As we move into a season of thankfulness and introspection I have been thinking on how to keep my focus on God and not on all the negative things in our country right now, or the stress the holidays can bring. (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.) I came up with a list of things that help my family and I hope they will help yours.
•Waking early for prayer and meditation. This is not easy for me as I am not naturally an early morning person, but I find that this time is invaluable for my spiritual and mental health. I enjoy it especially in the winter as I can stay all snuggled up in bed with my family sleeping around me. I slip downstairs and let the dog out and fix a tea tray for myself and my youngest (he is often awake next). Then I journal, pray, and have hot tea.
•My favorite verses in key places in our home. These help with inspiration, affirmations of God’s love and courage to face the world every day.
•Writing my favorite verses in my big watercolor Moleskine and in my journals. Liz Steele does this and it really inspired me. They are lovely to revisit as well.
•Appreciation of the beauty of the King James version of the bible. There is something very special about this version, a sort of beauty and poetry in the old English that calls to my heart. It can be hard to understand, of course, so I keep a newer version on hand as well, but the verses I write and love are always the older English.
•Saying Grace. My children sometimes tell me they don’t know what to pray for. I tell them just to tell God “thank you.” Being grateful for all our blessings is one of the most impactful little ways to fuel our love of the Lord. Thankfulness for things we take for granted every day is the key to our happiness.
•Reading together. This doesn’t happen very often since my children are older now, but it is still important. My kids loved my old Arch Books bible story books and we read them often. We still read them at Christmas.
•Celebrating our creator by being in nature. We try to instill a sense of wonder about our world and how truly amazing it is. Talking about God as the great designer and discussing how amazing and complicated nature is is fun. For instance did you know a sunflower grows its seeds in the Fibbinocci sequence? How can that be something that accidentally happened? When they say creation sings his glory this is what they mean!
•Praying out loud for our children, individually, every night possible and whenever they need it. (Illustrations from “Moving Molly” and “Dogger” by Shirley Hughes)
•Singing the old hymns myself as I work. My favorites are from The Heavenly Highway Hymnal. My current one is “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long…”
•Going to church. This is the thing I struggle with the most. It is not easy getting everyone and myself up and around. It is not easy continuing to go when so many other churches have been the cause of hurt or strife in our lives. I do the best I can, but I could always do better. I never regret going and filling my spiritual pantry though. My family and I prefer a very traditional church and love the old hymns!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art…
With blessings to you from the Lord and Kansas Street,