Archive for the ‘People’ Tag

Contagious   1 comment

It is almost alarming how contagious it truly is.  No physical contact is required for it to spread from person to person.  You do not even have to know another person and you can cause this to spread to them.  Yet, the medical community has not put out any warnings.  The government and Center for Disease Control have not come up with a quarantine or any way to halt the spreading of this.  There is no news agency or talk show which has done a story about it and raised concern.  There are even individuals advocating and encouraging thousands of people to spread it frequently.  Who is going to bring the truth of this contagion to the public?

Well, if you have not figured it (I know some of you looked at the picture on the bottom of this post), I am talking about a smile.  A smile is something that can easily spread from person to person.  If you are having one of those days and someone smiles at you, it is truly hard to not smile back.  A smile can change the whole atmosphere of a room.  A smile can alter the direction of a person’s day.  A smile can take a group from negativity and move it toward a more positive outlook.

So today, I challenge you to see how many smiles you can spread throughout your day.  Take notice of how people respond to your smile.  Take notice of how you respond to other people’s smile.  Let’s spread smiles throughout this day!

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In the Traffic Flow   Leave a comment

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I recently had a discussion with some fellow believers about the importance of being where there are opportunities to encounter people.  I have come to realize how easily it is for us to become “office” people.  Some of our jobs require us to spend a large portion of our day in an office.  If we have the type of office which isolates us from others, we can take on an almost hermit way of spending our day.  Yet, when we become holed up in our offices, we are not able to engage with people except online.

I think that this is a disconnect from what was intended for us as people.  We are social creatures.  We are created to interact with other people (even introverts, although in a more measured manner).  This interaction between people allows for a variety of needs which we all have.  It allows for us to pass information, social norms, and values between one another.  It allows for us to have our perspectives challenged so that we may continue to grow.  It allows for the sense of something larger than ourselves to become manifested in our interactions and conversations.  This helps us to be healthy.

As a believer, encounters with others is vital in our faith growth.  As we encounter others with various beliefs, we are called to examine our understandings.  We are given the opportunity to have dialogue and learn from others.  We are also given the opportunity to communicate our beliefs not with words but with our interactions.  The manner in which we live and interact with one another should tell them what we believe more so than even our well thought out words.

I challenge myself, and each of you, to get out in the traffic flow more often.  Engage with people.  We all will be better for it.


Cold Wind   Leave a comment

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Well, this week it has become evident that winter is eager to arrive.  Most of this week has been filled with cold winds and snow flurries.  There is talk that this weekend will produce the first significant amount of snow in our area.  I must confess that I like the winter weather less every year.  Today as I was walking back from the local coffee shop, the wind was blowing strongly against me and the cold seemed to be penetrating every piece of clothing that I am wearing.  I often say that the wind always makes the cold of winter seem so much worse.

As I sat in my warm office after returning, I spent some time thinking about the cold wind.  I thought about the biting feeling of that cold wind.  I pondered the way that it I struggle to move forward against that wind and the extra energy that I exert because of it.  These thoughts caused me to reflect upon the “cold winds” of life; those individuals and situations that seem to bite at me and cause me to struggle.  I believe that this can also be witnessed in the lives of organizations; the “cold winds” that make forward progress seem very difficult.

Whether we are talking about the cold winds of winter weather or the cold winds of life, the important thing to do is to insure that you have someone who can “warm” you up.  Just as wrapping up in a blanket on a snowy and windy night can bring warmth and comfort to your body, having friends and family who can wrap around you during the cold periods of life are invaluable.  Facing the cold becomes more bearable if you are assured that there is something or someone in your life that can bring you warmth.

I am grateful that the Lord has provided me warmth in life by those who have become a part of my life.  I am grateful that the Lord provides me an endless source of warmth through the Lord’s love.

Beauty All Around   Leave a comment

Sun, leaves, and beautyToday I was struck by the image of the sun shining through the yellow leaves on the maple tree outside my office.  So I stopped to take a picture (the one with this post).  The beauty was so overwhelming.  Even though it was pretty chilly this morning when I was walking into the building, this image expressed warmth to me.

How often do we go through life and miss the beauty that is around us?  Some of that beauty is contained in the nature that we encounter each day.  Some of that beauty is contained in the people who enter our lives each day.  Some of the beauty can be found in ourselves, in our thoughts and our feelings.  There seems to be an endless amount of beauty in our lives each and every day but so often it goes unnoticed.

So I encourage each of you to look for the beauty in your day today.  For those who are believers in the Lord, give thanks to the Lord for the beauty which the Creator has placed in our lives.  If you are not a believer in the Lord, take time to reflect upon the source of the beauty which you encounter.  Either way, do not let the beauty escape your attention.  You may be surprised how it will add warmth into your life.

Whirlwind   1 comment

Image from hddesktopbackgrounds. us

Image from hddesktopbackgrounds. us

The last week has been just a complete whirlwind for me.  This may seem evident since I  have not posted in over a week.  Last Monday I traveled to St Louis for a conference.  The trip was relatively uneventful and had some fun aspects to it.  The conference ended on Wednesday and I left to make a long, unplanned trip to central Nebraska.  Being in the car for over nine hours is not something that I want to do frequently.  Then it was back to my home location on Thursday.  Friday was my only day in the office (although I did work all of Saturday morning) and so it was definitely a day of “catch up.”  The busyness continued into the first part of this week.  I would have to say that this is the first “calm” day in my office.

Last week caused me to ponder the true meaning of Sabbath.  Traditionally, Sabbath is considered the one day each week when we are to relax and not do work.  This follows a pattern set by God and affirmed by God in what we know as the Ten Commandments.  However, many of us find it very difficult to set aside a specific day every week for Sabbath.  Life seems to have so many demands that we often are always on the run.  So we often feel guilty that we do not honor God’s commandment of keeping the Sabbath.  I would caution us not to let the guilt overwhelm us.  Especially since the guilt does not seem to lead us to change behavior.

In my devotions this morning, one part of a passage that I am reading throughout this week actually reminded me that the concept of Sabbath is far more important than the “day” of Sabbath.  The passage I was reading was John 9:1-41.  Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath which causes some Jewish leaders to label him as evil.  It is clear to me that Jesus was more interested in caring for the blind man than he was about honoring the day of Sabbath.  People always came first in Jesus’ life.

So I am convinced that the day of Sabbath is not nearly as important as the concept of Sabbath.  The concept of Sabbath is to take a break.  It is an opportunity to quiet the whirlwind which we call life and to spend time focusing on people, relationships, and our relationship with the Lord.  Each person has their own way of relaxing and creating calm in their life.  The key is to make sure that you are consistently taking Sabbath and benefiting from stopping the whirlwind even for a short period of time.  God knew that we could not keep up a crazy pace of life and so God modeled and then instructed us to find some calm.

I am going to work hard on honoring Sabbath in my life, I hope you will do the same.

The Shaping   Leave a comment

Pottery Wheel

Pottery Wheel (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

As I shared yesterday in my post, I am in the midst of a project to reduce the accumulated items in the basement.  I am pleased to report that much progress is being made and it might be completed sooner than I had originally thought.  Yesterday I ran across a lot of boxes containing bits of pieces of memorabilia and pictures from my past.  This morning I have been in thought about how my past has shaped who I am today.

There have been significant events and significant people which impacted my life and who I became.  As I read cards that were received on milestones in my life and as I encountered pictures taken at significant events in my life, I was very aware how easily I forget those influences.  I forget how words written to me helped me discover new directions in my life.  I forget how the guidance of not just my parents but of aunts, uncles, siblings, community members, friends, and fellow believers has helped me choose paths that has brought me to where I am today.  It tells me that I am not just the product of my own efforts, beliefs, goals, and thoughts but that those very items have been nurtured and impacted by the people and events of my life.

All of us are shaped by those individuals and moments of our lives.  Sometimes those can shape us in negative ways and other times they shape us in very positive ways.  We also are not locked into the shape that has been created.  We always have the opportunity to remold ourselves by choices we make and actions we take.  However, I find a lot more positive shaping than negative shaping in my life. I also have learned that it is important to recognize any negative shaping that has occurred and deal with it in a way that neutralizes that shaping.

The other revelation that I had through my process yesterday was realizing how important it is to take down those boxes, open them up, and examine their contents more often.  I can honestly say that many of the boxes containing these valuable treasures have not been opened in over ten years.  My eyes have not gazed upon those pictures often enough.  My mind has not captured those words written and expressed often enough.  I have failed to take enough opportunities to be grateful for those people and events that have shaped my lives.  These are mistakes that I am vowing not to make again.


Posted July 10, 2013 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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Life’s Gems   Leave a comment

Each of us have the opportunity to find the gems in our lives.  Sometimes, just like when searching for a real gem, you have dig deep and uncover the gem.  Other times, you just happen upon a gem.  I have been very fortunate to have stumbled upon a gem in my life.  I have a person who I met years ago who has become a mentor, a tremendous friend, and a truthsayer in my life.  He is a person that I now consider to be essential in my life.  He is someone who I can share my thoughts, my battles, my confusion, and my successes with and after listening, he reflects back to me.  As a leader, this is something that I desperately need.

I happen to be very fortunate to have multiple gems in my life.  Like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, each one of these individuals bring a different color, different shape, and different radiance into my life.  I have those who support me even when I am wrong or I have screwed up.  I have those who correct me when I have gone astray.  I have those who love me for no reason but because I am who I am.  I have individuals who challenge me to achieve more than I believe I can achieve.  I have those who walk with me even when I am not sure where I am going.  Each of these individuals, these gems, make my life radiantly beautiful.

So I encourage you to take time to find the gems in your life.  Value each of these as the most precious gift of your life.  Bask in their radiant beauty so that you may experience the joy of living.  Honor them for who they are and the great treasure they are to you.  The Lord has placed these gems in your life with purpose.  No leader should be without the gems.Gems


Posted April 26, 2013 by thoughtfulbeliever in Community, Experiences, Life

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