“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20 NIV
It’s tell me something good Monday! My good news is getting a little rest after Christmas. I had a couple of days off and enjoyed waking up slowly, cuddling with my pets and reading. I even binge watched a little Netflix. It was nice. However, I’m also glad to be back at work today.
This morning I’ve been reflecting on how our lives have changed over the past year. A new puppy joined us early in the year. Later in the year we welcomed a new granddaughter and was able to spend time with our grandson while our daughter was in the hospital. In January, I started a youth class at church with the wonderful assistance of my sweet friend Melissa. The teens designed their own shirts and enjoyed three fun outings. My husband celebrated 30 years at his job. At the end of the year, I published my first book and I have started on the second. It was definitely a busy year, full of exciting times. However, there were some challenges during the year, including my sister miscarrying her twin daughters, one of which was named after me, and her later finding out that her health is bad.
Whether your year was all that you wanted, or a little more challenging, the new year brings about thoughts of new beginnings and opportunities. It’s good to reflect on the past, but move on to the present and enjoy every moment. Find your hope for the present in Jesus. May God Bless You!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV
Good Morning and Merry Christmas Eve! It’s Try Something New Tuesday! We are always looking for something new to try, especially in terms of relieving our stress. We want a little “peace” and quiet, a “peaceful” evening, and “peace” in the office and at church.
I’ve been conducting a little research on peace for a book that I’m working on. I have a BA in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in history and economics. So, I have spent many hours studying peace in the classroom. One thing I know for certain is we do not live in a peaceful world. All you need to do is turn on the television at night. You will see politicians arguing, shootings and other disturbing images. While this seems to be a new phenomenon, it’s not. History shows that only a little more than 10 percent of the time humans have inhabited the earth there has been peace. There have been 286 wars within the last 300 years in Europe alone. What have we or our representatives done? Entered into countless peace treaties meant to last forever. The sad truth is most lasted no more than two years.
Everyone want to eliminate stress and find some peace. Stress is not what you see on television, or at work. Stress is how we react to what is taking place. It’s internal to us. Stress is the internal tension, which can be both emotional and physical, we feel when we can’t control our environment.
I would like to suggest that real peace is not derived from what is going on around us. A warm bath does not give us peace. Walking in the woods may feel peaceful, but it doesn’t give us peace. Shootings and fights do not give us peace. Peace is something that happens within us.
God sent a personal representative to be our “Prince of Peace.” In John 14:24, Jesus explained to the disciples that although the world was certainly not peaceful, He would provide the peace we need that is unlike what we see and expect in the world. In fact, it is beyond our understanding. This is something to remember and to celebrate during Christmas and every day.
Today, turn inward to find the peace you are missing. May God bless you!
“Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”” Mark 4:13-20 NIV
It’s Tell Me Something Good Monday. My good news is I’m almost ready for Christmas. It really did slip up on me this year, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends this week. Please share your good moments.
This morning I was reading Mark Chapter 4. Jesus tells a parable about a seed being planted on different types of soil. He follows it up with the explanation. If the seed is God’s word, where and the conditions the seed is planted determine the outcome. Some will be easily influenced by Satan and the seed will not grow. Others will give up when things get bad. Other people will let worldly things get in the way of the seed’s growth. Finally, there will be some that will nurture the seed, have faith, study and spread it exponentially.
Later in the same chapter after teaching several parables, Jesus is on a boat sleeping during hurricane-like weather. The others on the boat were afraid of the weather and woke Jesus up. He questioned the disciples about why they were afraid and didn’t trust Him. In order to produce an exponential crop, we have to understand that peace doesn’t come without difficulty, but with faith in Jesus.
Jesus is present with us through all of life’s storms, but no one is exempt from having difficult times. Even when our problems seem insurmountable, He is there with us. When we maintain our faith in Him, our love for His word creates an exponential crop.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 KJV
Christmas Eve is only three days away and I’m cuddled under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Sitting here surrounded by my pets, I’m making a mental list of things that need to be done. It will be a busy week with many great moments. Yet, my mind drifts and my focus blurs as I recall years gone by and Christmas celebrations in my life.
As a child I loved helping my mother decorate and bake Christmas goodies. Not only do the scents of Christmas treats fill my mind, but also the strong odors of wood chopped by my father on those cold days we gathered firewood, and of the smell of a fresh Christmas tree harvested from “back forty” of my paternal grandmother’s farm. Christmas at church included going door-to-door singing Christmas carols in scarves and mittens made by mom. I sat in church with my maternal grandmother and listened by her side about what Christmas really meant. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my paternal grandparents. My father’s four sisters lived away, so most Christmas Eve celebrations were at our home. We were allowed to open one gift and after dinner enjoyed fireworks bought by my parents. On the years that my aunts were in town, the celebration was larger and more exciting with cousins. The evening always ended with a ride around town to enjoy decorations and Christmas lights. Christmas morning was so exciting. After we opened our presents, we traveled all the way across the street to my maternal grandmother’s home for Christmas lunch and presents. When the day was over, I remember my mother feeling melancholy that Christmas was over until the next year.
As a teen Christmas was a little different, but still exciting. There were dances and parties to attend, and boyfriends that stole Christmas kisses under the mistletoe. One Christmas I went to the Blue-Grey Game with my high school band, where music my band director had helped me arrange was played on national television. Unknown to me at the time, this would be a transition into my adult life.
As a young adults Christmas meant juggling four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents. It was exhausting. Yet, today I wish I had that problem. It would be nice to spend time with each person who is no longer with us. From our very first Christmas together, we collected a special ornament each year related to where we were in our lives. Once our children were born, we kept some traditions and started some of our own. The traditions would continue to change with time. My husband and I had so much fun shopping for gifts for the children, and watching their faces as they opened their presents. Every year we watched Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and counted our blessings. When the children grew older they were involved in Christmas pageants, handbells and acolyte activities at church. During their teen years we changed our tradition at home to opening presents after midnight mass at church. It made the kids happy, and we were able to get a little rest. Two of my fondest memories were of our son being Crucifer on Christmas Eve during his senior year of high school and our daughter playing the role of Mary in the Christmas pageant, when she was a little girl.
When our children left home, we celebrated college graduations, engagements, weddings and pregnancies. Hanging the Christmas ornaments became a nostalgic walk into the season. As grandparents with an empty nest, we still enjoy midnight mass on Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate! We also look forward to our parents, children and grandchildren joining us on Christmas Day.
Last year, Christmas followed Hurricane Michael and celebrating was among the ruins. Despite the obvious, we celebrated. This year I have fallen behind. Less than a week to prepare and all I have accomplished is shopping, wrapping and attending parties. My husband is struggling, as well. He took the day off to finish putting a swing set together for the grandchildren. While we plan to attend midnight mass, it will be in the Parish Hall, because our House of Worship is still uninhabitable.
The angel of the Lord said “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Have you ever thought about what “great joy” means? It’s not just happiness and fond memories. Despite the fact that it was a gift from the angel, we have to choose joy to enjoy it. Then, with the happiness we experience a peace that is far beyond our imaginations.
Our church recognizes the Liturgical Calendar. The season that we are in now is called Advent. The Christmas season actually starts with Christmas. Advent is a time of self exploration and penitence, but it also a time of joyful expectation. Christ is the “Prince of Peace” and his coming joy is a choice that we all need to accept. Even when we may have sorrow in hearts about people who are no longer here, or those who will be leaving us soon, and even when we long for carefree days gone by, we have the choice. As the seasons in our lives change, so does the peace that comes with the choice of joy.
Enjoy your Saturday and choose joy! May God bless you!
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:10-11 KJV
Isn’t it great to wake up and realize it’s Friday! I woke up today dancing a jig right out the door. Yes, I have a lot of work to do at home and the office. Yet, there is a little bit of happiness knowing a break is ahead for some fun and relaxation. This weekend I have my list of things to do, but plan to go outside a bit and breathe in the air, while I admire my surroundings. If you haven’t tried it before, even five minutes outside can improve your mood and outlook. Bring a friend and spread the love.
This morning as I was thinking about how wonderful Fridays are, I realized that I was letting events decide my perspective. How many times have I started the day happy, and something kind of spoiled the rest of the day? Of course, I know the old saying that “it’s not what happens but how you react” that’s important. However, today I was reminded of Colossians 1:10-11.
Colossae was a City located about 100 miles from Ephesus and near Laodicea. In Paul’s letter to the early Christians in the church of Colossae, they instructed them to be strengthened in God’s word. We can look to scripture for every occasion, but today I would like to encourage you to instead of letting what happens around you affect your attitude, pause and think of what God’s word says. Find your strength there. Joy is an action and choice we all have regardless of what’s happening around us. When we express joy we are also able to be more patient, kind and loving.
Have a wonderful Friday! May God continue to bless you!
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:” Matthew 6:14 KJV
Happy Thursday. The week is flying by and Christmas is almost here.
Starting early this morning, I have seen one upset person after another. It sometimes seems that no one is happy. Like you, I listened and empathized and made my way through the endless line of individuals. Then, the day was over. You might think this is good, but my work was not completed and my mood suffered slightly.
It is a burden when others are constantly complaining. However, providing a good ear for listening and understanding goes a long way towards relationship building and anger calming. It often saves time down the road too. Jesus taught to forgive others as God has forgiven us. When we are able to follow this simple guideline, we reap benefits beyond measure.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalms 37:4 KJV
It’s Use Your Gifts to Change Your World Wednesday! What will you do? Making a difference doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It can be something as simple as a hug.
Today, a lady I worked with shared how she took her mother to the hospital late last night, because her mom was very ill. On the way home after her mother was discharged, she met up with her niece and the niece’s friend. They asked for a ride home. After my colleague agreed, she wound up driving to another town to take the niece’s friend home. Rather than becoming angry, she made conversation with the young man, who was 17 and supporting his entire family. The young man was working and attending high school. He was excited to share that he will be the first person in his family to graduate from high school. While my colleague was tired, she made a difference in this young man’s life, as well as, providing help to her mother and an example for her children.
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” Psalms 107:29 KJV
Happy Tuesday! I woke up this morning to stormy weather and tornadoes in the area. It’s only been a little over a year since Hurricane Michael devastated our community, and I’m noticing the people in my life are a little rattled by the weather. Many people in our community are still not in their homes. Some live in tents. Others have tarps on their roofs. Still others have been taken advantage of by people claiming to be contractors and now don’t have a home or money to take care of their problems. How can you trust God under these circumstances?
Before Hurricane Michael my husband prayed the blood of Christ around our property and family. Today, I did the same. Then, I turned it over to God.
After Hurricane Michael a friend of our family lost his house to a fire. While he was probably upset on the inside, he never showed it. He just told everyone how blessed he was and bought dinner for the firefighters. That is total trust in God. Today, he is not where he was before the fire and there are some things that he will never be able to replace, but he is recovering and building a new home. Trusting God doesn’t mean you won’t lose all possessions during a storm. However, it may mean that God will help you recover, while you are able to witness through your life.
We all have storms frequently in our lives, and it is how we choose to react that is really important for ourselves and others. Being upset is understandable, but it will not change anything. A friend of mine is aware that a family member is dying. She cries and struggles daily. However, that is not changing the situation. Why not choose to make every day count? Wouldn’t it be better to enjoy every moment while this person is alive? Crying won’t change anything. I know that we all need to grieve, but when we can trust God during the storms of our lives, we will find peace and be a blessing to others.
This morning please keep all the people going through storms in your prayers. May God bless you!
“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalms 107:1 KJV
Happy Monday! Getting back on track has been a little more of a challenge than I originally perceived. Most likely due to the busy holiday season.
If you are busy under normal circumstances, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. After all, during the Christmas season, there is so much more to do, Most people are decorating, shopping, wrapping presents, throwing parties and going to parties. While all of it can be fun, it can also be overwhelming.
I’m embarrassed to say that we haven’t so much as put a wreath on our door. Most people are shocked when I admit that. Beginning last Thursday I have had seven parties to attend. Two of the parties, I threw for others. I have four more this week, two of which are tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, it is an honor to be invited and most of my parties have an aspect of giving to the needy. Yet, with work, school, shopping, and wrapping presents, there is not much left of me to give. It gets to the point that I am just going through the motions, not really enjoying anything. Plus, last week I felt guilty because I missed three of the seven parties.
At the end of the day I ask myself if this is what I really need to be doing. The answer is yes and no. What is Christmas all about anyway? As Christians we understand it is about the birth of Jesus. I honestly believe that if you are living to celebrate the meaning of Christmas, and striving to immolate Christ’s life, the busy holidays are good. Yet, we all have limits. Sometimes we need to rest and enjoy family and relaxation. Even Jesus had to rest.
So, when you get to those moments when you feel like you cannot possibly do anything more and keep your health and sanity, one thing you can do is thank God for your many blessings. Write them down throughout the day as you think of them. That is when you will find yourself able to rest peacefully and God’s love.
I hope you will find time to thank God for your blessings today. May God bless you!
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
1 John 4:11 KJV
Happy Tuesday! One of the things I’m going to work on today is loving the people that get on my nerves. Is this a pride issue? Yes!
Have you ever felt like you are minding your own businesses and it seems like someone just wants to steal your joy? Maybe they are ignoring you or smacking when they eat. It could be even worse than that. Maybe they have done you wrong, physically or emotionally. You forgive them, but just don’t want to be in their presence.
The love mentioned in 1 John 4:11 is a type of love Jesus taught, where we are to love others expecting nothing in return. That also applies to people who get on our nerves. God loves us and surrounds us with love. One way we can show our love towards God is to love others as he loves us. I’m not saying this is easy or always happens immediately. It is something we should work on daily. While you are working on loving others, love yourself.