As I watched the news this week, showing the folks of Fargo, North Dakota coming together to save their town, I couldn't help but be moved. Our world is so full of hate and ridiculous violence. Some poor idiot shot 8 people at a nursing home yesterday. Are you kidding me? TV is filled with reports on the ugly side of people. We all have that side. That dark part that lurks within because each of us is a sinner. Period. And I, like so many, are sometimes fascinated by folks who allow that dark part to grow and take over, leading to acts that are ruthless and evil.
But seeing people come together in community, in volunteerism, in hope and friendship, this is a story better than all the selacious material spread out for our 10 p.m viewing. Watching selflessness is precious. Makes me want to be more selfless.
Reminds me that for every 1 numbskull who picks up a weapon intending to use it on innocent people, there are 100,000 of us who want to be a good neighbor, a good friend, a helpful person.
This is the truth. We need each other. We do.
Thank you Fargoians! I pray the river will recede quickly. I pray that your example of generosity will flood us all!
The blizzard came quite quickly. Two snow days for my son - in a row - has caused rejoicing in his 10 year old heart. Sunshine has descended today and I can almost hear the trickling of the melting white masses.
One thing that I have found amusing is the news coverage of the blizzard. I find great humor in the fact that the news programs title the blizzard coverage.
Three that I noticed last night:
BEATING THE BLIZZARD!
I wish I could have attended the committee meeting when whoever "they" are decided upon a name for the coverage. John and I conducted our own meeting. The following are the results for our own Denver Iobst blizzard:
MILD WINTER'S REVENGE!
THANK GOD WE OWN A CONDO AND DON'T HAVE HAVE TO SHOVEL A DRIVEWAY 2009!
THIS AIN'T NOTHING COMPARED TO BLIZZARD 2006!
DUDE WHERE'S MY CAR!
YOU KNOW IT'S A BLIZZARD WHEN EVEN THE DOG DOESN'T WANT TO GO OUT!
John's wound is healing up! Yay! After three months of dealing with the effects of a motorcycle crash, John is ready to be free of anything medically related. We realized last night that since December 28th, a little less than 3 months ago, John has spent 28 days in three different hospitals, spent endless hours at doctors' offices, taken more pills than most little old men (John's words) and seen God's healing in huge miraculous ways and little wonderful ways!
Be warned some of the following photos may be a little icky for you.
This first picture I took the second week of January during John's second day at Swedish rehab hospital. It looks harmless enough, but the hemotoma (sac of blood) underneath it made it for a VERY SLOWLY healing injury.
The wound just after surgery. The surgeon had cleaned all the icky infection out. Notice how deep and big it is. Big enough for a golf ball to almost fit. John's friend Jimmy told him, "I thought that since doctors are such golf fans, they would replace their divits."
A wound vac is a device that puts a sponge into the wound and then a hose is attached to a little machine. The machine literally sucks out the bad blood and skin and speeds up healing. Three plastic surgeons invented this thing. They are very rich men now!
John has dealt with walking around or sleeping or sitting with a hose attached to him for a little over two weeks. He said to me yesterday, "I really make this hose look good, don't I?" :0) Absolutely baby!
And this is the wound yesterday! All the red is new capillaries producing new skin. The wound surgeon said John may not have to wear the wound vac for much longer because it is healing so quickly!
Thank you for praying for the Iobst clan through the past 3 months. God is faithful and you are prayer warriors and that equals the peace and healing and joy of the Lord landing on our family! Yay!!
When's the last time you giggled in joy or delight?
This morning my son Noah woke up with an outstanding case of bed-head. After I called to him to wake up and get up, he bounded out of his bed and into the living room where he promptly fell to the floor beside Scooby. Our puggle's tail wagged furiously as they greeted each other and began wrestling and romping. A morning ritual for my two boys.
I giggled in delight to watch the pair.
I often giggle when I finish writing something I like. Just a little laugh, but the delight of accomplishing something that I truly enjoy can't help but leak out of me in joy.
This morning my husband said something to me that makes me giggle even as I write this.
I drove him to work (he is still on pain meds) and as he was getting out of the car we exchanged some goodbyes.
"Two things." He said, "One, I love you! And two, I really make this hose look good don't I?"
The hose he's referring to is his wound vac hose. I am going to post pictures tomorrow.
"Yes," I replied laughing, "You know how to work it John."
He was out the door and about to close it when he leaned in. "One more thing. Jesus giggles everytime He sees you, Robbie."
With that he left. Tears colored my eyes.
Yes He does. I know the theology is shaky cause Jesus sees us all the time, but put that aside and embrace the concept. Jesus giggles in delight at us. He loves us. He cherishes us. When He watches us, he can't help but giggle.
Nine days ago I flew from Nashville back home to Denver on Southwest Airlines. One of the flight attendants was refreshingly unusual. He was the type that made us, his captive audience, laugh using humor at every chance he could get, including yelling a noise into the loud speaker after we'd landed. It sounded like screeching brakes. Scared some I'm sure, but most of us laughed.
But during the flight, he also gave us something to think about. It's been on my mind since. He announced, "I would love to give a free adult beverage to the first peron who can tell me ONE of the five names of the American soldiers who have been awarded the Medal of Honor during Afghanistan or Iraq. Go ahead and ring your call button."
Silence. A few nervous twitters. But nothing.
He repeated the question a couple of times. Still silence.
Then he said, "Okay, let's change the question. Ring your call button if you know the name of an American Idol winner."
Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
The aisles lit up.
Sad, isn't it?
So I looked them up. I read about what they did. I cried as I realized these five young men had each died for their fellow soldiers and for me. And you.
I don’t know when I have been so scared. Nervously I walked to my guitar and said, “I’m going to end our time together by singing you a little song.”
This started last weekend at the Summit in Nashville. When we were asked to list assets, we were also encouraged to put down unusual talents we might have. Skills we wouldn’t necessarily connect with our speaking lives.
I put down “silly songs.” It’s more like a party trick. For years I have played my guitar and sang a song I’d written about someone. Most of the time the occasion is celebrate a birthday or anniversary, something like that. I don’t sing really well nor do I play the guitar excellently, but I can put the two together and entertain.
At the summit, both Ken and Danny encouraged me to take a risk and use this “talent” in my speaking. At the time I thought “Why not?” So I made plans to sing last night at the MOPS group I spoke to.
Over the course of the week, my courage drained. I just knew that I would be laughed at, and not in a good way, or even worse, silence would meet the end of my song. I worked myself up into a lather worrying about how this risk would play out.
At the Professional Communicators Summit, God did some big time work in my heart. And He sent His own personal confirmer to help interpret and encourage what I was hearing. My sister Karen met me in Nashville last weekend to visit and play with me when I wasn’t in the conference. As I voiced what I was hearing from Jesus, the big dreams I was envisioning, my sister prayed and cheered me on. What a gift to have her there. At the end of the conference she shared with me a picture of she received while praying for me.
“Rob, it’s like you are going to start climbing a rope. And as you go, you’re going to encounter these huge knots in the rope. But don’t be scared of them. Use them to grab hold of and then step on to propel you higher in your climb.”
My first knot? This silly song. This morning it seems like nothing, but the last few days I felt as if I was going to go into a room and completely humiliate myself. Not a moment I looked forward to.
So the last lesson of the summit? Dream and Risk. Dream and Risk. And then Dream and Risk some more.
Can I encourage you to dream and risk, too? Just do it and walk through your fear. Climb that rope and use the knots!
And by the way, the song last night? It was a big hit. The MOPS group of thirty women all laughed at the right places, cheered and clapped at the end.
Whew! Thank you Ken and Danny and Curtis! Thank you Professional Communicators Summit! If you are interested in getting more information on attending this yourself go to http://www.dynamiccommunicators.com/
God gave me a brain! Last weekend I learned many, many little tips about beginning a speaking business. It is going to take work to advance to the next step in my writing/speaking career. But I am ready. God has made this SO EVIDENT to me and confirmed it through several people and events.
So as an entrepreneur and a business woman, I must make choices that are smart.
Here is a list of some of the choices God has talked to me about. Some are much more difficult that others. Makes it an adventure.
Choose to always put time with God first. He is the well that gives me the living water. Without Him I am a dry writer and speaker. I must choose Him first.
Choose to put John and Noah before speaking. I am a wife and mom before I am a writer/speaker. ‘Nuf said.
Choose to exercise and eat right. God is calling me to an adventure that will take endurance and physical strength. I need to be ready.
Choose to write every day for two hours – weekends are optional. Writing is key to what He wants me to do – it’s time!
Choose to blog and twitter everyday but the weekends. Choose to read blogs and get on my facebook account every day. If I want to relevant I must embrace technology. This is a fact. I must choose to look at new technology as a quest to conquer, not an enemy to run from.
Choose to develop products and resources. This means I need to be listening to God and asking Him daily, “What do YOU want me to speak about God?” I then develop those talks. I also need to use savvy and come up with resources that will benefit my audience. A CD of the presentation, booklets, books, etc. The valuable products that speakers offer at their back table. Yes, I will earn money. But I also want to offer my audience something that they can take with them that may help them in their ongoing walk with Jesus.
Choose to have a great time! There is a moment in the Matthew DVDs that speaks to my soul. Jesus, (or Bruce Marchiano, the actor playing Jesus) is calling the disciples to follow him. He turns and motions to them to follow him. And he smiles. It is a wonderful smile that is pure joy mixed with a bit of mischievousness. It is a face that says, “Come on! You have no idea what you are in for!”
So I am on the ride! Let’s go God. Where to next?
What about you? You know Christ is calling you to an adventure, too. He wants each of us to live an abundant life of challenge and risk and joy.
Ken and Danny, the leaders of the Professional Communicators Summit explained it like this:
Your Assets (those gifts and talents God has given you) Determine Your Product (your presentations, events, resources ie books, cds, etc.) Determines Your Market (who will want to benefit from what you are saying) Determines Your Value! Which brings me to the today’s topic…
The money issue!
I have spoken for women’s groups for 2 years. Last year I booked 8 gigs. This year, 18. If the Lord’s hand continues to be on my speaking, next year it will be more! Yay God!
But should I make money doing this? Well, the answer is simple. If I want to make money doing this and I get the go ahead from the Father, then I should go for it. And I do. And I did. I want to make some money. He said yes.
For the last two years I have not charged anything for speaking. I did some educational seminars in California a few years ago and I was paid because they offered a stipend. It was just the way it was done.
This year, every time I’ve spoken, the ministry leader has asked, “What do you charge?”
My response? “Nothing.”
I did this because I am just starting out my speaking career. And because many of the groups I’ve spoken to didn’t have a lot of extra money. But after two years, it is time to embrace the fact that I have a valuable gift. Even typing that makes me nervous.
The enemy is subtle and He loves to instigate the battle between false pride and false humility in Christians, especially Christian speakers or entertainers. It goes like this: I have a thought that says, “God has given me a talent to speak and I am good at it.” Immediately the enemy throws a thought like a tiny sharp needle in my ear. He whispers, “How can you be used by God if you are arrogant enough to think you are good.”
What a lie from the pit of hell!
The third lesson I learned last weekend at the Professional Communicator’s Summit: Make some money using your valuable assets.
So I am gonna. I’ll set a price for four types of events: MOPS, Women’s groups, luncheons/teas and retreats. I will stick to my price, unless God tells me to change it. I will be honest and make sure my integrity is in tact. I don’t want to be known as a speaker who charges this much for this group, but another group a different price.
I have a lot to learn in this area, but the first step is to believe that my speaking is valuable. Nothing wrong with making money doing it. Nothing at all.
After I was born and the doctor slapped my bottom, I am sure there was a mirror in the room and I got a glance of myself. Been self-centered ever since. :0)
The second lesson I learned at the Professional Communicators Summit is:
Put the mirror down.
Cause it’s not about me!
As I’ve grown in my relationship to Christ, I’ve learned to set the mirror down. A little bit at a time, I have found that the world does not rely on me to keep spinning.
This is a key principle in speaking and deciding to create my own speaking business. You see, I like to be in front of people. It has always been easy for me. I taught for 19 years and my students, at least most of the time, were entertained. I am SURE other teachers taught them more knowledge and skills, but I entertained them more than any other teacher I’ve met. Please understand that I am not necessarily proud of this fact. A good teacher imparts balances an active class with knowledge. The seesaw in my class was weighed down with entertainment.
So when I began speaking in earnest, I naturally took that same view of my audience. My job? Entertain! And I did and I have and the Lord has used me. But it is time for me to make a basic philosophical change in my speaking business.
It’s not about me anymore. It’s not about how much I can make ‘em laugh or tell ‘em a great story. Although I will always use these assets. So what is it about?
It’s about them!
It’s about those lovely people who listen to whatever God has guided me to say. It’s about how my words can BENEFIT their lives. Every presentation is a gift to my audience that they can unwrap and take home and USE!
I’ve thought about this before and implemented it in writing. But during the Professional Communicators Summit, the Lord solidified this principle in my heart. It is truly time for my assets to be useful to others.
So what about you? It’s a simple focus change. Do you look at your life goals as what you can get or what you can give? Who’s it about?
Wanna join me? Let’s get over ourselves! Cool thing is that when we die to ourselves, life truly begins! Paul said it well in Philippians 1: 21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
What a gift the Professional Communicators Summit was for me. Ken Davis's Lighten Up Ministries held this three day seminar in Nashville and taught me much about building a professional speaking business.
This week I will blog Monday-Friday on five lessons I learned.
My first lesson? Get After it!
One of the first lists I was encouraged to create at the Professional Communicator’s Summit in Nashville was a list of my assets. Nothing financial. But a list of what God has given me to use to love on others in His name.
At first the only thing I could think of was “Well, folks say I’m funny.” But I knew I couldn’t stop there. I am not a comedienne. I’ve tried at times to tell jokes to others, but it just hasn’t worked. Lots of awkward silence. Even my best friend and husband will look at me after I tried to tell some jokes and say quietly, “Um, okay honey.” :0)
Although I always have success with my favorite joke. I can tell this because I have some ADD in me. For sure. Here it is:
How many people with ADD does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Wanna ride bikes?
I love that joke. I love to laugh. But what are my assets that will help me communicate Jesus’ love to others in a way that will be interesting and substantial?
I started my list and with each letter, each word, confidence followed. So many times in my life I have downplayed the gifts God has given me. It has been a habit of mine to look around and say to myself, “Well Lord she can speak for you. She’s probably better than me. Go ahead and use her.”
No more. Time to stand up. I will never be the best or worst speaker for God. But I will be me. And with the assets that God has given me, that is plenty!!
How about you? What assets has God given you that you can use to love others for Jesus? This may be explaining well, baking a great cake, affection, crafts, technology, athletic ability or countless others.
Don’t downplay it and think that someone else can take YOUR PLACE! No one can. There is only one you! And God can’t wait to let you and your assets loose on your world! So go ahead and make your list.
Yesterday John went to court to deal with the legal side of the motorcycle accident. It turned out really well, and with Colorado being a no fault state, someone had to get a ticket. John got one and had to pay a fine, but it was the lowest possible charge. Yay! That part is over.
So we get home last night and John has chills and a fever. It turns out that the wound on his leg is now infected. Yikes! We see surgeon today at 3.
Up and down and around and around. Some good news, some bad news.
I've never been a roller coaster fan, but I've never said no to one either. Walking through fear is important. While on a roller coaster, some people hold on for their lives and scream. Others throw up their hands in the air and enjoy the thrill. Still others throw up.
Where am I? My hands aren't up the air, I'll tell you that. But I don't have white knuckles either and I'm not searching for a regurgitation receptacle.
So I guess I am the OTHER type of roller coaster rider. I am just waiting until it's over. And it will be. God is faithful no matter what the carnival ride may be!
I'm back! After a little rest from blogging, I am back and ready to go! The last couple of weeks have been filled with experiments in de-stressing, relaxing, exhaling, just letting it go! You know what I mean?
In fact, I did something I've never done before. I tried acupuncture. Yep, I decided to give it a go and see what the point was. Pun absolutely intended!
Because I am cheap, I signed up for "Group Acupuncture." When I told John this he asked, "Does that mean that you sit around in a circle and the doctor says 'Okay everyone take a needle and poke the person to the right of you'?"
He's funny, but that was not it at all. I went into a dark room with five big chairs set around the room, all but one filled with quiet people. The chairs were a cross between a living room recliner and a lawn chair. I went to the empty one, sat down and leaned back. The acupuncturist, Cynthia, came to me and started whispering. She looked exactly like a hippie professor from Berkley. At least what I think a hippie professor from Berkley would look like.
"Robbie, I am going to start."
She showed me the needles, long and thin, and I promptly closed my eyes. No need to witness this.
As she did her thing, I felt very little except some pressure in my ears when she inserted the needles on the edges. That was weird. She finished and instructed me to lie still for an hour.
So as I sat there and listening to the Oriental music, I kept thinking that I would feel something. But I didn't. I prayed. I made a grocery list. I tried to breathe. But then she put on ocean sounds. Lots of waves crashing. It wasn't soothing. I just needed to use the restroom.
At 55 minutes I called her over to de-pin me so I could excuse myself. She did. Again, I felt nothing.
As I got into my car, I decided that the whole thing had been a waste of time. But I was glad I tried it.
THEN...I got home. As I was walking into my living room, I almost collapsed. My legs became jello and I felt this overwhelming urge to sleep. It was as if I'd taken a sleeping pill and it kicked in. I don't know when I've been more relaxed.
My friend Denise told me that I should do this every couple of weeks. She's done it and it changed her brain chemistry, built up her immune system and relaxed her.
So I am going to try again. It is good to keep an open mind about sticky situations like this, even if the point evades me. I can't be pinned down yet about my opinion on acupuncture, so don't needle me about it yet. (Sorry, but I had to.)
If you have an opinion or tips on acupuncture, I would love to know about it. Until Thursday, be blessed and CHOOSE JOY!