Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Boosting Morale At Work: An Olympics Game

 I love working with my team at the hospital, but sometimes work can be stressful.  The last few years, we have had some obstacles to overcome, and many of the staff as individuals have had difficult life events. 

We have tried morale boosting activities before, but somehow they have seemed to fall short.  People don't seem to enjoy a fun activity if they feel "on the spot" (e.g., if they have to act out charades, answer trivia questions they might get wrong) or if the game or activity feels like too much work (e.g., fantasy football).  

I was thinking I would like to do something around the winter Olympics this year (Opening Ceremony is February 7).  

I wanted to think of an activity that wouldn't put people on the spot and wouldn't be too much work for anyone.  So, I went through the calendar of daily events on the Sochi Olympics site and wrote down what medal events occur each day. I am going to write down those events (there seem to be about 6-8 per day).  For example, one paper might say Biathlon Men's Sprint.  Each morning, I will put papers with the events for the day in a hat, and people can pick from them (you may have multiple copies of the same event if you have a large office).  

Everyone will have their "event for the day" and will be encouraged to watch the olympics for their event.  The next day, whoever had an event in which the USA received a medal will receive points (e.g., 1 pt bronze, 2 pts silver, 3 pts gold).  By the end of the Olympics, whoever has the most points wins a platter full of my homemade double chocolate deluxe brownies.  Yum... Hope I win!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chains are Broken, Scales are on the Floor

Singing today...  I am all He says I am (from Gateway Worship)

He whispers in my ear
Tells me that I'm fearless
He shares a melody
Tells me to repeat it
And it makes me whole
It reminds my soul

I am all He says I am
I am all He says I am
I am all He says I am
And He says I am His own

I was blinded by scales upon my eyes
Then He came like a light
And burned up all the lies
He set me free
He reminded me

I am all He says I am
I am all He says I am
I am all He says I am
An He says I am His own

Chains are broken
Scales are on the floor
Truth is spoken
I'm no orphan anymore

I am loved
I am new again
I am free
I'm no slave to sin
I'm saint
I am righteousness
I'm alive

Friday, January 3, 2014

Soul Cries Devotional Isaiah 40: 3-5 The Coming King

Excerpt from Soul Cries devotional, a devotional for parents of struggling kids

*2013 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist*

The Coming King

Isaiah 40:3-5 (Amplified Bible)

A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…

When you are parenting children who have struggles and specific needs, there seem to be many obstacles, rough places, and uneven paths. The wilderness can seem foreboding. In the fortieth chapter, Isaiah prophesies about John the Baptist, a voice crying out in the wilderness (see Mark 1:3). John cried out, preparing the way for Jesus to enter into His ministry.

In those days, if a king from an outlying country were coming to your kingdom, you would send out workers to make a smooth road for the king to enter your domain. The path would be made smooth, straight, and level. This was a way of preparing for the king, ushering him into your area. All obstacles and all rough places must go! They must give way to the coming king!

I pray over your home and your children, reader! I pray that your King will be ushered into your life in a manifest and glorious way. I speak to the obstacles in your life, that they must give way. I speak over your body, mind, and spirit; I pray that the path of your King will be made smooth, straight, and level. The King is coming to bring His Kingdom into your life. May He usher in health, shalom, and grace.

1. What obstacle is evident in your life today? Is it an issue of the heart, the body, the mind, or the spirit? I pray with you that the rough place will be made smooth, and the King will be ushered into that very place!

2. In what ways can you prepare the path for the King and usher in His Kingdom? In what ways do you need God to move on your behalf and a community to help in this work?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Does Someone In Your House Keep Asking "What's there to eat?"--Try This Great Solution

I can't count the number of times my 7 year old says, "I'm hungry."  And I say, "What do you want to eat?"  And he says "What do we have?"  We, of course, repeat this dialogue several times a day.  

Recently I decided to create him a menu.  I typed up about 20-25 of his most common snacks and meals including several protein based foods, snacks, fruit, smoothies, etc.  

I printed out the menu on our home computer.  I then used my Scotch Thermal Laminator to seal it into a more durable menu for little hands.  

Now, he knows where his menu is located in the house.  I use a dry erase marker to cross off foods I don't have that day (e.g., if I run out of apples) or I add foods that I know we have that aren't on the list (e.g., at Thanksgiving we may have left over turkey).  Then he can tell me specifically what he wants, even though I control what is on the list (offering healthy foods with a good mix of protein and healthy options).  

Who would this help at home?
1. Children
In the case of young children who can't read, try using a picture menu.  You can either make a book of food in picture form (like a trifold menu) or you can print off various foods in picture form, laminate them separately, and use velcro to affix them onto the "menu for the day."  So for one meal, you might affix options of cereal, eggs, toast, etc.  For the next meal, you can affix different foods in picture form. 

2. Individuals with Dementia
Many individuals with dementia have trouble knowing when they are hungry, what they are hungry for, and may even fail to initiate eating during the day.  Some dementias produce specific difficulty with words, expression, or reading.  In these cases, you can use a similar option where you list options for food in words or pictures to give them some control and option, but still assisting them in generating ideas. 

3. Adults Trying To Eat Healthy
If you made a New Year's resolution to eat healthier, you may find yourself thinking, what is there to eat?  You might want to use your cookbooks, websites, and Dr's advice to list some ideas on a menu for yourself.  For example, you might make a "snacks" menu that gives you ideas for healthy options.  

4. Adults with Learning Disabilities
I recently met a few adults who had language disabilities from birth.  They have difficulty generating verbal words and ideas.  They also have difficulty reading.  A picture menu would be a great option in this case as well.