Devotional, Perspective, Creativity, Learning, Solutions to Problems

A New Perspective

I recently heard an interesting story about a department store in the Brazilian town where we live. I’ve been buying household items such as towels in this store for many years and had often wondered about the name.

A realtor who’s lived in this town since childhood told us the background to the store’s name. It struck a chord with me, having It has to do with words, which piques my interest. The curious thing is that the name didn’t seem tied to or significant anything concrete in relation to the business or the town. As the story goes, this store had been open for several years when another store by the same name moved into town. The new store was a bigger, more established chain store. According to our friend, the owner of the local store which was originally called Modelar (lar means home in Portuguese), reversed the letters of the store name. He created a new name by spelling the old name backwards: Modelar was changed to Raledom. Voilà, problem solved! Maybe you or I have been reading something in our lives backwards! Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem, but just need to be reordered. I think the owner found an original and creative solution to his problem.
In college (many years ago) I learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy. In Bloom’s hierarchy of learning, creativity tops the pyramid as the highest level of learning. With this in mind, consider in which areas you might find more creative solutions to those “unsolvable” problems. Working with students through the years, I learned that often my idea of the solution to a problem was far inferior to the ways my students would solve the same problem. Writer’s often work and rework the same plot from different angles until they get it just right. Let’s strive to get it right!

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” –Chuck Swindoll

Solutions often come to those who readjust their perspective. My daughter had been working on the perspective of a window juxtaposed to a door and a table in one of her recent paintings. The whole family inspected it and considered whether she had the right perspective, or not. Sometimes we need to take that second look or find another opinion to help us. Many times in my life, I’ve gotten a better perspective by talking to someone more experienced than myself. What was most interesting about the history of Raledom’s name was not in the arrangement of the letters. My interest lie in how a challenging predicament was successfully resolved by using creativity and allowing freedom to change, which resulted in a new name for a popular store that withstood the test of time. Instead of throwing in the towel, (on his store that sold towels) the owner renamed the store. Turning the letters around gave this business owner a fresh start!

One thing I look forward to in Heaven is learning what my new name will be! Wouldn’t it be ironic if it was just my old name spelled backwards! God can take the backward, crooked, and twisted things in life and make them straight. He gives sense to the confusion. In our tech savvy world today, we can load a reverse text generator to our devices that can reverse text, spell backwards, and even flip words. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, reverse can mean : opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition. Don’t be so stuck in forward moving rut on a wrong path that you can’t reverse course when you need new solutions to your challenges or when you need a fresh start! Be creative. Be willing to make the necessary changes if a better solution arises. It may feel like your world is turning upside down, but the Bible says,

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 King James Version (KJV)

Aligning our vision with God’s perspective helps us to flourish.

If you turn things around and view them in the right perspective, the solutions make more sense. Remember the history of this store owner and the decision he made. When you are faced with life altering decisions, choose the right way instead of living in defeat or quitting. You’ll be successful, even if it looks backwards to the ones on the outside looking in. If you are in need of change, there’s nothing that God cannot turn around! Like the store owner, God can take your life and change it to fit His purposes. No situation is beyond His control.

Devotional Thought, Coffee, Jesus, Brazil, Bible Study

What’s Perking?

Sharing a cup of coffee is often associated with hospitality. Coffee is also useful for keeping alert or waking up. Donna A. Favors goes as far as to say, “It’s amazing how the world begins to change through the eyes of a cup of coffee.” What’s in your cup? How would the world be changed if life could be seen through your eyes?

I live in what many consider one of the best coffee growing areas of the world…the Serra Da Canastra Mountain Region. I’ve met many interesting friends and learned a lot about how coffee beans are grown, harvested, and processed to make a delicous cup of coffee.

When I first arrived in Brazil it took me a while to learn how to even make a good cup of coffee. Back then and for many Brazilian people still today, the normal way to make coffee is to boil the finely ground coffee in a pot of water and then strain it into a thermos. In those early days my younger children were small and close in age, so I didn’t always get to go visiting as much as my husband and the older boys. It was my son who taught me the correct Brazilian way to brew coffee. He had watched the ladies brew their coffee during visits to people’s homes.

Once we were out visiting a family who were the caretakers of a large farm. The wife asked me what sounded to me like, “Po po pó?” I was clueless until I saw her lift a tiny coffee cup. They do love their cafezinhos! What I learned afterward is that it was a common expression of cut down words, as we all do with quick phrases in our different languages. What she meant was, “Posso por pó?” Pó is a word for dust, because the coffee is so finely ground it is more like dust than the normal American blends. So, she was saying,”May I fix you a cup of coffee?” Listening closely is important to understanding.

It is very common to be offered coffee in Minas Gerais. It is available in tiny portions in doctor’s offices, grocery stores, and just about anywhere you have a waiting room. I didn’t even drink coffee before moving to Brazil. I had to learn to like it real quick; and now, I enjoy it a little too much!

Some current trends have turned coffee into a social phonomenon, but it has been around a long time, even in literature.

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Whether you could care less about it or whether you measure your day by how much of it you have consumed, coffee has its place. Just the smell of a fresh pot of coffee wakes up the senses for many. The different aspects of coffee can be compared to our lives.

There are different strengths: weak, medium, and strong.

There are different flavors: bitter, sweet, and a plethora of new taste-bud tickling blends.

There are different temperatures: hot, cold, iced, room temperature.

Likewise, we as Christians have our different strengths, personalities, attitudes, and perferences. Do you have a certain blend or flavor of coffee that hits the spot on your palette? I like mine sweet with milk, and I enjoy trying all the newest creamer flavors. Some seasonal flavors keep me waiting for them to hit the shelves again. Hint: Peppermint Mocha!! What’s your favorite? Not everyone has the same taste. That’s okay! We are not all the same. Some would rather wake up to tea or some other beverage. Let’s still strive to keep the right blend of qualities in our character to shine the light of Jesus. I’d guess that would be strong, sweet, and brimming hot on fire for the Lord! Maybe bitter coffee suits the tastes of some coffee connoisseurs, but in life not many people like to be around the bitter or cold types of personalities. If I were a coffee blend I’d probably choose to be something like pumpkin spice! Of all the different options that today’s market offers to customers, it all boils back down to one thing…the coffee.

At the root of all that we do as believers, we should make Jesus the main thing. You can add in all kinds of different worship styles, Bible versions or translations, or church memberships in your attempt to become a follower of Jesus, but you have to know Jesus first for the rest to make sense and add flavor to your life.

The way you brew your coffee might be different, but the end result is still a cup of coffee.

Here’s a link to a video about the old time way of making a cup of coffee in Minas Gerais.

Let’s face each moment of our day refreshed as if we’ve just had our morning cup of coffee and see what a difference it makes!

Romans-15:32 (KJV)

“So that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.”

Let others know what’s perking in your cup, by sharing God’s love. ❤