Author Archives: drlisachristiansen

Girls Compete With Each Other, Women Empower One Another


AAEAAQAAAAAAAALNAAAAJDU1MmFiOTM1LWQzODEtNDNkZC04MmNhLTk0MTQ0NDQ1MGFhNg

I hope you will read this with an open mind and a gentle receiving heart, the same as it is from the one posting it. May it enlighten you to more about life, other women, and yourself. May it encourage you to make changes that will make you feel better about yourself and may it inspire you to be that mentor to younger women struggling to make their way in this troubled world.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she has to take a close look at herself. Not at her circumstance, not at what she did, not how unfair life is or not at who made you do it. She has to just look at herself in all her glory and imperfection.

For many women, this is a scary thing because often times they don’t want to know the truth about themselves. Virtuous women know what I mean.

As women, we have a tendency to water one another down. Maybe it makes us feel good or look better than the next woman. Or maybe we just don’t know how to tell that woman how we admire her.

In reality, we really WANT to look at ourselves and the pain we project towards other women.

Have you ever admired a woman who has been through changes in her life? Or have you made up in your mind that she is just messed up.

Before you make this mistake, take a close look.

The women who have endured the most abuse, mistreatment and/or pain in life are the chosen by God filled of wisdom. Someone who has been chosen by God to go through so that others may be enlightened is a role model for the afflicted.

Think of all the great women in the bible, Mary Magdalene, Ruth and Naomi, The woman with an issue of blood, and Esther, to name a few. Mary was a very uneasy woman.

By the time God was done with her, she was His closest follower. Esther was unfortunate in marrying an abusive man.

By the time God was done with her, she married one of the wealthiest men in the land.

Have you ever admired the strength of a single mother? Or have you made up your mind that it’s too bad she had children on her own.

A single mother knows no bounds when it comes to her children. She is strong and durable. Single mothers are strong, not because she has to be, but because it comes naturally for her to protect the extensions of her very being.

Her love for her children is like that of fuel to a car. Most mothers keep their tanks full because they understand that, if it runs low, you could jeopardize the car and have problems in the long run.

Other women only fill it when it is needed. Their cars usually break down.

Have you ever wondered why some women are not approachable? Or have you made up your mind that she is just mean.

A quiet woman is a smart woman. She is valuable.

She doesn’t go off half-cocked and she won’t be the one to argue with you over nothing. She just may even let you go on “setting her straight” and politely back out without a fight. She doesn’t let many in her world.

After all, she has probably been through the fire and had to rebuild. So why let just anyone in? This is usually the woman that only has “small talk” and knows her place, which is away from all the unnecessary things in life.

Have you ever wondered why that woman is so loud? Well, hey she has a lot to say. These are usually our younger women who have to learn refrain.

They are eager and unsettled. They talk before they think, and they do not think before they talk. They just go.

Have you ever wondered about that woman who appears to have everything, yet is still very unhappy? Well, she doesn’t have everything. She doesn’t have personal validation.

This is something that cannot be bought. This is something developed over many mistakes and challenges that have taught lessons of the unbearable.

Women are so quick to beat the next one down instead of trying to hold her up. Before you wonder, “What’s up with her?” ask yourself, “What’s up with me?” Why do I beat down another woman to build myself up?

That woman could be my mother, sister, aunt, in-law, stepmother, niece, grandmother, great-grandmother, neighbor, friend, co-worker, etc. That woman could just be me.

Women are the carrier of life, not the channel of death. Let’s build and encourage each other, as did Ruth and Naomi.

Encourage and Love, Forgive and Forget, trust that the woman that receives this will be touched in some way.

Peace and Love To You All

~You reign over the unspoken word, once you speak and release it, the unspoken word reigns over you so choose wisely.

“He who is wise will keep an open mind until he has fairly tested the various proofs that are available to him”

To be persuasive, one must be believable;

To be believable, one must be credible;

To be credible, one must be truthful.

My passion for life has always been fueled through serving the needs of others by helping others achieve their dreams. I have found that by helping others I receive paychecks of the heart that money cannot replace, the joy I see on a mothers face when she no longer struggles to feed her family is truly priceless. The relief I see in a woman’s eyes who no longer has that tired look of not knowing how her day was going to end because her future was in the hands of her abuser is what I thrive on because I too was once her. The excitement I hear in a woman’s voice because she has a successful business earning a six-figure income when she remembers a time when she did not know how she was going to pay the rent is simply a blessing. The respect I see in husbands’ eyes for his wife who has grown from a timid girl into a strong, independent, and successful woman is a sight to behold. I have been all of these women. I want this for all of you!

As you come to know me better my hope is that you will feel the pride that I have lived with in my Cherokee heritage. I am active in the Cherokee nation, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary. I specialize in teaching others to become Independent, not co-dependent. I wish to think that my specialty is not as a teacher but as an example.

I choose to live by following the example of Christ rather than lead by ignorance. If you set the example you do not have to set the rule.

~Lisa Christiansen

Follow A Great Example And You Will Not Lead By Ignorance, Success Will Be Yours.


Thank you father for bringing me into this world, thank you for today and all that that it brings, thank you for blessing me so abundantly, thank you for loving me so completely, that you for arming me with weapons stronger than those of this world, thank you for my gifts of love, forgiveness and gratitude. Father, thank you for giving me strength today, thank you for the strength to ride strong and steadfast with your power in me as your vessel, Lord, bless me so when I speak, my words reach out and inspire somebody, Lord, when they see me, let them see you. When they hear me, Lord, let them hear you. God continue to abide in me as I abide by you. I invite you God to live in me so when I step out, I’m representing the God I serve, I’m representing the family who loved me and those who continue to care for me as blessings in their challenge. Thank you most of all for sacrificing your son to shed his blood through our veins the blood of redemption so that we may live in forgiveness and gratitude. Amen. God bless each of you and good morning to all…
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
…and so it is written, it is done. Everything I speak in Gods name is brought to fruition through his word…

 

bible-lisa-christiansen

 

How Cherokee Make Aspirin from a Willow Tree


In this article, I will be showing you how to make a crude form of aspirin from the bark of a willow tree. It is a great remedy for headaches, hangovers, and other minor pain. The use of the willow tree as a mild pain reliever goes back to the Native Americans, who used it in much the same way that I do.

Before we go any further, I am going to explain what we are making and how it differs from commercial aspirin. Commercial aspirin is a chemical called acetylsalicylic acid (say that one three times fast!). What we will be making is simply an herbal tea that contains salicylic acid, which is the raw material from which acetylsalicylic acid is made.

So, why do they convert it from the raw salicylic acid into the commercial form? Two reasons:

It increases the shelf life of the medicine.
Salicylic acid becomes dangerous to use if you concentrate it.
Pharmaceutical companies are not happy with just picking a leaf or cutting some bark from a tree…they like to concentrate everything and make it as potent as they can. If you do this with salicylic acid, it can cause stomach bleeding. But, as long as you use it in a natural, unconcentrated form (like the willow-bark tea we are going to make), it is perfectly safe. I have used it for years with no ill affects whatsoever.

So, now that you know what we are making, we can get to the process of making it.

Step 1: Learn to Identify Willow Trees
One little thing about herbal medicine to remember: If you have any doubt about the identity of a plant, don’t use it. NEVER use a plant medicine unless you are 100% sure you have the right kind of plant. Using the wrong kind of plant can result in illness and/or untimely death.

There are basically four types of Willow trees.

The Weeping Willow

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 12.52.41 PM

The Black Willow

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 1.15.04 PM

The Golden Willow

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 1.26.37 PM

The White Willow
I believe this contains the most salicylic acid.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 1.38.27 PM

This is the species I use most of the time because it is very easy to find. As you can see from the picture, it always grows near the water. Also, I was taught by my dad (the last monolingual Cherokee) that this kind of willow contains the most medicine. All the research I have done since then seems to confirm this.

All these species of tree contain the chemical we are looking for, in varying amounts. Although the white willow (or “creek willow” as some people call it) is the most potent, all of them will work.

So, how do you identify it for sure? well, first you will need to look at the leaves. They should look about like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 2.36.35 PM

Some of them are a little thicker, like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 2.37.48 PM

Now examine the bark. It should look something like the pictures below:

make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654-1

make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654-2

Now, at this point, I would break off some of the leaves and smell them. This is because I have used this plant for many years and I know its smell very well. You, however, do not know the smell that we are looking for. So, here’s what I want you to do:

Grab a handful of leaves, crush them up some, and smell them. I don’t just mean take a quick sniff, I mean really take your time and make yourself familiar with that smell.
Take pictures of the tree, and take some of its leaves with you.
Once you have done this, you are ready to verify the identity of your tree. The best way is simply to take your pictures and your samples to a professor of botany. If there is a university in your area, this should be no problem. If not, you can always email your pictures to the nearest one. If you are new to the study of plants, do not neglect this step. As I said before, ingesting random plants is a good way to die.

Once you have gotten a positive ID from an expert, you should be able to identify willow trees yourself from then on. Remember the smell particularly, as this is the best way I have found to identify a willow tree, even in winter when the leaves are gone.

Step 2: Cut a Square of Bark
Once you are absolutely sure that you have found a Willow tree, you are ready to harvest the bark. Like all trees, the willow has an outer bark and an inner bark. The inner bark is what we want.

So, get a good sharp knife out and cut a square into the tree:

1make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Make sure to cut it good and deep. Remember, you are trying to cut through both the outer bark and the inner bark. Go over your lines a few more times with your knife and deepen the cuts. If your knife has some saw teeth on it like mine does, this is a good time to use them.

2make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Now, stick the point of your knife into one of the lines and gently pry outward.

3make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Go around the whole square, gently prying outward so as to gradually pull your square away from the rest of the tree.

Remember not to pry too hard. If you do, you will just make the bark fly off in chunks, scattering the material that you are after. Instead, you want it to come off in one or a few large pieces.

So, keep going around the square, prying a little farther each time, until finally your square starts to come loose in the desired fashion.

Now, just keep doing what you’ve been doing. When three sides are lifted free, you can just peel it like this:

4make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Notice that some of the bark is white, and some of it is pinkish. The pinkish bark is what we want. As you can see, my square has come off in two pieces, which is fine. Now let’s just cut the last side off:

5make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

At this point, I still have some little shreds of pinkish bark clinging to the tree.

6make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Of course, these need to be cut off as well. Cut or scrape off all the pinkish bark you can see. Here is what I ended up with:

7make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Two big pieces and a few little shreds. Here is what the tree looked like:

Now, just in case you think that I have terribly damaged this tree, let me enlighten you. This little scar will heal rather quickly, and will not do any lasting harm to the tree whatsoever.

In case you don’t believe me, check this out. This is a willow tree that I cut a square from, about six months ago:

8make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

As you can see, it is already healing up nicely. It has an ugly scar, but in time that will also be gone.

While we’re on the subject, I want to talk about sustainable harvesting. When taking materials directly from nature, it is vitally important not to use more than you need. It is also vitally important to avoid destroying the source. In this case, you can avoid doing any harm to nature by following these two simple rules:

Never take from the same tree twice in one year. In other words, whenever you take a square from a willow tree, you should not go back to that specific tree again for another year. This gives the trees time to heal themselves so that the stress upon them is minimized.
NEVER cut a ring all the way around the bark. Just take a square about as big as your palm, that is all you need for a single dose. If you take too much bark at one time, it can kill the tree. If you cut out a ring around the tree, it will definitely kill it.
Now, just wrap your pieces of bark in a napkin and head home.

Step 3: Making Willow Tea
This is, of course, a very simple and basic thing. First, put your pieces of bark on a coffee filter.

9make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Now wrap it all up in a nice little bundle. Put this bundle on top of another coffee filter.

10make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Wrap it up again, and secure it with a bread-bag tie.

11make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

You have now created a teabag. You don’t really have to use two coffee filters, but I do. One filter will do it, but two will do it better.

Now, you just throw your teabag into a pot of boiling water just like any other teabag.

Stir it periodically, and keep an eye on the color of the water. It will slowly begin to take on a deep reddish-brown color, almost like the color of blood.

12make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

After about 20 minutes, the tea should be ready. Don’t overcook it or you will burn the medicine out of it. Once it is done boiling, let it steep a few minutes.

Now you just have to filter out any remaining solids. There are many ways to filter a liquid, of course, but this is the way I do it.

First, I get my filtering screen. This was half of a device called a “tea ball”:

13make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

It’s just a fine metal screen. If you don’t have one of these, a small cup with holes poked in the bottom will also work. I like this thing, though, because it fits neatly into a glass like so:

14make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Once again, if you don’t have anything like this, just put a small cup inside of a bigger cup, and make sure the smaller cup has many small holes in the bottom. I’m sure you can figure that out without a picture.

So, now we put another coffee filter into the screen:

15make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

Pour it slowly so that it doesn’t get clogged. If you think the filter is clogged, lift up the filtering container and look for the drip:

This one has stopped dripping, so I need to take the coffee filter in my hands and squeeze the liquid out, so that it drips into the glass.

Once you have squeezed all the liquid out, change filters and keep going until all the liquid has been filtered into your drinking glass. All you have to do now is add some sugar (if you want to) and drink the stuff.

You might be surprised when you find out that it tastes pretty good.

17make-aspirin-from-willow-tree.w654

That’s all there is to it. You just identify your tree, cut out a square of bark, make tea from it, and drink it.

As I said, this tea is excellent medicine for minor pains. I wouldn’t recommend using it too often, as you can build up an immunity to it. I also would not recommend drinking more than one glassful at a time. As I said before, salicylic acid can be troublesome if you take it in large quantities, but you don’t need to take it in large quantities, anyway. This one glass should be all you need. Of course, this crude aspirin is not that strong, as painkillers go.

If you are experiencing truly severe pain, this treatment probably won’t make it go away (although it will probably help). This treatment will provide quick relief for minor aches and pains, just like its commercial counterpart, but it has the advantage of being 100% free and 100% natural.

I hope this little pearl of wisdom will be helpful to all of you in the future, when dopeheads have made it impossible for honest folk to get pain medicine.

 

Find Your Peace


Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 10.41.18 AM

 

Find your peace because life is short, if asked when will you die the answer is so simple that it’s complicated… “in one breath” Life ends with a breath and death begins with a breath… live like today like it is your last because somebody took your place today, make them proud…

I would first like to take this opportunity to say thank you to each and everyone of you who recognize God as I ask for us to be gentle on those who are not Christians. Let’s give them a reason to believe that we are not all hypocrites and that we do not all condemn because it doesn’t matter where you are it matters where you’re going, let us be the light that helps them find their way not the reason they stay away. Remember, forgiveness is greater than vengeance; compassion more powerful than anger. So, rather than please Satan with anger let us choose to be a pleasure in the sight of God as we join together in prayer for these people who have displayed foul behavior and blasphemy with faith that God will soften their hearts to break the chains of bondage that they may breakthrough to the innocence and faith of a child so they may fix their eyes on God because as God teaches us to pray for the genuine forgiveness that heals any hurts or wrongs. It strengthens the disheartened soul that has lost its way. It refreshes and renews our hope. It is through forgiveness that we are “born again” and “become like a child.” In this way we regain the precious attitude of a willing mind that is ready to learn all over again as for me and as for me I am just a girl, a child of God who realizes that I fall short of Gods grace everyday and I recognize that God gives it to me each day I awake out of his amazing mercy…

This one is for those who doubt, curse and blame God for their pain instead of taking a self inventory and praying gratitude to God for peace and abundance… Today I release another piece of the puzzle, I was looking at pictures of my family from times lost past and was reminded of the secrets that live deep within the walls of my family where sororicide, fratricide and familicide were a cultural common act, a house of secrets that have haunted me from what I witnessed as a small child. God was always there and is always with me. People always ask me what motivates me to do the things I do and where does my curiosity of human behavior come from. I knew at 13 one thing for certain and two things for sure 1.) “this is not my life” and 2.) I will be the change I wish to see in this world by breaking the silence. At 10 years old when I was becoming more fluent in English and living on Indian Territory with my first language Cherokee my grandmother passed away only after confessing on her death bed that she took the life of her baby sister when she was a child, in December of 1996 my aunt who raised me passed away and confessed a similar act of taking the life of her baby sister before my mother was born. As so many of you know my mother passed when I was 8 years old, she too had taken lives. My dad left when I was 6 months old. I fought my way into this world as my mother attempted to abort me three times only to leave me on the steps of a Coca Cola plant with a note attached to my dress shortly after taking the life of my baby sister, my aunt later came at me with a butcher knife when I was maybe 9 years old. I have been stabbed, left stranded and lived in a car with my daughter only after my first daughter was kidnapped and 5 years later found in Mexico; not once did I get angry at God instead I fixed my eyes on God and asked God what do I do to be a pleasure in his sight that he may find mercy to reunite me with my daughter and after all law enforcement gave up God delivered her to me… God continues to bless me well beyond what I could ever earn, repay or deserve in immeasurable proportion and continues to protect from everything I am certain I deserve… I am truly grateful for all of these life events because it has made me who I am today and has given me to you as each of you continue to so graciously welcome me into your hearts as family and for this I am most humbled with gratitude because each of you are unique in my life as each of you inspire me to be a better person as I continue to grow everyday… and today I choose to live in gratitude and forgiveness. It is beautiful to see others share their high regards coming from a place of gratitude… I do not need permission to love and I require no validation… May God shine his grace on you… All glory to God…

Let us pray as Jesus because as for me I would rather follow a great example then lead by ignorance…

~Lisa Christiansen

Are You A Follower Or Just A Fan?


Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 4.06.44 PM

 

I would rather follower a great example than lead by ignorance…I choose to have a relationship with God rather than have religion.

It’s no secret that those of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ consistently fall short of the glory of God. Being a disciple of Jesus is a lifelong journey towards conforming ourselves to the image and way of life that Jesus taught. However, so often, followers of Jesus chose to blatantly ignore some of the clearest instruction of our teachers and obscure it with vague theology so that we can get off the hook. Other times, followers of Jesus are taught something explicitly contradictory to the plain words of Jesus and then spend their lives obeying the instruction they received instead of the commands of Jesus.

I was inspired to write this when someone dear to me once said this to me… “How can I honor the one who loves me so deeply when I display the character that I do for I am only human, how can I display any other character than I do when it is who I am, only God can change me for I cannot change myself as all I can do is choose to surrender to his grace and even surrender seems challenging sometimes and I realize it is through his amazing grace that will continue to carry me through to brighter tomorrows.” I realize everyday I awake I fall short of God’s grace, I also recognize God blesses me with his amazing grace each and everyday through his eternal love and everlasting life, this is why everyday I search for new ways to be a pleasure in the sight of God that he may continue to bless me and that he continues to use me as his vessel to bless others.
Often, we end up at the place of disobedience, all of us who claim to be followers of Jesus struggle to obey the commands of our Lord. One of the most transformative periods in my faith was when I took time to re-read the Gospels of the New Testament and get reacquainted with Jesus’ himself, in his own words. As I studied the words of Jesus, I discovered that so much of what he asks of us as his disciples is incredibly clear and yet so much of it was new to me. I had never heard it in church or Sunday school or actually heard someone teach the exact opposite of the words of Christ. It was during that season of my life where I took a self-inventory of how I lived and what I believed and aligned to the person and teachings of Christ that my faith was radically transformed for the better.

Below I have compiled a short list of 4 clear teachings of Jesus that most of us who exist within Evangelicalism have either never heard, refuse to acknowledge, or believe the exact opposite of. It’s my hope that by rereading these teachings of Christ, you will be inspired, like I have been, to return to the Gospels and begin to reshape your faith and life around the way and teachings of our Master, Jesus. Get ready and buckle up, because most of what Jesus says is pretty bold and potent. It’ll shake up your faith!

Jesus, not the Bible, is God’s living and active Word that brings life.

“You don’t have His word living in you, because you don’t believe the One He sent. You study the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.”- John 5:39-40

The Christian life is one that is fundamentally rooted in the reality that Jesus Christ is living and active. He interacts with us on a day-to-day basis and desires that we cultivate an intimate relationship with him. The more we commune with the Spirit of Christ, the more life and truth we are exposed to and are able to comprehend. However, for many Evangelicals, we rely more on the Bible than we do on the living and active Spirit of God within us. We fear that following the Spirit could lead to confusion and subjectivity and so we root our faith in the Bible. The problem is that a faith that is rooted in the Scripture alone is not sustainable. It will dry up and wither on the vine. While the Bible is an important and authoritative guide for Christian faith and practice, it isn’t the foundation or center of our faith- Jesus is. And if we truly believe that he is alive, we should also have faith that communing with him will produce spiritual life within us. He is the living Word that we can ask anything to and expect, in faith, to receive and answer. Sometimes he will speak through Scripture. Other times he will speak through our friends and family. Other times he will find unique and special ways to reveal himself to us. But in order to maintain a vibrant and living faith, we must not make the Bible our substitute for communion with the living Word of God. Studying Scripture is valuable, but nowhere near as valuable as cultivating a day to day relationship with the God incarnate.

The only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is through DOING the will of God.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

“An expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the law?” He asked him. “How do you read it?” He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. “You’ve answered correctly,” He told him. “Do this and you will live.”- Luke 10: 25-28

“We are saved by faith alone, apart from works!” This is a very popular Protestant catch phrase. The doctrine of sola fide (faith alone) was developed by the Reformers in response to the Roman Catholic Churches corrupted teachings that emerged in the 16th Century teaching that one could gain favor with God and shave off years in Hell and Purgatory by giving money to the church or doing acts of penance. The intention of the doctrine of faith alone was very good- to correct the error that our salvation could be earned or that God’s grace could be manipulated. But like most doctrines that are formulated in response to another group’s doctrine, it often goes too far. One of the clearest teachings throughout all four Gospel accounts is that the way to enter the Kingdom of God is through living in obedience to the Law of Christ. Time and time again, Jesus makes very clear statements that condemn those who think that they will be saved because they believe the right things or do the right religious rituals. Jesus responds to people who believe they are religious and deserve heaven by saying that their outward religiosity is detestable to God and the only thing God desires is that they would exercise their faith by obeying the command of God- to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. (Micah 6:8) Jesus says if anyone claims to be right with God but doesn’t serve the poor, needy, oppressed, marginalized, sick, diseased, and sinful, then they do not have a relationship with God. No matter what they proclaim with their lips. No matter how religious they may appear. Jesus says those who don’t obey will have no part in his Kingdom. He makes very clear that the way to “inherit eternal life” is through loving God and loving our neighbor. Isn’t this astonishing to you, then, how many Christians today have been taught that salvation comes through right believing instead of right practice- a message that is fundamentally contrary to the words of Jesus. (And even more to his little brother James who says, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24 ESV)

Condemnation isn’t Jesus’ style.

“I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” John 3:17 ESV
“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”- John 8:11 ESV
Many modern day Evangelical preachers spend a lot of time talking about the kinds of people that God is opposed to and who he condemns. They spend time talking about how to transition from a position of condemnation before God to a position of Grace through believing the right things about Jesus. They often talk about those who disagree or live contrary to their understanding of what is “righteous” as those who are under condemnation from God. But what’s funny is that as one examines the teachings and life of Jesus, we find him not only befriending, loving, and affirming some of his societies most despised and vile people, but chastising the religious leaders who condemned them for their sin. Whether it is Jesus’ conversation with Rabbi Niccodemus in John 3 where Christ explains that it is his mission to redeem the world and not to condemn it or the instance where a woman is caught in the act of adultery and is taken outside to be stoned by the religious officials (as the law required) and Jesus steps in to stop the condemnation and proclaim freedom and forgiveness to the broken woman, it is clear that Jesus is not in the condemning business. Instead, it seems Christ is in the business of restoring humanity to the most broken and wicked of people. It seems that his passion is to see the weak, sick, and broken become strong, healthy, and whole in his Kingdom. It seems that he spends very little time (almost none) telling sinners why they’re wrong or speaking words of condemnation over them, but rather practically loving and extending grace to the most screwed up of individuals. Maybe we Evangelicals, who are known for our condemnation of entire people groups with whom we disagree, could learn something from Jesus on this point.
You’re supposed to sacrifice yourself and speak words of blessings for those you disagree with the most.

“Love Your Enemies and Bless Those Who Persecute You” Matthew 5:44

It seems like every week there is a new major controversy-taking place within the Church. Most of the time, the situation revolves around one group of Christians disagreeing with another and then taking to the Internet to write slanderous posts about the other. If it’s not infighting, then it is Christians engaging in culture wars, working to defeat those whom we disagree with politically and socially by painting them as soul-less monsters. But that response is absolutely contrary to the way of Jesus. Jesus calls his followers to love the people they disagree with most and to speak blessings over them when all we really want to do is curse them out. No matter what the situation is or what kind of enemy we have, Christians are called to bless the people who hurt us the most. This includes in theological battles, political disagreements, national wars, and personal conflicts. Christians are called to a radical position of nonviolence and forgiveness, grace, and even blessing of our enemies. There is no way around it. And when Christians chose to ignore these clear teachings, our hypocrisy is glaringly obvious to the watching world. Want some proof?
The point of this post is to encourage those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus to reexamine how we are living our lives and practicing our faith. It is so easy to get so caught up in the flow that we fail to recognize just how far away from shore we have been carried. The words of Jesus are pretty darn clear, but oftentimes in our zealousness for our faith, we often get pulled away from the basics and eventually end up living in a way that we believe is honoring to God, but is actually contradictory to everything he has taught us.

In this post, I have offered just four examples. There and hundreds of teachings contained in the 4 Gospels of the New Testament, teachings that, if we obeyed, would absolutely flip our lives and world upside-down for the glory of God and the good of all people. What the Church as a whole and Evangelicals in particular desperately need in this age is a return to the plain teachings of Jesus. We need to be willing to set aside out theological debates and meanderings for a season and focus on simply reading, conforming, and obeying the will of Christ, both as revealed in scripture and as his Spirit leads us. The world is desperately longing to encounter Jesus through us and for far too long we have been giving them a cheap knock off that we have exported under his name. But it’s clear to everyone that what is passing for Christianity today is almost totally divorced from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

My prayers are that we would all turn our faces towards our risen Savior and seek to selflessly follow his commands. I am convinced that the Jesus’ way is the only way that will heal our broken world. I am convinced that the whole earth is groaning as it waits for men and women to take of their crosses and follow in the way of redemption. I am convinced that when those of us who call ourselves “Christian” re-orient ourselves in Jesus, the power of God will flow through us in an unprecedented and miraculous way that will bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Oh how I long for that day.

“Those who aren’t following Jesus aren’t his followers. It’s that simple. Followers follow, and those who don’t follow aren’t followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it.”

I believe sometimes the ones who are hardest to love are the ones who need it most and while the only perfect person is Jesus Christ it is why I would rather follow a great example than lead by ignorance and so I ask to those reading this are you a follower or are you just a fan?

5 Urgent Habits of Every Successful CEO


img_5520

 

5 Essential Habits Every Successful CEO Needs to Adopt Today:

Whether you’re a CEO or just aspire to be one, follow these rules to make your personal and professional life a lot more successful. I have loved getting to know venture capitalists from all over the country during my time fundraising for various causes and probably will be back at it again next year for our series A round. One thing I love when talking to VCs is hearing about their experiences and background.

I was able to dive in deep with one VC who I have become friends with an anonymous outstanding VC who lead me down his path of experience of working with some amazing Chief Executive Officers as a senior team member (during his operating roles) or as a board member and/or advisor (during his tenure as an investor). Being a CEO is a unique role that very few people on the planet get to experience. Hopefully some of these tips will help you make the most of that experience while you lead yourself and your company toward success.

1. Don’t have all the answers
When you are building your company, there are a lot of decisions to be made. You do not need to have all of the answers. One of the most valuable things you can do as a leader is to create a culture where the right answers present themselves as quickly as possible and can be acted on as efficiently as possible. This means your business can’t be so cluttered with noise and distractions that your employees can’t hear the subtle signals the company is sending them about what it needs to scale and be successful. Be ruthless about subtracting things that are distractions for you and your top managers. Then have them use this approach with their direct reports, and so on. Done purposefully, your company will soon have very few distractions standing in the way of it’s inherent success.

2. Take good care of yourself physically and emotionally
Your job is demanding and your physical animal needs to be healthy for you to think clearly. Eat well. Get a lot of sleep. Get some exercise. Pulling all nighters doesn’t make you important, it makes you tired – and tired CEOs are not operating at peak mental capacity. For emotional health, Jason is a big advocate of hiring an Executive Coach or a Life Coach. CEOs bear enormous amounts of responsibility and pressure and typically have few people with whom they can share intimately enough to work through their thoughts. A trusted and objective outsider can help you process the normal emotional swings that come with starting your own company or leading a large organization.

3. Learn from The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
There are several key, yet subtle takeaways from this book that helped me immensely in my senior operating roles. One that seems to always come up in conversations and make an impression is just how short the list of responsibilities is for a CEO. These responsibilities are to:
Hire a great team,

Set the corporate vision, and

Lead and manage your team toward that vision

Jason says he typically advise CEOs to get themselves on a path where they aren’t doing anything at their company except those three things. To be clear, this is not an easy list. If you are only doing these three things exceptionally well, you will find that they will soak up almost all of your time.

4. Communicate with your stakeholders
Sharing information on a regular cadence is the best way to build strong relationships with your stakeholders (employees, investors, key business partners, etc.). Your constituents should be advocates for your company, helping you source deals, recruit new team members and think through business strategy, and they can’t do that if they don’t have information. These communications should not be novels. You don’t have time to write that and they don’t have time to read it. A short monthly email with the following items is usually enough:
Reporting on basic metrics/financials and progress toward goals,

Framing of key company initiatives and strategy thinking, and

Rough plans for the next few months.

There is high correlation in Jason’s venture portfolio between the quality, consistency and transparency (good news and bad) of company updates and the performance of the companies. They think there are several reasons for why this behavior is an indicator of success. One possible explanation is that writing updates forces CEOs to periodically take a step back and crystalize their thinking about their business more objectively, and holds them more accountable to goals which they’ve stated publicly.

5. Embrace your position as an inside-outsider
You are both an insider (as the chief executive) and an outsider (as a board member). You bridge the gap between the inside of the company and the outside world. Embrace this position. It is unique to you as CEO, so you have to take advantage of it. Get out of the office and circulate in the world. Not only does this increase the visibility of your company (you are the chief spokesperson), it takes you out of the day-to-day routine and helps you gain valuable knowledge and perspective that you can then assimilate into the company to help it learn, adapt and grow.

10 Fundamentals Of Mental Strength


img_5487

 

10 Signs You Have Exceptional Mental Strength: If you do these things, you can be sure you’re more resilient than average. Just a few weeks ago psychotherapist Amy Morin laid out bad habits you need to break if you want to achieve incredible mental strength. But what if you read the list and were inspired to give your brain a workout, axing unhelpful thought patterns from your life and boosting your resilience? Certainly, you’d want to be able to gauge how you were doing.

Are you average when it comes to mental strength or has putting in some effort made you more resilient than most? In a follow-up piece on Business Insider, Morin offers a huge list of 21 tells that indicate your efforts are bearing fruit and that you’re now more mentally strong than most folks.

You can check out the complete list for a really deep dive, or read on for a taster of 10 signs of mental strength to watch out for if you’re looking to monitor your progress and celebrate your newfound resilience.

1. You balance emotion and logic

You can’t make good decisions without some emotion, but you can’t make good decisions with too much emotion either. The truly resilient strike the right balance. “Mentally strong people understand how their emotions can influence their thinking. In an effort to make the best decisions possible, they balance their emotions with logic,” Morin says.

2. You feel confident you can adapt to change

Change is a constant. That reality doesn’t stress out the truly mentally strong. “Mentally strong people know that although change is uncomfortable, it’s tolerable. They focus their energy on adapting to change, rather than resisting it,” claims Morin.

3. You face your fears

Everyone has fears and not every one of them needs to be conquered, but the very resilient among us “strive to face the fears that hold them back,” Morin says.

4. You learn from your mistakes.

Don’t justify them. Don’t hide from them. Learn from them. That’s what mentally strong people do.

5. You balance self-acceptance with self-improvement

This is tough to get right, but according to Morin, “mentally strong people accept themselves for who they are, while simultaneously recognizing their need for personal development.”

6. You celebrate others’ success

If you truly feel strong, there’s nothing to fear when others do well–in fact, there’s a great reason to celebrate. The truly mentally strong “don’t feel as though other people’s success somehow diminishes their own achievements,” Morin says. So if you sense your feelings of envy are diminishing, take it as a good sign that your resilience is improving.

7. You live according to your values

“Mentally strong people make decisions with relative ease because they understand their priorities and they live according to their values,” notes Morin.

8. You don’t need to achieve to feel good about yourself

It’s natural to feel good when you succeed and bad when you fail, but the mentally strong don’t let the ups and downs of life interfere with their essential self-image. “Mentally strong people feel good about themselves, whether they win or lose,” Morin insists. Next time life deals you a blow, then, notice how deeply it affects you. If you can shrug it off more easily without feeling too bad about yourself, congratulations! You’ve likely achieved a high measure of mental strength.

9. You express gratitude

It’s easy to look around and see all the things you lack, but the mentally strong choose to focus their attention on the things they do have–and feel grateful for them. Do you?

10. You don’t try to hide your weaknesses

Not only does trying to mask your weaknesses waste your energy, it also makes you less likely to put in the work necessary to improve these areas. “While many people work hard to disguise their vulnerabilities, mentally strong people invest their energy into improving their shortcomings,” Morin says.

How many of these 10 behaviors do you exhibit?

Living Super Confident = Responding Not Reacting


How Super Confident People React to Bad News

 

img_5480

 

Getting angry, trying to control the situation, and even being verbally abusive are not the right reactions to bad news. Here’s what confident people do instead. The client just called. He is not going to renew.
At a tech conference, your boss tells everyone in a group you are not pulling your weight.

You come back to your desk to find a pink slip.
Not good, right? And yet, when you receive bad news, the test of your confidence is really all about your reaction. Getting angry and even verbally abusive reveals a lack of confidence in yourself. It’s a form of control. When you know how to resolve a problem, when you know the facts are wrong, or even when you accept the blame and admit your faults, the right reaction is to use that bad news as a springboard. Here’s how:

1. Don’t take it sitting down

It’s never a good idea to fly off the handle when you hear bad news at work. But it is OK to defend yourself when the facts are wrong. Do it in a calm manner, because that’s what confident people do. They don’t just sit and take it, they present a clear counterargument. In conflicts over the years that have resulted from some bad news, I’ve tried to just stick to the facts. They tend to win out over time, despite any false motives or when someone just doesn’t like you.

2. Jump into action

While you are standing and not sitting down, go ahead and do something. It has an amazing effect on your attitude. One of the worst days of my life was when I was ousted from a corporate job. I drove home that night and my wife came up with the idea of being a writer. I jumped into action. I’m not saying I was all that confident at the time, but it was a lesson for me. I pounded the pavement for weeks and months. I reacted with action. It’s a good thing, because I’ve been writing ever since.

3. Ignore half-truths

Confidence is like a Teflon-coating that wards off half-baked attacks on your character and on your skill level. You know you have proven experience, so when there’s some made-up stories about your work performance or a social-media attack, you brush it off because you know the real story. One tip here is that it’s OK to focus on the part of the half-truth that’s true. Maybe you do need to get a little better at attending meetings. Maybe you need to brush up on your writing skills. Fine. Focus on what you can do to change and don’t try to control the outcome that results from what someone made up about you. (By the way, this is why I typically ignore hypercritical comments on social media. Usually, the person has an agenda or doesn’t have the whole story.)

4. Flip the bad news into good news

Confident people are experts at turning bad news into good news. How does losing a major contract free you up to explore other ideas? When a friend at works says you’ve been a jerk, learn from it. How does a busted relationship like that help you learn to get along with people better? How can you do better? The one main differentiator between confident people and people who are just proud but trying to hide a lack of skill is that the confident ones embrace their failures and learn from them. Proud people just keep acting proud and hope no one will notice the failure.

5. Stay happy

I love the image up above. It is a good way to live life, isn’t it? Jump on a scooter and just go sailing down the road when you hear bad news at work. Realize that there is a time to grieve when you receive bad news in life, and it’s OK to be sad, but work is work. Don’t put 100 percent of your confidence in what you do. Put it in who you are.

Do You Have a Cherokee in Your Family Tree?


Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 3.39.23 PM

by Gregory D. Smithers

Gregory D. Smithers is an Associate Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity (Yale University Press, 2015).

Each fall I teach an undergraduate course titled “Native Americans in the South.” The class is designed for juniors and combines historical narrative with analysis of specific events and/or Native American people in the Southeast. On the first day of class I begin by asking students why they’re taking the course and inquire if any have Native American ancestors. This year proved typical: five of forty students claimed they are descended from a great-great Cherokee grandmother.

I’ve become so use to these declarations that I’ve long ceased questioning students about the specifics of their claims. Their imagined genealogies may simply be a product of family lore, or, as is occasionally the case, a genuine connection to a Cherokee family and community.

img_4816

 

All of these students – whether their claims are flights of fancy or grounded in written and oral evidence – are part of a growing number of Americans who insist they are descended from one or more Cherokee ancestor(s).

 

img_4824

 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of Americans who self-identify as Cherokee or mixed-race Cherokee has grown substantially over the past two decades. In 2000, the federal Census reported that 729,533 Americans self-identified as Cherokee. By 2010, that number increased, with the Census Bureau reporting that 819,105 Americans claiming at least one Cherokee ancestor.

 

img_4825

 

The Census Bureau’s decision to allow Americans to self-identify as belonging to one or more racial/ethnic group(s) has meant that “Cherokee” has become by far the most popular self-ascribed Native American identity. “Navajo” is a distant second.

Census data is but the tip of the iceberg. Search the Internet and one will quickly be left with the impression that the Cherokee family tree not only stretches out over North America, but to places as distant as Central America, Scotland, the central Pacific, and even Australia.

In the United States alone, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma estimates there are over 200 fraudulent groups claiming to be Cherokee. Visit websites devoted to genealogy, and one will find scores of Americans expressing their disappointment when DNA testing contradicts family legnds about great, great grandma being Cherokee.

So what’s behind all of this?
There are three major reasons for the ubiquity of claims about Cherokee ancestry. The first reason can be found in the success of Cherokee governance. Since 1970, when President Richard Nixon ended the period known as “termination,” three federally recognized Cherokee tribal governments have successfully administered to the local needs of Cherokees. These governments are the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokees.

Cherokee authorities have therefore played a leading role in keeping Cherokee history and culture alive through the use of the arts, education, and historical preservation. Language immersion, for instance, has ensured that the Cherokee language is still read and spoken in Cherokee communities. Indeed, the Cherokee language has transcended the boundaries of Cherokee communities with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma teaming up with tech giants Apple, Microsoft, and Google to get Cherokee language and translation apps on iphones and smart phones throughout the United States.

A second reason for the popularity of Cherokee identity is the place that Cherokee history and culture has in American popular culture. From the 1959 pop song “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian),” which the rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders popularized in 1971, to the National Park Service educating generations of Americans about Cherokee removal, the Cherokee people have occupied an important place in the popular narrative of the American history.
While American school children often finish their formal education with only a cursory understanding of Native American history, it’s important to acknowledge that many walk away with at least a cursory sense of the injustice inflicted on Cherokee people at the end of the late 1830s. The story of the Trail of Tears engenders a degree of compassion for the historical experiences of Cherokee people, even if some people use that compassion for self-serving purposes to articulate an individual identification with the Cherokees.

A third, and more significant reason, is the actual history of the Cherokee people. As European colonialism engulfed Cherokee Country in the Southeast during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Cherokees began innovating their social and cultural traditions to better meet the challenges of their times. Cherokee chiefs engaged in diplomacy and trade, some Cherokees relocated their towns to escape aggressive frontier settlers, while still others intermarried with people of European (and occasionally, African) descent. The result, by the time the United States became a republic, was a culturally dynamic, ethnically diverse Cherokee population.

Increasingly, the Cherokee people also became a geographically dispersed population. The encroaching Anglo-American settler frontier, greedy slave owners who coveted Cherokee lands, and federal officials who extracted land cessions from Cherokee chiefs through treaty-making slowly but surely dispossessed the Cherokees of their Southeastern homelands. There can be no doubt that the forced removal of the Cherokees to Indian Territory (modern-day eastern Oklahoma) during Andrew Jackson’s presidency was one of the most inglorious episodes in American history, but the process of scattering the Cherokees all over the earth started long before the Trail of Tears.

It’s the development of diasporic Cherokee communities that may help to explain why the Cherokees occupy a prominent place in our collective historical consciousness. Scattered over the earth by the often-cruel forces of settler colonialism, the Cherokees endured and flourished. The Cherokee people’s history is a compelling story; perhaps that’s why so many Americans hope to find a Cherokee in their family tree.

 

What Is Nobility?


Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 3.32.14 PM

There are no random acts, we are all connected. Fairness does not govern life or death, if it did no good man would die young… Good comes from it, two strangers meet, one dies as a result of the other and the other lives for Gods design. Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know… No life is a waste and your journey does not end here even if you are the one God called home to heaven. Time isn’t what you think it is, neither is dying. Sacrifice is never to be ashamed of, sacrifice is something to be proud of, we should always search for new ways to sacrifice because that is where authentic jiving is. When people stop sacrificing for one another they lose what makes them human. Sacrifice is one of the most noble things we do. sometimes when you think you’re losing something you are really just passing it on to someone else. Some say that life is divided into two kinds of people, somebody’s and nobody’s; I am here to tell you God does not make nobody’s, everybody is a somebody and a very important one at that. Remember, we are born of love from the womb of God’s mercy and grace, free from anger, fear and hate, when we die we are freed from that anger, reborn into trust, free from hate and without the knowledge of fear. You can choose to live in poison infecting others or choose to be free, grateful and open your heart to accept Christ Jesus to flood his blood of redemption, absolution and forgiveness to be available to accept the abundance in immeasurable proportion that is waiting for you. Life has to end, love doesn’t. No matter what always know that you are surrounded by love, Whoever, whatever and wherever you are remember you are never alone, words are powerful as God speaks through everyone. Your influence on the lives of others you may never see, you may think you are barely a drop in the bucket yet that drop creates waves of influence that change the world to make it a better place for generations to come…

Maybe you know someone who is going through a pain so great they fear no one else will ever love them with such great depth or that they will never love another and you watch this person wake up everyday in such great pain from falling asleep with tears falling into their ears. They wake up not knowing how their day is going to be because their future is in the hands of their abuser, just remember, all that you need is within you and the love that you seek you already have within yourself. Recognize that you teach others how to treat you and you have chosen to show up for this behavior. The good news is everyday you are given a new opportunity to make a new decision… Know that you are loved, wanted, and accepted just as you are and I appreciate you as I recognize the value of you… choose and be happy… life is preparing you for something greater…
~Lisa Christiansen

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 299,084 other followers

%d bloggers like this: