Be The Change Devotional Week 31: Be True

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I recently watched the film, The Rover with Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. There’s a point in the film where Pearce asks Pattinson about the verity of information he shares with him. He says, “Is it something your brother told you, or something you know?”

The question begs for certainty. How many of us spread information that we heard from somewhere else? Facebook, gossip websites, and the news are shady sources for information these days. How often do we jump to conclusions about people or events without thinking about the truthfulness of it? Usually, we don’t even know the full story.

I have done this so many times and I end up looking silly. Speaking before thinking; something a fool does.

Plato once said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.”

At times, when I feel insecure or threatened, I start spouting off any information I know to appear smart, strong, etc. But the “intelligence” I bring to the table is weak because I can’t back it up; and my display of confidence is a smokescreen. In the end, I look foolish and my words lack credibility.

Wise men work hard to discover facts, then (like Plato’s quote) decide if they have anything to say. The hard work to discover truth (verifiable facts) brings about confidence because they become more credible. And they do not need to make a show of their knowledge. They use their knowledge to change direction when necessary.

I’ve worked at this for a while and it is tough to develop new mental habits. It’s not easy to put yourself on the spot, and suggest that you are wrong. (We hate being wrong!) It’s not easy to admit you never did the groundwork to make such conclusions. However, if you commit to being true and cultivate the habit of searching out the facts in any situation, you will strengthen the ground you walk on.

We need to care more about the truth than making our smokescreen really convincing.

How is your fact checking? Can you admit when you do not have all the information? Don’t go on hearsay, or the office gossip. Ask, do I care enough to research the facts on this? If you don’t care, don’t waste breath on an unfounded opinion. Ask, am I confident to keep quiet on this one?

A rule to live by: Only say something if it brings new, credible information that can change the course of conversation.

Week 31 – discover the truth. “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” (Buddha) Start your road to truth, admit when you don’t have all the information. Begin verifying facts. And go all the way when you decide you want to know something. Three personal growth benefits to look forward to this week as you develop the habit of being true: credibility, confidence, and strength.

Be True.

 

Be The Change Devotional Week 30: Be Patient

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Each one of us have waited or are currently waiting for something. Whether we’re waiting for technical support, in line to buy tickets, groceries, or rides it’s inevitable for all. We wait for people to show up, to call back, to return stuff, and all the like. All this waiting happens everyday. How do you do in the waiting game? For me, the only time waiting is easy is when the promise of waiting is visible. In other words when there is hope that my waiting will pay off.

But when we wait for people to change, we become increasingly impatient. Why?

It’s easy to become impatient with others because the promise that they will change is NOT visible. When we grow impatient, we usually are attempting to gauge the one thing we can’t see…the other person’s heart. Is all our hot air for nothing? Are they listening to what I say? It’s always hard to say if the ideas are heard, and whether they “take them to heart.”

Patience is not checking out (apathy), and twiddling your thumbs. Patience requires staying engaged. The online dictionary says patience is, “the ability to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” What it doesn’t mention, is the other half…we wait for something which rewards us. Therefore, when we wait, we ought to allow patience to do its good work in us so when it comes, we can be thankful.

One proverb says, “Delayed hope makes the heart sick, but fulfilled desire is a tree of life.” I want to be sick with hope, rather than rude with impatience. The waiting is suppose to soften my heart and prepare me to receive the thing for which I wait.

And who is waiting for you to change? It’s a two-way street. If you begin changing, then you become the tree of life for the other. You can be a source of hope fulfilled. Do you have it within you to blow someone else’s mind with a different response? We need more people who transform their own lives, and can bring hope to those who need crisper vision. The portrait of a life restored, transformed, authentic, and generous inspires others to seek it out too.

Side note: Developing patience for your job, employees, co-workers, or the boss will reward you. There is NO REWARD for those who grumble with impatience. Take heart.

Week 30 – Be patient.  I want to be more patient. Join me? Keep your vision centered and your patience keen. Don’t stammer and demand things that you aren’t ready to receive. Don’t be rude with impatienceLet the waiting soften your heart. Plan to enjoy the things for which you wait. Trust that keeping the right attitude will reward you when the desire comes.

Patience purifies your desires,  refines your preparation, and strengthens your faith. Don’t compromise a good thing because it tarries, the rewards are ahead. Be longing, be ready, and stay the course.

Be Patient.

 

 

Be The Change Devotional Week 29: Be Educated

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When I was in college, taking English literature and Feminist Theory classes to help me understand the world around me, I was unaware that my worldview was forming. My courses affected my perception of the world. I made conclusions about people, motives, and myself that were based on this worldview.

My worldview was bitter and skeptical. The good life was a romanticized dream. I criminalized hard working people and judged others because of these ideas; they weren’t even my own. The problem was that I was never aware; I just incorporated them into my way of being and thinking.

Currently, as I discover the art of becoming genuinely educated, I realize the only way to acquire an education is to self-educate and to always question the certainty of any conclusion.

It’s easy to go to class and take tests. However, self-education requires critical thinking, logic, rhetoric, commitment, and the understanding that being inquisitive can teach you more than certainty.

The world needs educated people thinking independently and using sound logic. When we teach ourselves to synthesize implications of politics, motives, our history, sociology, and anything else under the sun, we become game changers. We can use our education to change the world; instead of letting our education change us.

photo-10“Progress is impossible without change, & those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

Formal education changes minds rather easily -it did with me that is. But when it comes to self-educating, the task is tedious. We have trouble changing our own minds because we realize that one little idea or belief has woven itself all the way through. To change one thing would begin an unravelling of the whole.

Another reason we struggle is because there are risks in standing against the flow. Whenever anyone goes against the norm they get a push back. There can’t be any fear of what you’ll lose, only the faith for what will be gained.

Week 29 My goal this week is to make progress with the knowledge I have. I want to think before I speak, process implications before I act, be logical in conclusions. I want to use my education to change the world, rather than allowing it to change me. And when I start to change my mind, if the thread of a belief begins to unravel the whole, I’m going with it; I’m better off rebuilding something I want.

This week for you, I encourage you to discover what type of education you have. How is it affecting your life? Ask yourself, am I making the right conclusion? Do I want to perceive people this way? What are the consequences of my worldview for others? Find life in your education. And where there is an idea that doesn’t do any good, change it.

Education, formal or self-education is the catalyst for you to become the change you want to see in the world. Be independent. Be smart. Be logical. Be brainy.

Be Educated.

Be The Change.

Elle.

 

 

 

Repurposing Project: 10 Purses From Old Clothes

Lately, I have been doing a ton of sewing. It’s crazy! I am “sew” addicted. I’ve only gone on this sewing binge because I have had these old maternity pants, shirts, and clothes that don’t fit for over a year. See, more than a year ago, I gathered all these clothes and saw a vision of making purses. They’ve been sitting in a big ugly plastic bag.

photo 1Finally, I said, that’s enough! I’m going to do it! I made my goal to be: Make at least 10 purses. I’ve made 9 so far, and my last one will be a type of boho/patch raggy purse (using the rag quilt technique).

photo 2I didn’t track all the progress but I do have some fun pics. From the old clothes and scraps (from quilting) I have had a superb time making these, and have noticed the more I did, the more creative I became.

As one friend said it, “Creativity begets creativity.”

Sewing tips for patternless purses:

  • Always finish your edges.
  • Think it through. (You really have to think inside out, backwards, and upside down.)
  • Buttons, add-ons, decorative ideas are fun! Experiment with what you have and it will be uniquely you. The “Arrows” were an experimentation with a quilt idea I got from a magazine.
  • My style: Simple, practical design on the outside; decorative, fun, and feminine on the inside.

The final stitch for finishing your purse:

  • All nice sides face each other: the nice side of the lining faces the nice side of the purse. One is inside out, one is right side out.
  • The strap fabric faces all rights sides. The liner side of strap to liner side of purse. The outside strap of the purse to the outside of the purse.
  • Pin strap to the outside of purse first. Then pin the liner to the rest of the purse.
  • Sew from back, through strap 1, front, then through strap 2, and then to the back again to avoid having the closure stitching in the front of the purse. Leave an opening of about 2-3 inches. Pull purse through, and finish opened edge.

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Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt (review)

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I’m sure at some point (if you are a blogger, twitterer, social media savvy guru) you have heard of Michael Hyatt’s New York Times Bestseller, “Platform: Got Noticed in a Noisy World.”

I picked this book up about a year ago now and was waiting for the right time to read it. Recently, I finished the book and my review follows.

It is brilliantly written. I love accessible information and his book brings it home. He doesn’t talk down to his readers. He brings them along the journey of building a platform via a blog/website, social media, and the other internet tools. A remarkable read for todays ambitious people.

Platform teaches blogging from the start and the work of building a successful platform. He inspires, motivates, gives tips for “cutting the fat”, and explains a good deal about Twitter. (The twitter information is great because the biggest complaint I’ve heard from people who don’t Tweet is that they don’t “get it.” Michael Hyatt will help you understand the powers at work in the Twittosphere.

Favorites from the book:

  • Branding: I had very fundamental knowledge about branding. Michael Hyatt reinforced my understanding with more incentive to create and maintain a personal brand. How brands are affected by your online image. (I liked his direction to be authentic and transparent for whatever it is you are trying to sell.)
  • Blogging tips: He gives a plethora of ideas and strategies to vary blog posts, build readership, and engage your audience. He encourages his readers to never settle, keep up with current information, share more value, and add flavors from your personal life to keep it genuine.
  • Policies: I liked his advice on creating policies for comments and conversations. He keeps the boundaries clear, and his standards high. This direct approach to setting his expectations for engagement facilitates the positive growth and usefulness of his site. All the while, he is tactful and unassuming.

I hope you pick up a copy of his book! It’s a fantastic read for anyone who wants to understand online etiquette and basic blogging and Tweeting.

Here is a link to his website that pitches his book to you (and where you can buy it.)

Be The Change Devotional Week 28: Be Wise

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“In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams.” -Nigerian Proverb

In the Nigerian proverb above it points our that wisdom builds, foolishness withholds. In my understanding I gather from this proverb that when a person is wise he gives twice as much, when he is foolish he gives nothing.

The very nature of wisdom is an integration of both knowledge and compassion. In order to be wise, you need to be committed to using your knowledge for the benefit of everyone. Anything less than that has flaws of folly.

Life is difficult and challenging, arduous and heinous. In fact, this never changes. We only get better at coping, strategizing, and overcoming. And yet sometimes, we wonder why life isn’t better. We take on our problems, we can anticipate certain feelings, and events, but still aren’t satisfied. Why?

Of course, there are many explanations for being dissatisfied. But this week, I suggest to you that it is wisdom you need for a greater level of satisfaction. Wisdom is a huge part of enjoying the good life.

The foolish person in the proverb builds a dam to overcome adversity. He works just as hard as the wise person, but he works against nature. Is it satisfying to hold onto anger, frustration, or disappointment? Bottling up and holding back these things creates far worse psychological issues (i.e. anxiety and depression).

On the other hand, the wise person works hard to build a bridge. He works with nature. He didn’t attempt to dam up natural occurrences. Does this sound more satisfying? He allowed nature to work for him. Likewise, you can react to life in a constructive way.

To speak to the expected issues, events, or interactions that may be difficult in your week. I know there are people that have a “flow” you don’t like so much. Maybe there is a new curriculum, a court order, a new memo that you don’t agree with. Whatever crisis you have to overcome, don’t dam up your life energy. Discern the difference between the negative and positive, and use the energy to create a solution that works for everyone.

Week 28 is about being wise. Even when nature seems destructive, you have a choice. Be constructive.You cannot use the resources around you, if you choose to withhold energy. As this week gets insane, GIVE ENERGY. Direct and guide the energy to something useful.

The wise person engages nature at its wild and raw state. (Being wise requires mental endurance, but it is richly rewarding.) The privilege of a wise person is turning a crisis into peace, a tragedy into hope, hate into love, and rubble into cities! So, instead of considering your interests only, consider what others would like; consider the group’s desires. Use your mind to build.

Be Wise.

Elle

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Be The Change Devotional Week 27: Be Hopeful

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In the light of witnessing the horrific events taking place in Iraq, I found myself beginning to fret. Of course, there are thousands of ways to eliminate fear rationally and logically. However, I was still deeply affected by the sorrows, fear, and sense of complete hopelessness strewn about our world.

My heart yearns for the answer to the prodding yet evasive questions: Where is my hope? What hope do I have?

Sometimes we forget that bad things happen to bring us closer to God. There are words that have been said before: God is close to the broken hearted AND he gives grace to the humble. So if we are broken hearted, if we remain humble in our weakness, fears, and live them delicately human then his forgiving presence will inspire within us the hope that was once lost. He is an ever present help in times of trouble.

Poetry of the past reminds us to put our hope in God. Many people lose themselves because they put their hope in things bound to earth (and are lost by an inevitable end). But I believe our hope remains in heaven…it is our beginning and our end. To put our hope in God is the only logical, conclusive hope we have. Next time, you lose sight of hope, think. Perhaps, it’s been misplaced. Is your hope in the next job, partner, spouse, paycheck? If you find it there, it’s smoke and mirrors. Your real hope is found in heaven.

I believe that if I am to truly live my life, it’s necessary to leave my despair behind. Despair is not going on this trip with me. It just doesn’t belong. Life is full of hardships, loss, fear, and mourning; I believe this is a passing journey we travel where God grips our hearts to bring us close to His love. To desire him above everything else.

photo-4We don’t know what’s around the corner of our lives. We don’t know if we’ll be homeless, divorced, if we’ll lose someone we love, or when a life threatening event will come upon us. Today may be that day for many. These are the very times to cast your despair away and remember God’s desire is to be close to you. You are going to a place better than this one here. It is so important to hold onto the hope that will never disappoint us. Everyone has a friend, a mother, brother, father, or sister who needs a hope that will deliver. Everyday, we have an opportunity to offer glimpses of this hope.

This week, be the change. Will you find hope to become hope for someone else? (This is how you become strong again.)  Will you find your hope in heaven, and put your hope in God? Will you be a haven to your sister in need? Will you be a refreshing drink for your brother? A comforting word for your father? A follow through with resources for your mother? This week, discover where hope is truly found, set sail, and when you arrive, anchor down. And begin to produce hope for others.

Be Hopeful.

Discover the good life with me? Follow Grace For Elle.

Be The Change Devotional Week 26: Be Alive

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Sounds like a no brainer right? Be alive. But seriously, being alive takes some skill. We can sit through life with a regular routine that never challenges us. Or, we can live lives that make us feel alive.

This past week, I went to Montana for a family vacation. This trip got me pondering what it means to be alive. We drove on “Going to the sun road” through Glacier National Park and I was swept away with the grand majesty of our nation’s land. We also spent time on a boat in Whitefish Lake and I was impacted by the world around me. (FYI -I have a weird fear of deep water; I say, weird because I don’t know where it came from, and I haven’t yet worked it out-I say this because fear is definitely related to this post!)

I came to realize this about fear and the wonderful feeling of being alive. They go hand in hand. At the moment our lives are threatened, we look for ways to survive and we live more vigorously. At the greatest heights of Glacier National park I was in awe of how incredible the view was. But when I looked down, I was terrified. On the lake, when I looked around I was exhilarated by the views of the glassy waters, and surrounding land, but on imagining the depths of my surroundings -below me, around me, and above -I was terrified.

I think we all have these moments where panic and exhilaration combine. Usually, fear takes over and we hate these moments. But I wanted so badly to get over my fear of water, that I chose to experience it as my life at the most vulnerable and sublime moment. I think these powerful moments are here to bless us with raw feelings of being alive.

You can apply this concept to all your fears. Whether they are of public speaking, being around massive amounts of people, fear of heights, water, etc. there is a surreal and raw sweetness from which to learn.

I wish I had more moments like that I can learn from in ways that only fear can initiate. It’s that incredible feeling of being alive, surviving something awesome, thrilling, terrifying, and beautiful.

This week I am going to see life through that lens -sensitive, raw, terrifying, thrilling, and beautiful. My everyday life definitely doesn’t have me going to Glacier National Park, but perhaps this feeling of being alive can be magnified. Because the feeling of fear can be mysterious, coming and going at a moments notice. This week I will seek to be this change: Be thrilled, be terrified, be beautifully alive.

Be Alive.

Be The Change Devotional Week 25: Be Brave

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It takes guts to live life on this planet. It takes guts to speak out! You got to have courage to stand up for yourself and your rights! Now is the time to live boldly, and courageously! We must learn how to never quit in the face of difficulty, danger, and pain.

I used to think this is what it meant to be brave. And it is. A big part. But there is another part of bravery that I’m discovering along the way. Being brave can be exhibited by being meek and quiet in the midst of fear. Being brave is holding your ground even if it’s shaky. Being brave is not stammering about in the middle of a typhoon shouting do your worst! Bravery is keeping your feet on the ground, your mind steady, your thoughts collected, and your hands diligent.

I’ve realized that it takes more guts to be silent in the face of challenging foes, events, or circumstance. I’ve also learned that if I try to be brave, I usually end up coward. Guess what? It takes more guts to quietly chip away at the changes to make within ourselves, rather than fight to remain the same. Are you getting me?

Sure, there are times where we all should have the valiant courage to make the right choice. Peer pressure is everywhere no matter what age you are. However, we need to pay more attention to the moments in our lives that require the quiet courage too. You decide what type of courage best fits…quiet or valiant.

Courage when it counts:

1) When you don’t want to do something others are doing. Being courageous counts when you want to enjoy personal preferences (when you are courageous in this context, you experience the essence of true freedom). By which, your character can be refined if you have the courage to make confident choices regardless of the social pressures in the way. Have you gone against your own convictions or personal preferences because of social pressure? Be free. Be brave.

2) When its illegal. The law is black and white. (Although, some would say that’s debatable.) In the workforce (and anywhere really), you may be witness to or experiencing illegal stuff. Being courageous counts when illegal activity affects the world you and I live in. Is there something you have seen or heard that affects you in the workplace, your neighborhood? Be brave.

3) When you want change. Being courageous counts when you want to change your life so badly that you won’t let the pain, danger, or difficulty stop you.  This is the trickiest of all because this type of bravery is the silent kind. This bravery builds quiet momentum until your entire life has changed by one courageous action after another.

Consider the following examples for developing your own quiet bravery:

Hot temper? It takes a brave soul to sit quietly, not fight back, and seek resolution with a whole new approach. Constant courage will change your entire communication system.

Weight issues? It takes courage to make every single healthy choice consistently when the numbers on the scale don’t go down and you don’t see any change. It takes courage to keep going in the midst of difficulty.

Low self-esteem? Bravery works its magic when you have the courage to dig quietly like Edmond Dantes in Count of Monte Cristo while he was in Chatteau D’if. There is a time to shine, the time may not be now, but keep doing the hard work it takes to be great even alongside great pain.

Last words to you. Your wits and intelligence are too valuable to be flushed into the vortex of fear. There are times to be brave where you take a stand and speak out -personal preference and illegal activity. But the REAL COURAGE is the quiet type – the type of courage heroes have – quiet & relentless. This courage requires perseverance and confident resolve. The quiet brave soul surrenders itself through the storms in order to gain the strength, peace, and genuine virtue.

This week, know the difference. See the difference. Live the difference. Surrender yourself through the storm in order to gain the strength, peace, and genuine virtue by being courageous. Sometimes we have to be our own hero because the ones in comics don’t really exist.

Be Brave.

 

Do you want weekly change oriented inspiration? Discover the good life with me and follow Grace For Elle! 

 

 

 

Be the Change Devotional Week 24: Be Prepared

Be Prepared

I remember when I was young my mother always told me, If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Preparation is the key to success. Every person in leadership ought to be prepared. There will always be variables that you can’t control, but you’d be amazed at how much you can actually control and dictate.

People who over prepare think a lot about murphy’s law -What can go wrong, will go wrong. So to remedy the case of the “what-ifs,” they look at their predicament through a thousand different angles and plan accordingly. Is this overboard? Not if you can prevent a disaster, or a minor delay in order to stay on track with your goals. You never know when that one detail can change the course of your life or goals.

For me, I prepare. I don’t over prepare really. But I prepare for basic, normal life. (I want to be an over-preparer!) How about you? Are you preparing for murphy’s law to happen everyday? Or are you a average preparer? We can also think about the neurotic, anxious, and obsessive worriers. Are you like that? Staying up at night worrying? Begin preparing!

photoI’m a believer that the more obsessive and anxious the people are, the more amazing and brilliant they can be! Once you put the worry and pressures of your task, goal,or whatever in the light of preparation you will be successful. Don’t be afraid to take preparation to an obsessive level. think about what filmmaker, David Fincher says, “My idea of professionalism is probably a lot of people’s idea of obsessive.”

Week 24 is about being prepared. Take the time to think ahead and plan it out. Consider how everything will be affected by what you say, think, wear, whether or not you eat, etc. For example when we eat out with friends whether or not you eat at home first will affect your time, your money, your words, and your impression. This of course, is a basic preparation -the average.

But what if you took your preparedness to new heights? How then would you really be able to affect the world and people around you? You would be able to deliver the impression you intend. You would be more successful at loving your friends and family. You would be able to anticipate awkward or pretentious moments and thus, respond intentionally. Think, plan, anticipate, and act in line with what outcome you want. And when those uncontrolled variables start popping up, you will be one step ahead.

Be Prepared