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 Joy, not grit, is the hallmark of holy obedience. We need to be light-hearted in what we do to avoid taking ourselves too seriously. It is a cheerful revolt against self and pride.

– Richard J. Foster

Who loves lists? I do!

Shopping lists. To-do lists. Gratitude lists. Idea lists. Gift lists. Wish lists. Reading lists. (And, clearly, list lists!) 

Today I'm going to challenge you to work on a different kind of list. 

Do you ever get to the end of the day or week, look at your to-do list, and think, "UGH! I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to"? Maybe you go to bed fretting about a conversation that went wrong, or a costly mistake you made on a work project. You can't stop thinking about the bill you paid three days late or the extra dessert you indulged in. Didn't get the laundry done? Forgot your brother's birthday? You're not alone.


Even confident people who don't struggle with poor self-esteem can sometimes feel weighed down by stress or feelings of guilt. Sometimes we just feel unappreciated for all the efforts we make. Remember when I talked about self-compassion a couple of weeks ago? I want to circle back to that for a moment and encourage you to take an extra step on those extra-hard days. If step one is not being too hard on yourself for what you see as fails, step two is pausing long enough to recognize and celebrate your wins.

This past week, I finished a report I'd been putting off for a while. (YAY!) I created a colourful doodle that got lots of positive responses on Facebook. (YAY!) I turned down an estimate from a tree trimmer and, with the help of my neighbour, found someone else who's going to charge me less than half the price. (YAY!) I gave myself a haircut that I was happy with (and saved a load of cash). (YAY!) 

I could easily give a you a list of things I did wrong but... why? It's important to acknowledge mistakes and poor choices, apologize when appropriate, and resolve to do better tomorrow. But don't get stuck there. Do this instead:

Click here and print out this page (oh, look, there's my doodle!) and make a note on it every time you do something hard (like we talked about last week) or accomplish something you're happy about. 

Let me reiterate that this isn't about being boastful or ignoring wrong-doing. It's about keeping things in perspective and recognizing that true humility is being honest about who we are... the bad and the good.

Have a great week, and I'd love to hear from you if writing this list adds some joy to your life! And please share this email with a friend who might need a bit of a morale boost. 


BOOKS: A Gentleman in Moscow (fiction) by Amor Towles, and Jesus: Safe, Tender, Extreme (non-fiction) by Adrian Plass (see excerpt below).

P.S. If you think you've missed past issues of Whimsy & Wisdom or simply want to look at some of them again, you can find them all here.

Our first Question of the Month back in March was "What's the best advice you've ever been given?" Many of you responded and sent me interesting and insightful nuggets of wisdom I'm hanging on to. I don't want to be selfish, though, so here are some samples:

  • Brush your teeth because your smile is the first thing people see on your face! 
  • Put money aside in the bank for rainy days.
  • Go sit next to your grandma so you can learn something! 
  • Don't hide your beauty! 
  • When you look for a partner to marry, choose someone who likes animals, children and old people.That will help you in choosing a kind soul.
  • When talking to a friend who wants you to do something, rather than telling them a straight out "no," set your boundaries and say, "I'm sorry, I can't do THIS but I can help you in THIS WAY..." This keeps a friend feeling valued.
  • Focus on one day, this day (this moment, this five minutes, this hour—whatever—but not past this day). Do you have what you need *this* day? If yes, thank the Lord for it. If you don't feel you do, ask Him to supply what you need. 
  • When the "ants" (automatic negative thoughts) come calling, say out loud STOP and then let go. Not easy to do but I have won some battles with the ants. 
From Chapter 2 of Jesus: Safe, Tender, Extreme by Adrian Plass

"There are two essential areas of truth that we need to deal with if we are interested in encouraging others to come home to the Father. One is the truth about us, about you and me as we really are, and the other is the untainted truth about God. If, in our efforts to pass on the good news, we try to communicate either one of these while ignoring the other, we are probably, at best, wasting our time and, at worst, creating a potentially very destructive form of confusion."

(In reference to John 8:31-32 - To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”)
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Rainy day? Bored kids? Need an activity for your small group? Writer's block? Here's one of my older blog posts that offers some creative prompts that might get the ideas popping.

This 86-year-old is one of the last Greek bakers who makes phyllo dough by hand. He turned his kitchen into a tourist attraction. (I cried a little when I watched this.)

WABBIT

(adj) exhausted; tired

TokyoChel: Today's Random Kawaii - Sleepy Bunny is Sleepy

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Henry Ford

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