Reminder: Journal the Journey

“Journal The Journey” is a phrase I’ve heard mentioned many times over the years by several different leaders, in various settings like: personal growth and development seminars, psychology and counseling classes, Pastor’s Sunday morning sermon, health and wellness coaches, physical therapists, mentors and life coaches, etc.

In the moment, you may not think it to be all that important to document your life events, especially in a handwritten format. But, I challenge you to give it a try for at least 6 weeks and see if you still feel the same at the end. Just one entry a day for the next 160 days will change your life, in a really great way.

WHY JOURNAL?

  • To Remember things in the current week/month
  • To Remind yourself of past events weeks/months later
  • In Remembrance after months/years have passed
  • To Serve as an ‘Altar of Remembrance’ for yourself, as well as for others after you are no longer here

Written reminders are no doubt very useful today, so much so that an entire company is dedicated to creating various shapes, sizes and colors of note size pieces of paper for your convenience. Trust me, the older you get, the harder it gets to remember things, so start now, if you’re not already doing so. You won’t regret it!

Journals are great because they create a story-line of where you have been, what you have done, and especially where you are heading, with all of the good and even the not-so-good stuff in between.

Handwritten Memories of life events that you may one day want to share with your beloved children, grandchildren, and all the great-grands that follow. Treasures they will surely cherish no doubt.

It’s the very reason why Our Father in Heaven had His own Timeline of Events handwritten. The Bible was handwritten by over 40 different Inspired Writers, over a span of 1,500 years, to serve as a Memorial of All That Had Been Done since the very beginning til Now. It also includes all that is still yet to come and All That He Is Still Yet To Do!

It’s also the reason why He commanded the Children of Israel to set up ‘Altars of Remembrance’, in different locations, marking different important events in time, because He knew they would soon forget all the Great Things He had done and of His Faithfulness.

We no longer build altars in the same way they did in the past, but journaling and writing can definitely be a way of remembering all of the Blessings and even the Struggles, as well as all of the periods of Battling while Waiting on the Miracles.

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I began my own journaling journey many years ago, when I was just 10 years old. I’m 50+ now, so 40+ years of purposefully writing things down. I wish I could say I still had all of those journals in my possession, but due to divorce, natural disasters, and other unfortunate circumstances, I only have about half of those years stored away on many journal pages and even some in digital format on flash drives. It’s always a treat to go back years later to re-read and reflect on how far I have traveled, how much has changed and especially how much I have grown over the years.

It’s the reason I prefer to gift others with this very simple, very affordable, and very valuable tool, because each one is truly a Unique & Priceless Gift, especially after they are filled with the Handwritten Timelines of someone’s Life Experiences!

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Purpose in all of the pain

Feeling weak, exhausted, anxious, stressed, or depressed?

You’re Not Alone!

It seems to be the new ‘norm of the day’ nowadays for so many to be living in survival mode, on the edge, one decision away from a major life-change…

Do you even sometimes feel that your Faith is slowly drifting away because you just can’t understand why so many difficult things are happening to you, all at once, over and over again, with no relief in sight?

Do you ever find yourself wondering or asking,

  • Why is God allowing so many bad things to happen in my life? (Especially if one is genuinely trying to do the right things and live the right way!)
  • Why hasn’t He removed all of these burdens from my life YET?
  • Doesn’t He see that I am in over my head?
  • Doesn’t He hear my prayers?
  • Does He even care about ME?!?!

2 Timothy 3:1-5 warned us that critical and hard times would come. These warnings were written long, long ago for our benefit, today, so that we would not be completely caught off-guard.

However, although they shouldn’t come as a surprise to us, when trials come knocking on our door, we do tend to get blindsided and lose our focus for a moment. That is perfectly normal and human nature, so cut yourself some slack.

Regardless of how hard we try to avoid them, hard times will come, and unfortunately, they do fall on all of us. No one is exempt!

The days and times we are living in today can be very challenging, which make it difficult for some of us to stay hopeful and positive.

But I’m here to remind you that, There Is HOPE! There truly is a purpose in all of the heartache, and suffering, and pain.

There is a purpose in All Of It!

I found this really great article written by an authentic Christian writer, that does a wonderful job of putting it all into perspective.

Please read it and then share it with someone you know could use a little Hope!

Who Holds You Together?

The last few months of my life have been some awfully challenging days…

Pruning, Transition and Valley Season can be some of the most brutal of all seasons, BUT oh the other side is so worth all of the heartache and pain, I promise!!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I have spoken to, just within this past week, who are also going through the tough seasons of life. Stressed, depressed and struggling to survive and navigate through another day are the norms of life for so so many people nowadays. Reconfirms my reason for continuing to pursue this Psychology and Christian Counseling degree.

In addition to my own stress and anxiety of finally dealing with this Math course which has been taunting me for years, LOTS of other stuff decided to pop up in my life like they always do when I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Family, finances, employment, health, spiritual and other relationship issues took turns body slamming me down to the mat.

BUT, I have NEVER been one to stay down for the count! Ask anyone who knows me…

Years ago, I determined in my heart and mind that the best option during difficult times is to Intentionally Make Myself “Remain Calm in the Midst of The Storm” because life experiences have proven time and time again that ALL THINGS are but for a season and that God IS Always Faithful, Always Good, Always Working Behind The Scene, and IS Always, Always, Always On Time!!

 

I also trained myself to stay balanced by focusing my energy on what’s happening on the inside of me, instead of what is going on all around me. I’m very limited on what I can control on the outside. Sometimes, what’s happening all around us, especially when it comes to dealing with other people, may have nothing at all to do with us. So Stay Focused, Stay Balanced, and Stay Grounded!!

I repeat…Stay Focused, Stay Balanced, Stay Grounded!!

I say all of that to say this, Life, People and Things will knock you down, maybe even knock you out cold, sometimes more than once.

BUT, Don’t Ever Give Up and Don’t Ever Stay Down!!

Determine in your own heart and mind that, YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR, even if you or others don’t believe that you are.

Determine in your own mind that, Life IS Worth Living, No Matter how hard it gets!!

And as selfish as it may sound, Take Time For Yourself!!! Self Care is So Very Important for self preservation. Do not neglect to take the time needed to take care of yourself, regardless of what anyone else may say or believe, It’s Not selfish!!

Lastly, reach out and seek the help of a genuine and trustworthy friend or professional when it just gets to be too much for you to handle on your own!!!

Yearly Reminder: Investing, Spending or Wasting

Ever wonder how Daily Devotionals are always On-Time?! Like how did the Writer know months/years in advance, to assign a particular devotion for a specific date, in order that a specific person read it that day…

It may seem too far fetched, but truth be told, Divine Inspiration is how the entire Bible was written, thousands of years in advance!

So it’s not just coincidental that we receive timely messages and reminders through other means, like devotionals. Our Creator can, will and does use whatever means He sees fit to use to get His point across. For Heaven’s sake even rocks will cry out if He so chooses. His Word even says so!

Well on this one particular day, which just so happenes to be my birthday, the title of one of the daily devotionals I was reading was, “Investing Your Life”. I could just pause right here and let you ponder that one thought and call it a day.

I couldn’t help but stop and analyze my whole entire life and all that I had done with my days up to this point in time. Had I Invested it, Spent it or Wasted it? Honestly, I’ve done all three, and then some.

But the day’s devotional wasn’t to condemn, criticize or pass judgement, rather it was just a simple reminder to take inventory, and then make adjustments as needed. No right or wrong, no famous or secret formula, no tried, tested and true methods, no 12 steps to successfully master your time and life. Just an easy peasy, “what have you done in the past up until now, what will you do differently starting NOW?

So, after 50 years of Investing, Spending and Wasting days and years of my life, I determined that for the next 50+ years, I will continue to Invest, Spend and Waste. I’d love to say from this point on, No More Spending or Wasting and Only Investing, but that’s not reality. However, I will attempt to Increase my Investments, while weening myself from Spending and Wasting my days.

What that will look like for me will most definitely look completely different than what it will look like from where you are living your life.

Investments within my sphere of influence, in my lane where He placed me, reaching those He leads down the same path He has me traveling down. Investing more time, effort, ability, energy, gifts and talents that He placed inside of me, in order to reach those He chooses, for His Kingdom and All For His Glory!

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Goal: Abide…

Trying to Navigate through the Daily Struggles of Life and Remain Steadfast & Surrendered requires nothing short of a Divine Intervention, NO ifs, ands, or buts about it!!!

Intervention that is initiated by Actively Participating in a Personal, Intimate, One-on-One Relationship with Our Creator, Lord and Savior.

If we are completely Honest with ourselves, we have to Admit that we simply CANNOT do Life apart from God. Truth is, we were not created nor designed to do all of this stuff on our own anyway. That’s Good News!!

So…Acknowledging our NEED of His Holy Spirit and His Divine Presence in Our Daily Walk is a Great place to start!!!

Then what?!?!?!

Well WALKing requires MOVEment, BEing an Active Participant, DOing the Work.

Sometimes we don’t have a clue how or where to even Begin, other times we don’t know how to Keep Going. Then there are times when we Struggle with Getting Distracted, Getting Off Course, and Getting Back On Track Again.

Regardless of what Season we find ourselves in, Continually and Steadily Walking THROUGH is the Key!! NO Stopping, NO Slacking, NO Taking a Break, and NO Turning Back!!

Numerous Resources from those who have gone BEFORE us, who have left behind Legacies of Great Faith and Works, are easily available and accessible to us, as “Guides of Reference” in which to Follow.

God’s Holy Word being the MAIN Source, and then the Anointed Works of those who Acknowledge, Cherish and add Credibility to The Gospel Message. These Inspiring Works are not very hard to find, if we Learn how to Search in the Right Place and in the Right Way.

I personally use many different sources of information to help me live out this Spiritual Journey, putting into Practice the Daily Disciplines I’ve learned over the years, from several Credible and GENUINELY Anointed & Spirit-Led People and Places.

The Plan of this blog is to share some of all of that stuff here, so Follow and Participate by Commenting and Sharing your own Thoughts, Experiences, Testimonies, and Recommendations as we Walk Out this AWEsome Spiritual Journey Together and Put into Practice the Life-Saving Goal of Abiding In Christ!!!

Just Another Harvest…

The not so good side of self…

Who else wholeheartedly believes in and advocates for self-care?

Encouraging others to recognize their own self-worth and value?

Promoting healthy healing and management of self?

Not just in the physical sense, but even more so in the psychological, mental health aspect of life.

These have become my life passions, so when I hear of someone who doesn’t know, doesn’t believe, or worse, is being manipulated into thinking or believing differently then the truth about themselves, it infuriates me like its nobody’s business.

Believe it or not, we were all created and divinely designed to care for ourselves, FIRST, regardless of how selfish that may sound.

Otherwise…well let’s just say that “we are no good to others, when we are no good to ourselves.”

What can an empty cup offer to someone dying of thirst?

Same goes for an empty heart and an empty soul.

How can one truly live a life of genuine love and care for others if they don’t genuinely love and care for themselves?

Better still, how can one truly express the characteristics of love when they are tired, worn, stressed, angry, hungry, confused, discouraged, exhausted, offended, or ill? Those things can wear a person down and make it really difficult if not impossible, to show genuine love.verse-love-is-patient-love-is-kindSome assume that we should always be in a serving, giving, and pouring out mode, but in actuality, that is not completely accurate, nor is it healthy for anyone. While we are definitely encouraged “to serve rather than be served” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, John 13:1-17), “to give more than we receive” (Acts 20:35) and to “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2), the recoup time from a life spent burning the candle on both ends… well it’s a lifestyle that will very quickly and sometimes quite drastically take its toll on the human body, mind, and soul. One who lives that way for too long will eventually be left with nothing for themselves at the end of the day, much less have anything left to offer to others .

So why are we so quick to take offense with people who are clearly operating in survival mode, not showing themselves enough love and self-care? They are still valuable people even if they can’t do anything for us! Living in survival mode creates deep wounds that are hard to overcome even after ones status has changed. Trauma is a nasty beast to contend with and Move On from. We should NEVER devalue an individual’s trauma just because we are over it!

I’ve been there, done that, and was made to learn this fact of life the long, hard way, so I am speaking from personal experience.

I literally spent over 9 years of my life, just “resting” (Matthew 11:28-30) and “being still” (Matthew 46:10) and then learning to put my life back into balance and sync with divine order (Proverbs 3:5-8) while recouping from the mess and madness that I created for myself before I learned the art of self-care and complete surrender.d7c08667381c3027f17469d93bcb55e0--amplified-bible-motivation-quotes.jpg

Self-care, self-worth, self-esteem and self-love are all different elements of development in personality. Although “self” is involved in each of these aspects, they are each their own individual component, with variations in degree and dynamic within every person. Love and care and development of self can be a tricky slope to climb and can ultimately cause one to venture too far off into the unhealthy end of the spectrum if one is not careful. So balance and focus are truly key!!!

In today’s fast-paced, social media driven culture, one can quite easily and very quickly get caught up in the mode of projecting “self” to the world, regardless if it’s their real self or perceived self. It’s actually how “selfies” got their brand. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when “what you see is not always what you get”. Because what you see on social media may look and sound real and authentic, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so, in fact most times it’s the complete opposite.

The selfie epidemic inadvertently created an even uglier monster, the “response” or “comment” beast which sometimes opens up opportunities for great dialogue, but at the same time is known for creating so much division and opposition in our world. With trillions of #hashtags to prove it. Hashtag-1Love-is-the-most-popular-hashtag-on-Instagram-1

Responding or reacting first, then thinking or evaluating second has become the social media norm-of-the-day. Some do it on impulse without hesitation, and often without even realizing that their words or actions could be causing more harm than good, even well-meaning individuals fall victim.

I am certainly one guilty of shooting off at the mouth before loading my brain, or reacting to a situation prematurely only to fall flat on my face after-the-fact, so I am once again, speaking from personal experience and am not here simply to point fingers.

But why is it that we are now a people who hear not with the intent to listen or understand, or even to empathize, but to respond?

Why do we instantly and almost automatically assume that a response is even needed, especially ours?

Why are we so inclined to begin forming our own words and opinions about a matter the very second we hear, read, or see it? and then post our biased opinions for the world to see. God forbid someone disagrees, that’s a whole other can of worms…

Have we become so self-centered, self-righteous, maybe even narcissistic in our ways of dealing with the things of this world that we think it’s our place to always say something about everything?

Well since we brought up that subject, did you know studies show that 1 in 16 Americans suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and that the numbers have jumped drastically since the 1990’s, and are continually climbing with each passing year, transforming us into a nation of egomaniacs (Campbell & Twenge, 2013).

Screen-Shot-2016-05-30-at-5.43.37-PMNarcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is an excessive, distorted and elevated sense of self and self-importance, with a lack of empathy or genuine regard for others. Narcissist have an extreme need for extensive admiration, likely triggered by their low self-esteem. People with this condition believe that they are superior, but are quite easily identifiable within a family, social, or professional setting, often being described by others as vane, self-centered, conceited, arrogant, overly demanding, and very manipulative (APA, 2012). The unfortunate fact of the matter is, the large majority of narcissistic individuals refuse to acknowledge their condition, resulting in far too many going untreated because of this.

The question I’ve been contemplating and one that we all really need to be asking ourselves today is,

Am I, 1 of those 16?

If so, what am I doing to correct or treat the issue? According to the experts, only 39% of the 9% diagnosed actually receive treatment, and of those in treatment, 70% stop treatment before they are finished. It is unknown how many are under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

So much more can be said in regards to this particular condition and the epidemic that we now face within our society as a result. But I will save all of those logistics for my research paper, while strongly recommending that you go do a little research of your own concerning this serious issue. It will shock you, or at least should.

If we are not 1 of the 16, we still need to take personal inventory and examine ourselves daily and hold ourselves accountable to a reasonable standard of humanity, as researchers now know and have proven that both Genetics AND Environment contribute to many conditions and illnesses (Moore, 2017), including Narcissism and many other personality and behavioral disorders.

Are our ways of thinking, behaving, responding or commenting appropriate?

Are our ways, whatever that may look like, contributing to society and impacting others in a good, positive, and uplifting way?

Or are we inadvertently or intentionally (narcissistically) elevating ourselves and our own agenda at the cost of undermining the status of others that we have to share this world with?

Ahhhh, yes, the world…another beast to conquer, but we can only help our world by working on and changing ourselves…

#TooManyHashtagsToHashtag

Daily Discipline: Creative Journaling

Some Daily Disciplines are really hard habits to create, others are, well…

Easy and Lots of FUN!!!

Life and living it to the fullest just takes so much of our time that we hardly ever take a moment to STOP and FOCUS on >ONE< specific thing at a time, especially if it requires creating something from scratch. Who has the time for that anymore anyway, right?!?!

It’s been my experience over the years that if you don’t MAKE the time for what is really important, then you simply won’t do it, and those important things soon become less and less important to you. #TrueStory!

So why Journal when life already demands so much of your time and energy?

For Starters: Studies actually show and prove that a person who journals is psychologically healthier than one who does not!! So if you are not already journaling, that is a really great reason to start wouldn’t you agree? You can click (HERE) to read and gain more insight about this information. This is just one article, from one credible source, but there are tons more out there…

I began journaling when I was 10 years old, when my godmother gifted me my very first diary for Christmas. By the time I married, I had a small suitcase full of diaries. However, during our separation and then divorce my ex-husband absolutely refused to give me any of my belongings, only because he knew how much they meant to me. I didn’t have the knowledge, skills, nor the money to fight him for what was rightfully mine, so all my childhood memorabilia is gone forever, including all of my writings. I sort of lost my muse for writing for a few years after that. It was actually during my second divorce 15 years later, that my Counselor recommended that I begin journaling, as a means of therapy. So I began writing again, but in a much different way than before. I now have several unpublished manuscripts that will eventually become published books one day!!

Several years ago, I began exploring and experimenting with Journaling on an even different level. I was no longer limited to the laptop keyboard or to a journal pad and pen, nor was I spending long amounts of time writing thousands upon thousands of words in my attempt to create meaningful and interesting stories, poems, and blog posts.

Words were now becoming mini works of art as I added color to my once dull and colorless method. I added an assortment of color pencils, markers, highlighters and gel pens, and now rather than trying to come up with stories with 1,000’s of words, I began focusing on one word at a time.

That’s write, Journaling — OneWordAtATime.

Eventually I added music to the mix for inspiration and motivation and a whole new level of journaling opened up to me. It’s hard to even put into words…

Creative Journaling is now part of my Daily Bible Reading, Devotional and Worship Time.

It’s so easy a child can do it, not to mention: the spiritual and therapeutic benefits are worth being ridiculed for wasting time coloring.

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