This Weekend~December 21 Last Minute Gift Suggestions

gift suggestions


And this: Does Santa Believe in Jesus by Jennifer Dukes Lee


You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are. ~Michael Michalko

We assign meaning to experiences by the way we choose to interpret them. And this is tricky because our perceptions are often not accurate.

I assigned meaning, calling something great, good, scary or awful, often by where I am attached. But God….But God always has a plan for His servants that we may not know about. I need to ask God to give me His perception of the situation, not my own.

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves
me. All day long I put my hope in you.
~ Psalm 25:5

Michalko offeres and example from IBM and Thomas Edison. IBM’s research and development department observed that no one in the world used a personal computer. They interpreted this to mean there was no market and shared this viewpoint with upper management. At the same time, college dropouts, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, looked at the same absence of personal computers and saw a massive opportunity. IBM never gained a significant market share in personal computers.

Once Thomas Edison was approached by his assistant while he worked on perfecting the filament portion for the light bulb. Edison’s assistant asked why he didn’t give up on the arduous process. “After all,” the assistant said, “you have failed 5000 times.” Edison looked at him and questioned what the assistant meant by failure. Approaching the filament dilemma, Edison said, “I have discovered 5000 things that don’t work.”

For me, the equation becomes: R=IE2–> Reality equals interpretation from past experiences squared.

Often, I construct our own reality by how I choose to interpret my experiences. If there have been a string of bad, untrustworthy experiences, my lens will reflect that. If there have been a string of trusting, kind experiences, my lens will reflect that.

Michalko advises, “Approach a problem on its own terms. Do not trust your first perspective of a problem as it will be too biased toward your usual way of thinking. Always look at your problem from multiple perspectives.” Gently click here to read more of Michalko’s ideas.

Lately, I ‘ve been a tarbaby stuck in rejection’s grip, the result of too many untrustworthy people who use(d) blame as a weapon.
Until I am grouded in knowing, really knowing God’s love and acceptance of me, I tend to look at challenges as problems with a hidden rejection lens. I see rejection where it may not be. This is where gratitude and a cadre of friends who love God and want His best for me keeps me surrounded by the truth until I am strong enough to see it from Him first. I continue to ask God to show me clearly His perception of events in my life so I don’t lean on my understanding.

It’s so important to
surround yourself with the right kinds of people when you

are striving to live a meaningful life. We can not always choose whom we walk
with on our paths in life, but whenever we can, it makes everything easier, more
joyful, and so much more productive when we choose to spend our days with people
who bring out the best in us, see the best in us, and believe the best about us.

Seek out the kinds of people who make you want to become a better person,
the kinds of people who are focusing on positive and good things in life.
From the Brave Girls’ Club


To read more about Creativity and Creative attributes, gently click here

by Jennifer Dukes Lee @

Midweek Question~Numbers

What is your favorite number?

Is it 13? seventy times seven? 686?

The speaker at church said that Love is mentioned over 686 times in the Bible, beginning in the Old Testament and covering over all until the end of the New Testament. Jesus’ love covers our sins. Love covers us like a roof with plenty of overhang.

That’s what love is — a roof.

“Love bears all things — stego in the Greek of 1 Corinthians 13 — literally a thatch roof, a roof taking the rain and the wind and all that comes beating. Love’s a roof that absorbs all that would damage.” ~Ann Voskamp

Love is a roof that absorbs the storms.

Love bears all things – like a roof bears the wind and the rain. Love willingly carries one another’s burdenslike a roof bears the burden of the snow and the beating sun. Love bends and enfolds itself around another like a roof. This is love.  ~Ann Voskamp

It took 284 roofing shingles to cover my house and protect it from the outside. The contractor bought extra. “For goofs,” he said. They are in the garage now, waiting for goofs, I suppose.

It takes 365 days to cover a year.

And love’s roof has 686 reminders…

Would we be that reminder for someone today?

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Stay

Everything is converging. It is very important that you not let your mind wander
off the variety of events happening with all the paths coming together. ~Bev Robinson

sun rays on the path

you cannot travel the path until you become the path


Additional Weekend Activities

Faith During Life’s Sutures

Faith is not believing in a false promise of prosperity, but in the abiding presence of Christ.

In this life, you’ve got to write it down sometimes to remember what you believe — not just in frosting, but on hearts. We believe that God has got it. All of it. This is not just a theological catch-phrase, but an actual way to habitually remember that there is a King in Heaven who holds all things together — even when life isn’t a piece of cake.

And we repeat it to ourselves, on the hot and cloudless days, and when the diagnoses come, and when we’ve gathered in hospice rooms, and over hospital beds, and in ugly days of wild uncertainty. It’s true: What we say to ourselves, and to one another, can  determine whether we will live imprisoned or free. Because dark days will come. In this world we will have trouble, but what did Jesus say? “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” ~Jennifer Dukes Lee

Perhaps today is the perfect day to take five and read “When Life Isn’t A Piece of Cake, God Has Still Got ItandFaith, Miracles and Modern-Day Fools” both posts by Jennifer Dukes Lee


Monday Words for the Soul~Detours

You may think that taking a detour in life is a waste of time and energy, but you can also see the detour as a means of learning more about who you are and where you are heading in your life. Being off the beaten path may be disorienting and confusing at times, yet it challenges your creative spirit to discover new ways to build a stronger YOU. In the end, it’s usually the tough situations that feel like your tomb that actually become your cocoon. Hang in there. You’re coming out of this stronger and wiser. via:

la jolla2

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Grab Spines

Consider a creative break this weekend.

Create a spine poem. Spine poems are word-filled expressions connected by the titles of books as seen on their spines.

Survey your books. Gather them. Arrange them. Express a tiny poem with them.

It’s fun. A mini vacation.

Here is my humble attempt but there are glorious examples at this link and this one.
The second link I found, in splendid synchronicity, is for a spine poetry content at LibraryThing.

Happiness Is
Eternal Echoes
Forward From Here
On the blue shore of silence
The band that played on
Emily and Einstein

Look Homeward, Angel


Additional Weekend Activities

God never intended


This is an important issue to understand, because God never intended for you to figure out
the steps of your journey without Him. In truth, how you get on mission and how
you succeed at your mission are God’s responsibilities. Your responsibility is
to seek His guidance and obey His directions. ~Jon Walker


Additional thoughts by Jon Walker

Monday Words for the Soul~August 6

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and
don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless
immensity of the sea.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Would you like to take a virtual beach walk? Gently Click here

More Words for the Soul

A Word from The Sponsor~August 5

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!” ~
Isaiah. 30:18

Isaiah 30:18

His grace sustains.


Additional Words from The Sponsor

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Celebrate Your Story

This Weekend

Remember your story

Previous Weekend Activities

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Dance

Whether it is a little toe-tappin’, a little swirl, a sway, or a boundless jive, this weekend…Remember

“You make God happy simply by being yourself, just as you are, before Him. Let it
stagger you daily so that you rejoice before Him with praise and dance.” ~Ras Robinson, Fullness on Line


{You are humming the Charlie Brown song right now, aren’t you?}


Previous Weekend Activities

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~August 2

For awhile, some Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Here is an article spotlighting seven brief profiles of Team USA world-class athletes to share with your kids and youth group. All represent the United States and are great examples whether or not they win a gold, silver, or bronze medal from the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Tervel Dlagnev, Arlington, Texas was influenced by Christian teammates on his high school and college wrestling teams
Maya Moore, signs her autographs with  Colossians 3:23
Reid Priddy, men’s volleyball said “the Bible is the most powerful book I’ve ever read in my life.”
Paige McPherson, aka McFierce, South Dakota-“I have trust in the Lord that whatever happens, happens”
Ryan Hall, See also The New York Times profile called “A Runner’s Belief: God Is His Coach.”
Lolo Jones, Women’s 100-meter Hurdles-“when I’m standing in a stadium packed with 80,000 screaming fans, I can’t just whip out my Bible before I run. That’s when I start praying!”
Hunter Kemper, running triathlons since he was 10 years-old said, “It felt so good, it felt so good for me just to realize that there’s something bigger that I need to be focusing on.”
Click here to read the entire article.

See also “Faithful champions: Olympic greats from the past who have put their trust in Christ,” by J.C. Derrick


More Wholehearted Living Stories

Mid-Week Question~Nourish

A brand new month gives the occasion to ask a new question:

How Can You Nourish Your Soul Today?

How Can You Nourish Your Soul Today

You add so much beauty to the world in the world around you.

Please consider the replenishment that you and I need.
We are in the triple-digit days of heat here and I am mindful of how sadly the herbs in the front yard droop just one day in the heat.
I am amazed at how quickly they respond to the nourishment of the water I pour on them.

Our souls respond just as quickly.
Souls are nourished on truths of faith. ~1 Timothy 4:4-6

How can you nourish your soul today?
Perhaps reading this post  or this post will provide ideas.


The answer’s simple:  Live right,  speak the truth,  despise exploitation,  refuse bribes,  reject violence,  avoid evil amusements.  This is how you raise your standard of living!  A safe and stable way to live.  A nourishing, satisfying way to live. ~Isaiah 33:15- the message

Previous Questions to Consider

Wealth or Poverty

Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winning economist commented

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”

Do you agree?

I think a variation of this is true in my spiritual life.

A wealth of distractions creates of poverty of attention on my relationship with God. I may not overtly say “No” to God but I definitely say, “Not Now”

Especially during storms.

And even during times of immense blessing.

Or extreme busyness.

I think I know best about this life that He gave to me.
Because of Grace, He promises peace in the storms of distractions. He gives calm and steadiness in flurry.

He is Jehovah Shalom

Are we rich today or in poverty?

Have we “said ‘yes’ to God’s grace of a Messiah?” Have our lives “said ‘no’ to God’s gift of this moment” as Ann Voskamp describes in this post?

Ann Voskamp cautions, “we are always saying yes to someone”

Ann’s reminder is for me today: Peace is a Person, not a place

And we are rich in His grace!

But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD;  in you I take refuge  ~Psalm 141:8

A Word from The Sponsor~July 29

Let the Spirit change your way of thinking. Ephesians 4:23

First thing that changes is my fears.

atelophobia fear of imperfection

This verse featured in Rick Warren’s blog post


See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Grab a Post-It-Note

By Robyn Shulman~~
There are various reasons why I chose to go into education; many of these reasons resonate with facts from my childhood to my love of academics, gaining knowledge and making a difference in the world.

However, during my early high school years, I discovered I had a love of writing.  Teachers were noticing my work, friends were enjoying my stories, and a great passion for sharing the written word quickly took over.  By my junior year, I was researching the journalism field, as I knew I would have to make a decision in regard to my undergraduate studies.

I was torn.  I could not decide.  I did not stop talking about it.  I drove my family crazy.  I tried to find the answer outside of myself because I couldn’t find it inside, even though it was there, and had been for many years.

I finally called Northeastern and asked if they could possibly send me information about both programs.  The big white envelope came with 2 brochures, program information and 2 admission forms.   In the middle of the folder, I noticed a blue Post-it note that stated:  “Whichever program you choose, I know you will find success.”

I put the note on my bulletin board in my bedroom and read it daily.   I was so shocked that a stranger working at a university would take the time to write to me personally, while handing over such a strong message of encouragement, confidence and strength.  I was touched greatly by this random act of kindness.  The words were so powerful, yet so quietly sitting in the folder.   The time it took to write the little message was probably under 10 seconds, yet it assisted me in making a life changing decision.

I finally knew.  I chose to go into teaching because I couldn’t believe how a stranger and a Post-It note could make such a difference in my world.  If he/she could affect me so strongly, I knew I could bring this magic and so much more to others, especially those little minds filled with wonder.

What would your Post-It-Note say to encourage another?
How ’bout grabbing a Post-it-Note right now or sending a digital Post-it-Note to another person who needs your encouragement.
Or maybe You are the one who needs the Post-it-Note to remind you of your sparkle!






Previous Weekend Activities

Mid-Week Question of the Week~How?

 How is God calling you to speak in your full voice?
~Bonnie Gray in this post

how is God calling you to speak

A Word from The Sponsor~July 22

You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. ~ Psalm 18:28

even when
we choose wrong
and we would deserve
your anger, let us see
how gentle you are
with us.
Help us to turn toward You
when we mess up.


See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Pause

This Weekend~Pause for Gratitude-Quickly compose a mental list of 20 items

less than what you have

Picture first seen at

Previous Weekend Activities

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