Do You Believe BIG??

2013 will come to a close in a few days and a new year will dawn. Many of us take this time of the year to start fresh, putting behind the disappointments of this year to look forward at possibilities ahead. We set goals and make resolutions, hoping to get all we can out of the new year.

How are you at looking ahead with confidence, believing God wants to use you in mighty ways this coming year? Do you go at it full-steam ahead, excited about possibilities or does the fear of the unknown hold you back from believing that you can be someone out of the ordinary?

set your imagination free

By out of the ordinary I don’t necessarily mean famous by the world’s standards. It is possible God has that in store for you, but more importantly God wants each of us to live out of the box we have put ourselves in or that the world has fashioned around us.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  Jeremiah 29:11-12

Sometimes we get so comfortable where we are at that we fear looking at the possibilities of the future because we don’t know who we will be once we get there. And as Christians we sometimes add to the challenge because we are so focused on being humble and recognizing others that we forget that God intends for us to have a healthy confidence in ourselves as well.

Everything we do…every goal we set and every plan we make should be measured against what God is saying to us through His scripture and time spent with Him in prayer. God may also send messages through others, encouraging us to seek Him for confirmation and details on His plans.

If these goals and plans seem too big for us…GOOD!!  If we can handle them on our own we don’t need the Lord, and we will not give Him the glory. At the same time, if we don’t believe in ourselves and the ability of the Holy Spirit within us, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of us.

In these last few days of 2013 I encourage you to dream big…and allow God to give you big dreams. Then ask Him to show you how to turn those dreams into goals and get started. We’ll talk more about how in the days ahead.

You can do ANYTHING when the power of God is within you. Believe in yourself the way He does, and see what He can do through you.

blessings and peace…
Paula

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It’s Over…But Are We Done?

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Here we are at the day after Christmas. I hope your season was filled with laughter and precious memory-making time with family and friends. Some continue to celebrate over the next few days, for others the tree will come down, decorations will get packed away and gifts will be returned. Maybe you will join the rush to after-Christmas sales to round out what you didn’t get from your list, or maybe to begin shopping for next year. Perhaps you, like me, return to work and the regular routine.

In my part of the country winter is upon us and will settle in to stay for a few months now. It’s easier to enjoy at Christmastime when the snow seems to add to the magical feel, but now the shoveling becomes tiresome and driving on slippery roads a chore. It’s the time of year when what I call hibernation mode sets in. I don’t want to go out at all, and when I do I tend to get done what I’m out for and return to my warm home and a cup of something hot.

The danger with returning to our routines and entering the hibernation mode of winter is forgetting what we’ve just spent a month or more practicing and encouraging others to do. At the beginning of December I issued a Christmas Kindness Challenge. It helped us to be conscious of others and reaching outside ourselves to reach them, even in a small way.

As I sit here this morning I ask myself, “now what?”

Will I pack away kindness with the tree and wreaths? Will I throw out thoughts of others as I toss the paper and ribbons? I hope not.
I am reminded of what Jesus told the crowds and His disciples during His sermon on the mount.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

and later on…

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:45

The red kettles will be put away, the toy drives have ended, and the Christmas dinners for the homeless have been served. But there are still homeless people, hungry people, and those who are alone and lonely. There are still neighbors who can’t get to the store because they don’t drive in the snow, and children who will go to school without warm mittens, coat or boots.

Needs don’t end when the gifts have been unwrapped. And we shouldn’t stop looking.

As we move into the new year and set goals or make resolutions let’s resolve to be kinder in January, February, March…you get the idea. Look for needs, and meet them as we are able. If we can’t meet them ourselves perhaps we can enlist others.

heart mittens

In simple be aware.

Let’s not be done with the Christmas ‘spirit’ just because Christmas is over.

Blessings and peace to you on this day after Christmas!
Paula

 

 

Christmas Memories

As I sit in the stillness of the morning sipping my coffee with only the light of the Christmas tree my mind is flooded with memories. Each ornament on the tree holds a memory, some of places we’ve been and others of people special to us. There are replicas of childhood toys, precious ornament from Mom’s family, and a special ornament to honor my dad.

ornaments

It is often said that Christmas is for children, and for most of us Christmas absolutely brings out the child in us. How many of us turn on Christmas specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas or Rudolph and Frosty whether or not there are children in our homes?

I am blessed with so many childhood memories at Christmas. Some were not particularly fun at the time…the year we had to wait upstairs with Mom until 9 or 10 am because Dad had to dig everyone out from the Christmas Eve snowstorm (we walked to Grandma & Grandpa’s that year as he never did plow our driveway) but now they are fun memories.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is making Christmas cookies with Grandma and Grandpa. I can still take myself back to that farm kitchen, pressing out the spritz cookies, drizzling the icing and sprinkling the non pareils (I wonder if Grandma was finding them on the floor until Easter!) The house would fill with wonderful smells, and you could be sure Dad and Uncle Kenneth would stop in at some point to check our creations.

Christmas Cookie Kids

Christmas memories can also be bittersweet as we celebrate without those precious to us. Some are miles away, unable to get ‘home’ for Christmas, while others we won’t celebrate with again until we see them in Heaven. It can be difficult to get through some of the happy memories when they are tied to those we miss so much, especially if we’re without them for the first time.

As Christmas creeps ever closer, please consider those your life touches that may be having a tough time with Christmas memories and don’t leave them out of your holiday. Take some extra time to visit them, or invite them to participate in your activities. While we can’t take away the sadness we can perhaps help make new memories that will bring joy in the midst of the sadness.

What are your favorite Christmas memories? I hope your Christmas season brings more joy than sadness and each year brings new happy memories to carry with you through the years.

blessings & peace to you!
Paula

This post is part of the Unwrap Your Memories Campaign for Destiny USA. Check them out here: destinyusa.com

PS –  Have you joined the Christmas Kindness Challenge yet? Details are here: http://wp.me/p1ARIh-e3

Christmas Kindness Challenge

The Christmas season is here!

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Lights and decorations are going up on homes and businesses. Cities and towns are festively decked as trees are lit and lightposts adorned. Here in Central New York snow blankets the ground. For most it is a time of wonder and anticipation. There is a magic in the air as people seem more willing to believe in the goodness of others and the possibility of miracles.

Unfortunately for some the excitement and anticipation is laced with sadness. They may be dreading the coming days. In retail shops this season brings longer hours and less time for family. Some are alone or struggling to make ends meet and Christmastime reminds them of their solitude and what they are lacking. Celebrations are sometimes laced with sadness and regret.

In our merriment and preparations it can be easy to look inside, focus on our little circle of family and friends and overlook others.

So this year I’m issuing a Christmas Kindness Challenge to myself and anyone else who will accept.

Every day from now until Christmas I will post a challenge on my author Facebook page. (you can “like” it here: https://www.facebook.com/pauladavispeace ) Most of the challenges require little or no money, but help us to think of others differently perhaps. Here’s the first challenge:

CKC Day 1

This is the time of year we celebrate the gift God gave us when His son Jesus came to earth to take away our sins and create a way for us to join Him in Heaven some day. We can give the gift of kindness to a friend or even a stranger each day.

Join me, won’t you?

Feel free to share this with others as well. Let’s make kindness contagious this Christmas!

Blessings and peace…
Paula