Be Present With Your Love by Sonya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upcoming Valentine’s Day has me thinking about how I can better love my spouse. God put it on my heart to be more present.  We have a busy life with four kids and carving out time to go on dates can be hard. However, being present is key in the way we interact with our spouses. I look at all aspects of our relationship and I’m more aware that connecting with my husband will allow him to feel more loved by me. It is in the little things like when he calls me.  Am I focused on the conversation or am I distracted? My husband knows when I am not fully listening to him on and off the phone. In order to affirm that I am listening on the phone, I ask questions or repeat what he just said to make sure I understand.   Eye contact is the key in person and truly giving him your attention by turning off the television and phone, or going in another room where your kids can’t distract you. Giving of your time and listening well allows you to be present in the moment with your love/valentine. Our spouses deserve to be loved well and if we can’t give them our time and focus, then we are missing out on a deeper relationship that we can have with them! My husband does a great job at loving me well.  For Valentine’s Day he makes a homemade dinner and we stay at home and just be together. He shows me he is present by making himself available and carving that time out. It is not complex, but a simple gesture to just spend time with your sweetie and it doesn’t have to cost to be present with your love. I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to take a break from the busyness and spend time with the ones you love.  You will never regret being present in their lives!

Photo Credit:  ID 82818616 © Viacheslav Iacobchuk | Dreamstime.com

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things by Bombi

The holiday festivities began about a month ago here at work. A week before Thanksgiving we found ourselves lined up for a huge pre-Thanksgiving lunch, when someone muttered, “I can’t wait for the holidays to be over. Every year it’s the same thing, it gives someone a reason to be a huge jerk.” At that moment I thought about how much I disagreed with that statement. With that, my idea for this article was formed.

So here’s a short and sweet one to put some positive words out there. When Thanksgiving and Christmas come each year, sure I have those memories of the hard stuff of past Christmases, and I’m missing loved ones that have gone before me, but more than anything I have some favorites that come up and outshine the darkness. Here they are:

A few of my favorite things:

  1. The holidays have a way of bringing people together. You might not be near the one you love this season, but look around, you’ll see that there’s probably a reason why you are sitting by that co-worker at the holiday party, or why there’s an extra seat at the table because a family member is missing, maybe it’s time to ask your neighbor to come on over and hang. They could be lonely and in need of some good company and cheer.
  2. Yes our vulnerabilities can come out during this time of the year depending on where we are in life, but this can be good too. Take a seat and try watching a great movie like, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The story of a man who gave all away and in the end reaped a reward far greater than he ever imagined is great food for thought.
  3. This is a great time to be thankful and reflect on all that God has done for you. So it’s been a rough year worldwide but didn’t He keep you? So you might have been in the line of fire from some relationship situations, but didn’t God grant you the perseverance? No matter what life season you are in, this is a great time to stop and thank God for all He has done and a great time to reflect on ways you can bless Him and His people within the upcoming year.

Well, that’s a few of my favorites. Whatever yours are, from my family to yours I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous new year!

Photo Credit: ID 66303004 © Pavel Ivanov | Dreamstime

 

This Is Us by Trish

One of my favorite shows right now is the popular TV hit, “This Is Us.” I love it because it shows the good, the bad, ugly and authentic snapshots of family.

It is inevitable that at some point during each episode I will have a personal moment where the tears flow (not stream but flow) down my face. The transparent and raw emotions experienced within the various family dynamics hit me to the core. Yet the more I watch this show, the more real it becomes to me that no matter the dynamics or situations, “it is what it is” and the family we see is what they have chosen to make of all life has dealt them.

I consider my own personal family dynamics in my home. My dream was to be married at a young age and have children immediately. My “plan” was to then adopt after having a couple of biological children and then spend my years on the mission field. I was 37 years old when I got married and my bonus daughter made me an instant mom and within one year of trying to learn the ropes of this parenting thing, she was out the door and off to college. In one year I was a newlywed, step-mom, a daughter in law and experiencing love from a set of parents who were still married to one another, saw my mom transition to heaven and then looked up at my husband realizing we were empty nesters, all in one year.  Nothing happened according to what I had planned but everything according to His plan.

You see, we as a society can spend so much energy on perfectly planning the details of our lives and if we’re not careful, we will find ourselves in a state of disappointment and frustration when “life” happens instead of our plans. But then you have the incredible opportunity to look up and see who is by your side and choose to honor the gift in what is your family. For me that includes biological family, my incredible family by marriage and then the family that the heart chose and not DNA. I realize there are good, bad and yes some ugly parts that we have gone through but THIS IS US and for every person that makes “us” complete is a treasured piece of my life that makes it so beautiful.

This Christmas, celebrate those in your life who make up your “Us” and don’t focus on what doesn’t matter but rather who matters.

Photo Credit:ID 62272784 © Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Dreamstime

Legacy by Trish

Legacy in part by definition means, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor” (Merriam-Webster). This word has special meaning to me as the month of November is honored in my heart being it is the birth month of my mother and one year since her transition to heaven.

This time last year she was dealing with a variety of ailments in her physical body, but something supernatural happened during what would be her final days on earth.  She was being healed in such a beautiful way in more than just her physical body.

You see, my mother longed for healing not only in her physical state but in those areas not seen where life had hurt her. In what was revealed to us by the doctors as her “last days” I saw my mom receive healing in every area of her life and there was such peace. God granted us such precious times together as we prayed, sang and read scripture knowing she was one step closer to meeting her Heavenly Father.

My mom was by no means perfect. She had many flaws and imperfections. Yet through it all, she had a steadfast faith and she pressed through whatever she was facing. Isn’t that the story of us all? Who on this earth is perfect? Yet in all of these imperfections and cracks in our life, we can allow His light to shine through us and His strength to be made perfect in our weakness.

As I ponder today almost one year later since last seeing her, since saying my last “I love you” to her, I think of one word, legacy. I don’t consider what mistakes she made or what she didn’t have. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for who she was to me and what she left behind as a legacy.

By society’s standards my mom was not rich yet she had true wealth. You see even as an adult when I would go home to visit my mom, I would wake up in the early morning to see her reading her Word. Each day she would go to her church for the daily Bible Reading and she would end her night singing worship songs to God. This was not done out of religion or routine but a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. My mom left to me something far greater than all the money in the world; she gave me Jesus.

She gave me a foundation of faith and example of “never quit”. Anyone who knew my mom could quickly identify how strong she was, right, wrong or indifferent, she would not be moved from what she felt in her heart to be right. I saw my mom press past what would have caused others to give up.  She gave me strength.

From the time I was little she would tell me how beautiful I was and she would tell me I was capable of doing anything I set my heart to do. Being biracial in a predominately white community she taught me to treasure who I was and embrace what made me different. She told me I could achieve absolutely anything!  She gave me confidence.

When I was disappointed or hurt, she would remind me that God was always there. Somehow through the phone from miles away she would make everything better just by listening and praying with me. She gave me comfort.

Her smile was so big and her laugh contagious. One of our favorite things to do during the past few years was watch “Golden Girls” together. I’m not sure which was more entertaining, the show itself, or hearing my mom laugh at episodes I know she had seen many times before. Summer nights were spent on her patio playing games. She would relish in the fact she could destroy me at the game “Boggle.” I loved seeing her laugh! She gave me joy.

Her cooking and baking was by far the best I’ve ever had. As a young girl she would make me help her in the kitchen and each time I dreaded it because it was her passion and not mine. As I got older I learned to value these lessons in the kitchen because over the years I knew it would be a time I would one day treasure. I’d like to say she gave me her kitchen skills but no.  However, she gave me memories.

She fought for me, stood in the gap and prayed for me. She wiped my tears and held my hand too many times for me to count. She sang to me, motivated me and bore the responsibility of both mom and dad. She defended me, protected me and nurtured me. She taught me, disciplined me and inspired me. All of this to say, she gave me love.

So, I will in turn do my best to give to others the good I have learned from her. I will treasure the memories and forever be grateful for what I have inherited from her.  Jesus, strength, confidence, comfort, joy, memories and love…LEGACY.

 

Photo Credit:  Omar Galarza  Photography 2016