Guest Post: Give THANKS with a grateful heart

Give thanks with a grateful heart! I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving. A designated day to give thanks, a national holiday. What would happen if we gave thanks EVERY DAY– the days that were terribly hard and bad, the days that were full of fun and laughter, the days that we are just reflective and pondering, and all the other days?

How different would our lives look, when we intentionally seek out and find things to be thankful for? Giving thanks first changes us. It sets our hearts on the right path, it makes us eager to look for things to be thankful for, even the smallest of things. It makes us appreciate those necessities that we have that others don’t, like fresh water.

Giving thanks forces us to live a life of “wide open hands and heart” verses living with “closed fists and a cold heart”. Living a life of thanks allows us to invest in those around us and to model a grateful heart to the next generation.

Giving thanks even in the worst and most difficult times allows us to find some good in those times, it makes us search for it and it offers us hope that tomorrow will be better.

So TODAY as you start your Christmas shopping and battle the crowds, be respectful of those around you, smile, look for things that you can give thanks for, and share with us your experience.

YES, today we join together and give thanks with a grateful heart!

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The Every Day Leader: Cowosophy

What would a farm be without cows?!   Bunches of them.  The dairy farm I grew up on was no different.  Turns out, cows need tending to daily.  If it rained the cows were muddy.  If they were out in the pasture they had to be herded in for milking.  Regardless, they needed to be cared for.

We were all expected to help.  If there was a blizzard, if it was pouring rain, or 100 plus degrees with a million flies around – the cows still had to be milked twice a day.  It didn’t matter if you wanted to go on vacation,  if there was a wedding, or a big event at school – the cows couldn’t wait.

Cows are like that.

I look back to the days of milking cows.  At the time, I didn’t like it.  Now, I am grateful for that life experience I had as a kid.  I am grateful for the lessons I learned about work ethic and responsibility.  And I am thankful for the lessons about caring for living animals, knowing they were dependent on you.

Life is like that.  The things we think are horrific at the time, don’t seem so terrible when we look back on them.  What we don’t see at the time is how those times are shaping and molding us into the people we are today.  It is during those hard times that our character is being developed.  These things help define who we are deep down.

It is almost as if I can hear my dad saying…”See, it wasn’t so bad!”

He would be right of course.  It wasn’t so bad.  I learned discipline.  I learned responsibility.  I learned the importance of doing what you said you were going to do.  I learned that if I didn’t – things and others suffered.  I learned to work as a team.  I even learned how to laugh together in the midst of the work. Flies and all.

These are life lessons I now cherish.  Memories I often wish I could have given my own children.  These are things I am thankful for.

We all have past experiences.  Have you forgotten?  Are you able to live in such a way to reflect what you have learned?  Those life lessons are a gift, a gift to be thankful for.  

Everyday leaders see and are thankful for life experiences.  Those experiences that were good and those that were difficult.  Everyday leaders intentionally live in such a way that their lives reflect  the gift of the lessons learned.

 

 

 

GUEST POST: A RARE Find

WARNING: This blog has been taken over for the day.

We live in a disposable age. We throw away tons of food, we have to have the latest and greatest gadgets and toss last year’s models that are barely used. We can’t wait 30 seconds for a light to turn from red to green, and we often treat our friendships the same way. We would rather stay in our own little world then take the time to walk the journey with another.

Life is busy we say, who has time to get to know someone. Life is messy we say, who has time to get involved with someone else’s life mess, let’s just keep to our little corner of the world. And then someone comes along… That blows all of our theories and excuses away.

They prove to be that friend “that stickers closer than a brother” (proverbs 18:24), they have seen you cry and walked the devastation of heartbreak with you, they have been someone you can share your hopes and dreams with. They are the one, when walking down the hallway in front of you, will do a silly “go-fight-win” mascot move just to get you laughing. You know they won’t abandon you when the going gets tough, they are there through the thick and thin.

It’s a rare find indeed to have a true friend in your life. David and Jonathan of the Bible had this kind of friendship. This friendship will stand the test of time because the commitment grows by each passing day. It is the greatest blessing in this world and its worth finding and fighting for.

A true friend requires us to be authentic with ourselves and the other person. It is putting the other person first, its being genuinely happy for their success and it’s not competing to be in the limelight, but, just being glad to be on their journey with them. Its being their greatest cheerleader, never tearing them down, but always building them up. Even in times of disagreement (always bound to happen!) it is not yelling or fighting but caring enough to discuss and see the other person’s view-point and always being quick to seek reconciliation.

Its caring enough to speak truth into the other person’s life and hold them accountable and giving them full access to barge in to your life and hold you accountable. Its saying I care enough about you that when I think you are going down the wrong path or making a wrong decision, I am not going to stand idly by, but I am going to intervene and speak up and get involved in your life because YOU matter most.

It means instead of grasping and controlling, you are releasing and giving.

You won’t see a true friend walking out when life gets messy and hard. They face those hardships with you. True friends are accepting of one another and see each other as the unique gift that God made both of you and they celebrate those differences. There is only one way for a friendship like that to last and be healthy and that is to have a strong foundation built on Christ. If He is not in the middle of the friendship it is so much harder to maintain.

One of the greatest gifts that can ever be given to another is the gift of friendship.

Who are you celebrating today?

Who do you need to thank for their rare gift they have given to you?

Take time to thank them TODAY!

TODAY I am grateful and honored for such a friend in Cathy Jo, the brilliant mind behind this blog. I just know her as C and she is by far the coolest person I have ever met.

Just over a year ago this Nebraska farmer’s daughter walked into my life and had me running to find a Nebraska to English translation dictionary to figure out what she was saying!

C is so creative, funny, and such a servant leader, she just oozes with compassion, and she far surpasses the patience of Job. It did not take long to realized God had hand delivered something rare and very special to me and her friendship is worth more than all the precious gems of the world combined.

I call her the “snake charmer”, she truly has this ability to draw people in and engage them in the world around them. She is the kind of person you just want to be around all the time!! You just know you are going to walk away a better person for having been with her. Her smile and laughter is contagious!

I have come to lover her mascot moves, sharing peanut M&M’s, a million coffee shop chats, a few donut shop talks, her homemade anything (especially toffee!), many hilarious texts, and her “on the way home” phone calls just to check in and say hi.

I am even getting use to her not using transitional phrases, though it can cause for some “unusual” conversations. Just like the one incident the other day, I thought she was telling me someone bought an outhouse in Nebraska and turned it into a house to live in! I really was starting to wonder what kind of place she came from!!

C, you are ADORED beyond measure and I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for taking time to mentor me, thank you for sharing your life with me, and for your gift of friendship – a truly priceless gift. Your passion for Christ challenges me to want to live more for HIM and deepen my faith. You inspire me to make a difference right where I am… because…life happens now.

Through all of the laughter and tears


Through all the questions and fears


Through all of the winning and losing and trying


I will be by Your side


Cause You and I are friends for life


(Geoff Moore and the Distance: Friend Like U)

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