A Christmas Reminder

My family and I were watching a Christmas episode of “Little House on the Prairie” last night. I love that series. There are so many valuable life lessons to take from it. Anyways, they were sitting around the fire together reminiscing about Christmases in the past. They showed things like Ma getting potatoes from Mr. Edwards (a rare treat), Hester Sue receiving ONE beautiful doll as her only Christmas gift, and Laura and Mary getting excited over their very own cups to use and a piece of candy and mittens.

As we watched from our comfortable two-story house full from a nice big dinner, we all felt spoiled. And it was good for us. It is so good to be reminded from time to time that we are blessed above and beyond. Don’t you think? We (as a people) can get to feeling so entitled that it’s good to be knocked down a notch or two from time to time.
Here I am planning on making numerous Christmas goodies in a few weeks, and the Ingalls’ girls were excited over one piece of candy. I can go to the grocery store any day of the week and have my choice of aisle after aisle of produce, cans, fruits, meats, and vegetables. And yet Ma was practically brought to tears to be brought some potatoes.

It wasn’t just a show. It was a reminder of a way of life. Our ancestors worked so hard to get what they had. In this particular show, the family all got snowed in. The storm put a barn board through their window and broke it. Did Ma get all upset that her window was broken and she’d have to pay for a new one? No. She just immediately set about cleaning up the glass while Pa and Almonzo secured the window shut. And because they had unexpected guests sleeping over, were they whining that they didn’t have enough beds and the men had to fall asleep at the kitchen table? Did Ma complain that she really didn’t plan on feeding that many people? No. They were just so blessed to be all together. They loved each other and were so full of that love that it erased any discomforts or minor nuisances that invaded their plans.

I want to be full of that love. I want to smile when friends or family grace my home instead of stressing about what to feed them. I want to make those who enter my house feel as comfortable as possible, but instead of fretting over not having a big enough table, or worrying that I have to put people on the floor to sleep, I want to have enough love in my home that it will overcome any physical drawbacks. I want people to be drawn to me, because of the love that my family and I show them.
This is who I want to be. This is who I want my family to be.

I want to remember and be reminded to be thankful, feel blessed, and to simply love – forgetting minor inconveniences. I want to treasure the simple and the pure of heart.

Yes, it’s good to be humbled sometimes. It’s good to be reminded. I’m so thankful that this show did that for me last night.
~ Dionna Sanchez is Founder of the EmphasisOnMoms.com ministry.

Be Content Where You Are

Why is it that we never seem to be content where we are? If we live in a small house we want a bigger one. If we live in a big house we can get overwhelmed or embarrassed that people think we have too much and want a smaller one.  If we have curly hair we want straight hair and vice versa.  If we are good at sewing we wish we could bake. If we live in the city we’d love to live in the mountains. If we travel all the time we wish we could stay home but those people who stay home long to travel.
Contentment. It seems so elusive at times and I think we have ourselves to blame.
Take writers for example.  I know writers who have a lot of deadlines to meet and would love to just be able to write when they want and about what they want.  Yet sometimes I long to have a steady paying column where I have a deadline!  It’s something I constantly struggle with – my real reason for writing.  Why do I do what I do? Do I do it to make money or do I do it to make a difference? 
I think our problem is that we are constantly comparing ourselves or looking at what other people are doing.  We take our eyes off of where we are at and look at where someone else is at.  Once we do that, we create a longing within ourselves and forget that maybe we were contented before we saw what someone else was doing out there. I know that’s happened to me and I’ve really been trying to focus on how God speaks to my own heart instead of comparing myself to what other people are good at or what roads in life they are going on. When I do that, I only feel “less than”.  You know? It creates a feeling of “I’m not good enough.”
Just recently I was battling those very thoughts.  I was seeing how other writers out there seemed to get so much accomplished. They had very successful blogs with lots of comments being left.  They had requests to write columns and I was struggling, wondering if I was reaching anyone with my words at all.  And then God sent me a special gift in the form of an email from a woman who touched my heart so deeply that there were tears in my eyes as I read her note. She told me that she admired me.  That my blog and ministry had impacted her life greatly and that I was anointed by the Lord to be doing what I was doing.  Wow. What a lesson from the Lord.
You see – I love helping others. I get so excited when I know that something I have written has encouraged or impacted someone in some way.  Yet I allow myself to look in on what other people are doing and it causes me to grow discontented. Kind of like a television commercial. We don’t know we need or want something until we are told we should have it – right? That’s like life. 
I am blessed – blessed – to be able to write and minister to women. I love doing it. I don’t tire of it and I always have ideas for new articles or blogs stirring in my head.  I just forget that true love and purpose sometimes because I get pulled into the real world. The world that thrives on popularity and success.  A world that I really would rather not get sucked into.
I am right where I am supposed to be. I am right where God wants me.
It’s so important for us to remember that when we let our eyes wander off of our road in life and onto someone else’s, that we need to be content where we are, no wishful thinking, because there is a reason we are where we are.
Whether you are living somewhere you’d rather not be living, or desiring something in your life that someone else has – it’s so important to know that you are not where you are by mistake. You haven’t been forgotten, neglected, or mislead by God. He knows and sees where you sit, stand, and walk each day. He sees your wishes and dreams and He knows every detail of your life.  Be content where you are. There are great riches and treasures to be found in your current “spot” in life if only you ask God for the eyes to see them with.  Maybe, in due time – He’ll move you on closer to where you think you should be, or maybe, just maybe He’ll take you somewhere else far better than what you thought you wanted for yourself.
I don’t know where God wants to take me in life.  But I do know that He showed me that I am being used right where I am. And for that, I am so grateful because I want to live a life of contentment. I just needed a little reminder of that.
Dionna Sanchez is the Founder of EmphasisOnMoms.com and writes a blog for moms to encourage them out of the lessons God daily teaches her. You can visit it at http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

The Grass is Always Greener

When my life is really hectic and busy, I long for quieter days where I can putz and roam at “will.” I dream of a day where I can delve into a project or have everything around the house caught up on, so that I can read for hours with my children or play game after game with them without worrying about the time.
But then when those slow days seem to come, it seems like I look around me and feel like everyone is doing something exciting in their life but me. I tend to feel like maybe I’m boring or maybe I should look into a new opportunity or activity in my life.
Have you ever felt that way? We tend to always want what we don’t have. Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is?
I think it’s because we don’t know how to be content with what we have and where God has placed us in our lives. We take our eyes off of the road He has placed us on, and we look at someone else’s road. We fail to take into consideration that that someone could be looking at our road and wishing for our set of circumstances as well!  We just carry this mentality with us of thinking that we need to be doing (or not doing) what the rest of the world is doing!
We trip ourselves up a lot with this way of thinking. I know there have been many times where I have wallowed in a little bit of self pity only to remember later on that I had asked for that certain situation or set of circumstances to come up! And when it did, I was only ungrateful.
The grass is always going to look greener on the other side of that fence if we continue to look at what everyone else has instead of looking at how much we have to be thankful for. When times are busy, we can be thankful for friends who invite us to activities, or healthy children who are well enough to participate in sports. And when they are slower, we can be thankful for those times to recharge, catch up around our homes, and spend extra time loving on each other.
I think it’s all in how we look at it.

~ Dionna Sanchez (http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com)