Let there be Peace – Week 2 of Advent
Welcome! We are celebrating the second week of Advent – The week of Peace.
If you are using an advent wreath and candles you will be lighting the second purple candle, as well as the first from the week of Hope.
Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus’ birth was prophesied generations before the event took place. From the fall of man, we have struggled in the world against evil and darkness, looking for the perfect peace only God can provide. God’s love for us was so strong that he sent his Son, Jesus to make a way for us to have eternal peace.
Philippians 4:6 tells us – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
When we pray for peace from the turmoil or struggle we are facing, thanking God seems silly. Why would we thank God for our struggles? When we don’t know what to do or where to turn, we turn to Him. He has placed us in these times of our lives to depend on Him. Just speak what you need and God will provide.
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, lives in us. We just need to ask. Phil 4:7, And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
He promises us His peace that passes all understanding. When you are fearful, overwhelmed or anxious and do not know which step to take. Turn to Him to pray, read scripture, and listen…God will show you how to overcome all of this, and have a joy-filled life that he wishes for all of us.
Jesus came to earth as a baby, the Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, to be the only way to the Father.
THOUGHTS THIS WEEK
I know in myself, I worry and have fear of a lot of things. I have always been a worrier, an overprotective mom, and a fear of what others will think of me. Every morning I have to sit and pray and read about what God wants me to know for that day. This past year, losing my Mom has really set some things in motion with God’s will for my life. She was always the worrier and not that I need to take that over, but I need to give it to God and let Him sort it out.
I have peace knowing she is safe with him. I have Peace knowing He has a plan and is calling me to step out into it.
We get so caught up in the material side of this season, comparing ourselves to those perfect images on Insta, or as an entrepreneur, we can get sucked into what the world wants us to do and be and speak of. Be careful of the lies, they are all around us leading us astray from what is most important. I encourage you to focus on the Prince of Peace and be prayerful in your daily walk.
Celebrate the season for bringing Peace to others, give a little extra at church, smile at a stranger, and pay it forward when good things are done to you!!
I would love for you to follow my new account on Instagram. @freshpromise I am starting a new blog for those looking for encouragement, and real-life craziness of being a mom and creative entrepreneur. Keeping Jesus first and learning to get past the lies. Jesus brings us a Breath of Fresh Promise everyday!!
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The Reason for the Season
The Christmas season is upon us. All the hustle and bustle with shopping, parties, pictures and cards. The kids have made their lists for Santa. Moms and Dads are wrapping gifts for under the tree.
Wait! Stop! Slow Down!
Let’s take a moment, or several, and remember why we celebrate Christmas.
Through prophecy fulfilled, Jesus, the Savior of the World was sent to us so we may live in eternal peace with Him when we leave this world. Christmas – we celebrate Jesus’ birth and God’s love for us.
As a child growing up we celebrated Advent every week, the candles, the scripture, the prayers. Now as a mom, we celebrate each week with our church family and I pray that my children will cherish this tradition and carry on with their families as well.
Advent defined, according to Webster’s Dictionary is the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting. It also means the coming of Christ at the incarnation and the second coming.
These 4 Sundays each have symbols to help us pray and remember how God loved us to send his Son for the hope and love from God the world had been waiting for.
The Wreath, Candles, and Colors
The wreath is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. The greenery used are evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life.
Four candles (traditionally red) stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. In the center of the circle is a fifth candle (traditionally white), the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas Day.
Purple represents the sovereignty of Christ, so for weeks 1, 2 and 4, the purple candles are lit. The pink candle, which represents Joy, is lit for the 3rd week.
This post represents the first week of Advent which starts on the first Sunday of December.
WEEK 1: HOPE
Today, we light one purple candle, the candle of hope. Advent is a time of waiting and hoping. In that time the world had been waiting for the promised messiah, in a dark time when there seemed to be no hope. In God’s perfect time…a promise fulfilled. Things were in motion to make way for the Savior of the world. Our hope is in the Lord, Mary had hope when she heard of her cousin who was barren was 3 months pregnant. With God all things are possible. We have hope in the Lord because Jesus came and died and conquered death so we may have life with him eternal. Advent is not only a time to prepare for the birth of Jesus, but a time to reflect on our hope of what is to come, Jesus return, our eternal rest with Him in heaven, and the fact that we have hope that He always is there, fighting for us, healing us, loving us.
Verses for Hope in the Lord
Psalm 33:20 – We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
Isaiah 40:31 – but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Luke 1:36-37 – Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.we all
1 Peter 1:3 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lod himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a som, and will call him Immanuel
I pray that God gives you Hope in any circumstance you are in. Being a Christian was never promised to be an easy ride, we all have those valleys in life when all things seem hopeless. God loves you too much to let you down, He will chase you down in the deepest darkest places of your heart. He is always there. He is your Hope!!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so much that you made a way…a way of Hope of life, peace, joy, and love. Hope in eternal life with you through your son Jesus, whom you sent for us when we didn’t deserve it. Jesus was the promise of Hope and you fulfilled that promise so we may live with you forever.
Grieving the Loss of a Parent
If you would have told me 10 days ago, my Mother would no longer be with us. I would have not believed you. I know we are never promised tomorrow, but I had just spoken to her 3 days prior to her death.
My mother lived a long life and a daily battle with Type 1 Juevenile Diabetes. She was diagnosed at the age of 8, and lived until 2 days before her 74th birthday. She survived 2 heart attacks in her later years, and many, many low and high blood sugar days. We knew that her body would give out at some point, but I do not think we were prepared for the suddeness of it.
My Mother- Charlotte
She was born in Boston, MA in 1945 and had 1 sister who preceeded her in death a few years ago. She lived in Marlborough with my Grandparents until she married my father. She was the mother of 3 children, my brother Alan, myself, and my sister Kristen. We lived in Massachusettes until I was 5 and then moved to Ft. Myers, FL, and my mother lived there until all of my siblings and I moved out and began our own lives.
My parents divorced after I graduated high school, and my mother lived on her own and was a very independant lady. So much sometimes, to a fault and would not take help from many people. She struggled for many years with her health, and I remember several times low blood sugar would take over and make her very sick. After her second heart attack, she realized that she was blessed to have lived as long as she did and decided to donate her body to the “university” upon her death. She felt that since she lived so long with T1D, maybe seeing what her body had been through over the years, it could help reasearchers/medical students get closer to a cure.
She was a spunky, woman. Her friends from church said she had a great sense of humor and always cracking jokes. Now as her child, we did not always see that side of her, and took some things she said to heart and I’ll be honest it hurt! I loved my mother but sometimes, i feel as our parents get older those filters just don’t show up in conversation as they did when we were younger. But I know deep down she meant well.
My mother was definately one person that knew EXACTLY where her eternal home was going to be. She loved Jesus and prayed for our family and friends constantly. The last time I spoke with her, the last thing she said to me was, Just Pray!!
Her Heavenly Home
My mother did not show up to an event at Church Thursday, April 11th, 2019. So her friends began to worry, an offficer was called to her apartment and they found her. We are not sure what exactly happened, and we will never really know. Since she was being donated for research, she made this request known for many of the past years, they will send her ashes along to us in a few weeks.
I do know this…I have a vision of Jesus coming in to apartment to walk her to heaven, hand in hand. She is with her heavenly Father and at peace, no more tears, no more pain, no more sickness. She is worshipping with splendor and amazmement that we will not see till we are called home as well.
She celebrated her Birthday in Heaven and will celebrate her 1st Easter in heaven this week. Oh what a glorious day that will be!!
Praying through it all
If you have been following me for awhile, you know my Faith is who I am. I know where my Mom is and totally believe I will see her again on those streets of gold. But, my mind and body have been in overdrive over the last week and just a day ago, I really had a hard time coping with this loss.They say losing a parent is different, and I totally get what that feels like now. It is different than an uncle or grandparent, it just is and I can’t quite explain it. I am sad, weepy and think, gosh I just can’t pick up the phone and call her. So, I pray!! I pray alot! It is comforting and I have a wonderful small group of ladies from my church that I can bounce thoughts off of.
Just this week in small group one of my ladies said she read, when you are stressed, sad or needing something for the Lord to take from you….place your palms up. Hands open and palms up! This was so profound to us, this is the resting pose of recieving and it makes beautiful sense to me.
SO, I made a graphic. You can pin it, share it or shoot me an email and I will send you the download.
Don’t you just LOVE IT!!
Thank you for letting me share my story, I hope to look back a year from now and not be so sad. This has helped process what I am going through at the moment!
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As a virtual assistant and a mom, sometimes I just do not take care of ME like I should. I get up early, take them to school. Then I start working with client work. Before I know it, it is time to head off to car pick up! By the end of the week, I have completely exhausted myself, let alone had time to do housework and run errands. Here are 5 Self Care Tips I use as a work at home mom.
1. Morning Devotional Time
When I left my day job, I was worn out. I knew I needed to be home for my family, but I also needed to find myself again. My prayer life was lacking and I knew if I just made the time to stop, read and pray it would make my day seem purposeful. So, I take about 30 minutes in the morning before working and just read my Bible App. It sets my mind right and reminds me that He is in control and has a plan for this business and my life.
I am currently reading a devotional from Jennie Allen called Restless.
Jennie says, “We are called to dream but we’re afraid to. But because we are called, when we don’t act on it we become restless—restless to find purpose, to make a difference in the world, to matter.”
That just hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it! We want purpose, be we are scared.
Maybe you pray, maybe you meditate, it may be music that helps you prepare for your day. I highly recommend a quiet time to reflect and focus on the day ahead.
2. Exercise/Just Move It
I will be honest, some days I just don’t. Over the last couple years, I have been on a weight loss journey. I have lost over 20 pounds, but due to a recent injury to a hip flexor ( darn Burpees!!), I have had some trouble even walking without pain. The weight has started to come back and I have made a commitment to start doing walking videos at home.
Walking is so good for you. It helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improves your mood, you could lose some weight, and best of all it gets your brain flowing. Just 30 minutes a day could make a huge impact on your health. As a virtual assistant, I have to schedule my exercise time on my calendar. When you work from home you sit at a computer and the more you sit the more your body wants to sit. SO GET UP AND GET MOVING!!
I currently am doing Leslie Sansone’s 6 week New’s Years Walk Challenge. I am on week 4 (I am a week behind) and I am really feeling the results and this motivates me to keep doing it every working day. My hip pain has decreased and I am getting more flexibility as well. I just love Leslie and her happy spirit and positivity. Such a blessing!
3. Schedule a Time for Lunch
We get so into our work sometimes and we forget to eat or we are eating at our desk. I do not recommend the latter. Take a break, schedule 30 minutes on your calendar and sit down to eat a healthy lunch. Food fuels the brain and you will need that to push through the afternoon.
I usually have some turkey and a salad. Part of my weight loss has been eating healthier, I do not count calories or get on the scaled anymore. It was too stressful. I am just mindful of what I eat and do not beat myself up for having a sweet treat. Have I told you how much I LOVE SWEETS!!
4. Disconnect/ Technology Free Nights
As a mom, I have to tell my kids, no devices after a certain time. So, why shouldn’t I as well? Sit down with your family, have a nice dinner, talk about their day, or play a board game. We get so caught up in social media and checking our email. Here’s a post on how to manage your email and turn off the notifications.
Working hard on your business and taking care of your clients is important. But, we have to set boundaries. When five o’clock rolls around in our house. My work is done. Now, I admit if I have something pressing I need to do with my own business, I will work at a bit past that. My kids are in sports, so I need to disconnect to get them to where they are going. This was one of the whole reasons I left my day job. They are only little once and I want them to know I was there.
5. Girlfriend Time/Date Night
Working from home can be super lonely. It is just us, or we have connected with some online and do chats. There is nothing like getting out of the house and just connecting face to face, though. I just went to my first meeting of our local Rising Tide group. It was a blast!! Met some awesome creative business owners, had good sweets,(did I mention I love sweets), and saw some people I knew. That personal connection, we all need community, it takes a village.
Date night, hmm what? I am guilty of not having enough personal time with my spouse. Our kids are busy, very rarely do both of them go to a friends house to spend the night. Little man is only 8 so that’s not really an option. Occasionally we will get to have lunch together while they are in school. Date night is important and is something I will try to do more of this year. My hubs is my best friend and we have a great time without the kids.
Wrapping it up!
These are my main ways of practicing self-care tips for me. I really wish life was simpler sometimes and stress wasn’t a thing. But, for a growing business, it’s important to take time to take care of you. Following these simple steps, can help you de-stress, feel better, and it will give your business and your family more time to grow. They are only little for a moment, I do not want to say, man, I wish I worked more. Work hard, but LOVE harder!!
What are some things you do to take care of yourself? I would love to hear!! Leave me a comment and let me know.
Thanks all, and have a blessed day!!
Christmas Eve Advent Week 4 – LOVE
Welcome to the fourth and final week of Advent.
If you have been using an advent wreath, this week we light the 4th candle, the last purple candle. Candle of Love.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Some people may not know the love of others, especially at this time of year. There are so many feeling alone, depressed, struggling to survive financially, homeless, God Loves Them All! As so should we.
Many of us go through life just living day to day, running carpool, going to the grocery store, spending time with family and friends, and we never stop to think that we have so much and there are so many without.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
If you want to know how to love one another, look at the love that sent Jesus to earth to live a life of love and pay the price for all of our sins. It’s all about love. This isn’t a love of fancy words and impossible tasks. This is a love that says, “I am willing to love you no matter what.”
I encourage you to show the love of God to those less fortunate. Give a little more in the plate at church, or you could pray for a friend or family that you know is struggling. God sees them and they are in His plan. You could invite a friend to your Christmas Service, maybe a neighbor, or a co-worker that would not have thought about going to church this year.
How can you show the love of Christ?
Are you striving to love people the way Christ loves you?
I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and a love filled week!
Week of Joy!
Welcome to Advent week 3 JOY!
I can’t believe next week will be Christmas. We are getting ready to spend our time with family. We will join them for a Christmas Eve service, food and fellowship here in East Tennessee. I just love this time of year!! The weather is mildly cool, and still has some feelings of fall with the leaves, and icy mornings when God just shows off those spectacular whites, and blues with the sunshine on the tree branches.
This week in advent is all about JOY!!
So, I am looking forward to sharing with you what the third week means and look a little deeper at what Joy, Jesus has for us!
If you are using an Advent Wreath, this week we light the 3rd candle. The Pink Candle. The Candle of Joy!
How do we describe Joy? Some confuse Joy with Happiness. They are not one in the same. Happiness is a human emotion, a feeling usually created by the things that happen to us or around us. Joy is the assurance that God is working everything out for our good and His glory. God is in control.
Psalms 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalms 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
1 Peter 4:13 – The Joy that God gives us is a deeper feeling created by knowing that God cares for us. Joy is remembering that God sent Jesus so we would always know of God’s care. Since Joy comes from within we can find it in good and troublesome situations.
Jesus is God’s gift to us which, not only gave God joy but gives us joy as well.
What a gift! Jesus loves us no matter what we have done, said or thought. He is the only one we can go to in times of sadness, times of joy, (yes, He shares our joy and happiness), times of celebration. We just have to talk to Him. In this time of year we can get overwhelmed, sad, and anxious of ALL THE THINGS that are going on with our schedules and to-do lists.
If we are walking deep with Him, we should really go to God first BEFORE we get all stressed out.
I know, I freak out, get upset easily, eat, and think about the things still on that list. Christmas was not meant to be about gifts and trees, and parties and food and …and…and!! Joy comes in the knowing and leaning in to Christ, let him take care of all that worries you. Take it one day at a time, because I know that next week when the kids are home and we are enjoying our time together…they won’t care that I forgot to bring chips to their Holiday party.
Starting my day with God, in devotion, reading my Bible has helped me tremendously this year. I encourage you to try the same.
There are some great reading plans on YouVersion Bible app, if you search for JOY, there will be a plan to suit your needs!!
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10 ESV
As we come to the final week, let’s prepare our hearts for Jesus. The anticipation of knowing what is coming, can you imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking in that final week before Jesus was born. The birth of a baby is always a joyous occasion, but this baby, Immanuel, God with us, God’s love in the form of flesh to save us all from our sins, the Greatest Gift of All.
I hope you all have a blessed week. Be sure to Like, Comment, Share, and Pin.