Hope Finds a January Purpose

snow in mtsAlthough I didn’t send the usual number of Christmas cards, I did receive beautiful cards from many of you. Thank you !

Maybe next year, I will rethink the tradition of sending Christmas cards – especially since I just found some lovely ones at half price.

So…what to do with Christmas cards after the eggnog has soured and the chocolate is all gone? Just pitch them while cleaning up all the decorations and torn wrappings? No way.

Sometimes I frame cards. One example hangs in my office – a reminder to stay in JOY all through the year.

Use cards to decorate the house next year? Yes. A particular card declares “Noel” on my kitchen table. I hate to take it down and pack it away. Maybe I’ll leave it up through February. It is after all – a deep red color.

Each year, I have enacted a routine after the holidays. I set my basket of cards on my kitchen table, next to my Bible.

Every morning when I meet with God, I choose one of the cards and read again the message written inside. Then I pray for the person who sent the card.

I ask God to bless that person and his/her family during the coming new year – to fill them with hope and joy – to draw them closer to His loving heart.

If I know of some particular need, I pray for that. Keep them safe. Provide for them what they need – a warm home, food every day, enough love to keep them in abundant joy. This year, I know many people who are grieving.

“Oh, sweet Jesus – send them a special touch of comfort for the new year. A flashy cardinal that decorates a bleak winter tree, a treasured grandchild with a kiss – still sticky from leftover candy canes, a beautiful song that reminds them of their loved one. You know what to do, God. You know the desires of all hearts. Comfort those who need to know you’re close.”

Praying through the cards helps Christmas last a little longer and reminds me of all the friends and loved ones who took the time to send me a holiday message. I feel a bit more loved.

It reminds me how we are connected – through the DNA of family members, through experiences we have shared or through the blood line of that baby in the manger who became the Savior on the cross.

Christmas is about more than decorations and presents. And the weeks after Christmas are about more than cleaning up, starting a diet, cashing in gift cards and going back to work.

Hope travels from one season to the next, especially when it is tethered by praying over my Christmas cards.

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

How about starting off the New Year with a brand new book? “Hope Shines” is available on Amazon.


Seeking Hope After Christmas

Because I love Christmas, it is always a bittersweet challenge to pack up everything, tape the boxes closed and carry Christmas to the basement.mantel after Xmas

I simply cannot endure the thought of an entire year before I pull out the twinkle lights, caress my angel collection and replay memories associated with the ornaments.

This Christmas was especially difficult as my son had to work through the holidays. I missed being with him as I remembered Christmases past and the excitement of a little boy discovering his first drum set, a giant box of Legos and a package of plastic army men.

This Christmas also brought more confusion for my mother. Her Alzheimer’s side effects seem to peak during the holidays, when I long for her to remember the daughter she sewed for, the special box of books she placed under the tree with my name on the tag, my excitement when I opened that box and knew I would soon be transported into the mysterious world of Nancy Drew.

This year, Mom didn’t even remember that Dad now lives in heaven. Our quality time was nonexistent, and when I drove her back to assisted living – she argued about living there. She couldn’t even remember why someone had given her presents.

So to preserve some joy of the season, I rearranged my pearl lights on the mantel and merged winter accessories with pine cone candles. Just a touch of Christmas to lessen the loss.

But I needed more. I have learned the best way to preserve the joy of Christmas is to proactively use my Christmas cards. I keep them in a pile beside my Bible, then each morning throughout January and February, I choose one card and pray for that person or the family that sent the card.

I remember special friends and family members, clients and colleagues by reminding God of their importance in my life, lifting up their needs to the only one who can fulfill them.

It helps me tolerate the cold fingers of winter as I focus on the warm love of the God who transcends every season and time.

So as we move into 2016, let’s all try to find more tangible ways to seek hope.

Then next year during Christmas, we can celebrate with extra joy.

©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh


Hope Within Calendar Pages

As we approach the holidays, this year draws to a close. What happened to move us so quickly through 2014?

This week, I drove to an office supply store to buy a refill for my planner – new calendar pages for 2015. As I sorted and refilled my planner, I glanced back at the activities of 2014:book w- confetti

  • Speaking events
  • Visits to Mom in assisted living, trying to endure the Alzheimer’s journey
  • Writing ideas
  • Meetings at work – GateWay of Hope
  • Grocery lists
  • Meetings with Coaching Clients
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and special dates for family and friends
  • More prayer requests

With all the lists and all the activities, I wondered – did I faithfully follow God this year or was I just busy? Did I make the most of every opportunity to show the love of God to others? Did my work make a difference in the lives of the people I met? How did God answer my prayers?

Then I noticed a gap in my list of activities. Except for a few meetings with friends and the week of family vacation, what did I do for fun? Plenty of activities involved work, but precious few included days of joy.

How can I change that pattern in 2015?

I’m always telling my clients to not put undo pressure on themselves but to relax and find some time for fun.

Author and Coach RJ Thesman, heal thyself.

Fun activities make us better writers, more able to deal with the stresses of life when we encounter and nurture creative joy. We all need a few moments to decompress and just be.

My old calendar pages disappeared in the trash while the new pages took their place. Yes, I already have events scheduled for 2015, so I carefully penciled them in along with birthdays, anniversaries and important dates for family and friends.

I also vowed to make each calendar day something for good, but for Pete’s sake – to have more fun!

What are you doing for fun?

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo