Gratitude Day 180 – Less Is More Christmas

Thurs., Dec. 20, 2018

Luke 2:10 –   The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.  DSC06974

OK, it’s just a few days before Christmas. Two days ago, I was trying to figure out how I was going to get everything done that I still want to accomplish before Christmas. Later, I regrouped. I rethought. And I came up with a new plan; one, I’m confident is more realistic.

Why do we try to do SO MUCH during the holidays? Are we consumed with the right things?

Too often: No.

Interested in my revised plan?

Good. Here it is: Top 10 Most Important Ideas Right Before Christmas:

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  1. DON’T add any more people to your gift-giving list. If they weren’t on your list by now, DON’T ADD THEM. In fact, look over your list and decide where you can cut back if you are still navigating the shopping/wrapping/preparing gift business. (For those of you whose gifts are perfectly wrapped and under the tree, well, you can skip to #9.) The rest of us? Simplify gift-giving. Buy less, use something you already have or just decide that time with this loved one is more important than a gift. Look at the 5-Minute Gift and be inspired to make something that will be special for this person

 

9. DO plan time with a special friend, family member, spouse, etc. I’ve had time with my dear friend Mary Ann this week. We had a specific project that we planned to work on. Problems beyond our control slowed us down. Way down. These special Christmas gifts I had planned will probably not get done by the time I had hoped. Rather than focusing on what isn’t getting done, we’ve hung out and enjoyed a delicious malt Mary Ann’s husband, Bob, made for us.

8. DON’T try to squeeze in one more party than what you’ve already got on the calendar. Running to five different celebrations in 36 hours isn’t heroic. It’s craziness. Pick one or two. Let the rest go.

  1. DO extend the holidays and celebrate beyond the normal Christmas time. I had hoped to have a dear friend over before Christmas. There is literally not a day when we can both make it work. So, we picked a day after Christmas. Problem solved. I’m feeling great that we will see each other. We’re both feeling less stress and know this will be more enjoyable for both.

 

  1. DON’T have ridiculous expectations. Somewhere along the way in the next five days, someone will loss their temper. Someone will feel left out. Someone will be disappointed. Maybe you will be the one! Hubby Rick often reminds me that it is best to have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised when something goes beyond your bottom-of-the-totem pole expectations.

 

  1. DO plan on down time. Hope in the car and drive around and look at Christmas lights. Make a batch of hot chocolate and watch a movie. Get out your favorite card or board game and have a mini-marathon session. Let your soul be restored; not frazzeled.

 

  1. DON’T decide this is the week to go on a diet, try a new exercise routine or follow a tight budget. This are all noble and great ideas. Just probably not this week. Pick a date in the near future when starting to make a change is more realistic.

 

  1. DO take time and think about the last year. What were some of your favorite moments? When could have you responded to a situation with more grace? What lesson did you learn this year can you take forward and use as a spring board for future growth and change?

 

  1. DON’T expect the week to be only filled with Hallmark-worthy pictures and moments. Most of us don’t live in Unrealisticville. Keep your celebrations true to who you are and the traditions you value.

 

  1. DO remember the good news of the season. The angels told the shepherd’s the news was for all people; not just some poor shepherds who were herding wooly sheep on a Judean countryside. This good news is for us as well! How might we keep focused on this great and wonderful news? THIS is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Everything else is residual.

There will be moments in the next five days when I will forget to focus on this list. I pray that I remember to come back to this list of 10 simple ways to come back to the whole reasons we celebrate Christmas.

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For simplifying Christmas, I am grateful.

Lord God – may we not be afraid to slow down and hear the angels sing today. May we be amazed that the Messiah has been born. Help us see the most important aspects of Christmas this year. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 99 –Blessing of Prayer

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Sat., Aug. 11, 2018

1 Peter 1:21 – Because of this, your trust can be in God who raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. Now your faith and hope can rest in him alone.

This week has been one of those especially full weeks. A week when there do not see to be enough hours in the day. When I just try to figure out what really is the most important thing to do in each moment.

When I feel like there is a lot going on, I also desire for moment of escape. Diversion. Not having to think. A few moments when I can put my life on hold. The problem is this: when I want those moments of escape, I don’t always make the best choices. I choose the something that will not really restore my soul. I choose something that lets me escape reality for just a few minutes.

As I was driving home tonight, the radio was on in the car. I turned it off. This is not uncommon for me. Sometimes, I just want the quiet of nothing but my own thought running through my head. And so, I just drive.

We all have seasons that are more demanding than others. Whether they last for a day or two, a week or two or for a couple of months, it helps me when I know this is not forever. Sometimes I know the timeframe. Other times, I don’t. What I do know is that I can trust God to be with me. I’m not alone. I can journey through whatever lies in my day because my faith and hope can rest in Christ alone.

For this, I am grateful.

Dear God – thanks for being with me whether I am fully aware of the need for you or not. When we feel overwhelmed, I pray your presence will increase and encourage us to simply look to you.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Escaping the Hurried

Sept. 10, 2014

 

Mark 6:45-46

Right then, Jesus made his disciples get into a boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake, toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After saying good-bye to them, Jesus went up onto a mountain to pray.

I’ve caught myself feeling hurried today. Feeling like the to-do list is really more than I want to tackle. Rather than forcefully prioritizing and making my way through the list, I distracted myself with mind-numbing activities. Until now.

 

Yesterday, I had a little revelation. There is a difference between being busy and being hurried.

 

Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It’s too many things to do in too little time; wondering how you will find the hours to finish tasks.

 

Hurried is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. When a person is hurried, he/she are so preoccupied with themselves that they are unable to be fully present; sometimes with others, themselves and always, God. Hurried people cannot be in the moment. As they focus on what will happen next, they fail to experience the moment now.

 

Most people I know are busy. Today, a retired woman described her life as very busy. It’s a common theme. Being busy is not always bad. Busy becomes a problem when busy-ness mitigates to hurriedness and we squeeze God out of our lives.

 

When I get closer to hurried, I take on small habits that frustrate me. I spend more time doing silly things than doing the important things. The more hurried I am, the more difficult it is to rest in God. My hurried soul doesn’t think it can find time to just be with God. I fill my moments with distractions from the most important things. Today, I paused. Took a few minutes. Reflected on hurriedness and jotted down a few thoughts.

 

I am amazed how Jesus kept his soul rested. He repeatedly slowed himself down to rest and often held his followers back so they would not become fatigued. He understood the power of sometimes doing nothing.

 

How good are you at doing nothing?

 

Our souls need rest. Sometimes, our souls need to do nothing, which in reality, does wonders for our inner and outer conditions.

 

Lord God, how easily we fill our days with good things. But we often fail to include time with you. When we approach hurriedness, help us stop and find an inner peace from you. Amen.

 

Blessings –

Dianne

 

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