Monday, April 30, 2018

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What Pattern Do You Follow

Today I believe God sent me a message to put me back on the path that He is also walking on. He wanted me beside Him. He saw that I was walking off in my own direction. Lately, I have not been trusting Him as much as I should. 

Today, I read Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The word PATTERN jumped out at me. 

Today, think about what pattern you are following in your life. 

*What pattern of prayer?
*What pattern of forgiveness? 
*What pattern of communication with your spouse?
*What pattern of business practices?
*What pattern of spiritual importance?

What importance are you placing on WHICH pattern you follow? A worldly pattern or an eternal pattern?
An earthly pattern or a Jesus-on-the-earth pattern?

If you realize your pattern is lacking eternal significance or need accountability to keep walking on the right path—patterned by the Savior— contact me for a Discovery Call to aim you in the right direction. 

Erin E. McEndree

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When is it Time to Think About Christmas?

The debate is inevitable. The question is unavoidable. When is it time to think about Christmas? The most notable answer is: After Thanksgiving. For me, that is unacceptable for many reasons, but the main reason is that a month is not long enough to be thankful. There are many reason that thinking about Christmas as early as October reminds me over and over to focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place: Jesus. 

Many things help me put Jesus in the for front of my mind. 

Don’t you love light? It’s way more than flipping a switch so you won’t bump your toe. Light sets a mood. Sometimes light is magical like the grand finale of 4th of July. Sometimes light is romantic soft candle flickers at dinner or surrounding a bubble bath. Light can grab your attention, show you the way or warn you of danger. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” 

I love Christmas because lights multiply and begin to shine brighter. They can light your path…to a Savior like the light of a star. I always play a game to see how long Christmas light stay on in our neighborhood and town. As they go out slowly, so does my awe for the season and one of the reminders that Jesus is the Light of the world. 

Who wouldn’t want light to remind them of their Savior?

People Think of Others:
Thinking of others does not come natural. We start our  tiny little lives so very selfish for our survival and have to be taught to deny selfishness. Some learn it sooner and faster than others. Some never fully grow out of selfishness. When is the last time you bought something for someone just because? There are so many ways to think of others. We can volunteer. We can let someone in line in front of us. We can pay for the person behind us. We can let cars go first. It says a lot when we can help perfect strangers. It means even more when we do something nice for someone who hurt us. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.“ 

I love the holiday season because people volunteer more and give money and time more than any other time of the year. People give to perfect strangers. I know some who attribute reconciling with the holidays. But, I also know people are as happy as they want to be and it mostly depends on what is focused on. 

Who wouldn’t want goodwill to flow all year round to show the hands and feet of Jesus?

Music touches my soul. It makes me cry, it gives me hope, it makes me feel like dancing. Every season of my life, I can remember a song to go with it. Songs can express my feelings like I could never write into words. Some songs resonate with me because they tell my story. Every time the National Anthem plays, I cry. Every time a certain song comes on, I remember rocking Maddie as an infant in the middle of the night. Certain songs go with old boyfriends. And I remember all three songs played at my wedding. Music touches my soul and heart. Psalm 98:4-5 says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King.”

I love music around the holidays because it is full of my Savior. It is full of bells and cheer. It seems a little easier to smile and be happy and focus on blessings than when it is 105℉ outside. Christmas music lifts my spirit like no other music at any time of the year. I am totally in love with Michael Buble Christmas music and Polar Express Radio on Pandora.

This time of the year, I love the lyrics in music. It is a time to ‘throw your cares away’, the ‘stars are brightly shining’, ‘it’s a beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight’, ‘all is calm, all is bright’, ‘never ever let it cool’.

Who wouldn’t want to be reminded of cool weather, homecomings and the birth of our Savior?

Getting Off Work:
People always need a break from work. So many people equate work with security and think they have to work overtime and weekends and holidays to ‘climb the ladder’ while their families and their health is falling apart around them. Focusing on something besides work is important and for some, the only way to do it is when the office is closed. Hebrews 4:10 says, “…for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their work, just as God did from his.”  
I love my family getting off work and school for November, December and January. I love the time to focus on family, cooking special food, decorating, travel and getting ready for a party at my house. I love my kids being home. I love my husband being home often. My favorite time of the year is October 1st to January 9th (the day my kids go back to school this year). 

Who doesn’t need some mandatory time away from work to focus on family?

There are some foods that bring me back to my grandmother’s house. Homemade bread. Spice bars. Fried chicken. Homemade guacamole. I love cinnamon rolls from one Sis-in-Law. I love a chicken dip from the other. There are specific foods I love in each season of the year. They are just not the same in a different month. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”  

I love the special food we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is the only time I have my grandmother’s broccoli and rice casserole. It is the only time I get pumpkin pie. It is the only time of year I get to share all the goodies with family. Hot chocolate tastes better in the cold weather of the season.

Some odors also bring me back to my childhood. There was a certain baby lotion I used that smelled just like my grandfather’s aftershave; heavenly! A pipe takes me way back to before my grandfather quit. Now, those pipes are tree ornaments. Don’t you just love how the earth smells when it starts to rain? Ephesians 5:2 says, “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  
I love the special smells at this time of year, too. There is a distinct cinnamon smell in some stores. I diffuse Thieves and Orange Essential Oil and it smells just like Fall to me. I love the way everyone’s house smells preparing food for gatherings.

Clean House:
Don’t you love a clean house? I have to be pretty motivated to really clean, thought. Besides having company, when I get mad, I clean. Getting my house clutter-free helps my focus change a little and I am more at peace in my spirit. Everyone in the family benefits from that. 

I hate to admit it, but my house rarely gets really clean unless I have company. So, when I have Christmas with the family at my house, I clean really well. It would be like Spring cleaning for some. For me, it is Christmas cleaning. And, please call before you come see me!!

When the weather is cool and crisp, I love it. When it is time for fires, I love it. The smell, the light that flickers, the warmth. I get to wear my favorite sweaters.

Bill Murry said it best in Scrooged (1999), “It is Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!” Why restrict it to only one day or one month of the year. I wish the spirit of Christmas, the volunteering, the giving, the food and smells lingered all year.

I love the hint of Christmas starting in October because the party celebrating death is really not my thing. So, I look for the trees in Home Depot and Garden Ridge before Halloween. I have lit pumpkins that last during October and November.

I admit I hate to be cold, but I love the cold. I have a favorite gray sweater and fuzzy brown blanket I covet. Cold weather means all the above to me: more lights, good foods, wonderful smells, a clean house, festive music and (most important) family time in the mountains of Red River. Cold weather means a fire in the stove. Some people can watch the water at the beach, I am mesmerized by fire. (Just ask me about my childhood and fire.) 

What I don’t understand is why some would NOT want this cheerful, bright, heartwarming, peaceful, joyful, magical experience ALL year round? Like I mentioned before, it is where and how you focus. 

If you are having trouble focusing on something wonderful this time of the year, here are some ideas:
  1. Write Christmas cards with  a personal note in each to family. Cards are better than emails or texts, trust me. 
  2.  Put aside work and count your blessings. If you are not a blessing to others, think about Why Not? 
  3. Go to a Christmas concert or  tree lighting or Fall Festival. 
  4. Watch the awe on children’s faces.
  5. Make an old dish you remember only during the holidays.
  6. Remember the wonder you once had.

In The Polar Express, when kids stopped believing in the spirit of Christmas, they also stopped hearing the bell ring. I pray you always hear the bell ring, you always find awe, you always think of others…all year round. Don’t be a Scrooge. Fill your heart with Christ. Find Him all year in all things and show others that He lives in your heart with your actions…all year. Let's be the people we always wanted to be and want others to be, too. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Untangle Biblical and Worldly Perspectives

So many issues!

So many opinions!

So many quarrels!

One thing in common: Biblical and Worldly perspectives all tangled up.

It is impossible to come to an agreement when people are debating two totally different things.

One person shares based on their life experiences and rocks are thrown because it is not someone else's life experience. Two different perspectives trying to become one...impossible.

The people throwing rocks want everyone to see their point of view, but won't give the same grace. They think the other is just plain wrong. Two different perspective trying to become one...impossible.

What does the Bible say?
Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Sometimes this looks like keeping your mouth shut or your fingers off the 'post' button. Sometimes this is not sharing gossip. There is no BUT or IF at the end of this statement in Philippians as the world would have you think.

What does the world say?
If the person or group has the same view I have, I will look out for the interest of those in the group. I will promote the group, protect the group and share the group...if they have the same view I do. The first amendment even protects people to do the exact oppose it of Philippians 2:3 if you think about it!

What does the Bible say?
2 Timothy 2:23 "Have nothing to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." There is not a BUT or IF. Actually, in vs. 24 it says, "but be kind to everyone." It does not say only if they agree with you.

What does the world say?
I have the right to shout my view as loud as I want, not thinking of anyone else. I don't get what I want or people to listen unless I am loud and sometimes even violent.

What does the Bible say?
Galatians 5:22-23 "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." There is not an IF in this scripture.

What does the world say? Only love if I am getting something in return. Only have joy if things are going my way or I have money. Peace only happens when things are going my way. Patience is nonsense. Kindness gets you no where. Goodness is different for everyone and it is good if it feels good, looks good or tastes good. Why be faithful?  Gentleness is weakness. There is no need to deny myself anything or be self-controlled.

When someone has an issue with a Biblical truth, I immediately discern if their opposition comes from them filtering their response through their imperfect life and worldly situations.

Training your mind to think with an eternal mindset is hard work and intentional.

Determine where your mind goes when it wanders. When you think about issues, are you tangling Biblical and worldly perspectives together?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

5 Areas to Surrender for Less Stress

Stress is so prevalent in in the world. Just look at the statistics about the soaring number of people who medicate themselves just to get through the responsibilities of their day. Pressure to be perfect, be liked, be heard, get more money, be available at work 24/7, have a relationship, on and on until people snap. And this is just one dreary day people have to start over again tomorrow.
There is a better way to live: SURRENDER. Surrender the need to be perfect and liked while stating your views. Surrender you fear that money is the most important thing to acquire to solve your problems. Surrender your technology (right after you read this article) for a better and healthier relationship with God and family. 
Try to apply these 5 strategies to your life for a more stress-free, achievable life you have longed for. 

  1. Surrender your thoughts and feelings before a situation. 
How many times have you thought of a person in disgust that you will soon meet over the holidays or at the basketball game or at church? You know they are going to try and give you advice, gossip, ignore you or ‘top’ you. You know they will do all the annoying things they do because that is who they are. You sigh. You roll your eyes. And if your thoughts don’t stop there, they keep going the the negative direction and revisiting the bad situations.
Instead, surrender your thoughts and feelings to God before the situations occurs. Those negative thoughts easily pop into your mind from Satan, but you can decide before hand you won’t be offended and you will be gracious? 
2 Timothy 2:21, “Those who cleanse themselves from the latter [common use], will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
You cannot change them, but you can change your attitude. Choose to be an instrument for good, not a broken, bitter vessel that is so common these days. 

2. Surrender how other’s actions and words control your actions and words. 
How many times have you allowed someone else’s actions or words control you? Someone disagrees with you and you lash back. Someone says something to your kid and you start gossiping about that person. Someone lets you down. Someone does not keep a commitment. So, you start acting in a way that is ungodly and even hurtful in return. 
Newton came up with a law that says, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” This might work in physics, but it is the exact opposite of what we are supposed to do as Christians.
Instead of allowing others to control your actions and words, surrender any word or action that offends you to the Lord. Let him deal with it. 
Romans 12:19, “Do not take revenge, my dear friend, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine of avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” 
You cannot change others, but you can surrender any and all responses and give it to the Lord. Allow Him to deal with the offender so you can have less stress. 

3. Surrender selfishness. How many times have you just wanted what you wanted and you did not care about others? Many times on the show House Hunter, the wife is dead-set on what she wants. She does not care that it is way over their budget. She does not care that is puts a financial burden on the family that her husband and possibly herself will be responsible for paying. She does not care that she is not compromising. She puts her wants and desires first and she is rude, unrelenting and degrading to her husband. (I wonder if many of these couples are still married. I’m sure their is some bitterness and resentment.)
Instead, surrender selfishness to the Lord. Practice putting others first. 
Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather,in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Put yourself in their shoes when you are wanting your own way. It may be putting a burden on others you cannot see. 

4. Surrender your own way. 
How many times have you gotten yourself into a bad situation and then decided to try and pray yourself out of it? I know some people who wished they would have prayed about a relationship before they married. Now, they pray for help in the disaster. I know people who rushed into buying a home who wished they would have slowed down and prayed for guidance first. I know someone who went through a divorce, a home foreclosure, selling her car and furniture and cancer who admits if she would have prayed through it, it would not have been so hard.
2 Kings 22:13. Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law in the decimated temple and gave it Shaphan to give to King Josiah. King Josiah tore his robe and said, “Inquire of the Lord about what is written in the book…Great is his anger because of the men who have gone before us have not obeyed the words in this book…”
Instead of doing life alone, your own way, discover that surrendering your way through prayer allows for God’s best in your life and keep you from crashing through some guardrails of consequence.  
5. Surrender the hurt others have caused.
How many times have you allowed your unforgiveness to eat at you; making you miserable? Many times the other person does not even know of the offense. You may even think that if you forgive them it is basically saying what they did was okay. 
Instead or harboring bitterness that rots the bones, free the other person and yourself. Forgiveness does not equal trust. But forgiveness can equal you treating others like the child of God they are.
Colossians 3:13, “Forgive one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Instead of simmering in a pot of your own bitter stew, free yourself of the bondage of unforgiveness that only keeps you in chains. One of the best ways I know to do that is to pray for the other person daily. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

How to Make Your Plans Succeed

I heard our karate instructor, Rudy Smedley, say, "You have to have desire, will and motivation." This has a great application not only in Martial Arts, but also in life. I thought about that and pondered all the possibilities. I looked at it this way: My desire is my calling. My will is my plan. My motivation is my why.

1. Do I have desire (calling) but no motivation (why)?
2. Do I have motivation (why), but don't know my desire (calling)?
3. Do I have a will (plan), but no motivation (why)?
4. Do I have motivation, (why), but no will (plan)?
5. Do I have will (plan), but don't know my desire (calling)?
6. Do I have desire (calling), but no will (plan)?

I challenge YOU to rewrite these each statement with your calling, your why and your plan. It just might be what you need to jumpstart action in your life!

Ex. My calling/passion is to help struggling women because I see so much hurt, hiding, fear and guilt behind those eyes and in those actions and non-actions.

Ex. I want to help women Understand, Accept and Share their stories to heal and help others heal in similar situations because it is just natural for me. (I've been projecting this personality my whole life and could see that when I did my own Life Puzzle.)

Ex. I have a plan that involves allowing others to help me where I am weak so I can focus on what my calling/passion is because focusing on what is NOT my strengths just wastes my time and by allowing someone to help me blesses them and allows them to use their talent. Isn't that what Jesus talked about when he described the members of the church? Yes.

Let me hear your calling, plan and why! And remember,  Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

4 Reasons Why Fear Creates our Failure

*A boy you date is verbally or physically abusive, but you stay.You wear a mask saying it is not that bad.

*You want to keep a brand new relationship so you get intimate and go too far. You wear a mask thinking no one knows.

*Your boss totally misunderstood a situation and you get reprimanded, but you don't talk to him/her.You wear a mask of peace-maker over your hurt.

*An opportunity presents itself that your want to go for, but you are overtaken by what others think.You wear a mask called 'ordinary'.

*There is a workshop you want to attend, but you don't because you will 'put someone out' by watching your kids.You wear a mask saying your desires are not important.

*You do not feel like you are smart enough to offer advice or encouragement so you keep quite.You wear a mask of timidity.

*You never ask for prayers even when things are really difficult.You wear a mask of loneliness.

If we are honest, this thought process happens more often than we would like to admit. So many opportunities pass us by because we do not take the time to make intentional decisions.

Intentional decisions cannot be made during the situation. They have to be pondered, planned and prayed about before hand.

For some reason, when we make decisions in the heat of the moment, we choose the most comfortable route.

How does fear create failure?

1. Most often we are afraid to change and that means to stay doing what we have always done. That may not be pleasant, but it is comfortable in the fact that we know what to expect. However, that is failure. Failure to not stand up for ourself when we are being abused. Failure destroys more of our self-confidence every time we stay in a horrible situation. Failure when we are not vulnerable to ask for help. Failure is to think we can handle it without help. Chip. Chip. Chip away at our confidence. 

2. We don't say no because how others perceive you is more important than your schedule. Are you seen as dependable? You just can't say no to anyone because you don't want to disappoint or seem unavailable. However, the overwhelmed lifestyle you create is failure. You are not 100% in anything. You are sub-par in all you do because you are stretched too thin. Failure is saying yes to everything and neglecting important things. Those most important can feel neglected and that is a huge failure. Failure is priorities in the wrong order.

3. We also do not want to put effort into our life. Thinking about your response to situations is too much work so we rely on our reactions based on feelings in the moment. This sounds cliché, but do you ever put effort into thinking about What Would Jesus Do? Not what your rights are. Not what your feelings are, but immolating our Savior's character.

4. We do not take a risk because we feel like we are not supported. We feel as if those we love the most will make us feel like failures instead of teaming up with us and saying lets do this together. Failure is not communicating.

What are the specific reasons you fail? Can't communicate your feelings? Don't want to ask for help and look weak? Sometimes the reasons are so foggy you may not even know the real reason.

Do you wear a mask you need to take off?

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