My Grownup Christmas List

154659_521031277916121_608422383_nThe little girl with the brown curly hair, sparkle in her blue eyes, and a little white nighty runs to see what is under the tree.   Her parents smiles beam ear to ear; its a full size doll house, with little plastic figures, excitement stirs inside.  The same excitement is in her brother  – he too receives his perfect gift.   But the most important that they all share was the love for one another.

The love that resided within the home was lasting, deep, and strong.   The mother that loves her children so much and wants them to have the best was quick to sacrifice her needs for her loves.  A father that works hard to provide for his family to give them more than the pennies his family had, and wants to be the father he never had a chance to have.    Two children unaware of the challenges behind the scenes, all they feel is love every day and have parents that care so deeply for them.   Challenges come there way as they move from place to place, but the bond is never broken.  The gift that grew was inside their home.

As I look back in time, I have such admiration for the love that was built in our home.    We each have a story, the journey unique to each one of us.   My journey has been one coupled with challenges but always fought with victories, as I had Him in my corner.      My heart has been healed in so many ways, there have been hurts, pain, injury, illness, but as we moved through each of these valley’s the silver-lining always emerged –  the love for family.  Love.   A single word that carries so much meaning…So thankful.

Years ago my Christmas list was about material things, but in this 40th year of my life, my grown up Christmas list is so much more:

  • Good health within our family.   Healing of ailments quickly and strength to run through our veins.
  • Good health for our friends, and those that we interact with every day.
  • Protection and well being for all whom we love.
  • Protection of our sponsor kids and their families, may there lives be blessed and all barriers be broken so that they can have abundance in all things.
  • For peace to reign in times of uncertainty.
  • For those that are struggling for Hope to shine through. 
  • For people to replace anger with forgiveness, to have the ability to let go and enjoy every moment.
  • Forgiveness to always be present.
  • For our family to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
  • For the focus of all to be on how we can come together and care for one another.
  • For love to reign. 

We are so blessed, to have the son of God that came to this earth to bring new life, abundance, joy and to always forgive us in all things.   He leads us, loves us and helps us to navigate through this messy life. He is the reason that we have the good in our lives.  May you be blessed during this Christmas season and may love shine on you and yours. 

Dear Lord God, As I sit here today, thank-you for showing me the positive always.   I thank-you for the abundance you have given me as gifts in love, family and life.   May I always be grounded and focused on the people that matter, and may you guide me in times where I am uncertain of my focus.  I thank-you for a heart of love that I have deep inside.  I pray for all of those people today that are struggling, may you bring them light and peace father.  If there are people that have lost loved ones during this season, help to heal the pain.  You are the healer Lord.  You know best, may we always trust you to make right our paths.   Thank-you so much for loving us the way that you do.  I pray for peace, love and joy to erode the earth.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

May you blessed,



Advent Week 2 & 3 – Reflection

reflectionThe first week of advent I spoke of rest, now for the next two weeks, I believe reflection should be the focus. In order to reflect, one must have their mind rested to have a true perspective. The mind must be calmed and not full of the lists or things to do during this Christmas season. As we read the words coming from John the Baptist we see such a great perspective:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering their hearts if John might be possibly the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” Luke 3:7-16 NIV

The first concept in this verse refers to not taking more than you need and giving to others. Needs vs. wants is an interesting concept in North American culture, and especially interesting this time of year. I have found myself overwhelmed with what we actually have compared to individuals that may come from nothing.

Have you noticed how many bags people are carrying in the malls during this season? I often watch and wonder if it is necessary.

Are we getting caught up in the “right” things?

This season, as a family we went through our house and started to get rid of the things that were unnecessary. Toys that are hardly ever played, clothing that is not being worn, and items such as old baby car seats that my children have outgrown. I sat back and thought, we have way too much, how did it get to this? My heart sank, as I know right out of my back door are people that would give anything to have these things.  I then thought, what can I do? Where can I give these things?

It is amazing when you ask these questions, someone will appear in need. I believe this is not a coincidence, these situations are meant to happen.

The need came from a wonderful man, who I only met for about 15 minutes who had children that were just the right age for all of these things. He was so very gracious, accepting, and felt like he should give me something for what I was giving to him. But I wanted nothing in return, in fact – I told him he was helping me out! His humble heart had relief in the action I know, and I could see from the look on his face, he couldn’t wait to get home to give these small things to his family…. I wondered that night what the reaction would be of his small children to the new bouncy horse in the house.

I sat back and reflected on what else can I do?

When you reflect on your needs vs. wants do you see abundance?

If you do, then why not take action and give?

The action of giving does not need to be in monetary terms, it could be helping out at a soup kitchen, it could be buying a coffee for the individual that is behind you in line, or saying a prayer for those you see in pain, or even smiling at someone that seems down. To you, this action may be small but to the other it could have made their day, and made the difference.
I believe the state of contentment comes when one realizes that their needs are fully met and in turn realize we are not in control what may happen to us tomorrow. The only thing we can control is our actions. Once we reach this state, we have so much capacity to give. It is overflowing. It is through our giving that a ripple effect occurs. We may not see this effect instantly but it is there.

Sit back and reflect, what can you do? Do you have more than you need?
mangerThe second part of this verse in the bible refers to the coming of Jesus Christ; our Savior. As we reflect on this season much of our reflection should be centered on Jesus. This is what Christmas is about. He came to bring us salvation, what an amazing gift in Him.

Over the course of the past couple of years, many times I have felt overwhelmed with what has happened in our lives. Any one event could have sent someone into a tailspin. However, in every one of these situations, I came to Jesus and my Lord God. I presented my requests, fears and anxiousness to Him. I did this because I knew I could not control what was happening, all I could control is the response. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I stuffed feelings, or where I would sit and just let the tears flow. But I knew that God would reign, and He had my best interests at heart. God does not want to see His children hurting.

The enemy wants us to get caught up in the “things” of this life. He wants us to live in the “fears”. When we give into the fears our minds cannot rest, be content, or really present in the moment. We also are not trusting in God, that He will meet our needs because our minds are filled with lies and fear.
During this Christmas season, rest, reflect, and take in what Christmas is really about. Our Saviour came to set an example for us, and to save us from the hurts or the pain. Be content in this season, and fill your mind with joy, thanksgiving, love and happiness. Be “present”, because that action in itself makes all the difference.

Just Keeping Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….This statement has become my mantra for the past two years.   Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you can not take it anymore?   Have you felt like you could hardly breathe?  Have you experienced the moments that take our breath away and then you feel like the water is coming up over your head?

I have felt this way too.  We are human.   But it is how we respond to these moments that makes all the difference.   We have two paths to take; path “A” leads to positive thoughts of affirmation, really believing that we can pull through and path “B” leads to feelings of helplessness, feeling like we can not breathe or hold on.   We all have the power to direct our thoughts to the positive, but how can we do this?

The Lou Tice Institute writes: “When you find yourself overcome with feelings of fear, helplessness, doom and gloom, you can put the brakes on these feelings by gently but firmly choosing to shift the focus of the thoughts that are running through your mind.

Your feelings are a direct result of the thoughts you think, and setting aside some time every morning and evening for positive visualization, affirmation, or guided meditation is a highly effective way of getting these thoughts back under your control once again.”

My highly “guided” mediation is reliance on God.  Believe me, I would say it has been a struggle over the years to realize I am not in control.  But over the past two years God has given me a strong message.   That message is to trust fully and completely in Him.   These past two years have ranged from me nearly losing my life, to seeing my parents ill, my father in law having a 7 bypass surgery and just recently in the hospital now on going for an infection that has resulted in hip replacement surgery for a second time, to my mother going through a major surgery that nearly took her life, and now having to deal with a new way of living.   Through all of this, God has asked me to come to Him.  I came to Him in fear, I came to  him through the struggles and always see the silver lining that He has revealed to me.

Everyone has a different approach to dealing with pain, struggle, and life.  But I have found that strength comes from a Source far greater than us.   It is learning to rely on that Source that makes all the difference.

Isaiah 40: 28-31

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

To “soar on wings like eagles” what an amazing statement.  To fly above and to have the strength and majesty to get through it all!  We all have this inside of us, take a leap of faith and trust in “Something” bigger, and grander than yourself.  It does not  matter how big or small your problem is, there is always a way.  It is finding the “way” that makes all the difference.  When you are swimming, keep swimming and keep your head above water.   Grab a surf board and surf the waves!  Yes, sometimes you will fall, but you have the strength to get up again.   And remember, there is our Divine and others to help us climb back up again.

My Prayer of Trust

Thank-you to my Father who is always watching out for me.  With you I have all that I need. 

Lord God these past two years have been difficult but you have taught me to come to you and present my requests or fears.

You want me to trust in you, to talk to you, to present my worries and fears, my joys and moments that take my breath away.

I give thanks to You.  You will lift me up when I fall down, You will give me courage and strength when I need it.

You Lord will give me a voice that is humbled and strong.

I trust in You my Lord, my Father. 

Thank-you for hearing me, and taking care of me.  Thank-you for teaching me how to walk, how to talk and

how to TRUST.

Yes Lord, I will just keep swimming, just keep swimming…