Hope for the Hurting

Quit Striving for the Picture Perfect Christmas

Quit Striving for the Picture Perfect Christmas

Alas, if we had hoped for a Norman Rockwall Christmas, this year wouldn’t deliver. Rather than the iconic painting, it seemed ours might look a little more like the classic Charlie Brown motley crew around their scrawny tree.

Some years it just seems we’re doing well just to “hold it all together.”

After receiving a new cancer diagnosis, doctors’ appointments, surgery, and procedures ensued. “I don’t have time for all this now,” I thought, as I considered all the holiday preparations yet to be made. But then again, I had to make time for it.

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When Doing Less is Actually More at Christmas

When Doing Less is Actually More at Christmas

I had just turned in my manuscript to my publisher for my new book about overcoming worry, fear, and anxiety (releasing fall, 2019) when people began to ask the obvious question, “What are you going to do now?”

I didn’t have a ready answer for that. I had originally assumed that as soon as I turned in the manuscript for that book, I would begin work on a companion Bible study. Yet when the time came, it didn’t sit well in my spirit.

Over the next couple of weeks, God shared his plan for my next season: a season of rest.

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What I Really Want This Christmas

What I Really Want This Christmas

Every year round about Thanksgiving, the same question always comes: “Mom, what do you want for Christmas this year?”

I remember Christmases from my childhood, when my brother and I would study the Sears-Roebuck toy catalog, all the while dreaming of the things that would show up under the tree with our names attached.

As a child and into my early teen years, things seemed so important. Amassing the newest and greatest toys or fads and comparing our holiday inheritance with friends upon our return to school following Christmas break. “What did you get? Want to know what I got?”

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How to Relieve Stress This Christmas

How to Relieve Stress This Christmas

As I stilled my heart during morning quiet time with the Lord, He spoke to me and said, “You know what you’re struggling with is not something you battle just during the Christmas season. You have a tendency to jump into problem solving and doing mode.”

The more God got a hold of my heart and spoke to me, the more I realized that my problem solving and doing mode excludes God from the process. It takes God out of the picture.

Read more for my best tip on how to relieve stress at Christmas and throughout the year.

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5 Lessons for Us From Going Back to Bethlehem

5 Lessons for Us From Going Back to Bethlehem

As fall has come to a close and the crest into winter has descended upon us (or as much winter as we get to experience in North Texas), while we begin preparations for Christmas, my thoughts keep returning to Mary and Joseph prior to Jesus’s birth.

Why was it important that Mary and Joseph go back to Bethlehem? What does their obedience mean for us in modern times?

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13 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

13 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

The holidays are always portrayed as a merry, cheerful time, yet not everyone feels that way. Many feel alone and isolated throughout the holiday season. Many people experience increased depression and anxiety during the holidays. Crisis hotlines experience an increase in number of calls, and domestic violence tends to rise.

Our memories of better days, the loss of our loved ones, and financial hardship or job instability can all add to the stress. Sometimes we have to be intentional about caring for ourselves, especially during a stressful holiday season.

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12 Reasons to Return to Our Roots

12 Reasons to Return to Our Roots

With the change of seasons upon us, the Lord has had me consider the importance of us going back to our roots. Our roots impact our past, present and future. Returning to our roots helps us understand where we came from, what is valuable and what path to take in the future.

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35 Best Stocking Stuffers – Ideas for Men, Women, Teenagers and In-Laws

35 Best Stocking Stuffers – Ideas for Men, Women, Teenagers and In-Laws

My family loves Christmas. I mean LOVES it! For the last several years, our Christmas decorations have come out in October. It started the year my husband was diagnosed and underwent treatment for cancer. A dear friend came to visit to help out. She asked what else she could do and I asked her if she’d help me decorate for the holidays. I wanted the home cheerful while we were going through a difficult time, and I knew that without someone else’s help, decorations were likely to not make it up that year. Ever since, we’ve continued to decorate early. My son plays Christmas carols intermittently throughout the year, but fairly steadily from September or October through the holidays.

While giving gifts is one of my love languages, I have to admit that one of my favorite things on Christmas is our stockings. I don’t need much nor want much in the way of presents, but ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved the little surprises stuffed in the fur capped oversized sock hanging from the mantle.

I’m always in search of the perfect stocking stuffers for my boys, husband, and in-laws. This year I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my favorite finds.

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55 Best Gifts for Writers

55 Best Gifts for Writers

In my previous post, 19 Best Books to Give as Gifts and Book-Related Gifts, I shared by top suggestions for my most recent favorite books. Many of my friends are writers, or have friends and family members who are writers, so in this post I decided to share with you some of my top recommendations for Best Gifts for Writers on your Christmas list.

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19 Best Books to Give as Gifts and Book-Related Gifts

19 Best Books to Give as Gifts and Book-Related Gifts

While I am an author, I’m also an avid reader—reading somewhere between 50-100 books a year. Several friends come to me frequently for my “best picks” for what to read next. So if you’re looking for books to put on your Christmas wish list, or books to buy for your reader loved one, you’ll definitely want to check these out.

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Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

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