Monday, August 20, 2012

10 Things I Am Grateful For

Today before I get caught up in the business of everything I just want to stop and meditate on what I'm thankful for.  I have so much to be thankful for - here is my quick list:
  1. God loves me and what He wants most from me is that I love Him back.
  2. My health.
  3. My mind.
  4. My family.
  5. I have a comfortable home.
  6. I love my job.
  7. I have pleanty to eat.
  8. I have several friends.
  9. My son will graduate this year and will go to community college next fall.
  10. Coffee - my simple morning pleasure.
My list could go on and on, but these are the first ten things that came to mind.  I hope you stop sometime today and meditate on what you are thankful for! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


For the next week or so I’m contemplating mercy. A simple definition of mercy according to my Google search is, “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm, "the boy was begging for mercy.”  An event to be grateful for, because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.”

I started to look at some verses from the Bible on mercy and the first verses I came across are in Exodus 25.  In this chapter God gives the Israelites the guidelines for making the "mercy seat."  God commands the Israelites to basically make a box and the box top is the mercy seat.  On top of the box he tells them to put two cherubs turned toward the mercy seat.  So they are in effect "watching" it (Exodus 25:19-20). 

So whats inside the box?  Inside the box God tells the Israelites to put the "testimony" He is going to give them.  Then He tells them to cover the box with the mercy seat (Ex 25:20-22). So what do they do with the mercy seat?  They cover the mercy seat with sacrifices.  God tells the priests to “take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat.” Leviticus 16:13-15 

At this place God says, “here I will meet with you”(Ex 25:22).

God paints for us a picture of mercy and its this: mercy is sacrifice covering the story of God in your life so that others can see it.  

Its during these times that God meets us and believe me we need it.  The truth is mercy is not easy, it often requires sacrifice.  The ultimate sacrifice is physical death - to die for another when they don’t deserve it.  But there are other sacrifices that cause us to die to “ourselves” so to speak and I’m in that situation now.

As I watch my husband struggle with depression he often doesn’t have the energy to meet my needs.  I see a world of God’s beauty and grace but He often can’t see it.  I must keep my focus on Christ so I wont get pulled down to the place he is at and its not easy.  Harsh words come easily with requests for forgiveness.  Do I forgive or do I make him pay?  Its my choice to be forgiving, to extend mercy, and my friends over time sometimes this hurts.  Sometimes I'm merciful, and sometimes the best thing I can do is just keep my mouth shut and pray.  I’m still learning how to be merciful and believe me I am no Mother Teresa!

Thus, mercy usually involves sacrifice which means it often hurts.  It means giving up your rights, continually looking for the best in another, seeking Gods strength...  Fortunately, its during these times that God will meet you.  He is meeting me and He has met countless others before me.  When our testimony or “life story” is covered in mercy others will see it.  What they will do with it, I don’t know, but I do know this: it pleases God, it makes us more like God, and ultimately it draws us closer to God.

May the Lord have mercy on us all!  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back from the Yahoo Merchant Summit

For the last three years I've been going to the Yahoo Merchant Summit.  This is always a fun Summit for me because I really enjoy meeting other internet business owners.  I've met people who make a living selling gun dog supplies, garden decor, dental kits for adults with braces and more.  What's fun is that everyone loves their site and we all learn from each other.

What struck me this year is how connected many site owners are with their customers.  Several owners talked about going the extra mile, small things they do to make their customers happy.  We also talked about using conflict as an opporunity to build a trust relationship with our customers.  I felt happy inside because at National Autism Resources it's all about our customers and our goal is a life long relationship with all of them.

There have been many times when we have had stressed out, angry customers on the line, only to find out they have been dealing with marathon melt downs or horrific IEPs.  Many times I ask if I can pray for them and to this day I have never had anyone tell me no.  I know the feeling of being completely broken and at my wits end.  I know the desperate need for God to come alongside me and carry my burdens...

That's where National Autism Resources is a little different from some of the other internet companies I met with.  So many of our customers are carrying such a heavy load.  It feels good when we can come along side them with an encouraging word and help carry their burdens.  Not every action in business needs to be dollar driven, sometimes its better if its not.