1,000 Blessings

Good morning, dear readers! Can you believe it is only three days until Christmas? I hope you have been savoring the holiday season … counting every blessing and thanking the good Lord for it. For every gift comes from Him! ❤

I thought I’d share with you, today, some of my blessings list! You don’t have to read the whole thing 😉 … but perhaps it will inspire you to start looking around you and seeing the joys.

What are you most excited about concerning Christmas? Sweet time with family and friends? Rest? Delicious food? Thoughtful gifts? Precious Christmas hymns? Candlelight services? Laughter and games?

Have you let your heart be still and in awe of the loving Messiah?

Please comment below with a list of YOUR blessings! 🙂 Let’s share the JOY OF THE LORD!

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My Blessing List

family around the table

cutting up sweet potatoes at the kitchen counter

reading beautiful, poetic writing

new people in the house

laughter

a child’s innocence

playing games with my family

chocolate

women’s Bible study

late-night run to town

singing along to the radio with sisters

sharing from the heart

book mail

uncontrollable laughter

story inspiration

helpful reminders & encouraging comments on my blog

precious words of God

fiery orange tree

laughter in the morning

long walks

fall festivals

sharing prayer requests

Ann Voskamp’s testimony

needs met

phone call with dear, sweet friend

breathless tears and laughter

prayer in the quiet of the morning

health issues not as bad today

smell of freshly-made soap

little brother’s happy voice

fall scenery

exploring downtown with sisters

thunderstorm

selling soap

sunflower butter oatmeal bowl

rainy morning

new month

feeling good after workout

dressing up pretty

savory food

encouraging Youtube videos

leaves on the ground

rays of sun, amidst the cool air, like a balm on my face

little brother playing with my hair

hot tea

organized and clean space

vacuuming the floors

trying a new recipe

cooking wholesome food

vigorous walk in the cold

wood stacked snugly, ready for winter

pumpkin pie

less anxiety than usual

starting a new & exciting book

leaves blowing past my window

pastor speaking with passion, joy, and humor

lovely conversations with my aunts

seeing new people

growing fellowship in church

pastor speaking truth

gas in my car

genuine smiles

day of rest

writing blog post, happy

family Bible study

hugs from my ladies’ group

encouragement & counsel from friend

lunch, coffee, conversation

prayer time in the night

getting soaps labeled

fresh, clean, healthy hair

good book

prayer time

laughter with sisters over movies

job interview

Bible reading plans

godly women who support me

cozy, roaring fire

friends coming to visit

feeling of  overwhelming peace and joy

texts from dear ones

songs

encouraging words, warming the heart

seeing sister in the morning, who unexpectedly stayed home from work

pretty frost on the trees

dragon time essential oil

people following my little blog

laughing & dancing with mom and siblings

laughter

Chick-fil-A fries

quality time with people

baking & cooking for Thanksgiving

people

hope

sunshine coming through my window

catching up on my to-do list

anticipating little brother or sister

Thanksgiving food, rest, joy, and fellowship

fire humming in the fireplace

a day ahead of me

sweet, gracious friends

anticipation, faith, and expectation

books

blogging

laughing until I cry

the ability to express thoughts & ideas through writing

Advent family devotional

praying with my family

sibling camaraderie

truth

phone calls with friends

anticipating going to Christian conference

Bible studies

kind, caring words spoken to me

shopping with sisters

singing along to Christmas songs

power of prayer

cookie exchange

cozy living room

organzing

laughter and fun games with siblings, cousins, and friends

Christmas cards

the wonder of the season

buying Christmas gifts for family

hope

birthday wishes & outing with special friends

sweet & beautiful words from friends

pizza, gluten-free & dairy-free

wandering through huge bookstores

buying books

chocolate cake with whip cream frosting (and safe for me to eat!!)

warm weather

cleaning my room

the Holy Spirit, filling my heart with passion & joy, and my eyes with tears

Bible study & fellowship at friend’s cozy house

mint green purse

brother coming for Christmas!

stepping out of church into snow swirling; fat snowflakes falling on me; driving home through winter wonderland

prayer time bringing peace to my soul

Jesus’ words … the way they comfort me

Christ, my Joy

O HOLY NIGHT – Scotty McCreery

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Dear Fellow Women … When You Feel Unwell

Hello, readers. I’m here to admit something to you. I don’t feel like writing. No, ma’am. I don’t feel like doing much of anything. Besides vacuuming, gallivanting around town, cooking, or eating chocolate cookies.

Does that sound like a strange array of options? It probably is. I have been in a weird mood and I’m not sure how to snap out of it.

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So. I’ve been dealing with a cold and some health issues since around Thanksgiving. I’ve been feeling better in some areas, but as I’ve mentioned before, even slightly prolonged physical unwellness inspires feelings of anxiety, listlessness, and hopelessness.

And, for the last few days, it’s been somewhat extreme feelings of frustration, irritability, and offensiveness. I feel the need to take on every sassy, untrue, uncertain, or untoward comment and talk it over until it’s quite dead. And then I’m more tired and frustrated than before.

I just can’t seem to get rid of this dark cloud that’s looming over me.

Today’s been a little better. (I still had to force myself to just start writing this post.) But I wanted to share and maybe start a conversation with you ladies who follow this blog. How can we understand our crazy emotions and what can we do to make it better?

Well, fellow women, maybe some of you don’t deal with dark clouds and mood swings and extreme frustration for days on end. But I imagine a lot of you do. The first thing I want to say is that you should read this book called Jump Off the Hormone Swing by Lorraine Pintus. It is a very informational, humorous, relatable, and helpful book. It definitely addresses that dark cloud that some of us flounder under more than we ever want to.

jump off the hormone swing

So if you’re a woman who is just struggling with emotional health, I would very much recommend this book, just to assure you that you’re not alone and give some very helpful tips. And even show how Satan tries to use our weaknesses in these areas to get us to stray from God’s perfect path.

The second thing I want to say is that I don’t think these kind of extreme emotional issues should be considered “normal”. I think there is a bigger underlying problem, and it doesn’t just come down to you’re a woman, so deal with it.

You need to start eating healthier. Go off foods such as sugar and bad fats. Or even dairy. Or you need to start exercising regularly. Do some light strength work-outs with weights (such as kettle bell swings and Turkish get-ups!) Perhaps you are lacking Vitamin B6, magnesium, or iron and need to start taking supplements (I don’t have much knowledge of what the symptoms of lacking these things are, but I know I’ve had to take supplements for all three!) Maybe you need to look into balancing your hormones naturally. You might need to start taking natural supplements for anxiety.

Don’t take my word for it. Find a trusted naturopathic doctor and get their input. The reason I say naturopathic doctor is because my experience with regular doctors hasn’t gotten me anywhere when it comes to these issues. Some are better than others, of course. But mainly, the responses I get are: that’s normal. Take more Advil. Go on the pill.

But I don’t think it’s normal. I don’t want a band-aid – I think there is a problem that needs to be addressed. And Advil and the birth control pill are both things that are not healthy for you to be on/taking.

So. Read good books and blogs. And find a good doctor who will get to the root of the problem and help you find healing. (wellnessmama.com is a blog that my  mom loves, and I’ve followed a bit myself.)

And while you’re unwell and in the midst of the frustration, remember to give yourself grace and search for little things that will help. But be vigilant to keep yourself from letting your frustration, pain, and irritability spill out as anger on everyone around you. It’s not their fault that you’re struggling and not feeling well.

And your pain doesn’t justify your sin. (Speaking to myself here.)

So vacuum the floors if it helps! *laughs* I like vacuuming because it’s simple and methodic, and I feel useful in my dark state. The floors almost always need to be vacuumed in my house!

As long you aren’t neglecting import things, it’s okay to get out of the house and flee to town. Maybe you need to grocery shop or do your Christmas shopping. Or maybe you should meet a friend at a coffee shop and have a good chat. Or pray silently while you wander around stores.

Cook a meal for your family! That’s always helpful. 🙂

Don’t eat too many chocolate cookies. Especially if they’re not low-sugar like mine. 😉 But a little bit of chocolate is probably good for you. *laughs*

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, go find some ways to serve your community. Bring your neighbors some cookies. Join a group that’s singing Christmas songs in nursing homes. Put together a gift basket for a family in need.

If you can work something out with your family, husband, children, whoever … explain that you need some alone time. Go sit in God’s presence and just rest. Take a hot shower and let the stress and anger drain away. Take a nap if you’re exhausted. Work on a little project by yourself. Put on some soothing music. Take a vigorous walk in the cold. Read a few chapters of a book. Put some lavender essential oil (I recommend Young Living) in a diffuser.

And trust God, my dear ladies. He cares about every detail. Yes, even our emotional well-being.

Let me know in the comments if you struggle with health issues and what you’ve done about it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can email me through my Contact tab. I would love to pray for you and about your journey to health and wholeness. ❤

Church a Light?

What is the use of a lamp-stand if there is no light to shine from it?

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In the book of Revelation, the churches are referred to somewhere as lamp-stands, and it got me thinking … Do our churches in this day and age lift up Christ high and shine a light for miles in every direction?

Or are they glorified, but empty, lamp-stands; taking in ideas and thoughts, but not spreading the Message outward into the world?

I’ve heard some Christian speakers say: “The Church in America is more influenced by the Culture than the Culture is by the Church.”

That’s why we have Christian couples living together before marriage, and no one calls them out. That’s why pornography is rampant among Christian men. That’s why you hear so many Christians saying, “Well … I don’t know if the homosexual lifestyle is really a sin. The Bible doesn’t say anything about it …”. That’s why divorce is widely accepted in Christian circles and the Bible verses condemning it ignored. That’s why we have Christian women dressing in very sensual and provocative ways. That’s why we have Christians doling out verbal or emotional abuse and thinking nothing of it. That’s why we have Christians spewing out foul language, idolizing ungodly celebrities, getting drunk, speaking hatefully, and just generally living self-consumed, materialistic, entertainment-crammed lives.

I can’t help but wonder if we’ve gotten church wrong, and that’s why we find ourselves where we are today.

2 Timothy 4:2-5

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Maybe church is less about checking a box, and more about doing life with fellow believers who are passionate about Christ.

Maybe church is less about numbers, and more about close relationships within the Body.

Colossians 3:12-17

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

See, we have these huge churches and are constantly pulling people in. We call people to the altar, but offer no discipleship. And soon, our church building is packed full of people we know nothing about. Are they living Christ-like lives? Is there a habitual sin that needs to be addressed in someone’s life? Is someone suffering abuse at the hands of a faithful church-goer? Is someone drowning in anxiety and depression, but just pastes on a smile every Sunday? Are half of our members even Christians at all?

We don’t know.

There is no longer deep fellowship in many churches today. There is no keeping people accountable. There is no meeting the church people’s needs together. There is no discipleship and spurring one another on toward good deeds in their personal, day-to-day life.

Hebrews 10:19-25

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

I think we’ve lost the ministry of calling people out, rebuking, and reconciliation. We’ve lost personal, deep, hard, beautiful relationships with our fellow church-goers. And this is a deep loss, indeed.

Matthew 18:20

20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Church has become more about great music and an inspirational, 45-minute sermon. And then you slip out of the building and back into your life without anyone any the wiser about you, your presence, your life, your pain, your confusion, your sin. Anything.

As a result, we have Christian singles, couples, and families who are isolated and deeply struggling.

And we have churches watering down the gospel and adopting unBiblical doctrine, either because they think Truth is too radical and not bringing enough people in, or the church is already filled with a bunch of half-hearted Christians who don’t know their Bible and, ultimately, aren’t submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord.

James 1:22

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Many churches aren’t teaching their members what it means to follow Christ. Not really. They aren’t teaching people to live a passionate, set-apart life out of an unashamed love for Christ Jesus. They aren’t teaching people to have a deep, committed love for each other, the bride of their beloved Lord.

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What can we do to change?

We need to get serious about fellowship and community. We need to sincerely seek God, as individuals, and then share what He’s teaching us with others. We need to ruthlessly kill sin, and relentlessly pursue love. We need to pray for our pastors, Sunday school leaders, and Bible study teachers. We need to challenge and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to live in response to a higher Calling. We need to get involved in churches and live boldly for Christ within them. We need young men to rise up and become bold but compassionate shepherds who are passionate about leading a church full of people closer to God and each other.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So, please, join the conversation. What do you think the is the Biblical mold for churches? How could we do better to unify and work together as the Body of Christ? To love Him. To love each other. To love unbelievers.

What can we do to shine a light, like from within a tall lamp-stand, to illuminate the world for the glory of Christ?

Acts 2:42-47

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Happy Christmas Season!

Hello, dear readers!

I haven’t been as frequent and timely about posting on here, and some of that is because I’ve been sick. Not terribly sick, but sick enough that it has been interfering with my schedule over about the last week and a half. And with physical ailments often comes anxiety struggles for me. So bear with me. I’ll try to be posting on both Tuesdays and Saturdays again soon here! 🙂

Anyway. Happy Christmas season! ❤ I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving, and are enjoying the start of the Christmas season. I’ve come to love this season … the feelings of joy, peace, and hope, and the celebratory mood that comes with it. It’s a wonderful time to be still before God and just reflect on Him, His coming to us as a baby and Savior thousands of years ago, and His second coming that we know will happen.

This is the first year that my family and I are participating in Advent. I came up with a plan and found a devotional on YouVersion called Advent: Christ is Coming!. My parents, siblings, and I started going through it a couple days ago.

Each evening we gather in the living room, read Scripture on prophesies in the Old Testament on the coming Messiah & such, discuss a little, sing songs (last night we sang O Come, O Come, Emmanuel), and eat a special snack. We’ve had sparkling water with fruit in it, and a veggie tray thus far.

I love traditions and have wanted to celebrate things like Advent, so this is really exciting for me.

This season is about Christ, and I love to find ways to remember and celebrate that! What a joy to belong to the eternal King and Savior of the world! I am His and He is mine! ❤

So tell me in the comments:

DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN ADVENT?

DO YOU LOVE THE CHRISTMAS SEASON?

HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE?

HOW DO YOU TREASURE CHRIST CLOSE IN YOUR HEART, ESPECIALLY DURING THE HOLIDAYS?

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