life (9)

Shepherd Grateful Life


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As we head into Thanksgiving, how do we give thanks to our good Shepherd? As we continue to interiorize Psalm 23, we can be grateful that our Good Shepherd is personal and provides all we need and want. "The Lord is MY Shepherd, I shall not WANT..." As Pastor Mike shared, we make Psalm 23 to be IN us so He can provide daily the joy, comfort, and peace He provides as our Shepherd. We fear no evil because His rod and staff comfort us: picture that GM truck (Goodness and Mercy) protecting us when we walk through that valley of darkness. As Louie Giglio reminds us, He prepares a table for us IN the presence of our enemies. As Mike shared about his morning prayer time when his own thoughts were leading him to a dark place, he turned to Psalm 23 and God stopped at: He makes me lie down... Keller tells us sheep don't lie down until 4 conditions are met: no fear, no friction with others, no parasites, no anxiety about food. Just as that crying baby needs a mom to comfort her before she can rest, we need the Shepherd to help us lie down: the problems (or diaper rash!) may still be there, but as a Mom is greater than a baby's cries so the Shepherd is greater than our struggles.

The Shepherd guides us and when our thoughts are not good, we pray for Him to give us HIS thoughts. He restores our souls and leads us to the still waters and lets us know when we're drinking from the wrong places that don't satisfy our thirst. He provides just enough 'green pastures' every day and as Ray VanderLaan reminds us: don't let tomorrow's worries rob us of today's green pastures.
As you interiorize this Psalm, let each phrase saturate with meaning that you may know God and especially this week: GIVE THANKS for all His good gifts: He is our Shepherd who provides all we need, restores us, guides us, and makes us lie down: thank you, Lord!


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” – Ps 23: 1-3.


Ray VanderLaan brings a great understanding of this. It’s natural for us to imagine the “green pastures” as “belly-deep alfalfa” because we’ve grown up in an American farm country where the pastures are lush. This skews our understanding, however. In Judea, “green pastures” are little sprigs of green sprouting from under rocks. There is just enough for today – and that’s OK because our shepherd is trustworthy.

Clouds rolling in off the Mediterranean Sea will drop rain on the “high country” in Judea. As the watershed collects and merges hundreds of streams into a single channel, it rushes down deep ravines into the desert en route to the dead sea hundreds of feet below. A person (or sheep) could be lazily drinking water from a small pool in just such a ravine and be blasted by a 20’ wall of water, even though the sky is blue and the birds are singing.
When we “thirst” in life, (when we have a need and seek fulfillment) we often look for the closest, easiest waterhole. We have no way of knowing that it’s raining in the mountains. Nor do we know for sure that the water is clean. Simply put, before you drink, look to your Shepherd – He can see what you can’t; He knows what you don’t, or look to Him for help when you’re about to drink what you know you shouldn’t. His desire is for your wellness, He will lead you to water that is “good for you” and “in a safe place”. Ask, “Is this good for me? Is it safe?”
RESTORES MY SOUL: The green pastures and good, safe water has had its good effect.

“Restores” in the scripture can refer to “a straying sheep brought back” (Isaiah 49:5, Psalm 60:1). This is what a good shepherd does (read and remember His steady love – Ps. 103:8-13).
This phrase also means, “brings me to repentance”. Not only does He bring me back physically, He turns my desires around. I was desiring the wrong way and He turned my desires back to Him and what He gives – light & life. What good are green pastures, still waters, and a dark soul?

The Shepherd is a guide. The sheep do not need to know where the green pastures or still waters are, all they need to know is where the shepherd is.

The Shepherd does not only comfort and restore, He guides the sheep into what is right. God’s guidance of us has (of course) a moral aspect. As we hear His voice, and obey His commands, He will lead us on the right path. There are many paths through life, fraught with danger, but in His goodness, He will guide us even when the way seems dark and foreboding…

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High Five For Life

Some good thoughts sent to my email this morning by Mark And Angel

5 Quotes and Notes We Need to Read 5 Times a Day Until They Sink In

1. Build friendships with people who aren’t your age. Spend time around those whose first language isn’t English. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from the same social class. Listen. Be humble and teachable. This is how you learn and grow. This is how you see the world.

2. You’ll always be too much for someone—too sensitive, too big, too loud… too edgy. And if you round out your edges to make them happy, you’ll lose your edge. Take this to heart! Apologize for your mistakes—for being perfectly human. But don’t apologize for being who you are.

3. You won't always be a priority to others, and that's why you have to be a priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself, and become a big part of your own support system. Remember, your needs matter! Start meeting them. Don't wait on others to choose you. Choose yourself!

4. There is good reason why you should wake each morning and mindfully consider what and who you will give your day to. Because unlike other things in life – goals, money, respect, good health, hope, success, and many more – time is the one thing you can never get back once it’s gone.

5. Starting today, make your time count! Love what you do, until you can do what you love. Love where you are, until you can be where you love. Love the people you’re with, until you can be with the people you love most. Put your whole heart and soul into the present! This is the way we find happiness, opportunity, peace, and progress on the average day...

YES, YOU CAN THINK BETTER about yourself and your place in the world, which means you can tap into your inner strength and ultimately live better, one day at a time...

Truth be told, life will get better when YOU get better. Start investing in yourself mentally and physically. Make it a priority to learn and grow a little bit every day. The stronger you grow and become, the better your life will feel in the long run.

And YES, I know that's sometimes much easier said than done, but you are NOT alone on this journey!

Many of us are right there with you, working hard to stay strong and do the right things for ourselves.

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It's Too Expensive

This brings me to a myth I hear all the time about insurance.

"It's too expensive."

No, it is not.

Here's what an insurance policy does for your clients:

1. It diversifies their wealth. This might be the only remaining free lunch out there.

2. It optimizes their wealth by reducing long-term taxes, as insurance policies are tax-exempt.

3. It shifts risk away from families at a low cost to someone willing to take on that risk.

4. It makes the estate planning process easier for your beneficiaries. Life insurance policies pay out expediently to the heirs, bypassing the estating process, which means less hassle and faster money.

These are all enormous benefits to our clients.

"If you present insurance positively and showcase its benefits, you will find clients will stop seeing insurance as a cost and treat it as an asset. It is well priced and has massive value for my family. "

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The Weekend Collections W1



Weekend Warriors clarion call. Will start off with this great email I got this morning from OZY Weekender, Enjoy ! Check out the comments for future ideas 

Nov 20, 2021


What does the perfect day off look like? Today, we take a stab at crafting one, mixing up a classic childhood tradition with some Japanese anime, sipping on fizzy gin and Hawaiian beers, visiting an Indian thrift store you can peruse from anywhere in the world and some physical (and mental) fitness to top it all off. Because we’re cool like that, we’ll even tuck you in with some cozy ways to get a perfect night’s sleep. Welcome to the Weekender. I will be your guide today, so please keep your hands and feet inside at all times … Just kidding! On this ride, you get to sprawl out as much as you like. 

--Based on reporting by Joshua Eferighe


Your Morning Dose of Happiness


1 - Waking Up is Better with Cartoons

Lying in bed on sleepy mornings, watching cartoons ungroomed and without a care in the world, was once a sacred childhood ritual. So for our perfect weekend, it only makes sense to bring it back, right? If you’ve been out of the animation game, Aggretsuko is the way to go. The Japanese anime is a spin-off of the famous Hello Kitty character Retsuko, who, in this telling, is a shy red panda miserable at her desk job. At night, though? Well, that’s when Retsuko transforms into a death metal karaoke superstar. Escape your workday blues with these trippy three seasons on Netflix.

2 - Rise and Shine

Of course, some of you may not be content staying in bed. Early risers should consider joining yogi Adriene Mishler and her dog, Benji, for some sunrise yoga — although don’t fret if you’re reading this late, as her workouts are all archived online. The routine is 15 minutes of basic stretches and strengthening exercises for all skill levels. The actress and co-owner of Practice Yoga Austin founded Yoga With Adriene to make the benefits of yoga accessible to all with her free, high-quality sessions on YouTube. The entrepreneur also provides a monthly themed calendar with an accompanying playlist to make joining her online community of 10 million-plus even more appealing.

3 - Sweets for Breakfast

You can choose to eat right. Or you can embrace the weekend … by tossing out all thoughts of responsibility. If you are of the latter camp like me, then consider sleeping in and then crunching down on a bowl of Twinkies for breakfast. Yep, there’s a cereal for that. At nearly 200 calories per bowl, your diet may not appreciate this wake-up call. But while the mind may be strong, the flesh is weak, and these bite-size mini Twinkies are a delightfully surreal treat. Pick them up at Walmart.

Getting Out of the House


1 - A Surreal Experience

Staying inside on the weekends should be a crime. But if you’re in a region where lockdown measures are still in place, virtual options abound. I suggest exploring the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Spain. With a layout and vision crafted by the surrealist Salvador Dalí himself, this museum is home to the single largest and most diverse collection of his work, ranging from holograms and sculptures to other artifacts representing his artistic journey. Among the many offerings are some of his most famous, such as Port Alguer, The Spectre of Sex-Appeal and Soft Self-Portrait With Grilled Bacon. Not in Spain? Check out the virtual tour here.

2 - Thrift Like a Boss

Ah, the chaos of the thrift store — a weekend staple. Any professional bargainer knows a trip to the resale store is a mission where your only assignment is to find deals and make it back safely to your family. While COVID has stripped this bargaining affair away in the physical sense, some store owners shifted online. One particularly fantastic one is the Indian-based online thrifting treasure The Fine Finds. Founded by Bengaluru-based entrepreneur Aparna Balasubramanian, you can find vintage options from ’60s-style floral patterns to jersey dresses popular in the aughts. Leave the anxiety behind this time — just go to Instagram for some stress-free shopping.

3 - Time for Brews

Let’s face it, if you’re living in Hawaii, every day is a weekend. But a tour around Maui Brewing Co. will give even paradise a new edge. Beyond having a restaurant with fresh local food, beer tastings and souvenirs, this brewery is an island gem known for its unique flavors, such as the Pineapple Mana Wheat and the Pau Hana Pilsner. Not in Hawaii but wishing you were? Maui’s brews are in the mainland too — just put your ZIP code into this form and find the perfect restaurant or store selling the types of sips that will make you dance a hula and shout “Aloha!”


All You Need for a Night In...


1 - Dinner Done Right

With this recipe, there’s no excuse not to get a little creative in the kitchen. Shakshouka (also known as chakchouka) is a perfect entrée to experiment with, because it’s easy, fast and filling. The Israeli dish calls for pepper, onions, tomatoes and eggs, seasoned with rich, tangy spices of cumin, paprika and chili pepper. Usually served for breakfast, the recipe is so tasty you’ll find yourself craving it even in the dead of night.

2 - The Perfect Read

The golden hours are the perfect time to cozy up with a book. We recommend When My Name Was Keoko, a work of historical fiction about Sun-hee and her older brother Tae-yul, who lose their identity — their language, flag, customs, even their names — when Korea comes under Japanese occupation. With family as her only sense of normalcy, Sun-hee is shocked when her brother enlists in the Japanese army to serve in World War II. Written by Linda Sue Park, this book is not for the faint of heart.

3 - A Nightcap to End Your Day

This thick, foamy cocktail can pass as a milkshake with its souffle-like finish, thanks to its egg white and heavy cream build. Named the Ramos Gin Fizz after Henry Charles “Carl” Ramos, who invented it in New Orleans back in 1888, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well the gin, citrus and club soda complement some of those less traditional additions. The best part? You can easily make this from the comfort of your home.


Sleep Soundly

1 - Unwind with a Documentary

This may be the only documentary that actually wants to put you to sleep — and you’ll be glad it did. TheScience of Sleep is a wonderful deep dive into the troubling effects of everything from sleep apnea to insufficient rest, exploring the causes of sleep problems in order to discover the solutions to stave them off. Led by Dr. Michael Smith, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins University, it’s currently airing on CuriosityStream, a fascinating new streaming platform with thousands of nonfiction films and series covering everything from food and animals to space exploration.


2 - Purify Your Space

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, a place of refuge. So there’s no enjoying a good weekend with it in a funk. Air purification systems remove allergens, dust and other particles that make breathing difficult. But more than just cleaning up your air, these devices give your space an energy boost too. Samsung’s Cube Smart Air Purifier is wind-free and virtually silent, making it a seamless decor addition. A couple of nights breathing this and you’ll never want to sleep without one again.

3 - Rest Easy, Side Sleepers

Life can be painful if you’re a side sleeper. Pillows don’t naturally fit between your head and shoulder, leaving your neck slouching all night as a result. And while folding the pillow can work, who feels like doing bedtime origami? This contour memory foam side sleeper from Bed Bath & Beyond provides support that also cradles your head, solving those restless nights. Ain’t nobody got time for turning and tossing on their day off.

4 - Better Sleep, Better Life

There’s now a much easier way to fend off the Sandman. This SmartSleep light therapy lamp by Philips is designed to guide you to the best rest possible, using built-in sensors that monitor your bedroom’s temperature, noise, light and humidity levels to recommend your best sleep setting. Fall asleep with its light-guided breathing program and wake up naturally with its colored sunrise. Don’t you feel more serene just reading about it?

Quote of the Day


“Cheers to the freakin' weekend.’’ - Rihanna


Listen to "Weekend Warrior" on Spreaker.

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Ping No Or Yes


Ping, right in the email, another great encouraging message from Mark and Angel. 

Saying No, that must be the answer, saying Yes is sometimes a better option. Weighing those two choices is so important if you think about it.  Zoom Zoom  TLR


Logically, you know it’s okay to...

  • Say “no”
  • Speak up
  • Tell the truth
  • Believe differently
  • Change your mind
  • Prioritize your needs
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Embrace your imperfections
  • Forgive and seek forgiveness
  • Begin again, stronger than before

Yet, you often seek the exact opposite when life gets stressful and you’re under pressure.

You do the wrong things even when you know better.

Because your mind has so many little weaknesses. It becomes forgetful and insensible when it’s stressed.

 Get to there Website, lots of inspirational resources


make your own breakfast and cereal , a little extra work, with major investment in your well being, we literally ground the grains and pulled the ears off the corn stalks for this one

Make a major decision with confidence 

 Maybe it’s taking the time to build a fence to add some structure to your lot lines, Blessed by friends who help move the project along

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