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I'm so glad you have come across my little nook in the cyber world. Here I strive to be real and inspire. I talk about my walk in faith as a Christian, motherhood, the loss of my child, and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me for a minute and relax?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Faith in Action: What is Faith?

Faith.

I asked today on my Facebook page, what does faith mean to you? 

Here are my thoughts to this question:

Life. Faith to me means life. In today's world, many claim they have faith and are living a life full of faith. To some, it's a bonus to living with Christ. It's something that's optional or completely misunderstood. I have seen this. I have told others who I have seen going through trying times to have faith. They've responded, "I have faith but..."

NO!! STOP!!

There aren't any BUT'S in faith. 

When one has faith, they turn EVERYTHING, every worry, fears, and all anxiety to Him. Everything. They take their issues directly to the Lord and ask for the help, strength, and wisdom to get through whatever it is they're facing. Then, they LET IT GO!! Once you give it to God, don't look back. Don't worry about it. Don't give into the whispers to the ears from the enemy. 

Faith isn't perfected overnight. It's an ongoing process that EVERY Christian must work on. I don't believe anyone has perfect faith because if that were the case.... then, they'd be right there beside Christ. 

Faith is an important part of the life of a Christian. It's vital to our walk. My faith helps make the world around me make sense. It shows me that no matter what I'm facing, God is with me and HE knows what's going to happen, so I don't need to worry about the ending. I know this because I'm His child and He will take care of me. Everything will happen according to his plan.

Faith is my identity and way of life. I may struggle with it at times but when I catch myself not showing faith, I pull the reins and pull my faith back. 

Faith is a form of trust in the Lord when you can't actually see Him. It's given just as love is, unconditionally. 

Faith isn't stepping into a situation and having doubt. When faced with a difficult situation, one must fully rely on God. They can't claim that they have faith if they let worry, anxiousness, fear, doubt, or any other negative feelings in. When one has faith, they let go and let God. Then, they don't worry about the situation again because God WILL take care of it. 


**This is my views for now.... I may add to it at another time.**

Simple Question; Unsure Answers

It's a question we all hear. It's asked in the morning before church. Some ask this question when talking on the phone. It's more like a greeting than an actual question. But I come to wonder, what do people really mean when they ask... "How are you?"

I come to you with this post because many times during church events this weekend, I've been asked this question. In America, some would say that it's a simple way to say "Hello." 

When someone asks me "How are you?", I have an internal battle. Do I answer with a simple, "I'm good?" Or do they really want to know how I'm doing?

If we were talking about asking the actual question to see how a person is holding up, I'd have a lot to say. I'd say that I'm about to have a breakdown. Bills are stacking up. There isn't enough money to take care of simple things like our water bill, gas, or electric bills. We're at risk of losing everything we have. Food is scarce and I had to send my daughter to her grandmothers for the week because of the lack of food. I'd tell them that I'm sitting here, on my birthday, stomach growling and one option.... pasta. I could boil it up and add some butter for my meal. That's what I'm looking at for my food during the day....well at least until dinner. 

I would say that emotionally I'm a wreck. My anxiety is through the roof and no matter what I do to ease it, it's still there. There's always something to put me at the edge of being okay and having a full blown panic attack.

I would tell them that I feel helpless. I watch my husband work every day, bust his hind end for the pennies he makes, and then on payday.... stress about which bill is the most important to pay and which bill he has enough for. I feel helpless because getting a job myself doesn't look good without a drivers license, car, and babysitter. Some say.... "Oh, you should put them in daycare." Once again... it's expensive and something we don't have the money for. 

Most of the time, I when asked, "How are you?".... I just smile and say, "I'm good." But in all honesty, do people really ask this to see where you're at in life, how you feel, and what not? 

When I ask, I'm REALLY asking the question. I ask it to those whom I care about to show them my interest within their own lives. I ask this so I can see if there's anything they need prayer for. 

So... I'm asking you.... what do you mean when you ask, "How are you?"

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY THIRTY

Congratulations on making it through the challenge. Today is the last day and you have done a wonderful job creating a more thankful life for you and your family.

For day thirty, I'd like to introduce to you and talk to you about a gratitude jar. The idea behind this jar is to show you and your family all of the blessings you've encountered within a year. Not only that, but it will help you continue living a life of gratitude.

Let's talk about the jar. The idea of the jar was created by Josie Robinson, who had a dream about a book that could help a lot of people. I am so thankful that she decided to share this idea and help many people in the process. When we write down our blessings and thankful notes, we develop more appreciation towards life and everything we have to be thankful for.

How does it work? Well, it's really simple really. You get a jar, small pieces of paper and a pen, and use both to track blessings given to you in a year. I was inspired to do this experiment in the year of 2014. I used an old coffee container for my jar. Every time I saw a blessing given to me, I made note of it on a small piece of paper and dropped it into the container. I did this the entire year. Then, at the end of the year, I opened the container with my daughter and we read over all of our blessings. I enjoyed the feelings I felt as we read the small writing on each piece of paper and I'm passing this idea on to you.

Now that we know how it works, let's talk about the purpose. I believe that this experience with the gratitude jar is a fun visual reminder of the many blessings that's given within a particular time period. It's a fun way to keep track and reflect back. The main purpose is to fill the jar with happy moments.

The gratitude jar can be used in different ways. One can choose to fill their jar with daily notes of gratitude, such as writing down three things for which their grateful and add it to the jar. Kids can even take part by drawing pictures to add in. (One tip for the pictures- add a caption to the photo so it's easier to see what your child was grateful for that day.) The jar doesn't have to be opened only at the end of the year. It can be used as a reminder when times are tough and someone needs a spiritual boost.

So, grab an empty jar and make a day for the family to decorate it. This can be with paper taped on the outside. A small piece of paper with "Gratitude Jar" written on it and taped to the inside. You can paint it. You can use stickers, glitter, or anything else your heart desires. There isn't a right way to do it. Then cut up paper in small squares. I personally like to use colorful paper to add character to it during the year. Lastly, find a place where it's easily accessible and in line of sight as a reminder, and there you go.

In your journal, write about what you hope the gratitude jar will do for you and your family. Write about the experience you had with your family while explaining the purpose of the jar and how everyone reacted to the idea. Jot down little notes about how your family liked creating your own gratitude jar.



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Attention Couples

I pray that this journey has helped transform your marriage and I hope that it took your marriage one step further. I pray that you and your spouse have enjoyed the daily surprises and memories you've made during the past month. Today, I would like for you and your spouse to sit down and reflect back. Talk about what you liked and disliked about this journey to gratitude.


Remember, if your notebook of letters isn't complete, keep going and fill it up. If you did fill it up, I hope that your spouse enjoyed the gift and will cherish it for years to come. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-NINE

Now we are going to start wrapping up with our gratitude journey. We have come a long way within the past month. In the past several weeks, we have focused on the meaning of gratitude, seeing gratitude in difficult moments, ungratefulness, thankfulness, and even focused on saying thanks to friends and family who deserve recognition.

This journey has been a long one and I'm sure even at times it has been tough. I would like for us to bring our families together for another day of gratitude. I believe that it's important to teach our children that gratitude is more important and show them that entitlement isn't a way of thinking. Our children aren't born being grateful. This is an act that's taught, which doesn't come naturally. That means if we don't find ways to teach our children to be thankful for each blessing, they may develop the attitude of entitlement. This way of thinking makes children believe that they're entitled to the blessings and they end up feeling disappointed, frustrated, and unhappy.

By teaching our children to simply count our blessings and making it a routine, we can teach our children to appreciate what they have. Children who practice gratitude seem to be kinder, more appreciative, and more enthusiastic towards life. I have read in several studies just telling our children we should be grateful isn't really working. As an example, "Eat all of your dinner. Just think other kids around the world would love to have a healthy meal like that because their starving." In order to teach our children gratitude, we need to show them how by living as a role model for gratitude.

Our children need to see us living a thankful life to learn. Living life watching us take others into consideration, showing empathy, criticizing less, complaining less, and stopping the judgment of others will teach our children to do the same. In addition, we need to say "no" more in reasonable circumstances. If we say "yes" to everything and reward our children, this leads to being ungrateful and them having the entitled attitude.

I remember one day while staying with a friend, their daughter came running into the house after a trip to the store. Their daughter was overly excited about the new toy that was purchased for them. As soon as she came inside, she immediately began to boast to the other children that she got something and they didn't. My daughter included in the ones who didn't get from the store. This action of the little girl made the other kids feel left out and down emotionally.

Another scenario I have witnessed was that children who often get the items that's trending, tend to be a bit more judgmental towards others who aren't so blessed. One Sunday morning while getting ready for church, my young niece who was three at the time, came into the bathroom where my daughter was getting her hair done. We dressed each of the girls in nice fall outfits and their boots. My niece told my daughter her boots were not church boots and that hers were better. (The boots my daughter wore were handed down to her because at that time we couldn't afford new boots for her.) My daughter told her little cousin that it didn't matter, but my niece didn't care. All she knew what that her boots were just purchased for her and she was proud to have them while making sure everyone around her knew what she got. By the end of this situation, my daughter was in tears because she didn't feel as if her boots were good enough.

This is what I'm talking about when I say the attitude of entitlement and ungrateful. My niece felt that she was entitled to have those boots which created her need to boast about them to others. Instead of looking at the fact that she had been blessed with a new pair of boots, she pointed out that hers were new and my daughter's were not. I believe that instead of giving our children things they want, we should make them work for them. This can be by doing extra chores to earn the new toy or the money for the new game.

I believe that we should teach our children to be grateful for adversity. Life is hard and as adults, we know this. When times are hard or plans didn't go our way, instead of complaining about it, we could use it to teach our children gratitude. We can teach them to see the blessing in hard times. The idea of teaching children gratitude is just that teaching them. Gratitude is learned. When times are tough we can help our children learn how to take the bad, flip it around, and recognize the blessing.

For today, I want to focus on teaching our children gratitude. Of course, this isn't going to happen in one day, but what better way to start than picking a day to do it. I choose today. Let's plan a family getaway. It doesn't have to be to an amusement park or museum. It can be a small picnic at the park, a visit to a state park, or a day at the swimming pool. During the visit, notice times where gratitude can be taught. Point out the smaller things for your children to be grateful for. Such as the trip itself. The warm weather, rain, clouds, flowers, and time spent together can all be a blessing. One way that it could be said is, "What a beautiful day we have been blessed with. The warm sunshine has made it possible for us to go to the pool and enjoy the day."

I like to use the term "having grateful eyes" with my daughter. I told her that if we put on our grateful eyes, we tend to see the blessings from the Lord easier. In return, she starts looking for the ways to be grateful.

After the small family outing, write in your journal the experiences you witnessed. Did you notice any times where it seemed your children were ungrateful? Did you notice when they were grateful? What are your wishes for them? Your goals for them? Then use this as a guide for how you'd like to eventually see your children and follow it.



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Attention Couples

Most of the time, we tend to belittle our partner without realizing it. If something isn't done the way we would do it or if our partner forgets, we become angry and make sure our partner realizes what they did or didn't do.

I tend to point out to my husband when he does the laundry the fact that the clothes weren't separated the way I would do it and I make sure I tell him that jeans should be a load on their own. I didn't realize that it was a blessing in its own that he put in a load of clothes to wash. Or when I asked him to stop at the store and buy a pack of hot dogs. I prefer all beef. He picked up pork and chicken and I didn't hesitate to point this out. He couldn't see the big deal because in his eyes, hot dogs are hot dogs.

Over time of doing this, my husband stopped telling me when he made mistakes or when he had something planned, because he didn't want to upset me or argue. So, he'd keep these to himself as he hoped I wouldn't find out. In my opinion, this isn't how marriage should be. It should be an open book where both are reading from the same page. Eventually when we belittle our spouse, our marriage suffers. I believe that this is also a form of verbal abuse. Without realizing it, we are dismissing the feelings of our spouse. This is the same for when we're giving the other the silent treatment. It just doesn't work. We aren't here to make our spouse feel as if they're a child being scolded by their parent.

If you do this, I would like for you to make a vow to change. We should be helping our spouse feel secure and showing them that their feelings do matter. When our partner is talking to us, we should give them the utmost respect and undivided attention.


For today, I would like to write an apology letter for any moments where we have belittled our spouse and make them feel less than. Then, write out a promise of the ways you're willing to change. Let them know that they do matter to you and how they feel is important to you. Afterwards, give the letter to your spouse. Overall, LIVE THE APOLOGY. Don't just write it and go back to your old ways. Strive to change this and better your marriage, as well as give the opportunity for you and your spouse to come closer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY EIGHT

Gratitude is often thought of as a gift or a blessing. It's joyful that we get to experience gratitude. However, once gratitude becomes a way of life, we need to remember to share it. When we express gratitude openly for others to see, it's easy to pass on and boost someone else's day. When we openly express gratitude, we are sharing the gifts we have been given. The more effort we put into showing our gratitude, we're teaching others. Self-presentation matters when it comes to our actions and gratitude. The more time we put into showing gratitude, the more likely we are to impact the lives of others.

One thing to strive for when living a life a gratitude is how others are impacted by it and the way they see our actions. If a person can't have a general conversation and notice right away that there's something inspiring about your take on life, then we need to double check our actions. Our actions need to reflect the words we are writing in our journals.

When we show appreciation for what we have, we tend to show it without thinking once it becomes a habit. Not only does showing our gratitude do good for others, it helps us to feel good about ourselves when other's recognizes the change in us. People will remember your grateful attitude.

What better way than to spread and share the joy of gratitude than with a cookout. So, for today I'd like for you to host a cookout for your close friends and family. Try to have it as close to today as possible, this way it's easier to reflect back. This cookout is your way of saying thanks to the people who you have written about in your journal. Be sure to thank each person during the cookout for everything they taught you in life and for helping create the person you are today! After the cookout, write down your turnout and what you are thankful for when it comes to the cookout!



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Attention Couples

TV time!! Sit with him/her while he/she is watching TV—even if the program doesn’t interest you. Cuddling or holding hands should be included.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-SEVEN

We have two people in front of us. Let's call one Bob and the other Mike. Bob complains about everything. There's never anything in life that is good enough for him and he is always mad about something. When having a conversation with Bob, you listen to how everything in his life is wrong and not going the way he wants. Nothing ever seems like it's enough.

Then we have Mike. He's always over the moon happy and joyful, regardless of what's going on. When he talks to you, he expresses his love of life and always wants to tell you something that is going to spiritually lift you up. Everything in Mike's life is seen as a blessing.

Out of Mike and Bob, which person would you choose to be around? Which person are you more like today? I personally want the outlook on life like Mike.

I believe we have the choice to decide if we want to be grateful. When waking up in the morning, we can ask ourselves this, "Do I want to be grateful today?" If we answer this in a positive way, we will see our day in an entirely different view and we are going to find more things within the day to be grateful for. We open our day with prayer and gratitude, we will attract the good and our attitude will show it.

One way we can remind ourselves to take the gratitude route is by using reminders. I am challenging you to take a small sticky note pad and write small reminders on them. Then, place them around your home where you'll see them often. This can be by the bathroom mirror where you'll see it in the morning when you are getting ready for the day. One can be placed by the coffee pot or on the refrigerator door. Anywhere you'll see it. Then, once the day is coming to an end, write about how these reminders helped you to stay on track.  


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Attention Couples

Send a graphic expressing your love in a text message to your spouse while they're away. Just a small note to tell them that you're thinking of them and that you love them. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gratitude Challenge: DAY TWENTY-SIX

We are twenty-six days into this challenge. You're doing a great job and I'm excited for the wonderful changes happening within your life. I pray that your mindset went from "why me" to "I'm thankful for". I know that keeping up with the gratitude challenge was hard at first, but I pray that it's becoming easier each day. It's hard to see gratitude within your life when you first begin. At this point, I pray that you have learned that there's always something to be grateful for, regardless of what is going on within your life. If we take the time to see, gratitude is all around us. Remember that with each step, you're achieving something bigger and greater than any of the problems within life.

The more we use gratitude and utilize it within our lives, the more we tend to use it. The way I see it. If we focus on gratitude in the bad in life, we tend to see what we can be grateful for. As an example, when we are sick. During sickness, we can be grateful for the times we have our best in health. Another is when people show ignorance and anger...it shows exactly what we don't want to be. It's a complete mind shift when we commit to gratitude and strive to live a life full of giving thanks.

Sometimes it takes us a few times being put through stuff to actually see the bad as a gift. We don't realize that their blessings as their happening, but we can look back and realize that it happened for a reason. Most of the time, we learn something from the bad times. Gratitude doesn't equal money or fancy cars. It's not something that can be seen from the outside. Think of it this way, the more gratitude we have, the more we set our lives up in abundance for joy, happiness, and love. If we focus on these, it opens us up to a whole new world of things we didn't see in life.

One thing that's impossible to have along with gratitude is a high ego, pride, selfishness, or arrogance towards the little things. When we reach the top, we will have gratitude towards life itself. Waking up in the morning will bring us joy. Our lives will become more enjoyable.

For today, we are going to update our list of things that we are grateful for. We wrote ten things that we were grateful for on the opening day of this challenge. When your list is complete, reflect back on the first journal entry and see how much your list has changed.




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Attention Couples

Today, take the time to create a coupon book for your loved one. There shouldn't be an expiration date on them. I like to use old checks that I would normally throw in the garbage. Use a black marker to cross out any information about your account and reuse them. Some examples for the coupons can include:

-One hour of uninterrupted TV time.
-A back rub
- One shoulder rub
-A night out with the guys/girls.
-No chores.

The sky is the limit. Be creative. You know what your love likes and what they'll appreciate. Once you have them filled out, put them in an envelope, seal it, and give your gift. You can use this opportunity for a lovely candle light dinner or something as romantic.