Graduates

On yesterday evening, I paused action on my “productivity” list and decided to attend a graduation program that celebrates youth in foster care.  I was completely unsure that I would see anyone there that I knew (and sure enough, I knew NONE of the graduates) and I had no significant emotional ties to any of the staff and guests.  I only knew that I wanted to be a part of the celebration that honored these young people.  Here are some of the things I observed and appreciated:

  1. Not only were graduates honored, but so were their caregivers (foster parents, program supervisors, social workers, counselors, etc).
  2. A spoken word artist’s encouragement to embrace and share your story, no matter what it is.
  3. A reminder that all things (good and bad) work together to our ultimate good, to our ultimate shaping.
  4. That attitude is important…the attitude we choose to adopt and daily live by affects us. To my current memory, Stephen Covey referred to it as “our own internal weather.”

My fellow readers, some of these young people have faced horrors from which a lot of us were spared, but they chose to become focused and finish school.  Among them were scholarship recipients to well-known colleges, husbands and wives who’d already started families, teen business owners, singers, artists, and those who are still trying to figure out the next step.  The point:  they made it to this point, they achieved that goal and by God, they will continue to soar and achieve more.  I did not know any of them personally but I’m incredibly proud of each of them and was honored to have been in their presence.  In the words of Dr. John C. Maxwell, remember that “Change is inevitable.  Growth is optional.”  Choose growth.  Hats off to all graduates and the next step in this journey called life.

#fostercare   #ittakesavillage   #youth    #focus   #graduates   #Johncmaxwell

“Be Seriously Disturbed”

For 2018, I am rereading Pastor Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional and decided to share one that was particularly thought provoking from a few weeks ago, as it promotes a call to action BY YOU, whether it be via community volunteerism, advocating for a cause via your job, church, or wherever the opportunity arises.

_______________________________________________________________________________

“One key to discovering your destiny is to identify the needs that stir your heart. What is it that upsets you? What causes you to think, “Somebody ought to do something about that”?

Whatever it is, that is the key to your destiny. My wife, Kay, calls it being seriously disturbed. Why? Because, it bothers you so much that it moves you to action. Is there anything that disturbs you or is your life so insulated that nothing makes you say, “Somebody ought to do something about that”?

Here is a homework assignment: Make a list of the needs you see that disturb you. Then pray and ask God to show you ways you can use your gifts to make a difference.”

_______________________________________________________________________________

For me, it remains advocating for children who have been abused and/or neglected.  It’s something I’ll never understand and I’ll never stop fighting against.  My newest “disturbance” is childhood food insecurity in America.  It’s a larger problem than I initially thought.  I’m looking forward to making some level of impact in 2018.

What about you?  Share your “disturbance” and your plan of action!  It may not be something global, it may be something simple…and that’s ok. The goal is to set a goal to make a difference, whether it be in the home, in the community, in the country, or in the world.

Jehovah Loves Us

I read this statement and thought it was freeing and therefore worth sharing:

“Remember, nothing you ever do will make God love you less. Nothing you ever do will make God love you more. He loves you completely right now.”

Isn’t it a release of worry, a cessation of anxiety, to know that God loves us the same, whether we are seemingly perfect or atrocious? He may not appreciate our actions or behaviors that hurt others or are contrary to His will, but He loves us. He loved me first.  I love Him in return. 

#Jesus

PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! VERSATILITY

Hello Everyone,

Some of you may recall that I published a book of poetry via Kindle a couple of years ago. People asked if there will ever be a print version.  Well, this is it, with additional poems included. With that said, I am very excited to invite you to pre-order my new book, Versatility. This collection of poetry holds my most personal considerations and everyday thoughts. I hope it will inspire you to live differently.

I want to thank you for all of your support! I’m proud of this light I am offering to the world. Mid-summer 2017!

Pre-order link: https://www.drconnieshipman.com/

A Perspective on “Giving It All”

From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional – originally entitled, “Will You Give It All?”

God will sometimes wait to see what we’re going to do with what we have before He steps in and turns a little into a lot. The Apostle John, in his account of the feeding of the 5,000, tells us that the hero of the story is a little boy. (John 6:9) 

There are three things to note about this little boy.  

He gave what he had – The boy didn’t have much, but he gave what he had. Never underestimate what God can do through ordinary people and limited resources given to him in faith. If you want to be used by God, just become available…with your time, your focus, your energies, and/or your money. Choose an area and progressively give it all to Him. As you grow, give more areas to Him until the whole of your life is focused on being instrumental for the pursuit of Christ; knowing Him and making Him known.  

The little boy gave God all he had, all five loaves and both fish. He didn’t hold anything back from God. If you want a miracle in your life, you cannot hold anything back from God.  

The little boy gave it immediately when it was asked for, he didn’t hesitate. As soon as he saw the opportunity to meet a need, as soon as he saw that Jesus needed it, the boy gave it to Him. 

Why don’t we give like that when we need a miracle? Either we don’t believe that God will take care of our needs if we give sacrificially to Him or we think, “What’s the use? How could my little bit help?”  Just remember, EVERY little bit helps.

The important thing is to be willing to give as much as we can, as often as we can. That is what God accepts.

#giving  #sacrifice

Sowing Is Key

Sow an act, reap a habit.  Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

-Charles Reade (attrib.)

I normally have additional thoughts to add, but I feel this quote is rather clear, so “nuff” said.  I will ask you to ponder:  What will people mostly remember about your character when you leave this earth?  What are you sowing?  This is not just about wealth of money, it is equally about wealth of character, of paying it forward, of sowing into people.  Welcome to the weekend!

#destiny #character #sowingandreaping

The Audacity of Hope

A poem by Dr. Connie R. Shipman ©2017

From their homes, their place of safety, our ancestors were stolen.  Brought to a foreign land and forced to become less than who they were born to be, they survived, they fought, and they thrived, due to the audacity of hope.

For the rights that we have today, for the freedoms we enjoy to work and live and love alongside those not of African descent, freedoms that should not have had to be a fight, but were, all were brought to bear due to the audacity of hope.

The endurance of the water hoses, the dogs, the false accusations and wrongful imprisonments, inferior schooling and substandard housing, we had the nerve to survive and even thrive, due to the audacity of hope.

We rule, we teach, we organize, we preach, and we serve as activists, still due to the audacity of hope.

Why do we dare to hope, regardless of the challenges?  Because there is power, strength, viability, and endurance in not just the ideal, but the certain sincerity that exists in the audacity of hope.  Selah!

#hope