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Archive for December, 2015

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i still remember my grandmother asking me one New Year’s Eve

what my resolutions were for the new year.

i was in high school

and already then i had a list in my head of ways i wanted to improve

new things i wanted to try

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i still make a list every year

but no longer resolutions –

now i set intentions which seem less doomed to failure.

intentions i can easily begin again

when i get sidetracked or completely fall off the wagon

intentions are a more positive approach to making change

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here are some tips for setting intentions:

set aside some quiet time, with pen & paper, and a cup of coffee or tea

ask yourself these questions:

what do i want my life to be like this year?

how do i want my life to be different?

which areas of me do i want to improve?

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then consider this:

what are my gifts and talents that God has given specifically to me?

am i using them?

am i living out my calling?

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now list intentions for specific areas

here are some examples:

physical (how can i take better care of myself?)

emotional (do i need to work on my outlook or attitude? or how i react to challenges?)

spiritual (what can i do to improve my spiritual life?)

relationships (is there a relationship that needs extra time, attention, prayers)

creative (yes, we all are creative – that’s another blog post 🙂  am i setting aside time for what gives me joy and a way to express myself?)

professional (how can i improve at work? am i happy doing what i do? if not, what can i do about it? do i need better balance between work and personal life?) 

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another helpful thing is to choose one word to focus on through the year.

some word ideas include . . .

shine, dwell, thrive, become

grow, be, give, content

choose joy, breathe, live boldly

be thankful, be brave, be still, be the good

simplify, embrace, conquer, cultivate

courage, savor, cherish, enjoy

need help choosing a word?

click here

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after working through these questions,

you will have the beginnings of a plan for change

but the best of plans can fail if done without God’s help.

‘Commit your actions to the Lordand your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3

pray!

ask God to bless your word, your intentions, and the year ahead

as the psalmist says:

‘May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.’ –Psalm 20:4

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 here is a simple form to help set your intentions

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finally, make your word visible

keep it in front of you

wear it!

i’d love to help you live with your word and make a change

by customizing a cuff with your word on it.

i’ve been wearing my word the last four years

and believe me it helps me stay focused on my intentions

by wrapping it around my wrist every day.

if interested, you can learn more about it here.

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blessings on your new year!

Tracy

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one little word text

these days between Christmas and New Years

are some of my favorite of the year –

Christmas still fresh in the heart

and on the brink of a new year

it’s here in the in-between

i spend time reflecting

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its a time to look inward

at how we’ve grown over the past year,

how we’ve been made stronger

how we’ve been blessed.

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it’s a time to evaluate –

am i living to the fullest?

how am i using my time?

 am i using my gifts?

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it’s a time to look back at where the path has brought us

what has happened,

what has been accomplished,

opportunities missed or taken

and when the path took an unexpected turn –

how we have been blessed despite that

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it’s a time to look ahead

to a new year full of possibility and potential

a time to dream big

a time to plan – to pray and persist in that plan

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the last four Januarys

i have set my intentions

(seems better than resolutions)

and chosen one word that captures those intentions

one word to focus on

to live with for the year

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it has been a tremendous tool for me

helping me grow in a specific area

usually the word is simple but has many facets:

one year, my word was ‘dwell

i chose it because i wanted to

dwell in the moment instead of rushing on to the next one,

dwell in the Word

dwell in my home (aka – spend less time at work)

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another year i chose the word ‘thrive

and used each letter to represent a certain intention that would help me thrive:

t‘ was using my time wisely

h‘ was to stay hydrated since i have an aversion to drinking water

r‘ was to set aside time to rest and relax

all those intentions were to help me not just survive each day, but thrive!

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i’ll admit that it’s easy to forget that one word

but have found it helpful to always have that word in front of me

on the windowsill above the kitchen sink

on the frig

as a desktop background

but the best way i have found to be reminded of my intention for the year

is to wear it

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once i began wearing my one little word

it became a way for me to live with it every day if i so chose

a constant reminder

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i still benefit from monthly prompts from

the one little word project

and i encourage you to check out Ali Edward’s site

if you are serious about making a change in 2016.

but just wrapping it around my wrist every day has helped me just as much

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i hope you’ll consider choosing one or two words that

sum up your intentions for 2016

 i would be honored to help you wear it

just click here to learn more about that

(need help choosing your one little word and setting your intentions? click here for simple questions to ask yourself)

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may the new year hold many blessings and possibilities for you

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blessings,

Tracy

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The Giver

Advent dec 23

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today’s thought is simple:

give

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you’ve heard of them –

random acts of kindness

maybe you have even experienced one,

being surprised by someone’s unexpected kindness.

there’s joy in being the receiver

but even more joy as the giver

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the love of God that manifests itself at Christmas

was not a random act

 the gift of his son was planned long ago

Jesus was born to bring love,

born to save

a world that so desperately needed him

we desperately need him

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this gift is truly indescribable

the great Giver has blessed us beyond what we deserve

beyond what we can ever repay

so we simply receive with grateful hearts

and respond with overflowing joy,

to give

random or not,

let’s pass it on!

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Blessings,

Tracy

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Advent dec 22

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i’ve been thinking about love this week –

Advent’s fourth candle.

capturing God’s love with a few words isn’t easy

a love so vast and deep

constant, unconditional

boundless, selfless

amazing

and senseless

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senseless because it doesn’t make sense to me –

how the God who created the universe,

the great I am,

can love undeserving, unlovable us?

how can he love us so much that

he gift-wrapped that love

and gave us what he loves the most –

his only son.

why would he, who created all things,

come as a vulnerable, helpless baby,

to live among us, his creation,

to save us from ourselves –

it doesn’t make sense

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then he tells us to love one another

and to do an unnatural, difficult thing –

love the unlovable

love those who hurt us

love those who have betrayed us

love those who are hard to love –

that really doesn’t make sense

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draw near with the shepherds

peer in the manger

see tiny hands of God

see love come down

and let it warm you –

that senseless, amazing love

that love that gives us hope, and peace and joy

let it fill you and overflow

and love those who are hard to love

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who can you show that love to today?

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blessings,

Tracy

 

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Advent dec 20

Advent dec 21

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one of my favorite things about Christmas is time with family

the traditions of singing carols, making eggnog,

reading Luke 2 to the kids . . .

we all have our favorite traditions

but traditions change

because life changes

kids grow up,  move away,

start their own families and begin their own traditions

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or maybe life has brought a harder change

one that has dramatically altered the landscape of your family

through a painful loss

leaving a huge hole of emptiness

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here’s the good news

that through all the changes

God doesn’t change

He is constant

He has given us the greatest gift of His love

and that love fills every empty place

every crack and crevice

and begins to makes us whole again

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so those traditions?

remember them, cherish them, be grateful for them

but to dwell there, in the past

denies the joy that can be found in the present

this is where God is

here in the now.

maybe it’s time to begin a new tradition

or maybe it will take all you have just to get through this Christmas.

wherever you are at in life

 you have a gift that’s yours to open –

the gift of God’s love

it is unchanging, abundant, and knows no bounds

let it fill your empty spaces up

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Blessings,

Tracy

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Advent dec 19

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it’s been happening the last week or two already

ads for last-minute shoppers

i still have shopping to do

but i resent being called a procrastinator

when i still have five more days to shop

today is not last minute –

shopping on Christmas Eve – that’s last minute 🙂

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it’s not the media and marketing strategies that creates this sense of urgency

it’s the evil one using it as a tool

to make a distraction

telling me to rush and hurry up

to thwart any effort of mine to stay focused on the manger

to push me into feeling stressed

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well, i’m pushing back

pushing back with renewed determination to stay focused

to be joyful as Christmas approaches

to not be caught up in the chaos and clutter of Christmas

but to find joy in the anticipation.

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Blessings,

Tracy

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Radiant Joy

Advent dec 18.jpg*

‘joy, joy, joy,

praise we the Lord in heaven on high’

i’ve been humming it all week

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i’ve also been thinking about Mary

the quiet joy she must have felt holding her son, her savior

and then the joy of the shepherds

that joy that spilled over in praises to God

and the telling to everyone what they had heard and seen

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when joy is mentioned in the Word

it usually is preceded  with singing, shouting and celebrating

but joy radiates whether silent or with voice

like a smile, it can be contagious

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so much joy this baby brings –

joy in being redeemed, joy in being forgiven

and the promise of eternal joy

sing it quiet in your soul

or give that joy a voice

let it shine!

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blessings,

Tracy

 

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