Day 13 – Family Ways to Consecrate for 21 Days #DanielFast2018

Hello!

Do you remember the song, “When You’ve Been Blessed” by Patti Labelle? The first words of the song, she says “Pass it on”. She then goes on to sing about the world we live in and how important it is for us to be a blessing to others.

We all are His children sharing gifts from above…When you’ve been blessed feels like heaven. – Patti Labelle

During this consecration, we are participating in a #DanielFast for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord. Make no mistake that as you develop spiritually, your relationships are being affected as well. Your loved ones are being impacted. Your relationship with food is being improved. Your relationship with time is being challenged. Your relationship with money is being critiqued. It is all good though. It is my hope that these posts help you to realize the benefits of consecration within a community; your community, your family. As a result of these posts, I truly have been blessed by your engagement and encouragement to continue sharing these bits of wisdom. So, will you do as Ms. Patti Labelle instructs us to do?

When you’ve been blessed, Pass it on. Pass it on.

Morning Devotion

Read Matthew 13:18-52

This passage of scripture is sometimes referred to as “seven great parables.” I think of the classroom when I read these parables from Jesus. It is as if he was providing enough examples of the description of heaven to reach every person assembled. That is what a good teacher does. They don’t just teach one or two or fifteen, they adjust their instruction to the best of their ability to reach the class. This instruction on heaven is so important that Jesus wanted to make sure no one misses it. No wonder they called him Teacher. Don’t you just love Jesus? He certainly loves you.

Today’s Faith Sight Word

HEAVEN. To a child, thoughts of heaven are filled with wonder. When you ask them about heaven, you are likely to receive several different answers. But here is a definition I love, “the place where All God’s Children belong.” We should be as little children. Thoughts of heaven should feel us with excitement. Mature believers need to teach those developing in their faith to be heavenly minded. This is our destiny.

Recipe for the Fast

Tomato-Basil Quinoa

1/2 cup of quinoa (feeds a family of 4-5)

1 cup of vegetable broth

2 tablespoons of California Sun Dry Julienne Cut Sun-Dried Tomatoes

half green pepper (diced small)

minced garlic

2 sprigs of fresh basil (chopped finely)

Add vegetable broth and minced garlic to saucepan and heat to boiling. Once boiling, add quinoa and cover.  Once quinoa is prepared to the desired density, fluff in the green peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. Garnish with basil sprinkled over the top. Enjoy!

Confession

Repeat as many times during the day as you remember it.

I am on my way to heaven. Heaven is my goal and where I wish to be. I will live my days, actively engaged in storing my treasures above. I am in this world but not of this world. The world will know to whom I belong by the love I show.

Storytime

Recommended for ages 0-6 years old

What is Heaven Like? Beverly Lewis and Pamela Querin (Illustrator)

Again, I have to give a shout out to friends who have helped me prepare these 21- days of family activities and tips. Thank you, Lakita Epps and family, for providing me with this book suggestion today.

At some point, every child gets curious about heaven. This usually happens when parents have to explain that a loved one has died and “gone to heaven”.  Author, Beverly Lewis, wrote this book to help parents when that time comes. We want our children to develop an idea of heaven not based on cartoonists images but on the vivid descriptions in the word of God. Therefore, mature adults need to get excited about heaven. If you really know what to expect, you would be.

Feel free to tell us about your experiences during the consecration in the comments below.

If you haven’t shared these posts with your friends and family, I encourage you to pass on the blessing. Thank you.

“Heirs Together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

This Family is His Family.

Love Your Legacy,

Mrs. Q.

Day 11 – Family Ways to Consecrate for 21 Days – DanielFast#2018

Day 11. The number 11 has special meaning. Last month, my sister and brother- in -law celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary. When she asked her husband what was significant about that number, he said, “Year 11 is great! No matter how you turn the number 11, it’s the same, backward and forward. We’re the same Babe.” I loved that. Today, think of yourself as the number one and God as the number 1 (because HE is) and you’re standing side by side. That is what we strive for in our periods of drawing closer to Him during the consecration. No matter how you turn it, people see Him when they see you.

Morning Devotion

Read Luke 4:1-32

Some years ago, I watched the movie, The Passion of the Christ. The scene where Satan appears to tempt Jesus is still impressionable in my mind. When he stomps his foot on that adder’s head, without a word, Christ is demonstrating his power over the enemy. This is the power that is imputed to us. May we knit our hearts to God in order that we know the fullness of the anointing that He intended for us.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

 

Today’s Faith Sight Word

THE ANOINTING. “Transformation of our being as a result of time spent with the Lord.” This is my definition of the anointing. It is not the oil. It is not the office or position associated with it. The anointing is the Holy Spirit at work in human beings who devote themselves to connect with God’s power. The anointing is not exclusive to priests, pastors, kings, and teachers. It is apparent in lawyers, painters, missionaries, and secretaries. All you need to receive the anointing is to be present with God.

Recipe for the Fast

Tropical Morning Smoothie

1/2 cup of fresh coconut (from the fruit not flaked)

2 gala apples (diced)

1 can of pineapple tidbits (add the juice)

1/2 cup of mango chunks

2 kiwi (peeled and sliced)

Coconut is so good when it is fresh. However, it is tough to get the “meat” out of the coconut. Here are the instructions for cracking open a coconut from Martha Stewart. You may choose to use the coconut water in the smoothie or save for something else. It is your choice. Place all the ingredients in the blender. (The Ninja is one of our best investments). This recipe makes 2-3 glasses (16 oz).

Confession

Repeat as many times during the day as you remember it.

The presence of the Lord is here. Wherever I go, Whatever I touch or Whatever I create, I do it to advance the King of Glory.  He is worthy of the honor and I I proclaim this is the year of the Lord’s favor. I profess my faith to make him known. My works are established and the beauty of the Lord is upon me.

Storytime

Recommended for ages 0-16 years old

What Happens When I Talk to God?

Every parent should have one of the books by Stormie Omartian in your personal library. You are missing out if you don’t. She is the author of The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of the Praying Series. My children have been given four of her books. I read her book, The Power of a Praying Wife in my early years of marriage. We also own the book, A Little Book of Powerful Prayers.  We are a praying family. Encouraging your children to understand the purpose and power of prayer. This book is great for your family. It also helps them to understand that time spent with the Lord has several benefits.

“I may be just a child, but my prayers have power because I am valuable to God. Even though children are small, their prayers are big in God’s eyes.” – What Happens When I Talk to God, author – Stormie Omartian

Feel free to share with me your experiences during your consecration in the comments below.

“Heirs Together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

This Family is His Family.

Love Your Legacy,

Mrs. Q.

Day 6 – Family Ways to Consecrate for 21 Ways

Welcome to the weekend! The heading says DAY 6 but you are really into the final day of the week. Great job!

Your commitment to participate in consecration with your family will benefit you, them and those around all of you. I pray that these posts are supporting your success in your time of consecration and bring encouragement to your family.

Morning Devotion

Read 1 Kings 3:5-15

King Solomon was the young successor of King David for the people of Israel. I don’t know about you but I think the story of King Solomon is so relevant to “Growing Up Christian”. In this passage, Solomon acknowledges that he is young and needs wisdom to lead. God answers Solomon with the promise of James 1:5.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

As growing Christians, we need to be able to recognize our shortcomings and bring them before the Lord. That is why fasting and prayer are so great for our character and spiritual development. Solomon reminds us that reputation is nothing without the counsel of the Almighty.

Today’s Faith Sight Word

DISCERNMENT. Every human being has the ability to discern; meaning to distinguish right from wrong. If you know how to determine whether someone has good intentions or not, you are operating in discernment. Everyone is not so easy to figure out and people are crafty. In order to get beyond evil tricks and unapparent deception, we need the power of the discernment.

Recipe for the Fast

Oven roasted russet potato hash

– 3 large potatoes (peeled and diced)

– 2 cloves of garlic and 1 large onion (minced)                 

– your choice of spices (no salt)                                                     

Drizzle the potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle on a few spices, and put them in the oven! While the potatoes are cooking, saute the fresh garlic and onion in a skillet on the stove. Saute for 5-10 mins. Bring potatoes out of the oven. They should be crispy. Scrape potatoes into the skillet with the garlic and onions. Mix and serve.

Confession

Repeat as many times during the day as you remember it.

I am a soldier in the army of the Lord. God has fashioned my life for armor that fits me. Jesus fights with me. He always wins. I have the victory. I seek justice and walk humbly with God.  I do not walk in fear. When I ask for wisdom and discernment, he grants it liberally. When I stay in His word, my ability to discern grows. It helps me to know what I need to know.

Storytime

Recommended for ages 6-16 years old

The Prince Warriors (Book 1)

In October of 2016, I went down to the bookstore and purchased the first book of the Priscilla Shirer trilogy for my older children (then ages 10 and 7). My daughter, who would watch The NARNIA Chronicles film series on repeat if I allowed her to do it all day, instantly loved the book by Priscilla Shirer. Most people know that this book exposes children to the reality of  “spiritual warfare”. However, when I asked my brilliant daughter what she felt was the theme of the book, she said it was about “discernment”. When I asked her why. She said, “because it takes discernment to know what is behind the doors presented to you in life.” The book illustrates several choices that these young people have to make as they navigate the spirit realm. Jenesis understood this to mean that we all have choices to make in life. You can’t know what is really for you without discernment. Well, there you have it. My daughter has just shared with you the reason you should buy the book.

Bonus Tip: Are you keeping track of which Bible stories relate to the Faith Sight Words I have shared? This might serve you well in future discussions with your children about their faith. There are several stories in the Bible that relate to discernment. Which character would you have chosen? Esther? Hosea? Paul? 

Feel free to share with me your experiences during your consecration in the comments below.

“Heirs Together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

This Family is His Family.

Love Your Legacy,

Mrs. Q.

Day 4- Family Ways to Consecrate for 21 Days

Thus far during this period of consecration, I feel like I am nesting. Fasting is a form of purification for our body naturally. I have also found that when you are spiritually cleansing the body during the consecration, you will find yourself purifying your surroundings. I purged my bathroom vanity …

Day 3 – Family Ways to Consecrate for 21 Days

Congratulations, you are halfway through the first week of your consecration!

At this point, you’re realizing that it takes the right mindset during fasting to accomplish the will of God concerning you. I’ll be honest, that is not easy.  The mind seems more difficult to tame than the fork during the consecration. That is precisely why it is important that we invest, sacrifice, and devote our time for sacred submission under the power of the Holy Spirit. 

All five of these ACTION ITEMS are meant to help you keep your focus on the gains in your consecration. I pray that these tidbits are helping you push onward. We are going to make it these 21 days. You’re already 4 days in. Let’s keep going!

Morning Devotion

Read Luke 8:40-56

Jesus was known to the people of his time as a teacher. Teachers attract people that need their instruction but they also attract critique. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, he finds many that need him but he also finds those that wish to analyze and evaluate him. The critique means that the “word has gotten out”. The stories of the “woman with the issue of blood” and the daughter of Jairus in Chapter 8 of the book of Luke demonstrate the great magnetism of Jesus Christ. In the same way that these miracles that Christ performed established his most wanted status, we can share our stories of Christ’s influence in our lives.

Today’s Faith Sight Word

TESTIMONY. According to the children, to share how good God has been in your life is to share your testimony. The type of people you attract denotes the effectiveness of your testimony. Keep sharing your testimony!

Recipe for the Fast

Vegetable Lentil Stew

– cumin powder ( 1 pinch)                                – okra

– turmeric (1 tablespoon)                                  – 1/2 cup of diced onion                     

 – can of tomatoes (drained)                              – 1 cup of lentils

– minced garlic (1 tablespoon)                          – 3 cups of water

– olive oil (3 tablespoons)                                 – sliced carrots (1/2 cup)

– diced celery (1/2 cup)                                    – cubed potato (1/2 cup)

In a 3 quart pot, bring water to a boil. Add lentils. Boil 20 mins. In a skillet, add all vegetables with seasoning herbs. Saute’ until onions are lucid. Add vegetable mixture to lentils in water. Pepper to taste. Serve when lentils are soft but not mushy. 

Confession

Repeat as many times during the day as you remember it.

I will testify. I will tell of the goodness of my Lord because I was made to bring glory to Him. I grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.

Storytime

Recommended for ages 3-6 years old

Peanuts: Be Yourself

This book tells the story of each of the Peanuts characters. It is a character empowerment book that celebrates the individual personalities and interests of the Peanuts gang. While it may not be considered a “Christian Children’s book”, it is certainly an inspiring resource for developing positive self-esteem and encouraging your youth to tell their stories in their own unique voice. This one was a gift to my family and all of my children love it.

Feel free to share with me your experiences during your consecration in the comments below.

“Heirs Together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

This Family is His Family.

Love Your Legacy,

Mrs. Q.

 

Day 1 – Family Ways to Consecrate for 21 Days

As promised, you are receiving FAMILY WAYS TO CONSECRATE FOR 21 DAYS.

Our family fast started 07JAN2018. So, you are actually receiving congratulations for completing your first day. Yay!!!

The commitment to fast and pray is all consuming. Therefore, it is helpful to have some reinforcing reminders throughout your day when you are participating in a period of consecration. These five ways have helped my family and I recognize that the purpose of fasting and consecration is not meant to focus on what you are not eating. Rather, you should be more concerned about what you’re feeding your heart, mind, and spirit. All five of these ACTION ITEMS are meant to help you keep your focus on the gains in your consecration.

The devotion helps me get started with my day and I usually start my fast with reading the word and prayer. The confession is helpful to keep before me when I am tempted to eat something I shouldn’t. You may want to write it down on a notecard and put it somewhere visible to the whole family. I am only providing one recipe per day. Each of our morning, noon and evening meals are plant-based meals. We generally have corporate prayer with our church at 7 PM EST each evening during the consecration. We end the night with praying with the children at bedtime and reading them a story. I hope you enjoy the different stories we have picked for you. Many of them are in our personal book collection.

Morning Devotion

Read John 3: 1-21

The story of Nicodemus represents to all of us the grace of God. It is by grace that we are born again. It is the grace of God that enables us to believe and understand the will of God concerning all of us. Nicodemus came to understand the price of sin and the power of Jesus to forgive his sin all in one meeting with Jesus. Nicodemus means “the people’s victory.” With Jesus, we win.

Today’s Faith Sight Word

SALVATION. According to the children, salvation is defined as God’s plan to bring us home to heaven through His offering Jesus as a sacrifice who died to forgive our sins. His salvation plan means that he loves us so much that he desires the best for us. We should commit our lives to God and follow the example Jesus Christ gave us. Salvation is free because Jesus paid the price on Calvary. We live saved today and our reward will be to live with God in heaven.

Recipe for the Fast

Breakfast Green Smoothie

2 – kiwi peeled and cut

2 – apples (gala or honey crisp)

1 – a large sprig of fresh mint

–  frozen cubed avocado 

–   diced fresh pineapple

–  large handful of kale greens or spinach

–  quarter size of ginger

Place all contents in your blender and add water to your desired consistency. Pour in a glass and enjoy!

Confession

Repeat as many times during the day as you remember it.

I am forgiven. Jesus died that I might live freely. I am free of disease, ill wills, perversion or self-destruction. God gave me his best and he withholds no good thing from me. He has given his children authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt me. I am born again. Child of the Living God. I am for Him and he is for me.

Storytime

The Adventures of Connor the Courageous Cutter: Saving Sarah
This is an eye-opening tale of the Master’s loving way of guiding His children to Him whether we realize it or not. Authors, Scott McBride and Rod Thompson, share the tale of a personified sea vessel’s journey; capturing the message of God’s loving plan of salvation and clearly speaks to the hearts of young and old readers. A book for the growing believer and those who love them.

Bonus Tip – My family and I use the First5 app for our morning devotions. The devotions come straight to your phone as a wake up alarm. My sons and daughter love the devotions. Though my children are young, I very rarely have to explain the wording of the devotions. My 4 year old tends to ask questions. I can generally determine, while I am reading the devotion aloud, which parts of it that I need to explain further. When I come across something that I need to provide more explanation, I generally skip it. I read the devotion to myself before the children awake for school. This helps me review and prepare before I share the devotion with them.

You may choose to use a digital app, journal, online resource or just the reading of the Bible for your devotion. Whatever the case, I can attest to you that making the commitment to start your day off with your children with an inspiring word gives you encouragement to get through your day in the most rewarding of ways.

Feel free to share with me your experiences during your consecration in the comments below.

“Heirs Together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

This Family is His Family.

Love Your Legacy,

Mrs. Q.

One Year Ago Today

WE HAVE A ONE -YEAR – OLD IN THE HOUSE!

This blog, Notes and Commentary, was born one year ago today.  Looking back on that first post really enlightened my perspective on this anniversary. Because I started, I have something to look back on. Because I started, I have lessons to share. Because I started, I am closer to where I want to be. And because I started, I am not where I used to be. Celebrating the success of starting!!!

We started Notes and Commentary sharing about jotting down the ideas, experiences, and notes on our lives. That focused evolved within the year. We realized our strong love of faith, family, and community is our worldview. The emphasis on noting is still present in the content. The blog reminds us of what God is speaking to us. “Notes are birthplaces of ideas. Notes are content” (Written in that first post).

Within the past year, I started a notebook I labeled “Big Idea Binder” and I asked God to help me stay mindful that I cannot abandon the ideas just because they are not ready to be birthed. I wrote them in the binder and I asked God to teach me to trust Him that He will guide me to bring them to fruition in his timing. ACTION ITEM: Make Your Big Idea Binder. Insert every idea that comes to your mind. Pray over these ideas and ask God to lead you into the next step for each of them.

June is my birthday month and that is what led me to start the blog in June. I promised myself I would write every day for thirty days. Well, I couldn’t keep it up for thirty days. I only wrote eleven posts in June 2016. But 11 is still more than 0. I share that to encourage the writer reading this post. Leave Your Zero Today. (That will preach!)

Here are a few things I learned giving birth to a blog.

  • Just Keep At It. It doesn’t have to be long or brand new content. Use your notes from past experiences. Read and write about what you read. Help yourself by reading blogging insights.
  • Create messages that inspire readers to act. I try to add an action item in all my content.
  • We can research for too long. You will not know everything there is to know about blogging when you start. Most of your development comes from trial and error. So just get started!
  • Use your notes and ideas for yourself and stop giving them away. It is okay to be selfish.
  • Accept help and ask for help. You don’t have to do this alone. Several people offer free information online. Reach out to a fellow blogger. Join a blogging community. I joined a Facebook community of Christian Women Communicators led by Kia Stephens and I love it!
  • Pay for resources. Why do we starve our creativity by being stingy with helpful purchases?
  • Educate yourself. Take some courses on software. Pay for consultation time. Read the fine print.
  • WordPress is not that simple. (Mind you, if I had done the previous action well before I started my blog, I may think differently.) Theme searching is nerve racking. I think new bloggers just wants to load the software, get the theme and get creating. Why does it have to be so hard?
  • Market yourself. Tell people that you are writing (I need help in this area.) Shy doesn’t sell.
  • Support other writers. Publish helpful resources. I often share the resources of those people I follow because it is helpful to me. Michael Hyatt, Natasha Robinson, Jonathan Milligan or Jeff Goins do not pay me a dime to drop their names in my post. Their information is helpful to me and so I share it with other writers. I was never involved in competitive sports. I hate feeling like I am in competition. If God disliked voices being heard at the same time, we would never have heavenly choirs. Be in concert, rather than competition. The role for creatives to play is to find those with whom you can collaborate and advocate for your respective messages in unison.

Henri Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.”  I also think it takes consistency. I set a goal to write for thirty days last June. Well, that wasn’t a realistic goal. I had a two-year-old in the home and I just started a new job. So I failed in that 30 – day writing goal. By next June, I will have a better sense of my blog schedule and routine. My goal in this next year is to write more consistently in my worldview and establish myself as an authority on the topic of Family and Servant Leadership for communities and non-profit organizations. Notes and Commentary will become a resource hub and so the blog is going to share more applicable information with our audience. More action items! More how-to-teach content.

So there you have it. I have shared our journey from a reflective point of view.

Jeff Goins is right. One year later, I am so happy that I started.

Happy Birthday Blog!

 

 

Parenting the Stages of Life

It was over a decade ago that my oldest child changed our world. I remember leaving the hospital on that July afternoon in my brown, cotton sundress walking slowly towards the exit door as my husband carried our baby girl in her car seat. The reality of parenthood swept over me.  I recruited help.  First mom visited, then my mother-in-law, then some help from the sisters at church. Eventually, the help ran out. I had to face the fact that parenthood means you have the duty. And so began my mission to successfully accomplish milestones.

I don’t find it the least bit reassuring that the word milestone has a close similarity to its cousin millstone which means to have a heavy and inescapable responsibility. Did I ever use the word milestone before I became a parent? Parents never just look at the next step in development as a success, we are focusing two – three steps down the road. For that reason, I don’t think I ever celebrated her milestones.

Fast forward ten years, two boys added to our brood and many gray hairs in the front of my head, I am facing yet another milestone. She is now about to transition to her middle school years. I have been praying about this for months. I was having a conversation with my godmother when she said, “Jenesis only has seven years left before college.” Suddenly, I felt like I was behind the power curve. Stories of how middle school transforms our children began to create fear in my heart. Then one morning, the spirit of the Lord encouraged me to get excited about this time. Look at what she has accomplished in her decade of existence. I thought of her friends, teacher comments and many projects. I remembered when she cringed in fear at the Talent Show in 1st Grade. She held me in a death grip on the floor in front of the stage when her name was called to perform. My thoughts went from concentration on the elapsed time to focus on how I am the very best person for the job of facilitating her next move. Her life (as well as that of her brothers) has meant so much to my discovery of my purpose in this earth.

We, mothers and fathers, are given the responsibility of raising children to help bring about favorable outcomes for them. Call it what you will. As for me, parenting takes laborious effort. Yet, I am finding that intentional effort makes all the difference in whether your child reaches her milestones in due time. You should celebrate when they do.

It is graduation season and everyone is looking towards the future. What about the time in between the close of the last door and the opening of the next? Perhaps, you are not the parent of a graduate, but you are facing just as important a transition with your child. Maybe your daughter is having her first baby? Is your son about to start a new job? Here are some ways you can parent them through their passage to_________ (you fill in the blank).

Reflection is Good for the Soul Back in March, Victoria Beckham was deemed an “internet troller” for embarrassing her son, Brooklyn, in several photos posted to social media. Referencing the proud mother’s shameless gush over her son in post after post, Hollyscoop’s announcer @MADDISIONHILL93 stated, “Parents. How would anyone know about our accomplishments if we didn’t have them to brag about them for us?” I loved the truth in that statement. Brag on your child. We give parents a hard time because they brag. You should celebrate children. More importantly, brag to your child. Remind them of what they have done and retrace the road they have been on that has led them to the place they are today.

ACTION ITEM: Keep a large binder of their report cards, good grades, photos, writings and artwork. Sit down with them and flip through it. Afterward, have them write their own vision/purpose statement or draft a personal CV reflecting on their life experiences rather than on their held positions.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? Children need to be directed to their life track. You want them to live their life. By showing them how they have lived to date, you are helping them re-center. This is also useful for your older children. You can’t imagine how thankful they will be that you helped them to remember the things they loved as children. It may just refocus their life’s purpose.

Model the Way It is a fact that we are our children’s first teachers. We influence their faith and their actions. Actions speak louder and resonate with children like no other message you give. Consistency with them is important. Stop with the sermons. (I am talking to myself here.) If you want them to practice good values for their lifetime, you have to model them before them. They will carry forward what you show them more than what you told them.

ACTION ITEM: Spend at least one period a month demonstrating something with your child like a new project or teaching a new skill such as how to make a certain dish. Memorize a Bible verse each week. In addition to reading a bedtime story, show them how to pray. Make a list of things that have been practiced at home (such as curfew). Practice consistency.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? When your child does leave home, they will likely continue doing the things that they have practiced with you as well as what they have watched you do. Your rules at home will extend to their neck of the woods without your physical presence because your character presence before them has made an enduring impact.  

Be Village People As much as our children would like to think that they know how to pick friends, judge and listen to the right voices, they don’t. Parents, you have to introduce them to how to discern safe people and build community among like-minded supporters. You must encourage what my friend Natasha Robinson, author of “Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship”, calls “village” experiences. You want your child to gravitate towards life partnerships that encourage them to be their authentic self, value their unique gifts and encourage individual goal achievement—–PARENT THEM.

ACTION ITEM: Help your child list the characteristics of a friend and a safe person. Introduce them to people who can serve as mentors in their lives such as a professional in their desired career field. Invite their friends over so that you get to know the people around them. Read together the book, Touching the Holy: Ordinances, Self-Esteem, and Friendship by Robert J. Wicks. Talk to them about creating safe boundaries and how to protect their environment.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? God created us to be relational people. Even after your child leaves home, they will need people. They need to know how to build a village and protect their fort. This will benefit them in the long run. Your child must know what belonging looks like and be able to cultivate healthy relationships. Help them understand that peculiar (1Peter 2: 9) is extraordinary.

I pray that this helps you look forward to the next stage in your child’s life with peace and reassurance.

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for life and the blessing of progression through life’s stages. In a time of transition, let us recall Ecclesiastes 7:8 that reminds us that the end of a thing opens the door to a future reward.

Congratulations to whom it is due and best wishes on your achievement of this momentous milestone!

CELEBRATION TIME, COME ON!!!

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.