10 Life Hacks for When You are Overwhelmed

Hand Writing HELP on Whiteboardby Tamera Lynn Kraft

No matter how well organized we are or how well we plan, life sometimes throws us a curve ball. An illness, family emergency, or a million other things can steer us off course, and there is nothing we can do in those times but hold on tight and ride the wave through it. Here are ten life hacks to help you when those things happen.

lists-freeMake a list of things to do. Even when you don’t have time to do your to do list, it helps to write everything down. Then go through the list and cross off everything that doesn’t have to be done. Write an L for later beside everything on the list that has to be done but can wait until your past your emergency mode. For the rest, decide what you can delegate to others.

Hire help. Sometimes it is worth spending a little money to free up your time during emergencies. There are lots of companies that are willing to mow your lawn, run your errands, do your shopping, and clean your house. You can even take your laundry to the laundry mat and have them wash, dry, and fold your laundry. You may consider these services luxuries you can’t afford, but remember this is a temporary fix to get you through a tough time.

Say no. You are in emergency mode. You don’t have time to take on any new projects no matter how worthy they are.

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsGet your family on board. Explain to your husband and kids what’s going on. If you have close friends, get them involved too.Tell them you may not be there for them like you usually are and ask for their help. Also ask them to pray for you.

Give yourself permission to not be perfect. When you are in emergency mode, let your motto be “good enough is good enough.” Perfection is for people who have more time.

Use essential oils in a diffuser. This really works. I recommend Young Living Joy or Peace and Calming.

Have a cup of tea. While coffee might energize you temporarily, it will also make you nervous and on edge. Tea calms the nerves and makes everything better.

Exercise: Common sense says you don’t have time to go to the gym, but exercise helps stress levels come down and will keep your on task.

raising-handsWorship: Crank up the worship music and play it while you are doing what you need to do. Also take some time out to worship God. God will redeem the time you spend in His presence.

Ask God for peace and joy. God can give you peace and joy in the most difficult times. Peace and joy are not based on your circumstances but on God’s mercy and grace.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

10 Keys to a Happy Life

Joy Key Shows Fun Or Happinessby Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Bible talks a lot about joy. You can’t read the Bible very long without realizing God wants us find our happiness in Him. John Piper says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. That’s the real key to a happy life, to be satisfied in God. Here are a couple of verses that show this.

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

John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Here are 10 keys to having a happy and fulfilled life. They are not the only ones. You can find the rest in the Bible.

10. Don’t worry so much. Most of what we worry about never happens.

9. Remember failure is an event, not a person.

8. Knowing Jesus is more important than knowing about Jesus.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of God7. Remember that the story of your life is not about you. It’s about God in you.

6. Our lives become significant by how we serve and bless others.

5. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep and gain what he can not lose.” Jim Elliot. In other words, if we don’t have anything worth dying for, we don’t have anything worth living for.

4. Stay true to the Word of God while loving others liberally. That means you love others enough to tell them the truth. The truth is that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

3. God’s opinion is the only one that counts.

2. We find our greatest joy by abiding in Christ and yielding to the will of God.

1. A life without God at the center is a miserable, wasted life.

So, can you think of any I missed. Leave a comment.

My Favorite Top 10 Classic Romances and Love Stories

Old books on table on brown backgroundby Tamera Lynn Kraft

It’s almost Valentine’s Day when our thought turn to romance and love. There’s nothing better on Valentine’s Day than to pull out some of your favorite love stories. Here are my favorite classic romances and love stories.

10. Persuasion by Jane AustinWritten as the Napoleonic Wars were ending, the novel examines how a woman can at once remain faithful to her past and still move forward into the future. Anne Elliot seems to have given up on present happiness and has resigned herself to living off her memories. More than seven years earlier she complied with duty: persuaded to view the match as imprudent and improper, she broke off her engagement to a naval captain with neither fortune, ancestry, nor prospects. However, when peacetime arrives and brings the Navy home, and Anne encounters Captain Wentworth once more, she starts to believe in second chances.

9. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (All right. Technically it’s a play. But it’s still one of the greatest love stories of all times.)

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud.

In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love. In part because of its exquisite language, it is easy to respond as if it were about all young lovers.

8. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

5. Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

The year is 1792. The French Revolution, driven to excess by its own triumph, has turned into a reign of terror. Daily, tumbrels bearing new victims to the guillotine roll over the cobbled streets of Paris.… Thus the stage is set for one of the most enthralling novels of historical adventure ever written.

The mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, sworn to rescue helpless men, women, and children from their doom; his implacable foe, the French agent Chauvelin, relentlessly hunting him down; and lovely Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful French exile married to an English lord and caught in a terrible conflict of loyalties—all play their parts in a suspenseful tale that ranges from the squalid slums of Paris to the aristocratic salons of London, from intrigue on a great English country estate to the final denouement on the cliffs of the French coast.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

3. Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte

A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom. Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighborhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’

Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities portrays a world on fire, split between Paris and London during the brutal and bloody events of the French Revolution. After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There, two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Next Wednesday I’ll list my favorite contemporary love stories and romances. Which are your favorites? Would you add any? Please comment.

10 Life Resolutions

Writeby Tamera Lynn Kraft

While all of us are deciding what we want our goals and resolutions to be for 2017, 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.

Top 10 Classic Christmas Stories of All Time

Stack of books and other presents in basket. Christmas decoratioby Tamera Lynn Kraft

After all the decorations are put up and the cookies are baked and the presents are wrapped than to sit down with a classic Christmas story that you remember from your childhood Christmases. Here are my top 10 favorite classic Christmas stories of all time.

10. Christmas Day In the Morning by Pearl S. Buck: A classic tale about how showing love to the people closet to us is the most important Christmas gift we could ever give. You can read it online at this link.

9. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: This newer classic tells a story about a boy learning the importance of belief. Every year, hundreds of children are taking train rides across the country because of this story. A couple of years ago, I took the same train ride with my grandchildren. The first thing they did when the got home was too hand their bells on the Christmas tree.

8. The Little Match Stick Girl by Hans Christian Anderson: This is such a sad tear jerker about a poor little girl who gets to have the Christmas of her dreams. I remember the first time I read it as a young girl. The story stuck with me. To this day, I believe I am more charitable to those who have nothing partly because of this story. Don’t read it unless you have tissues handy.

7. The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke: The wise man who didn’t make it to birth of Christ in time finds out why Jesus really came to Earth. I remember reading this in Junior High School and how it brought alive the Christmas story in my heart.

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss: Before the movie with Jim Carey and before the cartoon we watched every Christmas season, there was this great story book written by Dr. Seuss. “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” Who could ever forget this line from this classic story?

5. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry: The best Christmas romance ever written. It shows how we sacrifice for the ones we love. I remember thinking when I first read this as a young girl that if I found a romance like this, I had found true love. Now that I’m an adult who has been married for many years, I’d have to say that I have found true love like this.

4. Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore: This original story about Santa Claus was a poem originally called A Visit from Saint Nicholas. It was originally printed in 1823 and has served to establish our modern version of Santa Claus. It also is the first time the eight reindeer were actually named. I doubt those same 8 reindeer are still living, but maybe their descendants were named similarly. Since Rudolf didn’t appear until a story book was written about him in 1939, obviously this happened before Rudolf saved the day.

3. The Tale of Three Trees by Author Unknown: This folklore story tells about three trees who served a great purpose. The first tree wanted to hold the greatest treasure in the world. The second tree wanted to be a strong ship for mighty kings. The third tree wanted to be the tallest tree in the forest. Each tree thought it’s wish didn’t come true, but in reality, each tree ended up fulfilling its purpose in a way it never imagined. Angela Hunt wrote a novel based on this story.

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: This story of repentance set at Christmas times is the best Christmas story other than the real story in the Bible. Scrooge is a mean stingy old man who is visited by three spirits where he learns the true meaning of Christmas. This story has been made into many movie adaptations, but the original novel is far better than any of them because it shows Scrooge’s redemption from the first visit. By the time the ghost of Christmas future visits, Scrooge is a changed man.

nativity_fkszctud_l

1. The Nativity Story:  This is the story of Christmas. Without Christ being born in Bethlehem, this would be a very dark world.

(Luke 2:1-21)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

My 10 Favorite Christmas Carol Movies

Christmas movies and holiday classic cinema and TV flicks with a red clapperboard and a Santa Clause hat white fur trim as an entertainment symbol of the winter film industry cinematic releases on a white background.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is my favorite Christmas novel. Although no movie adaptation has ever done it justice, here are my top 10 favorite Christmas Carol Movies.

10. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Released 1983 (animated)

Starring Allen Young, Wayne Allwine

In this Mickey Mouse animation, they keep the essence of the story but add a little more when Scrooge is cast into Hell by the 3rd ghost.

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Released 1992

Starring Micheal Caine

This isn’t exactly Dickens, but it is a fun retelling using Muppets as the characters.

8. Ms. Scrooge

Released 1997

Starring Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson make a great female Scrooge in this twist on the old story.

7. 12 Days of Christmas Eve

Released 2004

Starring Steven Weber and Molly Shannon

This adaption is sort of A Christmas Carol meet Groundhog Day. It’s a funny retelling that works.

6. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Released 1962 (animated)

Starring Mr. Magoo

What’s not to like about Magoo as Scrooge. This is one of my favorites.

5. A Christmas Carol

Released 1951

Starring Alistar Sims

The is the best old classic movie of the story.

4. An American Christmas Carol

Released 1979

Starring Henry Winkler

Winkler plays Scrooge in a very un-Fonzy way and is believable in the part. This Christmas Carol set in the Depression era is one of the best in changing the setting yet keeping the essence of the story.

3. Disney’s A Christmas Carol 3D

Released 2009

Starring Jim Carey

This animated retelling of A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite. Jim Carey does a great job of showing a repentant Scrooge.

2. A Christmas Carol

Released 1984

Starring George C. Scott

George C. Scott’s portrayal of Edenezer Scrooge is the best. He is a perfect Scrooge both before and after the transformation.

1. A Christmas Carol

Released 1999

Starring Patrick Stewart

This is the adaptation that is closet to the actual story. There are few differences. That is the reason this is my favorite. Patrick Stewart also does an excellent job as Scrooge. Only George C. Scott did a better job.

10 Best Classic Thanksgiving Movies

10. Mouse On The Mayflower

(1968) Animated

Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.

Starring Voices: Tennessee Ernie Ford, John Gary, and Eddie Albert

This classic children’s cartoon movie about a mouse traveling on the Mayflower is a must if your children have never watched it.

9. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

(1973) Animated

Directed by Bill Melendez, Phil Roman

Written by Charles Schultz

The best part of this movie is Linus’ Thanksgiving prayer reminding us of the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

8. Holiday Inn

(1942)

Directed by Mark Sandrich

Starring: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire

This prequel to White Christmas cover all of the holidays including Thanksgiving featuring Bing Crosby singing I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For.

7. Plymouth Adventure

(1952)

Starring Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, and Van Johnson

Any movie starring these three giants of acting is worth watching. This movie tells the story of the voyage of the Mayflower.

6. Mayflower: The Pilgrim’s Adventure

(1979)

Directed by Clarence Brown

Starring Jenny Aqutter and Tim Barrett. Anthony Quinn and Richard Crenna also have roles in this movie.

Another great telling of the crossing of the Mayflower.

5. A Man Called Peter

(1955)

Directed by Henry Coster

Starring Richard Todd and Jean Peters

This story has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but it does tell a story of the spiritual heritage of our nation. Peter Marshall feels the call to be a preacher. He leaves Scotland and comes to America and eventually becomes the pastor of “The Church of Presidents” and the chaplain of the US Senate without ever becoming politically correct or compromising his faith.

4. The Wizard of Oz

(1939)

Directed by Victor Fleming

Starring Judy Garland

This movie used to be showed on TV every Thanksgiving and reminds us we can be thankful for what we have. There’s no place like home.

3. Miracle On 34th Street

(1947)

Directed by George Seaton

Starring Edwin Gween, Maureen O’Hara, and Natalie Wood

Although technically this is a Christmas movie, who can forget that it starts with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

2. It’s A Wonderful Life

(1946)

Directed by Frank Capra

Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed

This movie that used to be shown every Thanksgiving reminds us that sometimes what we consider hardship may be the very thing we can be thankful for because our lives matter to other people.

1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

(1987)

Directed by John Hughes

Starring Steve Martin and John Candy

In my opinion, this comedy is the best Thanksgiving movie reminding us to be thankful for what we have and sharing our blessings with those who might have lost everything. I get a lump in my throat at the end every time I watch it. If you can get the TV version instead of the movie DVD, it takes out the bad language. I believe there’s a DVD that takes out the language also.