Think This not That

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What are Limiting Thoughts?

This week, motivational speaker, Mel Robbins talked about limiting beliefs. Too often we can get into a habit of telling ourselves negative things, and think things need to be the way they have always been. Rather than continuing to stay put in our old routines, the trick is to interrupt a negative thought with a positive one.


Filling Our Minds

Philippians 4:8 reads, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”.

Use the THINK Acronym

When I teach students about their digital footprint, I refer to the THINK acronym.  Before posting something online, students are advised to consider if it is

True, helpful, important, necessary and kind.

Since our goal is to do as Paul suggests, and think noble and good things, running the things we tell ourselves alongside the THINK acronym will help us know if we need to interrupt limited thinking with new positive thoughts.


Interested in a Daily Faith Boost?

This post comes from a devotional series called 4:00 AM Faith. It is written each morning and sent in a condensed format to several people. If you are interested in receiving a daily faith boost, email me at lmcdonell2001@yahoo.com and specify if you would like it to be sent as email or text, and if phone number, provide the number.

The Sound of Silence

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Simon and Garfunkel’s Song

I love Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence”. The lyrics, “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again” reminds me of what I would like quiet moments to be like.


A Time to be Silent and one to Speak

Ecclesiastes 3:7 reads, “A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak”.

Learn to be Comfortable

Kim Bearden, author, and Co-Founder of The Ron Clark Academy says, “Learn to be comfortable with silence; it can speak as loudly as words”.

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I have found that one of the toughest things for me is to listen in order to understand, without anticipating how I plan to respond. It takes patience and discipline to be silent and listen.


Interested in a Daily Faith Boost?

This post comes from a devotional series called 4:00 AM Faith. It is written each morning and sent in a condensed format to several people. If you are interested in receiving a daily faith boost, email me at lmcdonell2001@yahoo.com and specify if you would like it to be sent as email or text, and if phone number, provide the number.

A Thousand Experiences

 

books in black wooden book shelf
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I Learned a lot in 2019

I experienced what it was like to live in New York, have cystic fibrosis, live during the times of Alexander Hamilton, chase a lion, grow up as a child who was born right after September 11, 2001, embark on a rescue mission through the cave in Thailand, compete in the Olympics, do thousands of pull-ups, be worried about being deported, be a principal in Georgia, hide in a marsh waiting out an accusation of murder, understand social anxiety, live in the White House as the First Lady, make a million dollars, audition for TV shows, serve as a lawyer on a trial in Mississippi, walk the Appalachian Trail, be tattooed in Auschwitz, find the third door,  and participate in a money cleanse.

One of the reasons I love reading is that there are so many opportunities to learn how to be filled with empathy, wonder, integrity, bravery, humility, leadership, gratitude, hope, perspective, forgiveness, and perseverance. 

Philippians 4:9 says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”.

The Gift of Authors

God blesses us with contemporary authors as well as Biblical ones can tell stories that show us how to be better people.  Daniel is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Stories of how Daniel survives in a lion’s den, three men are saved from a fiery furnace and dream interpretations are brought before a king shows us how to deal with our circumstances before they master us. 


*This post comes from a devotional series called 4:00 AM Faith. It is written each morning and sent in a condensed format to several people.  If you are interested in receiving a daily faith boost, email me at lmcdonell2001@yahoo.com and specify if you would like it to be sent as email or text, and if phone number, provide the number.

Christmas Cards in January

blur bokeh card celebration
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Planning Ahead

Last year I missed out on doing a few things that I wanted to. I talked about going a couple of holiday events, ordering Christmas cards and even finding matching pajamas for our family to enjoy over the holiday season.

Unfortunately, none of the things listed above were a part of our Christmas experience this year.

This year my word is the year is “chase”. I decided that I wanted to chase or hunt down 52 different things this year.

As someone who struggles with getting things on the calendar ahead of time, I decided long-term planning needed to be my first Project.

I Interviewed an Expert

I decided to ask my sister-in-law what she does in regards to planning since she always seems to have things on the calendar and is very organized. She said she was surprised to be asked, replying that the only thing she feels like she does well is prioritizing the things that really matter.

What I Notice

But, I do notice that she regularly uses a planner and always writes things down when events come up. Rather than waiting until the last minute, she brings things like group gift purchases and event possibilities up well before they are going to take place.


I plan to take several tips from my sister-in-law and take control of my year.


I Looked For a Template

I decided to look for a template online to see if someone had created a format for organizing things. After not finding what I was looking for, I decided to create an outline on a Google Document and listed out each month with the things I wanted to do.


Schedule Things a Month Ahead

Rather than writing, “Order Christmas Cards” under December, it made more sense to list them under November since that is the month I need to take action on ordering them. Writing an order by date on the calendar will keep me organized with my bottom line. And, when it comes to getting the picture, I will either have the picture chosen by the beginning of November or realize that I am limited in my time frame to get a picture.

What the Document Showed Me

In addition to setting dates, laying things out ahead of time allowed me to see that I am running a race the first four months of the year and that our January is pretty packed.


Action Steps

  • Continue writing on the google document.
  • Make sure to list important things.
  • Buy a planner and use it.
  • Schedule things to be done about a month before they need to be.

The Faith Streak

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The Runner Streak

Yesterday a friend of mine posted that she had completed 2,000 days in a row of running.  She was proud of finding the balance and discipline to run no matter what. During the 2,000 days that she ran, there were happy moments, overwhelming moments, scary moments and surely moments where she probably didn’t feel like running, but she ran no matter what. 

This type of dedication is a result of a strong “Why”, and the ability to stack one habit with another.  

The Faith Streak

What if you committed to a streak with your faith? A prayer streak? What if you attempted to talk to God for 7 days in a row?  And when you reached 7, added to that number? Habit stacking is a great way to start something new. It is where you stack a new habit with one that you are already doing. 

For example, If you make coffee first thing in the morning, as you are grinding the beans, or waiting for the coffee to brew, take a moment to pause and thank God for something, while also filling Him in about what you have going for the day to round out a brief conversation.  

Talking to God

First Thessalonians says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Start your Faith Streak today, and see how many days in a row you can talk to God first thing in the morning. 


*This post comes from a devotional series called 4:00 AM Faith. It is written each morning and sent in a condensed format to several people.  If you are interested in receiving a daily faith boost, email me at lmcdonell2001@yahoo.com and specify if you would like it to be sent as email or text, and if phone number, provide the number.

 

My One Word For 2020

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New Year New Word

Each year I think about a word that I want to help me provide structure and provide a system to enable my new habits and goals room to flourish.  As the previous year comes to a close, I spend time thinking about my  word for the coming year.

It takes me back to the days of choosing baby names when I would write out, say aloud, and then ponder different combinations in an effort to choose one that felt right.

Words I have Used

In 2014, it took me forever to come up with my word.  Right when I was about to give up, I saw the word, “Believe” on a shopping bag, and knew it was meant for me.  One year I chose the word, “Forward”, and another “Innovation” was my word as I tried something new each month.  Last year, the word “Real” came to me in a dream, and so I picked it.

This Year I knew my word in early November.

The Inspiration

Over the summer I read Deena Kastor’s book, Let Your Mind Run, and got an idea for my word.  One of the things Kastor talks about is seeing her impossible as a runner, and literally chasing the most amazing version of herself.  Over the summer, I started using the hashtag, #Chaseyourimpossible2019.

I loved it so much, that at the start of December, I wanted to claim #Chaseyourimpossible2020, so I began using that during the last 30 days of the year.

I have added a few other hashtags to tell my story, like #BuildingtheroadtoBoston, #Fueledbyfaith, and #itstime.  But, the word “Chase” continues to stand out.  To me, it captures equally important words like focus, forward, drive, growth, and potential.

However, I don’t think a word has ever provided me so much energy and excitement!

As I embark on a new year, one that will be filled with accomplishing huge running goals, I could not be more excited about the momentum that goes with the word, CHASE!


What I am Chasing

In addition to chasing my impossible as a runner, I decided to focus on 52 different things this year.  Each week I am going to chase something new that I want to improve or be more aware of. Since you can only chase one thing at a time, I am going deep with topic each week.

Week 1, that began hours ago, has launched a race, where I am chasing Long Term Planning.

The Process

Each week my process will involve assessing where I am starting from, as well as reflecting on why I want to learn more about the area.  Then, the plan is to research by reading, listening, and observing people who do well in my goal area.  Then, I can select a few action steps and apply my knowledge.

Possible topics to chase might include

Kindness, An organized kitchen, a genre of book I don’t read often, each one of my kids, my husband, methods of cooking, family history, my favorite president, simplicity, a country I want to travel to, financial concepts, elephants, the number 11, an author I love, mindfulness, and patience are a few things I am curious about.

I am excited to think about topics to chase, but also want the year to unfold naturally!  My shoes are ready!  I can’t wait to start running. 

 

Be Proud

4:00 AM Faith

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Don’t Stop Until You are Proud

One of my favorite running quotes from the Peloton Instructors is, “Don’t stop until you are proud”.

Some days it is easy to work hard and feel proud about what we accomplish. Other days, it seems as though we can never do enough and it seems impossible to feel proud enough to stop.

He Is Proud of You

Jesus says in Luke 3:22, “I am pleased with you”. He is proud of you. You are perfect. You are enough.

Each day say, “I got the perfect amount of things done. I spent the right amount of money. I spent time with the perfect combination of people. I relaxed for the perfect amount of time”.

You are Exactly Where you Are Supposed to Be

In God’s eyes, you are amazing. He knew when to stop creating you because he was proud. You are exactly where you are supposed to be today. You are on track to fulfilling the purpose for your life.

4:00 AM Faith

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For the last 60 days, I have received a text message every morning.

How it all Began

A friend of mine had posted on Instagram that a long time ago, one of her patients had asked if she wanted to be included in a group of people who received a devotion each day. After talking about how she had been receiving a moment of hope on her phone each day, she offered anyone interested in the opportunity to be added to the group of people she regularly sends a message.

Consistency

Over the last month and a half, I have without fail received a message every morning. Sometimes I connect with the words and scripture, and pause to soak it all in. Other times I realize that her words represent it is the consistency in God showing up in my life every single day. My friend’s text message reminds me that God is with me. It is short, and takes only a second to read.

My Response

I don’t always respond to the message and my friend has assured me that I don’t need to. She reminds me it is about giving God’s word to someone. There are no strings attached, and I don’t need to do anything but received it and maybe pass it along one day.

The Seed was Planted

Over the last few weeks, I thought about the idea of finding a devotion to pass along to a few people. At first it felt like it might be too much work.

A few weeks ago on a Thursday night, after a tough day at work, and an evening pause outside of an old church that provided me with a hope and peace I have not felt in a while, I knew it was time.

Who and What

I didn’t know who I would send it to. I knew my sisters, mom and a few close friends would probably be happy to hear from me, so I decided I could start there. And then all of a sudden, name by name, God told me who else to include. A few of the names I was not sure would want to be bothered by a text, but I decided to follow my intuition and just send it. I prompted the text by saying a friend had done this for me and I enjoyed it, so I was passing along hope.

I needed to start somewhere. God also reminded me that the names might change, but I should get started with the people closest to me, and the ones he had placed on my heart.

What did I write

At first I thought I would find a devotion so it would be less work, and sound better. That is when I heard God saying, “No. You are a writer. You need to write what you send. I will help you. But you need to write it.”

The Feedback was Great

Every single person liked or sent me back a message about how much they enjoyed the words I had written. Two people even said that they had just asked for “Peace”, which was the topic of my first devotion.

Perfect Timing

On day two, I had an idea to write about patience, but struggled to craft the perfect piece. I tried to get away from it and write about something else, but the pull was too big. Eventually I was able to craft something I was proud of. Later that night, one of the people I sent it to told me it was exactly what she needed to hear that day.

Since I send the message followed by a Bible Verse every morning, I try to get a head start and come up with an idea the night before.

The minute I start to think about what I will write about a topic hits me. And, when I search for a verse to go along with it, I can find something.

4:00 AM Faith

At first I wondered if I needed a name. On day two, I felt like I had stepped into the book of Genesis and was there for the creation of the world where God named the stars people and animals. Without missing a beat, he gave me the idea that I would call my collection of devotions,

4:00 AM Faith.

4:00 AM, because I get up early during the week. I am a distance runner, working mom and have a lot to accomplish before the sun comes up. And, 4:00 feels different, unique and special. The fourth hour of the morning is quiet, peaceful and has provided opportunities that have connected so many dots.

Here are the first three devotions I have sent.

#1 Peace- I have a friend who sends me a devotional every morning. I thought I would try my hand at writing on and passing it along to a few people.

Sometimes peace is found when you least expect it. When I walked outside tonight I stopped to pause in front of an old church. The stained glass windows and the beautiful brick reminded me of hope and peace. Believe peace is meant for you and will show up when you expect it and in the moments when you didn’t know it was headed your way.

Continue reading “4:00 AM Faith”

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Cardigan Day

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We watched him on TV

A man, who stood for the good

Wore a cardigan


Today I wore a cardigan.  My intent was to celebrate World Kindness Day.  Several social media posts asked people to wear cardigans to honor Mr. Rogers, an icon for kindness.

I was excited to participate in the day because I remember watching Mr. Rogers. My brother and sisters and I all would gather around for the familiar melody, and watch wholeness and beauty unfold on the screen. There was nothing outstanding about the show. I don’t remember everything that happened, but I do remember how Mr. Rogers made the people on the show feel, and how he made whoever was watching the show feel connected to his goal to share kindness. I always felt at peace, and calm when I watched the show.

I look forward to seeing the movie this fall, and I am excited that I was able to be part of a movement that celebrated positivity. The more I thought about Mr. Rogers, the more I thought about my own Grandfather who passed away when I was in fourth grade. A lot of things that Mr. Rogers does bring back memories of him. He is a great visual to show my own children of what their Great-Grandfather was like.