Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Home Authors Posts by Cassan Ferguson

Cassan Ferguson

Kill them with kindness

The best way to stop haters dead in their tracks, is by responding with love and kindness. Wait! what? Yep, you heard me, the best way to respond to negative people is with love, and kindness, loads of it!

It’s easy to want to fight back, and prove who we are in response to rude people. Sometimes those people, want to evoke a dramatic response out of us, and we fall straight into their trap. When in actual fact we should pause, catch our breath, and decide in those moments that we will choose love and kindness. Which will in turn speak mountains about the quality of your character compared to the character of your hater. This will also take your hater by surprise, and maybe cause them to question their behaviour, it may even encourage them to be nicer to you.

Choosing kindness

I once worked with someone, who constantly pulled me apart and put me down. It was so hard working with her, that I feared going to work every single day. Until one day, I tried something different, I started responding to her with more love and kindness. It wasn’t easy, as I felt so frustrated by her, but I knew in my heart that I needed to go out of my way to show her kindness regardless of her poor behaviour.

After awhile this woman’s walls came down, and she became more vulnerable with me, and I started to see how broken she was, which explained why she was treating others so poorly. All she needed was love and kindness to be lavished upon her, which in turn softened her heart, and turned us into friends instead of work enemies.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. 

Acts of kindness soften hard hearts

Truth be told it would have been easier to ignore her, or to distance myself from her and treat her poorly in return. Therefore, choosing something that went against my natural defensive coping mechanism, wasn’t easy, but it became so rewarding for both parties concerned!

Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. – Mark Twain

If you are faced with difficult, hard to love people in your day-to-day, then why not stop to think of ways you could show more love and kindness towards them? Maybe encourage them by encouraging their outfit, or by encouraging them on something personal. You could even make them a cup of coffee, send them an encouraging email, or give them something nice even if it’s not their birthday or maybe volunteer to help them with their workload. Sometimes the smallest of acts, make the biggest and most significant impact in the hearts of others.

Kindness opens the doors of somebody else’s heart whilst keeping it soft, as well as yours. Choose kindness and love, and let it lead us and others in our day to day.

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – Proverbs 16:24 

Let love be your best feature

With being online daily for work research purposes, I always stumble across articles whereby women are desperately striving for perfect physical beauty. Some even refer to it as “Instagram beauty”, which basically means trying to achieve an unrealistic look that looks ‘filter perfect’ in their everyday.

There are even ads on social media advertising various ways to enhance physical beauty from cheek and lip fillers, through to treatments that freeze and melt fat and cellulite away, along with hair extensions, waist trainers to slim your waist, through to celebrities who endorse and promote all of these things, then there’s thigh gap diets and exercises, through to make up contouring tutorials, and the list goes on and on.

Chasing beautiful lies

Every single day media encourages us to want to look a certain way, and to focus on external beauty, as opposed to looking after the heart and soul of who we are. Therefore, we subconsciously strive for physical beauty enhancement, and never feel content or comfortable in our skin. We want to look like something else, like an idea of what society or social media deems as beautiful. Which is actually really sad, as people are chasing after superficial surface level external beauty, instead of loving who they are inside, and out, flaws and all.

What’s even more sad, is that this lifestyle and way of living, becomes addictive, as it never truly satisfies. Therefore, we are constantly seeking out ways to look better, and never truly find happiness in the chasing after physical beauty.

Why?

Because chasing after physical beauty and perfection is surface level, it does not fill the heart and soul of who we are as unique individuals. What we should be chasing after are things that make our hearts and souls come alive, things or experiences that fill our hearts with love, kindness, and grace.

Chasing love

Let me pose this challenging thought:

What do you want to be known for, especially when you are no longer here:

Do you want people to remember you for looking pretty, and for looking Instagram beautiful?

OR

Do you want to remembered as someone who lavished love and kindness onto others, because love was your best feature?

The reality is that physical beauty fades, and we can’t prolong or avoid aging. Even if you had to go for operations that change your face or body to appear more youthful, you can still see the aging of a person come through.

Yes, we should endeavor to take care of our bodies as best as we can, and be mindful of eating and exercising well, and using products that nourish our skin. Which means we should age gracefully and naturally, and love and accept who we are as the years pass by. That will mean that we will constantly need to do heart checks, and make sure that our hearts are being fed by the right things.

We do not need to fall prey to what social media deems as beautiful, we should focus on inner beauty by loving who we are regardless of what we look like. Let’s chase after love, let’s chase after things that make our souls come alive and feel beautiful from within.

No amount of physical beauty will ever be as valuable as a beautiful heart. 

Avoid mommy gossip groups

I never knew that ‘mommy gossip’ and ‘mommy gossiping groups’ were an actual thing. Oh wait, not sure what I am talking about? Mommy gossip happens when moms gather together to gossip either about other moms, about the husbands, or about schools and the teachers or anything else really. These mommy gossip groups can be found in the school parking lot, on group chat groups either on social media or on our phones.

Mommy gossip sounds like:

“Well you know what I heard about so-and-so and what she gave her child for breakfast!?”

OR,

“Did you see what the teacher was wearing to school today?”

OR,

“Yeah, but I think they are having problems in their marriage!”

It may start off as innocent little conversations then turn in to a full-blown gossiping session about all sorts of things. We may even term it as ‘venting’ or as a ‘healthy conversation’ to gain better insight, when in fact it is straight up gossiping.

Why Mommy gossiping is just the worst

  • It comes across as judgemental.
  • It is based on assumption, not fact or on truth.
  • It just breeds and feeds more gossip.
  • It speaks ill of somebody else, especially when they are not there to clarify or set the record straight.
  • It can fuel our emotions, and never bring real resolution.
  • It is a form of bullying.

Stop Mommy gossiping

  • If you do not have anything nice to say, rather don’t say anything at all!
  • Consider for a moment if you would like others to talk about you in that manner when you are not around.
  • Ask yourself if your words or conversation would be said if the person you’re discussing was in there with you, if not – then guess what? Don’t say it, zip those lips rather!

If you find yourself in a mom gossiping group steer the conversation or cut it short. Maybe remind the group that what they are doing is gossiping, and that most of the conversation is based on assumption or on a biased opinion, maybe even challenge whoever is gossiping to rather find peace with their inner emotional angst by possibly confronting that person that they are gossiping about.

Gossiping ends up having no resolution, as people just talk in circles, and are talking about people and things based on assumptions and opinions. Which means what they are talking about is not helpful at all, and ends up becoming time-consuming, whilst breaking down the character of somebody else.

Remember that gossip always speaks more loudly about your character, than it does about the person you are talking about. Use your words wisely, and always speak of others with love and kindness!

Easy ways to de-stress in busy seasons

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Wouldn’t it be great if we could go on holiday to beautiful islands every second week? Just imagine one week of working, then another week of resting and recharging? Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Pity it’s not real though! We live in a day and age where most people are desperately looking for work whilst others are working day and night just to make ends meet.

We are all trying our best, pushing ourselves to work tirelessly as a means of meeting deadlines and supporting our lifestyles as best as possible. No wonder we feel exhausted all of the time, as we are ruthlessly pushing ourselves without sneaking in quick moments that can help us to feel more rested and recharged. Somehow the end of the year always seems to move at a more rapid pace, and sometimes we can feel like we are on a verge of a burn out.

Why do we need to be intentionally resting?

  • Your body and mind finds rest as it recharges via intentional rest.
  • You will be more productive long-term.
  • Your body will feel healthier and happier as stress leaves your body.

There are two types of rest : Active and Passive Rest

  • Active Rest: Is your usual weekend unwind activities: Watching TV, talking on the phone, maybe planting flowers, running errands, going to coffee shops, going for walks outdoors, or playing golf for example.
  • Passive Rest: You are intentionally doing nothing: No chores, no workouts, no playing with the kids, no cooking, no cleaning, no computer work, no recreation activities. Passive rest is when you do absolute nothing.

Quick easy ways to sneak in moments of intentional rest

Before planning out intentional rest, just remember that you are worthy of rest. Often we push ourselves like machines, and feel guilty at the thought of wanting to rest.

However, who you are is so worthy and deserving of rest. Carving out restful moments doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can make it work in your day-to-day, all it requires is a bit of intentional planning and commitment towards it!

Easy ways to create moments of rest:

  • Have a candle lit bath, and indulge in a good book or nibble on some chocolate.
  • Go for a walk outdoors.
  • Lie down for a few minutes, and be intentional about breathing slowly.
  • Treat yourself with a mini spa day.
  • Listen to your favourite music.
  • Stretch out your muscles at the end of the day before going to bed.
  • Do something that makes you smile to laugh.
  • Stay connected to a friend.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Limit the amount time you spend on your phone.
  • Go to bed earlier.

Being intentional about resting isn’t selfish, in fact it’s wise, as it will benefit your health and influence the way you behave and treat others. Therefore, look after yourself and be kind to yourself.

Venting Vs. Gossiping

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Often I find that we easily  confuse venting and gossip when we are amongst a group of friends or coworkers. This could happen by innocently off loading or “venting” to somebody else, which then in turn escalates into one big gossip session. I think it’s one thing to off load your frustrations without going into too much detail regarding a situation, but it’s another thing to speak poorly of somebody behind their back, as a means of feeling better about yourself.

Sometimes the conversation could start off with: “I am feeling so frustrated because work deadlines are piling up.” Then it may turn into: “It’s because our boss doesn’t care about us, or probably because he has no social life, or wants us to do all of his dirty work.”

You see it may have started off innocently, but then it started to get nasty and ugly, bashing the character of somebody else. I can guarantee that those hurtful remarks would never in a million years be said to that person (be it the boss or whoever) directly. It’s malicious talk that we keep amongst friends or coworkers and would never utter directly to that person.

Why?

It is hurtful, it is uncalled for, and yes probably it is all overly exaggerated and emotionally charged.  There is a very fine line when it comes to venting verse gossiping, and the two can easily merge into one.

Building up or breaking down?

Venting about something tries to seek a solution to the problem. Whereas gossiping merely breaks and bashes somebody else down, it may make you feel good for a moment, but it never leads to any sort of resolution.

Sometimes people will reach out for advice on something, and sometimes they end up unleashing all of their problems and concerns. Which is fine, I do not mind helping and encouraging others, however, I am very wary if a conversation becomes gossip. I never want to entertain gossip in my life, as I feel like it becomes a poison that sits in the spirit of who you are.

Gossiping speaks more of your character

Gossip always has a way of coming to the surface, where people get hurt by what was said behind their backs. I have been on the receiving end of gossip, where I was deeply hurt by what was said about me from supposed “good friends”. I’ve also been guilty of gossiping myself. Nothing good comes from gossip.  I find that when I divert a conversation when it becomes gossip it leaves me feeling good, as I feel like I am protecting the character of somebody else who is not there to defend themselves.

Our words have the power of life and death, therefore what we speak about others could bring life or death over who they are. Regardless, of how somebody else may upset you, if you can’t say anything nice about them or find the good in them, rather do not saying anything at all. If it’s really burdening you, then maybe find ways in which you can openly discuss your issues and concerns with the person who is upsetting you.

At the end of the day gossip will always speak of your character (loudly and clearly) more than it does about to the person who you are speaking of.  Use your words wisely.

You can’t force the pieces to fit

My son and I were clearing out his toy box not so long ago. A dreaded chore, but so good once you’ve cleared out of all the old, broken and random unused toys.

We found a box filled with mixed puzzle pieces, he was so excited as he poured them out onto our dining table and tried to piece them together. He started out with pure joy and excitement as he sifted through the puzzle pieces, but soon became very frustrated when the pieces wouldn’t fit together as he wanted them to.

I sat next to him, and watched him for a bit, hoping he would realize that the pieces were mixed puzzle pieces from multiple puzzles. Instead he became more frustrated that they would not fit. I then eventually said: “I can help you if you want.” Being the stubborn toddler that he is he responded with: “No, no, no I can do it, I am big boy mom!”

So, once again I sat next to him watching him try to piece all of the mixed puzzles pieces together. He dramatically threw the puzzle pieces across the table and said: “I can’t do it!” He wanted to give up there and then, and you could see he felt frustrated and disappointed in himself that he couldn’t do it, or couldn’t figure it out by himself.

I gently put my hand on his shoulder, and said: “The pieces are all mixed up, so they aren’t meant to fit.” He looked both confused but kind of relieved now knowing that it wasn’t just him, it was the mixed up pieces and he needed someone to tell him, encourage him and help him to piece it together. We then sifted through the pieces together, and grouped up the right puzzle pieces and began connecting them together to make the full picture.

Let God help with puzzle piecing

This little moment with my son reminded me that sometimes in life things don’t always “fit”, or work out like we would like them to. Sometimes we are so consumed by feeling frustrated or disappointed that it’s not working out we don’t see the bigger picture. We need to step back and allowing ourselves to sift and filter through things and group the right pieces together.

That process requires patience, wisdom, and it requires bucket loads of humility as we surrender and allow for God to help us when we get stuck. God always sees the bigger picture, He know hows the “puzzle” needs to look in completeness. God knows exactly what pieces we need to make things fit beautifully as He designed them to be.

If you are feeling frustrated with the season that you are in, or disappointed because you just can’t piece it together by yourself, then may I encourage you to reach out to God to help. He can show you how to piece every little piece together in the right place, that will add to your beautiful bigger picture.

If this post has spoken to you and you would like to know more, please click on the link or leave a comment.

Stop with the negative self talk

A little bit of self criticism can be helpful, and can most certainly encourage and motivate us to do, or be, better. For example ‘I need to work out more, so that by body will feel healthy and strong’. Then on the other hand there is a negative self criticism that ends up breaking down your character as opposed to encouraging you. It causes you to feel less than great and not good enough. For example ‘You are useless, you might as well give up. Your best is not good enough. You are terrible at this’

Excessive self-criticism tends to do more harm than good. It purely focuses on what we may feel are our weaknesses and cause us to excessively worry and to feel anxious, if not depressed about who we are.

Address the negative voice

If our inner voice is constantly knocking and bashing our character and sense of self-worth down then maybe it’s time that we address that mean-spirited voice that rips us apart. It’s important to get to the root of the problem, pluck it out of our heart and replace it with truth and promises that speaks to our potential.

Whatever lies we believe about ourselves, it’s inevitable that our thoughts, emotions and behaviour will flow from those spaces. Negative thoughts can cause us to behave in an insecure way, fall prey to comparison, and have a low sense of confidence and self- worth.  We forget that who we are is amazing and special, and every bit worthy of being celebrated!

Deny those lies

Having a heathly way of thinking does not mean that you are always happy, and always overly positive all of the time. It might be possible, but it’s not always realistic. However, instead it means that you approach things, think and act in a way that stems from a healthy space, where you know and understand your value and worth.

Even if you may feel nervous, or have those moments where you may doubt or have fear, you still have the confidence to go forward regardless. You see every season whether good, bad, or challenging, as an opportunity to grow. Getting to that space however may mean that we need to address those inner self judgements and harsh criticism that make us feel otherwise.

Be aware of the inner critic

Learn to decipher between lies and truth. Truth should always make us feel at peace and confident, whereas lies make us feel insecure, fearful, and feel down about ourselves in general.

Address it by confronting the critic

Once you learn to decipher those sneaky lies, then you have the power and full right to confront it by saying “No thank you, I will not listen to that, because it is a lie.” This reaction will build up your confidence, and it will make those lies flee in the other direction.

Replace the critical lies with truth

Once we have spotted those recurring lies, we need to replace them with words and thoughts that are filled with truth, hope, and that will speak courage into our hearts. When I struggled with negative self talk, I taught myself to identify those lies, then I confronted them. I replaced them with promises that I found in the Bible, that breathe life, love and fresh perspective over my life. It took time to learn how to replace those lies, and to learn how to stand on truth with full confidence. It has turned my whole world around.

Continue to speak truth, faith and favour over your life!

 

If you find you are filled with negative and destructive thoughts the Bible says we can give those to God and He will transform our minds. If you would like to know more, we would love to talk to you. Please click on the link or leave a comment

Is healthy eating trendy?

I was watching a parody video the other day online about how it’s “trendy” to be healthy, vegan, eat clean, drink matcha green tea, and have all sorts of exercise in your lifestyle whilst wearing very cute and trendy active wear. The aim of the video was to obviously entertain. At the same time it was bringing light to the idea that most people follow these lifestyles because maybe it’s become “trendy” and looks appealing via Instagram or on other social media platforms. This may sound totally bizarre and ridiculous to those that follow these lifestyles for personal reasons, and aren’t doing merely to keep up with the latest fad and trend.

In this parody video, it teased at how Instagram and other social media channels make certain ways of healthy living look beautiful and desirable, because it was photographed and presented well. Then everyone who stumbles upon these enticing health visuals online will want to try it out too because it looks “cool”. In turn they too will want to post about it and feel connected with others by doing something similar.

Health and wellness is a lifestyle not a trend

Yes, this may sound absolutely ridiculous. It even feels a bit bizarre as I type this, but this is a reality thanks to the digital era, and social media and it’s power to influence us without even realizing it at times.

I have friends who have had to make certain life choices either because of severe health reasons, or after having a personal revelation when it comes to what they put into their bodies. They did not do it for “trend purposes”, they have been doing it for years, before it became “trendy”.  It forms a natural part of their everyday lifestyle.

Healthy lifestyles shouldn’t serve your instagram. They should serve and strengthen your body.

Desiring a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be about how good it looks, or for the soul purpose of ‘beauty’.  Instead it should be about serving and sustaining our bodies well, whilst strengthening it. Which in turn will make you feel good from the inside out. Healthy lifestyles should not serve your Instagram, it should serve your heart and health going forward.

Unless, you are using your social media channels as a means of inspiring and encouraging healthy lifestyles for others, then by all means go for it. Also, before following or adopting something that may seem “new” or “trendy”, maybe pause for a moment and see if you are wanting to walk a long journey of health that you are able to sustain and commit to. As opposed to chopping and changing and moving between different health and wellness lifestyles.

Your health is an investment, not an expense.

Healthy lifestyle are a journey, there are no short cuts, as it’s a process that aims at feeding and nourishing your body, mind and soul. Investing in a healthy lifestyle is a form of self-respect, as it places value and worth on feeding and filling it with the right things, that will sustain and strengthen your body and mind, which in turn will make you feel good.

Toddlers and ipads

More and more parents are buying their toddlers from age two and up iPads, as a source of entertainment. Some parents may even argue and say that they let their young toddlers use it for educational purposes, whilst others will openly admit that the iPads help give the parents a chance to breathe, and possibly talk to one another with being interrupted by their children.

Cars even come with special iPad holders for children to stay amused, whilst being driven somewhere. Toddlers are engrossed on iPads in restaurants, at home, in the shops whilst grocery shopping with mom, so much so that they forget to be kids. They now forget to do many childhood things from reading books, painting, drawing, telling imaginative stories, through to fantasy role-playing and building gross motor skills by being outdoors and staying active.

Downside of unlimited iPad usage

More and more young children grow up not learning basic social skills, having social anxiety in public settings, and do not communicate their thoughts and feelings freely.  I have been a drama teacher for over ten years, and I have noticed that as the digital era increases, and iPads and smartphones have been made accessible and more kid friendly, that children are struggling with a few basic life skills. From spelling, through to forming full cohesive creative concepts, basic language and interaction skills.

That is why I fully believe that all schools should invest in the performing arts, as means of encouraging everything from creative role-play, communication, through to healthy group interaction with peers.  The arts develop and encourage communication, basic life skills, and how ability to socially engage and work with others creatively.

Less iPad and more creative play

My three and half-year old son was only introduced to an iPad this year, and we only let him use it for educational and creative purposes on weekends for a very limited time that is monitored at all times. Therefore, he doesn’t see the iPad as his toy, or as something that he needs all of the time. Instead when we are out in public settings, he greets everyone, he is confident and expressive, and communicates articulately. I want him to grow up with all his senses engaged and stimulated by being active, outdoors, enjoying creative role-playing to nurture his creativity and emotional intelligence.

Now, of course I think the iPad can be fun, and can be used for educational purposes to, but toddlers shouldn’t be on their iPads for hours on end, every single day.  It should be used as a way of distracting them or as a means of keeping them quiet. Often as parents we feel that we need to keep our toddlers entertained when they feel restless or look bored, but letting them feel bored is one of the best things you could let them feel.

Why?

Because through boredom, they start to think of creative ways that they could entertain themselves. As parents we can encourage them on this process, by setting up crayons and paint for art projects, through to block or Lego building, or having an array of role-playing props for them to get lost in their imaginations.

What we do today with our kids, impacts their tomorrow, and shapes their character. Therefore, as parents we need to know that we allow in our day-to-day impacts and shapes our little people, who have been entrusted into our care. Choose wisely, and monitor screen time by limiting it time wise, and encourage creative play.

Are you a church critic?

We all feel entitled to have an opinion when it comes to church in general, especially in this day and age where we all feel entitled to say and do whatever we want. “Church shouldn’t be too big, church shouldn’t be too loud with bright lights, church shouldn’t be small, church shouldn’t be quiet, songs sung at church should be soft, no wait – it should actually be loud and free, the people at church should be friendly but not too friendly.” The list of opinions could go on and on, and it probably does. Having an opinion is one thing, but judging how a church chooses to worship and engage with its congregation is another thing.

Healthy opinions vs. insecure defensive opinions

Often people form harsh uninformed opinions of church based on an assumption, on previous hurt experienced at a church, or on what they think they know to be true. I have seen Christians debate online ruthlessly without any love or grace in their conversation when it came to openly discussing church in general. They were almost competing with one another, taking offense and speaking so harshly to one another and bashing one another’s churches down. There was no love or grace in their behavior.  We should have healthy informed opinions, we should seek personal truth when it comes to our faith. We should pose questions, and have healthy discussions about it. However, we should never bash others for what they believe and how they choose to express their faith and love for God. After all we are all unique in the way we worship God and how we express the love and grace of God. What’s more we have all been created in His image, which means although we are so different and unique, we form part of His plan and are an extension of who He is.

Now, I am not saying do “bad” things and label it is as “christian”, and then justify poor behavior by saying “I’m Gods creation”, obviously not. What I am encouraging is to look at church and churches as a collective whole. Every church is different, but loves God, and hopefully aspires to be the best version of themselves according to Gods will. Who are we to judge anyone, without looking at our own personal failings and shortcomings? God is the ultimate judge, and He will hold everyone accountable for their actions.

All churches are different, and that’s okay!

I recently had a discussion with someone who had been hurt at a church, or should I say by people at the church, who are just people and who will therefore make silly mistakes. They were trying to criticize all churches as a whole based on this one negative experience. I could have easily gotten offended, and said something cheeky back as a means of defending my church and my Christian faith. But instead I didn’t, I listened, smiled, and very calmly responded with:

“Every church, no matter the lighting, worship music, or how the pastors communicate, is all different, and all part of the family God has brought together. Every church is different, and that is okay, sometimes we just need to find a church that resonates with who we are.”

Did he try to argue back with a snide cynical comment? No, he listened, and thought about it. Which in turn has kept the conversation of faith an open dialogue. We should never force people to believe what we believe and make them all go to the same church. We are all different, and we are called to worship and build Gods church differently, and that is okay!

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