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Showing posts from March, 2011

Nourishing the Body and Spirit

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Challenge Day: 39 I just finished reading chapter 13 of The Power of the Praying Parent , it talked about having the desire to live a healthy. Today's chapter in this book is about nourishing your body and spirit. The authors recalls a time when she went to visit her daughter and son in law in Morocco. While visiting she learned one of their customs which they referred to as "afternoon visits". At around 4 pm neighbors would go out and visit other neighbors without any advance notice or planning. No one complained about it or found it inconvenient. Upon returning to the United States she missed attending afternoon visits and wished that we had customs like that here in the US. As time passed she forgot about it until one day on her birthday she received a call from a friend who was inviting her over for an unexpected birthday lunch. That day she was nourished by her friends meal, friendship, and kind gesture. As I read the chapter I thought about how important be

Enjoying the Gift of Music

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Challenge Day: 36 Music is something that can be used for both good and evil. I can tell you first hand about the influences of music in my life. I have been around music most of my life. I began playing instruments at a young age and have been involved in bands and choirs thought the years. There have been a few times in my life when I have found myself wrapped up in secular music and noticed the negative influence it had. Most recently, I found that I needed to clean my iPod out because a lot of what I had on there was music that didn't glorify God and my boys were learning it. They have such great memory, they can memorise anything very quickly. It was when I heard my boys singing secular music and not knowing what they were saying, that it hit me, I had to turn on the Christian station and have them fill their little brains with uplifting inspiring music that glorified God. This year the words of the music I hear on the Christian station have been so comforting to me and

Mourning into Joy

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Challenge Day: 34 The author tells of when her father was in his last hours of life. As she stood there watching her father dying, she wanted to be there but at the same she didn't. Then she thought of Philippians 3:14 and realized that though it was very sad to see her father dying, he was finishing his race here on earth. When she was told that her father was gone she said, " He made it! I wanted to shout Hallelujah!, he has crossed the finish line, and now he was in full possession of the prize for which had run so long and hard. Though I miss my father very much, I have great peace knowing that he is safe and at rest in the Lord he loved and served all his life. Praise the God that turns mourning into joy!" I'm not going to write much on this chapter because I have never had to go through that experience. The closest that I come to the loss of a loved one was the death of my mother in law. She passed away in 2009, at young age, from cancer. I can't imag

Reflecting on God's Goodness

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Challenge Day: 33 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 To reflect on God's goodness I think you have to be able to see the good things around you, the blessings He bestows. If we are always focusing on the negative aspect of life or the tough times that come, we will miss the blessings. God doesn't want us to suffer, suffering is part of sin, and we will go through pain. But if you seek God, you will be able to reflect on His goodness. I have to admit that though I am a born and raised Christian, I never really had a relationship with God until this year. These past few months have been very stressful and it's through this time that I have seen first hand the love of God and His goodness. How, do you ask? I have made a decision to make time for Him everyday and ask Him to take my life in His hands. First example, I didn't want to be yelling a my kids or raising my voice at them just because I was stressed, irrit

Sharing the Joy

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Challenge Day: 32 Karen was at a seminar, when a man approached her and asked if she was Karen O'Connor. She said yes, and the man proceeded to tell her that he had read her article, in Reader's Digest, and had not liked it. Karen began to feel bad and second guess her article, but then realized that she believed in what she had written and she was not going to allow anyone to take away her joy. The article was about always making the effort to share with other's life moments whether joyous or solemn. She kindly apologized and said she needed to return to the seminar. As she began to walk away, the man said, "don't you want to hear the rest of the story?" She didn't really want to hear anymore and kept walking. He then shouted, "it worked!" Karen stopped and turned around, he told her that though he didn't like the article he mulled over the words and then realized she was right. He decided to attend a family reunion that he had been

Choosing to Love

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Challenge Day: 31 The author recalls the story of her friend, Kris, that was caring for her aging parents. The responsibility of their care rested solely on her because she was an only child and that made it extra hard. Her parents would go over to eat a few times a week. Just when things started to become overwhelming, something wonderful happened, her husband began pitching in. One day when her mom was having a really hard time and was being irritable, Kris's husband held her hand and said, "Mom let's have some ice cream!" He knew it was her favorite, at that instance she changed her demeanor. That action not only changed her mom, but Kris too, she saw her husband in a new light. She knew that she could always count on his love and kindness no matter what happened later in life. That night everyone experienced joy all because her husband chose love over negativity. The human heart cannot love the way God wants us to love, unless we first open our hearts to Him.

Holding On to Joy

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Challenge Day: 30 It was New Year's Day and Dan was finishing up dinner when the phone rang. It was his daughter calling to cancel her dinner plans, with her father and brother, for the third year in a row. Dan was upset, he took a deep breath and told her exactly how he felt. After he hung up the phone he said he felt a sense of joy and he that he wasn't going to let anything take that joy away. He said he started a daily inventory of his thoughts and asked God to help him in dealing with his adult children. And he was learning to trust more in God and less in himself. No one can make us happy or take our joy because it's through God that we can experience joy. So here is how I've been holding on to joy. As I motioned in my last post, I have recently gone through a tough time, but I have seen and felt the love of God. The joy that I'm experiencing is the joy that God is with me. I've come to understand that no matter what I go though I can find peace and

Listening with a Happy Heart

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Challenge Day: 29 If anyone is like the author and I, who love to talk and talk, you know that listening sometimes is a difficult task. The author, Karen, tells about how as a child all she did was talk, at school, at home, at the dinner table, and on the phone, but she wasn't much of a listener. It's important that we take the time to listen to people. Sometimes listening to someone is the best thing you can so for them. I too remember when I was young, I got into a lot of trouble at school for talking in class. I think I took all the talking genes in my family because I can talk like there is no tomorrow. I also now how frustrating it is when someone doesn't listen to what I am saying, so I am working on really listening to what people have say. Listening is a hard task because I'm used to thinking of what I'm going to say next, what advice or suggestion would be best. However, I know there have been times when I'm listening to a friend and may not kn

Experiencing Joy in Tough Times

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Challenge Day: 28 This chapter beings with the story of Becky, a mother of two little ones, who was suddenly hospitalized with an unknown condition. As time passed she kept getting worse and worse until one day she fell unconscious. She was also loosing blood flow to her fingers and toes. After much time and many tests later, she was diagnosed with flesh eating disease. The family prepared for the worse. Becky's mom began to pray and asked God for His will to be done. With time she began to get better, but due to lack of blood flow she had her fingers partially amputated. Though her daughter now had to learn to live with parts of fingers missing, Becky's mom experienced joy because God had given her daughter a second chance at life. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it's water roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surgi

Connecting with Loved Ones

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Challenge Day: 27 Today's chapter once again had two stories but the one that caught my attention was of a young woman who quit her job and put school on hold to reconnect with loved ones. She spent 5 months traveling most of the country and parts of Canada visiting family and friends. When she returned from her adventure she said she came back seven thousand dollars poorer, yet millions richer with life experiences. " When we give to others we give to ourselves as well, and when we do something special for ourselves it spills into the lives of those we love." Today's task was to plan a visit with a loved one and create a plan of what I would like to do. Most of my loved ones live in Florida, and be that I will be moving there soon, I thought it would be great to reconnect with not just one, but three women in my family. I am planning to take one day a month to get together with my mom, sister in law, and my husband's grandmother by having a girls day out.

Stepping Out with Gladness

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Challenge Day: 26 The author recalls the day that her father picked her up from school on her 10th birthday and took her to the lake to ice skate. It was one of the most memorable times she had, she felt joyful and secure skating hand in hand with her dad. Many years later, she was invited to her granddaughters birthday party, which was being held at an ice skating rink. She agreed to attend but said she won't be skating. By the time the party came she had decide to skate and would step out in gladness on the ice for her granddaughter. Though she was scared and wished her dad was there to hold her hand, she realized that God was there helping her though this. If God would help her through something like ice skating he would most definitely be there for her for all the bigger things in life. I was asked today to write about a time when I challenged myself to try something new. Starting my own blog was something new I wanted to try. Part of me thought it was great idea and a

Turning Darkness into Light

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Challenge Day: 25 When we go through valleys of darkness how do we come to the light? Many of us see the dark periods in our life as hopeless times and yet we don't realize that the light, God, is right there in front of you. Today the author told two stories about two women who saw the light amid the darkness. First, was Fanny Crosby, who had been living in literal darkness since the age of six weeks. She didn't let that stop her from becoming one of the most well known women of the 19th century. It was her deep trust and joy in the Lord that allowed her to see her challenges as an opportunity instead of a tragedy. Next was Pearl Buck, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. While living in China, there was a time of revolt and they were taken captive. She had written her first novel there and had been destroyed along with their home. Upon being released from captivity she not only felt freedom, but joy in knowing that all material things can be replaced, but

Appreciating a Second Chance

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Challenge Day: 24 Today's chapter really hit home with me. I have just in the last couple of weeks been given a second chance and know the feeling. The author (Karen) tells about a time that she was given a second chance. She lived in a condo where she had a neighbor above that had grown a plant that was hanging down into her condo. It really bothered her because it was in her space and part of the plant was dying. She was so frustrated by it she wanted to cut it. Her husband told her to leave it alone because it wasn't her plant. She didn't listen and one day she took her sheers and cut the plant. Her reasoning was that she pruned it so that it could grow healthier. When she returned home, later that day, she heard a women crying and talking to someone about how a cruel person mutilated her plant. Karen felt so bad, she had to run up and apologize for what she had done. She went out and bought the prettiest plant she could find for her neighbor. The neighbor wa

Responding to the Spirit's Prompting

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Challenge Day: 23 Today I read about Lynn, who was getting ready to move from Hawaii to California. In the hustle and bustle of moving she found herself frustrated with what she was going to take and have to leave. Suddenly, a breeze blew and the wind chimes on her porch got her attention. She realized that she had been spending all this time fussing over her stuff and God was telling her to relax. She felt better and was more relaxed a she went back to her tasks. Sometimes we get so busy with the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives we forget to stop and smell the roses. We could be missing many things that God wants us to see. The author told about a time when she was driving home and noticed a lady who was mowing her law and seem to be having trouble. When she got home she felt the spirit prompting her to do the right thing and go back to offer the lady some help. So she got in the car and went back. When she got there she ask if she could help with her yard work, the

Simplifying with Delight

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Challenge Day: 22 I really enjoyed today's reading because I related so much to it. The author talked about getting rid of clutter in your life and not just from unnecessary items in your home, but also from within yourself. She defined simplicity as being freedom from useless accessories, ornamentation show, pretense, and clutter. To simplify your life mean to put things into prospective, like buying things out of necessity not want. If we want everything we see we end up with things we aren't even going to use. I highlighted the following paragraph in the book as I thought it was very inspirational. Practicing simplicity involves prudence. I discovered this the hard way as I tripped over umpteen pairs of shoes I hadn't worn for years! Take it from me: Think twice before buying what you want. Buy what you need! Do we really need ten pairs of shoes, for example, or two irons and two can openers, or a television in each room? Can we enjoy our clothing for several s

Becoming a Stream in the Desert

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Challenge Day: 21 Today's story was about the author's father in law, Charlie, and of a story he used to tell about Black Tuesday. The day before the start of the great depression he was going to go to the bank and withdraw some money, but never got a chance and the next day the stock market crashed. He ran into his friend, Miles Butler, and told him what had happened. Miles had $700 cash, all he had left, and gave Charlie half. Many years later, 60 to be exact, the author's husband came across a woman with the last name Butler and he mentioned the story to her. A few days later the woman returned to the store with a message, Miles Butler had been the brother of her paternal grandfather. The things we do in our lives make an impact, whether good or bad, on peoples lives for much longer than we think. Today's task was to consider when we have been through the desert of life and have found a stream, or when we have been a stream for someone in the desert. I have

Noticing Signs of Hope

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Challenge Day: 20 The author wrote about Christmas being a sign of hope because of the reason for the season, Jesus. We have to look for hope in our times of sadness and despair. There's a story of a lady named Lynn, who was taking care of her ailing father who was suffering from kidney disease. One day when she was in the parking lot, after dropping her father off for dialysis, she noticed a bare tree that looked frail and weak. The tree reminded her of her father and his failing health. She said that suddenly a red breasted robin landed on the tree and just like that she saw the bird as a sign of hope amid sadness. She realized that instead of feeling sad all the time for her father, she instead should be thankful for the days she still had with him. When we are going through rough patches in our lives it's really hard to see any signs of hope, but if we stop and really look, they are there. The older I get the more I understand that most people who are unhappy feel t

Giving up Our Right to Be Right

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Challenge Day: 19 That is something that is very difficult for us to do as human beings. We never want to be wrong and we want to make sure that people know we are right. The author said that when we behave in this manner we end up feeling tense and irritable and that giving up the right to be right is something that we should do for ourselves. It's an act that does not need to be approved by others or even noticed. This past weekend on my way to Nashville, I witnessed first hand the act of NOT giving up your right to be right. I was at a stop light and in the opposite direction there was a lot of traffic due to a tornado that had caused damage the night before. A women realized she was in the wrong lane and put her turn signal to move into the other lane. The man in the car next to her wouldn't give her the chance to get in, so she accelerated and got in front of him. This man was not willing to give up his right to be right. In fact, he was so angry at what she has done

Entering Someone Else's World

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Challenge Day: 18 Back in September my aunt gave me a book for my birthday entitled Squeeze the Moment, 31 Days to a More Joyful Heart. I finally picked it up today and decided to spend the 31 days of March learning how to be more joyful. As moms there are many things that we should be joyful for, but sometimes amid the daily grind we may not see those joys. In the book the author tell a story in reference to the daily topic and then asks the reader to jot down their thoughts about what they read. The author writes about a woman who recalls one of the first gifts that her husband gave her and how it wasn't something most women would think was romantic, it was a rod and reel. Fishing may not have been her thing, but her husband wanted to share his passions with his wife. Many years later she is grateful and joyous that she was able to enter her husband's world and share her life with him. I've known several women who let their marriages get ruined by not wanting to enter