My One Word

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It’s that time again. Time for My One Word.

My One Word is a movement where you prayerfully choose one word to help narrow your focus for self-improvement. I don’t know about you, but a long list of resolutions is daunting. And quickly broken! Focusing on just one word and creatively applying that word, impacts your life in all areas.

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In the past I’ve found soothing stones with my word printed on them, jewelry, posters, and anything else that happens to fall into my path with my word.

Word Bracelet

This year my word is Peace. The past year I’ve discovered that Peace can be mine, regardless of my surroundings or my circumstances. All it takes is mindful practice. More often than not, it’s turbulence from within, caused by undisciplined thoughts and actions, that robs me of peace. This year, to make the most of my word, changing my life in the direction I’m striving to go:

  • I’ve been diving deep into prayer and meditation (and already seeing results!).
  • Written great quotes about peace in my planner and my journal.
  •  Typed–and laminated–four Bible verses to commit to memory, among them:
    • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
    • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
  • I’ve signed up for an online Bible Study through FaithGateway. It’s based off the book Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose by Rebekah Lyons. It starts on January 20th and I’ve got my book and workbook all set and ready to go. 🙂
  • I’ve purchased the book Finding Peace by Charles Stanley and have been savoring each chapter I read.

And as the year progresses, I will take advantage of each life circumstance, both difficult and joyful, to practice peace. Because afterall, practice makes perfect, right?

Let’s talk:  If you participate in the My One Word movement, what is your word for the year. If you haven’t but are interested, it’s not too late. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. If you’re not interested, what is the one word you would choose if you did participate?

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. -St. Francis de Sales

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace. -Dalai Lama

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. -John F. Kennedy

 

Lessons Learned in 2019

Thank you 2019 Hello 2020

2019 was a challenging year in many aspects, but the lessons learned make everything a gift. Top lessons learned in 2019:

  • Insecurity, lack of confidence, anger, resentment, and impatience are by-products of fear. Fear robs us of any kind of peace and contentment.
  • Others’ behaviors and criticisms can only affect us if we let them. Others’ opinions of us, or about what we do, are unimportant and fleeting.
  • What we don’t like in others is often what we don’t like in ourselves.
  • Each of us is enough, just as we are. We don’t need a good “review” or validation from anyone else to prove that. There is no need to compare or compete with anyone else. We are who we are. And each of us is enough.
  • Not to take a single second for granted. Each moment is a gift and wishing for the next one robs us from what is right now.
  • No matter how busy life gets, there is always time for what is important to us. It’s all about prioritizing.
  • Spending quality time with family & friends is one of the most healing, energizing, and healthy ways to spend your time, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
  • Perseverance builds strength & character. Walking through the tough times, instead of running from them, yields worthwhile results.
  • The biggest lessons and greatest peace come from the hardest trials.
  • Taking a time-out is healthy and okay.
  • Completing what needs to be done, even though we don’t want to, making the best of it anyway, is fulfilling and rewarding.
  • It is possible to balance family, a day job, a writing career, and live a Christian life. All it takes is mindfulness of how time is spent.
  • We can either focus on the problem or the blessings. Choose blessings.
  • Perseverance and mindfulness are beneficial in all areas of life.
  • Focusing on self too much creates dissatisfaction and discomfort.
  • Silence truly is golden. Talking too much in a conversation or thinking about your response when listening to someone else, robs both people. It’s okay not to talk unless you have something valuable to add. Talking just to “fill a gap” is usually harmful.
  • Fear doesn’t change the process or the outcome. It does, however, hurt productivity and the way we perform.
  • Gossip is toxic to the person being talked about, to the person doing the talking, and person talked to.
  • Pressing “pause” to fully nurture relationships that are important is one of the greatest blessings.
  • Not taking things personally makes life a whole lot more enjoyable!
  • We can’t change anyone else’s behaviors nor should we try. Others’ behaviors are not about you and me, and that realization is freeing!

Have you learned anything in 2019 that you will bring with you into 2020? Please share.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ―C. S. Lewis

 

Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Now available! Start 2018 by learning how to maximize the peace and joy in your life with the power of gratitude.

Anyone interested/willing to participate in a blog tour, please reply below or send an email to alexandrabenn@hotmail.com. Alexandra will provide the cover photo and the text.

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Daily life can take you on a wild rollercoaster of twists, turns, thrills and disappointments. And sometimes trauma hits home, washing away the very foundation on which you’ve built your life.
Finding Peace Through Gratitude will help you navigate the waters of uncertainty. Rather than life controlling you and your emotions, you can control the way life impacts you. Rather than falling victim to life’s circumstances, it’s possible to find peace in the midst of, and following, difficulty and trauma.
Each chapter ends with a hands-on challenge for the reader as well as a meditative phrase to practice. Watch as your life is transformed by the completely free and utterly powerful gift of gratitude.

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Coming January 1st!

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Daily life can take you on a wild rollercoaster of twists, turns, thrills and disappointments. And sometimes trauma hits home, washing away the very foundation on which you’ve built your life.

Finding Peace Through Gratitude will help you navigate the waters of uncertainty. Rather than life controlling you and your emotions, you can control the way life impacts you. Rather than falling victim to life’s circumstances, it’s possible to find peace in the midst of, and following, difficulty and trauma.

Each chapter ends with a hands-on challenge for the reader as well as a meditative phrase to practice. Watch as your life is transformed by the completely free and utterly powerful gift of gratitude.

 

Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Finding Peace Through Gratitude

Writing fiction has always been my passion. Mysteries, cozy mysteries, suspense, contemporary fiction, it doesn’t matter. I love getting lost in the land of make believe, creating characters, settings, and stories, living vicariously through them. And when I read a story, it’s all about being transported into the world of which I’m reading, feeling like I know the characters. It’s that connection that’s critical. And it’s that connection that makes the end of a good book come too soon.

That being said, I’m dipping my toe into some non-fiction writing and working on a book titled Finding Peace Through Gratitude. Its pages are about the storms I’ve weathered in my life, coming out a better person on the other side, all credit given to the two “G” words – God and Gratitude. It’s an interactive book with a challenge for the reader at the end of each chapter. The projected publication date is January 1, 2018.

Hop on over to my non-fiction website if you’re so inclined. It’s a place I’m developing to be calm and peaceful, somewhere to escape the busyness and chaos of the world. A multi-vitamin of sorts. Posts will continue here, on my fiction website, on Wednesdays, and I’ll be posting about nature and gratitude on my non-fiction site on Fridays.

See you there in the quietness.Tranquility!

 

 

 

 

Women’s History Month Spotlight – Katie Davis

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Young? Only in actual years. This beautiful, amazing young lady has the servant’s heart of one who has lived a lifetime for Jesus. Her book, Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, is on my bookshelf and travels with me everywhere I go as an audio book. I guarantee you’ll be forever changed after reading it.  Warning – Your life will gain new perspective and you will find a desire stirring in your heart to want to serve.

Katie was a popular teen in high school. She was the senior class president, Homecoming queen, she had the boyfriend of her dreams and college plans were in the making. When she talked her parents into allowing her to go to Uganda for a two-week mission trip over Christmas break to work in an orphanage, her life was turned upside down. No longer could Katie imagine living a life of comfort and convenience, with so many things, when there were so many who lived with little to nothing, who were dying from lack of food and medical care.

Katie moved to Uganda at age 18, adopted 13 girls, and has devoted her entire life to serving others. She began a non-profit, Amazima Ministries, and has been an angel sent from God to so many in need.

I have three sponsor children through Compassion International that I’ve talked about in the past – Alex from Tanzania, Amede from Togo, and Mamounata from Burkina Faso – among other causes I support. I have had people tell me that there are plenty of needs to be met in our own country and have gone on to ask why I feel the need to support those outside. Yes, I really have been asked that. And my heart breaks each time. I look at Katie and thank God for people like her. Not because she serves in another country, but because she serves. She serves where the Lord has sent her. We aren’t all called to serve in the same area, doing the same thing, which is a blessing in and of itself, since there are many needs to be met all over the world. I just ask -and challenge – you to look for a way to make the world a better place. To serve those in need. To be a light in the darkness, stillness in the chaos, peace in the midst of war. Be that someone to another. No matter where or to whom.

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That’s my challenge to you. Find someone – or a group of someones – that YOU can make a difference to. Whether it’s your time, money, talent, love…it’s free to love another. It doesn’t cost a cent. But it can potentially save the life of another and will make you the wealthiest you have ever been. Guaranteed.

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”  -Mother Teresa
 

Timeout Tuesday

Slowly breathe in the fragrance of nature, and experience the peace and tranquility of God’s blessings.

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“The earth has music for those who listen.” 

– George Santayana

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Seize the Day

Seize the Day

When I was on my morning run today, it occurred to me how much of life is spent waiting for something to get here. Whether that something is:

  • Vacation.
  • A loved one coming for a visit.
  • Payday.
  • A movie you’ve been waiting to come out on the big screen.
  • The good part of a book you’re reading.
  • Summer (Winter, Fall, Spring).
  • Cleaning to be done.
  • The rain to be over (or the thunderstorm to come, for those who enjoy cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea while the thunder cracks, the rain pounds on the roof, and lightning bolts illuminate the sky).
  • The wedding day (conference, reunion, anniversary, holiday, etc) to arrive.
  • The weekend alone to do whatever your heart desires.

And so on and so on…

While waiting, however, one’s focus is on the event waited for, and so much living is missed during that waiting. All that time up to the moment is lived mindlessly, tasks performed without a second thought, or if thought be given, it’s often rife with anticipation of getting it done so we can get to it.

Days and years go by so quickly, that if we aren’t truly living every moment we’re given, it only results in speeding by even faster. The view outside of the window we’re looking through blurs as we’re focused on what’s not even here. And truly, do we even know it will get here? Tomorrow is not guaranteed, but only the here and now is. What we hold in our hands at this very moment, what we are experiencing right here, right now, is all we really have. Do we want to waste that precious time and experience for what may not come?

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

These thought have crossed my mind before, and I have had good intentions of changing. I tell myself, “from now on I’m going to…”

But then life happens, I fall into the old habitual rut of mindless living, I forget to appreciate the here and now, and I forget to truly live in this moment. Exactly where I am with what I have right now.

I’ve heard it said that it takes two weeks of consistently doing something to make it a habit. What if…

Each morning upon rising, I tell myself that this day, just this one day, I’m going to pay attention to each moment I’m living. I’m going to truly live, just this one day. And what if I do that consistently for two weeks? After all, “One Day at a Time” are not only words of wisdom for maintaining sobriety, but a guide for life in general.

Afterall, in the scheme of things, each event we wait for is only a miniscule of time in our lives, provided we live a full life.  If that event in time actually arrives at all. And when I do come to pass, I want to know, and I want others to know, I’ve lived each God-given day to the fullest, experiencing everything possible there is to experience, whether it’s:

  • My hands in warm soapy bubbles, washing away any stress as I wash the dishes.
  • The feel of a snowflake melting on my eyelashes, or on the tip of my tongue.
  • The scent of a fragrant oil, carrying me back to a favorite memory, as scents have a way of doing –  it’s free transportation that allows me to live favorite moments more than once through memories.
  • The exhilaration of running in the rain or feeling the warmth of the sun caressing my shoulders.
  • Appreciating the stillness and beautiful silence of early morning before the rush of traffic and chatter become the majority of the day.
  • The satisfaction that being of service can bring, whether that service is keeping a clean house for my family, preparing good, healthy nourishment for them, or making a difference in the life of another, no matter what that looks like.
  • Truly feeling the presence of God, hearing His still, small voice, that can only be heard in silence, and in the here and now.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -Buddha

I will begin day one in the morning when my eyes open to see the first light of daybreak. But why wait until then? Right now, right here, I have a book to read, words to write, prayers to say…life to really fully live.

 Seize the Day. (Click for an awesome music video.)

Carpe diem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timeout Tuesday

Take a timeout from the busyness of life to step into the tranquility of nature.

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“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Carpe diem.

Timeout Tuesday

Take a timeout from the busyness of life to step into the tranquility of nature.

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“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.”  -Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica