Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. — Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

a woman's shadowWhen I was younger I would leave work at the end of the day on Friday, pick up food, and not leave the house again or talk to anyone until Monday morning when I reported back to work. Yes, I would go to church, but I would go to early service, slip in the back, and exit before the “Amen” in the benediction to avoid conversation. I could be called an “outgoing introvert.” I need a certain amount of solitude to energize myself to be social.

But as I have gotten older, I felt the need to do something different. I am a sole practitioner who does telephone counseling, so I don’t see people in an office anymore. I miss spending time with friends: going to lunch, sharing activities. I decided to make an effort to connect more when I moved to Houston a few years ago and am grateful my efforts have made a difference. I’m active in my church and am making friends.

This past weekend I had brunch with several ladies from my church. We gathered to celebrate the end of our class where we used my book, Live Healthy and Be Well: Create an Action Plan, as a Lenten study. All of us created an action plan to make some healthy changes. We planned a celebration to give one another encouragement toward our goals and also to show our vision boards. We had a great time talking about the goals we displayed on our boards. Here are a few examples of what participants created. (Click on each photo to enlarge.)

And the best part was that we had such fun together. The great part about creating a vision board is that you get to tell your story and hear how your story connects with the stories of others. We learned that we are not alone in our joys, our concerns, and our desire to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. We gathered with the plan of sharing our vision boards, but the outcome was much bigger. We are growing as friends.

You are not alone either. Take action to make new friends. Lead a group on whatever your interest is. Invite other people who enjoy what you enjoy or may be interested in learning more about. Don’t rush out of church and eat alone if you would rather have company. Here are four common themes that emerged from that brunch with my new friends that let me know I am not alone.

We seek to serve God first. I was struck by the commitment to putting into practice what we hear in church each Sunday. The boards reflected our desire to expand the ways we put God at the center of our accomplishing our goals: I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NCV).

We place value on financial security. Each of us recognized that when we are blessed with wealth, we can bless others. The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22, NRSV).

We are willing to try something new. All the boards displayed the goal of growing by trying something new. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19a, NRSV).

We place a priority on self-care. Everyone included plans to stay healthy. We will encourage each other to keep going. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul” (3 John 2, NRSV).

Please share photos of your vision boards! #LiveHealthyBeWell

votive candleDaily Joys

  •      I will be remembering my loved ones on Memorial Day
  •      Celebrating my nephew’s graduate degree with family
  •      Receiving requests for more brochures for the My Quiet Spaces cruise
  •      Reconnecting with a friend of over thirty years after losing touch
  •      Replacing cookies with dried mango to cut back on unhealthy sugar
  •      Having brunch with several ladies from church to show our vision boards
  •       Looking forward to sleeping in late because of Monday’s holiday