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Mornings with Ellis, Tyler and Tracy…A positive way to start your day!


Today’s Positive Thoughts

Give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:31 NIV

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

Nomophobia Changed My Life

Yep, it finally happened to me. 12 days ago I dropped my iPhone into water and experienced “Nomophobia” which is the phobic reaction to being without your cell phone, (no-mo-mobile-phone-phobia).

For the first time in my adult life I don’t have a mobile phone, and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t able to talk/text/FB/Instagram/Tweet/Post or watch baby panda’s sneeze on YouTube. (Don’t judge until you’ve seen this adorable video).  Oh, and I found out that while my phone was dead, I’m actually more alive. Here’s what I’ve noticed during these days of technology detox and full scale withdrawal. A lot of people are seriously addicted to their smart phones and sadly, I was one of them.

There are a series of very clever YouTube videos about the dumb things people do with smart phones, (missing the love of their life, not seeing cash right in front of them, running into trees, buildings, traffic, trains, all because they were watching their phone instead of their feet), and while they are funny – the truth they illustrate is quite sad. Our culture is addicted to smart media – and that’s quite dumb. One study found that 7 in 10 people are actually afraid to lose or be separated from their mobile phones. Dr. Leslie Perlow from Harvard Business School did some pioneer research on the addictive nature of mobile technology and discovered from 1600 respondents that –

70% check their smart phone within one hour of getting up.
56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep.
48% check over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
51% check continuously during vacation.
44% said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

In fact, a study commissioned by Nokia discovered the average cellular phone user can’t ignore their phone for more than 6 minutes and check their phone for updates150 times per day!

While this may seem excessive, think about how many times you pick up your phone to check a text message, or email, or tweet, or Instagram or Facebook, or the weather report, or view your bank account balance. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found 56% of American adults now have smart phones while 36% have only basic mobile phones and 9% don’t own a cell phone at all.

Sadly, more than 50% admit to texting and driving, even though a Mythbuster’s controlled experiment showed this behavior was 6 times more dangerous than driving drunk. (Did you see the news story of the woman who posted, “So Happy listening to the Happy song,” on Facebook right before she had a car wreck from texting and driving and died at the scene of the crash).

Smart phones are more than just phones because for many people they represent a soul mate, a constant companion and source of connection to the world around them. According to a poll by SecurEnvoy, 70% of women have phone separation anxiety, (panic over the thought of losing their phone) as opposed to 61% of men.  Almost 75% of participants in the study indicated their smart phone is less than 5 feet from them at any given time. It’s like our culture is now more connected to their smart phone than they are to their own family.

So, how can you tell if your smartphone connection has become a full-blown addiction?

Here are the symptoms to watch out for in you or a loved one –

  • Feeling stressed worried or anxious whenever you don’t have your phone in your hand or sight, (like it was a small child that needed constant attention)
  • Continually checking your cellphone for new tweets/posts or the need to instantly respond to text messages
  • Not really listening to the person in front of you because you are “just checking a text” or posting a photo on Instagram or liking something on Pinterest, all of which directly say to the other person that Twitter was more important than them.
  • Running an errand and turning around because you left your phone on the charger. (what did we do at Publix before we had smartphones to scan and comparison shop? Oh, that’s right, we had to think ahead…Gotcha)

One of the elements of addictive behavior is the classic denial dynamic that thinks,“well, I might have a problem, but my problem isn’t as bad as your problem”. And while doing research on nomophobia came to understand I was in the denial group. Simply stated – it had become a way bigger problem than I ever realized.

Over the last week and half I’ve had time to write some letters, read 3 books and exercise more. I was able to go visit a friend and got more sleep. Where did all the time come from? You guessed it – not having a phone to continually check, monitor and respond to. It’s hard to admit it but I was way too connected to my mobile phone and was more stressed because of it. Here’s how I define cellphone stress.

S - Self-Absorbed

T- Tired

R - Rushed

E – Exhausted

- Serious

S – Solitude

The last one may seem unusual to you, but clinical research shows the more someone uses technology or social media, the less they are really connected to people. That’s right. MORE = LESS. More social media = less connection to real people . That’s a very bad trade, but one I’ve been guilty of making – How about you?

Anything can be abused to the point of dependence or addiction, including smartphones. It’s interesting to notice as culture becomes hungrier for smarter/faster technology to stay connected that cellphone-free zones are more common. Remember when restaurants and airports began to ban public smoking because it affected others? Now the same places are banning cellphone use by creating “Quiet Zones” and one chain even offers discounts for guests who deposit their mobile device with the hostess to pick up after their meal.

Maybe the rapid rise of smart phones that lead to dumb behavior, (for me wasting a lot of time), has reached a peak because there are national campaigns to get people to turn off their smartphones for a day, (Serenity Saturdays), I’ve heard that many spiritual leaders take an actual “Fast” from technology to better hear from God. What about the 9% of people in the US who don’t have cellphones? Interestingly enough they mostly don’t want them. Why? Because they have less stress from technology trying to steal the simplicity of their lives.  I define this type of minimalist change in these words to move away from stress and anxiety to a better quality of life. Not having a smart phone creates people who are –

S – Self-Aware

I – Insightful

M – Meditation

P – Peaceful

L – Listening

E- Experience Life

Losing a phone, (or having it stolen as the case might be), might make some people panic, but the experience gradually has given me a welcome respite to a simpler life. It’s been almost two weeks without the temptation to check messages at traffic lights. Instead I listen to music safe for the little ears on www.Zradio.com or audiobooks from the Library. I’m able to watch people in public places, or read another book on my Kindle. When our family watched a movie, I actually watched the movie, instead of checking the time or texts on the phone in my hand.

In short – my life is simpler with less stress. Nomophobia for me turned into Mo-Life-to-Enjoy. Maybe it will for you too. All it takes is a bathtub full of water.

 

(Update – since writing this article I did surrender to the voices around me that said no human could survive in today’s modern world without a cellphone… “It’s a safety issue” they assured. So I went back to the drawer of old technology and found a flip phone from 2009 and reactivated it. Works fine for calls and won’t play “Words with Friends”. Saves money and time over the smartphone. Simple.)

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. 

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visitwww.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005.

 

What My iPhone Stole From Me

by Christi Straub, MA, MBA
“The first thing I reach for the in morning. The last thing I say goodnight to before bed. Always within arms reach. If not, I search until I find it. How could I live without it? Present in all my moments—the stressful, the memorable, the mundane. An ever-constant presence. Dulling the pain, lulling my anxious heart, entertaining my brain, bringing brief happiness. Another alert, another scroll through a newsfeed, another email check, another “urgent” request for my attention.
My iPhone.   When I found out we were pregnant with baby Straub #2, I was elated; but quickly an odd sense of sadness set in. I realized my days with our first-born were numbered. Where had the time with Landon gone? I felt the pace of life picking up. The baby days were a blur. I mourned the losses I felt.
I didn’t hold him long enough. I didn’t watch him sleep, the gentle and beautiful rhythm of his little chest rising and falling. Did I take the time to see his perfectly formed little hands curl around mine as we read books? Did I notice the way his little eyelashes flutter with excitement over blowing bubbles? While he ran through the backyard with every ounce of power his little legs could muster—beaming with pride—I missed his look over to me silently asking, “Are you proud of me, Momma?”
The moments were slipping by, out from under me, as I was consumed by to-do lists and entertained by devices.
I was missing out on life. A precious little life that was real, alive, full, and joyful.
And it’s my iPhone’s fault. (Who am I kidding?)
I found myself making dinner off my iPhone, a recipe pinned from Pinterest, while Spotify plays in the background, while returning three texts to girlfriends, while scrolling through Instagram one more time—all while spending “quality time” with my little boy.
Good gracious, what happened to my life? No wonder the time with our son feels short-lived—it has been. In the name of “connection,” I’m shortening it.
I hear my husband often say, “Anything you cannot fast from, owns you”. If this is true, I am owned. Sadly, I see it happening all around me.
We’ve become master multitaskers—in the most unfortunate of ways. It’s literally changed our brains—our ability to settle, to play, to be still. To enjoy and be present in moments and in conversations with people.  Especially with our little ones. This epidemic is degrading our relationships, lulling us into screen life and out of real life.
When was the last time I considered the spiritual war raging for my heart and mind? When was the last time I thought of another scroll through Facebook as a celebratory win for the enemy?
Another few moments of life wasted. She’s lulled again.
Lulled into apathy. Lulled into amusement. Lulled into entertainment.
Those moments add up –hours, days, weeks, months, years of wasted life. Years of not living real life, something a sly and subtle enemy relishes – because we’re doing nothing to grow. Nothing to change the life of another. Nothing to widen our perspective, harden our hands, or soften our hearts.
We will never get back the time we waste on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram. Will you ever look back on your life and wish you’d seen another duck-lipped selfie or another friend’s vacation pictures through the Valencia filter?
Look back at your life this past week and tell me about the moments that mattered. The ones that made you feel real joy, belly laugh, and take a deep breath of thankfulness. The moments you’ll remember ten years from now. I doubt any of them happened on a screen.
I think our technology-laden generation is desperate to feel, to live, to love—but has been so lulled we know no better way. We’ve been lulled and duped and amused into a screen life existence.
Our kids are growing up just the same.
I saw it most clearly on a recent trip to Disney World. The most magical place on earth— filled with nonstop entertainment, color, lights, music and make-believe. Yet I was astonished to watch adults and children alike walking around zombie-like staring at their devices.
Apparently Disney World isn’t enough anymore. Constant stimulation, music, texting, sights, sounds, people, noise. Somehow, we need more.
Yet, somewhere deep inside, we know what we really need is less. Much less.
Less amusement. More musing.
Less entertainment. More creating.
Less sitting. More moving.
Less multitasking. More focus on one thing or better yet, one person.
Less watching. More reading.
Less texting. More talking.
Less screen time. More outdoor time.
Less comfort. More adventure.
Less apathy. More passion.
Less self-centeredness. More serving.
Less lulling. More living.
Less of me. More of you, God.
Are you living a screen-balanced life? Or is your iLife consuming your real life?
After seeing the need in ourselves and those around us, we created Are you Living a Screen Balanced Life? Screen Balance Quotient Test (SBQ) to help you assess how you’re balancing screen time. It’s totally free. Our desire is to come alongside you and your family as you take an honest look at how technology is affecting you personally, relationally, mentally, and spiritually.
To take the Screen-Balance Quotient Test (SBQ) click  http://www.joshuastraub.com/screen-balanced-test
——————————————————————————–
Christi Straub, M.A., M.B.A. is a wife, momma, writer and speaker who blogs at meleea.com. Christi is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of the Connextion Group. Passionate about families in her generation, Christi desires to see women be real, thrive in their marriages and give themselves a break in their role as momma. With a background in kinesiology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and marriage & family counseling, Christi is convinced that living a balanced life physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually is essential to living life to the fullest. Her honesty, wittiness and transparency are contagious. Christi is “Mummy” to Landon, and married to her best friend, Josh.
Source –  http://www.joshuastraub.com/blog/what-my-iphone-stole-from-me  Used with permission of the author.

Living in Your Current Season

From Linda Werner

Recommended Resource:
Your Life in Rhythm, Bruce Miller

 

Main Points:
•  Release Expectations: this is the commitment to live well in the current season…not looking back…or wishing to go forward.  Depending on the season I must fully embrace where I am..

Seize Opportunities:  Colossians 4:5, “Make the most of every opportunity.”  Look for “Such a time as this” moments.

• Anticipate what is next: Anticipation breeds HOPE!

 

Chronos Seasons: Relate to Time

1. Pace Yourself:  Must be able to think and see the cycles of activities and then place them in your calendar.

2. Build Rituals: A ritual is a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.

What are LIFE ENHANCING rituals?

•  Begin your day the night before – “The evening and morning were the first day.”  Gen. 1:5

•  Engage in conversations that bring life.

•  Family time

•  Early bedtime, no TV

•  24 hour Sabbath Rest

3. Oscillate between Work and Rest – Intensity and Renewal:  Ask yourself, “When am I at my best, and when do I need to rest? ”

“Stress is not the enemy, but uninterrupted stress is.” Jim Loehr

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

A relationship strengthening guide for intimate connections
By Dwight Bain

Can a stuffed animal with a romantic message solve a relationship problem? Nope. Neither can a trip to the jewelry store, boxes of chocolate, sappy cards, balloons or vases of expensive flowers… none of these can fix a distant, damaged or dying relationship. But the VASE can.  Let me explain why.

Relationships take work. There is no easy way to achieve closeness and connection on an intimate level without time, talking and gentle touch. It can’t be done. We’ve all seen the commercials about a couple having a romantic exchange in a restaurant as the waiter brings them a special dessert with a diamond ring attached to a note that says, “Marry me”.  But as a counselor of more than 30 years I can tell you if that couple were distant or detached from each other before they got to the restaurant the jewelry would only be a shiny trinket that didn’t repair hurt, selfishness or neglect. 

Expensive gift cannot fix relationship problems. They can cause debt, which complicates problems, (84% of couples report they fight over spending according to Money Magazine), or cause a momentary escape from what isn’t working in their relationship… but the old saying is true. “Money can’t buy me love.”

So what can you do to really connect to the one you care about? Get a VASE. Here’s why.

Stuffed teddy bears and expensive perfumes affect the senses- the VASE approach affects the soul. Tina Turner got it right when she sang, “What’s love got to do with it?” because the feeling of romantic love is a fickle and temporary emotion. Having a fun dinner date on your anniversary is special – but not as powerful as really connecting over a bowl of Cheerios every day. Lasting love is about going deeper and that’s what this process creates… lasting committed relationship instead of a temporary feeling of chemistry. Real relationship connection on the heart level will grow a relationship closer than anything offered for sale at Macys.

V.A.S.E. stands for VALUES, ACCOUNTABILITY, SILENCE, EXPECTATIONS and here’s how it works.

Values-  Most couples have never sat down and actually talked about their core values. They might be able to guess what their partner believes, but haven’t communicated these issues to one another.

When you find a safe place to discuss your belief system with the person you care about the most it creates a powerful connection on a deep emotional level. One that is stronger than anything you could ever buy at a store. When I know what my wife believes about life, kids, family, money, love, politics, fun, God and everything else important to her I know her on a heart level. And when I know her heart, I can actively work to meet her there. Knowing and respecting your partner’s values removes silly arguments and power struggles from the conversation because you are working together out of shared beliefs instead of working against each other.

A-Accountability This isn’t a word most people like and it definitely isn’t a word people seek out. It’s tough to have someone in your life who asks you the hard questions like. “Haven’t you had enough to drink?” or “How is eating that going to affect your diabetes?” or “Why did you close the computer when I came in here?” or “Can we afford to do this?” When someone asks you a tough question you either have to face the issue and answer it, or you have to get really, really mad at them for having the courage to speak up. You know what path most people choose. They would rather fight than be held to a standard of behavior… one that matches what they say they believe, (see core values section above for more on this).

S-Silence isn’t golden in relationships, it’s deadly. If you go silent on expressing your feelings, fears or future with the one you say you love there is nothing a cute card with a talking dog that makes it better. I know card shops exist for the purpose of saying what you don’t know how to say… but can I be your friend for a moment and say “get a life?” There is more information available today on how to communicate in a loving way with your partner than there ever has been in the history of the world. Books, webinars, seminars, podcasts, workshops, retreats, teleseminars, counseling, classes, YouTube clips, even old episodes of Dr. Phil have tips on how to connect verbally. Too many people spend $5 on a piece of recycled card stock that says what a copywriter in Kansas thinks about love instead of sitting down to express what they believe about the one they care about. Want a more powerful relationship connection? Learn to express love. It’s worth every penny you spend to the people who won’t have to guess how you feel about them because you took the step, (and the risk) to verbalize your heart.

 

E-Expectations lead to great joy or great pain, which is usually heartbreaking and it goes back to silence. Here’s why. Picture a woman who thinks this is the year her guy will remember their special day and take her to their special place. She tells her friends, her mother and her therapist that they are going to the bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway because she has been dropping hints for months that were so easy a caveman could figure it out. Problem is her guy isn’t a caveman – he’s a guy and men often aren’t listening carefully to what their lady may be saying. In fact if the relationship is distant he may not be listening at all. Expecting your intended to read your mind isn’t going to get you what you want, but it can cause some huge explosions of rage over misunderstanding. If you expect a physically exciting weekend and you get ESPN instead your feelings are going to be hurt – and you may have caused it. I know some people like the feeling of being surprised that their hints led to a temporary feeling of being special, but most of the time their hints set them up for hurt. Better is to learn to speak up about what you want in the relationship. If you want more romance – say so. If going to a particular movie is what you want to do– bring it up. If something is important to you learn to express it directly. This may take away the pleasant feeling of surprise, but will guarantee you won’t experience the painful feeling of shock that silent expectations always bring.

So how does this VASE formula help?

It takes the cultural feeling of romance being something that money can buy down to a practical level of relationship that is priceless. The Beatles were wrong on this one. Money can’t buy love, but VASE’s can.

 

About the Author – Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach who has been making a difference in people’s lives since 1984. Follow him online atwww.Facebook.com/DwightBain or @DwightBain

Big Dog Chili

Big Dog Chili

  • 3 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 80-20 ground beef, coarse or chili grind
  • 4 cups Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Anaheim pepper, diced and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 7½ tablespoons chili powder (Gebhardt preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili powder (Gebhardt preferred)
  • 3½ pounds chopped smoked beef brisket, lean cut
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup cumin
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups Rotel Original chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup corn tortilla chips, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar

Accompaniments

  • Fritos corn chips
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Corn bread
  • Sour cream
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Hot sauce

METHOD

Add dried peppers to 1 cup water in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft.

Remove stems and puree in a blender with 2 tablespoons of liquid from pan.  Set aside.

Brown sausage in vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside.  Add ground beef and brown; remove with slotted spoon and set aside.  In same pan, sauté peppers for 3 minutes  Add garlic and continue to sauté until onion is translucent, taking care not to brown the garlic.

Combine chili powders in small bowl.

Add brisket to stockpile with half of chili powder mix; cook for 15 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes,  and dried-chili puree and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in cooked ground beef, sausage, remaining chili powder, chicken stock, and crushed tortilla chips.  Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in cayenne, brown sugar, and a pinch of cumin just before serving.

To serve, spoon chili over a handful of Fritos in a bowl, then top with cheddar cheese, crumbled corn bread, and a dollop of sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and a dash of hot sauce.

New Year, New You Worksheets

 

If you heard us talking about resolutions yesterday with our friend, Linda Werner, these worksheets might help you work through some of what she was talking about.  Take a look and then join us next Monday at 8:10 for more.

Goal Worksheet

Four Ps Worksheet

Follow Up to The New Year, New YOU Conversations

January 2014

The new-year brings many new desires, goals and resolutions.  We all have desires to be better, stronger, healthier, wiser, and more spiritual. But these desires will never be accomplished if we don’t take time to put a realistic, sustainable plan in place.

Every person’s desire must have picture of who they want to be. Based on that picture or desired end, goals can then be set and worked on.  That plan can be best accomplished when an individual aligns their plan to God’s heart.

What do you believe that GOD wants done in and through your life?

What are your passions and dreams?

What breaks your heart?

What do you feel compelled to give your life to that is bigger than yourself?

Based on your answers, what has GOD uniquely gifted you to do to meet the needs that burden you?

The answers to these questions could be the beginning of living life with a more intentional focus.  God has given us each the incredible opportunity to plan.  In the planning process there must always be recognition that it is the LORD who then will direct our steps.

Often times we can feel like we are not hearing the Lord.  I would ask this question, Could it be that your heart has not taken the time to plan?

Proverbs 16:9 says, A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

Attached is a simple worksheet that I use to work through my thoughts, desires and plans.  My GOALS have become my God Ordained Activities for my Life.  When I see my goals in light of what I believe God wants done for His glory, I am motivated.

If you would like to know more about taking your desires and turning them into realistic plans, consider joining the Legacy Principles Five Month, Coffee Conversations as we take a look at living in 2014 FULLY ALIVE!

 

For More Information:
http://legacyprinciples.com/environments/coffee-conversations-2014/

 

Linda Werner
linda@legacyprinciples.com

Night of Joy 2014

Disney just announced the artist line up for Night of Joy 2014!  We’re so excited to share it with you!

Friday, September 5, 2014:

  • Hillsong United
  • Chris Tomlin
  • Matthew West
  • for KING & COUNTRY
  • Mandisa
  • Building 429
  • Matt Mahr
  • The Neverclaim

Saturday, September 6, 2014:

  • Skillet
  • Casting Crowns
  • MercyMe
  • Israel Houghton & New Breed
  • Colton Dixon
  • Rhett Walker
  • We As Human
  • One Girl Nation

Hurt for the Holidays

Hurt for the Holidays – Managing the major grief of those who have major loss

Holidays are not always happy days, especially if you have experienced major loss. Think about it – if you lost a job or a house through foreclosure can you still have a Merry Christmas this year? Some people can manage the loss of material things because they rely on their savings, or extended family for support. But what about those who don’t have access to those resources – what do they do?

What about the wife of a man who cheats and leaves the marriage with another woman before the holiday. What do you say to someone who won’t have a happy family memory on December 25th, because she will be sharing her children with a new woman and her relatives while she sits in the marital home (which is missing half the furniture) alone.

Or think about the family who have to say goodbye to a beloved family pet because of age or illness. How can they celebrate a happy holiday without a trusted animal companion?

Think about the mom and dad who lost a child this year to death. Is there any comfort for those who have lost a son or daughter?

And those who experienced these type of major losses a year ago are coming up on the one year anniversary of feeling these devastating losses all over again. The anniversary of a traumatic time is almost as intense as when it first happened.

Is there any hope to manage all of this loss? I believe there is.

Loss is a part of life, but that doesn’t make the hurt any better. We all know that nothing is forever, but want to slip away from the pain of reality for a few weeks every year over a cultural tradition, which isn’t necessarily harmful because not everyone is going to a funeral before Christmas, or waiting to be evicted from the home they have lived in for decades.

Many people don’t realize how hard it is on others because they are too busy celebrating having all their family together, eating great food and sharing wonderful gifts and experiences.

Maybe that’s what makes it harder on others – that their neighbors are so happy, because when your life is crushed it is hard to celebrate with others who weren’t flattened by the tidal wave of grief that comes after a major loss.

Should some people stop celebrating because others are having a terrible time? Should you tone down your family having a good time so it doesn’t hurt others?

No, but everyone should remember the spiritual principle to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”.

If you have friends or family who are struggling, be there for them. Encourage them, help them financially if you can – and the best way to do that is to invite them over to share the holiday experience together. Take action to push them past their false pride by challenging them to be part of your community. Giving another family joy at Christmas will bring you more value than anything you could buy at the mall.

The spiritual value of kindness is a powerful way to help others manage their painful losses and it comes right out of the teaching of the Bible. Listen to these comforting words from Psalm 34.
4) I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

 

6 ) This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

 

7) The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

 

15) The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.

 

17 ) The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

 

18) The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

 

19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

 

 

Do you see the pattern?

 

In desperation call out to God, trust that God will never abandon you and wait on God. This process won’t get your job or house back, but it will give you peace inside. A deep spiritual peace that will give you the strength to press on through the toughest of times. And isn’t that what the angels sang about that first Christmas…. “Peace on Earth, Good will toward mankind.”

 

God promises peace, so if you or someone you love is shattered by grief this holiday season start with God and stay with God. I believe He will see you through the tough times so you can experience joy again.

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2013), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visitwww.LifeworksGroup.org.

John Rivers’ Thanksgiving Recipes

Baked Gruyère Mashed Potatoes

Serves 10

5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes

2 sticks plus 1⁄4 stick unsalted butter

1 cup warm half-and-half

1⁄2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel potatoes, leaving about 50 percent of skin on. Cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks. Cook in
boiling, lightly salted water until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let air dry for 3
to 5 minutes.

While potatoes are warm, hand mash to desired consistency and transfer to a mixing bowl. Using a mixer or a handheld beater, mix at medium speed for about 2 minutes to fluff potatoes. Add 2 sticks butter, warm half-and-half, cream cheese, salt, and pepper and continue to mix for another minute to combine.

Fold in Gruyère cheese and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the potatoes into a generously buttered 4-quart baking dish. Top with remaining
butter cut into pats and bake for 25 minutes, until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.

 

 

John’s Turkey Gravy

1 Cup salted butter

1 ¾ Cup all purpose flour

1 ½ gallons turkey stock

1 T black pepper

1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 ½ tsp salt

 

Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat.

Make a roux by whisking in flour and continue to cook until an almond color, about 5-7 minutes whisking frequently.  Remove from heat.

In a large saucepot bring turkey stock to a boil.

In ¼ cup increments begin to whisk in roux, allowing the stock to come back to a complete boil before each addition.

When sauce has thickened whisk in pepper, rosemary, and salt.

 

 

John’s Sausage Dressing

Serves 10-12

16-ounce package Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage

8 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped white onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

14-ounce bag cornbread stuffing mix

Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Thoroughly cook sausage in a large saucepan. Discard grease and wipe pan clean.

Melt butter in same saucepan and add onion, celery, garlic, sage, and celery salt. Sauté until vegetables are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add chicken broth, cooked sausage, and stuffing mix. Blend all ingredients until stuffing is thoroughly moistened. Taste and season with pepper if needed.

Lightly grease 9 X 13 baking pan. Place stuffing in pan and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil and keep warm until ready to serve.

 

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 8

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds fresh

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Combine all ingredients except pecans in a 13 X 9-inch casserole.  Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake 35 minutes or until it slightly puffs.