Wow! The year 2013 is coming to a close in just a few short hours. We are receiving the gift of a new year. What will you do with it? What story will you write on the pages in your book of life in this coming year?
We begin tomorrow on this new journey into the year 2014. Please do not look back on this year or previous ones with sorrow or regret. The past is done, and there is not a single thing we can do about it now. There’s no changing it. Make peace with your past right this minute so that you do not carry around the weight of that type of baggage as we go into the new year.
If there were people that wronged you this past year, forgive them … not so much for their sake as that of your own! When you hold a grudge and carry the weight of that around with you, honestly you are only hurting yourself. This other person has probably gone on about their lives without giving a second thought to that which you are holding on to and that which is eating at you. Anger and resentment only hurt YOU! Pray for God to take this off of you, that He will release you from the chains that bind you!
There is only this moment in time that we are guaranteed. We hope that we’ll wake up tomorrow to be able to share the beauty of another day with our families. We pray that God will allow us a long life full of love. We pray over our family, health, and finances. We pray for healthy bodies, souls, and minds and that we would be protected and sheltered from all harm.
There are so many new opportunities as we ring in the new year. You have a chance to make a difference in the world. Yes, you! If you think you can’t, I know differently! I have faith in YOU! I believe in YOU! You have the power with the help of Almighty God to do great things in this life!
As I was writing the first paragraph about the pages in your book of life, I was reminded about God’s book of life. Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Won’t you ask Him into your heart and life today? Will you follow Him and trust in Him? If things haven’t gone right in the past, if you’ve gone down the wrong path, this is your chance to begin again! You can start fresh and new right now by asking God into your heart and life. He won’t promise that there won’t be trials and tribulations along the way, but He will be with you every single step of the way.
If you are already a believer, yet don’t feel God’s presence moving in your life, ask yourself one question. Who moved? It wasn’t God. He has been right there the entire time watching you, waiting for you to come to Him, waiting for you to trust in Him. He’s with you as you read the words on this screen right this minute. When you cry out to God, He will be there to wipe every tear from your eyes! Oh sweet child, if you have strayed, won’t you come back to Him? He’s waiting.
You may have lost some people along the journey this past year. Some friends may have turned away from you. Although it may have hurt deeply, please know that God was pruning people and things from your life. He wants new things to happen in your life, and maybe the things that you have lost or the people you have lost just did not fit into the plan that God has for your life. Maybe they served their purpose and were there for a time, a season. Now that time has passed, the seasons have changed, and their place in your life is no more. Know that while it may have been a surprise to you, it was not a surprise to God. Trust in Him that He knows best. Treasure the time you did have with these people or doing the things that you were once a part of, and keep those fond memories close to your heart as time marches on. Pray that God will take away the sting of lost relationships and friendships. Something better is on its way! Just as the saying goes that if God leads you to it, He will see you through it, there is also another saying that if God closes one door, He will open another. I firmly believe this.
There are so many possibilities for the new year. There will be exciting things for this coming year. So many will embark on a journey that they never imagined possible before. Oh, but God knew … and He has His hands all over it. Some will see great changes in their lives. Carry God with you as you go.
As we say goodbye to the old and usher in the new, shed the old you and put on the new you. This is your chance! Accept the gift of a new year … be determined to be a new you! Embrace change! Take God’s hand on this new journey in your life as you carefully write the words on the pages in your book of life.
Blessings to you and yours for the new year and all year through!
I have heard a lot of people talking about their New Year’s Resolutions while some speak of goals they are setting for the new year instead. Which path will you be going down on January 1st?
For those that wish to start a work out plan, there’s no need to pay mega bucks to join a gym when you can exercise in the comfort of your own home. My nine year old daughter and I exercise to Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds. We can literally walk a mile in 15 to 20 minutes right there in our living room. There aren’t any strenuous movements involved, it’s just all about keeping the pace and your heartbeat up. I absolutely love working out with her! Check out Leslie Sansone here Leslie Sansone: Walk It Off in 30 Days
For those that wish to devote more time to reading the bible, check out YouVersion on your mobile devices to carry it with you. If you don't have any mobile devices, that's okay, too, as you can go to their website and view the material from there. They offer a variety of free devotionals to choose from. Can you guess what my personal favorite is? None other than Joyce Meyer! I have been blessed by reading her daily devotional through YouVersion. She provides a bible verse to reflect on, her thoughts, and she closes with a starter prayer. It is worth looking in to!
For those that wish to save more money but just are not sure how it could even be possible, I've seen a chart going around about this! Simply place $1 in your savings jar for the first week, $2 in your savings jar the second week, $3 in your savings jar the third week, and so forth and so on until you have added $52 for week 52 - all total you will have saved close to $1,400.00 a year by sticking with this plan. See how simple it truly is - you CAN do this!!
For kicking the habit of smoking, this is a tough one! Thankfully I never took up this habit, but I have friends that have. If you've tried before and just haven't been successful, that's okay. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off. This is a brand new year. You can begin again! I've covered in a previous post some things to take the place of your habits - do something positive for yourself instead. Take a nice long hot bubble bath when you feel the urge to grab a cigarette. Turn on some music and sing your heart out or dance until you just can't dance any more. The idea is to shift your focus from that craving to something positive! If chewing gum isn't your thing then grab a nice cold glass of water every time you have a craving instead of reaching for those cigarettes. Water is soooooo good for you, and there are many benefits for reaching for that glass of water versus that cigarette. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice for a bit of a detox affect also. Winning!
For those that wish to have a more positive attitude, try going through a single day without any complaints whatsoever. This is hard!! Our human side wants to complain about things that we just don't like. We want to verbalize things that irk us. Just be aware that what ever you feed will grow! What is your focus? If it is always on something negative, that is what will grow in your heart, mind, and in your life. Shift your focus to something positive! Every time you want to complain, shift your focus, instead, to things that you are thankful for! Make a list - go ahead, it's okay. Pull out that piece of paper and your pen, and write down things that you are thankful for. We are so blessed in this life, and yet we hardly ever acknowledge the good and the things that are right in our lives and in the world. We focus too long and too hard on the bad, the negative. Let's change that.
Here's another terrific idea. How about we start another jar in addition to the one where we will be saving our money! Let's start a Grateful Jar! Throughout the year as you have wonderfully positive events that happen to you in your life, things that you want to commit to memory, write them down on a slip of paper and place them in your jar. How about this for an added challenge - every time you are tempted to complain about something, instead, grab your pen and paper and write something you are thankful for. Place that in the jar instead of voicing your complaint. Now, don't get me wrong, every one has a time in their life that they just need to get things off of their chest. I know I sure do! There is nothing in the world wrong with this occasionally ... just make sure that your focus is not always on the bad, the ugly, the sad, the depressing, the down right negative. Some times we need to release what is eating at us so it no longer has a hold on us. Just be careful not to dwell on it too long or it will consume you! Instead, shift your focus to something good and positive!
OR ... consider this - for every person that has wronged you, consider doing a Random Act of Kindness either to them or to someone else. Instead of going back on them with hateful vengeance, shift to something positive. I know this is hard. It is incredibly hard to do something nice for someone that has been so mean and hateful to you. If you just can't bring yourself to do something nice to this person, pray for them. That is one of the best things you CAN do for someone else. Even this can be hard to do depending on how they wronged you, but I promise you that the more you begin to pray for this person, the easier it will get. I have been there a few times, but it only hurts ME to harbor ill feelings toward them. It is in MY best interest to release it and move on to happier things in my life. I allow my sadness, disappointment, and often times hurt to surface. I feel those feelings, and then I shift to praying for them. I pray for God to help me find forgiveness so that I can move on.
I, personally, don't think you can ever go wrong with a random act of kindness or simply paying it forward. If someone has done something nice for you, do something nice for someone else as a way to pay it forward. Think of what a wonderful place this world would be if EVERY one joined in on the random act of kindness. I've heard about people being in line in the drive thru and having a wonderful surprise when they reach the window to pay only to find out that the car in front of them paid for their meal out of the kindness of their hearts! How sweet is that?! What do you do? Thank God for the blessing and then bless someone else's heart by paying it forward.
Last, but not least, choose joy. I know that you won't always feel cheerful or want to smile. I know there will be things this coming year that will try you. There will be storms in your life that will threaten to bring you to your knees. It is hard to smile when troubles are raining down upon you or when you're going through a trial. This is a time when you desperately need to lean on someone. Let them share the load. Allow them into your world to see the real you so that they can pray for you. We like to wear masks. This is something I have mentioned in previous posts as well. We hide behind them and pretend all is well when inside our hearts are breaking. Allow someone to see the real you, the broken you, so that they will know how to help you and how to pray for you. You might be going through something draining right this very minute that is threatening to sap all joy and happiness from your life. Please, look up - God can help you. Get down on your knees and pray to God above. Cling to Him. He will see you through this. He has the ability to heal your broken heart! Trust in Him. Although the storms of life toss you about, you can still praise Him in the storms. Lift up your hands to God. Praise Him.
These are all positives things that you CAN do in the coming year.
I hope you'll join me as we seek to make positive changes in our lives and set positive goals for our new year.
There are some things that you absolutely should not carry into the new year. The very first thing that has to go is your negative thinking and negative self talk. How many times have you looked at your reflection in the mirror and made a horrible remark either in your head or out loud to yourself? What did it accomplish other than making you feel worse about yourself?
You are your worst enemy! If you wouldn’t say it to one of your friends, why, oh why, do you say such things to yourself? Take care of yourself and guard your thoughts! Even if you have to start with words of affirmations taped to your mirror – then start there! Begin each day with words of affirmations. When you walk up to that mirror and are tempted to just pick yourself apart as you usually do, this time shift your focus on the positive and uplifting words right before your very eyes taped on your mirror. Instead of cutting yourself down, how about lifting yourself up?! Speak loving words over yourself such as:
“I am a child of the Most High God!” “I am beautifully and wonderfully made!”
There is such power in your tongue and in your thoughts! I can’t stress enough just how important it is to speak lovingly to yourself and others! There are so many people in this world that just cannot wait to chew you up one side and down the other or who feel it is their place to point out each and every flaw or imperfection – or create ones in their heads just to attack you. Please, do NOT do this to yourself. Build yourself up so when someone tries to tear you down, you do not lay sprawled out on the floor unable to move. Instead you put on your armor of God and as every negative word is launched at you from others, you simply raise your shield in front of you so that those words cannot pierce your heart and soul. You will be protected!
Speak beautiful loving words of light, love, and hope over yourself before you ever think about turning from that mirror and greeting others along your path during the day. Start with loving yourself first! Be mindful of your thoughts, your words, even your actions toward yourself. If you’re having trouble thinking of any loving and kind words to say to yourself, I’m here to help you out! Say things such as:
“I am so blessed!” “I am strong!” “I am confident!” “I have victory in Jesus!”
I am a huge Joel Osteen fan. Some do NOT like him at all, and that is their prerogative. However, I have read his books and have seen him and his family at A Night of Hope just this past August. He encourages in his messages, and that is something this world needs more of – encouragement! He began the night with positive messages of hope, followed by beautiful praise and worship music, and then a message from the bible. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. I came home with a few more books written by Joel, and I have one right in front of me as I type this tonight. I would like to take Day Five straight from his book:
I Declare: 31 Promises To Speak Over Your Life:
I DECLARE I am grateful for who God is in my life and for what He’s done. I will not take for granted the people, the opportunities, and the favor He has blessed me with. I will look at what is right and not what is wrong. I will thank Him for what I have and not complain about what I don’t have. I will see each day as a gift from God. My heart will overflow with praise and gratitude for all of His goodness. This is my declaration.
Will you join me as we say goodbye to 2013 and usher in the new gift of 2014 that we’ve been given? Will you join me in speaking light, love, and hope over ourselves and in our lives?
Be kinder to yourselves as we go into the new year. Leave negative thinking and negative self talk behind. You’re better than that! Start believing it and living it … today!
The new year is approaching, and this is a time for resolutions! Is losing weight or eating healthier a part of your resolution? If so, check this out!
I’d like to share some information that I gathered while watching Doctor Oz! I don’t often tune in, but when I do, I find useful information to apply to my life for my health, benefit, and well being! This episode was no different! In fact, I made sure I was tuned in the day he talked about The Daniel Plan with Pastor Rick Warren. The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life
I first heard of The Daniel Fast The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body
when I started listening to and reading some of Donna Partow's work. While Pastor Warren's plan is very similar, he approaches it from similar angles as the fast while offering expertise of two additional sources. Both plans/fasts and books on the subject are packed full of information to help you as you begin and follow along! I, of course, was drawn to this episode based on my knowledge of Pastor Warren and having read his book The Purpose Driven Life a while back. The Purpose Driven Life
Here is what that episode touched on:
Focus, Faith, and Friends
It combines spirituality with community.
Mind, Body, and Spirit
To provide a little more information on Body – three basic essentials: ban sugar, ban flour, and load up on clean carbs: fruits and vegetables
They suggest having protein as a side dish. It is a Science based program from what they are saying, and you will need to eat the right proteins as a side dish instead of the main dish.
Here is a little hint on what you can eat in a typical day on this plan:
Breakfast: eggs, whole wheat bagel, turkey or bacon
Snack: Almonds, berries
Lunch: Veggie soup with turkey sausage
Dinner: Pasta (a little) with more turkey sausage
Dessert: Chocolate dipped banana with walnuts
Now let’s talk about the mind: They stated that 140 studies say that as your weight goes up the physical size and function of your brain goes down. Wow! That was shocking when I heard this! They further went on to explain that as weight increased, the frontal lobe function decreases activity (one that makes good decisions). They went on to discuss the impact of sugar on the body and also on the mind – it can cause dementia because the neurons don’t talk to each other as much, causing cravings, inflammation, depression and dementia! I don’t know about you, but that was enough to scare me into putting that brownie down! They explained it as a dinosaur syndrome – big body, little brain – and further stated that you will become extinct if you continue to consume so much sugar! They claim that The Daniel Plan will help the brain.
Now let’s talk about the Spirit. Pastor Warren said that fellowship is the key to success! This plan brings God or a Higher Being in as a very important part of the weight loss program. Pastor Warren stated:
God gives us the grace to start over. You feel bad, guilty. This is not fear or guilt driven, it is faith driven. God says He knows we can do it and gives us grace and motivation. Jesus made us, gave His life for us, so we’d better take care of the temple of God. He gives us the power to keep going. There is a difference in will power and God power. It’s based on trying, not trusting.
Pastor Warren went on to say that success is related to the support we have. He suggested that two or three people can do The Daniel Plan together and emphasizes that we need each other and that we’re better together. We can help pray for, support, help, and encourage one another.
Pastor Warren drives this point home by saying that there are two ways to change. One way is to grab the steering wheel and force it to go another way. If you do it this way, your will power is forcing it not to go where it naturally wants to go. If we let go of the wheel, it will go back to the bad habits. The best way, and the one with more long term success, is to change any thing in life whether it be food, fitness or anything else for that matter by changing the auto pilot. God specializes in that! He will renew your mind so that you will think differently about food!
He addresses cravings. If we try to have them pushed down by ourselves, it is just too hard to do when dieting on your own. We feel hungry and then our will power sags. This is when we need friends! (An accountability partner as I mentioned in a previous post to help us stay on track but to also PRAY for us and with us!) When we help hold the cravings down, they get squashed when it is shared with your friends! Consider doubling the weight loss when doing it together with a friend! It is so worth it.
There were a few ladies that gave testimonials on the show. One lady had a 150 lb weight loss on The Daniel Plan. She said that it addresses community and spirituality. She said that she feels like she’s worth something now! Diets didn’t address her issues or concerns before. She felt the doctor’s information included in the book was excellent. She learned not to eat certain foods and found the information provided to be powerful. She said that the community was great and that small groups within the church were encouraged to take part in this. She stated that when doing this in a group that they are there to hold your hand as you go through this plan, to encourage you to eat healthy, and in doing this plan, you begin to talk to other church members. Some would even gather to talk with going out to eat, and she stated that she could even eat regular food and did not feel deprived at all. If you are not sure about a small group of people in your church or even in your community beginning this plan, then do this plan with just a group of ONE other person. She stated that ONE person that you love and trust can be your partner on this voyage!
I don’t know about you, but this information packed into this small segment on Doctor Oz’s show really interested me so much that I looked into the book. I have not yet purchased The Daniel Plan as I have seen other books on The Daniel Fast today as well when looking through books on this subject manner. (I will post those links on the right hand side if you’re interested in taking a look at the books mentioned in this post.) Please note that I am not getting paid to promote either The Daniel Plan or The Daniel Fast. I just found this information interesting and wanted to pass this along to readers around the world as they set out on a mission this coming year to improve themselves in all aspects! The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life
I could not ever come close to imagining the joy and excitement that Mary felt when she was carrying baby Jesus and anticipating His birth at any moment late in her pregnancy. I know how I felt when I was pregnant with my two little miracles from above and how anxiously we all waited for their arrival. I have been reminded of all of this leading up to Christmas day and the anticipation and excitement felt by those around me.
Now I have experienced it through my oldest daughter. She has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a little baby on her dad’s side of the family. This little baby boy was due to arrive in late December, possibly early January. They were just discussing on Christmas day how they wished the little one would make an appearance soon, and low and behold if her water didn’t break on Christmas night! Early in the morning hours, Mom was rushed to the hospital by Dad and a few hours later, this precious little baby boy made his way kicking and screaming into this world. What a Christmas gift!!
I just had to stop to reflect a moment on the gift of a little tiny baby. Oh the joy that fills our souls with the birth of a new little one. All is right in the world the moment they lay your little baby in your arms for the very first time. Instantly you know that you would do any thing for this little one – any thing! They are your heart and soul, the air you breathe … they give new meaning to your life. You get to experience a renewal – in your purpose in life – your whole world shifts when this baby comes into this world.
And so it was with the birth of baby Jesus. In this case, He proved that He would do any thing for us. He bore all of our sins on the cross. When we give our hearts to Jesus, we should experience a transformation in our hearts and souls as HE is now the air we breathe, and He gives meaning to our lives. You know, without a shadow of a doubt, that your life does have meaning and purpose. You are here for a very special reason in this world, in this life.
A new baby brings about a new beginning for us … it is so with the birth of the new baby in my daughter’s extended family. It is so with the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago. It is so when you ask Jesus to come into your heart and life. All of the sins you have committed up until that point are wiped away when you ask for forgiveness – you are washed white as snow. We do nothing to deserve it, but God provides grace and mercy for us all.
As we are approaching the ending of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, do you feel that you need a renewal of some sort? A new year is full of new opportunities for growth! You do not have to stay in the rut that you may feel that you’ve been in for so long. You can choose to do things differently. If you need a renewal for your spirit, dig into God’s word. Reveal the promises that He has for each of us tucked away in His word. Meditate on scriptures, cling to verses that provide you great comfort in hard times. Begin and end the day in prayer – pray all throughout the day if you’d like – you don’t necessarily have to pray some lengthy prayer with proper words or do some great ritual every single time you go to pray. Just talk to God. Invite Him to be a part of your day and be in each and every thing that you lay your hands on that day. Allow God to be a part of your day. Let Him be your constant companion and guide. Begin 2014 with a relationship with God. If you’ve never had one before, if you felt like you were just going through the motions, I invite you to begin again. With purpose this time. Just as any relationship requires you to pour into it, to nurture it, the same is so with your relationship with Jesus and God above!
As you go into the new year, do you have specific weight loss goals that you’d like to set? Or an exercise program that you would like to begin and stick to this time? If so, pray over it. Allow God to lead you in this. You can try to do this alone, but you will have more success if you invite God in. Also, consider an accountability partner. Or, my personal favorite, have someone commit to doing this with you if you can, that way you two can lean on each other in those hard times in addition to God above! Think you can’t? Oh I know you can!! God says it in His word, also! Nothing is impossible with God. You can set a goal and work toward it daily. You can pray over it, and you can reward yourself for little milestones that you reach along the way. You and your accomplishments deserve to be celebrated! Do so in healthy ways, though. If you comfort yourself with food or a cigarette, pray over this and give it to God. Allow Him to be your strength! When you feel the urge to reach for comfort food or the comfort found in a cigarette, focus your attention on comforting yourself in other ways – take a long bubble bath, light some candles, play your favorite song, recite a bible verse that means everything to you, pray, lift up your hands and begin praising God. The point is to turn your focus away from comforting with food or cigarettes or whatever habit you’re trying to break and instead focus on something good to take its place to comfort you.
Don’t feel good about yourself? Feel that others are talking bad about you and tearing you down? I heard something tonight that I’d like to pass along to you. Donna Partow said,
You live your life before an audience of one – God!
Ultimately it does not matter what any one else thinks about you or says about you, or what you think in your mind that they are thinking or saying about you. The only approval you need is already given by God above!! This leads me into another quote that I absolutely love by Joyce Meyer:
True freedom never comes until we fully realize that we don’t need to struggle to get from man what God freely gives us: love, acceptance, approval, security, worth, and value.
Last, but not least, here is another quote that says a whole lot. It spoke to my heart, and I hope it will speak to yours also. It is by Lysa TerKeurst:
God gave us emotions so we could experience life not destroy it.
Do you feel at times that your emotions rule you? Do you allow yourself to get so carried away in and with your emotions that you almost feel as if you’re a tornado that is spinning out of control threatening to destroy all things in its path?
I certainly don’t claim to have all of the answers in this department at all, but I know the one who does – God! Yes, it all leads back to God. It’s all about His Light, His Love, and His Hope. Let the light of God fill you and wash over you. Allow the light of God to shatter the darkness in your life, in your negative thoughts, and in your out of control emotions. You simply cannot do this alone. No one can. We need God, plain and simple.
Will you consider turning it all over to God in 2014? Will you consider no longer trying to be in control of things that you have absolutely no control over to begin with? None of us do! We try so hard to control the uncontrollable. We think we have so much power when in reality, we do not control any one or any thing. God does!
You are being given the gift of another new year. What will you do with it?
Out with the old, in with the new! Here’s to a new beginning in 2014!
As you gather with your precious family today, remember that it isn’t all about the presents under the tree but rather those that are gathered around the tree with you – the wonderful family that God has blessed you with! Invite the presence of God into your celebrations today. Thank God for sending His son, Jesus, as a little tiny baby boy born on Christmas day. God has given us all the greatest gift we could ever receive – the gift of Salvation through this tiny baby that grew into a man that would die on the cross with outstretched arms as if to say, “This is how much I love you!” If you haven’t already done so, please consider giving your heart to Jesus this holiday season. Ask Him to come into your heart and into your life as your Lord and Savior. Have a personal relationship with Jesus, and I promise that you will walk into the year 2014 a completely changed person living for Jesus. If you want a better you for the new year – start with Jesus!
The week of Christmas is here!! In just a few more days, we will all gather around our Christmas trees with our families on Christmas morning. The children’s eyes will sparkle with delight and smiles will spread across their faces as they wait in great anticipation of what is to come. With great wonder, joy, and excitement they will open their presents to reveal the gifts that have been given to them. Ahhh, but nothing could ever compare to the precious gift that Jesus has given to us all – the gift of eternal life if we only believe in Him and ask Him to come into our hearts as our Lord and Savior.
We are all familiar with the story regarding the birth of Jesus, but it is one that I will never get tired of hearing or reading. Allow me to share it with you now.
Luke 2:6-21 King James Version (KJV)
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Are you still looking for peace this Christmas? Jesus came to bring peace to a broken world. To every.single.detail of my broken world, and to yours.
Run to Him as the only source of true and lasting peace, and then stop… and simply rest in His presence. (Courtesy of Good Morning Girls)
As you gather with extended family this week to celebrate Christmas, you may find it hard to find peace as you feel pulled in all kinds of different directions. It is then that we need to seek His peace most of all. Allow God’s peace to fill you as you shine His light for all of the world to see!
As the year draws to a close, we pause to reflect back on this past year. We think about the memories we made with our friends and loved ones. We think about how situations have changed throughout this year. We reflect on every thing that has occurred in the year 2013. Some look back with a smile, some with sorrow. We all look forward to the beginning of a new year.
As we are practically staring a new year in the face so to speak, let’s be intentional about our thoughts this coming year. Often times we are tempted to only focus on the bad things that have happened, things that caused us sorrow or tears, things that threatened to cripple us emotionally … so often the happy moments are left in the shadows of problems that crop up and threaten to steal our joy. There are certain situations that we alone cannot change. There are things that happen to us that are beyond our control, but what we can do is control how we react to these things and try with all of our might to gain control of our thoughts. It is a constant struggle, believe me, I know! It is easy to get caught up in complaining about all that has happened and only share the bad things. We reason that we just need to get it out and have someone to talk to, and that is great! We ALL need that special person in our lives that will listen to us – often times we aren’t seeking advice so much as someone to actually “hear” us and validate what we are thinking and how we are feeling. We just want some one to hear us out. I believe in releasing what is troubling us so that it no longer has that hold on us. At the same time, though, we have to be careful not to focus too much or too long on the negative things. Be sure that in the mist of sharing your troubles that you focus also on your joy! Focus on the good things, the positive things, the things that offer you joy in your life. Look around – God provides plenty of daily inspiration from the air you breathe to His beautiful landscapes, as if He is painting the perfect portrait just for you and I. His beauty is all around! He provides so many blessings in our lives. Soak it all in. Absorb it, let it fill you completely with the joy from Heaven above!
Leading into the new year, let’s try really hard to direct our attention to positive thoughts. If you are tempted to murmur or complain, re-direct your thoughts and instead say something positive, uplifting, encouraging, or just simply begin to sing God’s praises. You cannot continue to be in a dark place if you intentionally begin to praise God. You may not feel like praising God if you’re feeling beat down and as low as you can possibly go, but if you will just lift up your hands and lift up your voices in praise, I can promise you that your mood will improve! If you’re determined to continue with your negative thought process to get it all out of your system, try turning the negative into something positive at the end – intentionally try to end the conversation, thought, moment on a positive and see the difference it makes. You simply cannot continue to feel bad when you focus on something good instead! We have to make conscious choices here – and I hope you will join me in focusing on positive thoughts! Power thoughts, if you will.
For every dark, negative, and difficult situation that you encounter this coming year speak light, love, and hope over and into the situation. If you are having trouble on your own, turn to God’s light, love, and hope to see you through!
We truly have to retrain ourselves to focus on the good, the positive, the light … it is not an easy task that we have at hand, but I hope that you will accept this challenge leading into the new year.
Join me on this adventure … a new year … a new you … with positive thoughts … with guidance from Heaven’s light, love, and hope!
This mother’s heart shattered today as she watched her daughter being picked on and bullied right before her very eyes. It all happened so fast, and yet the sting of it all lingers long after. And I find myself asking, “Why?!”
It was a beautiful day today with temperatures in the upper 70s and even reaching 80 at one point, which is unusual for December! We decided to take advantage of the warmth of the sunlight and take a leisurely stroll through our local gardens. We soaked in the sunshine and basked in the beauty that surrounded us. Although the roses and azaleas weren’t in bloom, there were a few trees that offered beautiful blooms while others displayed bright red berries. The wind blew the moss in the trees hanging overhead as I snapped picture after picture of my beautiful girls. As we were wrapping up our glorious day, there he stood … the bully. I came face to face with a bully … with my innocent daughter as his target!
He was my daughter’s age or maybe even a little older, but he was certainly old enough to know the damage that his words would cause. My daughter was standing just a few feet from us, innocently tossing bread to the ducks and geese, then turned to walk down the path that would lead her to us. We were walking toward her when he reached her before we were able to, and as he walked past her, he uttered the words that cut my little girl to the core. He said, “You are u-g-l-y.” It happened so fast that we questioned if we had heard him correctly at first. Then when I saw the look of overwhelming hurt on my daughter’s face, it confirmed what was said. In that moment, my heart wanted to gather her into my arms and hold her, comfort her, offer reassurance and tremendous love to ease her hurting heart … and I did … but not before I confronted the bully!
As he walked past after throwing a dagger deep within my daughter’s heart, he smirked at his friend that was walking near him, and then his eyes met mine. His eyes met that of a mother bear protecting her cub. I maintained my composure while asking him exactly what he had said to her. He, of course, did not want to own up to what he said at that point, but I knew my ears did not deceive me. My daughter still stood in the same spot where the verbal assault was launched at her. She did not move. She had this look on her face still, and I knew that this bully was NOT getting away with what he had done to my innocent daughter. She was minding her own business just enjoying being nine years old feeding the geese, and he said such hateful words to her.
I looked this bully square in the face, and I told him that he needed to apologize to her right that minute. He looked at me as if he wanted to laugh. I told him that I was her mother, and I did NOT appreciate what he said at all and that he needed to apologize to her! He looked at me for a moment, then went back over to where my daughter stood. I told him to look her in the eyes and tell her how sorry he was for what he had said to her. Much to my surprise, he did offer a less than sincere apology to her, to which I responded by telling him that he needed to apologize and MEAN it that time. I thought for a minute that he had learned his lesson as he said he was sorry one more time, walking past my husband to reach her. When he finished his apology, he then went to walk past me at that point, and he said, “I apologized, but she is kind of …” THE NERVE of him! I did not allow him to continue before I cut him off by telling him that bullying another person is NOT cool and does not make him look very good in the eyes of other people. I further explained, with his parents coming toward us and my husband obviously speechless, that it is NEVER cool and NEVER okay to put another human being down like that – EVER – and that there was no reason for him to say such hateful things. I went on to say that maybe next time he would think about what all I said so that he would never assault someone in this manner again with his words. His parents walked past never saying a word, and I gathered my sweet daughter into my arms as I offered reassurance for her broken heart.
I began by telling my daughter how beautiful she truly is and that she is a child of God! He formed her with His very hands – she is beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside – she is HIS child and she is perfect in the eyes of God … and in MY eyes as well! I offered words to speak to her little heart and hoped to erase the sting of his words. I know the damage had already been done, and all I could do at that point was to offer my words, prayers, and all of my love to her.
My darling daughter was bullied right before my eyes, within just a few feet from where I stood. How could this be? I am supposed to protect her and shelter her. And yet, he launched his assault on her. There is no reason in this world to EVER do that to someone. It baffles me, and I struggle to find the words … it is beyond comprehension as to why any one would want to hurt another in this fashion. I know the world is full of mean, hateful and cruel people. I know that people are just evil at times. I just do not understand what they hope to accomplish by being this way. Why set out to crush another person’s spirit with such words?! I will never understand that! The sad part is that my daughter may not remember any of the good things that people have said about her as she may instead focus on the negative … I pray that does not happen, but I know that hateful and hurtful words spoken do leave scars long after the moment has passed. I have been bullied throughout life – as a child and as an adult. It hurts to our core, and there is absolutely no reason for any one to ever inflict this type of hurt upon another. And if a bully is not confronted, they will continue to bully others … thus turning childhood bullies into adults that bully on the job, as I have also encountered. I say again, I just do not understand what goes through a person’s mind and why they would intentionally try to hurt another person. My daughter was not doing a single thing in the world to him or any one else for that matter. She was minding her own business, basking in the sunlight and finding pure joy in feeding the geese … she was skipping and running through the park up until that point, free as a bird … enjoying life … and then as she stood at the end of the path, this happened.
Oh dear God, please help this generation. Please stop the bullying. Please stop the mean and hateful things that are said to others. Please reach down Your mighty hand and protect the innocent from this type of treatment. Please protect my daughter’s heart and all of the other innocent and pure hearts out there like her so that this type of thing does not continue to happen.
I know that we live in a fallen world. I know that there is such evilness in the world, and again, it is just beyond my comprehension as to why this occurred in the first place. When we can CHOOSE to build someone up, why wouldn’t we all … instead of CHOOSING to tear them down? Why? He could have very easily chosen to build her up as he walked by, to compliment her or even to smile at her. OR He could have chosen to just keep his mouth shut if he didn’t have anything nice to say. Yet he chose to say such hurtful things to her. His goal was to injure.
I know, too, that if a child is in front of another child, they will try to impress their friend by saying such hateful things also. I understand, too, that if a boy likes a girl, he will do such foolishness as well. It makes no sense at all for this to happen, but boys are just wired differently from what I’ve been told. BUT … this reasoning does little to comfort my daughter or her mother’s aching heart.
My daughter has long recovered, or she appears to have brushed this off after taking another stroll and going to get a special treat. It is her mother’s heart that is still devastated and shattered over the events of earlier this afternoon. It is her mother that sits here wondering how any one could be so mean to such a precious child, yes, even another child. It makes me wonder what this little boy has endured up to this point to make him the way he is. I wonder what he has been taught or what he has witnessed for him to behave in this manner. I wonder if his parents, having heard what took place and yet not saying a word, have encouraged this type of behavior. I would hate to think so, but you just never know what takes place in another person’s home or in their family lives to instill this type of behavior.
What matters at this point is that my daughter saw the mother bear in me come out, and she saw me try to right the wrong that occurred to her in this situation. She saw that he had to apologize to her, twice. She saw that I would not stand for ANY one mistreating her if I had any thing to say about it. She saw how fast I would swoop down to defend her and protect her. She felt me wrap her in my love as I reassured her and tried to undo the damage done by his words. What matters most is that my daughter does not appear to be permanently scarred at this point, and I pray that God will wipe this memory from her so that it does not taunt her or torment her long after the moment is gone, as it has for her mother.
Parents, please, teach your children that it is NOT cool to bully another. If you see any thing of the sort taking place, please take the offender aside immediately to address what took place and let them know that what happened was NOT okay at all. Have them apologize, if at all possible, although in this case, he sought to injure me with his final words after his apology, and as much as I tried not to allow it to, it did. Again, I ask what has happened in this child’s life for him to be going in this direction at such an early age. It saddens me greatly.
Bullying is NOT okay. It is never okay to bully another human being. Ever!
All I can do now is pray – pray for the little boy that acted in this manner today, pray that God would change his heart and his ways, pray that I was able to reach him today with my words so that he will think twice before he ever tries to intentionally inflict pain on another with his verbal assaults again. And I pray for peace for my daughter’s heart … and for mine. I pray that God will wrap my daughter securely in His loving arms and protect her … that she will have the armor of God on and nothing will be able to pierce the armor or her fragile heart.
Please join me in praying for the world that we live in. Please help me pray for children so they are not so mean and cruel to each other. Please pray that people will choose to build others up with their words instead of trying to tear them down. Please pray for their hearts to be changed and for God to convict them to run from their wicked ways.
If you need a little Christmas music playing while wrapping presents, check out this FREE offer from Spotify and Redbook! I’m listening to Mariah right now … and loving it! Click the link and sign in to Spotify or create a free account, and then the beautiful music will begin to play! Enjoy!
Earlier tonight I put on some Christmas music from a musical we performed at church a few years ago. Surprisingly, I remembered almost all of the words to the songs! As I organized my house for the upcoming Christmas festivities, I sang my heart out to every song on this CD, just pouring myself into each word that I would sing. Then one song came on that stopped me in my tracks. I remembered it was a favorite of mine before, but this song really spoke to me tonight. Allow me to share some of the words with you, and as I do … imagine Mary speaking …
God gave me arms to cradle His glory
Some saw star light … I saw the Light of The World
Some felt the wind sigh … I felt the wings of love unfurled
The sky held the stars … Hope held my heart
But I sing … for I held the King of kings
Shattering the darkness with God’s amazing light …