How to greet a stranger

This week, I have been having some strange encounters of the blessed kind.

Let me explain what I mean.

On Monday morning, I noticed a woman and her daughter walking in the cold rain on my way to get money from the ATM. I turned around to ask them if they would like a ride. However, the mother and daughter refused my offer. It sort of hurt my feelings. I thought perhaps it was the huge afro on my head that scared the little girl.  But it also made me think of the way of the world today. I can’t imagine how anyone could see a mother walking in the rain with a child and not offer to give them a ride. But there were certainly several people that passed her before I did. Perhaps she refused another ride from someone else? Perhaps she was attempting to teach her daughter a lesson about missing the bus? Perhaps she is just another mother trying to prove to the world that she doesn’t need anybody? No matter what the reason, I bid her a good day with my standard, “God Bless You…” It is funny how those three meaningful words can be taken so lightly. It falls on deaf ears. Some people see it as a curse and not a blessing. Therefore, I have begun to follow the words with “…And know that Jesus loves you.” Many times, I get a strange look. The recipient has giggled or laughed at me.  But more often than not, the greeting is returned with a sheepish smile. Rare are the days when I receive a reciprocal blessing or thank you. Just last week, I shared my parting greeting with the woman at the check out in the dental office and the scheduler, who was in the next office over, peaked her head around the corner and stated, “I receive that for me too.” That warmed my heart. I was the one smiling then. I believe the Lord was pleased that day.

This morning, I was leaving the City Building and I had another strange encounter. I had just shared with the clerk at the Water and Sanitation desk, “Have a Blessed Day and know that Jesus Loves You” when I walked out into the hallway and couldn’t find my keys. I stood there near panicking when a retired police officer walked down the hall and noticed my three-year-old with me. He passed us by and then turned around to talk to my son. I thought it interesting that he stopped mid-stride in the other direction to turn around to us. I recognized his face from seeing him several times in the City paper.  He is a well know officer and community servant. He asked my son if he had been a good boy? I explained to Joshua that the man that he was talking to was a police officer so that he would know he was safe.  But what happened next really was a blessed moment.  The retired officer, pulled out his wallet and gave my son a few dollars and told him to buy himself an ice cream for being a good boy. I told him, “Thank you” and “God Bless You”. He smiled and continued in the same fashion he had been before he made the decision to stop to speak to my son. I smiled. A perfect stranger, with a servant’s heart, just rewarded me and my son. Again, I believe the Lord was pleased.

You may be reading this and thinking that it was just a chance encounter.  You may even think that I did something to attract the officer’s attention. I assure you I wasn’t looking fly this morning so that was not the case. But I do think my means of greeting a stranger is paying dividends. When I part my lips to commission a blessing to the strangers that I meet, I truly believe God’s blessings come back to me.

I happened to have accidently left my keys in the Water and Sanitation Office and had to go back for them. The clerk didn’t know the keys were there because they were hidden from her sight behind her console. I believe the hidden keys was a set-up to bless me. It was also an encouragement to continue sharing that God is in the blessing business.

Have a Blessed Day and Know That Jesus Loves You.

How will you greet the next stranger you meet?

Prayer: Blessed Father, you said in your word that they will know that we are yours by the love that we show (John 13:35). Our words may not mean much to some but they are blessings that produce fruit. May we be willing to commission, even strangers, the blessings that are ours to give. May we be mindful of the fruit the will manifest when we are obedient to carry forth your will.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

My Write Path: “It is Not Too Late for You (or Me)”-Episode 2

I said this is the last episode of My Write Path and it is worth repeating, people are often curious about progression.

Since I started this blog, I find myself reading the posts of other bloggers wondering about their “success path” and trying to follow their timeline.  But as I shared in the last episode, my sitting, reading and watching their work was hindering my own progress.  I am not pointing the finger at them.  I am very much to blame.  I was spending so much time on the sidelines that I wasn’t putting action to what I learned from dissecting their stories.  I read and I listened in on the webinars.  I admit, I kept wishing I had started a long time ago.  I found some old piece of my work in a journal and thought, where would I be if I had gotten off my tuff then?  Well, I am so glad that God heard my foolish thoughts and told Jeff Goins to send me this message, It’s Not too Late.

Why It’s Not TOO Late For Us To Become Writers

I am actually a subscriber to Jeff Goins’ emails but I missed this recent message from him about Sandy.  He was announcing that he would be releasing a 3-part interview he recorded with Sandy Kreps, a student of his who founded the popular blog modernsimplicity.org and recently became a published author.  I had not opened the email yet.  But then I saw two message from another influencer of mine, Jonathan Milligan, who mentioned these same videos with Sandy Kreps.  When Jon sent his message, it made me think, “you probably want to go back and take a look at this if Jon has mentioned it twice now.”  So I did.

jeff-goins-and-sandy-kreps

I actually downloaded the transcript for the first two videos before I watched them.  (Jeff really knows how to do it doesn’t he?)

After I watched them both, I went back and read the transcript of the first one specifically because I was intrigued by Sandy’s timeline on her way to becoming a professional writer.

So here is what I gathered:

  • Sandy, a full-time wife, and art director gave birth to her first child in 2005.  (That probably means we are about the same age.)
  • So in love with her first child, she dove into the world of mommy blogging in 2007.  Her first son ignited the “blog spark”.  But she only considered it a hobby.
  • She was laid off her job in 2010 and wanted to stay home with now two boys because her husband traveled a lot.  She still needed income.
  • The lay-off fanned the “blog spark” into a burning flame while unemployment checks provided a bit of kindling.
  • She signed up for the first Tribe Writers Course with Jeff Goins in 2012.  Meanwhile, hubby is not so sure about all the social media stuff that is going on.
  • She spent 2007-2012 teaching herself “the ways of a professional writer.”
  • With the support of the Tribe Community, she released her first ebook on Amazon called Fresh Start.  More book ideas followed and she just keeps writing.
  • She attended the Tribe Conference in 2015.  During the conference, her table talk manifest into a JUST DO IT challenge and she finished the book she had gotten stuck on in 90 days.  One month after finishing the book, Mommy Simplicity, it was published and on Amazon.  She went from stuck to a book published in print in 120 days.
  • Today, Sandy Kreps is a Lifestyle Business Writer full-time.  She has four books under her belt, 12000 email subscribers, blogging business and repeated writing income.

What the success of another person should mean to YOU

If you are able to read this post and look back on Sandy’s story like I did, guess what?  YOU ARE ALIVE!

The timeline was important to me because it spans eleven years from the time her son was born until today.   Which speaks to the beginning question that Jeff asked in this video series, “Can this still be done today?” It’s never too late.

I paid particular attention to the point Sandy made about the years from 2007-2012 that she spent “teaching herself”.  I think intelligent creatives really think we can “figure it out.”  I read something in Jonathan Milligan’s blog that made so much sense to me regarding our sensation with “gathering information.”  He says, “education without action is futile. I see it first-hand all of the time. People take courses, but never take action.”  When I think how relevant that statement is, it stings like a hornet.

In October 2015, I participated in Michael Hyatt’s virtual stream of his Influence and Impact Summit.  Since that week in OCT last year, I have listened to about 25-30 webinars from professional bloggers and creatives who are using the gift God gave them to get their message out to many.  I wish I started then.  I’m convicted of being a bystander.  However, I plead NOT GUILTY of sitting on my gift.  Not Anymore.  It’s Not Too Late for Me.  You Either.

I’m On My Write Path.

Q.Nikki

This post is dedicated to my loved one who have believed I can write and prayed for me to believe it too!

The Romance Between Follow and Love

 

In a land far away, a young ruler named Follow was living a good life.  He was popular and had great wealth.  He was strong and healthy, his family and servants cared for him well.  In Follow’s world, it seemed there was nothing more to want.  Follow was a good son, obedient to what his parents and advisers told him to do all his life.  As a young prince, he had been taught well the ways and traditions of the land.  He was intelligent and had reached each milestone expected of him according to his development as a wise man.  But Follow lacked one very important lesson in life.  Though his family were generous people and gave to many needful projects and causes, Follow was ignorant to social activism.  As the only heir to this Father’s throne, he was highly protected and confined.  Some of his friends spent days on great missions and returned to the land with trophies of accomplishment and high respect for their humanitarianism.  Follow longed for that level of human engagement.  He prayed and asked his father to bestow on him just one opportunity to travel beyond their land to distribute unto the poor.  His father saw the hunger in the young man’s eyes and could not deny him his petition and so he sent him on his quest.

For months, Follow led a life much different from the kingdom privilege that he had known.  It was difficult at first to adjust to the threatening livelihood of the people in the poor country.  But the more time Follow spent with them, the more he wanted to save them.  And he wasn’t at all anxious to leave.

One dfolloway in the country, a young lady was working in the river to catch fish and Follow took notice of her.  He laughed to himself as she fell repeatedly in the mud after dropping her slippery prey and diving to retrieve it.  Fishing was hard but she seemed not to mind.  She was engrossed in her day’s work.  She never took notice of Follow standing nearby on the riverbank gathering reeds.  Each day after, Follow returned to the same spot along the river in hopes to see her again.  He gathered the nerve to ask her if she would allow him to assist her in gathering the fish.  Shy and ashamed of her muddy appearance before the disguised prince, she agreed to accept his help and told him her name, Love.  Many days passed that Follow met the girl at the riverbed day after day after day.  She rarely said a word as he spoke of nature and how beautiful it was and how he so enjoyed the days in her country.  Some days it rained and they continued in their work never seeming to mind the downpour.  At the end of a work day, Follow turned to the lady and pulled the dangling, muddy strains of hair from her face and tucked them gently behind her ears.  He lifted her chin up to his gaze and gently whispered, “what shall a man do to spend life with you?”.  She looked squarely in his eyes and replied, “he needs to give all of himself to LOVE.”  She took his hand and place it on her heart and cupped it under her hand.  Follow smiled and took her hand and kissed the center of her palm.  Knowing his time was ending with the young lady and the people he had come to adore, he said to her, “I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you love Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because my Father is greater than I.”  He left her there in the river. He knew what he needed to do.

Follow returned to his land and to his parents.  The countrymen were eager to know where the young prince had been and what he had done.  But Follow was eager to talk to his father.  He asked for a private meeting and told him of his journey.  When he finished his story of his time with the young lady, his Father had only one question. “What do you want to do son?”  Follow grabbed his father’s hands and cupped them in his own.  “Father,” he said, “I left my throne here in this kingdom and I found LOVE.  I denied myself for LOVE.  I have come to prepare a place for LOVE for where I am there she may be also.”

The young ruler’s time away was expected to mature him socially.  But this was astonishing news.  His Father was delighted that Follow didn’t return home disappointed and was overjoyed to hear Follow’s plans.  The ruler of the land understood that Follow could never be a leader of people without first giving himself to love.  Wonderful things happened in life because of Follow and Love.  Follow and Love married and had Flow.

As the rich young ruler learned in the Biblical parable of Luke 18, Follow discovered that he left the things of the kingdom for his own sake.  You leave not the things of the kingdom for kingdom’s sake, you leave your possessions for your own sake that you may possess more and life everlasting.  That’s LOVE!

Following is a faith thing.  Anything that requires faith, requires love to keep focus on the right things.

Follow.gif by Ben Stafford

What does love have to do with how and who you follow?  Share it with us in the comments.

Who do you choose to follow?

I have a new like.  It is not a love yet but I am beginning to like it very much.  I like Twitter.

You see I only joined Twitter a few months ago.  I joined the same time that I started this blog.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time in order to build a following.  I am learning along the way.  Initially, I only had about a dozen individuals and organizations that I follow on Twitter.  And although I had chosen to follow them, I wasn’t really paying attention to their Twitter feeds.  Many of those I chose were selected because “I like them.”  Last week, I joined the Twitter following of a role model of mine and I was skimming her page when I discovered a mystery.  (Let’s see if you can figure out who I am talking about?)  She is one of my most beloved women in leadership.  Her Twitter profile description simply says “Just a girl…with a sword.”   She has over 229K followers on her personal Twitter account and goes beyond with additional followers on her ministry account.  Yet, she only has 60 people that she follows.  As I browsed the people and organizations in her list, it was a very telling experience.  I would assume (though I may be wrong) that she only chose to follow people closest to her for those people in the Covenant 60 listing are family members, like-minded leaders in ministry and her favorite influencers/artists.  I wanted to Tweet her right away and ask “Why only 60?”

Girl with a sword’s Twitter page reminded me of a teleseminar I attended a little while back with The Christian Mompreneur NetworkTheresa Ceniccola advised the participants of that seminar to narrow your focus.   She said, “if you are listening to too many influencers, delete or unsubscribe.”  That was a key point in her message that day on Promises, Prayers and Practical Steps: How to Build a Business While Raising a Family.  What really struck me is that she offered each listener to “drop her” as an influencer if you didn’t feel that she was resonating with you and who God was using to help.  That was a humble and significant action step I thought Theresa shared that day.  And while I didn’t stick with her advice of only three influencers, I did delete some people and subscriptions out of my inbox that week because I realized that there is truth to “having too many people in our ears.”  Theresa’s advice was so meaningful to me because it helped me realize the intent of following isn’t just about “liking” or “connecting” as it appears in social media.  Social media has made following more about how many tags or rather tag-a-longs we can collect.  We need to reorient the act of following back to its definition and that is to pursue after, come after what or someone who proceeds you; accept the guidance, command, or leadership of.  Following also means to be guided by and move along the path of something or someone gone ahead of you.  The word “pursuit” really speaks to me because I truly believe that you should pursue what you love.  With that in mind, I have adjusted my followership to people, organizations or causes that I love.

I have chosen to apply the Covenant 60 rule to my Twitter page.  I am currently about half-way there.  I invite you to visit my Twitter page today.  As you browse through this small list of people and organizations I follow, you would learn about the music I love, that I am a student of leadership, I am up to date on local news, I advocate and root for family, education and female role models in ministry and I have friends.

As you read this blog post, please know that I am NOT judging your management style or use of Twitter.  Rather, I want you to take to heart the art of your pursuit.  The celebrity world is changing our mindset about followership.  Followership is defined as the reciprocal social process of leadership.  But we need to rid ourselves of the idea that you have to work to grow the number of people in that circle of reciprocity.  It is a covenant ring and you should use wise judgement in who you choose to invite inside the circle.

Are there any tips you have to choosing who to follow?  Share it with us in the comments.

Will You Be Found Faithful?

As a teenager, I ran for school office.  I always wanted the top positon of president or captain of the group.  Young and ignorant back then, I thought if I allowed someone else to sit in a position above me then it meant that I believed that they could lead better than I or that I was afraid of leading.  But today, I am not as quick to grab the top spot.  I’ve learned what type of leader I am.  I am a Joshua leader.  I often tell those who are over me that if they just do their part as Moses then I can handle the Joshua role with no problem.

Moses, of the Bible’s Exodus story, was God’s mouth piece but Joshua was HIS executor.  Joshua’s responsibility was to hear and pay attention to the instruction and then produce; carrying out the will of God with all his resource and potential.  Joshua Leadership is representative of the words of Luke 16:11-12 which bears witness to a man being faithful to another man’s work so that he too can be given his own.  Demonstration of Joshua’s leadership in bible study or character profiles often references the transition of power after Moses’ succession.  This is mainly because we often see leadership as one head and then several branches in descending order and power.  Yet, Joshua was leading even while Moses was head.  Joshua, an undergird of Moses, empowered Moses’ leadership more than we give credit.

Joshua Leadership can be defined as the executor carrying out the administration of a vision such that production and expected ends are achieved.  Here’s why Joshua’s executor position in leadership is vital to any Moses leading well.

Joshua Leadership Defined

Joshua demonstrated the following:

  • Follow in close proximity – In order to undergird, a Joshua Leader has to be close to the chief leader and you must remain humble. Humility requires that you have close relationship with the Lord because our flesh often wants to compete.  When you are humble, the head doesn’t fear your authority or position in relationship to his/her own.  They welcome your closeness and realize the benefit in having the executor to carry forth the will in its practical sense at the same degree that it was visually imparted to the visionary or mouthpiece as in the case of Moses.
  • Execute with thoughtful precision – A Joshua Leader considers the task carefully without being moved by adverse influence. He or she researches and surveys the environment.  They are wise.  Henry Bergson once stated, “Think like a man of action.  Act like a man of thought”.  This is an accurate description of Joshua.  Joshua’s movements were the results of time of reflection and prayer.  When he did execute, the events followed periods of wait and suspense demonstrating his carefulness in taking action.
  • Exercise your faith – Joshua was close to Moses when he prayed in the tabernacle and he would remain even after Moses departed (Exodus 33:11). This is key because this meant that Joshua had his own relationship and recognized that his positon required more time with God intimately.  A Joshua Leader cannot exercise the will of God without first exercising his faith in Him and doing that means to operate those activities of devotion, meditation, good works and recitation of God’s word outside of the time the leader has instructed or demonstrated.
  • Serve with integrity – A Joshua leader has integrity that serves them well. The head knows the accuracy of his/her actions because he/she has proven dependable in the past and repeatedly demonstrates this level of integrity unwaveringly.

I serve a couple of organizations today in a Joshua Leader role.  It is not an easy role to carry because the production of the vision takes a great deal of work.  When I am speaking of Leadership LINKS, Inc.(www.leadershiplinksus.org), I like to say that our Board Chairman is the heart of the organization and I am the circulatory system.  If I am not carrying it, the blood doesn’t get to the places where it is needed.  I know that there is much power in the blood stream.  The Blood Never Loses Its PowerTherefore, there is also a great deal of spiritual warfare involved in serving as a Joshua Leader.  The devil has witnessed once before what a team of Moses and Joshua can do and so he wreaks havoc on these relationships today in churches, organizations, school, governments and marriages.  But the key is knowing your role and being determined to be found faithful.  “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).  Joshua was such a leader.  He proved himself and when succession was necessary, God made him ruler over the same people Moses has led.

I don’t desire the head position like I did as a high school girl and I tell you why.  If I were in the position of Moses, I would want another QuaWanna to undergird me.  So since I can’t serve myself, I would rather be Joshua to someone else.

Are you a faithful Joshua Leader?  Leave a comment about which of the characteristics mentioned above can you attest to that have proven that you are in the right position?