Sunday, November 27, 2016

Just BREATHE - it's almost Christmas

It's almost December,  how did that happen? Is the Earth rotating quicker? Are their less than 24 hours in a day?

The Fall season is quickly coming to an end and the winter months are ahead. 

Almost time to say bye to changing leaves!

I look to the world around me for inspiration and lately I've been mezmorized by the book, BREATHE by Priscilla Shirer.  What I crave most about this book is learning how to rest. Our calendars, closet, and work spaces can become overcrowded.  This leads to depletion emotionally and physically.

Think about the many things you are holding onto when you should release them.  I participated in my first garage sale and I spent weeks searching through "stuff" in my home I felt could be sold. How do we arrive at having so much "stuff"? I challenge you to sit in your car, open your garage and just look.  What would you see?

How about opening your closet (some of us have more than one). What do you see?
Some of us just finished Black Friday shopping and what did we buy?

STUFF

We can become overwhelmed by the very hobby or items that used to bring us joy.  In the book Priscilla warns that we can become enslaved to things that we were meant to enjoy as a blessing, not as bondage.

I love pictures. I love to take them and also enjoy creating memorable photo albums. But the scrapbooking supplies and pictures that used to bring me so much joy are brimming full tucked away in storage. I don't have space for them anymore.

We all live on the edge of what once brought us joy, now just takes over and controls our space.

Learning to take time daily, weekly, monthly to breathe and rest takes intentional focus. But this time was created by God for us to turn from our hurried pace into His restful arms.  It is not about just setting time on a calendar but also the orientation of our heart. We must carve out those moments in our day to reset, refocus and BREATHE.

What's scarier, if we don't rest, then we teach our children to follow our hurried pace.

Don't be comfortable with being exhausted - Learn to pause, cease and say NO to something. (Posted by Roslyn)




Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Holiday Time & I'm Not Thankful!

Thanksgiving is a few short days away and most of us are gearing up to eat more that we should while spending time with family. Everyday on my Facebook news feed, individuals are sharing why they are thankful. There's a consistent theme of family being the number one reason to be thankful.


But, what about those that aren't thankful at all this year?





As much as I'm thankful for the holidays, I realize that there are so many that aren't. They find themselves in a season of grief and pain. For some, it's their 1st major holiday without their loved one.


How can they feel happiness and joy when their heart aches for the embrace of their loved one?  


How do you make the move from pain to gladness when every single part of the holiday reminds you of them?


After my father died, I remember how sharply the grief felt when you have to "move" through all of the "firsts".


  • 1st Thanksgiving
  • 1st Christmas
  • 1st Birthday
  • 1st Mother's or Father's Day

This year Roslyn and I will experience our 1st Thanksgiving without our dearest Aunt Thelma. Her brownies, pound cake and 10 layer chocolate cake were legendary. She loved to cook and bake and the holidays just won't be the same without her. Whether its been one month, one year, or one decade since you've lost your aunt, mother, father, or sibling, the pain or loss that you feel is real, BUT, you are able to be healed by our heavenly father.


Maybe it's not a loved one that's causing you discomfort during the holiday.  Maybe you're recently divorced or possibly you've just received a devastating medical diagnosis.  Maybe you yearn for your son or daughter to re-establish their relationship with you.


WHATEVER your reason, I'm here to declare that God loves you and His peace can and will overtake you, even through the darkest of days. Be encouraged by the truth of God's word. You may not feel that encouragement right away, but keep reading His word.  Let the vowels and consonants that form the words, penetrate deeply into the depth of your pain and suffering. Here are a few passages of scripture to encourage you:

  • Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4-6)
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)
  • "Come to Me, all you who labor & are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
(Posted by Renee Scott)


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Shattered Glass

A few months ago I told you I was going to commit to having more peaceful and encouraging speech.  You do know when you make a commitment like that, you will immediately be tested.  Well it happened to me.

I'm striving to be more intentional with the words I use.  Through a recent study, I learned that I will be held accountable for every idle word I speak.  That's right, every empty or casual word you speak, you will have to give an account to God for using it.

And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every IDLE word you speak. ~Matthew 12:36

Here's what happened - while on vacation major damage happened to our rental car.  I was in my hotel room napping (YES, I love to nap) and I received a phone call from the front desk manager.

He informed me that damage happened to my car.  I was delirious from being asleep and didn't really get it.  Finally, I woke up and went to see the car.

Sure enough this is what I found:

HOLE in the sunroof!

Glass was everywhere

SHATTERED GLASS

Glass was everywhere.  A large object had fallen from an upstairs floor and landed right on the sunroof. YIKES!  The MANY words that came to my head were NOT uplifting or encouraging.  I was so upset.  
BEYOND upset, because this was a rental car. 

Did I take out insurance? How would I explain this? How much would this cost? A sudden sick feeling came over me. Worry filled my head. Long story short, I'm happy to say, by the grace of God, I remained CALM.

In that moment, in YOUR upsetting moments you can't always control the situation.  There was nothing I could have done to avoid this moment. 

You can CHOOSE the response you have to the situation, even an unfair, had nothing to do with you type of moment.  That phone call, that woke me from my peaceful slumber changed the trajectory of my entire vacation.  All the great memories were suddenly overshadowed by this silly event. My peaceful morning of resting by the pool was completely shattered, just like the glass all over the front seat.

As we continue through the rest of the year, we will encounter some CRAZY and unpredictable moments.  Guess what - you can CHOOSE your response.  Pray that it will be appropriate and honoring to God. (Posted by Roslyn)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

10 Things I Learned about Hawaii!


Beaches and Pools!
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had a chance to visit one of the most beautiful places.  We had a get away to Hawaii for a week without our kids (thanks Mom for watching them).  I really, really missed my babies but I was thankful for the alone time with my hubby.


It was divine!


I feel like I live in paradise already. In my home state I'm surrounded by blue skies, palm trees that sway beautifully on a breezy day and the ocean is only about 45 minutes away. What's great about Hawaii though, is the unity of my two favorite landscapes, beaches and mountains. The combination of the two together make for breathtaking views and outstanding photographs!




For those who haven't visited Hawaii, maybe you can live vicariously through my experience.  I wanted to share a little about the places we visited and some things I quickly learned about the island. 

Here's a list of 10 things I learned about Hawaii:

  • Birds are everywhere and they aren't afraid of us.  They will quickly fly in and steal your lunch.
The birds will eat and drink whatever they find!

  • The homeless population is plentiful and quite visible throughout Oahu (where we visited).  I was surprised by the number of tent cities throughout the city.

  • The waters in Hawaii are dangerous!  Actually while we were in town, a local musician drowned despite his knowledge of the waters.  Strong currents can make your vacation turn into a tragedy if you're not careful.




  • Colorful exotic plants and trees grow in abundance around the island.  Birds of paradise and banyon trees are just some of the ones I took time to photograph.



    



  • It's very expensive to live in Hawaii.  A gallon of milk is $8.00.  Most everything is shipped in driving up the costs.

  • The spirit of "Aloha" is everywhere.  The locals are friendly and laid back. 

  • When you get a chance, here are some "must" visits:

    1. Hike Diamond Head for breathtaking views
    2. Visit Lanikai Beach.  It has extremely soft powdery clean white sand.  It

      literally feels like flour under your feet.  It consistently ranks among the best beaches in the WORLD!
    3. Snorkle in Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.  The best snorkeling I've seen in a long time right off the shoreline.
    4. Tour Pearl Harbor
    5. Take part in an authentic luau.


Our tour guides while visitng Kailua Beach.
  • Take time to learn about the island from the locals.  Most have lived on the island for an extended period of time and know all of the hidden treasures.

  • The traffic in Oahu might be worse than Los Angeles.  80% of the population lives in the Honolulu/Oahu area.  Yikes! (Posted by Renee)


Common in Hawaii: lei's and hats




Sunday, August 7, 2016

More Peaceful Conversations

The Summer has flown by. Renee and I have enjoyed a bit of a hiatus.  I've been fortunate to spend time in South Carolina, Dallas, Key West, Naples and Orlando during this Summer break.  School is almost in session and just around the corner are cooler temperatures - Thank God!

Even though we haven't been on our blog, Renee and I have spent time this Summer reading and writing.  I had the opportunity to participate in an online session about transforming your speech.  I shied away from this assignment, at first, but I've learned so much along the way.

Even on vacation - I rest and read!

We are in a world where many people are more interested in being understood vs understanding what the other person is saying. With the amount of words that we use daily to communicate, most of us don't do it effectively.

For instance, did you know you communicate in 3 ways - verbally (WHAT you say), vocally (TONE you use) and visually (BODY language)?

In fact, 55% of our overall message is delivered through our body language. 


Here are a few of my top LOVES from this study, Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian.


  1. Conflict is inevitable, but just remain CALM.
  2. Every word you say has the power to draw HEAVEN or HELL into your circumstance.
  3. Harness the power of discretion - everything you THINK should NOT be spoken.
  4. Unfaithful speaking (gossip) is done by speaking as well as listening to gossip.
  5. Where you SAIL today, is determined by what you SAY today.
I've committed to start this new school year, specifically with my boys, by using more faithful and encouraging language.  

They will hear enough negative speech outside of the home, in the hallways of their schools. I will intentionally choose to use words that will BUILD them up and not tear them down.  (Posted by Roslyn)

What about you? What is your commitment for this new week or year of school/work?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

We are Family!


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  If you let it, distractions can make you lose focus and disrupt destiny.  Writing my blog posts is a way to encourage others, therefore, I need to make time for it.

 

I’m typing this post while returning home from my family reunion.  I’m blessed that both my mother’s and father’s side of the family have an annual reunion.  It’s such a great time to catch up and reconnect with family members. 

 

This weekend we came together in Warrington, Florida (near Pensacola) where my father grew up.  The city holds precious memories of a time full of laughter, love, and wonderful fun. This would be our first family reunion without the last living matriarch of the family because my dad’s twin sister passed away last year and she was the last of his 7 siblings remaining on this side of Heaven.

 

Our reunion starts on Friday and lasts the entire weekend.  As a family we pray, fellowship, eat, and attend church together.  We even take the time to remember our deceased loved ones and plan for the next gathering.

 

I wanted to share about our yearly coming together because family is so important.  Even if you are at odds with your loved ones, they are still your precious family.  Without a moment’s notice, they could be transitioned from you through death.  It would be awful if you hadn’t taken the time to reach out or forgive from afar because of petty differences.  Every relationship in life will have challenges.  It’s a part of human nature.  Just don’t allow your feelings about a situation, guide your actions.

 

I will leave you with some beautiful scriptures about family.  If you currently have distance between you and a family member, be encouraged.  Reach out.  Don’t allow life’s “interruptions” keep you from one of the greatest gifts God ever gave.  FAMILY! (Posted by Renee)



Psalms 127:3-5 (NIV)

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

 

Ephesians 3:14-15

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

1 Timothy 5:8

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

 

 

 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How do you FIT it all in?

I am often asked this question - How do you "fit "it all in? How do you get it all done?

Life is really one big juggling act - and just for the record, I don't get it all done.  You might feel like me, as soon as you resolve one conflict another life "curveball" is right around the corner.

Life can be intense - between traveling (last month I was in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Tampa), cooking, writing, working, exercising, raising kids, and keeping up with my own "extracurricular" activities - life can be overwhelming.  Do you feel the same way?

I am in that season of life where most of my time is spent in a car shuffling the boys to school, baseball or driving to the grocery store. I treasure every moment as the days are passing so quickly.  My morning meditation often times happens while driving.

How do I attempt to "fit" it all in:

  1. I start with sacred mornings; my time ALONE thinking, praying, and meditating sets the tone for my day
  2. Understanding Priorities; everything can seem urgent - but make a list and focus on what is most important in that moment
  3. Nightly Reflection; at night I wrap my day with reflecting on all that God allowed me to accomplish - a heart of thankfulness helps me not worry about "what's next"
  4. Yoga - 8am on Saturday morning you will find me at yoga; beyond the poses, yoga has taught me how to meditate, focus my mind and BREATH (deeply)
  5. Learning not to rush away PAIN; the very pain that you feel brings you closer to God and elevates you for your next assignment 
  6. Repeat "I AM" statements - throughout the day I tell myself I am strong, I am well, I am at peace...Now you try it!
I am content to know that I am a WIP (Work In Progress), and so are YOU! Allow God to direct your days.  In moments of stress, most likely you aren't connected or grounded.  Sit still, practice balanced breathing, and watch how you will have a fresher perspective to handle "what's next". (Posted by Roslyn)
Take a moment to give yourself a THUMBS UP!

You are strong like a fortified city...Jeremiah 1:18