Category Archives: stillness

Permission to Rest

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“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.😥

Yesterday I was blessed to receive numerous messages with birthday wishes via text and FB posts and I appreciate all my friends reaching out and showing their love. But there was only one girlfriend who actually called and sang “Happy Birthday “… 🎂

It made me think that we must 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 Saturday. Regardless of my busy schedule it is a must. I am also going to unplug this weekend–no email checking or FB posting. 📖

Do you have a day of rest you keep? Do you unplug on occasion? Do you go to spend some time 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 

Spiritual desert of a laundry room

Lena Giffoni Coaching International

 

imageIt has been a long day and you are very tired. You cooked and fed your family dinner, cleaned up the dishes and checked kid’s homework. All you want is to go to bed. After a week of work, taking care of family, cooking and cleaning, checking homework and running errands almost everything is done and the house is quiet. Resentment is building up as you are folding laundry. 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? Very likely it does. 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…

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Laundry Room as a Spiritual Retreat

“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

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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 such a place 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.

 

Here we go again

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Often when I am stepping in obedience to complete a task Lord assigns to me strange things begin to happen. Often I am forced to be still and reflect- like a dormant tree, only to bloom again in due season.

Yesterday I was supposed to speak in front of a group of women in Malibu. When I got up I found a text message on my phone saying that a friend who was supposed to join me had to cancel. What a pity, I would miss her…
A few minutes later I realized that it was one of THOSE mornings:
the document I was working on wouldn’t show up on the computer screen;
All of a sudden I had a bout of allergies with non-stop sneezing and watery eyes for about an hour- I had not have it in years!
When I finally got a printer to work there was a paper jam, next it promptly ran out of blue and yellow ink- I only need black but nevertheless the machine refused to print…
It took me about five attempts to finally open the document on my iPad so I could refer to it if needed during the presentation. 
A sweater I was going to wear was not there- quite frustrating but a reminder to prepare my clothes the night before…
After the second mishap I thought there was something very strange going on and started to pray feverishly. Please believe me- I am computer literate! It was beginning to look suspiciously like a spiritual warfare when you are doing something to glorify God and there is a strong force opposing your every step. So I prayed every step of the way. 
Thank God my allergy miraculously cleared out without medication and was completely gone, I found something nice to wear in no time-accessories and all, my car started and I got to the place on time. Yeah!
As my girlfriend wasn’t there to film I was trying to get to work a camera I haven’t used in a while. I did not remember where was the record button on this high-tech thing, so it took me a few minutes to figure it out. After a quick prayer thankfully it worked and another friend kindly agreed to do the job. Thank you, Lord!

The presentation went well. Actually after I prayed and asked God to speak through me- I didn’t need my notes after all!
Often after even a shortest speaking engagements Lord sends me Divine Appointments to encourage to go on and to witness what He can do when I rely on Him. English is my third language, I am a former math teacher- I can’t speak publicly unless He takes care of it!
A woman came up with tears in her eyes and told me that a part of my testimony was an answer to her prayers from years back. We talked for quite some time and were amazed how many things we had in common – another god-incident. Glory be to God!

As I am writing this I am lying in bed sick with a food poisoning or a flu. I was ill a week before as well. I am also have been very sad about the news I get from my native Ukraine… There is a spiritual battle going on, seems like a big one. I truly feel like a kitten it in a dumpster right now… 

Ok, Lena, let’s try to be grateful under any circumstances:
I am at home, not sick on a trip;
I have freedom to cancel or postpone all engagements and appointments;
I can focus on praying for my family, friends and everything that comes to mind that needs to be covered in prayer, including governments and political situations;
I am blessed to have above said family and friends.
Is my body feeling much better after this exercise? Nope. But my spirit is soaring a little higher now. Thank you.
Like so many times in the past I rely on Him for healing and guidance. I will complete my studies and become a Certified Christian Life Coach in a matter of weeks. I am asking for divine healing, clear head and abundant strength . Amen.

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