Archives for November 2013

A Tale of Two Seas: A Thanks-Living Challenge, Post #4

I love Thanksgiving. I am so proud of our great country, of President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, during the Civil War, who set aside the fourth Thursday of November as a holiday, proclaiming “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

How will you and your family spend this Thanksgiving holiday?

We are blessed with so much, yet we want so much more. We take and take some more. So often, our hearts are wired for discontentment.   To illustrate the point, this tale of two seas comes to mind.

Do you remember learning about The Dead Sea in school or church? The Dead Sea is really a lake, not a sea. It is so high in salt content that a human body can float easily. Supposedly, a person can almost lie down and read a book!  The salt in the Dead Sea is as high as 35 percent—almost 10 times normal ocean water salt content.

All that saltiness means there is no life at all in the Dead Sea. No fish. No sea animals. No vegetation. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea.

The Sea of Galilee is just north of the Dead Sea. This sea, though, is teeming with rich, colorful marine life, plants, and fish. More than 20 types of fish live in the Sea of Galilee.

Guess what the source of water is for both seas? Both the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee receive their water from the River Jordan. How can that be?

The River Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee, then flows out. The water simply passes through the Sea of Galilee, keeping the Sea vibrant and healthy, chock full of marine life.

The Dead Sea, though, is so far below sea level, the water has no outlet. It flows in from the River Jordan, but does not flow out. Figures estimate that more than seven million tons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea daily, leaving it too salty and full of minerals for any marine life to survive.

This “Tale of Two Seas” offers a valuable life lesson on giving and giving thanks. On letting the Living Waters flow through us, not hoard  the life, blessings, gifts and talents we have been freely given.

I challenge you to turn this Thanksgiving into Thanks-living. Not just one day of the year, but every day.

I challenge you not to shop on Thanksgiving or even Black Friday. Marinate in the blessings of what we already have instead of buying more and more and more. Let Christmas shopping wait. Savor the laughter and making memories with your family and friends this weekend. These are gifts unable to be bought.

I challenge you to curb the television watching or even turn it off (sorry, football fans)! Listen to each other, to the music of the loved ones’ voices. Dance. Make your music.

You are the Sea of Galilee, a beautiful body flowing with life, Living Water. Let it flow.

Happy Thanks-Living, dear friend.

Reflect:

  • How will you transform Thanksgiving into Thanks-Living?
  • For what, for whom are you thankful?

Renew:

  • “Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth.” –Psalm 98:7-9.
  • “Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” –Psalm 100:4.
  • “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of Living Water will flow from within him.’” –John 7:37-38.

Recharge:  

  • Please start a Gratitude Journal this week and  list at least three blessings daily. It could be a warm house, your health, laughter, cozy coats and boots. Keep going. You can do it.
  • Please let me know of some of your many blessings.

Resources:

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No Mo Status Quo, Post #3

Do you know who Sir Roger Bannister is?  Or what his claim to fame is? Don’t worry. I only learned of him recently when I realized he made the impossible possible.

Sir Roger Bannister was the first man in the history of the world (or record keeping) to have run a four-minute mile. It was said it couldn’t be done. On May 6, 1954, at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, Bannister broke the four-minute mile with a time of three minutes, 59.4 seconds. Bannister was 25 years old, and at the time was practicing as a junior doctor.

After accomplishing this impossible feat, Bannister’s record only lasted 46 days. Not even two months. Bannister went onto become a notable neurologist. Watch the incredible footage for yourself below in the video link in “Resources.”

What a man. What a dream. What a goal—a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG), as Jim Collins and Jerry Porras call it in their 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

I would rather call it a Big, Holy, Audacious Goal (BHAG). So, dear friend, What is your BHAG, your biggest dream?  What are your passions? What is hindering you from achieving your biggest dream or dreams? I wrestle with these questions.

A few years ago I started my life goal list, some would say a “Bucket List.” Included on my list is to write and publish a book.

Most of my life I have enjoyed writing. For years, I have dreamt of writing and publishing a non-fiction book. Twelve years ago, I had an epiphany to write a book about “waiting,” since we all wait but don’t seem to like it. So what did I do about it?

Not much. I started a folder and would occasionally add handwritten sticky notes with a chapter outline, idea, or quote. The BHAG of writing a book and even thinking of getting it published became overwhelming. “Perhaps when I retire,” I pondered.

In December 2012, my heart was shattered and blindsided from a relationship breakup. In the healing process, I cried out to God and asked what life lessons I could learn from this experience.  The divine answer I received was:

“Write. Write your heart.”

One day in January,  Proverbs 31 ministries President Lysa TerKeurst wrote in a daily devotional that a typical non-fiction book contains about 60,000 words. She usually makes a 12-chapter outline, and tries to write 5000 words per chapter. Suddenly after reading that practical devotional, the impossibility of my BHAG became possible.

Divinely led, I began writing in the evenings after work and on the weekend. I finished the very rough draft manuscript at the end of June, six months later, with 61,329 words. The book, with the working title of Wait.For.It., still is a work in progress.

This adventure led me this past summer to the dynamic Proverbs 31 Ministries “She Speaks” Conference in Charlotte, where I met with three publishers. I also learned how useful literary agents are for many authors, so I attended The Fedd Agency’s “Re:Write Conference” in Austin in October. It is such a delight to meet so many incredible writers and speakers and learn from them.

Through their influence, I, the least “techy” person I know, also took a leap of faith to start this “Pure Inspiration” blog. We’ll see what God does with it all. I am enjoying each moment of the adventure.

If I can do it, surely you, the much more equipped of the two of us, can do it. Please start today.

Reflect:

  • What is/are your Big, Holy Audacious Goal(s)?
  • What keeps you from dreaming big?

Renew:

  • “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” –Matthew 17:20 (NIV 1984)
  • “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” –Luke 1:45 (NIV 1984)

Recharge:

  • Add a deadline and a timeline to accomplishing your BHAG.
  • List the first steps to accomplish your BHAG. Do your first step this week. You can do it!
  • Please let me know what you decide to do.

Resources:

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Ladders and Adders, Post #2

This world is full of choices. I read that the average person makes 1200  choices per day.

Push snooze once more? What to wear? Which shoes? To which radio station do I listen?

Go through the yellow light? Drink just one more glass of wine? Take this leap of faith?

Our attitude is a huge daily choice we make.

Some people may call me a Polyanna, a glass-half-full optimist. I sure strive to be. It comes naturally because my precious mom is a beautiful combination of June Cleaver and Jesus rolled up into one genteel, joyful, encouraging, Southern lady.

My mom once told me that we can choose either to be a ladder or an adder. A ladder is someone who lifts people up, encourages them, and even draws them closer to God. An adder, though, is someone with a biting personality, who, like the serpent by the same name, can drain the life out of you. Which are you?

Charlie Cole is a distinguished, brilliant, handsome man. He retired about five years ago as a dynamic banking executive leader, whose territory covered all of South Carolina. Charlie and his bride of 40+ years, Joanne, go to my church.

In June 2008, Charlie and Joanne returned from a wedding and went upstairs to their bedroom to sleep. In the middle of the night Charlie went to the bathroom and fell down the steps. His fall resulted in paralysis as a quadriplegic, confining him to a wheelchair.

Charlie was immediately airlifted to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where he and Joanne stayed for three months. They returned to Charleston to their new life in their old world. They came home to their beautiful Sullivan’s Island home, already equipped with an elevator. For more than two years Joanne and Charlie tried to navigate fragmented healthcare resources for spinal cord injury patients. Imagine needing a specialized urologist or OB/GYN because you are paralyzed. Imagine needing a Physical and Occupational Therapist to relearn leg and arm muscles to one day, perhaps, walk and even feed yourself again.

Charlie had served since 2002 on the board of our Roper St. Francis Foundation,  Charleston’s great not-for-profit healthcare system. At the time, Roper St. Francis offered no specialized rehabilitation for spinal cord injury patients nor did the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Charlie and Joanne brought awareness to the fact that more than 10,000 spinal cord injury patients live in South Carolina and need better specialized healthcare resources for those who are paralyzed.

Working tirelessly with both Roper St. Francis and MUSC physicians and staff, the Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Roper Hospital was established in June 2011, just three years after Charlie’s injury. As of this writing, close to 200 spinal cord injury patients have been served from all of over the state, since the Center for Spinal Cord Injury is the only collaborative resource of its kind in South Carolina.

I have the pleasure of spending time with Charlie and Joanne weekly as we work together to raise at least $1.5M to endow and sustain the Center for Spinal Cord Injury. Charlie inspires me and everyone he meets. Charlie lives his life intentionally as a tall, tall ladder, not an adder, lifting everyone’s spirits. He turned his “test” into a “testimony” and is truly impacting numerous lives because of it. He brightens every room and heart into which he and his wheelchair roll.

Yes, we have a choice–

To be a victim or a victor of our circumstances.

To be bitter or better because of our circumstances.

To be a Polyanna or a Debby Downer.

To be a ladder or an adder.

The choice is yours.

Reflect:

  • Do you consider yourself to be a ladder or adder? Victim or victor? Bitter or better?
  • What language do you use to speak to yourself or others? Does it build up or tear down?

Renew:

  • “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11
  •  “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” –Psalm 59:16

Recharge:

  •  Name one different choice you plan to make this week toward being a ladder. How will you accomplish it?
  • Please let me know what you decide to do.

Resource:

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