Holiday Preparations

Today we had snow in our neck of the woods and it has me realizing how quickly the Christmas season will be upon us.

When you think about this in relation to your healthy lifestyle goals, how do you feel? A bit anxious about your portion control? Doubts about maintaining your activities? Stress eating concerns?

I can relate!

I want to encourage you that you absolutely can enjoy the Christmas season without abandoning your wellness goals.

As we get ready to set up the nativity scene, trim the tree and bake the family’s favourite cookies, let’s take a minute for some reflection.

We put up our tree in October to celebrate with family

What do you want to achieve this Christmas season? What are your fears? I’d love to read your comments and I am sure you will find you’re not alone in how you’re feeling.

Let’s prepare our hearts and minds for Advent together.

My amazing Mom made this for me!

Tuesday In Tune

Autumn is making an entrance in my neck of the woods. I love the change of seasons, and fall is my favourite of them all. The changes are everywhere. The temperatures are cooler in the morning, yet comfortably warm in the afternoon. The oak trees along my walking path are laden with acorns. Pumpkins and apples are ripening in orchards and farms nearby. The sounds of geese as they fly in formation can be heard daily now. Even the scent of the air has changed.

All of this showcases the glorious creative power of God.

The song I’ve been listening to over and over this week is Hillsong United’s “So Will I”. We introduced our church family to this song today and we had an amazing conversation as a group about what amazes us most about God’s creation.

I’ve watched this video repeatedly, and it brings me to tears every single time.

If it all reveals Your nature, so will I.

How amazing that God created immense things like galaxies, and tiny thing like ants to show His nature to us and to provide us with an intricate, glorious place to live out our lives.

But that wasn’t enough. He came Himself to seek and save those who are lost. Me. You.

That is one of the most powerful lines in the song. At His Word, every failure evaporates and we begin again in Him.

As you go about your day, look for His nature in the world around you. Let it remind you that He is here with you, concerned about what concerns you, and take peace from that knowledge.

You’re the One who never leaves the one behind.

I’m thankful He didn’t leave me behind.

Tuesday In Tune

Faith. It is said that faith is the currency of heaven. But have you ever felt penniless? I’ve been close on several occasions in life and while driving one day this week, God reminded me of a time when I took many late night drives to sing, to pray, to cry and to try to hear His voice. In my mind I heard again a song that helped me hold on to those last few coins of my heavenly currency.

“I Believe” by Barlow Girl is a powerful declaration of raw faith in dark times. Maybe you haven’t heard this treasure written around 2007. I believe it will touch your heart and stir your hope.

The chorus is based on words found written on a wall during the Holocaust. My pain pales compared to what that writer was experiencing. Words so full of agony, yet the hope peeks through like the first glimmer of sunrise. At the time I was newly separated and my life felt like a dark cave. Many reached out to me with love and kindness, but I still felt desperately alone. In those long nighttime drives, I learned that the words of this song were true in my life.

It’s only here that I find faith, and learn to trust the One who writes my days.

I sang into the dark night and then one day, the sun started shining again, and I could begin to see all that God was doing silently behind the scenes. Life changed, not for the better, but for the best. His best.

I have a wonderful husband and we are privileged to minister together and shepherd some amazing people. God is using me in ways that I don’t believe would have been possible without some time in the silent cave of despair, holding desperately to the last bit of my faith currency.

If you’re in that cave right now, my friend, know that even if God seems silent, He is at work building your future, setting up your healing and making your purpose and mission clear. Keep singing, keep believing, keep holding on until dawn breaks.

Tuesday In Tune #2

Almost every day I walk, either around my neighbourhood or around the grounds of my workplace. I do it for fitness, for fresh air, clarity of mind and to spend time with God.

Quite often I have music playing and God guides me by showing me something personal in the lyrics. It can be assurance of His presence and provision or conviction and urging to come up higher.

This past week I listened to a song I am familiar with and God gave me a vivid image that has stuck with me day and night.

The song is “Another in the Fire” performed here by Hillsong United.

“There is another in the water, holding back the seas.”

Picture it. When I feel like I will be wiped out by a tsunami of circumstances, His hand holds it back and I’m safe.

It doesn’t mean that my shoes won’t get soggy, or my glasses won’t be splattered with drops of water, but I’m safe.

You’re safe. His hand is holding back the seas. Even when the challenges and the tears keep coming, He is still holding back the fullness of the attack.

So I won’t lose my joy. My happiness may disappear for a time, but Jesus never said He came to bring me happiness. He came to bring me joy, which is not dependent on circumstances, but on an intimate relationship with Him, resting in the fact that He will never abandon me.

In mercy you have seen my troubles, and You have cared for me; even during this crisis in my soul I will be radiant with joy, filled with praise for your love and mercy. Psalms 31:7 (TPT)

“I’ll count the joy come every battle – ‘Cause I know that’s where You’ll be”

Whatever you are walking through, remember He will never leave you alone.

Tuesday in Tune

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:13 AMP

God speaks to us through godly music. I’m so thankful that He does. Song lyrics have sustained me through many hard situations and have helped me soar when celebrating victory and breakthrough.

Lately, a song that has me opening the window, turning up the volume and celebrating God is “Say I Won’t” by MercyMe. Have you heard it?

So many times I was told I wouldn’t measure up or succeed in life, often tied to the fact that I was overweight. Now that I’m at a healthy body weight, unfortunately the same opinions are thrown at me, for different reasons now, whether with a person’s words, expressions or attitude. It has been a process to accept being underestimated and misunderstood, but God keeps reinforcing who He thinks I am and what He is leading me to accomplish. That is what matters. With His help and by listening to His words, I did lose weight and am keeping it off. I do have successful and fulfilling relationships and a unique purpose that will influence others for God.

“Not enough
Is what I’ve been told
But it must be a lie
‘Cause the Spirit inside says I’m so much more
So let them say what they want
Oh, I dare them to try”

Have you been told there are things you can never be or do? My friend, are you the one doing the talking to yourself? Search out the verses in the Bible that describe who God says you are and what you can do. Take the negativity as a challenge and prove it to be the lie it is. You are amazing, unique, beautiful, talented and loved. That’s not just opinion, but God’s truth. Live the abundant life Jesus died to give, not just to the whole world, but to YOU!

“I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
So keep on saying I won’t
And I’ll keep proving you wrong”

What’s The Good Word?

Late in 2020, there was a lot of talk about praying for a new word or scripture of the year. It was so interesting to me to see what words and verses God laid on the hearts of friends as well as fellow writers and speakers.

Now that we are more than half way through the year (how is that possible??), I have been thinking a lot about this word and verse that God has woven into so much of what I have done and I’m curious – what was your word or scripture and how has it shaped your 2021?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Wise Investment

If you’re looking for financial wisdom, that’s a topic for another day, my friends.

For three days, I am participating in She Speaks Online 2021, a ministry arm of Proverbs 31. This is my second year attending and it’s been crucial to my growth spiritually and in my ministry.

It is so important for us to invest in ourselves. I invested time, money and effort into the WW program and achieved my weight loss goal. I invested time and energy into an activity routine and I am stronger an more flexible than I have ever been.

Investing in my ministry takes time to study, pray and learn from experts. I won’t benefit from just plunking down a registration fee and expecting change to happen. I’m making notes, asking questions, connecting with other and praying for God’s leading.

Does this all sound selfish? I have thought that from time to time, but I have decided that these were not selfish investments. My physical, emotional and spiritual growth are amazing dividends. I see how I can serve God, my family, my church and my community more effectively as a result of these investments. The joy and satisfaction of these dividends encourages me to invest again and again.

My exercise goals are taking a back seat for the weekend as I sit for the better part of three days in the conference, but that’s ok. I’m balancing my goals and learning to be more flexible with myself. Emotional flexibility is important in getting those goals.

How can you invest in your future? Maybe it’s starting (or restarting) a healthy eating plan, lacing up those walking shoes or signing up for a Bible study. Post in the comments your next investment step. You are worth investing in!

“A Divine Love Song” by Guest Writer: Grace Gardiner

https://wp.me/p6xPAH-1g0

I was asked by my fellow blogger and friend to share with her readers some thought on the love of our heavenly Father.

While His love can never be expressed fully in our mortal language, I hope this article will help you feel His love today.

Take a minute to check out other posts on Titus-Two.com. I know you’ll be refreshed and blessed!

Side-Effect Free Medicine

Laughter. One of the best stress relievers around. No side effects. No dispensing fee. Sometimes the funniest things are the things you do yourself. Some might even say it is a sign of maturity to not take yourself so seriously.

Recently I started working in a physician’s office. There are many details to look after and so much to learn.

While tidying up the office at the end of a day filled with a mix of telephone tag, a wonky-acting fax machine and being hung up on after a 20-minute hold, I looked at the huge spider plant in the corner of the office. Oh no! I’d been working there for three weeks and I had forgotten numerous times to water the plant! The doctor had told me she had had the plant for years – I did not want to kill it!

I searched the office for something to put water in and ended up with my coffee mug. I filled it with water and went over to the plant. It still looked green, no dead leaves on the ground. Good sign. I reached my hand into the pot to feel how dry the soil was. There came the surprise – all I felt was Spanish moss and…plastic! This was the most realistic artificial plant I had ever seen.

I started to laugh at myself, for worrying about killing the plant and upsetting my new boss. The annoyance at the automated phone system dissipated. The frustration with the fax machine evaporated. Weariness and stress were lifted and I powered down the computer, turned off the lights and locked the doors behind, heading happily for home.

In the past stress was treated with high-calorie treats or tuning out on the couch, neither of which was beneficial for me, nor did they relieve the stress. They had their own “dispensing fees” and side effects – excess weight and poor sleep were just two.

I’ve learned a lot on my journey, and one of the big things is that emotional eating solves nothing and just spins the cycle of overeating, guilt and overeating again. I rely on prayer, praise, a healthy eating and activity plan and regular healthy doses of laughter.

My dear kindred spirit friend prays for me, encourages me and makes me laugh practically every day – even though we live 1000 miles apart.

My husband is always a great source of material for laughter on a daily basis. Our children, and most of my closest friends love to laugh. But more and more I realize that I have a source of laughter that goes everywhere I do and the more I let go of what other people think of me, the easier it becomes to laugh at myself.

Our daughter wanted my husband to grow a moustache but it drove him crazy – I found an “alternative” which made us laugh til the tears came.

The Bible tells us that God loves His children to laugh. I echo Sarah’s words in Genesis 21:6 (The Voice), ” God has graced me with the gift of laughter! To be sure, everyone who hears my story will laugh with me. When you see a realistic artificial plant, may you remember my story and laugh also.

In these days filled with stressors, I’m thankful to God that a treatment is readily available.

Jumpstart Your Journey

It’s Monday! How about a giveaway? Starting today until June 21 (my wedding anniversary) anyone who subscribes to download my FREE devotional resource “Jumpstart Your Journey” will be entered into a draw where three lucky subscribers will will some amazing tea from Tealish Modern Tea Boutique!! The folks at Tealish.com are friendly and make amazing tea for every taste. Flavoured teas are part of my success in working the Weight Watchers program and may just be the life hack you’re looking for. So jumpstart your journey to wellness with some delicious tea and my new FREE devotional.

https://mailchi.mp/a4dad2be0556/welcome-1

Friends who have already downloaded their devotional since it launched last week will be entered in the draw as well.

I have created both the devotional and my blog posts to encourage women to thrive in this life by deepening their relationship with God and achieving health and wellness goals. I’d love to walk with you on this journey!

There’s still time to read about my journey in Women’s World magazine…but only a day or two to grab your copy in stores in the US and Canada!