Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Tips to De-stress (Next) Christmas

Christmas is almost here. Are you delighted or debilitated?
Use these 5 tips to make next year's holiday season more joyful than Tiny Tim on Christmas morning. 


nativity scene
courtesy of stockimages @freedigitalphotos.net


5) Prep for next year. Get in the habit of post Christmas and other clearance shopping. Watch for new-in-package items at garage sales and thrift shops. Keep the gifts in a tote, and you'll have a head start for next Christmas. Works great for birthdays and baby showers too. 

4)  Limit spending. Fix a gift budget and stick with it. Last year my sister-in-law, Murph, gave me a gorgeous plaque she'd found at a thrift store. It was in perfect shape, and fit my d├ęcor wonderfully.
Re-gifting is great. When you receive a potential re-gifting item, tape a note on it. Include the date and who it's from to keep from giving it back to the original giver.

3) Break Tradition. If you always cook a feast for your extended family, ask each member to bring along a side-dish instead. You'll save time and money. Plus it assures your guests of one dish they'll enjoy-their own.
Create new traditions, like taking a special family outing in lieu of gifts. Seriously, how many gifts do your children need?  

2) Under-commit. It's OK to say no. "Sorry, I can't host the ... cook the... head up the ..."  No need to explain why. A simple, "I'm sorry, I can't." suffices. You might need to repeat it several times, but it will work. That goes for parties too.



nativity scene
courtesy of digidreamgrafix @ freedigitalphoto.net

1) Remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Focus on the joy of Jesus birth. Let cooking, cleaning, and shopping take a back seat to the great news found in Luke 2:11:

"The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Does God Play Favorites?


Cecil Murphey has authored and co-authored over 135 books, including 90Minutes in Heaven and GiftedHands: The Ben Carson Story.


Thanks to his generous sponsorship, last month I attended HACWN's 2014 writers conference in Kansas City.


Sounds straightforward, right? There's more to the
story.


author Kat Crawford

Kat Crawford
, author of Capsules of Hope, and co-founder of the Wordsowers Christian Writers group, urged me to attend the 2014 Heart of America Christian Writers Network conference.

I said, "I'd like to Kat, but it's not in our budget."

She insisted, "You need to be there."

It's hard to say no to Kat. She's a tiny fiery planet orbiting the writing world. When she emits her cosmic wisdom rays, people listen. So at her continued urging I said, "I'll pray about it."

She leaned close, patted my arm and said, "Get ready to go."

 
I sought the Lord, both alone and with my husband, Jake.
NOTE: Fancy way to say, "Asked God about stuff."

On Friday Aug. 29, during my morning bible study, Revelation 3:8, a message to the Church in Philadelphia, stood out:

 
"I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me."

 
Late that night after much prayer Jake and I agreed that, due to our other commitments, I could only attend the HACWN conference if the Lord fully opened the door of provision.
NOTE: Fancy way to say, "Paid for stuff."

courtesy of Anusorn P nachol @freedigitalphotos.net

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Kat Crawford contacted Cecil Murphey and asked him to sponsor me.

 
His one word response waited in my inbox next morning.


"Sure."

God's provision didn't stop there.
 
Teresa TierneyWordsowers team leader and "Roadblocks to Forgiveness" writer Teresa Tierney invited her fellow attendees a ride to Kansas City.
                            Whoo hoo! No car rental needed.

And because of their friendship with Kat, a lovely couple opened their home to us.                      Yes! No hotel bill.

 
Here's the best part: God doesn't play favorites. He has wonderful things planned for you, too.

 
In Acts 10:34 Peter said, "...'I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.'" NLT.


Here's what God says about you:



White cross against blue sky
courtesy of artur84 @freedigitalphotos.net
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 TLC

 


To discover his amazing plan for your life, spend time with God reading his word, the bible.


I'd love to learn what doors God opens for you. Drop me a line and I'll intercede for you before the throne.
NOTE: Fancy way to say I'll pray for you. 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


Does Thanksgiving at your home look like a Top Chef inspired feast in a Better Homes and Gardens setting? Maybe, like us, it closer resembles a Duck Dynasty free-for-all.


Thanksgiving turkey on platter
Courtesy of tiverylucky@freedigitalphotos.net


My husband, Jake, and I open our home every Thanksgiving. One year we broke tradition and hosted a hot dog grill in the back yard. (Yeah! Thankful for fewer dishes to wash.)

November in Nebraska prompted us back inside the following year. (Yeah! Thankful for heat and running water.)



In Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day he wrote, "They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God..."



Maybe this holiday it's hard to see God's gifts.



Perhaps you're grieving the loss of loved ones, or struggling with illness.

Maybe you feel alone.



If sorrow overshadows thankfulness, here's some great news.



You can have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

He'll never leave you. He'll never forsake you. Hebrews 13:5



His name is Jesus.



If you're lonely, please take 2 minutes to watch this short video.

http://peacewithgod.net/god-so-loved-the-world/?
joyful man with headphones
Courtesy of stockimages@freedigitalphotos.net



It could transform your life forever, making this a true day of thanksgiving.



By the way, if you drop your beautifully roasted turkey, rinse it off and carry on. It'll make a great story for next Thanksgiving.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Top 5 Time Savers


NaNoWriMo: an international event where semi-crazed writers create a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.
Since I'm participating in this time-pressed enterprise for the first time, I wanted to share my top 5 time savers for the real world.
Courtesy of tiramisustudio @freedigitalphotos.net



1) Focus on the task at hand
Stopping to check a text or voice-mail diverts our attention. The brain veers off like a smurf skipping through the forest. La LA la la la la...
Since multi-tasking actually slows us down, stick with the task at hand.

2) Turn off the TV
This can be a tough one.
I'll plan to watch a half hour sit-com, but find myself sucked in by the programs that follow. "Wow, another episode of Who's Line is it Anyway? And they're doing Scenes from a Hat!"

Try this for 1 week: Leave a paper and pen next to your remote. Write down the amount of TV time you're logging. Tally it at the end of the week. Most of us spend more time than we realize in front of the boob tube. (And with the amount of cleavage displayed in the majority of shows, I mean that literally.)



3) Be unsocial to social media
courtesy Gualberto107@freedigitalphotos.net
Who can resist those hilarious YouTube videos? It only takes a minute to Tweet, or "like" a Facebook entry, right? But every instant on Instagram equals a moment of your life gone. Crush the Candy Crush cravings, and retreat from the virtual world.

4) Identify "escape routes"
What hinders us from tackling the homework, office presentation, messy house, or messy life?
 
Admission: I'll pull out a novel instead of working on my own.

To set up an escape route roadblock, take this multiple choice, open-book test.
 1) Ask:

A) "Does this path lead me closer to my goals (freedom)?
B) "Does this path lead me in the same old circles (trap)?

The correct answer is A.
You scored 100% if you chose A.
You'll be batting 1000 if you do it.
5) Do the worst first
My grandmother, a paragon of homemaking virtue, once admitted, "As a young bride, I hated doing the piles of never-ending dishes. I'd cry just looking at the mess. One day I realized I was allowing something silly to control my thoughts. After that, I washed dishes fast to get through the task. I'd conquered the giant I'd created in my mind, and from that point, I felt free."

(Disclaimer: Granny said it with a Lithuanian flair bordering on Yiddish that I'm unequal to recreate.)

For short projects: Take a cue from Nike and Just Do It.
For long projects: Assign a daily number of minutes to work on it. Even if you hit it for 10 minutes a day, you've diminished your workload by an hour in under a week.

A book of ancient wisdom says:
Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Proverbs 13:4

Time for me to put down the Jane Austin novel and get back to work on my own.
How will you free up your time? I'd love to hear...unless you're following strategy #3.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"That's NOT What I Meant!"


Have your words ever encountered a mental traffic jam traveling from your brain to your lips?

Our writer's group has grown like my waistline after a run-in with a box of Godivas, so we decided to split it into two. The group, not the chocolates.



authors writing quill ink paper glasses
Courtesy of Simon Howden @freedigitalphotos.net
One bonus will be a shorter drive for many members since they'll now meet at a central location. The new group's hostess, Karen, asked if I planned to attend critique at her house. Because of the distance between our homes...

I meant to say:

"My husband doesn't want me to drive that far."

Instead I said:

"My husband doesn't want me going to that area."

 

"That area" conjures images of drug dealers lurking around dilapidated buildings, the opposite of Karen's beautiful home and neighborhood.


home stairs leaves neighborhood
Courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff @freedigitalphotos.net


She said my statement reminded her of Elvis Presley's old song, "In the Ghetto," and laughed off my thoughtless words.



I'm confident she would have forgiven me even if she hadn't just guest blogged on Teresa Tierney's,"Roadbocks to Forgiveness" site.
(Here's a link to Karen Cameron's great post on forgiving offenses. )

But the incident made me wonder how often I've opened my mouth and inserted my strappy-sandaled foot without realizing it.

We've all said things we regret.




upset sad woman on phone
Courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos.net

If you're cringing over a remark you made:

1) Apologize ASAP.

2) If appropriate, clarify what you meant.


If a remark has wounded you, consider this:

Could it have been a misworded statement, or something heard out of context?

Regardless of the intent, we can mimic Teresa Tierney and Karen Cameron's examples of forgiveness, and use this Godly wisdom going forward:


"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." James 1:19 NLT


Have you ever been insulted or shocked by someone's thoughtless comment? How did you deal with it?

Message from my waistline: When it comes to dealing with issues, God is better than Godivas.

 
 




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This Blog's for You


Dear Nancy, this blog is written especially for you. I've walked a mile in your mid-heeled pumps, and want to remind you that no matter how crazy things get, God loves you, and is standing by to help.
Nancy, please don't give up.

By David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net





You're working as hard as you can to take care of your family. You handle the cooking, housework, yard work, kids' transportation, pet care, and volunteer activities-church, school, and sports.
 


You love your husband with your whole heart, but you'd appreciate more romance and fewer dirty clothes on the floor...six inches from the hamper.
Courtesy of anankkml @freedigitalphotos.net



You love Jesus.



You're concerned about the battles your kids face every day walking into their classrooms. Along with drugs and bullying, you're troubled about their constant exposure to a world view that says everything's permissible--except true Christianity.
courtesy Gualberto107 @freedigitalphoto.net
 
You and your family are bombarded with the lie that christians who take a stand for biblical values are ignorant and narrow-minded.
photostock @ freedigitalphotos.net
 
You want to give your kids an alternative to the Harry Potter and Twilight novels the rest of their friends, even the christian ones, are devouring. You want to turn on the TV without listening to a string of words being bleeped out...and hearing those that should have been.
Courtesy of hin255 @freedigitalphotos.net



In the midst of your super-heroic, super-busy life, you need time for prayer, love, laughter, hope, and a nap.
 
Most important, you need to be reminded how precious you are to God. How much He treasures you. And it's not for what you do. He loves you for you.
Serge Bertasius Photography @ freedigitalphotos

So Nancy, be encouraged as you take your stand against a world that doesn't understand God's Word; that ridicules your determination to live by it, and raise your children by it.


You may feel overwhelmed at times. You might not do everything right. But keep standing strong. Keep pressing on.


Courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

Here's God's message for you:

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."    Deut 31:8 NLT


I truly want to hear from all the "Nancys" out there.

What are you believing God for today? What are your hopes and dreams and aspirations? What have you endured? Where do you struggle? How can I help?  
 
Please leave a message in the comments below. If you don't want to share it in the comments, email me directly (jeaniej@cox.net).
You matter to God, and you matter to me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Shut the (Bleep) up About Jesus!


"Jeanie, why do you keep talking about that Jesus guy all the time? It's bugging the &%$@# out of me."
wooden blocks spelling "Jesus"


Yeah, it did me too.

Just hearing his name annoyed me. I'd mentally scream, "Stop it already! Shut the (bleep) up!"


It never failed. Whether it was moving to a new neighborhood or starting a new job, somebody would be there talking about Jesus.



wooden blocks spelling "Jesus"
block photos courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net

Grrr! Stupid Christians. Stop it already. Shut up!


And they'd stop talking about Jesus.
 
But they kept acting like him.



They kept showing me love, and extending friendship. No strings attached. Just love.


I'd point out all the good deeds I was doing to tip the heavenly scales in my favor. "I'm a good person. I do more good things than bad."

They'd open a bible and show me what God said about it. Verses like


We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Is 64:6


I didn't like God's answers. They didn't line up with my thinking, so I refused to listen.



But his people kept showing me love anyway. They'd bring me cookies and invite me to picnics.



courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS @ freeigitalphotos.net

A church picnic? No way. I expected an ambush by those Jesus people. I pictured them springing out of the woods, armed with bibles. I steered clear.



It bugged me to watch those Christians. They were more than happy. They were joyful. And they didn't pretend to be perfect. Their methods of working through their problems sat at the opposite spectrum from mine. They were always forgiving people instead of taking my advice, which ranged from intricate schemes of revenge to old-fashioned butt-kicking.


But they just kept loving me. And all their love finally got through.



Courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net
Plus, I figured God couldn't made a bigger mess of my life than I already had.

So I prayed,


"Jesus, I'm sorry for the all the wrong things I've done, the messes I've made. Please forgive me. I want to be yours."


And at that moment, I became His.


God welcomed me into his amazing love. It was a supercharged version of the love his people had been showing me all along.


I received a new life. A fresh start.


Has it been easy?

Not always.

Has it been easier than when I lived without God?

Totally. Absolutely. Infinitely.

photo courtesy of Naypong @ freedigitalphotos.net

Even when I slip up, God gathers me up, brushes me off, loves on me, and sets me on my feet. His crazy amazing love never changes.


If you've taken the time to read this far, I suspect you're ready for some of that love yourself. Here's how.

Jesus is the gateway to his father, God.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6

To start a relationship with him, speak this life-changing prayer:


Lord, I'm sorry for doing things my way instead of yours. Please forgive me,
and be my savior.


If you prayed that with a sincere heart, you've just become his child. Buckle in for an explosion of crazy amazing love.

And if you prayed it, please let me know. I'll celebrate with you.


It's a life-altering decision. To get a clearer understanding, check out this link to the PeaceWithGodwebsite and take 3 minutes to watch this awesome video.
 
 

Shut the (bleep) up about Jesus? No way. There are too many folks who need to know about His love for them.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Finding The Rhythm of Joy

 

Can I share a secret?

stock images @freedigitalphotos.net
After a decade of moving to gospel music, it's hard to keep a polka beat. 
Last month I'd taken my wonderful in-laws to the Corrigan Senior Center's music fest. A gracious older man, Joe, danced me across the floor.
 
Going from Kirk Franklin's funk to Barefoot Becky's perky polkas, I needed to follow a new beat. 
All around me people spun to the music.
 
Joy surrounded me. I needed to catch the rhythm.

Much like a precious young woman I mentored.
 
She and her husband, both military, downsized to a small apartment right before his overseas duty tour. She was left stateside to handle a full time job, their newborn, and her step-son.

courtesy of debspoons @ freedigitalphoto.net
One evening I went to over to help. She turned to me in desperation and said, "I'm up with the baby all night, work all day, then come home to cook and clean and take care of the kids.
When's it my turn?"

I looked into her exhausted, tear-streaked face and answered,

   "Now."

She jerked to attention like a marionette in the hands of a demented puppeteer. She gestured to the piles of laundry and dirty dishes and said, "Ms. Jeanie, you gotta be kidding me."

I put my arms around her and shared the hard-won wisdom I'd learned through years of difficulties:
 
"You're not joyful BECAUSE of the mess, but You can find joy IN SPITE OF IT."

 
 
She seemed skeptical at first, but eventually weariness won out. She counceled with our pastor, Ramona Smith of Bible Truth Ministries, and received wisdom.

For instance, this new mom thought she needed to hold her baby whenever the child was awake. Also, she started asking her church family for help.

Here's a tip for everyone: Don't go it alone. The Lone Ranger wouldn't have gotten far without Tonto.


In Nehemiah 8:10 the people heard,
"...Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

We need to learn to dance to a new beat, to connect with the rhythm of joy.
Instead of complaining about the dirty dishes, thank God for the food.
Instead of complaining about the job, thank God you have a way to provide.

I'm not saying to stay in rotten situations.
I'm saying we need to live in joy as we pray and press our way out of those situations.
 

So whether you're clapping to a 1-3 beat or a 2-4, keep on singing, keep on praising, keep on dancing to the rhythm of joy.
 
If you feel so overwhelmed you don't believe things will ever get better, write me. I'll pray for you, and do my best to show you how to connect with joy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1000 years of wisdom


I danced in the arms of a stranger while my husband slaved away on a 12 hour shift.

Big cheating hussy?
 
No, I had taken my in-laws to Omaha's Corrigan Senior Center.



My dance partner, Joe, guided me through a polka as guest musician "Barefoot Becky" fired up the room with her accordion, accompanied by her wise-cracking husband on guitar.

 



As the rollicking music poured out, the senior party-people kicked up their heels with enough energy to make a young rapper envious.
photostock @freedigitalphotos.net
I scanned the room and realized I was surrounded by over 1000 years of combined knowledge. So when Barefoot Becky hot-footed off to her next gig, I tapped into that wisdom by asking people this question:


If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?


Here's a sample of their wisdom: 

Mary, Jerrie, Rita, Irene, and Lawrence all agreed they'd tell themselves to go to & finish college. 

Rita, with 50 years of nursing experience, stressed learn how to study.

Marcie and Dale said- study harder. Not surprising their advice coincided since they've been married for 60 1/2 years.

Joan-help kids onto the right path.

Lorraine-don't get stressed out. Go with the flow.

Evelyn-enjoy every day.

Val-be more outgoing socially.

Sharon-don't take yourself so seriously.
 
Eileen-don't work so hard.
 
Sandy countered with- never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Jonie and I had this in common-we'd have given our lives to Christ much earlier.




photostock @freedigitalphotos.net
We can't go back in time to give ourselves advice, but we can do a turn around right now.
 
 
 
Turning our lives over to Jesus is the most dramatic life changer possible.



This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

And those nasty things we've done?


He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.  Psalm 103:12


Talk about good news!


Here's more good news. If you know someone over 60  send them to Corrigan's senior center. Manager Lynnette and the gang will make them welcome. And I'll even share my dance partner, Joe.

 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oh, Mercy!


A while back my husband, Jake, bought 2 dozen feeder goldfish for his afternoon of fishing. But some were too cute to become bait, so I begged, "Please let me keep them as pets."

courtesy of digitalart @freedigitalphotos.net
Those three, named Faith, Hope, and Love, remained. My long-suffering fisherman hubby even bought them an upscale aquarium plant for their tank. A nice one, not the cheap plastic kind I would have picked up.

The other goldfish became bait,
but we showed these three mercy.



Fast forward two years. Jake trapped a possum, which we cooked and ate as related in a previous blog. Seriously. http://jeaniejacobson.blogspot.com/2014/03/possum-anyone.html

Side note:  Anytime people eat something unusual they say it tastes like chicken.       "Rattlesnake? Tastes like chicken"
"Ostrich? Tastes like chicken."
"Possum? It tastes like a collision of ham and chicken."
             It's delicious...once you look past the fur and feet.


Courtesy of jiggoja@ freedigitalphots.net
Enter possum #2. This little guy wound up stuck in the cage without food or water for a day. Jake looked at its sad little face and fed it a McDonald's hamburger.

Disclaimer: Fast food in not part of an optimal diet for possums. Or humans.

Nevertheless, Jake not only fed and watered it, he released it. "Jethro" the possum ambled away, safe from the stew pot.


 Possum one became dinner.
Possum two received mercy.



    courtesy of iosphere @freedigitalphotos.net
Think about God's great mercy. Unlike us, He holds out mercy to all. He doesn't grab anyone and say, "OK, you're bait. I'm dumping you in the river to catch something better."

He never decides, "Hmm, you're not appealing enough. Into the oven with you."

courtesy of iosphere @freedigitalphotos.net

God always extends his mercy to us.
He always gives us another chance.


"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT
 courtesy of Sura Nualpradid @freedigitalphotos.net
 
 Have you seen God's mercy at work in your life? It's new every morning, special for you.



courtesy of KEKO64 @freedigitalphotos.net
Since God has shown me so much mercy, I'm heading out to extend some right now. Jethro the possum is asking for his McDouble and fries.




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tag-Teamed by Waylon Jennings and Big Bird


Our 5 year old daughter, Patty, lay entranced on the living room carpet as a slew of muppets sang their way across the cutting-edge technology VCR tape.


While she watched Sesame Street's "Follow That Bird," I bustled about cleaning.
Patty flagged me over. "Mommy, watch with me. It's the best movie ever."
I didn't have time to watch a children's show.
               
                           The house was cluttered.
                                      My mind was cluttered.


I paused for a moment to placate her. On our enormous 25" TV Waylon Jennings sang,

           "Don't dwell on the bad times once they're past.
                    That kind of thinking gets you nowhere fast."

The advice hit me with the impact of a rampaging Snuffleupagus.
Photo courtesy of FrameAngel @freedigitalphotos.net

I needed to clear the "clutter" from my mind. The nasty memories that replayed a daily litany across my brain.
                    All the things I'd done wrong.
                          All the wrongs done to me.

Onscreen Waylon advised the oversized yellow fowl to let it go.

I don't know if Big Bird followed the admonition, but I did. I stopped replaying my mental "junk tape."

Years later, after I'd invited Jesus into my life, this scripture jumped out, "Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." Phillipians 3:13

Recently Pastor Ramona of Bible Truth Ministries asked a group of women to list three things we'd tried but didn't succeed at. Next she asked, "How often do you think about those things?" Monthly? Weekly? A shocking number of women raised their hands at "daily."
Photo courtesy of stockimages @freedigitalphotos.net
For some of my friends those negative thoughts had been replaying for years like bad re-runs on a cable station.

Back in VCR days we had "head cleaners," a special tape we plugged in to clear the debris from the machine.

For humans, God's Word is a great head cleaner. Think of scripture as a tape.
Replace the old junk currently playing by inserting the new tape of God's Word.

For example, if you feel unloved play this tape:

This is real love--not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10
 
Are negative pictures playing across your mental screen? Here's encouraging advice from the Living Bible:
Pic courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography @ freedigitalphotos.net


No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Phil 3:13

Now that's a mental movie worth watching. Maybe we could even get Waylon to do the soundtrack.

Friday, June 20, 2014

On a "Journey" with Kristena Tunstall

Kristena Tunstall invited me to guest blog this week on "The Journey."
Photo courtesty of Photokanok@freedigitalphots.net

Her question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?

Find my surprising admission here : http://kristenatunstall.com/the-journey-with-jeanie-jacobson

Thursday, June 5, 2014

#1 Personal Life Coach

Have you ever found yourself falling into a bad habit? Maybe one you'd conquered before?
I have. Then I beat myself up. "That was so stupid! Why did I do it...again?"

                Overeat.
                       Procrastinate.
                             Treat loved ones badly.  
                                    Waste hours on computer and TV.
                                             Drinking, drugs, pornography...

We've all been there. We knew something was detrimental, but we did it anyway. And continue doing it. Trapped in our own, sometimes hidden, prison.
Photo courtesy of sakhorn 38 @freedigitalphotos.net
Let's stop kicking ourselves, because that won't change things.
If we could break the cycle on our own, we'd have done it already.

The great news is:

No matter what we've done, there's a God who loves us, and is standing by to help us.

It's like having the all-time best life coach available 24/7. Free. Always invested in you. Always available to you. Always loving you.


When we know the right thing to do, but don't do it, it's called sin. It's doing things opposite of God's way. And it wreaks havoc in our lives.
The great news is:
 
God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. 1 John 1:9

That's a promise for everyone. And we don't need to feel alone or ashamed, like we're the only one struggling because the bible says: 
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net


 "You have never been tempted to sin in any different way than other people. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can take. But when you are tempted, He will make a way for you to keep from falling into sin." 1 Corinthians 10:1


Today can be a new beginning. Let's follow God, the ultimate Life Coach, to break free from the things that keep us in chains.

Photo courtesy of Naypong @ freedigitalphotos.net




Thursday, May 1, 2014

My husband's not a zombie, right?



2:43 AM

I know it was just a crazy, horrible nightmare, but I'm still shaking as I write this.

I stood at the gate outside the 4' chain-link fence surrounding the cemetery. My husband came over the top of the hill inside the cemetery. He looked fine, except for the cast on his left hand.

I heard my cultured British tones calling him to hurry. I was almost dancing with joy, my hands clasping the outside of the wide double gate.
blue eyed man staring eerily
photo courtesy of graur codrin@freedititalphotos.net
Jake reached the gate and began pushing against it. "Sweetheart, just lift the latch," I said.

Instead he stared at me, unblinking, and continued to push the gate. The metal began to buckle outward.

I jerked my hands away as he tore his cast off, his eyes never leaving mine.

My elation melted into horror as the truth struck me:

He's dead, and he wants me dead too.

I turned and ran screaming into the two lane road behind me. An elderly man in a passenger van slowed. I rushed to his side of the vehicle and jerked open the door behind him. I jumped in screaming, "Go, go!"

The old man slowly pressed the accelerator and we inched ahead, but it was too late.

My dead husband jumped onto the passenger side of the van. His hands grasped the luggage rack on top of the vehicle, his legs gained a foothold against its sides.

I screamed again and struggled to shut my door as he crawled over the van's roof in his single-minded pursuit to catch me.

That's when I woke up, my heart pounding so hard it literally reverberated in my ears.

My thoughts jumbled together: Why am I on the sofa? Why did I have a British accent? I'm so glad Jake's not bald. Or dead.

It's now 3:18 AM, and my heart is finally slowing into its normal rhythm.
man and woman watching scary show on tv
Photo courtesy of Michal Marcol@freedititalphotos.net
Where did that nightmare come from? I'm blaming it on the cable...even though I know it was my lack of self control. My husband and I stayed up late stuffing ourselves with sugar cookies, taking advantage of our last few days of cable TV.


The dream would have made sense if we had on "The Walking Dead" (which he loves, and I refuse to watch.) But we had kicked back to watch a fun Star Trek movie (the one where all the actors look like they're 17.)

When the movie ended I told my husband, "The replay is starting. I just want to see the beginning of the show, since we came in at the middle." Jake kissed me goodnight and staggered off to bed. Kinda zombie-like.

I hit the TV's sleep timer and settled down to watch young James T. Kirk go from barfly to Starfleet. The next thing I knew was waking up in the dark living room, heart pounding. You know the rest.


rainbow over green field
Photo courtesy of Anusorn P nachol@freedititalphotos.net
To shake the remnants of that dream out of my head I'm trying this tip from the bible. "Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about." Phil 4:8
 
Cause and effect. I knew I should have gone to bed. I knew I shouldn't have been eating late at night.
I'm eager to see what impact cutting the cable will make. I'll keep you up to date.
 
Meanwhile, how are you doing on your comfort zone/bad habit break-out? Any zombie attacks on your good intentions? I'd love to hear.