Tag: life

how do you give back a blessing?

google images

google images

My husband and I received a very big blessing today. An all-clear medical report for one of our children and for the other one a few weeks ago. Before I write anything else,  I want to share with you what Oswald Chambers wrote for his January 6th devotion in My Utmost For His Highest.

“Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot………..God will  never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself, it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others.”

But how? Do I find a way to give back right away today? Do I wait and watch and listen for that prompt from God as to something specific?  How is it even possible to give a blessing back to God?

Some authors suggest an extra financial gift to a needy organization. We have done that in the past as a way of passing on a blessing.

There are times when saying “Thank you, God”, just doesn’t seem enough. For God, it probably is but do we always want to do just enough? Aren’t there times we want to do much more?Today is one of those days for me.

I have decided I will be alert for a special prompt these next few days but until then I want to do something today. So here it is.

First of all, would you thank God with me for this blessing we’ve received? I would love to think that the heavens are being inundated with praise. And secondly, as you go about your day, would you be alert to that stranger that might need a prayer? And would you offer one up for them?

Years ago when I was in Brazil, I sat poolside on the roof of our hotel and noticed an unusual bird flying nearby. I was feeling pretty alone that day as my husband was working and no one else was on the roof with me. I kept watching that singular bird and thought how much we were alike. Both of us by ourselves. But soon that bird was joined by a flock of birds and he was no longer alone. Other people showed up on the roof and I was no longer alone.

For some strange reason, I felt God “speaking ” to my heart that day telling me to pray for those people on the roof. I had never felt the urge to pray for complete strangers before, but I did that day. (I mean how does one pray for a stranger)? I found it far easier than I would have thought and even today, years later, I often find myself praying for people I don’t know.

And just one last thought. Remember, that prayer you offer up for that stranger today may be the only prayer that has or ever will be prayed over that person. That really puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? We know that no prayer ever goes unheeded. God hears them all.

Notice that stranger today and let God lead you to the words you will pray. You will both be blessed and thus I will have passed on my blessing to you.

God bless and let me know how it goes.

what makes you happy

what makes you happy?

google images

google images

I wonder how many people have asked themselves that question. I know that I hadn’t until the last few years. I think we don’t ask ourselves that because we’re afraid it makes us sound selfish and self-centered. After all, it’s not always about us and our “happiness”, is it? And that is true.

To always be concerned only for ourselves and our own happiness would indeed make us self-centered. But to never ask that question is to invite self-pity and depression.

We are so much better for ourselves and others when we seek a healthy balance. But that’s not usually the case. Most people don’t even know what makes them happy. They’ve never asked it of themselves so how could they?

Now before I go any further with this, there have been many studies to document that there are “universal” activities that bring most people joy. The most important one is being of service to others. I think that’s true of everyone I’ve ever talked to. We almost always feel better when we give of ourselves, even if it isn’t well received or appreciated all the time. We also feel happy when we’re around the people we love. But beyond that, the activites that make us happy are as unique as each of us.

For me, I like getting on my elliptical. It makes me happy to know I’m doing what is right for my health. I feel happy when I don’t overindulge in wrong eating. (which isn’t very often, by the way).Other things that make me happy:

  • Painting——anything and everything, pictures, walls, furniture. etc. Being creative in any way makes me happy.
  • The first cup of coffee in the morning practically makes me giddy.
  • Snuggling in my warm bed in a very cold bedroom.
  • Sitting on the beach
  • Decorating my home and the homes of anyone else who will let me.
  • Butter pecan ice cream and pizza. (not necessarily at the same time)
  • Wandering aimlessly in a book store, especially a used book store
  • Traveling
  • Flying
  • Collecting seashells
  • Sitting in a coffee shop
  • Books
  • Sitting in a library
  • Digging in the dirt
  • Comfortable clothes
  • The color yellow
  • The color aqua. (I guess it’s really all colors. Be it in fabric, paper, paint, etc.)

It’s important to know what makes us happy because when we’re dealing with some “blue” days or depression itself, or when we’re stressed, it’s good to know what we can turn to that might spark some joy. Sometimes just thinking about what we enjoy brings relief.

You notice I didn’t list things like God, family, friends, etc. Those are a “given” for most of us.I wanted to list some totally frivolous activities so you can be encouraged to do the same and not feel guilty. I’m not.

By the way, it’s OK to know what makes you happy.

It’s not just OK. It’s highly recommended by many mental health professionals.

I would love to hear from you. What really makes you happy? Not what you think you should say. Not what you think is the right thing to say. In case you don’t know where to begin, consider this. What causes you to lose track of time? Anything that causes you to lose track of time (it’s called being in the “flow”) is probably an activity that makes you happy. Give it a go. Just the act of writing it down is therapeutic.

God bless and have a good day.

john-salvino-282508

When our soul is in despair

I had a rough week last week. My IBS was in high gear again. I had lots of discomfort and it brought my mood down. No, let me be honest. It wasn’t discomfort. That’s like a doctor saying, “This is going to be a little uncomfortable.” You’ve all been there, haven’t you? It wasn’t uncomfortable, it was painful. Have you ever had severe cramping from the flu? Well, imagine something like that on a regular basis.

And can I just say, I hate not feeling one hundred percent?

One of the Psalms I read last week was all about this very thing. It’s one of my favorites for when I’m having a bad day. So reread it every day last week.

The psalmist asks, “Hey, soul, why are you so upset?” (Verses 5 & 11) (My translation)

And then the responsibility for my soul’s well-being is laid clearly on my own shoulders. That part I don’t like.

“Hope in God for I will praise him once again. Remember what God has done.” (Verses 6 & 11)

“Hope”, and “remember”. Two great words.

When we remember how God has delivered us in the past, we have hope for the future.

That doesn’t mean we don’t or even shouldn’t hate times of pain. Who would even suggest that?

And I don’t think it means we have to label our sufferings as somehow “holy”. The truth is that most of us don’t have “holy” pain. I get very weary of followers of Christ downplaying pain. Seems to me Christ didn’t. Sweating tears of blood certainly indicate anguish to me.

We are human begins first and just because we are followers of Christ doesn’t mean we don’t suffer; this same Christ whom we follow certainly did. His disciples certainly did.

We all have to find our way to cope when it comes to our struggles. For me, hope meant I went on with my day and worked around my pain the best I could. It meant I examined what I’ve been eating or haven’t been eating. It meant I rested more. (Which I hate by the way. My boredom level is pretty low.)

But I constantly reminded myself that as long as I live, hope exists. It’s up to me to talk to my soul and tell it to hope. It’s up to me to remember God’s  faithfulness.

Thank goodness, I’m feeling better but I’m kind of holding my breath. I’ve been here before. But that’s the thing about life. We either learn to roll with the punches or we’re going to get run over. (I looked for some funny images to insert here and oh, my gosh, some were so graphic they turned my stomach, so I just quit looking. I’ll let your imagination come up with something funny.)

God bless and have a good day. I’m hoping I do.

garage sale finds

Some philosophical questions and garage sale “finds”

Not much to write on this dreary Monday morning except to say that I’ve been asking a lot of philosophical questions about my life. You know the kind:

 

  • Am I doing what I really want to do?

 

  • Is my life as full as I would like it to be?

 

  • Is there some big thing God is directing me to? Is so, what is it?

 

  • Why am I so hard on myself or am I not hard enough?

I think when you’ve experienced the death of someone you love, it’s natural to have some questions. You don’t just lose someone close and not have it impact your life. Especially when every day for many years this person and their well-being was considered with every decision you made.

I don’t have the answer to any of these questions today. But they’re there lurking in the back of my mind. But I did enjoy the weekend. After all, there are always garage sales. I don’t know about you, but I find that I need to keep moving if I’m going to find the answers. I believe God speaks to us as we live our moments and our days. I believe we find the answers in the circumstances we encounter and the myriad and even non-significant discussions we have with perfect strangers. I believe, and Scripture supports, that God speaks to us in the most ordinary of circumstances and through the most ordinary of people.

I have yet for God to speak to me through a donkey!

So enough of this “deep” stuff for now. So what did I find this weekend at garage sales? Not much this time but here is what I did find. Actually, I didn’t realize it but all I have to do is add one black turtleneck and some high boots and I have a new fall ensemble

 

Pencil skirts are my favorite skirt.

 

This is my favorite style of purse.

 

I just like sweaters in general.thrift store finds

Hope your week is going to be great.

God bless and have a good one.

stones

Why rocks “rock” for me.

I love rocks. Or maybe they’re stones.

If you really want to know the difference, you can look it up here. The upshot is this: All rocks are stones but not all stones are rocks.”  Hmmm.

For me, rocks have hard and rough surfaces while stones are smooth.

I love collecting “stones” of all sizes. I’m trying to make a border around the bunkhouse and the cabin.

bunkhouse

I like to write on stones and have them placed where I can see them.

stones

I love this big one in the middle. It’s almost perfectly round. I’m thinking of writing a verse reference on each one and then one word on the other side that captures the meaning. 

Sometimes I write a reference to a special Bible verse but mostly I write, “Remember”.

This is based on the Bible story where Joshua tells the Israelites to gather stones from the Jordan River for a remembrance of God’s faithfulness. It’s from Joshua, chapter four.

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down.  Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

Sometimes, especially when I’ve been praying hard about something and it doesn’t turn out the way I want, I get discouraged. I need to remind myself that for whatever prayers haven’t been answered, there have been more that are.

So if you need to have a visual, try it. It really works.

Another thought. I have read that some people carry around a small stone in their pocket, purse, etc, and rub it between their fingers when they need to remind themselves of all God has done for them. I’ve done this as well.

Now some of you may not need a reminder. But I’m just honest enough to admit that sometimes I do.

God bless and have a good day.

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