downtown area?  Yes!!  However, couch surfing doesn’t build community unless you want your community to consist only of the world’s greatest slobber producing canines and sports fanatic Marine husband.  Plus, there are 6 other nights in the week to cruise. To make new friends, or to continue to get to know your current friends, or to build a Tribe you can do community well with requires getting your hiney off the couch and into the game.   me-and-matilda So this is how Matilda and I do this community thing:  We committed to meeting the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month at the same little Mexican Bakery downtown that is conveniently located between our two locations.  We may mix it up and meet somewhere else on occasion but, for now, we meet there – 2 Wednesdays a month. This way we can plan out our other two Wednesdays and the rest of our month around it.  So far it has worked out beautifully.  We get to support a small, local business that just recently opened up and we spend almost two hours getting caught up.  Laughing about our crazy lives.  We share how we have seen God work in our day to day living.  Or we cover really intense topics like “is it possible to get organic deodorant to work like the toxic stuff does?” (Oct. 4, 2017 update:  The organic deodorant challenge has been solved!!!) snap-chat-of-kim-matilda-and-me We may not be solving world hunger and will most likely never win a Noble Peace Prize for sitting in a Mexican Bakery talking about random stuff.  But, we’ll get to know each other better and one of us may not have as much body odor in the future if she discovers the key to staying odorless minus toxic ingredients.  Building community takes effort – even for extroverts.  But trust me when I say, it is so worth the effort it takes!!!!

Day 24 Food, Fun and Fellowship!

October 24, 2016
Those who have known me for more than a hot second know that I am super social.  To call me an extrovert would be a serious understatement for sure.  I just love doing community. I was created for this particular mission in life.  So much so that friends have said I have the “Gift of Girlfriend” and I get asked a lot of friend related questions. When I wrote for 31 Days last year on the topic of “Doing Community Well” it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  Making friends and keeping them has just been a part of my DNA since I can remember.  I certainly don’t say that to brag because I know that I am just blessed.  And, I don’t say this to paint a perfect picture because my friendship journey has not always been an easy or fun one.  So to write about friendships was hard because making friends just comes naturally to me.  It was a fun series to write though and I learned a lot along the way. In some of my bios I have actually written that I LOVE to “do lunch” – another understatement.  Actually, if I could eat out for every meal, or at least share 3 meals a day with others, I would.   the-four-of-us-at-bakery-lorraine Today was one of those sweet days that came together organically and I got to “do lunch” with 3 military wives that I originally met in Okinawa.  They have become a part of my Tribe. My friend Kathleen is in town for a conference and we made plans to meet up.  Since she and I share several friends in common we quickly had 4 for lunch. We tried a new place (Bakery Lorraine) for 3 out of 4 of us and the food was AMAZING!!!!  Food, fun and fellowship is a perfect trio for me.  Not only was lunch amazing, we had dessert first, and then “real” dessert after lunch.  These gals are seriously fun food friends!!!! On Today’s Menu:   pre-lunch-dessert-at-bakery-lorraine Pre-lunch was a homemade fruit-filled Pop Tart and a S’Mores Tart.  Both were so good but, if I had to choose, I would go for the S’mores Tart every time.   quiche-at-bakery-lorraine My lunch was the Quiche of the day with flaky crust and sun-dried tomatoes with a side salad. And our “real” dessert was homemade ice-cream at Lick.  No picture of that – sorry!  I was busy enjoying every amazing bite. Food, fun and fellowship.  Best recipe to build and maintain a Tribe!!!! Did you find time to “meet up” with any of your Tribe today?

Day 23 A Friend Is a True Gift

October 23, 2016
Have you ever received a homemade gift from a friend that was so precious that you make sure it is in sight on your desk or displayed somewhere prominently?  As a wife to a Marine, we moved a lot, so keeping track of anything was a huge undertaking – let alone a small, precious, handmade gift from my favorite neighbor, Lacey. lacey-book-scripture-page-2 Lacey and I were neighbors for 3 years in Virginia and we have two key things in common – we both love Jesus and we both are married to Marines.  Her Marine had been retired for a while by the time we became friends but it was and still is so fun to have a sister-in-Christ who has gone before me as a Marine Corps spouse. Another thing we had in common was that we both liked to be creative.  We learned to knit together and we started scrapbooking together every week.  Both of these activities gave us a chance to hang out together and get to know each other better.  We have many fond memories that I could share but we’ll save that for another blog post. lacey-book-scripture-page-1 Lacey was a fabulous neighbor to have for so many reasons and the week we moved was a time where she showed up in both BIG and little ways.  She knew I was having a tough time with this particular move from Virginia back to California as we had made so many civilian friends and had grown deep roots in our local church.  So, in true Lacey fashion, she took time to create a small token to remind me of her and our time together that I could carry with me. This little booklet was and still is such a sweet source of comfort that not only reminds me of my faithful friend but also our FAITHFUL God. lacey-book-note In this booklet she hand wrote notes, as you can see, included pictures of us, and wrote out scriptures for me as well.  I think one of my most favorite parts about this booklet, and our story, is that we are still close today because Lacey has always been intentional in staying in touch.  She sends cards, written notes, e-mails, notes on Facebook and we have a monthly standing appointment to meet on Face Time to just chat about whatever is going on.  Lacey has been such a faithful friend indeed. Have you received a precious gift like the one I received from Lacey?  What makes it so near and dear to you?

Day 21 Serve With Joy

October 21, 2016
I loved coming across this Mother Teresa quote today.  I love it because I was thinking about how blessed I am to get to serve in the capacity God has called me to serve.  He has stretched me!  It has been uncomfortable!  I have cried.  Laughed.  Cried some more.  I have gotten frustrated.  And, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am who I am because of all the different ways I have gotten to serve.  I have picked up stomped on water cups after the Marine Corps Marathon and actually loved doing it knowing that I helped a ton of runners accomplish their goal.  I have served with 5 year old kids and enjoyed hearing their sweet voices recite scripture – and I have even been corrected by a pastor’s child or too.  I have served behind bars and would do it all again despite the exhaustion, the tears, and the boldness I had to muster up to walk behind those scary fences every week.  I have gotten to speak to military women and actually got paid for it though I would have done it for free.  I have done silly skits in the name of Jesus and I even got to wear a cape as one of my characters.  I have mentored a teenager and a grown woman.  I have been told I have unofficially mentored a few more than that.  I have gotten paid to write and I have written a ton for free with not a single person reading some of my posts or only my mom commenting on most of them.  I have been the President or Director of boards and ministries and I have actually been fired from one of my positions and not asked to return after another commitment was fulfilled.  I have facilitated more studies than I can remember.  I have co-led a study; pulled Christmas lights off of several trees; and caught my pastor’s wife before she fell on me while we both stood foolishly on a ladder.  I have taken time off and just showed up for the occasional group volunteer activity.  I have volunteered in the rain.  Learned to drywall.  Served turkey to seniors on Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Pie to Marines overseas.  Currently I can be found blogging and sharing a Tip of The Day on Periscope as The C.I.O. (Chief Inspirational Officer) of the GR8TFUL Tribe.  And I will continue to do what God has called of me as I get to serve at the pleasure of my King. I can’t say I loved every second of every volunteer moment but I am who I am because I served and I was happy to do it!!! How have you served?  Have you been happy to do it?

Day 20: Thankful Thursday

October 20, 2016
Thankful Thursday is my most favorite day of the week – especially now that I broadcast on Periscope at least 5 days a week.  It is so fun to come together with our GR8TFUL Tribe and do what we do best – glorify God and praise Him for every little and BIG thing He has recently done in our lives. Today was especially fun because of the Brian Tracy quote I shared and that it was Planting Roots’ 2nd birthday.  We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, sobriety dates and anything else worthy of mentioning every morning on the live broadcast as it is fun to celebrate special days together.  I started this habit back during my birthday month and the habit has stuck.  I got the idea from my sweet friend Elaine who celebrates her special day for the entire month of April.  I love that we share a birthday month together and that we are on this seriously fun journey as friends. Today I am GR8TFUL for: Everyone who is reading my blog and commenting during my 31 Day Series.  Thanks to my #1 commenter, Tara Ulrich, who can be found here as she write her own 31 Day Series – she is a blogger and a new author. Every single word of encouragement that so many of my Periscope viewers leave in the comment box daily. Pastor P (He can be found here) is such a bold voice for Christ in his broadcasts and he has been gifted to deliver God’s truth in such a great way.  He also Speaks Life into my heart, mind and ministry.  He is a true gift from God and several of his sweet peeps have joined us in the GR8TFUL Tribe as well. My friends, Becky, Carrie and Kiley who are seriously fun and made sure I “showed up” during one of Greg Harvey’s broadcasts even if I was already in my jammies for the night!!!! Getting to serve on the Planting Roots team and how this is an answer to prayer!!!! And as I always say, I could go on and on as God has been so sweet to me!!!! Who or what are you GR8TFUL for today?

Day 19: What Would You Say To Your Younger Self?

October 19, 2016
I was inspired to write the list below after reading someone’s Facebook post.  Like many things I write, I save them, and tuck them away for another day.  I am so glad I came across this list of advice I would give to my younger self last night.  God has a habit of doing that with me.  I know I have created several of these lists over the years and it would be fun to find them all and combine them. This is not an exhausted list – just the first things that came to my mind one day.

What I would say to my younger self:

You are smarter and braver than you think!

Just because someone says it doesn’t make it true.

Your mom is fighting her own battle – don’t take it personally!

Being adopted is an AMAZING thing!

Your Heavenly Father loves you and that counts for a lot!

Dig into God’s Word and cling to His promises! 

Pray without ceasing!

Ignore the critics – stand tall and enjoy every second of high school!


Do not date that boy in high school – he is insecure and mean.

You and Kim will stay friends way beyond high school – embrace her and listen to her more!

Eat healthy and keep exercising!  Exercise for your heart health – not to be skinny!

What people say about you does not matter – what you think of you does.  Be confident!

Trust your gut and say “NO” more!  No is a complete sentence!


(Link to video by Mercy Me)

After reading the above thoughts, I shared my list as part of a Periscope Broadcast today.  One thing I love about reading this advice to my younger self is that it does not make me feel bad about myself or fill me with regret.  I am inspired that God has brought me so far.  He loves me so much that He did not leave me as the insecure, wounded, and lost teenager that I was back in high school.  And this list reminds me that God has been answering a long time prayer request that I have been praying and I am becoming the strong woman I had always dreamt I would be. I highly recommend you see this as a helpful exercise and you do the same thing.  Create a list of things you would say to your younger self and save it! If you would like, please leave a couple of the items you would put on your list in the comments below.  I would love to read them!!!

Day 18: Stop Comparing and Start Living

October 18, 2016
I am often asked how I come up with a new topic every day for my Periscope Broadcasts and my answer is always the same: God gives me the topics.  I have always shared that I believe God called me to broadcast on Periscope and so I trust Him to provide what I need.  I love this God story so I will share it in another post.  For now, I am just praising God for His provision every day!!! As I was preparing for yesterday’s broadcast and blog post God reminded me how comparing ourselves, our lives and our ministries to others sets us up for failure and is something that many of us dwell on  and makes us less than joyful.  Being discontent robs us of our joy today and keeps us from seeing what we have and prevents us from operating in the gifts that God has given us. Here are the 3 Keys to not comparing ourselves to others:

Find Your Purpose

Create Your Life’s Mission Statement

Stay in Your Lane

Find Your Purpose: We have all been created with a purpose.  God did not just create us to walk aimlessly about here on earth.  Of course, we read many scriptures about our collective purpose like “loving thy neighbor”, “baptize them and make them disciples”, “train up a child in the way they should go”, etc.  This is our collective purpose.  I also believe that since we serve a God of diversity, that He has an individual plan for each one of us. I have no doubt that God created my husband to be a Marine.  His uncle is a Marine and several of Bill’s nephews are Marines.  Bill was a perfect candidate minus his size – which he made up for in tenacity.  God used the Marine Corps to bring Bill and I together and Bill became a follower of Jesus a couple years after we were married.  And after 29 years and 6 days of active service, Bill continues to hear from Marines who were impacted by Bill’s influence.  He was not only created to serve his country in this prestigious way but he was created to impact the lives of other men and women.  And once he married me, my purpose became clear as well.  Being a Marine family is not easy and we got to walk with many singles, geo-bachelors, and families through the rocky terrain of active duty life and many have stayed our friends all these years later. And, as we loved on military families, they loved on us right back.  We all were full-filling God’s purpose for us.  God used Bill’s passion for the Marine Corps to fulfill His purpose for His life.  And He continues to use both of us even while Bill is now retired from the Marine Corps.  What are you passionate about?  That just may be your purpose. be-brave-be-kind-be-youCreate a Life’s Mission Statement:  This is a way to narrow down what your purpose is and then make decisions and set goals based on that statement.  Check here for more info on Mission Statements. Stay In Your Lane is a concept I read in Christine Caine’s book “Unstoppable”.  God has a lane for each of us to run in and all we have to do is look ahead and run in it.  Don’t get distracted by what is going on around you.  Don’t get distracted by comparing your life and journey with the “runners” next to you.  We are all running the same race – just in different lanes.  We look different on purpose.  We have different gifts on purpose.  We were each created differently to impact this world in a positive way!!!

Do you know your purpose?  Do you have a personal mission statement? 

Please share your answers and thoughts in the comments!

Day 17: Don’t Spend Your Time Dwelling on Unhappy Things!

October 17, 2016
On today’s Periscope Broadcast (You can find me on the Smart Phone app @Gr8tfulChickRis) I shared this tip:

Don’t Dwell On Unhappy Things!

This tip was inspired by a great quote I have used before:

“Every moment you get is a gift. 

Spend it on things that matter! 

Don’t spend it by dwelling on unhappy things.”

 –Author Unknown                                  

This quote gives us the reality check we need sometimes – albeit a dramatic reality check.  There are so many people who would give anything to get another minute, moment or day with their loved one who is no longer with them here on earth, while we are complaining because our “peeps” didn’t clean up their room or they didn’t take out the trash!  I call this dwelling on the dippy dailies.  Those chores or things we have to do almost on a daily basis that can get cumbersome at times and cause us to be cranky.  However, how we deal with these everyday nuisances is key to seeing every moment as a gift!  I am not saying that kids should not be held accountable for doing chores or that spouses shouldn’t help out around the house.  The challenge I am talking about is to not dwell on the negative things that we seem to see more of on a daily basis than the positive stuff.  And we only see more of the negative because that is where we are focusing. We can also find ourselves grumpy at an acquaintance or friend for not returning a call or when someone doesn’t say hi to us at church.  Or, worse, when someone close really hurts us.  Whether it’s intentional or not, people will hurt us.  People will disappoint us.  It’s in how we react, or not react, that is important.  This is why Jesus is so BIG on grace.  He extends it to us and wants us to do the same for those in our sphere of influence.  We have to remember that we are all human.  We all have bad moments but that doesn’t make us bad people.  Or bad friends. Or bad spouses.  It just means, in our flesh, we make poor choices at times and others are affected by those poor choices. All this talk about showing grace, and not dwelling on the negative, reminds me of another great quote by one of my favorite Periscope Broadcasters (find him on Periscope @SrPedrog1) – we call him Pastor P.  He shared this quote on his personal Facebook page and I turned it into a meme: pastor-p-quote I would like to add that we should also not hold others hostage by their past or the past things they have done to us.   Please hear my heart – I am not talking about real abuses here.  I am talking about the dippy dailies that we can find ourselves dwelling on if we are not careful. In my broadcast I also shared this reminder in God’s Word:

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”

Proverbs 17:9

How are you spending your moments as gifts versus dwelling on unhappy things?

Day 16: “The Cross Has The Final Word”

October 16, 2016
I was introduced to the Worship Song, “Final Word”, at our women’s conference and I have not been the same.  No matter what is going on in your life right now, as Believers, we have the promise that “The Cross Has the Final Word”. Watch the video, below, of this absolutely beautiful reminder that there is nothing STRONGER, nothing HIGHER, nothing GREATER, than the name of Jesus!!  Rest in this sweet promise!!!! http:// Find the Final Word Lyrics here. What worship song has you captivated right now?

Day 15: October is Pastor Appreciation Month

October 15, 2016
October has always been one of my favorite months.  It is the month I got married and, for me, it kicks off all of the fun fall and holiday celebrations. Another reason to love October is the opportunity to celebrate your Pastor.  You absolutely do not need to wait for October to roll around to show your pastor/s how much you appreciate them.  However, if you haven’t done anything beyond thanking them once in a great while as you pass them in the hallway at church, than at least take this opportunity to show how much you appreciate what they do every day.  Include their spouse as well – they do so much to support the pastor’s ministry while doing what they are called to do as well. Many years ago someone inspired us to show our pastor how much we appreciated him, in a tangible way, and I want to do the same for you.  This year we had the opportunity to take 5 of our Pastor’s, and their spouses, out to lunch.  It wasn’t a BIG production – just a wonderful meal at one of our favorite restaurants and the opportunity to fellowship outside of our Sunday norm!!!  We were missing 8 others who could not make it but we made the most of our few hours together. 1910-wives-at-laurel-tree-2016 If taking out your church staff to lunch or dinner is more than you have resources for than think about giving them a card of appreciation and include a gift certificate from a local coffee shop.  Or, coordinate with a few other church members to go in on something together.  All y’all could bring in lunch for the staff one day or offer to babysit for them and get them a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant. One of our other church members gave each pastor a monogramed, glass pitcher with fresh lemons and a family recipe to make lemonade.  I thought this was such a fun idea!  Get creative and have fun with it!! How do you celebrate your pastor/s and all they do for you and the congregation?