When the Christmas Blues Hit

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

This time of year can be beastly for so many, for so many reasons.

It can be difficult to get through the festivities when we’re dealing with personal issues that drag us into a downward spiral. When we feel like crying and the scenes surround us are filled with happy, smiling people it can be rough. I understand. I truly do.

No matter where we might find ourselves right now, I believe God knows what we’re going through and is right there with us. If you’re struggling, please know I’m praying God’s peace which passes all understanding will surround and comfort you.

According to many studies holidays increase feelings of loneliness and despair. Christmas blues.

The reason can be because we’ve lost loved ones, or because our high expectations of renewed happiness during the holidays don’t materialize.

Throw in SAD, and some of us may feel like hibernating until springtime.

So, how do we manage to put one foot in front of the other during times when things just seem so wrong?

The following suggestions are by no means a thus sayeth. They are merely observations.

For one thing, stay away from the Hallmark and Lifetime Channels. Even if the guy gets the girl by the end of the movie, and maybe because the guy gets the girl, those movies more times than not, are depressing when we feel like everyone has a perfect life except us. Turn. Them. Off.

Go through your DVDs. Check out movies from your library. Watch something funny, something uplifting. Watch The Princess Bride for the umpteenth time. (Inconceivable!) Watch a musical, just not The King and I. The ending makes me cry every time.

Lose yourself in a mystery. How about Foyle’s War? If all else fails, what about viewing It’s a Wonderful Life, or The Christmas Story? (You’ll shoot your eye out!)

Go to free holiday events. Window shop. People-watch.

Purchase something within your budget for yourself.

Volunteer for a worthy cause.

Get in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to for awhile.

Listen to music you enjoy.

One suggestion if you’re really in a funk, listen to something snappy that sets your feet tapping and you can warble out loud to. Avoid those beautiful ballads like,”My Heart Will Go On”, and “The Way We Were”, unless you really need to cry it out. If that’s the case, set a limit to how long you’ll give yourself to feel the pain.

Make new traditions if you need to. Life is not static. It moves and flows with each breath we take. It’s okay to change things up a bit. If it doesn’t work, try something different.

What’s the best way you know to get out of a funk?  Especially during the holidays.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Here’s a toe-tapper to get you going!

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Sunday Scriptures — Spilt Milk

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” Well, I’d like to tell you a story about a friend who did just that.

As an adult Connie attended church but hadn’t given her life to Christ. That is, not until she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When Connie realized this life is finite, eternity is forever, and Jesus offers eternal life in heaven with him to those who claim him as Savior, she knew what she needed to do. Connie gave her life to Jesus.

Now, while this was indeed a wonderful time of celebration, not everyone in the congregation felt that way. Some long-time members criticized Connie. They said the only reason she wanted to be baptized was because of her disease. They said without the diagnosis, she’d never have done it.

Okay. Made me mad. It also reminded me of Jesus’ parable about the disgruntled workers who were paid the agreed upon wage for a day’s work, but grumped when those who came to work in the last hour were paid the same.

As Connie’s disease progressed, she lost her eyesight and use of her limbs. One morning before she was confined to a wheelchair, she went about fixing her cereal for breakfast; only it didn’t turn out well.

When she poured the cereal, most of it ended up on the floor instead of in the bowl.

After she swept up the cereal and threw it away, she was more careful with the next attempt. Mission accomplished, she went on to pouring the milk.

In those days, before handy plastic milk jugs, our milk came in slippery, bendable paper cartons which often needed two hands to manage.

With unsteady hands, Connie began to pour. The carton slipped out of her hands, landed at her feet, and spilled all over the floor.

At that, my friend sat down in the middle of the mess and cried over her spilt milk.

Who wouldn’t given the circumstances?

But there’s something I want you to know. Connie didn’t cry because of the spilt milk, and she didn’t cry because she felt sorry for the condition she now found herself in. Connie cried because she understood her body would no longer be able to do all the many, many things she longed to do for her Lord and Savior whom she loved so very much.

None of us has a guaranteed next breath, next hour, next year. We make plans as if we do, and we put off things for later. Only, sometimes, later doesn’t come. Or if it does come, we find we are no longer physically able to do what we planned to do.

2017 is coming to a close. Do you have anything you’ve put off you need to do before it’s too late? I know I do.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. John 9:4 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free No-bake Peanut Butter Caramel Bars Recipe

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

These No-bake Peanut Butter Caramel Bars courtesy of TIPHERO are delicious, but awfully sticky.

  • 6 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 1-1/4 cups roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz milk chocolate chips

Line a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and set it aside. In a large bowl gently combine the Rice Chex and chopped peanuts. Set aside.

In a 4-cup measuring cup stir together the corn syrup and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly.

Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla extract, and salt until everything is fully blended.

Pour the mixture over the cereal and nuts and gently stir to evenly coat. Pour the caramel-coated cereal mixture into the prepared pan. Gently spread it out and press evenly into the pan. Let cool to room temperature.

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars. Let the chocolate harden then cut into bars. Store the bars in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Without Christ There Is No Christmas

courtesy pixabayIf someone asked us to explain Christmas, what would we tell them?

Would we start by explaining the Christmas tree, mistletoe, and Santa Claus? (Or as Lucy from the Peanuts gang might say, “Ho, ho, ho, mistletoe and pret-ty girls”?)

Or would we start with the brightly wrapped presents we give to each other?

Maybe we’d explain about families and friends gathering together for a festive celebration. Or mention the different customs across the world. Then again, maybe we’d mention Christmas plays, bells, and Handel’s Messiah.

How far down the list would it be before we mentioned the virgin birth of Jesus, God’s son born as a human baby who lived as a man, walked this earth, was falsely accused and sentenced to die a most horrible death through crucifixion to save us from our sins?

Hopefully, that would be at the top of our list. But at this time of year when so much of our time is spent in outward busyness, if people observed our activities and priorities, would they see Christ is what Christmas is all about and the reason we celebrate?

Without Jesus Christ there would be no angels singing Glory to God in the Highest.

There would be no shepherds bowing before a baby in a manger.

No wise men bringing the best gifts they had to offer to the future King.

Without Jesus Christ the Messiah there would be no Savior. There would be no salvation. No resurrection. No hope.

Simply put, without Christ there is no Christmas.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them.

“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!”

 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang, “and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.”  Luke 2:8-14 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my post is scheduled to appear on Inspire a Fire today, Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Please stop by and check it out.

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Sunday Scriptures — First Day of Advent

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Today is the first day of Advent 2017. It is a time set aside to reflect on the coming of the Good News to the world through the announcement of Jesus the Messiah’s birth. It is a time to prepare our hearts to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas before the hustle-bustle of the season takes over.

A devotional I once read put it this way. “Advent is a time of preparation and expectation. It is a time of hope and faith and longing. Our anticipation rises during Advent and then our hopes are fulfilled on Christmas with the birth of Jesus.”

Sometimes in our preparation for Christmas Day we might busy ourselves with long to-do lists, and end up exhausted. Sometimes we might allow others’ ideas of what Christmas should look like highjack our celebration, leaving us resentful of their demands. Sometimes the various situations in our life may steal our joy right out from under us. When any of these things happens, we might find the expectation and peace we hoped to experience nowhere to be found.

Today Pilot and I will light the first candle of our Advent Wreath, and as we do, I will recommit to centering my thoughts on the Gift God graciously sent into our world. I will focus on the flickering candle and think of Jesus. The Light of the World who left his throne in heaven, came into our world, lived a sinless life, yet died for the sins of the world, was resurrected, and now sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven so that through Jesus we can have eternal life.

And I will wait in hope and expectation for his return.

Is the Advent Wreath part of your Christmas tradition? If so, do you prefer red and white, or pink and purple candles?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33 (NTL)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Fresh Grounded Faith Unshaken Women

Fresh Grounded Faith
Laura Story, Sheila Walsh, Jennifer Rothschild

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The beginning of November I attended Jennifer Rothschild’s Fresh Grounded Faith Women’s Conference that included Sheila Walsh and Laura Story. What a marvelous two days. So much wisdom. So much love. So much truth.

If you are unfamiliar with who Jennifer is, let me share how she introduces herself on her blog:

My name is Jennifer Rothschild – with a silent “s”.  I am an author, speaker, Bible study teacher, wife and Mom.

And, I happen to be blind.

I’m just like you. I just do things a little differently.

I write about real life and share what I’m learning from a real God. My goal is to create inspiring, relevant, and practical content that will empower you to live beyond limits.

Did you catch that? It’s like, “Oh. By the way. I’m blind.” This woman is absolutely incredible, as were Sheila and Laura. They do not speak before crowds to bring praise or glory to themselves. They speak before crowds to bring praise and glory to the One True Living God who loves each and every one of us with an everlasting, endearing love.

Each of these women shared from her heart what a Big God can do in our lives despite our circumstances.

I’ll attempt to share some of what I received from Jennifer, Sheila, and Laura with the understanding what God said to me through them may not be what those seated around me received. Isn’t it funny how that works? Also, my notes are not word for word, but my interpretation of what I heard.

Jennifer – We get shaken because we’re not where we’re supposed to be. Or we’re right where we’re supposed to be. God wants to use the things that shake us to shape us. When we’re most shaken, we see God more clearly.

Sheila – Until we understand Jesus knows the worst about us, we can’t accept the best about us. Your history doesn’t dictate your destiny. Dorothy dreamed of a rainbow, and got hit with a tornado. Sometimes God will take you to a prison to set you free.

Laura – We weren’t designed to be able to function on our own without God. We were designed to need God. We’re created by God. We’re his poem. His masterpiece. When we get knocked off our path, it’s not a detour. It’s a new road.

With that said, if a Fresh Grounded Faith conference comes to your area — go! You will be glad you did.

Have you attended a Fresh Grounded Faith conference? If so, what’d you think?

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6 (NIV)

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

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If you wish to use any of my blog posts, please contact me through the comments section for permission first. All written material is copyrighted.