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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

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The wind blows strong today.

Leaves rustle and dance.

Wind’s elusiveness stirs my mind.

I see it as it moves through limb and leaf;

feel it as it blows across skin

yet, if I tried, I could not catch it or contain it

no matter how I’d strive, run, and chase

it would escape me.

So I sit and the mind sees how life is wind –

 what we strive for is often just out of grasp:

happiness, success, stability,

the way things were, the way we wish things would be.

Prayers seem to go unanswered and life doesn’t feel good.

We stop chasing because what’s the point?

Even day’s routine: work. eat. sleep. repeat. can begin to look bleak and meaningless.

King Solomon wrote, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” – Eccl. 1:14

That pretty much sums it up. No wonder depression is real and prevalent.

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What IS the point, then?

What IS the reason for all this chasing after?

Even as believers we grapple with these questions.

Part of the answer is in the eyes.

Do we look only with eyes focused on life under the sun?

Or through the eyes’ lens of faith, can we see that meaning lies beyond the sun?

Are eyes fixed on the mirror? Yes, too often self is pretty important. It’s hard not to drown in a sea of selfisms: selfies, selfishness, self-pity, self-blame.

Or is the gaze on the only One who gives meaning to all things meaningless?

Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus

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It’s also the practice of contentment.

If I could stop chasing after the winds of what I want, and just be still long enough to see that this moment holds enough blessings – that’s the first step toward contentment.

Yes,  I have enough.

We ALL have enough.

And deserve none of it.

It’s all a gift. Like leaves dancing in that wind, undeserved gifts swirl and land at our feet. And if we stand still long enough, we’d find ourselves buried in piles of abundance.

Work. eat. sleep. repeat. now becomes an act of gratitude:

I’m thankful for work

I’m thankful for food on the table

I’m thankful for a bed to sleep in

and I’m thankful for a new day to do it all again.

It’s easy to forget that each moment has meaning, each moment has purpose, and each is part of God’s perfect plan. But if we practice being grace seekers instead of wind chasers, life goes from meaningless to meaning-FULL.

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And what does that life look like?

It’s striving to please the Life Giver rather than pleasing self.

It’s knowing that my life has a purpose, and your’s has a purpose, and God has a plan for each of us, and He is at work even if we can’t see it right now.

It’s running the race steadily toward the eternal goal that He has put into our hearts. That is what truly gives life meaning. It’s encouraging each other along the way, and bringing as many others along with us.

That’s the whole point.

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blessings, 

Tracy

 

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Tune My Senses

It’s happening again.

I’m doing what I said I wasn’t going to do:

let life get way out of balance –

I mean – WAY out of balance.

I love what I do

I don’t consider it a job because I enjoy it so much,

but usually I let it consume me and my time –

especially at this time of year.

It’s something I’ve struggled with for what seems too long.

 I even started this year with a new resolve:

to balance family, home, work, church

but, sigh . . .

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About a month ago, a friend asked me if I had seen my hellebores blooming.

Oh my gosh, had I missed the first blossoms of spring?

As a self-proclaimed beauty-seeker, I was mad at myself.

How had my schedule become so full of to do’s that I had forgotten how to just be?

How had my focus become so narrow that I had forgotten to really see?

I ran out with camera in hand

hunting for beauty

and found it –

there on the hillside covered in lovely blossoms

dangling downward

Lenten roses

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Such a good reminder to live life slow

not as if life is an emergency;

to take the time to seek and see the beauty that’s right before me

and to thank God for each gift

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Time is one of those gifts

and though it seems there is never enough of it,

every morning I need a reminder

that God has given me enough time

it’s all how I use it,

not how it uses me.

So a new resolve stirs to slow and be in the moment,

to balance, but always seek Him first,

and to be tuned in to the grace-shower that follows.

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‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness,
    and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts,
    for now is the time to seek the Lord,
that He may come and shower righteousness upon you.’

– Hosea 10:12

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Blessings,

Tracy

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Angel Spa

Doesn’t a day at the spa sound like just what we need right about now?

While winter’s cold winds blow at the windows,

ah, to be in a warm, relaxing environment

candles to calm the frazzled

oil to sooth away worries

fragrance to revive a worn-out body

enveloped in a fluffy white robe

pampered to the fullest –

wish i was there right now

a spa day sounds pretty appealing

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it struck me as I heard words from Isaiah on Sunday

that there is something similar that we can indulge in

without even leaving our homes –

a special gift of pampering and deep healing.

In beautiful poetic and prophetic words

Isaiah says in chapter 61:

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

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instead of ashes – a crown of beauty

instead of mourning – oil of joy

instead of despair – a garment of praise

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and if those aren’t gifts enough to make a grateful heart swell

and a tired soul sing hallelujah,

there’s more –

broken hearts are healed

and we are freed from the prisons within

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it’s Jesus that Isaiah speaks of –

could there be any doubt?

He pours His love on us like nothing else we will ever experience here.

He calms the frazzled

He soothes away worry

He gives hope and rest to the worn

He comforts the tear-stained soul.

That’s what He does for us right now

when we turn our hearts to Him,

let go of doubt and self-reliance,

and be held in the palm of his Hand.

Just imagine what’s waiting for us  –

it will be like an eternal spa day.

Isn’t that fun to think about?

*

blessings,

Tracy

A big thankyou to my lovely aunt, Kathleen Hendee, for the awesome photo!

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Awakening

Arise Shine

i woke up this morning energized –

that doesn’t happen often in January.

not sure why today was different-

it’s winter’s coldest day so far

and though it’s still dark and easier to stay in bed,

 the sun will be up soon

and i’m anxious to capture some scarce rays of rising light

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for the first time i’ve really payed attention to

how the liturgical seasons partner with the seasons of the earth.

 advent comes when days are shortest, nights long

nature is dormant

and darkness pulls us inward.

we search the darkness within and

prepare ourselves for the coming of Light –

waiting with a knowing hope

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then much-anticipated Christmas comes

with it’s celebration of wonder

all still and quiet

amidst noise and clutter

we celebrate the coming of the heavenly Light

given when earth is darkest

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then as quickly as it comes, it’s gone

with the new year right on it’s heals –

holding open a door to all things new.

with renewed intentions, routine returns

and we slip into rituals of the day

of work and of school

of snow, cold, and shovels

and of slowly ebbing darkness

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this is when epiphany comes

a much needed enlightening

a reminder of when the promised Savior was revealed to

wise men who persisted to seek him.

those who followed the light of a star

found the true Light

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epiphany

 the call to rise and shine

to awaken and see God’s glory

seek his grace

it’s everywhere –

in daily rituals

in simple things

even in dark moments

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not only to wake up and see,

but to shine and reflect it with joy and gratitude

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‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.’

Isaiah 60:1

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time for some honest reflection:

am i awake to every moment filled with his grace?

am i reflecting his glory with an attitude of thankfulness?

how will i shine today?

how will you?

let’s respond to Isaiah’s exciting call to action together!

*

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!

*

Blessings,

Tracy

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Advent Dec 13 Advent dec 14

this week’s focus is on one of my favorite things –

joy.

that attitude of thankfulness

and feeling of peace all wrapped up in three letters –

joy.

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repeated words from the old carol

‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ come to mind today –

‘O tidings of comfort and joy’

each verse sharing the Christmas story

of a baby sent from heaven to save,

of angels appearing,

and shepherds seeking, finding, and rejoicing!

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there are days during this season that we may wonder

what happened to that comfort and joy?

they have never left,

they may have become buried under the two joy stealers –

stress & worry.

we may have lost our focus

but the comfort and joy that God give us through his Son

is always there for us to rediscover

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this week, let’s set our eyes on that baby born to save

let’s seek him like the shepherds

and rejoice!

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blessings,

Tracy

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Ephesians 5

I’m excited and grateful to have one of my blogs posted by A Word for Women this week! Here’s a little bit of it. To read the entire post, click on the link below.

“It is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy”.
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Perhaps you’ve seen this saying floating around on social media. There is definitely truth in it, but there’s something missing.
There is something deeper than happiness that we experience when we are thankful – and that is JOY.
Isn’t that what we all crave?
True joy, deep-down-in-the-soul joy, a joy that doesn’t change with the life’s shifting winds.
The secret to getting that joy is this:
Give thanks.
That’s it. Simple. Just give thanks.

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Read the entire post here. 

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