Count Your Blessings, Not Your Problems!

Grateful

This morning I learned of a young man who made a post on a social media site and less than three hours later he was dead in a senseless act of violence. I am certain when he made that post he had no idea he would be dead a few hours later.

That made think about how we can sometimes take life for granted. We hold grudges, stop talking to people, and end relationships many times over something minor. Is whatever you are upset or offended about worth you missing precious moments with someone you love? Probably not!

Many times, hurting people hurt people. That person who hurt you is probably hurting. Maybe your act of love, forgiveness, phone call, apology or whatever will be the bridge to their healing.

Would you be devastated or have regrets, if you learned now that the person you are not communicating with had passed away? If so, it is time to redirect the energy used ignoring, dodging, and not forgiving to forgiving, loving and healing.

It may sound cliché, but tomorrow really is not promised to any of us. We sometimes think we have all the time in the world because of our age, but young people die every day. Someone did just this morning. Life and relationships are too precious to sweat the small stuff. Count your blessings, not your problems! Once you do, you may find you have more to be grateful for than thought.

I recently heard it said, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?” If that were the case, how much would you have when you woke up?

I would love to say I would have a lot, but I would be lying. I sometimes take it for granted that I have a husband who loves me, a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, a healthy child, good health, two vehicles in good condition, money to pay my bills, and so on. Someone is praying for the blessings we take for granted.

Years ago, I started a gratitude journal and every day I had to write in it one thing I was grateful for. Each day I would review what I wrote the previous days so I was always reminded what was going right in my life. Maybe I need to go back to that.

I encourage you to stop right now and count your blessings. If you want, comment below and share them with the world. If you think you don’t have anything to count, you are alive and that in itself is a blessing and a gift.

Be encouraged and remember, “All things work together for good to them who love the Lord.” Romans 8:28

Image Credits: Images found on Pinterest

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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Say No More!

SAY NO MORE!

Today as I dropped my son off to his Mother’s Day Out program, I stopped to talk to one of my friends and fellow parents of the program. As we conversed, I thought of a quote that I used to love. It is by Jerry Lewis and it simply says, “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t understand, no explanation is possible.”

My life has changed dramatically since September 2011. I got married, I gained stepchildren, I got pregnant, I re-launched a business, I had a baby, I quit my job, I became a full-time stay at home mom and wife, etc. I literally overnight went from being single and living alone to married with children and a baby on the way. All of this has happened in less than two years.

I often get the comments of “I haven’t heard from you, you haven’t called me, why haven’t you come by, what you do all day, you don’t have time for me, you’ve changed…..”

I used to wear myself out trying to help others understand that if they do not hear from me or see me, it is not intentional, I have just been busy. That people pleasing part me would sometimes make me feel obligated in the rare moments I have to myself to occupy it with talking on the phone with others or visiting others. Sometimes saying “yes” to others means you are saying “no” to yourself.

As I spoke with my friend this morning, we did not condemn each other because we were days late returning a text or because we have not had that play date we have talked about or because we have not had that lunch date we have talked about. Those things did not come up because we both know that we intend to do those things and will one day when time permits.

It was refreshing to talk to someone and not have to explain what I do with my time. In this journey as a wife and mother, I have realized on more than one occasion that if your reality is not another’s they may never understand and that is okay.

So, I am committed to freeing myself from the bondage of false obligation that I must give an account of every second of my day to people who feel like they do not see enough of, or hear enough from, me. If you are my friend and if you love me, I do not have to explain. You will just welcome and enjoy the time we do have when we get to have it.

“For those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t understand, no explanation is possible.”

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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The Freedom in Forgiveness

Forgiveness Lewis Smedes

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” Lewis B. Smedes

When you hear something repeatedly, you think you have a good grasp of the concept. However, some things you have to learn for yourself, no one can teach them to you! I once heard someone say that forgiveness is for you, not for the other person. I also heard it said when you hold unforgiveness in your heart, it is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die. It made sense to me, but did not become a reality for me until this past week.

The other night I told our girls to do something the next morning when they woke up. We had somewhere to go the next morning and I knew we would be gone all day so I wanted them to get something done before we left the house. I woke up the next morning to find them on the couch watching television and the assignment I gave them undone. I asked them if they had forgotten what I said and they had not. They just chose not to do it. I reminded them of what I said and they got it done, but I was still upset because they did not do it when they woke up as I instructed them. I spoke to my husband about it and he told me to grace them because after all God graces me. That comment just made me even more furious about the situation.

The day progressed and we continued with our activities as planned. The girls were having a great time but I was not. I was still fuming. Instead of enjoying myself and talking with the other moms at the activity we were at, I sat with a frown on my face. The girls had forgotten all about what happened that morning, but I had not. I was still fuming. My husband’s words to grace them echoed in my head but I thought, I am not God and I do not get over stuff that easy. As the day continued, they smiled and I frowned!

On our way to the next activity for the day, KSBJ played in the background. I did not pay attention to what played on the radio until I heard these words:

“It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

Forgiveness
Forgiveness”
I thought, No, Lord, no! I’m mad and want them to be miserable for making me mad! The song continued….

“It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness”
NO LORD, NO! THEY WERE WRONG! THEY JUST IGNORED WHAT I SAID! The song continued…

“It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you”

Then the words I heard about forgiveness echoed in my head. “Forgiveness is for you, not for the other person.” “When you hold unforgivness in your heart, it is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die.”

Okay Lord, I get it. I forgive them. In that moment the imprinted frown on my face and wrinkle in my forehead slowly went away. Instead of missing the beauty that was happening in the day, I could now enjoy myself.

Later that day, I spoke with our girls about forgiveness. I talked to them about how God forgives us and how we have to extend forgiveness to others even when we do not want to. I did not excuse them from the consequences of their disobedience, but wanted to use this as a teachable moment.

I would like to think I was a perfect child and never did anything wrong, but that is far from the truth. I have to extend forgiveness and grace to my children just as my mom extended it to me.

Are you a prisoner today? Are you drinking poison hoping the other person will die? Forgiveness is for you, not the other person. I encourage you to free yourself today! It is not always easy. Even as I write this, my husband just ticked me off. I can be miserable the rest of the night because of what he did, or I can forgive him and let God deal with him for his actions. Do I want to do it? Heck no! Was he wrong? Heck yes! Is it the right thing to do? Yes, and as I meditate on the words of this song and with God’s help I will do what feels like the impossible and forgive.

Whoever it is? Whatever it is? Let it go! There is freedom in FORGIVENESS! Ask God to help you to do what seems impossible – Forgive!

“Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness”

View the story behind the song “Forgiveness” Part 1

View the story behind the song “Forgiveness” Part 2

Photo Credit: Personal Excellence

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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Too Fast, Too Soon – Our “June Bug” Turns One!

“If you are always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you are in? Enjoy the ride!”

A friend of mine is visiting from Luanda, Angola. Last night she gave my husband and I a rare gift – a date night! This was only the second date my husband and I had since having my son, partly because of my reluctance to leave him with others. Although I functioned as a mother before having him, he is the first child I gave birth to. However, when I left last night my son did not cry, actually, I do not think he noticed that I left. My husband and I went to dinner and then to see Too Fast, Too Furious 6. As I sat in the movie, I thought about the title of the movie and then I thought about my son’s response when I left and I realized I was living my own “Too Fast” moment with my son.

A year ago on June 5, 2012, I gave my birth to my son. Initially I was not excited when I found out I was pregnant because it was not a part of my plan. I wanted to wait at least two years before we had a baby, but God had another plan. During my first ultrasound when I saw this little blur move on the screen I shed my first tear for him, fell in love, and suddenly my plans did not matter.

I remember bringing him home from the hospital and thinking, “what am I supposed to do with him?” and just like that, I blinked, and he turned one. It is as if he went from sitting, to rolling over, to sitting up, to crawling, to pulling up, to walking over night.

For the first 10 or 11 months of his life I was so consumed with living up to others expectations, that I did not always enjoy the little moments with him. I had the voice of so many in my head saying stop holding him so much, put him down, quit spoiling him, and so on. Then a friend said to me, enjoy your son, hold him all you want because one day he will not want you to hold him all the time, one day he is going to grow up. What I did not know is that the day would come so soon. He is walking now so he wiggles out of my arms a lot to go enjoy his new freedom and independence.

So yes, I may hold my child more than you think I should. Yes, I may have nursed him longer than you think I should. Yes, I may hold on tighter than you think I should, but I finally realized it is okay because I am his mother and I am going to slow down and enjoy this ride with him.

So enjoy your children. Stop saying, I can’t wait for them to walk, I can’t wait for them to talk, I can’t wait for them to go to school, I can’t wait for this, I can’t wait for that. Please wait and in your waiting enjoy what is happening now because one day you will look up and wonder where did the moments go? After all, it feels like just yesterday when I brought him home and already we celebrated his first birthday.

What moment will you purpose to slow down and enjoy?

Cake Credit: Pamela Sim’s with Sweetie’s Treats

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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He Is Just a Man!

My hubby and I

Years ago in my early twenties, two of my friends and I discussed our “ideal” husband. This “ideal” man would solve all of our problems and whisk us away into this fairytale of “happily ever after” in which there are no troubles.

I admit that marriage is a beautiful thing and a blessed experience, but it is no fairytale. You will not always agree. You may not always like each other. You may sometimes feel your spouse is not meeting all of your needs. Years ago, a wise woman told me that only God could meet all of your needs. God can use your spouse to meet some of those needs, but your spouse is a just a vehicle to meet the need, not the source or answer to that need. We sometimes expect perfection from our spouse, when we are not perfect.

So on this Father’s Day remember that your husband is just a man. He is not God and will not always get it right, but I guarantee you if he is a man after God’s own heart he is striving to always get it right. Yes, he will sometimes miss the mark. Yes, you will sometimes have to grace him in his imperfections. However, here is a news flash for you. You will sometimes miss the mark and he will sometimes have to grace you for your imperfections.

So in this Father’s Day, purpose to:

Focus on what he is doing right.
Acknowledge what he is doing right.
Tell him how he has positively changed your life.
Honor him in front of others by complimenting or praising him.
Express your love for him.
Repeat these principles often throughout the day.

I pray that you can use these principles with your spouse, significant other, brother, father, son or friend you are celebrating on this day or any day.

Lastly, I want to say Happy Father’s Day to my dear husband. Thank you for being an awesome provider, father, husband and my best friend! I thank God He gave me you!

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way!

~ Keishawna

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Photo Credit: Sunnycrest Photography

Count Your Blessings!

“Someone is praying for the blessings you take for granted.”

When I came across this quote on Pinterest I was speechless. I thought of how many times today I complained that I had to chase my 11 month old son out of the bathroom and pull toilet paper out of his mouth. I thought about how many times I complained that I didn’t have time to work on my wedding and event planning business because my son was a busy bee and all over the place. I thought about how many times I complained that my son pulled my freshly folded laundry off the table, or pulled my undergarments out of my top drawer, or tried to pull my brand new lamps off the end tables. Then I read this quote and suddenly my complaints felt superficial.

Here I was complaining about what my son was doing when several women I love long to have a son to complain about. So instead of focusing on all he’s doing wrong, and I really can’t say doing wrong because he is simply being a child and exploring his world, I instead will focus on that fact that I have him. God blessed me with a beautiful son and from this day forth I purpose to not take that blessing for granted. So who cares how many times I have to refold the laundry, pick up my undergarments, or restock toilet paper! I’m a mother and that in itself is a blessing!

So to you mothers out there who may be stressed out or tired because your child is not conforming to your schedule, count your blessings. Your child is a blessing. It doesn’t mean that the days you want to pull your hair out behind your child are not valid. Your feelings on those days are valid. All I’m simply saying is, somewhere, some woman is praying that she had a child that made her want to pull her hair out.

Be encouraged and remember that “The joy of the Lord is your strength” and He can get you through any trial or rough day. After all, He counted you worthy enough to go through the trial by the mere fact he blessed you with your child. So on a rough day, remember “Someone is praying for the blessings you take for granted.”

Have a blessed day and remember to find the “jolly” in every “moment” life brings your way on today!

~ Keishawna

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Image Credit: Image found on Pinterest.

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