Take Time to Get Energized

You know the feeling. The lift in your spirit, the yes in your heart, the light in your eyes. You’re doing something you love to do. And you get a little rush of joy. You’re energized.

Sometimes this burst of happiness happens in the midst of our regular work—and how fortunate we are if our work does this for us. Not everyone is so lucky.

For writers like me, many times we have to just plod along, laying down one sentence after another while stopping frequently to agonize over the right word choice. We’re not sure the piece is working and then bam—the right word, the right phrase, the right rhythm flashes through our minds and everything comes together. We feel exhilarated. Our hearts say yes!

More often, though, I would guess that such rushes of joy come as we engage in interests or passions that are not work-related. For me, I’ve found that taking photos—especially capturing something unusual or beautiful in nature—also makes my heart say yes and sparks a happy burst of fresh energy.

When this kind of satisfying joy and excitement pays us a visit, let’s soak it up and enjoy it to the fullest. Let’s pay attention to it and pinpoint the things that make our spirits take wing.

Once we’ve identified the things that energize us, wouldn’t it make sense to engage in those activities regularly? Those infusions of happiness will benefit not only our sense of well-being but our relationships and work as well.

After all, the lift in our spirits, the yes in our hearts, the light in our eyes are all worth the time we take to get that little rush of joy. So let’s do it. Let’s get energized!

“My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7 NIV

*What energizes you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Times of Crisis: Only God

Times of crisis come to us all. None of us is exempt. Some we see coming, some we don’t. But all have the potential to knock us flat—and keep us there if we don’t know where to turn.

I pray this will be someone’s answer today. Be blessed as you read, dear friends.

Only God

Impossible situations
With towering odds,
The questions all different
The answer the same—
“Only God.”
A job is gone
And money with it,
How will we manage—
Only God.
The tests are back
With devastating results,
Where do we turn—
Only God.
A marriage teeters
All hope is gone,
Who can restore it—
Only God.
Hearts are ripped open
With grief and despair,
How to stand now—
Only God.
Where is our hope,
Our strength, our peace,
Who can heal and redeem,
He alone is the answer—
Only God.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

*How has God been your answer recently?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by baronsquirrel, Creative Commons License

Little Things That Make Us Smile

A cup of hot chocolate. A pretty journal. A sweet comment here or on one of my social media posts. All these things—little though they are—make me smile, inside and out.

I love how little things like this can set the tone for my day—or turn it around if things are going badly. In the midst of all the stresses we face in our lives today, a simple joy can lift our spirits or spur impromptu communion with our Father as we whisper a word of thanks.

One joy I experienced some years ago was the early morning visits of a pair of cardinals. They must have wanted to take advantage of my birdfeeder before any other competition showed up. I wasn’t able to get a good photo of them during that semi-dark hour—and they certainly didn’t wait around for good lighting. They took off as soon as too much daylight intruded on their comfort zone.

But even though I couldn’t capture photos of their visits, I got to see them and enjoy their presence. I’m not sure why, but it made me happy just knowing they’d found my yard and made it part of their routine. It’s a little thing indeed, but they made me smile first thing in the morning. And that’s a very good thing, right?

Likewise, little blessings in our spiritual lives can set a happy tone for our days or lighten our loads on difficult days as well. Like the lift to my spirit the cardinals supplied, even small spiritual blessings can be all it takes to keep us encouraged and moving forward in our walk of faith.

Maybe a song ministers peace or comfort just when we need it. Or perhaps the sun breaks through the clouds when we’re longing for a touch from the Lord. And God’s Word? One sentence or verse can make all the difference on any given day.

Yes, it’s the little blessings that keep us going over the long haul, isn’t it? Let’s thank God today for the little things. The things that make us smile inside and out.

“Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.” John 1:16 GNT
*What little thing has brought you joy recently?

 

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo byJoeLodge, Creative Commons License

Theme Word 2024: Balance

“. . . it’s a matter of striking a balance.” 2 Cor 8:13 GW

What does starting a new year mean for you? For me, it means it’s time to focus on a new theme word. I’ve never been big into New Year’s resolutions, but this is the twelfth year now I’ve chosen a theme word to help guide me through the year. It’s a practice I highly recommend. I can honestly say it has benefited me year after year.

The word the Lord impressed on my heart for 2024? Balance. I never know all that the Lord has in mind when guiding me to a new word, but this year maintaining balance in my life seems especially important.

My responsibilities and the demands on my time have been much greater for quite some time with my husband’s Alzheimer’s impacting our lives, but I’m also still working part-time as a writer and author (with a new book contract and all that entails too.) I’m also continuing to serve as president of the Fellowship of Christian Writers group I belong to. Throw in trying to be an involved grandmother to two sets of twin boys along with maintaining other family and church involvement, and as you can imagine, my to-do list never gets caught up.

With all that in mind, I need God’s guidance, wisdom, and help in maintaining the balance he wants me to have. One that will not shortchange special times or moments spent with my husband as I try to fulfill my other responsibilities and desires. But also one that allows me to keep those things going in a way that brings glory to God. So yes, balance is what I need right now. Balance as God guides. And as the year unfolds, I may find that God has even more applications for balance in store.

If you haven’t done so yet, why not choose a theme word for 2024? I can guarantee that having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—to focus on will help give you direction and help you grow throughout the year. 

You’re welcome to join me in focusing on balance—it’s something we all need, isn’t it? But I encourage you to give it some thought and prayer first. God may have another word in mind for you. Why not ask him? He is faithful to guide!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV

*What is your theme word or anchor verse for 2024? I’d love to know!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

My Gift to You: A Christmas Prayer

*Fyi, I’ll be taking a blogging break until after the first of the year. Hope you have a joy-filled Christmas with your loved ones. See you back here on January 2nd, 2024!

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others . . .” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

I’d love to gift you with a prayer this Christmas season, friends. May these heartfelt words offered to the Father on your behalf bring comfort and joy to you today and help you worship the One who alone is worthy of worship and praise!

“Father, you know each one who will read this prayer. You know our needs, our joys, our hurts, our desires. May you surround us with your all-encompassing presence and peace this Christmas season. Meet each of us, please, at our point of need or rejoicing. We know you’re ever willing if we will only turn to you.

Thank you for walking with us through every experience of life. Thank you for being the loving and mighty God who sent Jesus to be our Savior. Thank you, Father, for the extravagant love you showered down on us on that holy night in Bethlehem and for the love you keep showering down upon us each day. We love you. We honor you. We worship and adore you. And not only during the Christmas season but each day throughout the year. In the glorious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.”

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” Matthew 2:10-11 NIV

*Do you have a special prayer request this holiday season? Please feel free to share.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out in early February. Sign-up is free! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Alan Cleaver, Creative Commons License