10 Ways to Keep Your Sanity When Moving Out of State

My husband and I are moving from Ohio to Tennessee. We built a house there on top of a small mountain. Building a house is stressful, takes longer than planned, and did I say stressful? Even so, moving from one state to another is even more stressful. Here are 10 tips I’ve figured out to keep my sanity during the move.

1. When it comes to moving companies, cheaper is not better. Find the company that specializes in interstate moves and has lots of good reviews. I learned this the hard way when I was helping my mom move. Some things to look for:

  • Price by weight not by box.
  • If they are packing you, they will charge you only for the boxes they need.
  • They will give you a couple of days to get to your destination before they arrive.
  • They give you a non-binding estimate. Stay away from companies that want to give you a binding estimate. They will make sure the estimate is high enough that they will  get the good end of the deal.
  • Make sure they use one truck per customer. Some companies try to load as many homes as they can on one truck.
  • Make sure they have employees who will unload. Some companies use transient workers at the final destination to fill in gaps.

2. Pack as much as you can before moving week. Decide what you absolutely need before the big day, and pack everything else. Moving week is a lot easier if you already have most of your stuff packed.

3. Lowes has the best prices on moving boxes and supplies. Their boxes are even cheaper than the moving company. And they have giant roles of bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is your friend when packing.

4. Declutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t need before the move. Trust me. You don’t need 3 gallon bottles of bleach or 5 sweepers. Have a garage sale, give it away, or throw it out.

5. Wrap fragiles in smaller boxes and use lots of bubble wrap. If you wrap too many breakables in a larger box, it will become too heavy. If its too heavy, it is easier to drop. If it drops, things will break. It’s worth the cost of a few extra boxes to protect that coffee cup your husband gave you on your first anniversary and the clay fingerprint paper weight your thirty year old son gave you when he was five.

6. Pace yourself. Don’t do too much at one time. Spread the moving project over weeks.

7. Get help if you need it. You’re not superman or superwoman. If you don’t have friends or family to help, pay the moving company to pack.

8. Decide what will go in each room and pack accordingly. Label boxes well. Also use a red magic marker for the boxes you’ll open first. When unpacking, you’ll be so happy to not have 50 boxes marked miscellaneous when you’re trying to find the toilet paper.

9. Don’t pack away things you’ll need as soon as you get to your new home (like toilet paper, paper towel, medicine, and underwear. Keep a suitcase or laundry basket out for items like this, and don’t let the moving company touch them. These are items you’ll want to take with you in the car.

10. Take time to relax. Moving is an exhausting activity. Free your schedule so your not overloaded, and take some time to visit friends and family before you pack up and leave.

Seven Ways Your Life Can Be Like an Adventure Novel

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

When I was young, I loved to read anything I could get my hands on, but my favorite types of stories were adventures where an ordinary young person was thrust on a quest of epic proportions. These stories resonant with us for a reason. We all want to think our lives count for something, no matter how insignificant they may seem. We all want to live a life of purpose that is somehow bigger than anything we can see.

We may not realize it, but God has written an epic adventure for each of our lives. According to Jeremiah 29:11, He has plans and purposes for us to give us a hope and a future. If we cooperate with His plans, God will use each of us in ways we never dreamed. Here are seven ways your life is like an adventure novel.

You are not insignificant to God. No matter where you are, or how life has treated you, God knows your name, and He knows where you live. He put you there for a purpose to fulfill your destiny. The Bible, the greatest adventure story of them all, is filled with seemingly insignificant people who do great things for God. David, Gideon, and many of the disciples make that list. Hebrews 11, the heroes of the faith chapter, doesn’t even name some of the heroes it who it says the world was not worthy of.

Super Hero Boy Ready to FlyA Quest Has Obstacles. We’d all love to have more adventure in our lives provided we don’t have to go through any pain or face any obstacles, but every adventure story has insurmountable obstacles the hero must overcome. We have obstacles to face as well. Whenever we read adventure novels, we know the main characters will overcome those obstacles even though we can’t figure out how. When we face obstacles, we have a promise from God that He has overcome the world.

The hero is pure in heart. The hero in an adventure story will make mistakes, He’ll get discouraged. He’ll make wrong turns. But he won’t give up because he has a heart to do right and make a difference. To be the hero of God’s adventure, you also need a pure heart, a heart after God. God called King David a man after His own heart. David wasn’t perfect. He committed grievous sins. But he was also quick to repent because he wanted a pure heart.

A hero is loyal. Every quest has a hero who is loyal to both his friends and to the quest. He won’t give up on either. We need that kind of loyalty to God and to the quest He has sent us on if we are to fulfill what He’s called us to do. So many give up on God or on the adventure He’s called them to because things get hard.No matter how hard things get, remember that God is writing your story. Don’t give up.

A hero puts others above himself. In adventure novels, a hero is self-sacrificing. He pours out his life for others and is even willing to die for them. As Christians in God’s adventure story, we should also be willing to place others before ourselves.

Our happy ending isn’t here on Earth. Adventure novels always have happy endings. Even if the hero dies in the end, he always fulfills his quest. It doesn’t seem to work out that way in real life, but this isn’t all there is. Our quest isn’t over when we die. Our happy ending is in eternity when we will live forever in the presence of God.

10 Ways to Find Time to Write Your Novel

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Writers have a difficult time finding time to write sometimes. With the burdens of family obligations, daytime jobs, marriage, and church or other activities, it sometimes seems impossible. It’s easy to make excuses and give up, but if you really want to find the time to write your novel, here a ten things you can do to carve out some writing time.

1. Get up an hour early. When you get up early, nobody is awake. This is prime writing time.

2. Stay up an hour late. This is the same principle. After everyone else has gone to bed, you’ll have the time you need. But be careful. Don’t get so lost in the story that you stay up all night. Set a timer if you have to.

3. Spend your lunch hour writing. If your work won’t let you use their computers for personal use, bring a small laptop or tablet to work and write while you’re eating.

4. Assign a certain time every day that you write. Let your family know that this is your “Do Not Disturb” time. Scientists have proven this will also bolster your creativity. You are training your brain to be creative during your writing time.

5. Get a maid. No, I’m not kidding. Don’t feel like you have to do it all. Hire a maid or someone to do your laundry. This will give you added time to write. Isn’t it worth the money?

6. Hire a babysitter. You could hire someone to take the kids to the park or to McDonalds Playland a couple of times a week. The kids will love it, and you’ll enjoy the writing time.

7. Stop time wasters. Organize your schedule and see where you are wasting time you could be writing. If you can’t figure it out where you’re wasting time, try keeping an activity diary for a couple of weeks.

8. Turn off the TV. Enough said. There isn’t anything good to watch anyway.

9. Take a tablet or small laptop with you  when you go to doctor’s appointments or kids’ soccer practices or everywhere else you go. You can write during waiting time.

10. Quit playing Facebook Games. Facebook and Twitter are great tools for writers, but don’t let them monopolize your time. Writers need to be on social media for advertising, but plan your time there, and set a timer to make sure you don’t get distracted while online.

So quit putting it off and making excuses. Find the time you need to write your novel, and get busy.

10 Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolutions

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by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This is the time of year when everyone is setting forth goals and making resolutions. Many times, they’re the same resolutions that were made last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Making goals to write a novel, get out of debt, lose weight, or get close to God are noble goals. But setting goals is only the first step. The difference between people who make resolutions and who succeed in achieving their goals is that the second group has learned how to finish it.

Here’s some tips to help you finish what you’ve set out to do.

Narrow Down What You Want: Some people set goals they think sound great, but those goals aren’t really what they want. Decide what you want out of life before you set your goals. What are your deepest desires and dreams? People who succeed are the ones who decide what they want most and focus on that. For instance, if your desire is to be healthy and have energy, you will want to set a goal of exercising regularly and eating healthy. So if that’s your goal, don’t make a resolution to join a gym and run five miles everyday. Instead make a goal that works with your desire. Plan healthy meals, and decide on an exercise plan where you work out a half hour every day. Then use the extra time to fulfill other desires you have.

Set Measurable Tasks: If your goal is to write a novel in a year, break it down into chunks. The first month, you might want to do research for your novels. The second month, you could devote to plotting and developing characters. The third month, you might plan to write 3,000 words a day ro write two hours a day. Whatever the case, break down your goal into measurable bite-size pieces and schedule them.

Schedule Your Time: It’s easy to fritter away your time and never accomplish what you want if you don’t schedule your time. Whatever your goals are for this year, schedule time in your calendar to work on those goals. Evaluate what your time wasters are and work on them. For instance, you might want to set a timer when you’re on Facebook to make sure you don’t spend the whole day there. Or you might want to turn off your phone during certain hours.

Evaluate Monthly: Sometimes your desires change, or it may take you longer to fulfill a goal because a major life event gets in the way. Take time a the beginning of each month to evaluate where you are, the progress you’ve made, and reset your goals accordingly.

Plan Your Week: Every week, plan tasks that will fulfill your goals.

Accountability: Set up a system of accountability. You might want to ask a friend or family member to ask you how your doing. Or you might set up a system of rewards that you receive when you make progress.

Deadlines: Set up a deadline to finish what you’ve started. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet the deadline. If your late, set another one.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Goals: Sometimes our lives change in a way that certain goals don’t make sense any more. You may have made a resolution to finish Spring Cleaning by April, but then a major project comes due. Don’t be afraid to change your goals to meet your present situation.

Learn to Say No: Adopt this motto when you are asked to do something for someone. “When I say yes to something, I’m saying no to something else.”

Pray before Setting Goals: Whatever we do, we should do for the glory of God. God knows what will happen this year and what He wants us to do. Before we set resolutions, we should consult Him.

My 10 Life Resolutions

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

While all of us are deciding what we want our goals and resolutions to be for 2018, I thought I would share 10 of my life resolutions.

Resolution #1: I resolve to obey God without delay and without consideration for the consequences or lack of resources.

Resolution #2: I resolve to be a student of God’s Word and as I read it to apply it to my life. I will be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.

Resolution #3: Because I want to spend time regularly with God and develop an intimacy with Him, I will continually be in prayer even when I don’t “feel” like praying.

Resolution #4: I resolve to be a worshipper because God alone is worth of my worship.

Resolution #5: I will not compromise my faith to become more acceptable to the culture. This would include salvation is only through the blood of Jesus Christ, that there is only one road to Heaven, and that what God calls sin is sin.

Resolution #6: I resolve to constantly learn and read.

Resolution #7: I resolve strive to forgive anyone who I become offended with and to resolve any matter where people are offended by me as far as it is up to me.

Resolution #8: I resolve that when I am stressed by everyday life, to be in joy and peace through Jesus Christ.

Resolution #9: I resolve to be expectant and ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at any moment and to live my life that way.

Resolution #10: I resolve to repent as soon as I realize I have failed with one of these resolutions and to return to fellowship with Christ.

The Benefits and Selection of a Professional Coach

This article was written by guest poster Zach Prosser, life coach to Tamera Lynn Kraft.

Zach Prosser, ACC, CLC, CBC, founder of Zach Prosser Coaching, is a professional coach with active membership in the International Coach Federation, and is committed to equipping leaders for maximum impact. Zach has served in the non-profit industry for nearly 20 years, and is the President of the ICF Cleveland Chapter. Additionally, Zach serves on the ICF Midwest Regional Advisory Council. His experience and involvement in many organizations, provide clients with a unique opportunity for personal growth and development which results in making greater leadership impacts. Check out www.MaximumImpactLeaders.com

By Zach Prosser, ACC, CLC, CBC

Now is the season where many of us begin reviewing the progress of our year, closing out a past year, and begin goal setting for the coming year. Life in review and goal setting for the future always bring us to the great question, “What’s next?”

What have you learned this past year that you can carry with you into next year for greater fulfillment? Professional coaching is a partnership that equips, motivates, challenges, and brings accountability. I often share with clients that I am “the bridge” that helps them get from where they are today, to their future self. At times, we want someone to just “tell us” what to do. As a coach, I believe you know exactly what you need to do, and even how to do it; coaching is the discovery of these great resources you already possess. Consultants answer the client’s questions; coaches question the client’s answers.

What benefits does a professional coaching relationship have? There have been years of study conducted on this subject. The International Coach Federation (ICF), the world’s largest coaching organization that advances the science and art of coaching, has discovered there are multiple measurable results from a professional coach (the research is available on the ICF website). Some of these include:

  • Improved work performance
  • Improved business management
  • Improved time management
  • Improved team effectiveness
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved communication skills
  • Improved life/work balance

Companies with coaches have said they have at least made their investment back (86%) on a professional coach and 99% of companies say they are somewhat or very satisfied with their overall coaching experience. Fast Company has said of coaching: “Coaching is product development and you’re the product.”

Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a coach:

  1. Professional Qualifications

What certification and training does the coach have? There are many who consider themselves to be “coaches” but have no credentialing or certification, and no, or limited training. Someone may have great experience in industries that lend to caring assistance, but the training, and continuing education provided to professional coaches translates into a long-term investment into the client’s life. ICF is the only internationally recognized credentialing organization for coaches. It is well-worth looking for a coach that carries active credentials (ACC, PCC, MCC) with ICF, and is an active member of ICF. Through a coach’s active relationship with ICF, there is professional training, continued education, professional mastermind groups, chapter affiliations, and so many resources that will advance a coach’s skill and professional relationship with their client. There are many other organizations that provider certifications, but the ICF credential is a premium hallmark of a coach with experience, training, and continued education.

  1. Coaching Style

Every coach has their own unique style—no matter their training or credential. A client must be comfortable with the coach’s style, and the only way this is determined is by participating in a coaching session. Most coaches will provide a free initial session in which the coaching relationship is established. Getting to know the coach and his/her style is important. Understanding the coach’s philosophy of coaching, and understanding the coaching agreement will also help the client understand how the coach will approach the partnership. Remember, professional coaching is a partnership—not consulting. A great coach will ask the hard questions, and reflect back to the client, the hard topics to facilitate the most beneficial opportunity for growth. It is also good to know if the coach does in-person sessions, virtual sessions, or both.

  1. Background

Each coach will have a unique background which will influence their style and experience. Is it required to have a coach that shares the same industry background or niche in which a potential client operates? No. If a coach is effective, he/she will be able to coach a client no matter the background differences; however, a coach with a similar industry or niche background will have an expertise and experience they bring to the coaching partnership which may prove beneficial. For example, if the client is a director for a non-profit organization, having a coach with background in non-profit coaching or the non-profit niche could be additionally beneficial.

  1. Connection

Ultimately, a client needs to have a good energy and connection with the coach. This is developed through trust and the coach’s empathy; however, if a client finds it hard to connect, it will be a challenge to grow through the partnership. When a client feels the relationship is not a good connection, it is important to address it with the coach. A continued disconnect or not having a good initial session connection, may mean it is time to search for another coach or speak to the coach about the concern.

  1. Goals

What is the desired outcome of coaching? Every good client has a specific goal to be accomplished through the coaching partnership. Whether developing a personal growth plan, improving business relationships, increasing communication skills, or becoming a better salesperson—the desired outcome should be clearly established with the coach. A great coach will keep that overall goal continually in view as each session is developed. At the end of the coaching relationship, the client will see great steps in the journey of achieving that goal.

A great client is looking for personal growth and is committed to change. The path ahead may seem dimly lit and personal goals may be on life support; however, the ideal client understands and is committed to achieving and succeeding in becoming their future self.

 

Help for the Hurting Military Families at Christmas

by Carole Brown

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Many military people dread Christmas due to various sadnesses, physical problems, financial setbacks, and loss of loved ones. It’s a struggle to move forward, to face each day let alone enjoy the season. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a serious threat to returning home soldiers.

 

I wanted to share a bit today that is the real–the true meaning of overcoming and/or getting through each day.

Here’s a story example:

He started to scoot out onto the balcony when pain shot through his whole body, and he wanted to scream. He pulled himself from the window ledge and staggered forward two steps before falling on his face.

What had happened? Marshall’s screaming voice echoed outside his head, but the world had faded to mental darkness. His left leg had gone numb. He shook his head. He couldn’t lose consciousness. To do so might mean death. He hung over the rail and surveyed the climb he’d have to make. His stomach churned with nausea.

The pain and fear of facing the unknown, of knowing you’re injured…

What happened?”

Her gaze flicked to the bottom of the bed, then back. “You were shot.”

The memory of that night swarmed in. “How long—”

Must you talk? You’re still pretty weak.”

How long?”

She sighed. “Two weeks. You almost died.”

Facing the fact that you are injured. Learning what exactly that injury is. Knowing you’re at the mercy of the doctors, possibly your wife or family…

Jerry. Lie still. You’re too weak to get up.”

Squeezing his eyes shut, he gritted from between his teeth. “I have to. It’s too dangerous for you to be coming here.”

I don’t mind.”

I do. Help me, and I’ll try it again.”

I wasn’t able to get a doctor. Our family doctor is not to be trusted. You almost died. Medwin—my cousin—has a bit of medical training and he thinks a bone or bones was shattered in your leg. He did what he could but your leg still became dangerously infected. I thought—”

What?”

Vanda bit her lip. “I thought we’d lose your leg if not your life.”

The infection’s gone?”

Yes-s. But it still looks bad.” Her brow lined with another worried frown. Her gaze flicked to his legs and back. “I-I’m not sure you’ll ever completely recover from that wound.”

The reality of the truth: you won’t ever be the same as before. Through luck, carelessness and/or lack of training or funds or uncooperative military bureaucracy, life will never be the same.

Soldi

ers who’ve given their lives for their country and come back injured severely—and their families—face extreme difficulties. It takes strong and determined companions to get through, to accept the fact that this new life will be a life long endeavor. There are no magic wands to change the facts of war.

Besides the horrific injuries many face, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its moodiness, verbal abuse, feelings of wanting to commit suicide, embarrassment, rejection, etc. takes its toll on soldiers.

During WWII

In A Flute in the Willows, I tried to show a bit of this in Jerry and the effect it had on Josie, his wife. Young and inexperienced, both of the Pattersons struggle to understand and deal with conflicting emotions. Josie’s father, experienced in war service, offers advice and encouragement.

“You’re going to have to be stronger than you’ve ever been in your life.” He warns Josie, and those words stay with his daughter over and over to strengthen and give her a boost to not give up on Jerry. In time her patience and love for Jerry win out.

 

raising-hands

 

“I’m here if you ever need to talk.” Knowing what military service is like, and having lived long enough to know a few things, Captain Ossie, Josie’s father, offers, but never intrudes on Jerry’s emotions. In time he heads to his father-in-law’s office to seek guidance.

  • Families need to understand that their soldier is going through unspeakable damages. Love, offer help and listening ears, don’t talk when their loved one is moody, encourage and never, never give up.

 

 

  • Friends who are there, offering hope and encouragement. Accept any help given and be grateful you have those kinds of friends.

 

  • God.  He is truly the only source who can pull a person through. Whatever comes, God is the strength, the supreme encouragement, the one who understands all, and the one who loves you unconditionally. Lean on him. Trust. Believe.

Both Josie and Jerry come through their own personal, and shared, problems, with God’s help, and understanding from others, that pull them through.

That’s what it takes for servicemen/women to overcome the worst of the nightmare of PTSD and injuries during the Christmas season–or anytime throughout the year. God, understanding and love.

A Flute In The Willows-2 Front cover

Read about the Patterson’s struggles and how God helped them overcome

their troubles in the midst of danger and heartache.

Amazon

 

10 Reason I Don’t Feel Guilty for Being Joyful at Christmas

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

There is a trend among Christians to try to make people feel guilty for being joyful at Christmas time. Some even say that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, but I refuse to allow their naysaying to rob me of my joy. Here are 10 reason to feel joyful at Christmas without feeling the slightest bit of guilt for it.

10. We can be joyful even when things aren’t great. The Bible says we should count it all joy. In other words, even if we are going through a hard time because of a death in the family or because of hard times, we can still be joyful. The word count could probably be better translated command. We can command ourselves to be joyful. What if it’s is someone else who is going through a hard time? This is often an excuse for not being joyful at Christmas. After all, look at all the terrible things happening in people’s lives. I have a suggestion for you. Are you in the right frame of mind to help someone else when you are in a place of joy or a place of depression. I would suggest we are better equipped in a place of joy.

James 1:2-3 ESV “Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

9. We owe it to those around us to be joyful. Have you ever been around somebody who suck the joy of living out of everyone around him. Joy is contagious, but so is depression. That means if you decide not to be joyful, you affect everyone around you, and if you decide you will be joyful, it will also affect your friends and family. Refuse to allow someone’s bad mood to affect you. Instead be the one who heals those who don’t have joy.

Proverbs 17:22 ESV “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

8. Joy makes us healthy. If it’s true that stress and depression cause us harm physically, it’s also true that a joyful heart with make you healthy. That is why Proverbs 17:22 calls a joyful heart good medicine. Medical professionals have proven laughter is beneficial to our overall health. You can read more about it at this link.

7. Joy will give you spiritual and emotional strength. We receive fullness of joy in the presence of God, and His joy will give us the strength we need to do all the things that stress us out during the day.

Psalm 16:11 ESV “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

6. Who Want to Be a Scrooge? I sure don’t, but some Christians act like that’s exactly what they want. They claim they can’t celebrate Christmas because it’s too commercial and most people don’t celebrate it with the right motives. Who told you you can’t be joyful because other people have the wrong motives? That’s silly. Think about some of the people in the past who wanted to kill other people’s joy at Christmas: Scrooge and the Grinch. Do you really want to be like them? You may say they are mythical characters, and that is true, but they represent those who are like them.

The first man who wanted to destroy the joy of Christmas tried to kill Christ. His name was Herod, and he was not a joyful person. Herod killed his wife, two of his sons, and his wife’s extended family because he thought they were trying to usurp his authority as king. Talk about an unhappy person. He tried to kill Christ and Christmas by ordering all the male children of Bethlehem two years and under to be slaughtered.

Matthew 2:16 ESV  “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”

5. The angels were joyful at Chist’s birth. They sang and proclaimed how Christ’s birth brought great joy to the Earth. Truthfully, we don’t really know what day Christ was born, and there is controversy about how December 25th was chosen. I don’t care. I know Christ was born, and I don’t know when. So unless someone comes to me with a definitive answer about what day Christ was born, I’m going to celebrate His birth on December 25th with as much exuberance and joy as the angels did.

Luke 2:10-14 ESV And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'”

4. The shepherds were filled with joy. Everyone was happy when Christ was born, even lowly shepherds. If they can be happy even with smelly sheep, I will be happy with the privileged awesome life God has given me.

Luke 2:20.ESV “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”


3. I’m happy because of presents.
They don’t have to be expensive presents. They can be homemade. The thing is I love to receive presents, and I love to give presents because it reminds me of the joy the Wise Men felt when they saw Jesus and gave Him gifts. They were so joyful they worshipped Him. Our praise and worship comes from the joy we feel about Christ who is God’s gift to us.
Matthew 2:10-11 ESV “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

2. I’m filled with joy when I hear Christmas hymns. Have you ever listened to the words of those hymns. They are songs of worship, and everyone sings them at Christmas – even heathens. What a great time to worship the Lord with songs.

Isaiah 12:6 ESV Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

1. I am joyful because Christ is my salvation. If Christ had not been born, He would have not died for my sins, not would He have raised from the dead defeating sin and death on my behalf. I am beyond joyful because Christmas lead to Easter.
1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 

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.

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.