How To Add Some Happy to Your Day

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  Over the last several months, I have been facing “reality” in many areas of my life.

MS struggles seem to have increased with wobbly days, brain fog and a wide range of mood swings.  I have faced addiction relapse issues and am again fighting some inner gremlins. The lack of sun in Jersey hasn’t helped much either.  I know it is January and winter is here BUT a few days of bright sunshine would definitely help!

Okay, so I am rambling but it brings me to a list of things YOU can do to give yourself a boost.  Let’s get those HAPPY endorphins  moving.

1.  Go for a walk.  If you feel like chatting, ask a coworker, friend, or family member to join you!  I know it is a little chilly outside for this so why not head to the mall.  My favorite is walking up and down the aisles of Walmart just to get out!

2.  Be kind.  Pick a day and do one to five random acts of kindness.  They can range from feeding someone’s parking meter or complimenting a coworker. How about leaving a piece of chocolate for someone? Or even a simple thank you when they hold the door for you.  It can be just what another person needs to see to turn their day around—and how you can start a karmic shift!

3. Listen to your favorite song. Music can decrease anxiety experienced by patients before surgery, according to a study in the journal, Anesthesia & Analgesia. If tunes can calm pre-op jitters, surely they can help you find your zen place.

4. Count your blessings. People with a more grateful outlook on life tend to exhibit a heightened state of wellbeing, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers concluded “gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness, and hope.” At some point during the day, make a simple list of five or ten things you are grateful for in your life.

5. Take a breath. Take one minute today and focus on your breath with your eyes closed. A full minute.  I have to set a timer to make sure I am not rushing through this.  You will be amazed at how this can change your outlook.

6. Stroke an animal, like a cat or dog. If you don’t have a pet, go on YouTube and watch a funny animal video.  I know I am not the only one who scrolls through those YouTube videos, right?

Life is what you make it – if you focus on the negative, you will get negativity.  If you focus on the positive (no matter how small), it will come your way.  There are days I struggle to find the good and something to be grateful for.  It in on the days I beat myself up the worst, I work hard to find my happy place.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The Solution to Restlessness


Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message….

Truly my soul finds rest in God. ~ Psalm 62:1

 

Cammie is a children’s ministry director at her church. One day, as she was preparing for the lesson she would teach on Sunday morning, she had an idea for a fun illustration that would require a few props. She asked her four-year-old daughter to help.

“Hey, Taylor! Can you please bring me a few of the Fisher Price people from your dollhouse?”

This reply came from her preschooler who was sitting across the room…

“No, Mom. They just want to chill out. They’ve had a long day.”

So funny… yet so not funny.

My word, people! When our children’s toys need a break, you know that it’s time for you and me to hit the pause button. And, truth be told, I live smack dab in the messy middle of this tension.

The Old Testament indicates that David lived in the messy middle of it too. The Bible says that the Lord made David take a break. Yes. He made him do it. Look: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Hemakes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3, emphasis mine)

I love the way Psalm 23 verse 3 is paraphrased in The Message, “True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”

Yes. Please.

This is the desire of my heart. That I can catch my breath and be sent in the right direction by a loving God who knows what is best.

So, I – you – we have to be intentional. Life comes at us fast. If we are not careful, the dizzy pace at which we live can unwittingly become our weakness and demise.

I know you know this. I do too and yet somehow it still trips us up.

So what’s a woman to do?

Let’s keep it real here; we have obligations. We have families, jobs, friends, communities, and churches that need us. And though this will look different for each of us in the many seasons of life, our people depend on us a ton. They should. God tells us to put our faith into action (James 2). And we must. We must mobilize the hope we have in Christ. Serve. Show love. Feed the hungry. Minister to the widows and orphans. Yes. We must be women of action.

The Bible gives a clear and compelling teaching, however, about this life-pace topic that establishes our first call to action must be focused on the Lord himself! This get-with-Jesus business is the key to us experiencing the maximum abundance that God has in store for every believer.

What it all boils down to is this: God’s BEST requires REST.

So simple… Yet so complicated.

It was Augustine who wrote, “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”

Let me take this one step further by breaking down what the Word of God shows us about this very thing. When we rest in the presence of God, He restores our souls. Rest is the central ingredient in the restoration we all desperately need. Just look at the first four letters of the word!

Today (and in part two of this devotion) we are going to break down R.E.S.T. as an acronym and take a walk through Scripture to see just how God’s best for you is fueled by this discipline.

R.E.S.T. {Reflect. Engage. Surrender. Trust}

It all begins with reflection. There are two parts to this: reflecting ON God and allowing the Spirit of God to work within us so that we become better reflections OF God.

REFLECT on GOD:

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago I will meditate on all Your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:11-12)

“I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.” (Psalm 143:5-6)

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

REFLECT GOD:

“Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect Your principles!” (Psalm 119:5, NLT)

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is Spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

Meaningful reflection leads to the soul rest we long for.

Today let this truth sink in deep: when you reflect on God, you better reflect God.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Braver, Smarter and Stronger You

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Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message…

One of the most lovable and charming characters in the history of cartoon animation has to be Winnie the Pooh. He simply oozes adorableness and positivity.

In the movie, Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, Pooh and Christopher Robin, who are the closest of friends, have a moving conversation high in a tree where strength and love flow heart-to-heart.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “Oh, Pooh. If ever there’s a tomorrow when we’re not together, there’s something you must remember.”

POOH: “And what might that be, Christopher Robin?”

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

POOH: “Oh, that’s easy. We’re braver than a bee, and, uh, longer than a tree, and taller than a goose . . . or, uh, was that a moose?”

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “No, silly, old bear! You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we’re apart; I’ll always be with you. I’ll always be with you. I’ll always be with you.”

This conversation reminds me of the conversation Jesus has with His disciples after His resurrection. He gave them new marching orders and assured them that though He had to leave, they would never be alone.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1)

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5, 7-8)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19- 20)

May these last words of Jesus serve as a reminder to you today that you are not alone or ill-equipped in your life. Because of this truth, you are enabled through Christ to be a woman of great courage and faith! Live like it. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think because the Spirit of God is at work within you to embolden, strengthen, and guide you.

Above all, remember this: God is with you. Always.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Don’t Stop Too Soon


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”  ~ Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV.

Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of trying. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I got tired of the battle. I don’t want to do that any longer. I’m taking my cues from Joshua.

The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange. March around the city of Jericho with all the armed men. Do this in silence, once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, walk around seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. Have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go straight in.

Now, that was a strange plan. God’s infinite ways often don’t make sense in our finite minds. Sometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God’s nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings. Each individual decision you make, to obey or ignore God’s promptings and directives, is a thread that weaves the tapestry of your life.

Jericho was tightly shut up. Sometimes it can feel that our promises are tightly shut up. That doesn’t mean that we give up. That means that we suit up, step up, and keep moving forward.

God said, “See, I have delivered them into your hands.” Notice that verb tense. God did not say, “I will deliver them into your hands.” He said, “I have delivered them into your hands.” He had already done it, but they had to obey and put their foot down to receive it. I love how God speaks in past tense to our present problems.

But here’s the conundrum: What do you do when what God says doesn’t match up with what you see? When all you see is a big wall standing between your promise and your present situation?
There will be times when you are doing everything you know to do, and you still don’t see any movement. The Israelites walked around Jericho for six days, and as far as they could tell, nothing happened. I’m sure it unnerved the people behind the wall, but as far as the walkers could tell, not one brick fell.

This is where many give up—when they don’t see any progress. The son is still taking drugs. The daughter is still living with her boyfriend. The husband is still cold and aloof. The bank account is still hovering on in double digits.

“God, throw me a bone,” I cry. “Show me a little something! Let me see just a hint of progress! Can I see one brick fall?” And God says, “Keep walking … by faith.”

Just because you don’t see God working does not mean that He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always at work” (John 5:17). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35).

Today, you might be on lap number seven and not even know it. Joshua told them to march around Jericho, but he didn’t tell them how many times they were going to have to do it. He just said to “march forward” and “remain silent.”

Supposed they had stopped on day six saying, “This is ridiculous. I’m not feelin’ it. Not one stone has fallen to the ground. I don’t see any progress. Those folks are probably in there laughing their heads off. I’m going home.”

They would have missed the blessing.

I wonder how many times I have missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:

  • How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
  • How much longer will I have to struggle with this unbelieving husband?
  • How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
  • How much longer will I have to go without a job?
  • How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down and I can take hold of my Promised Land?

I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this, tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.

Can I tell you something? Sometimes I get tired of writing books, posting devotions, and crafting blogs. But as I sit down to the keyboard, I realize that something I say might be just what someone needs to take that last lap around her walled up promise. So I write. And then someone has the courage and sustenance to take one more lap.

Keep going, my friend!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!