Two Words

This has been on my heart for two days. Never underestimate the power of simple words.
Before my Grandma had a stroke, we had one of our little talks. Joe called me, and he had two words from the Lord for her. “Ten paz” which means “Peace” or literally means “Have Peace.”

I can’t tell you how simple and powerful those two words were for her.  They were exactly what she needed.  They were simple enough to repeat to her, too during her transition to heaven. I reminded her of those words.  And my Mom posted a piece of paper in her hospital room as an encouragement to her also.

I realize that sometimes it feels good for us to give long prophetic words.  Words that sound deep.  Yes, they’re pretty cool.  But Jesus is simple, too.  When there was a storm, he said, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39.)

When Jesus raised the girl who was sleeping, he said “Talitha Cumi.”  He told her to arise. (Mark 4:41.)  When he called Lazarus from the dead, he said, “Come out” (John 11:43.)

A man approached my desk recently. It seemed like he needed something. I asked him and he said he just wanted to tell me that he liked my lamp. That simple compliment was timely.  Why?  Because shortly before that, I was encouraging myself to love a difficult person and rest in God’s love for me and her.

A simple compliment about my lamp reminded me of a recent dream I had.  In my dream, someone was turning off my lamp. And each time she did, I immediately turned my lamp on and spoke encouraging words to her. The man’s compliment was a reminder to me about “turning my heart light on” and keeping it on by responding in love.

When I had a chance, I thanked the man for his compliment.  I wondered if this man was prompted by the Holy Spirit to say it. Maybe he knew it and maybe he didn’t.  I didn’t go into much detail.  But I felt the need to tell him that sometimes the simplest words can be the most encouraging.

Years ago, I was in the hospital recovering from gall bladder surgery when I felt a strong urge to say “thank you” to the cleaning lady. And when I did, she returned to the room and told me no one had ever thanked her before.  Those two words touched her heart deeply.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of simple words. It only takes one in love to make a difference.

 

Advertisements

GoOD-by PerFEction

i was watching a video about writing on social media the other day when I came across a comment from one of the viewers.  She stated that she was discouraged because of others in her writing group who seemed more knowledgeable about grammar and other subjects.  I recognized her name.  The sad Part isn’t so much the fact that she stopped writing or that she left the group (if she left).  What seEmed more disappointing to me was the fact that I knew a tiny bit of her life story. And it’s sad to know that she allowed her own insecurities to stop her from writing.

i under stand what it’s like to want to get eveRything right. To plan the perfect event. write the best book. Get the best grades. Who doesn’t? Don’t we all want to achieve perFection in some way?  It feels good, right?

but. what would happen if we trained ourselves to look bEyond perfection?  What if we embraced imperfeCtion? What if coloring outside the lines was perfect and inside the lines wasn’t?

OR What if we read the word, “Imperfection” as “I’m Perfection.”  Not necessarily to think of ourselves above everyone else, but simply to reach satisfaction with ourselves as we see through differenT lenses in a way that would build our self-confidence and crush our fears of failure.  What if we gave Imperfection a different meaning.

is it poSSible to train ourselveS todo that?  And if so, how?

We can do it by focusing on the beauty of everything we look at. People and things.

sometime last year, my husband bought me a book which was written by someone I admire. The author is down to earth and fun. I was excited. When I opened the book, I noticed a typo. A few weeks later, I noticed more mistakes.

Then sometime shortly after that, I randomly picked a novel in a public place and opened it up to check it out.
Would you believe that out of the 630 pages it had, I opened up to Page 83 and found another typo?  That book had “The New York Times Bestseller” on its front cover.

My point? I was learning a lesson in all of it. One mistake (and possibly others in it) didn’t keep that book from making it as a bestseller or any other book from delivering a message. It taught me not to get so hung up on mistakes (I still need the reminder.) Yes, we should try to do things in excellence. Yes, I’ve probably reviewed my children’s books about 100 times and made 30 changes even after I sold some of the first ones. But let’s not lose our focus. We can’t allow the fear of making a mistake to paralyze us.

The other night I read a Dr. Seuss book to my daughter.  It was a book I had read several times before, but I noticed something.  I noticed that Dr. Seuss repeated a few lines in it. Maybe that was intentional.  Maybe not.  And then I noticed something else–a word which was spelled differently than the way most people would write it.

Did the famous Dr. Seuss have a typo in his book? Don’t his BOOks seem perfect to those of us who love them and his style?  They make us smile and they make us laugh.  They are his, and they are perfect just the way they are.  Why?  Because they are all part of his work of art.

And that’s the point of my blog today. there will always be MIStakeS.  Or maybe what seems like a mistake is simply a unique way of doing something.

Maybe that’s why bees sting? Or maybe that’s why moths exist. Maybe that’s why a butterfly starts out as a caterpillar. I don’t know. All I know is that the Creator of the Universe, my Heavenly Father made some things, too that perhaps to us don’t make sense and there’s so much PERFECTION in all of it.

Let me tell you a secret.  This is one of the reasons why I loved illustrating my children’s books. I see perfection in children’s art. As a mother of four, I’ve learned that perfection is receiving cards from my children with backward letters in different sizes and stick figures with tiny heads and long legs.  Scribble makes me smile.   I see freedom in it.  An expression of innocence.  All of it to me is perfect.  The misspelled words make it extra special.

My first book’s cover which is now part of a 5 book series was an experiment we fell in love with which was led by our three children (ages 4 through 12.)
cover for chosencover for book for foster bigger FINAL FOR SURE

Maybe if we look at anything we do as art, we will experience a new freedom. The same freedom of a child.  A child who doesn’t care about what people think.  A child who knows a story and wants to tell it his way.

yES, THIS blog has a bunch of typOOs, but you got the message.  And that’s my point. An imperfect blog had a message to deliver.

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Today, I had a flashback.  I was in the elevator when I remembered the first time I asked God for my job.  And suddenly I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude.  I realize we all have those moments when we wake up and need to motivate ourselves.  It happens.  But what would happen if we took the time to remember the times that made us smile.

There’s something that happens when you take a walk down memory lane.

Ask any married couple how they fell in love or how they met each other, and you’ll see a smile as they walk down memory lane.

Ask a mother who is struggling with understanding her teenager how she felt when her baby was born, and you’ll see a smile as she walks down memory lane.

Ask a traveler sitting in his cubicle at work to tell you about his vacation, and you’ll see a smile as he walks down memory lane.

Ask an athlete how he felt when he received his first award, and you’ll see his smile as he walks down memory lane.

What can you think about today that can make you smile?  Maybe you’ll be able to answer that question once you’ve walked down memory lane.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

What If…

What if every negative thing anyone says to you is the total opposite of who you really are? What if the hurtful lies that are said about you are just a reflection of how that person sees him/herself?

What if we took the limits others placed on us and used them to propel us?

What if what we think we can’t do is really a lie we believed most of our lives?

What if because we believed the lie, we were the ones who placed the limits on ourselves? 

Think about it. 

I grew up with my grandparents and always spoke Spanish to them. My brother, on the other hand, stopped speaking Spanish at one point when he was younger.  I’m not sure why.  I wonder if it was because he was shy or if he mispronounced a word and was corrected. That same brother today has a Ph.D. in Social Linguistics and is a Spanish Professor.

I spent most of my life saying I didn’t know how to draw until someone told me one day approximately two or three years ago that I was an artist. It was as if her words breathed life into me.  It caused me to believe something about myself that I thought was a lie most of my life. Most of my children’s books were illustrated by me.  Why?  Because I believed I was an artist.

penny-may-i-love-me-cover-best-one-with-exclamation-point-joe-edit-2

What if we dared to dream?  What would our dream look like?What if we pursued the very thing we thought we never could attain?  

What if we lived life without regrets?  

What if we laughed at offense? 

What if reading this blog post made you believe in someone?

And what if that someone was you?