Tag Archive | thanksgiving

Living for the Moment

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV).

As I read this today, I paused and realized how very fortunate I have been in my life.   God has granted me a life that is full.   There have been moments that took my breath away, but I believe these moments we are meant to experience fully.  Some moments may not be ideal, but they bring us where we need to be.   The light always overcomes the darkness.

As I drive to work every day, on my ride I am overcome by God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His never-ending love, His forgiveness.  I start my morning ride with a prayer, “be my eyes to see what you want me to see, be my ears to hear the words you want me to hear, be my mouth to speak what you want me to speak….”  I pray this with conviction and ask for God to direct my children and husband in the same way.   I then pause, and cry, my eyes water and I feel full of thankfulness.  “Thank-you God for saving me, and giving me a second chance.”

You see not long ago, 4 years ago (January 2011), life changed in a moment.   The moment felt like forever, seconds seemed like minutes, diving into the pool a whisper said, “You are going to be ok, but brace yourself, this is going to be tough, brace your neck.”  The reassurance I felt to my core, and I knew it was Him.     A few days later I had my halo, a halo brace that weighed 8lbs.  A c1 fracture that not many survive displaced and never healed on paper.   But by the grace of God, I chose to TRUST in him.     He has shown me so much, and His grace has extended beyond my greatest expectations.   

By His grace this is what I am learning:

  • Life is about the moments that take your breath away good and bad.
  • Trusting in Him is the only way.
  • Don’t give up when you feel like you can’t take it any-more, He has overcome the world!
  • Start and end the day with Him, He will help me navigate through the days struggles.
  • Family is what matters, live every moment in Love for family, friends and those close to you.
  • Extend a hand when you feel like you can’t. Whether it is sharing a smile or giving love, support to those in need.  We all are hurting, reach out and touch someone, it will make a difference.
  • Live for today, don’t look back.
  • Don’t judge, everyone has a story and we are all children of His.
  • Forgiveness goes a long way, let it go and give it to Him.
  • Love, love, love, spread the love, it has ripple effects.
  • Be grateful, live a life of gratitude. It’s all in the attitude!
  • God is in control, all we have control of is our response.

Thank-you God for all of your love.  Thank-you for leading me to a place I would never change.   Father, I pray that  my days will be filled with your grace.  I thank-you Father for saving me in so many ways and for the blood of Jesus, that promises us a life where the sun is always shining.  You promises are everlasting and I love you with my whole heart.

As you pause this season, may you take all of the moments in fully.  May you be blessed my friends over this season where we have so much to be thankful for.

~Vanessa

What are you grateful for today?  Live for today and spread the love!

If you have a question or a musing for me would love to hear from you, send me an email at nesschesters@gmail.com

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Mothers – A gift from above

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Mothers – we all have them, and when we reflect on these amazing women, we smile.   Women that give their 24 hours to the ones they love.  Often thinking about everyone else before they think about themselves.    I am blessed, to have a mother and a mother in law of strength.   Yes, this world is not easy.  We all hit a wall at times in our lives where we need to hammer away and break it down.   But we can make it through, with love and strength.   1524820_10151937501936010_2125577911_n

Major events have happened over these past three years, I cannot even make this stuff up.  But the key is finding grace in the moments that take our breath away.  Mom you have shown me this.     I also want to say the same about my amazing mother in law.  We all have had to put one step in front of the other, but we keep moving forward.

Day after day God shows me His gentle hand. He is always there, and always promises triumph. Although it may not be on our time, but triumph ALWAYS happens.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

We are meant for an abundant life, if we learn that we are not in control – that He is there to lead, lift, carry and hold. I thank Him every day for the perspective in the pain, and the love that always shows through.

Today lets all reflect on how amazing our mothers are. For those of you that have children, we tend to be hard on ourselves on our ability to “mother”. We are our worst critics… Remember to always give yourself a basket of grace. REST. 

I adore my mother, she is a testament of strength and has a heart full of gold. She has always put others before herself (sound familiar)?? In dedication to this amazing woman, I thought I would write a poem to capture my thoughts.

A Letter to My Mom

As a babe, I look up at my mom and see her blue eyes.

They are beautiful and bright.

The love radiates and flows.

A love that cannot be explained, unconditional.

A bond that is everlasting and shared by two.

Over the years, the eyes change – brought by love, hope, heart ache and pain.

The lines and creases begin to show.

The lines define the moments in time where there was much happiness and sometimes tears.

She is strength, she is life, she is warm, she is a fighter and she defines love.

She has helped me most to grow.

She has helped me through my life and my “lows”.

She feels my pain when I hurt, and over time as I grow, I feel her hurts too.

We are one; the bond can never be undone.

She healed my wounds when they were deep, she has whispered sweet words as a child to me when I sleep.

We share a bond, that is so strong.

All through the years, I know this much is true, I have become the woman I am today because of you.

You are my mother – a women of strength, determination, living with your heart and soul.

I adore you.Me and my beautiful mama

 

Take some time to celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, step mothers that have helped us through our lives. A remember to celebrate you too when you’re doing it!

Dear Vanessa ~ Keep calm the Storm will pass

imagesDear Vanessa,

This week I lost it. I came unglued with my children and husband. It was almost like I could feel each stitch of me unravel, feeling unclear, cloudy – lack of judgement. Looking back on my reaction, I am disappointed in myself. Sometimes I just wish I could “keep calm and carry on” all the time. Do you have any suggestions in dealing with these moments? I feel like such a bad mom.

Tanya

Dearest Amazing Mom Tanya,

First of all, you are not a bad mom. These moments happen to all of us where it feels like the stitches are coming apart, stitch by stitch until we are burst apart. But don’t you think that good comes out of the bad? Sometimes when we see ourselves in this way we learn how to adjust or make better for next time. But the first step is getting to the root of what caused the stitches to come apart.

Let me use an example of chaos in my life to illustrate how each stitch can come undone. It was a week just as the snow began to fall, the changes in temperature were creating havoc in driving from A to B and many children had colds. All of a sudden my little guy got sick, and amidst this I was overscheduled (coaching sports, organizing our calendars, meeting friends/families, running the race). Then my son went to the doctor, got medication but had an adverse reaction, the reaction caused huge sores in his mouth and around his mouth. He couldn’t eat and was crying often throughout the day, on a new medication fever seemed to leave but my state of mind was dwindling….

Chaos, running too fast, time to slow down – red lights flashing in my mind.

This is a signal that something needs to change – do you think that this is God’s way of saying – “Ok kiddo – how many times do I have to tell you – you cannot do it all. You need to slow down and you need me to get through this!”

I swear that is exactly what He was saying. But it gets better…. The week goes on and things get worse, we eat at McDonald’s twice (feeling like the health mom of the year award is heading my way), my eyes are bloodshot, finally my little guy is feeling better – maybe I can get a rest tonight (I am thinking). Then that morning my little guy wanted eggs, they hurt his mouth, then he wanted a smoothly, it hurt, then he wanted a banana, it hurt (and he cried so loud). This little guy ate soup all week that is it and maybe a few bites of a cheeseburger. I could feel the tension rising then out came the unglued moment….

I sat there looking at myself and thought really this is what it has come to now?

Then we head off to school and the car doesn’t start , I boost it, get back in the car and adjust my rear-view mirror and it falls off!

Seriously! I sat there in the garage for a moment and looked at the wall in disbelief. Then I thought well its “up” from here.  I then chuckled to myself and the tension disappeared.

But now I know…. I created my reality.

I am learning, I will stumble yes, I may get off track, but there is always a way back.

And the awesome thing is, God loves us and helps usher us back to the place where we are meant to be.

Tanya, don’t you see, you are not alone? We all have these moments. As women – we love, we feel deeply, and we want to help everyone. Often we will do everything for everyone before we help ourselves. We carry the burdens that are not meant for us to carry.

What to do?
• Remember, it is ok to find time in the busy for You. Even ½ – 1 hour a day of something just for you. It could mean going for a coffee by yourself, going for a walk outside, or reading or taking a class. Find the time because it will help you feel full and bring peace into your days.

• One of the things that I need to make a habit every day is starting and ending the day with God. Taking my bible and reading a passage and talking to God to help sort through what I am dealing with.  Also, keeping track of one item from every day that worked well!

• It is ok to say “No”, you don’t have to make it to soccer/dance/swimming (or whatever your children are involved in) practice on those days where you feel like you are running on empty.

•Focus on the elements of your life that are working to redirect your thought process.

•Most importantly, the issues that arise in our lives – lift them up to Him and He will help you navigate through them.

•Create these measures in your life so that you can limit those unglued moments.

Remember, the devil is always lurking and I believe he is just waiting for us to slip… He wants us to be sad, mad, and not enjoying our present state of life.

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB)

It is so important to us to focus on the positive in this life, even if on some days it seems like the positive is only a small percentage of the day!

So focus on what is working beautiful lady! May you be blessed.

Dear Lord God,

Please bless Tanya and all of the women in this world who think they need to be 100% in all areas of their lives. Help us to navigate and make clear around the elements of this life that should be the focus. Divert our thoughts, and bring calm into our lives. Protect our minds from the devils evil whispers. I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

Blessings to you beautiful lady,

Vanessa

Guest Post by our Favorite Gina ~ Thankful to Be Thankful at Thanksgiving! (In the US)

imagesHello faithful readers, I have been blessed to become friends with a wonderful group of woman through writing.   Gina is one of these individuals, we have some similarities in our journeys so no coincidence that we found each other.   Her blog site is located : http://ginaquarles.com/ 

In the US it is Thanksgiving on Nov 28, in Canada we celebrated it in Oct 14th.  But I do believe this post is timely, we all have so much to be thankful for and during this time of year it is really easy to get wrapped up in the “wants” vs the “needs”.  What are you thankful for?  Take some time to read Gina’s post, and be blessed!

Thankful to Be Thankful at Thanksgiving!

The month of November is one of my favorite months out of the whole year.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it is a time when the seasons are changing right before our eyes. We can see this beautifully, as nature unfolds itself for all to adore. It is  a time of reflection for many and a time of feeling pure appreciation for several things in our lives. What are you thankful for?

Just like nature and all of its wonder, it is a time many go though change as well. When we tend to appreciate even more in our lives we feel thankful. When we are thankful, express gratitude, we are happy and smiling and we are feeling the “feel good” chemicals in our body that it naturally produces. We seem to radiate and send out more of the positive energy that can often be contagious.  It is such a good thing!   It is so awesome when you can notice and feel this type of spirit going around.

I have plenty to be thankful for as I reflect on this past year.  I tend to be more thankful for the non tangible side of things this time around and I think I know why.  As many of you know, I was in a life threatening car accident in January 2012. I have come to realize that for myself, when you go though a near death experience as I did, your perception of life itself changes dramatically.

I was incredibly thankful that GOD had spared me.  Even with all of my limitations and many threats of death at first, I did not care. I was so thankful to be alive.  Of course I was in shock and wasn’t thrilled about my halo or my broken leg and many ribs.  That was all so minor in the big scheme of things. I will say, I was extremely scared when I woke up eleven days later.

Knowing I was alive and even NOT knowing what my outcome would be, I was thrilled to be back with my family.  My husband, my children, my life just wasn’t finished yet! But what could I do? Not much that was for sure.  But fortunately, the future dictated differently.

I am thankful for my miraculous outcome.  I was blessed with coming home to recover and have my hubby as my nurse. The joy of being home, in my familiar surroundings and seeing my children again, left me feeling elated. I felt safe after not feeling safe for a very long time. I did not want to be in a rehabilitation center miles away with more staff caring for me. I wanted my family. I missed them terribly after being away for months in the hospital. I was truly blessed.

My recovery, while very long has been an experience that wasn’t as hard as one may think. I know that sounds crazy to some of you.  So many things that could have gone wrong have not. Again, GOD is good to me. The biggest concern now, is walking without a limp and my pressure wounds healing. But, because of YOU my surgery is happening much sooner than I expected.  If you saw my box of medical bills you would understand. For that, I am so very grateful. Not the bills, the surgery:).

I wont sugar coat and say it was all smooth sailing.  There were days I would just breakdown crying.  I wondered why me and what does this all mean for my future?  I felt fear, sadness, loss and I was grieving my old self. I dealt with some people in my family of origin that completely let me down.  The emotional pain of that is slowly getting better. Time does heal all wounds.  But with all of that, a strength held and comforted me  and got me through it. I know much of it was the support of good friends, family members, all of your prayers and I will say, my attitude.

When you face a life altering experience like I did, you have a choice.  You can let it break you or make you.  There were unfortunately those who tried to break me and or your thoughts can try to as well.  Key word, “try”.  You can imagine the worst. Do not allow any of this to happen.  You do have control. You may feel as if you do not, but trust me, you do.  Your thoughts and what you tell yourself is so vital to recovery. I realize it matters to all of us even without an accident or in the face of tragedy. Just for mental sanity, it is important and a wise practice for a much more stress free way of living.

The nice thing  is that the reality you are making becomes easier over time  You are the one creating it.  If I told myself I would let my condition define me, then it would. Then I became vulnerable to what my situation dictated. That lack of support from those in my family of origin coupled with physical pain I was in was a complete set up for some very real depression.  Everything mattered  more, if that makes sense. I was vulnerable and very sensitive.

When I told myself I was in charge and would not allow anyone or my condition to confine me to an identity I did not want for myself or that was true, I was free. ” I ” made myself into who I knew as Gina. We just work that way. It is so freeing.  Words cannot describe this. It is a personal experience.  But, the nice thing is, you do not have to have a near death experience like I did in order to do it!

The thoughts you allow yourself to have and who you surround yourself with matters.  What you read and fill your brain with matters.  What you seek you will find.  So seek happiness and appreciate the priceless things that surround you every day.  Make yourself a priority. Take the time to get quiet and “be still” and focus on your life and where it is going. Are you happy with it? Are you contributing? Are you loving others? Ask yourself and answer these questions. Reflect.  Love yourself and say, “thank you” often.

We get our priorities mixed up at times. Life is crazy busy like that and if we do not pay attention, it  flies right on by and we can miss out on timeless experiences and feelings. We can fall into a rut so to speak.  Take that time I mentioned and make “you” a priority. Examine your life and ask yourself many different questions more often. You have one life friends and some of the things that we let consume us, you will find are just not worth it. Others, do indeed  deserve much more of our time. You are not obligated to anything or anyone, only to those persons and things that fill you up and surround you with the love we all are worthy of.

Time is like money….spend it wisely!

I hope you all have much to be thankful for. I know I do. I choose to not just think about it in November anymore.  I am thankful everyday.  Everyday presents us with many things to be thankful for.  We just need to stop and take notice  to see them more often:).

XOXO,

Gina

http://ginaquarles.com/

Advent Week 1 – Rest

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As we enter advent, I truly wanted to share some key themes that I believe are vital to living a fulfilled life.  For the first week – rest.

Rest can be defined as:

Verb :

  • Cease work or  movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
  • Remain or be left in a specified condition: “rest assured”.

Noun:

  • An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
  • The remaining part of something.

Or one of my favorite verses in the bible that refers to rest:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV)

I feel like this time of year brings change, if we allow it to soak into our souls.   But this time of year for can bring challenge…. Could you imagine actually resting this week?   Or have you been thinking about your “to do” or “to see” lists?  Have you been consumed with thoughts of “how am I going to get this all done”?   Or perhaps you are going through a bit of a bump in the road right now health wise, or financially, and thoughts of “when will this end” come to mind?

We choose how we can respond to this time of year.  We can choose not to race, worry, or get caught up in the small “stuff” this time of year.   I have come to realize that in the moments when we slow down and allow peace and calm to fulfill our souls  – we begin to feel easy.

Over the course of these past few months, I have begun to reflect.   I have reflected on choices made, and sometimes let my mind race into the future.   I allow my mind to start thinking about the “what if’s”.  My husband often tells me, “paralysis by analysis Ness”.   He is so wise.   Our minds can get caught up in the crazy busy life, and overwhelmed with the circumstances so easily.   I am sure the devil sits back and thinks “Yes! I am winning here.”   But the question is, will we allow it to overcome us? The one thing that we must all remember is that we can create our own mountains to climb, when in all reality it is just a little snow drift that we can just shovel aside.   The snow may be heavy, but eventually it becomes light.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life”.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?” (Matthew 6:25-27 NIV)

The worry affects how we feel, our health and how we react to others.   This statement in the bible paints such a clear picture of the impact of worry.   It can consume and ultimately decrease the time that we have here on this earth.    Yes life can be hard sometimes; it can push us in a variety of directions.   It is how we react in these situations that make all the difference.  We can control how we respond.  We all have choice.  I chose to be light, I chose to have strength in hardship, and I chose joy to cherish every single moment with the ones I love and care about.

Tonight as I put my son to bed, he is trying to stop a habit that he has had since he was a baby, and he started asking me “Mommy what if I can’t do this?”, and I responded to him like “What if you can?  We are not going to think about the what if’s because I know that you are going to be successful”.

Children are sponges, they have the ability to change, shift and absorb quickly.  For adults, we have to teach or train ourselves to think differently, and it takes weeks to change our response.  However, it is possible.  All it takes is thinking about the possibilities and not allowing the impossible to filter in.   In those times where you feel like you can’t breathe, lift up your worries.   Lift them up and let them go….

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So as we enter this wonderful Christmas season, be blessed.   Slow down and rest.  Rest your weary mind, and allow the peace to settle in.

  • Sip a cup of tea or your favorite latte, and look back on pictures of family or friends.
  • Read a book you have not had a chance to read.
  • Meditate, pray, and enjoy the moments.
  • Take account of 3 things every day that you are thankful for.
  • Spread the happiness, send a little note to a friend or loved one.
  • Tear up the “to do’s” or “task” lists.  And just roll with it.
  • Shift your thinking from having to do, to wanting and enjoying every moment.
  • And finally, but not least, be blessed for who you are and what you have.

So I ask you, can one moment of worry add another day to your life?  Replace that worry with prayer, thanksgiving, and joy.

Be blessed.