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Celebrate!

yay

We were driving through some winding back roads in Indiana, listening to a local radio station early in the morning. This was last month, on a 1,000 mile drive to move our daughter to college, and we were just starting the second day of the journey. The radio host pointed to several areas of national and international news that were less than uplifting, and then announced it was time for a weekly segment they do called Good News Wednesday, encouraging their listeners to text or call in and share any bit of good news they had, from tiny to tremendous.

Within minutes, listeners were announcing big news like pregnancies and new houses, and tiny things like getting to work on time and looking forward to date night. What struck me was that so many were willing to participate; people want to share their good news, but often don’t know how or with whom they can. Also, as each proclamation was made, one of the announcers said something supportive in response. Every single time. And there were a lot! I felt so inspired after hearing the many ideas to celebrate, as well as the encouraging words of that radio station staff.

I was instantly reminded of a small group we were in about ten years ago. A newer couple sheepishly announced the husband had received a big promotion and we all cheered their good fortune, and thanked God for His provision when we prayed that night. The couple looked bewildered and then confessed they had been afraid to say anything, because they felt they had never experienced friendships who truly wanted the best for them.

So we resort to calling in to strangers to share our good news.

Y’all, we can do better. I want to be a person you call to brag on your child when they make the team or get into that college, when you see something wonderfully new in your spouse you didn’t see before, or when you get that crazy, pie-in-the-sky promotion. I want to cheer you on when you’re pregnant or not pregnant (somebody knows who I’m talking to), or your air conditioner finally gets repaired, or your prodigal child comes home. The truth is, when I hear great news about others it gives me an endorphin rush, or at least, it should. If I feel jealousy or resentment, that is on me, and I need to address it, trying to understand why I would feel anything but support for this person and then I need to get over it.

We are called to encourage one another, to love one another, to serve one another and to consider others more highly than ourselves. Let’s start this practice by cheering each other on every opportunity we have, not the fake stuff either, let’s desire the best for each other and celebrate like crazy when somebody gets it! So, I’m wondering…..what thing can we celebrate, big or small, for you today?

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Celebrate the Milestones

Thirteen is an amazing year in a child’s life. So much is happening inside their bodies and brains, they often are picking up more responsibility at home and at school, and are desperately trying to understand who they are and how they fit.

As parents, we wanted to acknowledge all the changes and encourage our children as they crossed the threshold from child to teen. A few weeks before the thirteenth birthday, we sent letters to grandparents, teachers, mentors, pastors, coaches and friends – people who loved our child. In the letters we asked them to write our emerging teen and tell them what they see in them, how they pray for them, or a great memory of them. We were so thankful and impressed with the responses we got for all three children, some were hand written or included drawings, others were humorous or inspiring.

We placed the letters into a special scrapbook and decorated it with their favorite colors and interests, and presented the book to them on their birthdays.  Our first child was completely surprised by the effort, but the other two were totally expecting to get their books!

I believe that these books are important because when one of our children gets down and feels like life isn’t what they thought it was supposed to be, they have a tangible reminder from the people who know them and love them most, as to who they are and where they are going.

Celebrate

ImageMy Dad celebrated a milestone birthday this week. I can remember my grandparents turning 70 and thinking of them as so OLD, how did this happen to my own father? Honestly, he’s more active than most people half his age and intends to out-live us all, so the new decade doesn’t mean that much to him.

Dad lives more than 600 miles from me and they were throwing a big party for him. I didn’t plan to attend because of time and distance and he totally understood because it takes a lot of planning and effort for me to leave our chaos home. This is a downside of living far away from family; we usually miss the celebrations.

The closer the date of the party, the more I wanted to attend. I mentioned it to my guy and he booked me a flight without hesitation. I would be in Texas for about 17 hours. Perfect.

It wasn’t an easy trip to make; four flights in less than two days, family dynamics and years of layers of scar tissue mean that the threat of more hurt can be just around any corner. I left feeling like every nerve ending was exposed. But I was there to give my Dad a hug, sing Happy Birthday and celebrate him. I’m glad I went.

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