A prayer of thanksgiving

Praying Woman“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3:16

Father God, to me every day is a day for giving thanks. You have blessed me beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

But, America sets aside one day each year as a conscious reminder of how we are blessed to live in America. You brought us to this country so that we could worship You freely and without condemnation.

So many others around the world do not have this freedom and I want to lift each person up to You for guidance, safety, and fulfillment of your promises in their life. Some will be martyred today, before the sun sets on them, for their belief in the One true God. Others will continue to live in fear as they gather in secret to worship and learn more about You as they study the Bible and pray.

God, I pray that someday, around the world. that each country will have a designated thanksgiving day. A day when they were given the freedom to worship You and share their faith with others.

And Father God, let every American start this Thanksgiving Day on their knees, truly thanking God that we live in America. Let their focus be on all that You have freely given to us and let the Holy Spirit speak to each Christian on how we can give back to You this coming year. Ask us how to live life in a way that is not taking our freedom for granted, but using it as a means to live a life reflecting your Son, Jesus Christ, who provided that freedom. Let us come together as one Christian body. Bring a revival to America, Lord, and let it begin in me.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen

Advertisements

Journaling 101: The end of day journal

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot in my head when I get ready to retire at the end of the day! I have found that if I take the time to open my journal and write some of it down, it clears the way for a good night’s sleep.

So what are some ways to get this pen moving? Here are some suggestions, but in the end, keeping  a journal is personal and only you know how it can bring you to peace and quiet.

  1. Use a journal that encourages you to think good thoughts. I keep a journal on my nightstand that opens up with a scripture on each page. I use that verse to start my thoughts about the day I just completed and I start writing. For instance, one verse recently was Psalm 119:2, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.” From that I started praying and writing, “Father God, I pray that You would set my feet on your righteous path each day. Guard my way from turning to the left or to the right. Protect me from falling into the traps that Satan sets for me and keep my reputation spotless that others will not be able to place blame. Keep my testimony pure that I might lead others to You.” As I prayed, little things came to me that needed to be let go so I wrote them down.
  2. Don’t try to start a writing marathon right before you go to sleep; sometimes that only causes unnecessary worry about if you are “doing it right.” Again, there is no right or wrong way to journal. Sometimes my writing is as brief as , “Today was a really yucky day and everything I did seemed to turn out wrong! Tonight I will rest and tomorrow is a new day to get it right.”
  3. I know that in today’s technological world, the temptation to use a tablet for your journal is great; at least it is for me. But I have found that when I do that, it not only stimulates my brain into wide awake status (studies have backed me up on this), but it also distracts me into other things I could be doing, like playing Solitaire! No, put the tablet down, pick up a pen and start writing.

This blog post is short and sweet, but that is what  a night time journal entry should be; a release from pressure.

Happy Journaling!

Sheila

Journaling 101: The Basics

Journaling 101: Therapy for MY heart, mind and soul

Journaling can be very intimidating. After all, you are often putting into words your inner most thoughts, questions, and feelings. And that is why we are starting out a little slowly.

The mechanics of writing in your journal should be whatever you are comfortable with. They can be as simple as a composition notebook and a ball point pen, or as elaborate as a hard – bound journal and a monogrammed quill pen. I have several that I use and each serves the purpose of putting words to paper.

cropped-heartnotesoflife_logo1.jpgI actually used one of my open journal entries as the logo for HeartNotes of Life. This spiral notebook is where I write my  everyday communication with God. I use the spirals to hold a ball point pen that has a clip on the side so that it fits nicely over the spirals on the top end of the notebook. Spiral notebook w pen

This notebook can be bought at most retail stores; I personally like to get mine at Michael’s Crafts; they sell many different kinds and are very reasonably priced You can usually find them on an end rack.

One type that I particularly like using Magnet notebook-1(especially for the support groups I lead) is the one with the magnetic cover. The flap opens out, but, when closed, it stays shut for privacy.

 

The journals we’ve talked about so far can be used for your personal thoughts, communications with God, or sermon note – taking. They are small and easy to carry or slip into a Bible cover.

Prayer journal -1Another type of journal is the Prayer Journal. There are many different layouts for these; some  incorporate daily devotions and other leads for prayers.

Some people are more comfortable writing in a digital journal. There are many available sites you can use such as the robust Penzu site. This site encourages journal entries for many different topics: Bible reading, dreams, prayer, pregnancy, and so on. If you, like me, are really comfortable with writing daily on a computer – based journal, then this will be your ideal! Just keep a small hard copy journal handy for those times when you don’t have your computer or tablet with you.

These are really the basics. Other than what type of pen/pencil/computer you will use, this should get you started. Next we will go into what generates productive journaling. What is your purpose for writing in a diary type journal and why is it important to write.

Journaling 101: Therapy for MY heart, mind and soul

Until next time! Happy writing!

Sheila

 

 

Journaling 101: Therapy for MY heart, mind and soul

Journaling 101: Therapy for the heart, mind and soul.Good day to all! I have always been a believer that people learn by example. I’ve tried to limit the words that I use with my children as they were growing up (and even as adults), knowing that they would only listen to so many rules and would always listen to the actions that my husband and I take in our everyday lives. 

Having said that, I want to share a couple of examples from my own journaling over the past week. I pray that these writings will trigger thoughts in you that can be put down in your own Write to Life journal. 

4/11/2017 Tuesday Sitting on the back porch swing

Thank You, Lord God, for this time that You have set aside for me to be alone with You. As I watch the scene in front of me – the squirrels running in the yard and up the trees, the birds flying to and from the feeder, the rain falling softly all around me – I am reminded of Your great love. I have done sinful, unmentionable, things in my life, but You loved me enough to keep calling until I answered with my whole heart, mind, and body. I am Yours, Lord Jesus, to do with as You will. I am loved. I can never repay all that You have done for me, except to walk sinless as possible before You. To confess my inner sins each day, and to bow in worship to You is my calling. I need no other. I am made righteous through Your great love. I am worthy as a daughter of the King. I am holy, because You are holy.

My Father God, what would You have me to do today? How can I share Your love with the world today? I don’t know exactly what it means, but I am Yours – heart, mind, and body. Where You lead me, I will follow. Where You send me, I will go. And when You tell me to stay where I am to wait for You, I will stay.

Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for trying to “make things happen.” I know that You are the only sure way and I give my very life to You. I will slow my steps to walk with You. I will be still and know that You are God. And I will listen for Your still, small, voice above the chaos of this world.”

Wednesday, I got a call that my brother was being air lifted to a hospital about an hour away and it was critical. Over the next two days, we watched as his brain activity slowed down and we expected the worst. We started prayer chains, but I honestly didn’t know how to pray except for God’s Will to be done. I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday at the hospital, but went home Thursday night to pray and to take care of my own health needs. Here is my journal entry for Friday. 

4/14/2017 Good Friday Sitting on the back porch with the sun shining brightly all around me.

Our family saw yet another miracle today. For two days, we didn’t know if my brother was going to live or, at best, be brain impaired. This morning, Good Friday, he woke up at 4:30 AM and wanted to talk to his sons. Many Prayer Warriors were interceding for him, and I give God, and them, the credit, because I honestly did not know how to pray. I love my little brother so much, but to see him go through the trials that he has gone through his whole life, is hard to do.

But God is not finished with him yet and my prayer now, and always, is that my family would turn to Jesus, the Savior, Healer, and Redeemer. Speak to them, Lord, and cover each of them with Your saving Grace. In Jesus’ Name! Let them see that You alone were directing the doctor’s thoughts and actions when they didn’t have the answers. Show them without doubt that our brother is alive because of Your Healing Hands. Show Your glory in his healing, Lord. And bring them to salvation through Your cross. Amen

Sometimes my journaling just wanders. But as you can see, once you start, it’s like your heart takes over and speaks for you. That is where the healing power of writing takes place. It releases your inner thoughts and allows you to see and feel what you need to see and feel. I would like to suggest that you get a journal or diary in preparation for our next blog. This notebook doesn’t have to be expensive, but I would suggest that you get something that will be special to you. I get most of mine at Michael’s Crafts, they have a really good selection and they don’t take my grocery money to get one. Also, get a pen and a highlighter that you will use only for making entries into this journal. 

Until next time! God bless, 

Sheila

 

Journaling 101: Therapy for the heart, mind and soul.

cropped-heartnotesoflife_logo1.jpgI luv to write. But most of you who are following this blog know that already. (BTW, I spell it “luv” because I believe that we use the term “love” way too freely and for things that we wouldn’t necessarily die for. But that’s for another blog.)

I’m not really sure how many segments will be in this Journaling 101 series, but I assure you, there will be enough content for you accomplish three things:

  1. Understand why you should journal.
  2. Get a grasp of how to journal.
  3. Open your mind to what to journal.

I guess I have always kept a journal in one way or another. When I was 10 years old I used to sit and write country songs that told my feelings at the time. I know you’re probably asking, what kind of feelings does a 10 year old have, right? Well, you would be surprised. I took the circumstances of my life, the disruption of my home life and turned it into a grown up version of betrayal and confusion. I even found an ad in one of my Mom’s “True Story” magazines asking for songwriter’s and I sent it in. Well, I got a refusal letter in the mail about a month later. Then I heard my song on the radio about six months later so that was the last time I went that route with my writing.

I would write poems and stories and hide them under my mattress, because the feelings in them were personal and I did not want to share them with anyone. As I grew up, I used writing as a way of managing the rejection that I felt most of my life. It wasn’t until I was divorced and raising a child on my own that I actually started organizing my thoughts into a sort of notebook. Don’t get me wrong, my writing wasn’t always the negative in my life; I wrote about my son’s first steps, first words, and first day of school. I also wrote about the day I met my husband of nearly 40 years and our first date. Writing in a journal is therapy for the heart, mind, and soul.

It’s not hard to get started writing, but it does take conscious effort. And there are many ways to journal. I have a friend who has been dealing with anger for quite some time and I suggested that he write down what he wanted to say to the person he was angry with, then tear the paper up, and throw it away. Just rip it up until there were just tiny, tiny, pieces of paper that look as if they have been shredded. The act of writing it down, for your eyes only, not only releases your anger into something tangible, but it also gets it out into the open where you can heal. I once read that unresolved anger is much like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It only hurts you.

Keeping a journal can be a way of offering praise for the blessings God has given to you. Just writing down five things a day that you are thankful for can help you keep your focus on the good in your life and enable you to live through the bad. Praising God is one of my favorite things to journal. As I do my devotions each morning, I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me and as I write, He does just that. Sometimes I will start out praising God and then I find that my writing has changed to prayer for a particular person or situation.

Don’t force yourself to write one way or another. One thing I used to teach my high school English students, when they had a tough writing assignment, was to just start writing; the thoughts would follow.  You can do the same with writing in a journal. There is so much to write about, for your eyes only. You are the person you are writing for; no one else needs to read it. And the beautiful part is, you can go back and read through what was written in the past. I had five miscarriages before I finally carried our daughter. I wrote of the pain of loss and the joy of birth. And I can see, now, how God had His arms around me all the way.

I call keeping a Journal my “Write to Life.” Happy, sad, needy, fulfilled, rejoicing with God, or angry with God. Writing is therapy for the heart, mind, and soul. Stay with me as we explore Journaling 101 over the next couple of weeks. And, if you have any specific questions about how to Journal, please contact me and we’ll write it through!

Be blessed,

Sheila