Guest Post by Naomi Fata ~ Stressed or Joyful

untitledSnow falls softly Christmas Eve. The children are tucked into bed.

Mother and Father are busy wrapping last minute gifts, baking cookies and . They remark to each other that soon this busy season will be over. This year has been too stressful. All of December had been filled with holiday parties, school plays, baking and so much more. Once again they had overspent their gift  giving budget and dreaded the thought of the credit card bill which would arrive in a couple weeks.

On the mantle, dwarfed by the largess of the Christmas tree, sits the nativity as a quiet reminder of the first gift of Christmas. The Christ Child; whose birth brought the promise of peace, love and joy to our hearts.

Looking around at the stress-filled holiday season I wonder where is the promised peace. A precious gift given to our hearts, peace would mean stress free.

Snow falls softly. Inside wrapping last minute gifts Mother sighs. It has been a busy season, she’s exhausted. Looking at Father she comments that next year they should try something different. Maybe something different. Something simpler. Year after year it seems the holiday season is filled with more activities, more spending, and less joy.


What are some things that you can do differently this year to reduce Christmas stress and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas?

Rather than worrying about the importance of a big gift can you give gifts of time, memories, and love?

During the advent season let’s all remember that it isn’t just the baking, shopping, and interior decorating that matter most. He has called us to be His light in this world. This is a season His light can shine most brightly if we rest in Him, allowing His joy and peace to fill our hearts and flow out of our lives.

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By Naomi Fata


Busy Lives


Do you live a hurried and busy life? 

Life can be so busy if we allow it to.  Running, racing, and somehow trying to keep your head above water to maintain some level of “balance”.

Why is it that many of us get so lost?

How do we lose focus?

We slip into a state of being where “we believe we know what is best for ourselves”.

What do we really “need” to do or accomplish?

The prioritization of want vs. need is what it comes down to.  Can you identify with this?  I think we all can.  It is easy to get caught up in the race.

Society has “evolved” to a state where we rush from point A to B, where much of our day is filled with a slogan word many of us are familiar with – “multitasking”.  The more we can do the more efficient we are.

But are we more efficient?

One of the definitions for multitasking is: “requires for staff to take on a wider range of tasks, usually involving on-the-job training.” (webdefinition)  On the job training – what a concept!  This implies that we are training ourselves to multitask.

Perhaps we should be training ourselves in a different way?  Where should our priorities be?  Where should we slow down and concentrate our efforts?

We all have times in our lives when we get glimpses of what life is supposed to be like. Our focus shifts, and we realize we should be investing our time where it really matters.

In the big picture “who” we focus our efforts on is the most important.

I have lost focus many times in my life then something that almost takes my breath away brings me back to where I need to be.  But I sometimes wonder – why does it take these instances or wake up calls to bring us back to a place of balance?  I need to trust that God has my best interests at heart, and that he does not want me to be immersed in the “things” of this world.  He wants me to love, and to enjoy every day as it was my last.   He wants me to come to Him during the day, in times when I am happy, in the moments that take my breath away, in times when I am sad, in times where I feel like I cannot take it anymore.   He has given me grace so many times when I have come to him in fear.  He has constantly reassured me when I have come to Him in weakness.  He smiles when down on me when I am at the moments that bring me my greatest joys.

“And they refused to listen, And did not remember Thy wondrous deeds which Thou hadst performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But Thou art a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness; And Thou didst not forsake them” (Nehemiah 9:17).

I have asked for His grace many times when I have lost focus.

Ask for grace….

We are all human, we have emotions but the key is not to let them take us over.

We are pulled in many directions, but the key is to prioritize and not lose focus amidst the chaos.  The key is to slow down the schedules, the accumulation, the attainment for more, and the chaos.

To prioritize one’s life in those areas that make sense and result in benefits for the family unit and community.  This honors God, and this is what He wants for us.

Where do you priorities start?

  1. Take time to reflect, pause and renew – take time for prayer, time for God, and time to rest.  Renew your spirit.  It is times where we feel zapped because we have overextended ourselves that cause us the most discontent.   Make this a number one priority in your day, take the time.

  2. Eliminate unneeded stress in your life – have boundaries, don’t take on what you can not handle. If you feel overloaded, make a list of all the tasks you are taking on, and number them in order of priority.  Ask yourself what you could get rid of.

  3. Don’t overschedule yourself –  each day, come into the day with a blank slate approach.  For me, I ask the Lord to lead the day for me.  Sometimes I try to control the day, and that is when I start feeling overwhelmed.

  4. Make your family your first priority –  Make them #1, don’t leave them til last after you have given of yourself to everyone else in your life (I am sure we all have issues with this one)

  5. Don’t wait to start, do this now – no one can do this for you, so take the first step in prioritizing and you will feel so much better.

We all have one life to live; the key is living it in a way that honors God.   The blessings will follow.  Take the time to slow down and smell the flowers. Slow down.

Every day that we are here on earth is a “gift” that is why it is called the present.