I watched the sigh of sleep lift her little chest. Tuckered out from our walk, my granddaughter slumbered away in her stroller. The breeze tossed a soft curl across her nose and she lifted her hand absently to brush it aside, but dropped it midair. Evidently sleep was more important than a tickled nose.
“Lord, How do we make a difference in her little life?” I asked, glancing toward the sky. The blue hues stood out more vibrant with the absence of clouds. I didn’t sense any particular answer. What does a little girl need, really? Fresh air, sunshine, plenty of hugs and kisses, food and rest. She’ll need boundaries as she grows older, safety and an understanding of right from wrong. She’ll need to know she’s loved, even on the days when I become cross with her for stomping her foot at me, or telling me “no.”
Am I so different in my needs? Sure, I have a few years head start on her, but I am a lot like my granddaughter. I need fresh air, sunshine, plenty of hugs and kisses, food and rest. I need boundaries as I age, safety and an understanding of right from wrong. I need to know I’m loved, even on the days when the Lord disciplines me for stomping my foot at Him, or for telling Him “no.”
“Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup;
You make my lot secure.
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:5-7 NIV
I am thankful for my heavenly Father who is walking through life with me. Sometimes I fall asleep on the job, but He’s still watching over me, protective and caring.
"You, Lord, are all I want!
You are my choice,
and you keep me safe.
“You make my life pleasant,
and my future is bright.
“I praise you, Lord,
for being my guide.
Even in the darkest night,
Your teachings fill my mind.” Psalm 16:5-7 CEV
Yes, the night is dark. But He is with me and I have everything I need.
My 21 year old walked through the kitchen and announced his choice of a coconut fruit bar for breakfast. “It’s a hearty breakfast,” he said.
I looked at my Dad and said, “Hearty. That could be our word for the day!”
"Doesn’t hearty sound full, resounding and meaty? How about a hearty belly laugh?”
“How about a hearty welcome? Doesn’t that sound inviting?”
Dad smiled. “Are you going to be a walking dictionary today?”
“Yes,” I said. “I think we could apply hearty to a lot of things. What would you use it for?”
Dad said, “I would eat it.”
I chuckled. Yep, that sounds good indeed.
How would you use “hearty” on a Monday? Would you jump wholehearted into a project that has been on the back burner? Would you give your kids your undivided attention as you sit down to play?
Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” English Standard Version (ESV)
So whatever you do today, do it all for the glory of God.
Wishing you a hearty Monday!
Guest Post by Kathy Carlton Willis
I’ve always been a lover of books—the opportunity to visit a new world, a new time, a new way of life. What’s your rite-of-passage reading story? I’ll start with mine.
As soon as I started school, Mother encouraged me to learn to read. She was a voracious reader, eager for me to develop the same love of books. This Chatty Kathy enjoyed every form of communications since my first spoken word. The written word was no different—I took to it like gravy goes with biscuits. Remember those Weekly Reader magazines (oh, the delicious smell of the ink and paper!)? The SRA Reading Lab inspired me to read not just for speed, but for retention.
When I received my first public library card around age 6, Mom walked us to the library several times a month. Yes, it seemed like it was two miles uphill both ways, but it was worth it! Our little town of four thousand was blessed with a Carnegie library (built in 1905) full of well-loved books. Mom taught me how to follow my favorite authors—I read all their titles. I knew how to thumb through a card catalog and recite the Dewey decimal system. By the time I outgrew the children’s section, I had read every book and graduated to the “grown-up” shelves.
Most avid readers say their idea of a time-out from stress and life involves curling up with a good book—claw-foot tub or blazing fireplace optional.
My favorite reading tip is this: Don’t waste time on a mediocre book. When reading for recreation, remember that you aren’t in school anymore. You aren’t being graded for reading every word. So if a book doesn’t appeal to you, put it down! Grab a different one. We have only so much time in life—definitely not enough time to get bogged down with a boring book or confusing storyline.
Just because a book earned rave reviews doesn’t mean it’s the right book for you, any more than gorgeous size 7 shoes will fit size 10 feet!
Think about your own reading tale. What was it like when you learned to read? When did you discover your local library? Do you recall the favorite authors of your early years? Who inspired you to read more? What challenges you today in your reading? We all have a story—even a reading story!
Kathy Carlton Willis gets jazzed speaking for women’s events and writers conferences across the country. She’s known for her practical and often humorous messages. Kathy enjoys fiddling with words as a writer and also coaches others. When not reading or writing books, she serves as a happy pastor’s wife.
Guest Post by Sandra Sunquist Stanton
Nothing brightens my day like a baby’s contagious laugh. We can give them what they need to be happy, without breaking the bank. April celebrates the young child. These tips might help you, parents and caregivers, guide your little ones toward healthy brain development.
You create his world. If he feels safe, he will be willing to try new things. If he is fearful, he may withdraw, refuse contact and choose to protect himself.
Loving touch soothes the central nervous system for both you and your child. It communicates safety and love. Enjoy snuggles, massage, and rocking while reading to her. These times are short.
3. Fuel Food
His brain doesn't store the fuel it needs to operate. An infant’s brain uses 70% of his body’s energy. Every day it needs water, fresh fruit, and omega 3 healthy fats. These building blocks create and strengthen connections between his 100 billion brain cells.
Both sides of her brain are active when she enjoys music. It's a workout for her brain. She forms stronger memories when many parts of the brain are involved.
Your child's vestibular system coordinates sensory input to send to his brain. Dance, skip, clap, and let him help you in the kitchen and garden. These activities provide the movement that gives each experience depth and dimension. His learning becomes multidimensional, richer and easier for him to remember and build on as he grows.
6. Reading and Language
Talking and reading with your child prepares her for reading and learning. Time with you is the best way to help her learn language patterns and support early social development. Does reading the same book over and over again get old? Remember repetition is exactly what her brain needs to learn.
7. Rest and Sleep
During quiet times his brain gets a chance to process his mountain of experiences. When he’s busy, his neurons are busy taking in sensory information. His brain’s original cells still need to be connected to one another. That happens during these breaks.
Enjoy your time together. Give her face-to-face practice matching your expressions and language with everyday activities. Electronic media cannot substitute for time with you. She learns that she matters when you respond to her. Enjoy this together time and make some memories.
Sandra Sunquist Stanton NCC, LPC, BCC, translated, means she is a National and Wisconsin Counselor and Nationally Certified Health/Wellness and Personal/Life Coach. She served as school counselor for 25 years and is nearing delivering her 100th brain coaching program. Her clear descriptions of everyday neuroscience applications help others find their best lives.
My father-in-law is a train buff. He builds layouts. He engineers bridge construction, scales mountains and plants trees. And it all takes place in a single room behind his house.
How does a hobby affect the brain? Like the intricate lines underneath his platform, our brains are wired to perform a multitude of functions. We need to switch tracks from time to time in order to see different sights.
Hobbies are not about the end result, but the process along the way. The brain renews itself as it focuses on a different task and the creative juices start flowing again when the opposite side of the brain is engaged.
How about you? What hobby tickles your fancy? A thing of beauty inspires others. May you be an inspiration today!
Does your “stuff” suffocate you? Declutter Now! tackles not only the process of paring down, but also the motivations that cause us to fill our lives with more than we need. Systematically tackling areas of home, work and relationships, the authors ask the hard questions of priorities. When our value systems set boundaries around our time and energies, the authors assert that we have more of what’s needed for the things in life that are most important.
Lindon and Sherry Gareis are the authors, and they speak from their own struggles with marriage, health and parenting. Their insights are gleaned from trial and error in the trenches of life. They have become certified Christian Life Coaches because of their desire to help others achieve physical and emotional freedom from the baggage of guilt, a lack of forgiveness and negativity.
Lindon and Sherry use basic principles of decluttering to tackle a variety of topics. Nothing’s off limits when it comes to paring down, and they have even broached subjects of finance, schedules, church commitments, “stinkin’ thinkin’ and contentment. As with any book, choose the pieces you want to apply and leave the rest. However, you will benefit greatly in taking action on the advice they offer, as each step moves you closer to your goal. Noteworthy are the reminders to do regular self-assessments. i.e. Think about what you’re purchasing and why. Is it to fill an emotional void or a physical need? Are you responsible for the stuff you already have? Do you manage your stuff or does it control you? Do you expect your stuff to make you happy? Does your busy calendar prevent you from being available to do the things God is nudging you to do? And that, the authors say, is the most important end result of decluttering: to make more time and freedom for God. “You should have less in your life of what doesn’t matter, so you have the ability to make room for what does.” (p. 221)
Disclaimer: I received this book as a giveaway in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I am no green thumb, but I have successfully moved my yard indoors this winter with geraniums. The pink blossoms are mostly dormant now, but pay a surprise visit on occasion. The Peace Lilies are so finicky; it takes a lot of trial and error to find the right spot in the room. They don’t like direct sunlight yet need it just like the rest of us to thrive.
I notice a big difference when the sun has been clouded by winter skies. On the rare occasion that it breaks through, I call out to anyone who happens to be with me in the house, “Quick! Run to the window! The sun is out!!”
Oh, how we need the sunshine.
There will come a day when we will no longer need it to thrive. We won’t have to take Vitamin D supplements or sit under sunlamps, for the Lamb will be our lamp. The glory of God will nourish us and the city will be filled with His light. Revelation 21:23 promises so.
Related Posts:We are not home yet
Full Disclosure, by Dee Henderson, is a deep story with many layers of surprises. The case loads of a FBI Special Agent and the Midwest Homicide Investigator intersect, and put their lives on a parallel course. As they race against time and fading evidence, Paul Falcon and Ann Silver peel back the layers of crime that takes them down unexpected paths.
Amazing to me, is the ability
I am never disappointed when I pick up a Dee Henderson novel, but this one is especially intriguing with the way she pulls in characters from other finished works and weaves their lives together. And at times, I wonder if some of the principle character is slices of Dee herself, through references to the life and quirks of an author. Will we figure out the ending ahead of time? Hardly, for the twists in this story will keep you guessing; you’ll have to get a copy for yourself!
Disclaimer: I received this book as a giveaway from The Book Club Network.
A little girl’s list of wishes expands as they begin to come true in Christmas Angel. Her mom reminds her that angels are not genies to grant desires, but Olivia continues to bring her requests to “the wishing house.” When she discovers a neighbor is responsible for the Christmas miracles, Olivia joins forces to enable more requests to be granted. The whole adventure had begun with the class assignment, “What is your impossible Christmas wish?” Olivia found out that the unattainable is very often doable.
When Mary and Elizabeth received messengers of their own impossible miracles, they learned firsthand that “Nothing is impossible with God.” Unlikely women became mothers at unlikely times in their lives.
In Preparing My Heart for Advent, Ann Marie Stewart asks, “What seems impossible in your life – something that only God could solve? In what areas do you need to claim… Luke 1:37?” (p. 54)
Does unbelief limit God? Does a lack of faith stay His hand? Is it time to remember the mighty acts of our Lord so that your faith can grow?
What is your impossible Christmas wish?
When we're faced with disappointment and pain, the Lord asks, “Am I Not Still God?”
Kathy Troccoli tackles the subject of suffering without trying to defend God nor provide “pat answers.” She says our moment of accountability in suffering is to ask
“Do I still trust God?”
“Will I trust Him if my circumstances follow a different path than that of my dreams?”
Each person must answer those questions for himself. As we face turns in the road of life, we are reminded repeatedly that we really have no control over what happens to us.
Troccoli says, “You have to be very close to someone to sit in their shadow.” (p. 121) She learned that our need for God is most filled when we draw close enough to allow Him to shelter us. (Psalm 91:1-2) He may not remove the difficulty, but He will remain with us, regardless.
Troccoli reminds us that God’s timing doesn’t look the same as ours. God’s Son even “banged nails for thirty years until the Father said, ‘Now is the time.’” (p. 143) Her winsome style of writing brings reassurance that the Lord will use the in-between times to prepare us for the task He has planned. Interspersed in her story are anecdotes from her rise in the music industry as well as the lows of watching her parents both succumb to cancer. She says we will gain a holy confidence when we remember our position in Christ. That reassurance carries us through doubt and discontent. I like that term, “a holy confidence.” It speaks of a humble authority that belongs to all believers as we put our complete trust in the One who rules over all. And yes, He still is God.