Monday, February 4, 2019

Are you Overwhelmed or Stressed? - My recent post for MNBTG

Are you stressed or overwhelmed? You might be surprised at the difference between the two! 

"So the next time that you find yourself saying, 'I am so stressed,' stop and think: Am I stressed or am I overwhelmed? Am I in an environment that does not serve me well? Is there a purpose of love or praise or joy that is being fulfilled by these overwhelming acts?"

Learn more by clicking here to read the whole post: 

Are you Overwhelmed or Stressed?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes


This year I felt deeply compelled to post on Martin Luther King Jr. day. 

I will be honest, I have lived with a fairly common level of oblivion to just how meaningful and formative this day was and is for this nation. It wasn't until earlier this month, as I attended a "Dismantling Racism" class, that I even noticed just how oblivious I was. 

Because of my blindness of and years of allowing myself to remain blind to racial issues, it is important to me that I offer a post honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his life well lived. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes of Martin Luther King Jr.: 

"I have decided to stick with Love, Hate is too great a burden to bear." 

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." 

Some of my all-time favorite words are woven into those quotes; like Love, Hope, and Justice. 

Those words also were very high on the list of importance to Martin Luther King Jr. 

In the class I attended a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to meet the daughter of a Pastor who regularly marched with Dr. King. Listening to her stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and the causes that he was passionate about, it was obvious that he was a man that would not back down. He boldly went into 'battle' (meaning speeches, marches, etc.) knowing that each one could be his last. He knew that the position he took was dangerous, but he had deep enough faith, hope for justice and love for mankind, that he did not let fear stop him. 

If you wish to read more about Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, check out this link: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr

As I read the news this morning, I was so saddened to read about, in 2019, youth standing in the way of an Indigenous Peoples' March and news anchors (yes plural) making racial slurs about MLK Day. One would think that in 2019 we should be far beyond these occurrences. We should be more kind, more educated, love more, and more Just than to allow these things to happen in this day and age... 

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." May we continue to fight for justice for all, and model love and hope in the way we live, just as Martin Luther King Jr. did every day of his life! 

Please share Your Favorite Martin Luther King Jr. Quote, in the Comments Below...

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Meaningful Gifts


Merry Christmas!!      

Meaningful Christmas gifts are wonderful! 

Take a moment and think about the Christmas Gifts that you have received, that are unforgettable...

One of the most meaningful Christmas gift that my husband and I have ever received was given to us the Christmas after we got married. 

It was from my husband’s grandfather. He had passed away abruptly, 8-9 years earlier, but he had exercised the foresight to know that he wanted each one of his grandchildren's families to have something handmade by him. 

So, that year, we received a lighted Christmas Tree made out of glass baby food jars. 

I had admired these illuminated trees at relatives’ homes for many years, but it wasn’t until we were given our own, that I heard the story about this tree. 

You see, my husband’s grandfather tenderly gathered baby food jars in order to make enough lighted trees for everyone that he wanted to be gifted with one. He crafted them by hand, into a beautiful gift not only symbolizing and emphasizing the beauty of Christmas, but also exemplifying the immeasurable gift that deep love for your family is. 

Even though he was unable to gift them himself, all of his grandchildren are reminded of his deep love for them, every Christmas, as their lighted tree is brought out.

Think about this and other gifts that have been meaningful to you, as you strive to give meaningful gifts, of time, treasure, talent, love, and more, throughout the coming year! 


For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.




Sunday, November 25, 2018

"Beyond My Window", Recent Post for Bridging the Gap MN

Song of Solomon 7 says, “The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges—stirrings of desire, longings for the heights—Remind me of you… Your beauty, within and without, is absolute…” (MSG).

Find out what I learned about windows and "light-bringers" in our lives, from the curiosity sparked from an evening spent peering out my own back window...Click on the link below to check out my post for Bridging the Gap MN:

"Beyond My Window" Post

Blessings to your week and your Holiday Season to come! 


Monday, October 29, 2018

Broken yet Blessed

Sometimes it really feels like things might not be "Okay"...

Do you know the feeling that I am talking about? Those brief momentary lapses when your hope feels depleted and your faith is running low. 

I know I am not the only person who feels that way sometimes. 

Every once in a while, life just gets to be too much! The pace at which we live life these days is enough to overwhelm anyone. Add to that times of elevated worry, or health issues, or work problems, or lack of sleep, or feeling down about the elevated violence that seems so prevalent around us; and anyone could find themselves feeling broken. 

Today I was feeling depleted. Every required motion and thought throughout the day took extra effort. I was tired. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Tired. 

And then, after I had wrote the opening sentence of this post on my lunch break, and began planning this topic, the sign pictured below came tumbling down from above my desk, and broke. 

My "Blessed" broke. 

I looked sadly down at the broken word that means so much to me, and I found myself creating new words from the pieces. Stressed. Obsessed. Pressed. Messed. 

As in "pressed" for time, "obsessed" with hurtful current events, "stressed" and too busy, and my whole sense of joy being "messed"-up!

I sat their in silence for a moment. 

I thought about the way I had been feeling all day. I pondered whether I could still feel blessed even when I'm broken (or when my sign is broken)...

I gu'essed' that I could find a way. 

I acc'essed' my Bible and decompr'essed'.

Psalm 34:18


The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. (NASB)






Alright, enough with the play on words (well, maybe only for a bit). 

But really, with faith the answer is "Yes", yes, you can be both broken and blessed! 

Remember, In this World we will have troubles, but He has overcome the World! 

God has never promised us a smooth ride through our life here on Earth.  The mess forces us to grow. The stress teaches us perseverance.  Feeling pressed and/or obsessed puts us in a position to put our trust in God, for only He can relieve our worries and take our burdens. 

So I was given a beautiful reminder today while pondering over that broken sign, that even though I may feel a little broken right now I am still blessed! 

Look at that picture again. As I see it, if we are standing in the broken part of it, and we look to either side, we can see our blessings right there! Just because there is a gap, does not mean it doesn't still spell BLESSED! 

So tonight, rest from your worry and focus on the things that make you blessed. Whether it be family or friends, or general good fortune; love, or community, or warmth, etc... 

Remind yourself that your many blessings are always on all sides of your brokenness, you just have to change your focus, and you will see them right there all along! 

BLESSED!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Words that hurt and words that heal

So many words are thrown at us each and every day. Words heard on the radio, words said by friends and loved ones, words just overheard, words read; so many words. 

Words all have meaning, some more than others, and some have deeper meaning to different people for different reasons. 

I have been bombarded by words this week, for several different reasons, and I also have been more aware of the words around me this week. 

The 1st reason that words are in the forefront of my mind right now is because I chose to participate in a women's group project in which we all wrote down the hurtful names that others have called us and that we have called ourselves, but we also wrote, separately, positive words that have been said about us or things/attributes that we feel are positive about ourselves. I wrote down a few of the most hurtful things that have ever been said to me. And by writing them down, letting them out, and later destroying them, I was finally able to release those internal stigmas about myself. I believe that the other women participating also had a very positive and transformational experience. 

It is certainly interesting that "words" spoken to each of us or "words" of self talk can stay in our hearts and minds for years. 

The 2nd reason that words are 'high on my radar' this week is because my 11 yr. old has been either asking me about, or speaking/repeating words heard in middle school, that are words that I was not yet mentally prepared to cover with him....

Words can make life difficult in so many ways! 

But then there was the sermon in church last weekend, about the immeasurable beauty that God sees in each and every one of His children.  The sermon centered very heavily on us owning and believing how beautiful each of us is to God. 

This brought me to reflecting on the positive words that I had written a few days before, at the women's event. 

What an impact words can have!  Now, it was the positive words that were filling my mind and heart, and brightening my day. 

You see, if each of us was able to focus more time on the positive "words" in our lives than on the negative "words", each day would be filled with more happiness than sadness, more self-love than defeat. 

And imagine if we made a point to spread positive words to and around others as well? 

What an amazing impact "words" can have!  Please ponder that and remember that in the weeks to come! 


Now, speak the bolded declarations out loud to yourself. The power of life and death is in the tongue, so it is vital that you only allow the Truth to come out of your mouth. It could be the difference in an amazing life and a disappointing one.       Proverbs 18:21

Peace to your week! 



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Path to Trusting Him - Post for Bridging the Gap MN

"It can be very difficult to maintain a level of trust in someone else. Sometimes, it is even difficult to fully trust God. With the ever-changing life that we lead, in this drearily awkward world, it can be difficult to feel comfortable trusting anyone or anything."

If you, like me, have felt that way before; check out this post written for Bridging the Gap MN. 

The Path to Trusting Him
            Click Here 

"Today, may you have the wisdom to trust God’s plan fully, and feel comfort in his divine direction for each moment of your life!"

Blessings to you all! 

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Beginnings

What a week it has been!


I mean, honestly, the last 7 days have held so many new beginnings that I cannot even soak it all in....


Have you ever had a week like that? That was full of excitement and new beginnings;whether planned or unplanned?


What fun it is to sit back and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that God puts us on sometimes, right!?


Just to give you a brief insight, in the past 7 days, I have had:
  *My youngest start middle school, making me a fully middle
    school mama
  *Started a new position (job) within my dept. of government
  *Had a devotional accepted into another book to be
    published (yea!!!)
  *Started Seminary studies at Luther Theological Seminary


All of this has led me to wonder, why did God bless me with so much all at once? And, at the same time, why did God give me so many changes to adjust to at the same time?


If you have ever felt overwhelmed by change, you are not alone.


Life is ever-changing, and sometimes it can be almost too much to handle.


When sadness overcomes you because your babies are growing up too fast.


When you are both excited and terrified about starting a new job.


When you go back to school in mid-life.


When illness touches your family.


When a financial situation suddenly changes.


When a valued relationship breaks away from your life.


So many things can stack up and take us by surprise!


The most important thing to remember is that God's goal is not overwhelm you, but rather to bless you!


He has the best interests of you and your loved ones at heart, and is aiming to give you the future full of hope; which you deserve as a Child of God.


So, try to "roll with it" and take each new beginning as it comes! Even if they come in large quantities, the new beginnings are exciting times for transformation and for putting your faith in God and His plan!


Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pleasant Surprises

If we will keep God first place, if we will walk in His ways, all these blessings will overtake us.
Deuteronomy 28:1
  
In that verse, the word “overtake” is translated to mean “to catch by surprise.” God wants to bless us, and He is continuously good to His children. God wants to surprise you. He wants you to be amazed at the blessings He lays upon your life. When we begin to trust Him, and rely on Him as we sometimes struggle through life we will begin to relax as we learn to wait upon the Lord.
 
Our Heavenly Father enjoys surprising us with His goodness, and I experienced that with great joy last weekend!


Those of you that know me, know how much I LOVE singing, and how important music is to me. I was invited, at the last minute, to go to a local dancing bar, that I have only been to once, in the last 12 years... Since there would be good company there, I decided, "what the heck"...


When I arrived at this country bar, on the weekend of the local Rodeo, it was packed! As I asked questions about the band, and spoke with them on their break, I found out that they were from Nashville, and had come up that weekend, especially for the Rodeo crowd! And boy was that a good move, as this particular country bar was PACKED that night!
 
When chatting with the band, I proceeded to say "If you need a female backup for any songs tonight, I would be more than happy to get on stage and give it a try!" They courteously said OK.
 
About an hour later, as the band was taking another break, the lead singer came over to me and said "Hey, you can sing the first song of the next set if you would like." To which I said sure! 


He asked if I knew the tune, and I said yes! It is one of the country classics that my band performed in Medora that summer.....
 
So, a bit later, there I was, center stage, right in the most energizing place that I ever get to be, SINGING! And this Nashville band was GOOD. The lead singer then stepped back from his microphone and said "You just take it, you got it!"    I was immediately overwhelmed with gratitude! To be standing center stage in this packed bar, singing a country classic that is such a GREAT song, to a room full of people and a packed dance floor was amazing!
  
I walked off of that stage on cloud 9 for certain!   This was a night full of adrenaline and surprises.
 
The Lord gave me such a pleasant surprise that weekend! 


I am still in awe of His grace, and of the ways that He places us right where we need to be for him to bless us! Thank you Lord!
 
As the night went on, I sang with them a few more times, and once the evening was coming to an end, the lead singer asked me for my band business card. I had never given my card to someone from Nashville before, but that night I did, and it felt like a long awaited blessing, like a dream come true, to have completely unexpectedly encountered a band that loves my voice, and wants to contact me in the future!
 
Thank you Lord for ALL of life's surprises, big or small, as they are the sunshine of our days, weeks, years, and lives!
 
God will always surprise us with His goodness even when we misstep. We may get off course, but His direction is always right on target.
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Finding our way through life is possible, only with His guidance. This is God's plan for our lives!



Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Proving a Point, Poolside" My recent post of Bridging the Gap

Hi everyone! 

This post is a bit different than what you are used to seeing from me....

It was written for the "Just for Laughs" section of a Blog that I am a regular contributor for.  

Please enjoy this piece whenever you need a good laugh! 

Proving a Point, Poolside
         Click Here

My embarrassment is laid out here for your enjoyment! :) hahaha!


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