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Happy New Year

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“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”

– J. Andrews

A new year always seems to bring along the “New Year Resolutions”. How many of you actually look back over your year and see fruit from those resolutions? I know I rarely, if ever, do. Why is that? Is it possible that we aren’t truly serious about changing in the first place?

What if we decided this year was going to be different? Yes, I know, every year is going to be different. But what if we truly commit ourselves to making sure the person who brings in January 1, 2017 is a better person than January 1, 2016 both spiritually and physically.

I have done some research and found that they say only 8% of people achieve their new year resolutions. Let’s work on being a part of that 8% or raising that number.

Here are a few tips I think might help us:

  • Reflect on last year to see what things you accomplished and/or wished you had accomplished
  • Write down and clearly define what you goals are
    • be specific, if you want to loose weight – how much?
    • put them somewhere visible or somewhere you can look back at over the year
  • Make sure you tell other people around you (friends or family) what your goals are 
    • you won’t get very far on your own, thats why God created us for fellowship with one another
    • make sure you are telling people who will support and encourage you, not laugh or try to bring you down
  • Track your progress during the year
    • my husband and I keep a journal and periodically look over it during the year
  • Have patience and don’t get discouraged so easily
    • you aren’t perfect and are bound to slip up every once and a while
  • Make sure you aren’t going at it with an “all or nothing” attitude
    • that never works out and you will get discourage very quickly
  • Put it on your calendar or schedule
    • set a reminder in your phone every day or every week so you can’t forget even if you wanted to

Striving to be your best isn’t just for your sake, it’s for those in your life that are counting on you. Your spiritual maturity, mental health, and physical health all play a part in who you are. If you don’t put the effort in to making sure your walk with God is right or your health is in order, you’re not the only one who suffers. Lets make sure we end this year in a better way than last.503887f1bc1635607556e4fd57c13d24

Write us some of your new years resolutions below. We would love to hear from you and pray with you as we all take these steps for the new year. 

Author By Night: Balancing a Milk Bottle With My Chin

by Daniel Blackaby


12122457_1005525059469876_6757033017347742402_nSeveral years ago I published my debut book, and thus embarked on the thrilling journey of fulfilling my dream as a novelist. As a carefree young adult armed with a trusty laptop and a far-too hyper imagination, I spent the next several years conjuring up adventure stories full of fantastical worlds and heroic quests. Little did I know that I standing on the doorstep of my own perilous journey; one that would make slaying dragons or vanquishing legions of ugly orcs seem like a merry-go-round ride. Nothing could prepare me for the news: I was going to be a father…of twin boys.

In January my family was doubled. To say my life changed is an understatement on the level of saying LeBron James is “not too bad” at basketball. The boys arrived into my life like two atom bombs, blowing away everything I thought I knew. I’d always looked forward to fatherhood, but I’m not what you might call a baby expert. I was quite alarmed to learn that babies aren’t potty-trained at six months. Neither did I know that for the first several months of their existence they’re basically smelly blobs of skin with no desire to play, watch movies, or debate the deeper issues of life. Above all, I was dismayed by their stunning lack of interest in the great Russian novelists or Victorian era masterworks. To them a good book was whichever one was most tasty between their gums. The audacity! The disrespect! In short, when it came to babies – I was clueless. 10945382_10204883557161949_5986430230448118732_n

Another troubling revelation was that, despite my well-reasoned lectures, the babies refused to respect their daddy’s sacred “writing time.” It didn’t matter if I was deep in the zone typing the next American classic, they wanted to play, eat, and poop (often all at the same time). To be honest, tired and in over my head, I began to wonder if my days as a writer had come to an abrupt termination. Think about it. In all the great stories about the great warrior poets of old, you never hear how their office reeked of stale milk from that elusive bottle hidden behind a bookshelf; or the typos as a result of writing while also giving a six-month old a horsey knee-ride. Likewise, what about the unpleasant smell on the fingers acting as a reminder of the especially abominable diaper experience earlier that night, against which even industrial strength soap is powerless. Indeed, after several months of groggy-eyed 3am feedings my stories began to read more like the material Lewis Carroll left on the cutting room floor for being too nonsensical and strange. My dream of being a writer was on life-support and, at least for the next 18-20 years, showed no sign of recovering.11745628_10206108359741248_2551327852532384389_n

Along the way, however, something marvelous happened. I was reminded of a priceless truth – the world is an extraordinary place, full of joy, mystery, and wonder. You see, too often as Christian writers we carry the weight of the fallen world on our hunched shoulders. We act as if our polished sentences and clever allegories are all that holds the devil and his minions at bay. But as I watched my little boys’ eyes light up in amazement at a cardboard box or blinking light, I was reminded of the innocent wonder that once existed in us all. Before we were jaded by our solemn mission, when a well-timed burp or a wooden block filled us with such uncontainable glee. Isn’t that how we all learned to love books in the first place? It wasn’t the timely social commentary or deep symbolic truth that allured me, it was hungry caterpillars and paper-bag princesses. Eight months into this crazy adventure of parenthood, I’m convinced that God’s timing is never arbitrary or by accident. He set the natural life cycle so that beautiful children arrive just in time to save us before we’ve lost all the awe and wonder of our own childhood. Looking back, having two little energizer bunnies around has not killed my writing career as I feared, it has breathed new life into it in ways only innocent children can.13187_10205339047788930_5248360931764282384_n

Sure, some deadlines will be missed, the coffee must be brewed stronger, and “uninterrupted writing time” has joined the dinosaurs as relics of an older era. What I have gained makes it all worth it and so much more. Mark Twain once wrote, “Don’t look at the world with your hands in your pockets. To write about it you have to reach out and touch it.” Writers are normal people with normal problems. If not, then we’d have nothing to write about. At least nothing worth reading. So if you catch a typo in my next book or stumble across a sentence that seems suspiciously like it was written after 4am, just know I was probably balancing a milk bottle with my chin and combating ungodly smells at the time. More importantly, I hope you feel the joy of a child between every line I write. After all, what an amazing world we are blessed to write about, with such fascinating wonders like cardboard boxes and blinking lights.

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