Fall’s glorious colored leaves: The beautiful lesson of letting go

fall tree's orange leaves
fall tree’s glorious orange leaves

Good morning (or afternoon, or night, depending on where you are right now!). Today I’ve been awake since 3 a.m. Insomnia is no stranger to me; I’ve been battling it occasionally for several years now.

Melatonin helps. Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland, a pea-size gland located just above the middle of your brain. When the sun goes down and light turns to darkness, the pineal is “turned on” and your body produces melatonin, released into the blood. This usually happens around 9 p.m. and you start feeling less alert and sleepy. 

Sleepy man. Source: platinumtraininginstitute.com
Sleepy man.
Source: platinumtraininginstitute.com

Melatonin levels stay elevated about 12 hours through the night. After sunrise, they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 a.m. Some people don’t produce enough Melatonin.

Taking Melatonin works sometimes to help me fall and/or stay asleep. You can get the capsules at Walmart or on Amazon. Taking Melatonin doesn’t work for everyone. It even gives my friend Stephanie nightmares! But you can try it to see if it helps you sleep. (DISCLAIMER: Check with your doctor first if you have any health issues or you’re on any medication!)

I didn’t take any last night. I fell asleep and when I awoke at 3 a.m., I tried what I usually do when I have insomnia: pray. I did this for about an hour. I prayed for my family and myself. 

Asian woman praying
Asian woman praying

Praying is at least doing something good and useful if you have insomnia. Sometimes I hate nighttime, because if you do wake up, there’s not a lot to do and I really dislike being unproductive (and laying there, staring at the ceiling!). Restaurants and stores are closed, too. It’s boring!

When I still couldn’t sleep after that and felt “bright eyed and bushy-tailed“, I decided to get up, dress (meaning throwing a comfy sweat shirt over my black yoga pants and putting on sneakers), and drove to get a cuppa’ caffeine. Usually that is my morning coffee, but today a cold Dr. Pepper (with chocolate doughnuts) just sounded good!

Dr. Pepper and doughnuts
Dr. Pepper and doughnuts

It’s rare that I drink a soda any more (I quit drinking Coke years ago), but not as rare for me to eat doughnuts. I’m working on conquering sugar, just not this morning! Not the breakfast of champions and so not how I want to set the tone for the new year. Please pray for my self-discipline, would you? I know I have to make the choice, daily!

Yesterday I worked on my 2020 Vision and my Personal and Business Goals for 2020. I got this workbook in Diane Cunningham’s free webinar, promoting her Life Change Club. Have you started writing down your vision and goals for the coming year?

Vision 2020
Vision 2020
90 Day Business Goals
90 Day Business Goals

I’m so happy that I completed Diane’s workbook and set my 2020 Vision and Goals. One of my personal goals is about praying for our grown children and our grandchildren, but learning to let go. To trust God. God loves our kids even more than I do!

Ray and I with our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah, & Eden
Ray and I with our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah, & Eden

I’m a recovering control freak, and I’ve been working on this one, letting go and letting God, for literally years. It’s so hard. But if I don’t let our kids go, they’ll never mature and grow. They’ll never learn to fly, and to soar.

eagle soaring
eagle soaring

A great verse to pray over your children and grandchildren is Isaiah 40:31.

Our beautiful, precious granddaughters Violet & Annabelle
Our beautiful, precious granddaughters Violet & Annabelle

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

I love this quote about Autumn. It is so timely and appropriate right now with me facing empty nest, learning to let my grown kids go, and fall’s gloriously colored leaves here in Missouri. “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

Autumn
Autumn
tree with yellow leaves
tree with yellow leaves
red, yellow, & orange leaf
red, yellow, & orange leaf

To cope with empty nest (I really love and miss my kids!), I’m focusing on cleaning, organizing, decluttering, and purging. Also for 2020, I’m concentrating on my health (despite this morning’s junk food breakfast!) and on my business and personal goals, such as writing my first children’s book. It is about my and our daughter Leah’s black cats Natalya and Jax becoming “friends.”

Jax and Natalya
Jax and Natalya

I just hired the illustrator for this book to draw the pictures inside the book this week and I’m so excited and happy! She does beautiful work!

To be first to hear about my children’s book’s release as an eBook on Amazon, be sure to sign up as a subscriber to my newsletter (ezine) at the top of the page on the right hand side.

freedom
freedom

What do you need to let go of this coming new year 2020?

  • Your grown children;
  • Your spouse;
  • Your excess weight;
  • Anger, depression;
  • Fear, worry and stress;
  • Control;
  • Broken dreams;
  • Forgiving someone;
  • A sin you committed in the past;
  • Excuses;
  • Laziness;
  • Sugar or carb addiction;
  • Alcohol and/or drugs;
  • A toxic relationship;
  • Self-doubt;
  • Poverty mindset or other mindsets hindering your success;
  • ____________________ (you name it).
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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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#Oneword 2017

I believe that God gave me my “one word” and Scripture for 2017. I wasn’t looking for it. In fact, I thought about not having a “one word.” I’m not into fads. 

My precious sis Maria
My precious sister Maria

But as I sought my sister Maria’s counsel on an important matter at the end of 2016 (she’s my sister and a therapist!), she encouraged me about being intentional–doing things on purpose. Here below is what she emailed me:

“My word for the last few days is “on purpose.” We have to do things on purpose – get closer to God and family and friends. Make time to do things. Improve ourselves like health and money management. I guess my question is what can you do on purpose to make things even a little better?”

She also wrote, “I so get feeling like things are stuck in a rut, an endless pit of crap. We can’t control other people, only ourselves. If this was a therapy session, lol, I would try to have you identify three things that have shown improvement in the last month (exercised more, prayed more, went to a workshop, etc), then three things you can do on purpose to improve things. And I am preaching to myself! I love you immensely. Praying God will fill your heart to overflowing!”

Then as I sat in church yesterday in my black dress, cloaked in an emerald-white sapphire necklace and bracelet and many questions about life, our pastor Jeff talked about being intentional in 2017. There’s that word again. When God says something once, I listen. When He says something twice, I sit up and pay much closer attention. Third time, I know He’s a-shoutin’ at me!

2017 One Word Intentional

So my “one word” for 2017 is intentional. 

I didn’t really want the word. It’s tired, overused, much like the word “purpose,” which I’m all over and about in my mission encouraging women to use their gifts for God and doing what they love.

But it’s a word I need in my life. Down to my writing bones. (This phrase came to mind, remembering author Natalie Goldberg’s excellent book, Writing Down the Bones.

The definition of intentional, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online is:

  • done by intention or design; 
  • done in a way that is planned;
  • done in a deliberate way; not accidental.

Synonyms for intentional are:

  • voluntary
  • willing
  • deliberate.

Voluntary implies implies freedom and spontaneity of choice or action without external compulsion.

Willing implies a readiness and eagerness to accede to or anticipate the wishes of another.

The antonyms (opposite meaning) and near antonyms of intentional are even more intriguing:

  • nondeliberate;
  • nonpurposive.
  • accidental;
  • hit-or-miss;
  • aimless;
  • coerced;
  • forced;
  • casual;
  • impulsive.

As I look over and reflect on these lists of words, I ask myself: am I willing to do what God says to do in 2017? Will I obey Him? 

mule Image source: : http://images.wisegeek.com/mule-near-grass.jpg
mule
Image source: : http://images.wisegeek.com/mule-near-grass.jpg

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m stubborn as a mule. I like to think of it as “being my own person”–independent, a free spirit. But many times it’s just plain defiance and obstinance. No one is going to tell me what to do, by God! Not even God!

Control. Pride. “Stiff-necked” the Bible calls the Israelites. This trait cost many of them their lives in the wilderness.

So I surrender. Thy Will Be Done. https://youtu.be/Dp4WC_YZAuw

Beth Jones Women's Conference Speaker & Author
Beth Jones
Women’s Conference Speaker & Author

My prayer for 2017 is that I’ll be intentional:

  • in seeking God and His Kingdom first;
  • in taking care of my health;
  • in my marriage’s healing and restoration;
  • in spending time with my children and grandchildren;
  • in speaking to empower men and women;
  • in writing more books;
  • in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and lead the lost to salvation;
  • in generous financial giving to others in need;
  • in intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare;
  • in walking in peace, not worry, fear, frustration, anger, stress;
  • in being  a productive, profitable Proverbs 31 woman.

My Scripture for 2017 is Ephesians 5:10, The Message: “Figure out what will please the Lord, and then do it.”

What is your “one word” for 2017 and why? Please leave your comments below.

Have a blessed, happy, and prosperous New Year 2017!

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