Make A Difference!

 

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This post is to encourage me as much as I hope to encourage you! I shared a sample of it yesterday on LinkedIn.

This weekend I was a vendor at a festival that , in the past, has been wildly successful. The temp had dropped about 20 degrees and all day there was a persistent, steady rain. It was quite gloomy.

For the first 2 hours I only had one customer. I know for certain God sent me that customer, because He wanted to reveal something to me in the way of perspectives. His name was Logan and  he was an amazing 5th grade young man, who wanted to buy a migraine inhaler for his mother (so thoughtful!). He said,  “she would love your business!!”, because she ran a yoga studio and likes to use Aromatherapy with yoga. He then asked me if I would like her name and number!! (Natural Net Worker!)

He told me how his dad was called in last minute to make hamburgers for this particular event, (good example of a positive attitude, dad!). He told me  how his dad played football in college, how his grandpa was pro football until he was injured and how he instead chose wrestling and loves it! (Confident, non-conformer!)  He told me he decided to check out the vendors while his dad was busy. (Showing flexibility in his own morning plans being changed.)

Through the things Logan said with his mouth and said with his body language, he completely inspired me to be my best despite the circumstances! His confidence and positivity was a stark contrast to the dismal, complaining vendors who surrounded me. This interaction with Logan encouraged me to continue to stand up, smile and bring some sunshine to the attendees through out the day, and finish strong when others were closing up shop early.

Guess what? I didn’t do so bad! My sales were down from previous years but they were definitely worth the effort of participating.  I also engaged in mutually helpful conversations and made some great contacts…including Logan’s mom!  I noticed that the vendors who were hunkered down in their seats who were just trying to stay warm, had little or no traffic. Passers by would look over at their booth, but there was no warm invite to proceed in for a closer look!

Through this interaction, I realized that all of the things I have been learning the last several years: the mind renewal, the Autism education, family dynamic counseling, therapies, the set backs, the messiness… has all just really served to make me a stronger, more positive person! I tend to look through situations now and ask God what He is doing in them! I most likely would not have had such a long conversation with such a wonderful young man (who by the way, could be a better employee at age 11, than most!) if it had been a sun-shiny, busy festival day. I definitely give thanks for that opportunity! It was my absolute joy and pleasure.

The moral is: Stay Positive despite your circumstances- there is always something to learn and some way to grow through it.  There is also another moral: I can tell Logan is well loved and cared for- parenting is a tough job and it is never too late to start over with your kids! No one holds more influence over them than you!  #makeadifference #there’sonlyoneyou

I am right here with you walking this path of wholeness and I would love to hear from you today!

Addicted To The Chaos

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Like this page from  Shauna Neiquist’s, Present Over Perfect says, when we are addicted, it is damaging to us. We keep running back to the “false comforter” in what ever form that is, be it a person, a substance, work, busyness, etc., and it does comfort for a minute but it is in a vacuum. What ever comfort we get at the moment is over shadowed by torment the rest of the day…the pull of it is almost unbearable, but it destroys from the inside out.

As we head into a new year, I pray that I would be free from the things that have held me captive and I pray it for you too! Maybe you need to slow down and you know it, but keep putting that off. Maybe you need to cut off an un-healthy relationship and you know it, but you are passive-waiting for a better relationship to come along. Maybe you are addicted to something that you cannot seem to live with out. With man, any of these things can be impossible to over come. But With God, all things are Possible! Emmanuel, God IS With US! And NO ONE, loves you more than Him! The false comforters will destroy us; our minds, our emotions and our relationships. Come to the true Comforter, The Prince of Peace, who is able to do above and beyond what we can ask or think.

Blessings to You in The Name of Jesus in the New Year! True Health to your mind, will and emotions! I am right here, journeying with you, and I would love to hear from you today<3

In A Storm

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With all of the hurricanes that have been hitting the US lately, and as I consider how frightening these times can be for people who are hit the hardest, I have been thinking about the storms I have weathered.

When you are in a storm of this magnitude, you have to keep your head about you and stay focused or you literally could be swept away. I remember a particular time when the circumstances of my life were in such a complete mess and the fall out from it was creating a storm, of such proportion, that I could have become completely emotionally impaired. My husband, George, had been speaking with a person whom we always respected and cared about very deeply, but the man was creating such waves out of his own fears, that my husband and I nearly drown in them.

One particular day, my husband was relaying a conversation to me that he had with this man earlier in the day. My husband was tired and distraught and so was I. As George was speaking, I started to feel that I was actually getting slapped by one enormous wave after another. With every question and accusation the man had posed to him from their earlier conversation, George’s voice actually started to fade into the background even though he was standing right in front of me. Next, my eyes started to glaze and I felt as if the pressure was starting to pull me under the water and I was literally starting to gasp with no strength to resurface. Right at that point, I heard the voice of Jesus clear as a bell; “JULIA!, Look at ME, listen to ME, follow ME!  I actually looked up to where I thought the voice was coming from. The roaring waves immediately turned into serene, foamy, level water! I came to my senses and with a clarity I had not known until that very point and I was able to be in complete peace and not be anxious. The storm, although I was still in it, was completely calmed as I looked to Jesus. It was truly amazing!

Jesus had done something very similar many, many years before with a man named Peter. Peter was a fisher man. He knew in his head that a man cannot walk on water. But one day when he saw Jesus walking on the water and he asked if he could do it! Jesus told him to come, and he actually did walk on water for a bit, but then it says in Matthew 14:30; “but when he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid and began to sink and cried out, saying, “Lord save me!”

It is natural to be afraid when the storms come whether they be natural or figurative. It goes against our natural inclinations to have faith and hold on to an anchor in the midst of a storm, but that is exactly what we must do. The heroic stories coming from the news tell of just such things during these natural disasters and have the theme of focus and faith all through them. We have to choose not to be afraid and place our grasp firmly on the anchor that will never let us be swept away in a storm.

What ever is true….

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I had been reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, so I have been keeping an on going list of 1,000 things that I am thankful for. But recently, while I was on a trip with my son and daughter, I purchased a handy, little book on Mindfulness and Relaxation exercises written by Dr. Arlene Unger. It had a very helpful and stretching recommendation to write a list from a-z just for that day with the first word corresponding with the letter of the alphabet.

Although this was an important and bonding trip for all of us, it also had it’s usual familial tensions!! The particular day that I wrote this list out, I was really dealing with a wide array of emotions. It was not at all difficult for me to list my son and daughter on the list or anything having to do with being together, but other aspects of the list took me more effort. It was a challenge and it forced me to give thanks to God for everything in my day and take the time to really ponder it all.

What a simple but profound routine to pull back and re focus on the positives of the day, and I see how it helped, particularly when my emotions could have run wild! The Bible says to think about what ever is; true, noble, just, pure, lovely, a good report, virtuous or praiseworthy- meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8) ❤

 

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. ❤

 

 

 

Choosing Forgiveness

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I’ve been understanding forgiveness on a whole new level over the last year. I’ve dealt with asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving others and not being forgiven. One thing I completely agree with James McDonald on: “Christians need to be masters at forgiveness.” This is a challenging thought, but it’s true. And whether you’re a Christian or not, you know forgiveness changes your life and allows things to move in a healthy way that would be impossible otherwise.

The biggest challenge and help to me has been to understand that, “I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted, deeply loved and absolutely complete in Christ” (Robert McGee, The Search for Significance).

With God’s help in believing this is true, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I want to be rebuilt and energized in that truth, so I can do everything I was created to do in this life and not waste one more second in unbelief.

I want to encourage you that this is possible! You can change your life, your patterns, your habits, your hangups, and your failures. You can take that mustard seed of faith and it can grow into a flourishing tree!

I completely relate to King David when he said, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Forgiveness is not an easy road, and the battle is mostly in the mind. But unless I believe (without seeing) that forgiveness produces good fruit and leads to a more abundant life, I will give in to hopelessness and despair. I have been there many times, and it does not bear anything good! Not for me or any one else around me.

So, I am encouraging myself even as I write this, and hope I encourage you today!I encourage you to check your heart, investigate the things that weigh you down, and ask yourself if there is an area in your life (or that situation you can’t let go of) in which you really haven’t forgiven a person, or even God. Don’t let this day pass without getting it out in the open, confessing it, and receiving forgiveness for it. Don’t carry it around another minute, day, or year. This is precisely the Reconciliation Jesus Christ provided to us through the cross and what we can meditate on further through this Resurrection weekend. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can greatly aid us on this journey of forgiveness<3

 

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!