Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Under the Happy Tree

This entry is a part of a series from July 29-August 13. Join me in taking your family on a World Tour Vacation at Home using the Operation World prayer guide.

Under the Happy Tree
I don’t know if I decided to undertake today’s trip under the “Happy Tree” in our front side yard because it might make ME happy or because it might help the kids. Sometimes I think our emotions are so intertwined that what benefits me emotionally really does help them.

We did a late lunch. Something like one in the afternoon. It took that long for my kids to come out of the funk they were in due to the “no screen time” day we are having. After their attitudes last night we had to implement a consequence and that’s what I decided would be best. I hate being “mean mom,” but I figured if too much media was causing them to think that talking with their parents was boring, we had a problem.

I was so discouraged last night. Several years ago I may have pitched the whole idea if I got push back like that, but I really feel like they need to go through the ups and downs and continue on in the hard things. Otherwise, how are they ever going to manage their emotions when they are older?

So the picnic. As you can see I packed a little picnic of food they would like and set it up under the tree. I didn't bring out the Operation World book yet. I figured I would talk to them and see how they were doing. When their blood sugar had sufficiently risen, I casually approached the subject.

“I know you guys had a hard time last night with the vacation.” I start.

“It seems pointless if we’re not really going anywhere.” Boy 10 says.

“Well, I was wondering. I originally was going to go through in order, but if you were to pick four countries to visit, which would they be?”

We had a nice conversation about that. They were unanimous on Japan. England made the list as did Italy and Canada. Several U.S. sites also came up with significant disappointment that they were part of our own country (Florida and Hawaii were two).

“Well, how about we start out with the United States?” I suggest.

Girl 12.999 giggled and said sure.

United States
As I got the book, map and globe, the thunder in the not so distant mountains signaled that our time was limited. I pointed this out to give them hope that this would be a short visit. We had a pleasant time learning about our own country and talking about what might be the things we should pray for the U.S. These included:
  • That we wouldn't get into any more wars
  • That people would know what is right and wrong
  • That we would understand that we are not alone—that there are other countries out there

Then we prayed and packed up with not a drop of rain on us. That’s it.

Good intentions
I’m glad we started off with the United States. The biggest complaint I heard last night was that this trip didn't apply to them. Even though my goal was to help them see outside of themselves, I think the giant leap to Kazakhstan was too much for them. Even Jesus went in order from local to distant when he told his adult disciples that they would “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)

For the little ones
I wish we had sponsored a Compassion child much earlier. We started about two to three years ago and it has been such a great experience. I know it can seem overwhelming when you have little ones to start anything new, but to start growing that relationship now with a child in another country would be so wonderful for your kids and the child whose eyes shine out of your refrigerator door where his/her picture lives with along with crayon pictures and shopping lists. Consider it.

Thanks again for coming with me on this journey! Blessings…

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rough Start

This entry is a part of a series from July 29-August 13. Join me in taking your family on a World Tour Vacation at Home using the Operation World prayer guide.

A Rough Start
Well, not every family trip starts out smoothly. I didn’t exactly market this one intentionally. Plus, our kids want input into all family activities, so it should not surprise me that I met with some resistance. Ok, a lot of resistance. So much resistance that everyone is in bed feeling badly except me. I am feeling badly, but am up writing this blog to let you know all about it.
Today we tried to go to Kazakhstan found in the Operation World resource on page 497. In spite of the irritation and attitudes around the table, we did learn quite a bit about the country.
  • The name has 10 letters, but only three vowels—all a’s. (Here we had complaining that there was spelling involved in the activity.)
  • It is three times the size of Colorado. (Here we had complaining that there was math involved.)
  • It also has a similar climate to ours so we could “pack” our regular clothes (though now that I think about it, that probably wouldn’t fly with the culture).
  • We pulled up pictures of the capital city which has amazing buildings and architecture.
  • The food included mutton (lamb), horse, and sour milk (cue the “ewws” and “yucks”).
  • To get tickets for the five of us would run $15,000!
  • The church has gone from almost zero 23 years ago to over 15,000 believers now.
  • The animals got the most interest: coyote, sheep, yak, bobcat and saiga (look this one up, it’s quite an interesting looking animal! It’s a little like a cross between a camel and a goat).
Good intentions
Tomorrow I may not wait until evening to visit our next site. I think the kids were tired by the end of the day which added to their behavior. Maybe starting when they are fresh will be helpful.

Also, I think I wung-it a little too much. I will definitely read the section first tomorrow so I can share more fluidly.
For the little ones
The blow-up globe we used today was fun. I think little kids would enjoy learning with it especially.

I think if I could go back several years, I would begin to weave into my conversation with my kids the importance of the whole world to God. I would talk more about how God has kids all over the world in faraway countries and that these are our brothers and sisters. I would pray for other countries as a family earlier in their development.
Discussion and Debrief
My discussion tonight with one of the kids (after two of them were sent to their rooms) revolved around a kid’s job of being teachable and praying for a teachable spirit—even when they don’t understand why something is important to their lives. I am glad that we went through this exercise tonight. It revealed a weakness we need to address. No fun, but good for us as a family.

Hopefully tomorrow's mood will upswing. Thanks for being on this journey together. I hope it encourages you to talk with your kids about how important it is to pray for God's kids all over the world.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Operation World World Tour Vacation at Home

This entry is a part of a series from July 29-August 13. Join me in taking your family on a World Tour Vacation at Home using the Operation World prayer guide.
Intro to the Kids
So we told the kids about our trip last night as we had chocolate surprise (which is our version of dessert). I guess it was a marginally positive response.
“We need to tell you about something we’re going to do this week,” Jon starts.

“Oh, no. This is about school isn’t it?” Tomboy-girl, 12.999, (a few weeks from 13) says looking at us through the tops of her eyes.
“No. We are going to take a world tour vacation at home,” I put in.

“We’re going around the world?” Boy, 10, asks.
“Yes, but in our minds.” I say mysteriously pointing to my temple.

Laughter deteriorates into Sponge Bob references. “Imagination,” Tomboy-girl, 12.999, quotes making a rainbow arm motion over the head, and the giggling continues for some time.
When order comes back to the sugar-laden group, we start to explain the idea. We are going to visit different countries using the Operation World prayer guide, we explain. Each day we will learn about a different part of the world.

Tomboy Girl, 12.999, said that she would like it if we did some sort of cool art from each part of the world. Boy, 10, was still fixated on reliving the Sponge Bob episode referenced earlier and Girl, 7 remained her quiet and observant self, not revealing her thoughts. Maybe she will break her silence sometime during our trip in the next two weeks.
So, we’ll see how things go tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Good intentions
I always have good intentions. Some become reality; others float off into the ideasphere, hopefully to come to rest in someone else’s grey matter who can do justice with the thought. So, in the hopes of being a generous mind, here is what has been floating around in my head as things I might implement over the week given the kids’ state of mind, my energy level and the weight of the calendar.
  • Mark the book with little tabs for the days and countries we will be visiting
  • Read the entry ahead of time for each day
  • Google each country for visuals and to orient myself to each country
  • Locate a large world map in the house so we can find and mark each country on the map as we go
  • Make the time special somehow. Perhaps with a snack, candle at the table and/or special music to set the mood

For the little ones
Ok, so the only reason I can write now is because my children have somehow slipped past the preschool ages and I have just a bit more energy and clarity of thought than I did several years ago. I am not the super-mom type—just a low-energy, high emotion person raising three munchkins who are now 12.999, 10 and seven. I realize that my trip will not look the same as those of you who have smaller kids, so I will attempt to think back a few years and consider how I may have done this endeavor differently when my kids pronounced “cereal” as “eeahck” and “mommy” as “mahddy.”
Some thoughts so far:
  • Use a blow up globe to explain what the world is like
  • Color as you talk about each country to keep their little hands busy
  • Have a special snack laid out on the table to make this time something to look forward to each day

5 Things Publishers Can Learn from Benjamin Franklin

I'm so enjoying Benjamin Franklin's biography by Walter Issacson. We hear so much about Franklin, but until you read about his life in detail, the complexity and breath of his life is hard to imagine.

One of the things I was surprised about was how industrious he was in the area of publishing. And as I have read the biography, I have pulled out a few lessons that publishers can learn from his approach:

  1. Getting direct access to publishing and distribution infrastructure is key.
    Franklin had his own press and wrestled away the role of Postmaster for Philadelphia from one of his competitors. This gave him the ability to quickly print and distribute his content to his audience. Today we don't need to own our own presses, but we need direct and fast access to the production of product in such a way that we can act quickly as opportunities arise.
  2. Don't wait for good content to come to it out!
    Franklin identified the talent and message of George Whitefield, the Great Awakening preacher, and worked with him to publish most of his sermons and other resources in America. Franklin built a friendship with Whitefield even though they did not agree on spiritual matters.
  3. Create interesting content internally.
    Franklin developed these anonymous characters who he used to talk about various topics and issues. Many of them were very humorous and were able to say things that others could or would not say. His use of these characters created very interesting and eye-catching content that kept the colonies enthralled.
  4. Care about issues and allow your publishing to challenge the status quo.
    Franklin was not afraid of dealing with the difficult issues. Now, as I described above, he did it many times through a concocted third party. But he published controversial ideas and new thinking. He did not allow the establishment to define what would be acceptable to publish. This made his content fundamentally different from the content of others. It also made him a trusted voice among the people.
  5. Diversify your work so that a variety of revenue streams can carry your efforts forward.
    Franklin was an entrepreneur. He was a talent agent, a printer, a publisher, an author, a scientist, a politician and an organizer. Each of these things had a revenue stream and each one added to his ability to engage his community.
I hope these ideas are helpful as you strive to innovate in publishing space.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Generous Mind is Optimistic

"The prospects are bright as the promises of God." - Adoniram Judson

A fundamental characteristic of a Generous Mind is optimism. An optimistic attitude is so critical because we must feel that the ideas God  has given us can make a difference.

If you don't feel what you know is worth sharing, what are the chances you will share it? But a healthy optimism will create that passion to see an idea spread.

Optimism helps you:

1. Stay the course when you hit challenges.
2. Communicate your idea clearly and passionately.
3. Illustrate how your idea can make real change in the world
4. Identify with others who are seeking insight more readily.

If you have not had much success sharing your latest idea, ask yourself this question: "Do I feel that my idea can make a real difference in people's lives?"

If you don't feel that it can, then put it away and wait till you can answer "YES!"

Monday, July 08, 2013

Download Our Recent Talk on Content Ecosystems

Your content is part of an ecosystem and understanding that dynamic is critical to your success as a generous mind. Recently Jon Hirst presented at the Publishers Institute on this topic. The audio is now available for purchase from their site: