Friday, November 17, 2017

Are You Spiritually Cozy




The first cool snap of the year recently hit the deep south.  It was a day I had been waiting for!  My favorite time to walk is early morning and as I stuck my head out to feel the cool air, excitement filled my heart.  For the past several months, the focus for walking clothes was comfortable and cool. This day, I chose a beautiful jacket which was warm and cozy and began my walk.

Walking down the driveway, watching the rising sun and feeling the cool air on my face was fabulous. My warm jacket felt great as I began the walk. It didn't take very long for that cozy jacket to get a little warm. With a long way to go, I unzipped it to get a little cooler. Well then, at the bottom, it began to swing and the zipper pieces flew into my hands with every stride. Finally after getting too hot with it on, it came off.  Then it was where do I keep it? Before long, I was cold again!  Returning home from an almost miserable walk, I determined that 'warm and cozy' jacket wasn't one made to go for walks in.  Although it felt wonderful at first, it was too heavy and restricted movements needed for the walk. 

Pondering what went wrong on the walk, the thought came, 'Are we spiritually cozy?' As Christians, we bask in the fact that God loves us, He has great plans for us and He is so wonderful. Those are truths to wrap around us. They comfort us in trying times, they are truths to fall back on when life gets hard. Like a warm jacket we put around us, we are safe, secure, warm and cozy.

Warm and cozy is wonderful and surely has it's place in our life. Rest, comfort, stillness are vital to our well being. But like on the recent walk, I needed something different. Warm and cozy hindered my moving, make me hot, uncomfortable and took the enjoyment out of the walk because I was focused on how uncomfortable I was. There is another jacket in my closet, an athletic jacket. It is lightweight, thin and flowing. I provides warmth, but also allows free movement.

Sometimes, spiritually we 'go for a walk'. There are times we find some action to do, in service, volunteering, or meeting a need for others.  We need those times of spiritual activity. In the Bible we read about times to move:  'faith without works is dead', 'we are created for good works', 'do everything as unto the Lord' projecting a spirit of excellence. We are called to be a blessing, to minister to others, to share the good news of the Gospel.  It should never be confused that we 'work' our way to God, but that God works in us, His love so that we reach out to share that love with others. 

After a time of sitting and being wrapped up God's love which is warm and cozy, may we be ready to put our work clothes on and be energized to go about doing good. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Some Friends You Need


If you ever want to know how others see you, ask your children.  They can be brutally honest! My teenage son likes to play a game of guessing who is on the other end of the phone. By the tone of my voice he can narrow it down to three friends who may be on the other end of the call. It's a combination of being known so well he can decipher my voice modes and picking up that voice tone that is used with familiarity. 
Those 3 friends are ones I can be totally myself with. They understand me completely and we can share openly together. 

Those close friendships are wonderful and a vital part of a woman's life. We need friends who understand us, who we are comfortable with and can share most anything with. Friendships are important, but also require time and effort to cultivate. It takes being intentional and purposeful to keep a friendship alive. Therefore, we should choose our friends very wisely. Who we surround ourselves with makes a big difference in who we will become

There are the four kinds of people we all need in our lives.That said, here are some tips to find these kind of people:  

1 – Be with those who help you be you.
You are wired the way you are for a reason — to make this world a better place, and bring God glory, with your unique set of gifts. Surround yourself with people who want to nurture that person.

2 – Be with those who believe in your dreams.
We need cheerleaders on our journey. We need people who will see the best in us. We need friends who will help us stand up when we fall — because they believe in our dreams as much as we do.

3 – Be with those who make you better, not bitter.
There’s enough negativity in the world; try not to insulate yourself with people who see the worst in everything. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity. Find the positive people, and be one of those people

4 – Be with those who aren’t afraid to hold you accountable.
Often, the people who believe in you the most — the ones “who help you be you” — are the same people who aren’t afraid to speak truth when it needs to be spoken. Keep those friends especially close.

 “The journey of life isn’t about how far we go — it’s about who’s with us.”

A final note: It’s not enough to surround yourself with these people. BE one of those friends to the people in your life.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Garlic Honey

Cold and Flu season is coming up fast!  Now is the time to be prepared instead of waiting until sickness strikes.

I recently made up a batch of honey garlic.  We try this time of year to incorporate more garlic into our diet due to it's wonderful benefits. It is sprinkled on salads, mixed with butter and parsley for a spread, added while cooking to a variety of food dishes.  But sometimes it helps to get a good dose in to ward off an oncoming illness.

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Garlic is a powerful immune-booster. It is very effective against  bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Honey also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, so when you combine the two, you’ve got a great aid to help you fight sore throats, colds or the flu.  When infused in honey, raw garlic becomes far more palatable.   At the first sign of a sore throat (or a cold or the flu), we are ready to start popping honey infused garlic.  One clove a few times a day is an effective, natural way to build immunity and fight germs. 

Here is how to make Garlic Honey

Ingredients:
*3 heads of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
*raw honey to fill your glass jar of choice (raw honey is more nutritious than store-bought honey)

Directions:
1. Fill jar with garlic cloves and then pour the honey over the garlic. Allow mixture to infuse for several days before using, then store in the refrigerator.

2. At the first sign of illness, start eating a clove a few times a day. The honey can be taken on its own by the spoonful as a cough syrup. You could also mix a teaspoon of the honey with some raw apple cider vinegar and hot water and drink this as a tonic when you're sick; feel free to add a dash of cayenne pepper, too- this is excellent for your sinuses.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thankful Prompts

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Happy November!

I LOVE November, well actually, I LOVE all fall months!  But November is special because some anticipation is building for the upcoming  holidays.  It's ok to begin browsing the Christmas section at the store (which has been up for a few months now!), it's a time to plan for some family time at Thanksgiving and while all that anticipation is beginning, it is a time to slow down and count your blessings.

There are several detailed plans that encourage us to count our blessings from sharing a blessing a day to 30 day gratitude devotions, to writing notes of thanksgiving to others.  It's never been easier to count your blessings!  

This year I found something a little different.  It is Thanksgiving Journal Prompts. Through writing I've learned 'prompts' are little nudges of creativity that can jump start the thought process and focus the direction of writing. It reigns in focus and encourages deliberate intentionally on a single subject. 

Journal prompts for thanksgiving encourage us to write our prayers with a prompt. Writing out our prayers is a great form of prayer, because it forces us to slow down and really think about our prayers as we’re writing.

With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, here are 20 Thanksgiving journal prompts to ponder and create an attitude of gratitude.

1. A prayer of thanksgiving for something you’ve been blessed by lately.

2. A prayer of thanksgiving for your church.

3. Write out your favorite verse, and then use that verse to write out a prayer.

4. A prayer about something you feel is lacking in your spiritual life, and thank God that He is completing a good work in you.

5. A prayer of thanks for who God is – use a specific name of God.

6. A prayer of thanksgiving and blessing for your neighbors.

7. A prayer of confession, and then thankfulness for God’s forgiveness.

8. A list of worries, and then thankfulness that we can cast all our cares on Him.

9. A prayer of thanksgiving for your spouse.

10. A prayer of thanksgiving for someone in your life.

11. A prayer for your needs, and then thanksgiving for God’s provision.

12. A prayer of thanksgiving for a missionary.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

I'll Love You Forever

Baby Loss Awareness Week sale I carried you by LemonsThatArePink








As October fades away, there is one more story to share for National Pregnancy Loss month. Physically there are three methods of miscarriage - naturally, a d&c procedure and an ectopic pregnancy which requires surgery.  Interestingly enough, all three of mine were different physically, covering each of these methods. 




After two healthy children and two miscarriages, I became pregnant. Surely this won't happen again was the thought as we cautiously began the pregnancy.  A call for a doctors appointment was put off until after 6 weeks, which was when the other miscarriages had happened.  Sure enough, spotting began and inwardly devastated, put on a non-emotional face as we headed to the doctor.  I'll never forget sitting up with that hardened, protective shell on as the doctor walked in. It was the same gentle doctor from my last miscarriage and he walked in and in the most tender voice said "doggone it, Joyce".  I just melted and let the tears flow. He allowed me the freedom to choose whether to go home and let nature take it's course or do another d&c.  Blood tests determine for certain whether a miscarriage is happening and they had not been taken yet. Since it was not confirmed, I didn't want to do a d&c, so went home. 

Several days passed and physically healing was beginning.  During supper one night, the phone rang.  It was the doctor and he told me the pregnancy hormone in my blood was rising which may mean an ectopic pregnancy. He was going out of town for a week and didn't want to let it go that long, so he quickly scheduled surgery for the next day.  The surgery proved it was an ectopic pregnancy and I spent the night in the hospital recovering in the labor and delivery ward. The sounds of fetal heartbeats and babies crying filled the hallways and pierced my heart.  An empty womb is a sorrowful place.  

Returning home to heal, hope was quickly fading for another child. Preparing myself to accept that, I came to understand a complete dependence on God. There was absolutely nothing I could do to keep a healthy pregnancy, but to trust if He wanted to bless us with another child, that would be the only way it would happen.  Since we were at pregnancy loss number 3, this seemed like a good time to give up on the dream of child #3.  We moved on, focused on the wonderful sons God gave us and gave away every baby item in the house.  If I could make a choice, I would never go through another miscarriage again. A family of 4 we would happily be. 

If you know us personally, you know our story did not end there.  But that is another miracle story to post about soon.  

But these personal stories are shared as this month reminds us miscarriage is a very real heartache that 1 in 4 women face. This has been a time of stretching myself as I'm not used to sharing things so personal. A favorite verse of mine is II Corinthians 1:4  "Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  In times of uncomfortable sharing, may this be a blessing to others and point them to the place we received help.  Sharing my story surely brought up some memories I have kept hidden deep in my heart, but also reminders that shattered lives are all around us, if it is in our power to reach out and help, we should do it. 

Underneath all of the pain of loss, there is a mother's deep love for her child. Even if the child was never seen or held that love began the moment of realization that life began in her womb. That love will cover that child forever. 

Baby Loss Awareness Week sale I carried you by LemonsThatArePink