Monday, April 27, 2015

101 ways to find more contentment and joy


We live in a world that is suffering from a complete lack of contentment and joy. People seems to be always searching for "it": buying self-help books, going to therapists, altering their diets, going on holidays to "discover" themselves, changing jobs, buying things believing material goods will make them happy but contentment continues to allure them.  It isn't that hard when you think about — the first place to look is in the bible and to study God's Word where there are so many verses about joy and contentment such as rejoicing in the Lord always and through rejoicing one WILL find contentment.  We aren't promised happiness, but we will find joy and contentment knowing the Lord, even at the toughest of times. 

I thought I would write down 101 ways to help you on the road to contentment and joy, simple things that are inexpensive, quite easy to do and some can be done with love ones!! But remember, the very last one on this list is the MOST important.

If you have more to add to the list, let me know. Enjoy :)


** 101 ways to find more contentment and joy**
  1. Slow down
  2. Focus on the blessings in your life
  3. Let go of negative thoughts
  4. Visit the library
  5. Accept that life is not perfect
  6. Don't take yourself too seriously
  7. Have meaningful goals - they give you purpose
  8. Cultivate friendships — to have friends, be a friend
  9. Be supportive to others, encourage others
  10. Seek support and help when needed
  11. Don’t be stubborn
  12. Search out the natural beauty around you
  13. Don't confuse materialism with happiness
  14. Know that money will never buys happiness
  15. Enjoy what you have
  16. Simplify your life
  17. Go for a quiet walk
  18. Stop and smell the roses
  19. Don’t get uptight if the dusting isn’t done
  20. Be more creative
  21. Wear bright colours to cheer up your day
  22. Be yourself
  23. Be more spontaneous
  24. Pick flowers for your house
  25. Challenge yourself
  26. Don’t be harsh on yourself
  27. Spend more time with contented happy people
  28. Keep a contentment journal for writing about the things that give you joy
  29. Find what you love to do and make it your life's work
  30. Be willing to learn and experience new things
  31. Be flexible
  32. Be open-minded
  33. Read books that are uplifting
  34. Enjoy simple pleasures
  35. Listen to running water from a fountain
  36. Practice gratitude
  37. Be honest
  38. Dream
  39. Phone someone you haven’t spoken to in ages
  40. Do nothing occasionally
  41. Think improvement, not perfection
  42. When things aren't going well; know that it will pass
  43. Know that it's not what happens to you, but how you perceive it that's important
  44. Learn to live in and savour the moment
  45. Exercise regularly
  46. Learn to focus on the now
  47. Get plenty of sleep
  48. Maintain a healthy diet
  49. Enjoy simple meals
  50. Bake a cake and share with friends or give to a neighbour
  51. Cut back on caffeine
  52. Enjoy afternoon tea with a friend
  53. Get plenty of sunshine
  54. Listen to the birds sing
  55. Get a pet
  56. Lie on the grass and watch the clouds float by
  57. Disconnect with technology — turn off your phone
  58. Enjoy good conversation
  59. Have a hobby or three
  60. Don’t stress about things you can’t change
  61. Take time for fun
  62. Practice moderation
  63. Cultivate an appreciation for the arts
  64. Read books by inspiring and uplifting authors
  65. Stop reading things that cause you distress
  66. Help others
  67. Have a strong and solid faith
  68. Don't sweat the small stuff
  69. Smile for no particular reason
  70. Laugh daily
  71. Notice the small insignificant things around you
  72. Cultivate compassion
  73. Listen to others
  74. Be agreeable
  75. Don’t argue, you don’t need to win every argument
  76. Give hugs
  77. Go for a walk
  78. Dance around the house
  79. Listen to beautiful music
  80. Watch less TV
  81. Consume happy media, skip the news
  82. Talk to strangers
  83. Offer compliments to others
  84. Visit the playground and have a swing, fly to the moon
  85. Sing in the shower
  86. Be humble
  87. Give it your best
  88. Share other’s joy and blessings
  89. Pamper yourself occasionally
  90. Practice graciousness
  91. Go on a picnic
  92. Love more
  93. Give encouragement freely
  94. Be gentle
  95. Always find the positive in all you do
  96. Live well, love much and laugh often
  97. Share your contentment and happiness with others
  98. Enjoy a rainy day rather than find fault in it
  99. Pray everyday
  100. Thank the Lord for all that He provides
  101. **Read your bible everyday and read some more. (most important of them all)**


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Friday, April 24, 2015

Art Friday: Horses

By Jim Daley

Art Friday: Horses

Today's Art Friday is for a young lady who loves horses. I do hope you enjoy this collection of horses, a creature that has been so loyal to us . . .  taking us places, settling new nations, helping us farm, moving supplies around countries, help in the delivery of mail, carry soldiers in battles, giving us companionship. They are magnificent creatures. The history of humans are intertwined with horses. 

This week Australians remembers our ANZACS (soldiers) who fought at Gallipoli (Turkey) 100 years ago. As one would expect, we remember the loss of human life during war, but sadly we forget the loss of animal life as a result of war. Australia sent 130,000 horses overseas in World War One, only one returned (Sandy, who belonged to Major General Sir William Bridges who died at Gallipoli). Many died and sadly many were put down at the end of the war as it was considered too expensive to return them to Australia. 

Horses during the war were used to pull ambulances, carry supplies (such as portable kitchens) and ordnances and act as cavalry mounts. They worked incredibly hard and with complete loyalty. At the end of this collection I have included some photos of horses at war to remember those beautiful innocent creatures who went into battle in WW1. 

Tragically, around 8 million horses, mules and donkeys perished in WW1, a total of 16 million animals died as a direct result of WW1 (those used as part of the war effort), including cats, dogs, birds etc..


Tim Cox (above and below)

Dennis Ziemienski
Bill Anton
Robert Duncan (above and below)

Victoria Wilson-Schultz



Heidi Presse
Jeremy Winborg

Horses during World War One

For those interested, the horses sent from Australia were called "Walers".  According to the Australia War MemorialThe horses were called Walers because, although they came from all parts of Australia, they were originally sold through New South Wales. They were sturdy, hardy horses, able to travel long distances in hot weather with little water. Horses usually need to drink about 30 litres of water a day. However, during the campaign in the Middle East, they often went for up to 60 hours without water, while carrying a load of almost 130 kilograms, comprising rider, saddle, equipment, food, and water.  






*****

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Encourage one another


Encouraging one another is SO important. 

So why do many Christian women spend more time tearing each other down instead of building them up. 


Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thessalonians 5:11)


The Bible doesn't say we can encourage each other occassionally or whenever we feel like it, or when we are feeling happy . . . we need to do it ALL THE TIME.

We need to encourage, encourage, encourage.

And guess what . . . that means ALL women, not just those at home, or ones with children, or those who you like, those of the same age as you. You can not be selective in who you comfort and encourage. 

But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)

Lets extend a hand to all women, making our blogs feel inviting, so when someone stops by . . . they know they are among friends, a place to find encouragement and comfort.  Your kind words might make all the differences to that person visiting.  So take the time to respond to comments, or if visiting, why not leave a comment to say hi. Might sound small but it means a great deal to the other person.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8-10)


  • Without encouragement, we would quickly become overwhelmed. 
  • Without encouragement, we would feel unloved and unwanted.
  • Without encouragement, we would struggle day-to-day.
  • Without encouragement, our lives would feel pointless and burdensome.
  • Without encouragement, we would struggle to overcome pain and sadness.
  • Without encouragement, we would feel that God was no longer interested in our welfare.


We live in a world where people are selective with their encouragement or they are often too busy sit and listen and when they do, they seem to be more interested in sharing gossip rather than caring about you.  How sad our lives would be if no one care enough about us. Sadly, there are many in this very situation who are alone and no one goes out of their way to make sure they are ok. This is a particular problem among our elderly. 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

However, part of our role of comforting and encouraging each other also includes "bearing one another's burdens". This can be very hard at times, especially when you have your own troubles and they feel too heavy for you to carry. How can you possibly bear another's burdens on top of your own?  Remember that two can lift each other up, can lean on each other for support, make each other smile and laugh and before long the load does feel much lighter. Sharing the load also means you can share God's Word, that God loves us, that God equips us, that we are treasured and that we are never alone with our burdens.

But, don't put all your energy into encouraging your friends and forget about your husband. He needs your encouragement more than anyone. He needs to be reminded daily that you love him and that you are there to support and help him in any way you can. Through your encouragement you boast his confidences, you can empower him, make him stronger, happier, healthier, more positive and the list goes on and on! A happy husband makes for a happy marriage. 

Lets keep on encouraging one another and perhaps encourage just a little more!

*****

Monday, April 20, 2015

Envy

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Envy . . . “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

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If we are honest with ourselves, we all get envious or jealous at times. Sometimes it might be subtle in our own minds as we wish things were different, other times it can eat us up, warp our perspective and take us into dark places where we will struggle to get out of. Envy can consume us like a fire.

I have never been overseas and as I get older I feel that perhaps I never will. I would so much love to travel and see the world . . . but due to circumstances, it has never been possible. I know people who are currently traveling overseas, about to or planning to do so.  At work my colleagues all talk about their overseas trips with such joy and excitement, all the wondrous places they have seen and how much they look forward to their next trip. I sit quietly because I don't want to mention that I have never left this country and unlikely to. 

Yes, I get envious of those who have been fortunate enough to travel to exotic places and I wish it was me going instead. 

Envy is not new, its been around since the days of Cain and Abel. There is something like 55 verses on envy and jealousy in the Bible . . . we are such weak and pathetic souls who God knew we would struggle with these emotions. Here are just a few of the verses on envy:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (James 3:16)

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (James 3:14-15)

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.” (Exodus 20:17)

Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6)

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3)

We live in a world that tells us to "keep up with the Jones" and not be satisfied with what we have. The media are excellent at planting the "desire of want", reminding us that we really do need the latest technology, the biggest house, better furniture, the latest fashions, a faster car, improved looks, less weight, be more successful and more money. One doesn't need to look far to see these messages surrounding us - in magazines, on the TV, social media, even in the news, newspapers, on billboards or just in conversations between people. It is a rare thing to find someone who is honest and says they are content with what they have and no longer want what others have. When John D. Rockefeller was asked how much money was enough, he replied "Just on more dollar", we too always seem to want "just one more thing".



Of course, envy doesn't need to be just about material things. Women in miserable marriages feel envious about those in happy marriages. Women at work feel envious of those at home, women struggling to conceive, feel envious of those with children. This is understandable and one feels great sadness for those women struggling in an unhappy marriage, having difficulties conceiving or those who want to follow the Lord and become keepers of their home. The bible shares the story of Rachel and Leah, Rachel was beautiful  and the scripture simply states the sad truth: "And Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah." The rivalry between the two sisters were bitter, nasty and miserable as Rachel wanted what Leah had (children) and Leah wanted what Rachel had (Jacob's love). Years were wasted on their bitterness and discontent when they only needed to be gracious, kind and generous to  each other.

Being envious indicates that we are not satisfied with what God has given us. The Bible tells us to “be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). To be find contentment and throw away envy we need to be honest with ourselves and recognise that we do get envious of what others  have and it is a sinful emotion. Our envy keeps us from desiring God's Word and from living more Christlike  . . .  instead of focusing on Christ, we are too focused on ourselves and our own desires, we are only concerned about satisfying our own cravings and as a result we forget to look at how God has truly blessed us.  

When our lives are over, we're going to leave everything behind. The body we spend so much money on will return to dust. The wardrobe, the beautiful home, the bank account, the advanced degree, the recognition—all those things that we give our lives to are going to remain on Planet Earth long after we've departed.

There are no pockets in a shroud. That's why it's essential to remember that only two things on earth will enter eternity—people and God's Word. If we give priority to giving God's word to people and living it, we'll have something that will last forever. (from Bible.org)

As our faith strengthens and we spend more time serving others instead of ourselves (and being excited for their blessings), our heart will change and we will no longer want or desire the things of this world.

We need to offer words of graciousness when someone is blessed with an opportunity to do something that you so much would like to do yourself. To give thanks to those who are blessed with another child or reach out to someone in an unhappy marriage rather than boasting about your great family. Envy is such a nasty cancer that spreads and can be difficult to kill. We don't want to be like Rachel and Leah.

And do not be conformed to this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, 
that you may prove what is that good and 
acceptable and perfect will of God. 

(Romans 12:2)

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Art Friday: Henry Edward Spernon Tozer


Art Friday: Henry Edward Spernon Tozer
1870 - 1940
British

Love these paintings, they are so homely and cosy and I am sure over the years, I have stepped into a few homes that look like these. Like many homes of the past, the kitchen (which was often large) was the room that many lived in almost all the time. It was the warmest room in the house over winter (and why burn another fire in the house when the kitchen fire did the trick - it saved on wood and coal) with the good light from the window, it was a perfect place for women to work on their sewing whilst they kept an eye on their dinner cooking.

I particular like the painting with the older woman still by the fire quilting. I almost want to reach in and sit in the chair opposite and hear her stories.







This is another favourite of mine, a very warm and cosy room.







*****

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