Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Why all the talk about male-female differences?

I used to wonder why all the talk about male female differences.

Then I got married and now I understand why.

My husband and I are very slowly reading through the book entitled Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs together. Recently we read a section where Eggerichs uses an extremely simple but effective analogy.

He says that it as if men and women have sun glasses and hearing aides through which they filter everything they see and hear. Women have pink ones and men have blue ones. Because of these sight and sound filters, even though they experience the same events, they are perceived differently. He goes on to give a few examples of situations in marriage where partners feel hurt and misused but the other partner doesn't see it due to their filters, but that any person of the same gender would totally understand.

As my husband and I read through the examples we can both understand the person of our own gender, and because of the book, begin to understand the person of the other gender. Looking at other people is always safer, not apt to produce an arguement, not so emotionally ladden, as looking at our own disagreements.

But it is beginning to help us see things differently.

I used to get so upset at my husband regarding behavior of his that I interpreted to mean that I was not important to him, that he didn't love me. Then I would act crabbily and he wouldn't fee respected. I'm now starting to reframe his actions and see them differently. It's about understanding that he thinks differently than I do and choosing to believe the best of him.

The bottom line is men and women really ARE different.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Are you a perfectionist or just a high achiever?

This question interests me because I'm a recovering perfectionist who wants to be a high achiever.

Perfectionism is my enemy.

I've struggled against it for as long as I can remember. Although you'd never know it to look at me since I'm certainly not perfect in any way!

But I've often let it rob me of joy.

I want things so just right that when I fail, as everyone is prone to at some point, I sometimes want to just give up because it won't be "just right" any more.

I even have daydreams about things being perfect; total organization in my home, perfectly planned meals and family traditions, the best in my career, etc.

I want change and am working to do so. I want to be someone who strives for excellence in a healthy way but not a perfectionist. I think healthy people who desire excellence take genuine pleasure in trying to meet high standards. I've been known, in my perfectionistic mode, to be full of self-doubts and fears of disapproval, ridicule and rejection. I want to have drive, but not be driven.

It seems like I've been doing well in this arena but I find that I have to be on the aware because it creeps up on me. I'm reminded of the verse in 1 Peter 5:8 that says to:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

For me, one of the forms the enemy takes on is the voice of perfectionism.

Do you ever struggle with this black/white perfectionism?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Are you a good boss?

Tyler over at The Journey blog site ( has got me to thinking about managerial styles with his posting on the perfect boss.

I've been blessed with many good bosses throughout my life, and a few poor ones. I've always tried to be one of the good ones.

I think there is a life principle involved in being a boss - the principle of stewardship.

As a Believer I know that the people in my life are there by the will of God. He wants to work through both them and me to accomplish His purposes. The people with whom I'm in a leadership position, be that at work or even with my children, are on loan to me from God. It's my responsibility to do right by them so to speak.

The biggest issue that I repeatedly have to keep straight in my mind is that it's not all about me.

It's so easy to want to get my needs met by those I'm to lead without even being aware of it. But that will always end up creating havoc if I let that be my purpose. Instead my goal must be to do what will help them grow, increase their skills, stretch their decision making muscles and meet the goals of the company (or my parenting goals in the case of my children).

Repeatedly I've seen managers make the decision to do something that will make their employees like them instead of doing the right thing, and it always eventually comes back to haunt them. I have to remind myself often that as long as I'm respectful, fair, consistent and doing what I believe in my heart before God is the right thing - it's OK if people don't understand and don't like me. Periodically everyone in leadership isn't liked or appreciated; it comes with the territory. But over time people will see trustworthiness and respond. I've repeatedly been blessed with great working relationships with those I supervise and my 3 sons are truly gifts from God at whom I'm consistently amazed.

Interestingly, talking about these things in the abstract is always much easier than when it comes down to daily life. When you look at yourself, in your life leadership positions, how do you think you do when it comes to ensuring that it is about those that you lead instead of about you?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Peace doesn't come in a hurry

I continue to enjoy that study by Priscilla Schirer Discerning the Voice of God. A couple of weeks ago as I was doing homework in that study something really struck me and has remained at just the back of my consciousness since then. This was the point that Shirer made:

"Nothing takes God off guard. When we feel rushed and hurried to make a decision not rooted in a deep confidence of inner peace, God probably has not spoken. Nowhere in Scripture does God tell anyone to rush into making a decision. On the contrary, He patiently and persistently gives us clarity before requiring obedience. If you feel an overwhelming urge to act spontaneously, pull in the reigns."

I appreciate more than words can ever tell that God gives that deep confidence of inner peace.

Just today I had a situation where His peace is such a gift. It's in a relationship where there are intense problems and there has been tumult. I've been struggling and floundering in where to go and how to progress in this relationship. When I finally realized in my spirit the words I needed to speak today I could, with confidence. It's one of those situations where the consequences could be dire. But I was respectful and direct and know that I spoke the right thing. I've been mulling it over all weekend and finally have the right words and God's peace.

I'm reminded of the scripture from Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG):

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Life and relationships can be challenging but I'm so glad that I'm never alone. That God is always here to guide, comfort and give joy to my life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happiness and Self-Denial

Last Christmas I found an awesome book, Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen This book has an eloquence and depth that has helped myself and my family focus more on Jesus during the holiday season.

The following in an excerpt from this book:

Happiness does not come to those who want to know all, or to posses all, or to enjoy all; rather it comes to those who set limitations upon the satisfaction of self. A man, for example, cannot get the whole world into his hands, but he can wash himself of the world. Our powers of dispossession are greater than our powers of possession; there is a limit to what we can gain, but there is not limit to what we can renounce. In the end, the man who wants nothing is the man who has everything, for there is nothing that he desires…

To deny self is to refuse indulgence to lower desires, to put a restraint upon ourselves, to act differently from the way the sensual in our nature would lead us. Self-denial is the test of love, whether it be human or divine….There may be pain in self-denial for a moment, but pain in the pursuit of the highest is certainly more joyful than ease in the neglect of duty. The agony is self-denial is momentary, but the joy that flows from it is lasting.

Blessed Lord, give me the spirit of nonpossession and self-denial. Make the doing of your Word paramount over the pursuit of ease. Keep me from throwing myself at every fancy paraded before me, and help me to forego the desire to taste and touch the wonders of this world”

Excerpt from Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen compiled by Judy Bauer

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stew

I'd purchased chicken legs because they'd been on a good sale but had been so busy I hadn't cooked them yet; and I had 3/4 can of leftover chicken broth in my 'fridge as well as about 1/2 can of leftover zesty jalapeño diced can tomatoes and some left over cooked pork sausage. So I came up with the recipe below. It's easy and can be made on the morning of a busy day. You can just come home and make brown rice to serve it over and a green salad and you've got a delicious, healthy meal. Both my kids and myself loved this one.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stew

Large package chicken legs, washed & skin removed
4 carrots, washed and sliced into bite sized pieces
Celery-inside section that is leafy; diced up
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cans zesty jalapeño diced tomatoes
1 sweet potato washed and diced into bite size pieces
1 large yellow squash washed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb cooked pork sausage
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon each seasoned salt, oregano, cumin

Put everything except the squash into a large crock pot on high for around 6 hours.
Add squash and warm sausage (if you didn't just cook the sausage, warm in microwave) and continue cooking on low for about an hour.
Serve over brown rice.

Approximate nutritional information:
Calories: 700 calories for a serving that includes 3 chicken legs & around 2 cups of broth/veges over 1 full cup of brown rice
46 grams protein, 94 grams carbs, 16 grams fat
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