Planet Sonia

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What I want to think on


I am determining to let nothing steal my joy this year.

I’m going to dwell on these things: whatever is TRUE,
whatever is HONORABLE,
whatever is RIGHT,
whatever is PURE,
whatever is LOVELY,
whatever is GOOD REPUTE,
anything EXCELLENT,
anything WORTHY of PRAISE.
(Phil. 4:8)

Too often I’ve dwelled on what is worthy of complaining about. I don’t see whining on this list! I pray God daily renews my mind in 2010.

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4 simple things to live by


*Don’t worry about anything
*Pray about everything
*Thank God in all things
*Think about the right things

Special thanks to my friend Jim for sending this out.

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Good Relationship Tips


I received an email from my friend Jim with the following excellent relationship pointers. Check them out:

Want to have better relationships?  Tired of the same old, same old?  We need godly wisdom as to how to do this.  Rick Warren gives six points ……

If I am biblically wise…

1. I will not compromise my integrity (wisdom is pure). I’ll be honest with you. I’ll keep my promises and commitments to you.

2. I will not antagonize your anger (wisdom is peace-loving). I’ll work at maintaining harmony. I won’t push your hot buttons.

3. I will not minimize your feelings (wisdom is courteous). I may not feel as you do, but I won’t ignore or ridicule how you feel.

4. I will not criticize your suggestions (wisdom allows discussion). I can disagree with you without being disagreeable.

5. I will not emphasize your mistakes (wisdom is full of mercy). Instead of rubbing it in, I’ll rub it out.

6. I will not disguise my motivations (wisdom is wholehearted and sincere). I’ll be authentic with you. I won’t con or manipulate you.

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Best Way to Speed Read: Listen!


Three weeks ago, I bought a cheap little iPod alarm clock with speakers. I mainly got it so I could listen to the Bible when I got ready in the morning.

Obviously, I must spend a lot of time in the bathroom doing my hair and make-up!

I’ve already listened to three books of the Bible: Romans, Acts, and Matthew. Crazy!!!

No matter how much I try to find time to read, my progress is usually about a half a chapter per month. Hurrah for audio and iPods!

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Pastor Jeff’s Tips for Friendship – Extended Version


Recently (3/22/08), we heard some really good teaching on friendship from our pastor, Jeff Perry. It was also Peggy’s birthday!
God created us for fellowship, so we should learn what it means.
Love is regarding others as precious.
Learn how to get reinforcement from God so you can have better friendships.

1. Assume nothing
Don’t depend on others to make you happy.
Nothing substitutes for God.
The overly needy thing is weird.

2. Ask God for the right relationships
God-ordained friendships have grace.
In a big church, most people only know 50 other people.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations.
25% of Americans have no one to confide in.
Not every person is supposed to be your close friend.

Jesus’ relationship gradation:
12 disciples
3 ascension friends
1 best friend: John

God orders our steps.

3. Look at relationships not for what they can do for but what you can do for them
Are you this type of person: Here I am or there you are.
Learn how to say no; you don’t have to fix your friends.
You find out who your friends are when you have trouble.
To the degree you love yourself, you can love others.
When you spend time with God, you are in better shape.

4. Be the friend you’d like to have
Become marry-able.
Prov. 18:24 A man of many friends comes to ruin.
Too many friendships take too much maintenance, you become man-pleasers, lose yourself.

A man of many friends shows himself friendly.
Be kind. Don’t be fake.

5. Be generous
Prov. 19:6 A man who gives gifts will have friends

6. Bridle your tongue
Prov. 22:11 You’ll have the King as your friend if you watch your mouth.

Friendship is about trust.
Friends desire what is best for you.
Look for compatibilities and interests, God will foster that in your lives.

7. Be loyal
Prov. 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
Do not forsake your own friend.

8. Real friendship is rooted in security
Everyone wants to feel like this person is the real deal.
In church, good friendships can be developed because we have common ground.

9. Believe in people
Believe in people’s potential.
Look through redemption’s eye.
Outdo each other in honor.

10. Use wisdom
Stay in the light.
Watch how you behave with people of the opposite sex, especially married people. Protect yourself: don’t drive in the car alone with married friends of the opposite sex.
Flee the appearance of evil.

By the way, this teaching was at Anchors, a new group for 20s and 30s at SLFC. It’s on the fourth Saturday every month at 6:30 p.m.

Learning to Strengthen Myself in the Lord


As I wrote in my last post, my family was hit with a tremendous blow a few weeks ago. Finding out that my mom had a brain tumor, followed by brain surgery, followed by a cancer diagnosis…all in a week. The first day, this verse came to me, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19b)

And that’s how this whole thing felt to me, like a flood. An overwhelming flood.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit did raise His standard against the enemy.

And the way he did it was by helping me recall some awesome preaching I’d heard from my pastor, Jeff Perry, at St. Louis Family Church. Pastor Jeff had preached on the Old Testament story of David at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30) for quite some time last year (I think).

Anyway, the story goes like this: David and his warrior-men returned to Ziklag, where their families and possessions were. But the enemy had come and burned all their dwellings and stolen their families and possessions. The men were so distraught that they cried until they had no more tears. David was right with them in their sorrow. Then the men began to turn on him, blaming him for this great misfortune and even talking of stoning David. But David strengthened himself in the Lord.

Then he went on to put on the ephod and seek the Lord for direction on what to do about this terrible tragedy. The Lord told him to go after the enemy and he would succeed. David did what the Lord told him, and he recovered everything the enemy had taken. Plus, he got a bonus: the plunder from the Lord’s enemies.

You can see why remembering this sermon and this Bible story helped me in my time of distress. I was exhausted. I was disheartened. I was weak. I was scared.

But I remembered that I should put on the garment of praise and strengthen myself in the Lord.

So I did. Every morning, I’d drag myself out of bed. Often the tears would begin flowing as I was waking up. But I’d get in the shower. And as my tears mingled with the warm streams of water, I’d sing to the Lord. Every day a new song would come to my remembrance.

And I would sing:

“I am the Lord your healer…”

“This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it”

“I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship you, oh my soul, rejoice”

Sometimes my voice would break. It was hard to sing praises when I felt so downtrodden, so attacked. I understood the meaning of the sacrifice of praise.
But the longer I sang, the stronger my voice became. Strength infused my body. By the time I got out, I knew that I had followed in the path of David. I had found the strength that I needed in the Lord.

An awesome follow-up to this story is that now my mom is daily strengthening herself in the Lord. I know she is finding Jesus to be just as incredible as I have.



The past week has been extremely difficult as my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery.

And yet, since the trouble first came, spiritual songs and helpful scriptures kept coming to my mind. I’d remember songs I sang in church growing up. Promises from God’s Word would pop in my mind. These thoughts really helped me combat negative thoughts and fear.

As I was walking into the hospital the other day, humming the song, “I am the Lord Your Healer,” a realization dawned on me.

I have been making investments. For so many years, I’ve spent a lot of quality time with God. I’ve prayed a lot. I’ve read the Bible. I’ve gone to church. I’ve went on mission trips. I’ve listened to worship music. I’ve sang it in my car. I’ve allowed the Lord to be a close friend.

And now, when I am in a tough time, all those investments are paying me back. With faith. With joy. With hope. With strength. With sleep. With smiles. With a song to get me through the day.

I am so glad I invested. I’m glad I persevered. And, I am so glad God invested in me. Because He loved me first; I just chose to run to Him.

“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

A grammar error that drives me crazy


I write everyday at work. I edit other people’s writing often. And I read a lot as well.

The most common grammatical error I see — made even by professional writers — is the use of a comma before “and” when combining two thoughts.
People often don’t use the comma when its critically needed…or they stick it in when it’s unnecessary.
Here’s the scoop:

A. When you are joining two separate stand-alone thoughts (complete sentences), you need the comma.

Example: I love correct grammar, and I shout for joy when it is right!

Quick test to make sure you’ve got it right: chop the sentence in half at the “and.” If the clauses stand alone (meaning they have a subject, verb, and predicate), then the sentence needs a comma.

B. When you are joining two fragments, you don’t need the comma.

Example: I love correct grammar and hate sloppy stream-of-consciousness writing.

Quick test: When you chop the sentences apart at the “and,” you can see that the second phrase can’t stand alone–it doesn’t have a subject!

This is an easy thing to remember…I hope you’ll help keep me sane by following this easy grammar rule.

I love labeling everything!


Do you want to be organized? Who doesn’t?

After getting married, Brett and I had to do “the merge”…which basically equals losing stuff, getting rid of a lot of stuff and generally feeling discombobulated. Trying to fit my 1000+ sq. ft. of stuff into his already full 2000(ish) sq. ft. house: you get the picture.

Brett heard of this book, “Getting Things Done,” on some of his techie blog Websites. It’s basically a system to get organized. Everyone calls it GTD, and they were all raving how much it helped them to get organized.

So Brett bought the book and I read it. (Most of it…still got a few more chapters to go.) But right away, the author, David Allen, says that you should buy a labeler and label all of your files, because it just makes you feel organized. SO TRUE!

I bought one for work and one for home, and I’ve been labeling for the past three months. And I’m not done yet!

Every time I open my file drawer, I smile. It’s like I have a secretary.

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Listening Tips


I sometimes have trouble listening. So here’s a few helpful tips I gathered from an article in Association Management (Feb. 2004). Yes, I am still catching up on reading from nearly three years ago!!!

1. At meetings: sit where you have direct eye contact with the speaker. (45 degree angle)
2. Listen as though you have to report to someone else.
3. Develop listening triggers–objects, words, or environments that remind you to only listen (e.g. specific chair you sit in when you listen)
4. Listen to ask questions. This works even if you don’t ask the question.
5. (Sonia add): Don’t try to do anything else when you listen.
6. (Sonia add): For spouses or significant others, walks and driving in the car are great times to talk.

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