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)  

 

Advertisements

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!

It’s Christmastime!

Christmastime - In all the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to share your Joy with others this Christmas!| https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

It’s Christmastime everyone!
Time to deck the halls –
Time to string the lights
‘Round the tree and on the walls.

It’s time to go a-wasselling –
Wasselling? Hooray!
I don’t know what it is
But we’ll have fun anyway.

It’s time to join the bustle,
Time to shop the stores,
Time to wrap the gifts –
Wait! I need just one thing more.

Celebrations everywhere,
Yummy treats to eat,
Old friends to laugh with,
And memories, oh, so sweet.

Families all together,
Loved ones held so close,
Christmas is the time
That we truly love the most!

But the joy of this season
By all is not shared.
There are those burdened
By a heavy load of cares.

There are those who are hurting,
Those who have no hope,
Those who are hungry,
Those who cannot seem to cope.

Christmastime to these dear ones
Is just another day
To struggle all alone,
Not a time to sing and play.

They simply can’t comprehend
The reason that we sing.
Their woes are too great;
They think miracles silly things.

They’re searching for an answer,
Escape from their plight.
They’re holding back tears
As they kiss their kids goodnight.

Oh, it’s time we look around –
Open up our eyes
To a dying world
That thinks no one hears their cries.

Our lives are filled with plenty;
We’ve so much to give.
We’ve a Hope to share
With a world that longs for it.

It’s Christmastime, after all!
Time to spread the news,
Time to tell of Jesus
And His love for me and you.

It’s time to go a-serving!
Serving? Yes, indeed!
Meeting needs of others –
What great joy and love it brings!

So, let’s celebrate this season
Telling of His birth,
Giving unto others,
Spreading Hope and Peace on earth.

 

*Dedicated to my son, Corey, who is spending his Christmas break building houses for those in need in Peru. I am so proud of his choices and the man he is becoming.

Duck Walk vs. Dog Face: The Battle for Self-Worth

Duck Walk vs. Dog Face: The Battle for Self-Worth - Are you struggling with self-esteem issues? Learn how to fight back against what the world says you are and stand firm in who God says you are. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comThere she was, sitting with her face buried in her hands, tears trickling through her fingers and soft sobs evading her feeble attempt at concealment.  I looked on with mixed emotions.  I was frustrated with the boy who caused the tears, sympathetic of the girl who had been offended and completely overwhelmed by memories from my past.  The scene was all too familiar and it carried me back to my childhood, to a time when I was sitting where this child sat, a time that forever changed my view of who God made me to be.

I was there – completely broken, tears streaming down my face and spirit crushed because of someone’s careless words.  I still remember the hurt I felt as I heard that awful name spewing from the mouth of a teenage boy in front of the whole world, or so it seemed.  We were on the school bus but it might as well have been the whole world.  I was 9 years old.  I was different because of a physical disorder and all I wanted was to fit in, to be accepted, to be normal.   That day, this teenager’s laughter and mocking dashed any hopes I had of that happening.

I couldn’t contain my tears.  I couldn’t wait to get off of that bus.   I wanted to be at home.  I wanted my mom.  And my mom is just who I needed because the advice she gave me that day impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined.  I don’t remember everything my mom said that afternoon but I will never forget what she told me to do the next day on the school bus.  She told me to fight back, to retaliate the next time this teenager called me a name.  I was a tiny little thing and this boy was probably four times my size but my mom said to stand my ground.  It empowered me.

I know what you are thinking.  “Your mom actually told you to call that kid a name?”  Yes, she did and she even gave me the name to call him!  And being the good little girl that I was, I did exactly what my mom told me to do.  The very next afternoon, after I struggled up the bus steps and began walking down the aisle to my seat, I heard it.  The words “Duck Walk” pierced through the commotion of kids playing and talking and hit me square in the back of the head.  I turned, glared straight into the boy’s face and returned insult for insult.  “Dog Face!” I blurted.  He did not strike back.  Instead, he smiled, sat down and never called me “Duck Walk” again.

At age 9, I didn’t quite grasp the value of the lesson I learned that day or fully understand all that my mom was trying to teach me but today, I have come to cherish the priceless wisdom I gained from that experience.  My mom was reminding me of who I was that afternoon when she told me to fight back.  She was showing me that God does not make mistakes despite the opinions of the world and that I cannot let anyone tell me differently.  I cannot let anyone steal my joy, my happiness or my hopes.  That’s quite a lesson learned from simply calling a bully a “Dog Face”!

And so, I passed this lesson on to the girl who had been insulted, the girl who is picked on every day at school because she does not look like everyone else.  No, I did not tell her to call her bullies some silly name – I left that to her mom!  But I did tell her to stand her ground, to take pride in who God made her to be, to defy Satan in his attempts to steal her joy, and to hold her head up high.  God has a purpose for this precious girl and she’s going to be just fine.  She may not understand it now but one day she’ll be standing in my place passing on this pearl of wisdom to another little girl or little boy who needs to know that God’s Love is so much greater than any insult hurled by this world and that God does not make mistakes.

Hold On

D583432E-49AD-44B3-A511-6F543B7589CF

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

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! ***

Pray Anyway

AF4449F3-0FEF-457C-A5C8-ACD93536C5A5

 

Though you can’t see an end to your struggle,

Though your heart stings from familiar hurt,

Though your hope has been crushed and your trust has been broken,

Pray anyway.

 

Though you fear nothing will ever change,

Though you worry your cries won’t be heard,

Though your faith has vanished and you’ve nothing on which to cling,

Pray anyway.

 

Though your world, so dear, has stopped turning,

Though you can’t fathom the reasons why,

Though you feel abandoned and your life is in pieces,

Pray anyway.

 

Prayer is more about Gods presence than it is about our problems.

It’s more about who we become while spending time with Him.

It’s about the spark that is reignited,

The faith that is rekindled,

The hope that is reborn.

The resolve that is strengthened,

The healing that takes place,

The rest that is given,

And the peace that floods our souls.

 

The power of prayer is experiencing of the power of God,

Discovering that He is greater than our problems,

That our problems cannot change His promises,

That His grace is always sufficient,

That His love is never failing and

That we don’t have to do life alone.

 

So no matter your circumstances,

No matter your lack of faith,

Never stop praying.

Never stop seeking His Face.

 

Pray anyway.

 

 

 

No One

No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve run, you’re never too far gone that the love and mercy of God cannot reach you.

He will forgive you.

He will break the chains that bind you.

He will heal your brokenness.

He will restore you.

He will love you.

He already loves you.

That is why he seeks you.

So don’t give up hope. Don’t believe what others may say about you.

No one is beyond God’s reach. No one.

God is reaching out for you today. Will you reach out and take His hand?

Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
even there your hand will lead me;
your right hand will hold on to me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light around me will be night”—
even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to you.

Psalm 139:7-11

 

Happiness in Imperfection

Wonderfully Made

She walked in the room and looked down at me. I wasn’t surprised by her serious expression nor was I surprised by her remarks.

“Your pics are bad,” she reported. She glanced over at my husband and reiterated, “They’re bad.”

I simply nodded my head in agreement for even though I had not seen what she had, I knew her assessment was correct. She was my doctor, after all.

No, the pics she was reviewing were not head shots for my blog (although I could use a new one of those!). The pictures to which my doctor was referring were x-rays of my spine.

When life gives you Lemons…

Lemons and Grace

My scoliosis was detected in my preteen years. I was no stranger to physical malady, however. I had been living with a genetic muscle disorder all of my life. Scoliosis was just another lemon to add to the pitcher. But I have to tell you, these lemons were pretty rotten. How do you make the best of a muscle disorder that prevents you from living a “normal” life and a spinal condition that disfigures your body and promises even greater complications in the future?

Grace. My only answer is Grace.

God’s sufficient Grace

The way I see it, my life has been one big miracle. From walking when the neurologists said it wasn’t possible to roller skating, bike riding and tree climbing, a diagnosis didn’t seem to stop me. The typical activities of children were challenges that I faced with the love and support of family and friends. Some activities were (and still are) more challenging than others, like climbing a flight of stairs (Check out my post about the stairs of life here.), but I did it. I pushed myself to live a “normal” life. None of it was normal, though. I had to learn to compensate my weaknesses with my strengths. I had to take advantage of railings or whatever was available (including people) to pull me along or assist in climbing or getting up after a frequent fall. I had to adapt to make it through life. It hasn’t been easy and I know that if it weren’t for God’s grace…

Well, I try not to think about that.

God’s Work on Display

My Weakness

So, here I am, a few decades down the road from its first detection, and I find myself facing the inevitable. The scoliosis has progressed along with all of its lovely side effects – deformity, labored mobility and pain. I’ve been ignoring it, telling myself that it’s my norm. The reality is I didn’t want to admit that I needed medical help. It’s discouraging to face my imperfections and dependence head on (Have I ever talked with you about my stubbornness? 😉 ) but I’m doing my best to keep it all in perspective. (Really, I am.)

You see, I don’t believe I was cursed. I don’t believe God gave these problems to me. None of us are perfect. We all have something in our lives that makes us feel abnormal whether we admit it or not. What I do believe is that God can use my medical issues to display His mighty works. In fact, as I look at all He has enabled me to accomplish, in my physical growth and in every area of my life, I realize His Grace has always been shining brightly in me, through me and around me as a miraculous beacon of hope – a hope that will carry me through all that is to come.

Finally, Lemonade!

Since I began this post, I have had my first visit (in 18 years) with a chiropractor. He showed me my x-rays and as I already mentioned, my doctor was right. It’s not good. (I’d show them to you but that’d be taking transparency a little bit too far, don’t you think? 😉 )

On the bright side, though, I have learned that I am the topic of conversation throughout the entire doctor’s office. It seems I’ve presented them with a case unlike they have ever seen. In the words of the chiropractor, “There is no textbook for [me].” Well, what d’ya know! I’m one of a kind.

Now how’s that for lemonade! 🙂