Dare to Love People No Matter Who They Are or What They Do!

Check out this awesome love challenge from the phenomenal book ChurchShift by Sunday Adelaja, pastor of the largest evangelical church in Europe . If you haven’t yet read this book, go get your copy—it will rock your world!

Love Church Shift

Love people! 
Love them no matter who they are or what they do. 
Love people regardless of their faults. 
Love them unconditionally. 
But if there is love, then that love draws and keeps them. 
Love is the strongest bonding agent in the universe.

365 Moments (D2): Writing Numbers is as Easy as 1-2-3

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Princess Z learning to write numbers

It’s so lovely to watch Princess Z get excited about learning new things.

Whenever we learn—because learning is as much about her as it is about me—I try to create a fun, safe, and non confrontational environment. My daughter is super hard on herself, so I’m quick to reassure her that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Today we practiced writing numbers. I wasn’t sure how she’d respond to the challenge, but boy was I impressed by her willingness to learn. It took her about 30 minutes to confidently write 1-2-3-4. What a superstar! This was definitely a magic moment for both of us.

I was reminded once again that the minds of children are like “little sponges” that soak up knowledge. I have to be way more intentional about the time we spend together so that she effectively capitalizes on this beautiful season of rapid neuronal development. #ProudMama #MyDaughterIsAwesome

365 Moments (D1): How Does Parental Leave Rank in Your Nation?

Remember when I wrote about creating a 365-day motivation guide of magical moments? Well today’s gratitude or magical moment comes courtesy of the generous parental leave and “cheap” daycare options available in Quebec, Canada.

To date, one of my greatest joys has been the one-year maternity leave I’ve been able to spend with each of my kids, a notion that sounds foreign and breeds envy amongst many.

Granted the pay has not been spectacular, and hardly compares to the potential wages earned with full-time employment; still, the TIME spent is priceless! I get to enjoy motherhood without the stress of struggling for a pay cheque.

  • Aside: Paid maternity leave isn’t “free:” I earned it via hours worked and tax contributions.

With these family friendly policies in place, I have been able to spend the first year of my children’s lives exclusively at home—a privilege that many other nations are not yet afforded, including the U.S.

Take a look at the global maps below (courtesy of WORLD Policy Forum) to get a better indication of where your nation stands with regards to paid parental leave.

Make Love Your Aim: Grow in Love

It hurts my heart to witness a society divided spewing hate and injustice. It’s disappointing to see the Bible branded as a tool for hatred and intolerance.

I wish the world could see that God’s heart is LOVE. I wish the world would appreciate that we are all just people trying to find our way.

Rather than sowing hate and negativity, can’t we simply enjoy our family and friends and be grateful that we get to LIVE today? Do we need another tragedy to remind us to love one another? To appreciate and care for each other?

Love should be the motivation for all our interactions. Jesus—the embodiment of perfect love—encouraged us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

I’d like to consider myself a friend to everyone who shares with me the time of day. No agenda. No judgment. No holier-than-thou attitude. So simple.

I leave you with this beautiful Bible passage on love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Yes, love never fails. Love always wins. God is love. For God so loved the world…

Quick Tips for Creating a 365-day Motivation Guide

Write down your wish

Make a wish. Reflect on the magic moments.

Remember when you were a kid and would blow dandelion wishes? I still do with my Princess Z. I love watching her cheeks puff up as she blows at the fluffy dandelion head and screams with glee as the white fuzz floats away.

You see, each day carries divine magical moments begging to be redeemed. Our challenge is to (1) identify, (2) write down clearly, and (3) treasure these enchanting moments.

My understanding is that if you commit to this daily practice, you’ll have 365 beautiful reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Wouldn’t it be awesome to constantly renew your mind with your own life-affirming stories? So when you’re feeling low, defeated, or discouraged, you can feed your spirit by rehearsing back these special moments.

What were your magic moments for today? Mine were:

  1. Seeing my baby boy lunge from a seated position (huge milestone).
  2. Having my baby girl “read” to me at bedtime (she enjoys making up stories based on book illustrations).

Racism, Terrorism, and Mass Killings in America: Jon Stewart’s Passionate Commentary

The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart delivered an emotional and brutally honest monologue following the shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Instead of the usual jokes, Stewart spoke passionately, powerfully, and provocatively about America’s disparity of response to racial and terrorist attacks. This, is a must listen (transcript found below).

Will mass killings someday be unremarkable enough in America that politicians feel comfortable ignoring them entirely? –The Economist

Sadly, we all know that mass killings in America have become increasingly common and have not led to any changes in policy. Even President Obama’s underlying comment about the Charleston shooting is that he has “had to make responses like this too many times.”

Mr. Stewart also addressed the Confederate flag, which continued to fly at full staff on the grounds of South Carolina’s Statehouse hours after the shooting. Not to mention “the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from being able to drive freely on that road.”

Overall, Jon Stewart expressed hopelessness about racism in America, concluding, “by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack sh*t. Yeah. That’s us.”

Here’s a complete transcript of Stewart’s impassioned speech tackling race, terrorism, and gun violence:

I honesty have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist.

And I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack s—. Yeah. That’s us.

And that’s the part that blows my mind. I don’t want to get into the political argument of the guns and things. But what blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and us killing ourselves.

If this had been what we thought was Islamic terrorism, it would fit into our — we invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over five or six different countries, all to keep Americans safe. We got to do whatever we can. We’ll torture people. We gotta do whatever we can to keep Americans safe.

Nine people shot in a church. What about that? “Hey, what are you gonna do? Crazy is as crazy is, right?” That’s the part that I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around, and you know it. You know that it’s going to go down the same path. “This is a terrible tragedy.” They’re already using the nuanced language of lack of effort for this. This is a terrorist attack. This is a violent attack on the Emanuel Church in South Carolina, which is a symbol for the black community. It has stood in that part of Charleston for 100 and some years and has been attacked viciously many times, as many black churches have.

I heard someone on the news say “Tragedy has visited this church.” This wasn’t a tornado. This was a racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater. You know, so the idea that — you know, I hate to even use this pun, but this one is black and white. There’s no nuance here.

And we’re going to keep pretending like, “I don’t get it. What happened? This one guy lost his mind.” But we are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it, and I cannot believe how hard people are working to discount it.

In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from being able to drive freely on that road. That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper. That’s — that’s — you can’t allow that, you know.

Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some kind of civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals, and the white guy’s the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him.

We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing. Al Qaeda, all those guys, ISIS, they’re not s— compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.

Tales From 2AM Feedings: If Love Handles Were Made of Love

Five months in, these 9 moments make early morning breastfeeding worth the sleeplessness:

  1. Seeking curious hungry eyes
  2. Sloppy greedy suckles
  3. Squishy chubby hand massages
  4. Sweet milky warm breaths
  5. Snuggly love handle grabs
  6. Squiggly strong thumb grips
  7. Smiley giggly high fives
  8. Sheepish drunken smiles
  9. Singular faint exhale “huh”

As I drink him in, our eyes lock gazes, my heart swells with love, and my ample love handles melt away.