Gratitude Day 199 – Serenity

Mon., Jan. 21, 2019

Ephesians 4:2 – Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love,

Anyone struggling with not keeping up with the goals you have for yourself?

Me too.

And then, I ran across this saying:

other serenity prayer

You maybe familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It goes like this:

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It’s a common prayer used in recover and 12-step programs. But this isn’t the only place it can be helpful. I think it’s a great reminder for daily living. It’s OK to acknowledge there are things we can and cannot affect and change. And it’s OK to be able to identify between the difference.

I also like this alternative version because it reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect. Some days, I feel like I am able to be more gracious with myself. Other days, not so much. On those days I’m not very gracious, it’s easy to focus on everything that I could have done better. I could have eaten better, made more time for exercise, checked more things off of my to-do list, wasted less time, focused on the most important things first … the list goes on and on.

Maybe, some days, it’s OK to not be at the top of your game. It’s acceptable to take life a little slower and enjoy moments.

So, if you are one of those people who isn’t very gracious with yourself, read these words carefully. Maybe even speak them aloud, as a prayer. Not only say them; believe them.

I’m a beloved child of God.

I am enough for today.

Grant me the grace I need right now.

Help me see my value and worth through God’s eyes and not just my own.

May I know God loves me, just as I am.

For accepting grace for myself, I am grateful.

Holy God – sometimes, it’s just easier to see our faults than recognize the good things we’ve done. Help us be gracious with ourselves. May we know that you love us just the way we are. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 196 – Refresh Wednesday

Wed., Jan. 16, 2019

Philemon 1:20 – Yes, brother, I want this favor from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ.

Recently, I took a few hours one afternoon/evening and thought about what some goals are I have for myself in the next 365 days. I was not making resolutions. I contemplated areas where I want to improve in myself.

Goals vs. resolutions. Is there a difference?

I believe there is. Would you like to know my perspective?

Good. Here it is.

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. A goal is the ambition to work towards a desired result. A resolution says, “From here on out, I will (or will not) …” A goal says, “Step by step, I’m going to work towards …”

See the difference?

I can “will” myself not to eat sugar. But I know there will be a day when I will. If I make a resolution not to eat sugar, I set myself up for failure. If I make a goal to consume less sugar and work towards a specific goal, I give myself grace to achieve this over time.

So, what is one of my goals for 2019?

Not to ADD more to my life but to freshened up things that are already a part of my daily journey.

Rather than look at a complete life overhaul (which is exhausting, demanding and unrealistic for me), I want to challenge myself to make slight changes and adjustments. Maybe it’s more of a mind shift in how I think about things. But after years and years of trying to do the overhaul method and failing miserably, I challenged myself to come up with a different approach.


Freshen up it is.


Here’s a very simple but quick way to illustrate what I mean.


Before Christmas, we decorated our beautiful front porch for the holidays. Our gorgeous porch is the first spot that welcomes people into our home. It truly is the place where people can begin to feel the warmth and welcome I desperately want them wash over them as they come into our home.


My sister, Debbie, helped decorate for Christmas. We took very simple things I already had, tastefully arranged them and inserted some beautiful evergreen arrangements Debbie whipped up. I purposefully suggested keeping this area less Christmasy and more wintery so it could transform from pre-Christmas to post-Christmas with little effort.


The post-Christmas biggest challenge? See the cute little bench. The one Hubby Rick made from a $12 headboard that I purchased at a thrift shop? It needed to go back inside the house. It moved out here to make room for the Christmas tree. But now, the bench needed to go back inside the foyer, it’s rightful location.

This would be a quick refresh, not a big overhaul.


First step – remove the white Christmas lights sprinkled in throughout the decorations. While it still looks cool at night, it is time to stop turning on the Christmas lights. Sigh.


Second step – move everything off the bench, clean it and move it inside.


Third step – move existing decorations around to make a winter wonderland without the bench.


Total time to refresh the porch? 10 minutes.


The only added item is the bin that now holds the sticks of wood. The bin was inside the parlor over Christmas. The sticks of wood were outside. I just put them back together and found a spot for them. Done.


The whole refreshing time did take a few more minutes. Once everything was in its place on the porch, I put the bench back in its normal spot inside and added a few things to make it look cozy. I think this took another 5 minutes.


And my heart sang with joy.


Why remake when all we have to do is refresh?


Where can you spend 15-20 minutes today and refresh something that will bring joy to your heart?

I’m calling today “Refresh Wednesday.” Look for more “Refresh Wednesday’s” coming up; little things I’m doing to help me work towards achieving goals in the next 365 days. Things that are quick, easy and help my heart sing.

For a quick refresh in my life, I am grateful.

Almighty God – You designed us just the way we are. Yes, you might want to make a few changes to our choices and behavior. But you give each of us unique personalities and perspectives. Place on our hearts little ways we can refresh our life today. Help us see the best way towards long-term change may not be a huge overhaul but simple steps on a regular basis. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 185 – A Clean House and Soul

Sun., Dec. 30, 2018

Isaiah 32:18 – Then my people will live in a peaceful dwelling, in secure homes, in carefree resting places.

And then it was quiet.

So quiet.

After 8-9 days of company and overnight guests every night, today Hubby Rick took our eldest two grandsons’ home. He wanted to go ice fishing on his way home, so I stayed home.

To the quiet. To the peace. To time by myself.

We feel very fortunate that we’ve had so many days filled with family and friends. At times, the inn was a little full. Getting beds prepared between guests was quick. But we loved every minute of it.

Home is a favorite place. As we have remodeled our Victorian farmhouse and made it our own, it has become a place where I love to just be. It’s filled with items very meaningful and special to us. I never tire of being home alone because it is a place of peace for me.


Home alone, I went full-on into cleaning mode. Yes, I also am a little OCD about a clean house. Getting beds ready for future guests. Cleaning bathrooms and smudged floors. Finding letters leftover from Scrabble and eaten boxes of candy left behind. Organizing the fridge leftovers. Running another load of dishes, now that I have more dishwasher soap, after making a quick trip to the store last night. Wiping down the smears and food left behind on the stainless-steel appliances. Do they ever really get clean?


Cleaning the oven. When I opened it, I couldn’t believe I’d let it get so dirty! Seriously??!! I’m slightly embarrassed by this for those who have peeked into my oven in the last number of days.


Load after load of laundry.


Quietly letting the red and white roses hang their heads after looking so perky and beautiful for many days in a row.

As I cleaned, put away and did some deep cleaning, my heart felt quiet. Good. Satisfied. I love being in my house. I love it even more when it is clean. It truly becomes for me a carefree resting place.


Yes, I’m one those people who will stay up half the night before leaving on vacation to make sure the house is clean before I leave. I want to walk into a house with everything in its place when I get home.

Some people don’t like to clean. Comments like, “It will just get dirty again,” are true. For mean, having a clean house creates a place of peace. Calm. Serenity.

As I cleaned today, I contemplated many things. What do I look forward to in 2019? What are some short-term and long-term goals for me? How can I create moments where I feel peace and serenity on a more regular basis?

I realize a clean house may not create this feeling inside of you. That’s OK. But where is that place for you? What activity helps you feel like you are back where you want to be? Where do you find peace and serenity? How have you built this into your life lately? Will you make it more of a priority in 2019?


For a clean house and a happy soul, I am grateful.

Almighty God, thank you for each and every person who has been in our house these last many days. I feel blessed to have them in our home. And thank you for the quiet today, the opportunity to feel peace, calm and serenity. I pray these quiet moments with you today were as meaningful for you as they were for me. Amen.

Blessings –


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