The Art of Confrontation

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend ~ Proverbs 27:6

Dan and I just celebrated 42 years of marriage. And every single day has been filled with peace, marital bliss, more peace … and I need to stop right there before a bolt of lightning strikes me dead!

Dan and I have a great marriage – most of the time. Honestly, there have been days when I have thought about getting in the car and driving away. I am sure there have been more days when Dan has had the same thought. We have weathered some severe storms in our marriage, and it is only by the grace of God that we still love and respect each other after all these years. We are best friends – flawed and frail humans who say and do stupid, hurtful things. But we work hard at our marriage and let me tell you one thing – a good marriage requires hard work. We are committed to each other and to making the rest of our marriage the best part of our marriage. It didn’t start off that way.

Before Dan and I were married, I noticed several rough edges that needed to be sanded away and felt like I was just the one who could do it. After all, that’s what wives are for, right?

I decided to lay low for a few months, lulling Dan into a false sense of security and giving him a chance to make the changes on his own before I stepped in with my well-thought-out plan for his life. The only problem was that my plan did not line up with his plan. Furthermore, he seemed oblivious to the character flaws that were blatantly obvious to me.

After a few months of marital bliss during which I was fine-tuning my “Fix Dan Plan,” a seed of discontent took root and began to grow in my heart and in our marriage.

The strength I had once so admired in Dan now looked a whole lot like stubbornness.
Dan’s ability to take a complicated issue, dissect it, and boil it down to a three-step-plan now seemed patronizing.

What I had once embraced as his devotion to me now seemed like his need to be in control of me.

I could go on – but you get the picture.

It was obviously time for the execution of my sure-to-succeed plan of transforming my husband into the man that God and I thought he should be. Looking back, my arrogance and ignorance are laughable, but at the time, they were just plain wrong and yielded painful and disastrous results.

I will never forget the afternoon Dan gently confronted me in love and with amazing patience. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I do remember the words that broke my heart and saved our marriage, “Honey, I’m not sure what is going on between us. But I do know that I want to love you like you need to be loved.”

Boom!

And there you have the recipe for a successful marriage – confrontation wrapped in love for the purpose of restoration. It is also the formula for cultivating peace and unity in every relationship.

Healthy confrontation is especially important when dealing with those difficult people who rub you the wrong way – the Sandpaper People in in your life.

Sandpaper people love a good fight and often mistake combat for confrontation. The two are not the same thing. Combat slowly corrodes and splinters while confrontation is an art that, when done correctly, improves and strengthens relationships.

To confront someone is to meet them head-on in the quest for compromise. Our heart motive must be love and restoration – not getting even or winning. Confrontation is an emotional tackle for the purpose of resolving conflict while promoting peace.

Most people I know hate confrontation and will do anything to avoid it. That is not all bad. In fact, if you love confrontation and drama, you are probably confronting for the wrong reason. On the other hand, if you refuse to confront, you are giving the impression that you are content with the status quo.

Silence is agreement.

Confrontation is a spiritual surgery that tends to be painful. But without it, the cancer of contention and discord will remain unfettered, free to grow and spread its deadly relationship poison. Confrontation is a gift we bring to every healthy relationship as well as the unhealthy relationships with which we struggle.

As fully devoted followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to bring confrontation into the picture when dealing with sandpaper people. There is a right way and a wrong way to confront. Confrontation is not combat. The success of any confrontation depends upon understanding the difference between the two.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Get Your Kids to Clean Their Room

Belinda may be grown BUT I do remember the battle for her to keep her room clean – okay, even neat would have been nice.  I was grateful company never had to walk past her room to get to the bathroom or I could just close her door….  What about you?  Do you struggle to get your kids to clean up their room?  Are things tossed EVERY WHERE???

If you’re a parent, you have heard the endless excuses your kids can come up with when it’s time to clean their rooms.  From “I’ll do it later!” to “I’m too tired,” we’ve heard them all! The truth is, we probably used them ourselves at some point in our life, right?  Here are a few tricks to help make the room-cleaning battle a bit easier.

1. Set clear, realistic expectations

What is clean to us may not be clean to our kids.  We need to set age-appropriate goals to help them recognize when their room is “clean.”  For a three-year-old, a clean room could simply mean books are on the shelf, toys in their place and dirty clothes in the hamper. Yet for an eight-year-old, there could be the added responsibility of making their bed or putting clean clothes away.  The key is we need to share our expectations with our children.  Maybe even give them a list of what to do and if they can’t read, use pictures with the words.

2. Let your kids OWN their space

Belinda’s room was her room – seems like a no-brainer, right?  I let her make her own decisions but often gave her just two choices I could leave with – whether it was picking out her clothes, what color her room was or what game to play.  I never thought about giving her a .choice about where things went in  her room… It did get better once we put the closet organizer in with shelves and a spot to hang her clothes.

primaryFor some kids, putting toys, games and clothes away is never fun – except when there’s a monster involved! Here is a unique craft idea to turn Thirty One’s  Your Way® Cube or Your Way® Rectangle storage bin into a fun monster kids can keep their belongings in.

Not only does it help keep bedrooms and toy rooms neat, it makes a great decoration and an adorable gift your kids will love. I’m pretty sure this is one monster your kids will want under their beds … or in their closets!

image1Here is what you will need:

  • 1 white sticky-back foam sheet (color optional)
  • Pair of sticky-back googly eyes – size and number of eyes optional
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • FREE monster teeth template (Your Way® Cube and Rectangle sizes included)
  • Glue stick (for other/additional design options)

How to make it:

  1. Choose either a Your Way® Cube with matching Cube Lid or Your Way® Rectangle with matching Rectangle Lid in the color or print you want your monster to be.
  2. Print out the monster teeth template below and cut two rows of teeth for your cube or rectangle from the sticky-back foam sheet. If you prefer, you can also design your own teeth, but be sure to measure the window or panel of your bin first.
  3. Peel and stick the teeth to either the clear PVC window or chalkboard panel of your bin, aligning the flat edges to the top and bottom edge.
  4. Next, identify the front-facing edge of your lid, and place it on your bin. This will help you decide on the placement of your googly eyes.
  5. Now, peel and stick the eyes in place to the front-facing edge of the lid. You made a monster!

 

Add even more embellishments, if you’d like: Maybe some foam-sheet spots in a contrasting color, or eyelashes, horns, ears or a nose. Maybe even glue a little faux fur or feathers to the lid for hair!

Consider stacking up a few monster cubes to create a fun tower shape or line them up on shelves to create a monster row. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and be creative!  Click the link:  Monster Teeth Template to get the teeth

 

3. Set a good example

Kids learn by example, right?  They learn from what we do, and not from what we say.  I’m sure you have said it at least once “Do as I say, not as I do”… Admit it, we all have.  Honestly, sometimes it’s easier to say, “Clean your room!” and walk away than to actually go in and HELP our kids.  Sometimes, it takes just that!  If your child is resisting, why not get down on the floor and help.  When you do the work together, you are setting a good example of how families help each other – and it actually is a chance to spend  some quality time talking and bonding with your child.

I wish we had personalized containers like The Littles Carry-All Caddies, Mini Storage Bins and Your Way Cubes when Belinda was younger.  They are the perfect size for storing toys, extra clothes and other stuff which clutter up a child’s room. Plus, they can be personalized with your child’s name, a favorite picture or animal (using our Icon-Its) or anything else you come up with.  Have some fun with your kids and let them help in personalizing the storage and organization products for their rooms.

How do you help your children keep their space neat and tidy? Show us your organized kids’ rooms by sharing your photos on social media – we love seeing how you put Thirty-One’s  products to use. Tag us with #partywithHope

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Does Your Light Shine?

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Happiness is derived from helping others, making a difference, and serving the world in your own unique way.  For me, I try to do it by helping those who are struggling.

No matter what your purpose is, let your underlying mission be to “live your life in a way people say  “There’s something different about them and I want to feel the same peace, joy, and love in my own life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Here are five ways you can share this idea:

1. Look for ways to be a blessing.

Letting your light shine means letting all the good within you come out. In a world full of negativity, you will be amazed at the light which enters your world when you do something good.  It is like a burst of fresh air. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Find ways to be a blessing to others with simple random acts of kindness.  It can be as easy as a “thank you” or holding the door for someone, or paying for someone’s coffee.  It can be for someone you know or someone you don’t know – either way, your light with shine.

2. Refuse to be judgmental.

One of the fastest ways to turn people away from God is to judge them. And sometimes we do it without even realizing it.  Have you heard the saying “hate the act not the person”?  Basically, we can acknowledge a person has done wrong without condemning them for it.  We are all sinners and fall short every day.   We have all done things we need to be forgiven for, and by grace the grace of God,  we have received forgiveness.  Choose to pray for those you feel tempted to judge – not always an easy thing to do. Embrace and support others when they are trying to do better. .

3. Speak up for what is just.

Speak up for what is just—not right. Do you confuse being right with doing right? I know I have.  We should really be focusing more on doing right. No matter what, especially during conflict, it’s essential you treat people justly. Ensure those who cross your path are better off because they encountered you.  When in a situation where others are being cheated, disrespected, or done a disservice, let your light shine and speak up. Don’t ATTACK but do it in a direct, calm, straightforward, and nonjudgmental manner.  It may not always be easy but it is important to do.

4. Let go of the desire to fit in.

This is probably the toughest thing for this “people pleaser”.  Letting our light shine when we feel the need to fit in everywhere you go, is probably the hardest thing for me.  I am learning a simple smile, talking kindly to people can make all of the difference in the world.  When we are more concerned about being an instrument of truth and love rather than fitting in, our light will shine.

5. Don’t hide your spiritual life.

Do you have a relationship with God but pretend publicly he is not central in your life?  If God is an important part of who you are, why would you keep it to yourself?  Does it have something to do with fitting in?  I don’t mean you need to have a Bible on your desk or quote scripture all of the time. When an opportunity comes up  to share where your strength comes from or how blessed you are, be honest.  Your faith is a part of who you are. When you free yourself to be who you are, you also free others to be who they truly are.  You will also stop trying to please the world.

8330AB52.jpgHas your light dimmed in today’s crazy world?  I challenge you this week to find one way to share your light with the world.  Share how you did it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Chicken & Asparagus

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
  • 4 4-oz. (125 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon Mustard Rub
  • 1   small onion
  • 1 pkg (8 oz./250 g) cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
  • 1 pint (500 mL) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch (about 1 lb./450 g) asparagus, trimmed
  • 2   garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) white wine or chicken broth
  • ½   lemon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Heat the oil in the 12″ (30-cm) Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet over medium-high heat for 3–5 minutes.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the rub. Place the chicken in the pan and sear for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and sear for 1 additional minute. Remove the chicken from the pan (it will not be fully cooked).
  3. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half lengthwise, from root to top. Slice the onion and mushrooms using the Simple Slicer on the #3 setting. Cut the tomatoes in half using the Close & Cut and the Coated Chef’s Knife. Cut the asparagus into 1″ (2.5-cm) pieces.
  4. Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic pressed with the Garlic Press, and salt to the pan. Saute for 2–3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the fond (see cook’s tip).
  5. Add the wine, lemon juiced with the Citrus Press, and remaining rub. Simmer, uncovered, for 3–5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
  6. Add the tomatoes and asparagus to the pan and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).

Yield:

  • 4  servings

Nutrients per serving:

U.S. Nutrients per serving: Calories 240, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 65 mg, Sodium 420 mg, Carbohydrate 15 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugars 7 g, Protein 18 g

Cook’s Tips:

Fond is what’s left in the pan after you sear food—but it’s not just something to scrub away! It’s packed with flavor, and all you have to do to incorporate it into your recipe is deglaze the pan. Add a little wine, broth, or other liquid and stir to get more flavorful food.

A great side for this recipe is Lightened up Mashed Potatoes. To make them, quarter 1½ lbs (700 g) of red potatoes and place them in the Rockcrok®Everyday Pan. Cover the potatoes and microwave them on HIGH for 12-14 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Mash the potatoes with either the Mix ‘N Chunk or Mix ‘N Masher. Press one clove of garlic using the Garlic Press and add it to the potatoes. Finally, add ½ cup (375 mL) of either unsweetened almond milk or your preferred milk, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to mash the potatoes until they reach your desired consistency.

Want more recipes to help you change up boring dinners?  Check out Patti’s website where there is over 250 recipes to spice up your dinner menu.  If your wish list is bigger than your wallet, host a party to earn free and discounted products.  Just like to shop, check out the monthly customer specials. 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You Are Beloved and Chosen

 

Thank you Holley Gerth for today’s message.

I step into a Junior High lunch room that smells like old fries and sticky plastic trays. I scan the scene—the popular kids at one table, bookworms at another, the theater crowd and the athletes and the rebels. Who will look up and invite me over?

Tell me who I am.

My friends and I have crushes and dates and boyfriends. We fix our hair a hundred different ways. Crowd into dressing rooms to try a thousand different outfits. Loop silver and gold through our ears. The doorbell rings and he is holding roses.

Tell me who I am.

I am typing into a small screen and pressing “publish.” Sending my heart in black and white into the internet. There will be comments and likes, criticisms and compliments. I watch the cursor blink.

Tell me who I am.

Isn’t this the whisper of our hearts as women? The friends, the men, the crowd. They will tell us if we are okay. If we are worthy. If we are enough. Isn’t that their job?

But then I bump into this verse, “But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people” (John 2:24). All people. The popular kids and the bookworms, the theater crowd and the athletes and the rebels. This verse has been there all along and it’s been a head-scratcher for me. He didn’t entrust Himself to them?

Then suddenly it occurs to me this might the answer: Jesus is the only human to walk this spinning planet and not say Tell me who I am. He didn’t look to others to definite His identity, to determine His worth. “Instead He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). “Judge” has a reputation of being a harsh word but I don’t think that’s the meaning here. I think it’s saying that God alone knows the truest-truth and that’s why His opinion is the only one that really matters.

Of course, we are going to care what others think. We’re going to desire acceptance and want to fit in. This is the way we’re created to connect. The only folks who don’t are sociopaths. So, no guilt about this, no shame or hardening our hearts. Instead we can simply say, “But God gets the final word.”

Tell me who I am.

And God says we are beloved and chosen, cherished and gifted, wanted and a divinely-shaped wonder.

When someone says, “You’ll never amount to anything,” He says, “You can do all things because I strengthen you” (Philippians 4:13).

When someone tells us, “You don’t look the right way,” He whispers, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

When someone implies, “You aren’t wanted,” He declares, “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1b).

God is the One who gives us our identities. He is the One who sets us free from condemnation and comparison, hustling to be liked and trying to be perfect. He is the One right there with us every time we feel tempted to listen to the lies. May His love always be louder than any other voice.

Tell us who we are.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!