October 15, 2013

Thoughts by Teresa Prier

This past week was an interesting challenge for me. I joined this challenge thinking, this is a challenge that will affect me.. hoping I will be kinder to those around me, so they will be slightly affected through the choices I choose to make. Making what God is already trying to teach me in this area, rise to the forefront of my mind.  But this past week it challenged me in a way I didn't expect. And my children were able to watch and be guided in the ways God yearns for us to be.

Now, this just didn't affect them because I was kinder to them and they thought, Yay mom was nice today. It affected them in their hearts to the point where we had some pretty deep conversations on how being kind can show up in so many different ways, not just being "nice".

There were multiple things that happened, however, one of them I feel truly placed our week in motion. It all started on Monday. I was walking to the bus stop to get my children. They ride separate buses so after one gets off I have a good 15 minutes where the other moms and I just stand around and chit chat. Well, on this particular Monday, as I was approaching the bus stop, I noticed some people standing there talking to one of my friends. I immediately realized what they were doing. Now, I feel very confident in my beliefs, but struggle with confrontations.. I pray diligently on every question that comes my way when it comes to my Lord.. and these people we speaking deception to someone right in front of me. As I approached them I immediately stated to pray for God's words, not mine. My older son got off the bus as I started teaching, and showing God's love to these people.. and He was able to listen and learn how God can use us, his children, in his works. The entire time, my heart was stammering, hands shaking.. my kindness seemed to be extended to the group that was being deceptive. To the naked eyes it seemed that I was passionate but thinking carefully on how to show love as I shared God's desires for us. But that isn't where my son and I saw the kindness. Yes I was kind to them, and I am sure they were grateful.. but the kindness we came to see stronger was the witness to this friend. She's not a believer, she did not want to hear what they had to say.. truly, they cornered her where they knew she wasn't able to leave, the bus stop.. But when I stepped in, God used me to show her God was protecting her.. I was the deliver of God's message to show his love is pure, faithful, and KIND! Because I did not blast them out, or ridicule them.. I was able to be what God wants himself to be shown as. When they were gone, she opened up to Joe and I about her past with God and she was receptive to hearing about God and how amazing he truly is!

Now, I know I didn't witness the way I wanted to. I know my words were fumbled and although I got my point across, it wasn't as eloquent as I see so many others talk. But God used it for his good. All week I was able to guide my boys in different situations that required kindness. And through the good and bad situations, God was teaching me, your choices affect everyone around you in more ways than you just being perceived as a kind person. It will open the hearts of your friends, your husband, and your children ..even strangers, to who God really is and should be inside of us.. Jesus' love.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."  Colossians 2:6

-Teresa Prier

October 10, 2013

Walls & Lenses

Guest Blog Post:

I am absolutely thrilled to have you read this post from one of my most dearest friends on earth! My beautiful friend Lindsey is amazing. She has been through more than you could imagine. She has come out victorious and strong! A single mom of 2 boys while graduating with her masters in psychology. She has wisdom beyond her years and always gives the best advice. (even when it's what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want) I love you Lindsey!!! :) -Laura

Walls and Lenses
By Lindsey Hanson

I know that gossip, cruelty, making comparisons, among many other things, can be issues for women.   I am going to call them “walls”. I’m hoping to approach these walls from a slightly different perspective and give you an opportunity to tear down the walls in your life.  You see, gossip, anger, rejection, pride/arrogance, hopelessness, isolation/withdrawal, control, words, even humor sometimes are self-defense mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from pain. 

The truth is we have all been dealt a different hand to play in this life.  Some of us come from very stable backgrounds where Mom and Dad were mature, loving, consistent, and gave us a huge head start on life.  Some of us come from wealthy backgrounds.  Some of us were and are poor.  Some of us come from abusive backgrounds encompassing everything from hurtful words and attitudes to all out physical and sexual abuse.

The point is we have all been shaped differently on the inside and obviously on the outside as well.  We have each come into adulthood with a different childhood experience than every single person we come in contact with. We all have different walls and lenses through which we view the world.  We all view life according to our life experiences.  Our lenses of perceptions develop according to where we lived, our environments, our parents, family, peers, etc.  We see the world and others according to the lenses by which we view life. 

Some of us view the world as our playground. We have the time and resources to make anything happen and, well, pretty much everything you touch turns to gold.  (I say “you” because “we” doesn’t apply because this isn’t my reality, haha!  Others are struggling to bring milk and bread home to the kids tonight. 

What I hope you gather from this, is that all of the things being touched on, in this kindness challenge so far, are symptoms of a deeper problem.  You can try to stop gossiping, but if you don’t deal with the root of why you are gossiping, you will never make a lasting change.  If you are interested in going deeper and getting free from these walls, symptoms, pain…whatever you want to call it, then read on.

I’m going to walk you through 2 ministry exercises.  Find a quiet place where you can focus, get honest, and receive from the Lord…maybe grab a journal and your Bible.

Dealing with Walls

1.) Lord, show me if I have put up a wall to protect myself.
2.) Give me understanding of how I have used that wall.
3.) Jesus, I take responsibility for building this wall.
4.) Do you have a tool you want to give me to bring it down?
5.) I give you permission to bring it down.
6.) I ask you to replace it with ________________________.
7.) Is there anyone I need to forgive? (We usually build walls because of harm/hurts.) 

Dealing with Lenses
1.) Lord, show me the lenses through which I have viewed life.
2.) Lord, I have filtered relationships through these filters.
3.) I see others through my filters
4.) I have made judgments that are false.
5.) I hand You every judgment I have ever made while seeing through these 
      clouded lenses.
6.) Father, will You exchange my old lenses for new ones?  Help me see truth. 

Laura's Creamy Zuppa Porcini Soup

1 ring polish kielbasa
1 onion
fresh garlic
5-6 diced potatoes
16 oz fresh mushrooms (sliced & diced)
3-4 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 32 oz box chicken broth
2-3 quarts water
1 cup chardonnay
6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
Penzeys 4/S seasoned salt (sea salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, onion, turmeric, garlic, celery, rosemary, thyme)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (Trader Joe's is my favorite!)

Cube sausage and chop onions & garlic, brown with butter in stock pot/dutch oven. Add flour once butter is melted. Add pepper & salt. Stir. Once flour is dissolved, add heavy whipping cream. Stirring continuously with heat on med high. Add water and broth. Continue to simmer on low to medium heat.
Add potatoes, mushrooms and chardonnay. Add nutmeg and thyme leaves. Cover & Simmer for 5-8 hours. Stirring in between.

Serve with toasted bread (I like french baguettes) and sprinkle soup with fresh Parmesan.

October 2, 2013

Kindness Challenge Day 2

Let's strive for patience today!

However knowing that we may need to persevere more than anything because as we acknowledge our need for patience we may be tested to the max.

Remember NO ONE thinks just like you or me. We are all different and THAT is good!!!  :)

There will be people that push our buttons. Persevere. Grin & Bear it. Smile and move on.

Don't allow your mind to dwell on the annoyances but rather the blessings and good things that come your way today.

There are people that may need to be avoided.

Being kind isn't being a doormat.

Being kind isn't allowing others to take advantage of you.

There will be Jackie Joy Stealers that try to steal your joy. There will be Debbie Downers who try to depress you. Negative Nellie's who aim to grab all of your positivity. Joe Jerks who try and tick us off. Bad drivers who you may want to give a middle finger wave to.

The harder we try the tougher the people sometimes.


To love is a choice.

Choose love today over anger, hate, or impatience.

Refrain from arguments.

Breathe deep and smile.

Carry on.

We can do this.

October 1, 2013

Day 1 Thoughts on The Kindness Challenge

I wondered last night which day will be the hardest of this challenge. The 1st, 2nd, last? I know it doesn't really matter and I guess we will all know come November 1, which day for us individually was our hardest.

But I can tell you I am so conscious of my thoughts today and how easily annoyed I can be.

Hurrying as I run my errands. Rushing through my day. Wanting the Costco lady to forgo the smiley face on the back of the receipt, because as she hands it to my little one, I am just going to intercept it anyways, so that I can record it in my checkbook. Lines to go faster. I need patience.

I am trying to remember every person is someone's daughter, son, father, mother, sister, or brother and then as I imagine my family and relatives I am reminded God made us all equal and beautiful.

I am reminded that everyone needs a friend.

A rock upon which they can stand. A hand to hold. An ear to listen. To be loved.

If this teaches me anything I want to be most conscious as to where I allow my mind to wander. We hold so much power when it comes to our thoughts. We can break habits of negative thought patterns by stopping bad thoughts in their tracks. Even the hardest person can be more sensitive and compassionate when they choose to see the good in others.

So many of our annoyances or frustrations derive from our own selfishness & jealousies as well as our own impatience. What about me? Woe is me. This wasn't done MY way. This isn't how I want it. That isn't the way I would do it.

Let's try and focus on our own issues today instead of the issues of another.  

We only live our lives. We only walk in our shoes. We only see what goes on in our four walls. Let's not pretend we know what it is like to be someone else.