The third week of Advent is upon us and the theme is Love. In A Family Advent by Thomas Nelson Publishing, we have followed through Hope and Peace and now “Love is what we need”.

It is because of the great heart of God that we celebrate the Advent season and Christmas. We are so grateful for the gift of our loving God and the sacrifice that was made for all mankind! Yes all. Advent and Christmastime are not meant to be exclusive holidays to just Christians – no the gift of the Saviour Jesus Christ was a gift to the world. And that is LOVE! Jesus was sent for all – all those who hurt, all those who are poor, all those who are struggling, all those who are shameful, all those who are righteous, all those who don’t believe – ALL. Christmas is about Christ the gift of a loving God concerned for his creation, his world, his children.

He came so long ago – humble and quiet and to the lowly shepherds the great angel hosts proclaimed the birth and in the simple stable the birth of the Saviour took place. His birth made headlines – at least in the Bible – and today we are still baffled by the mystery, the joy, the hope and the LOVE of the greatest gift.

May you be blessed this Advent and may the LOVE of God surround you!

~Shari~

Ah yes, Friday. Its your favorite day of the week too, isn’t it? ūüôā Yes, I like to say that I am best friends with Friday, Saturday and Sunday! I don’t know why. It’s just something I say.

But lately, Friday has just been another day filled with fiascos, faux pas and freak incidents. You may wonder why am I including this in Sundays’ Sentiments – well I now think I may have a Friday phobia – not just Friday the 13th – just end of the week debacles that seem to be repeating themselves. Why? I don’t know. But I wish it would stop. Seriously.

A few months back, I saw the financial need to take on another job. The fall season was setting in and the hours were getting fewer and fewer. That was even a stressful time as well Рthere were many many things happening at that time Рand interviewing for a new job was the last thing I had the energy for. But I did it anyway Рscared at how I was going to do it all (three blogs, kids books, cakes, and three part-time jobs) РI took on even more responsibility. I was hoping that my family and friends would be of support in this time of transition and new experiences.

There were times when I was just so tired that I could do nothing else but just collapse. This schedule took a long time to get used to Рearly mornings, long Рbusy days, short nights. The weekends and FRIDAY were my only respite and release and they turned into insane, task filled, (sometimes fun-filled), stressful, angry, rushed fiascos and faux pas. I was becoming so tightly wound that I could feel it building.

After a few Fridays, filled with wasted time, headaches, groggy mornings, computer crashes, and freak accidents I lost it. Yes, last Friday РI lost it, along with all of my computers hard disk information. I was devastated, emotionally drained, tired, and I lost my composure, control and collective attitude. It was building for a while and I had a meltdown. It was too much and time for a fresh start. Sometimes you just have to start over. Sometime you just have to give up the reins and let someone else handle the situations РLet go and let GOD!

"....soar on wings, like eagles...."

It’s hard to know how to handle these intensely stressful situations with a calm, collective and mature attitude. That only comes from God – yes I need fruit – the fruits of the spirit come to mind here. However, it is still draining. It still takes time to recover from these kinds of situations. But it didn’t kill me, it may have made me stronger – and wiser to remember to back up files ;-)! I will get through it and remember to take that time to just “be”. Be still and know that God is near and¬†hear Him calling. I hope and pray that I can enter Friday’s with fresh eyes, full spirit of joy and faith and trust – at least until the next meltdown – I know it will probably happen again ( I know “oh ye, of little faith” but I know me of little faith sometimes) but I know when the time comes I will hear him saying – just “be still and know that I am God.” Just be. Be what? Be you. Be the you that I created you to be! ” For I know the plans I have for you,‚ÄĚ declares the LORD, ‚Äúplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I know that when I cannot pray I hold onto certain verses for comfort and healing this past few weeks has been rough and all I could do was read this over and over.

Romans 8:28 The Message
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

What is your prayer? What is your plea? What do you do when you lose control? I pray that you look to God and call on His name?

My flowered card box is full...

For years, I have had this card box. It has fancy stationary in it, birthday cards, sympathy cards, note paper, thank you cards and even a few mass cards.  I have always wanted to challenge myself in the ways of writing. I was blessed with the gift of gab so writing a few lines here and there is still a challenge for me. Often times I fail to find the right words in stressful and sorrowful times.  This is one of those times.  

I hear the words¬†echoing¬†…And who knows but that you have come…for such a time as this? Esther 4:14¬†¬†

I have been called to the challenge of bringing hope and encouragement¬†to those around me? What. In such a¬† time as this? How? How can I? I am still feeling the effects of this past year without my job, the past summer has come and gone, I miss my beloved Steven dearly, fear has me¬†crippled as my father recovers from open heart surgery and today – as this rainy Sunday begins it is National Day of Encouragement¬†– I must begin the journey back to Scranton with my mother for the funeral services for my Uncle Bob, who recently passed. It is in this dark time that I must be the hope and encouragement to those around me…. for such a time as this.¬†¬†

Oh boy, I never expected this to be a challenge. As I received and read through the 2011 Hope and Encouragement Card Pack from (In)Courage, I found myself being prepared and made stronger for these events. I still have butterflies in my stomach, I still fail at the right words at the right times, but I still pray for the Father’s guidance. I need it, those around me need it…they need me to double-check myself because I surely do not own the right words to say.¬† I pray that God will give me the time and the place to share His grace and peace…in such times as this.¬†

... and filled to the brim, with hope, love, sorrow and peace.

I have already¬†begun to share my thanks and my prayers of hope and encouragement with those closest to me. Even in a time when I feel truly tested and stressed, I know that there is hope and peace. The pain comes and goes, the sorrow shows it’s face, I fall to my knees and weep and the Lord hears my cries. He always picks me up and I know that….¬†¬†

“…Jesus is closer than we ever realized and we’re loved more than we ever knew.”

I thought for this post that I might just share some thoughts and two poems¬†for Mother’s Day.

It seems that no¬†matter where you are in life, or where you’ve been or where you are going – someone has graced your life like a mother should. Mother’s Day is hard for many people – who have lost a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, child, friend and so on. Many people have strained relationships with their mothers and grandmothers and this day, just like Christmas, makes it hard to cope.

This past winter, during our Captivating study, Proverbs 31 came up and we all agreed¬†that the mother and woman¬†in that passage¬†had tough shoes to fill. We also wondered if there was really a woman out there like that.¬†At times the one and¬†only thing that we have left to rely on is our faith, hope and Love. We are blessed to have all three of these bestowed on us by our loving Creator and Father God. He knows how hard our days have become and He knows when we just can’t take it anymore, he knows just how we feel. Our God and loving parent is there and wants to comfort us when we need Him most. Have no fear, doubt or hopelessness this Mother’s Day, your Heavenly Father is here for you sweet child.

One great poem that I would like to share with you, was given to me and all the staff at on eof my previous jobs – I shared it with my staff and teachers one Mother’s Day week:

A Woman of Strength
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body shape.But a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything…
But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear…

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her…
But a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone…

A strong woman walks sure-footedly…
But a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls…

A strong woman wears a look of confidence on her face…
But a woman of strength wears grace…

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…
But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.

The second poem is one that I heard in church many years ago and I saved it. It always made me think to watch how I approached each day with my students. I think it speaks to all of us about true intentions and love. No matter who you come across and how you are feeling always take that deep breath ~ yes, breathe~ before spouting out words that you can never take back. Leave only good impressions on your children’s hearts and appreciate their unconditional love and innocence.

Handwriting on the Wall 

A weary mother returned from the store,
Lugging groceries through the kitchen door.
Awaiting her arrival was her 8 year old son,
Anxious to relate what his younger brother had done.

“While I was out playing and Dad was on a call,
T.J. took his crayons and wrote on the wall!
It’s on the new paper you just hung in the den.
I told him you’d be mad at having to do it again.

She let out a moan and furrowed her brow,
“Where is your little brother right now?”
She emptied her arms and with a purposeful stride,
She marched to his closet where he had gone to hide.

She called his full name as she entered his room.
He trembled with fear–he knew that meant doom!
For the next ten minutes, she ranted and raved
About the expensive wallpaper and how she had saved.

Lamenting all the work it would take to repair,
She condemned his actions and total lack of care.
The more she scolded, the madder she got,
Then stomped from his room, totally distraught!

She headed for the den to confirm her fears.
When she saw the wall, her eyes flooded with tears.
The message she read pierced her soul with a dart.
It said, “I love Mommy,” surrounded by a heart.

Well, the wallpaper remained, just as she found it,
With an empty picture frame hung to surround it.
A reminder to her, and indeed to all,
Take time to read the handwriting on the wall

Author Unknown


May all of you mothers, daughters and woman out there be blessed this Mother’s Day!