3 Excellent Ways to Encourage Others

To encourage someone is to bolster, support, or strengthen them. Who in your life needs to hear a “You can do it” from you?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I called my friend who had a baby at home. I was feeling a little unsettled, and I needed her to get me out of my worry mode. She calmly spoke to me about her experience and cheered me up.

After she helped me change my attitude in those few moments, I could face my day standing a little taller, a little bolder.

I was grateful to her for lifting me up with her words. It was a big thing for me in that moment and just a little time on the phone for her.

Today’s goal is: Call, text, or email someone with a message of encouragement.

Do you know someone who needs your encouragement today? It’s a small effort for the giver, but a big benefit for the receiver.

Actually, it’s a big benefit for the giver too. Standing alongside someone who feels weak can turn your day around.

If you find yourself feeling uninspired or unappreciated, lift up someone who needs a break or is feeling lonely. Give that person a reason to smile again. Your friendly assurances will be remembered by the person you helped, but you’ll also have a feeling of satisfaction that won’t melt away by the end of the day.

Make a list of the people you know who may need a kind word. Here are some suggestions:
  1. Pregnant women need encouragement from an understanding friend. They often feel too tired or too big or both. They’re going through a lot of body changes, and hormones are through the roof. They could use a little support and a kind word. I’m sure they wouldn’t refuse a compliment. Text a friend who’s pregnant. Share some love and emojis.
  2. Your good friend who is a new mom with a baby at home needs encouragement and probably a nap. She’s basically a zombie because she doesn’t get much sleep at first after bringing home a new family member. Give her a break with an offer to hold her baby, maybe rocking it back to sleep while the mom gets to have a decent adult conversation. That would be welcomed by most of your new mom friends. Text or email your friend and try to schedule a visit.
  3. An elderly friend or family member needs encouragement. If you know them well, you probably know exactly what to say to make them smile. You can try to make it a quick call, but if they were feeling lonely, you might want to stay on the phone with them and listen to them tell about the event they attended last week and their plans for next week.

These are excellent ways to encourage someone. But there are more than three ways to do that. I have a list of five additional ways to encourage others in a free downloadable pdf.
Click here to download them. (All I ask is for a quick share of this article in return. Click now, and then share.)

Show Love on Social Media

How many friends do you have on your social media accounts?

I remember when I added up all of my friends, followers, and subscribers to find out how many lives I could affect with my social media posts. All my accounts were small, but they rounded up to a total of almost 2,000 people. Today, that number is much bigger.

When I think about which content to share on my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts, I try to find inspirational quotes that make us all smile or laugh. I try to find a helpful, but challenging article that pushes us to do better.

I have occasionally created a graphic that displays a Bible verse in a way that makes it memorable. Then when I’ve posted, I interact with those who comment about how much they appreciated my post.

Today’s goal is: Be an example of God’s love by sharing positive social media posts.

When the whole world seems to be groaning like it does these days, an inspirational Bible verse on your post shows God’s love and works like the medicine. It brings healing. It reminds the reader that God is love. He cares. He heals.

Be friendly. You can teach your friends and followers to show God’s love when you Share on Facebook or ReTweet on Twitter. When you find cheerful posts others have created, decide whether it is something that your friends and followers would appreciate. Give your social media network something that brightens their day and uplifts them as they browse through the posts. 

You’d be surprised at how many people you can affect. We can make a difference in this world.

5 Ways to Make Your Community Better

I love to learn from those around me. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed some of your friends and neighbors are setting a good example of kindness and patience in your neighborhood. 

Don’t you just love that? 

When you give kindness and patience, you receive a benefit as well. So here are five things I’ve seen others do in my community that we can all benefit from.

1.    Be on time

We all have different pressures put on us by our schedules. If you have an appointment with a lawyer, a doctor, your child’s teacher, or some other professional, recognize that they have other things to do and may not be able to fit you into their day if you’re 20 minutes late. The next person in line for an appointment won’t want to share their appointment time with you. If you’re considerate of the feelings of others, you’ll be considerate of their time too.

If you are usually on time, great! But you still have to be patient with those who are not yet able to be at their appointments on time. Be the one who is on time all of the time and avoid getting any attitude about it. 

You don’t know what kind of secret appointments God may have made for you. Stay humble and be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. This is a good way to show God that you’re available to be used by him whenever he puts someone in your path who needs to hear his love from you.

2.    Have a work ethic

A work ethic isn’t just about working at your career. You can give your effort to cleaning up after a picnic in the park. You can put a little more care and concern for others in whatever you spend your time on. 

If you buy a hamburger at a fast food restaurant, you expect them to have a consistently good product and consistent service. If you expect that from others, you can give that. Shouldn’t we consider what we give to our community on a daily basis? 

Give your best just because you can. No one else can use your gifts the way you do. It’s your choice to bring you’re A-game wherever you go.

Be prepared. In your job, at home, or at play, you know what you will need to have with you. Try to have what you need in advance of needing it. This makes you look good to your friends, family, and employer. 

3.    Give your job the extra effort

This is different than having a work ethic. This is about putting in the extra effort.

There are many ways to go above and beyond. One is taking advantage of the opportunities that pop up without warning. This requires you to be observant, selfless, and generous.

Turn “Must I” into “May I”. For instance, don’t say, “Must I pick up after someone else?” Instead, turn that into, “May I pick up that trash on the floor for you?” Offering to clear a table or put away items that were out for a project will set the example for others. You can do a quiet gift of service and see others learning in your wake. Start a tidal wave of good deeds in your community with small daily acts.

Attitude shows up in the body language. You’ll be impressive when people see the twinkle of joy in your eye as you serve others without whining. Just doing the job is one thing, but doing it with a smile is impressive. 

4.    Give with a passion

Show some passion for doing what you love. Many people get involved in a job they love, but allow the mundaneness of everyday life to drag all the joy out of it. After a while, they are burned out and uninterested in something that used to make them excited to go to work. 

If this is you, take a moment to reflect on the reasons you used to love what you do. Find out if there is anything still in you that thrills you about that job. You can make a list of ways you used to do things and revisit them one by one to see if you can revitalize your passion. 

Then jump in. Dive into your job with renewed vigor. Use your job as a ministry where you can serve your coworkers and customers with the renewed passion that is building up in you.
Serve with verve. Give to others with exuberance and put some pep in your step. 

5.    Be teachable

There are three truths (among a whole lot of others) that we sometimes forget when we’re trying to improve our lives and get frustrated with the process. 

Truth: You don’t know it all. 

Truth: You could improve in a few areas.

Truth: Some people want to help you identify those areas. Take the hint.

Many people have some expertise in the area of their gifting. But while doing quite well in that one area, we forget that others can help us learn in areas that are not our gifting. 

For instance, the painter is able to create beautiful art, but doesn’t like it when the tax accountant down the street wants to brag about the art she created. These two women could cooperate and help each other. The tax lady could help the painter become more organized, and the painter could give the tax lady a few tips about making her art more appealing. For this to work, both of them would have to be patient and humble.

Being teachable is humbling yourself and allowing another person to share their gifts with you. This is a great way to enhance your own self-improvement, but it also makes your neighborhood a better place to live.

Today’s goal is: Pick one of these 5 Ways to work on today. And pick another to work on tomorrow. Set up reminders in your phone’s calendar to do specific things this week. 

Your diligence to put these tips into practice will pay off. You’ll eventually have all of these good habits and set a good example without even trying. Remember, it takes time to expand your gifts, good habits, and good attitudes. Give yourself a break and don’t expect perfection in the first week. (This is why we set reminders on our phones.)

Each of these 5 Ways shows consideration for others while creating good habits for yourself. When others see you setting the example of kindness, they’re more likely to join you in helping out in your community.

Keep at it. Don’t give up. You can do this.

Thanks for making your community better.

A Call To Action To Help Texas And Florida Hurricane Victims

With Irma and Harvey ganging up on the southeastern American coastlines, plenty of people need immediate help. The damage done by hurricanes in the last few weeks will take at least a year for some to recover from. 

Many who live far away from the coast want to help out and are donating online in order to participate in the recovery effort. There are many organizations we can all donate online to. Here are just four:

  • Samaritan’sPurse, led by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, natural disasters, disease, poverty, and persecution in more than 100 countries.“Samaritan’s Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters in the United States. We often stay behind after our initial response to rebuild or restore houses for families in need.”  Current projects are located in Houston, Pearland, Santa Fe, Victoria, and Rockport/Portland in Texas.  Samaritan’s Purse has a team in St. Martin now and is also readying teams to help in Florida
  • GlobalGiving is helping with hurricane relief by providing food, water, and medicine as well as long-term recovery assistance. Their efforts will help people in the US and in the Caribbean. 
  • TheSalvation Army has served more than 118,000 meals in Houston to victims of Hurricane Harvey. They are mobilizing to help in Florida too.
  • J J  WATT, a powerful Defensive End on the Houston Texans NFL team, organized a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Harvey that, as of this writing, has surpassed $32 million dollars. So far, the YouCaring page lists 200,000 supporters. And people are still giving. 

Today’s goal is: Donate to a trusted charity. Do the research. Find an organization you’d like to support in order to share the burden of hurricane-affected families.

Billions of dollars must be donated to help these families. We know it won’t come from a few, but from millions of donors worldwide. But which organization should you give to?

That’s a decision each donor should make. Look for trusted websites that give accurate information. Contact them if you have specific questions.

Maybe your friends want to have a donation party where they all bring an item to be auctioned off, with all the proceeds going to the hurricane relief efforts in Texas or Florida.

Thanks for being generous and helping someone smile.

Giving to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Billions of dollars of damage was inflicted on the Texans along the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Harvey took homes and jobs from people in 18 Texas counties.

High winds and high water took its toll as the hurricane hit the Corpus Christi area. By the time trillions of gallons of water had been dumped on Texas, rainfall totals were breaking records all through the area. East of Houston, the highest recorded rainfall total was over 51 inches (51.88 inches on Cedar Bayou near Highlands, Texas). The Houston Hobby Airport recorded 33.88 inches. The city of Pasadena recorded over 40 inches.

As soon as people were being dropped off at the George R Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, business owners were thinking about how they could help. Papa John’s Pizza donated 4,000 personal pizzas, and various local restaurant owners donated what they could to help feed the thousands fleeing their flooded homes.

Businesses like HEB grocery stores and Buc-ee’s convenience stores gave food to first responders so they could have one less thing on their minds as they helped the stranded victims. HEB trucks were welcomed as they showed up in disaster relief convoys  to feed Texans  going through hard times.

Those who were rescued from flooded houses should have gotten a Tetanus vaccination by now because of the likelihood of infection. Those who have been volunteering in homes that still have some water inside likely will need to get a Tetanus shot as well. HEB grocery stores in certain hurricane-affected areas have been giving away free Tetanus shots in their pharmacy while supplies last. The Tetanus vaccination helps those who have come into contact with bacteria present in flood waters and debris.

Local newspapers are distributing information to help hurricane victims receive the supplies they need. In Brazoria County, The Facts had an article to share locations for free food and other help. 

Many churches along the Gulf Coast have been organizing volunteer crews to go into homes to tear out soggy drywall and flooring. They are crossing denominational lines and serving the whole community. Volunteers are signing up to help and coming from across America to lend some muscle.

Funds donated to the Harvey Relief Fund through the Bayou City Fellowship website will go directly to the relief efforts. Scroll down their page and hover your mouse over the image that reads "Donate". Bayou City Fellowship is using its own outreach budget to support all the overhead costs associated with the relief effort.  

What’s their motivation? They want to share the love of Jesus and give glory to God for their ability to help.

One woman’s experience was described as a time “when people loved deeply, served tirelessly, and worked in unity.”

Today’s goal is:  Do something. Pick a business, school, or family along the Texas Gulf Coast and give something to make their recovery run more smoothly. Use your gifts, time, supplies, prayer, or money to make a difference in someone’s life.

People are supporting others by donating food directly or giving to food banks. Donations of diapers are a welcome gift for many moms.

If you want to help Texans, you can donate to their recovery via Houston-area charities or contact your Texas friends and find out where they’re getting help. Don’t forget to ask about the needs of local schools. Many schools have lost a lot and will need more supplies and volunteers as they try to get back on track this semester.

Thanks for thinking of others and making your community better.

A Cure for the Negative Mindset

Have you struggled with a negative mindset? Me too. But I was able to face that temptation and turn it around with a positive character trait.

Earlier this year, I was frustrated with the fact that my plan wasn’t happening. I love to create goals and plans and work to make them happen. When they don’t, it makes me wonder what went wrong. Nobody likes failure.

When my plan failed, I had to review my decisions so I didn’t make the same mistake again. Analyzing the process to find the weak link takes time and a lot of focus. At the same time, I had family members who needed my attention, which drew me out of my focus.

How was I going to do my work and maintain my relationships? The answer was right in front of me. I accepted the challenge to rise above my frustration with a 25-day plan that not only helped me, but also helped all those I shared my day with.

Today’s goal: Be attentive.

Find a friend to brainstorm with and choose a positive character trait to use in your problem solving. We’ll use Attentiveness today.

I didn’t want my problem to change how I treated my family, so I had to stop working and give my attention to my family. They love me and need me. Family relationships don’t work well unless you give your attention.

Work relationships also demand your attentiveness.  When you get frustrated by someone at work who always complains and whines, use that character trait and show some love in the situation  by listening to what’s being said. Think about what that complaint means instead of being annoyed by it. You never know what pain someone is hiding in their whining. Keeping a positive mindset is easier when you have a plan and a friend for accountability.

Want to be the heroine who shines the light of love to everyone around her? Me too.

If you have your own copy of my book, HEROINE: Rising to theChallenge, just pick a chapter to work on for one day. At the end of the day, write down what worked for you, what didn’t work, and what you’d like to try differently next time. Write it in a journal so you can encourage yourself as you look back on your progress. I created a Mini-Guide to help out and get the party started.