In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give thanks?? What has 2020 been like for you?

I hosted a, “Make a Dream Board” class in January of this year and I have the dream board I created posted in my home office, which by the way, is a corner of my bedroom:) Boy, the dreams we all had for the year, huh?! I really thought the year was going to be different.

“2020 Vision” was touted everywhere at the beginning of the year and my, make a dream board class, was no exception. Wildly enough, almost everything on my dream board has come to pass including a once-in-a-life-time trip to Hawaii that we will be going to if the state continues to stay open.

These are the other things represented on my board…I had a pixie hair cut last year but because I was not able to see my hair dresser for several months it made the grueling process of growing that out much easier- now I have a style that is close to the image on my dream board. I changed up my diet again, started drinking green drinks, that’s represented. Flowers and Coconut Lemon hand soap remind me to tap in to the natural side of my self and indulge in the things that make me, me.

I have been taking guitar lessons because I write songs and, it matters. I have an urn with ivy in it because I think that is an absolutely beautiful addition to any room. I bought a new oven, like the one pictured and I am redoing (get it going) my kitchen one small appliance and cupboard at a time. A Refined French; represents the elegance, artsiness and uniquness that I aspire toward, as well as the words, warm and calm.

The Sunshine or Sadness, The Day is Given, Thank You, Futures So Bright, and Bursting Into Laughter are all reminders of bieng grateful and joyful no matter what! For example, I have have started saying, outloud, what I am thankful for to practice gratitude. And to practice joy, sometimes I listen to comedians, slide accross my wood floor in my socks, break into dance or anything intentionally silly to make myself burst into, head back, snorting laughter. Those are things I have cultivated into my life because i can be too focused, too goal oriented or just downright down.

It Starts with The Bible and Where Jesus Walked, are reminders to start the day with the Word of God and meditation. When we had the first shut down I started an online Bible study for women also, so that routine proved even more important for me to be prepared to share what I was learning.

The cabin(s)on the dream board represent a ginormous dream. I want a cabin in the woods so bad I can smell it in my nostrils and taste it on my tongue. There is movement there, so I will give myself a pat on the back and an, at a’ girl, for pursuing a dream and seeing what it will take to make that a reality.

Now…the word, friend. I originally put that on my board to remind myself to be a good friend.

Basically, if you have won my heart as a friend, you have a deep residence in my heart that no one else can inhabit even after numerous years. It’s still there, open and ready for you to visit no matter the disconnect of time in between. But I have learned in fifty some years of life, that not everyone sees it that way and I have, unintentionally, hurt people by not staying in touch. So, friend, is there to remind me to be intentional about being a good friend.

The word, friend, took on a whole other meaning this year though. Little did I know, that I was going to have some real tragedy with friends. Two of my friends, through covid, realized that divorce was a neccesary course of action. Three other of my friends moved far away.

Two other friends that lived life well and unselfishly, passed away with a set of unique endings to thier lives that no could have forseen or would have expected. Now there are two friends, the spouses left behind, wondering what just hit them and how to move forward in life.

I have another friend whose husband’s health changed so drastically that she is a full time care giver now. And I have another friend whose unsuccedsful hip replacement, almost 2 years ago, has been an unbelievable saga, like that of Job; pain, trauma and dispair leading to a completely different life than they had before.

Last but not least, my little five pound furry friend, my dog, died this fall. Our favorite time spent together was when I was typing at my computer, she loved to lay on my lap and put her head on the crook of my arm, even though I would move her head with each letter that I typed- she was a loyal friend and companion to me.

The pain in these circumstances is almost too much for me to bear sometimes and then I try to put myself in other’s shoes for a moment. How do I be a good friend in these situations?

A dream board seems such a selfish thing to have in light of these tragedies but it is a visual for me to keep going, keep doing the next right thing, keep developing that person that is inside. We all need compassion and we all need hope and my board helps me stay focused on that. If I don’t put the provervial oxygen mask on my face first, I will not be able to take care of those around me and that is very true for me.

We are commanded as Christians to, give thanks in everything (1 Thes. 5:18) and I think this year has proven to make me much more aware of how to do that despite my feelings. There have been so many let downs, changes and things to litterally grieve over. Do you agree?

In our town which was already economically challenged before the pandemic, the small business’ that have really busted thier tails to keep making it work have had to work even harder or close. I have an idea as a busines owner what they are facing, but I do not have the employees and other responsibilites they have to keep families afloat. We do make more of an effort to support those business’ more than ever before and, thankfully, many of them are hanging on.

So, how do we give thanks in everything even when we do not feel like it? We just. do. it.

Give thanks in everything, when you wake up on a safe, soft bed or drive by empty buildings, when you take a walk around your neighborhood or when you home school your child (which I am doing with our 16 year old autisitc son). Give thanks in everything when you have running, warm water to take a shower in or make a meal for your friend. Give thanks when you write your friend, who moved away, a letter instead of taking a walk with her.

Give thanks in everything when you are praying with your divorcing friend who needs the next payment to send to her lawyer or when buying some groceries at the store or paying bills. Give thanks in everything when you can see joy on a cloudy day and when you struggle with anxiety.

Give thanks in little and give thanks in much. Give thanks for the people who have been a part of your life whether it has hurt or healed. Give thanks for the time and years you got to spend with the people, or animals, that you have cared about. Give thanks for having to walk the dog and and for the ability to walk. Give thanks for the breath in your lungs and the ability to think. Give thanks for the red states and for the blue states, for the black lives and the blue, give thanks for your friend and thanks for your frenemy or foe. Give thanks and rejoice that God is in control and you are not.

God knows what He is up to. There is an element of thanksgiving and gratefulness that produces something in us that we need and that we need to give away because others need it to. May we all get better at making ourselves give thanks in all circumstances and situations as we finish this year and head into the next one.

Thank you for reading this, I give thanks for you<3

Give Thanks.

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In Everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thank you God that I woke up this morning! Thank you for the soft pillow and warm blankets on my bed.

Thank you that I have a loving husband who holds me when I wake up and thank you that he has a wife, because you call that a good thing and favor from your hand. Thank you that we have electricity and running water! Thank you that my joints work and I can walk, run and exercise.

Thank you that I have children that I was not supposed to have and they are all a blessing and an inheritance, because that is what you have called them.

Thank you that we have food and clothing. Thank you that we have appliances and vehicles. Thank you for the ability you have given us to praise and worship you and to reach out to others with the comfort we have received. Thank you for the ability we have to learn, read, grow and work.

Thank you for the people that you have placed in our lives through family and friendship.Thank you for the beauty that you have created in this world.( I especially like hemlocks and streams in the woods!;-) Thank you that even though we have trouble and tribulation in the world, that you have given us peace and you have over come the world! Thank you that through your blood, I am more than a conqueror! Thank you that I am forgiven, accepted, and pleasing to you! Thank you, Thank you that you are right now preparing me a home where I can dwell with you forever.

Thank you for this day. Thank you for the ability to be thankful! Thank you that we can not only pray, but that you want to commune with us continually in prayer! Thank you for all who read this, and I pray Blessings, Peace and Grace to each one in The Name of Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friends in Time

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Each Day I find, miracles in my life, gifts so great they could only be yours

Friends in time, changes kind, strength from your loving hand

I’m on my way, bearing the new man.

Lord, Here’s my life, heal my heart, heal my soul.

Lord, Here’s my life, as I seek you, make me whole,

Here’s my life, Oh Lord, make me whole.

This is my friend that I met while I was at school for Aromatherapy. God brought us together through our love of holistic health! Her husband and her were with in three hours of our home and we were able to to meet up half way and spend an evening together! I really thought the chances of ever seeing her again were slim to none!

It brought to mind the words of the song that I wrote many years before. Friends in time. I have been so blessed to know so many incredible people, so diverse, so loving, so kind, strong, opinionated, and courageous……always in my heart, even if we do not get to see each other for years.

We all need each other don’t we? And all of my friends make up parts of who I am. I have learned from them all, even (and probably especially) the ones who may have parted my company. Iron sharpens iron and love never truly fades away.

It was actually surreal that I could hold her and see her and talk- which both of us couples did for hours! Listening to each other’s journeys over the last few years and we have both been on some unexpected, adventurous journeys!! Growing in faith and trust, and looking to the future with expectation. I re count it today, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to see each other. ❤

 

 

 

Refocusing

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What do you do when you run into someone you would really rather not see?

We all find ourselves in situations where we would rather not run into that person. Maybe it’s just because we’re having an off day and would honestly prefer not to run into any person! Or maybe an unfortunate circumstance happened, and there is still some friction in the relationship. Or perhaps, the problem is within yourself, and you haven’t made amends in your heart toward that person.

I’ve had many such opportunities in the past year, and like it or not, I’ve had to face the music more than once. In my   situation, I caused harm. I asked for forgiveness and some of the people I hurt have extended it to me. Others are on their own journey with it, and I respect that. But what do you do if you come face to face with someone and you would prefer not to?

Here are some of the things I have put into practice when met with these uncomfortable situations:

  • I breathe deeply through my nose and out through my mouth.
  • I release endorphins and serotonin by giving a big, beautiful smile! ( Or in some cases; gently smile, nod and in both cases, keep walking.)
  • I lift my thoughts to God and choose to love Him most.
  • I turn my thoughts to my husband and the journey we have invested a lot of time and energy into.
  • I turn my thoughts to my children and how I want to support them and be the best Julia I can be for them.
  • I realize if I always avoid awkward situations, I make a practice of hiding, and I do not want to hide.
  • I feel the pain. I acknowledge that this is reality, and it hurts!
  • I realize the next time I see this person it will not hurt me as much as it does today. Every day I am getting stronger.
  • I choose to be love, be grace, and be beautiful.
  • I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and use me right where I am.
  • I remind myself that I am forgiven, accepted, and pleasing to God, and that this is the basis of my self-worth, no matter what others may choose to think about me.

 

There are times when you run into someone you would rather not see, and it’s really hard to recover from it, even if you’ve taken some steps ahead of time to prepare. If this happens, you may need to take several days to recover, and that’s OK. Some difficult situations are, well, difficult. Maybe they simply overwhelm your mind. Don’t beat yourself up. And if complete downtime is required, find ways to find times for yourself where nothing is expected of you so you can refresh.

Facing a situation is refocusing your thoughts.

I have followed these steps over and over in my mind when I run into a difficult situation with a person I would rather not see. I realize that in the long run, going through the situation is better than avoiding the situation. Then I give God what I can’t control, knowing He can work all things for good, and what’s more, He wants to!

I hope these ideas are helpful to you, as well. Sometimes being healthy means knowing yourself and your limits, and it means being thoughtful enough to plan ahead for your own mental and emotional well-being. Life is a journey, and it’s okay to make little maps to help yourself navigate it. 🙂

What are some ways you refocus your thoughts in a difficult situation? I want to hear from you today!

Benevolence

bookIn a fast paced world so full of every one’s personal goals, it is nice to see some old fashioned benevolence! My benevolent side has recently started emerging again coinciding with questions I ask my self about what is truly important in life. I took time off, right or wrong, from caring about any one else but my self. There were some really good, right and needful reasons I did that. At the same time, that demanding selfish imp ran a muck, and I found my self preparing for disaster!

One of my best friends recently moved away. Some one who made her self available to me for months on end when I needed support and encouragement. I reached out to help her pack and made meals for her family and helped on moving day….that felt like part of my self that was good.

Another friend of mine has been under such “Job like” distress, her body seemingly attacking itself. I, like she has to me so many times, make my self available to listen, to pray, to clean, to watch her two year old and to massage her aching body….that is a part of myself I like.

Yet another friend has recently moved out of her house to move in with her aging parents. Her father recently had a leg amputated and her mother has Alzheimer’s. She not only had to pack her house up, but pack a great deal of her parents house up before they came home from the rehab facility and before her and her husband could move in. Now she is still sorting through things while being the primary caregiver to two very needy people. I went to help sort, and pack (not very much)- mostly affirm all of her feelings of getting rid of things that belong to her living mother who will never use her once beloved things again….that is a part of myself I can share.

There are a lot of books, blogs and articles written about “paying it forward” and there is truth in it. But some thing the Savior whispered in my ear in the midst of my wandering was; “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and looses his soul.”  Matthew 16:26  Hummmm….

As I am being re built, I feel the really good working parts coming back again, better than ever and with non manufactured giving! I also see a new set of boundaries in place. I can only do what I can do for others, I don’t have to fix it, and I am not the end all! I can “leave”, and that is a giant leap for Julia:-)

As we go in to the weekend, lets think Benevolence. It makes you have to slow down and be more purposed in the moment. It lowers your blood pressure, actually lowers stress and it makes others feel good too…win/win!! Have a great weekend<3