5 Things to Help You be Thankful in Tough Times

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

It’s easy to thank God when everything is going right, but God wants us to have a thankful attitude no matter what because He has blessed us. At the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims had a feast to thank God for His many blessings when they were going through a difficult time. Half of the people who traveled over on the Mayflower died the first winter. Yet they still set aside time to thank God because they knew they were blessed by Jesus dying on the cross for their sins. Here are 5 things we can do to be thankful in hard times.

Bring our hurts to God. Everyone goes through hard times. The reason some people get though them relatively unscathed is because they bring their hurt and pain to God instead of worrying about them and trust in Him to heal them. God didn’t only promise physical heal but emotional healing as well.

Phi 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Rehearse the blessing of God. Use a journal to write what God has done for you. Go over it when you can’t remember the blessings of God.

Psalm 103:1-2  Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Despair Or Hope Directions On A SignpostTake your thoughts captive. Joyce Meyer has a saying that you need to think about what you’re thinking about. That’s true. Many times we aren’t thankful because we dwell on negative thoughts that pop into our heads instead of focusing on the good things God has done for us.

2 Corinthians 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Read God’s Promises in Scripture. The way to have enough faith to be thankful is to spend time reading the promises of God. He is faithful to His promises.

Isaiah 55:9-11 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Spend time praising God each day. In the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, he began and ended with praise. If we want to have a thankful attitude, we need to spend time praising God every day and not only telling Him our needs.

Psalm 148:5  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

Have a thankful Thanksgiving.

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8 Steps to Taking Care of Elderly Parents.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Ephesians 6:2  Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.

My Mom’s HS Picture

When we are young, our parents do everything for us. As we get older, their role of taking care of us lessens and eventually goes away. Usually somewhere in our 20s or early 30s, parents become more like friends and confidants.

Then the time comes when we notice our parents can’t do what they once did. They start to slow down and have health problems. At some point, we begin to realize that our parents have started to need our help occasionally. The longer our parent live, the more help they need.

Then the day comes when our parents are no longer there. If we have honored and taken care of them, we share memories about them and miss them, but we don’t live in regret. This is the goal. Here are a 7 things to consider about taking care of elderly parents.

Visit your parents regularly. As our children get older, we sometimes have such busy lives that we don’t take time to visit with our parents. Make a special point of scheduling a time to visit you parents every week, or if you live far away, at least every three months. This will mean a lot to them, but it will also help you live without regrets. We used to visit my husband’s mom every Sunday after church. Now that she is gone, we treasure those visits.

Go to doctor’s visits with them. Sometimes elderly parents get confused and don’t remember everything their doctor says during the visits. Other times, parents downplay the doctor’s advice because they have a hard time accepting they can’t live the way they used to or because they don’t want to be a burden. If you are with them, you can help them make the decisions they need to make.

Protect Your Parents from Scams. Scam artists prey on the elderly. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the elderly are confused easily or don’t understand the complexities of security in our technical age. The main reason is because as people get older, the part of their brains that warn of danger decrease. Have hard conversations with your parents about what to look for. Put safe guards in place. Do whatever you have to to keep your parents safe form these evil people. Your parents might be angry about you interfering in their lives, but it’s worth it if they aren’t scammed out of their life savings. Here’s an AARP article that might help. Keep Your Parents Safe from Scams.

My mother-in-law, Charlotte Kraft (1924-2013)

My mother-in-law, Charlotte Kraft (1924-2013)

Talk to siblings about who does what before the conversation is needed. There may be one sibling who lives closet to the parents and takes on more responsibility of hands on care, but that doesn’t mean other siblings should be out of the loop. They can help in other ways even if they live a distance away. They can help by providing financial support or investigating information like Medicare or care facilities. One sibling could take care of the elderly parents’ finances while another looks into funeral plans. It is important to discuss this ahead of time.

Take care of documents. Make sure your parents make living wills to let you and health care facilities know how they want to be cared for. Encourage them to place your name on their accounts. Discuss with them about when they would want to give you power of attorney over medical and financial matters. Make sure their wills are up to date and they have decided which sibling gets what – in writing. Ask them what they would like done at their funerals and if they would like to preplan them. These are morbid topics most people avoid until an emergency comes along.

Decide on long-term care. It is possible your parents can stay in their house until they die, but they might want to go to an assisted living facility when they get too old to care for themselves. Ask which they prefer.

Home Care: If you decide on home care, start looking into assistance you can bring into the home. This is what my mother-in-law decided, and she was able to stay at home until her last illness when she died in the hospital. At first, you will need someone to take care of the yard and clean the house. You’ll also want to set up a medic alert system so they can get emergency assistance if they need it. Later you might need someone to prepare meals. At some point, you might need someone to stay with them part-time or give around the clock care. Home health care workers and elderly sitters are cheaper than you might think and provide a way for the elderly to stay in their homes.

Assisted Living: If you decide to go this route, check into it early. There is usually a waiting list, and you’ll want your parents moved in before they need a lot of help. Assisted living facilities provide most services as needed for additional costs. So if they move in sooner, they can become comfortable in their new homes before they need to pay for the service available.

Nursing Homes: The day may come when you can no longer care for your parents, and a nursing home becomes the only option. When this happens, don’t feel guilty. The important thing is to your homework and find the right facility. Once you do, make sure to communicate with the staff often and visit regularly. Elderly patients with family advocates do much better in these facilities.

Hospice: If it ever comes time for hospice, decide ahead of time whether you will have home hospice of use a hospice facility. If you decide to use a facility, check them out and decide your top three choices before you need to make that decision. Not all hospice facilities are equal.

Be willing to sacrifice. You may have to sacrifice your plans at times, but God will reward you for every sacrifice you make. Remember how your parents sacrificed for you. It also might help you to thing about how you would like to be treated by your children in the same circumstances.

Set boundaries. Sometimes the elderly become demanding because they don’t feel good or because they become confused. In these cases, you may need to set boundaries. Remember that God wants you to consider the needs of your spouse and children first. Ask God to help you know when and where to set limits.

Planning Family Nights Your Kids will Always Remember

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Family Night

In the “Leave It to Beaver” days of the 50s and 60s, almost every family sat down to eat dinner at 6:00. Nobody would call or stop by during dinner, because it was the dinner hour. With the busy lives we live, dinner hour is a thing of the past. That’s sad because we need time each week for the family to get together.

When family nights done right, they help families stay close and connected, and create memories children will always remember. But if don’t set up some ground rules ahead of time, family nights can become disasters your kids will remember for the wrong reasons. Here are seven ground rules to help you establish quality time with your family.

1. Attendance is mandatory. Nobody is allowed out of family night, not even parents. Family night is sacred. You need this rule because if you start making exceptions, there will be no family night.

2. Activities are planned. It doesn’t matter what your family does for family night. You could play board games or go bowling. If your family is active, you could go rock climbing or bicycling. The important thing is to do an activity together everyone can participate in.

3. No together alone activities allowed. There are certain activities that don’t allow families to connect. This happens when the members of the family are together, doing the same things, but they don’t interact with each other. Among activities off limits for family night are television watching, going to the movies, and playing video games. Plan activities where everyone is engaged with each other.

4. No arguing allowed. Set up ground rules with kids ahead of time that during family night, no squabbling, arguing, or fighting will be tolerated. Parents, this goes for you too. Family night is not the time to discuss your children’s bad grades or misbehavior.

5. Let children talk. Many times, parents talk to the children, telling them what to do, without allowing the children to talk. Tonight is the chance for children to share what’s going on in their lives without a lecture.

6. Start with a devotion. This is the best way to start a family night. Let the children know that God is the center of your family. If you’re creative, you can plan family nights with activities that go with the devotion.

7. Have fun. If a child complains that he doesn’t want to do the activity or he’s bored, remind him no pouting or sour attitudes are allowed. Everyone is expected to participate and have fun. Be very firm about this. There is nothing that can ruin a family night like a child acting like he doesn’t want to be there. The attitude spreads like wildfire.

3 Great Reasons to Read Fiction

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Some people believe fiction reading is a waste of time, but the truth is there are many reasons a well-rounded person regularly reads fiction. Here a three of them.

Reading fiction improve social skills. This sounds like it couldn’t possibly be true. After all, the person with her nose in a book isn’t perceived as very social, but studies have shown that reading fiction influences how well we understand other people.

Reading fiction increases empathy. When we read fiction, we put ourselves into the minds and lives of other people. This exercise helps us empathize with others in real life situations.

Reading fiction expands the imagination and creativity. Scientists have done studies that show fiction readers make the right connections in the brain to foster creativity. So immersing yourself in imaginary worlds of fiction can increase your creativity in your job, your family, and other areas of life.

Fiction reading improves relationships and makes you a kinder and more creative person. I can think of no better arguments to encourage you to read fiction. The best thing about fiction is it is great entertainment and so much better than anything on television, and it beats playing social media games.

6 Reasons Why Reading is Good for Your Health

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There are many benefits of reading, but did you know many of these include improving health. Including reading into your daily or weekly routine is a good idea for many reasons. Here’s a list of a few reasons you should read.

It stimulates the brain. Reading books has been proven to stimulate the brain. I can even decrease your chances of having Alzheimer and dementia. The brain is like every other muscle in your body. It needs exercise. The more you use it, the better it becomes. Reading is a great way to exercise your brain and keep it healthy.

37-1013-A0039It increases knowledge. Whatever you find interesting, you can learn more about in books. Reading can teach you all kinds of things. President Abe Lincoln only had one year of schooling, but he learned everything he needed to know to become a lawyer, a businessman, and the president of the United States by being an avid reader.

It improves your vocabulary. The more you read, the more you will pick up vocabulary words’ meanings. After a while, you’ll start to use them in every day sentences without even realizing it.

It reduces stress and encourages tranquility. Reading can actually help you relax. It has been scientifically proven that reading religious texts such as the Bible or a Christian book can lower your blood pressure.

It helps you achieve your goals. People who consistently read are more likely to have goals and achieve them throughout their lives.

Stack of vintage books isolated on white

It enhances the ability to focus. People who read are able to focus easier and are better at making decisions. Readers also, over time, learn easier by hearing information as well as by reading.

So the conclusion is that reading can make you smarter, and fiction reading can make you kinder and more creative. The best thing about reading is it is great entertainment and so much better than anything on television or playing social media games.

5 Tips for Taking Power Naps

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Power naps are becoming more popular as people become more sleep deprived. Even if you have a full seven to eight hours sleep, you may find yourself sluggish during the middle of the day. Power naps can help you feel more energized after only 20 minutes. But if you allow your power nap to drift into full blown sleep mode, it will cause more harm than good. Here’s five tips to help you take an effective power nap and wake up refreshed.

Find a good place to nap. The ideal is a dark quiet room, but if that’s not possible, at least make sure it’s a place where you won’t be disturbed. If you’re in your office at work, hang a do not disturb sign on the door.

Drink a caffeinated beverage. This might sound wrong, but it works. Caffeine takes 45 minutes to get into your system. This gives you enough time to take your nap and have the caffeine start to kick in when the nap is over. You’ll wake ready to go.

Set an alarm to go off in 15-25 minutes depending on how long it takes you to go to sleep. You shouldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes. If you do, you’ll wake up sluggish. Also if you have a tendency to snooze your alarm, set it across the room.

Try simple sleep techniques if you have difficulty falling asleep. Try counting backwards from 100 or concentrate on relaxing each muscle in your body. Or you can buy a sleep machine or play a sound track that induces sleep. As you get used to taking power naps, you will train your body to sleep during your nap time.

Get up and get moving. As soon as your alarm goes off, get up and do some physical exercises or splash cold water on your face. Do whatever you need to do to wake up.

4 Steps to Enhance Your Relationships

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Many times, people try to show love, but they don’t show it in a way others accept. This happens because we don’t understand the differences in love languages. When we try to love their family member using our love language, but our loved one has a different love language, miscommunication can happen. That’s why it is important to understand love languages. There are 5 love languages.

Words of Affirmation: You feel loved when people affirm you with their words.

Acts of Service: You feel loved when people do things for you.

Receiving Gifts: You feel loved when people give you gifts.

Attention: You feel loved when people give you their undivided attention.

Affection or Physical Touch: You feel loved when you are touched appropriately.

Now that you know a little about love languages, your challenge for today is to do these four steps to enhance your relationships.

Step One: Take this test online at this link to find out what your love language is.

Step Two: Tell your spouse or a close loved one what your love language is.

Step Three: Find out your spouse’s, children’s, and close loved one’s love languages. If they are willing to take the test, have them do so.

Step Four: Because it is more important to give than to receive, plan to do something special for your loved ones using their love language.