Gratitude

 

Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful word! Today I would like to inspire you to be grateful! It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday activities and stress that we often forget to stop and be grateful for even the smallest of things. I am home recovering from knee replacement surgery. It’s been a week and yesterday I woke up feeling grumpy and frustrated. As I lay back in my bed after putting ice on for the 100 billionth time in a week, I looked to my left and the sun was shining in so bright and beautiful,  I felt guilty for being so grumpy! I pulled out of it immediately. I remembered despite everything, I had so many things to be grateful for. God puts so many things in our life, we just have to stop and remember! What are you grateful for today?

Christmas Moments to Treasure

Hi All,

It has been a busy month with Christmas preparations and the celebration of Little One’s 9th birthday.  I can’t believe it is Christmas Eve already!  As I was laying awake early this morning and thinking of all of the things I had to do today, the idea for this blog post came to me.

I was thinking how every year I wait and every year it happens, that special Christmas feeling!  Sometimes it comes earlier than others, but it always comes, that special moment when it really feels like Christmas!  For me this year, it was yesterday.  I had a mile long list of things to do and at the top of the list was baking and preparing treats for our Christmas parties.  My Mom arrived yesterday to stay with us and I was so happy to have her here with us.  She dug in and got right to work helping me and Little One bake up a storm!  Oldest, unfortunately had her wisdom teeth out and wasn’t up for baking this year.

In the middle of the baking mess, I was starting to feel  little stressed that I was running out of time and energy when I glanced back and saw this:

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And that is when it hit me, the Christmas feeling!  I realized it didn’t matter if I didn’t finish any of the baking or how it all turned out.  It was this time together with my Mom and my daughter that was the cherished outcome of this day!  I took a minute to soak in the feeling, how thankful I was to have my Mom here with me baking when just a year ago she was enduring some major medical struggles.  To have Oldest recovering and doing well.   To have my family with me, whole and healthy and happy, I am so thankful.  That special, wondrous feeling washed over me and I could feel the Christmas Spirit come alive!

So this Christmas Eve, I write to you with a full and grateful heart for all of the blessings in my life and reflecting on the biggest gift of all, the miracle of the Baby Jesus, born to us this night.  May all of you have an abundance of the  Christmas “feeling” this year and I wish you a Christmas filled with peace and love.

~Merry Christmas,

Jen

Take Time to Get Lost in Your Thoughts!

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Sometimes I am amazed at how much technology we have available to us.  The possibilities are endless with social media, on-line news, shopping, games, e-books, Pinterest,  and blogs. We have many ways to communicate via the internet through modes such as e-mail, FaceTime or instant messaging.  Not to mention texting, tweeting and Instagram.  This list hits only the tip of the iceberg and I’m sure  more is coming our way.  If we let it, technology could literally consume our lives.

I do love many aspects of technology.  I have been able to re-connect with old friends and can share in the lives of family members that live across the country.  I love seeing the pictures of my friends and family and their children.  I also love being able to FaceTime with my niece and nephews who live far away.

At the risk of sounding like a “fuddy dud”, lately, I have found myself wondering when is it all too much?  I think that it is a personal decision for each individual, but I have been considering my own use of technology and wondering if I need to make a change.

I think some of my technology use has just become a habit. For instance, when I have a couple minutes to wait in a doctor’s office and I pull out my phone and mindlessly flip through social media or if I’m waiting for my daughter and I pull out my phone to check e-mail.  I am an avid reader, but have found technology slowly creeping in on my reading time.  I only have so many minutes before bed that I can actually stay awake and I find reading is being edged out.

Now if surfing social media and other sites is relaxing for you, I say go for it, but lately I have been finding myself feeling scattered and edgy.  Jules talked about being on “overload” in her last post and I’m wondering if technology overuse is contributing to my own feelings of being overwhelmed.  I don’t get the same feeling of peace from surfing the web as I do from reading a good book, crafting or spending time with my girls playing a game or just hanging out together.

The other thing that I find technology is robbing me of, is time to think.  Those moments I used to spend waiting in the car or in a doctor’s office used to allow me time to think and reflect.  In order to feel a sense of peace and calm, I need downtime to just think and reflect, anticipate and dream.  It is in those quiet moments that I may even hear the still small voice of God.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (KJV)

“11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”

So lately, when I find myself with a few minutes of downtime, instead of reaching for my phone, I have been trying to spend that time just sitting quietly with my thoughts, looking around me, maybe even doing a little “people watching” (which is sometimes way more interesting than anything you would see on the internet!). After a few weeks of doing this, I have felt more in balance and have experienced a greater sense of peace in my daily life.  I want to be a good example to my girls, maybe if they see me stepping away from technology more often and taking some time to “think”, they will be inspired to do the same. We will be taking a family vacation this summer that will involve very little wifi/internet access.  I’m excited for this “forced” break from technology and have great hopes that we will all draw closer in our personal relationships and expand our thoughts and activities in tech -free ways. (I know, I know-I may be wishing for that technology after lots of tech free days together!)  I have high hopes!

What do you think?  Have we lost the art of being alone with our thoughts, taking time to just be still?

Okay, I’m signing off to go do some thinking!

~Blessings,
Jen

 

Words of Peace and Hope

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

When I come across a Bible verse that personally speaks to me, I write it in a little notebook that I keep in my desk.  I find myself going back to that notebook over and over to re-read these special verses.

Today was just one of those difficult days we all encounter in life. fraught with stress and tension.  I needed to find some peace for my soul and this verse really spoke to me.  God’s word does that for me, brings me back to a place of peace and hope.

Do you have a favorite verse you like to meditate on?  We would love to have you share it!  I am continually discovering verses that bring me comfort.

~Blessings,

Jen

 

The God Box

Greetings on this blustery snowy day in Michigan!!

I wanted to share with you something our Pastor did during children’s time last Sunday. A gracious man from our church made these beautiful little wood boxes that the pastor handed out to all of the children. He called them “God Boxes,” and explained how anytime something was bothering them, they could write it down and put it in the box. I noticed a few adults around me shaking their heads and indicated they thought it a great idea. I said to my neighbor, “I might need a little bigger box!”

So as I thought more about this I thought, this is REALLY a great idea! How many times do we all just let things rattle around in our heads, struggle with them, and let them stress us out, when all we really need to do is turn them over to God. I thought the box would be a great reminder to do this and I’ve found it very satisfying just writing it down, putting in the box for God to handle, and letting go. It is peaceful and made me feel good to get it off my mind.

I found a box at Hobby Lobby that seemed perfect for what I was looking for, but you could use almost anything you want. I kind of wanted mine to look special, and as I said, I needed a little bigger box than the kids. So here is my box!

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Have a great day!

Julie

Merry Christmas!

We want to take a moment to wish all of our faithful readers a very Merry Christmas!  What a special and blessed time of year.  I wanted to share a picture Little One drew.  It is through the eyes of  a child that we can really see the simplicity of the message God wants us to know, He sent His one and only Son for us because he loves us.

LizaI also know that Christmas can be very hard for those who have lost loved ones.  I read this devotional in the Upper Room this morning, if you are missing someone you love, I hope you find comfort in these words.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas filled with peace, hope and love!

Jen