Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Jenn’s Journey from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, July 27th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Good morning! I am happy to be here with you today. Grab your coffee and let’s chat a bit about rest for our souls.

We just had a weekend but how many of you are still tired? I don’t mean the kind of tired where you didn’t get enough sleep, but the tired deep down in your soul, the weariness that never seems to go away…perhaps even a feeling of hopelessness? Let’s talk about that for just a few minutes.  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:29 NASB)

Rest for our souls. Doesn’t that sound inviting? It is so easy to become bogged down with all the things we carry in our souls. In fact, Matthew 11:28, says, “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” I have often thought this verse was referring to being tired from physical work, but there is more to it and that is what I want to share with you today.

At the time Jesus uttered these words, He was desperately trying to show the people of Israel why He had come. He knew that the people were carrying heavy loads of ‘work’ oriented religion. The commentary I read said that the “rabbinical requirements were so many that an ordinary lifetime was too short to learn them all.” Now how discouraging is that? Sadly, most of the people either gave up or became rigid in trying to follow all the rules that would supposedly bring them salvation. I am sure they, like us, became good at pointing fingers to all who weren’t following the rules, and yet deep inside, carried the stress of knowing they couldn’t possibly do them either.

Jesus’ way is not our way. What does He mean when He says, ‘take my yoke upon you’? A yoke, as we know, is what goes around the neck of animals when they are pulling a wagon. At first glance, this imagery can seem negative. It seems something like that would be binding, and if the two animals pulled in different directions, it would make for a difficult situation. Again, we need to look a little deeper.

A yoke is used to ease the load so neither animal bears the weight alone. When we allow His yoke to be on us, we are joined with Him.

There is even more significance to this verse and this is what is exciting to me. The verse says ‘learn from Me.’ When we have chosen to take the yoke and join in working with Him, we have the opportunity to learn new ways of life.  We may still walk along paths that are difficult; remember Jesus also tells us “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). However, learning His ways gives us the chance to learn better responses to the troubles life throws at us. And that, my friends, is where the rest for our souls lies.

I find this encouraging. I want that rest. I’ve looked for it all my life. I am great at ‘reacting’ to the problems life throws at me. That rarely results in peace. Jesus is teaching me how to respond, WITH Him…and I am here to tell you, it is worth it. I still mess up, often. But the beauty is, He’s right there, gently pulling me back on the right path!

Until next week, be blessed,
JennJenn

Paws for Coffee Hour

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

The expression “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” originated in 1534, in a book John Fitzherbert’s The boke of husbandry.  The meaning behind it is that puppies are teachable and trainable while older dogs are unwilling and less apt to be trained.  Many have used this phrase to illustrate how getting people, especially seasoned ones, to change their habits or acquire new skills is impossible.

My four-legged babies have definitely proved this statement to be false, and I challenge you to do the same.  Through them I have discovered that this statement simply isn’t true if your heart is soft and willing to learn.  I have also learned that life is an experiment, to push the limits and test what is possible.

I have seen this first-hand with my 12-year-old Golden Retriever, Corey.  In dog years, 12 is pretty old.  He has cataracts and sometimes walks with a limp; recently he barks randomly like he hears a mailman somewhere.

When Logan (my husky) was smaller I started to train him to sit, stay, and speak.  You may have seen the video of him saying “I Love you” in my first blog.  It took him many tries and lots of treats to say the phrase.  Corey sat through the process but started to notice that Logan got a lot more treats than he did.  Corey wags his tail and sits still, sometimes lays down on command but that was about all he wanted to learn…until he noticed MORE TREATS for the dog who could talk.  Huskies are vocal because they are friendly, pack animals.  Golden’s are friendly too, more loyal and watchdog like. They prefer back-scratches to conversation, until talking = more treats.

Corey interrupted our training by growling, then barked three barks – 1 short, 1 medium and then a longer one for emphasis.  I was shocked; he was proud.  He also got a treat.  Logan has moved on to more tricks and Corey tries to keep up.

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Corey I Love You
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The lesson here is never stop learning and growing. Try something new or refine a skill by:

  • Reading
  • Researching
  • Volunteering
  • Taking a class
  • The list goes on….

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).

Don’t wait to create a bucket list; seize the moment!

Jen, Corey and Logan

Tuesday’s Trench Lessons 4 Life

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Hello again friends! Thanks for returning for this hopefully thought-provoking topic. As I write this, I want to let you know that I am going to be speaking in generalities. It may not apply to you, but I think we can see how this may apply to many in the world we live in. Please grab your shovels and your water bottles as we climb down into the trench today.

There is a term used when a child is undernourished, and does not grow and develop properly: “Failure to Thrive.” In general, babies who fail to thrive don’t receive or cannot take in, keep, or use the calories that would help them grow and gain enough weight. One of many causes that doctors have discovered cause this is lack of touch. Babies need touch to survive. It helps them grow, develop, adapt, trust, and feel secure and comforted. It decreases the probability of illnesses and promotes good health emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Touch helps babies bond to Mom, Dad, and other family members. What amazing powers touch has!

As we grow, often times the amount of touch we receive dwindles. We become big kids and think we don’t need comforted when we get injured. We don’t want our friends to see Mom or Dad giving us a hug either! How embarrassing! Then we hit the teenage years, with our attitudes, and looks to kill. Some days, the only time our parents want to touch us is to wring our brat necks! Many parents still show love, and still give us touch, but compared to our infant days, there is pretty much no comparison. After all, we don’t fit comfortably in their laps anymore. 🙂

Now we are into our adulthood. We might not see our family too often anymore. Mom might only be able to give us hugs once a year because she lives so far away. We may have had a falling out with our Dad, and no longer receive any type of touch from him at all. As an adult, we may have a significant other that we receive loving touch from. We possibly have good friends that we also receive touch from, the hugs when we greet, or when we are having a bad day, their arms around our shoulders while sitting together watching movies or sharing a laugh.  Then there are times in our lives we may not have a significant other, or might be low in the friend department. What does our physical touch look like then?

There is the handshake when meeting someone new, the occasional brush of hands when paying for something, the accidental bump on a crowded street. In some cases, the touch in our life may have turned from positive to negative, i.e., an abusive relationship or a mate that ignores our needs, sexual harassment at school or in the workplace.  With all the negativity in the world, we have been set on edge. What secret motive does that person have, or what horrible thoughts are going through their mind as they are attempting to touch us?

Think of the last time a stranger touched you. How did you feel? Now think of the last time that you touched a stranger. What caused you to do so? How was it received?  I thought that I mostly enjoyed touch. I like to be hugged. I like to shake hands. Sometimes I like an arm around my shoulder. I have become more aware of myself these past few months, and I realize that I am not as comfortable with touch as I thought. I don’t feel comfortable with people walking directly behind me. I dislike when someone has their hand on my shoulder for an extended period of time. I feel unnerved when a hug continues after I have tried to pull away.

For the most part, a stranger’s touch just seems, well, strange! But what would this world be like if the touch of a stranger felt welcomed? Imagine if embraces and gentle slaps to the back or shoulder felt natural. Better yet, what would it be like to not question why someone touched you?  The peace that we would feel from everyone’s healing touch would be overwhelming!

Jesus physically touched everyone He came in contact with. He healed with touch. He touched the untouchable and the unlovable. In Mark 8:22-25, we read of the blind man that was healed by Jesus’ touch. Touch is so vital in this story. Lack of sight increased the blind man’s sense of touch. Jesus lead him out of town with touch, healed him with touch, and comforted him with, you guessed it, touch. So this week, let us strive to be like Christ, and share positive and comforting touch.

Until next week, I love you.

Lea~Lea

Jenn’s Journey from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, July 20th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Another week has passed.  I spent a few days away, in the mountains. There is something about being in nature’s beauty that gives a new perspective. Every now and then, we need that. Thank you for joining me for a few minutes away from it all this morning!

There was once a man who had 100 sheep. His job was to shepherd these animals and watch over them. Each day he led them to pastures plentiful with grass, and to streams of cool water. He kept a watchful eye out for wolves who might hunt them. If a sheep was hurt, he bandaged the wound. Each evening he rounded them up and took them home, to shelter and safety. At the gate, he counted the sheep to make sure each one was back where it belonged. One night his count came up short by one. He counted again. Sure enough, only 99 had come home.

Of course, he was immediately concerned. He hurriedly locked up the 99 and went out, weary though he was, to search for the lost. Frightened cries led the shepherd to a ravine, and a mass of thorny bushes. Finally, the lamb was rescued, comforted, cleaned up and home safe with the other sheep.

As the story goes, the lamb had wandered away from the flock and ended up lost. Has this ever happened to yojesus.lambu? Have you felt separated and lost from what is safe and familiar? Do you ever feel you are down in a ravine, trapped with no way out? I certainly have. Life has a way of doing that to us…sometimes by our own choices, and sometimes by way of others foisting their choices on us. Whatever the situation, it can seem hopeless and as if those thorny bushes are closing in.

I am here to tell you, it is not hopeless! There is Someone who notices that you or I have gone missing. He knows our stories…the good, the bad and the ugly. He is out looking for us and He wants to bring us home. He longs to bandage up our wounds and set us back on the right path. He has done this for me so many times. If you’ve ever been crying out, and a friend calls at the right time, or a touching song plays on the radio, inspiring words jump out at you from a book you are reading, or you just feel a comforting Presence, you’ve been found by the Shepherd.  He will treat and heal that which has wounded us. He does not leave us alone, or afraid.

The story above can be found in Luke 15:1-7. It’s one of Jesus’ parables. It is a beautiful story. Wherever you are today, may you be blessed, knowing He has found you!

Until next week,

JennJenn

Jenn’s Journey from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, July 13th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Good morning everyone! Happy Monday once again. Thank you for stopping by and having a few moments with me. I hope this new week holds some good adventures for you!

Speaking of adventures, I had one this past week. I’ve talked often here in my blog of being a recovering perfectionist. Life is full of opportunities for improving upon this aspect of my life. I’ve slowly but surely been practicing letting go of my high expectations, trying to give myself credit for the things I do right.

Back to my adventure. I promised to check on my parents’ home while they are out of town, to water their indoor plants and make sure all is in order. They live about 45 miles away, so it’s a bit of a drive. I planned out my week; notice how I say, ‘planned,’ figuring that Tuesday was the best day for this trip. I prepared my daughter for the excursion, promising a treat for both of us and charged up her DVD player. She let it be known this was not how she wanted to spend her day…but I assured her we’d have fun and make some memories along the way.

For once, we sailed right up the hill with no traffic and pulled into the driveway. I stepped out of the car, and with a sudden sinking feeling, realized I had the wrong set of keys with me. The house key to my parents’ house dangled safely from its hook 45 minutes away. Normally, this would really set me off, either I’d be mad, or be in tears. Instead, I laughed.

If you know me, you probably have your chin on the floor right now. My daughter asked me “Mom, what is so funny?” I told her the situation and she just looked at me, standing there, in the driveway, laughing. I explained that we would go to the backyard, pick the plums as promised and then we’d go get some lunch and take go to the park.

We did just that. You know what? We had fun!  I didn’t spend time beating myself up for this mistake. I was able to stay in the moment, and make some memories with my girl.

To some, this would seem a small thing. To me, it is huge.  The still small voice of God says “Jenn, slow down; enjoy what is around you. I will help you handle whatever the day throws at you” Oh, may I count on Him more.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Until next week, be blessed.

JennJenn

Jenn’s Journey from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

Good morning! Happy July. Celebrating freedom is always a good thing isn’t it? It seems nowadays it is even more special as this world heats up with more tragedy and unrest.

The other day I went to see the movie “San Andreas.” Typically, these types of movies are not my thing, as they usually strike fear in my heart. However, I am glad I took a chance on this one, because I got a reminder during this movie of where I need to place my hope.

If you know anything about the movie, you know a 9.8 earthquake hits California, with San Francisco being the hardest hit. It’s really quite sobering to think that anything like this could happen; the devastation is unreal. Of course, the movie has a hero, a firefighter who has the highest number of dangerous rescues under his belt. He’s incredibly smart, strong and daring…I’d sure want him around if a tragedy hits!

He was everywhere, rescuing people, hurrying them to safer ground, pulling them out from under fallen debris. In one scene he gets a group of people up against a building, and they survive. One woman asks him, “How did you know we’d be safe?” His answer, “Get up against something strong and stable and you’ll be ok.”  The ultimate goal is to find and rescue his daughter who is in San Francisco. The daughter has paid attention to things her dad has taught her, and throughout the movie, she is trying to get to higher ground.

I found myself in tears, and not because I was afraid, but because of the spiritual lesson I took away from the movie. I often feel chaos all around me, falling debris, and fear of what will happen next, the struggle to get to higher ground. This is when I have to ask myself: have I been listening to what my Father has told me?

Words from a hymn came to my mind:

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.”

I/we have Higher Ground to run to, and though He does not always stop the chaos, He helps me/us rise above it. He is the ultimate Hero and one day He will take us far above and beyond this crazy world. I leave you with this verse, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

Until next week, be blessed,

JennJenn

Croley’s Corner @ Chicklit Power

Friday, December 12th, 2014
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

So that we might be enabled to carry out His love

Colossians 3:12-16   Nevertheless…. above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Good Friday morning, I am blessed by your responses and comments to the Power Friday blogs. It’s always reassuring that a “thought provoking word” is being spoken to someone …always hopeful of bringing encouragement, so today let me share what fills my heart and hopefully brings inspiration to you this busy time of year.

We’re definitely into the Christmas season… lights everywhere you look….songs being played on the radio; even the smell of Christmas penetrates many stores. It’s easy to see how we can get enveloped in all the events and occasions that takes place.

The traffic always seems to be heavier….I can’t understand where all these people come from and where they are all year long! But it can be a bit nerve-racking….well, in all honesty, it’s crazy out there. We often find ourselves in such a hurry traveling from one store to the next to get the best deals…waving people to get out of our way… yes….a bit extreme, I know,  but you get my point.

During the Christmas Season far too many are searching, needing someone or something to fulfill them. Many people feel very lonely and broken. This brings me to my point of not just celebrating Christmas just on Christmas Day but to be the example of Christ in Christmas, everyday!

I’m leaving you a small gift to help encourage others about His great love and how it can be activated through you in the days ahead. My hope is that it will be encouraging and remind us to take our eyes off ourselves for that one brief moment and speak a word of love, hope, joy, peace, and in this alone, knowing that our opportunities are vast to the many we will come in contact with.

Take each day scheduled and apply it, through you and although we’re already into the second week, there’s still time to put into practice the days that remain, and not just for the Christmas season.

To the tune of “On the First Day of Christmas my true love said to me”

On each 31 days of Christmas my Jesus said to me….

  1. Love many
  2. Be full of Joy
  3. Be at Peace
  4. Have Patient and Endurance
  5. Speak Kindness
  6. Ensure Goodness
  7. Have Faith and Faithfulness
  8. Consider Gentleness
  9. Be Self-Disciplined
  10. Be long suffering
  11. Remain kind to others
  12. Do not envy
  13. Don’t parade self
  14. Don’t get puffed up
  15. Don’t behave rudely, or seek your own
  16. Don’t be provoked (the pushiness of people sure can provoke us)
  17. Think no evil, nor rejoice in sin (traffic can be a killer)
  18. Rejoices in the truth
  19. Bears all things
  20. Believes all things
  21. Hopes all things
  22. Endures all things (even if someone gets the last gift off the shelf)
  23. Put on tender mercies (look through the eyes of compassion)
  24. Kindness
  25. Humility: and a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying”Glory to God in the highest peace on earth good will towards men.”
  26. Put on Meekness
  27. Be Longsuffering…..when you’re standing in line, exchanging a gift
  28. Bearing one another forgiving one another
  29. Put on Love and let the peace of God rule in your heart
  30. Let Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
  31. And especially be thankful….God has been good to you this year!

Paul personifies love as shown in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 that as a person who acts in the ways Christ did — imitating  Him and allowing His unconditional love to permeate our attitude –0 that this should invade our motives, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

God always provides the grace and empowerment so that we might be enabled to carry out His love. With God’s wisdom present in this way, the ethical and moral demands of Christian love can be lived out in every part of our lives, even during the Christmas season.

Debbie Croley PicLove Debbie

Three Gifts, part three

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

2nd Timothy 1:7:EL pen Logo with heart

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind

Wow, can you believe it; only fifteen more days until Christmas! I hope and pray that you are enjoying this season and making memories that money can’t buy, keeping your focus on The Reason for this season! Grab your coffee and come on in; we have three gifts to open!

So let’s begin talking about these three gifts. The first gift He paid for, and oh, what a price He paid, was for the gift of power! Now I’m not talking battery-operated power – though many of us are like the energizer bunnies and when we run out of that power, we’d like to be plugged in so we can keep going! 🙂 No, this is a different type of gift. Let’s check out the Greek concordance for this meaning in this context.

Wow, did you know there are over 289 references for this word, this gift? Oh, I think He longs for us to understand the depth of this free gift!

Okay, so I’m getting some Spirit-bumps! See, I have asked Him just this morning for a confirmation that I’m in His will, wondering am I really supposed to be doing all that I’m doing, and He just gave it to me! I’ll share the confirmation in a minute but let me explain why I need it!

See, the ministry is going towards larger territory that is requiring some foot work and research and sometimes I look up and shout, “Really! Are we really supposed to do this, walk through this door, go here, or do that?” “Can’t I just stay put?” %^&&*(

What am I talking about? I’m so glad you asked! This ministry that started with a book four-and-a-half years ago that was geared towards women is now reaching men … and … there are also a couple of judges in two different districts who want to see the curriculum I completed six months ago! So as these things began to unfold, I had this thought: How serious is a judge going to take the name “Chicklit Power Ministries? 🙂 I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ll get right to news: We are now applying for a trade name: Trench Classes United, a division of CPM, with the same mission statement. Well, the to-do list is not near as long as it was when we were climbing the 501(c) (3) mountain to become a non-profit, but there are many things to do and when I think of them, I get a bit overwhelmed … until I put my focus back on Him, whispering His name to quiet my mind, and the beating of my heart, to calm the storm inside of me … and when I am still, and I look for answers, they come and this time, an answer came during our Coffee Hour today! Let me share the definitions for this gift of “power.”

A couple of the translations for our first gift from Him: “Ability, abundance, meaning, mightily.” Wow, I look at each one of those and I know my ability comes through my availability, and my availability is directed by Him. Abundance tells me that He has given me more power than I knew I had, that when I’m feeling like I’m about out of oomph, His gift of power will spur me on in the task(s) He has set before me. Meaning tells me that because I’m in His will, this task which He’s equipping me with power for has meaning! And mightily, well, I’m thinking there’s a new-found confidence in my step that I just know wasn’t there before this ministry was formed.

What about you; what are you going through right now that requires your availability so He can equip you with the ability? Do you believe your Source never runs out? And the current thing you are attempting, the goal you have set, or the situation you are in, or even the trial you are walking through, do you believe He has a purpose for it? It’s His purpose that gives us meaning! If God has brought you to it, He will see you through it; therefore you can go mightily forward!

See, this gift of power that He gives us is extraordinary; it’s not drug-induced therefore there will be no bad side effects; it’s not even from that yummy cup of coffee you sip on at whatever time of the day. No, you know that you know it’s His power in you, leading you, and even carrying you to, in and through anything that we wouldn’t otherwise do!

I don’t have enough fingers and toes, not even enough hairs on my head to count the number of times people have commented on my “energy,” though many used to accuse me of being hyperactive – and even being too busy, and yes there is always that danger to heed because busyness can be a sign of running from something but I know in my heart my energy is His power gifted to me to accomplish His work. There’s no other explanation.

Oh, but these definitions for power are like diamonds in the sky, twinkling with many facets that are granting understanding, and when we understand, we truly can take that gift He gives us and be so much more effective for Kingdom purposes. See, “power” also means “ability, physical or moral”!

And you know what? You don’t have to wait for Christmas to unwrap it! Go ahead; ask for your gift of power. He’s died to give it to you!

In His glorious, loving power,

IMG_8444-2 blogEvinda

Three Gifts

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

2nd Timothy 1:7:EL pen Logo with heart

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.

Oh, it’s great to be with you for our Coffee Hour! Christmas is in the air … nearly everywhere, a time where giving is on steroids and happiness is at the entryway of our hearts, beckoning to come in and fill us with that Christmas “spirit.” But it’s not just that time of the year, but the 1st has come and gone and we need to chew on some words of wisdom and grab those weapons of warfare! Grab your coffee and come on in.

I love how this month’s WOW came to me. I was actually having coffee one morning with my hubby, and I was looking through my book of WOW ideas and asking him to look up certain scriptures. We kept getting sidetracked as he would read a scripture and we’d both sit silent in our thoughts letting it move on down from our heads to our hearts, and then I asked him to look a verse up in 2nd Timothy 4:7 but inadvertently he read 1:7 unbeknownst to me, and immediately it got my heart a pounding and my mind rewinding, so here we are, in 2nd Timothy 1:7 and it’s so fitting for the season!

You know, honestly, I was going to boycott the season this year. Why? Because I was focusing on what I didn’t have, versus all that I am blessed to have. Have you ever done that; thrown yourself a pity party and you’re the only one in attendance, which makes the pity rise to a level of indescribable? Baaaaaah, humbug! But I refuse to stay there – actually, our loving Father won’t let me stay there as He reminds me in His word, and through His hands and feet, of not only His love for me, but of this truth: He loves me too much to leave me drowning in my self-pity!

What’s the pity party for? I’m glad you asked. It’s about old traditions … and my son and his family who now live in Texas and for the first time in their married lives are thriving and not just surviving. Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m thrilled for them, truly. It’s just that with this season their absence is felt even louder than their departure!

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are with my son, daughter-in-love their two children and our third grandchild, Bryden. See, we created some sweet traditions, like decorating the Christmas tree. Ah, three little munchkins waiting patiently as I hand them each an ornament just right for them to hang wherever they wanted to, and then scurry back for another one, almost as if it were a race to see who could hang the most decorations. “Please, can I have dat one?” Little Bryden would plead. And Dillan, the oldest, got to hang my most cherished ornaments with the help of his daddy. It’s so sweet to remember how each of them would vie for my attention, proudly boasting of their artwork on the branch of their choosing and then rush back for another ornament, for more approval, joy lighting up their eyes and spilling over onto their little sweet faces.

Ah, yes, just thinking of those child-like voices, the beaming smiles, their joy, the gift of their laughter … oops, my two faucets got turned on; hold on while I dry my eyes so I can see to keep writing!

Anyway, my soul is so much richer for those moments! But I have a confession to make: before Thanksgiving, I decided I wouldn’t do a tree; after all, who was going to help me decorate it? Why bother, I said to self; besides, I don’t want to clean it up afterwards. And then I further declared, we won’t be contributing to Southern California Edison this year either with our beautiful light display in every nook and cranny of the front yard. We’ll give our Lighted Snoopy, all the reindeer, candy canes and our skiing polar bear a longer rest. I felt good about my decision, and I know that my husband most definitely breathed a sigh of relief at the pass he’d received on his part of the annual decorating semi-party!

I told myself at least a dozen reasons why I didn’t want to get caught up in the season of Christmas this year but all that got blown up like a hot air balloon taking off when we went to my girlfriend’s house for dinner the other day. We pulled up and she had already gotten lights on her house and so did several of her neighbors. That was the first tug on my heart, and it was like a tug-of-war began on my heart. But when I walked in and I saw her tree, my heart did a flip-flop and so did my mind. The tug-of-war was over: “I want a tree now, George!”

“I thought you didn’t want a tree?”

“I didn’t until I saw Donna’s. I changed my mind.”

His eyes smiled and his smile reached his face while squeezing my heart as I realized just how tolerant he can be of me and my “mind-changes.”

I felt a sense of peace and joy as I imagined decorating the tree with my honey perhaps bringing a bit of romance to the occasion, you know, a sweet ambiance for creating new memories, possible new traditions, and suddenly I realized one of my struggles to celebrate the season: the fear of doing it without my kids and coming up empty-hearted!

Oh, but Abba did not give us a spirit of fear … but there are three gifts He did give us. Join me tomorrow for more of our December’s Wow!

In His Spirit

IMG_8444-2 blogEvinda

Jenn’s Journey-from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, December 8th, 2014
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

A happy Monday to you! Once again, a weekend has come and gone and we find ourselves into a new week. Did you all have a good weekend? How many of you were out shopping for Christmas? Has the mad rush hit you yet? It hasn’t quite gotten me, which means I’ll be on the crazy train for the last few days before the actual holiday! This time of year can bring chaos to our lives. I am really glad you are taking some time to sip on your coffee and read some of my thoughts.

Do you ever stop to listen to lyrics of songs? I know some people love the music itself, but it’s the words that speak to me. I do enjoy Christmas music though I am pretty certain it starts playing earlier every year! The other day, at work, these words hit me…”It’s the happiest time of the year” and “Let your heart be light, next year all our troubles will be far away.”

I don’t know about you, but my troubles don’t seem to go away just because the happiest time of year is here…which then led me to think about those I know who feel this is anything but the happiest time of year. For many, the holidays bring reminders of broken families, friends or loved ones lost to death, feelings of loneliness and unmet expectations

Yet,  this holiday is touted as one where everyone is living it up surrounded by family, friends, food and gifts. Excitement is in the air…parties are planned, music wafts in the air, more sweets than any human should consume fill our tables…not to mention the beautiful twinkling lights everywhere.

I remember as a kid, I felt so sad and let down when all the excitement was over. I used to wish it could be like that forever. There is still a part of me that wishes those feelings could last throughout the year…especially when the January blues arrive. I am pretty sure I’ve searched for that feeling of happiness and excitement my whole life which just may be why people love this holiday so much…for the hope that maybe, just maybe, this year all troubles will be far away.

This season is to be a reminder of Who came to this earth as a lowly baby, One who would grow up and sacrifice His life. A sacrifice that will bring to us the happiness we long for…even in the midst of our troubles. It is through Him that we can find true joy. In John 10:10 the Bible tells us that Jesus Himself said “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” Life to the full! Doesn’t that sound fabulous? He means for us to have a full life right now…right here!

He also tells us that ‘In this world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world’ John 16:33. The beautiful thing that God is teaching me through the troubles I face is that He is right there in the midst of them with me.

Whatever feelings this season invokes in you, I pray you will find time to sit quietly with the One who came to this earth for you, to meditate on His gift…and find your hope in Him whose heart beats for you!

Be blessed. Until next week,
JennJenn