Tuesday, January 20, 2015

10 Conversation Starters: #Youandyourgirl series

2015 Jan 10 conv main Square

10 Days of Conversation Starters provide 10 sparks for you and your girl to get a good conversation going. They are exactly what they are called: starters. Take the answer your girl gives you and continue with more questions to keep her talking and you learning more about your girl.

Let her know you want to learn more about her. Who can resist sharing with someone who wants to know you better?

Many of these questions are taken from conversations with my own girls. Some of the questions are just for fun; others are meant to open doors to deeper conversations. Both kinds of questions will help to bring you and your girl into a closer, deeper relationship!

You don’t have to be a mom to use them either! Friends, mentors, grandmas, teachers or aunts – any one who loves a girl can get the talking started!

The 10 Conversation Starters will all be loaded on Social Media every day in the mornings.  Be sure you are connected here  - all under Lynn Cowell:

Facebook
Pinterest
Google+
Twitter
Instagram

#ForYouandYourGirl is a new monthly series.  Each month I will write a post that will announce the opportunity for you to connect with your girl.  In addition, if you missed the social media posts, or are not able to connect with me there, the previous month’s post will be updated with the graphics for you to download as needed.  Links will be provided in each post for easy access.

Last month’s focus was “Prayers for your Girl”.  You will find the post updated HERE with all the graphics loaded.  Share with everyone which prayer was most impacting for you.  Maybe it was the most difficult to pray, or there was one day where you may have seen a change in the girl you were praying for.  Let’s hear about them to encourage others.

The winner from yesterday’s post 3 Ways to Redefine Beautiful is Teresa Ball who posted January 19, 2015 at 11:20 am. Congratulations Teresa! Please email me your full name and address to Lynn@LynnCowell.com and I’ll get the Redefining Library.

Lynn

Monday, January 19, 2015

3 Ways to Redefine Beautiful

If you are joining me here today from my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, welcome! I’d love to connect with you more on my  Facebook, TwitterInstagram,  and Pinterest at Lynn Cowell.

 

3WaysRedefineBeautiful

 

Every where we turn…

walking down the grocery check out

watching the football game

stepping into a fitness class

we’re confronted with the definition of beautiful. Beautiful is a certain size, shape and style. Beautiful is…unattainable. At least in this society.

My girl came home from school last week, freshly wounded from sharp words. We’ve talked, we’ve studied, we’ve meditated on what God’s word has to say about being truly beautiful. As she shared the brutal words that slipped out unknowing it’s power, I once again helped her to redefine beautiful.

Beautiful is not a size of an outward body,

but the size of her inner heart.

Love, unconditional and unbounded by fear, radiates from the eyes of a girl, a woman, redefined by God. 1 John 4:18 says,

“There is no fear in love.

But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 

The one who is filled each and every day will God’s perfect allows the fear of rejection of others to fall away, even as the arrows are being aimed at her heart.

Beautiful is not the shape in the mirror,

but the shape of a kind spirit.

A kind spirit is hard to find; which is one reason it is so beautiful. The rare, kind heart steps beyond herself, overcomes her selfishness, in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom

or the strong man boast of his strength

or the rich man boast of his riches,

but let him who boasts boast about this:

that he understands and knows me,

that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight.”

Jeremiah 9:23 -24 (NIV)

 

 

Beautiful is not a certain style, but self-control so Jesus can truly shine.

Today’s beauty is all about me. My hair style, my outfit…me. Keeping up on the latest “in” we’re “out” if we don’t. Drawing attention to ourselves is encouraged. But that isn’t the beauty Jesus is attracted to.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,

and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33

 

 

All these things? Yes, all these things. Love, kindness, self-control. When we seek God’s definition of beautiful, we will grow all of these captivating characteristics – the fruit of the Spirit – and more!

 

3 books

Today, I’m giving away a “Redefining Library,” a copy of Magnetic, His Revolutionary Love and Devotions for a Revolutionary Year. To enter, please share your comment below on what captivating characteristic you would like to grow in your life. If you’re in a hurry just share, “I’m in!”  (If you’ve gotten this post by email, just go to www.LynnCowell.com

 

Would you like to learn to redefine beautiful God’s way? Grab a special girl or a group of girls and join the online Bible study of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants. Click here for more details!

TwoGether

Lynn

Friday, January 16, 2015

How to Raise the Perfect Child

Pregnant and desperate for new friends in my new town, I eagerly embraced the friendly stranger who walked toward me. Linda also looked like she was packing a watermelon beneath her tent-made-to-look-like-a-dress. She was so friendly, so sweet to me, I wondered if she was real.

 

The problem was so were her children. “Yes ma’am” the standard response to every request, my mind wondered, “How does she get them to do that?” My own children were…well, just like me. Loud, rambunctious, speaking whatever they thought. Very independent, yet creative, my mini-me’s looked nothing like her’s.

 

Every time I came away from our joint swimming lessons, thoughts I had never had before began to assault my mind.  “Why can’t my kids be like that?” “Quiet, polite, how can I get my kids to be like her’s?” “Mine must be rowdy because I am a bad mom.”

 

I found myself dreading being around this family I really adored. The comparisons I made and the measurements I took each time we were together ate at me. Because my kids weren’t like her kids it must have meant I was a “less-than-mom”.

 

I am so glad God opened my eyes in these early years of my kids’ lives. He taught me my kids were not construction paper that I could cut out to be what I wanted them to be. They were people. Humans He was forming and each day. They were becoming their own person. Yes, it was my responsibility to pour God’s truth into them, teach them His ways. But what they did with this truth, especially as they reached their teen years, would be between them and God.

 

Over and over and over again, as my children have made very good and very poor decisions, I have had to speak to my heart, “They are God’s children. You cannot not take credit for the good they do, nor do you take the blame for the bad.”

 

During an especially trying time during these teen years, a dear friend gave me a painting. She had made it years ago. Needing to downsize, she was working to weed out only her favorite artwork. Pointing to a picture, crafted exactly in the colors of my home, she pointed to the picture of a child’s face, asking if I would like to take it home. Walking up to the painting, I read the words, tears streaming down my face. Words of God’s love softened my worn and broken heart. “This is not the end of the story” were the last words stroked on the canvas. There in the attic, God whispered to my spirit, “This, this turmoil you are living in. This is not the end of the story. I am still writing the story. Trust me.”

 

And that is where I find my peace each day. Not in knowing I did my best, although I did. My peace comes as I trust God. He is writing the rest of the story and He is more than a best-selling author.

 

 

Through the years, God did a work in me. Taught me to see the unique sides of my own children. No, they weren’t like any one else’s. Yes, they were a bit excitable, but they were also fun, adventurous and creative. I began to embrace who they were and who they were becoming.

 

Today, I’m still tempted to be that mom. The one who reads the Christmas cards or Facebook posts of the adult children doing this or going there and wishing I could say the same. Cards and posts generally don’t share the heartache side of parenting. Moms don’t share the tears they cry in the middle of the night as their hearts break over unwise choices made.

 

Moms , we’ll always be moms. Want the best for our children; always want them to live out the wisdom from God we have poured into them. But we must see that it’s not up to us to create perfect children. Take a look at the perfect parent, God himself. Even He has trouble with his kids! There is no book on “How to Raise the Perfect Child” because we cannot. Our place is to pour in His love and His truth and then pray for our Father to do His work in their hearts.

 

The winner from Wednesday’s Wisdom Tip post: My Secret to the Good Life is Sarah who posted on January 14 at 1:33 p.m. Congratulations Sarah! I’ll send you an email to get your full name and address.

 

Lynn

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Secret to the Good Life – Secret #13

LWSL-Book-Quote-12-300x300

Growing up in a very large family meant we had to be a frugal family. Early on, I learned to walk into a store and head right to the clearance rack.  What you needed – or what you wanted – you always bought on sale.

Heading into married life, I thought I was set. I knew how to save a dollar and make my money stretch. Since Greg and I married young, we started out with very little, but it was ok. We were living on love :)

Greg, too, is very practical when it comes to money, only he has wisdom is ways I lack. Like in the area of generosity. He taught me the incredible joy of giving, in fact giving until you felt it. From him I learned to find a joy found not any where else. A joy when you bless someone who can never bless you back.

Oopps…I digressed. (That can happen easily when you get me talking about my husband).

Greg also knew something about money and making the most of it. He knew the power of waiting.

Our first home we filled with furniture scooped up at yard sales, hand-me-downs and thrift shops. I was good with that! I was just thrilled to be married to the man of my middle school dreams.

Then the day came when I wanted something new; something that reflected our personality.

I wanted our first couch.

I knew I had found just the right couch for us the day I walked into the 50% off sale at Haverty’s. The thrill of the sale. The picture of it it nestled in our living room. Plus…50% off!

Rushing home, I told Greg all about the perfect couch for us…and the perfect price. His comeback, “Lynn, there will always be a sale. Besides, we haven’t saved enough money yet.” From the day we got married, we started a pack with each other. If we couldn’t pay cash, we couldn’t have it. Up until then, our policy hadn’t been a problem. But now…I wanted a new couch! A thousand dollars is a lot of money. How long would it take? Much longer than the Haverty’s Half Off Sale!

We finally saved our money and just like Greg said, the couch went on sale again. But I learned something very important with that first big purchase: the rush of the purchase fades much faster than the money is earned.

For over 27 years, Greg and I have stuck to our “pay with cash” policy and it has served us well. The waiting we have experienced has given us time to appreciate the item before it is even purchased and often, by choosing to wait, we have found we really don’t need that flashing, blinging thing after all. Because in the end, giving it away is a whole lot more fun than buying it away! That’s our Secret #13.

What is Secret 13?

In her new book, Living Well Spending Less, Ruth Soukup shares 12 secrets for seeking—and finding—the Good Life in our day to day lives. From time management and goal-setting to managing our homes and finances, these practical and concrete strategies can help each of us discover a life rich with purpose. Even so, a life well lived is not so much about what we have as who we are, and ultimately each one of us holds the key to our own secrets. Secret #13 is the truth I have uncovered as I have discovered my own Good Life.

With brutal honesty and the wisdom of someone who has been there, in this book Ruth looks at how to:

  • Overcome the destructive cycle of “more is never enough” by instead learning to choose contentment right where we are.
  • Step off the treadmill of always trying to keep up, and instead take back your time by making simple shifts in our daily habits.
  • Stop busting our budgets & learn how to cut our grocery bills in half by making five simple tweaks to the way we shop.
  • Create a practical, workable cleaning schedule that works for our own home and family situation.
  • Develop a concrete plan for sharing the Good Life with others in order to bring lasting joy and peace.

Today, I’m giving away a copy of Living Well; Spending Less along with a beautiful key necklace engraved with “Secret 13″.

Ruth

To enter for a chance to win, just share your own “Secret 13″ to living the Good Life. I can’t wait to hear from you! If it’s a busy day, just say, “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

 

Lynn

Monday, January 12, 2015

Can’t You Hurry Up, God?

Wait

 

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Genesis 16:1-2 (NIV)

 

Why have you said, “no”, God?

 

The whole situation didn’t make sense. The job opening fit me perfectly. Lining up with the same passions I had, I just knew God made me aware of this opportunity so I could move forward in my plans for ministry. Yet now, all the doors were closing and I couldn’t figure out why.

 

As the years passed and I continued being stuck, I often looked back on that lost opportunity with regret. Maybe there was something more I could have done to make it work? Why didn’t I try harder? Even though time went by, I wasn’t any closer to seeing my dreams come to past or understanding why God kept me from that seemingly perfect position.

 

In today’s key verse, Sarai, Abram’s wife, is stuck too. God promised her and Abram offspring as many as the stars in the heavens. (Genesis 15:5)Yet time is ticking. Sarai is growing old and she has yet to have a child.

 

Finally, she reaches her breaking point; she won’t wait any more! She may have felt God had forgotten her and it was time for her to take matters into her own hands. She’d get a child without God and maneuver whatever she needed to get what she wanted.

 

She got it all right. A pregnancy and a whole lot of trouble. When Hager became pregnant, she also became haughty, looking down on Sarai. Now Sarai was more miserable than before.

 

If only she would have waited instead of manipulated.

 

Like Sarai, I had a hard time waiting on God. I couldn’t understand what was taking Him so long! Yet, when He did answer my prayer, opening the perfect position down the road from my home instead of a thousand miles away, it all made sense. So often, as I take that short drive, I find myself very thankful. I wasn’t waiting for nothing. I was waiting for Him to make the move, not me.

 

If we can wait and not manipulate, God promises us He is always at work for our good and His glory. We can trust, even when the situation seems to be going the wrong way, His way will be best. We must simply wait and trust.

 

When we wait and see God’s goodness come to past, we create a history with God. A collection of faith moments when we have seen God come through. This foundation builds our faith so we can trust Him again and again. These stories, these faith-building encounters with God, are the same stories I share with my kids, helping them to trust God with their dreams for the future as well. Helping them to also learn to wait and not manipulate.

Think of the situations you find your girls in? Wanting to date that guy in first block? Trying to get on the theatre teachers good side to get the lead role? Doing everything the coach says so he’ll move her up to varsity?

Share with your daughter your stories of when you waited and saw God’s faithfulness. Also, share those times when you have not waited, and like Sarai, it turned out all wrong. Together, we can help our girls learn it is best to wait and not manipulate.

 

Lord, when life doesn’t go as planned, everything in me says, “do something” when You might be asking us to do nothing but wait. Give us faith to trust You, no matter how our circumstances appear. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Need a tool to help your daughter learn to wait on God? Check out Lynn’s newest release: Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants. Connect with Lynn more on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at Lynn Cowell. 

 

Lynn

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cover or Expose?

As I said on Wednesday, I am so glad Karen Ehman wrote her new book Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It & When to Say Nothing At All because this week, let’s just say I’ve had some issues! The winner of Keep It Shut is  Laurie Lett. Please send me your full name and address and Karen’s publisher will get it sent right out to you!

 

Postcard from Boston

 

I am so glad God put stories of people in the Bible who had issues – issues similar to mine! They give me hope and help me to not feel so alone in my journey to become the woman I want to be – a woman like Jesus!

One of those stories is in the book of Genesis:

“Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.” Genesis 9: 22- 23 (NIV)

The story of these three brothers reminded me of a story of my own:

“This day is not getting off to a very good start. She’s already nasty” my friend shared. The day ahead presented some stress and it appeared one of our group was having difficulty already. When the pressure we’re under takes us under, those around us can pay the price.

 

Stopping for a moment, I took a minute to pray. I prayed for the woman. I prayed for our day. (It appeared we both needed it!) Heading into the meeting, I purposed to forget the comment and move forward.

 

When we find ourselves privy to information we didn’t ask to know about, we’re always given an opportunity.

 

Cover or Expose?

 

In this story, Noah’s sons were given this opportunity. After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard. One day, enjoying the fruit of his garden, he indulged and became drunk. In his stupor, he fell asleep naked in his tent. Ham, Noah’s son, walks into his father’s tent, I’m sure very surprised at what he encountered.

 

Stepping outside the tent, he lets his brothers, Shem and Japheth in on his discovery. The younger two respond to their father’s embarrassing situation by putting a cloak on their shoulders. Walking backward with the cloak going before them, they covered their father.

 

Encountering this shady situation, the sons had options on how to respond. They took very different directions.

 

Ham saw and told.

 

It wasn’t his fault that he stepped in on this very uncomfortable scene. The Bible doesn’t say he was out to find out some dirt to dishonor his dad. We can’t assume anything other than Ham was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

Looking at the other brothers, Shem and Japheth heard and covered.

 

These brothers also weren’t looking to be told of their father’s unwise decision.

 

What made the difference was how they responded.

 

Ham chose to expose; took the opportunity to highlight his father’s fault.

 

Shem and Japheth chose to cover. They took action to protect their patriarch. We don’t read any words they said. No dialog of defense. They simply chose to honor. They chose love.

 

God commands us to choose love as well. 1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us love always protects. Sounds warm and fuzzy, but we all know how very, very hard it can be to choose to cover someone’s failure instead of exposing them to all.

 

Back to my opening story: I wish I could say I really did choose not to expose the person having the bad day. I didn’t. Later in the day, I shared with my husband my encounter. The next morning, God shared with me the story of the three sons! I’ve asked for His forgiveness, asking Him to make me one who protects and not exposes.

 

I’m guessing you know of a person or two making poor choices as well. Easy to expose, temptation nudges us to tell another. Like the brothers, it might be a family member or it could be someone you barely know. No matter who the hurting person is, God calls us to practice protecting.

 

Practice taking what you know and taking this information to God. Not to a friend or our favorite social media. He calls us to love; cover the person in our prayers. Ask God, right now, to give them the wisdom they need.

 

Jesus, (insert name) needs your wisdom. I cover them now in my prayers, asking You to step in and help them find their way. Show what is best for them and honoring to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Lynn

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Praying for Your Girl Into the New Year

Dear Friends,

I’m taking this time between Christmas and New Year’s to invest in some special time to invest in my family. I hope you will too!

If you happened to miss the 9 Days of Prayer for Your Girl, this would be a great way to get the New Year off to a great start!

Here is the Facebook link where are all nine days are located:

9 Days of Prayer for Your Girl 

 

9 Prayers to Pray for Your Girl

You can also print out this beautiful download to print out and pray for your girl all year long! Just click here: freebies. 

See you in the New Year!

Lynn

Monday, December 29, 2014

Will You Help Me Help One?

Pressure.
Maybe you are feeling it as 2015 approaches.
It comes to each of us from different places in different ways. Sometimes from others and sometimes from within.
This day it came from both.
All day long, I had been making a point to turn my pressure to prayers, actually they were more like pleads, but the pulling down of my heart only seemed to grown.
As I crawled into bed late, the afternoon coffee was still in effective. Pulling out my phone, I realized I hadn’t read the Proverbs 31 devotion that day.
At 11:30 p.m. I read exactly what I needed:
Light
My soul immediately felt a relief. Yes, I am called to work hard, but I am first invited to be connected.
I wanted to connect with God, with His source of power and love, before I went to sleep. I found this prayer coming from my heart:

Now I lay me down to sleep 
I pray the Lord my soul give peace 
And in the morning when I rise,
Fill me with joy as You light the skies,

 Jesus, As I go to sleep, I give You my worries so I can rest & You can work.

Friend, have you, like me, ever had a Proverbs 31 devotional speak to you exactly where you are?

If you don’t already receive these wonderful free devotions each day in your email box, I invite you to start 2015 doing just that! Click here to sign up:

Free Daily Encouragement 

If, like me, you have been blessed, encouragement and helped by Proverbs 31 Ministries, we need your help to continue to do that, free of charge, to all who want to know the life-giving power of Jesus!

Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who comes along side of you and millions of women around the world each day — a friend who says: “You can do this. We know it’s hard, but you’re not alone. We are with you!” It’s why we share our struggles and our stories held together with God’s truth through our FREE daily devotions, radio shows and Online Bible Studies. But we can’t do it without your help. Will you prayerfully consider making a year-end gift or becoming a monthly partner? 

I invite you to watch this video from our president, Lysa TerKeurst:

A Personal Message From Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries on Vimeo.

 

 

Would you please take a moment, right now, and help us? It is easy and will only take a moment!

 

Click here: Give now! 

 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you in advance, friend!

 

 

 

Lynn

Thursday, December 25, 2014

He Has Come!

snowy winter scene in a wood

Lynn

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from The Cowell Family

Christmas Card 2014

 

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for allowing me to come alongside you in 2014 as you are investing in the young women in your world! I count it an honor and a privilege!

From the young women in mine and the wonderfully crazy guys too – Merry Christmas, friend! I look forward to walking through 2015 with you as together we become wise women raising wiser daughters!

Love,

The Cowell Family

Greg, Lynn, Zak, Mariah and Madi

Lynn