Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

23 December 2011

The Best Part About a Gift is the Delivery

To me, the best part about a gift is the delivery... was it delivered with a warm smile... with a heart full of love?  When you received it was there the understanding that you were loved & accepted just as you are?  Did receiving it inspire you to become a "better you"?

I had a dear friend several years ago (we'll call her Miss Debbie) who shared a wonderful "tradition" with me.  She called it a "Happy".  What exactly is a "Happy"?  It's a gift which doesn't have to be for a certain reason or for a specific occassion.  It's something that will bring a smile to the recipient - maybe something they mentioned or admired while you were being observant. A "Happy" can also be a handwritten note with a meaningful picture tucked inside. 

Remembering & documenting fun times with friends & loved ones are a great ways to celebrate the good moments of life.  Remembering those good times can help us in the tough times too.  It's just like the words written in Psalm 77:11&12: “I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them.”  The New Living Translation Bible Application Notes read: Memories of God’s miracles and faithfulness sustained Israel through their difficulties. They knew that God was capable and trustworthy. When you meet new trials, review how good God has been to you, and this will strengthen your faith.

One of my favorite "gifts"
Especially at this time of year I'm reminded that the "delivery of our gift of Jesus Christ" from the Creator of the Universe (all those years ago) was a wonderful "Happy"!  In the form of a tiny baby, came the hope of all eternity.  The gift of Jesus was free & given with no expectation in return. 

I love giving "Happy's"... and I love receiving them, as well. I love the fact that the cost of the gift has nothing to do with it's value. I love that they are often non-traditional & quirky. I'm pretty much non-traditional & quirky.  I love that there's no stress to finding a "pricey" gift.  By being observant, we can often find a meaningful gift.  The value of a gift is in the delivery - if you ask me! 

Hope you have a HAPPY Christmas this year. 

(shared this post with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community)

(written 12/22/11)

16 December 2011

Not Taking My Lights Down ANYTIME Soon!

Jesus is the Reason for the Season. I'm pretty sure you've heard that statement. I'm a firm believer that the excitement of Christ's coming to this earth is too great to celebrate in just a few weeks. I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't take the Christmas tree down on the 26th of December (or the 26th of January, for that matter). I love sitting by a lit tree in the winter months. It reminds me of the light & hope found in my life - as a result of my relationship with God. 

In the coming weeks, as you approach the beginning of a new year & as you walk into that new year, continue to think back on how the coming of Christ fulfilled centuries of prophesy & promises. Whether you put all the decorations away or not, continue to reflect upon the wonderful gift that was given to us -- in the form of a tiny baby in a manger. A gift that should be celebrated in our hearts every day. 

Some great prophesies & promises from Isaiah 9...
    The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:
    they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
    upon them hath the light shined
    Isaiah 9:2
    The time of darkness & despair will not go on forever... there will be a time in the future filled with glory... (vs. 1)
  • The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.. for those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine... (vs. 2)
  • Yokes of slavery & heavy burdens will be lifted... (vs. 4)
  • A child shall be born to us... the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
  • His government & its peace will never end... He'll rule with fairness & justice for all eternity... The passionate, commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies will make this happen... (vs. 7)

Don't let the light, love & peace that come from Christ be diminished by the circumstances in your life OR by the changing of the seasons. His light, His love & His peace are freely available each day of the year!

Merry Christmas Friends!  May God's Light Shine Down & Illuminate Your Path!

(written 12/16/11)

I Was Created to REST

(written 12/15/11)
Really... ?  Did I say that aloud?  I was created to REST.  But, the truth is we were ALL created to rest.  We weren't created by God to be on-the-go 24/7.

In Isaiah 30:15 the Sovereign LORD says: "Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength."

Sometimes we just need to put our feet up & rest!

Resting not only allows us to take a break from the things which are making life hectic but, it allows us to regain strength & focus to face the coming challenges.  The Bible also says in the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes that there is a season for everything under the sun (http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Ecc&c=3&v=1&t=NLT#1).  It doesn't say that everything is right for every season.  Some seasons of life, God wants us to rest from certain things... resting in His arms & learning from our time of rest with Him. Some seasons He wants us to put our heads down & work at something specific to fulfill His plan.

I'm pretty sure, in the generation prior to mine, it was typically difficult to REST without feeling lazy or non-productive.  The other side of that though is the urge REST too much.  Obviously, there's a balance.  Just one more reason why we need to allow the Lord to order our steps daily.  Psalm 119:33 (http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Psa&c=119&t=NKJV#vrsn/133)

Listen to Him.  He'll let you know when to rest, when to be productive.  The key is to LISTEN & OBEY... and don't forget to rest! 


15 December 2011

Re-Entry... Can Be Rough At Times!

I am SO grateful that I had a WONDERFUL opportunity recently to get away from day-to-day life with my hubby of 20+ years. I call any time away with him "Couples Therapy." I'm a firm believer in remaining friends with your spouse -- after all, I married HIM - not my kids or the house or a job. This last get-away was a BIG one... an 8-day Eastern Caribbean cruise to St. Maarten, St. Lucia & St. Kitts.  We went with 2 other couples with whom we've traveled before & totally enjoy being around.