Friday, January 13, 2012

Powerful Words

This has been an extremely busy week with lots of encounters with many different people.  I have been personally reminded of what I already knew:  words have enormous power!

Words of affirmation are among the most powerful.  A short heart-felt statement that bears the message "good job" gives the recipient an extra burst of energy to continue pursuing the goal.  An enthusiastic answer to a request for help affirms that you are not alone in the given pursuit.  Both of these statements generate feelings of enpowerment and confidence to attempt to accomplish even greater exploits in the future.

In contrast, a thoughtless snide comment, often made without considering the implications, can wound a person deeply.  When these comments refer to past situations -- with no acknowledgement of growth or change -- the result can be a tremendous setback, resurrecting past issues related to self-confidence and self-esteem.  In my experience, these snide remarks typically come from individuals who neither know me intimately nor care about my personal welfare on any level.  Given that understanding, it becomes important that the hearer's reaction is consistently that the ignorance expressed through snideness is probably a reflection of the speaker's own self-loathing and must be brushed-off, ignored, and forgiven.

Thankfully, I have experienced both of these scenerios personally this week.  I consider myself blessed to have been the recipient of the positive statements early in the week.  That built me up so the rude remarks directed my way didn't knock me down entirely, despite the hurt they still inflicted.  The next time I have the opportunity to speak into someone's life, I hope that I will recall the power words have had in my own life and decide to use my words to impart life and hopefulness rather than bringing destruction and suffering.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trees, Trees, and More Trees

Everywhere I look, it seems I find a tree today.  Perhaps this will help you understand a bit more:
I have spent much of my day today cutting, buying materials, and taping these trees to the walls in preparation for Sunday's children's classes at my local church.  The children are in the early stages of a series on the Fruit of the Spirit and they are getting ready to become trees bearing God's fruit!  It has actually been a lot of fun transforming their classroom for this unit.  

So no one thinks that I imagine these are masterpieces, let me share how the trees took shape.  Last week, students lay on craft paper and had their outlines drawn.  These outlines (complete with outstretched arms) became the trunks of their tree.  Tomorrow, I'll add letters to identify each child's tree.  

Over the coming weeks, students will add pieces of fruit to their tree representing the focus of that week's lesson.  This will double as an attendance chart as well.  Along the way, we'll have a few surprises as well.  I'm planning on adding birdhouses, butterflys, and other ornaments to keep the kids intrigued and coming back.

While it's a lot of fun, it's also a lot of work to put together these decorations.  I'm just thankful that I only have to do this every 3 months or so.  Needless to say, this guy can't do this as easily as he used I'm dragging tonight.  Someone told me tonight that this will probably prove to be more trouble that it is worth.  I had to disagree;  the effort will be worth it all as we watch these children grow into "trees of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:3) and begin bearing the Fruit of the Spirit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

That's really all I've got on my mind at the moment.  So here's a little video for your viewing pleasure.  I'm definitely ready for some warmer weather!