It’s All About Moments.

Life is made up of moments. Some people don’t give much power to a moment. “It’s only one.” This gives them an excuse to create destructive habits or to live life without intention or purpose. Each moment is adding up to a future, whether we realize it or not. It is moments that change our lives!

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
  • Moments of choosing to believe lies from the Enemy or the lies that others have told us about ourselves.
  • Moments of choosing to love when you don’t “feel like it.”
  • The moment you choose to respond with peace instead of losing your temper.
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    Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash
  • The moment you meet your spouse, whether something dramatic takes place within you or not.
  • The moment when your child is placed into your arms for the very first time.
  • The moment you forgive and let go of what happened years ago, or even a few months ago. You release yourself and release that person.
  • A moment in which you choose to communicate with the other person rather than assume the worst about their motives.
  • The moment a person chooses to reach for the phone and seek authentic relationship instead of porn, alcohol, or drugs.
  • The moment your perspective forever changes due to an experience or a sickness that could have taken your life–but you’re still here.
  • The moment in which you choose love over fear.

It is in each moment that we choose to become a lesser version of ourselves, or to become the image that our Creator had in mind when He lovingly molded us in our mother’s womb.

Moments are what add up to make a life! Be open to each moment and what it has to teach you. Live each moment fully present. God is working through all of them. And in the moments you never expect, He will do miracles!

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Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash
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Battling Insomnia & Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

Lately I’ve heard many people mention their inability to sleep at night. This is a

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

frustrating problem! Sleep is crucial to our physical and mental well-being, as well as our ability to fulfill our daily tasks. Insomnia isn’t normally something I struggle with, but unfortunately I’ve also had my recent bouts of it. There are a few key things that I’ve found helpful for myself, and I will share a few of those tips, as well as some others. Did you know that the journey to falling asleep more easily actually starts long before your head hits the pillow? Here are a few tips that may be useful in battling insomnia and falling asleep more easily:

 

Exercise regularly. There are actually studies which have found that exercise promotes falling asleep easier. Exercise may even help your Circadian rhythm to harmonize itself.

Write a to-do list for the next day. If you find yourself worried about all that has been left undone, write it down. That way you can relax a bit more while also not being stressed out about forgetting what you need to do the next day.

Limit your screen time before bed. It’s best to cut out screens a few hours before you go to bed. If you do find yourself needing to using screens, there are actually glasses you can wear which will help to block out some of the light and allow you to use screens without disrupting your body’s clock. There are also apps that you can download for your phone or computer, including Twilight, which will cut out some of the unnecessary brightness after a certain hour.

Make sure that light isn’t interfering with your ability to sleep. For those living in big cities, streetlights filtering in through the windows can make it very difficult to sleep. When there is light, your body has difficulty falling asleep because light normally means daytime! There is something called “blackout blinds” which are very effective in making a room dark and promoting better sleep. Make sure that any alarm clocks or other electronics aren’t shining where you can see them.

Watch your caffeine intake. Some people need to cut out caffeine after a certain hour of the day, or else they will have great difficulty falling asleep. You may need to limit caffeine throughout the day. Figure out your body’s unique makeup. For myself, I’ve had to cut out caffeine completely. I’m a huge tea-drinker, but after some terrible nights of not being able to fall asleep and feeling wired, I realized that it’s just not worth it. I stick to caffeine-free herbal teas now.

Drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed. I’ve definitely found this to be calming and helping me to wind down. There are many varieties of chamomile tea at the store. At one point I was drinking chamomile tea with lavender, which I really enjoyed. I think a cup of chamomile tea actually helps me to sleep more deeply and get a better night’s sleep as well.

Journal. If you are finding yourself going through a lot, this can be especially helpful. Journal is a relaxing and meditative practice. If you have a lot on your mind, journaling can help you to process this, and to possibly feel less stressed out.

Pray. I’ve written before about the Examen. This prayer is a great way to wind down and wrap up your day. The prayer consists of different parts, but basically you are processing your day before your Creator, including how you are feeling God’s presence, as well as ways that you can do better in life. Any way that you can connect with God at the end of the day can be relaxing and bring more contentment to your life in general.

Are you anxious? Everyone has troubles and challenges. If you are finding that anxiety is having effects on your life, including your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep, please talk to a counselor. There is no shame in doing so! Not only will you find yourself better able to sleep as your anxiety improves, but you’ll also find yourself living a life of greater freedom in all areas!

I hope that you find some or all of these tips helpful! Happy sleeping!

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Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

To Be Alive.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10

I celebrated my birthday recently. I’m not going to tell you how old I am…Most people are shocked at my age anyway, since youthful genes run in my family. Additionally, I’m quite petite. Put simply, the number doesn’t matter. These days, I’m pondering life and the lessons I’ve gained more than before.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

I no longer put societal expectations about age and the timeline for God’s plan for my life together. God has given us each a different story to write. It’s refreshing that none of us is exactly the same. We can always learn from one another and the different ways that God works in each our lives. It can be difficult to understand why the Father gifts one person in a certain way and not another person, but He is sovereign. Only He knows why, as tough as that can be for us to swallow.

In the past year, I had many opportunities to actually “walk in faith.” By the world’s standards, I went about a lot of things in a way that isn’t normally recommended. I think some people think I’m crazy for the peace I’ve gained from Christ about certain areas of my life. But you know what? We serve a faithful, all-powerful God. He has never let me down, and I know that same faithfulness will continue this year and forever.

I am astounded when I think upon the gift of life. Earthly life is definitely not perfect and there are always struggles of various types. Yet when I ponder that this life is a gift, and I could have never existed at all, or even not been given the chance to live…It puts it into a whole new perspective! What a tremendous gift, to live, learn, and love.

I was an idea of the God of the universe! So were you, and every other person in existence at any time. I don’t think our minds can fully comprehend it. What is also profound is that each of us were created for a specific & unique purpose!

I can’t wait to grow closer to Jesus Christ during this next year of my life and to see how He leads me further into the purpose I was created for…

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Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

Parenting and Our Good, Good Father.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Matthew 5:48

Parenting is a topic often on my mind. It’s a huge responsibility, greater than anyone could ever imagine. The spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional

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Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

health of a precious human being is at stake! When I reflect about becoming a parent someday, I’m filled with great joy. It’s one of the biggest dreams of my life. However, the reality sinks in that I am very much still a person “in process.” What is the prominent way that children learn character? By observing their parents–both their actions and whether their words make sense with the reality of their actions. When you become a parent, you’re going to have little eyes and ears observing everything you do and say. That goes for even when you don’t expect it. How can I expect a child to turn out a certain way when I myself am living in a different way? If my character isn’t matching what I hope the character of my child will match…How will I teach them? The good news is, we have God’s grace. Even in spite of our shortcomings, God’s grace can work in all circumstances. It’s still working on me, and will be each day until I die. I’ll never be a perfect parent–no parent on earth will be.

 

Yet, I had a very important realization: I can continually learn from THE perfect and best parent: our Heavenly Father! As I grow into a deeper relationship with God and come to know more and Who He is, I learn from His character. As I journey closer and closer (walking by faith) to the day that I become a parent,  I’m going to look at His character and see more of the type of parent I want to be. Most of all, I pray that I can give any child, any person that comes into my life, a glimpse into His deep love and Who He really is. 

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Courtesy of John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash.com

 

100 Followers, and Almost 4 Years of Sunflower Sojourn!

Sunflower Sojourn has hit 100 followers! Yet whether I have 1 follower or 100, I’ll still keep writing on. Thank you to all 100 of you who are following, whether you’ve been following for years or for a week!

I remember when I began this blog almost 4 years ago. I was living with my family and on the job search. I felt discouraged and encouraged at the same time by my progress. (Little did I know what God was up to–I didn’t need to even be looking for a job, because my dream job would be handed to me!) I had some extra time on my hands due to not working full-time. I felt the pull to minister through the written word. Thus began this blog!

Here are a few of the happenings that have occurred in the 4 years I’ve been keeping this blog:

I “met” another blogger who just so happened to live in the same city. At a time when I was feeling nudged to move, she just so happened to have an extra room in her house. We lived together for close to a year, one of the most blessed living situations I’ve had so far in my life. (And no, I don’t believe that the situations listed above are coincidences. I believe in God’s hand in each detail of our lives!) She’s still someone I would consider one of my best friends. I’m thankful God used our blogs to connect us!

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My dream of visiting Africa came true in 2016! It was a miracle how I was able to go on the trip. Miracles abounded throughout the entire trip itself as well. I am forever grateful and look forward to my next visit, whenever it may be! There are a few other countries high on my list and where I’ve felt Him leading me for years. God, You can do it again!

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I made a career change. Ok, it’s still in process and will be awhile before I can actually practice! Yet I look forward to the day when I can walk with others on their journey to healing and wholeness as a counselor.

Most of all, I’ve seen many miracles! One of those miracles is my visit to Africa, mentioned above! I’ve been in awe of God’s workings in my life the past 4 years. I can’t wait to see how He works in the next 4 years! Where will He take me?

Where will He take this blog? I look forward to finding out!

Thanks for reading along! As always, let me know if you’d like me to post on anything in particular!

The Word on Wednesday-Love, Zeal, and Joy.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. ” Romans 12:9-14
These few verses hold so much power and so many admonitions! These verses encourage us to cling to righteousness. We are reminded to constantly remember our mission of serving our Savior. We are reminded to hope and to stay joyful in the midst of suffering. We are reminded to be faithful in love of our neighbor and devotion to our God. We’re reminded to persevere in the midst of affliction. Generosity is a huge theme in this passage. After all, what is one of the greatest ways to love God? By loving the people He has created! 
A difficult admonition we are given is to bless those who persecute us. It’s difficult to love those who have wronged us in any way, but we’re reminded to leave blessing in our wake. Love is our legacy.

Keep the fire burning and keep on loving!

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Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Help Women In Jordan In Need.

I’ve written before about the work done by Trades of Hope in Uganda and the USA. Today, I’m going to focus on the work done in Jordan. Jordan is a country in the Middle East, which is bordered on the west by Israel and the Dead Sea, on the north by Syria, on the east by Iraq, and on the south by Saudi Arabia.

Here are a few facts about Jordan:

  • Jordan is mostly desert plateau in east, a highland area in the west, with the Great Rift Valley separates eastern and western banks of the Jordan River.
  • Jordan is one of the world’s four most water-deficit countries. Due to scarce water supplies and drought, agricultural production is insufficient; Jordan must import a large quantity of their food.
  • Jordan is a country that many refugees have fled to and stay in, at least while they await a decision about being granted refugee status and being able to be permanently resettled in another country.

Many women in Jordan find themselves in difficult situations. Many of the women working in the Trades of Hope workshop in Jordan have been divorced, orphaned, or widowed and have struggled to provide for their family’s needs. Some are the wives of a husband with multiple wives, where the husband cannot sufficiently support each of his families. Women in this group are empowered to be able to provide for the basic needs of their families and the education of their children.

What do the women create? To recreate the look and feel of the sea glass, artisans use glass bottles from local hotels and restaurants that would otherwise be discarded. Then, they tumble it with water and sand from the Red Sea until it is smooth and resembles the beautiful pieces found in nature. Through the creation of these recycled products, they are now generating an income for their families. These women are so thankful for the opportunity they now have to be a part of this group, which has empowered them and changed their lives! Check out a picture of one of the pieces they make below this picture of a few of the artisans!

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Women in Jordan//Courtesy of Trades of Hope

 

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Sea glass necklace//Courtesy of Trades of Hope //size and color may vary based upon what glass is available to the women

This concludes my posts in this series! Here are previous posts:

Help USA Survivors of Human Trafficking

Help Our Sisters in Uganda

Help Families in India Get Clean Water

Remember, any purchase you make will assist in supporting the groups of women that I’ve written about! Purchases made in February will also go to help families in India have clean water! Thanks for your support of women around the world!

 

Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.