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!

When the Christmas Blues Hit Click To Tweet

Rescued

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you follow me on Inspire a Fire, then you know this post appeared December 1, 2015. Although you may have read it then, I believe it’s worth a second read. 🙂

One of the books my family owned when I grew up was The Christmas Book, a collection of forty-five Christmas stories and poems. How do I know it had forty-five stories? That book still sits on my shelf today.

At one inch thick this book was enormous to my small hands, yet I tugged it off the bookshelf often and flipped the pages one by one. At first all I could do was look at the pictures. Next, I asked others to read stories to me. Then the day came when I was able to read the words on each page by myself.

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl was one of my favorite stories. I returned to it over and over. I don’t know why.

Although it does have a happily ever after ending, the story itself is rather sad. If you have read it maybe you understand. If you haven’t read the story perhaps now is a good time to take a look.

The spark for this post came when I recently pulled that book off my bookshelf and turned the faded, fragile pages to page 281, and once again read the story that held my attention all those many years ago.

The story is about a little girl who lives with her strict father in a rundown shack. Her job is to sell matches. Christmas Eve she finds herself cold, hungry, and alone on the street with only her small handful of matches.

Three separate times she lights a match in an attempt to stay warm. Each time she envisions beautiful, wondrous sights. Near the end of the story a star falls, reminding the little girl of what her grandmother told her before the grandmother died … when a star falls from the sky, someone is dying and their soul goes up to God.

The little girl believes she sees her grandmother and asks her to take her with her.

This time, however, it isn’t a vision. The grandmotherly woman the girl sees is real. She  takes the match girl home to live with her forever.

The end.

Or is it?

We may find ourselves cold, hungry, and alone in the world and wish someone cared enough to notice us. To love us. To provide for and protect us. We’ve lit every single match we hold and still, nothing. It all goes up in smoke. We feel as if all is hopeless.

That is, until Jesus steps into our lives, picks us up from the cold stone step we’ve sat on and carries us to his home that is more beautiful and wondrous than we could ever imagine. It’s warm. We’re safe. We smell delicious food. Jesus is smiling at us and says he wants us to be his child forever.

Will we accept?

The choice is ours to make. We can stay outside the warmth of Christ’s love or we can jump right into his arms and be safe now and forever.

The little match girl chose to stay safe with the lady who wanted to adopt her. What choice will we make?

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.

“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.” John 14: 1-3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Living Gluten-free

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

It’s that time of year again.

Friends. Family. Holiday parties.

Food full of gluten.

Sigh.

courtesy pixabayUnless you have food allergies, it may be difficult to understand how hard it is for those of us who are gluten intolerant when we are invited to special events that revolve around food.

Sure. We’d love to join you in eating all the goodies, but you know what? If we did, we’d literally make ourselves sick.

In my case, that means intense abdominal pain for over a week.

Sorry, but no matter how delicious your, “It’s only got a little wheat in it.” may be, although I would love to, I’m not eating it.

It isn’t only during the two month span between November 1 and January 1 when I have to be vigilant to make sure I know what’s in something before I eat it, but it seems there are more events packed into that span of time.

If someone with a food allergy asks what will be on the menu, please don’t look at them courtesy binglike they are calling you a bad name.

If I had to guess, I’d say they’re not. Honest.

They just need to know whether there will be anything they can eat.

And please, understand when you tell them they should eat at home or bring their own food how uncomfortable that is.

Trust me. I know.

I’ve been told that. Done that. And from now on will politely decline to attend and hope they understand.

Rudolph’s red nose would be less conspicuous or out of place.

There are a lot of gluten-free food options out there and I am blessed with friends and family members who are sympathetic to my dilemma and provide things I can eat.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

For those of you who don’t understand … would you tell a diabetic to eat sugar?

While we know nothing God calls clean is unclean there are foods some of us need to avoid. Please be sensitive to your friends’ allergies. I thank you, and I’m sure they will as well.

If you need help finding a gluten-free recipe, check out my recipe page. 🙂

If you have allergies, how do you handle being at events where food is served?

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.

He was hungry and wanted to eat, but while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a big sheet being lowered to earth by its four corners. In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to Peter, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.”

 But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.”

But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them ‘unholy’!” Acts 10:10-15

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We Are Not Our Parents

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

The acorn didn’t fall far from the tree. He’s a chip off the old block. She’s just like her mother…

Comments like these are often heard whether to describe someone in a positive light, or negative. Both indicate the child is like the parent. In some ways, I guess that’s true. In others, I would suggest it is not the case. While we may share genetics and outward appearance similarities, that doesn’t mean we are carbon copies.

A friend of mine struggles with alcoholism and the ramifications of its affect on her children, as reflected in their behavior and bad choices.

One friend fears getting married because her parents divorced, and she falsely believes she’d be doomed to the same fate.

Another friend can’t understand where she went wrong in raising her son.

Look around. There are examples everywhere of children who are like their parents, whether for the good, or the bad. There are also examples of children who are not like their parents, whether for the good, or the bad. My observations have shown me it is all a matter of choice.

I have friends who have over three generations of alcoholism in their lineage. Yet, they are not alcoholics. Why? Because they saw the destruction, knew they had a predisposition for addictive behaviors, and refused to fall victim to its power.

I know people whose parents divorced, yet were able to sustain long, loving marriages until their deaths. Why? Because they were not their parents.

We might recall the story of Joseph. Favored son born of favored wife. Sold into slavery by his brothers. Interpreter of dreams. Falsely accused. Rose to rule second in command in Egypt. Forgives.

Although Joseph was well-loved and favored by his father, Jacob, his family was terribly dysfunctional. Boy, howdy, were they ever. You think your family has issues? Go read Genesis 27 to the end of the book.

Joseph was not his father, his mother, his brothers, or his uncle, Laban. Joseph was God’s man. A tool God used to accomplish his plan. Joseph broke the chain of dysfunction in his family. We can, too.

We are not our parents. Just as our children are not us. We are each individuals with free will to make intelligent decisions. We can break free from the chains that bind us. Make our own good choices based on instruction we find in the Bible. We can decide differently. We can be the ones who end the destructive cycles that have gone before us.

It’s up to us.

Leave your 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.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I can’t put myself in the place of God. You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. Genesis 50:19-20 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Christmas Every Day

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Okay. I know we’re in the middle of summer here in the States. I know it isn’t December. I know it isn’t Christmas. But what I also know that no matter the date on the calendar, we should celebrate Jesus’ birth and be grateful for the gift.

This morning I was thinking about the day Jesus came into this world as part of humanity. The King of kings. LORD of lords. The only true and living Messiah left his home in heaven where he sat at the right hand of his father, God, to be born as a helpless infant, dependent on the ones he created, to take care of him. It totally boggles my mind to even consider the fact. But it’s true. Jesus did that.

One reason he did that was so he could understand what it was like to live as humans in this sinful, fallen world. That way, he would experience what we face. The trials we go through. The pain. The rejection. The hurt. The suffering.

Jesus became our High Priest. The One who stands before his father’s throne as our advocate. He pleads our case before the Righteous Judge. He begs his father to forgive our sins, because Jesus paid the price for those sins. Jesus paid the debt we owed but could never pay by willingly allowing himself to be crucified. The perfect, sinless Christ took our sins upon himself to satisfy God’s righteous judgement. By Jesus’ wounds we are healed.

No. It isn’t Christmas. It isn’t Easter. It’s just another day. Another day where I fall on my knees and thank God for allowing his son to come into this world to save me and you, from our sins. It’s another day I thank God for using an ordinary girl to give birth to the Savior of the World.

Another day I thank God he uses this broken, imperfect, ordinary  girl as an instrument in his hands to point the way to him.

Seems to me we should celebrate the gift God gave us every day. Not only on the days we have set aside as holidays. I believe we should make sure we keep room for Jesus in our hearts everyday, and never turn him away.

How about you?

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

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned. So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Perspective

Are you looking for something special for that precious little one this holiday season? Take a look at some of the creations Sissy has crocheted. If you are interested in commissioning her to whip something up for you, here is Sissy’s contact info.    carriebcrochet@yahoo.com

 

ZoomThere is a children’s book titled Zoom, written by Istvan Banyai, which I used in my fourth grade classroom. There are no words, just pictures. What makes this book so fascinating is its perspective. That’s all I’m gonna’ say about it. Don’t want to spoil the story for you.

Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward, or way of regarding something; a point of view. It is the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.

Because Pilot is an artist, his first definition for perspective would probably be the perspective drawing_Pilottechnique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance.

Whew.

My definition? Point of View. Who’s telling the story? 

Have you ever misplaced something? Oh, yeah. All the time. Something I’m learning to do when things go missing, is to change my altitude. (That’s not a typo.) Look at things from a different angle. Get my eye level with the floor. Change my point of view. Of course, there are times when no matter what I do, I cannot find the missing object. That’s when my belief in The Borrowers is renewed.

The BorrowersAmong the many stories in the Bible about perspective that I love, is the story of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus. She broke her jar of expensive perfume, about a year’s wages worth, and poured it on Jesus’ head. Some of those present said it was a waste of good money that could be used in better ways. Jesus, however, set them straight. He showed them the correct point of view.

Altering my perspective needs to go beyond looking for things I’ve misplaced. It needs to translate to the way I view the people and situations around me. Like me, have you ever come at something, or someone, with a set point of view? What happens when you receive more information? Does your perspective change? More times than not, mine does. We should be willing for God to alter our perspective, and make decisions based on his truth.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me. She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly.” Mark 14:6-9 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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