Rest in Peace Sweet Jean ~ ♡

I feel so blessed to have known sweet Jean for the past 17 years.  We would visit every other Saturday, sometimes enjoying a meal out or a ride in the car to get ice cream.  Little kindnesses would make her smile, which always warmed my heart.  She was a simple, loving soul, who I know is now in the loving arms of Jesus.

She turned 84 years old August 31st, the picture I am including is from Saturday, September 1st, the day we celebrated her birthday, just one day before she passed.   I am so blessed I was able to celebrate this last birthday with her.   I brought her pink balloons and a simple vanilla cake with white frosting, her favorites.

I had a friend point out the bright light right next to her, which makes me smile as I contemplate its source.
Rest in peace sweet Jean bean and be sure to give Trudy a big hug for me. ~♡

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Your Life Is Not Boring

This is a great reminder, and exactly what I needed to hear right now! I am so blessed by all I have experienced and learned this year.

2018 started out with an amazing call from God to step out of my comfort zone and explore true intimacy with Him. He set amazing divine appointments with people to walk beside me on this journey, teachers to keep me anchored in His word, and fresh perspectives of the amazing world and people all around me. ~I am blessed!~♡

Eliza ~♡

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Abundantly Blessed

I am abundantly blessed.  There are so many things I have taken for granted, yet as I feel led by the Lord to dive deeper into intercessory prayer, I am taking every opportunity to pray for my community.  I see those things I take as a given, are prayers and a longings in others’ lives.

I wake and effortlessly get out of bed to start my day.  I exercise, a simple daily walk, yet this is not possible for those who struggle with health issues.  I get ready to go into the office and work.  I have work, a job, a way to support my home, feed and clothe myself bless others as I am gainfully employed.

I get into my car and make the trek to work each day.  I have friends who have no vehicle and must rely on others, the public transit system, and their ability to walk where they need to go.  I pray for breakthrough and job opportunities, reliable transportation, the means to repair a broken down car.

Thankful

I manage a team, helping people move forward with their educational and career goals.  All these responsibilities, but also opportunities to bless those I work with.  Opportunities to pray, and pour into their lives.  I am also blessed by their stories, the work they do to support our team, and company vision.  I am blessed to see their faces each day and work together solving problems, helping each other to be successful.  I am humbled and deeply moved when they share their burdens and allow me to pray with and for them.

When I return home, I have only to care for myself, my own needs.  I fill my time with works of service, entertainment, and relaxation.  I think of the prayers I pray for people going through major crisis who live with stress and anxiety, not knowing if they will be able to take care of themselves or their families.  Not knowing if they will have the resources to take care of the basics.  Wondering if their health coverage will be enough to address the issues they are facing.  Will they be able to be there for a sick family member, or sit at the bedside of a dying parent?  So many needs, and so many overlooked blessings all around us.

Prayer changes things.  Prayer moves mountains.  Prayer changes hearts.  Prayer is a powerful gift from God.  If you ever feel yourself in a state of stress, feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, or lacking for anything, pray.  Pray for yourself, then look around and pray for your loved ones.  Pray for your community.  Prayer is having an amazing effect on my life.  It is changing me and waking me moment by moment to the truth of how abundantly blessed I am. ~♡

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Gratitude

Several years ago I had the good fortune to have the following video recommended to me.
The TEDx talk Shawn gives is funny, entertaining, and I know the research and advise are solid.  I shared it with my team at work, and sent it to my boss.  What he did next made all the difference to me and the team I lead.  He extracted the five keys to creating lasting happiness, their purpose in the formula, and challenged me to take these steps with my team.
The list he sent me is as follows:

Small changes ripple outward
Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

**Each day for the next 21 days**

  1. Gratitudes ~ Write down 3 new things that you’re grateful for.
    Benefit: Trains the brain to scan the world for the positive first.
  2. Journaling ~ Write about a positive experience you had within the past 24 hours.
    Benefit: Allows you to relive the experience.
  3. Exercise ~
    Benefit: teaches brain that behavior matters.
  4. Meditation ~
    Benefit: Allows brain to relax so that you can focus on task at hand.
  5. Random (or intentional) Acts of Kindness ~ One positive email to praise or thank someone in your social network.
    Benefit: Causes outward ripple.
I took the list and presented it to my team and several people jumped in to help create a gratitude board, which had the words “What are you grateful for?” across the top.  We had it laminated and hung it on our wall where anyone could write on it with dry erase markers.  Each week we would wipe it clean and start a whole new list of things we are grateful for.  I purchased small journals and pens for each member of my team to encourage them to journal about their gratitude and positive experiences, and they each got a small placard with the five action steps to hang at their desk.
We went almost an entire year weekly filling up the gratitude board and starting fresh each week.  Even as interest waned, I continued with the gratitude exercise, posting each day on Facebook for an entire year, counting down until I had completed a full year of gratitude posts.
I continue to post to several social media sites and intend to do this going forward.  This small daily exercise has radically changed every aspect of my life.  I no longer dwell on negative experiences, but consider all I have to be grateful for.  It allows me to look at the big picture and see how even in disappointment or frustrating circumstances, I have something to learn, an opportunity to grow, or to give.  When there are problems to overcome, creative solutions flow quickly and easily.
As is typical with any work environment, my team has had many changes since our year of gratitude pursuing the happiness advantage.  Friends left to pursue other opportunities, and we experienced a workforce reduction.  Through this, I have stayed in touch with many of my former team members, and I am overjoyed when I hear of their successes and the many blessings in each of their lives.  Some have shared what a profound difference the simple gratitude exercise made in their lives.
If you have not taken the action step of writing down three things you are grateful for each day, I would encourage you to do so for the next twenty-one days.  You may experience shifts in perspective, decreased feelings of fear and anxiety, and an increase in feelings of abundance!
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