Category Archives: Inspirational

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

The movie I Heard the Bells is the true story behind the Christmas carol and the man who wrote it, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow was affectionately known by the public as “America’s Poet”, inspiring the country with his work. The movie takes place during the period in his life when our nation was divided by the Civil War. Happily married with six children and doing the work he loved, everything changes for him when tragedy strikes in his family. It’s an excellent movie and below is the trailer…

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On Blessings and Gratitude

We tend to think about our blessings a little more this time of year, over the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we’re grateful for, after all. Here’s something from a book by Max Lucado I read recently that seems fitting for this Thanksgiving weekend, as we relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies have linked the emotion with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others. People who keep a gratitude journal are more likely to have a positive outlook on life. Grateful individuals demonstrate less envy, materialism, and self-centeredness. Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity. If it came in pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It’s no wonder, then, that God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.

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Book Review: Crazy Joy

Life definitely has ups and downs and for many of us, our happiness tends to be dependent on if we’re in a good season or having a good day, or if we’re in a difficult season or having a bad day. Or we think we’ll be happier one day if we have this or that, or if certain things happen in our lives: getting that dream job, getting married, or moving to a city we love. In her new book Crazy Joy, (hardcover, Worthy Publishing) Mary Katherine Backstrom shares how you can find joy and contentment not only in the good times but right in the middle of your hardest, messiest times. If you’re not familiar with Backstrom (or MK, for short), she is known for her viral social media videos and her writings on family, faith, and mental illness. Her writing style is very candid and humorous, and you can’t help but laugh at many of the real-life situations she shares about herself and her family. So, just reading this book will bring you joy and lots of laughs!

MK’s writing style is also warm and personal, kind of like a friend talking to you over lunch or a cup of coffee. The hard (or embarrassing) but funny experiences she shares about her own life, along with the insights and wisdom she’s gained from going through them, are really easy to relate to. You can even picture yourself in some of these situations, which makes it such a fun read.

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Book Review: The Power of Thank You and My Thank You Journal

I received a review copy of this book; all opinions expressed are mine.

“Having a grateful heart has more power than we can imagine,” writes Joyce Meyer in the introduction of her new book, The Power of Thank You: Discover the Joy of Gratitude (FaithWords, hardcover). She adds, “Thankfulness releases joy in our lives, has a powerful effect on our prayers, and keeps us focused on the positive aspects of our lives.”

Meyer writes about how she practices being grateful in her own life: “This morning I thanked God that I could see, hear, think, talk, and walk. Just imagine how we would complain and how challenging our lives would be if we couldn’t do any of these, and yet we rarely thank God for the ability to do them.” She also points to the apostle Paul as an example of an extremely thankful person—how he had learned to be content whether he had little or much (Philippians 4:11). And Meyer includes additional examples of what true gratitude looks like from the lives of Job, Joseph and others in the Bible.

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Good News, Great Joy!

Wishing you a joyful, peaceful Christmas as you celebrate the good news of this holiday with those you love!

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.”

LUKE 2:8-14 NIV