How do we get to a place of gratitude?

Message of today at Concordia Church: How to get to a place of gratitude?
1. Attitude (the renewing of yourmind)
2. Time. Slow down. Live in thanksgiving daily.
3. Cultivate generosity (the principle of the open hand) Listen to the podcast. You will be glad you did.
I am going to work on slowing down.  I loved this video that illustrated this point too.

Operation Showers of Appreciation

We have been thinking about, praying for and planning this baby shower for most of the year.  Our congregation had collected money for the gifts, we committed to making the lunch and decorating the room and hosting the shower.  I so appreciate the great party planning talent of Lori Bahn who despite coming with her three little children (5 year old, dynomite 2 year old and a newborn) AND being under the weather……was like the energizer bunny.  The kitchen was headed by Betty Pacheco and Karin Smith. The food was delicious and the decorations were beautiful.

The room slowly filled with moms and many came with their husbands.  Many were wishing their husbands were there and not deployed. Most were pregnant and some had already had their babies.  One baby was 9 days old!  One woman was near her due date … with twins!  The array of women was beautiful. I think we had about 60 in attendance.

The Founder of the organization told her powerful story about the child that was born very ill and how people who were strangers came alongside of them and opened their homes, and provided the things they needed.  She was overwhelmed by their generosity.  She lost the baby and when she realized that she could help others out of her pain and serve them, she experienced healing.  What a noble soul to consider it a privilege to come alongside military families when they needed support at the birth of a child especially when often family is far away.  Sometimes the emotion made her quiet for a moment but when she talked about serving people in this room…..the “you who are the heroes” her voice was clear and strong.

What a privilege to partner with this organization.  The moms received from Concordia and many other corporate sponsors so many items from their “wish lists” including baby seats, strollers, baby chairs and other large ticket items as well as diapers, clothes, etc!  It was a generous showering of gifts and blessings!

The EDGE this SUNDAY at 10am

Church Open House has been such fun.  This Sunday we are highlighting our newest offering…..a format called the EDGE which was crafted by our young worship leader Andres Salomon.  It features a highly contemporary setting where music is the environment in which we talk and learn about God’s truth and love.

I am excited to see what the Lord will do with and through this worship experience.

Fam Jam THIS Sunday at 10am

Check out FAM JAM this SUnday at Concordia at 10am.  It is our most family friendly format. It is noisy by design because families are engaging with the message of God and with each other.  It tees up conversation that continues throughout the week.  Check it out. Bring someone with you.  

Church Open House. This Sunday at 10 – FAM JAM!

I’m excited about Sunday’s OPEN HOUSE where we will highlight the Fam Jam service format at 10am.  We are premiering our new video (YOU get a sneak peek!)

Come on out if you have been wanting to check out FAM JAM and see what we mean about “engaging the whole family.”  It is something unlike anything you have ever experienced.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

Christmas cups came out today…..

Starbucks came out with their Christmas Cups today!  Really?  My first instinct was to resist the thought of looking forward that far.  I want to live in this moment!  But my subconscious has been forcing my thoughts to Christmas and the end of 2012….and that 2013 is right around the corner.  Of course, there is much to do between now and the end of the year.  But I came across some of the resolutions I wrote about at the beginning of the year. I loved rereading this list. It helped me think of where I have progressed and where I have grown. It’s been a remarkable year for me already.  I have taken some big steps of faith and trust and God has provided.  I have made some connections that have brought me great insight and joy.  I am delighting in the fact that my family is now under one roof, now that my mom and niece have moved in with me.  I am so grateful that we got Elizabeth out of college and Andres soon to be. I am seeing momentum in the growth of the church launch and life and excited to see what is next.  After major transition in the ministry in Tijuana we are finding our groove. It was good to reflect. Just a glimpse and for just a moment. Now, on to tackle things that need to get done in the here and now!

Ok….now you can say, “Melissa, taking about New Years Resolutions.  Really?”

Here is a good list.  How are you doing? Do you have a favorite? Where have you grown? What do you have to add to the list?  Do so in the comments, if you are so inclined….

1. Believe the best about people. Make trust your default, not suspicion.
2. Be on time. Great leaders are rarely late.
3. Under promise and over deliver. Our tendency is to do the opposite.

4. Stop blaming people. Just stop. Your will start taking responsibility for yourself as a result.
5. Pray for your enemies. You will forgive them…and they will not be your enemies for long.
6. Review the week ahead on Sunday night for ten minutes. Monday won’t seem nearly as intimidating
7. Get up earlier. The early bird actually usually does get the worm.
8. Go to bed earlier. Stop falling asleep on the couch.

9. Read the bible. Read at least 3 verses of scripture every morning, more if you’re up to it.
10. Never say “I don’t have the time.” Instead, say “I’m not going to make the time.” It will change how you see time…and priorities.
11. Smile. Most people look moderately unhappy most of the time.

12. Clean your personal space. A clean desk, car or office makes you feel better about yourself.
13. Give 10%. Give away the first tenth of everything you make. You’ll be surprised at how liberating this is.
14. Pay cash (as in bills in your wallet) for discretionary items. You will spend less and save more.
15. Exercise. Enough said. Just get moving.
16. Do something for yourself everyday. People who care for themselves are better at caring for others.
17. Read outside your area of interest. Apps like Zite and Flipboard even make this so easy.
18. Automate what’s important. Schedule appointments with yourself for what matters. Automatically take savings and givings out of your bank accounts.

19. Serve somewhere. People who serve others live longer and are happier.

20. Show up prepared. Whether it’s a meeting or simply coming home, prepare yourself before you show up.

21. Play. Most of us have forgotten how to play. Rediscover it.

22. Do something creative everyday.

23. Notice … really see it, something beautiful every day. This is the old proverbial, “Stop to smell the roses.”  It will jolt you out of complacency.