LIVING THE GOOD LIFE

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Everyone is looking for happiness, yet why do so few find it? Could it be because so many are loosing their connection with God and their fellow men? We can’t find wholeness while estranged from out creator, for the very foundation of our life is broken. It seems that, we are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, mind,  and strength,  and our neighbor as ourselves, for a reason. If we are right with God all our other relationships seem to fall into place.

Extensive research has discovered that contrary to popular belief, it’s not money, fame or high achievement that makes people happy, but quality relationships. 

Everyone needs love! Most of our troubles spring from a lack of it. Like a thirsty man in the desert, we perish without it. Being with those we love lifts our spirits and restores vitality. It renews enthusiasm and strengthens our mind and body.It is easier to remain positive and upbeat in life, when we have someone  to  share our worries and concerns, and our  joy’s with. It makes all the difference to feel validated and appreciated, approved and understood; to be listened to. Sometimes all we need is for someone to just be there, not to solve our problems but to let us know they care. 

Relationships don’t have to be smooth as long as we know we can count on each other in tough times. It’s a great comfort having someone we can always count on. It brings a sense of security, knowing that if we fall, there’s someone there to help us back up.20151027_211225-1

Being socially connected to family and friends, not only keeps us healthier and happier, but tends to keep us more mentally and emotionally stable. Experts in the field of psychotherapy have found that most mental and emotional problems stem directly from issues with  the  relationship most important to us.

Loneliness kills! A person can be lonely in a crowd or even in a marriage, so it’s not just about being in a close relationship, but the quality of the relationship that matters. People who are more isolated from others than they’d like to be, who are starved for affection or are living in the midst of conflict, decline in health and brain function rapidly. Living in the midst of good warm relationships protects us against the stings of old age. Our bodies remain youthful and our memories stay sharper longer. Emotional pain magnifies physical pain. Most happily married couples handle pain much better  than those in bad marriages.

The good life is built with good relationships! Get out and make them. Don’t depend on others to make you happy. There’s nothing attractive about being needy for love. Instead, start reaching out with love and kindness towards those around you and begin building relationships of mutual enjoyment. Be a source of strength. Set goals and strive to improve yourself so you can better serve. When you make a difference in the lives of others you find fulfilment yourself. Lean into relationships with your family friends and community. Replace screen time with people time. Liven up those stale relationships by doing something new together. Reach out and forgive those who have offended you. Grudges take a terrible toll on those who hold them. It’s not worth it, let them go. There isn’t time in this short life for criticism,  fighting or demanding. There’s barely enough time for loving, and only an instant it seems, for that.

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BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME


20151225_092504  Fresh snow-covered the mountains around our farm community. I’d just helped 9-year-old Austyn start a big fire in our wood stove. I was laying on my bed under a soft blanket sipping tea, with him sitting next to me, doing his school work. Landon, my 11-year-old, had gone out a few minutes earlier to do his school work in the other room.

Suddenly,  I heard our neighbor, Adam Langford, ran in yelling “Natalie, your house is on fire! Get out now!!!  It’s ready to blow up!”

At about the same time my older daughter, Tiffany, who was sitting by the warm fire, heard an explosion coming from the attic. We all ran for our lives! I was looking for Landon and yelling for him to get out but there was no sign of him anywhere. I thought he must still be inside and feared for his life. After a few moments, which felt like an eternity, he walked out the front door, asking “What’s the matter?” He’d been in the back room with the T.V. on.  Oh, what a relief to find him!

My husband, John, and our son, Thomas, were gone at the time but got there later. After thinking we could have lost Landon, the thought of losing the house and everything in it paled in comparison. It was just “stuff” that could be replaced. And I was so grateful we were all alive and safe! 

I felt peaceful in the midst of the calamity and kept just giving it to God. I had dedicated our home and everything in it to Him and His purposes long ago. Now if He chose to take it I was willing to let it go. Still, I pleaded for it to be saved if possible.

The house didn’t end up blowing up and within minutes it was surrounded by people rushing to help put out the fire and to save as many of our possessions as they could. Family and friends from Alaska to Cancun watched video clips as it happened. It was quite the spectacle! Being four hours from the nearest city, with no fire trucks around, they resorted to a few garden hoses and some small fire extinguishers. It was a frenzy of activity as they tried to save what they could, regardless of the dangers involved. It soon became obvious the fire could not be contained, so after all they could do to save it, everyone stepped back and watched it burn. 

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John was devastated! As he cried in my arms I told him “Love, we didn’t lose our child. It will be okay!” His brother Sam and my sister Catherine had just lost their beautiful daughter, Caitlyn, in a car accident a month before. Losing our home could not compare. How could we complain?

Everyone was so sweet as they tried to console us. My dear mother in law, Diane Langford, offered us her home, saying she could move elsewhere. Several others said we could live in their empty houses, while others offered their time and services or funds to help us rebuild. Their love and support meant so much and really touched our hearts.

Still, it was hard! Our lovely home that we’d dreamed about, planned, and worked on for over 20 years was gone. The house we started with no money but lots of faith, and had never gotten a mortgage or insurance on, now in a matter of minutes had come tumbling down. It was only a house, but so much living had happened between those walls… so many memories… the love, the laughter, the music, the trials, and the tears. Although we’d moved around many times, we’d always had a sense of stability, knowing we had ‘Our Home’ in Mexico to go back to. 

I’d relinquished it all to God,  but I was so grateful for each thing that they were able to save. Tiffany’s piano and the gorgeous mirror above it were gone, along with my lifetime collection of favorite books. But we were able to save the most important things: journals, all the family photos, and other items that were special to us. 

It takes so many little things to make a house a home. We’d escaped bare foot and without our coats, just grateful to be safe, but now the smallest items would be missed. All the little comforts of life that we’d come to depend on and taken so much for granted. Like something as insignificant as my chap stick, where was it? My lips were so dry.  But what I missed most was a spot of my own – I felt so displaced.

Darkness fell and a long night followed.  Lights from the burning flames kept flickering through the window as I lay listening  to the cans and bottles from our pantry explode in the distance.

 After finally falling  asleep, I woke with a scare from a nightmare of our house going up in flames, only to face the reality of it once again. Then towards morning rain came down and quenched what was left of the flames. 

A new day was dawning as I looked out at what remained of our home. Such a sad, nostalgic feeling swept over me, seeing only the strong adobe and brick walls standing amongst all the rubbish and dying embers. 

Later, as I walked through the ashes, I found a page torn from a book with these words highlighted, that I felt were more than coincidental:

“Life isn’t to be found in things- but in Jesus Christ…for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth.”                        

These words comforted me as they reminded me of my initial feelings and of the peace I had felt. Surely, God still had a plan for our lives and would work things out for our good. I knew that with everyone’s love and our trust in the Lord we would go on, looking with hope to the future. 

OUR HABITS DEFINE US

OUR HABITS DEFINE US
OUR HABITS DEFINE US

To a great extent our daily habits, whether good or bad, will determine our future.  They will either control us or we will control them. Habits are acquired or learned behaviors, the things we do automatically, without any conscious effort.

Whether our lives are going well or falling apart, we all want to do better. Stagnant water stinks and our lives do too if we’re not continually trying to improve. When we are stretching and pushing forward in our thoughts, attitudes and actions we increase in our ability to bless others.

An old Indian fable says that on the inside of each of us there is a constant battle raging between a good and a bad wolf. The one that wins is always the one that gets fed the most. If we feed the bad one it becomes stronger and it will immediately want more, but if we starve the negative spirit into submission, and nourish the good one, we will rise to a higher level and develop positive character traits that lead to peace and happiness.

Practice makes perfect, so if we want to develop good habits we must practice being self-disciplined and self-controlled. Bad habits are acquired quite easily through lack of care,  but they become hard to live with. Good habits are usually harder to develop. They result from a willingness to sacrifice and endure temporary pain for something worthwhile. It takes great determination to press past the discomfort of change. Forming a new habit is always harder at the beginning, so at first we have to be extremely disciplined, but every time we resist the temptation to return to our old ways, it gets easier. Once we’ve retrained ourselves, the new habit will come naturally, the struggle will subside, and we’ll be much more productive.

Like gravity we are each pulled to our habits. Which ones are holding you down? Examine your life and take inventory of the way you are living. Ask yourself why you do what you do. If you discover some habits that aren’t adding to your life, start replacing them with ones that will take you in the direction you want to go. Practice replacing your negative thoughts with faith filled ones, and retrain your mind to dwell on the positive. Never allow yourself to indulge in negative thinking.  It’s a choice! You decide! Take responsibility for your choices and quit making excuses. Push past the pain of change and soon you’ll be free from the bondage of your addiction. Stop procrastinating! Start working on overcoming your bad habits today by working on strengthening your good ones. Focus on a weakness only long enough to discover a solution. What you focus on always increases so keep your focus on what you want to improve on and the person you want to become.

You really can change, no matter how stuck you feel. Pray for the help you need to defeat your bad habits. Don’t settle for anything less than your best. No obstacles are insurmountable! Remember, God’s  power is far greater than any power that’s  trying to hold you back. Fight the fight with confidence and don’t let anything or anyone master you. With God’s help you can break free and be victorious.

“We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.”

MY DREAM

Screenshot_2015-06-21-22-41-16-1      As it began I was trying to warn people. Then I saw people running in every direction in a state of chaos and confusion. I saw what looked like a woman shot up in the air and fall back to the ground dead.

I saw a dark clothed soldier who was hitting a civilian with a short black stick that looked like a club, over and over on his shoulder, near his neck. I thought that was odd. It seemed to be shocking him. His whole body shook with each blow, until he fell dead. The hard-hearted cruelty of the soldier was horrible to watch!

Suddenly from around the corner, I saw a train coming my direction. (I wasn’t actually in the dream, but an observer from above the ground, with a view that opened out on both sides.) It was a long row of flatbed trailers, each carrying identical, dark bombing tanks or cannon looking machines. Then in an instant, everything before me, the train, the people, the ground; absolutely everything, turned blackish grey and looked burnt to a crisp, as if it would crumble to powder if touched. It was devastating to behold!

I woke from the dream with the thought “I just saw into the future”. As horrific as it seemed to me, I felt peaceful. I prayed we’d be led to where we should be through the calamities and to where we could be used to best advantage to strengthen and help others.

I wrote the dream down and put it in the back of my journal. I understood the train symbolize that this was just around the corner, but wondered if that referred to our time, or God’s. Then a few days later, I saw a post with 14 different videos clips of trains with military equipment and all were the same.  Since then, I found out that there really are such sticks or clubs that electrocute. I also didn’t know that a nuclear bomb would completely burn to crisp everything in an instant. I’d understood them only to be a mushroom cloud and radiation fall out. Many years ago I was touched with a scripture sating that in the Last Days, only those who closed their eyes to violence would be saved. I knew I wanted to be saved and ever since then I’ve tried to avoid watching violence, so such scenes were unfamiliar to me. I believe this dream to be a series of  sequential events that are right at our door and I pray we will be ready.

LIFE IS IN THE MOMENTS- MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT!

 EVERY SECOND COUNTS!
-LIFE IS IN THE MOMENTS-

In our fast paced society, with everything competing for our attention, the proper use of time has become quite distorted. In order to make the best use of our time, it’s important to understand God’s will for us, and to invest our time in ways that honor Him. If we counsel with Him in all that we do, and follow His promptings, He will help us fulfill our purpose and accomplish the most good with our lives.

We need to protect and value our time, by living more intentionally and focusing on what matters most. Developing efficient management skills, through proper planning and scheduling, helps us integrate our different roles and activities in ways that make life flow smoothly.

Our lives are fleeting and constantly changing. There’s no promise of tomorrow and what we hold most dear can be lost in an instant. With the deterioration of family’s being so widespread, it’s important  to do the things that will preserve our family units; freely sharing our time and meeting their needs, and sacrificing our comfort and pleasure if necessary, for their well-being.

We only have a given amount of time to accomplish our missions, and we’ll have to give an account of how we use every alloted minute. We ought to consider what is of most worth, not only today, but in view of eternity. Every day of our existence should be spent improving our minds, increasing in faith, purifying our hearts, gaining strength and ability, practicing self-control in all our affairs, and  acting in ways that will win the love and confidence of all who know us. We should regularly repent, forgive, and strive to better our relationships; settling our differences and letting go of our hurts. When we overcome our hang ups and fears, and step outside of our comfort zone, we begin to experience the thrill of living a life without limits.

We live in a land of endless opportunity so it’s wise to be selective. There’s so much available, that even if we choose only the best, we’ll still never get to it all. We must learn to say “No”, even to some good things, and recognize which events and activities would be best to refrain from. Misuse of our time prevents us from spending quality time with the ones we love. It can also keep us in a state of constant chaos, where we’re always falling behind in our duties and running late. When we’re not on top of things, it’s hard  to relax and enjoy peaceful and tranquil moments.

If we live too much for the future, we lose today and time slips by in anticipation of something more. If we remain stuck in the past, we lose our joy for today. The best place to be and to focus our attention is right in front of us, here and now, in the present.

It’s critical to balance and prioritize our lives, and to consider in which direction we are headed. A good place to start is by asking questions like:  “Where, and on what, am I spending my time, and why? Am I doing it out of necessity or for lack of caring or planning? Is it wasted or productive time? Am I just serving myself, or am I making a difference for good, in the lives of those around me? If I die tomorrow, will I leave anything of worth behind, any kind words and deeds,  or sweet memories? Will any work of excellence, or a masterpiece remain, to show that I was there? How many people will miss the big and little things I do? Who will mourn my loss? When I’m laid in the grave, stiff and cold, what stories of me do I want to be told? Will my legacy of faith and integrity go on, or will it fade as the world keeps spinning ’round, not even noticing  I’m gone?

Life is so precious! If we want to be ranked with the noble and great ones, we will never be found wasting our time. We each have so much to give! We ought to do all in our power to make the world a better place, because we are in it; to leave our mark upon the earth and imprints of love on people’s hearts.

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KEEPERS OF THE HOME

image   One of the most wonderful blessings in life is a happy home, where love and peace abide; a safe haven, where we feel comfortable and can be ourselves.

There’s no genuine happiness apart from the home. It takes much toil and effort for its establishment and there are no cheap substitutes. Joy comes in service, and there is no greater service than that which promotes and preserves family life.

As mothers and wives,  our first priority should be to strengthen our families and perform our duties at home; making it a place where God’s Spirit can dwell and His love be felt. On us, depends not only the success of our home, but the prosperity of our nation.

With the onslaught of negative influences in our culture, and the attacks on the traditional family unit, we must  stand up against all that threatens to weaken, or destroy our homes! The sanctity of motherhood is constantly being demeaned and  needs to be defended. Mother’s are the heart and soul of the family and are extremely vital to our society. Children need to protected from evil; be taught what is right, and raised up in purity, by a good mother.

The love of a mother is so unconditional and sacrificial, it is the purest and closest to God’s. It is to mother’s that we owe our very existence; her influence extends for generations.

It’s  in our home, where we as women, have the most influence. We need to use it wisely and magnify it, and not trade this  powerful force for fleeting pleasures or worthless endeavors. Our responsibilities are of everlasting importance. No worldly success will ever compensate for failure within our home.

There is an art to homemaking that brings great rewards and lasting satisfaction. Although it is very undermined in our modern-day, it is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs. It takes a lot of sacrifice and selfless service to keep everything functioning well and the family’s needs met. Slacking in our duties can cause much unnecessary suffering.  We need to recognize the magnitude and importance of our calling and our vast potential in this area.

As mothers we set the atmosphere of the home. If we aren’t happy, usually no one is, so our attitudes are of utmost importance. We set the example for our children to follow. When children act out or misbehave, it usually has more to do with us, than it does them. We should speak with wisdom before our young ones and cultivate attributes that tend to elevate, refine, and purify the heart.

Our children are our most precious gifts. They need to be deeply  cherished and loved. Other than life itself,  spending time with our children is the greatest gift we can give them. They need a mother much more than any luxury. We ought to do all in our power to be at home with our children, and to teach them properly, so they won’t  be ruined for lack of training.

Nurturing is not confined to those who have children of their own. Some women are unable but  can still provide motherly influence to children not born to them and bless many lives through their love and service.

Our child-bearing and rearing years fly by all too quickly, but the lessons our children learn from us will never be forgotten. The seeds of virtue, honor, and integrity that we sow, will be felt throughout their lives and become a defense and a barrier between them and temptation. When they grow up they will remember and appreciate all we did for them, and taught them in their youth. The fondest memories in old age, will be of their childhood, around the family circle.

May god bless you mother’s, and give you the strength, courage, wisdom and  love to fulfill the measure of your creation and accomplish your great work.