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!

My One Word

WOOHOO!  The New Year has arrived….

I’m ready to kick off 2019 with my ONE WORD – COURAGE!

By definition “courage” is “the ability to do something which frightens you.”  It is the mental or moral strength to venture out, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.  The history books are full of social activists, like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, who spoke out against injustice at great personal risk. Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, who took financial risks to follow their dreams. They are like modern-day knights, exemplifying the rewards courage can bring.  Courage can range from physical  strength and endurance to mental stamina and innovation.

So why did  I pick this word?  Believe me I didn’t pick it, God placed it on my heart many times over the last few weeks.  I have A LOT of things which frighten me…  In being “courageous”, I have begun planning for 2019 – stepping out into some fearful territory.  Check out some of the NEWNESS coming…

  • The expansion of Rays of Hope – Angel Connection
  • Monthly mystery themed “pink boxes”
  • Monthly random acts of kindness to those who are struggling
  • Applying for disability and learning to live with and accept my MS struggles

Looking back over my “one word”, I realize God is answering my prayers, in his time not in mine.  My vision is to make a difference in the life of others but I need to know my limits.  My life has always been an open door so I can help others.  Over the years, I have stopped sharing those experiences – it is time to have the courage again to share the good, the bad and the ugly.

My first year selecting “one word” was In 2013 and my word was FAITH.  Faith to believe when the way is rough and faith to hang on when the going is tough will never fail to pull us through and bring us strength and comfort too. Helen Steiner Rice. “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20

FAITH led me to my word in 2014 which was EMBRACE.  The goal was to EMBRACE all of the blessings God had in store for me.  I needed to have FAITH before I could EMBRACE the me everyone else saw – confident, thinner, and some might even say fun.  I learned to EMBRACE challenges as blessings without a visit from Doubtful Debbie or Negative Nellie.

Having FAITH and moving forward as I EMBRACED the blessings in my life, I had to learn to TRUST in 2015!  Learning to lean on God for ALL things and TRUST him to direct my path was probably the toughest for me.  I had to learn to stop taking control when things didn’t go my way.  God is in control and I TRUST he will direct my path. I grew in my FAITH, knowing God will provide for my needs.

The inner gremlins were rearing their ugly head so in 2016, my word was CONFIDENCE!  I needed CONFIDENCE to believe when the way was rough and the going was tough.  CONFIDENCE as I learned to live with my recent diagnosis of MS.  CONFIDENCE as I squashed the inner gremlins which had haunted me all of my life.

Then in 2017, it was all about being ACCOUNTABLE.  Being accountable meant in all areas of my life not just my business. It meant watching what I ate, working my business as a business. Most of all, it meant being fully transparent in my relationships which was scary as HELL!

In 2018, my goal was to be intentional in my words and my actions. It started off a bit rocky but at the halfway mark, I was being intentional and making thoughtful choices in my life. Was it easy? NO!  Did I struggle?  Without a doubt.  I learned so much over the year as I started to grow as a person. You would think when a person hits the age of 61, they have learned.  Sadly, many old behaviors had crept back into my life and I needed to face them before I could move forward.  I can say, I ended the year by no longer doing things by the “seat of my pants”.  I plan and actually bounce things off of other people to get their input before I take action.  A new concept for me but one which reaped many benefits.

All of these lead me to this year of COURAGE!

Whatever your word is for this year, I wish you a safe, healthy and Happy New Year.  May this year bring you everything you desire….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!