30 Days to Happiness: Q is for Questions

QIn November, 1999, a friend and I went to a women’s retreat at a church in Fort Mill, South Carolina. We had never been to anything like this, but we signed up for a “prophetic word session.” We were quite unsure of what to expect, but we were together, and we knew nothing bad could happen to us. We knew we would be able to discern the truth of what we were told through scripture and through our spirit and our counsel with each other.

There were three ladies across from us, and they took our hands and prayed for the Holy Spirit to show them something to encourage us. What you are about to read is what  a woman named Sue told me. They were kind enough to give us a tape of the session, and I later transcribed this into my  journal. She could not have depicted me more clearly than what she said about me being inquisitive. Her words of encouragement or rather His words of encouragement through her have blessed me over the years. Last night I went to sleep thinking about what I would write for my “Q is for Questions,” and this came back to me as I was sleeping or waking or somewhere in between. I hope you will be encouraged as well to keep asking your questions.

Sharon, I just keep seeing this child in class that would always raise their hand and say “why”, always asking questions. “Why does this work?””Why does that not work?””How can the stars hang in the sky?” You’re very inquisitive, and that goes over into your spiritual life. You’re always asking the Father “Why?” “How does this work?” Sometimes you feel like you can’t get enough answers to all your questions, but the Lords says He will answer every one of them in His way and in His time, but He will answer them and don’t stop asking because he enjoys you asking Him.

Do you have unanswered questions? Share them if you like. I won’t answer them, though I might give a thought about them, but I will pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the answers you seek. Remember He enjoys your questions.

SharySignatureA to Z Badge

30 Days to Happiness: P is for Prosperity

PBiblical Prosperity:

  • Ruth gleans in the field and there is more for her to glean each day. She marries Boaz, the owner of the field. Ruth 2
  • Joseph was thrown in a pit, but becomes second in command of Egypt and ends up providing for the family who threw him in the pit. Genesis 37-50
  • Isaac plants crops in the land and the same year reaps a hundredfold. Genesis 26:12
  • Jesus has Peter get a coin out of a fish’s mouth. Matthew 17:27
  • Jesus feeds 5000 people with a basket of loaves and fishes. John 6
  • Jesus turns water to wine. John 2:1-11

When we moved to Myrtle Beach in 2006, we literally stepped out in faith. We really didn’t have the money to make it work. We had said “we only need two jobs and a house to make this happen.” We came with only one job and a three story townhouse we rented on the beach. I walked the beach and prayed while Larry worked.  I felt that God had told me He would give me a job that I would love, and I thanked him for that in prayer. Thirty days after we arrived I started work at a job I loved, and I continue to enjoy and prosper in it.

As I walked the beach, I meditated on scripture like John 15:7, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” I also let these thoughts roll over and over in my mind until they flowed like a river:

  • Provision, Increase, Abundance
  • Every bill is paid on time, and we have plenty for everything we need.
  • Abundance
  • Favor, increase, success, abundance

Later I continued to embrace these thoughts and would consciously think them hundreds of times a day, sometimes even making tally marks to count off by tens. Even now when I think these words, it gives me a sense of comfort and joy. I don’t understand the workings of the mind and spirit, but I believe God has made a way for us to develop our faith by creating pathways, belief systems in our brain. When our thoughts (which should reflect our desires) are  sufficiently established as beliefs, God then brings  into reality those things we believe. Scripture says it this way,

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

We have increased our income every year. We are not wealthy, yet, but we have everything we need, and God continues to bless us. Once I heard the Lord say, “Will you do good with my money?” He wants to bless those who “will do good with His money.” It is good to remember that it is His money.

You don’t necessarily have to develop your faith the way I did with thinking the scripture and thoughts hundreds of times. Picturing abundance and prosperity or simply accepting it as true can build your faith as well. The key is to believe and not doubt.  Just be watchful that you are not thinking lack because the thoughts you think are surely going to become what you believe, and that is exactly what you will receive. I like to use repetition because it builds a barrier against negative thoughts. As long as I am busy with positive thoughts and scripture, there is no time or room for negative thoughts to come in.

My final words of encouragement for you on this tonight are to not be afraid of prosperity. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, pray for it, think about it, and expect it. As long as you “will do good with His money and remember it is His money” you have nothing to fear. He wants to bless you just as He blessed Ruth, Joseph, Isaac and countless others. Your good heartedness at not wanting to be selfish or materialistic can actually be a deception of the enemy to keep you from being blessed. The enemy does not want you to be blessed. You can be quite sure of that.Get into agreement with what God wants for you. He delights in blessing you, and according to 3 John 2, He wants you to prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.Remember, He loves you!

What are your thoughts on prosperity? Were you born into a prosperous family? Can you share any advice on how one might prosper? Any important principles you have learned along your way?

A to Z BadgeSharySignature

30 Days to Happiness: O is for Organize

O I can’t count the times I have listed as a goal or affirmation that “I have a neat and well-organized house.” Beyond writing or saying the words, nothing ever happened to move me in that direction. . .until I met up with “40 Bags in 40 Days.”  I had been researching Lent for a post I was working on, when I discovered this blog which stated the writer was giving up clutter for Lent, one bag a day for 40 days. I knew this was my answer. “40 Bags” has been going on for years and has accumulated over 10,000 committed participants who blog about and facebook about their decluttering, “decrapifying,” organizing lives. It was fascinating to me, and  I joined forces with them on March 7. I set up my chart where I faithfully recorded what I had accomplished each day. First I went through my top right drawer and got rid of one bag of things I never wore. Success. You can follow my adventure on the chart below:

40 Bags in 40 Days!

 

Day

Date

Room

Outcome

Bags

1

3/5

2

3/6

3

3/7

Top Left Bedroom Drawer

3 things to give away, small bag of trash; drawer almost empty

1 small bag

4

3/8

Top Bathroom Drawer

Despicable mess; 3 hairbrushes, tweezers, etc. left

1 small bag

Sunday

3/9

Cookbooks

8 cookbooks left

1 small bag

5

3/10

Off (Worked a Double)

6

3/11

2  kitchen drawers

Lots of things not needed

1 small bag

7

3/12

freezer

Not much left there ice and 1 carton of chile, some flour tortillas

1 small bag

8

3/13

Started back rt corner of bedroom

Sorted papers

1 small bag

9

3/14

Bedroom rt corner

15 minutes +10 for put away

1 small bag

10

3/15

TV stand phase 1

 15 min. Cleaned out mess and straightened, now must make decisions on throw away

1 small bag

Sunday

3/16

Day Off

11

3/17

2 kitchen drawers

15 minutes or less Placed toy lizards & frogs as “surprises”

Few items to trash

12

3/18

Day Off for Movie Night

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” with Larry and Jay- Bags will have to wait

0

13

3/19

Just couldn’t do it; too sleepy

0

14

3/20

Bottom of closet and Vitamins sorted

1 small bag

15

3/21

Larry did top of his closet and top of dresser

Exciting that he was inspired!

1

16

3/22

Out of Town

Emmerson’s birthday

Sunday

3/23

Off

17

3/24

Closet Shelf

6 minutes amazing results

0

18

3/25

Nothing today

Must regroup

19

3/26

Nothing today

20

3/27

Nothing today

21

3/28

Sorted old papers (tough job) about 1 ½ hours

Papers to shred and papers

½ bag

22

3/29

Sorted box of papers been there 2 years

Papers to shred and ½ bag

½ lg bag

Sunday

3/30

Off

It had been a challenge indeed to find time to work on this project. I started with what was the easiest task, and I started with enthusiasm of epic proportions. Even if it was after midnight, I found a small job to do, or spent 15 minutes toward a corner, but I did something every day for 13 out of the first 17 days. The challenge was to do this every day until April 19, the end of Lent. What happened next is epic “Sharon.” I don’t know how I found the A to Z Challenge, but when I saw it. . .oh I remember now, it was from someone in my beloved 500 Words a Day group from Tribe Writers who mentioned the A to Z Challenge. When I saw it, I ran to it with abandon and began on April 1 with the A to Z Challenge. And hence we are at O for organize. I am only behind schedule by one letter if you don’t count H for Hawaii which I am researching.

Yes, I dropped the organizational ball and picked up another challenge. There just hasn’t been enough time what with my  Joyce Meyer’s 3030 Challenge, in which every night I take 30 minutes,usually the last 30 minutes of my day, and I meditate, memorize a chosen portion of scripture. I have been faithful to my 3030 challenge since March 1, and I’m doing well with my A to Z Challenge, but 4040 has gone by the wayside temporarily.

Not My House
Not My House

As you can see, I embrace challenges yet  I seem to run from organization. I can find many things to do that do not involve organizing or decluttering my house. What I found through the “40 Bags” groups was a belief that it is possible; it is fun; it is rewarding to have a neat and well organized home. I also found some wonderful people that I relate to. I found people who are decluttering their lives by dealing with emotional baggage, and it is inspiring to walk with them on their  journey of healing.  I have also gained confidence because I have seen “before” pictures  that would make the leaves fall off a tree! (example:  above, not my house!) Seriously  I found that there are people far messier than I am. God love ’em! My confidence has soared. I have gained a belief and an excitement that it is possible for me to accomplish the gratifying task of organizing and decluttering every corner, crevice, and closet in my home. I will find a way, a group, or a challenge to do it just as soon as this crazy A to Z Challenge is over!

A to Z BadgeSharySignature

30 Days to Happiness: N is for: 8 Reasons I Want Your Name

I like to play the game of collecting names, attaching some information about the person to the name, and then trying to remember the name. It’s part of my work, but it’s an exercise in using my mind, as well as an exercise in reaching out to others. Our names are important to us, and by sharing our names we put value on people. It is definitely a work in progress. I’ll let you know how it goes.

8 Reasons I Want Your Name

1. When I know your name, my mind creates a file to put all of the interesting information I learn about you.

2. When I know your name, I acknowledge that you are an individual, a special person to the Lord.

3. Knowing your name brings us a step closer to friendship.

4. If I know your name, I can use it, and that puts value on you.

5. Your name is important to you.

6. If I feel like praying for you, I have a name to use.

7. It’s fun to see if you look like your name.

8. It might give us something to talk about.

So friend, what is your name? Do you like your given name? Do you have a nickname? I am guessing many of you know what your name means, and that means something to you. Feel free to share. You can just call me “Princess.”

SharySignatureA to Z Badge

 

 

30 Days to Happiness: M is for Meet

Meet Everyone Everywhere Today

I don’t know about you, but that conjures up a ridiculous picture of me walking down the street sticking my hand out to everyone, saying “Hi, I’m Sharon. And you are?” Within minutes, someone would send the men in white coats to pick me up or  worse,  they might think I’m a politician vying for their votes. No kissing babies for me.

meetWhen the acronym presented itself to me, I  liked it as a reminder that  we actually do meet people everywhere every day. There are people everywhere. When I connect with the one in front of me, I meet them right where they are. I can look them in the eye, remember that they are a person with a life just as important as mine. Many people have troubled lives, sad lives, destructive lives. Others have peaceful lives, prosperous lives, interesting lives, but, no one has it all together.

When I take this word “meet” as a guide word, it leads me to reach out to people and recognize that they are a person just like me. My natural curiosity and sincere interest will cause me to ask questions so that I can see through the window into their life for a moment. This expands my understanding of God’s infinite creativity. It enriches my life. It gives me the opportunity to project a ray of sunshine through that window . Hopefully they will see God’s love for them reflected in me as I let them see a bit of myself as well. If I get a chance to actually stick out a hand and get their name, then a true connection has been made, and I can truthfully say, “It was nice meeting you!”

So meet everyone everywhere today by acknowledging them as God’s creation, getting to know them a little bit, and opening up so they can see who you are as well.

Even though it’s not face-to-face, we’re actually meeting here today. Because of my curiosity and sincere interest, would you answer one of these questions, and as always feel free to ask one of your own. 1) Where is your favorite place to vacation? 2. How many people live in your house? 3. What kind of work do you do? and if you dare, 4. What is a challenge you are facing? I would be happy to send up a prayer on your behalf.

 

SharySignatureA to Z Badge

30 Days to Happiness: L is for Listen

LL is for Listen and laughter, but first things first. My guide word, “listen” reminds me to pay attention to what others are saying. I especially try to practice this when my husband, Larry and my youngest son, Jay are telling me things. Learning to listen is going to lead to greater happiness for me and for those I love. It will also have a positive effect on everyone I am listening to because it shows respect and gives value to people. Talking comes so naturally to us because there is a running conversation going on in our head all of the time. All we have to do is open our mouth and our thoughts are sure to come out. This is sometimes how we end up with our “foot in our mouth.” Learning to listen can be extremely beneficial as it requires our mouth to be closed and our ears to be open thereby minimizing the possibility of saying something we would regret.

Listening is not only a skill we can learn, it is a gift we can give.  Instead of thinking about what we want to say, we need to hear what others are saying, remember it,  and ask them questions to gain further insight. It  takes a conscious effort to hear and remember what people say. It shows true caring when we ask more about it  or make a reference to it later. What better way to show that we care and to bring happiness to others than to really listen?

My 8 Quotes

On Listening

  1. Listening2 “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer.”― Ed Cunningham
  2. “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”― David Augsburger
  3. “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” –Ernest Hemingway
  4. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” —Stephen R. Covey
  5. “The art of conversation lies in listening.” –Malcom Forbes
  6. “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” -M. Scott Peck
  7. “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” –Diogenes
  8. “The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”― Alfred Brendel

How do you rate your listening skills right now? Is there room for improvement? I’d really like to hear how you feel about this!A to Z Badge

SharySignature

 

30 Days to Happiness: I is for Inspiration

I

in·spi·ra·tion

InspsirationInspiration is a spark, just a little something to get things started.

Inspiration is a spark of desire to do more.

It is a stirring that makes you want to do more.

It’s a better idea.

Fanny Crosby who is well known for writing over 8000 hymns began her writing each day with the prayer to God to be her inspiration.

Inspiration is that which motivates you from a higher perspective to do something good.

Relax, breathe deeply. Let it come.

Ask for it, God will provide it.

Seek it by reading, listening, asking questions of others.

Quiet your mind.

Open up your spirit to God.

Inspiration is a close relative of creativity.

God is the source of inspiration. Don’t forget that, Sharon. He is your inspiration, whether He uses people, nature, His word, a book or a blog. He will inspire you with truth and creative ideas. He can inspire you to love and care for others and care for yourself. He can inspire you to reach deeply within and be more than you are. He can give you dreams and visions that will expand your faith and your expectations. You can stretch and grow and do more than you dreamed possible. God’s words will flow through you as you yield to Him, and you will find yourself encouraging others and having great ideas to work with. Ask for inspiration and let it come.

Is God inspiring you to do something? Would you share it in the comments and let us encourage you? As you can see, I’m learning what inspiration is, so if you’d like please share what inspiration means to you.

SharySignature

 

 

 

 

30 Days to Happiness: J is for Jesus

J A great deal of happiness comes from simply bringing Jesus into my daily life by focusing on Him throughout the day. Using my imagination, seeing Him and talking to Him, is changing my life as much as anything I have done since I met Jesus as my Savior at the age of five in my grandfather’s church. In the article, 10 Things You Can Do With Jesus, you will find some creative ideas for spending time with Him. The first one suggests that you “tell Him who you believe He is.” Here are my words to Him as I meditated on this:

“Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I know you walked the earth 2000 years ago healing the sick and setting the captives free. You preached in the synagogue and on the hillside. You turned water into wine, and you fed 5000 people with loaves and fishes. You raised the dead, healed the sick, and cast out demons. You are patient, loving, kind, and wise,  You are gentle and forgiving,  You love to make us think by giving us parables and asking questions. You’ve shown us how to live. You are all-powerful, all-knowing, and you are always with us even to the end of the earth. I can trust you and when I think of you my heart is full of peace.”

Those of us who are seeking happiness in life need to look no further than Jesus, Himself. He has the answers to every problem and every question. He has creative ideas for adventures we haven’t even dreamed of yet. Finding ways to spend time with Him will lead to happiness more quickly than anything we can do.

Maybe you would like to try one of the “things to do with Jesus” from the article and tell us your impressions, or whether you know Him personally or not, tell us who He is to you. This is a “no judgement zone,” so no one is going to argue with you or judge your for your opinion. We’d just love to hear your thoughts. It’s very healthy to see and understand others’ points of view. So let’s hear it. . .

SharySignatureA to Z Badge

Daniel Gollimer Keeps A Record

Enjoy the continuing saga of Kingdom Animal Adventures. If you missed the first installment, you can read it here. K is for keeping a record. Let’s see what the animals have to say about this!

BEAVER3 public domainBelinda leaned back on her 15″ tail and flashed her beautiful front tooth as Johnny leaned down closer so his tiny ears could hear Belinda’s answer. “Johnny, it’s very important to declare the things of God in your life every day, you know that, quiet or loud, you must do it!”

Belinda and Johnny walked toward the rest of the forest animals as they could see everyone was beginning to sit down for the morning round-up.

King Louie had just called the meeting to order, and asked if there were any challenges that needed to be dealt with. Belinda and Johnny joined the giraffes  Jeremy, Johnson, and Judy and squatted down so they could see. The other beavers were seated near a tasty tree in case they needed a snack if the meeting went longer than it should. As the first animal was recognized to speak, all of the giraffes became restless, rollling their eyes, muttering, “Not him again.” “Oh, no, It’s D.G.!” “Mr. Doom and Gloom himself.” “Here we go again.” Other animals expressed unease as well.

Sure enough Daniel Gollimer, a gopher, of course, waddled up to the front of the group and stood trembling before them. “As you know friends, I keep a record of all the things that might go wrong and I wwwwant to ggggogo over them with you. I have  been hearing rrrrumbbblings. They are getting cccccloser. Some herd of something is coming. The ground vvvvibrates every day stronger and sssstronger.I can’t tell how far away or how close they are yet, but I can tell you something bbbbaddd is about to happen. It doesn’t rrrrreaally matter,” he stuttered as he shook, “because our food ssssupply is going to run out before they get here. Lightning and heavy rains are going to destroy our forest and our food supply. We have no way to escape. I’m going bbbback underground. It’s all I’ve got to say. Good-bye everybbbbody.”

Naturally, there was a stirring among the animals. They had heard this before, but yet every time it gave them pause. What if there was some truth to it? Gonzalez rose to quiet the crowd. “Now friends, remember you have nothing to fear, but fear itself, let us list again all of the successes we have had here in the forest. Who will be first, Willie, what do you walruses have to say to kick this thing off?

“Well,” Willie mustered his courage, and addressed the group, “Number 1: There were rumblings before, and it was only the grasshoppers swarming in for their food fest.”

“And number 2,” the elephant, Ellie piped up swinging her trunk high in the air, “Another time rumblings turned out to be that herd of elephants, pretty nice bunch. They went on their way after checking out our waterholes for a couple of days.

3. The beavers built 12 dams just last week, so our food stock is good for a very long time. We can take care of the ducks, frogs, and fish in our waters.

4. “The streams are still running clear, plenty of fresh water,” one of the dogs remarked with a gesture toward the stream.

5. Plenty of leaves on the trees to eat. No shortage there,”Jeremy, a giraffe commented.

6. “Worms are plenteous,” shouted the hogs.

The list went on for several more minutes, and you could feel the tension easing among the animals. Gonzalez made a final remark, “It’s important to keep a record of our successes, of all we’ve got in our favor, and of the blessings we have every day of our lives. We are not in this alone. We’re God’s creatures, and He will provide everything we need. Now who’s going in after D.G. We gotta get that boy turned around in more ways than one.”

Will the animals be able to get D.G. turned around, and what is that rumbling they hear in the distance?SharySignature

30 Days to Happiness: G is for the “Go Principle”

G The “Go Principle” is the reason I have just returned from a trip to Hilton Head Island for the past three days. The invitation came, but we almost said “no.” Why? Because we are creatures of routine. We didn’t want to miss out on work, even though it was a reward from work. We weren’t particularly looking forward to going into an unknown environment,  but when I remembered my “G” goal, “Go!” we had to make the trip. It was great to have three days off and see things we hadn’t seen before. I could describe our adventurous trip, but I leave you with the link we followed, “36 Hours in Hilton Head, SC”.  We actually did most of the things on this list, including eating Play-doh ice-cream at the Frozen Moo. I’m so glad we decided to “go.”

go 2 The “Go Principle” should be used when an opportunity arises that will provide you with a new experience, a chance to serve, an opportunity for growth, or a potential adventure. By remaining warm and cozy in our comfortable daily lives, we often fall short of the happiness and fullness of life that God has planned for us.

go 1I first defined this principle when Jay was applying for his first job. He was recommended by a friend and got the job rather easily. After one day of training, he was given the briefest of explanations that management had changed, and the position he had been hired to fill had been discontinued. He was told that the new management would contact him to interview for another position. Jay didn’t hear anything for two weeks, and when he finally got an email inviting him to interview, he simply said, “I’ve moved on.” He had no intention of following through with the interview. He was “over it.” My advice to him was to “go,” follow it through to the end and then make his decision. He followed my advice, went on the interview, got the job and prospered in it for the next three years gaining invaluable experience. He could have stopped and missed out, but he chose to “go.”

go 5“Go” is, of course, the opposite of “stop.” When we choose not to pursue an opportunity, it puts an immediate end to it. Isn’t it much better to continue  on until we see what will come of it?  How many times have we been looking for something, even praying for something, but changed course or stopped before being rewarded with what we were after?  We will never know what we have missed, yet if we pursue every occasion to go forward  out of our routine, we will inevitably discover new insights, growth, adventure, valuable experience, and even new relationships.

When an opportunity arises, break out of your comfort zone,  and “go” until you see where the road leads.

Is anyone wondering where I am getting my A to Z words for this challenge? Then read these two posts: A-Z New Years Goals  and “My Word for the Year” Can you see why I am so excited to be a part of this challenge? Now tell us, do you ever have difficulty breaking out of your routine? Is there somewhere you need to “go?”

SharySignatureA to Z Badge