30 Days of Hymns – this was my September personal challenge to do something consistently over a 30-day time period.
To practice this skill, I chose to tailor my social media posts on Facebook to map with our church’s small group exploration of the book, “Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church” by Keith & Kristen Getty. We are looking at what makes singing as a group so powerful – and necessary.
Below are the songs. I need to say a big “thank you!” for the help from friends on Facebook who shared their favorites. It was poignant to read the comments on all the hymns. And fun to know that most people, as they read the lyrics, were actually singing them in their own mind. See – it doesn’t matter whether you have a “good” voice – your heart knows how to praise through music!
With this in mind, if you don’t know the listed hymn, I encourage you to use YouTube to find a video. And if you find reading the Bible intimidating, reading hymn lyrics is an easy way to orient yourself toward God’s Word, as most hymns have direct Scripture references.
Hymns are inherently positive!
Many in this list of 30 are old, old songs – and a few are from the songstress Fanny Crosby. Below the list, you’ll find images to correspond. Feel free to use them for your own, if one is a favorite. (I used CanvaPro to create each image.)
Want some ideas to challenge yourself next month? Read 31 ideas/options: click HERE.
(PS – I’ve begun a new personal challenge to send 31 snail mail cards to connect with others. This corresponds to #15 on the list!)
October 2019 is just around the corner. Yes, there are all these autumnal colors and themes floating about in social media, in the stores, and probably in our workspaces and homes. That’s all good.
Noticing the change in the seasons is important – it identifies how time is moving forward, even if you’re experiencing what I am… 90-degree weather. <eye-roll> Or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere of our world, October is heralding the arrival of new growth. (Because we have flipped seasonal experiences.) If you’re closer to our equator, then likely there are few weather indicators to show a change in seasons…
October is almost upon us.
A new month.
31 days to make a difference in your own life, and those around you!
How will you begin? And end? What’s going to be different, noteworthy, and extraordinary in this next month?
Invitation to challenge yourself!
31 Days of …
How will you fill in the blank? What’s on your agenda? Here’s your invitation to challenge yourself:
With what would you like to challenge yourself? It’s personal. But we all still have 31 days – it’ll either be more of the same, or it can be MORE!
more activity: dancing, walking, stretching, travel, exploring, adventure…
enhanced well-being: in positivity, prayer, eating, tidiness, relationship building, thankfulness…
Our lives are built with small habits. 30 or 31 days is a way to practice. In which areas could you enhance your life?
In the next few posts (before October) I’ll suggest some ideas. I invite you to choose ONE. Yes, just one. A single challenge for your own October.
Leave a comment with your ideas!
In September I challenged myself to post on Facebook a different hymn each day. This is part of my desire to enhance my own ability to follow-through over the long term and to make time to explore a facet of my faith. One challenge. Multiple gains.
Near the beginning of 2019, I read this book. It’s filled with 500+ random ideas on where to challenge yourself. I believe we can do (almost) anything in the short term… and isn’t our whole life filled up with little increments 60 seconds at a time, 1440 minutes a day, 52 weeks, 4 seasons…
What are you developing with your little increments of time?
His words hold answers to mysteries, they cause me to stop and wonder and then make me smile. I feel encouraged.
Sometimes a phrase causes me to take a breath – stop – and give thanks.
This is one of them.
Courage, dear heart.
Encouragement has the word “courage” embedded. Undeniably, reading with a positive focus will encourage you, and ultimately cause you to feel courageous.
That’s why I like “children’s” literature. Most times authors write with a bent toward encouragement. It’s rare to feel discouraged after reading a child’s book. Have you noticed? Pull out a few of your childhood favorites, and experiment…
The quote above is from C.S. Lewis’ book “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” in the Narnia series. There are 7 books in the whole story about the land of Narnia. And it’s just as relevant for adults as it is for children. Never, ever, feel like you’re too old to read a child’s book. We’re all children at heart!
Specifically, I like to read this series in chronological order – but everyone has their favorite way to read. C.S. Lewis wrote and published them differently from the land of Narnia chronological order, and expected us to make our own choice in where to start. Wise man.
Aslan in Narnia
If you step back from the Disney movie versions of these movies and read the original book series, you’ll realize, eventually (or possibly very quickly) that Aslan is special.
Ultimately, discovering why that’s so will be a beautiful adventure, should you choose to accept it…
In the meantime:
My wish for you today is to hear that small, still voice whisper…
Just some thoughts to ponder: take a look at the first 3 lines.
I think what Tolkien is saying
is that just because something seems one way,
does not make it true.
For me, it’s the last line which holds a key: “deep roots are not reached by the frost“.
I feel it sums up the first three statements.
If we deeply understand the “why” we are doing something, that specific understanding can hold us safe from anything which would freeze us out, stop us, or derail our purpose. It’s part of having those roots that reach downward.
Even if you don’t “glitter” you still have gold!
When you are going deep through age and strength, your contribution will flourish!
Do. Not. Quit.
Don’t stop what you’re doing even if others can’t see your glitter, or criticize your wandering, or if they question your age. Be strong.
And then your deep roots will hold you secure.
Are you finding it hard to keep going? Need some encouragement? Read this.
As you strive to go deep, remember, being optimistic is a strategy, and it can be learned. The benefits are great. One part of the strategy to be optimistic is to focus on thankfulness.
Quick! For what are you thankful right now? Find three things… they can be simple, or complex. Remembering your “why” you’re doing things can be prompted by your thankfulness. And thankfulness grows deep roots.
Do you keep a journal? Maybe add some “thankful” notations!
Writing or recording what you’re thankful for doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated.
Got a smart-phone? I use the app Gratitude 365. (It’s free.) Or you could just put three things into your calendar (online or paper).
Learn how to be optimistic. Basically, you aren’t required to be born a positive person – optimism can be learned. Don’t give up just because you’re not good at it! Because there’s a way to…
Learn how to be optimistic.
But how, you ask?
If I’m being candid with you, (and my husband, Rob, can attest to this,) compared to some others, I am not naturally a positive person.
Did I really say that?
Yes, I did. I’m a learned optimist.
It’s a choice.
I believe anyone can learn how to be optimistic, and with deliberation, choose to act that way.
If so, then all of us can take action in a strategically positive way.
In all areas of our lives:
in how we think about ourselves,
as we talk to ourselves (our inner dialogue),
how we make choices in our life,
when we interact with people,
in our business world, church world, and family,
as we pursue our side-hustle, our hobbies,
and/or entrepreneurial life,
while setting and embracing our goals – large or small
and everything else life holds!
Here’s the path – with 4 aspects – on how to learn to be optimistic:
1 – Begin with love.
Start by feeling love for yourself. (Yes, it’s a journey.)
Firstly, I believe I was born on purpose and for a purpose. As were you! No person is an accident. Everyone has value.
For all those mothers who long to get pregnant, and parents who are trying and trying to conceive a child, this concept of a child being born on purpose is real. (As is the heart-wrench and ache when a child dies before you can hold her or him in your arms.)
Plus, as a Christian, I believe God loves me. He loves you. There’s a plan for us. As a great example of true, perfect love, Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His life in a horrible death for no reason other than He loved me. And you. And everyone. All people. Regardless. (If you’re looking for a romance story, the Bible is the ultimate one.)
Maybe your life thus far hasn’t shown you much love. If that’s the case, I just want to tell you:
It’s not the end of the story!
You can feel loved. There’s time.
Just as you have time to love others. It’s a journey.
Gratitude is so much more important than the world around you wants you to believe. Being thankful is a special sauce, a magic formula, the ultimate elixir on the way to being positive.
How do you track your thankfulness?
Being aware of what you’re thankful for is one thing. Because of this, it’s powerful when you see all the items concretely logged with writing or images.
Whether you use an app, a journal, a planner or a plain old notebook, keeping an ongoing list of all the items you’re thankful for on a daily basis is important!
Did you hear that?
I can’t think of another way to state it. Make it a habit at the beginning, middle or end of a day to list what you’re thankful for. Begin recording your thankfulness.
I challenge you to start with a list of 100 items. A while ago Rob and I did an exercise like this together and it was so much easier than it seems… From this, we realized that the greatest to the least little item provides many, many reasons each day to give thanks.
” Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
Therefore, you can learn how to be optimistic if you use gratitude as a tool!
So, being loved and being thankful. Right.
And after that – what’s next?
3 – Being encouraged and encouraging others helps you to learn how to optimistic.
Thirdly, what is encouragement?
“Encouragement: words or actions that give someone confidence or hope and words or actions that help something to happen.”
~ from MacMillan Dictionary
To learn how to be optimistic means you understand the importance of encouragement. Encouragement is an action. It’s having hope for the future. People who are positive-focused know how to help themselves and others make something happen – something good for the future.
Optimists are confident that if they keep trying and continue to persevere, regardless, there will be an improvement.
And once an optimist is feeling hopeful, then…
4 – Optimists take action.
Lastly, some of the skills on the path to learn how to be optimistic are the ability to make a plan, work the plan and take action on the goals that’ll get you to the finish line of the plan. Does this sound familiar?
What if things don’t work out? Failure is part of the plan – it’s gonna happen, and optimists who take action have contingencies at hand to fail forward.
So, if something doesn’t work out, the optimist finds another way.
Above all, it’s about taking action – not getting stuck in inertia or analysis paralysis. Equally, if a positive person does get stuck, they look for help from another encouraging person! Do you have someone like that in your life?
Are you someone who takes action? Is there a chance you’re also a learned optimist?
Being Positive on Purpose
All in all, life isn’t always what you expect. There are curveballs…
It’s important to realize there are days, weeks and even years where being optimistic is hard. At times it feels almost impossible. I get it. I really do – due to circumstances we all encounter, I’ve experienced it and it’s difficult to be optimistic when in crisis. (Especially if others around you expect optimism from you and you’re feeling like you’re running on empty.)
What can you do when it’s hard to be optimistic?
Actively seek support. To clarify, surround yourself with people, activities, and resources which will support you in practicing:
loving yourself and others,
being thankful – in all circumstances,
accepting encouragement and giving encouragement,
and taking action.
To be transparent – that’s why this site was born. I needed something to keep my focus on remaining and then growing in being positive. So, that’s what PostiveThanksLiving.com is for… it’s for me and you!
On the positive side, there’s no end in learning to be optimistic.
You just get better at it. Certainly, it takes ongoing practice, but the benefits of practicing optimism impact everyone around you for the better.
Indeed, it’s not going to hurt anyone if you learn how to be optimistic… in fact, it’ll help make the world around you a little better!