Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Putting Away Christmas
Well, it’s been almost a month since Christmas… have you put away all the evidence of the season? Have you packed and stored all the decorations, recipes, and wrapping paper? Have you also put away the feelings of love, hope, and peace that entered your heart this time of year?
I began pondering this idea after I sent one of my daily emails to my grown daughters. I wrote something like, “today I am going to put away Christmas.” As I took down the hand-knitted stockings so lovingly created by my Great-Aunt, I thought about those words I had used, “putting away Christmas”. I knew what I was trying to say, but somehow the words struck a deeper meaning.
While raising my daughters, there were times when circumstances caused us to celebrate their birthdays after the date or someone would send them a card or gift later. I always told them to stretch this celebration as long as they could! But, was I doing that with the birth of Christ? Was I daily opening my heart and mind to that long ago night filled with angels and shepherds and the miracle birth?
One thing I know for sure, I don’t want my relationship with the Prince of Peace to be a seasonal one! I want Jesus to fill every thought, word, and action of my life! That’s a big statement; how was I going to be intentional this year about making this happen? One thing I added is memorizing scripture. I am participating in Beth Moore’s blog group and memorizing 2 verses per month. God was getting tired of hearing me say, “it is hard for me to memorize scripture”, and so I decided to just do it! I know that by focusing and filling my mind with His word, I will be prepared to share His love and truths with others.
So, how do you spend time with God and grow your relationship with Him? How do you keep the meaning of Christmas a daily celebration? Share your ideas, Ladies!
Oh, I also decided to leave out my nativity scene this year. It is a reminder of the love, hope, and peace of Christ who fills my heart!
Joy in the Journey,
Monday, January 17, 2011
I hope you enjoyed it.
Christmas, New Years, your family, the gifts, the food, the lights, the laughs, and the snow! I hope you drank it in like sweet hot chocolate on a cold, snowy day. I hope it warmed your soul and gave you the strength and stamina to survive January...Ha!
As we begin another year, the AMAZING GIFT of another year, I hope you'll set aside some time to give thanks for all of your blessings. I have a friend who has a stenciled message on the wall in the entryway of her home that reads, "Grant me patience to deal with my blessings".
I think of that when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I am so blessed. With blessing comes responsibility yes, but I don't want those responsibilities to overshadow the blessings. Ever.
So God, please grant each of us the patience to deal with our blessings in 2011, to recognize your hand in our lives, and to search for ways to bless others starting in our own home. Starting with our spouse, let us love as you love us and to exert patience when we are feeling the weight of responsibility. Help us to find our way back to recognizing our blessings.
I would love to hear from you! Share your excitement, your challenges, and let me know how I can be praying for you. You can leave a comment on the blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a peak at what I'll be chatting about on the Happy Marriage Blog: 11 Tips for a Happier Marriage in 2011. Check it out and share it with someone you love.
Leigh Ann Napier
The Happy Marriage Coach
Friday, January 14, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Leading yourself effectively doesn’t mean you have to be perfect (what is that anyway?) but it does mean you are authentic, make intentional choices, embrace life, know peace, love and respect yourself, enjoy loving relationships, and think through problems.
I’ll share a story that will help illustrate four points for you to consider. Last winter we had an ice storm that tormented our area for two days and nights. I was alone in my home. As the constant freezing rain built up on my power lines and many tall trees, I could hear the crackling branches clanking against each other in our woods and from time to time heard loud crashes of large limbs plummeting to the ground. Our lights flickered over and over and I was terrified I would lose power. I knew if I lost power, there was no way I could drive anywhere. I wouldn’t be able to get out of the driveway. I also knew my body does not generate heat and the cold would be shocking.
I set out into survival mode. Looking back on it, I employed some “lead yourself” techniques that are good for all of us whether facing adversity or everyday problems:
- Pray—I centered myself in the Lord’s power. I surrendered my tendency toward panic and fear and trusted that He would guide me through.
- Prepare—What could I do now to prepare IN CASE the power did go out? I gathered flashlights, batteries, candles. I put hot water in thermoses. I kept my cell phone charged. I brought in firewood to dry. I took inventory of quilts and blankets.
- Picture—To gain perspective I pictured where I would sleep, how I could stay warm while doing productive things without power, and how I could exercise periodically. I tried to keep perspective that it would only be a few days that I would have to live like that and I could make it through.
- Connect with others—I texted with my husband and kids and talked with them as well. They reassured me and even gave me ideas about how I could keep my cell phone charged and how to build a fire.
525,000 customers were without electricity for up to a week after the storm. They all have stories of survival. And we are grateful for all the workers who came from many states to restore power to us.
My point in sharing this story is to encourage you to make sure you are taking steps to lead yourself. Try implementing these steps into your everyday life as you step into 2011.
Pray—Center; surrender; trust. Ask for guidance for the year ahead.
Prepare—Think ahead so you can respond instead of reacting. How will your plans, hopes and ideas affect all areas of your life? What steps can you take now to prevent challenges from becoming overwhelming?
Picture—Envision where you are going and how you are going to get there. Think about handling problems with wisdom and living with joy.
Connect with others—Serve others and allow them to serve you. Relationships and contributing to the well-being of others brings deep meaning to our lives.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Instead of making a new year’s resolution, how about setting a THEME for 2011? Choose a theme that reflects your assignment for this particular time of your life. Your THEME can be applied to many areas of your life and will allow some freedom for failure and the excitement of surprise.
Your THEME is not random. It may be balancing out your previous year or it may be something you see God is leading you towards, or you might see a new direction emerging. For example, maybe 2010 was hectic and frazzled, so your THEME for 2011 might be Rest or Quiet. By focusing on Rest, you allow yourself to sit, to say “no” to a request, or go to bed earlier. Your health and spirit will be renewed and your life will be more fulfilling.
Maybe there is a need in your life for friends, better health or de-cluttering. Be positive and use words that will help you take action. For example, instead of having a theme of Making Friends, choose Be a Friend. That implies taking action that will most likely lead to connection with others.
Some THEME ideas to get you thinking - Simplify, Adventuring, Health, Move my Body, Write, Surrender, Laughter, Paint, Savor the Moments, or Discover my Passion.
Take the following steps to identify a THEME for 2011:
• Picture your life being richer because of your attention to your theme
• At the end of 2011, what will make you smile as you look back over the year?
• What is your assignment for this particular time of your life?
• Is there a way 2011 needs to be balanced?
• Ask God to give you direction in selecting a theme.
• Write out several themes that seem to emerge from within. Give some thought to how they might be carried out in your day to day living. Is it a theme that can be realized in your ordinary routine as well as jump start you to try something new?
• Select your theme. Embrace it. Be excited about it. Write it on several cards and place them in strategic places to remind yourself about your 2011 THEME. For example, place THEME cards on your bathroom mirror, over your kitchen sink, on your computer, hanging from the rear view mirror in your car, and wherever else you look frequently.
• Give yourself permission to evaluate your theme quarterly. Is it still a good path for you? If not, change it. Or, recast the vision - how will it make your life better having allowed this theme to be carried out in your life?
Yes, I have chosen my THEME. In 2009 it was Creativity. After having my creativity squished over the last couple of years, my soul was screaming for me to pay attention to this important area of my life. So I engaged in more photography, created photo books, developed new workshops, wrote articles and blogs, did some redecorating and tried lots of new recipes.
Two years ago my theme was Creativity. Last year Harvest. My theme for this year is Change a Life. My focus is others – whether it’s my kids, my coaching clients, a group I speak to, a person in Louisville struggling to get by or someone in another country I may never meet, I want this year to be about changing others’ lives for the better. What’s your theme?Be sure to share your THEME in the comment section of this blog. I want to cheer you on! Happy New Year! Click to Comment
Thursday, December 16, 2010
We had our first big snow in my city, so you know what that means- a weekend of Hallmark movies! I conducted my own “marathon”; actually watched one movie twice! It was new this season and so sweet
As I snuggled in my comfy chair with my favorite throw, I watched characters end up in quaint little towns with names like “Mistletoe” and find the true meaning of Christmas. Now, don’t think I am making fun- I usually become part of their families by the end of the 2-hour movie!
After watching several movies, I began to see a theme emerging- the love and hope of Christmas. I thought back over my year and how at times hope was the only thing I had! I recently went through a divorce of a long-term marriage and I was pretty much dying in a pile for months! But, even in my darkest hours, God’s peace and love prevailed. I am grateful that God gave me the desire and the ability to believe in Him-He is hope. I remember reading early in the process that we either live in faith or fear- I chose faith!
Now, don’t think having hope made everything easy- there were nights I put my pjs on at 6 p.m. so that day could end and a new one could begin! But when you have hope, there are possibilities! You realize that you can and must put one foot in front of the other. You begin looking up and out and realize God still has a purpose and plans for you.
And, you allow others to serve and take care of you- the hands and feet of Christ. Love comes in many forms- mine was in family members who called and emailed daily to check on me! It came in friends who literally pulled me out of the house to go to a movie or dinner! It was from co-workers who picked up the slack when I could barely function! It came in the many, many prayers that were petitioned on my behalf when I was too grief stricken to pray!
So, this season whether you are in the midst of a devastating trial or in the sweet spot of life, give and receive the greatest gift of all… the gift of God’s love and hope. And show the world the “reason for the season”!