Category Archives: Christian Women

Permission to Rest

16730616_1109166089210839_7304976910730034621_n

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”” Psalm 46:10, NIV

I am closing down my office till Tuesday. Did not work much this week, but it was very important to spend a few days with my mom before she leaves for Ukraine.
I finally realized it is ok to have time off to spend with family and friends. We get so busy! For years I did not give myself permission to relax, delegate chores and just be and breathe.😥

Often we need to be reminded to slow down, unplug and be fully present with the ones we love.

I came to realize that at least one day of rest per week has to be a nonnegotiable. For me it is usually Saturday. Regardless of my busy schedule I need this day of rest like a day of fresh air. I need to unplug completely, no email checking or FB posting. 📖

Do you have a day of rest you keep? Do you unplug on occasion? Do you spend time in nature, at the park, 🌳by the ocean, river or lake?

When was the last time you got lost in a good book? Would you like to share your thoughts on this matter?

Blessings 

 

Advertisements

Love is in the Air

image

It is all about love! We should remember it not only on February 14, but every day.

We were created for love, but somehow we still get lonely, resentful, frustrated, and pessimistic. What is wrong with our perception? How can we refocus on what our ultimate calling is? How can we remind ourselves that loving others as ourselves is  the first and foremost task for every single person?

The answer is in capturing our negative and distractive thoughts and in renewing our minds daily. Even though it takes a lot of concentration and quite a bit of work, it can be achieved.

Practice daily purification of the mind, begin each day with focusing on love. Ask yourself how can you experience love today. Whatever you focus on you bring into your life.

Greatness

image

“Though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” Job 8:7, ESV

Have you ever thought that you were created for greatness? Not the pompous kind, but the one that reflects God’s one-of-a-kind design for you, your Destiny. Greatness and perfectionism are quite different when you look at achieving from the angle of pleasing your Creator, not yourself or others.

What has been prohibiting you from achieving something very special, something you know deep in your heart you were created to do? Are you afraid you’re not good enough, that you don’t measure up? Do you question your strength? Are you concerned what others might think? Are you busy surviving?

Striving for greatness can be tricky. What does it mean to you, to achieve your life’s purpose? What are the dreams you had as a child? Do you think they are silly and there is nothing to them, that the life is tough and the reality has no room for dreaming?

Do you know how to discern God’s purpose for you? Do you have a habit of constant communication with your Creator, The God of the Universe?

By praying and asking God for guidance you will be encouraged on your journey. Pray for Divine appointments along the way. Make a decision to move in the direction of your dreams and desires, take action and keep going forward. You can tap into ultimate source of power, the one that created you for the purpose only you can fulfill.

True friends

image

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

 

Embracing Imperfection

image

Embracing imperfection is a center of Japanese art form/technique of kintsugi.
Kintsugi stands for “golden repair”. A few hundred years ago when a valuable bowl or a vessel was broken it was sent to be repaired. An artist mixed resin or lacquer with gold and used it as glue. The result of such restoration? A “new” piece of art with unexpected and intricate veins of gold running through it.

You may feel like a broken vessel, pieces scattered everywhere. You are not whole anymore. You may be hiding this brokenness in shame, afraid to admit this imperfection.

God can restore our imperfections and brokenness just the same. He has the power to reshape our lives and make them beautiful again.

When our lives are repaired our stories become examples of God’s handiwork. You can be masterfully restored to a joyous, full life. Our “cracks” filled with pure gold of wisdom and understanding, beautiful in its imperfection.

Now not only we can be used again, we become true masterpieces.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” ‭Isaiah‬ ‭64:8, ‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Are you in a weight-loss information overload?

image

Recently I went to a bookstore. Not surprisingly there was a big section of books and videos devoted to weight- loss. People keep writing about it, various titles show up each year, but are we getting any healthier? How many of you bought a few books on healthy lifestyle just to promptly put them on a shelf and… never actually read most of them to the end? I tried to find statistics on what percentage of people actually read past the first chapter of self-help books they purchase. I was not able to find it today, but I am sure it is very low.

Regardless of how much information is out there it is hard to find time to learn something in depth. I often read a dozen non-fiction books simultaneously and switch between them. It usually depends on what I work on and what extra information I need for myself and my clients. I read magazine and internet articles, listen to audio tapes, peruse library books as well as take classes on subjects of interest. Healthy lifestyle, fitness and relationship with food have long been on my radar and I did study it, but how about everyone else? Do you have time to study it in depth? Do you need to?
I begun to think: may be short articles and posts are actually more useful for most of us? Following short workout videos on YouTube may be a much better tool for many than buying a workout program just to put it on a shelf or use it only once or twice. After all it takes effort to take a DVD out of the box and put it in the DVR, you know… Actually there is a psychological factor:  It is easier to buy a book or a DVD and pretend that the action is already taken!
There are numerous programs available, backed up by studies and testimonies with great results. I can choose one and stick to it or peruse numerous advice and come up with my own, that fits my needs and schedule. One rule- I have to be committed and disciplined. I need to eat less calories and burn more than I consume. Bottom line- I need to be committed to my health. After all being able to fit in a smaller pair of jeans is only a visual, the real reason is to be healthy and have more energy, to be ready for what God has in store for me. I must eat better and move more. Drink plenty of water. Have a good attitude. Rejoice, pray and be grateful.

Challenge of a Caterpillar Metamorphosis

image
A friend of mine shared a joke:
It’s good to be a caterpillar: all you do is eat, eat, EAT, EAT, than roll yourself up, sleep, sleep, sleep, than wake up as a beauty!
Don’t we wish it was a case for all of us?
I want to share methods I successfully used in the past. All lead to weight loss. I love to eat, so as many I often gained quite a few extra pounds in winter. I accumulated a few go-to strategies when I need to loose some weight and stay healthy for the future. Now I would like to put them on a list. I did that for my anxiety remedies and I am glad I did. Over time I have tendency to forget things I used in the past. When someone reminds me I am very grateful. Many of my friends who love food and are not blessed with super-fast metabolism have tried many of these methods. Please remind me if there is something I missed but you like. Here is what I remember I successfully tried in the past:
– Calorie counting. It was a good approach to realize how much I was actually eating. It helped to learn calorie contents of my favorite foods and I still remember some of them. I have a book with lists of food and calories and there are apps for it. Some restaurants provide calorie contents, but I try to avoid eating out when I diet- too much temptation. When I first tried to count calories I realized how Much I underestimated the amounts I ate! I need to consume no more than 1500 calories in order to loose weight and 2000 calories a day to maintain healthy weight. This method is very time consuming and a few people told me it causes them anxiety. We don’t want that! But for others it was a very good tool.
– Food and exercise log/ journal. I pulled it out to look at my old notes and see what I did and how it worked. Even if not journaling every day making entries now and then are beneficial. For a few days now I have been writing what I ate, keeping an exercise log as well. I am also back to weighing myself every morning. I thought I will not do it this time, but it was a habit for so long- I think I’ll keep it- I like numbers after all.
– Cleanse/fasting. This method worked, but I don’t want to do it again now- it is too harsh, I think. I may go on a liquid diet one day a week or at least for half a day- I’ll see. I like juicing and drinking water with lemon or apple cider vinegar. Or I mix powder of dried vegetables into a drink (green powder). I am back to rotating between a green drink, water with lemon or apple cider vinegar in the morning. Sometimes I sip it throughout a day. They are alkaline and because my stomach is very acidic I try to counteract that.
There is also different kind of fasting for spiritual purpose, but I will write about it some other time.
– Juicing. Various juices are beneficial but some can be harmful in large quantities. Actually any dieting can be harmful- I did consult my Naturopathic doctor in the past. I like to juice fresh organic fruit and vegetables but not every day. I remember my mother saying to be very careful with beet juice- I’ll need to look up why. There are numerous books on juicing and receipts on the internet to choose from.
– Smoothies and shakes. I like them only need not add too much fruit, protein powder or nuts- it all adds calories event though healthy overall. I’ll make them richer in the main tangency phase, but not yet.
– Green powder- a good substitute for juicing when I don’t have time.
– Adding more vegetables to my diet in all forms: raw and cooked is a great way to healthier eating. My favorite comfort food ingredient is potato, but I mix it with plenty of non- starchy veggies and some meat in a stew or soup with lots of spices-yum! I often share recipes on Facebook, as many of you know. Please share your healthy recipes.
– Psyllium husk. On occasion I add it to water for a filling drink with basically no calories. It also is a good way to eliminate toxins. To avoid constipation I use a tea spoon of powder in a glass of water no more than once a day. Some detoxifying kits are sold with laxatives in them but I am not a big fan, even though I used them in the past.
– Desserts. Apples, blueberries and oranges is what I switched to last week. Good-bye chocolate candy, I’ll miss you! But I still crave chocolate. Dark chocolate is better, but now I am not going to have even that. Today I mixed cocoa powder with some hot water with stevia ( I also used a little honey in the past). The mixture was quite bitter and some would not like it, but it was a good enough substitute for me.

Fundamental for success is self-discipline. It is also good to have accountability.
Joining Weight Watchers or another group is a great option because it gives support, accountability and the feel of the community. I have not tried it personally but heard good things about them. A few times I joined my friends in weight-loss competition and it was fun and got competitive.

Good luck on your quest for health and vitality. I am praying for my friends and readers.

Laundry Room as a Spiritual Retreat

 

DSCN1897

Two days after I posted my previous blog entry Spiritual Desert of a Laundry Room I had a breakfast with a couple of girlfriends. As we were having a great time catching up one of the ladies mentioned a beautiful red lamp she recently purchased for her laundry room. Laundry room? Did I hear her correctly? I was not the only one surprised. We were curious why she decided to decorate her laundry room in a special way.

The answer was unexpected as well as eye opening. For this woman her laundry room has become her spiritual retreat. She loves coming there at night not only to wash clothes for her family of five, but also to enjoy some solitude and prayer time. She decorated it with splashes of color and items she likes to make it cozy and inviting.

Listening to her I thought how a change of perspective could completely switch one’s attitude. Decorating a place you spend a lot of time at and leaving negativity at the door can be revolutionary in a sense how you perceive any task you complete in that space and possibly affect your overall satisfaction with life.

I remember praying for my loved ones on numerous occasions as I did household chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry. My least favorite was ironing. I disliked it since childhood. We did not have a dryer when I was growing up, clothes came out wrinkled after being line dried and it was my responsibility to iron piles of clothes week after week. I became an expert at ironing, but I hated it. Later on even with a dryer there were still things that needed to be pressed. I used to set my ironing board in front of a TV and watch spiritual shows because not even sitcoms worked to sweeten a pill of this task… I also learned to pray more for my husband as I was pressing creases out of his dress shirts. Can you imagine my huge sigh of relief when I was able to send stuff to the cleaners where someone was doing laundry for me? Halleluiah!

Most people I know can easily identify their most and least favorite house chores. For me ironing tops the list of least favorite and it took a lot of prayer not to spiral down into resentment and self-pity when I was doing it.

What I do like is washing dishes by hand. There is something soothing about warm soapy water running through my fingers. It brings me to an almost meditative state of mind and it feels like a mini-retreat. I think that is what my friend experiences when she does laundry in a quiet room at night. Nobody interrupts her thoughts there and she can just be. Often this is as much “me” time as she allows herself.

Having downtime to unwind is necessary for everyone and there are many ways to do it. Often we think it is necessary to allot special time and find a place. But it can be as unorthodox as one’s laundry room or a quiet time by a kitchen sink.

It is funny how house chores can become uplifting spiritual experiences regardless if you like them or not. It’s all in a mindset.

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” Philippians 2:14-15 ESV

Spiritual desert of a laundry room

 

 

 

 

image

 

It has been a long day and you are very tired. You cooked and fed dinner to your family, cleaned up the dishes and checked kid’s homework. All you want is go to bed.

You spend your days working, taking care of a family, cooking and cleaning, checking homework and running errands. It is the evening now, almost everything is done and the house is quiet. You are in your laundry room, pairing the socks. Somehow there always a few loose ones… Resentment is building up inside of you, you feel angry, helpless and sad all at once. There you are, in a quiet house, feeling so sorry for yourself. It is late at night and you are exhausted. You are physically, emotionally and spiritually spent…

Does it sound at all familiar? At times like this you may just want to sit down and cry, feeling sorry for yourself. Or you may get angry, harboring resentment towards ungrateful or innocent members of the household. You may begin questioning: ‘Lord, why do I have to do it all by myself? Why there is no help? I know, nobody can do this job better than I can… If I decide to ask someone to help me with laundry or house cleaning, they probably will mess things up! Very likely my sweaters and delicates will be shrunk and my carefully sorted whites will end up being washed with a red t-shirt. Whatever someone else puts away will take me hours to find… That is why I don’t delegate… Yes, I do feel resentful for doing everything by myself and I can’t help it!”

Is there anything wrong with this picture? Do you see any contradiction here? What do you think can help you to begin enjoying your life?

Is it possible you can you get help by delegating the chores? Can you learn to be patient with other people’s mistakes when they are trying to help and contribute? Unfortunately, a common reaction for most of women is to negatively react and unleash anger at the person, usually a loved one or spouse, who was trying to help.

When a person who was sincerely trying to help gets scolded for doing things in a wrong way, he may not offer to help for a long time. This in turn can make you even more resentful and feeling sorry for yourself.

It is never too late to re-focus and get out of this downward spiral of misery. Do you punish a baby when she is making her first steps and falls again and again? My guess is, you just lift her up, encouraging and praising her with smiles and cheering. Why don’t you do it with older children and grown-ups in our lives? Why don’t you smile when looking at a burned dinner someone tried to help you to make and simply say: “Thank you”. It may be worth it to bite your tongue and silence any mocking comments.

Why don’t we allow others to help us even if we know they are not going to do a “perfect” job? Why don’t we kindly ask for help when no one volunteers? Can we communicate love instead of hurt and resentment? How can we accomplish this? How can we become happier and cultivate loving and caring relationships? We should realize achieving positive changes takes work and continuous effort. Sometimes we should ask ourselves are we just generally lazy? Even worse, are we tempted to leave everything as is and resort to unleashing anger at times to the people we love. Is that the kind of life we should be living?

Changes happened when we get to the point where we want them to occur. You can be happy if you use the right approach. Change your perspective. Don’t attempt to change others or make their lives miserable. Establish a new habit of gratitude that leads to happiness. Focus on love. When you feel resentment and anger towards someone try to remember what you appreciate about this person. Focus on what you like about him or her. Meditate on love.

It takes time and effort to build a mutual loving and caring relationship. For a garden to flourish it not only needs to be planted, but fertilized, watered, weeded and pruned. It is our choice to be together with someone. It is our choice to work on connection and partnership. It is our choice to sow kindness and love with generosity of heart to reap joy and peace.

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 

 

Love…

red rose

 

Often a woman goes into a relationship, thinking that there is a prince charming in this world who can complete her. That famous phrase from “Jerry Maguire”: “you complete me” is misleading, to say the least. You are God’s complete creation, you are special and unique. Another person can enhance you, but not “complete” you.

To grow in a relationship you first need to know who you are. Learn to like and respect yourself. Then you will be able to receive and give love equally, in strength, confidence and maturity.

Many people think that contribution in a relationship should be a 50/50 deal. There is a slight problem, though: everybody’s idea of50% is different. In math it makes sense and 50%+50%=100%, but in real life it does not always adds up this way. We can give 100% of love to the ones we trust. There is a freedom in giving in love, without expecting to be met in a middle. As we are reminded in the most beautiful Bible passage about love:

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 

… Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13, NLT

%d bloggers like this: