Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is Honesty A Fad of the Past?

I don't do this often for fear of no comments but here goes

I believe in honesty.

Not white lie honesty.

Not "only if it feels good" honesty.

Not" when it's convenient for me" honesty.

I mean good, old fashioned, not sugar-coated honesty.

Now, I know I have a gift of being able to deliver truth in tough situations and have the vocabulary and heart to be sure and not make it brutal or disrespectful.

But my question is, why is it so hard for people to be honest with each other or (better yet) with themselves?

I am just curious because I cannot relate to anything other than complete and open honesty about all things...

Now, I will quickly admit that I used to lie big time as a kid - and I can tell you why I did it then. For attention and because I was extremely insecure. By junior high, I migrated to the truth because it was exhausting making up shit all the time :)

So - someone, anyone, tell me why people are not honest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Authentic Encourager

Within the last week - I've had a few folks ask me if I'm...

super religious?

a preacher?

One person even joked -do you dream about bible verses and the stuff you put up on Facebook?

So I need to explain in case you are not a friend on FB.

Each morning usually before 6 am - I get up and read the bible. This is a ritual that started a few years back when I use to workout at Lifetime fitness at 4:00 am. I'd return home about 5:15 and it was so quiet and so peaceful that I embraced this time to spend a few uninterrupted moments in my Maker's presence.

I've long given up on working out at that hour but would not miss my time with Him daily.

Well since I joined FB- usually I check it right after my reading time and more often than not - I share what I've read or what has inspired me for that particular day.

It was originally my way to remind myself of the great message that He sent especially to me to face the day I was experiencing I'd do it to keep myself encouraged which I've needed in big doses over the last 12 months.

Slowly, I noticed that I was not the only one who was encouraged by my posts.

Each day, each month - I was encouraged more as I read His word that, literally pulled me out of the hands of despair in the last year - I knew that I was not to keep that encouragement to myself.

So the answer is no.

I am not super religious. I love a stiff drink with the best of them and struggle to clean up a lifelong potty mouth of anger that appears with no warning.

I love to teach and love to tell others about my relationship with Him but do not preach even as a hobby.

I am just an Authentic Encourager.

Dictionary says that encourage is to inspire with hope, courage or confidence.

Well, what better than the Word of God in daily doses could inspire hope, courage or confidence in the heart of man?

"What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That's because God cares, cares right down to the last detail." - James 5:11 - The Message

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Authentic Goodness

I heard a song today that I haven't heard in awhile and it reminded me of a very truthful statement.

The chorus goes, "I am thankful that I'm incapable of doing any good on my own."

Funny - that is very true for me.

Yeah, we are all capable of goodness but how many of us actually choose this path often?

I, for one, can say that all the authentic goodness in my heart is motivated by One much bigger than me.

You see as humans, we all seek the good for ourselves in most situations. It is a rare thing that we seek the good for the sake of good.

This week has been particularly challenging for me with three additional kids in my household. Plus it is a Lake in the Hills Board Meeting Week AND a McHenry County Council of Government monthly meeting week.

Could I have piled on anything more? Probably but let's not go there.

Each day as I washed extra dishes, extra clothes , made bigger dinners or listened to additional stories - I kept reminding myself that I was not "good" to be doing this.

He alone is good.

He just used me to extend His goodness this week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

2009 Objectives - Mid Year Update

Happy July everyone!

It is sort of unbelievable to me that half this year is in the hopper already.

I recently took stock again at my original set of objectives for this year and am eager to update you all.

You know you are my accountability group.

Here you can see the original post.

1. Coming along just fine - especially this summer with summer hours. I have successfully taken time with the kids to just hang and it has been fun.

2. Ok - so monthly date nights have been brutal but we did get a nice weekend getaway just us in last weekend AND two weeks ago we saw The Hangover and laughed our butts off. We will be working towards this AGAIN and I hope to report at the 3/4 year mark that we are better and more consistent with this objective.

3. The nails. I have kept Emma's up periodically. Mine - not so much I did have a pedicure in the last month but that is it. Must do better.

4. Election - CHECK and I can even say that I've had a bit of controversy in my first 60 days - check out my other blog. It's been fun and a test of my leadership from my very first meeting in May.

5. This conference booking eludes me. I was close with a Sport Illinois potential conference but it has not worked out. However, I have picked up a new objective, I am working with an off-road racing team to get them 100% funded for the 2010 racing season. Tall order but we have started to lay out a kick a$$ plan that I am certain will be executed to completion.

6. Book progress. None. At the quarterly review, which you can see here, I was not putting any energy here. I had even picked up piano lessons which I took off for the summer. I plan to resume them this fall. This one may have to go with me into next year.

7. We did it - I finally found Maggie's Inc and now I have professionals cleaning my house YAY ME! - Thanks Jules, they are working out just fine. Every two weeks my house is spotless and pretty good in between - I am happy about this one.

8. Beth Moore bible study - I am going to pick up one this week. I'd been studying from a compilation called Hopeful Heart and it is good. Devotional in style but not as in-depth study as the Moore titles but very good. I am looking at doing Believing God , Day-by-Day.

9. Bikes - yeah they are so still in the rafters of the garage and with the weather we've been having - not sure what the deal is here. I will make a commitment to work with Emma for the remainder of the summer and the fall. We are going to ride bikes before 2009 is over. Period.

There you have it. A little more progress on some items. Still hanging on to others. New additions to the list and yet - I am encouraged.

I will say again that the importance of accountability makes objectives worth pursuing. You are my accountability folks.

Thanks for joining me on the journey - I'll holler around mid October with the 3rd quarter results.

Until then... I'll keep working, working, working.

You Can Do It!

I feel moved to encourage some people today.

Whatever you are facing...

Broken relationships ...

Work frustration and/or desperation - Unemployment ...

Personal turmoil of any kind - depression, self-doubt ...

Everyday irritations that have piled up ...

Sickness or sickness of a loved one ...

Take a step back. Breathe deeply. Take a moment to remember ...

Why you value the relationship that is strained ...

A time you loved what you did every day and if that time was when you were a kid - then you need to start visualizing something that you realistically can work towards ...

Who you really are - take a minute to think of three great things about yourself

What is really important - that's right the big stuff - your health, people in your life, your talents ...

Again who you are - you are not your sickness nor does it define you ...

I assert today that life is full of seasons ... perhaps you are in season of growth that is really taking everything out of you.

Take heart and remember you can get through it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thumbprint On My Heart Forever: Thanks, Kenny the Naperville Barber

So exactly three weeks ago tomorrow, I was hanging out in Naperville with a high school friend I hadn't seen in over 20 years. Reunion by Facebook. We ate an awesome dinner and reminisced over wine and cocktails and laughed our familiar laughs over and over again.

Not wanting to stay out too late or wanting the night to come to an abrupt end, we headed across the street to Potter's Place for another round, which ended up being 7-Up for me with the 30+ mile trek back to Lake in the Hills in my mind. I was distracted at best, worried about getting home in the worst way.

There at the end of the bar was Kenny. Kenny is not his real name, just in case he's not into public recognition.

Now Kenny was basically the Mayor of Naperville. Not a person passed without greeting him. He held court with a small group of friends and stopped to talk to anyone who he made eye contact with.

We - Carmen and I - were no exception.

I'll pause here with the message I want you to take away. Never, and I mean NEVER think you know people until you take time to know them. We should look deeply into people's eyes and hear them when they speak to us. Really strive to know others - even those who are so different than you. You will never be sorry for doing so.

Kenny had a tattoo on his arm - Isaiah 40:28 - 31. Look it up.

He smoked but was careful not to smoke on us.

He respected us (younger than he) professional black females (PBF) that entered the bar that night.

He spoke candidly of how we should "love and feed our husbands - if we had them" one did, the other doesn't. Anymore.

He talked so frankly about his relationship with Christ and how Jesus had saved him.

He initiated a conversation about the state of Corporate America and the PBF - daring, was he. He even commended Carmen and I for our success "considering...." I quickly commended him for caring enough to ask.

He introduced us to a woman - single and beautiful woman raising her two daughters after a nasty divorce - who he led to Christ.

The woman's face lit up when I mentioned I was a "Creeker"

It was the most bizarre yet touching thing that happened to me in awhile. On a beautiful Thursday night, I was in a bar in Naperville, IL with a high school pal talking Jesus with the local pub crawlers.

It was perfect.

Every word that Kenny said to me rings in my ear. His message of love, peace and understanding and the simplicity of grace that was so prevalent in his life was so authentic that it just covered me that night and ever since.

I was still processing my encounter with Kenny when the news of MJ hit one week later on June 25 so I had a pause in processing but it resumed immediately after the memorial concluded yesterday.

My encounter with Kenny was like an encounter with Christ himself. He is a simple man- a barber and hard working divorced dad who wore his convictions on his forearm, Isaiah 40: 28-31.

I am forever changed by his compassion, his struggle and his love for others.

Kenny reminded me that through our mistakes and flimsy attempts to know God and please Him -all God really asks of us is to be the best fill-in-the-blank (Denise, Kenny, your name) we can be and love others.

Forgive others.

Have mercy on those we say we love the most.

As we said goodbye that night - it was with a solemn hug and big smile that Kenny said, "I may not see you again on earth - but I will see you on the other side."

Yes - Kenny you will.

I can't wait to see your smile again. I'll let you get me that drink I passed on that night.