A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)It’s New Year’s Eve.  What is Positive Plan with Prayer #5?  I need to seek more of God’s wisdom and know His will for my life.  Is that a big order?  Well, yes, it is…  but I serve a great big God, so…

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  – Ephesians 5:17

Tonight I won’t be partying, but I will be praying.  I want just as much of what God has for me as I can get.  We spend time on those things that really matter to us.  This is important in my life and is totally worth the time I take seeking and praying.  God is never a disappointment.  ❤

I’ve only had to throw a fleece once in my life – the day of my father’s funeral.  God is faithful to answer our earnest pleas.  He knows where we are coming from – more than friends or family do.  He sees the obstacles and challenges we face – and he sees the frightened child inside us when on the outside we try to look brave and sure of ourselves.

I want to be the best friend and family member I can possibly be.  I want more of God – more of His strength, courage and grace.  I need it more than anything else I can think of.  I need to know what to speak of and when to speak of it.  I need to know when to zip my lip and stay silent as well.  I need more of God’s Holy Spirit – His wisdom.

Dear God,

It is my prayer on this New Year’s Eve that Your will be abundantly clear in my life.  You are not the author of confusion, but You make everything perfectly clear.  My heart, mind and spirit are receptive to Your still, small voice.  I’m listening and I’m waiting here alone in my prayer closet.  Please bless me with more of You – Your love, strength, courage, grace, mercy and especially wisdom.  Show me now what You want me to do in this new year.  You tell us to be strong and courageous, but that all comes from You.  Welcome to this new year, Lord.  Please continue to walk with me and give me everything I need to be successful in this wonderful life You have given me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

It’s Linda again, Lord!  Everything from You is available for me – and I am ready to receive it!  Let’s DO this!  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)PUNCTUALITYIf you are to meet others and end up being the last to show up, does it make you feel bad for being late?  It seems like I am always the last one to arrive.  I don’t do it intentionally, but that’s neither here nor there.  It is a problem that I need to work on, and with God’s help I can do better.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.  – Maya Angelou

I never want anyone to feel like they are not important to me.  If I leave people waiting, it’s possible that they may feel like their company is not as important to me as something else.  That is certainly not the case.  I just have a problem with time management.  Here are some things I’m going to do to make my routine as smooth as silk as I’m getting ready to leave the house:

  • I will lay all my clothing out the night before.  That way I can change purses if I need to and make decisions about what jewelry to wear.
  • It takes time to find the right lipstick to wear with the clothes you are wearing.  I’m going to start picking out make-up the night before.
  • Getting between 6-8 hours of sleep the night before makes all the difference.  If I’m suffering with symptoms of RA, I keep a PM medication on hand.
  • If I have to meet people early in the day, I’ll start taking a shower the night before.  That will shave a little time off my routine.
  • I will start leaving phone numbers by the phone.  If I realize that I won’t be there on time, having the number to call handy right away means I won’t have to spend several minutes trying to look the phone number up.

There are those who say punctuality is a great mistake, because a deal of time has to be spent in waiting for other people.  – Wit and Wisdom of Lord Tredegar Godfrey Charles Morgan

Respecting others and their time are a priority for me in 2016.  With God’s help and guidance, I can be a better friend, associate and patron.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)POSITIVE PLAN #3 for me is to listen carefully to others before I speak.  It’s the highest form of respect to hear others – not just sort of listen and immediately begin to speak.  We all want to be heard, especially by friends and family.  Would I be writing a blog if I didn’t want to be heard?  Well…  probably not.

To speak and to speak well are two things.  A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.  – Ben Jonson

Miscommunications can be avoided and hurt feelings are not as likely to be an issue if the people interacting are actually hearing one another before they speak.  I want to show more respect for my family and friends this year.  This is also helpful advice for those in the workplace.  We have relationships with employers, co-workers, vendors and the all important clients and patrons.  If we have good relationships with one another, regardless of the circumstance, it has a direct impact on the bottom line.

LISTEN BEFORE YOU SPEAKMost of us have a tendency to think of what we want to say while someone is trying to talk to us.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to do that, but if you can focus more on listening to their contribution to the conversation and less on how you are going to respond, it would be a better idea.

Here’s a reason to listen intently…  you may actually LEARN something!  Yeah – it’s true.  What a concept!

I’m not suggesting that we ignore what’s being said to us on purpose.  I think it’s human nature to think ahead about what we’re going to say in response.  We don’t want to say anything that will sound stupid, so we scrutinize our response to ourselves to make sure it sounds reasonable and logical.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.  – Doug Larson

Listening on purpose doesn’t happen naturally, rather it’s a learned behavior.  Fortunately, with God’s help we can re-train our automatic method of communicating and make it more effective.  Great bosses are good listeners and a pleasure to work with and for because those employees feel they are heard and understood; more to the point, employees believe the boss takes a genuine interest in what interests them.  It’s an all around good relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

BUDGET CUTS

Positive Plan #2 is to reduce debt.  Yes, I know, I know…  we’re not getting a cost of living raise and everything (including interest rates) will probably increase – and I’m pretty sure they are getting ready to raise the rates soon.  I’m very surprised they have not done it yet – but look out because I really think 2016 is the year they will hike them up.

Reducing debt is a matter of sacrifice – big time sacrifice.  What can you live without in order to get it paid down?  Each person would answer differently.  It might be that $4 cup of fancy coffee in the morning or the $1 cup of soda from the fast food place.  You know your lifestyle better than I do – so your answer will be based on your lifestyle.

Common sense and prayer go a long way – or so I’ve found that to be so.  Here are a few steps that may help to at least organize your debt into the proper perspective as you tackle it.

  • Make a list of every one of your credit cards.  List them with the highest interest rate card at the top of the list, second highest under it and so forth.
  • Write down the total of the minimum payments.
  • Pray over the list.  Ask God to help you use as much common sense as possible.  Give the list to God.  Call out to Him for direction.  Debt is a weight – a very heavy weight that affects every aspect of your life.  It takes money to live in this world and God wants to be involved in our spending habits and in paying off debt.  He cares about the things that weigh His children down in life.  If it is lack of money that weighs on you – if debt is robbing you of the joy that God wants you to have in your heart – you have to hand it over to Him.  You need to pray over this list every day until your debt is paid off.
  • As you are praying, ask God to impress upon you those areas in money management where you can possibly either do away with or significantly cut back.  He will do that if you ask.  Even if you can pay an extra $20 a month on the card with the highest interest rate – that adds up!  Every little bit helps.
  • As the payments come due, pay the minimum on the cards with the lowest interest rates.  That first card on your list is the one you need to pay more than the minimum payment – it’s your goal to pay that one off first.  That high interest rate is eating your lunch, so pay as much as possible on it.
  • Continue doing this until the first card on the list is paid off.  Once done, focus on doing the same with the second card on your list.
  • This step may seem obvious, but once your debt begins to dwindle, don’t reapply for ANY credit cards!  I know it’s a great temptation when money is tight to apply for credit, but try to resist the temptation to do that.

Here are a few more tips for getting debt paid down more quickly, but none of these are a slam dunk guarantee.  You may want to:

  • Call each credit card company and ask if your interest rate could be lowered.  It sounds too good to be true, and I’m the first to admit it doesn’t always work, but the most they can say is NO.  It’s been my experience in life that sometimes – they say YES.  So…  give it a try.
  • On some credit cards they run special 0% offers.  These are hard to come by in this economy and you have to be careful (read the fine print) because there are hidden fees that might outweigh the benefit.
  • The balance transfer deal may not be the best way to go, but you could try to get the balance lowered from 25% APR to a card with 18% APR.  Even with an 18% APR it’s going to take some time, effort and a great deal of personal sacrifice to get debt paid off, but isn’t it worth lowering that annual percentage rate?

Debt steals peace and joy!  It haunts a person daily because it’s all-consuming all the time.  You can’t buy that occasional latte from the coffee shop without feeling guilty.  Let’s make a Positive Plan that is bathed in prayer.  God can do what no man can do!  I pray that 2016 is the year your financial joy is abundant.  (y)

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

PRAYER FOR HELP WITH DIET

As we head toward 2016, will you make New Year resolutions?  I don’t call what I do each year by that name, but I do make POSITIVE PLANS with prayer.  I don’t commit to change completely at my age, which is what a resolution eludes to – rather I commit to tweak, keeping in mind that the goal is my overall good in life.

I could be like everyone else jumping off the cliff and say, “I’m going to lose a TON of weight”.  Well, first of all, I know this body of mine – and I know, especially as I get older, a TON of weight will not just magically disappear.  So I would rather say “I’m going to make better choices as I plan meals.”  That doesn’t put pressure on me to do something massive in a short amount of time.

You want results yesterday, and desperation mode kicks in.  Beware of the valley of quickie cures.  – Pam Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. 

I can’t pretend that I won’t need a little chocolate once in a while.  I could stand in front of chocolate with my arms folded, refusing to partake…  but guess what?  That’s worse than buyer’s remorse!  I’m going to think about that moment and pretty soon I’m saying, “You know what?  I didn’t get that chocolate when I could have, so I’m going to go get some now to make up for it.”  For Pete’s sake – just have a piece of chocolate and work it off!  It’ll be okay.

There will be bumps in the road and it helps to keep a food journal to stay on track.  It sounds weird to say I eat and forget what I’ve eaten – but that’s exactly what happens sometimes!  I probably eat more calories than I realize I’m eating.  If I write everything down, there it is on a list.  If I’m getting close to my limit and I still feel hungry, I have to ask myself if I’ve drunk enough water or if I’ve gotten enough exercise.  Hunger is not always about food.  Sometimes it’s about water intake or lack of exercise.

Am I bored?  Do I need to get involved in an activity such as blogging or a game – something to keep my brain busy?  It’s not just a matter of denying myself food.  It’s much more complicated than it seems.

Let’s face it – if this was easy to do, we’d all be walking pencils, wouldn’t we?  Not everyone needs to lose weight, but a large group of type 2 diabetics would agree that they need to lose enough to get their hemoglobin A1C within normal range.  I’m raising my hand – I’m in that group.

It’s my hope and prayer that in 2016, around week four, I don’t become a big bundle of excuses.  I wish I had an accountability partner or someone who would be willing to drag their sorry behind to the gym with me.  That would keep me psyched and energized.  It’s more difficult if you’re doing it alone.

Positive Plan #1…  make better food choices and keep track in a journal.  I’m positive I can do this.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

I saw the funniest sign the other day – it said:

I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, AND IN THERAPY BY NEW YEARS!

Were you home for Christmas, with your friends and family?  Did you survive?  What does today look like for you?  Once the festivities and traditions are over, where do you go to de-stress and de-compress???  In all honesty, we love our family, but there comes a moment when you need to run away and be alone – or with others you like more.  It’s not an insult to family – it’s just the way it is.

A SIP, A PRAYER, A PEACE

I need to avoid going to therapy by New Years because for starters I can’t afford it.  When I want to relax and breathe deeply, I visit the Chinese Massage place in our local mall.  It’s amazing what a massage can do to get rid of all the built up stress and frustrations that may have latched on to you during the Christmas holiday.

Another good idea is to get some exercise.  When you exercise, it’s a way to rid yourself of all the tension and increase your energy, which is a positive thing.  It’s not good to carry negative energy around with you, so move some and get rid of it.

How about Bible study, meditation and prayer?  Yeah, you knew I’d get around to that, huh?  Well, give prayer a chance – you may be pleasantly surprised by the results and the peace you gain in the process.  You don’t have to pray like the most educated theologian – just tell God your heart in the name of Jesus.  It’s really very simple.

“A Second Cup with Jesus” is a great devotional book!  We thank you so much for reading our poetry and following this blog.  ❤

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KEEP CALM & READ A POEM

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.  To know the dark, go dark.  – Wendell Berry

You know, when we first decorate for Christmas – I’m like a little kid – OH LOOK AT THE PRETTY LIGHTS!  But it seems as time goes by and we approach Christmas Day, the lights lose their appeal to me – and by the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to embrace the quietness and the darkness that follows.  Does that sound weird and depressing?  I don’t mean it that way – I just think there is so much commercialism and hoopla associated with Christmas.  It’s like the bling mania turns back into quiet wintertime.  We don’t see the lights anymore – we lose that distraction and enjoy wintertime and see what a silent night is really all about.

Nobody sang Silent Night at the actual nativity, you know.  It really was a silent night!  Sometimes it’s not until after Christmas we get a better idea of how the actual night must have been.  Of course there was that star – that very bright, shining star!  A choir of angels singing glory to the King – the original carol.  🙂

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

12-25 MERRY CHRISTMASI wish you a very Merry Christ-centered Christ-mas!!!  We have made preparation for this day and we have one last thing to pray for.  Today we will pray for kindness to all people – along with goodness in our actions, strength against temptation, wisdom in decisions, patience with each other, forgiveness for our sins, give praise for His love, pray for love for one another, joy to share with others, peace in our hearts and thank God for His amazing grace!  Whew…  it’s a tall order, but we serve a mighty and gracious God, don’t we?TEN DAYS FORE CHRISTMAS

What is kindness???  Some synonyms are:  benignity, benevolence, humanity, generosity, charity, sympathy, compassion, tenderness.  It’s a good turn, to look for the very best in every soul you meet.  Kindness is completely color-blind.  It does not see economic status.  It forgives over and over again.  True kindness comes straight from God’s Holy Spirit.  There’s a discernment that comes with kindness.  Kindness knows when it’s being taken advantage of – and knows how to lovingly let people know that it is not stupid – but wise.SHOWING HIM KINDNESS

Here are a few ideas to show kindness today and from now on:

  • Donate to a charity or food bank
  • Give up your spot in line
  • Help someone with a chore
  • Shovel snow for a neighbor
  • Donate pet supplies to the shelter
  • Pick up litter – but make sure you wear gloves
  • Donate books
  • Send a get-well card to someone who is sick
  • Visit a shut-in
  • Tell a family member a joke (a good, clean one please)
  • Buy someone a cup of coffee
  • Send cards to service men and women.  They need encouragement year around
  • Donate a pair of new pajamas for foster kids
  • Leave a gift basket for a neighbor to find

Let God guide you down a path of kindness in life.  There are so many suspicious people who waste precious time and energy being unkind and looking out for number one.  They miss out on the best blessings from God and that’s sad.A PROMISE KEPT

Tomorrow we stop preparing for Christmas, the birthday of Christ – for it is here today – and tomorrow our lives will go back to the way they were before…  or will they???  Take some time to go to your prayer closet and pray about it.  Pray that God will make changes where they need to be made.  He is faithful to help you if you will ask.  Merry Christ-mas!  🙂