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Hope Building Facts About Forward Looking

Hope Building Facts for Forward Looking www.monahodgson.com

I’m excited to introduce you to my hope building friend, Michelle.

Dr. Michelle Bengtson, a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, is also a wife, mother and friend. She knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them.

In today’s post, Michelle talks about looking back versus forward looking.

Hope Building Facts About Forward Thinking www.monahodgson.com

By Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Have you ever done something that made you feel bad about yourself and kept you trapped in the mistakes of your past?

Have you ever been criticized by someone, and felt guilty, ashamed, or inferior?

Words of another can sting. So can the words of our enemy who seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10).

Words of another can sting. So can the words of our enemy who seeks only to steal, kill, and… Click To Tweet

Often, we don’t recognize Satan’s taunts for what they are: lies. (more…)

Are You Living Connected, or Only in Close Proximity?

Are you living connected, or only in close proximity? www.monahodgson.om

I struggle with wanting to give in to our society’s endorsement of individualism. My natural tendency is to make life about me and my tidy comfort zone. Maybe you do too.

Expressing love from a distance is oodles easier and less awkward than responding to up-close and personal opportunities to reach out to others. You with me?

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What a Bone Rattling Bobsled Ride Taught Me

What a Bone Rattling Bobsled Ride Taught Me www.monahodgson.com

Let me introduce you to my friend, Loree Johns.

Loree, a Write Brilliant buddy and one of my iron sharpeners, is an interior designer who offers inspiration for  your heart and your home, earning her the title Decorating Devotional Gal. Loree and I met in person in Park City, Utah, last summer at the Write Brilliant live event for online academy participants.

I opted out of the bobsled ride, but not Loree. And I couldn’t think of a better time to share her story than the week the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off.

What a Bone Rattling Bobsled Ride Taught Me www.monahodgson.com

by Loree Johns

How bad could the bobsled ride be?

If the Utah Olympic Park let the public sign up it must be safe, though the list of health warnings on the ticketing site hung half a page long. When anxiety threatened to tangle with my peace, I stuffed anxiety into my back pocket.

At our Park City, Utah, writer’s conference, the Write Brilliant mantra was, “The answer is always YES!”

The Write Brilliant team encouraged us to step away from our norm during the afternoon breaks and seek adventure.

The adventure that kept jumping out at me was the Olympic bobsled. (more…)

Practicing the Art of Paying Attention

Practicing the Art of Paying Attention www.monahodgson.com

On the last day of 2017, my twenty-something girlfriend leaned toward me. “Do you have your one word for 2018?”

I gulped. “Not yet.”

“Well,”–Kara’s brown eyes still glimmered with anticipation–“when you do, I want to hear about it.”

“Uh. Sure,” I sputtered. “We’ll get together.”

In the freshness of 2017, Kara and I had huddled at the island in my kitchen eating chicken salad. Our conversation centered around the concept of prayerfully considering one word or phrase that sums up a spiritual practice or posture for intentional focus.

I’d shared my 2017 word and related Bible verses, and talked about the applications stirring in my heart. Next, Kara asked about a focus word for her. When one word raced into her mind, the excitement nearly toppled the kitchen stool supporting her.

That was then.

Not yet, my answer for 2018, stood out as a stark understatement. The idea of one year ending and a new one starting the next day hadn’t sunk in. Until Kara posed her question.

December 31st marked the absence of any real reflection on 2017 or goal setting for 2018. (more…)

Victim of Grace: An Amazing Truth Every Woman Should Know

Victims of Grace: An Amazing Truth Every Woman Should Know www.monahodgson.com

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Robin.

Robin Jones Gunn is an award-winning storyteller, the much loved author of the popular Christy Miller series for teens and Sisterchicks® novels as well as non-fiction favorites such as Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails. Robin and her hubby live in Hawaii where she writes from her lanai, sipping iced tea with a fresh slice of pineapple. What? Me? Jealous?

Follow Robin on Facebook or Twitter.

I asked Robin if she’d share an excerpt from her book, Victim of Grace. She said “Yes.” Thanks, Robin!

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Choosing Clutter Free: 7 Steps for Getting Started

Choose Clutter Free: 7 Steps for Getting Started www.monahodgson

I’d like to introduce my friend, Kathi Lipp. I’ve known Kathi for several years, and then had the privilege of getting to know her better when we worked together for a couple of years at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in California. The author of Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps for Simplifying Your Space, Kathi excels in simplifying and organizing. That’s why I asked her to share an excerpt from her book with a few basics steps to help us declutter in this new year.

Choose Clutter Free: 7 Steps for Getting Started www.monahodgson.comBy Kathi Lipp

Since starting Clutter Free Academy, we’ve had many people ask, “Where do I start?”

We all want to be more organized, more disciplined when it comes to dealing with our stuff. This excerpt from my book Clutter Free offers a beginners’ guide to help you jump in and get results quickly.

1. Pick a major source of pain. Get mad every time you go into the garage? See red when you try to relax in the living room? Is your office where papers go to die?

Whatever area of your home is causing you the most pain, that’s what needs to be addressed first. (more…)

12 Bible Verses to Live By in 2018

12 Verses to Live By in 2018 www.monahodgson.com

Happy New Year, friends!

December 31, 2017 snuck up on  me, but I wasn’t sad to see the old year end. The New Year will bring one of our two daughters and her family back from Africa for a visit. We have much to look forward to in 2018.

Whether you’re cheering on the New Year or not, let’s you and I press pause for a few moments to begin 2018 with ready hearts, resting in the light.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:105, NIV (more…)

My Christmas Prayer

My Christmas Prayer www.monahodgson.com

Lord Jesus, with “O Come All Ye Faithful” playing in the background, I pause  to be still. Reset my spirit to remember that you are God. The Beginning and the End. The life-giving Light who came to earth all those years ago.

Father, may the lavish love that compelled Christ to come as a babe swaddled in a feed trough, then to walk the way of the cross for my transgressions stir me, move me to lay my life at Your feet anew–a sacrifice of praise and an offering much too small.

Holy Spirit, guide me to breathe in and live out the grace Jesus came to give.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Happy Jesus Day, friends! May the peace He came to give us starting with that first Christmas pour over you afresh as you remember and celebrate His unfailing, enduring love.

 

Christmas: Simple Beginnings

One week from today, we’ll gather with family, friends, or neighbors to celebrate Christmas with merry decorations, gift-gifting, and a festive feast.

As I reflect upon God’s provision of a Christmas baby, who would grow to become our Easter Savior, I find myself contemplating the simplicity of His plan. Not an easy plan, but a modest one.

Jesus would come to earth as both God and man to simple folk: a teenager and a carpenter. Not to be birthed in a pristine palace, but on a gritty road trip instead. (more…)

What Everyone Should Know About Panic Disorder

What Everyone Should Know About Panic Attacks www.monahodgson.com

Let me introduce you to my friend, JJ.

During my first experience seeing JJ Heller and her hubby Dave on the stage at a women’s retreat in September, the Smothers Brothers came to mind. (I know…you’re probably too young to remember the Smothers Brothers Show.) The recollection had nothing to do with the couple’s stellar song writing and melodious voices. Everything to do with Dave’s droll wit. So fun! And their time onstage so soul-feeding.

If you ever have the opportunity to see JJ and Dave perform live, run don’t walk to the venue. In the meantime, you can follow JJ on YouTube or Facebook. Below JJ’s post, you’ll find links to JJ’s music.

What Everyone Should Know About Panic Attacks www.monahodgson.com

by JJ Heller

Perhaps like me, you struggle with fear. You’re not alone, you’re not going crazy and God is not disappointed with you.

Something that was and is really important on my own journey of healing is hearing other people’s stories, so here is a bit of mine.

I first started dealing with panic attacks, also known as panic disorder, in 2003 when, all within a span of one month, my husband, Dave, and I graduated from college, got married, moved to another state and decided to pursue music as a career. My body didn’t know how to handle the stress.

Because of my strange health symptoms, I was convinced I was dying of something.

The physical reactions seemed to come out of nowhere and would scare the living daylights out of me. I would be sitting on the couch and all of a sudden I would notice my fingers starting to tingle and go numb, my heart would start pounding, I’d have trouble breathing, and I’d feel dizzy like I might pass out. It was terrifying.

On several occasions I went to the doctor to figure out what was wrong, and each time I was told I was incredibly healthy. I had a heart monitor hooked up for 24 hours, but even that reported I was healthy.

Instead of feeling relieved, I grew frustrated that they couldn’t find the cause of my symptoms, and I was still convinced it was only a matter of days until I would be knocking on death’s door. It wasn’t until I started doing my own research that I discovered I wasn’t dying.

I was having panic attacks. (more…)

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