May 23, 2017

Sing🎼

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:12 am by Broken & Brave

When it’s warm at night I enjoy the windows open. Houses can get so stuffy. Fresh air is sometimes all we need to increase our comfort. The past few nights I’ve done just that, only to awaken to a choir of zealously singing birds. I mean a lot of them, all singing together, but singing something different…with great fervor!

Have you ever noticed that birds sing more intensely in the morning? It seems they are super happy and excited to greet the day! Are they God’s original alarm clock to humanity to help us get up and get going? These are things I wonder.

I realize I wake up every day a bit like how these birds do. I am an early riser. I like to be up while everything and everyone is still quietly resting. I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation for what the day may bring. Even on days that are very full or I have a dreaded task ahead of me, I somehow still feel good about how it will all turn out.

This is not my natural mindset or temperament. My personality is a mix of temperaments. I am mostly phlegmatic (faithful and loyal) with a touch of the others and more than I like to admit of the melancholy temperament. Melancholy tempered people are usually very organized, dependable, and on task, but they also tend toward pessimism over optimism. I naturally have that.

But I believe the negative personality attributes of any temperament are only temporal when we have Jesus and a decided heart.

I decided many years ago I wanted to change my mindset. So I did. I took decision and then I managed that decision every day and then it became my new habit. I grabbed Philippians 4:8 and made it my anthem. It became the song in me.
I also owned Philippians 4:6,7. Not to forget 2 Cor. 10:5-7.

Do you know that if you hammer a nail into a tree that tree won’t die?
It will continue to grow. It will grow around the nail and absorb it, the nail becoming apart of it. The same is true for us. I nailed these scriptures to my mind and I began to grow. They sank deeper into me becoming a part of me and their roots are tangled in my heart now, not just my mind. I have ownership of them to the level that I no longer consider myself the person I used to be, the non-morning person waking up grumpy and needing isolation until I was ready to face other people and my day. Does this sound familiar? I think it’s the morning ritual of most Americans or there would not be such a demand for coffee and shirts and mugs glorifying it’s morning ritual miracles.

IMG_9879

I made the decision to change more than a decade ago. I decided and then I took action to manage that decision. I trained my heart and mind to comply with the Word of God. As Believers we need to be like those little birds outside my window. Happy. Joyous. Infectious with optimism. It’s not natural to humanity, especially when conditions are poor. We serve an unnatural God and we must be as uncommon in our approach to life as He is! It will get you noticed and those the Holy Spirit draws will come in and discover for themselves, with Jesus we can always succeed, be free and be happy.

Let us wake up every day and say,
“Lord, what will be my anthem today?”

Infect the world with Joy today! ~Nicole

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

Advertisements

May 15, 2017

Reason to Celebrate!

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:09 am by Broken & Brave

img_8485

May is such a full month. It is for most families, but for my family it is especially true. I usually have to mentally gird myself and prepare for the intensity of the months schedule. Not only for last minute school projects to help children with, but also for the myriad of award nights, graduations, banquets for sports, and school performances. On top of it all we have several family birthdays, Mothers Day and my Anniversary. It is a lot!

Over the weekend my husband and I wanted to go out to dinner for our Anniversary which happened to fall on Mothers Day this time around. It would’ve been easy this year to say, let’s just do it another time, but we had made reservations and it was all set for the night before Moms Day, Saturday night. We chose a locally family owned and operated restaurant. I love supporting local businesses over chains. It is a great way to love your community, support the entrepreneur spirit and the customer service is always better. You always care for and work harder for something you are personally invested in. The owner of a local business is always fully committed, All In!

Back to my story…

It was an extraordinary night. The place was packed! It usually is busy, and I thought there would be early Mother’s Day celebration patrons…but I didn’t consider the local university graduation was that day and a local high school’s prom night. I’d say the place was a zoo, but it was to perfect a night to be a zoo. It was beautiful. The energy filled the place. Every single face had a smile fastened broadly in place. It was a night to celebrate. Everyone in the house was exuberant, animated and happy. As we waited to be seated I took it all in. This experience of watching those dining was a gift for me all in itself. One table, about 20 people full, appeared to be for college graduation I presume. The average age appeared to be 22-24 and a few parental figures mixed in. The Patriarch stood and made a length toast to a young man. I couldn’t hear his words, but I didn’t have to. Their faces and posture said it all. My thoughts drifted to my own family and how this would be my scenario next spring…I will have two graduates. One from high school and one from college. Oh the party we will have!

We saw many people we know, that’s what happens in the community and I love it. We enjoyed excellent food. I took the night in, and for the rest of the weekend the joy in that restaurant marinated in my soul and savored and sipped it all in. You don’t see so much happiness and joy in one room like that anymore. Maybe at a wedding or special occasion where everyone gathers together. But this was a restaurant filled to the capacity with all different people, all different reasons to celebrate, but all enormously happy. It was beautiful.

I have no special encouragement for this post. I just knew all weekend I wanted to put it to pen because of how it’s beauty impacted my soul. I wanted to share it with you…

Find beauty today, in everything you do. ~Nicole

April 25, 2017

Nostalgia

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:39 am by Broken & Brave

Sit back for a moment. Ponder with me. Think for a moment…what familiar thing arouses your senses of happier things? Times or experiences in your life that make you feel good inside? Do you have a familiar sound or smell or sight that makes your heart warm? Think about it for a moment.

I was driving into town yesterday and saw a plastic bag in a tree. Have you ever noticed plastic bags in trees? It’s quite common actually. I used to never notice them.

When I see a plastic bag in a tree I think immediately of my Mother-In-Law. My Mother-In-Law is well advanced in years. She is old enough to be my Grandmother rather than a Mother. My husband is the youngest of four and his oldest sibling is close in age to my parents. My husband is a great deal older than I. So many of her habits, traditions, etc. are different than mine. Both because of her generation and her location, New England.

Years ago while driving with her up the east coast she told my oldest, who was like 3 years old at the time, she wanted to play a game with her. They would spy out plastic bags in trees as we drove a rather long journey. I said nothing, but was thinking to myself, “A bag in a tree? What? This will be a short game.” I was shocked when I kind of played along and there were tons! To this day I notice bags caught on tree branches and I inwardly smile and think on my Mother-In-Law and her little car game.

Did you ponder with me a bit? Did you think about it? Do have things that bring back fond memories? A sight, a sound, a smell?

I have a fond memory of the smell of bleach. Yep, bleach. I love the smell of bleach. It’s a potent and powerful smell, but to me it reminds me of walking in the front door after walking home from school in my childhood. I was fortunate to have my Mom at home when I was a kid. I grew up in a clean and tidy house. I think my Mom cleaned house everyday. So when I’d step in the house, it would be that clean smell of household bleach. I guess some kids came home to the smell of fresh baked cookies, but I loved the smell just the same.

So go ahead, your turn to play. Nostalgia is a glorious thing to cause a smile to erupt on your face. No one ever need know why you’re smiling. The smile will be contagious and inviting and others will smile along with you. Take a moment and think on your favorite smells, sights or silly things that mean nothing to others, but carry fondness of heart to you. These are things to cherish.

Have a Glorious Day…

March 29, 2017

Light & Life

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 6:29 am by Broken & Brave

IMG_4628

“Peace, when ruling the heart and ruling the mind, opens in both every avenue of joy.”     ~Sarah W. Stephens

As the body of Christ we are to have both unity and diversity, but all should be walking in intense levels of peace and joy. If you have yet to discover joy or its source, I hope this little diatribe will help you.

“Therefore with joy you will draw water from the well of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy flows from the soul despite conditions of life. When things are good, we have joy and happiness. When things are not so good, we may not have outward happiness, but we can flow in continual joy. True joy spills out onto others. We don’t just talk of joy and walk around sour. We have a sweet disposition that encourages others without requiring any words spoken. It is like a pleasing aroma that fills the air.

So how do you get there? You must fix your position. Stop focusing on the things not well in your life. Focus on your blessings. Everyone has a blessing! So find it, something to be thankful for. Maybe you struggle with gratitude? Ungratefulness is the most slippery path to misery and is the opposite of joy.

It will take work.

•You have to focus your mind on good, not evil (Phil. 4:8)

•When your thoughts stray, you quickly correct them and bring them back in alignment with something you might look forward to or something that brings your heart a light and life giving countenance.
(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Anything that produces light and life to your heart, think on these things. It could be your kids, your pet, it could be a favorite blanket you get to snuggle under after a long day. It could be how good you plan to feel after eating the healthy meal instead of the fast food. Example, I had a client last night tell me of the length and stress of her day. She has a very prominent position in my community with much responsibility. She was exhausted and almost skipped her workout, but decided she would feel better after if she went and she did! She looked forward to the “after” satisfaction vs. the exertion of the workout. She found her joy.

“In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

You’ve got the idea. Once you find your joy you will know it. It will spill over on others like a gentle stream of refreshing waters. You won’t have to force yourself to smile, it will just glide across your face effortlessly.

If you haven’t found joy yet, don’t be upset. It eludes countless people. My pen is simply wanting to encourage you into some action steps to find it. So if your tired of the monotony of your misery, I hope this yields a key.

Come alive with Life and Light and be vibrant in Christ! ~Nicole