Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Gratitude Groove

Lately, I’m trying to get into the “gratitude groove.” What’s that, you ask? To me, it’s a way of life in which I’m continually praising God. It’s the practice of remembering, every single day, to praise God for new blessings, and for those blessings that I experience every single day. There is one notable way that I put this into practice.

Every night before falling asleep, I make an effort to praise God for at least 10 things.

This practice is calming and puts life into perspective. No matter how stressful a day was, there are always things that we can praise God for. We can even be grateful for challenges, as these strengthen us and allow us to rely more on God. Even on the difficult days, blessings abound. There a few praises on my list that stay the same from day to day. (For example, my house, my car, my family, etc…) There are certain blessings that God has truly outdone Himself in. I don’t want to forget to praise God for these, even when they are a familiar part of my life. There are so many people that are desiring these very blessings.

I simply thank God for my blessings, but another way to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal.

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Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash

Gratitude actually has scientific research behind it, and it has been found to be positive for our mental health! Additionally, it can benefit your physical health. It can even help you sleep better. (And I believe that the practice of praising before bed has improved the quality of my sleep.) Practicing gratitude has even helped me have a closer relationship with God. In short, it’s a practice that I’ve only seen positive benefits from. I encourage you to try gratitude and watch how your life changes.

What benefits have you found from practicing gratitude?

Would you like to join me in the gratitude groove?

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash
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Because of Who They Were, I Am.

Lately I’ve been filled with gratitude. I’ve been pondering how I got to where I am today. I think about the people who contributed to raising me during childhood. They sacrificed so much for me, and still do. Many of them are still supporting me, praying for me, and cheering me on. Without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

I think about my ancestors, who hailed from a variety of countries. I don’t know as

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Photo by Brytny.com on Unsplash

much about them as I would like. I do know that without them, I would not exist. Many great qualities have been passed down. I think about the generous spirit that I received and learned from both sides. I think about the love of children and environments that embrace baby talking, play, and letting children be children. I was so blessed to grow up in these environments. Some people grow up in families that don’t know how to deal with children or see them as a burden. Every ancestry comes with various challenges. That includes mine, many times over. Yet I know the power of Jesus to break any curse. I know that I am not a lone individual, but I arrived on a foundation built by many others. 

I think about the saints who have gone before. Beginning with the Apostles, they had numerous weaknesses. Christ didn’t forsake them despite their evident weaknesses. Think about Peter, who Jesus put in a leadership position, despite his denials. The Apostles clung to the faith to the end, some even paying the price with

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Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

their lives. Then throughout the past 2000 or so years, there have been countless others who lived lives worthy of their calling. There was Monica, who prayed her wayward son (Augustine) and her angry, faithless husband to unshakeable faith, even when it seemed her tears and prayers would have no pay off. These, and many, many more. They give me the example of keeping faith in any circumstance. They cheer us on and intercede still. The family of God doesn’t end with earthly death.

Always, we are “people in process.” I know that whatever my process looks like, and however far I feel from the person I was created to be, I am surrounded by people cheering me on to my finish line. Here in the earthly realm, and in realms beyond imagining. I can’t give up the fight. I’ve come too far. They came too far, and gave too much. Because of who they were, I am.

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”-Hebrews 12:1

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”-John 15:13

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”-Ephesians 4:2-3

 

Changing Seasons.

Have you ever been surprised at how quickly the seasons change?

Quickly, sometimes surprisingly. A bright, brutally hot summer abruptly turns to a chilly, gray fall. Fall to winter. Frozen winter to a blooming spring.

It’s a bit the same with the seasons in our lives. Our seasons change, but not always with our consent. We want to stay in the sunshine forever, and keep the cold far away. Some seasons are longer than others. There are seasons that we long to change. Seasons at a certain job may seem to drag out, or a rut-filled season within a relationship.

No matter what, we are called to faithfulness in every season. It’s our Creator’s decision when a season will change. Only the Lord knows exactly why the door closes quickly on a beautiful season, and a dark season seems to stretch on endlessly. It’s our job to trust our Heavenly Father. Trust, and be faithful.

Seasons are a gift. May we practice presence and embrace the beauty and lessons in each one.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”~Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

(Happy Autumn! I always find this to be such a season of change and hope. Autumn is a season that brings much shifting. May you find refreshment, hope, and healing in this season of transformations!)

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Photo by Stephen Ellis on Unsplash

Waiting for the Whole Story.

In life, it is crucial to wait for the whole story.

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Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

How many times in relationships do we only see the smallest portion of the story? Many relationships have ended because one person failed to ask questions and assumed the worst. Other relationships have been tarnished and filled with animosity because one person knew a sliver of the story and decided not to ask any questions. They decided to hold onto a small shred of information (possibly not even true). That small shred of information, or misinformation, causes a divide in the relationship if the truth is not sought out. Great damage can be done in relationships and to individuals in these circumstances. As we choose to ask the right questions, we discover the whole story. We discover the motivations of the other person and why they behave in a certain manner. 

Your life currently may not look anything like the life you envisioned. You might wonder what is going on. What is God doing? What am I doing? Wait for the whole story, my friend. Life is often best understood looking backwards. Continue to look forward, as you await being able to look backward one day and better understand. If we don’t wait for the whole story, we may be filled with despair. We’ll lose hope. We must trust God with the whole story. 

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Photo by hiva sharifi on Unsplash

What if the apostles had simply moved on with their lives after Jesus died? What if they decided to forget all about this Jesus Christ that had turned their lives upside down? The story was far from over. Jesus rose from the dead. He then spent another 40 days with the Apostles before descending into Heaven. So as not to leave them alone, He sent the Holy Spirit (Who remains with us, now and forever). The whole story is very, very important. The Cross does not make sense without the Resurrection. The Resurrection does not make sense without the Cross. 

Wait for the whole story. Seek it out, if you have any questions or doubts. Your relationships will look different and you’ll be more apt to be generous with others. Relationships may be restored. Your trust in God will be stronger. You’ll be more hope-filled.

Wait for the whole story. You never know the difference it will make in your life and in someone else’s.

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Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

 

From Fear to Faith.

Just over a year ago, I posted this. The gist of the article was about my fears surrounding taking a huge life leap–a leap that would disrupt the stability of everything in my life. Believe me, it was a turbulent time.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

A year later, here I am. I’m still standing. I’m not in the same place, geographically, or in any other area of my life. (For that, I am thankful.) I have moved from fear to faith. Of course, this will be a never-ending process. Throughout our lives, we’ll continually be presented with opportunities to choose faith over fear. 

A lot sure has changed in one year! Here’s my testimony:

  • I left the full-time job I had been clinging to, but which no longer brought me life. I knew my Father would provide for me, but I had no idea how. God granted me a job that pays the bills and also allows the perfect amount of flexibility I need at this time in my life. It’s not easy to find that kind of gig–but of course, with God, all things are possible.
  • God has granted me a sound mind in order to continue my studies and to excel in them. I’m so grateful to be in school, studying a subject which interests me and will allow me to be an instrument of healing for others. I’m about halfway to graduation!
  • The clock was ticking, and I had a short time to move to a new home. In the nick of time, God came through with a safe and positive living environment. This also isn’t necessarily easy to find, but God knew what He was doing and opened the door to the place He wanted me to live.
  • I’ve discovered my true friends. The ones that will stick with you even when you (or they) move away. The friends that have seen you through thick and thin and show no sign of stepping out of your life. In this season, I’ve also met new friends that inspire me to grow deeper with the Lord and to discover new aspects of my life. (I pray that I am that kind of friend for them, too!)

Now I know the truth about fear. It’s stagnancy. Fear gives power to meaningless doubts instead of power to an UNLIMITED God! Fear leaves you a shell of the person that you truly are, and that God wants to transform you to be.

Fear is a lie and keeps you from experiencing the wonders that God has for you.

Now I know the truth about faith. Faith brings growth. Faith brings life. Faith brings joy and open doors that you could never have imagined. Decisions of faith mean learning to rely on God above all, and realizing that He truly does care about our lives and care about us!

Faith is the scariest step you can ever take, but it brings blessing and joy.

If you’re struggling to step out in faith, I pray that you will be strengthened today by the Author and Perfecter of our faith!  I pray that your spiritual eyes will be opened to whatever He has for you! I pray that He will release you from the spirit of fear, and pour down the spirit of faith and hope into your life! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your faithfulness!

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”–Hebrews 11:1

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Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Thoughts on Thoughtfulness.

Each day, I see evidence of our Heavenly Father’s thoughtfulness. Even when there are difficulties, He provides solace and blessings in the midst of those difficulties. Every single day, He is sending us “gifts” that reveal His great love toward us. Are we paying attention? 

In my life currently, one of these pieces of evidence is some flowers right outside my house. Every morning when I step outside for a busy day, bright yellow flowers greet me. It puts a smile on my face each morning. Another way I know His presence is when I’m feeling overwhelmed at how much I must get done at work and school, and then an appointment gets cancelled and some time opens up unexpectedly. I know my Father is looking out for me, and He’s giving me little signs that He’s right there and won’t let me be overwhelmed. 

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Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

My thoughtful friend, who is also in graduate school, continually expresses her concern for me. She makes it clear that her door is open anytime for a cup of (real) chai or a meal. So many times, I’ve been able to take a respite from my crazy schedule of school and work for great discussions and delicious Indian food. I’m so thankful to have a friend like her. Her thoughtful gestures fill me with peace. When someone notices a need you have, or something you may benefit from, it is a wonderful experience. Thoughtfulness empowers you to feel supported and receive more strength to continue fighting your battles.

Any thoughtful gesture reveals that you are seen to that person. You are not invisible. Your interests, needs, and wants have been noticed. Not only that, but these thoughtful gestures reveal that you are important. You are valuable.

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Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Let’s pay more attention to the ways our Heavenly Father is looking out for us. Even more, let’s be on the lookout for ways that we can thoughtfully serve others. You never know the difference that your thoughtfulness could make for them.

When have you been on the receiving end of thoughtfulness? What are some ways that you exhibit thoughtfulness toward others?

I’ve Been Nominated: Awesome Blogger Award.

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I must thank the prolific Mr. Peter Adewumi of LifeBlog for nominating me for the Awesome Blogger Award! It’s always a blessing to read LifeBlog! Each time I leave encouraged and feeling motivated to live a better life! Please, do go check him out if you have not already.

What is the Awesome Blogger Award? This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

RULES FOR THIS AWARD

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Include the reason for this award

• Include the banner in your post

• Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the reader

• Answer the question which the nominator gave you

• Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers

• Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer

• Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated

Mr. Adewumi’s Questions

1. Do you think blogging is easy? This is a yes and a no. My thoughts flow easily and normally I have much inspiration. However, the upkeep of a blog can be time-consuming.

2. Do you support monetizing one’s blog? I do not see a problem with monetizing a blog. Bloggers invest time, talent, and energy. All of these are valuable. If one desires to try and make an income through blogging, all the best to them!

3. How do you get inspiration for your posts? Inspiration usually comes randomly as I go about my day. Sometimes I’m inspired by an event in my life or a conversation or sermon.

4. Which day of the week does your blog receive highest traffic? My blog receives the highest traffic on Fridays.

5. Which category garners likes and comments most on your blog? Faith-based posts appear to receive the most likes and comments. Of course, I try to weave this into the majority of my posts.

6. What is one thing you’re thinking of to grow your blog? I would like to change my blog layout and font to be more “catchy.” Honestly, I would also love to post more and to post more series. However, school is demanding much of my time.

7. What is your opinion of leaving one’s blog for like one month before posting again? I have been guilty of this. I believe that there are bigger priorities in life than blogging, including the people you are given in your life to love and the job you support them with. Life happens, and sometimes blogging is far from one’s mind. One must keep their priorities in order.

8. If you’re ‘unfollowed’, how would you react? I might be a bit sad initially, but realize that the person has a reason for doing so. That reason could be lack of time to read. Perhaps my blog just isn’t offering what they are looking for at this time. I understand.

9. What is your idea on full time blogging? I think full-time blogging would be a wonderful endeavor, if one can truly afford to do so. Blogging is a wonderful way to provoke one to think more deeply while also inspiring others. It is a great way to express one’s self. Some can even make an income doing so, which may make full time blogging a reality.

10. Three advantages of blogging please? 1) Blogging is a wonderful way to connect with like-minded individuals, locally and globally. Through blogging, I even met a dear friend who became a housemate! 2) Blogging is a way to expand one’s mind. For example, I’ve read some blogs with great book recommendations.  3) Blogging can increase one’s writing skills. It’s a great way to practice. For an aspiring author such as myself, it may also be a way to garner readers for my (future) books.

My Nominations for The Awesome Blogger Award

1. Katelyn Skye Bennet

2.  Scribbling Minds

3. Afrotastic Lady

4. Better Than Wine

5.  Larry Kotz Affairs

6. Sacrifice of Love

My Questions

  1. What led you to create your blog?

2. What is the biggest benefit you have found through blogging?

3. What is your dream location to live?

4. Who is your favorite musical artist?

5. What is your favorite topic to blog on?

6. What blogger has inspired you?

7. Did you ever consider quitting your blog?

8. What is your dream job?

9. Ideally, how often would you like to post on your blog?

10. What is one interesting fact about you?