Love and Trust are Not the Same

No email again today.
I guess it’s a blessing – a confirmation that I correctly assessed the situation.
We speak the same words with such different meanings.
It hurts too. Not to be important enough for the hard work of change. That they don’t value themselves enough to pursue healing. It grieves me. It makes sense. If they don’t value themselves how can they value me?
So what do I do now? Jesus has bore my sorrows so I give it to him.
Jesus this hurts. It feels like rejection and manipulation. I think it even feels like betrayal. I’ve trusted someone willing to break my trust for their comfort and say it’s my fault. I don’t want to be foolish enough to set myself up for that again. I also want my heart open to love everyone as You do. Guard my heart without hardening it.”

He responds:

Love and trust are not the same.
Love is unconditional and unearned – a completely free gift.
Trust is earned and must be rebuilt when it’s broken.

I wonder:

Is love holding the tools to rebuild? Keeping the door open to trust again when effort is made?
Trust has boundaries. The tools must be used properly. The effort has to be made.
I can love if the tools are never touched or even thrown away – if an effort is never made.
The relationship could look very different if there were trust.

What about you?

What do you believe about love and trust?
How do you go on loving someone it’s not wise to trust

Culture of Empowerment

Create a culture of empowerment
Create a Culture of Empowerment
A culture of excellence sounds like a great thing.
At least it used to.
While striving for excellence sounds noble it can actually be very paralyzing.  A dear friend shared with me that a culture of excellence leads to a focus on performance for love and value.
For me the culture of excellence was about appearances and impressions. Recognition for things done well. Doing things well is not the problem. Having our worth tied to how well we do something is. In a culture of excellence your worth is measured by how excellent you are. There is always someone more excellent and there is always a way you could have done better. Your worth is always in jeopardy.
A Culture of Excellence (Performance) meant:
  • Trying to gain approval and recognition by being excellent
  • Comparison and judgement
  • Life was unsteady – how excellent is excellent enough?
  • Messing up = failure
  • Accomplishments = identity
  • Perfection
  • Hide your flaws
  • Identity was fragile
  • Life and relationships were scary
  • No room for growth {post coming soon}
  • People pleasing
  • Never enough
  • Learned to live anticipating people’s expectations {post coming soon}
  • Trying to earn love instead of live from love.
  • No matter how well I did there was always something to improve. Even performance was failure.
  • People weren’t interested in me as a person, only my performance.
Thankfully this wise friend also shared a better way.
A culture of empowerment.

A culture of empowerment tells people how God sees them and treats them accordingly.

Empowerment is about growth and improvement. Empowerment not only allows mistakes but actually looks forward to them as an opportunity to grow and learn. Leading in an empowerment culture can be a bit scary if you are used to the excellence model. In the excellence model you seek to control because your followers reflect on you excellence as a leader – this applies in parenting, too, not just organizations. In a culture of empowerment I am offering opportunities for growth and learning and most importantly the freedom to fail even if there are people who will think I failed if you fail.
Living in a Culture of Empowerment means:
  • Living from love
  • Identity from love
  • Environment for growth
  • Relationships are places to be known, nurtured
  • I am enough without doing anything
  • Learning is a joy
  • Life is secure, stable, peaceful
  • Mistakes = learning opportunity
  • Be vulnerable
  • Be authentic
  • Living for God’s glory not man’s approval
  • Offering opportunities to do it wrong and the grace to try again

What kind of culture were you raised in?

Are there things you would add to either list?

What culture are you creating?

Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook {community coming soon}

Children’s Book Giveaway

One of the fun things about being an author is teaming up with other authors to do a MASSIVE book giveaway ….

Enter by August 15th!
Enter by August 15th!

Here is the list of authors (click on the author’s name to visit their web-site and to learn more about them) and a list of the books you could win … click on the above link to enter and to view all the books listed below! Have fun and GOOD LUCK

Shannon Sonneveldt – AUTHOR of Bobby’s Summer

Cynthia P. Willow – AUTHOR of Patty Gayle and the Legend of Kingsley, The Legacy of Zedbulla, The Land of Flames, and Hell’s Christmas

Gloria Repp – AUTHOR of The Story Shell, Pibbin the Small, and Trapped

Phyllis Sather – AUTHOR of Dan’s Doodles Coloring Books

Cheryl Pickett – AUTHOR of Creation Inspirations

Laura Eckroat – AUTHOR of What’s In The Corner? A Muffin “Tail”

Kelly Hagen – AUTHOR of Jake and Jesus

Virginia Finnie – AUTHOR of Grab Your Slingshot! and Put On Your Armor!

Susette Williams – AUTHOR of You Can’t Scare Me, The “In” Crowd, and Wacky Wishes

Idan Hadari – AUTHOR of Noah’s Petting Zoo and Andrew’s Claim To Fame

My Journey with Jesus Christ @TCCPublishing

AND ME — Mukkove Johnson – AUTHOR of Easter is About Jesus

Please visit these authors web-sites to learn more about them
I am transitioning to this new site. I appreciate you visiting. Your feedback of your visit will help me make my site the best I can.
Thank you and enjoy meeting all these authors!

Looking at Family Relationships

Strong people skills is one of those things that I have always said is a priority in educating my children. It is also a priority I feel I am falling short of all too often.
Today we started a project to evaluate our family relationships. The idea came from Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes… in you and your kids by Turansky and Miller. 
Each family has more relationships than we may realize at first glance. 5 family members is not 5 or even 10 relationships.
We began by putting each family member’s name on the white board. To make it a little more fun everyone got their own color. We included God, so we have 6 people in our relationship map.
Next each person is connected to every other person. We drew their relationships in their color.
We are also in relationship with ourselves. That is 6 relationships per 6 people for 36 relationships! Give yourself some grace, that’s a lot to manage!
We talked briefly about only being able to directly control your relationship with someone, not their relationship to you. We can influence another to improve their relationship with us, but not control their response.
The writing assignment was:
List everything good about one relationship. 
What needs improving in that same relationship?
What could I do to work toward making this relationship what I would like it to be?
We’ll do one a day until we’ve gone through them all, including our relationship with ourselves.
My hope is we will each see insights into individual relationships by examining them one at a time. 
We’ll have more discussion and hopefully set some goals of things to improve on while realizing there is good in every relationship, even if they sometimes hurt us or frustrate us.  With younger children simply talk through the concept. It’s easy to see how we relate differently to each member of our family if we pause to look at it.
How do you help your children work on relationships?

Focus on Jesus: Easter 2013

Sharing a post from my other blog. If you have your Easter is About Jesus: Family Devotions for the Easter Season book and wanted to do one devotion each weekday you’ll want to start tomorrow!
Of course if you don’t have a copy yet let me know right away and I’ll get it to you. Books can be ordered from me on Kove’s Cove or send me an email.

Focus on Jesus: Easter 2013: Easter is coming, March 31st this year. Easter is About Jesus: Family Devotions for the Easter Season is ready for this Easter. To help yo…

What’s in My Heart?

I want my children to know and experience the God of heaven. God who cares about them enough to speak to them. One way He speaks is in our imagination, through words or pictures. Listening for His voice takes practice and discernment. This is an exercise we do from time to time. I’ve used it in classes of children as well as with my own. It can be a great opportunity to connect and minster to their needs.
We made a very simple book of folded paper (8.5 x 14) stapled at the edge, no cover, no binding. I love the creative options of making books, but today the focus was on our hearts. 

We looked at what was in our heart and entered it in our newly made journal.

I saw doubts, failure, and confusion raining down.
Then we asked God how he saw our hearts and entered that in our journal.

God sees through the lens of Jesus, not my sin
God saw he sent blessings as water for me to grow and all is for His glory.

I drew and wrote. One son writes, one draws. My daughter draws.

Heart of negative emotions, but God sees a strong man of God.

How they saw their heart.
How God saw their heart.

Cooking Extravaganza ~ Gabby Mom Review

A bundle of short helpful little books is the subject of November’s review. The bundle contains 7 e-books and the bound version of What’s for Dinner, Mom? There are ideas for breakfast, bulk cooking, salads, pizza, and more. You can read my review of What’s for Dinner, Mom? This bundle is $19.97 at Eternal Encouragement. If you want it by Christmas be sure to order by December 12th.
I used Lorrie’s idea for making a breakfast and dinner menu. Very simple yet flexible. Pick a theme of some kind for the day – Mexican, crock pot – and then list family favorites for each category. If you can come up with four in each category you have 4 weeks of menus, or at least a really good start.
Here’s a little more idea of what you’d be getting:
Bulk Cooking Tips & Tricks: Lorrie has a very simple approach she explains in detail in What’s For Dinner Mom?” This little gem shares a little how and why.
Fill ‘em Up: Most of this seemed like common sense to me however if you have kids who are never full and you need help Lorrie has lots of ideas in here.
Healthy Sanity Saving Breakfast Ideas: Simple meal plan – reduces decisions, great sounding recipes
Pizza Primer: Must read! My children like homemade pizza so if someone can tell me what I could be doing better I’m all for it!
In full discloser I am giving my honest review based on reading these books. I have tried some of the planning and bulk cooking tips. I haven’t actually gotten around to trying any new recipes, though they are on my list to make, just not where I remember when I running behind and have to get dinner started, those nights it’s the ones I know by heart that get made, and that’s been most of the time lately.
See more great resources from Lorrie at Eternal Encouragement.
Lorrie’s doing a giveaway at Randy’s Rib. Be sure to visit and enter before December 1st.

Thoughts on Halloween

Well, this may be more risky that saying we don’t do Santa Claus – yet here I go!
First things first. I am sharing what I know, what I do and why. I am not telling anyone else what they should do. Okay, now that that is clear you can choose from the Short Version or the Longer one.
The Short Version: Be sure people can see Jesus in whatever you choose to do or not do for Halloween. Ask about each activity: Does God receive glory for this?



The Longer Version:
Through years of Christian radio programs, Christian school and a great church youth group I have gleaned information about the roots of Halloween and the reality of the occult.I would love to include a bibliography, but I don’t have one. Maybe by next year. We Kids has a helpful article with links to more information.
Wyatt’s Mountain

Halloween is a very old festival rooted in superstition at best and pure evil at its worst. The traditions of wearing costumes and trick-or-treating were devised in an attempt to protect people from the evils they believed to be most active on October 31. Some traditions come from ancestor worship, some from various forms of Satanism and Wicca (witchcraft). The hideous costumes were to blend in and not being recognized by the evil spirits believed to be about. The treats were gifts to the dead or the evil spirits so they would be nice to the household, not play any bad tricks. What we know as a jack-o-lantern was also to ward off evil spirits. There is also a legend of someone making a deal with the devil and then wandering forever with their jack-o-lantern lit by a coal from hell. Some cultures observed Halloween as a night for mayhem, anything goes. For some it is a night of sacrifice- produce, animal and even human sacrifice – to appease the spirits and their gods.

In light of such dark beginnings it’s not too hard to see why some decide to have nothing at all to do with Halloween.
I am all for redeeming things, bringing light to something dark. I do not believe that everything can be redeemed. By Jesus blood everyone can, but not every event or activity.

Karissa’s Monkey

The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs is a wonderful example of redeeming something that once was dark. Using a pumpkin as an object lesson it teaches about Salvation. God chooses us, cleans us up and gives us his love to share with everyone we meet. We carve pumpkins some years. We refer to the parable while we work on our creations and we carve whatever we want, nothing scary or gross.

We have chosen to not dress up for Halloween. My children can and do dress up for theme parties and for fun.

We do not go to any Halloween parties or haunted houses. The idea of intentionally going to get scared is quite strange to me. Jesus died to give us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. He conquered fear. Why would I invite it back into my life? Or give it permission to enter my children? The enemy is already a thief trying to steal, kill and destroy me and my family. Why help him out?

Wyatt’s face

We live in an area where people do not come out trick-or-treating; it’s too far out, too cold and too dark. It sort of defeats the purpose of a costume if it’s under your snow suit! I have never had to decide what to do with people coming to my door. If I lived where people came to my door I would not hide. What I would do I can’t say for sure. I think I would have treats, be kind and find a way to share Jesus. My house sometimes has fall decorations, sometimes cheery carved pumpkins but no spiders, witches, bones, ghosts, etc.

Centuries ago the church attempted to redeem Halloween by declaring All Saints Day on November 1. If people are going to celebrate give them something worth celebrating. Martin Luther chose October 31 to nail his 95 Theses to the door of the church. This challenge to the church’s teaching contributed to the Reformation. Some hold Reformation Day celebrations teaching church history in a festival type setting. There are churches and groups today that choose to provide a God honoring alternative to Halloween, often called Fall Festivals or Harvest Parties. Kids do think its fun to dress up and get candy. There are many fun things to do. I grew up in a church that hosted a “Harvest Party” complete with haunted house. Doing all the same activities as Halloween under a different name is not really redeeming anything.

Maciah’s Design

I know there are those who say “It’s just for fun”. Remember Satan is a thief, opportunistic. He doesn’t care if you meant anything by participating in his traditions. He’ll take it. In a way I think the “fun” as well as all the very cute ghosts and witches help feed the cultural idea that Satan and evil aren’t really real. What better way for Satan to operate? How much opposition are you going to have from people who think you don’t exist or at least are not a threat? If dressing scary or haunted houses are “just for fun” what’s to say that séances or Ouija boards aren’t? Satan is real, and though defeated, he still has power in this world.

I am cautious of the “not wanting to be left out” attitude. “Everyone is doing” it is a poor argument in any situation. Is this a reasoning you want your children to live by? We are called to be different, set apart. We can’t do that by looking and acting like them. I want to be living a life that leaves the world feeling left out; in a way that draws them to my loving God.