This year, I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving at my house, which makes me both excited and a bit apprehensive. Fortunately, we’ve divvied up the dinner load, so I’m only responsible for cooking a few items. That means I can have fun decorating my Thanksgiving table – one of my favorite activities.
This Thanksgiving, I thought it might be interesting to create little chalkboard tags for each place setting that list one fruit of the Spirit. (I’ll be sharing the tutorial in a later post. Spoiler alert: I used a cereal box and chalkboard paint. )
If you’re unfamiliar with the “fruit,” here is the Scripture reference:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” - Galations 5:22-23
My plan is to explain to my guests to consider the random “fruit” that is written on the tag at their place setting and look for ways to model it during this holiday season. (Place settings are totally by chance. We don’t have assigned seats. )
This little tag is intended to serve as a reminder of the virtues we should all be actively praying for and demonstrating in our lives.
Are you doing anything inspirational for your Thanksgiving guests? If so, please share your ideas in the comments section.
I have a deep, dark secret … I struggle with the urge to quit at least once a day. I want to quit working out, quit eating well, quit blogging, quit podcasting, quit doing the dishes and laundry, quit getting up early … you get the idea. Working toward my goals and dreams always feels like an uphill battle. I mean, it’s a heck of a lot easier to sit mindlessly on the couch watching back-to-back episodes of “The Walking Dead” (my wicked indulgence, by the way) than going through the checklist in my day planner.
Thankfully, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that have kept me from throwing in the towel; steps that have propelled me toward progress and success. Here are my top three:
Go against the (thought) flow
One of the biggest challenges in my life has been whether or not I can make the right choice when I don’t feel like making the right choice. There are so many things I would rather be doing than what I often should be doing. And sometimes I give in to the temptation. But I try to make a pact with myself first. Before I can eat that family-sized piece of cake or spend those two hours surfing Pinterest, I have to complete something productive first … something that will move the needle forward in some way.
For example, over the past few weeks, I’ve really struggled with finding the motivation to write blog posts. Again, this is probably due to my recent unhealthy obsession with “The Walking Dead.” So when the folks over at Signazon contacted me to see if I wanted to try out one of their printed products in exchange for an honest review, I wanted to say no because I didn’t feel like promoting or working on my business.
And thankfully, Signazon’s fast shipping allowed this uber-procrastinator to get my business cards just in time for a speaking engagement I was scheduled to host. The point is that ordering those business cards helped me be better prepared for the speaking event, which in turn better prepared me for future opportunities. The simple, small act of ordering business cards may have put me on a path to future success I could have never known otherwise. And that is really motivating.
Give in and take a break
Sometimes when I want to quit, it’s because I should. For now. I mean, occasionally what I’m experiencing is just a good, old-fashioned case of burnout. And, in these cases, taking a break for a few days can be very helpful. That’s why I always try to take at least one day off each week from working out, checking email and blogging, eating well, cleaning and doing home improvement projects. I need that time to rest and refresh my mind, body and spirit.
Connect with people ahead on the journey
One of the greatest advantages of today’s Internet technology is that we can connect with great people, even though we may not be friends in real life. I have a lot of awesome virtual mentors like Michael, Rory, Pat, Traci and Mandy. (Some of these folks I’ve even been blessed to know in real life!) These people have traveled the road I’m traveling. I can read about and listen to their personal struggles and how they’ve overcome them.
This is why blogs and podcasts have become a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me. I know I’m not alone when I feel defeated, let down and discouraged. Successful people have these same feelings, but they push through and overcome them. They help me see what’s possible on the other side.
Taking these three steps helps me push through those times when I want to quit. And, if I’m completely honest, I don’t always make the right choice. Sometimes I take the easy path. But the difference maker in my life has been the fact that I don’t stay down. I get back up and get moving quickly down the right road, the road that will lead me to the life of my dreams.
Remember, you may fall down, make a wrong decision, take the easy way out. That’s probably not going to be the deal breaker. It’s what you do after that choice that matters.
Saturday, I had the privilege of getting my DIY on with this buff group of musicians from our church’s praise and worship team:
From left to right are vocalists Megan (my sis) and Cindy; Rick, our sound technician; and his wife Michelle, our electric guitarist.
Our goal was to renovate the room that is used to store our traveling sound system and other music supplies. We use this traveling system when we visit places like assisted and low-income housing facilities and host free concerts for the residents there. We have an absolute blast jamming and serving others in the process!
But Saturday, we shifted gears and traded our guitars and microphones for paint brushes and power tools.
We needed to patch and paint walls, build three sturdy shelves to hold our (soon-to-be) organized supplies, and also cut and add wood trim like baseboards and moldings.
Cindy’s husband, Cody, helped us out for many hours in the afternoon with the shelf-building.
Like every other DIY project I’ve taken on … ever … I was pretty ambitious about what could be done in one day. We didn’t get the whole project finished, but we made some excellent progress. My body was worn out but my spirit was refreshed!
Stay tuned for the final reveal post coming soon!
Also, have you used woodworking and wood finishing to improve your community? If so, Minwax® wants to recognize those good works with its Do Good With Wood™ Award!
This award program is open to virtually anyone who has been involved in a wood finishing project – through DIY groups, craft or hobby groups, school wood shop classes, clubs, guilds, parent organizations, etc. Nominate yourself or someone in your community through December 31, 2013. Both individuals and organizations are welcome to enter. Check out all the details here.