Sunday, December 27, 2015

Encouragement Challenge #44: Choose A Word for the New Year

This year is quickly coming to an end and we will be ringing in the New Year this coming Friday. So, for this week's ENCOURAGEMENT CHALLENGE, I would like for you to think about what your gifts and talents are - the kind of gifts God has given us for the purpose of encouraging others (i.e. teaching, preaching, writing, listening, playing music, sewing, giving, caring, etc.) Then, choose a favorite verse, or just one word, that will help you keep your encouragement goals on track in the coming year. Once you have chosen it, write it out, or print it out. Decorate it. Put it in a place where you will see it every day when you wake up. Then, live it out to the best of your ability in 2016.

Examples of Encouragement Verses: 
1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  

1 Peter 4:8-10 - Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:

Examples of One Word:
  • Encourage
  • Listen
  • Care
  • Share
  • Uplift
  • Pray
  • Bless
  • Believe
  • Love
  • Forgive
Go to one of these websites for more information and ideas on choosing your word. The second link even has a page where you can make a poster with your word on it:
My one word for 2016 is:  InspireI hope to keep writing, and to use this blog as a tool to inspire myself and others to love God and remain faithful to Him, to spread the love of Jesus to those around us, and to take time to enjoy this life we have been given. 
    Please share your word or verse for the year. I'd love to see what you have come up with. 

    Sunday, December 20, 2015

    Encouragement Challenge #43: Share Your Christmas Goodies

    Over the years, our family has enjoyed making "goodies" to share with our friends and neighbors during the Christmas season. Some of the items we have made and passed out include:
    • Cookies:  Ginger Snaps, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Cool Whip Cookies
    • Chocolate Caramel Oat Bars 
    • Brown Sugar Shortbread
    • Divinity
    • Fudge
    • Penuche
    • Peppermint Bark
    • Granola
    • Trail Mix
    • Pumpkin Bread
    • Homemade Ornaments
    We do not make all of these every year, but usually choose 2 or 3 to focus on. We start baking early in the month, then freeze the goodies until time to deliver them. It is a fun tradition we have as a family.

    Pass out goodies to your neighbors this week. If you do not bake or do not like to make ornaments, you can pick up a little ornament at a discount store and give it along with a card. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. Just share the love of Jesus with others. Let them know they are being thought of during this sometimes lonely time of year.

    Sunday, December 13, 2015

    Encouragement Challenge #42: Two Christmas Gift Ideas that Share Positive Thoughts About Someone You Love

    This week, I want to share with you two different ways you can encourage someone you love this Christmas by sharing the positive and uplifting thoughts you have about them...

    When I was 13 years old, I received a special, handmade Christmas ornament from my parents. They worked together to draw and cut out a bell shape, type out positive thoughts they had about me, decorate it, and attach a string to put it on our Christmas tree. I kept it all these years because it meant a lot to me. It's the simple things that really touch me the most.

    This is the front of the ornament. It was drawn on plain typing paper, but something heavier, like cardstock, might hold up even better.  They used colored pencils to color it, and glued a  piece of colorful fabric around the edge. The little poem was typed on a separate piece of paper, then cut out and glued to the front.

    This is the inside of the ornament. The words were typed, then cut out and glued to a piece of cardboard. A piece of gold string was used to attach the two pieces of the ornament together and then hung on our tree for me to see on Christmas morning.

    In the Christmas of 1998, I took the example of my parents and typed out 20 different reasons why I love my husband. I decorated the paper, put it into an envelope, and gave it to him as a gift in his stocking that year...

    Use one of these ideas to surprise someone special in your life this Christmas. If you already made a Christmas Tribute for someone last week, choose someone else (a different friend or relative) to encourage with one of these other ideas. Hand deliver them, or stick them in a Christmas card and mail them. Work on these personalized gifts this week and, if you don't celebrate Christmas, do it just because you love them and want to surprise them with a blessing.

    Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Encouragement Challenge #41: Write Tributes for Christmas Gifts

    The Christmas season is upon us, so I have an idea I would like to share with you - a gift you can give to someone you love, and it won't cost you anything except a little of your time.

    Ten years ago, I came across a poem. (At the time, I thought the author was "Daddy" Silverwood, but I don't know where I found it. I have since seen the poem online being referenced to Clyde H. Box, so I'm not sure who the real author is). The poem is about how we shouldn't wait until our loved ones have passed away to tell them how much they mean to us. This is the poem:

    Tell Them Now!

    If with pleasure you are viewing
    any work a man is doing,
    If you like him or you love him, tell him now;
    Don't withhold your approbation
    'till the parson makes oration
    And he lies with snowy lilies o'er his brow;
    For no matter how you shout it,
    he won't really care about it,
    He won't know how many teardrops you have shed.
    If you think some praise is due him,
    now's the time to sip it to him,
    For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead.

    On the same year I found that poem, I used the idea and took the opportunity to make homemade cards for some of my family. On the front of the card, I typed:  A CHRISTMAS TRIBUTE, along with the person's name I gave it to.

    This is the front of the card I made for my husband

    On the inside of the card, on the left, I typed the poem above. Then, on the right side, I shared my thoughts about the person the card was intended for. The words I wrote for my David are a bit personal, so I'm not gonna share them with you. Sorry. But, here is what I wrote for my Grandma. She passed away a couple of years ago, and I'm glad I took the chance to tell her my feelings before she left this earth:
    Grandma – You are one of the most amazing people I know, and I look up to you. I admire your inner strength, your faith in God, and your unselfish acts of kindness. You are compassionate and caring, you have a good sense of humor, and you are someone I know I can trust. I am so proud to have you for my Grandma. Thank you for everything you have done for us. You are a very special lady, and I love you very much.
    For this week's ENCOURAGEMENT CHALLENGE, work on making these special tributes for your loved ones. Give them away for Christmas this year. I promise, they will be treasured keepsakes.