Be Resilient Like a Chicken Nugget

Friends and I were laughing as one shared the hilarious story of “slinging food” at her children on a Wednesday night on the way to church, because as a school teacher, she leaves school at 4:45, goes down the road to pick up child #4 drives across town to pick up her other day three children and husband from home, drives through fast food to get everyone chicken nuggets and make it on time to Wednesday night church! 😂 We all laughed till our sides hurt as she shared all the “mom tactics” to having children clothed and in their right minds with a dinner in their tummies, and her own self in her right mind; so, they could behave and have fun while in the evening program. One of the statements she made was, “Let me tell you. Those chicken nuggets are resilient! They bounce off windows and don’t splatter. They are easy to handle for little fingers. You can get the 20 for $2.50 and have change to spare, too!”

It was such a comical moment, and, honestly, I’m not a great fan of chicken nuggets, but our kids loved them in their early years, and that simple statement made me start thinking…

Chicken Nuggets ARE resilient! We could learn a lot from that little nugget…

1. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. It’s ok to have a little tough skin to survive through life’s ups and downs, but be sure to stay soft on the inside. Keep your heart humble and your soul full of grace and love. Don’t be so tough on the outside that you harden all the way through. Nobody wants to encounter all that.

2. They don’t fall a part easily. In this day and age, we’ve got to have a little strength to who we are to survive. We can be, and need to be, cushy soft on the inside to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patient and with those other fruit of the Spirit. However, all the hyper-sensitive, can’t disagree with someone for fear of “hate speech” actually makes us a weak people and a crippling nation. Toughen up, people. Be resilient and live life full of strength and grace!

3. They come in large quantities for inexpensive prices. Be able to give the good parts of yourself away to lots of people and don’t be too demanding of what they give back. Now listen, I’m not giving you permission to be used and abused. If you tend to be a doormat, please understand, this point isn’t for you. What I’m talking about is giving your love in a hug, an encouraging word or time spent with a friend. I’m talking about sharing laughter, making a memory or spending time with those you love. Share these things in large quantities, and don’t be demanding of a condition to be met for you to share it. People need to know you care.

4. You can’t eat just one. Be the kind of person who is contagious, magnetic and engaging to those around you. Be the sort of friend others aspire to be. Be the type of leaders others seek after. Be the person of whom others just can’t get enough.

5. They are great in just about any sauce or condiment. Diversify your tastes, your likes and your knowledge. Extend your horizons. Learn something new. Try, taste, or even listen to something different than before. You never know, you might like it, and you may even find a new friend along the journey.

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Yes, It Matters

So many hurting souls, wondering if anyone cares. So many broken hearts, believing no one is there. So many desperate minds, consumed with empty thoughts. So many lonely bodies, searching for someone who can’t be bought.

Too many children losing their innocence in the mire. Too many mommas overwhelmed with competition and strife. Too many daddies forgetting where their home is. Too many elders forsaking legacy for the abyss.

They ask if their heart is worthy. They desire for more and get less. They pursue the instant pleasure, never realizing their prison cell. They seek for answers, for value, for meaning. They receive nothing but words of demeaning.

Hear me now.

I scream it from the mountaintops. I write it on the wind. I paint it in the sunset. I sing it through the waterfall.

Your soul matters to the One who created. Your heart is full of strength and value. Your mind can, by Him, can be easily understood. Your body can be full of vitality and livelihood.

Hear me now.

Yes, It matters.

YOU matter.

Penned – MG – 7/02/18

In An Instant

Too often, we take for granted what we have right before our eyes. We get into a routine, and we expect everyone who’s in our little orbit to always be there tomorrow. We expect to wake up in the morning, and everything be the same.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Car wrecks, terrorist attacks, earthquakes and floods happen in the blink of an eye. Breakups, broken promises, angry flare ups and heartaches may take days in the making but take only a moment to occur. Crushed dreams, destroyed relationships, words unspoken, volumes that can never be erased come in a split second.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Are you ready to say goodbye? Do you cherish the one you’re with? Will you make the moment last? Could you build the memories of a lifetime?

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Don’t be one day too late…

Penned – MG – 7/2/18

Look Inside

You wonder why she did it. She had a man. She had the money, and she had the babies. What more could she need? But what’s inside, we never see.

You ask why he pulled the trigger. They were innocent. They had dreams, and they hoped for a brighter tomorrow. Why the hate that he would breed? But what’s inside, we never see.

You question why so many are broken. We search for an answer. He squanders his years on sex, drugs, power and an alibi. She relinquishes her rights for deceit, slander, lies and control. How are they consumed with what others have decreed? But what’s inside, we never see.

Inside is a hopelessness. Broken hope brings the promise of life, when below the surface, the reality is death. Lost hope promises beauty, strength and all riches; yet, behind the veil lies only destruction. Forgotten hope declares a better future will surely come; although its well worn path is only a graveyard of mud and bones.

Come beyond with me, and I will show you a better way. I will show you life in abundance, joy overflowing and hope everlasting. Come inside, and you will see.

Penned – MG – 6/6/18

The Gift

You came in without warning. You stole my heart and promised we’d be forever. Our days together were sweet, thrilling and unforgettable. We learned to love, to endure and to persevere with one heartbeat.

We didn’t just survive the storms. We learned to thrive and to conquer. They shouted, “Dreamers!” They mocked, “Too good for truth!” We grasped hands and promised to squelch their sneers and scoffing.

The years came like a blur. Children, diplomas, anniversaries and goodbyes. It was a fairy tale others dreamt to have. We were fighting the odds and winning with a high score.

The squall rolled in without alarm. We trusted what had been would always be. We held our hearts in our hands and exchanged the promise once more. For we knew this is not the end.

What will be will always be.

Penned – MG – 5/31/18

*I did not make, nor do I possess any rights to this video. Simply shared from YouTube.

Say it with me… “NO.”

Boundaries are made to keep you healthy. Boundaries are given to keep toxicity out. Boundaries are taken from those who never set them. Boundaries are best when set, supported and reinforced.

Sometimes, we are living a life that is tiresome, weary and chaotic, because we continue to allow others to ignore the boundaries we’d like to have but never really put into place. Sometimes, our hearts are in utter turmoil, because we continue to complain about our conditions of relationship but never take steps to change them.

Boundaries are needed for peace to be found. Boundaries are necessary for joy to be restored. Boundaries are essential for sanity to be maintained.

How strong are your boundaries?

Fear or Fire?

When troubles come, what do you do? Do you cower, shivering in fear? Do run away and hide? Do you stand, paralyzed by indecision and doubt? Do you run to the flames, ready to encounter what comes?

How you endure the heat will often times dictate who you become when the embers cool. What wisdom you to use to conclude your decisions will often determine your promotion or your failure. The whys of your choices will always impact those who follow.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

When the Struggle Comes

What do you do with struggle? What do you do with change? How do you handle life when it just doesn’t work out the way you planned, or when it throws you a curveball or a great big surprise?

Do you stop in your tracks? Do you back up? Do you trim around and retreat? Or do you throw a fit and let everyone know it’s not as you expected? Or do you press onward, keeping the end goal in sight, never wavering or giving up?

What do you do? What is your reaction? I would love to hear from you, my friends.

It’s an interesting journey when change comes. Everyone reacts differently, and no one can prepare you for many of those surprises along the way, and some tragedies will knock you to your knees, and you’ll wonder if you’ll ever be able to stand again.

How you handle change, and how you react in the struggle and in the tragedies of life will often determine whether you’re a leader or whether you’re a quitter. Your response in the hardest moments of life will determine who you lead and who you turn away. It may sound like a harsh judgment, but it’s true.

Everyone will encounter struggle, hardship and tragedies throughout life. If you haven’t yet, well, keep on living and count your blessings for the moment. But talk to an older person, spend some time with someone who has weathered the storms of life. You’ll find that in those darkest moments, character is chiseled and destinies are designed. Friendships are forged and lifetime relationships are created or crumbled. And often, each are determined by the words we chose and the attitudes we allow.

So, I ask you again, what do you do? How do you react? Think about, and choose today what your words and your actions will be. It doesn’t matter that the struggle or tragedy isn’t on you at this moment. Being prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually is half the battle. If you wait for the moment of crisis, then you wait for knee-jerk reactions of the heart, and no matter how good you believe your heart is, it can never be trusted.

Set your foundations on solid ground. Set your thoughts on higher ways. Then, when those struggle of life gets difficult, and when the tragedies hit that you’d never expect, your heart an mind will be ready. Doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but it does mean you will survive through it!

Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The Struggle is Real

Somedays, the confidence in who I have become is almost mesmerizing…to myself. Other days, the struggle is real…so very real. Does anyone else go through this?

Often, I wonder if anyone else actually goes through the struggles of purpose, pertinence, and passion. I walk through life with a limp and wonder if I’m just simply destined to embrace these struggles for eternity, never really getting beyond them, just settling for a toleration, a sort of cease-fire, until the moment of intimidation or fear of rejection creeps back into view. I watch as many of my friends seem to have it all together, or at the least, are so comfortable in their own skin, in their own calling and in their own life choices that they don’t seem to battle the same mind games and moments of hesitation.

Then, I see from whence I’ve come, and I see those who have gone before who are still struggling for this place of significance and value. I see those who have won the battles and those who are still wallowing in their demise. This is the moment my determination and fight, and solidarity with Scripture, comes into clear focus. I realize in this moment, there is no turning back. Retreat is not an option. Failure can not be part of the equation.

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for this the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The struggles we face aren’t only given to us for our own learning, our own character-building and our personal faith-strengthening. The victories on the other side of those struggles are not only for us and our own celebrations. These are to be a witness to those coming behind us. These are to become testimonies which help someone else to achieve more than we ever imagined. These are to stand as pillars, mile markers and ancient boundary stones to mark the way for those coming behind, to help them find their way through similar struggles, and to enable them to achieve more victories than we ever thought possible!

So resist that urge to quit! Keep up the struggle for as long as it takes, and win that fight toward your destiny! Clear the path, and strategically change those battle lines to victory, and set those boundaries in place that scream to the world you have won! So then, all who encounter these will know, “There is hope! You can fight and win, too!”

How Big Is Your World?

Wikipedia.com

This thought came to mind as I listened to my 89 year old grandmother talk about life last week on her birthday. She told stories of her childhood and talked about friends and family members who have long crossed over. She talked of her small southern town that she loved so much, and she spoke of her world travels with the love of her life who passed away almost 16 years ago.

This thought came to mind as I perused through my pictures from our recent trip to Ukraine, and again, when my husband and I were asked today how many countries we have been to. We spoke of our combined travels to Ukraine and Bahamas, his trips to Israel and Central America and my long ago childhood trip to Haiti, all mission trips of one sort or another. It lead me to remember others who have traveled so many more times and to so many more places throughout the years, All reaching someone for a cause.

This thought lead me to think of how small our orbits can become in day to day life and how big our sphere becomes when we reach out beyond where our comfort lies. Will we remain for dependability, or will we go for availability? Will we resist out of fear, or will we embrace out of love? It’s all in the choices we make.

So, I ask you again, How big is your world, really?

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/space/milky-way/#milky-way-2.jpg