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This is not the Christmas season


A must read … Let us slow down and wait upon the birth of our Lord and Savior!
“Let’s bring it back, shall we? Let’s reclaim Christmas for Christ by waiting for His birth to celebrate it. Let’s turn off the Christmas tunes for a minute, light a few candles (traditional Advent decorations), and play “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It is haunting, profound, healing, and perfectly captures everything I love about this time of year.”

The Matt Walsh Blog

****This is a guest post written by Chrissie Dhanagom. You can contact Chrissie here: cmdhanagom@gmail.com****

This is not the Christmas season.

Just thought I’d bring it up, because you wouldn’t know it from walking into your local Walmart, turning on the radio, or taking a stroll around the block. In fact, according to the gods of retail, it’s been Christmas since the day after Halloween. Of course there was that Thanksgiving blip in the middle but, hey, the décor meshes well enough.

This Sunday is the beginning of a time of year that many Christians have traditionally observed as a period of preparation for Christmas. It’s called Advent, which is from the Latin verb for “to come.” Christmas is soon to come, but it is not here yet.

To recognize that reality is to see that Christmas is more than just a mother and father gazing peacefully at their newborn…

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30 Day of Thankfulness in November inspires Thankful 365 on HOPEannFAITH!


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HOPEannFAITH Blog is about Intentional Living:Thinking Positively on Purpose. Love, God, Relationships. The Important Things in Life!

That being said, participating in 30 Days of Thankfulness on Facebook truly started a very purposeful and positive thing in my life! With all that is going on;  The Hubs going through rigorous chemo and radiation, which by the way, he is handling so very well, praise God, my youngest going to court and possibly facing incarceration, but willing to pay the price he deserves and just how life is through all of this, this daily recording of what I am thankful for had truly helped me.

That was one long sentence … I am grateful at this moment that writing is a creative venture so … 🙂

So I’ve decided, for me, that I need to keep this as a daily practice. Almost like a diary of my gratitude and blessings. A blog is a diary, if you really think about it. Just not so private, so as to keep the ups and downs of life out there so that no one feels alone in their challenging life.

Because I am incredibly grateful that stating my thankfulness for thirty days has shown me just how blessed we are. Just looking and recording, each day, what I was thankful for got me through some very rough days. This has inspired me to use my blog for 365 days of Thankfulness! It will keep that positive even in trials flowing and it will keep me writing … so looking for Thankful 365 here at Hopeannfaih tomorrow, December 1st!

I do hope you will join in. I hope this inspires you to count your blessings and be aware of all the love, beauty and joy, even during the hard times in this life, and be thankful, no matter the situation.

God bless.


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Peace when the hits keep coming …


“When it rains it pours ….”

A.Hutchinson Photography

A.Hutchinson Photography

I found myself posting that yesterday! So much like world thinking and it isn’t where I should be, how I should be responding to the ever compounding hits this family is taking. Yet we endure, we rise to Praise God again today. But it is disconcerting to see that when I am tired and worn down when another hit comes I respond from the flesh … I guess this shows me how much more work God and I have to do. Though, I guess I should be encouraged that I didn’t actually throw in the towel and toss it and the bathwater, with the baby, out the window. Happy that I didn’t blow my cork and just go straight back to the BC (before Christ) of who I used to be.

But God …

In the wake of cancer and family stresses and the death of loved ones I hear these words in my spirit …

❝ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.❞ ~ Philippians 4:6-8

We are not anxious, we are praying, fervently and in gratitude and God knows our requests before we ask. And we have been given the comfort of His peace and we do not understand how we feel it at all…

God is guarding our hearts and our minds through Christ Jesus.

This is my testimony today … our relationship with Jesus has secured this promise in our life, today. It is how we are enduring the ever increasing temperature of these trials we are going through. Praise God.

So when it rains … and it pours … and the thunder clouds threaten and the lightening flashes … we will not cower, we will not give in to our pain …

We will praise Him in the storm!


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Moments that change a life …


Women are sentimental creatures, if not romantic. Though I am the furthest thing from a romantic lady, I have no concept of romance, luckily for my husband. 🙂 I do have moments of memory. Comfortably happy memories, that most of us have, though some may call them romantic, I find them to be life altering.

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A.Hutchinson Photography

 

In social media land there are trends and one of the most recent ones are quotes or status’ that begin with ” … that moment when …”. That’s how these moments are for me, the revelation of something profound, if only to me, that changes me from the inside.

The moment when my new borns were placed in my arms. I remember not knowing how the last few moments of my life were lived without the little one. My children erased so many alone memories that faded into the joy of love, unconditional.

The moment when I said I do to my first husband and knowing in that moment I had made a mistake … sad, but determined to make it work. Sadly it failed, though I do have those children proving good always comes out of the experiences of life.

That momentous moment when I said I do to the one man God chose for me! The joy, the feeling of eternity, that certainty that you’ve somehow pleased God and moved closer to him. Yes, it was that amazing! 🙂

And it’s been amazing the entire time.

That time when we lay in lumpy pull out couch mattress, in our brand new home, for the first time; not being able to sleep because it was too quiet in the new neighborhood.

That first summer when the bumble bees stole the lawn mower (for the whole summer) because the Hubs mowed over their hive! 🙂

And later that June, the Hubs coming to get me to sit on the incline beside the barn watching the fireflies give the first of many light shows in the amphitheater that is behind our barn. (this I knew to be romantic)

The moment I realized I had 2 beautiful humming birds that loved my trumpeter flowers.

Our life is beautiful, really it is. I stand amazed and thankful for all the happy God has blessed us with, though that is not to say there hasn’t be trials, obviously.

There have been tragic moments. Those moments that test a person, a marriage, a life … we’ve had them and persevered. Marriage, relationship, life; these are work, everyday, work with one purpose … to adjust, flex, forgive, forge, listen, hurt, understand … you can add more, there is so much more.

The worst moments …

When I realized my sweet young son was an addict.

When I realized I had abused my body enough to cause a life threatening situation.

When I realized that my relationship with my mother required boundaries so that I could love her.

When the doctors said the “C” word and my world stopped …

All of these moments, good and bad, changed who I am, irrevocably.

Yet that last one still has me reeling. I don’t know how I’m going to feel one moment to the next, but I have to imagine this is normal. Oh how it has changed things.

My oldest stays away as much as possible, and oddly the youngest (now well and sober for over 6 months) stays closer.

The Hubs is getting more tired these days, seems his energy is low, but he is doing well. I sit, like now, as he sleeps, alone and wondering and missing the time not so long ago when he was still up watching a movie or going through his baseball cards for e-bay. Wondering … just wondering.

You see it is these moments alone when I realized that all those moments that changed me, changed me to be able to endure this moment in time. You see God prepared me … my life has never been an easy one, though these last 25 have been fantastic, easy wasn’t really apart of it. I was built to endure, but sometimes I get tired. And it is these alone times that the fatigue just rushes in and causes emotional upheaval, as I watch the Hubs toss and turn, uncomfortable. Emotions because I’m alone, because he’s uncomfortable, because there’s nothing I can do to make him more comfortable … Emotions that border on fear, as I try with all my mind and spirit NOT to think about the other possibility.

Life is but a collection of moments that change a being; causing them to be prepared for the next moment. That moment when ….

What are your changing moments? How have they changed you?

Please share yours, you’re not alone, I’m right here being changed moment to moment with you.

 


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What Life Looks Like When Trials Prevail


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I loved this poem the first time I read it. Actually I simply read,

“If ever two were one, then surely we.”

It spoke to our relationship … the Hubs and I. I will forever be in awe that we forged this relationship out of other damaged relationship; that we built this life, this love, this family into the wonderful thing that it is. Alive and breathing and changing every moment … a life well lived.

And as if we couldn’t appreciate what we had more this trial has awakened the wonder of who we are as one, him and I.

You see the doctors said the “C” word. In the matter of a week our life changed completely; it changed even how life looked around us. Amazingly it didn’t get darker! Things got brighter, more clear, around us. I stood in wonder at the amazing beauty around me as the doctors insisted my husband wasn’t strong enough to endure what was coming. Well, they didn’t know the Hubs, or who he was, or who we were!

The beauty of fall didn’t die instantly and flutter to the ground in the ashes of the report. The sun continued to shine brightly through the hospital window, illuminating the greens and reds and golds just beginning to color the trees through the rays of light.

I thought for a moment that the bright might be intensified by the silent tears that had filled my eyes, but no, things just became bright. It’s really that simple.

A myriad of thoughts flooded my mind; things us ladies contemplate from time to time while trying to imagine our future and plan. My husband says that men don’t do this to themselves; you know, try to imagine life if their wife was …. gone. However, we girls do this things. And I can tell you, it’s more terrible than we can imagine.

Sometimes I wake up in fear and am compelled to check to see if the Hubs is breathing; sort of like I did when the babies were new. I even wake him up sometimes; he’s so patient and forgiving. And in the morning …

We are more present with each other. He shows his heart more, much more! It’s a joy to see really, him finally, really, living his life present. True and honest emotions that he is now allowing himself.

And that smile and his humor and his laugh. I’ve always said that my favorite sound in the whole world is the Hubs’ laugh … and it’s so true, so much more now. That smile and that laugh hold my heart together. I love that they are and continue to be … even as life changes.

I love this man.

Life is a motion picture and what that picture looks like during lifes trials depend on our personal outlook.

So what does our life look like?

It looks like moving forward in faith. We heard the doctors say the “C” word, we do what needs to be done … but we look like we always did (except for his hair). We are a family, living life to the fullest (now) cherishing each moment, as we should have all along. Trials weed out the frivolous, the drama and the little things; so that we can see the important things.

This trail has truly caused us to live more freely. Life looks like freedom.

How would you live your life?