3 Keys to Living In Gratefulness

Living a life of gratefulness is key to living the best possible life ever. When you think about your life, does the word ‘grateful’ come to your mind?

Oftentimes, it may only happen when we are gathered at a table with a big fat turkey staring back at us. But, when we lose something or face difficulty, gratefulness comes back into perspective in our life. When we allow gratefulness to be part of our everyday life, however, we gain a greater perspective on what is truly important.

Personally, there are 5 things that I try to keep centered in my life to remember to be grateful. You can try these too.

  1. Say “Thank You” before your feet hit the floor.Before the java hits your lips, say ‘thank you’. There are so many things to be grateful for when your eyes open. Thankful for the breath in your lungs, the pillow under your head or the opportunity to make a difference in a new day. By making these the first two words out of your mouth, you will start your day with an attitude of gratefulness.
  2. Keep your eyes open to the little things.Each day we are surrounded by so many little things that are often taken for granted. That moment we have a conversation with someone that we didn’t plan and learn something that changes us or opens our mind to something new. Or, that moment when we look around at the job or house or family or friends that we have with new eyes. These moments have the power to increase gratefulness in our lives.
  3. Ask yourself one tough question every day.
    The question is simply this. “If I only had today what I thanked God for yesterday, what would I have?” Ouch! For some of us, that question hurts. We realize that our lack of gratefulness would cause us to live in a pretty sad and empty place. I recently shared this question at THE PLACE Church. Check out the video here:

Strive to live in gratefulness. It will truly have a profound impact on how you see yourself… others… and your life.

Let me hear from you. What are you grateful for this week?

Feel free to keep the conversation on my  Facebook page. 

With a Grateful Heart,

GP

 

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Motivation Monday – A Video to Start Your Week

Every now and then we simply need some motivation. We need to be reminded of where we are going and why we shouldn’t stop.

Here is your motivation for today:

 

Some of my favorite lines from this video: 

“Surround yourself with greatness.” 

“If you want something then go get it.” 

“You want to do things because it’s the right thing to do… because you were meant to do it… because you’re a dreamer and that comes from your heart.”

What about you? What were some of your favorite lines?

I hope this helps you to keep pushing forward!

GP

Zig Ziglar: 10 Quotes to Motivate

For years now, I have been inspired by Zig Ziglar. I love reading his books, hearing him speak and am eternally grateful for the life that he lived.  His words have kept me going when I have wanted to give up. May these quotes bring some motivation into your life too!

1. “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

2. “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

3. “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

4. “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

5. “Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.”

6. “Every choice you make has an end result.”

7. “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

8. “It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.”

9. “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.”

10. “The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”

I hope you enjoy these!

For all my husbands out there… here’s one more for you. Zig had an amazing marriage with “The Redhead” (as he affectionately called her) and it was probably because he understood relationships. Here’s your last quote for the day:

“If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, you’ll never end up with a nag.” You can take that one to the bank!

GP

Matthew 2: Killing Babies and Sitting Through Pain

As we move along to the second chapter of Matthew, tragedy meets divinity as we witness more miracles in the story of Jesus. This miracle… and tragedy… is built around those that fill our hearts with joy and our landfills with diapers… Babies!

King Herod has been affectionately called  “a madman” in history, though we have probably heard him called “Herod the Great”. After reading my history lessons about him, I would simply call him “Herod the Great Madman”.

He was a ruthless murderer. He killed three of his sons, his most beloved wife and many more. Killing, for him and many other leaders during this time, was a normal thing. Herod, however, took it to a whole new level during the time of Jesus. 

A group of people enter the city with news that a new king had been born.

Can you imagine the reaction of this man when he found out that the “King of the Jews” had been born on HIS watch in HIS region. Unacceptable! However, he played it cool. I love the answer that he gives this group of guys:

“… ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him’.” Matthew 2:8b

Worship Him.

If worship meant “violently murder”, then Herod was waiting for his moment.

The magi left.

They worshipped Jesus.

They returned home…  another way… and Herod never located this King.

This didn’t stop Herod though.

His rage grew.

His paranoia expanded.

His anger overflowed into one of the most heinous crimes in the New Testament… Killing babies. 

Imagine soldiers, going home to home, shooting babies. That’s it. Just babies. If you were two years or younger, you are getting a bullet.

But, this was ancient times. There were no guns. So, soldiers would have to murder babies with knives and swords. Door to door. House to house. Family to family. Death.

This is another one of those stories of the Bible that I don’t think I truly get. Even typing the words gives me a check in my gut. I don’t want to type them. They are too hard. They are too dark. They sicken me. But, they are true. It happened. 

Imagine the families. Imagine the pain. Imagine the stories… the memories… the tears. 

Pure evil. I don’t think that you can get more evil than this. When I think of darkness… this is about as black as it can get. Disgusting. 

And, it is out of this darkness, that light prevails. God shows up in a dream to Joseph, provides the money through the magi and opens the doors to Egypt. Jesus is saved from this crime and lives to shine light into this world.

However, most of the parents in Bethlehem probably never had the chance to see this light. They couldn’t make sense of the crime. They simply had to sit through the pain. 

I pray that we never have to go through such horror. I pray that we never have to witness such hate. I pray that this depth of pain never reaches the thresholds of our lives. However, I know that each and every one of us will experience pain. We will have things happen. We will go through rage and sadness and loss. It is life. It is the reality of breathing breath. It happens. Sometimes, even when we could do absolutely nothing to prevent it.

It happens. 

What do we do in the midst of it? How do we handle it? What does that look like? 

We hold on to the light. 

Believe that something good can come from the pain. Believe that God can use man’s evil for His good. Believe that light truly does trump darkness and that God is the one who will have the final say. Trust in Him. 

Jesus said it so plainly for us when He said:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We are each called to have peace, but it will NEVER come from our circumstances. It doesn’t come from our bank accounts. It doesn’t come from our friends. It doesn’t come from living an “easy life”. Where does true peace come from? 

Jesus said, “…in ME you may have peace…”

If you need peace, there is only one place that you are going to find it. Look to Jesus. 

Shalom,

GP

Matthew 1: Tamar, Halibut and the Plans of God

If you start reading the Bible in Matthew chapter 1, you are going to be smacked with a list of names. Not names that you would probably find in your city’s maternity wing either. Some of these names are long, confusing and can make us really frustrated when we start reading the Bible.

Amminadab

Jehoram

Zerubbabel

Or, my favorite, Salmon and his brother Halibut.

(Bible disclosure. What you just read was a joke. Salmon does exist, however there is no Halibut in the family. Aunt Tuna wouldn’t let it happen.)

But, what we have to realize is that every name has a story and that story can mean something profound to us. When we read the name and know the story… a greater understanding of the hope and peace and grace of God comes into our lives.

For example, there is a phrase that is thrown into verse three. We read:

“Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar)…” Matthew 1:3a

What’s the point? We don’t hear the name of everyone’s mom… so why would the Bible include Tamar?

I would encourage you to read the story in Genesis 38. It is a tale of ejaculation, prostitution and all the stuff you don’t hear preached about on a Sunday morning. You hear the dark side of a patriarch named Judah (whose name I still think is awesome, even though his character might have been slightly askew).

Here it is in a nutshell:

Judah’s son Er gets a wife and her name is Tamar. He was wicked so God killed him. (see 38:7)

Judah tells the younger brother to marry her, have sex with her and make a baby. For some reason, this doesn’t seem like the life plan that Onan has for himself, so he pulls out just in time (before his ejaculation) and the Bible tells us that he “spilled it on the ground”. (see 38:9) Because of this… God killed him. (see 38:10)

I can’t make this stuff up.

This left the third son who was too young to get married (and probably scared to death of the “black widow” that was killing off his family), so Judah tells her to go back to her family’s home until he grew up.

She does.

He grows up.

Judah just forgets about his promise to Tamar. Life goes on and she is left without husband and without child.

This was a big deal.

To be married and have children were the purposes that drove this culture. It was disgraceful not to have children and to be a widow and not have children was just shameful.

She had trusted in her husband… that didn’t work out. She had trusted in the integrity of her father in law… and he failed her. She had hoped her life would turn out different… it didn’t. So, she took matters into her own hands.

She dressed up like a prostitute.

Maybe you didn’t see that coming. I know I didn’t when I first read it.

“I’m frustrated. I’m upset. But, I’m also single and ready to mingle! Let’s go on down to the sheep barbershop and see what I can get into.”

Judah sees her, but she has on a veil. He thinks, “There’s a prostitute and then says…”

“Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee.” This must be the normal King James talk between a “John” and a lady of the night.

Long story short… she gets a staff from him, gets a baby by him, gets accused by him, schooled him and then gets married to him. (For full story, please read your Bible!)

The baby (or should I say ‘babies’) are born… twins… named Perez and Zerah (NLT).

These babies are found in the lineage of Jesus. They are part of His story… Tamar is part of His story… and YOU are part of His story.

Maybe you understand how Tamar felt. Let down by people. Alone. Forgotten. Maybe you, like her, have tried to take matters into your hands. For some of us, that has worked. For others, it has blown up in your face. However… for all of us… whether we sit with smiles or singed eyebrows from a recent life explosion, God can work in that.

He does. He works in our mistakes. He works in our victories. He sees our pain and comforts us through it. He is guiding the steps of your life and has a perfect plan for you. The only question is… “Will you respond to Him? Will you give Him control over the chaos today?”

Tamar was far from a perfect person. Many things she did were wrong. However, God still used her in His story. I want to encourage you to believe this simple fact today:

God wants to use you in His story. Will you let Him?

GP

No Arms. No Legs. No Problem. Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic has been an inspiration to me for years. I have watched his story unfold as he has represented Christ to a watching world.

It’s hard for me to imagine what life would be like with no arms and no legs. I think about the “every day miracles” that would have to take place simply for me to get around. I imagine trying to brush my teeth or hair… cooking breakfast… taking a shower. (And that is all in the first hour of my day!) However, Nick has taken these difficulties and allowed them to make him stronger. He is a traveler, public speaker, husband, father and all around great guy. Learn more about him here…

Now what about you? What struggles are you facing? What has been troubling you lately?

Maybe today you can have a new perspective about these things. Maybe we can start living a life of “appreciation” and “gratefulness”. Maybe today we start embracing the gift of life that we have and making it count.

Will you accept this challenge today? Will you share Nick’s story of overcoming? Will you live the life of an overcomer? Will you embrace your difficulty and challenges with a spirit of excitement, energy and optimism.

If Nick can do it… so can you!

Be encouraged!
GP

Give Up or Keep Going. The Choice is Yours!

I’ve been there.

You’ve been there.

We’ve all been there.

We’ve been told that we can’t do this or we aren’t talented enough or we should just quit trying and give up. What do we do with that? How do we process this in our mind?

There are many talented people who are at dead end jobs that can’t stand their commutes, bosses or responsibilities…

Many who have given up on their dreams…

Many who are tired…

This video’s for you:

Now, the choice is yours. What are you going to do? Are you going to change? Are you going to start today?

This is your moment! Quit waiting and make it happen!

GP

Inspiring C.S. Lewis Quotes

C.S. Lewis has always been one of my favorite authors. I have read his books for years and they have continually inspired me. From his space aged fiction to his journeys into emotion, inspiration comes with every flip of the page.

Let me share with you a few of my favorites:

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” From Letters to Malcolm

“We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” From The Abolition of Man

“There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” From The Great Divorce

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” From A Grief Observed

“Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.” From Mere Christianity

“The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.” From Collected Works of CS Lewis

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” From The Screwtape Letters

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” From The Four Loves

“A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.” From Out of the Silent Planet

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” From Prince Caspian

These are just a few of my favorites. How about you? What is your favorite Lewis quote?

GP

“Sometimes Life is Going to Hit You in the Head with a Brick”

Some people loved him… Some people hated him. No matter what your thoughts were on the man, his life changed the way that many of us live today.

When he spoke, there was a profound wisdom that can be found nestled in his words. He understood much more than gigabytes and computer programming. In fact, if we listen to his words, they have power to change the way that we live.

This short video is filled with wisdom. My favorite line is:

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

We are all going to face tough times. We are all going to face difficulties. It is not these tough times or difficulties that define us… but our response to these things. 

Maybe you have faced difficulty recently. Maybe you are facing it right now. I want you to know that, sometimes, losing everything can be the best thing that ever happened to you. Let me leave you with another quote from the video:

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” 

Try to picture this difficult moment as a new possibility… a new journey… an incredible opportunity.

Maybe that brick that hit you really just knocked some sense into you. 

GP