3 More Ways to Fill A Mug with Encouragement

A Cup of Encouragement
The sooner we stop believing the lie that we must offer some grand gesture to make a difference, the sooner more souls will find rest⎯the kind of rest a good, good Father desires for His children.

Maybe you remember the above quote from last month’s post? It was there I first mentioned the idea of sharing a small {but meaningful} gift with someone in need⎯be it spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

So let’s look at three more ways we can fill a simple mug to the glory of God!


3 Ways to Fill A Mug With Encouragement

 

Be still and know that I am God __ Psalm 46_10

My love of mugs began way back when in a yellow-clad kitchen where my grandmother savored her morning cups of Yuban coffee served up in a thick-rimmed Homer Laughlin coffee cup. You might remember those cups from roadside diners or Howard Johnson motels back in the 60’s. These coffee cups with heft can still be spotted in local antique shops and estate sales. If this isn’t an option any thicker mug will do.

Here’s the question: Who are you praying for on a regular basis these days? Consider inserting a note inside a mug that says something like…Every time you sip from this gift, remember that just as this mug surrounds your coffee, my prayers surround you. You are loved, never forgotten. {Psalm 125:2}

 

Be still and know that I am God __ Psalm 46_10-1

Got a new neighbor? Go ahead and bake up those chocolate chip cookies but this time, stack them and place in a mug of your choosing, along with a simple note welcoming them to your neighborhood. Awhile back, I shared in this post how a friend of mine, Kim Rhodes, displays Christ in such an organic, authentic way by loving her neighbors well. Because summertime isn’t a friend to chocolate, you’ll want to drop this off when your neighbor is at home. It will also give you a chance to personally welcome them!

 

Be still and know that I am God __ Psalm 46_10-2

Who couldn’t use a God-kiss from time-to-time? Okay, God didn’t manufacture them but Hershey’s did, and we know all good things come from Him. {Pardon the stretch.} Nevertheless, we all know someone who could use an edible tangible reminder that God is with them right there, in the thick of their problem. Fill up a mug with Hershey’s chocolate kisses along with this note:

God Kisses
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Each time you take a kiss be reminded of God’s goodness… and name each one aloud.

For all of the above mug ideas, remember to encourage the recipient to pass it on. But most importantly, stay sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. He may want to change it up…and if so, to God be the glory!

Is there one of the three above ideas that resonates with you today? Or do you have additional ideas to share? If so, please share in the comment section. Thank you!

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3 Tips On Creative Brainstorming + An Interview with Dee Dee Parker

Creative Brainstorming

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein

It’s true, right? There’s an inexplicable synergy that takes places when two or more creative beings come together for a specific purpose. In fact, there are few things I love more than a good brainstorming session. Whether it’s with a group of ministry-minded peeps or with fellow writers, it matters not. A little later in the post I’ll share a few tips on how you can enjoy your own b-storming session.

But first…

When it comes to writing sessions, my go-to girl is Dee Dee Parker. She’s not only the other pea in our “strange little pod.” She is also one of the most creative people I know. So it’s only fair that I share her creative goodness with you.

In honor of our two peas status, I’m asking Dee Dee two questions. Let’s get started!

Me: Where do you find your creative muse?

Dee Dee: My creative muse, my inspiration, depends on what medium I am working in at the time. Inspiration for my non-fiction often comes after my morning devotions, Bible study, and prayer time with the Lord. A Bible verse will grab my attention and a devotion or article is born. My Appalachian fiction muse is often the elders of my hollow and mountain town. I overhear a conversation and an idea for a story comes about. The dialect is so rich here and the people have such a strong sense of place and deep faith that I will never run out of ideas. Of course, Cathy, you and I brainstorm often and that starts the creative juices flowing in many creative endeavors such as our Two Peas In One Strange Little Pod videos. 🙂

Me: What secret talents do you have? (I snatched this simple but insightful question from Edie Melson’s interview over @ Writing Prompts, Thoughts, and Ideas…Oh my!)

Dee Dee: I love to paint, especially watercolors! As a matter of fact stayed tuned for an announcement of my new project coming later this summer. I am very excited about working on the details of a card line with hopes it will be a blessing to you, and one you will enjoy sharing with others.

Thank you, Dee Dee!

{Stay tuned, fellow Blue Ridge friends…Two Peas in One Strange Little Pod Productions has one last blooper reel coming your way tomorrow!}

3 TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR OWN

  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Years ago, I attended a weekly ministry-driven brainstorming session. Ideas flew fast and furious. You see, the pastor encouraged us to remember that there was no such thing as a stupid idea. We knew we were in a safe place. It didn’t mean we used all the ideas. In fact, we used only a few, but one idea would spark another, and so on. I felt free to fail and through that freedom emerged ideas that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. Edwin H. Land sums it up best: “The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”
  • Move outside. Due to distance Dee Dee and I usually do our brainstorming sessions via phone but whenever possible, move your creative b-storming outside. Take a walk together, or go to a zoo or museum to get those creative juices flowing.
  • Know the rules. State upfront any guidelines you might want to observe, such as… there are no wrong/ foolish statements, or perhaps, no cutting remarks if you disagree with something that’s suggested, etc. Agree that you’ll take everything in, write it down, and allow the information to marinate before making a definitive decision. Rules and creativity don’t always go hand-in-hand but in this case, it’s actually freeing everyone to be their best creative self.

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blogDeeDeeblueDee Dee Parker infuses wisps of Southern grace throughout both her writing and speaking. She is the author of a children’s book, Josie Jo’s Got to Know written to benefit breast cancer research. She has contributed to numerous anthologies, such as Chicken Soup for the Soul, Clothes Lines and Christmas Presence. Dee Dee writes for Christian Devotions US, Guidepost books, Guidepost.org as well as Focus On the Family’s Clubhouse Jr. magazine. Her first Christmas novella has landed in the hands of her agent and she eagerly anticipates its publication in the near future. Dee Dee lives snuggled among the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains with her husband Jim, a retired minister, and their spoiled Schnoodle, Greta.

Talk about creative! Today’s featured image is courtesy of the talented Paul Foreman of Mind Map Inspiration. Visit his site for mind blowing graphics as well as much inspiration!

How to Live a Grace-Paced Life

An Unhurried LifeLet’s begin with a disclaimer. The Baker household has experienced anything but a grace-paced life in recent months. Prepping our hundred-year-old home to sell has taken on a life of itself. By the time this post goes live the house should finally be on the market.

Perhaps it’s because of the chaotic nature of life that I was immediately drawn to Alan Fadling’s, “An Unhurried Life…Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest” highlighted on Emily P. Freeman’s site. Or it could be that at the core of my very being I desire above all else to be more like Jesus in both rest and play.

In An Unhurried Life, there are eleven chapters highlighting topics such as productivity, temptation, caring, praying, resting, suffering, maturing and spiritual practices. Today, I’m sharing two fistfuls of favorite excerpts…and I’m only on page 46. {I wanted to rev up my reading skills so I could finish the book in its entirety before posting.} Yep, this book was written for me. Maybe you’ll see hints of your own hurry below.

10 Quotes to Inspire A Grace-Paced Life

  • Told to John Ortberg during a transition in his ministry life: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
  • “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.”
  • “I feel hurried inside even when nothing actually urgent is on my schedule. Hurry has become a habit: I find myself stuck in emergency mode.”
  • “I realize that an unhurried life is not a lazy life. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. Jesus was unhurried, but he was not lazy He was engaged, hardworking, purposeful, and conscientious.”
  • “I’m aware that God’s great commandment to us isn’t ‘Get more things done,’ but to love him with the whole of our energies, capacities, and passions to extend that love to others. And love isn’t rushed.”
  • “God is never in a hurry.”
  • “Being unhurried does not mean being unresponsive to divine nudges. Being unhurried enable us to notice those nudges and to respond.”
  • “I don’t think I’ll find my deepest joy in the number of people who liked something I said or did. I’m coming to believe that my greatest joy will be being part of an extended community of men and women with whom I’ve shared a journey with Jesus, living out his life in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces and schools, and the church communities where God has planted us.”
  • “Despite Jesus’ example, I find it a continual temptation to do things that will get a lot of people excited about what I’m doing⎯and get them excited now!”
  • “Do our conversations about ministry revolve around growing numbers of participants, successful programs or other easily measured outcomes? Or do we tell stories about particular people who are responding to Jesus, stories of seeds of gospel truth sown in people’s hearts that will grow into the fruit of Christlikeness?”

Now that’s a lot of unhurried goodness. Wouldn’t you agree?

All the above quotes struck a chord in me but the second one pressed in a little deeper. A disordered heart? I know it’s true. I also know I can’t wait until life settles down to take it before the Lord and wrestle through the necessary changes.

I’m discovering that a grace-paced life can be embraced even when everything else feels like it’s falling apart.

Did a particular quote speak to you? I’d love for you to share it in the comment section if so. We hurried-prone peeps need to know we’re not alone. {Wink.Wink.}