How Can I Be a Blessing in Your Life Today?

Each day I try to focus on what I have to be grateful for and the blessings in my life.  I know some days this is easier than others because let’s face it, life happens and things sometimes seem overwhelming.  I can always find 10 things relatively quickly to be grateful for but when I speak to others about doing this I frequently get resistance.  Huh! If I had something to be grateful for I’d be happy.  If I didn’t have to go to work everyday I’d be happy.  If I was healthy I’d be happy.  If my kids; spouse; _________(you fill in the blank) then I could be happy. If I didn’t have to stress or worry about money then I’d be happy.  And it goes on and on.  Yet in every one of those scenarios the person has a plethora of things to be grateful for.  A roof over their head, food to eat, a job to go to, a spouse, children, air to breathe, they’re alive; hope!  Truth is we all have so much to be grateful for yet we choose not to see it.  We are so focused on what is wrong with us; with our family, friends, co workers, community, country, etc. that we get caught up in the negative and don’t stop to focus on the positive.

I use to be the most negative person (not authentically on the inside but by living with that mindset most of my life I just looked for it automatically). I would look for reason to doubt, for the crack in the logic, someone to mess up (you know it’s always going to happen; we are all human after all and no one is perfect), the disappointment, etc.  What I found was more to doubt, people who mess up, disappointment, judgement, etc.  Galatians 6:7 states it clearly: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

So what you look for you find!  The good news is you can train your mind to look for the good in every situation.  No, not every situation is good but there is something to be grateful for in every situation!  You are learning, growing, experiencing change in every failure, defeat, heartbreak, and encounter in your life.  Like a diamond that has to be heated, cut, and polished to make the beautiful stone you need to be experience many failures, heartbreaks, events in your life to learn and grow.  My grandparents death was without a doubt THE worst thing that has ever happened to me but even in that tragic event I am grateful for all the love, memories, unconditional love and support they gave me.  I am grateful that neither of them lived longer than they could take care of themselves because that was their prayer as long as I can remember.  I am grateful for the foundation they gave me to be a productive, contributing citizen in this world.  You CAN find the good in every situation.  You just have to look from that mindset.  Asking yourself what positive could possibly come from this.  Why am I in this place at this time.  I remember just a little over a month ago driving to the college one morning and in the blink of an eye watching as an automobile was hit and went flying into another lane of traffic colliding with another vehicle during morning rush hour traffic and thinking to myself, Praise God that I was not in that lane this morning because that was the lane I was frequently in but because the traffic was so bad I had to move to a further lane that day.  What if the traffic had been lighter? It might have been me.  Or when you’re running late and you’re frustrated and upset about the situation…ask yourself; what might I be avoiding by running late?  I have heard people say they were late getting to work or their plane on 9/11  and they avoided being killed, either on the ground or in the airplanes, that are grateful they were late that particular morning.

I would like to invite you to take a 30 day challenge that I KNOW will impact your life because it did mine.  Every morning get up and ask yourself “How can I be a blessing to someone else today?”  Look for someone you can be of service to.  Whether it’s a woman with a child that could use help with a door being opened, a senior who may need assistance, someone in line that is in a hurry and may need to go first, your neighbor who hasn’t had time to cut their lawn, someone in a nursing home that would love to talk, a veteran who could use a ride to the doctor or a word of appreciation for their service, maybe drive to the area of your city where the homeless are and take a bag with toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes, comb, toilet paper, etc. and a sandwich or snacks.  Take the extra “stuff” you don’t know what to do with to the homeless or battered woman’s shelter.  Do you know a single parent?  Offer to watch their child or children for a couple of hours so they can run errands, clean house, or take a bath!  They need a break which is great for them and their children.  Why you ask would you want to do this?  Glad you asked! The more you do for others the better you feel, the more your heart opens up, and the more grateful you become.  The more grateful you are with what you have the more you will be given to be grateful for.  The more we focus on the “I” the smaller and more confining our world feels.  The more negative we view life.  The more we focus on others and being a contribution the more grateful we are and the more we are given to be grateful for.

So just for today ask yourself How can I be a blessing in someone’s life?  Then look for ways to be a blessing in the lives of others.  It can be your spouse, child, friend, or stranger’s life.  At the end of the day reflect back and write at least 5 things you are grateful for.  Do this each morning for 30 days and increase what you’re grateful for to 10 things each day over the 30 day time period.  I have established a facebook page where we can post our experiences, our daily gratitude list if you like, support each other along the way and start a massive movement of people who would like to make a difference in the lives of others and in the process transform your own life.  PLEASE join me! https://www.facebook.com/howcanIbeablessinginyourlifetoday/?skip_nax_wizard=true  I am praying for each of you to be a blessing in at least one person’s life today.  I am declaring that it is possible for us to make a difference in our own lives by making a difference in another person’s life today!

Why is someone else’s journey always easier than our own?

Isn’t it amazing how we can look around at others and see how easy they have it?  Make assumptions, judgements and declarations without any true knowledge of what their story truly is?  Many times a week I have people contact me because they are beginning their weight loss journey or are struggling with losing their weight and they want to know what I have done, what’s been successful, and what the secret is to my success.  I LOVE helping others and feel it is my responsibility because when I started this journey I promised God that if he would help me lose the weight then I would use my testimony to help others.

As many of you already know I was overweight most of my life.  I struggled with weight on and off most of my adult life.  I have been ignored, looked over, talked about, snickered at, and experienced discrimination from being obese.  I know many people think that obesity is a choice.  You wake up eat anything you want, as much as you want, and can’t control yourself.  Pretty simple. Unfortunately, that usually isn’t the case.  For many of us that are overweight it happened one day at a time; one stress, one heartbreak, one loss, one disappointment at a time.  Mine started when my parents divorced and I learned to comfort myself with food.  However, at four and a half years old I had no clue that’s what I was doing.  Funny thing is I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing until I was 50!  I saw a picture (something I avoided like the plague) of myself and couldn’t believe how heavy I was!! Yes I have a mirror but saw what I wanted to see in the mirror. Before with Brianna as Homecoming Princess

When I began this journey I believed getting the weight off was the answer to all my problems! I thought once I was thin I would look great, have confidence, my husband would be so happy, my children would be so proud of me and I would be on top of the world! All my problems would be solved. Oh boy was I wrong! (laughing)  I had a counselor tell me that before it was over I would feel like I had been through a war and I remember thinking I don’t know what he’s talking about.  It’s going to be amazing.

Then I released the weight. 134 pounds to be exact.  Those around me had been used to the overweight, food induced coma I was living in and were comfortable with that scenario.  So when I came alive and looked like the person I felt like on the inside, I started living! Truly living with purpose and conviction and energy and power.  Many of the people around me couldn’t handle the real me and they resisted.  Some of them got angry because they couldn’t treat me the way they had in the past because I set boundaries, I said no, I had my voice back.  I don’t mean I was being unreasonable or that they were being mean; just that it was different and uncomfortable for them.  I had been a people pleaser (still working on this) and always put everyone else before myself; which isn’t healthy for anyone!! NOW I KNOW what the counselor was talking about when he said I would feel like I had been through a war before it was over!

As I mentioned in the beginning I work with people everyday who want to know my secret.  They say things like it’s wonderful that you have been able to do it but I don’t know if I can. You’re so much stronger than I am. You have so much willpower.  I don’t like a lot of foods.  I’ve always been heavy I just don’t know if I can do it.  My ______ just died.  I have a lot of health issues.  I’m having marriage issues.  I have a lot of stress with my job.  You get the picture!  I have helped many people including myself release a lot of weight.  I have helped people who have been abused; mentally, physically,  and sexually.  I have helped elderly people, men, women, children, people who have stress from family issues, jobs, health issues, financial issues, you name it!  We all, every single one of us who carry extra weight, have issues we are dealing with on a regular basis.  The only difference between me and someone who is starting and scared is the belief that you CAN do it.  In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine releasing 134 pounds so I broke it down in to smaller, manageable goals and made one choice at a time and listened to my coach and did what she said because I didn’t know what to do.  Here’s a link to my previous blog post on where to begin: http://nenaholt.blogspot.com/2014/07/six-steps-to-successful-weight-loss.html

nothing worth having comes easy

What I want you to know is that it wasn’t easier for me than it is for you.  I didn’t have any magic wand or bewitch’s power nose to twitch; I also didn’t have a coach who had released 100 + pounds so much of it I had to figure out on my own.  It starts by a decision that you are going to quit putting yourself last.  You are going to make the choice one day and quite frankly, one minute at a time some days, to be the best you can be.  You have to work on your mindset and YOU most of all. I will not tell you it is easy because it isn’t but I do PROMISE you it is worth it.  Being healthy, having energy, being able to sleep well, and love living life is THEEEEE BEST feeling and there is no way to put into words how amazing it is.

So the next time you look at someone else and think…Wow! I wish I could do that; I want you to know two things: First, YOU CAN DO IT and second it may look easy but I guarantee behind each one of us is a backstory that you probably wouldn’t imagine by just looking on the outside.  The choice is yours!!

The 3 C's Choices, chances, change

This entry was posted on January 12, 2016. 2 Comments

How do you handle situations that upset you this time of year?

Many times I sit down to write and let you know what’s on my mind and I don’t say what’s really on my mind because I don’t want to burden anyone else with my “issues”.  I feel that I am so blessed why should I complain or say anything to bring anyone else down.  What I am discovering is that when I don’t let others know what is going on in my life they get this “VERY FALSE” sense that I’m tough and I’m strong and I can handle anything without it bothering me.  It is a correct conclusion that I am strong and I can handle anything but it isn’t ME who can it is HIM in me that can.  There is a difference.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippeans 4:13

I feel things very deeply and think about many of you, some I have never met in person, and love you and care about what happens to you in your life and you never know.

Today I was thinking about a situation in my family where people aren’t speaking to each other.  It is very sad for me and it has a huge impact on my family and my grandchildren especially this time of year.  As most of you know my family and my grandbabies are MY WHOLE WORLD.  This entire situation has gotten way out of hand.  I can assure you that NO ONE committed a crime, killed anyone, stole anything, etc.  Words were said, judgements were made and we’re off to the races, as they say.

All of this has made me stop and think…WHAT IF?  What if instead of judging one another when something is said in anger we gave the person grace?  What if someone cuts us off, or cuts in front of us in line, etc. we didn’t immediately get angry and lash out or become passive aggressive and we realized that perhaps that person was experiencing something in their own life that they could not even begin to understand and we gave them grace?  What if when something someone does impacts us and makes us upset, angry, frustrated, hurt, embarrassed, annoyed or any other negative emotion our first thought was…I wonder what is happening in their live that I don’t know about?  I have come to realize that how people behave says much more about THEM than it does about ME!

Think about it…do you say things or lash out at people when you’re rested, well fed, happy and everything is going great or when you are struggling?  Our first clue that someone may need grace should be when they are not behaving in the most positive light.  When we are only thinking about how it is affecting us then we are in our EGO not showing anyone grace.  When we are only thinking about ourselves and how this encounter is impacting us, or what we are going to say, how we are going to respond; it’s OUR EGO not grace.

Imagine how our lives would change if we did this one simple thing the next time we find ourselves feeling frustrated, angry, upset, hurt, embarrassed, etc. we STOPPED and asked ourselves, “I wonder what is happening in their life that would make them act this way?” and then we showed them grace and asked God to bless them and comfort them through whatever they are dealing with…just IMAGINE!  Showing grace doesn’t reflect on their behavior, IT SHOWS what kind of person we are.  Lashing out at them or getting them back also shows what type of person we are.  Both ways reflect on me personally and has nothing to do with what type of person THEY are and it doesn’t excuse their behavior but it says A LOT about what type of person I am.  I want to reflect Jesus’ love; I want everything coming from me to reflect HIS love and HIS grace.

I’m not perfect and I am going to make mistakes but it would be so incredibly wonderful if I could do it without judgement and criticism.  I think all of us would appreciate grace when we mess up, so am asking everyone to be the change you would like to see in the world and let’s have it start with us.  One situation at a time.  Let’s do this together and see what kind of an impact we can make in our families, communities, and the world.

I pray all of you have a safe, happy holiday with those you love!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

God Bless each and every one of you,

Nena

Living in Gratitude

Everyday is a day to be grateful for what we have been blessed.  Let’s face it, we are lucky to live in a country with so much abundance and resources. Yes there are many things happening that might make it seem like this isn’t the case but when you compare what we are blessed with to many other situations around the world we are Blessed.  This week, here in America, we are celebrating Thanksgiving and looking at all the things we have to be grateful for.

I will thank the Lord with all my heart. Psalm 111:1 NCV

When we take time out to give thanks for the blessings that we enjoy each day, we realize how much God has given us. When we are grateful for what we have and find joy in all that surrounds us it opens up the opportunity to receive.  When we are not grateful for what we already have then there is no reason to give us more.  I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that it doesn’t matter what our situation is, what matters is our attitude toward the situation.  When we can learn to be happy where we are then we can truly appreciate the journey.  Look around…most of us believe if we were just a little bit better looking, or had more money, or better behaved children, or a more loving spouse, or a better job, or ___________ you fill in the blank, then we would be happy.  Now look around at the people you know that have what you want…look closely and you’ll find some who are happy and some who are still miserable.  What’s the difference?  Some would be happy no matter what their situation because of their attitude.  They have chosen to be grateful for what they have and look at the bright side and minimize the rest; on the other hand the ones who are still seeking to find that next thing that will make them happy or satisfy them haven’t learned to look around and be grateful for where they are and all they have already been given.  For every person who is griping about their job their is another who is praying for one.  For every person who is griping about their spouse their is a widow/widower who is praying they just had one more day with theirs; or a single person who wishes they could find a spouse.  The next time you think I wish… or if I only… yes but…. look around and ask yourself what have I been given to be grateful for?  This Thanksgiving let’s be TRULY grateful for all that we have been given!

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it. 
Psalm 118:24

God Bless,

Nena

The Holidays: Be thankful!

Thanksgiving is one week away here in the U. S.  Many of us will be celebrating with friends and family.  It is a joyous occasion and a chance to reflect and be thankful for all we have.  We also need to acknowledge there are many people who do not have family of friends to celebrate with.  Perhaps they are miles away, are estranged or deceased.

Deuteronomy 15:11 ESV

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

There are many people that are homeless, in nursing homes, hospitals, have jobs that require them to work on Thanksgiving Day, children in foster care or orphanages.  Wouldn’t it be great if each one of us could contribute in some way to a person less fortunate than we are.  Perhaps something as simple as inviting someone to join your family for Thanksgiving dinner or taking a meal to someone who is home bound, visiting someone at a nursing home or hospital.  Some of us are going to feed the homeless at shelters, churches, etc.  If everyone who is fortunate enough to have family and friends to share the holiday with could contribute in some way to those who are less fortunate then no one would have to spend Thanksgiving alone and lonely.  If you don’t know how to help you can contact your local Salvation Army, churches, nursing home, hospital, battered woman’s shelter, etc.

Act 20:35 ESV

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The best thing that happens when we reach out to others is the joy we get to witness in their eyes and the overwhelming feeling of love we feel ourselves from reaching out and helping someone in need.  I can think of no better way to show our gratitude and thankfulness than to help another!

1 John 4:7-8 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

God Bless,

Nena

The Holidays: Joyful for many but painful for some!

Many of us are anxiously awaiting the holidays and looking forward to festivities with family and friends. I love the holidays and remember when I was younger wanting to decorate everything even to the point of going over to my grandparents house and decorating for them.  Buying LOTS of lights and putting them on the tree, windows, above the curtains, you name it I did it!! My grandma loved lights and that was a huge part of Christmas going around and looking at lights on houses.   Yet for some it is a dreaded time of year or at the very least met with caution.

Many of us live in families where the holidays bring tension, stress, and anger.  Some of us live miles away from family and feel sadness during this time.  While still others don’t like the crowds, and congestion it brings.  It is important for everyone to be kind and understanding of the different emotions the Holidays stir up in people.  One of the issues is the expectation we all have of what the holiday should be like.

We visualize what OUR perfect holiday looks like and how we want to celebrate.  Then if it doesn’t happen just the way we feel it should, we feel hurt, frustrated, sad, mad, disappointed or any other range of emotions.  A few things to help alleviate this is to:

  1. Discuss with those around you what your vision is of the holiday.  The way you would like to celebrate and what you would like to do for the Holiday.
  2. Ask those you will be celebrating with what their vision looks like. How would they like to celebrate?  If it’s the same as yours great! From my experience though no two peoples’ vision looks exactly the same.
  3. If there are differences then discuss what your MOST important events are (for example: some people absolutely want to exchange presents Christmas Eve while others prefer Christmas morning) and the reason behind your preference.  Then come up with a plan that everyone can get excited about or at least agree on without resentment.  I find most of the time if it’s really important to one person and they understand the reasoning it’s easier to compromise.  You can even ask how important is it to you on a scale of 1-5?  If you are at a 4 and the other person is at a 5 then that would be a good point to let them decide.  But if you are at a 5 and they’re at a 3 then that would be a good point for you to decide.  It you both feel at a 5 then that’s where the compromise comes in…(example: the gift exchange.  If one person insists the packages must be opened Christmas eve and the other Christmas morning and both feel very strongly about their point of view; let the one that wants to do it Christmas Eve open theirs Christmas Eve and the one that insists on Christmas morning open theirs Christmas morning.  If it’s a difference of where to spend the Holiday…my family vs. your family and you live close perhaps you could do Christmas Eve with one and Christmas Day with the other family. If you don’t live close then perhaps you visit families on alternating years.)
  4. Make a plan as far in advance as possible.  Write it down and look it over.  Perhaps you need to sleep on it and have more discussion but make sure it’s a plan all parties involved can live with.
  5. After you’d agreed on the plan then discuss it with the other stakeholders involved such as friends and/or family members so they know what the plan is and there won’t be any surprises on the Holiday. Everyone with know what to expect.
  6. Plan fun! Games, especially old family games, are a great way to have fun and connect across generations.  Also, family pictures are a great way to share family history with children as well as those you don’t see as often.  It’s great to have everyone bring some family pictures or an album or two to share.  Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are playing moon (with dominoes) and listening to all the stories my grandpa, grandma and their siblings would tell at family gatherings.

The most important thing to remember is WHY we are celebrating the holiday in the first place; whether it’s Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s Day.  Our goal is to share the celebration with those we love and care about.  If it causes friction and turmoil then it is defeating the purpose.  Underneath every human being is a deep desire to love and be loved.  What if this was the year that everyone was able to love and be loved and experience the peace and joy of the season?  Let’s do it and lets have it begin with us!

God Bless,

Nena

The Holidays! Food, Family, Friends and Forgiveness?

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just nine days away.  It seems like we just celebrated this New Year and now the year is almost over.  The holidays bring so much excitement and joy.  They can also be stressful.  So much to do; shopping, decorating, preparing food, some of us have to travel to see family, and some of us don’t have family or are estranged from our families.  This is something I am finding stressful this holiday season.

A couple of my family members aren’t speaking to one another; so now we are having to consider what to do for Thanksgiving and how to celebrate.  I love all of them and want to help them see that life is too short to be at each others throats, bickering and arguing.  Of course each one of them feels they are right and the other is wrong and this made me stop and think.  How many of us only worry about right and wrong? In our marriages, with our children, co workers, family members, friends, neighbors etc.  I have been pondering this and trying to develop some clarity with the situation and what I’ve come to understand is that we each have many life experiences that lead us to “see” situations from our own perspective.  Sometimes this makes it difficult for us to empathize with another.  We are so caught up in what has been done to us that we cannot see how the other person may view the same situation and how their feelings may have been hurt because of our actions.

What if for a minute we weren’t trying to defend our own viewpoint and we instead came together with the attitude of how can we work this out so that each of us feels valued and heard? When our goal is to be right that makes the other person wrong and insures that the situation isn’t going to get better because no one wants to be wrong.  When we perpetrate the injustice it goes on and on and there is no solution.

In my case it is a case of individuals that do not have much life experience and are young and inexperienced in certain situations so they feel insecure and lash out.  Then they refuse to see the other side objectively and hold on for dear life to their viewpoint.  It doesn’t really matter who’s right and wrong if it tears an entire family apart.  There was no murder committed, no alcohol or drugs involved, no physical violence, nothing but a couple of sentences over a piece of cake. Yes, that’s correct a piece of cake and it’s caused almost a year long rift.

It’s very difficult on the entire family when people are unwilling to forgive.  It causes more hurt feelings, anger, resentment, and things build and escalate making the entire situation more difficult for everyone.  Forgiveness isn’t for the other person it is for ourselves so that we can release it and let it go so it doesn’t become a cancer inside of us.

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.
Luke 17:3-5 (NLT)

For others out there that are having issues with family, friends, co workers, etc. during the holidays I pray you will find piece in knowing that you have a Heavenly father who loves you and sent His only son to Earth to live and die for your sins.  You are forgiven and loved by an almighty father.  I pray we can all find forgiveness in our hearts this Thanksgiving and be truly grateful and thankful for what we are so blessed to have in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Nena