The Essence of His Presence – A Gayla Christmas Celebration

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’Tis the Season of Rest: The Wonder of Winter

 

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It’s winter, and although the true winter season suggests a quieter, restful time of “comfort and joy,” most women’s calendars groan under the load of appointments and festive activities. Usually the holiday spirit begins around fall harvest and continues energetically throughout the winter months, with contemporary technology and progress taking us farther and farther from the simple basics of nature’s rhythms.

Let’s slow our pace, catch our breath, and observe the wonder of this season. In God’s creation, the earth sends her energy deep into the soil in order to be protected and nourished until sprouting time in the spring. Longer nights and shorter days beckon us indoors for warmth, nourishment, and protection. This season brings much needed rest and regeneration for both the soil and our body and soul.

Think for a moment of all the winter provisions we make to ensure a safer, warmer season: storm windows, snow tires, and oil change; sprinkler systems shut off, down jackets and wool sweaters for the kids, flannel linens on the beds, and extra quilts nearby. Now, ask yourself, “What do I do to prepare my own body for this cold, harsh season?” Let’s look at three areas of our being – body, mind, and spirit – and consider some ways we can prepare, provide, and prevent during winter’s long visit.

Body

Winter’s cold, damp weather challenges even the strongest immune system. Fending off cold and flu symptoms begins with some simple immune-boosting steps.

Ideally, we should be doing some preventive measures every day, such as drinking eight glasses of water, eating a protein rich breakfast, getting eight hours of sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a simple winter diet of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables and lean meats. Most women that I know don’t live by an ideal schedule or routine. When we work long hours, eat on the go, or scrimp on sleep, these winter afflictions may attack our stressed bodies.

God designed our bodies with the ability to wage a counter-attack on virus and bacteria. As uncomfortable as the process is, there is a reason for the runny nose, increased temperature, and muscle aches. The immune system is doing its job of excreting “unfriendly” bacteria or virus from the body. Nature’s garden provides some natural remedies to bolster our bodies’ defenses. Garlic, onions, and shiitake mushrooms inhibit bacterial and viral growth. Lemon and grapefruit are high in vitamin C and have antiseptic, anti-microbial, and mucus-dissolving properties. Herbs that chase away unpleasant symptoms include: eucalyptus (clears stuffy nose and head) and Echinacea (boosts immune system and fights bacterial and viral infections).

Mind

Now let’s consider how to maintain a strong, healthy mind during this cold, dark season. The limited daylight hours bring a winter woe known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a form of depression that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, affects more than 10 million Americans every winter.

Shorter days mean less natural sunlight, which can initiate biochemical changes in the brain, resulting in anxiety, lack of concentration, less energy, and depression. So, ban the blahs, and soak up the sun at every opportunity! Just a couple of daily 10-15 minute outings can re-energize our mental state.

The shift in our physical and mental energies during this season often mislead us into thinking we may be depressed, when we are actually in tune with the rhythm of winter.  This is nature’s resting season, and usually, most of us don’t re-set our internal clocks to adjust our biological rhythms to the pace of the current season.

Spirit

Does the climate of winter dampen your spirit? When icicles and snow drifts decorate the landscape, I love to tuck myself in with a good book and hot cocoa. I have learned to practice preventive care for my body and mind, but I’m still learning how to keep my spirit from going into a deep freeze during the winter months.

Psalm 74:17 tells us that God set all the boundaries of the earth and created both summer and winter. And Paul writes in Ephesians 3:17-18 that we should be rooted and established in love, grasping the greatness of Christ. These verses remind me that our Creator God gave us winter – not to whine, worry, or waste time – but to REST and restore our spirits (and bodies and minds) from the previous seasons’ activities. We need to use this time to let our roots go deep into the greatness of Christ’s love.

This is the season to do less and enjoy more – to achieve balance between activity and rest. Winter provides longer evening hours for quiet moments and closer communion with friends, loved ones, and mostly, our Savior. We can experience this communion as we connect with and embrace our Creator’s natural world.

Living for God – through a healthy body, mind, and spirit – allows us to illuminate the cold, dark days of winter, for ourselves and others. I pray that you will greet this season warmly as you rest your inner garden and spend time with the Master Gardener.

Little Ballerina

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As our Heavenly Father loves to receive words of praise and worship, He also enjoys watching His daughters dance in worship of Him, even the little ballerinas in all their innocence.  We hope you enjoy the following poem and it moves you to worship the Lord with a dance of your own making. Little Ballerina […]

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Why I’m Not Worried About the Election – By Sharon Jaynes

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I don’t know about you, but my emotions have been all over the board about this upcoming Presidential election. It is so easy to fall into the ravine of worry, anxiety, and outright fear. So let’s just talk about it a minute. During one of my “less than trusting” days, God reminded me that He […]

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Make God the Ultimate Parent – Godly Tips for Single Moms

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For surely, O Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with your favor as with a shield.  Psalm 5:12 (NIV) Prior to my single parenthood, I, like many Christians, had a casual relationship with God. I faithfully attended church on Sundays, and I prayed when I needed something from Him. My most intimate moments […]

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Bumblebees Fly Anyway

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Did you hear the buzz?  “Mama T” was in the hive this past Sunday, and all who attended were left with the sweet taste of the Word of God, like honey to their mouths. Our guests were treated to a bee-utifully decorated hive, filled with scrumptious treats, prepared by our very own, Chef Justin Hopp.  […]

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Igniting Your Child’s Passion for Lifelong Learning

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Have you ever sat back and watched young children at play? Notice how they take something apart to see how it works, or use make-believe to act out a story. Children have such incredible imaginations and a natural passion to discover the world around them. Compare this excitement for discovery to what you see in […]

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Bumblebees Fly Anyway

Thelma Wells Bulletin back

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Never Give Up: It’s Time to Take a Stand

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Life has a way of not always ending up the way we think. Haven’t we all looked back at some time in our life and said, “How did I get here?” or “Lord, I was sure that door was going to open for me!” or “What happened to that friendship? I thought we would have […]

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Start Small, Dream Big – Sparkle, Grades 7-12

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Stories of success and self-determination are often shared throughout social media and the news. These stories can touch your heart or make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Society makes it known that if you’re an “adult” these things can be easily accomplished. But what if you’re a teenager? Can your dreams or […]

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