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Showing posts from February, 2013

What's It Like to Be You?

Ask someone that today. Then listen to what they say. It may just be the most powerful thing that ever happens in the life of that person.

I Want to Change This About Me

Where did the strange piece of "wisdom" originate that the things we hate most in others are the things we are guilty of ourselves? Time and again I've tried to reconcile this statement, but just can't find the truth in it. It's not that I haven't looked really hard or dared to be honest enough with myself. The things I get most upset about in others are things I don't struggle with. Therefore, compassion doesn't come easy in those instances. When I'm guilty of something I see others doing, I tend to rationalize their behavior. I do this because I understand how hard it is for them to change in that area. I can readily wrap my arms around them and say, "I've been there, and I know it's hard," or "it's not so bad..."

Who Wants Speaking Opportunities?

"How do you get speaking opportunities?" I'm often asked this question. I haven't really struggled. And there are a few reasons for that, some of which may surprise you. I'm actually really content to stay home and write til' the cows come home, but people keep asking me to come speak. I'm humbled and honored, each and every time. I believe one of the reasons I continually get invites is, I know how to do exactly what I'm asked to do. Don't ever underestimate this. Even if you're good at what you do, maybe even GREAT at what you do, you have to become good at doing whatever people ask you to do. How good you are at what you do doesn't really matter to those bringing you in unless you're actually delivering what they want. If you're a chef and someone asks for chicken cordon bleu and you deliver them a lobster, certainly lobster is amazing but if it's not at all what they wanted, or they may even be allergic to it,

I love to learn

One thing I love about traveling to different places to minister is the learning factor. When I travel to speak somewhere I have three goals. The first is to give 110% to what I've been brought in to do. I want to give above and beyond what is expected. The second thing I love is encouraging and affirming the leader(s) publicly as well as privately in between sessions. And the third thing I love is learning all that I can from others. I'm like a sponge! When I travel somewhere as the speaker I usually come home with pages full of notes of what I've gleaned from other people.  When I travel alone it's always a challenge to come back and try to explain to Larry whatever it was that I experienced and learned. During times like this weekend, it's great that we are together and there is no explaining to do.  I have always loved North Carolina and in recent years it's become even more special to me with the connections and reconnections I've made with pe

Staying Married

  I've heard it said: “If you want to DO more for Jesus, stay single; if you want to BE more like Jesus, get married.”   What is mean t by this admonition to "be more like Jesus" regarding marriage ? He was single, after all. Simply put, you will have to become a lot more like Jesus (loving, forgiving, etc.) in order to stay married. Because it's hard. Really hard.  Even when you choose well.  Even when you start out the "right way." Even in the best case scenario. Anything worth while is hard work. Being like Jesus means cultivating the fruit of the spirit.   Last night Larry and I opened our hearts vulnerably to the couples here in  North Carolina, sharing some of the challenges we've had in our relationship.  Without a doubt, marriage has required me to become more like Jesus more so than anything else in my life . My husband often tells people he's responsible for making me a prayer warrior ! :

3 Marriage Boosters
Get 'Em While They're Hot!

In honor of Valentines Day today I'm re-posting three of my favorite marriage posts. Larry and I are flying to North Carolina this morning, as we'll be the speakers at a marriage conference there this weekend. I love North Carolina and can't wait!  Keep us in prayer. The thing I'm looking forward to most is seeing what God does in the marriages of those present at the conference. But I do have to say that a close second is having Larry Shrodes with me in a hotel room for four nights! Yipppeeee! We are so hot for each other, we set hotel rooms on fire . You think I'm kidding? Okay, for three of my favorite posts... Why You Should Have Sex As Much As Possible Living a Honeymoon All The Time 3 Ways to Succeed In a Marriage With Someone You Don't Agree With  

When People Whose Kids Are a Mess Criticize You
For the Way You Raise Yours

For seven months now I've been writing an advice column I was asked to write for Insigh t, a Tampa Bay newspaper. Then two months ago, another newpaper, Epoch , asked if they could cross post the advice column. From time to time I publish some of the questions and answers here on my blog. Here's one that published last month. It comes from a reader who is getting hassled by family for the way she's raising her kids. Dear Deanna:  I am often criticized by my family for how my husband and I are raising our kids who are   teenagers. The ironic thing is - some of their kids have gone off the deep end, so to speak, yet they criticize me for being strict. It’s very frustrating. ~ Dawn Dear Dawn: My best advice to you is to get yourself a blindfold and a good pair of ear plugs. You'll need it to block out what family members and friends who don't share your values will say. My husband and I often heard these things over the years: “Aren

How to Comfort Others (Part 3)

If you missed parts one and two of this series, check 'em out here and here .  Today we're talking about what TO do in comforting someone, as opposed to what not to do.  DO… Let it be all about them. Give them an opportunity to fully express themselves without interjecting your own story unless they invite it. Every person experiences loss differently. No loss is unimportant, but they are different for each person. Affirm What’s Important to Them Let them share thoughts, memories, conversations, photos, etc.  Use Appropriate touch  A hug, an arm around or a pat on the hand. If they are uncomfortable with that, maybe just sitting nearby. Respect their boundaries Sense what they need, read between the lines. Do they need you close by? Do they need space? Do they need a compassionate ear? Do they need someone to just be near without talking?   Note: grieving losses is exhausting work and takes a tremendous amount of energy. Listen,

How to Comfort Others (Part 2)

Did you miss part one of this blog series? Check it out here.  Today we're talking about things NOT to do if you want to comfort someone who is hurting.  DON'T... Let the fear of saying the wrong thing lead to you saying nothing.   Push past your own anxiety, and reach out. Learn what to say.  Share clich├ęs or pat answers like, “it all works out for the best” or “just turn it over to the Lord…” Mimimize the loss, compare the loss, or share why YOU feel they were or are blessed by the loss. For instance, when my husband and I lost our first child to a miscarriage, it was a horribly painful time. It was then that I learned just how much people lack wisdom on how to comfort people. As I was standing at the altar crying after the miscarriage, an older woman approached me and put an arm around me and said, "Pastor Deanna, I feel the Lord wants me to tell you it was for the best that you had the miscarriage. With the unhealthy direction your preg