Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Filling Your Blessing Basket
by Sheila Walsh

In her book Basket of Blessings: 31 Days to a More Grateful Heart, Karen O'Connor shares her experience. "If you want to be content, to experience peace," a friend had told Karen, "write down your blessings—the things you’re grateful for—on slips of paper and put them in a container of some kind. A small basket or box or bag will do. Soon it will be full to overflowing. From time to time look at what you wrote. No one can be discontent for long with so much to be thankful for."

In addition to filling a "blessing basket" on a daily basis, we could write a letter to God once a year, listing all that pours out of our hearts for his extravagant grace to us. Think of what a joy it would be to keep our annual letters of gratitude to read through the years or to pass on to our children. What a celebration we could have as we remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God.

Whether our thank-you moments are momentary, intentional pauses in the midst of a hectic day, thank you notes to God for his many blessings, or lengthy discourses of his grace, cultivating an attitude of gratitude will remind us of the truth that undergirds our lives: "For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" (Psalm 100:5).

Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter can be joyful occasions, but I'm aware that they can be painful too. Perhaps you have lost a loved one and this is this first time you will face a particular birthday or anniversary with an empty place at your table. Perhaps family times make you feel lonely, remind you of what’s not true for you at this moment. I pray that you might know deep in your spirit that you belong to an eternal family; you are loved by God, enough for him to send his precious Son to the Cross for you.

We have so much to celebrate as daughters of the King of Kings. I pray that you might find a quiet place today to stop and lift your heart up in gratitude to our Father.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Happiness is something you decide ahead of time"

I just started reading Joel Osteen's new book "Every day a Friday." I have to admit I am enlightened by the book. Chapter one starts out with this older gentleman going to a retirement home and as he rides in the car there he remarks about how pretty it is and the lady driving him tells him that he isnt there yet and how does he know if he is going to like it? He then tells her that he doesnt have to see it, it doesnt matter how the furniture is arranged or what color the room is he tells her that "happiness is something you decide ahead of time."

Happiness is a choice. When you wake up each morning you can remark how cold it is or how you cant find your slippers or that the dog peed on the rug in the middle of the night and you stepped in it or you can put that all aside and decide to wake up happy.

I absolutely love my daughter, she is the princess of my life but one thing about her that stands out to me about her is the fact that no matter what she wakes up every morning with a smile on her face. She could have peed the bed or vomited on her pillow but it doesnt matter she wakes up with a smile on her face and a Good Morning to whomever gets her out of her crib. I call her my happy baby.

We have to be this way in life as well. In July I lost my job, a job I loved. I wallowed in depression for a couple of weeks and then I made a choice, I made a choice to send out resumes to get my life back on track and to remain happy when I probably should have been hurt and numb inside. Abe Lincoln said it best when he said "Most people are as happy as they decided to be."

A recent study found that people's happiness increases 10% on Friday. Why is that? They reported that people are excited for the upcoming weekend, they make up their mind on Friday to live and love their lives more...Isnt that just weird?

The challenge in this book is to live everyday like it is a friday. Give yourself permission to be happy everyday not just on Fridays. Not just on the weekends and not just when you have a special occasion. I love how he mentions : The scripture doesnt say Friday is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. Nope it says THIS is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24) The word THIS means everyday not just friday. I admit there are days when in the past I would let things get to me and it would steal my happiness but the more and more I get into this book the more and more I realize that I need to be more like my daughter and wake up each morning with a smile on my face and a song in my heart even when I really dont feel like getting out of bed. I have to choose to do this even when I feel awful and I wake up and its cold and rainy I just need to tell myself that I will be happy today. Joel goes on in Chapter one to say that more heart attacks happen on Monday then any other day of the week, Probably because people stress themselves out worrying about stress at work, etc.

So my tidbit of advice for today is to live each day like it was Friday and truly decide to be happy...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What are you good at?

My husband has asked me that question a million times in the almost 3 years we have been together. My answer is always the same..I dont know and then he proceeds to tell me to think outside the box. Outside the box? What exactly is that? I am a wife, mom, sister, friend. I am a person who puts 250% into my job so that I can excel at it. I love to read and write and I am getting pretty good at interpreting what Jesus is thinking in the bible the more I study it. When I was growing up I tried sports, drama, choir, 4h, but there wasnt really anything I excelled at so I gave up. And I played it safe. No risks.... I wont even go back to college because I am so scared of failing.

My husband is an awesome man. He loves to fix cars and computers and all of that. I wish I could but honestly I am scared. Scared to try, scared to fail, scared to hear someone tell me I am stupid and a failure. I never sold anything or did anything because I was scared I would be laughed at. It happened too many times as I was growing up and even with my 1st marriage.

Now I am 34 years old and too scared or too set in my ways to change my life. I like working and being mom and honestly the fear is so real to me I dont know what to do. 7 years ago I had the biggest fight of my life when I overcame my cancer and now..I dont think there is alot of fight left in me. I know the fear of rejection is very real to me.

I want to be this perfect wife, mother, lover and have it all. I am also scared to lose all that like I did before when my 1st marriage ended. I just wish God would tell us what we are good at instead of making us fail before we can succeed, it would save alot of people that way.

I honestly dont know where to start. Is it weird that I am content in my life and that I have come to this contentment because I am tired of fighting and being hurt and rejected? So basically I play it safe and dont take any risk.. I love to catch up on my DVR shows and play around on Facebook after a long day at work. My husband calls it not being "productive". He is the kind of person who loves to come home and instead of relaxing, go out and work on his car or go reload windows on a computer. I look at myself now as to what? I am so scared to fail that it has totally scared me to try. Is there any life left in me? I just wish I knew what I was good at so I dont have to keep trying and failing..but I guess life doesnt work that way.