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Bible Studies, Blog, Faith, Family, Fitness, prayer, Stress, Time Management

Hello mornings

Hello Mornings book

Hello Mornings book

This week I’ve been reading the amazing book Hello Mornings: How To Build A Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine by Kat Lee, which you can find at Amazon here.

It’s about a simple, three-minute morning routine to help you build a daily, life-long, Jesus-centered habit to anchor you for every season of your life.

Now if you’re like me, you are so not a morning person, and you don’t exactly jump out of bed in the morning with glee.

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Bible Studies, Blog, Faith, Family, Featured, Fitness, Friendship, Homemaking, Parenting, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Stress, Writing

Anxious, depressed, and stressed during Coronavirus & Shelter In Place order?

Woman with face mask Image source: Unsplash

Woman with face mask
Image source: Unsplash

If you are like me, you have been battling anxiety, depression, and great stress during the Coronavirus crisis and the Shelter In Place order across the U.S. and the world.

My biggest concern is about our three daughters, our grandkids, or other loved ones contracting the virus (as well as concern for my husband Ray and myself). Second, like many people, I’m worried about the U.S. and the global economy. 

I do know that no matter what, God is still on the throne as the King and in control of everything, and I must trust in Him. The Coronavirus did NOT take God by surprise! He’s got you and me in His loving, capable hands.

Here is an article with some good tips for coping with anxiety.

pink peony from our yard

pink peony from our yard

Some of the ways I am coping are the following. I hope they can help you, too.

  • Spend daily quiet time with God, reading & studying the Bible, praying, and worshipping/praising Him. I call this my Coffee With God time and even wrote a book about it, which you can find here at Amazon.
  • Staying connected with my beloved family and friends. Recently, I was FINALLY able to see and hug my precious daughters Heather and Leah and our two granddaughters, Annabelle and Violet. I hadn’t been able to see them for over a month due to the virus and Shelter In Place order in Missouri, where we live. Once it lifted, I had lunch with Leah and went to see Heather and the girls for Violet’s 14th birthday. This made me so happy! Our daughter Eden and her family moved to Colorado this  year, so we haven’t been able to see them since then. We miss them, but I’m glad they seem so happy and recently got their own apartment there near Denver.
  • Having online Zoom meetings is a great tool to do that (also for business and ministry purposes). There is a paid and unpaid version. The unpaid version is limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants (attendees). The two paid versions have other features, multiple hosts and participants. On Monday nights, I join my sweet friend Kim and her friend Allison in Jacksonville, Florida, for Kim’s Bible study on the book of James. On Thursday nights, I attend my speaker/leadership coach/author friend Doreen Penner for her Zoom “chocolate bites” for inspiring words of encouragement. On Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Central Time (11:30 a.m. Eastern Time), I offer a free Zoom “Virtual Coffee & Prayer” time for ladies. If you’re interested in joining us, comment below or contact me here.
  • I’ve been spending 10-15 minutes a day in the sunshine to help my body absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the body to absorb calcium, and for bone growth, bone healing, and immune system function, which is very important right now with the Coronavirus out there. Spending even a few minutes out in the sunshine can provide your body with the Vitamin D it needs for the day. I notice an immediate difference in my mood when I spend time outdoors. 
  • Journal daily. Writing about your deepest fears can help reduce your inhibited emotions and the stress that comes with them, and releases negative thoughts and feelings. Journaling improves mental health, boosts positive feelings and enhances your sense of well-being. 
  • I take hot baths before bedtime. This helps to relax me. Sometimes I add Epsom salts.
  • I’ve been working in my little flower gardens lately. To my surprise, our youngest daughter Leah bought me fresh Azaleas flowers for Mother’s Day. This really blessed me and I planted them outside this week. I’m fervently praying that they survive and thrive! Last week, I bought purple and white annuals, and still have one pink rose bush that survived from last year. The peony bush on the side of our house which Ray accidentally mowed over came back, and is in full bloom. I also bought some cute fairy decorations for the annuals garden. Pictures of the gardens are below. Some health benefits of gardening are that it burns a lot of calories, it can lower your blood pressure, it helps your body to make Vitamin D, it can relieve stress, and it can make you happier.
  • I am reading more. This week’s books are Switch On Your Brain (Dr. Caroline Leaf), Get Out of Your Head (Jennie Allen), and Broken: A Story of Abuse, Survival, and Hope. Reading keeps your mind strong and healthy, improves your memory and focus, enhances your peace, and alleviates stress. 
  • Recently I’m watching Lost again. We all need down time to help with stress. This is probably the 4th time I’ve been watching the episodes again. I rarely watch TV, but this is probably one of my all-time fave shows. My daughter Heather told me about it when she began watching it years ago. I love it because it’s interesting (mysteries), funny, it has romance, and it makes you think about spiritual things. What is your “show”?
  • I pet and play with my black cat with green eyes, Natalya. She amuses me. I adopted Natalya three years ago from HelpHumane in Belton, Missouri. She was 3 1/2 years old at that time. Natalya’s owners had been in a house fire. They thought she had died in it, but she had just run during the fire. They had to move out of the house due to the damage and gave her to the shelter. Natalya loves me and is constantly following me around the house or in my lap with her soft blanket. I wrote about her and our daughter Leah’s cat in my first children’s book, Nat and Jax, available here at Amazon. Studies show that pets reduce stress and fear, and increase oxytocin levels in the brain. Pet adoptions and fostering has surged during the Coronavirus crisis. 
  • I’m trying to eat healthier, drink more water, take a women’s multi-vitamin and Vitamin D/Calcium, Cinnamon, and Biotin, and do more self-care (such as trying new makeup). During times of crisis, it’s important to take care of yourself as never before. Your cortisol levels increase. Try adding more fresh vegetables and fruit to your diet, increase your water daily, and do stretches or go for a walk. I bought a weighted blanket recently, take Melatonin about a half hour before bedtime, and sometimes use Lavender essential oil, which seems to be helping my struggles with insomnia. There is only one, unique YOU in this world. God created you and me for a Divine purpose and mission. Take care of yourself and let your light shine.

I hope these tips above help you. What are you doing to help with anxiety, depression, and stress during Coronavirus and the Shelter In Place order?

“Trust in him at all times, oh people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” ~Psalm 62:8

Below are some pretty pics of my little gardens that I’ve been working in this past week. I hope they bless you.

pink Azaleas my sweet daughter Leah bought me for Mother's Day

pink Azaleas my sweet daughter Leah bought me for Mother’s Day

sunflower decoration with Azaleas that Leah bought me

sunflower decoration with Azaleas that Leah bought me

peony bush by side of the house

peony bush by the side of the house

purple & white annuals garden

purple & white annuals garden

purple annuals

purple annuals

white annuals

white annuals

fairy decorations

fairy decorations

pink roses

pink roses

flowers to draw butterflies

flowers to draw butterflies

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Bible Studies, Blog, Faith, Family, Homeschooling, Marriage, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Time Management, Travel, Writing

My one word for 2019

Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.

One word

When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.

joy

Red cardinals joy decoration

For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.

pensive woman

pensive woman

We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.

Smiling child

God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.

Compass pointing north

Compass pointing north
Image source: Google

Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.

I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)

Message in a Bottle movie

Message in a Bottle movie

God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:

  • primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
  • by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
  • from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
  • in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
  • through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
  • in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!

Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words Stay HUMBLE were inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.

Stay humble chapstick

Stay humble chapstick gift

That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble” and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.

popcorn popping

popcorn popping;
Image source: Google

Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.

Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute! That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?

I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!

Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?

But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.

You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!

Jacob wrestling

Jacob wrestling with God
Image source: Google

We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!

So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)

  • freedom from pride or arrogance;
  • a lack of ego;
  • lowness; an attitude of service;
  • the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
  • serving others for their good, as well as your own;
  • a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.

Synonyms for humility include:

  • demureness;
  • down-to-earthness;
  • lowliness;
  • meekness;
  • modesty.

You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.” 

Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!

  • arrogance;
  • assumption;
  • conceit;
  • haughtiness;
  • huffiness;
  • presumptuousness;
  • pretense;
  • pride;
  • imperiousness (domineering);
  • obtrusiveness;
  • superiority.

STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!

Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!

Humility and gratitude

Humility and gratitude

Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!

Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.

That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.

You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Humility book

Humility book

This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.

My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!

The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting? 

Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!

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