Breathe – Just a Reminder

Breathe -Just a Reminder - For those of us who are struggling through life right now... | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

When the storms of life have covered your blue skies,
When the answers can’t be found for all your why’s,
When your load is feeling heavy and you can’t get out of bed,
When you’re weary from the struggle with the thoughts inside your head…

Breathe –
Just hang on –
Soon your darkness will surrender to the dawn.

Breathe –
Just be still –
Know the God who holds you close and always will.

You’ll find healing, you’ll find hope,
You’ll find peace that won’t let go
When you breathe.

When you’ve lost the will to face another day,
When you feel as though there is no other way
To remedy the aching of your bruised and broken heart,
When you’re tired of all the madness and you need a brand new start…

Breathe –
Don’t give in –
Soon your weeping will give way to joy again.

Breathe –
Find your rest –
In the Arms of the One who knows you best.

You’ll find healing, you’ll find hope,
You’ll find peace that won’t let go
When you…

Lift your hands up to the Father;
Let his Spirit flow through you.
There is rest within His presence
Knowing He will see you through.

Breathe –
Just hang on –
Soon your darkness will surrender to the dawn.

Breathe –
Just be still –
Know the God who holds you close and always will.

 

© KJ Smith 2018

Lyrics by KJ Smith as inspired by the words of my friend, Ben Ford – You can read his words here.

 

*One day, I’ll be able to share a finished song for you all to hear but for now,

Remember to BREATHE.

Let God’s spirit bring healing, hope and very soon –

JOY!

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Reason to SMILE #30: MONDAYS (Really??)

Reason to SMILE #30: MONDAYS (Really???) - Do you have an aversion to Mondays? Discover how to find a SMILE in the most dreaded day of the week. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Mondays, for me, are like mornings. I’d much rather avoid them.

The problem is I can’t hit the fast forward button and skip over Mondays just like I can’t skip over mornings. Well, I suppose I could stay in bed and wait til Mondays pass but if I do that, my week would begin with Tuesdays. Then Tuesdays would end up being my Mondays and you’d eventually be reading a post about how much I hate Tuesdays.

OK. That’s a little too much thinking for a Monday.

So, how can I turn the dreaded Monday into a SMILE? To be honest with you, I’m still working on that one.

But I have an idea.

What if we turned the beginning of our work week into a celebration? You know, like New Year’s.

No, I’m not talking fire works (though my neighbor, who doesn’t seem to need a reason to shoot off fireworks, wouldn’t mind it!). And, no, I’m not talking alcohol, either. You can’t very well begin your work week tipsy, now can you! (The correct answer to that is “No,” in case you were wavering on that concept. 😉 )

I’m talking about turning your Monday into a day you can look forward to. Find a way to have a little fun. Blast some tunes as you’re getting ready for the day. Do a little dancing to get your blood flowing and those endorphins jumping. Splurge on your favorite coffee from that expensive coffee shop. Pick a new route to work. Buy donuts!

You see, it’s all about perspective – about focusing on the positive instead of the negative.

Monday is a new day, a new beginning, the start of a fresh work week filled with new opportunities for all sorts of SMILES – SMILES for you and SMILES to share with others.

Still not convinced that Mondays can be SMILES? That’s okay. Just keep telling yourself there are only 4 more days til the weekend and SMILE anyway!

So, what are you waiting for? Pump up the music and keep the coffee flowin’.

Let’s get this Monday started!

When All You Have is a Little Spark

When All You Have is a Little Spark - Feeling like you have nothing to offer this world? Take a look at the little firefly. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

It was getting dark. The road was winding and narrow. We had no idea if we were headed in the right direction but we were trusting that good ol’ Google Maps knew the way.

“Do you see ‘em?” my husband blurted.

All I was seeing was the little blue dot moving along the map on my phone and my husband’s outburst nearly made me jump out of the truck.

“See what?” I blurted back in aggravation.

“There are lightning bugs everywhere!” he explained while pointing across me to direct my view.

I looked up from the mesmerizing glow of the map and in the dusky shadows of the evening, I saw spark after spark lighting up the road sides, the sloping yards and the cascading trees. It was a beautiful sight –

– and a welcomed distraction from the anxiousness and frustrations of our long travels, from the arguments over whether google was sending us in the right direction and from the snide remarks of “Remember, it’s not the destination but the journey” coming from the teenagers in the back seat.

I put the map down (It was talking to us anyway!), sat back and enjoyed the fireflies’ sparkling display. Oh, how they do make me smile!

And as I watched the little fellows flicker along the winding road, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the difference their tiny lights made.

Though small and seemingly insignificant, their little sparks of light not only dispelled the lurking shadows of the evening but they also lifted my spirits and restored the excitement in our journey.

Pretty powerful little bugs, don’t you think? And the perfect reminders that even a small gift, a small talent, a small gesture can make the greatest difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Maybe you need this reminder.

Maybe you feel like you have nothing to offer this world. Maybe you’ve given so much that you feel you’ve got nothing left to give. Maybe the weight of your troubles – the darkness so to speak – has overwhelmed you and you feel like all you have left is a little spark.

If this is you today, you are not alone. I’m right there with you in this very moment. But…

I have to believe. No, I choose to believe that a little spark is enough.

A little spark can still make a difference. A little spark is all it takes to keep from being overtaken by the darkness. A little spark is evidence of a hope that still exists deep down in the soul. A little spark can ignite a blazing fire of renewed passion, overwhelming peace and new-found purpose.

Yes, a little spark is pretty powerful and it is definitely more than enough.

So, when you’re feeling at your lowest, like you are not enough, remember the firefly and what a difference a little spark can make!

Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS

 

Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS - Are you a morning person? If not, you may want to read this to discover how to appreciate each new day. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Have you ever met a morning person?

No matter how early, a morning person is always cheerful and ready to meet the day with vim and vigor.  This person sings, “Hello” to everyone she encounters and bounces across the room like a child running off to play.

It truly is disgusting!

As you may have guessed, I am NOT a morning person.  It takes me quite a while each day to get moving and when I do, I really do not mind if no one says, “Good morning” to me or even speaks to me at all.  The only things I desire in the morning are

COFFEE

&

SILENCE

Regardless of my aversion to mornings, I am grateful for each one.  Mornings are a gift.  They offer each of us a fresh start, a new beginning.  Yesterday is, well, yesterday.  The mistakes we made, the hardships we faced, the messes we created, these are all in the past.

In fact, each day is like our own personal “do-over” granted to us by God Himself! With each ray of sunlight that peeks over the horizon, God is saying, “Here you go.  Let’s try this again!”

Now that ought to make us SMILE!

Oh, sure, the troubles from yesterday may still continue.  We made the mess; we have to clean it up.  But each new day gives us the opportunity to make better choices, to rid ourselves of bad habits, to repair broken relationships, to do whatever was left undone yesterday.

I may not be a morning person but I thank God for the mercies He gives to me with each new day.  And as I drink my coffee in silence this morning, I cannot help but SMILE at the endless possibilities this day has to offer.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)  

 

HAPPINESS in the New Year

Happiness in the New Year - Are you dragging the problems of the past into the new year? Here’s one way to deal with those struggles. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I don’t know about you but I’m ready to say “Good-bye” to 2018. This past year has felt like one endless struggle to keep afloat in the tumultuous waters of life. And let me tell you, treading water has never been my strong suit.

So as the clock ticks toward midnight, I’m looking forward to kicking 2018 to the curb.

Sayonara.

See ya.

Good riddance!

The problem is, though, flipping the calendar page does not ensure that the struggles of the old year, the messes, the dilemmas, the hurts, are going to disappear.

If only it were that simple.

But the coming of a new year, a new beginning, gives us the perfect opportunity to embrace a different outlook, to change the way we view our world and to embrace the hope of good things to come.

Happiness can be yours – and mine – in 2019. It’s true! (I’m beginning to sound like an infomercial! For just one down payment of $19.99 and 3 monthly payments of $49.99, you, too, can find your bliss in the new year!! Ha! Ha! I need to be in bed. 😉 )

Seriously. No matter your circumstances, no matter the struggles that are following you into the new year, the one thing that can make the difference between faltering under the heavy burdens of the past year (or years) and freeing yourself from binding chains allowing you to live each day of the new year (and years to come) to the fullest is…

… your perspective.

Happiness in the New Year - Are you dragging the problems of the past into the new year? Here’s one way to deal with those struggles. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Problems will always abound. How you approach them is key. Do you buckle under their weight and succumb to the siren song of “Woe is me”? Or do you search for the lesson behind the struggles and look forward to the wisdom and growth you will gain from your endurance?

Don’t spend your new year throwing pity parties! Happiness cannot live where complaining takes up residency.

Embrace the struggles as growth opportunities. Step back and look for the big picture. And remember, these situtations are only temporary.

God’s Word says this:

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Well, the sound of rockets bursting in the air tells me that we’ve completed another trip around the sun. WooHoo! It’s a new year and as we begin this next revolution, let’s remember to keep our focus on the eternal unseen – the hope of “an absolutely eternal weight of glory.” That’s it right there, folks. Your new perspective for 2019!

How can you change your perspective in 2019? Do you have any problems, situations or people that you need to view in a different light?

*****When you have a moment, go check out the post, Lean Into Loneliness, by Dr. Andrea Dinardo at Thriving Under Pressure.  What an inspiration it was for me this week and a reminder to “make the space for the lesson beneath the suffering.”*****

Happy, Happy New Year!

What a Relief!

What a Relief! - Are you killing yourself trying to be like everyone else? Take a look at what God says about that. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Hey, you!

Yes, I’m talking to you.

You do not have to be someone that you’re not.  Quit killing yourself trying to look like others, talk like others, act like others.

God made you to be – well, you.

You with your particular talents.

You with your unique skill set.

You with your one and only personality.

You with all of your quirks.

God doesn’t want you to ignore who He’s made you to be just so you can appear to be like someone else.  He doesn’t want you to throw away the talents and gifts He’s given you in order to fit the mold of the world.

God simply wants you to take what He’s given you and use it to point the world to Him.

Now, relax.

Be you.

And follow Him.


In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Romans 12:6-8

I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.

Psalm 139:14a

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:4

 

The Co-worker from… Well, You Know

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The office is quiet. Finally.

You’ve been attempting to finish a project all morning but the phone, clients and unexpected matters keep pulling you from the task at hand. Now that the craziness of the day has subsided, you can dig in to your work.

Ahhh! This is good! I might actually get this done toda-

DING

What is that? No matter. Back to work.

DING

There it is again. What could be causing that sound? I don’t see anything. Ugh – I need to finish this project.

DING. DING.

Seriously. What on earth? 

Jumping from your chair, you set out to find the source of the annoying noise. You don’t have to venture very far. Across the hall, sits your co-worker, phone in hand, punching away at little keys. DING. DING. DING. She’s playing a game.

“Come on! Even if you don’t have work to do, the rest of us do! Have you never heard of a volume button?” you scream as you snatch your co-worker’s phone from her hands, throw it on the floor and stomp it to bits.

DING

You’re awakened from your vengeful fantasy by the sounds of your co-worker’s game.

Ugggh!

Most of us probably wouldn’t admit to secretly desiring to Hulk-smash someone’s phone simply because that person was playing a game or having a conversation too loudly. But there are times when I become so frustrated with the actions of another that my first reaction, if I were to follow my inclinations, would be considered completely irrational and unacceptable behavior. (Hmmm. I should probably seek professional help or something. 😉 )

But I can’t believe that I’m the only one with similar inclinations. In fact, I know I’m not. All I have to do is open the Word of God to find reassurance that I’m not alone in the struggle with my fleshly desires. Take a look at what the Apostle Paul says in the book of Romans:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:17-20‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Paul – one of the most prominent figures of the early church, the apostle who declared, “Follow me as I follow Christ”, the missionary and teacher who preached the Gospel even when it cost him everything – yes, that Paul, openly admitted to an ongoing struggle between his flesh and his spirit.

I’m in pretty good company! 😉

But how do I overcome this fleshly desire to choke out my co-worker when she insists on putting every call on speaker phone? (I really do have some violent tendencies, don’t I!)

Paul helps me out here, too.

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desires of the flesh … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:16, 22-24‬ ‭CSB‬‬

You see, the outcome of the battle within depends on the fruit I am cultivating in my life. When I allow spiritual fruits like love, peace, patience and self-control to influence my thoughts, words and actions, it’ll be those fleshly desires that get choked out – – – not my co-worker.

The angry, vindictive monster living inside does not have to win. I just have to fill him up with some good ol’ Fruit of the Spirit!

 

Hold On

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God put into motion a wonderful plan for you long before you were even a sparkle in your mother’s eye and you can be sure that God always finishes what He begins.  (Philippians 1:6)
Remember that what you are going through right now – the heartache, the stress, the disappointment, the pain – is only temporary. Do your best not to focus on your struggles. Instead, focus on the everlasting and unchanging love of God for you.  (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Wait patiently for Him. Find hope in the promise that He is working in, on and through you for your ultimate good.  (Psalm 37:7; Psalm 130:5; Isaiah 30:18; Romans 8:28)
God hasn’t abandoned you.
He IS working.
And when he is finished,
your weeping will turn to

JOY!

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:5‬b ‭NLT‬‬

The Boss from – – Well, You Know

Negative Boss

You’ve already been verbally attacked by a frustrated client.

You’ve already been snapped at by an unhappy co-worker.

You’ve even been on the receiving end of the rantings of a disgruntled cashier at the local coffee shop.

The last thing you need now is the boss walking in with that all too familiar scowl on his face and derogatory tone in his voice.

Seriously, Boss, I can’t deal with you today!

It’s easy to let times like these drag us down. It’s easy to join in the negativity allowing it to transform us into short-tempered and mean-spirited people. Believe me. I know. I’ve succumbed to the dark side many times and have allowed negative people, boss included, to ruin not only my mood but also my entire day.

It happens.

I’m not proud of it.

To combat the forces of negativity, I’ve found that my reactions make all the difference in the world. If I give in to the pessimism and anger, I’m done for. If I counter the pettiness and head-biting with positivity, however, I find strength and encouragement to rise above the negativity and make it through the day.

The Bible tells us this:

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

You may want to serve up a scathing zinger to the co-worker who has just blasted you with a nasty insult but, more than likely, you’d only make a bad situation worse. It could be that your co-worker is simply having a bad day. An understanding and concerned response from you could be the key to turning a bad day into a promising day.  Remember, you’ve had those bad day, too!

Give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

You can’t have an attitude of hatefulness and an attitude of gratefulness at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. When that angry client calls or when you encounter that frustrated barista, thank God for that person and the opportunity to provide encouragement to someone who desperately needs it. In every situation, there is an opportunity to praise God. When you’re looking for that opportunity, you’re too busy to focus on the bad.

Lastly,

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,

but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭NIV‬

When the boss comes in your office and seems to add to your stress, remember this:

Never, ever, is it a good idea to call your boss the Evil One.

At least, wait til he leaves the room and is out of ear shot! 😉

Breathe

Breathe 2

A couple of months ago, a Facebook friend was struggling with the death of a cherished friend and mentor.  His emotions were wreaking havoc with his mind and thoughts and the turmoil that ensued within was almost more than he could stand.  Post after post on his timeline told of his questions, his lack of understanding and his battle to find meaning in it all.  After weeks of wrestling with his grief and pain, one word began to premeate his thoughts –

“BREATHE”

He finally penned these words:

When you feel as if you can’t go on,
BREATHE.
When the storms of life cover you,
BREATHE.
When you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning,
BREATHE.
When you struggle with your emotions,
BREATHE.
When you feel as all is for naught,
BREATHE.
When you need a refreshing start,
BREATHE.
There are always going to be times when you feel choked off.  But know that the fresh breath of Oxygen will always be there to give you sustainable life.
– Ben Ford 4/8/18

Life can be overwhelming and if we aren’t careful, if we forget that we aren’t meant to do life alone, we can find ourselves suffocating under the weight of our burdens and cares.

In those desperate moments of grief, heartache, sorrow, uncertainty and helplessness, we must remember to breathe.

There is life-giving hope and strength in the surrender to our need to breathe.

There is rest and rejuvenation in each breath.

There is peace in the stillness that falls upon our souls.

Don’t allow life’s difficulties to smother you. Remember to breathe and in the quietness of each breath, talk to your Heavenly Father. Give Him your burdens, your troubles, your pain and your unanswered questions. Allow Him to breathe new life within you.

You can find peace in the midst of your turmoil today –

Just remember to

BREATHE.

 


*** The heartfelt words written by my friend not only reminded me of my need to stop, be still and breathe when overwhelmed with life, they also inspired me to WRITE A SONG! I hope to be able to share it with you very soon. So keep an ear out! ***