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Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk

We learn by watching. That’s just a fact. Our newest baby, John Shepherd, at ten months, is so fun to watch as he is learning something new every day. His learning comes from observing those around him. Recently John Shepherd and my grandson, Will, who is his uncle, had a yelling match. Not a loud yelling match, but cute yelling match. Will would yell, then John Shepherd would imitate that yell. By seeing his uncle, John Shepherd would imitate his actions. As John Shepherd grows, he will do and say more things he sees others do and say. That’s the natural learning process.

Research shows that babies as young as 14 months old will copy what they see on television and that children who are two years old are more likely to be imitating what they see, even when it is a stranger, such as on a television show. Wow! This is evidence that what we see and hear matters! And who we see and hear matters! Right?

It’s also true that as we get older, we learn the very important skill of discernment. Discernment helps us weed through what we see and hear and hang on to what is beneficial to us while throwing out what is not beneficial. And, here’s another important part of development—we can choose to imitate what we see and hear. Even as a baby, John Shepherd can choose to imitate Uncle Will’s actions. John Shepherd is not forced to do what Uncle Will does because of anything in his “wiring.” In fact, God wired us the opposite. We are wired to be able to choose our actions, which includes imitation. That choice will become more and more valuable as we age. For now, John Shepherd learns by imitation and that’s important too. As he gets older, discernment and choice will become more valuable.

Watching others and allowing others to watch us is also part of our Christian walk. In today’s world, it’s called “mentoring” or “influencing.” Mentoring wasn’t a word used when I was growing up. In fact, a quick search in biblegateway.com shows that the word “mentor” is not even in the Bible, except in the newest versions, such as The Message. Likewise, the word “influencer” wasn’t used when I was growing up and isn’t found in the bible. Still, we know mentors and influencers are valuable and are valued by God because of verses like this one I Timothy. It says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12. Or, here’s another one in Philippians 3:17. Paul says, Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”

Instead of the word “mentor” or “influencer” we are challenged by the word “example”. And the challenge in these two verses is two-fold. 1. To be a good example and 2. To follow good examples. When I looked up the definition of mentor I found that a mentor is “an experienced and trusted adviser.” So, a mentorship is when someone who is more experienced or knowledgeable helps to guide, or be the example for, someone less experienced or knowledgeable. It isn’t always an age thing, it’s more about experience or knowledge. The definition of an influencer is someone who has the ability to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something.

So, back to our John Shepherd and Will example. John Shepherd was learning the fine points of yelling from a more experienced and older uncle, who clearly had yelling figured out. Will, for his part, was influencing the behavior of John Shepherd.

So, how do we carefully choose someone to listen to and watch? And how do we become that someone another person can safely listen to and watch?

Good questions.

While you can find mentors and influencers in every aspect of your life—work, hobbies, school, etc.—today we’re talking about a spiritual influencer, so let’s go back to the bible for the answer to finding one and being one.

I firmly believe there is no one better to listen to and watch then Jesus Christ. While the bible mentions watching others a few times, it mentions watching Jesus over and over again. I Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul knew an important fact—his ability to lead others to Christ and to live Christ-like himself rested on his ability to imitate Christ, not on his ability to speak well or decipher scripture or be an encourager. It depended on how he watched the actions of, listened to the words of and imitated Jesus Christ.

So, as you are seeking a mentor, look for someone who walks the walk and talks the talk of Jesus. If you’re looking to be mentor yourself, do the same. Walk the walk and talk the talk of Jesus.

Of course, no one is actually Jesus and people are people and no one is perfect and all of that, but that’s where your gift of discernment and choice comes in. Whoever you choose to follow and listen to, be sure their actions, advice and assignments align with God’s word. If they do, then you have found an influencer worth following. And, if you do the same, you’ll be an influencer worth following.

Hugs,
Chrys (2 mama)

Chrys Howard is the mother of three adult children, Korie Robertson, who is one of the stars of the A&E® hit TV show Duck Dynasty®, Ryan Howard and Ashley Nelson. She has fourteen grandkids, including Sadie. They call her 2-mama and her husband, John, is 2-papa. Chrys directs a Christian youth camp in the summer, spends time serving in the mission field, and hosts a weekly radio show titled It’s a Mom Thing. She has edited and co-written more than 100 books and is the author of nine books with more than 1,000,000 copies in print in six languages. Her more recent book is Rockstar Grandparent. Stay connected with Chrys on Instagram: @chryshoward, on her websites: chrysHoward.com and RockingItGrand.com, and Facebook: Chrys Shackelford Howard.

They Ain’t All Cattywampus

They Ain’t All Cattywampus

I moved to the south at the end of my fourth grade year, a month away from turning ten. It was devastating for this shy, skinny as a bean pole girl who barely talked to anyone. I couldn’t imagine making friends again. It had been hard enough in a small town in Oklahoma.

The year was 1963. Our country was in a war of sorts—a war for and against a race of people being given rights and acceptance and equal opportunities. It was a war I didn’t understand. I was more concerned with how I was going to meet a friend. I didn’t care what color that friend might be. I was only nine, after all.

My mom did her best, as she pointed out the water fountain or the door we should use and the ones other race would use, to explain that she didn’t understand either. She just explained it to her five (at that time) children and followed it with an admonition to be kind to everyone. It seems it was a “is what it is” situation.

In 1969, integration happened in my school district. Other districts across the state had begun desegregation years before, but apparently my district was behind, so in my junior year of high school, it happened.

Black people and white people mixed. It really wasn’t the first time, it was just that the schools were required to be intentional and bus the other race in. white children would now go to a predominately black school and vice versus. It didn’t seem fair to make kids leave the schools they loved, but we were still young and didn’t understand it all. It many ways, it didn’t feel strange to me to be in school with children of other colors and I wondered why it bothered people to go to school or anywhere with people of color. There were kids of color in my schools before the mandate, but now there were more. In any case, I hadn’t been raised to think of others any differently for the color of their skin. I did realize that it was the beginning of breaking down walls and building bridges and connecting people.

It’s now been over 50 years and I still wonder why anyone would be against being around someone for their skin color. It still doesn’t make sense and it makes me sad at how little progress we have made in this color war. Protests and riots are going on today exactly like 1968. Maybe now is the time. Maybe 50 years is enough. Maybe God will have softened hearts and enlightened heads.

One of the men from my church is raising his granddaughter. She’s a hoot and a very wise 11 year old. Here’s part of their conversation he posted on fb the other day. Her grandpa asked her what we should do about all this race tension. Here’s her answer:

Thalia: Ah….. put the bricks down and stop being mad. Let’s all go to church and loves one another. And have a fish fry. Let’s do what Jesus wants and be friendly.

Grandpa: What about the cops?

Thalia: Invite the deputies too. They ain’t all cattywampus. There’s good deputies too. All the adults can eat catfish and talk. And if they don’t, maybe GOD will do something!

Grandpa: Like what?

Thalia: like make everyone blind. Then how will ya know if you’re talking to a black or a white person. GOD loves everyone and made everyone, so none of this makes any sense….. unless you know the Devil is having his way.

I love the “they ain’t all cattywampus” part so much. In any demographic, there are good folks and bad folks. Policemen and women, white, black, brown, school teachers, politicians, preachers, and on and on. There are some bad ones, for sure, but they all “ain’t cattywampus.”

Seek the good. Stand up against the evil. Love and pray for everyone.

Hugs, 2 mama

Chrys Howard is the mother of three adult children, Korie Robertson, who is one of the stars of the A&E® hit TV show Duck Dynasty®, Ryan Howard and Ashley Nelson. She has fourteen grandkids, including Sadie. They call her 2-mama and her husband, John, is 2-papa. Chrys directs a Christian youth camp in the summer, spends time serving in the mission field, and hosts a weekly radio show titled It’s a Mom Thing. She has edited and co-written more than 100 books and is the author of nine books with more than 1,000,000 copies in print in six languages. Her more recent book is Rockstar Grandparent. Stay connected with Chrys on Instagram: @chryshoward, on her websites: chrysHoward.com and  RockingItGrand.com, and Facebook: Chrys Shackelford Howard.

What I Know (and so do you) About Surviving a Crisis

What I Know (and so do you) About Surviving a Crisis

Wow! Who would have thought we would be facing spring 2020 with words like coronavirus, social distancing and self-isolation, all now a daily part of our vocabulary. This self-isolation thing is a tough one for us “hug everyone” southerners, but we’re doing it. Not just in the south, but all over the world!

Plus, non-homeschooling moms are now homeschooling moms, every college student, not just those who choose to, are now doing school online, and zoom is on almost everyone’s computer. Toilet paper is a premium product and people are asked share with their neighbors. Who knew, right? Yes, life has a way of surprising even those of us who thought we had seen it all. We’re finding out, we have NOT seen it all!

It is scary times and different from other crises we have lived through. I say that to remind us that we have lived through tough times before. All crises’ have their similarities so we can draw from past experiences as we navigate this new one. Being one of the older generation, I may have lived through a few more than you have, but you have your list too.

It’s true, this one is different, but we can draw strength from what we have done in the past. The past always prepares us for the future, right? Remember the first time you jumped off a diving board. TERRIFYING. But, jump after jump, you got more and more comfortable. Soon, instead of climbing the steps up to the diving board shaking from fright, you ran up the steps, eager to jump and do it again. Going through anything prepares us and gives us important tools for getting through the next thing.

Here are some things we’ve learned from the past that I know are helping us get through this crisis, whether we consciously think about them or not.

  1. Back in the fifties and sixties, we were threatened with what was called The Cold War. It was a time of great tension between the United States and Russia. Our country didn’t know what Russia would do, so we often had drills in school in case our country was bombed with a nuclear device. The siren would go off at school and we all filed into the hallway or under our desks (dressed in our little ironed and starched dresses), hunkered down and covered our heads. I’m pretty sure the “duck and cover” plan would not have protected us from a nuclear bomb, but it did teach us to hunker down in times of trouble. This isn’t the time to run out and take advantage of the streets being empty, but it also isn’t time for us to panic. It’s time for us to hunker down in our homes and make the best of a difficult situation. We’re three weeks into it now, so don’t be tempted to give up. Find your space, hunker down, cover your head and sit it out. This is coming from someone who has a bad case of FOMO at all times, but I have to live with the fact that I am missing things right now and hopefully one of those things is coronavirus.
  2. My generation also lived through the measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Thankfully, due to vaccinations, your generation won’t see most of these. But, during these times, we were often isolated from the rest of the family, hoping to not infect them. Even our siblings were afraid to hang out with us, especially with those awful chicken pox (seriously, we looked scary!), so we learned to entertain ourselves with pencil and paper and a few crayons. Life is looking very differently things days, but we have so many more resources at our fingertips to keep us, not just entertained, but learning and growing. It’s an amazing time to be quarantined and I’m not saying that in a flippant way. It is true. We live in a time when we can facetime our friends!! Something my generation never dreamed possible! Wow! Amazing! But, it’s also a time to remember to use your words to inspire and encourage others. With social media, all of us are able to bring a message of faith and hope to the world. Use those tools wisely.
  3. Another crisis our country, well, the world, has lived through is war. For my generation, it was the Vietnam and Gulf War, but the generation before me can add World War II and the Korean War to their list. War times taught us to work together as a country for a cause that is bigger than each of us individually and one we may not totally agree with or understand. We may not all agree with the restrictions imposed on us at this time. We may have a thousand ideas in our heads of how we would have handled the whole crisis, but we can all agree that we need to work together if the problem is to be solved. If we ignore what is being asked of us to do, we are saying we don’t want to compromise and compromise is the key to overcoming any crisis.
  4. Here’s something you have possibly lived through. Natural disasters, like Katrina, and tornados and ice storms, often affect a part of our country. Some of happened even as we are dealing with corona. From these disasters, we’ve learned to help out our neighbors. I’ve already witnessed precious examples of teachers volunteering to facetime and help students, not just their own, but anyone needing help. Doctors and nurses are coming out of retirement to help and church members are volunteering to get groceries for older citizens. In our neighborhood, my son-in-law, Willie, has taken on the job of feeding my mom and two of my aunts and uncles during this time. It is true that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s not what we want, but it is what will make us better people, if we choose to let it.
  5. Here’s another type of tragedy that you have either experienced or know someone who has. It affects many of us and we learn lessons from each one. Death, disease, and divorce are tragedies faced by many and, from those events, we’ve learned that the sun will come up tomorrow. While we’re going through a crisis or tragedy, it’s not fun or easy or anything we want it to be, but it does pass and we do move on and life does go on. All those clichés we say really do come true. My family, your family, everyone’s family has lived through all of these to some degree and we’re still here to fight another day.

So, that’s it! Lessons we’ve already learned and can apply to the situation right now.

I’ve heard words like crazy, weird, unreal, and bizarre applied to our coronavirus crisis of 2020, and all of those are true, it’s strange times for sure, but I can’t wait to see all the “good” things that come from this time when we were forced to refocus. Many of us flipped the calendar to 2020 with the aspiration of “seeing God more clearly.” It was a natural life motto for this year. After all, who wouldn’t want to have 20/20 vision for God’s plan for our life in 2020?

While we didn’t expect a quarantine when New Year’s Eve rolled around last January, we do know that we can expect God to use anything that happens in our world for our good. Disruptions cause us to refocus and that isn’t all bad. It’s been said that many never change until forced, so let’s change something. Let’s allow this disruption to cause us to be better people. When our President says, “Everyone can go back to your normal lives,” let’s say “No, we want to go back to a better life.” And, that doesn’t mean better things or places to go or activities to do. That means a better way of seeing the world and loving our neighbors and honoring God and reflecting Jesus.

My prayers are with each of you as you make decisions about your future. Now, more than ever, let’s cling to this verse:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Hugs, 2 mama

Chrys Howard is the mother of three adult children, Korie Robertson, who is one of the stars of the A&E® hit TV show Duck Dynasty®, Ryan Howard and Ashley Nelson. She has fourteen grandkids, including Sadie. They call her 2-mama and her husband, John, is 2-papa. Chrys directs a Christian youth camp in the summer, spends time serving in the mission field, and hosts a weekly radio show titled It’s a Mom Thing. She has edited and co-written more than 100 books and is the author of nine books with more than 1,000,000 copies in print in six languages. Her more recent book is Rockstar Grandparent. Stay connected with Chrys on Instagram: @chryshoward, on her websites: chrysHoward.com and  RockingItGrand.com, and Facebook: Chrys Shackelford Howard.

Letters to Sadie: 2 mama

Letters to Sadie: 2 mama

Note From Team LO: In honor of Sadie and Christian’s wedding day quickly approaching, we have invited some very special people to share letters of love, encouragement, and wisdom. Today we have Sadie’s grandmother, 2 mama!

 

Sadie,

Oh my! This is so crazy! I’ve been there for almost everything—from holding the camera while you sang as a toddler to holding your javelin while you tied your shoes before a track meet to braiding your hair for the next basketball game to straightening your costume at Dancing with the Stars to decorating your house as you moved away from us to proudly smiling on the sidelines as you rocked the stage, proclaiming the name of Jesus to thousands, and now, you’re about to get married to the love of your life. I am so happy for you and Christian as you take on the world, no longer relying for your parents or grandparents, but on each other for all of life’s minor and major decision.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not going anywhere. I will stand solidly in your corner, ready to hold your hand (or braid your hair) when called upon, but you’ve chosen a good man to share your life with and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I know that Christian loves God first, and you second, and that’s perfect because loving God first will always mean Christian will put your needs over anything else in our earthly realm. And, you will do the same for him.

The future is always uncertain, for who can know all the plans of God, but we can often expect a future based on the past. Your past makes me so excited to be a witness to the future. This is not meant to put any pressure on you to top anything you have ever done. Nope, if there is any pressure given it is on God who has set the bar high and exceeded our expectations with His clear direction for your life. He has already taken you places you never dreamed were possible.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

I love you to the moon and back. I will always be in your corner, cheering you on. I will always pray for your safety and well-being. I will always miss you when you’re gone and be overjoyed when you return. I will always be grateful God chose me to be your grandmother. What an honor!

You will always be my first-born granddaughter, the leader of our pack of little girls and now young women. You’ve done it well and, I have no doubt, will continue to do it well.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He always turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Love, 2-mama

Celebrate

Celebrate

In 1980, a song hit the airways that seemed to wash over America and make everyone smile. It was sung by Kool and the Gang and is titled, “Celebration.” The first verse goes like this,

There’s a party goin’ on right here

A celebration to last throughout the years

So bring your good times, and your laughter too,

We gonna celebrate your party with you.

Pretty cool, right? Well, Kool and the Gang were onto something that God had already determined was a good thing to do.

In the very first verses of the bible, God was creating all the cool stuff. After each thing—the land, the sky, the water, the trees, the sun, the moon, the stars—after all of it, the bible says, “God saw that it was good.”

And with those words, I believe God was celebrating what had just happened. I can imagine a twinkle in His eyes as He smiled and clapped His hands in excitement. In Job 38:4-7, God tells Job the “angel’s shouted for joy” while watching the earth’s foundation being formed. So I’m thinking there was a heavenly party going on. It even says the stars were singing. How awesome that party must have been!

And, think about the first miracle. It could have happened anywhere. It could have been done on a city street or in a vineyard or in an apostle’s house. It wasn’t. It was done at a party. The bible calls it a wedding “celebration.”

Clearly, God loves a party. Not the parties you hear about that make the news, but parties that celebrate events or people or special days. Parties that bring family and friends closer together. Parties that tell the world that something has happened that is special. Oh yeah, there was that party we read about in the bible that the father threw when his prodigal son come home. The father served, not the skinny cow, but the fat one—the best one. That daddy was so happy to see his son, he wanted the whole household to celebrate with him. The older son, who was working in the field, could hear music and dancing as he got nearer to the house. When he questioned his father’s judgement at celebrating a son who had squandered his fortune, his father simply said, “We had to celebrate this happy day. We are celebrating his safe return.”

Did you know there are 96 references to celebrating in the New Living Translation? God values celebrations. He gave the Israelites so many special days to celebrate. Why do you think He did this?  I’m sure there are many reasons, but one must be to press into us humans the importance of enjoying life with others. God loves an attitude of joy and celebrating with others gives us a heart of joy.

Our family loves a good party and when I say “good party” I don’t necessarily mean one that involves huge expenses and lots of decorations. We love to celebrate everything from a birthday to the latest win in basketball. If we have time, we’ll bake a cake and put candles on top; if we don’t, we’ll put a candle in an Oreo and call it a day. Because it’s never about the things, it’s always about the people we are celebrating with.

Life is too short to NOT celebrate. One article I read said celebration is a spiritual discipline that God desires us to practice. I had never thought of it in terms of a spiritual discipline, but given the number of verses about joy, love, and hope, it’s clear that He never desired that humans live a dry, boring life. Celebrations bring us joy because we get to rejoice in each other’s good fortune. They bring us love because we get to come together and laugh and sing and eat with those we cherish. And they give us hope because we look forward to a special day or event. On days when we’re not feeling 100%, knowing there’s a celebration gives us something to look forward to. A sweet, precious older lady in our church would often say, “Let’s plan something!” because she loved having something to look forward to.

We are quickly approaching the biggest holiday season of the year. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends. But, don’t just use the big holidays as times of celebration. Celebrate every day. Celebrate friends and different personalities and new foods and the sunrise and the sunset and cooler weather and your dog and your family and LIFE.

Plan something and look forward to it. Like the song says, “Bring your good times and your laughter too.” Then you’ve got a party.

Hugs, 2-mama

Chrys Howard is an editor and writer, serves as president of the board of a Christian camp in Louisiana, and hosts a weekly radio show. She is also the proud grandma of fourteen, including Sadie.

Chrys also recently launched her new website, Rocking It Grand, providing grandparent resources that ROCK!

Her more recent book is Rockstar Grandparent. Stay connected with Chrys on Instagram: @chryshoward, website: chryshoward.com,  facebook: Chrys Shackelford Howard.

About Sadie & Live Original

Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19

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About Sadie

Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19

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