Grateful

DSC05047

Today we paused to give thanks for all we have, for all we’ve been spared, for blessings that abound.

At my house the turkey is now leftovers and we are all stuffed. Our family has gone on home…only the memories remain of treasured time together. Now we will move on from Thanksgiving.

As I settle into the quietness I am reflective.

I am grateful…

I am blessed.

And I wonder…

As we move on from Thanksgiving will we also move on from being thankful?

Give-Thanks

Will our days become filled with wants and must-haves as we put up our trees and lights, filling our homes with gifts and treats?

Please don’t misunderstand. I love Christmas and so much that comes with that precious season. I love the time to focus on the gift of Christ coming to earth as a baby. I love the sense of magic in the air as people seem a little kinder and willing to believe that the would can be good.

But I still want Thanksgiving to live on every day.

I want to live a life of gratefulness. To focus on the good…the blessings…every little thing.

I want to look at the world through a gratitude filter, finding good all around me, and bringing good to others.

Most especially I want to live a life filled with thankfulness for God’s great love for us.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

It may seem like an exaggeration, but I don’t care.

Will you join me?

Let’s see if we can help the spirit of Thanksgiving live on all throughout the year.

blessings and peace to you…
Paula

 

Advertisements

Reluctant Thankfulness

I chuckle when I see or hear the phrase, “It’s the time of year to be thankful.”

Of course we should be thankful all year-long, but with Thanksgiving around the corner our focus bends towards being thankful more than other times of the year. As Black Friday sales press in on us from every side concentrating on thankfulness brings into focus what we have more than what we have not.

cornucopia

I’m wondering, though. Does your thankfulness ever come reluctantly?

We are human and our lives are sometimes laced with circumstances where it isn’t always easy to be thankful. Our family’s festivities will be mixed with sadness as we are without a very special uncle who went to Heaven earlier this year. Maybe you face a similar situation or something even more difficult.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The apostle Paul encourages us to

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

That’s a pretty tall order!

In fact it’s easy for me to read this and see it as impossible. How can people be happy all the time and never grumble about circumstances we are in? If I don’t always rejoice and pray or have trouble giving thanks am I outside of God’s will for my life?

Let’s look at this verse with perspective.

I believe God doesn’t ask us to be thankful for all circumstances, but as the verse says, be thankful in all circumstances.The reality is that it is difficult to be thankful for some things. God knows this. However in the midst of the difficulty we always have something worthy of thanks.

This request is much easier when we follow what precedes the instruction…pray continually. When we pray and put ourselves in God’s hands we will find a strength we didn’t know we had and joy hiding in unexpected places.

If your thankfulness comes reluctantly this year, or if you’re struggling to be thankful at all, please be encouraged and seek God’s strength to get you through. If you need some earthly encouragement please let me know. I would be honored to stand with you in prayer.

Would you have a story of thankfulness to share with us today? We would be encouraged by the experiences of others.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and peace, and blessings galore.
Paula

 

Occasions

‘Tis the time of the year to celebrate occasions. Thanksgiving is just a few days away and Christmas will quickly follow. In my family we add a couple of birthdays in between as well. So much to do in preparation and anticipation, then the day comes and goes and what do we have left? Memories, both good and bad. Scrapbook worthy moments, and unfortunately often moments we wish we could do-over.

Occasions are often seen as times to look back. We remember holidays of the past, what has changed and traditions we still treasure. We remember special times spent with ones we love. These are precious memories to be held in our hearts.

rearview sunset
I’m afraid too often – especially on our birthdays (although other occasions as well) we may look back with regret for things we have done, or perhaps opportunities we feel we have missed. It’s easy to look in the rear view mirror of our lives and play the would’ve, should’ve game. And while we can learn from our past, we should never dwell there.

Truly nothing can be gained by dwelling in the past. If we settle in times gone by for too long our focus begins to change. We either long for those good times that are now just memories, or we lose momentum we’ve made in our lives moving forward from times we wish we could go back and change. In Philippians 3:12-14 the apostle Paul gives us a great example to follow.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Throughout the books Paul has written we never see him settle for less than God has for him. While he certainly may have had regrets of how he treated God’s people before he was saved by the grace of Christ’s salvation, once he accepted the forgiveness offered he only looked ahead. We read of Paul stating that he was content in his life, but we never see him stagnant. He continually looked ahead towards the ultimate prize of Heaven…and did all he could to take others along with him.

As the occasions of the next few weeks and months come our way, treasure them. Remember the good of occasions gone by and allow God to take away any regret for those that you wish had been different. Focus on making new memories for yourself and those around you.

Remember we have the opportunity to make every day and every encounter an occasion in itself. When we focus on staying in touch with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work through us we can touch lives and change each moment into an occasion. It may not be one for the history books but may  leave an impression that makes a difference to someone else.

There is a wonderful movie called Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (created from a book by Suzanne Weyn) I leave you with my favorite quote and hope you’ll carry it with you:

Life Occasion

Blessings and peace to you on this occasion called today.
Paula

Does It Really Matter?

How do you eat an elephant?

eat an elephantOne bite at a time.

So goes the commonly quoted encouragement to conquer big projects.

It’s clever, but somehow I rarely let it encourage me. My response was usually something like, “sure, but it will NEVER get done”.  What does one little ‘bite’ matter?

This state of mind allowed me to remain stagnant and not push myself to overcome things in my life that seemed overwhelming and more than I could handle. It wasn’t comfortable, but I couldn’t believe that some teeny tiny change could make much of a difference.

A scripture came to mind that previously I had mostly glossed over, thinking it applied in Jesus’ day but not for us today.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 17:20

I was convicted and realized I needed to give it a try.

Last year as I set aside the excuses and adopted the elephant-eating philosophy I completed and published my first book! You can learn more about Cherish This Christmas here: https://pauladavispeace.com/2012/11/01/exciting-announcement/

This fall I adopted this concept to living a more healthy lifestyle. Finally admitting this year to being middle-aged I thought about the future a little differently before. I realized continuing current eating habits and the mostly sedentary lifestyle I was living would lead to even more difficulty over time. Always before I had jumped into a change like this ‘all in’, believing that I had to cut out all foods that weren’t healthy for me and exercise for hours a day.

Always before I had failed. This time making small changes has me 10 pounds lighter in 4 weeks and feeling less sluggish and craving less of the fatty, high calorie foods.

Small changes really do matter.

  • If you save 25¢ a day, after a year you would have almost $100
  • Completing one chore each evening (dusting, vacuuming, laundry, etc.) leaves most weekends free of housework.
  • Spending just 20 minutes a day walking, cleaning the house or grocery shopping burns about 500 calories a week.

What elephant(s) are you facing today? Do you look at them the way I used to…does one bite really matter?

I encourage you to change that thinking!

Choose one small change to adapt this week. Then add another.

Give it time…at least a month before giving up. (this may be the toughest part!)

And be encouraged! (If you need help with encouragement, send me a note.)

blessings & peace to you…
Paula

Think On These Things

We’ve all heard the labels…Negative Nellie, Debbie Downer…names to describe people who can’t seem to find anything good to say or see the positive side of a situation. No one really wants to be around these people as they make it difficult to really enjoy life.

But let me ask you something.

Is it possible you have someone like this living with you all the time? Perhaps inside your head?

Do you put yourself down more often than you encourage yourself?

Is it easy for you to help someone else see the positive side of a situation but when it comes to yourself you are critical and pessimistic?

negative-thoughts

This came to my mind the other day as I hit the snooze button one too many times and didn’t get up early enough to exercise before work. Many days this is my only opportunity and I found myself grumbling and putting myself down first thing in the morning. Phrases like, “you know if you had gone to bed earlier you could have gotten up on time” and “how do you expect to get healthy if you can’t even get up in time to exercise for 20-30 minutes in the morning.”

While there was some truth in these thoughts it was no way to start the day. I asked myself what I would’ve said to a friend who told me the same thing and realized my answer would have been very different. I would have encouraged them not to give up or to allow it to ruin their day.

Philippians 4:8 says:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I don’t believe this passage is saying that we should live life with rose-colored glasses or never evaluate situations for improvement. However we should not fill our minds with these kinds of thoughts.

Imagine how different things would be if we fed ourselves the same words we would tell someone else.

Things like:

“Don’t worry about slipping up on that goal. Try again. You can make it happen.”

“Nice work. You’re really good at this.”

Being positive is not the same as being arrogant or self-serving. Finding the good in yourself also helps you find the good in others and look for the blessings all around. We can’t fully love others unless we love ourselves as well.

As you begin your weekend think about how you look at and talk to yourself. Catch yourself being negative and turn it to positive. Find things about yourself that are admirable, excellent and praiseworthy and thank God for creating these things in you. You’ll be surprised at the peace that will fill your heart and life through this small change in thought.

blessings and peace to you…
Paula