Advent Challenge, Day 3
Let's Lighten Up!
Today's challenge is to lighten up! Find something that has become a burden and get rid of it.
For example: Your closets are busting at the seams with clothes you either don't need, don't wear or don't fit. Consider donating them to charity.
Or you have been sending out Christmas cards for years to people who never respond. Take those people off your card list or think about saving time and money by switching to a digital card. I am personally skipping the Christmas letter this year. Not much has changed and I don't need to start a brag fest, so there is no point.
What things take up space or time in your life that you no longer need? Lighten up.
Advent Challenge, Day 2 (This one is personal!)
Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we focused on being thankful for someone who had hurt us. Today, similarly, we reframe a bad situation (past or present) as a blessing. A famous director once said that he put his characters under stress to define them. This is true in life as well.
Consider how a huge life event that was painful or even tragic helped teach you a positive lesson. I recently shared my life/faith testimony at a Magnificat breakfast. I shared what I gained from three difficult, life-changing events.
The first was my father's repeated rejection of me. The second, my brother's suicide. The third, was my divorce (many years ago, prior to meeting my wonderful husband of the past 24 years). I asked God why these events happened to me and this was what I felt He answered:
I didn't want you to call anyone else 'Daddy' except for Me. I used that place for Me to fill as your true Father.
I needed a deeper place in your heart for Me, so I used your pain and loss when your brother died, to carve out a bigger space for Me to love you and you to love Me.
You never asked me if your ex-husband was the one I chose for you, so when he left, I just let him go. I had someone special for you already in mind.
How would God answer you if you asked a similar question?
Advent Challenge, Day 1
Be Grateful for Someone who has Caused you Great Pain!
It sounds crazy, I know. To be thankful for someone who has hurt you, but pain defines each of us in a way. It helps us to choose how we will deal with that injury. We can choose to forgive and offer up the pain, or we can choose to hang on, ruminate, plot and hold anger in our hearts. Pain can be a lesson in giving everything to God. A tool to understand that God sees who you really are, and to choose to ignore how people see you (especially those who don't see the truth about you).
When you choose, not just forgiveness, but thankfulness it becomes a gift to yourself this Advent Season. God bless!
I have had the blessing of reviewing two great books recently. From Fear to Faith, by Gary Zimak and The Grace of Yes, by Lisa Hendey. (The fish on the cover has been named 'Fiat') I would highly recommend both of these books, especially for Christmas gifts this year!
Book Review: From Fear to Faith a Worrier's Guide to Discovering Peace, by Gary Zimak
People close to me suffer from anxiety issues, so I actually purchased Gary Zimak's books as gifts. When they came in, however, I picked up a copy and couldn't put it down. Gary approaches the subject of fear and anxiety in a self-disclosing, sensitive, and practical way. His writing style is very easy to read and moves quickly. It feels as if you are sitting down with this author and he is sharing his insights with you.
The book is not a how-to, as much as, it is a journey. Each section concludes with a "Remember, Reflect, and Respond" guide, which makes From Fear to Faith a practical workbook for anyone struggling with anxiety.
I truly enjoy Gary's easy style and reminders as you embark upon this journey. For example, his advice, "Don't be surprised if Satan himself tempts you with the idea that lasting peace is not possible," is followed by his solution to combat this pitfall by keeping your eyes on Jesus.
Mr. Zimak reveals a 'secret weapon' in the fight against worry and anxiety and a pledge to help the reader move past the place that they are stuck (when worry controls your life or prevents you from being truly happy.)
You do not need to struggle with a severe anxiety issue or worry problem to find this book helpful, but if you do, you will find it an invaluable tool in that fight!
Book Review: The Grace of Yes, by Lisa Hendey
Reading Lisa's book felt like having a cup of coffee with my best friend while we shared the details of our lives, faith journeys, and while she counseled me gently on how to give my best 'Yes' to God!
Although she is telling her story, I felt as if we were interacting. I even found myself speaking out loud as I flipped through the pages. Lisa focuses on eight beautiful virtues, such as generosity and integrity. She weaves a tale of her own life, things she has been taught and insights she has gained along the journey.
Each chapter ends with a 'ponder and pray' section, which helps the reader apply the lessons to their lives. I believe that this book would be a welcome addition to anyone woman's spiritual collection and look forward to rereading the chapters as I constantly need reminders on the 'Grace of Yes.'
*Both these reviews are also available on Amazon.